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qualifications under which his Majesty's Roman-catholic subjects now labour—“Whereas the protestant succession to the imperial crown of this united kingdom and its dependencies, is, by the act for the further limitation of the crown, and the better securing the liberties of the subject, established permanently and inviolably.’” But there should have been added something to this effect:—“An act to admit and invest certain dignitaries and others of the Roman-catholic persuasion to and with political and civil privileges, which all experience had withdrawn from protestant dignitaries and others of the same station, except on submission to a certain control, from , all obedience to which, such Roman-catholics are hereby exempted.” In short, to grant them those privileges while they continued to deny our control, would be virtually, he repeated, to put them in a better situation than the members of our own church. He also excepted to the bill, on account of the power which the catholic priesthood would exercise and did exercise over their flocks, to an extent greatly beyond direction in matters affecting their spiritual welfare. He knew, indeed, that among the catholic clergy were many honourable exceptions to this description of them. He had nothing to oppose to the praises which had been bestowed upon them by noble lords who had spoken before him. But they were not to eulogise individuals—

their business was legislation. He,

would ask, if they were to admit the Roman-catholic body to the highest places in the constitution, what was to guarantee the pro

testant establishment? By the law none were admissible to the offices of political trust, but those whose allegiance was perfected. Of all the dissenters from the establishment, he knew of none whose allegiance was of necessity imperfect, except the Roman-catholics. Standing in the peculiar relation to us which they held, in what light must they regard us? Whatmust be the feeling of a really conscientious Roman-catholic (for it was useless to take notice of any other) towards the national church establishment 2 They were to consider in this question what had been done by the protestants. Were not these dissenters from their faith usurpers of the authority of their creed, despoilers of the property of their church 2 In what other light could they look upon us? We were voluntary seceders from them, as the other dissenters were from the national establishment. They did not willingly nor without considerable struggles separate from our corps. There was nothing in principle, in christianlike feeling, in policy or expediency, which required them to make those concessions, or forbad their refusal of them. Much had been said against the entertainment of prejudices. There were some subjects in which prejudice must prevail; and he felt alike from early youth to remotest age —on which it was actually impossible for any man to think without prejudice. But were the partialities allon one side? Among the peers who surrounded him, he saw many who had the most perfect reasons which could exist for their partiality to the Roman

catholic interests—close connex

ions—family feeling—the ties of friendship. Would not these give a bias to a man's sentiment as well as prejudice against the Roman religion ? There was nothing to reflect on in all this. Such feelings were honourable to the parties who had them, and really heightened their general characters. Much might be said, as much had been said, upon the advantage of eradicating prejudices. In his view it was a dangerous experiment. It was comparatively easy to root out the belief of an established religion—it was utterly difficult to eradicate prejudice: but if success were less questionable, the idea was extremely dangerous. He had heard mention made of the just right of the catholics to these concessions. He denied the right totally. Men must lose their claims to right in such a question whose object or pretence was that of lending the interests of the many to their own view. Expediency used to be another argument for these claims; it was latterly changed into necessity. There was something said in the nature of mination, as if threatening had been used. He did not believe the fact. If he had believed that there was such a purpose, that would be the direct reason with him for making no further concession. He was under no such impression. The question for them was, since the restrictions were imposed, had the country advanced or gone back 2 Was it not at a pitch of prosperity, wealth, and glory, which were never equalled by any comparison of ancient or modern history ! Let them consider the power, capabilities, and resources, which had developed themselves in this

little contracted spot of the earth's surface—not the fruits of extraordinary individual talents; but the slow, hardy, and gradual growth of ages; during which the oppressed catholics, so called, had enjoyed, in common with their protestant brethren, the fruits and advantages of those councils from which, for their own advantage as

well as ours, they had been ex

cluded. The country had advanced to the attainment of superiority in every thing which concerned the national welfare and security. Before departing from the line of her present course, it ought to be made manifest that something would be obtained quite equal to that which she possessed; and certainly the least which could be required would be to show that the benefits at present enjoyed could not, by these concessions, be impaired or lost. As a free state, he could see no reason for admitting the claims of the Romancatholics. The expediency would be a different question in a state of less freedom, or in one of nearly despotic power. In the latter case the experiment might be made, and the concessions upon any inconvenience might be recalled. But a free state must pay some slight tribute of inconvenience for her freedom. Among the costs of freedom in this country was the occasional impunity of a few daring individuals, who had genius enough and no more to transcend the power of the existing laws. How could catholics, admitted to offices of state, be honest guardians of a church separated from the authority of their own, enriched with its spoils, and flourishing in opposition to its denunciations 2 The argument of adopting this measure, because it came up from the house of commons, might be good in many cases: in this their lordships would do best to make use of that invaluable privilege which belonged to them, of judging for themselves. For what was the fact? Was the bill supported by a questionable majority of the other house, or was it not rather a petty shifting majority—a majority merely in name? It could not be assumed that it was the sense of the country, when it was barely, if at all, the sense of the majority of the house. There was one thing which they were not to lose from their consideration. The subject had notoriously engrossed the public attention, and it was impossible that the public mind could cease to be employed with it for some time to come. According to the provisions of the constitution, the time could not be far distant when the sense of the country might be taken in the most direct manner upon this subject. They would then know with tolerable exactness how to appreciate that increase of converts, as they had been called, to the catholic cause. They would then see if they were justified in taking the sense of that majority for the sense of the country. He thought not. Protestant security required protestant ascendancy. Concessions to the Roman-catholics could not follow, because the right to them did not exist—justice did not exact them—expediency did not require them—the public prosperity could not be endangered by them—and they were quite incompatible with the protestant ascendancy, which was necessary for the well-being of the empire. . The Bishop of Norwich felt it


his duty again, upon the agitation of this momentous question, to entreat them to consider seriously the responsibility which devolved upon their lordships' house by their decision this night. He conjured them to pause before they agreed to continue to deprive 5 or 6 millions of their brethren, who were like themselves the subjects of a free state, of those civil rights from which no class of men ought to suffer deprivation on account of mere abstract opinions. Year after year had they excluded their catholic fellow-countrymen from eligibility to office, while at the same time they called upon them to contribute, equally with the more favoured classes of the community, to the services and exigencies of the state. And this principle of unjustifiable and unnecessary exclusion had been declared essential to the maintenance of the united churches of England and Ireland. In vain had he asked for a motive to justify this protracted infliction. What good purpose of religion, or morals, or policy, could so embittering a restriction produce He could easily understand the bickerings and animosities of which it must necessarily be the offspring, owing to the infirmities of men's minds ; but in vain could he find in it the slightest wisdom, still less the smallest resemblance to the pure spirit of that gospel which the christian church was bound to maintain and promote. When the catholics urged their claims for relief, they were met by a reference to the history of their ancestors in the year 1525. Of what use was that reference, and what good purpose could be produced by a revival of the intolerant recollections of past times? bo,


for them would it be to bury in oblivion those retrospective cruelties for which religion, whose name was profaned by their infliction, must always blush. Instead of trying back to past times, he had rather turned to the careful examination of the present; and after its full perusal, he called upon any noble lord to point out what country, calling itself free, throughout the civilized world, used any portion of its subjects, on the ground of religion, in the manner in which they treated the catholics of this kingdom. Where had any set of loyal subjects been requited with so much harshness and severity ? Where could such a code of laws be found as those which were developed in Sir Henry Parnell's history of the penal code against the catholics? It had been said, that without these laws, the established church could not be maintained in Ireland; he dissented from such an opinion, and was fully impressed with the contrary belief, that these laws were the bane of that church, and in reality exposed it to danger. But suppose it were not so, and that he could bring himself to believe that any country required a particular ecclesiastical establishment, which for its maintenance demanded a violation of the fundamental principles of justice and true religion —a subversion of the divine precept, of doing unto others on all occasions as you would wish to be done by—a departure from the equity of the divine commandment, then he would say that a church requiring such support did not deserve to be upheld in a free community. If the church of England could not be else maintained than by the permanent infliction of pains

and penalties, then he would not scruple to say, let it fall. The

mere external fabric was not worth

preserving, unless the great prin

ciples of justice and liberty of conscience could be practised and

enforced within it. He had been

asked, if he was prepared to

risk the consequences of a de

privation of worldly honours, in a struggle for power. To this

question his answer would be short and sincere. Worldly honours of whatever kind could only be of value to a well-regulated mind, as long as they could be enjoyed with a pure conscience, and for the benefit of society; their value must be measured by their utility; and he hoped he should never be found among those who sought their acquisition, or was content to retain them, by perpetuating division and discord. These were not hastily formed opinions—they were the mature result of the observation of a long life; he had entertained and expressed them for upwards of half a century, and he was now too old to change so rooted a conviction. Considering what had lately passed, and was still passing before his eyes, he thought the utmost experience which he could hope to attain sustained his earliest sentiments. As to the political part of the subject, he thought there was no getting rid of the apprehension of bad consequences of refusing the catholic claims. They had now, he felt, a glorious opportunity of doing justice to a large portion of his Majesty's subjects – an opportunity which, if neglected, could not perhaps be recalled. They might now avert many evils, by adopting a system of conciliation, which new events, and times possibly not remote, would would compel them to adopt. What would now be received with gratitude, might hereafter be extorted without thanks. These were the reasons which induced him to give his warmest support to the bill. The Bishop of Chester, entirely concurred in the great importance of this question; and, in delivering his opinions upon it, he knew that they were opposed to those of many whose virtues he admired, whose characters he loved, whose friendships were among the most honourable distinctions he esteemed, whose wisdom he respected, and to whose politics he deferred. But there were duties, the conscientious discharge of which called for painful sacrifices; and in declaring the conviction to which his mind had arrived on this great question, he begged to assure their lordships that it was not formed until after the most deliberate, and assuredly the most faithful research, and the utmost desire to inform himself well upon the subject. He was free to confess that his mind had undergone a change upon the catholic question. His mind had been, from the force of early education, imbued with those principles of civil and religious freedom which liberal study had inculcated. The excessive severity of the penal code led him then to conclude that it was as unnecessary as it was harsh. But when, upon maturer consideration, he had acquired a greater experience, and fuller knowledge of the doctrines and practices of the catholic church, he became more deeply impressed with the paramount importance of a controlling religious establish

ment, necessarily endowed with:

co-ordinate privileges and immunities. When he afterwards reflected upon the innumerable evils which, if not the Roman-catholic religion, at least popery had inflicted, and when he became convinced of the unchangeable nature of its principles, and that it only wanted an opportunity to re-assert its power and opinion over the consciences of others, he was satisfied that both policy and necessity called for the maintenance of the existing system. If aught were wanted to sustain this full conviction, he found it in the evidence given before their lordships' committee, and in the very parts of that evidence, in a version of which noble lords opposite declared they found cause to support the bill now before them. Before he went further into the consideration of this question, he wished to touch upon the treatment which the right reverend bench had received from some individuals in the course of these discussions. Motives of an unworthy character had been imputed to them for their opposition to this measure. e asked, what right had noble lords to impute to protestant bishops that they were actuated in their opposition to a public measure, by motives so mean and sordid as self-interest? What grounds had they for such an imputation? – what reasons, deducible either from history or observation, had they to justify this mode of unworthy attack? Was it personal interest that induced the seven bishops to resist the encroachments of an arbitrary king, to whom they were otherwise personally attached ? No: their motive sprung from a purer

source—it was the honest and

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