« ForrigeFortsæt »
its way, and where therefore the mate- | continued to hold doctrines which the rials for conflict and subsequent recon. Lords had abjured ? No such thing. In cilement had not been created) and if we this respect there was no difference bestill saw that line in full force among our tween them. The reason was avowed selves [hear, hear]- if we found the only to be this: The Queen having other means trace of that demarcation in this country, of ascertaining the fidelity of the peers, it a country blessed with a greater portion was therefore not necessary to exclude of regulated liberty than any other them. It was not therefore doctrine or a country in which every individual, born dogma; it was not transubstantiation, but in whatever station, could rise to the political attachment which formed the highest honours under the Crown by the ground of admission or exclusion. The exercise of talent, industry, and virtue ;- individual Peers being under the Queen's must not we be at a loss to reconcile this immediate eyes, she could satisfy herself inconsistency; and ought we not to look of their political allegiance and attachanxiously to the time when it would be en- ment; but the multitude of the Commons tirely removed [Great cheering)? He precluding any such personal security, therefore did not contend,-his argument it was thought necessary to exclude them did not require that he should contend from admission to parliament (Cheers].that at the period immediately subse- So much for the principle of the law. quent to the Reformation those who And now what was the extent of its opecontinued attached to the church and ration? A period of about 260 years had court of Rome, after the bulk of the elapsed since the statute of Elizabeth was population of England, as well as its Crown passed. For not much less than one-half of and parliament, had embraced the tenets that period Commoners alone were exof the Reformation, and abjured all tem- cluded from parliament-Peers continuing poral as well as spiritual allegiance to the to sit there. During that time, therefore, at Pope, might not be justifiably excluded least there was no change in the policy of from political power. He troubled not the exclusion. It rested on the grounds on himself with any reasoning upon this which it was originally enacted-dread of point; but he did contend for the fact, foreign allegiance, not danger of popish that whatever disqualification was then faith. In fact, the religious reason for imposed on the Roman Catholics by the the exclusion, dated only from the act governing power, was justified on the of Charles 2nd ;-an act passed in a moground of danger from foreign interment of delirious fear and fury; the sure ference, foreign connexion, and foreign advisers of indiscriminate violence, and allegiance; and that, without ope excep- comprehensive and unsparing proscription, that danger was stated as constitut. tion. Then, for the first time, the creed of ing the sole necessity for such disqualifi. the Roman Catholic was made the test of cation (Cheers]. But where was now his political loyalty. The belief in tranthe danger of foreign interference, fo- substantiation was taken as equivalent to reign connexion, or foreign allegiance, disaffection, or rather as an unfailing inwhich justified the maintenance of that dication of it; and tried by this test, the distinction in this country which other hitherto unsuspected Roman Catholic peer countries had abolished? (Hear, hear!]. could not but be involved in the general He called upon the House, therefore, to disqualification of bis Roman Catholic reform so unjust an anomaly if it could fellow-subjects. Now, he must be allowed with safety be reformed (Cheers). By the to ask, why was the danger so much greater acts which excluded Roman Catholics at the present moment than it was in the from parliament, foreign allegiance was 5th of Queen Elizabeth,—than it was from distinctly stated as the cause of the ex- that time to the 30th of Charles 2nd ? For clusion. It was stated in the statute of the present, he left the Commoners out of Elizabeth the more distinctly, from the view; but as we were to go so much by partiality of its operation. The Roman the wisdom of our ancestors-why might Catholic Commoners were excluded by it he not put our older ancestors against our from seats in the House of Commons; but more recent ones, the days of good the right of the Roman Catholic peers to queen Bess, against those of the second sit in the House of Peers was not taken of the Stuarts, and humbly inquire, upon away. And why? because the Roman what imaginable ground if the peers of Catholic peers were less Catholic than Elizabeth's time, who professed the Rothe Commons?—because the Commons man Catholic religion, should have been VOL. IV.
suffered to mix in affairs of state, it was the members who might, iu consequence unsafe to admit the Peers at the pre- of this bill, be admitted to seats in parliasent day? (Cheers]. Upon what strange ment, would move such a project? or could apprehension or possibility were Catholic any one suppose for a moment, that the peers not only excluded, but deprived of slightest motion which had such an end in their birthright? [Cheers]. For be it rea view, would not be resisted ? membered, they continued peers of Eng- An hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Jand; they enjoyed their tiiles of prece. Wetherall) had exemplified what the op, dency; but they must not take their seats ponents of the Catholics understood by in parliament. They had been summoned force of reasoning in a singular manner, to attend on a late trial, and were obliged when he said the other night, with respect to pay the postage of letters inviting them; to archdeacon Paley's arguments on the but they were not allowed to come. It subject of the Catholics, that if he were was safe that they should be summoned; called upon to refute the archdeacon, he but it was not safe to remove the objec- would throw his book intothe fire. The hon. tions to their complying, to their exemp- and learned gentleman was, in this mode of tion from postage, and admission to take settling a dispute, only imitating, and im, their places. Not a word had been said perfectly, the first great disputant of the in justification of this strange inconsis-reformed religion, Henry 8th ; who chaltency and injustice. The peers' right to lenged a poor schoolmaster to debate sit in the peers' house, in fact, was only some article of faith with him, on this suspended. Was it possible to conceive this condition, that if he, the schoolmaster, was suspension necessary ? Were the Howards worsted in the argument, he should be and the Talbots so degenerate from the burnt as a heretic. It was unnecessary character of their ancestors that the con- to add, that victory declared for the king : stitution would not be safe if they were and the poor schoolmaster was accordadmitted to the seats which they claimed ingly thrown, where the hon. and learned under that constitution ? (Cheers). So gentleman proposed only to throw the much as to the peers, whose case he ve- archdeacon's book-into the fire. Against rily and in all sincerity felt to be quite ir- such a form of syllogism, he would not resistible.
answer for it, that the hon, and learned Now as to the lions who were roaring gentleman himself, with all his protest. in our own lobby, who, if we once ad- antism, would be proof. But happily, it mitted them, would turn us out of doors. was a form which could only be applied He could not reason with antipathies. by those who possessed a superiority of Some persons had such an antipathy to force of another kind, from which he cats, that they were sensible of the entrance trusted, in this case, there was no appre. of one to a room before they saw where hension to be entertained. As to suit was perched. He (Mr. Canning) never periority of numerical force in the lefelt annoyed at sitting, as he often had gislature-it was really visionary to apdone in that House, next to a dissenter prehend it. Look at the distribution of [Laughter and cheers]. He really could property throughout the whole United feel no apprehension of that sensitive Kingdom; and whence were the overkind. He would grant, for the argu- powering numbers of Catholic represenment, that 100 Catholic members might tatives to come? As lo physical forcebe returned, partly from Ireland and what tendency had this measure to alter partly from England; he would grant that its proportions? And was the rejection of they would combine; he would grant that the present measure the best means of they would combine for overturning the calming any ebullition of that kind ? Was ecclesiastical establishment: but, grant- it the safest remedy to say to the Catholic, ing all this, he asked how they were to go that you shut your doors upon him for about it? It must be-1, by force of rea- ever? It would be idle to suppose that soning: 2, by force of numbers; or, 3, by any scheme of representation could ever force alone. Was it that the eloquence be so arranged, as that the sentiments of the 100 members would succeed in per- of every individual in the country should suading gentlemen attached to the Pro- be directly represented. Few persons testant establishment to join them in de had expressed their opinions to that stroying it, in order to make way for the effect, more frequently or more decidedly magnificent edifice of mitred popery ? than himself. But still, he must admit, [Cheering]. Could any one believe that there was a difference between that general or virtual representation which , discrepancy in the practice between the lie contended ought ta bound the wishes, two services being quite accidentally disas it satisfied the wants and protected covered, it became a question whether the the interests, of all classes of the com- army should be recalled to the strictness munity,--and an absolute exclusion of observed in the navy, or the navy should be any one class from the capacity of re- put on the footing of the army. The latter presenting. He would ask whether it course was adopted, and thus was the was not carrying the doctrine of virtual service in both instances thrown equally representation a little too far, to say that open to Catholic and Protestant ambition, the Catholics were virtually represented, Such being now the situation of Catholics when the first oath to be taken by every in this respect, he would beg the commember of the House of Commons, was mittee to consider the grievance which it one of abhorrence of their religion, as in- must be to a Roman Catholic, descended compatible with the safety of the state? The of one of the great families of England, way then to avert the danger of external who, following the brave example of his force (granting for argument's sake, what ancestors, had merited the thanks of his he denied, that any such danger existed) country; what a grievance must it be to was, to afford vent to the feelings of the him, that after earning the reward, he Catholic within the walls of parliament; should be deprived of it on account of his to give to him the capacity to represent, religion. He would suppose a Roman as well as that of being represented ; and Catholic officer to have commanded under thus to cure, with respect to Ireland, Nelson at Trafalgar, or under Wellington where the elective franchise has already at Walerloo: his Protestant leaders and been extended to the Catholic, an ano- companions are ennobled, and take their maly in legislation, which cannot, in the seats in the House of Peers, but the Canature of things, be suffered long to tholic, even though that Catholic were endure.
the first in his rank in the kingdom · But not the elective franchise only, a even though already in the rank of the privilege of the utmost civil importance, peerage, must be turned back from the but the army and the navy from their door of that House, into which, if a Prolowest to their highest ranks, had been testant, his valour and his services would now opened to the Catholics : a concession have opened the way. Now this was a after which it was difficult to say whether state of things which could not last. It it was more impolitic or unjust to con- was a monstrous inconsistency in our systinue the exclusion from civil power,-to tem; and he conceived that we could exclude from seats in parliament. An not have a better time to remove it than hon, and learned gentleman had been the present. As we had gone so far almistaken when, arguing on this subject on ready in the work of conciliation, sooner a former night, be had spoken of this con- or later this too must be done. .cession as one growing out of former discus. His right hon. friend (the Speaker) sions in parliament. In truth, it had hapo had supported the present clause for the pened, rather than been contrived or exclusion of the Roman Catholics from foreseen. It had come, as many blessings seats in parliament, with the impression do come upon mankind, in spite of argu- that, as the adoption of a siinilar clause had ment and decision. The dangers of ad- been fatal to a similar bill on a former ocmitting the Catholics to commissions in casion, it might prove so at the present the army and navy had been argued as moment; but he hoped, whatever might strenuously in the last debates on this be the result of this motion-howquestion, a few years ago, as ever before ; ever the committee might decide, that it but in the mean time, the thing had done would not stop the progress of the bill itself, without interference or observation. [Hear, hear!]. He trusted that, in whatThe exclusion of the Catholics from the ever shape the bill might come from the army and navy, had rested upon certain committee, unless, indeed, it were very oaths directed by certain statutes, to be materially altered, it would pass the administered to all officers in either force House (Hear, hear!].
on receiving their commissions. By a It was said in the debate the other lapse, of which no one could trace the evening, that if Catholics were admitted date, these oaths which had been always to seats in parliament, they might be rigidly enforced in the navy, had fallen admitted as governors of colonies. Now, into desuetude in the army. Upon this he should like to know what act it was
which could prevent the Crown from the and the reason given for it was, that they appointment of Catholics to the colonies were more versed in those appointments at the present moment. He was not than the Crown. A commission thereaware of any. The 25th of Ciarles And fore for the same object at present could excluded them expressly and specifically not be considered as a new, nor after such from being governors of Guernsey or authority had been produced for it, could Jersey; but if that was the act relied it again be called a clumsy contrivance. upon, the very specification of these places Another objection, which he heard with left other commands open. Upon this some surprise, was, that Protestants would point, however, he was willing to listen to have a conscientious scruple about taking any suggestion. He thought it of small the oath which recognised the existence of importance compared with the general Catholic bishops. Hitherto it was said scope and provisions of the bill.
no such order was known to exist. This With respect to the interference of he considered to be no more than a quibRoman Catholics in ecclesiastical pre- ble. We admitted the ordination of a ferments, this bill, expressly and anxi- Roman Catholic priest to be valid; and it ously provided against it. The office of was difficult to admit that, without aclord chancellor of England was ex- knowledging the existence of a Roman cepted, because he had ecclesiastical pre- Catholic bishop. Nay more, if a Roman ferments to bestow; as was, for the Catholic priest, should become a convert same reason, the lord lieutenant of Ire- to the Church of England and should be preland; and he had no objection to extend sented to a living in the Protestant church, the like exception to all places which had re-ordination was not considered necessary ecclesiastical patronage." But it was ob- [Hear, hear, hear!]: so that we not only jected, that a commission for the filling up admitted the ordination, but we took the of ecclesiastical appointments would be a man so ordained into the bosom of the clumsy remedy,- that the nomination to church. And how bad that ordination church preferments rested with the prime been obtained, but at the hands of a Popish minister, and that if he were deprived of Bishop? But the statutes went farther. it, it would be taking the first feather By the 11th and 12th William 3rd, chap. 4, from his wing. Now, in the first place, it was enacted, “ that whereas Popish it was by no means true, that the dispen- bishops resorted to this country in greater sation of church patronage was necessa- numbers than formerly' (a pretty clear rily vested in any particular office; or that admission of their existence)," a reward any particular office necessarily consti- of 1001. would be given to any person intuted what, in common parlance, though forming of the residence of such Popish not in the language of the constitution, bishop, such bishop incurring the pain of is called a prime minister ; lord Chatham perpetual imprisonment." This surely was prime minister when lord privy seal; applied to a description of persons whose and the patronage of the church might, existence and character were admitted. without any violation of form or usage be It was true, that the Popish bishop delegated to any minister to whom the would not fetch his 1001. now; for by Crown pleased to assign it. Nor was the the 18th Geo. 3rd, this part of the act expedient of a commission to nominate of William was repealed. We now thereto church preferments so novel and un- fore not only acknowledged the existence precedented a contrivance as gentlemen of Popish bishops amongst us, but alseemed willing to believe. There was a lowed them to be here at full liberty. precedent for such a commission, and in Under these circumstances, he thought good times too, in a reign, and by the that the Protestant must have a very tenact, of a sovereign whom those who took der conscience indeed who would not this objection were particularly bound to take an oath which implied the existreverence, whose every act but this they ence of Roman Catholic bishops. were never weary of quoting in these The right honourable gentleman then debates, he meant king William. That adverted to the intercourse between this sovereign, in the year 1695 (he believed, country and the see of Rome, and asked - but the fact was to be found in all his- whether any doubt existed as to that intories of the time) appointed a commis- tercourse being carried on at the present sion, consisting of an archbishop and four moment to as great an extentas if there never bishops, who had authority to prefer to had been any interdiction at all? By the all ecclesiastical benefices and digoities, 15th of Elizabeth it was made treason to receive any bull, rescript, or indulgence back into gloom and despair (Loud cheerfrom the see of Rome in this country. ing]. But did a month or a week elapse Mr. Bright apprehended that the abin which such things were not received sence of restrictions might be followed by at present ? If it was right to prohibit the same dangerous consequences which them, in the name of God, let it be done had in former times attended the free effectually; but if the intercourse were to exercise of the Roman Catholic faith. be permitted, what ground of objection | He thought himself justified, upon every could there be for subjecting it to regu- principle of the British constitution, in lation? Why should it not be so sub- opposing the bill, and should vote for the jected in this, as it was in all other coun- amendment. tries? They were told, indeed, that Mr. Hart Davis also gave his support certain Roman Catholic priests said that to the amendment. He did not believe they would not agree to the measure if the bill were passed, that the Catholics [Hear, hear!]. He would ask, if any would cease to demand farther concesother portion of his majesty's subjects sions; and thought that the removal of would thus presume to dičtate to the par- the existing restrictions would be attended liament? [Hear!] He knew of no sanctity with danger to the Protestant succeswhich hedged in a Popish priest, by which sion. he should be authorized to interpose his Sir T. Acland said, he entertained the private judgment, or his private conscience most sincere conviction, that the only between the benevolence of the legisla. issue of the present question which could ture, and the wishes of his fellow-subjects be favourable to the interests either of [Hear, hear!). The Roman Catholic Catholic or Protestant, was that for which peers had expressed their willingness to he intended to vote. He could by no take the oath prescribed (three of them means agree with the hon. member for he understood were prevented by absence Corfc.castle, that Catholics, if admitted from signing the petition), and he would into parliament, would aim at measures confidently act upon their opinion. The dangerous to the Protestant establishpriest might clamour if he pleased ; he ment. In support of his opinion, he would might roar, like the tyrant of old, in one of state to the House a fact. At the time his own bulls; but what was the loss of his when the Test act was sent from the Cominfluence and patronage, compared with mons to the Lords, a Catholic peer, the the mighty and unspeakable benefit to be earl of Bristol, was found to advocate derived from bringing under one com- that very bill which excluded from office mon bond of union the whole mass of persons of his religion. The argument of Catholic and Protestant population ? the earl of Bristol upoo
that occasion was, [Cheers]. He hoped the House would that he was bound to address the House, not be deterred by such attempts, from not as a member of the church of Rome, giving to the Roman Catholic peers of but as a member of a Protestant parliathis country their birthright, and admit- ment; and that although there were some ting the fair claims of the other portion particular points of the bill to which he, of the Catholic community.
as a Catholic, could not conscientiously It was his anxious wish to see this great give his assent, yet he could not but adquestion happily set at rest; the great body vise the House, as a Protestant House of of the Roman Catholic clergy and laity Parliament, to pass it. There was one were ready to join in the measures necess other circumstance which the hon. bart. sary for the contentment and satisfaction felt it his duty to press upon the House. of Protestant scruples. He admitted Every man must feel that the question that the change was an important one; but was a growing question, and one which it would be a change of progression, not would eventually succeed. He would ask of revulsion: it had for its object the those gentlemen who apprehended danger reconcilement of both parties, and in their from the admission of Catholics to seats union the better security of the interests in the Houses of Parliament, whether that of both [Hear, hear!]—The present pe- danger was likely to be lessened by keepriod was peculiarly favourable. After a ing back that which must be eventually season of storms there was one gleam of conceded. sunshine: let the House take advantage Sir F. Blake strongly advocated the
of it; and let them not counteract what claims of the Catholics. The boon they ought to be its effect, by casting millions asked ought to have been granted twenty