§ Mr. Grattan
moved, That the Petition of his Majesty's Catholic subjects, whose names are thereunto subscribed, as well for themselves as others his Majesty's subjects professing the Catholic faith in Ireland, which was presented upon the 20th day of this instant May, might be read; and the same was read. He also moved, That the Resolutions of the House of the 28th day of March last, giving the Thanks of the House to lieutenant general Thomas Graham and the army under his command, for the brilliant victory obtained on the heights of Barrosa, might be read; and the same were read. He also moved, That the Resolutions of the House of the 26th day of April last, giving the thanks of the House to lieutenant general lord viscount Wellington, and the army in Portugal, might be read: and the same being read:
§ Mr. Grattan
again rose and spoke to the following effect: Sir, in desiring that these several votes of the thanks of Parliament should be read, my object was, that this House may be reminded of the grievances, which we are called upon to redress, and that the petitioners may have the benefit of such approbation of the conduct of 370 Catholic soldiers, that the people may enjoy the full advantage of the recorded opinions of this House in favour of their allegiance. We are now going to consider whether it be just or expedient that the existing system of penal laws to which the Catholics are subject, should any longer continue. I call them penal, for what else is the qualifying law? A law inflicting penalties in the most objectionable form, that is, under the disguise of an oath; an oath of the worst kind, by which they are called upon to make God the witness of their disability; to make religion a crime, and perjury a qualification. On this occasion the House is to try a whole nation; to judge a great people, the people of Ireland, and on the testimony published by some of themselves. We have to try them upon separate charges; upon charges against the religion they profess and the political principles upon which they have acted. The testimony against them, I am sorry to say, is that of their countrymen and their fellow-subjects. Upon such evidence the charges against the religion of the Catholics are constantly rested; but the evidence of individuals against a people is not evidence of compatibility to be admitted. That the persons who make the charges, however, might believe them founded in conscience and truth, I will not deny; but I think them prejudiced, and therefore destitute of credibility. In fact, those individuals who make such charges, testify not alone against the Catholics, or the Catholic religion, but against the truth of the Christian religion; because, if their charges be well-founded, they make the great body of Christians worse than idolators; they go to prove that the Messiah has failed; that the Revelation is not of divine origin, but a vain experiment. To adopt such charges would be to say, that the Christian religion is not of divine authority; to abandon ourselves to the heated opinions of vehement writers of vehement times, and to enforce the intolerant doctrines of courts. But the religion of courts is power; the religion of theologians, in all times, bigotry; and the combination of both intolerance.
Against the charges thus urged against the Catholics, we have evidence indisputable; we have the explicit declaration of the six greatest Catholic universities of Europe; the best test of their religion, disclaiming any doctrine incompatible with the strongest attachment to the civil government of every country. The opi- 371 nions of these universities shewed what was the morality of the Catholic religion, and clearly established the fact of Catholic allegiance. In addition to this, we have our own experience of the fact, as proved and established in the long intercourse that has subsisted between Protestant and Catholic, and the long obedience and submission shewn by the Catholic to your government.
But let us look at the charge in another point of view, and examine upon what ground it rests. The charge, if well founded against the Catholic for disaffection, goes directly to the condemnation of this country, and of the government of this country in Ireland. Ireland has been governed by this country during six hundred years; so that the charge of disaffection goes not to disqualify the people, but to convict the government. If the people are not moral, if they are not perfect in allegiance, the fault is not with them, but in the government under which they have been so long placed. A good government makes a good people. Moralise your laws, and you cannot fail to moralise your people. Depend upon it that the original source of a people's vices is the vice of its government, and that in every instance since the creation of the world, the people have been what their rulers made them.
With respect to the charge of disaffection against the people of Ireland, I must deny it in toto; and, in confirmation of this denial, appeal to all those who have ever resided in Ireland. I refer also to the period of 1782; to the friendly intercourse which has since subsisted, and still continues, between the two countries; and to their connection maintained in a spirit of mutual good offices and reciprocal love. In truth, this charge against the allegiance of Iceland is a charge against Christianity itself, and goes to prove that the Christian religion is a calamity; that, in order to establish the British government in Ireland, we must put down the Christian religion. And here I must beg leave to refer to some recorded facts to shew that the penalties of the law are not justified by disaffection; and that, in order to secure the allegiance and tranquillity of that country, we have only to repeal these penal laws.
In the year 1792 about one hundred Protestant dissenters in the north of Ireland rebelled, and that was immediately designated a Catholic revolt. There was 372 one body of the people protected, and another body disqualified, by the laws; and the appearance of discontent was naturally enough referred to the body which was known to have most reason to be dissatisfied. This was your candour—such was your justice, such your truth. If the government keep any class of its subjects in a state of imperfect privilege, it must occasionally find that class in a state of imperfect allegiance. In order then to take away all subject of grievance, we should take away the penal laws, which form the dictum of discontent; and which, if repealed, will insure the allegiance of the subject, and establish the tranquillity of the people.
Another case to which I beg to refer, is that of the civil war or rebellion, or whatever other name you please to give it, in the time of William the third. On that occasion the Catholics opposed William in defence of their liberties civil and religious—liberties, for violating which, the English people had most properly expelled James 2d from the throne. But if James had offered to the English what he offered to the Irish people, would you have called in William and expelled him? If he had proved the conqueror and proposed to you the same conditions, which William imposed upon the Irish nation, would you have accepted them at his hands, and persevered in your submission, without any effort to procure a relaxation of them? If the Irish people submitted at that period with reluctance, would you under similar circumstances have submitted with any other feeling? Whenever sects wage their war of persecution against each other, they will proceed to the last extremes of hostility. Theirs is no ordinary or generous warfare. When one sect takes away, while in possession of power, the civil and religious liberties of another, it must inevitably happen, that that other, when restored to power, will retaliate by a confiscation of property. This is a law of human nature. If one sect prove intolerant, another will confiscate. We have incontestible evidence-of this in what took place at the period to which I am alluding. An Act of Attainder was passed against three thousand persons on account of their religion, and it was remarkable that those individuals were all men of property. This was forfeited accordingly to the crown, and parcelled out to its favourites. But what do I infer from this?—nothing against the Catholics 373 or against the Protestants; it was a war of sects. I would recommend therefore to parliament to get rid of the system of persecution at once, and to embrace the system of harmony.
In the reign of Charles 1, forfeiture was a standing branch of the revenue; the claims of the crown respected no charters; it held secret no private rights; it was not restrained by common shame from despoiling the people of Ireland of their property and estates.—On that occasion the government wished the people to embark their properties on the same security with the establishments; the people gave in their title deeds, but the master of the rolls, an officer of the government, omitted to register them; and the government was flagrant and wicked enough to take advantage of the omission, and seize upon the property. Even an impudent subject had the audacity to take upon himself the perfidy of the crown; and to declare to the people, that the charters of Ireland were not valid, and that the king of England was not bound by any law. It was this perfidious act that laid the foundation for the blood and massacre which ensued, and which were only the legitimate offspring of the unprincipled baseness and perfidy of a tyrannical, wicked, and illegal government. But it has been asserted, that after the accession of the House of Han-over, the Catholics of Ireland were not well affected to the government. This I most positively deny. It is no wonder that they should have been considered as dissatisfied: they had been too much injured to be trusted; and it was thence inferred that they could not be well affected to the government, except upon a principle of rare and stoical virtue. You may depend upon it, that not Catholic alone nor Protestant but every Irishman will be effected towards that government according to the manner in which that country shall be governed; and that no dependance is to be placed upon any Irishman, either Catholic or Protestant, unless they are governed upon the same principles as the people of this country. From this therefore, I infer the necessity of repealing the laws for disqualifying the greatest portion of the people of Ireland, and for keeping alive such odious and painful distinctions in that country.
Having said thus much as to the fact, I must beg leave to add a few words with respect to what has been and still is the established principle of the British go- 374 vernment in Ireland. That principle is neither more nor less than a principle of disqualification; a government by the law of conquest. It is impossible that any government can be conducted long upon such a principle with wisdom in its administration or with safety to the people. If the people were subject to another power, or connected with another power, or in a state of half allegiance, such a principle of government might be acted upon; but when applied to a population as much the subjects of the British government as the Protestants of Ireland or the people of this country, the principle is wholly, utterly, and absolutely inadmissible. With respect to the general principles of all government, I shall assume certain propositions which I am persuaded no hon. gentleman will venture to deny. I shall assume that no government has a right to make partial laws—that no government has a right to make arbitrary laws, that is to say, laws without reason—that no government has a right to establish an inquisition into the thoughts of men, for every man has a right of perfect dominion over his own thoughts—that no government has the right to punish a man for religion—purely for religion. No government or legislature can arrogate to itself the power to depose God Almighty by forcing upon man any tenets of religion according to a particular creed. I presume it will not be arrogated on the part of the British Legislature, that his Majesty by and with the advice of the Lords spiritual and temporal, &c. can enact, that he will appoint and constitute a new religion for the people of this empire; or, that by an order in council, the consciences and creeds of his subjects may be suspended any more than it will be contended that any authoritative or legislative measure can alter the law of the by pothenuse. Whatever belongs to the authority of God, or to the laws of nature, is necessarily beyond the province and sphere of human institution and government. The Roman Catholic, when you disqualify him on the ground of his religion, may, with great justice, tell you that you are not God, that he cannot mould or fashion his faith by your decrees. You may inflict penalties, and he may suffer them in silence; but if parliament will assume the prerogative of Heaven and enact laws to impose upon the people a particular religion, the people will not obey such laws. If you pass an act to im- 375 pose a tax or regulate a duty, the people can go to the roll to learn what are the provisions of the law. But whenever you take upon yourselves to legislate for God, though there may be truth in your enactments, you have no authority to enforce them. In such a case the people will not go to the Roll of Parliament, but to the Bible, the Testament of God's will upon earth, to ascertain his law and their duty. When once man goes out of his sphere, and says that he will legislate for God, he in fact makes himself God. But this I do not charge upon the Parliament, because in none of the Penal Acts has the parliament imposed a religious creed. It is not to be traced in the qualification oath, nor in the declaration required.
The qualifying oath, as to the great number of offices, and to seats in parliament, scrupulously evades religious distinctions—a Dissenter of any class may take it—a Deist, an Atheist may likewise take it. The Catholics are alone excepted, and for what reason? Certainly not because the internal character of the Catholic Religion is inherently vicious—not because it necessarily incapacitates those who profess it to make laws for their fellow citizens. If a Deist be fit to sit in parliament, it can hardly be urged that a Christian is unfit. If an Atheist be competent to legislate for his country, surely this privilege cannot be denied to the believer in the divinity of our Saviour. But let me ask you, if you have forgotten what was the faith of your ancestors, or if you are prepared to assert that the men who made your liberties are unfit to make your laws? Or do you forget the tempests by which the dissenting classes of the community were at a former period agitated, or in what manner you fixed the rule of peace over that wild scene of anarchy and commotion? If we attend to the present condition and habits of these classes, do we not find their controversies subsisting in full vigour? and can it be said that their jarring sentiments and clashing interests are productive of any disorder in the state, or that the Methodist himself, in all his noisy familiarity with his Maker, is a dangerous or disloyal subject? Upon what principle can it be argued then that the application of a similar policy would not conciliate the Catholics and promote the general interest of the empire? I can trace the continuance of their incapacities to nothing else than a political combination—a combination that condemns the 376 Catholics not because they are idolators but because they are suspected men. The Catholic is excluded not because his religion is considered as his crime, but because it is looked upon as the evidence of his disloyalty. By this doctrine the religion is not regarded so much an evil in itself as a perpetual token of political disaffection; of eternal opposition to your government. In the spirit of this liberal interpretation you once decreed to take away their arms, and on another occasion ordered all Papists to be removed from London. In the whole subsequent course of administration down to the present time the religion has continued to be esteemed the infallible symptom of a disposition to oppose—of a propensity to rebel. Known or suspected Papists were once the objects of the severest jealousy, and the bitterest enactments. Some or the penal statutes have been repealed, and the jealousy has since somewhat abated, but the same suspicions, although in a less degree, pervade your councils—your imaginations are still infected with apprehensions of the prone-ness of the Catholics to maintain a connection not with the religion of their ancestors, but with a foreign power. Is it known, I would ask, that such a connection exists now? The government has made a league with the King of the two Sicilies against France. Has the religion of that Sovereign, who is a Roman Catholic, been considered in that instance as evidence of a connection with the enemy of this country? A similar treaty has been recently entered into with the Prince Regent of Portugal, professing the Roman Catholic religion, and one million granted last year, and two millions this session, for the defence of Portugal; nay even in the treaty with the Prince Regent of Portugal, there is an article, which stipulates that we shall not make peace with France, unless Portugal shall be restored to the House of Braganza; and has the Prince of Basil's religion been considered evidence of his connection with the enemy? In short, this country has now no ally but a Catholic left. Can we, then, consider the Catholic religion as evidence of a connection with the enemy? Or can we employ the blood and treasure of the Irish Catholic in support of our Catholic allies, and say that their religion is in them an evidence of connection with an enemy against whom they are bravely defending these allies?
Now, if the Catholic religion be no evidence of any connection with the enemy, 377 is the Protestant any proof of attachment to England? Has the government by the statement of dangers to a common religion succeeded in detaching America from all connection with France, or secured her co-operation in a cause which equally menaces both countries? Has the sense of a common religion, and an explanation of the perils that awaited this Protestant country, had any effect in preventing Protestant Prussia from siding with the enemy against us? Did the faith of Denmark prevent the attack on Copenhagen? It is admitted on all sides that the Catholics have demonstrated their allegiance in as strong a manner as the willing expenditure of blood and treasure can evince. And remember that the French go not near so far in their defence of Catholicism as you in your hatred of it in your own subjects, and your reverence for it in your allies. They have not scrupled to pull down the antient fabrics of superstition in the countries subjected to their arms. Upon a review of these facts, I am justified in assuming, that there is nothing inherent in Catholicism to disqualify a nation for making laws; and for a proof I appeal to your ancestors—that there is nothing in it to create a connection with the enemy, and for that I appeal to our allies; and, founded upon these two propositions, I shall maintain a third, that Irish Catholics have the same right as other dissenters to any privileges possessed by any other body of subjects. Undoubtedly the law makes no difference as to the great offices of state or seats in parliament; but I must contend, that whatever rights any other dissenters enjoy, the Catholics are fully entitled to. Those who deny this position are bound to shew that the Catholics are disaffected, or in a state to incapacitate them for the legislative functions.
It may be said, that to repeal the penal laws, would be to endanger the religious establishment in Ireland. I do not believe the church is in any danger, but if it is, I am sure that we are in a wrong way to secure it. If our laws will battle against Providence, there can be no doubt of the issue of the conflict between the ordinances of God and the decrees of man. It is a bad way of support the establishment by disqualification, and the law of conquest. To act upon such a principle, is to act against the laws by which God governs mankind. But the laws of God will triumph, and the policy of man must fail. It would be as fruitless to pray to the Al- 378 mighty to destroy or eradicate the passions of mankind, in order to make such a system practicable, as to expect by an application by prayer to alter the laws of nature. It would be to call upon God to change the system of Providence, by which he rules the world, in order to subvert the principles and the ends of his own eternal justice. Let us suppose an extreme case, but applicable to the present point. Suppose the Thames were to inundate its banks, and suddenly swelling, enter this House during our deliberations (an event which I greatly deprecate from my private friendship with many members who might happen to be present, and my sense of the great exertions which many of them have made for the public interest), and a motion of adjournment being made should be opposed, and an address to Providence moved, that it would be graciously pleased to turn back the overflow, and direct the waters into another channel. This, it will he said, would be absurd; but consider whether you are acting upon a principle of greater intrinsic wisdom, when, after provoking the resentments, you arm and martialize the ambition of men, under the vain assurance, that Providence will work a miracle in the constitution of human nature, and dispose it to re-pay injustice with affection, oppression with cordial support. This, is, in fact, the true character of your expectations; nothing less than that the Author of the Universe should subvert his laws, to ratify your statutes, and disturb the settled course of nature—to confirm the weak, the wicked expedients of man.
What says the decalogue? Honour the father. What says the penal law? Take away his estate. Again says the decalogue, Do not steal. The law, on the contrary, proclaims you may rob a Catholic. In truth, the great error of all your policy towards the Catholics is, that it presuppose?, that the original rights of our nature may be violated with impunity, in imagining that a transgression of natural law can be punished only hereafter. But there is an immediate as well as a future retribution, and a remedy provided by natural causes for this obstruction of natural justice. The early effect of the promulgation of the penal code in Ireland, was to confound tyrant and slave, Protestant and Catholic, in one common mass of misery and insignificance., A new law against English Catholics was made in the reign of George 2, and mark the result! When a militia. 379 force of 6,000 was wanted, it could not be raised. The duke of Cumberland, son of George the 2nd, would not allow a man to be recruited in Ireland, except perhaps, a weaver from the north could be procured. And what was the consequence? We met our own laws at Fon-tenoy. The victorious troops of England were stopped in their career of triumph by that Irish brigade which the folly of the penal laws had shut cut from the ranks of the British army.
A little attention will be enough to shew us that in the same proportion as we have conceded to the Catholics we have grown strong and powerful by our indulgence, and that we have been the blind instruments of our own misfortunes, and of inflicting judgment on ourselves by refusing justice to our fellow subjects. If it be contended that to support the Church it is expedient to continue these disabilities, I dissent from that opinion. If that could-indeed be proved, I should say that you bad acted in defiance of all the principles of Iranian justice and freedom, in haying taken away their church from the Irish, in order to establish your own, and in afterwards attempting to secure that establishment by disqualifying the people, and compelling them at the same time to pay for its support. This is to fly directly in the face of the plainest canons of the Almighty. For the benefit of eleven hundred beneficed Protestant clergymen, to disqualify four or five millions, is the insolent effort of bigotry, not the benignant precept of Christianity: and all this not for the preservation of their property, for that was secured; but for bigotry, for intolerance, for avarice, for a vile, abominable, illegitimate, and atrocious usurpation. The laws of God cry out against it, the spirit of Christianity cries out against it, the laws of England and the spirit and principles of its constitution cry out against such a system. It may no doubt be said, that, if the Catholics were to be admitted to their rights, it would lead to the overthrow of the existing establishments. But the Catholics were not to be punished for crimes existing only in imagination. The Catholics bad sworn to preserve the establishments, and the oaths of the Catholics were better than the imagination of the Protestants. If the question were, whether the Church was to be established by the ruin of the civil liberties of the people of Ireland, I say that you have no right to make the attempt; you will fail 380 in the execution, and the effort would endanger rather than support the establishment. The Church establishment was not intended for the King, because the people were not to be of his religion, but he was to be of the religion of the people. It was not for the court, or for fashionable persons exclusively, but for the people. It was upon this conviction that the kirk had been established in Scotland. If you were to attempt to introduce a church establishment upon any other ground, you could not possibly succeed; you could not call it Christianity: it would be a church of ambition, of avarice, of bigotry, and intolerance; a church baptized in the iniquities of mankind, and wickedly apostatising from God; a church bearing the vices and the policy of man in one hand, and the people and God in the other.
In a political sense, the Irish hold every thing by the same tenure as their fellow-subject in England; the landlord and tenant claim equally by virtue of Act of Settlement. If the government of England chose to say that the church of Ireland is not to be secured by law—by the allegiance of the people—by the coincidence between the people and their liberties, but by the title of right and claim of conquest—if they so chose to blaspheme their title, they must then come to this—they must pause to consider between the laws of God and the policy of man; they must put their own wisdom into one scale, and in the other, to be weighed against it, place the Almighty! For the reasons which I have stated, therefore, and upon all these various considerations, I submit it to the good sense and justice of the House, that such remaining penalties and incapacities, as attach upon the Catholics, shall be removed, that we may unite them with ourselves in a common feeling in a common cause. I freely admit that if there should recur a period when a French pope might occupy the pontifical chair, it would be necessary to guard against the exercise of his influence in the nomination of bishops. This, however, is an additional reason, I conceive, to induce the House to go into a Committee, in which this particular I branch of the constitution may be fairly discussed. I shall ever be as earnest as any man in my wishes and exertions to prevent the chaos and horrors of foreign invasion, or foreign domination. It has been asserted, that what the Catholics 381 claim is of little value. This is a poor argument against acceding to it. If one person robbed another, would it be any defence of his honesty to urge that what he had stolen was of little value to the owner? I know there were some, who are for entering into certain stipulations with the Catholics—this is foolish. You can never gain any thing with a people by conditions: it is the silliest thing on earth to think of conciliating men by merchandizing their claims. Many there are, too, I know, who imagine that the Irish Catholic is indifferent as to the fate of these demands. That is, however, not the question—you have no right to ask them whether they desire, but ask yourselves whether it is justice to grant. If you really think them so careless on the subject, all you have established by the argument is this, "We, by our bad government, have so debilitated you, so broken your hearts and debased your spirits, that even liberty has become of no account amongst yon!" Will this be a matter of boast to England? But liberty is not to be made the creature of circumstance or condition. England ought to know this. What made her, what inspired, what raised her to such eminence in the world as that on which she now stands, but this inherent spirit of liberty? This spirit, which surely she was never so reduced as not to think worth contesting for. Did Mr. Hampden think so? Was he so senseless? Did he not think that a naked free man was a nobler object than a superb slave?
But there are others who say that the Irish people are too poor, too ignorant, and too senseless to wish for any removal of their disqualifications. By the return made to government, it appears that the expenditure of that country, which was but lately not more than one million, has been 7, 8, and 10 millions. To say that a country which expends 10 millions is too poor for liberty, is false and preposterous. Before the Union, the expenditure of Ireland was 1,600,000l. and her debt 3 millions—she had then a free trade and a free constitution. Since that she has gone on increasing in debt and expenditure; she has contributed to England, exclusive of her cattle, her provisions, her men, above 65 millions of money. She is the hundred-handed giant, and holding-out to you in every hand a benefit. When you say to her that she is too poor for liberty, you talk in language unknown to England—you do not speak the dialect 382 of the people. Depend upon it when you address Ireland in this Jacobite phrase, you will not argue her out of her wish for liberty, but you will argue England out of her respect for her freedom. When you once sully your lips with this meanness, baseness, and servitude, you will not convey the poison to her, but you will cast a taint upon your own land and your own constitution. You need not gloss over your injustice by the ides, that what you refuse is trifling. The Catholics have wisely refrained from stating their grievances in this petition. But what they are excluded from is not a bauble—they are excluded from seats in this House—from offices in the bank—from the situation of sheriff—from the best places at the bar—from the highest stations in the army—from any participation in the state—they are deprived of their civil liberties—they are galled by tythes—they are oppressed by their landlords: and what remedy do you offer them? Nothing! You do worse; you set up one set of men in favour of the minister, and another, which are not so favoured, you allow the servant of the crown to abuse. If once you do this, if once you allow the officer of the crown to use ill-manners to the people, from that moment the people are not free, they are oppressed.
It has been said, that the coronation oath militates against the claims of the Catholic, and so operates as a check upon parliament. This supposes the oath immutable as to the magistrate, but changeable as to the people; immutable against alleviating, but changeable in the work of grinding and oppression. But let the House see to what this construction of the coronation oath will lead. Before the Union it had no effect in Ireland; it came in force there after the disqualifying law. Thus, then, the Union incapacitates the first magistrate from doing the people justice, and can be termed nothing else than a most monstrous innovation. But to make religion thus a disqualification, is to declare a doubt of its authenticity. The moment a government finds it necessary to support religion by oppression, that moment it declares it a false religion, a creed not supported by divine force, but necessary to be bolstered up by persecution; it makes it a proclamation of disbelief, a state trick, aided by the King, with an abominable combination of pains and penalties.
It has been said, that the disqualifying 383 oath is a fundamental law of the land. There are, I will allow, laws which are fundamental; liberty is one of the fundamental principles of our nature; and the laws which support these fundamental principles must be fundamental laws. The Declaration of Rights, for example, is a fundamental law; but the laws which deprive the Catholics of their liberty are not fundamental. In this way you would have two sorts of fundamental laws; you would have the laws which support and maintain you in the possession of your own privileges, and the laws which consign the privileges of the Catholics to damnation; as if the liberties of 10,000,000 of men could only be secured by making 4,000,000 the enemy of that 10,000,000. We must always rememember that, to endear a constitutitution to a people, it must not be unjust towards them; and that if a people are interested in a constitution, the more likely is that constitution to be lasting. What are the terms of this oath? It declares that mass is to be held in abhorrence, and that it is an idolatry; that is to say, that all those Catholic nations who have been your allies are idolators;—that the Prince Regent of Portugal, whom you are bound to establish on his throne, is an idolator:—the emperor of Austria is an idolator;—the king of the two Sicilies is an idolator;—that the people of Portugal, to whom you formerly voted one million, and lately two millions, are idolators;—that the Spaniards, your own fellow subjects of Canada, and four-fifths of your fellow subjects of Ireland, are all idolators. Thus the qalification of an English gentleman to serve in parliament is a libel on his allies, and a libel on his fellow subjects. It is not easy indeed in all cases to draw the line of distinction, and say what laws are not fundamental, and what laws are; but here there is no occasion; for here are laws which you yourselves have declared not to be fundamental, but to be provisory. In the Union with Scotland, you expressly "ay that this is subject to the discretion of parliament, you say, "untill the parliament of the United Kingdom shall otherwise provide." Such is the language on this subject, in the 22d section of the Scotch Union, and the 14th of the Irish Union. These laws, therefore, are only provisory, and not fundamental; you have declared it repeatedly; and you have thus abandoned the great argument 384 against the admissibility of the Catholics. By the Union, the declaration of right did not exclude for ever the Catholics; that declaration which signifies this is subject to a future provision. Who are the parties to these Unions?—The King and the parliaments. What now becomes of the King's coronation oath? When I bring up to your table, then, a Petition, loaded with the multitude of signatures which this on your table contains, let it not be said that the declaration is against them, which the parliament of England and the parliament of Scotland, which the parliament of Britain and the parliament of Ireland have declared to be no part of the fundamental laws of the land. Why was this clause introduced into the Irish Union? It was introduced for the sake of facilitating the Union; it herd out to the Catholics a possibility of the removal of their disabilities in the strongest terms; and it made the King a witness that nothing stood in the way of that removal, that it was a subject free to be debated, that there was no coronation oath against it, nor any fundamental law of the land. I appeal to the candour of the House, if this is not a fair construction of the meaning of this clause. I appeal to the common sense and integrity of the nation. I appeal to that old English honour which has, as it were, dove-tailed itself into your constitution. I propose to you a measure which will give you safety, and make your enemies weak. Will you not adopt it? What would you say to a regiment, which in the hour of danger would refuse to march with another, because it happened to be a Catholic regiment? You are exactly in the same situation. The government may tell you, you can wait. Yes, God Almighty may wait, but will the enemy wait? I now tell you, unless you tolerate each other, you must tolerate a conqueror. You will be enslaved and plundered, for confiscation will surely follow in the train of conquest. Thus, your property will go to other hands, and you will be a ruined nation—ruined by your own folly. I know you are a very grave, a very, very wise people; but here on this one point, the very point of your vitality, you are stupid; stripped by bigotry of every sense, and you must certainly at one stroke be crushed. I have often wished that some guardian angel would descend, and raise those sectaries from the plane of this world, above the little Babel of their own dissentions, and shew them the cala- 385 mities which were approaching; shew them ruin visible; shew them France, or rather hostile Europe, arrayed against them; and then say, "If you join, you may live; but divided, the destruction must be universal,"
Amidst all this discussion and dispute about tests, there is one test which has missed the wisdom of the wise, which the politician has not discovered, and which the divine in his heavenly folly has also overlooked, but which has been discovered by the common man, and that is, that you must allow every man to follow his own religion, without restriction and without limitation. Catholicism and allegiance are compatible with one another. The Catholics constitute a great proportion of your armies—a great proportion of your marine force are Catholics—you continue to recruit your forces with Catholics. A statement has been furnished of the proportion between the Protestant and Catholic part of the forces quartered in the Isle of Wight and of the crews of several ships at Portsmouth, and the Catholics were by far the greatest proportion. I do not say that the number of each persuasion amount to exactly what has been there stated; but I say that in a view of our maritime and land forces, the number of Irish Catholics are such as to be enough to turn the scale of empire. They have enabled you to vanquish those French, for a supposed attachment to whom you disqualify the Irish Catholics. The Russian, the Austrian, and the Prussian armies fled before the armies of France. Neither the insensibility of the Russian soldier, nor the skilful evolutions of the Prussian, availed them in the day of battle; they all fled before the French armies; so that with her collected force she gave a final stroke to the liberties of Europe. Whatever remained of the glory of Europe fell at the feet of France. In the last contest with Austria, feats of courage were displayed by the Austrians such as could be equalled by nothing but the courage that conquered them, and yet the armies of Austria were in a short time shattered by the armies of France. And if in another part of the Continent you have been enabled to oppose that nation with more success, to whom was that success principally to be ascribed It was to the Scotch Presbyterian, a steady and gallant soldier; it was to the Irish Catholic, whom you have incapacitated from honours and rank, and who, while he was exposing to every 386 breeze his garments bathed in the blood of France, was also carrying about him the marks of your disqualification. One regiment, which had lately distinguished itself in a remarkable manner, was raised in Dublin almost entirely of Catholics. Had the gallant officer who raised these men, raised soldiers on the principle on which we admit members of Parliament—had he insisted on their renouncing the Eucharist, and declaring their abhorrence of the Mass, France would have had one eagle the more, and you would have had one regiment the less; but that gallant man, far above the folly of theology, did not stop for the sanction of either priest or parson, but told the soldier to draw his sword for his country.
The question is, therefore, whether Irish Catholics are not as capable of allegiance as the Protestants are, of which one should think there could hardly remain a doubt. And if I can collect at present a general sense in favour of the claims of the Roman Catholics, I shall be of opinion that the country may look to the issue of the present contest without dismay, and that she has such a security within herself, that she may behold the utmost efforts of the enemy with tranquillity. I move you therefore, Sir, That this petition be referred to a Committee of the whole House.
§ Sir J. C. Hippisley
rose, he said, thus early, under very disadvantageous circumstances, both as following the eloquent and impressive speech of the right hon. mover of the question, and as preceding a right hon. civilian (Dr. Duigenan) whem he saw prepared, with ponderous documents, to speak to the question, and whom he should have been better pleased to have followed, in the view of resisting his arguments. He felt it, nevertheless, his duty to offer himself thus early in the debate, as he was expressly charged with the interests of a most respectable body of English Catholics, who, it would be recollected, had petitioned the House in the course of the last session of parliament, but had not renewed their petition in the present session.—That petition had been signed by eight of the ancient peers of the realm, by thirteen baronets, and by upwards of eight thousand gentlemen and others, of most ancient and respectable families and of approved loyalty, including five Roman Catholic prelates, and nearly 300 of their clergy.—In the apprehension that some allusion might be made to that pe- 387 tition, he was anxious to state that the body of English Catholics felt a most sincere interest, as well they might, in the success of the present application to parliament in behalf of their fellow subjects of the sister island. Their petition had been ordered to be on the table in the last session, but the lamented death of the much revered member who had presented it, had at once deprived the petitioners of a most powerful advocate, and himself of an invaluable friend. [Sir J. C. H. then feelingly adverted to the exalted character of Mr. Windham, with a reference to the fine eulogy of lord Falkland, as drawn by lord Clarendon,* and on which the noble historian seemed to have almost exhausted the beauty and opulence of the English language, concluding with the impassioned exclamation of Cornelia, on the death of Pompey:Turpe mori, post te, solo non posse dolore!"]
Sir J. H.
then stated that the Committee of English Catholics had recently addressed a noble earl (Grey) and himself, (however unworthily, as the substitute of his lamented friend,) requesting them "to make such use of the petition of the English Roman Catholics as they shall deem most conducive to the general interests of the Roman Catholics of the united kingdom."—With this latitude of delegation and responsibility,—he, as an* "If the celebrating the memory of eminent and extraordinary persons, and transmitting their great virtues for the imitation of posterity, be one of the principal ends and duties of history, it is not to be thought impertinent, in this place, "(says lord Clarendon),"to remember a loss, which no time will suffer to be forgotten, and no success or good fortune could repair. In this unhappy battle was slain the lord viscount Falkland; a person of such prodigious parts, learning and knowledge,—of that inimitable sweetness and delight in conversation,—of so flowing and obliging a humanity and goodness to mankind,—and of that primitive simplicity and integrity of life, that if there were no other brand upon this odious and accursed civil war, than that single loss, it must be infamous and execrable to all posterity!"—Lord Clarendon occupies many pages of his History in his eulogy of this exalted character, and the friends of a no less valued-individual will readily advert to the corresponding traits of excellence. Lord Clarendon's History, vol. 1.388 individual, had declined giving notice of any specific motion to the House,—he felt himself nevertheless perfectly free to originate any motion in the spirit of the petition presented in the last session, and certainly should have considered it his duty to have given a conformable notice, if he could have anticipated a favourable issue: he desired, however, to be considered as offering only the opinion of an individual; he had not consulted any of his friends around him, and upon this occasion he was particularly anxious, that whatever might fall from him in the course of the debate, might be exclusively considered as conveying only his own individual opinions, being fully aware, from some misconstructions which had taken place, of the tender ground upon which he trod in differing, in any respect, from the opinions of his right hon. friend who moved the present question, or in proposing any departure from the line of conduct which his right hon. friend had, on the present occasion, prescribed of himself.
But before he spoke immediately to the question, he thought it his duty to advert to a letter he had received, that morning, from a Roman Catholic clergyman, whose authority was given in some of the latest Dublin newspapers, for the representation, that an artilleryman, at Woolwich, of the name of Tool, had been confined for refusing to attend the service of the established church, and on his demanding a court martial, it had been refused to him, and that he was sent abroad without a trial. Mr. Green, the clergyman in question, expressed great uneasiness at this statement, which he avers that he had never made, though he admits that he did state that the man had been confined on this ground,—that he had been dismissed without any further punishment, and since which he had not heard of him. Of the fact that great abuses had subsisted, and did still subsist, with respect to this sort of coercion, Sir J. H. said he could adduce abundant proof, but he should at present not go into that species of grievance, but reserve his observations for the discussion of the Militia Inter change Bill.
Adverting more immediately to the motion before the House, he did not conceive that his right hon. friend had the remotest expectation of carrying it this night, however he might be satisfied that the discussion of it would contribute to render, as those discussions ever had ren- 389 dered, when conducted with temper, much service to the cause of the petitioners. But, without adverting to the peculiar crisis, in reference to the provisional government of the country, which, he must be aware, was not suited to produce an immediate departure from deep rooted systems; he would only beg to remind his right hon. friend of the ceaseless efforts, and untoward circumstances, which operated to prejudice the cause of the petitioners at the present hour. That their old opponents should persevere in their attacks was not to be wondered at, but, he regretted to say, the greater evil arose from circumstances immediately connected with individuals of their own body. Of the first class, he must necessarily refer to the prominent efforts of the right hon. civilian (Dr. Duigenan) on the opposite side of the House. It would be inconsistent with the order of debate, to refer to his speeches at an anterior period, further than as he had himself given them to the public through the press:—in reiterated publications he had told the public that the "Romanists were from conscience, traitors to their country."—Opinions not more favourable to the views of the petitioners, had been also maintained with mistaken zeal, and as he had heretofore mentioned, were industriously circulated, through the press, by eminent prelates of the establishment. By one right reverend divine the tenets of the Roman Catholics are held to involve the crime of idolatry, sacrilege, and blasphemy.—By another prelate, that their church arrogates to itself supreme dominion over king:—that they openly profess that no faith is to be held with those of a different communion: and further, that they should be considered and dreaded as the enemies of all laws human and divine, and as such excluded, or driven, from the senate and the army: "A curiâ et militiâ arcere necesse est:*"are the words of this right reverend divine!
A third right reverend prelate, in a Charge to his clergy, published since the last debate on this question, and entitled "The Petition of the Roman Catholics Considered," admits, indeed, the moral and civil integrity of Catholics; but "that their political integrity is unimpaired, we cannot (says he) so unreservedly and unexceptionably grant." In* Concio apud Synodum Cantuar. æde Paulina habita—1807.390 this declaration his lordship however is at issue with the repeated statutes of his present Majesty, which recognise them as "good and loyal subjects."
His lordship seems to think it also to be no hardship that the Catholic military should be obliged to attend the established service, provided they are permitted "likewise to attend their own chapels." And he expresses much surprise at "the querulous language" of Catholics, in ex pressing disgust at being obliged to be galize their marriages at the altars of the Established Church;—although the Jew and the Quaker are exempted from a si milar violence to their feelings, by the same act which inforces this necessity upon the Catholic*—These observations of this distinguished prelate are the more extra ordinary, as he has noted in the same charge, the penal injunctions of the church of Rome, in the most express terms, against any attendance at the religious service of another communion. His lordship concludes his charge with a recapitulation of various Catholic plots and massacres, through a succession of centuries, terminating with the Irish rebellion of 1796, taking his statements on the authority of the learned civilian (Dr. Duigenan), in preference to that of Mr. Pitt, which expressly contradicts them.
Sir J. H. observed, that he, could not but notice also a recent voluminous publi cation under the assumed name of Philagatharches, dedicated to lord Sid mouth (though probably without his lordship's permission,) which gravely tells us, that the Deist and the Turk may be credited on their oaths, but the Atheist and the Catholic are not entitled to the same in dulgence!
That opinions as decidedly in favour of the political as well as the moral and civil principles of our Catholic fellow-subjects, as those recited, are opposed to them, have been repeatedly avowed by other right reverend prelates of the present day, both in Parliament and in their diocesan charges, is well known, but that the adverse opinions, having been widely spread,* When the Marriage Act passed, the difficulty (as avowed by the minister), of legalizing the marriage of Catholics by a Catholic priest, arose from the high penal statutes then in force against the Roman Catholic clergy, and who consequently had no legitimated existence within the realm.391 must necessarily have considerable influence upon the minds of many well disposed persons, can scarcely be doubted: nor can we fail to recollect that those adverse opinions are of the earliest growth, and with difficulty eradicated.
Sir J. H.
observed, that his object in thus referring to the hostile opinions of individuals of the highest order of the clergy, which had been so solemnly urged, both in diocesan charges, and from the pulpit—(and one of the/m, and indeed the most unqualified in deprecating the presumed imminent dangers which threatened the state from the admission of Catholics to civil or military stations, had been delivered before the provincial synod of Canterbury, and published, jussu reverendissimi), was in support of his own opinion, that his right hon. friend could not look forward with any confidence, to a successful issue of his motion at the present hour. If it be contended that the Catholic population constitutes a fourth or fifth part of the United Kingdom, the concession obviously goes to the admission that three-fourths or four-fifths of its population are not professing the Catholic communion, and the far greater part of that great majority most probably influenced by the honest prejudices of early education, and not a little confirmed by the zealous and unquestionably well-intentioned efforts of the great mass of their spiritual guides, acting under a similar influence.
It was from a persuasion of this truth, Sir J. H. said, that he should have been disposed to have taken a wider course, if he had been the mover of the question. He was well aware that the standing order of the House required that any motion connected with religion, must be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but he should have stated that it was not his intention to originate any immediate Bill in consequence of this preliminary motion being conceded, but that he should have proposed going into a Committee of the House merely pro formâ, in order to move for the appointment of a Select Committee, in the usual forms, with power to send for persons, papers and records, and to report such facts as might constitute the ground work of further proceedings.
Upon such a Committee he would wish to see appointed the King's law officers, civilians, and common lawyers of eminence, as well as other members of the House, who should be deemed most competent to enter upon the examination of 392 that description of evidence which might be usefully produced. And also in another place, he should hope to see a similar Committee constituted, with the assistance of the prelates of the establishment, who necessarily ought to take a material part in such an investigation.
He should have moved as an instruction to such a Committee, that they should examine and report the state of the existing statutes as bearing on the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom: those framed in the days of our Catholic ancestors, which are still to be ranked among the most salutary, and wisely framed, as applying checks to foreign encroachment: and those subsequent to the Reformation, of which that of the 13th of Eliz. cap. 2, is the most prominent, offering, as he had more than once observed in the House, a formidable barrier against encroachment, but of impracticable application from its unqualified and sanguinary tendency, and indeed wholly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Act of the 31st of his present Majesty, inasmuch as recourse to the see of Rome is, in certain cases, indispensably essential to the practice of the Roman Catholic religion.
In a select Committee the numerous recorded declarations of Roman Catholics, clergy and others, avowing the integrity of their civil principles, might be satisfactorily examined with a reference to those canons of general and provincial councils, which have been so often adverted to, and so differently construed; and it is impossible to discuss this question adequately, much less to legislate upon it, without such a reference. Those declarations of principles have been made and presented to government, by the Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland, at various periods, from the date of the Reformation to the present day. Catholics contend, that their demeanour, as Catholics, have been uniformly consistent with those declarations, but they protest against the inferences drawn from the mistaken conduct of individuals who may have been perverted from their duty and allegiance.
The better to substantiate the conclusions to be drawn from such documents, the evidence of prelates and other clergy of the Roman Catholic communion, of those immediately exercising the functions of vicars apostolic within the realm, as well as of other eminent prelates of different Catholic states, at present residing in this country, might be easily resorted to,— 393 and this seems to be the more expedient, at the present moment, when the last petition to parliament of the English Roman Catholics, founded on a solemn resolution of a meeting of the principal Roman Catholic nobility, gentry, clergy and others, including five English prelates, declaratory of their assent to "any arrangement founded on the basis of mutual satisfaction and security," has been dissented from by one of the English Roman Catholic prelates, and that dissent and opposition been qualified by a synod of the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland, with the terms of "Apostolical firmness," and "a "faithful discharge of duty." And further, as the same dissenting prelate has averred, that those prelates who actually signed this resolution, so reprobated by himself and the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland, have actually abandoned their own opinions, thus solemnly attested, and that there is now an uniformity of sentiment existing among the whole body of Roman Catholic clergy, on this head, opposed to their previous declaration. If this assertion be true, unquestionably but little reliance ought to be placed on such declarations,—it is fair, however, to state that this change of opinion is not admitted by the subscribing Roman Catholic prelates of England, who all deprecate the injurious tendency of such assertions, both as respecting themselves and the public.
The memorable transaction of the questions put to six universities on the continent, at the instance of Mr. Pitt in 17S8, with their answers, pointedly recognizing the integrity of the social, civil, and political principles of Catholics, in relation to a Protestant state, would also become a most important subject of enquiry, as respecting the authority by which they are substantiated;—but in reference to the particulars of this transaction Sir J. H. said, he would speak further before he sat down. Questions of the same nature had been submitted to the universities on the continent, at different periods, since the Reformation; their answers were found to be uniform as to the subject of civil and political duties, and they would form a useful and satisfactory head of enquiry.
In such a Committee—the important and essential distinction between canons of faith, and regulations of discipline, might also be satisfactorily discussed;—practically constituting as it does the key-stone of the arch which supports the integrity of Catholic allegiance in a Protestant state.
Sir J. H.
then went into considerable details of observation on the obligatory operation of such canons, and their supposed influence on the civil constitution of a state; he could well anticipate much that would fall from the right hon. civilian, on the opposite side of the House, on this head of general councils and papal rescripts, especially in reference to his favourite theme of the fourth Lateran Council. But again he must observe that decrees of discipline are of a temporary nature, and generally to be received or rejected, at the discretion of a national clergy, and that neither the dispensing doctrine, as to oaths of allegiance, nor the deposing doctrine, which naturally springs out of it, were ever declared by any general council, as a canon or decree of faith: but the contrary has been maintained by œcumenical councils,—by provincial synods,—by the faculties of theology in the universities of the continent,—and by the rescripts of Popes.—That some individual pontiffs, from the time of Gregory 7, to Pius 5, have been prone to assert such a power, is also admitted,—but such opinions have no pretension to infallibility in the estimation of Catholics, nor can it be proved, that in any state, such a proposition was ever, for a moment, seriously entertained by any Catholic body. The contrary, indeed, was sufficiently proved by the history of our own country, when Catholic, and since the reformation,—and by the history of every other state in Europe.—It was not material therefore, to shew that the objectionable canon of the fourth Lateran Council was of spurious origin, which some of the most accredited Catholic writers of the last century admitted, and which has since been maintained by the Catholic Bishop Hay, Father O'Leary, and others of the present day; at any rate it was an antiquated transaction of the twelfth century, and applicable to no existing state or condition of the present age.—" We are in a new world," (as it was observed by the latter writer), "raised on the ruins of the former, and if hitherto we could not agree as Christians, it was high time to live together as men."—So in the Council of Trent, the last œcumenical council, the abstract doctrines of faith were enjoined on pain of anathema,—but the practical decree of confiscation of the land, to pious uses, on which a duel shall be fought, however laudable the motive, is rejected by every Catholic state as wholly out of the province of legitimate 395 enactment by any council; and though supported, in that council, by the representatives of sovereign princes, who assisted at the constitution of the decrees, "no Catholic," as was well observed by a Catholic writer, "could assent to such a verdict."
With this rapid sketch of objects, which might well fall within the investigation of such a Committee, it cannot but be anticipated that a Report of a Select Committee, with the facts and documents verified, as they might be, and going forth to the public under parliamentary authority, would contribute to a much more satisfactory result, than any discussion that could take place in a Committee of the whole House. The authorities in the one case, would direct the pursuit to still further investigation, if deemed necessary, and afford the clues of research.—In the other case, in a Committee of the whole House, assertion would be repelled merely by counter assertion, probably on very unsubstantial grounds, and but little contributing to a change of opinion on either side of the House, or without its walls.
If the conduct of a governor of a distant province was arraigned on a simple motion in the House,—a public board to be reformed, and even in the case of a canal or turnpike bill,—report upon report, in innumerable folios, swelled the Journals of the House—printed at an enormous ex-pence, and becoming waste paper in almost the hour of their birth.—In questions involving the integrity of the civil and political principles of a fourth, or fifth part of our fellow subjects, arraigned, as they have been, by proceedings in this House, at successive periods, since the reformation, we have not a single page, on parliamentary authority, excepting the proceedings, supported chiefly by the evidence of those miscreants, Oates and Bedloe, which are indeed shamefully sanctioned by the imprimatur of parliament—industriously circulated through the nation, in the awful interval of the conviction and execution of lord Stafford, still further to poison the public mind, and contributing not a little, even at this hour, to countenance and give energy to the prejudices, of the great mass of the public.—Indeed within the course of the last year or two, they have been re-edited and given to the public,—in opposition to the pointed and well verified exclamation of the satirist,—speaking of the Monument of London, which, 396Like a tall Bully, lifts its head and lies.*The production of documents and examinations in such a Committee, as had been suggested, Sir J. H. observed, might be followed by resolutions of fact, directing the attention of the public to the material points and bearings, and constituting the most satisfactory authority on which a Bill might hereafter be framed commensurate to the real exigency and justice of the case.—The adoption, qualification, or even rejection of the claims of the petitioners would thus derive a sanction not to be found in the loose discussions of successive parliamentary debates, whether in the House itself, or in a Committee of the whole House It should seem that the expedient was too rational to be questioned by any but those who were determined to resist enquiry in any shape whatever.†
The result of such an enquiry must also necessarily lead ultimately to a modification, at least, of the Tests, exacted from members sitting in either House of Parliament, and revolting, indeed, against the candid judgment of every one, who has allowed his mind the fair exercise of enquiry, in the misapplication of stigmatizing and unappropriate epithets to practices innocent, at least, though not sanctioned by the establishment.—Such a reform is in-* Although this calumny has been rejected by every modern historian, a form of Prayer and a Church service, perpetuating by construction, the same unfounded charges, is annually read at St. Paul's Cathedral, though discontinued in all other churches.† In the instance of the projected general Highway Bill, in its progress through parliament, many successive reports were printed by the House, in order to be circulated, with the Bill itself, through the country. Those reports, with the evidence, were transmitted to the provincial magistrates, in sessions or individually, with a view to inform the public, in the distant parts of the kingdom, of the nature of the proposed amendments:—a precedent of highly useful adoption, as connected with the present question, on which the opinions of the great mass of the people should be considered with considerable deference, especially on a question involving a departure from the long established policy of the constitution. Where the policy has been founded in error, that error should be satisfactorily manifested.397 deed wisely held out by an express provision of the Act of Union with Ireland, and it was to be hoped that the good sense of parliament would not much longer refrain from the adoption of it.
Sir J. H.
then proceeded to acquit that part of the task which he had undertaken, in conformity to the wishes of the respectable body to which he had before alluded, namely, the noblemen and gentlemen composing the Committee of the English Roman Catholics.
Sir J. H.
observed, that in a recent publication of the right hon. civilian (Dr. D.* he has been pleased to consider the authenticity of the answers of the six foreign universities to the questions proposed at the desire of Mr. Pitt, as resting solely "on the authority of a Roman Catholic priest of the name of Hussey."—Had the fact even been such as stated, the individual was not quite so obscure as the terms chosen by the right hon. author might convey an impression of. Dr. Hussey had been confidentially employed by lord North, when at the head of the administration (in the persuasion of his possessing great influence at the court of Madrid) in the year 1780, on a secret mission to Spain, to endeavour to effectuate a separate peace. On the establishment of the college of Maynooth, he was nominated to the Presidency chiefly by the influence of the duke of Portland, then one of his Majesty's ministers, and by the same protection was materially aided in his recommendation to the Roman Catholic See of Waterford.—The fact, however, is, that Dr. Hussey was not at all engaged in the transaction of obtaining the answers of the universities, though he was shortly after selected for a very important mission to the See of Rome, which would be presently taken notice of.
The transaction, as relates to the universities, fortunately stands on a broader basis than the right hon. civilian is disposed to concede.—In the year 1788, it is well known, that a Committee of Roman Catholic noblemen and gentlemen, of great consideration, were assembled (many individuals of which are still assembled, from time to time), in London, and were, at that period, in correspondence with Mr. Pitt on the subject of those measures which were preparatory to the act of 1791. Of that Committee—the late lord Petre, lord Stourton, Sir H. C. Englefield, Sir W. Jerhingham, and Sir John Throckmorton, with other Catholic gentlemen, of high 398 respectability, were membets.—On the 9th of May 1788, lord Petre, Sir H. C. Englefield, and Mr. Fermor, reported the result of their conference with Mr. Pitt, expressing the willingness of that minister to patronize their application to parliament, but recommending a delay till the following session, "which would allow time (Mr. Pitt observed) to government for preparing the minds of some of the leading interests in the country previous to bringing on a measure of 80 much, importance."
In the interval, before the bill was brought into parliament—the questions,-at Mr. Pitt's desire, were proposed to the six Universities, and the answers were obtained and transmitted to Mr. Pitt by the committee. Those of the Sorbonne were ex-pedited by Mr. Hurst, a Catholic priest, residing at that time in Paris.—Those of Douay by Dr. Gibson and Dr. Poynter, two Roman Catholic prelates now in England, whose formal attestations, Sir J. C. Hippisley said, he then held in his hand; the abbé Mann, of Bruxelles, procured the answers of the university of Louvaine; and those of Valladolid, Alcala, and Salamanca, were transmitted by Mr. Shepherd, the president of the English college in Valladolid.
But on examination of the original documents they will be found to contain so much internal evidence of their authenticity, that they would not be questioned in any court of law in the kingdom—they were verified (as the right hon. gent, might see) under the official seals of the universities—by the seals and signatures, of the principal officers of those universities, and further juridically attested by notaries public, on, the spot. With respect to those of Valladolid, Alcala, and Salamanca, as the questions were considered, in Spain, as touching possibly on. the general rights of sovereignty, it was thought advisable not to propound them, to the universities without the express per-mission of the king of Spain.—The royal licence was accordingly procured, and the king desired that the questions might be considered as proposed by himself, as the title imports, "Hisponiarum Rege consulenti."
Sir J. H.
then observed that he held in his hand the originals of the answers, of the six Universities, and it was the desire of the surviving members of the original committee, and of the learned gent, Mr. Charles Butler (whose important services 399 to the committee, were gratefully acknowledged), that this authentic document should be produced by Sir J. H., in parliament, previously to being deposited in the library of the British Museum. [Sir J. H. handed the original documents across the House to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.] He had in his hand also the verifications of lord Stourton, Sir Henry Englefield, and Sir J. Throckmorton, each signed in Sir J. H.'s presence, attesting the communication with Mr. Pitt, as stated, and other proceedings of the Committee, and also a circumstantial letter from Mr. Butler to the same effect.
Another memorable transaction, as connected with that Committee, must not be passed over in silence. Some differences of opinion had obtained among the English Catholic body, which they were desirous to represent to the See of Rome, and it was in contemplation to send Dr. Hussey thither to state the facts:—His instructions were drawn out and delivered to him the 2d of Sept. 1790, though the mission did not take place.
Dr. Hussey's acknowledgment of the receipt of his instructions, and also the original instructions under the signatures of the Committee and two Roman Catholic bishops, are now in the possession of the Committee. Dr. H. was directed "to keep steadily in view the necessity the English Catholics were under of vindicating the integrity of their principles, repelling the slanderous charges uniformly brought against them for two centuries past: and for removing those penal and disabling statutes which have been gradually undermining their body."
He was also directed to represent to the see of Rome, if necessary, "that the oath of allegiance and abjuration had been unequivocally taken in 1778,—and of course the deposing doctrine having been solemnly renounced and abjured, they could not hesitate to adopt the qualifying terms, especially as the Sorbonne in 1680, and again in 1775, had informed them that they might safely declare it impious and heretical."
The Committee were desirous that the See of Rome should understand the principles of their allegiance, as exclusive of any Catholic pretender to the crown; and therefore gave it in instruction: "That if any question should be raised about the Act of Settlement, and limiting the succession of the Crown to the Protestant line: Dr. Hussey will not permit that sub- 400 ject to be discussed, because we acknowledge no authority to interfere with the succession of our kings, but the law of the land, the authority of which law we have already solemnly acknowledged by our oath of allegiance."
The original entries of the proceedings of the Committee were in the hands of Mr. Butler, and with whom Sir J. H. said he had himself carefully examined them, and though again naming that gentleman,—he thought it scarcely necessary to pronounce his eulogy in the presence of so many of his professional friends,—who had long known and esteemed his high character in the profession and as a man. Nevertheless the name and character of Mr. Butler, had been most wantonly and injuriously held out to the public in a recent publication of Dr. Milner, entitled "A Letter to a Roman Catholic Prelate of Ireland."
The right honourable Civilian (Dr. Duigenan,) would not be displeased at Sir J. H.'s animadversions on the conduct of Dr. Milner, whom, on a former occasion, he had defended, and he should be still as ready to defend him when injuriously attacked, as he had then been by the right honourable civilian himself, on the subject of a work of the soundest argument, and' which was calculated to appease as much as Dr. M.'s late productions tended to inflame, the prejudices of the public, as applicable to this great question of sound national wisdom and policy.
proceeded to remark more particularly on the late publication of Dr. Milner, as contrasted to his former declarations on the subject of the Veto,—referring to his correspondence with cardinal Borgia, when at the head of the college of Propaganda fide, who had expressly admitted, as Dr. M. had avowed, the principle of the negaive interference of the crown. Sir J. H. referred also to his own communications on the same subject, as he had before stated in the debate of last year, on the same question. The principle of the royal negative had been universally acted upon, in every state on the continent, where the actual nomination of the sovereign was not in practice. It had been said that there were no instances were the sovereigns of states, not Catholic, interfered in the appointments of the Prelacy, or other clergy of the Roman church, in their respective dominions; except where great temporal fiefs passed with this appointment; the assertion was un- 401 true. In Russia, where the Catholic prelates were expressly nominated by the sovereign, the coadjutor bishops, who respectively succeeded to the bishoprics, derived no support, but from, salaries from the crown.
But on this part of the subject he would remind the House of what had been before stated in the debate of last year, and of the documents, which, in consequence, had been laid before the public*—The principle of the interference of the crown, in a wider extent than it could be desirable to exercise it, it was well known had been fully admitted by the four Roman Catholic metropolitan and six senior Irish bishops in the year 1799. "It was just (say they), and ought to be agreed to." In the resolution of the synod in Dublin, in 1808, they declared only that it was then "inexpedient to introduce any alteration." That inexpediency was explained by their Primate, archbishop Reilly, to I have related only to "existing circumstances, and of a "temporary nature."
In 1810, the Irish Catholic bishops again met in synod, and declared their firm adherence to their resolutions of 1808. Still there is no condemnation of the principle of their resolutions of 1799, admitting the interference of the crown,—but a decided reprobation is expressed of the measure proposed by some of the Roman Catholic body—that of elections by Chapters alone.
To these latter resolutions, appeared twenty-six signatures, of which twenty-one were bishops of Irish Catholic Sees; but of the six bishops of the province of Connaught the name of only one appeared to these resolutions of 1810.
Of those who signed the resolutions in 1799, the name of the late Catholic Archbishop of Tuam is only wanted to those of 1810. The names of three coadjutors also appear to the latter resolutions, together with the name of the Vicar Capitular of Tuam, Dr. Kelly, although he stands suspended by all the bishops of the province of Connaught, and the name of the Warden of Galway (who has also episcopal jurisdiction), is also affixed to them.
Of the singular constitution of the Ward-inate of Galway Sir J. H. would say a few words. By a constitution of Gregory VIII. 1434, the parochial church of St. Nicholas, with some neighbouring parishes, was* See Vol. 17, p. 31.402 placed under a warden and eight vicars, the warden to be elected by the mayor, sheriffs, and burgesses of Galway, and to receive institution from the eight vicars,—The vicars elected in the same manner to be confirmed by the warden.—By a regulation of Clement XII. sores time between, 1730 and 1740, the archbishop of Tuam is invested with a visitorial power, and an appeal is given from the sentence of the warden to the tribunal of the archbishop, but the election is left in the same state.—The warden to be elected once in three years. Here, then, is an instance of an election conferring episcopal jurisdiction, devolving on and continuing in the hands of lay patrons and Protestants, for such must have been the corporation of Galway in the time of Clement XII.
> In the last resolutions of 26th February, 1810, the prelates declare "that the oath of "allegiance, as taken by his majesty's Irish Roman. Catholic subjects, was approved by all the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland, after long and conscientious discussion and consultation had with several Catholic universities and individual authorities throughout Europe." By the said Oath of 1793 they swear, "that they "will not exercise any privilege to which "they may become entitled, to disturb and weaken the Protestant religion and Protestant government of the kingdom." Sir J. H. adverted to these facts, as Dr. Milner himself, a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, in his late publications, condemns the Resolutions of the English Catholics, as tending to the security of the Established Church, and "blesses God for the discovery that the parliamentary friends of the Catholics had the security of this part of their establishment in view." I—Here, Sir J. H. again observed, was a point of the highest importance for examination in a select committee; to ascertain how far the opinions of Dr. Milner,—himself being one of the four vicars apostolic, were countenanced by his brethren of the episcopal order especially:—so also would be the examination of the principles inculcated in the class-books of the students destined for holy orders in the various seminaries of the Brish empire,—those of May-nooth, of Old-Hall, of Stonyhurst, of Ushaw, of Ampleforth, &c. He could himself aver, from the most correct information, that the civil and political principles of Catholics inculcated at each of those several seminaries, were conformable to the class book of the professor de la 403 Hogue, as taught at Maynooth.—The opinions of the magistracy of the corporation of Liverpool, and of the principal beneficed ministers of the Established Church in the same town, are sufficiently expressed upon this subject, by their liberal contributions to the Catholic seminary of Ampleforth;—a fact too much to the credit of those liberal-minded men, to be passed by, unnoticed, at a moment when we see the miserable policy of attempting to repress the salutary effects of those institutions, tending as they do to rescue the instruction of so large a proportion of our fellow-subjects from the influence of a foreign education, to which they are at this moment invited by the lures of the common enemy, and which, for the last two centuries and more, has been a standing opprobrium on the policy of our government.
Sir J. H.
on the authority of three of the four Roman Catholic Vicars Apostolic, Drs. Douglas, Gibson, and Collingridge, contradicted a report that they had been offered, or had solicited, salaries of 500l. each from the crown. They conceived that such a report had been circulated to impose a belief that their acquiescence in the Resolution at the St. Albans, of the 1st of Feb. 1810, had been influenced by such a temptation. They had distinctly avowed, that no offer whatever on the part of government, nor solicitations on their part, had been made. He had no authority to speak to the subject from Dr. Milner, who had himself made some declarations on the subject in one of the public prints.
Sir J. H.
in adverting to the apprehensions expressed of the admission of Roman Catholics to seats in the legislature, observed that they had sat during four reigns since the reformation: but if danger was really to be apprehended from a preponderance in point of number of such members, which cannot possibly be within any rational speculation, nevertheless, to remove the impression of such apprehensions in the most timid minds, however unsupported by any calculation founded On the existing state of population or influence, the proportion of Catholics sitting in parliament might possibly be regulated with a reference to the comparative Protestant population of the united kingdom. This was merely thrown out as a momentary impression; but the regulation of the several treaties of the empire, from that of Passau to the peace of Westphalia, 404 would offer abundant precedents of such arrangements*.
Sir J. H.
said that he was himself the last to feel distrust of the civil principles of his Catholic fellow-subjects; yet if a Bill came into parliament, he should, at least wish not to leave it open to the will of a sovereign (as little as it was probable that it ever would be exercised) to appoint a Chancellor of the Roman Catholic communion. The office of chancellor must be considered, in some respects, as an ecclesiastical office; he is, in contemplation of law, the keeper of the king's conscience; the dispenser of ecclesiastical benefices, and the visitor of the colleges of royal foundation. It was not sufficient to say that a Protestant sovereign would not appoint a Catholic chancellor; the law should declare, that such could not be appointed. If the Catholic conceived it to be a hard restriction on the subject, he should consider, that the restriction on the first estate itself, is relatively harder: the King must conform to the established religion of the State, or he must forfeit his birth-right.†
§ * The most material points of all that were regulated by these treaties, were the civil and religious rights of the States that compose the empire. The peace of Westphalia was considered as a fundamental law of the empire, and with great propriety might be stated the Magna Charta of Germany. The Transaction of Passau, as it is denominated, and the Peace of Religion, were anterior to it. In these treaties all the regulations and the relative proportion of Catholics and Protestants sitting in the Diet of the Empire, the Aulic Council, &c. &c. will be found.—So of the regulation of chapters, where an alternate succession prevails, as in Osnaburgh, of a Protestant and Catholic Prince.—Vide also Schiam's "Institutions Juris Eccl."
§ It might become a question, whether regulations should not be provided, in the contemplation of such a bill being introduced, with respect to municipal corporations. In cities and corporate towns, a church is usually set apart for the assembly of the corporation without relation: to the particular parish of which the chief magistrate is an inhabitant. It is known that many dissenters from the establishment, so far conform as to attend the established service during their mayoralty; but this should be left to their discretion. The405
Sir J. H
after many other observations and details of facts, concluded by declaring his opinion to be in favour of the motion of his right hon. friend, though he could have wished that it had extended to a notification of such a Committee as he had himself alluded to. No member of the House was more zealously attached to the constitution, both in church and state, than himself. He wished, nevertheless, to give a free currency to the investigation, and to see a great fabric of national strength, raised on the extension of antiquated prejudices. Union, he was persuaded was within our reach: uniformity was a hopeless pursuit, and, indeed unattainable.*
§ corporation itself, in the eye of the law, must be of the religion of the State—an individual member of it might be of a different communion.—The insignia of magistracy, with the necessary attendant officers of the corporation, cannot, decorously be paraded on one day to the established Church, on another to a dissenting Meeting House, and on another to a Roman Catholic chapel; the feelings and honest prejudices of the people would be ill consulted in such a diversity, and the respectable classes of the old Protestant Dissenters from the establishment, as well as our Roman Catholic fellow subjects, could little wish for a latitude which would leave it open to the caprice of a fanatic, professing the most distorted notions of religious worship, to dishonour the magistracy in the eyes of the people.
§ * A reference to the great Publicists, Grotius, Puffendorf, Wolfius, &c. &c. would produce an interesting commentary on the state of this important question. The following extracts from the 12th chapel of Vattel will encourage the reader to look further. But he should carry with him those great leading distinctions between the essential obligations of doctrine and discipline, as applying to Catholic tenets and regulations, which Vattel himself had not sufficiently in contemplation when he wrote this memorable chapter on piety and religion.
§ "Extracts from the 12th chapter of Vattel's Law of Nations.
§ Of Piety and Religion.
§ "Man is essentially and necessarily free to make use of his own choice in matters of religion. His belief is not to be com- 406 his life in Ireland, and the other in England, and he was consequently well acquainted with the dispositions of the people of both countries. On that account he re" quested permission to trouble the House with a few words: though representing as he did so considerable a portion of the Irish Catholics, he could hardly at any rate have been contented with giving a silent vote. He believed that the utmost harmony and union of sentiment might be produced between the people of Great Britain and Ireland, if the proper means were used for that purpose. He was convinced that when the odious distinctions in point of civil rights between Protestant and Catholic were done away, every one would be amazed how they had
§ manded; and what kind of worship must that be, which is produced by force."
§ "It must then be concluded, that liberty of conscience is a natural and inviolable right. It is a disgrace to human nature, that a truth of this nature should want to be proved."
§ "But we should take care not to extend this liberty beyond its just bounds. A citizen has only the right of never being obliged to do any thing in religious affairs, and not that of doing outwardly whatever he pleases, though it may proceed from his regard to society. The establishment of religion by the laws, and its public exercise, are matters of state, and are necessarily under the jurisdiction of the public authority."
§ "The prodigious influence of religion on the welfare and tranquillity of the society invincibly prove, that the conductor of the state ought to have the inspection of what relates to it, and an authority over the ministers who teach it. The end of society and of the civil government necessarily requires, that he who has the authority should be invested with all the rights, without which he could not exercise in in a manner most advantageous to the state. These are the prerogatives of Majesty, of which no sovereign can divest himself, without the express consent of the nation. The inspection of the affairs of religion, and the authority over its ministers, then form one of the most important of his prerogatives, since with out this power the sovereign would never be able to prevent the disturbances that religion might occasion in the state, nor apply that powerful spring to the welfare and safety of society." 407 been permitted to subsist so long. They were two sects—he could not call them different religious communities. The tenets of both were much more nearly allied than many imagined. Confession and absolution formed part of the Church of England creed as well as of the Catholic, and in several other essential points they were not far asunder. He himself was a Christian of the Church of England. If that Church was exposed to danger, it was not from the Catholics so much as from other quarters; and he thought it would be good policy, even with a view to the security of the Church of England, that it should form an union with the parent church. He saw no danger whatever in granting the Catholics all they wanted. For a long time before the Revolution the Catholics enjoyed all they now claimed, and yet the Protestant Church had stood unimpaired. But then it might be said, indeed it had been said, that, if you granted power to the Catholics, they would not be contented with an equality of civil rights, but would insist that their religion should be established. At present, however, their request was reasonable; and why should that be denied because an unreasonable application might possibly follow? He did not think, however, that it would follow. The Catholic religion, like others, had been softened in the progress of civilization; and the weight of influence would always remain in the hands of the Protestants.—At the time of the Union, hopes had certainly been held out to the Catholics that their civil rights would be restored, though no positive promise, he would admit, had been made to that effect. But it was a debt of honour which ought to be paid. He himself had
§ "On the other hand, if the clergy are humbled, it will be out of their power to produce the fruits for which their ministry was appointed. The rule that should be followed in this respect, may be conceived in a few words. First, the clergy, as well as every other order, should submit in their functions, and in every thing else, to the public power, and be accountable for their conduct to the Sovereign. Secondly, the Prince should take care to render the ministers of religion respectable in the eyes of the people: he should trust them with the degree of authority necessary to enable them to discharge their duty with success, and support them in case of need with the power he holds in his own hands." 408 always unquestionably understood that the Union would be followed by a removal of the Catholic restrictions, and had contributed to deceive the Catholics on that head. The hope had been encouraged, and in conversing with his friends and with Catholics on the subject of the Union, at the time it was under discussion, he had never hesitated to state, what he thought he had good reason to believe, namely, that the consequence of that measure would be Catholic emancipation. Such, he was satisfied, would have been the consequence had it not been for an unfortunate accident. But though the expectations he had entertained and inculcated or encoutaged upon this head had been disappointed, still he was not sorry that the Union had taken place, and he was sure that, in the long run, the claims of the Catholics would not be urged in vain.—With regard to the Veto, he would not touch upon it at all. It was sufficient that it had nothing to do with the present question, which was merely whether the House should go into a Committee on these Petitions. Strongly impressed with the justice of the Catholic claims and the expediency of granting them, he did not feel himself called upon to dwell upon the dangers that might be supposed to result from refusing their immediate concession. He knew many of the most respectable of the Catholics well—he knew that they were grateful for the favours they had already received, and that they would not despair of the justice of the united parliament, with regard to such as were still wanting. He had sat with Catholics on many occasions in transacting the business of his country, and could bear testimony to their loyalty, patriotism, and congenial dislike of the conduct of France. He could bear testimony to their worth in a military as well as in a civil capacity. A noble friend of his and himself had raised a militia regiment, consisting mostly of their own tenants, in which no party differences had arisen. Catholic and Protestant had readily coalesced, as he had no doubt they would do in every instance if these disabilities were removed. With regard to the coronation oath, he did not think there was any thing in it hostile to the Catholic claims. He then adverted to the loss which the country sustained by shutting out Catholics from the highest situations in the army, and concluded by giving his support to the motion.
§ General Mathew
was decidedly of opi- 409 nion that all the dissenters of the empire, Whether Scotch or Irish, were entitled to the full benefits of the constitution, as being equally interested with the Pro testant in its security and prosperity. What the Irish Catholics now asked for was a matter of right so unquestionable, that the only wonder was how it could have been so long denied them. With regard to the vain and futile prejudices which had been advanced against their claims, they had been long on the decline; and as to certain objections which had been made upon the pretence of certain of their supposed religious tenets, they had been so clearly exposed and refuted by the hon. baronet (six J. C. Hippesley), in his speech last year—a speech by the bye, in every respect superior to, and very different from, the hon. baronet's speech of that night. That speech had so completely succeeded in removing all such errors and prejudices, that it would be presumptuous in him to attempt to dwell longer upon that part of the question—He then proceeded to shew the strong claims of the Catholics to the rights they now claimed from the services rendered by them to the empire at large, and more particularly in their military capacity. He did not hesitate to state that the great military successes of this country since the commencement of the war were chiefly to be attributed to Scotch and Irish valour. The mere English soldiery had the least share in it. He did not say this from any principle of invidious comparison: far from it: no man prized more the steadiness and valour of English troops than he did; but it had so happened, that the opportunity fell most to the Irish and the Scotch. The early part of the campaign in Egypt was the work of an immortal hero, whose name was the pride of Scotland. The glorious termination of that campaign was reserved for his gallant and revered friend, lord Hutchinson, an Irishman; and the work throughout the present campaign was chiefly begun and completed by Irish and Scotch. The men who had stormed Monte Video were Irish Catholics; the men who had astonished the French at Maida were Irish Catholics; the men who had most distinguished themselves at the battle of Vimiera were Irish Catholics; in the hottest part of the battle of Busaço was a clear majority of Irish Catholics; the 88th regiment, who had so admirably charged the enemy in that action, were to a man Irish Catholics; 410 and in the battle of Barrosa, when that gallant and skilful officer, General Graham, led his troops to victory, need he remind the House what was done by the Irish Catholics upon that memorable day? (Hear, hear!) The 87 the to a man Irish Catholics; the brave 87th, the Prince's own Irish heroes—(a laugh)—he would repeat the title; he was one who was not ashamed of being proud of that distinction—(hear, hear!)—the Prince's own Irish heroes; gentlemen might laugh; he wished they had been in the ranks of those Irish heroes on that glorious day, and then they would have seen the true way to be of use to their country—(hear! and a laugh)—there they might have seen how those brave Irish heroes executed to perfection their orders. They indeed spared their powder, but they gave the enemy the steel with a vengeance. How was the Isle of Bourbon taken? By the valour of the Irish Catholics under the conduct of as brave and as skilful an officer as any in the service; he meant his gallant friend and respected constituent, lieutenant colonel Keating.—The gallant general then proceeded to shew, that the continuing the penal laws would have the effect of putting down recruiting in Ireland, and had already considerably diminished it; but if the Irish Catholics were put on the footing of the English; if they were sent out under the command of their own brave countrymen; of such men as the Irish generals, lords Wellington, Hutchinson, Marshal Beresford, generals Spencer, Doyle, Pack, &c. what might they not accomplish? The navy, he further contended, was manned by more Irish than English, as there were many foreigners in the navy. The gallant general concluded by stating, that if the Irish were well used they might be led by a silken thread. The Irish demanded but their rights, and their rights they would have. With his last breath he should support the just cause of the Irish Catholics.
rose, and said, that he was authorised in stating the principles of the Catholics from the books which they themselves had published, and considered of absolute authority. Before be read any extracts from them, he should state the oath which was taken by every Catholic bishop and priest, and then should leave it to the House to judge whether persons who professed principles such as were contained in the oaths, ought not to be looked on with a suspicious eye by 411 a Protestant government. The bishops swore that they would be faithful and obedient to the See of So Peter, and to their lord the Pope. They also swore to observe the decrees of the councils of the Roman church, and to resist and persecute heretics and schismatics. The Romish priest, too, swore obedience to the holy mother church and respect to the councils of the fathers. Besides those oaths and those doctrines which they were thus sworn to support, he must also take notice of the concordat concluded between Buonaparté and the Pope. The fact was, that there was no sect so intolerant as the Roman Catholics when they had power, but now that they had not political power they made an outcry for toleration. What toleration was it they wanted? Had not not they their property protected, had not they their lives? (hear!) They were not impeded in the exercise of their religion, although whenever they had power, they had so often whelmed the world in blood. Buonaparté, however, was too wise to leave those people quite uncon-trouled in his country. He saw that it was necessary for him to put himself at the head of his clergy; and yet in this country the Catholics who now petitioned for political power were not ready even to allow the crown a Veto on the appointment of Catholic bishops.
As to the argument which had been drawn from what was done in foreign countries, it must be recollected, that all the Catholic states in Europe were despotic, and therefore it by no means followed from any example which could be drawn from them, that Catholics were fit to be a competent part of a Protestant legislature. Although the pope had lost his temporal possessions, his spiritual powers remained as great as at any former time, and were as fully acknowledged by the Catholics of Ireland. A great stress had been laid on the Answers of the foreign universities, upon a point of the doctrine of the Catholic church. He did not, however, attach much weight to those answers when they were contrary to the recorded articles of the Catholic faith. He recollected how often history had spoken of the opinions of universities obtained by bribery. When Henry the 8th wished to marry his brother's wife, half the universities of Europe declared that it was lawful, and the other half declared that it was not lawful. The secret, however, was at length discovered; for it 412 appeared, that king Henry had bribed one half of them, and the emperor had bribed the other half. As to the number at which the Irish Catholics were stated, he was convinced that it was a great exaggeration. The whole population of Ireland did not exceed three millions and an half; and one million and an half of those were not Catholics. When he said the population did not exceed three millions and an half, he went on actual calculation, and not on that bouncing bravado supposition, which added every year half a million to the population of Ireland. About so years ago a calculation had been made by Mr. Bushe, of the population of Ireland, and it was then said to amount to four millions. But the principle that Mr. Bushe went on was, that there were 700,000 houses paying the hearth tax, which on the supposition of six to a house, would give above 4 millions. But the fact was, that this calculation was too high; for instead, of six to a house, it had appeared, from actual numbering, that five, or five and a quarter to a house was the proper calculation, which would bring down the population to three millions and an half, of which he did not believe that more than two millions were Catholics. How did the Catholics stand as to property? Forty nine parts out of fifty of the landed property belonged to Protestants, and so did at least nine tenths of the personal property. It was not, then, the Catholics that paid the taxes in Ireland, it was the Protestants. As to the Catholic soldiers, he had no doubt but that they behaved as bravely as other soldiers, but he did not think there was any particular merit; in their enlisting for a bounty, Nobody could suppose that it was for love of glory, or the good of the country, or any thing else but the enlisting money which tempted them to go into the army. As to the Irish officers, he did not believe that one out of a hundred was a Catholic, or one out of ten in the militia; and it must be recollected that of the Irishmen in the army and navy a very great proportion were Protestants. It therefore appeared to him that the Catholics had no right to claim such extraordinary merit for their services in the army and navy.—Dr. Troy, the Catholic bishop of Dublin, had stated in a pamphlet that the supremacy of the pope was the bond of Catholic unity. As the supremacy of the pope was therefore an article of faith, they did not venture to take the oath of 413 supremacy, although he supposed that they would not hesitate at taking any other sort of oath. It was a doctrine of their religion that oaths taken with heretics were absolutely null and void. (No, no, from many members). He should say, Yes, yes; it was a doctrine of their belief, and he did not doubt but that it would in many casts be the rule of their conduct. Dr. Milner himself had stated that oaths were to be judged of by expediency; and for simply quoting this from his book last year, he had been grievously abused. The right hon. mover was entirely incorrect in stating that the Irish brigades had been formed by persecution of the Irish Catholics. After the capitulation of Limerick, five or six thousand men chose to go over to France, notwithstanding king William wished very much to retain them at home; and even promised them that if they decidedly preferred the military life, although he could not employ them himself, yet he would get them employment in the service of some of his allies. They, however, chose the service of France, and by the accession of their friends and connexions in Ireland, the number was kept up until the French Revolution. At the meeting of the county of Tipperary, which was stated to come from all descriptions of persons, he was informed that very few Protestants were present.—He then described the persons from whom the petition originated as composed of a few young barristers not much troubled with professional business, and many other persons of a low description in society. Mr. Finnerty, who had made himself an orator in Gale Jones's forum, went over to Dublin, and immediately became a great man among them. It was he who advised them to petition tot only for Catholic emancipation, but for reform, abolition of tythes, and every thing else. The learned doctor concluded his speech by reading very long extracts from speeches of the Catholics, and their pamphlets, in order to shew that they were inimical to the established Protestant government of this country.
§ General Mathew
, in explanation, said that the meeting at which the petition that he had presented was signed, was convened by the magistrates of the county, was attended by the two representatives of that county, and several thousands of the most respectable inhabitants; and that a noble lord who presided on that occasion, had a landed property of 30,000l. per annum in that county.
was of opinion, that even if the prayer of the petitioners were granted, it would not tend to suppress that disunion which marred the fairest prospects of Ireland; and he was of the same opinion ha had delivered upon a former occasion, because the same objections he had then still applied to the petitions on the table of that House. He attributed much of the discontent that prevailed in Ireland and most of their calamities, to the non-residence of the men of property among their tenants. These grievances existed twenty seven years beforé the Union, and were not attributable to that measure. But until he should see a petition founded on an unqualified basis of an uncontrouled Veto in the King, he should give his negative to going into a Committee.
thought the noble lord had taken a proper opportunity to lay before the House those grievances which he conceived Ireland laboured under. He was much of the same opinion; nothing convinced him more strongly that the Union was not a wise measure; and the oftener the question came before him, the more he was confirmed in his opinion. If what the Roman Catholics asked was proper to be conceded to them, it should be given, not on account of their numbers, but of the justice of their demand—if not useful to be granted, the House ought not to be afraid to refuse it. They were not to be intimidated into it by numbers. He saw no backwardness in the population of that country to engage in the army, nor any disposition to withhold themselves from embarking faithfully and heartily in the cause of their country. There was no pretence, however, for saying that the Roman Catholics in Ireland did not enjoy a full and complete toleration; and in his opinion it was of little consequence to the bulk and mass of the population of that country, whether it was extended further or not. At the same time he wished some middle course could be taken which would ameliorate their condition, and satisfy their wishes.
§ Mr. Tighe
thought that no prince had a right to power with respect to a church, unless he had granted temporalities to that church. Mr. Pitt had introduced, it was true, the requisition of a veto; but he had it in contemplation, when he did so, to give a maintenance to the Catholic clergy. This was no narrow sectarian question. It was the Irish nation which petitioned the 415 House. The Irish nation had been subdued by the English; at first the distinction was between the two nations; subsequently, when they were a little blended, it was charged to the people within and without the pale. At length it was Catholic and Protestant that were opposed; still it was the Englishman or the English settler against the native Irishman, and the latter had never ceased to petition since the reign of Henry 2, to be restored to the rights which had been wrested from him. A reference to the excellent work of Sir John Davis, would sufficiently establish the facts he had asserted.
§ Mr. C. Adams
thought the question was, whether we were to have a Protestant establishment? He had maturely thought on the subject, and was by no means convinced that we should have a Protestant establishment if the Roman Catholics had what they wanted, it was denied that they practised idolatry; yet they professed the worshipping of Saints, which was recognised as part of their religion. He detested persecution as much as any man. He liked toleration; but still he wished to have it toleration, and not to have it right.
did not wish in this late stage of the debate to trespass on the patience of the House, but there had been some observations made in the course of it, which he could not let pass without comment. An hon. gentleman had asked, how we could be sure that, if the present demands of the Catholics were granted, they would stop there, or at any thing short of the subversion of the Established Church. The partial demonstrations of hostility on the part of the Catholics, which had excited these apprehensions in the hon. gentleman, or afforded him a pretext for the pressing them, he would find sufficient, and more than sufficient cause for, in the unnatural situation in which the whole Catholic body was placed, and more especially such a part of it as was placed more near the grateful liquid that receded in proportion as the thirst that sought to be slaked by it became more ardent. What, for instance, was the situation of the Catholic barrister? The possessor of talents, which every day excited the admiration of his fellow citizens, and seemed to qualify him for any employment in the state? The moment he opened the statute book he would find that all his exertions were insufficient to procure him any of those offices in which, 416 while he served his country, he would reap the more appropriate reward of a high and generous spirit. Would such a check to his fair and laudable ambition be deemed an unreasonable cause for discontent towards the government that imposed, or at least would not remove it? The condition of the soldier was the same. He was permitted to enter the army, to be as lavish as he pleased of his blood in protecting the interests of the country, but as soon as his valour and his skill had been displayed in such a manner as would prove him qualified for command, then he was to be told that no exercise of such qualities could be of any avail as to his own interests, for the law opposed his further progress in the career of honour. What was then to become of that noble emulation which fired him, while there was a rival he might never hope to outstrip? What would be said to any fair claim to promotion that might be brought forward on behalf of colonel Keating, the gallant officer, who the other day was the chief instrument by which we obtained an addition to our territories of very considerable value? Why, the law would tell him, that if he continued to labour in his country's service, he must do so from a pure disinterested spirit of patriotism, for that the excitements by which that of others were aided, were not for him to contemplate. And yet it would be deemed matter of surprise if the name of that gallant officer was found to a petition, praying relief from those disabilities by which he must be so sorely galled. Was it not cruel? was it not impolitic to arouse and set in motion the passions of men, for no other purpose but to oppose obstacles to their gratification?
The hon. gentleman near him had observed, that the Irish peasant could not be affected by the rejection of the petition. In stating this, the hon. gentleman had betrayed his ignorance of the Irish character—the Irish peasant possessed a noble spirit; his mind could easily rise from the abject poverty in which he was doomed to linger out his existence, to the contemplation of aught by which his country was exalted, and he could forget for a season his private ills in the gratified feelings of the patriot. Moreover, was it not one of the blessings of the constitution, under the protection of which we had the happiness to live, that it enabled the lowest individual in the community to rise to the highest honours and emoluments of the state? 417 But even were the door barred against himself, was it to be supposed that the Irish peasant felt no sympathy with his countrymen in the higher classes of life? If the whole body or the English aristocracy laboured under a privation of their rights, such as was now complained of, was it to be supposed that the English commonalty would feel no disgrace thereby reflected on themselves? Or was it to be supposed that the persons more immediately within the reach of the grievance, would abstain from the exercise of every legitimate measure in order to remove it? The Irish people were quick in feeling; they never for a moment were insensible to the insult that was annually offered to them, and there could be no doubt that they never would sit down contented with the degraded state that was deemed suitable for them. The hon. and learned doctor had read some extracts from a pamphlet by a Catholic writer, in which his conduct had been condemned; but that hon. and learned doctor knew little of him if he supposed the principle upon which he advocated the cause of his Catholic countrymen could be shaken by the animadversions of one Catholic, or of the whole body. Were the whole body to unite in upbraiding him, his only answer would be, renewed exertions in the support of their cause, which he was conscious was as much the cause of the Protestants of the country at large as it was theirs. The right hon. doctor was deceiving himself in supposing that he could stop the native current of human affairs, in the course of which, whether the petition were refused this year or the next, it must be ultimately acquiesced in. With respect to what had been said as to the danger resulting to the Established Church, he was of opinion that the onus probandi lay with those who raised the outcry; but he had not observed that any steps had been as yet taken to describe the manner in which the Catholics would act, in order to accomplish the designs imputed to them. Was it by force? they could now resort to that as well as if they were in full possession of the rights for which they sued; or was it by influence, openly and legitimately exercised? It could be exercised only in parliament; and he would ask, whether it would not be much more than balanced, although the whole of the hundred Irish members in that House were Catholics? or would they have recourse to intrigue and cabal to obtain their end?
418 The right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself was possessed of as much of such influence as could be employed in that way as could be ever brought to bear in the way it was apprehended, and he would appeal to him, if he were inclined to make an undue use of it, whether any attempt of the kind would not be perfectly useless? Really, it was only necessary to state such things as those to which he had adverted, to shew their monstrous' absurdity, and it would be matter of wonder to future ages that it was necessary for a member of the British parliament to urge them. For his part, ha should be unwilling to charge any body of men with the designs supposed to be harboured by the Catholics of Ireland, and he would take leave to say that they were as incapable of harbouring them as the Protestants of England.
§ Mr. W. Smith
said, it had been asked, if this measure was extended to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, would it not be expected that it should go to the different sectaries in England also? He did not know what was expected, but he could say that in his opinion it ought to extend to all. The right of silting in that House was all the privilege they enjoyed more than the Catholics; and during the years he had been a member, he could not have held a situation of the most trifling kind under the crown, without transgressing the law of the land, far which he must be punished, were it not for the annual Indemnity Bill. All the evils of which we had to complain arose from the absurd notions of toleration and indulgence. He abhorred such terms. He knew of nothing but religious liberty, which was the right inherent in every man to worship God in his own mode. For this he contended, and he thought the Catholics were entitled to it as well as every other sect of Christians, as a matter of right.
The Chancsllor of the Exchequer
observed, that the hon. gent. who spoke last had revived the claim as of right which had some time ago been urged in the course of these discussions, but which had been dropped on the two last occasions when this question was agitated, and which had not been heard of to-night till introduced by the last speaker. He agreed so fully in what the right hon. gent, who spoke last but one had said respecting the length of the discussion, that he should not have offered himself to the attention of the 419 House, if he did not observe that this claim of right had been so prominently urged by the hon. gent, who had just sat down. That toleration might be claimed as a right he did not mean to dispute; but that there would be any right to political power in consequence, was a proposition he should contend against to the utmost. Political power was not the right of an individual, it was a trust to the individual for the interests of the whole. That power, he thought, if granted, would naturally be applied to the destruction of the Established Church. He had never rested the denial of the Catholic claims upon a question of character, for he would allow, that when the Irish soldiers or sailors were called into action, they proved themselves to possess all the strength of which the human mind or the human body was capable. It had been said, that to refuse those claims was contrary to the canon of the Almighty; if so, he did not see upon what ground the Catholics could be refused, if they were to apply for a participation of tythes, and a proportioning of the division according to their numbers. It was not upon the ground that the Catholics of Ireland were more rebelled subjects than any other that he would resist the motion, but upon the ground that the church establishment should be maintained in the whole kingdom, and not be endangered in any part of it. It had been asked, how this evil could happen, whether by force or by influence; he would say that it might happen in consequence of the course in which the hon. gentlemen, on the other side, were proceeding when they sat in the situation which he and his colleagues at present tilled, by granting gradually until all was given away. Those gentlemen who had spoken so much of the Irish were not infallible. Dr. Milner had been the god of their idolatry. He soon became quite the contrary. The same thing happened in their declarations on the Veto. The Irish now would allow it, and now they would not. All this ought to generate some distrust in their knowledge. He loved Christian toleration, not the toleration of philosophy. The French tolerating philosophers were atrocious persecutors., and they overturned all establishments. He thought that the more any great sects were brought to an equality of rights and honours, the nearer they were to a struggle. They ought to have subordination, to have peace. It was not to be supposed that 420 the Catholic Petition was more agreeable to the nation because the public voice was less loud against it than formerly. The reason was, the public fear was less active. When at a late period, dangerous measures were urged by the legislature, the cry of the nation rose against them. The origin of that cry was imputed to his artifice; but the cry exhibited the feeling which would be roused again the first moment that the danger seemed probable. If he had not misunderstood the right hon. gent, opposite (Mr. Ponsonby) on a former occasion, when this question was agitated, he then declared that he would not have supported it but for the Veto. Now, he did not hear a word of the Veto, and this was of itself a sufficient reason for him, (Mr. Perceval) to oppose the motion, though he confessed he did not do so solely on this account.
§ Mr. Whitbread
rose, and called on the right hon. gent, who was a friend to Christian toleration, and an admirer of the Gospel of Christ, to open that Gospel, and shew him where he could find the Church and State united together, and where he could find, though tithes were created by men, that they were designated by God, as the engine of political aggrandizement, or of individual or national oppression? The right hon. gent. denied philosophical toleration; Socrates was a philosopher, and Christ himself was the greatest philosopher that ever lived. Did the right hon. gent. recollect that these statutes against Popery were the emanations of perjury and lies—just like the cry raised by himself in 1807—just like lord George Gordon's riots in the year 1780, the right hon. gent, himself being now at the head of that or of a similar mob. The learned doctor Duigenan, whom all deserted when his nomination as a privy counsellor was called in question, must be declared by acclamation to be the privy counsellor chosen by the right hon. gent. himself. That right hon. and learned Doctor had made a most illiberal attack on Mr. Finnerty, describing him as a person who had been a journeyman taylor. He (Mr. Whitbread) had no noble parentage to boast of, but he never despised an honest or meritorious man on that account. He would remind the right hon. and learned doctor, of a story which had probably escaped his recollection. It having been mentioned as a matter of disparagement to a person who had amassed a fortune, and got into a genteel line of life, that he had at 421 one time been Boots, as it is called, at an inn; the person in reply confessed, "It is true, I once was Boots at that inn, and now I am what you see me; but if you had ever been Boots there, you would have been so still." The hon. gentleman proceeded to allude to the gallant exploits of lord Wellington, general Beresford, and general Pack, and asked ought the country to have been deprived of their services, they being Irishmen, if they happened to be Catholics, because they believed in transubstantiation? Or if they were now to become converts to that belief, ought they on that account, to be dismissed the service? The case was an extreme one; but still it was exactly in point, and the right hon. gent, drove him to it.
Had the right hon. gent. considered the nature of his Militia interchange plan, when he censured his noble friend (earl Grey's) measure in favour of the Catholics? What was that measure? The opening of certain situations in the army to Catholic officers. Why, by this interchange you brought Catholic soldiers, commanded by Catholic officers, to defend these realms! This was lord Ho-wick's measure on a scale ten times more extensive. And was it this, then, that endangered the Church? Was this the ground on which the cry of No Popery was raised? But the matter did not rest here. The casualties of the army at the lowest computation amounted to 22,000—(would to God they were not more)—and your ordinary recruiting furnished only 9,000—you were forced to have recourse to volunteering from the Militia. The Catholic soldier would not go without the Catholic officer. The officer, therefore, must be permitted to go; and here would lord Howick's measure be completed. These inconsistencies could be accounted for only upon the supposition that on this subject the right hon. gent., ingenious and acute as he was, entertained prejudices so gross, that it was impossible for him to see any thing clearly through their mist. But the right hon. gentleman's intolerance had injured the recruiting service. For these three years past the Catholics had not enlisted. The priests had prevented them, and no wonder. Give back, then, their privileges to the Catholics for they had them before. Give them by degrees, or, if you do not, the time will come when they must be given at once—and that once may be a season of serious convulsion in the state. The right hon. gent. 422 took it for granted, that the Church was the greatest of blessings, and yet he had admitted tythes to be a grievance in Ireland, which, if possible, it would be highly desirable to get rid of. But his objection to the consideration of the Petitions was, that the Catholics having got that length, would immediately endeavour to abolish the tythes. He wished they were abolished in Ireland. It would be a great good to Protestant as well as Catholic. The Church which, be it recollected, was a human arrangement, not one made by Him who came from heaven, would then have its property in land. The plan of commutation of tythes for land had been carried a certain way in this country; and both parties could hardly fail to make a good bargain. He was sorry to hear, that the Church had, of late opposed that commutation. But why did the right hon. gent, set up against this motion a bugbear—an alarm of doing that which would do so much good to the Protestant and Catholic peasant? All this time they talked of the Church as perfect—zealous in the discharge of its duties—without spot or blame. Was that the case? Where the Church failed, he was glad to see sectaries rise. It was of the last importance that the minds of the people should be furnished with religious instruction. The worship of God ought not to be neglected, because churchmen did not do their duty. Where the Church lost, it was fortunate for the community that the sectary gained; and if the Church was negligent in Ireland, why should not the Cathoiic gain?
Adverting to the good effect that had resulted from the defeat of lord Sidmouth's Bill, by the united opposition of the Dissenters, the hon. gent. observed, that before he complimented the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon his conduct in that matter, he would have been sure that he deserved it. He did not know that the right hon. gent. had been hostile to that measure. But whether hostile or not, the opposition to it was such, that no minister could have carried it. The Catholics came in the same manner—they prayed for these privileges—they had said that their sovereign had been gracious to them—that he had conferred many favours on them. An hon. friend of his had endeavoured to illustrate the bad effects that would result from this measure, by citing from history the efforts of the Roman plebians to render themselves equally admissible to the higher offices of the state with 423 the patricians. He had expected to hear this followed up by a statement, that when the plebeians had succeeded, they poured into these offices as the Roman Catholics, it was presumed, would pour into this House. But what was the fact? Why, that nene of the plebeians were elected for some years. But it had been stated, that his friend's had themselves held out that these claims ought not to be considered, without the admission of the veto. They had said no such thing. The cause had been pleaded by Mr. Fox, who said nothing of this veto. His right hon. friend (Mr. Grattan) had afterwards said that be had authority to concede it, and with this he was now taunted. Why, he thought he had authority—he thought Dr. Milner one worthy of trust, because he was a man held in general esteem. What Dr. Milner now appeared to be all must know. His right hon. friend had been deceived; but he had rather be the deceived than the deceiver. It had also been urged that this would increase the influence of Buonaparté. How? He had the pope in his power indeed; but would the Irish Catholics be less inclined to foreign influence with their grievances existing; than they would be if they were removed? Or was not the removal of grievances the only effectual way to counteract that influence? Had the Pope prevented Spain and Portugal from resisting Buonaparté? The case was so clear that one would think it impossible that the House should refuse to go into the Committee. And yet he thought it would refuse. But the Catholics would have this consolation, that of all the men who had held high situations for some time past, the right hon. gent. and one or two others, disciples of Mr. Pitt, as they said, but wandering far from his opinions on this subject, were the only persons who said that the Catholic claims ought never to be granted. Such was the conduct of the right hon. gent. who looked for his rule, as well as he (Mr. Whit-bread) did, in the Gospel. In vindication of lords Grenville and Howick, he stated that his noble friends never professed that these claims ought to be granted without some security for the Established Church—but what the nature of that security should be was not a matter of so much importance. The hon. gent. concluded by expressing his sincere hope that the day would come when the claims of the Catholics would be considered, and when no such infernal cry of "No Popery" 424 would be raised as that which had been excited three years ago.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer,
in explanation, denied that he had said that the people of this country would resist the act of the legislature, if it should think proper to grant the claims of the Catholics; still more, that he should encourage such resistance, With respect to tythes, what he had said was, that if the Catholics should obtain their present claims, they would then look to a participation of the Church revenues, whether consisting of tythes or of any other property.
§ Mr. W. Smith
stated, that he had thanked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because he had reason to know that before the declaration of the opinions of the Dissenters upon the subject, that right hon. gent. had determined not to support the Bill of the noble, lord in the other House.
§ Mr. Stephen
commented in severe terms upon Mr. Whitbread's sentiments. He declared the toleration, which he had panegyrised in France, to be nothing but a mixture of despotism and hypocrisy, but, indeed, he believed, that there was no measure of Buonaparté's of which the hon. gent, would not be the apologist or advocate. (A loud cry of "Order, take down the words.")
§ Mr. Whitbread.
The words impute to me such a degree of criminality, that I must insist on their being taken down.
§ The words were repeated to the clerk, and taken down.
§ The Speaker.
The next step is to have the words read, in order that the hon. gentleman to whom they are imputed may deny or justify them.
§ The words were here read.
§ Mr. Stephen.
—I might have used the words which preceded those, but I do not recollect those which followed.
§ The Speaker.
The next course is to divide the House on the question, whether the words have been used or not. Does the hon. member persist in that determination?
§ Mr. Whitbread.
I have considered that as the offence was a public insult to the House, I ought to demand the apology here rather than elsewhere. I am so far satisfied, and I do not believe that the hon. member meant the words in the full extent to which they might be imputed.
§ Mr. Stephen.
I really uttered the ex- 425 pression which I did, hastily, in consequence of the irritation of the moment, at, as I thought, the unfounded and unwarrantable imputation cast on my right hon. friend.
§ Mr. Stephen.
Far from it; I believe the hon. gentleman to be as warm a friend to the country as any man can be.
§ The cry of Question here becoming very general,
§ Mr. Grattan
rose and observed, that he knew how irksome it was to the House, to hear any further arguments at that late hour, but something had fallen from the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which required animadversion. He had said that he (Mr. Grattan) had changed his manner of introducing this question. It was his duty to shew how mistaken he was, and that he had utterly misrepresented the part which he had taken. He did not abandon the statement which he then made. He had said that he had excluded foreign nomination then, and that he abandoned it at present. He did not abandon it. He said it would be necessary to prevent French nomination; but that was a matter of regulation; and he added that they should not alone act handsomely towards the Catholics in the first place, but also that they should take from them that security which the state might require. He had in this done better than the right hon. gent. with his degrading concession. The right hon. gent. had said, that he had once pronounced a panegyric on a certain doctor—He never had. He had said that he was our little deity—He never said any such thing. The right hon. gent. said that he (Mr. Grattan) undertook to speak the opinion of the Catholics of Ireland. He had never said any such thing. He had surely said that he was informed by Dr. Milner that such were their opinions, but he never undertook to promise for their truth. The right hon. gent. had said that he had expressed himself to the effect, that to pay tythes to the Protestant clergy was against the canon of the Almighty. He said no Such thing. He had said, that when they were taking from the Catholics their tytbes, and taking away from them their qualifications, that that was against the Canon of the Almighty. Let them take 426 tythes—very well, but why also take away their civil qualifications? This was a doctrine of the right hon. gentleman, and it was an abominable doctrine, though he dared to say it was his sincere faith. Were you to take from a people their civil capacity because they paid your church This was an attack on the rights of the Catholics, and went to separate the morals of religion from religion itself. It was of the utmost importance never to separate morals from religion. In taking away from one-fifth of the population of the Empire their civil qualifications, the right hon. gent. said he had no charge to bring against the character of the Catholics, indeed! and did he profess that they were eternally to be under the deprivation of their civil privileges, while no charge was to be imputed to them? He calls civil capacities power. He (Mr. Grattan) did not care by what name the exclusion went, it was enough that it was an exclusion from the state, from the legislature, and was not that an exclusion from civil capacities? It was not in the art of a minister's declamation to alter the nature of things. The Catholics, he says, will destroy the Church, and he goes on and states, that if they destroy the Church they will destroy the State, and he goes on to state, that if they destroy the State they will destroy the Church; for this was the whole of his argument; it was merely an echo upon an echo—a repetition on a repetition. He urged no argument; he relied on the force of his vociferation in place of argument; he had never attempted to prove any thing that he said—he said 'I think, and 'I think;' and he thought wrong. He had said he had no objection to the character of the Catholics; and yet, before the Catholics could destroy the church, they must be perjured. This is the having no objection to the character, to suppose them perjured. He had called him (Mr. Grattan) the Declaimer for the Catholics; he (Mr. Grattan) said that the right hon. gent. was the De-claimer for Bigots; and if ever there was one declamation without any share of truth or eloquence, it was that speech which he had made that night against one-fifth of his Majesty's subjects. He had given another reason for their disabilities: the Catholics serve in your army and navy [a laugh from the opposite side.] The hon. gentlemen laugh; but gentlemen who side with ministers are accustomed 427 easily to laugh. What did he mean but this, when he said, if you had their service under the disabilities, why remove them? Well, then, he gave up his charge; he allowed they were base, because what pretence could he have to refuse these privileges, but disaffection? If that be his conviction let him refuse them. But if the Catholics were bravely serving in your army at the expence of their blood, that argument could not be too justly abominated. It shewed how much men could be carried away by fanaticism and bigotry. What was the solidity of the argument, that, if the Catholics fought well in the army abroad, they would fight equally well under degradation at home. He strives against you at home because you oppress him; and he fights for you abroad because you there trust him. It was easy to point a repartee to any thing, but it was not so easy for the right hon. gent to point an argument. Because the Roman Catholic pays your Church and fights your battles, therefore he is to be disqualified. The right hon. gent. had shewed in this a higher spirit of bigotry than he could have expected from a politician; but his country would shew him that it was not in the power of a declamatory minister to prevent the Catholics from obtaining their object. He had maintained that the Roman Catholic having a religion, was in itself no disqualification, and that if he was free from treasonable practices, he stood precisely as any other Dissenter who was a Protestant. Would they, without inquiry, refuse to admit that portion of their fellow-subjects to a participation of privileges, whose loyalty could not be impeached. The right hon. gent. had shewn no reason why they should be either excluded from the state or the army, and that seemed to him to be sufficient for disqualifying himself from continuing to be minister of the country.
§ The House then divided: For the motion, 83. Against it, 146; Majority against the motion 63.
|List of the Minority.|
|Adair, R.||Combe, H. C.|
|Abercromby, J.||Cavendish, Ld. G.|
|Antonie, W. L.||Cavendish, W.|
|Barnard, S.||Creevey, T.|
|Barham, F.||Calcraft, J.|
|Brougham, H.||Duncannon, Ld.|
|Byng, G.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Bennet, R. H.||Fitzpatrick, R.|
|Cocks, E. C.||Greenhill, R.|
|Colborne, N. R.||Grenfel, P.|
|Grenville, Ld. G.||Pym, F.|
|Hippisley, Sir J. C.||Ponsonby, G.|
|Hibbert, G.||Romilly, Sir S.|
|Hussey, W. S.||Scudamore, R. C.|
|Hanbury, W.||St. Aubyn, J.|
|Horner, F.||Smith, W.|
|Lemon, J.||Smith, J.|
|Lamb, W.||Sharp, R.|
|Lester, B. L.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Milton, Ld.||Stanley, T.|
|Mahon, Ld.||Tierney, G.|
|Marryatt, J.||Tavistock, Ld.|
|M'Donald, J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Moore, P.||Western, C.|
|North, D.||Warrender, Sir G.|
|Nugent, G.||Walpole, G.|
|Ord, W.||Wrottesley, Sir J.|
|Piggott, Sir A.||Wynn, C.|
|Butler, J.||Mahon, S.|
|Bligh, T.||Newport, Sir J.|
|Bagnell, W.||O' Brian, Sir E.|
|Daly, B.||Odell, W.|
|Dillon, A.||Parnell, H.|
|Fitzgerald, Ld. H.||Prettie, F.|
|Fitzgerald, A.||Power, R.|
|French, A.||Ponsonby, G.|
|Grattan, H.||Ponsonby, F.|
|Hamilton, H.||Quin, W.|
|Hutchinson, C.||Savape, F.|
|Latouche, R.||Somerville, Sir M.|
|Latouche, J.||Tighe, W.|
|Montgomery, Sir H.||Talbot, R.|