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All was forgotten, while the particu. man action than a rueful and despelar antagonist only was remembered. rate philosophy; they had thought The prime order of natural and re- Christianity, even with certain foros vealed religion is the love of our fel- and ceremonies, better than irreligion low creatures. Formerly, when the and infidelity. Accordingly, the diftwo sects were at war, two things ferent Princes of Europe, Catholie were unavoidably suspended-the as well as Protestant, combined to blessings of the constitution, and the gether to revive it. Were foreigners duties of the gospel ? But were those then to be supported in the exercise blessings and duties to be suspend of their religion, while those who ed for ever? The contest was now practised it among our own country terminated, and the effects of that were to be persecuted and punished? contest ought also to be at an But it was said, that if the Roman end. The answer was imperfect al. Catholic clergy were restored to legiance and incapacity to moral ob- power, they would seek to overturn ligation; and the reply to that was, the Government; that they would that those who made the charge did urge the laity to misapply their renot believe it. They did not believe stored rights, and at the hazard or it in the 17th of the King, when Ro. certain loss of life revive Popery, and man Catholics were declared good exterminate Protestantism. That poand loyal subjects: they did not be sition was founded on a principle fanlieve it when they gave Catholics damentally false : it supposed that all the right of voting : they did not mankind would scorn all hazards to believe it when, two years ago, they procure the domination of the church; gave them commissions and com- that men were more deeply in love mands in the
navy: they with religion than with themselves; did not believe it when the right nay, it was carried further; it was of legislating was given to Catholics asserted that this passion was so in our colonies : in short, to answer strong, that he would prefer the power the purpose of the day, the Pope of the church to the gratification of had been carried upon our backs, every other passion: in other words, had been represented as a mighty it was to insist that man was born : and dangerous power capable of fanatic; that every man was mad. withdrawing the allegiance of the It must therefore be argued, on the King's subjects; and then again as other side, that such a man as Dr a poor driveller, incapable of bring- Poynter (and a more excellent man ing a musket to his defence, and did not exist,) meditating treachery, strapped to the war-horse of a great would go to the Duke of Norfolk captain, as a means of conquest and (who having obtained all the privi. an instrument of delusion. The an- leges his heart could desire, would tagonists of the Catholics did not of course be hatching treason also,) believe their own argument, when and would tell him, that being now they aided in the restoration of the invested with political power, be House of Bourbon, and made Ca- would be naturally inclined in the tholicity formidable, by securing it first instance to attempt to subvert one of the most powerful nations the Government, and use his in. of the world. It was clear, therefore, fluence to make him (Dr Poynter) that they had not at all times held Bishop of London. Of course, every the Catholics as a faithless and per- man of sense and discernment must fidious church, but had preferred it see the probability that the Duke as a better and safer guide of hu. would immediately concur in a suga estion which was inevitably to end religion. It was a gross error to sup
his ruin and disgrace; and in or- pose, that by the grant of the claims er to deter him, the supporters of one church could be endangered. Upse Protestant cause wisely inflicted on the French revolution, when the pon him every species of disfran- power of the Romish church was pullhisement and disability. This was ed down, and France ceased to be a : monstrous proposition, a proposi- champion for her rights, the Roman ion in the very extreme of absurdi- Catholics were under a peculiar oy, that every object of ambition be- dium; but now, when there was set ng gratified, his religion being no up in Europe a system of religious onger a crime visited by the seve- toleration, it was surely reasonable sity of punishment, the Noble Duke to expect that there should be no would turn traitor in despite of him- political disqualification on account self, and to the utter destruction of of religious opinion. It was said by his house. The destruction of Ca. the enemies of the Catholics that the tholicity would be the birth day of principles of the revolution rendered infidelity. To show that the Catholic them incapable of partaking in the religion was an artifice, a farce, a administration or legis.ature of the bumbug, was to attack the founda. country, and that the declaration was tion of the Protestant faith. Would decisive on that subject. The revonot the promoters of infidelity insistlution was a human arrangement: it that, with the Catholic priests, the was a victory over bad principles, the Protestant ministers had fallen; that victory of liberty over tyranny: and if one religion were so false and when the Roman Catholics were ad. foolish, it was not unlikely that mitted to a participation in the printhe other was not free from fault: ciples of political freedom, they had one could not be impure, and the an equal right to the enjoyment of other immaculate ; at least the religious liberty. With regard to Protestant clergy receive large e. the declaration, it should be recol. moluments, and if the Deist would lected that the House of Lords, at put them down on the ground of the time of the Scottish union, condisbelief, the sectary would lend sidered whether it was final or not, his aid on the principle of eco- and determined that it was not final, nomy. He (Mr Graitan) wished but provisional. The act of union to avoid whatever might appear dis- itself declared that it was not final respectful to the clergy of this coun- but provisional. The Irish union too try. He, who was objecting to in- declared that it was not final, but sulting the clergy of other countries, provisional : the act of Parliament ought to be the last to insult that of made it provisional 10 rescind the his own.
He deeply lamented the disabilities imposed or the Catholics, opposition they had given upon this so that it was not always provisional, question, more for themselves than but conventional. It was, in fact, a cofor any effect it would have upon the venant between the Roman Catholics result of the debate : the Church of and the Protestants, that the excluEngland was not an institution which sion of the former should not be final. he wished to see involved in discus. The elements of the British constisions of this kind. He would think tution were not necessarily Protesill
, however, of the professions of any tant. The House of Lords was not man, who, to support the Protestant necessarily Protestant, nor was the church, would destroy the Catholic House of Commons. Who were the Commons ? They were the third swears, expugnabo persequarque ad i estate of the realm, the electors of a ternecionem, and that therefore they great portion of whom were Irish Ca. may be expected to persecute the tholics. So far from being purely Protestants. By returns made i Protestant, a Roman Catholic might December last, it appeared that the sit and vote in that House, because proportion of Protestants to Catho his taking the oaths at the bar was lics of the British population was a not conforming. But it was said that 6 to 1-a proportion amply sufficient it was now impossible to enfranchise ever to secure the permanent and the Catholics. It seemed then, that free exercise of the Protestant relito take away their liberties was an gion. It had been said, that if the easy process, but to apply to reme. amendment in these laws should be dial laws was impossible: facilis de- effected, a general change of proper scensus Avern; *; sed revocare gradum ty would take place in Ireland ; ba -hic labor, hoc opus est. If the Roman it could not take place more in IreCatholic religion was such as it had land than in England; landed probeen represented by its enemies, then perty in that country would be transthe British Government had given ido- ferred in the same way as here; if latry a new footing in France, and had Catholic property increased, it would subsidized it in another quarter. With be in consequence of purchases
. I regard to the act of supremacy, which never could be made matter of prerequired the abjuration of any fo- cedent; it never could be meant that reign jurisdiction, he was of opinion they should go back to former statutes that it ought to be repealed; and as to prevent the Catholics from porto the oath of abjuration, he thought, chasing freeholds. A noble lord (a from the oaths which the Catholics minister) in the year 1807 first intro had already taken, that they could duced a bill to enable Catholics to have no difficulty in taking that, un. hold certain ranks in the army and der certain explanations. Thus, of the navy, and two years ago another bill two oaths which at present excluded was submitted for the same purpose. the Catholics, the one might be ex- It was read a first and second time ; plained and the other repealed. When it was read a third time, and passed the question of the admission of a without any opposition, and went up Catholic to office related to the law to the Lords ; not a single objection of the land, it was to be considered was started, and the mitre nodded whether it would be convenient; but unanimous approbation. The bill when it related to the law of God, passed into a law, and the result prowhatever was religiously good must ved the reasonableness of the claims be politically safe. Another objec preferred by the Catholics, and the tion was, that the desire of the Ca. emptiness of those clamours which tholics to estaɔlish their own religion had so long disqualified more than would destroy their allegiance. In one-fifth of the people. After a few answer to this, it was only necessary more remarks on the beneficial efto refer to the examples of allegiance fects produced by this concession, in Catholic countries. Again, it was and the refutation of all the predicsaid, that the Roman Catholic church tions of the exclusionists, the honour
* It is odd that this often-quoted passage is almost uniformly quoted wrong; every body writing “ Averni," which is nonsense, instead of " Averno," which is both sease and construction.
le gentleman concluded by moving short summary of the laws against
upon that House to accede the honourable member remarked, to the right honourable gentleman's and uses the very words which i motion. "He begged leave to read to should now. use, if I possessed his the House a passage from a writer of eloquence" it probably would not great authority and great eloquence, then be amiss to review and soften Mr Justice Blackstone : " This is a these rigorous edicts ; at least till the
civil (this word he carefully printed He took leave, as a lawyer, to say, in italics to show his view of the prin- that he differed from him entire, ciples that were dangerous) princi- and would state one circumstane ples of the Roman Catholics called which appeared to him sufficie: again upon the Legislature to renew He did not think that the act of t them." Follow (proceeded Mr Cro. demnity had any reference at all to ker) the wisdom of our ancestors ; Roman Catholics. The preamble walk in the same paths. Were we states, that " whereas absence, is afraid of the Roman Catholics? In norance, or unavoidable accident," the time of the Gunpowder Plot; in &c. may have prevented. Now, with the time of Charles II. ; in those Roman Catholics, it could be ne times when they had been active, ther absence, ignorance, por un mischievous, and powerful, we had avoidable accident, for it was a moral put them down, and exercised great impossibility in their case. The is severity over them. Now they af. demnity act generally passed early forded no cause of alarm, not one in the session, about the 1st of symptom of hostility; why should March. It contained no prospective they be excluded from the equal provision. Six months are gives rights and privileges of subjects ? but these six months elapsed before They were not legislating for ab- the next repetition of the indemnity stract beings. In a political view he act, and in the meantime it would be contended for the claims urged by in the power of any common inferthe Roman Catholics as equally safe mer to subject the offender to great and wise. By granting their reason- and severe penalties. In England, able claims, their loyalty would be the execution might be put off til confirmed. It was the nature of per- a new act of indemnity should be secution to make its objects pursue passed; but it could not be so i their own way with greater vigour. Ireland, where the case could only A system of jealousy and severity to- be traversed to the next quarterwards the Roman Catholics would session. This circumstance bis honaturally produce distrust and dis. nourable friend should have advertaffection; concession would be ac- ed to. The privilege of a seat in companied with mutual confidence that House rested upon grounds and united attachment to our happy quite peculiar. Not only must the constitution.
oaths be taken before the seat can The Speaker having read the mo- be occupied, but they must have tion, and put the question upon it, been taken at a previous stage. Not Mr Leslie Foster rose, and said, that only were not six months allowed, he was quite astonished by the speech but six minutes were not allowed, of his honourable friend. His ho- consider whether they should or nourable friend had discovered, a. should not be taken. The House, mong the secrets of acts of Parlia- however, was not now met to de ment, that the Roman Catholics had liberate upon the interpretation of been in possession of the privileges existing laws, or to reconcile the so much in dispute for more than a contradictory provisions of 150 sta. century. A Roman Catholic might tutes; he would therefore take the be Lord Chancellor, or preside at liberty to make a few observations the head of any office, and sit in on the merits of the question, and Parliament, although of this last his in doing so he could not but refer, honourable friend was less certain in the first place, to the feelings of