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bound to submit as the protestant would be, whose law, which should be nothing but the supreme reason of the state, placed him of necessity under civil restrictions. Exclusion so originating could not brand the object of it; it might be felt as an inconvenience, but not suffered as a dishonour. It was for the purpose of seeing how far this necessity existed that he called upon the house to go into a committee. If the house did go into that committee it was his design to propose that the declaration against transubstantiation should be removed from our establishment; and also to submit some alteration in the oaths of abjuration and supremacy. On ...; of the protestant population, he would propose a measure for their security, and a pledge of the loyalty of the catholics. There were many modes by which this object might be obtained, but that was not the time for considering of any of them. The feeling which he wished to see acted upon was this—on the part of the protestant, not to ask the catholic for any thing in the way of security which necessity did not require; and on the part of the catholic not to refuse any thing which, consistently with his principles and conscience, he could give, although it might appear to him unnecessary. It was this mutual feeling and this alone, which could lead to the removal of prejudice, the abandonment of irritating or extravagant propositions, and produce final and complete conciliation. The right honourable and learned member, who had been heard throughout with the most profound attention, only interrupted

by frequent cheers, concluded, amid peals of acclamation from all parts of the house, by moving that “The house do resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to consider the laws relating to the declarations taken as justifications for offices, so far as they affected the Irish catholics, and whether it would be expedient to alter or modify the same, so as to enable the said Irish catholics to take them; and also to consider the propriety of removing the declaration against transubstantiation.” Mr. Dennis Browne seconded the motion. Mr. Peel rose, and said that nothing but the mode of argument pursued by the right honourable member, and the direct personal interest which he took in a mode of attack so novel and unusual, induced him to rise at that early period of the debate. He was aware that he should justly incur the charge of presumption by following the right honourable member under other circumstances, but the necessity of defending himself on an occasion when he was so directly assailed, would be his apology to the house. He knew well, that under any circumstances his adversary would be an overpowering antagonist, but under the present, when he replied to a speech which he (Mr. Peel) had made four years ago, and which he, having the power of tearing it to pieces by that extraordinary faculty of reasoning which he possessed, chose to leave unanswered until that night, when, besides his great talents, he had every other advantage, the difficulty was beyond calculation increased; but whatever the disadvantages might be, he was resolved to attempt a reply to the right honourable gentleman who had ushered in his arguments by reference to the opinions of so humble an individual as himself. In attempting to follow him, he would first allude to that subject with which the right honourable gentleman had prefaced his powerful speech, when he paid that feeling and eloquent tribute to the memory of the departed senator under whose auspices this question had been first brought before the English parliament. He wished, and felt it his duty to state, that all which that eulogium said of the late Mr. Grattan, had his full and heartfelt concurrence; there was not a word of it to which he did not fully subscribe. It might seem presumption in him to follow the orator who had so well characterised departed worth, and arrogate to himself the right of praising so great a man. He had not, like the right honourable gentleman, enjoyed with the man who was the subject of his eulogium those early habits of intimacy—he had not maintained with him that political relationship —that unity of political object-that necessitudo sortis, as it was expressed by an elegant writer, which tended to draw so closely the alliance of the intellect and the heart. Though such was not his knowledge of the late Mr. Grattan, he knew him well enough to be able to concur in any thing which his eloquent friend said of him; and he felt that he had not exceeded the strictest truth in bearing testimony to the lustre of virtue and of talent by which he was so emi

nently distinguished. But while the country had to lament the loss of Mr. Grattan, he must be allowed to say that the great question which the vigour of his mature genius, the decline of his life, and even his departing breath had advocated, met with a congenial supporter in the person of the right honourable gentleman, one fit to be the successor of the eloquent and intrepid statesman who had preceded him, and one than whom no man was more worthy to wield the arms of Achilles. He would now proceed to remark upon the arguments of the speech which had called him up; but he begged leave to premise, that if any gentleman supposed he rose to express an unqualified satisfaction in the state of things as they now existed, or that he was ready to take a temporary advantage, not of argument but of prejudice, and, like a skilful disputant, to turn to his own account whatever, not reason but ingenuity, could call to his aid, he laboured under a great mistake. He had never viewed the question but as a choice of evils, nor had he been ever satisfied with the alternative proposed; but it had grown out of the anomalous state of society which he found pre-existing. He had selected that which he thought the best mode of remedying the evil, under the actual circumstances, without, by any means, looking on it as perfectly satisfactory. He had never thought the mode absolutely good in itself, but as a refuge from greater evils. The right honourable gentleman had declared, that every subject of the realm had a right to office; and in order to furnish ground for

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excluding him, it was necessary to show from the circumstances of the country, some great and paramount danger. On this point he was at issue with him; he was decidedly of opinion that it was not the right of every subject to enjoy any office; and if he erred in this opinion, he had the consolation of erring with men whose names ought to have great weight with that house, if authority could have any weight. When the right honourable member applied his principle as an argument for the removal of the civil disabilities under which the catholics laboured, he (Mr. Peel) had a right to consider to what extent that principle might be enforced; and therefore he must say, that if it was to be taken as an argument for conferring on the catholics a capacity for office, there was no reason why it should not admit the various classes of dissenters to the enjoyment of the same right. Under any circumstances, but particularly after the principle laid down by the advocate of the catholics, if a permanent right of this kind was acknowledged in the one body, one equally permanent and co-extensive, should be recognised in the other. This being taken as granted, what would be the infallible consequence? Why, it would be necessary to repeal the test and corporation acts, not to modify, but io destroy their operation by a total and unequivocal repeal. On this point he had great authorities, who dissented from the right honourable member, or at least who were hostile to the consequences which flowed from his argument. With him (Mr. Peel)

on this subject were Mr. Pitt,

Mr. Burke, and he believed, Mr. Windham. The honourable member then proceeded to state the opinion of king William, in 1687, when prince of Orange, upon the corporation and test acts, in a letter to Mr. Howard, who was employed to ask his concurrence to their repeal. The right honourable gentleman then proceeded to read an extract from the letter to which he had alluded. It was to this effect—that “if his majesty thought fit further to desire their concurrence in the repeal of the penal laws, they were ready to give it, provided always that such . of them were allowed to remain in full vigour as kept Roman catholics out of parliament and other offices of trust and emolument, into which it would be dangerous to admit any persons that were not of the established religion." Another extract which the right honourable member read to the house from this document stated, that “their highnesses would not repeal the test act, nor any other of those acts which tended to secure the protestant religion; and which further declared that neither the test act, nor any other act, carried in itself any severity against the Roman catholics, but merely laid down what qualifications it was necessary that those should possess who wished to bear office: one of which was, that they should declare themselves friends to protestantism.” Could any distinction be more strong than that which was thus drawn, by king William, between a penal law excluding from certain offices and a penal law inflicting direct punishments? He, for one, thought that there could not be a stronger

- distinction;

distinction; and he, therefore, quoted those extracts as authorities against the position which had recently been advanced by the honourable and learned gentleman; and having made that statement, he deemed it unnecessary to make any excuse for reading to the house another extract from the same document. These laws, it was argued in that paper, inflicted neither fines nor punishment on Roman catholics, but merely disqualified them from certain offices, which it would be extraordinarily dangerous to the protestant religion to allow them to fill, inasmuch as all persons in office necessarily favoured more or less that particular religion of which they themselves were members. that declaration of king William to justify him in the vote which he intended to give that night upon the question then before the house. But, besides that declaration, there were other authorities on the same subject, and those, too, much more decisive, to which he should beg leave immediately to refer. The principle for which the honourable and learned gentleman had been that evening contending with so much eloquence and ingenuity, was not recognized as a principle of the British constitution, nor admitted to be part of it by those who were best acquainted with its letter and its spirit. The honourable and learned gentleman had asked whether there was in the bill of rights any clause for excluding Roman catholics from office. He (Mr. Peel) allowed that there was not. But was there not in the recital of that bill, which stated

He wanted no more than .

the manner in which James had violated the fundamental compact existing between all sovereigns and their subjects, certain points which immediately affected them? The right honourable gentleman proceeded to explain the sition which he had thus laid down. When he had finished it, he proceeded to say that he should then read to the house the authorities to which he had just alluded — authorities which appeared to him so important, that at the risk of wearying their attention he must read to them at full length. Immediately on the accession of king William an act had been passed for the toleration of protestant dissenters. He (Mr. Peel) was well aware of the objection by which he should be met when he proceeded to argue upon this toleration act. He knew well that he should be told that it was passed under very peculiar circumstances, and that at that time the influence of the pope and of Louis the fourteenth, were so considerable as to be objects of just alarm both to the church and to the state. He would not, therefore, press very strongly upon that act, which, however, was in favour of his argument, but would proceed to the reign of queen Anne, when an attempt was made to exclude the protestant dissenters from the former act of toleration by the revival of an act, called an act against occasional conformity. The house must be well aware that the corporation and test acts made certain qualifications necessary to the holding of offices. Those acts rendered it necessary for all persons who held office to make make a declaration once of their attachment to the protestant religion, and likewise to take once the oath of supremacy; after doing that, they entered upon their offices without showing further conformity to the established church, and were no longer liable to fine or penalty. The bill, which was then introduced into parliament, was intended to deprive the protestant dissenters of this privilege. It passed the house of commons by a considerable majority, but met with very great opposition whenitwent to the lords, by which it was supposed to trench upon the great principles of toleration. A conference took place between the two houses upon it, and managers were appointed to conduct it. Who were the managers appointed by the lords? Men whose opinions, if any were entitled to carry weight with the gentlemen opposite, ought to be received with the utmost attention. The managers appointed by the lords were the earl of Peterborough, lord Halifax, the bishop of Salisbury, the earl of Devonshire, and lord Somers. There was extant a full account of the arguments used upon that occasion, as well of those in which the tories had the better, as of those which were so ably refuted by lord Somers. Now he would ask under what influence did these men act? Did they consider the church in danger? No: in 1705, three years afterwards, the peers came to this resolution, which he quoted to show that no danger was at that time apprehended, either from the influence of the pope or the power of Louis the fourteenth —“ Resolved, that the church of England,

as by law established, which was rescued from the extremest danger by king William the third, of glorious memory, is now, by God's blessing, under the happy reign of her majesty, in a most safe and flourishing condition; and that whoever goes about to suggest or insinuate that the church is in danger, is an enemy to the queen, the church, and the kingdom.” At that time the very distinctions which he had that night been urging were drawn between penal laws and laws of exclusion. The right honourable gentleman then read an extract from the account of the conference between the two houses of parliament in corroboration of his assertion, and afterwards proceeded to argue, that if the doctrine which was then admitted were allowed to be correct, namely—that it was proper to exclude from office such as entertained sentiments not in accordance with those of the established church, he had a right to apply it to the present case, and use it as one ground of objection to the motion of the honourable and learned gentleman. But, independently of that objection, he wished to know how far the honourable and learned gentleman wished to push the principle which he had that night advanced, as also the reason which he had for applying an oath as a test to those who, he was well aware, were not allowed by their principles to take it. A certain class of dissenters would not take an oath at all ; and the legislature had permitted their declaration in all civil cases between man and man, to have the same validity as an oath. The house would see

that

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