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bound to submit as the protestant by frequent cheers, concluded,
ever the disadvantages might be, nently distinguished. But while
He would now proEnglish parliament. He wished, ceed to remark upon the arguand felt it his duty to state, that ments of the speech which had all which that eulogium said of called him up; but he begged the late Mr. Grattan, had his full leave to premise, that if any genand heartfelt concurrence; there tleman supposed he rose to exwas not a word of it to which he press an unqualified satisfaction did not fully subscribe. It might in the state of things as they now seem presumption in him to follow existed, or that he was ready to the orator who had so well cha- take a temporary advantage, not racterised departed worth, and of argument but of prejudice, and, arrogate to himself the right of like a skilful disputant, to turn to praising so great a man. He had his own account whatever, not not, like the right honourable reason but ingenuity, could call gentleman, enjoyed with the man to his aid, he laboured under a who was the subject of his eulo- great mistake.
He had never gium those early habits of inti: viewed the question but as a choice macy-he had not maintained of evils, nor had he been ever sawith him that political relationship tisfied with the alternative pro. —that unity of political object-- posed; but it had grown out of that necessitudo sortis, as it was the anomalous state of society expressed by an elegant writer, which he found pre-existing. He which tended to draw so closely had selected that which he thought the alliance of the intellect and the best mode of remedying the the heart. Though such was evil, under the actual circumstannot his knowledge of the late ces, without, by any means, Mr. Grattan, he knew him well looking on it as perfectly satisenough to be able to concur in factory. He had never thought any thing which his eloquent the mode absolutely good in itself, friend said of him; and he felt but as a refuge from greater evils. that he had not exceeded the The right honourable gentleman strictest truth in bearing testimony had declared, that every subject to the lustre of virtue and of of the realm had a right to office; talent by which he was so emic and in order to furnish ground for
F 2 excluding
excluding him, it was necessary Mr. Burke, and he believed, Mr. to show from the circumstances Windham. The honourable memof the country, some great and ber then proceeded to state the paramount danger. On this point opinion of king William, in 1687, he was at issue with him; he was when prince of Orange, upon the decidedly of opinion that it was corporation and test acts, in a not the right of every subject to letter to Mr. Howard, who was enjoy any office; and if he erred employed to ask his concurrence in this opinion, he had the con to their repeal. The right honsolation of erring with men whose ourable gentleman then proceeded names ought to have great weight to read an extract from the letter with that house, if authority could to which he had alluded. It was have any weight. When the to this effect--that “ if his maright honourable member applied jesty thought fit further to desire his principle as an argument for their concurrence in the repeal of the removal of the civil disabilities the penal laws, they were ready to under which the catholics laboured, give it, provided always that such he (Mr. Peel) had a right to of them were allowed to remain consider to what extent that prin- in full vigour as kept Roman ciple might be enforced; and catholics out of parliament and therefore he must say, that if it other offices of trust and emoluwas to be taken as an argument ment, into which it would be danfor conferring on the catholics a gerous to admit any persons that capacity for office, there was no were not of the established relireason why it should not admit gion.” Another extract which the the various classes of dissenters right honourable member read to the enjoyment of the same to the house from this docuright. Under any circumstances, ment stated, that “ their highbut particularly after the principle nesses would not repeal the test laid down by the advocate of act, nor any other of those acts the catholics, if a permanent right which tended to secure the proof this kind was acknowledged in testant religion; and which furthe one body, one equally per- ther declared that neither the test manent and co-extensive, should act, nor any other act, carried in be recognised in the other. This itself any severity against the Robeing taken as granted, what man catholics, but merely laid would be the infallible conse down what qualifications it was quence? Why, it would be neces necessary that those should pos. sary to repeal the test and cor sess who wished to bear office; poration acts, not to modify, but one of which was, that they should to destroy their operation by a declare themselves friends to prototal and unequivocal repeal. On testantism." Could any distincthis point he had great authorities, tion be more strong than that who dissented from the right which was thus drawn, by king honourable member, or at least William, between a penal law exwho were hostile to the conse- cluding from certain offices and a quences which flowed from his penal law inflicting direct punishargument. With him (Mr. Peel) ments? He, for one, thought on this subject were Mr. Pitt, that there could not be a stronger
distinction; and he, therefore, the manner in which James had quoted those extracts as authori- violated the fundamental compact ties against the position which existing between all sovereigns had recently been advanced by and their subjects, certain points the honourable and learned gen- which immediately affected them? tleman; and having made that The right honourable gentleman statement, he deemed it anneces- proceeded to explain the proposary to make any excuse for read- sition which he had thus laid ing to the house another extract down. from the same document. These When he had finished it, he laws, it was argued in that paper, proceeded to say that he should inflicted neither fines nor punish then read to the house the aument on Roman catholics, but thorities to which he had just merely disqualified them from cer- alluded - authorities which aptain offices, which it would be ex- peared to him so important, that traordinarily dangerous to the at the risk of wearying their atprotestant religion to allow them tention he must read to them at to fill, inasmuch as all persons in full length. Immediately on the office necessarily favoured more accession of king William an act or less that particular religion of had been passed for the toleration which they themselves were mem of protestant dissenters. He (Mr. bers. He wanted no more than · Peel) was well aware of the obthat declaration of king William jection by which he should be to justify him in the vote which he met when he proceeded to argue intended to give that night upon upon this toleration act. He the question then before the house, knew well that he should be told But, besides that declaration, that it was passed under very pethere were other authorities on culiar circumstances, and that at the same subject, and those, too, that time the influence of the pope much more decisive, to which he and of Louis the fourteenth, were should beg leave immediately to so considerable as to be objects of refer. The principle for which just alarm both to the church and the honourable and learned gen to the state.
He would not, tleman had been that evening therefore, press very strongly upon contending with so much elo that act, which, however, was in quence and ingenuity, was not favour of his argument, but would recognized as a principle of the proceed to the reign of queen Anne, British constitution, nor admitted when an attempt was made to exto be part of it by those who were clude the protestant dissenters best acquainted with its letter and from the former act of toleration its spirit. The honourable and by the revival of an act, called an learned gentleman had asked act against occasional conformity. whether there was in the bill of The house must be well aware rights any clause for excluding that the corporation and test acts Roman catholics from office. He made certain qualifications ne(Mr. Peel) allowed that there was cessary to the holding of offices. not. But was there not in the Those acts rendered it necessary recital of that bill, which stated for all persons who held office to
make a declaration once of their as by law established, which wa attachment to the protestant reli- rescued from the extremest dangion, and likewise to take once ger by king William the third, of the oath of supremacy; after do- glorious memory, is now, by ing that, they entered upon their God's blessing, under the happy offices without showing further reign of her majesty, in a most conformity to the established safe and flourishing condition; church, and were no longer liable and that whoever
about to fine or penalty. The bill, to suggest
insinuate that which was then introduced into the church is in danger, is an parliament, was intended to de- enemy to the queen, the church, , prive the protestant dissenters of and the kingdom.” At that time this privilege.
It passed the the very distinctions which he house of commons by a consider- had that night been urging were able majority, but met with very drawn between penal laws and great opposition when it went to the laws of exclusion. The right lords, by which it was supposed honourable gentleman then read to trench upon the great prin- an extract from the account of ciples of toleration. A conference the conference between the two took place between the two houses houses of parliament in corroboupon it, and managers were ap ration of his assertion, and afterpointed to conduct it. Who were wards proceeded to argue, that the managers appointed by the if the doctrine which was then adlords? Men whose opinions, if mitted were allowed to be correct, any were entitled to carry weight namely-- that it was proper to with the gentlemen opposite,
exclude from office such as enterought to be received with the ut tained sentiments not in accormost attention.
dance with those of the established appointed by the lords were the church, he had a right to apply earl of Peterborough, lord Hali- it to the present case, and use it fax, the bishop of Salisbury, the as one ground of objection to the earl of Devonshire, and lord So motion of the honourable and There was extant a full learned gentleman.
But, indeaccount of the arguments used pendently of that objection, he upon that occasion, as well of wished to know how far the those in which the tories had the honourable and learned gentleman better, as of those which were wished to push the principle so ably refuted by lord Somers. which he had that night advanced, Now he would ask under what as also the reason which he had influence did these men act ? Did for applying an oath as a test to they considerthe church in danger? those who, he was well aware, No: in 1705, three years after were not allowed by their princiwards, the peers came to this re- ples to take it. A certain class solution, which be quoted to show of dissenters would not take an that no danger was at that time oath at all; and the legislature apprehended, either from the in- had permitted their declaration fluence of the pope or the power in all civil cases between man and of Louis the fourteenth:-" Re. man, to have the same validity as solved, that the church of England, an oath. The house would see