Page images
PDF
EPUB

tablishment went together. It would at state. But unless the noble lord (Liver. last become a question, whether the faith pool) and the hou-e were determined to which had been pledged to the maintain- deny catholic concession ander every cir. teance of a protestant establishment should ! cumstance, and to any extent, he could not be preserved or broken. Was it wise, I see the grounds on which the committee then, with such a prospect before them, to could be refused A right reverend preweaken the establishment by stripping it late (Ossory) had founded an objection to of part of that influence and power which the measure on the misconduct and intemmight be essential to its defence? The perance of some members of the catholic practical effects of exclusion were only felt body. Of that misconduct and intemper. occasionally, and by few. Neither ought ance he was not disposed to be the apolo. it to be forgotten, that the Roman catho- | gist; but its very existence, io place of be. Jics themselves were the greatest exclu ing an obstacle, was with him a strong resionists in the world. To prove this, it commendation for acceding to the claims of would not be necessary to appeal to the the petitioners. Might it not be presumed councils of Trent and Latera, but to inoo that these persons, under the guise of con. dern recent decrees, in which it was ex. ciliation, were the greatest enemies to the pressly declared, that toleration was not cause which they affected to support. If, consistent with the principles of their then, the great question was carried, must church. Could it then be doubted, that į not their adventitious and annatural conse. if by any succession of events or combina quence disa ppear. Take a way the pretext, tion of circumstances they should acquire and the opportunity of which these demathe ascendency, either civil or religious, gogues availed themselves would be at ouce they would exclude protestants: This was removed. Another objection arising from the result of the best founded consideration the same quarter, was founded on an he had been able to give the subject; he alleged contrariety of opinion in the catho. admitted that it was a case of difficulty: lic body. If such did exist, parliament much of the policy that had been pursued had no business with it. It was bound to in that country he regreited; but they legislate without any such reference or such were under the neeessity of providing for conditions as appeared to its wisdom imcircumstances as they actually existed. They portant and necessary. He was disposed to must take things as they found them. At hold all those securities equally cheap such a period as the present, he conceived with the noble secretary. "The simple our best security would be found in sup- enactment of extending equal civil rights to porting and keeping together the church the catholic as to the protestaot, was, in and state as established at the revolution. his judgment, the easiest and most concilia. All the indulgence and all the liberality tory course. It was, with sincere plea. that was consistent with this fundamental sure, that he heard the noble eari(Harrowprinciple, he should feel happy to support; hy) se justly demand specifically the danbut he could not help regarding the desigo gers against which, in the event of yielding of bringing all religions to a level, as tend to the wishes of the catholic body. parliaing to unhinge the minds of all classes of ment had to provide. To that question no the people; and, by unsettling opinions, to answer bad been given.-- And surely it was render society liable to receive every acs a monstrous proposition to suppose, that cidental prejudice or impression; thus in the stronger interest the catholic had in the pairing the ancient foundations of a coo- privileges of the constitution, the more stitution under which we had long enjoyed disposed he would be to eodeavour to effect happiness an: security.

its subversing. He ever considered the Earl DARNLEY could not help consider-repeal of these penal laws as the sine qua ing it irreconcilable in the noble lord (Li. non in the wise government of Ireland. verpool), afıer the expression of his wil. Until that result was obtained, Ireland lingness to correct anomalies that could not could never enjoy the advantages that nabe denied in the penal laws respecting ca- ture conferred on her, neither could Eag. tholics, and to allow a modified concession land avail herself of that efficient co-operato that class of subjects, that he potwith- tion that otherwise she could obtain. It standing determined to oppose the motion would come at length in its proper course of his noble friend (lord Donoughmore) | before the legislature, recoin mended by for going into a committee. Did be not the wishes of the executive government. feel that it was in a committee that what | When the catholics, therefore, reflected he was disposed to do could be best accom- l on the support they now experienced from plished ? He had, indeed, expected to some of the leading members of the cabin have heard from the noble secretary some net, and from such a great proportion of specific argument against the motion, but, theleading public characters on both sides to his disappointment, he had heard no- of the house, though perhaps disappointed thing but the indulgence of declamation on at present, they bad no occasion to do the dangers to be connexion of church and spond. .

' Lord GRENVILLE began by saying, that into the minds of some where those doubts as the house must feel that his mind had l have entered., But on this question of pelong been decided ou the great questionnal relaxation, it has įbeen nevertheless before them that as on many preceding true; and the practice consequently has occasions he had endeavoured, with his | been in every discussion of their repeal, if utmost energy, to press his eager wishes to | by any nice and subtle argument a prohave this mighty boon conferred on Eng spective danger could be made to appear, land and on Ireland, it would not be from to consider such a presumption sufficient any change in bis views of that necessity, to put an end to further proceeding. ' As if, in that late hour of the discussion, when if in all questions of legislation directed to the miods of their lordships were in pos the progress of human affairs, 'difficulties session of every argument, when the sense and dangers were not of necessity to be of the public was so fully enlightened on balanced--as if in the provisions of human the subject, he should decline again to pro government, nothing was to be adopted ceed into that wide and comprehensive or set in action, unless he that proposed it view of the question which op former occa could first prove to demonstration that sions he felt to be his duty. Nothing, in nothing save fate or providence could exdeed, that he could add-weak and less tract evil from it. The evils, with the eximpressive as he must appear after the istence of which every man, however disspeech of the noble earl (Harrowby), posed to apply the remedy, was impressed. could be necessary to strengtheo those unas- They have sprung, first, from the relent sailable inferences, which proved that with less intolerance of the penal code. They the sagacity of a sound politician he had have been aggravated by your pertinacity cast his eye oyer every part of this most in refusing that, which could not injure important subject The noble prelate you, and which those that are aggrieved (Norwich) who spoke third in the debate believe you refuse, lest they should be ex-a man with whom it was his pride to have cepted-Amidst the other anomalies of lived from their childhood in the most in these laws there existed one that has not timate friendship, and of whose friendship been adverted to as fully as the fallacy de there was no man but should be proud mands. It was assumed that the enjoyhad justly described it as a question-not ment of civil rights was denied on the of an abstract and polemical character- grounds that power should not be given to nor a subtle and metaphysical speculation, those who might be supposed to exercise still less a question of a religious and theo: that power to the destruction of the state. logical nature-but a question arising out There never was any foundation for such of the varying and mixed mass of human an apprehension-there never could be one. circumstances, and on which statesmen But even if it could be justified, how can and legislators in such capacities bad to it bear upon the present condition of the decide. It was, indeed, from the legisla- catholic. Were not all these dangers ture the evils that at present claimed the where they could be most operative, alconsideration of their lordship’s sprung. ready risqued? Were not the catholics A legislature that had on so many other in possesssion of all those 'trusts the most great topics of public policy so wisely pro- likely to be dangerous, and therefore the vided, but whose system of intolerant and most to be apprehended in their perversion? heartless restriction, for the continuance Has not the colonel of a regiment, from a of a century, had left upon record enact number of circumstances, greater means ments that would have degraded the deli- of improperly influencing the minds of his berations of the most barbarous men in the men than a general Has not the governor most barbarous nations. In endeavouring, of a fort or castle, a situation open to the i therefore, to discuss the great interests in catholic, fuller opportunity to enter into volved in such a question, he would not the designs of the enemy? Might not the descend into trifling disquisitions on ab- same be said of the navy? It was truly statstract points--they were too garrow-too ed by his noble friend (Harrowby) that you little for legislative decision, compared had granted the bar--a profession where with the great and gigantic considerations, an induence most dangerous to the govern that were at issue. Such metaphysical and ment might be created, and most particunice distinctions might snit the preciuse ia | larly in a country whence the legislature the closet, but could bear little on the was removed. With respect to parliament, i motives of those who were called to legis. he must ever consider the danger of ad. late on the actual condition of a country. mitting a few catholic noblemen and gen. It was for them to consider all that experi tlemen as altogether visionary. It was ence had established, and wisdom could true indeed, as the noble secretary (Liver. anticipate in the removal of those evilspool) stated, such an incorporation would that in their opérations went to weaken not allow it to be longer designated a prothe public security, and diminish the na- testant parliament. But to apprehend tion's prosperity. He could not therefore danger from such a source-giving to the imagine how doubts could have entered apprehension the fullest extent to which

ORTHOD. Jour. Vol. V.

2 K

the wildest imagination could carry it, he first statesman that acted on the price must think that the poble earl alarmed | ciples of universal toleration and to himself with fears manifestly void of any that great cause were directed and de. foundation,-There was, however, one | voted the energies of his whole life, danger on which that noble lord laid consi. | It was bard, indeed, therefore, that when derable stress it was, that if you remove they had to consider one of the most bigotáll the present grounds of grievance, will ted, ove of the most persecuting, and one there not yet remain the grievance of the | of the most intolerant systems that ever establishment? If there be danger to our disgraced any country; an attempt should establishment arising out of the circum be inade to date its origin from his reign, stances of the case, and whatever be its and to fix it as a blot upon his great and amount, would it not be more consistent, illustrious character. The fact was that as well as the more judicious course, to the opponents of the catholic claims made soothe those other feelings of discontent, an obstipate resistance to every attempt at and not allow additional grievances to irri- bringing back the policy of the country to late and aggravate that which cannot be what it was when the revolution took removed? Would pot the catholics feel place. He was about to observe that it the value of that obligatiou, which at the was now forty years since the legislature same time that the establishment was se. | had begun to remove those disabilities uncured for ever, guaranteed to themselves der which the catholics of Ireland laboured. the enjoyment of every civil privilege. He Since that period much had been done ; would go farther, and by incorporating the oor could be subscribe to the censure which cutholic gentleman in the protection of had been bestowed upon the last of those church and state, feel that he adopted the concessions in 1792. The principle of that very best means to counteract the danger measure was a sincere desire to do all that which the noble secretary dreaded. But the state and condition of the country at he has asked, supposing all that was sought | that period, all that the prejudices of the conceded, can it rest there? To that he inhabitants, all that the opinions and discould not give any direct reply. It must position of the Irish parliament, enabled depend on the course of things, and must them to do, towards the completion of the be left to the superintending wisdom and | great work. It would be a high gratifipower of the legislature. But this he would cation to him at the close of his political say, that if there was any one measure life, to look back upon the large share calculated above all others, to impart sa- which he bad in making that greatest stride tisfaction and harmony to Ireland-if there that was ever made at one effort, towards was one still more likely to guard against accomplishing what he knew, indeed, that the mischiefs which a long train of unto measure alone could not accomplish, but ward events and of a mistaken policy had which he felt was eminently calculated to generated, it was that measure which had prepare the way for a final and complete been represented as tending to shake the toleration. There was one circumstance security of church and state. That was in the history of the catholic question, his solemn and decided opinion-an opi. | which deserved to be considered. From nion which every hour of his life had con- the first concession in 1777, down to 1762, firmed, which every circumstance of the and from thence down to 1792, they bad present time, and he believed every event all been made under circumstances of great. of the future, will strengthen and fortify. er or less political distress and difficulty. One circumstance there was, that no And though no one would venture to say preceding discussion on this question could it was an unwise or unfit policy, when we be introduced, but on which he was apris were entangled in a civil war with Aneous now to communicate bis reflections to rica, or when we were menaced with a foc their Jordships. Forty years have now reign war with France, to endeavoor by elapsed since first this country began to re- conciliation and union to strengthen our lax from that odious system of commercial, resources at home, yet, it might be suspectreligious, and political restriction whiched (most unjustly he readily admitted,) that had disgraced the legislation of nearly a those concessions were not the result of century before. It had not reached far- | legislative wisdom-not the offspring of ther back, and there never was a grosser justice and liberality-got the coase „misrepresentation than to identify that in- quences of an enlarged and comprehenlolerant and persecuting system with the sive policy which embraced the general glorious revolution. There were few welfare of the whole empire-but a bellebrighter names in the page of history, than fit extorted from us ander the influence of our illustrious deliverer William the third: | fear aud apprehension. The same objec. :-there never existed a man to whom man- tions, it could not be denied, were appli. kind were under more sincere obligations : cable, at all the various periods when but if there was one greater and more su- the question of catholic emancipation har perminent quality in that great and super- been agitated. But now, they had at lasit eminent character, it was that he was the arrived at a condition, wben they lost their force; they had now reached that state of sent existed between the catholics of Ire. security and peace, when it could not even i land and foreign powers ; but this argube insinuated, that whatever boon mightment was of no great weight, unless it was be granted, was extorted from our fearr. | alsó shown that the catholics of Ireland We had now the enviable opportunity of would be completely satisfied with what convincing the Irish catholics, that as they was proposed to be granted to them. had yielded their resources with an uno Would they not want more? As to the sparing band, and had shed their blood for incapacities under which they at present us, during a tiine of great peril and exer laboured, he thought more than necessary tion, so it was now our wish to promote emphasis was laid upon them. Surely their union and prosperity. We might there was soinething visionary in the idea now convince them, that our disposition to that a man was injured, because he was alleviate their grievances did not rise mere prevented by law from obtaining certain ly with our difficulties, and sink with the situations which it was almost impossible return of our security. And he could not he should ever obtain; yet such was the but regard it as a blessed occasion, which reasoning of one class of the advocates the current of human events had placed of the catholic claims. The peasant quietwithin our reach, when we were enabled ly tilling his potatoe ground, and who had to coofer a lasting benefit upon those who no thought beyond it, was represented ai could not misinterpret our motives; upon a debased and injured man, because he those who must know and feel, that what could vot become a colonel or general or we did, was done, 1st, because it was our the staff. To another class of advocates, duty; 2dly, because it was our interest; who conceived that great additional con: and, 3dly, because the sentiment of every cessions might still with safety be inade to heart declared that the present was the the catholics, he was ready to give his acb time for discarding, every petty jealousy, quiescence that is, if a fair line could be and obliterating the remeinbrance of all drawn between what should be granted past injuries. We might now prove to and what should not, and if he could be. her, that the interests of both countries lieve that the grants so limited would be were the same; that they were insepara. satisfactory, he would be one of the first bly blended together; and that, as they to give his vote in support of them. But were voited by nature, so they ought to then let the advocates of such concessions be united in the sacred and indissoluble produce their bill at once, and let the spebonds of law, and awity, and affection. cific objects be fairly described : for why

Earl BATHURST asked for what pur. should the house go in the first instance pose they were to go into a committee, into a committee ? His poble friend (lord without having certain settled principles on Harrowby) had asked whether we can which they were to proceed? To go into a stand where we do? To this he (lord committee without some specific plan would Bathurst) would answer, yes; I think I only be to excite expectations which can stand, because I have stood; and I do could not be fulfilled. The veto and do not choose to go from the spot where I do mestic nomination bad been mentioned as and can stand, till you prove to me that specific plans at different times : but the the spot to which you recommend me to veto which had been proposed by the ad. | move is quite as good as that which you vocates of the claims, had been withdrawn ask ine to leave: but he thought this arguby the same persons. It was understood ment proved too much; for if the concesto be an article of the union, that there sions were so dovetailed that they must should be no bar to the discussion of the go together, and that we must either re. catholic claims : well, we had discussed peal the past or go on to more, then he and enquired, and we found that it was would ask when and where they were to not expedient to grant those claims; and stop? If the catholics of Ireland were surely it would not be said, that because put on the same footing as the protestant the act of union did not bar discussion, it dissenters, they would go farther, and ask was to be considered as having taken away also for a church establishment These all bar to concession. Suppose there had were the grounds on which he felt it ne beeu no union, were there fordships pre cessary to resist the present application : pared to say, that the Roman catholic re for these reasons he would not by his vote ligion would have been established in Ire give a notiee to quit till he was sure of land ? No, it would cot; because it was having another house over his head. He contrary to the very principles of the con was not prepared for that fundamental stitution, that a religious establishinent change in the establishment of the country should be set up in opposition to the pro- which the proposed measure would effect, testant establishment: this would be to He was disposed to look with gratitude take away the very key-stone of the arch to the period of the reformation: he did of our system. The great argument on not mean to that bloody and licentious the other side was, that concession would reign which started that blessing, but to · do away that boud of vion which-át pre- the wild and solid virtues of the succeed

ing moparch, who placed the church upon the reformed church of England was as ioa rock, from which he hoped in God it tolerant and persecuting in spirit as the would never be displaced.

church of Rome could be. Reverting to Earl GREY said he had been so com the general question, he had no hesitation pletely anticipated in every thing which in saying, that in his judgment no one could be could wish to express upon the present conscientiously vote against it, who was subject by his noble friends who had pre not prepared to declare, that in the preceded him, that be felt it was a superflu sent state of the penal laws, as affecting ous task to address their lordships, and in the catholics of Ireland, there was nothing attempting which he had much apology to which required alteration. But who would offer them. Yet, though his opinions were say that the remaining exclusions under perfectly. well known, he felt that he could which they laboured, were not severe and pot reconcile it to his sense of duty to give heavy grievances? Who would say, that a silent vote. The omission of some things the penal statutes against them, which still in the course of that evening's debate had disgraced our statute-book, ought not to be given him considerable satisfaction. Hel repealed? He, for one, could not admit bad not heard repeated, as on former oc that their exclusion from power, or rather casions, the charges wbich were so pertis from the capacity of power, was complete naciously urged against the catholics, that toleration. He contended, that all such the doctrines of their religion exempted exclusions, if not justified by some great them from the obligation of keeping faith | state necessity, if not called for to obviato with heretics. That, together with other | some positive danger, was unjust, and irequally monstrous doctrines, it appeared reconcilable with any principles of equity. was no longer imputed to them by their What was the answer in that argument? opponents. But though he had derived do That the constitution of this country was common satisfaction from observing the essentially protestant, and could not be abandonment of those prejudices, he had altered without subverting its whole fabric, heard others advanced in theirstead, which He denied that proposition; and perfectly gave him equal pain, and excited equal agreed with his noble friend near him, that astonishment. The poble earl who pre. the revolution was equally founded upon sided over his majesty's governinent, and liberality in allthat concerned religion, and the right reverend prelate behind him, had | upon liberty in all that related to political ventured to assert that the protestant reli- conduct. He coucurred also in the just gion was of tbat character, that it could and discriminating panegyric which his not admit of a complete toleration with noble friend had pronounced on William respect to the catholics in this country. III. Even in the speech of the noble earl They contended that there was no danger opposite (lord Liverpool), he had not heard to be apprehended from a catholic governo a single word in answer to the repeated ment admitting protestants into its coun: calls which were made upon every discus. cils, but that it was impossible for a pro- sion of the present subject, to shew any distestant government to extend the same tinct and positive dangers that were likely liberality towards catholics. He confessed to arise from conceding the catholic claims. he heard that assertion thus broadly and He begged the noble earl's pardon; there unequivocally delivered, with consider. | was one danger which he mentioned, and able pain; because he always thought, if to which he earnestly called the attention the protestant church had oue distinguish of their lordships. The danger which so ing characteristic which more than another vehemently excited the apprehensions of discriminated it from that church wbose the noble earl, was, that if the catholics errors and prejudices they deplored, it were admitted into a full participation of was, that its doctrines and principles all the privileges of the British constitution, shrunk from po examination, bowever rigid the parliament of this country could nolooand severe. It was related of the duke ger be called a protestant parliament.of Guise, that when bis assassin was The noble earl foresaw the greatest perils brought before bin, he addressed him in from the loss of that distinctive appella. the following words (which a poet of our tion; but it was the first time he had ever own country bad put into the mouth of heard the pame of a thing prized beyond the Tamerlane):

substance, Of all the imaginary dangers “ Mark pow the difference 'twixt your faith and that the wit of man could devise, he mine

thought that the most futile. His lordsbip " Yours prompts to deeds of violence and blood, observed upon what he considered the vi. “ And mine to deeds of mercy and forgiveness." sionary nature of the alleged dangers that Such, he had been accustomed to think, was would attend the conceding the claims of the the language which the followers of the catholics, and remarked that on the ather protestant religion might have used to the hand, having given them the means of acmore bigotted adherents of the catholic | quiring wealth, and a certain degree of faith: but if the opinions of the noble earl | power, it was out of the nature of things to and the right reverend prelate were correct, I imagine that they would be contented as

« PreviousContinue »