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within it the administration of the great offices. Power was not to be trusted to divided allegiance. The allegi. ance of the catholics was divided. They gave a partial abedience to a foreign prelaie, and to a clergy foreign to the state at home. He was far from supposing in the can tholics of this day, a spirit of this dancerous superstition, disregarding the most sacred obligations of life; such a spirit never existed generally. The principle of disre. garding an oath would at any time haye been spurned at by the French nobility; yet it produced a Clement and Ravaillac, who assassinated their sovereigns. The lata ter assassinated Henry IV. the father of his people, in the midst of that people. May not such examples occur again ? Here the right reverned prelate went into an exa amination of doctor Milner's observations on oaths, which he conceived to be liable to misinterpretation and abuse. The catholics assumed great temporal p'wer. They also endeavoured to load with odium the protestant establishment. In a work published in Ireland, the protestants. were charged with corrupting the scriptures in their translation, although the very errors charged were only to be found in the old and obsolete translations. In speaking of the protestant clergy, the author of that work asked, whether it was wise to hire such men at the expence of a million a year to lead the people the wrong way? He was ready to grant the catholics every safe inxulgence, but he was not ready to admit tliem into every office of power and trust.
Lord Hutchinson denied that this was a party question, or that any influence had been employed by those with whom he acted, to bring forward this petition, or to aggravate the irritation of the catholic body. The matter was not under their controul; the catholics themselves had judged it proper to bring their claims before parliament, and had first offered the petition to a noble duke at the head of the government. Upon his refusal they had reqnested his noble friend to present it. Wbat private iaterest could they have in the agitation of this question That it had been often urged before, was no reason why it should not be discussed now. The oftener the subject was discussed, the better founded would the catholic claims appear. There were few great constitutional objects gained without repeated discussion and perseverance. The march of truth might be slow, but it always came..
up, and gained the victory at last. Those, however, who had to contend with prejudice, passion, and narrow views, could not but expect to meet with calumny. The argumen's against the claims, drawn from the power of the pope, had been often urged and refuted. The power of the catholic church existed no longer, its in perious head was bowed to the ground, and itself bound in ada mantine chains. Yet the opposers of the claims spoke of the power of the church, as it that power had beca in its zenith, and as if the pope commanded the world. It was a miserable employment, to be constantly obliged to repeat these refutations. However obnoxious the doctrines ascribed to the Roman-catholic church were, it was evident that if ever they were maintained by the catholics, they now disclaimed them. It had been said, that nothing was more absurd than to surround a protestant king with Rumau-catholic officers. Experience, however, had proved that there was no absurdity whatever in this : prom! testants commanded the armies of Louis the Fourteenth, catholics were employed in the Russian government, and. the three mandarins that attended lord Macartney in China were of three different sects. Could any onc ima. gine that a man who possessed scope of mind sufficient for the conduct of government, that a general fit to be trusted with the command of an army, should so far forget his honour and his duty as to render his power subservient to any improper practices connected with spe. cylative matters of faith? In the present age, the influence of religious opinions was not so strong. In the dread events that had lately happened, religious notions were not concerned. Great as the mischief had been, the name of religion had not been abused. The ideas which some appeared to entertain of the influence of speculative points of faith were not applicable to the present times. In almost every country except our own, these restrictions were done away. The Roman.catholic church, instead of dominecring over others, was scarcely able to sustain itself. The clamour raised about its being subject to one head was now idle and absurd, though a cenjury ago, perhaps this circumstance might afford reasonable grounds for apprehension. It had been remarked by the opposers of the claims, that a compliance with the prayer of the petitior would be contrary to the principles of the Revolution. He respected the principles of the Revolus. tion, because he had a different view of them : their object was to guard the liberty of the subject, to secure his right, and the stability of the contract between the king and the people; ils object was real überty, and in order to secure that, these restrictions were then imposed; but the occasion for them having ceased, the spirit and prine ciples of the Revolution required that they should be abo. Bished. Many of the misfortunes of Ireland had resulted from this im potent attempt at kceping the power in the hands of a few, to the exclusion of the great body of the people from the chance of attaining the higher offices. Miserable and short-sighted politicians ! the evil they had done lived after them, and Ireland still smarted under its. effects. The general disrespect of the law, the long-continued and deep-rooted discontent in Ireland, must have resulted from as general a cause. His countrymen were extreme in their love and their hatred, their gratitude and their resentment, and hence the distractions that had arisen from an erroneous policy. But he was told that the peasants would be indifferent to the benefits now claim. ed, and that even though granted, the effects would not reach them. The odious distinction established by law between the Roman-catholic and the protestant being done away, the former would find his consequence much in. creased ; and many poor people might have access to se« veral little offices, from which they were at present in effect excluded by the stigma under which they laboured. The noble general concluded by a long comment upon. the absurdity of excluding the catholics from power upon such futile grounds, while all Europe had coalesced against us; when all governments had become tolerant but our own ; when all the power of the people was reduced to nothing; and when our danger had increased! in a tenfold degree.
Earl Stanhope, in allusion to what had fallen from a right reverend prelate, admitted that a million sterling was a great deal of money to pay annually to him and his bretliren. As to the mistranslation of the Bible, the papists were not perhaps far wrong, as far as respected the early versions. The garbled manuscript in the Bri. tish museum was a proof of this. The parts improperly translated having been written in a different ink from the true and genuine passages, time had consumed one of the sorts of ink, and the whole imposition was detected.
But the bishops were very eager för uniformity : where was that uniformity in the church of England, when the differences in the Common Prayer Books of Cambridge and Oxford amounted to three thousand six hundred and upwards ? All the bishops ought to be ashamed of them. selves. He begged pardon for saying all ; one respectable prelate (Norwich) had made a inost logical, sound, and liberal, speech on the present occasion, and had been most miserably answered by the priest who spoke last. When the privileges of three millions of people were unider consideration, it was scandalous to be reading anony, mous libels against them. He should have thought that the noble lord on the cross benchi (Sidmouth) might have been better acquainted with the rule of order, than to accuse the catholics of a want of patriotism, merrly because they persisted in claiming what appeared to them to be their due. The noble earl then read a paper published by the English catholics, disclaiming all the mischievous doctrines imputed to them, in which they were joined by the Irish catholics, and concluded by observing, that there could not be a libel urged against them to which that paper was not a complete answer.
Lord Mulgrave was satisfied that the discussion of this subject could produce nothing but irritation and mischief. He contrasted the conduct of the noble lords opposite when in power, with their conduct now they were out of power. When in power, they were ready to relinquish even a comparatively insignificant measure to relieve the catholics; now they were out of power, nothing would content them but a full and complete concession. The noble baron (Grenville) declared, that this concession was necessary for the salvation of the empire. If he thought so when in office he ought to have declared it; if his opinion had changed, be ought to explain the cause of that change. A great delusion was practised by stating that three millions of people were interested in this question, when in fact not more than three hundred could be actually interested. He wished, however, to be distinctly understood as giving no opinion on the catholic claims; what he meant was, that it was extremely indiscreet to agitate the question when its fate must be anticipated.
The Earl of Buckinghamshire opposed the motion, because he was averse to the whole principle of the mea. sure. He had every reason to love the people of Ireland,
but he was convinced that a compliance with the prayer of the petition would be so far from tranquillizing that country, that it would have a quite contrary effect. The catholics now wanted seats in parliament; but this was only to be the step to a great deal more. He gave it as his opinion, that if the parliament was opened to the ca. tholics, eighty dissenters from the church of England would be returned for Ireland ; and this opinion was founded on the great increase of the catholic freeholders. Adverting to the negative proposed to be allowed to his majesty, in the appointment of Roman-catholic bishops, he observed that this was no more than giving a concurren: jurisdiction with Buonaparte, who commanded the pope. The principles of ile catholics, he thought, ought to be watched with jealousy. He quoted an observation in the publication of Dr. Milner, in order to shew the spirit which still appeared to prevail among them. This was a remark on the statue of his majesty, or his predecessor, at Cork; which was said to be painted yellow because the king was an orangeman, and sided with a few thonsands of bis subjects against as many millions. He agreed perfectly with ihe noble baron who introluced the subject, that it would be wise to make a provi ion for the catholic clergy. This, and a proper plan of education to enlighten the minds of the people, would be the best boon for Ireland. The granting of the present claims could do little good, and might do a great deal of harm.
The Duke of Norfolk spoke in favour of the motion.
Lord Erskine was of opinion that parliament had gone on too far in the system of concession to the catholics, now to make a sto;', consistently with the object which gave rise to that system. Fie could not conceive the principle upori which ihe catholics were admitted into the army, 'thie navy, and certain civil depariments of the state, while they were to bcexcluded from those appointments for which the petitioners sought. The house should, he thought, go into the proposed committee; and there it might be considered how far the prayer of the petition might be acceded to, and whether any and whal conditions were necessary to accompany the grant of the petitioners in order to secure the protestant establishment, in solicitude for the maintenance of which he would yield to no person or party whatever.
Lord Hawkesbury had hoped, both from the conduct