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of the learned lord when this subject was last before par. liament, a well as from his knowledge of the laws and constitution of his country, that he would vote against the motion, and not for it. For his own part, he should fail in his duty if he did not declare most decidedly, that. his objection to granting i he prayer of the petitioa did not rest on time and circumstances, but on principle. This opinion was founded on his conviction ihat a protestant government alone was consistent with the laws and constitution of the British empire. The noble baron by whom the question had been brought forward had said, that it would be no injustice to kcep a Roman-catholic from the crown, because no person who could have any pre- . tensio:is to the crown was a cath ic. But such a case might exist : the presumptive heir to the crown might be a catholic, and then his exclusion would be a hardship; but that was not to be set against the safety of the protestant establishment. Our allegiance to the house of Brunswick was paid, not because it was the house of Brunswick alone, but because it was a protestant liouse. If it was necessary that he king of Great Britain should be a protestant, was it not necessary that his advisers shouli be so tov? that the lord chancellor (the keeper of the king's conscience), the judges, and the great officers of the state, should be protestants? And if this were so, was it not more wise and expedient to exclude catholics from these situations by law, than to throw upon the king the odium of rejecting them? Fer let the house bear in mind, that the principle of the prayer of the petition went to the attainment of all puwers, on equal terms with the protestants, a principle no monarch could venture to apply practically wil hout endangering the constitution. It must be recollected, that the catholics were not at present excluded from places of the highest trust by any direct law. They excluded themselves because they would not take the prescribed tests (prescribed to all the subjects of the empire indifferently); and particularly because they would not take the oath of supremacy, by which they abjured all foreign temporal and ecclesiastical dominion in ihese realms. The first question therefore was, whether or not this oath was founded in reason and principle ? Was it just, as long as the country possessed a protestant government and a protestant establishment, to require that the members of the legislature, and the great officers of Vol. III.-1808.
the state, should abjure foreign temporal, as well as foreign ecclesiastical, dominion Consistently with the security of the protestant government, and the protestant establishment, it was not possible to dispense with this test. The large proportion of the population of Ireland which the catholics formed, had been stated as a reason for acceding to their request. This question must be viewed in one of two points: if the emsire were considered (and in his opinion we were bound so to consider it) as a whole, then in any legislative regulation, parliament ought 10 be influenced, not hy what was the majori'y of a certain class in a part of the empire, but by what was the majority of that class in the whole empire. On this footing, the claim of the catholics was indefensible, and it was that the two islands might thus be considered as a whole empire, that the union had been projected. If the other view of the subject were taken, if the majority in a part of the ex: pire were to determine the regulations of the legislature, the consequence would then be, that if the present question were carried, the catholics might go fur. ther. They might then say, that as their having a majosily in the population of Ireland had been armited as a groun! for their admissibility into the high offices of the state, the same circumstance would entitle them to sube stitute a catholic for a protestant establishment in that country. This was a question directly affecting every catholic who had an acre of land in Ireland ; every man who now paid to the support of two churches, would be very really to get rid of that burden by the subversion of protestantisin, as the establised religion of the country. İle allowed that no such cbject was hinted-at in the peti. tion, but experience bad pronounced decidedly on this subject. Was it not within every man's recollection, tbal in 1793 and 1791, the catholics of Ireland were call til upon to state the whole of their demands? They did state the whole of their demands. They were granted by the Irish parliament, and wliat followed ! Why, that they urged fresh deinands. In support of his opimiun, with respect to the lisposition of the catholics to presume on any indulgence that was granted to them, he Tead an extract from a work by sir John Throg morton (a moderate catholic), in which their wish to insinuate a catholic establishment was sufficiently indicated. If therefore the legislature of Grcat Britain were to surrender to the catholics the barrier in question, that surrender would lead to the destruction of the present ecclesiastical establishment in Ireland. The mai question to be discussed was the probability, should the prayer of the petition be complied witil, that such compliance would benefit the Irish people at large. No one could more lament the disturbances that had recently occurred in the sister king. dom ; but on a close examination he found that these disturbances had not originated in any political or religious causc. Toey chiefly arose from a deinand made by the catholic priests for an increase of their dues, änd from other local grievances, which, although they were sea verely felt, were still but local. If he were well-founded in this statement, 'what became of the noblu baron's assertion, that a compliance with the petition would allay the general discontent of the Irish : No man could deny that it was desirable to allay that discontent; but he would positively deny that the measure proposed was calculated to do so; on the contrary, he was convinced, that by inciting to new demands, demands which could not be complied with, it would give birth to new causes of discontent. The noble baron had dwelt on the necessity of compliance on account of the great danger to which the country was exposed in the present state of the world. The country certainly was in great danger ; but in former periods it had also been in great danger (though perhaps not in such great danger as at this moment, yet in danger so great that the government would not have been justified had they not resorted to every means of defence within their power), yet the government at those periods never sought for assistance by surrendering the barriers of the constitution. In the beginning of the reign of king William, the country was exposed to a great foreign force; the French fleet disputed with the British the dominion of the seas; Ireland was in a most disturbed state; in England there existed a strong party attached to the exiled family. But amidst all these dangers, did the government think of surrendering the barriers of the constitution ? No; they felt that the security of the country depended upon the constitution, and that the security of the constitution depended upon the protestant establishment. By uniting these firmly together, they were en.
abled successfully to battle with the enemics by whom they were surrounded. In declaring his conviction that the ma's of the people of Ireland would not be benefited by the concession which it was proposed to make to them, he was supported by very bigh authori y. Arthur O'Conviçr, Messrs. M-Nevin and Emmett, båd distinctly stated, that they would not. But it was to him most obvious, that those who, under a protestant establishment, were allows ed to make and to administer the laws, ought to submit to some test of their determination inviolably to maintain that establishmesi.
Lord Ilolland did not think it necessary to enter into a discussion of the various polemical points which had been brought forward in the course of the debate. The question for parliament to consider was, what was the state of Ireland, and what the remedy proper to be applied to it in the present exigency. If the good will of four millions of the people were necessary to the safety of Ireland, if Ireland were necessary to the safety of the empire, this measure ought to be acceded to. With the danger of the present day he contended that no preceding period could fairly be compared. The reign of William the Third, which had been quoted, had no analogy whatever to it, and therefore the existence of the penal laws, at that or any other period that had been imentioned, could present nothing in their justification at this moment. These penal laws were, in his mind, always odious, but peculiarly so at present, when all the pretexts for their original enactmeni ceased to exist. The proble lord vindicated the book of Dr. Milner against the misrepresentation of it which appeared in the speech of one of the reverend prelates ; but he contended that whatcyer that book, or the book of any other individual, how. cver high in talent or character, might contain that should be reprehensible, could not fairly be alleged as a ground of censure upon the whole sect of which that individual inight be a member. He replied to the assertion, that the peasantry of Ireland cared not a farthing about the object for which the higher orders of their persuasion were now seeking. What, he would ask, bound a man to the glory of his country? What made the lower orders rejoice in the honours and achievements of their generals and ad. mirals? Wbat made their hicarts beat with exultation at
the mere mention of such names as Nelson's ? What, but the principle and feeling which must excite pleasure in the Irish peasant's breast, when informed of the advancemerit and distinction of one of his persuasion and way of thinking. As to the attempt made to identify the Revolas tion with the abominable code against the catholics, be protested against the identity. He also protested against the Revolution, as being provoked by catholicism, or by the peculiar partiality of James 11. to that creed. No; it arose out of his perseverance in urging that dispensing power which bis unforiunate father altempted to establish. But the main question to consider on this occasion was this : by whom had any of the riots or commotions, as. cribed to the catholics, been excited and directed ? Cer. tainly not by catholic generals, admirals, or senators, whatever concern the catholic populace might have in them. Therefore no precedent can be adduced from his. tory to justify any apprehension of danger from sticla persons as this petition referred 10. Indeed as to history, it would not be the interest of either sect to refer to it, as a great deal of excess might be shewn on both side. To the assertion of the noble baron (Hawkesbury), that the catholics owed their exclusion to their own conduct in refusing to subscribe to the oaths of supremacy and abjuration, he would shortly reply, by referring to those oaihs, and then he would ask any candid man, whether it was possible for any catholic to swear such oaths; to subscribe io tests which absolutely proscribed his own faith : the proposition was mockery. The noble lord concluded with a commentary upon the principles and objects of those with whom the penal laws originated, and pronounced the conduct of the old whigs of the Revolution who sanctioned ibem as highly disgraceful.
Lord Auckland said that he should state very shortly the motives of his adherence to the opinion which he had expressed so fully on a former occasion. He had even been inclined to give a silent vote; for it did not appear to him that any new circumstances had arisen, or that any new arguments had been adduced to shake or controvert the solemn decision of 1805. Without entering into any details, he felt himself compelled by his sense of public duty to resist any further indulgences to the Roman.ca. tholics of Ireland. From 1978 to 1793 concession had