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events of the last war had tended to raise and handsome manner in which he had to a state of consideration. It appeared spoken of the state of the navy.. He confrom the papers, that means had been curred in the propriety of this country taken for building ships of larger dimen- building ships on a scale similar to those sions, corresponding with those of the with which our navy might probably have same rates built by other powers. It was to contend. It was the duty of the legisknown that the American 2 deck ships lature to be prepared to maintain, on any were superior to those of the same rates emergency, that naval supremacy which built in this country, both as to guns and the country had acquired. With respect men. He did not, however, think that to the dimensions of ships of war, it was it would be advisable to have all the ships true that some were building on a scale in the British navy raised to the same considerably beyond what had formerly scale. To attempt such a measure would been thought proper for the same rate. be only a useless waste of money. The He did not, however, think that all the American frigates were of a very superior two-deckers of the navy ought to be raised class compared to the scale on which to that scale. Many vessels were wanted British frigates had formerly been built; for convoy and other purposes in time of but he could not think it necessary that war; and frigates and ships of the line all the British frigates should henceforth might be so employed, though not conbe built on so enlarged a scale. He structed on so large a scale as those of thought it would be better to build frigates other powers with which the country of a size between those formerly fitted out might happen to be at war. At the same by this country and the American frigates. time he did not concur with the noble This seemed the more advisable, as the earl in his opinion, that it would be proper latter could not be expected to be very to build ships of an intermediate size benumerous. In the present state of the tween the scale hitherto adopted in the country, economy in every department navy and that of other countries. He did was most desirable, but he did not think not think it right to place the officers of the naval service one in which economy the British navy in a situation which would ought to be too rigidly enforced. Every compel them to go into action with a reduction that could be made, consistently great disparity of force. With regard to with the great object of having the navy what the noble lord had said, as to the in an efficient state on the commencement number of guard ships compared with the of a war, ought to be carried into effect, other ships in commission, he thought but nothing more should be attempted. that upon reflection he would perceive He thought the number of ships in active that there was no disadvantage in that service on foreign stations might be more, arrangement. The men employed in the and the number of guard ships less. This guardships could be removed to others at change would produce a state of greater a moment's notice; and the having them efficiency without materially augmenting ready for such a transfer would be very the expense. He had heard that the re. useful on any emergency. The noble giments of marines were reduced in num- earl had alluded to the state of the marines, bers below what might have been expected, and he concurred with him in his view of but he hoped that useful corps would be the propriety of maintaining that corps in preserved in such a state of efficiency, an efficient state. No force was, in his that, in case of a war unfortunately oc- opinion, more useful ; and any report of curring, it might be employed with the an intention to reduce them to a scale usual advantage to the service. The prac. lower than that of the last peace establishtice of impressing seamen had been long a ment, was founded in mistake. subject of complaint and regret. He was The papers were ordered to be printed. afraid, that on a sudden emergency, the navy could not be manned without the ROMAN CATHOLICS Relief Billimpress. It would, however, be advisable DOCTRINE OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION.] for their lordships to consider how far the Earl Grey said, he had hoped that the evils of that practice might, without pub- bill, the second reading of which he now lic inconvenience, be diminished. He rose to move, would have met with the concluded by moving that the papers be general concurrence of their lordships. printed.
That hope was founded on the reasonLord Melville expressed his acknow. ableness, as it appeared to him, of the ledgments to the noble lord for the candid bill itself, and the admission, that doctrines, of faith, considered with regard to ment. A war, too, had recently commenced religion only, were not a ground for the against Holland, the only protestant exclusion of Roman Catholics from the power in Europe in which civil and relienjoyment of the advantages of the British gious liberty then found protection. If constitution; and that no reason remained such were the circumstances under which for maintaining that exclusion, except the act of the 25th of Charles 2nd had their acknowledgment of foreign spiritual passed, those which existed at the time of supremacy, which it was contended ren- passing that of the 30th were still more dered it impossible for them to give to a remarkable. In addition to all the cir. Protestant government a sufficient security cumstances he had already stated, with for their allegiance. After these admis- a court and government so hostile to civil sions, he had thought there could be no liberty, the mind of the country was irriobjection to a bill which merely proposed tated by the disclosure of the popish plot, to repeal declarations required of a reli. and the evidence of Titus Oates, and gious and dogmatical nature, relating others. The circumstances of dismay entirely to questions of faith and doctrine, under which these acts were passed, acand which had no reference whatever to counted for their intolerant nature. Every the supremacy of any foreign power. He Roman Catholie was then regarded as a had therefore expected, that a proposition conspirator, and an enemy of public for the repeal of these declarations would liberty. It was therefore against crimes not have been resisted ; but he was told, attributed to Catholics, and not against from an authority which he could not their religion, that these laws were enacte doubt, that the bill he had introduced was ed. They were considered necessary to be met with a most determined opposi- safeguards, while the monarch was suspect. tion. It became, therefore, incumbent ed of being a Catholic, and his successor on him to state the grounds on which he avowedly of that religion. That it was thought their lordships ought to pass it. in this spirit these measures had been The bill proposed to abrogate two decla. adopted was abundantly proved by the rations enacted by the 25th and the 30th other severe statutes, which not only of Charles 2nd. The former was required excluded Catholics from office, but even on admission to office, and the latter to a deprived them of civil existence. It was seat in parliament.
only on a principle of great jealousy and Before he proceeded to inquire on what apprehended danger that the passing of grounds it could be thought reasonable to such laws in a free state could be accountmaintain these declarations, he would ed for. briefly call their lordships attention to the Happily, these cruel laws had been restate of the times in which the laws he pealed in more temperate times. Still, wished to remove from the statute book however, some intolerant acts were rehad been passed. The 25th of Charles tained, and there were none which, in 2nd was commonly called the Test act, christian charity and justice, their lordand it could scarcely be necessary to re- ships were more bound to remove than mind their lordships of the state of agita- those which it was the object of the pretion which prevailed in the country when sent bill to abrogate. The Roman Cathat law was enacted. It passed in the tholics were now regarded in a very dif. year 1673, when parliainent met, after ferent point of view from that in which repeated prorogations, with the country they were contemplated when these acts in a state of great irritation and alarm. passed. The imputations on the moral The king was suspected of being a Ca- principles of the Roman Catholics had tholic; the queen was known to be one ; been disclaimed; on that disclaimer par. the duke of York, also a Catholic, the liament had acted; and never had the next heir to the crown; and all the prin humanity of the legislature been more cipal offices of the court were filled by completely justified than by the conduct Catholics. The act of Non-Conformity of the Catholics since the severe disabili. had been suspended by proclamation, for ties under which they laboured had been the purpose of favouring Catholics. There removed. The oaths which had at difwas a camp at Blackheath commanded ferent times been formed in order to be by the duke of Schomberg, a foreigner, administered to persons taking office or and most of the officers were Roman Ca- entering into parliament, had all one obtholics. These troops had been assembled ject, namely; to separate spiritual from for the very purpose of overawing parlia-political supremacy. 'The noble earl opposite (Liverpool) had admitted that there to exist, on account of any doctrine that is nothing immoral in the Roman Catholic did not affect the character of the person religion. Every imputation of that kind who maintained it, as a good member of he acknowledged to have been satisfac- society or a loyal subject. That the detorily disclaimed and disproved. He clarations which the present bill was instated almost in the words of the declara- troduced to repeal was no test of obedience tion, that it is not because they believe or loyalty, would appear from their in transubstantiation, in the invocation of nature. The first declaration which was the Virgin Mary, or of Saints, or in the imposed by the act of the 25th of Charles sacrifice of the Mass, that they are ex. 2nd was directed against those who be: cluded from the benefits of the British lieved in the doctrine of transubstantiation. constitution ; but that before they can be The second, or that of the 30th of Charles admitted to the full enjoyment of their 2nd, went further, and declared the doc. political rights, it is necessary that the le-trine of transubstantiation, and the invogislature should be satisfied that the spi- cation of the Virgin Mary and of the ritual authority they acknowledge is so saints, idolatrous and superstitious. Now, separated from temporal authority, as to he would ask, if it was necessary to exenable them to give a perfect allegiance. clude the Roman Catholics from office That 'the doctrine of transubstantiation, and power, was it likewise necessary to the invocation of saints, and the other doc. denounce their belief and revile their trines he had alluded to, did not, in the worship? Must it not be galling to that opinion of the legislature, carry with them body, not only to be denied the privileges any moral or civil disqualification, was to which their fellow subjects were adproved by acts which had already been mitted, but to hear themselves branded passed for the relief of the Roman Ca- as the votaries of a blind superstition, and tholics. He would appeal, in support of the partisans of an idolatrous worship? this opinion, to the acts of 1778 and 1791, But how could the Protestants in most passed for the relief of Roman Catholics cases take these declarations, or subscribe in Scotland. The preamble of the act of these oaths, without some feelings of 1778 contained a declaration of this prin. doubt and some scruples of conscience ? ciple. It referred to an act of the Scots It had been a general complaint against parliament passed in the reign of king most governments, that they had imposed William, requiring Roman Catholics to useless oaths, and thereby weakened the make a renunciation, according to formula, solemn obligation which an oath implied; of transubstantiation and other articles of and from this charge we were not wholly their faith; and declares that the act exempt. Previous to any noble lord taking ought to be repealed, as the formula con. his seat, he was obliged to come to the tained only speculative opinions and reli. table of the House, and to take those degious doctrines. A clear distinction was clarations against transubstantiation and made between temporal and spiritual au- the invocation of saints-doctrines and thority: and the same principle governed practices which they had never examined ; the act of 1791. Thus he had not only thus converting into a mere ceremonial the admission of the noble earl opposite, and matter of course the most solemn act but the authority of an act of the legis- that could bind the conscience. Had all lature itself, for saying, that the specula- their lordships examined the tenets al. tive opinions or religious dogmas of the luded to with such attention, as to be Roman Catholics ought not of themselves able on conviction to declare them idolato form the ground of exclusion from trous and superstitious ? Did they underoffice, or a reason for political disqualifi- stand distinctly what the Roman Catholics cation. Why, then, continue these de- meant by transubstantiation or the invoclarations against transubstantiation and cation of the Virgin Mary? Did they the invocation, which related merely to know sufficiently what was meant by the speculative opinions? Was not the oath sacrifice of the Mass ; and could they of supremacy, by which the temporal and declare, that in the sense in which it was spiritual power of the pope was renounced, understood by the Catholic body, the sufficient to secure the legislature and the ceremony was idolatrous and superstihigher offices of the state from the admis.tious ? sion of Roman Catholics ? He hoped it He was sure that many of their lordwould not now be necessary to prove, that ships would admit, that they had never no political or civil disqualification ought seriously considered these questions, and that they would find it difficult, with a fearly reformers? Was it not the belief safe conscience, to make any declaration of queen Elizabeth? Was it not that of on the subject. On this account he thought archbishop Laud? The real interpretation that their lordships could not resist a re- of that part of the sacred scripture could vision of that part of the statute-book by only be given by the Divine Author of which such a test was imposed. The doc- the scripture; and no difference of opinion trine of transubstantiation, which was de- upon it could authorize us to renounce clared to be idolatrous, did not differ so that charity which was the common and widely from the doctrine of Protestants on undoubted duty of all, or to use those the same subject, as to authorize them to reviling terms that we applied in a solemn declare so strongly against it; nor, in the oath to the worship of the Roman Cathosense in which it was understood by the lics. lo confirmation of this opinion, he Catholics, could it be called idolatrous. begged leave to call the attention of their The Catholic maintained, that in the sa- lordships to a letter of a very eminent crament the elements were changed, and divine of the Church of England-he that he enjoyed the real presence of that meant archbishop Wake. That reverend Deity to whom all worship and adoration divine had engaged in a controversy with were due. How could this be called the doctors of Sorbonne, but had candidly idolatry, in the sense in which the Ca- admitted, that in many things the church tholic understood the doctrine of transub of England and the church of Rome main. stantiation? But was this doctrine so dif- tained the same doctrines and practised ferent from the doctrine of the Protestants similar rites. [Here the noble lord read of the Church of England, or so incon- a quotation from a Latin letter of the archsistent with the text of scripture, on bishop, in which he allowed the similarity which the belief of both was founded, as between the doctrine and discipline of the to warrant the epithet applied to it in the two churches.] The attachment of this case of the Roman Catholic? Their lord- divine to his country, his loyalty to his ships, as members of the Church of Eng. sovereign, and his conscientious adherence land, must of course believe, that the in to the tenets of the church at the head of terpretation of the Catholic was wrong: which he was, could not be doubted; and but it was their duty not to revile the yet he admitted, that in a comparison conscientious belief of others who differed between the church of England and the from them, but to attribute their difference church of Rome their articles of faith difof opinion to a fallibility of judgment, fered very little, their discipline still less, and to consider that only one omniscient and that in fundamentals they were nearly being could unanswerably decide between the same. Adverting again to the docthem. It ought to be recollected, that trine of transubstantiation, the noble earl no lwo churches agreed in the interpreta observed, that it had not been considered tion of the text of scripture, which the as idolatrous by many eminent Protestants. Roman Catholic appealed to, as support. In confirmation of this position, he quoted ing the doctrine of the real presence; the opinion of Mr. Waller, of sir William while the church of England, and other Temple, and others. Bishop Burnet had Protestant churches, drew from it doc- mentioned, that at the framing of the detrines that differed only by such slight claration the bishop of Ely objected to it, shades, as the generality of those who and contended that the practice of the took the oaths might not always sufficiently church of Rome, in the administration of examine so as to be able to come to the the eucharist, could not be called idoladecision required. The Roman Catholic trous. The noble earl produced other believed, that in the sacrament of the authorities in support of this opinion, and eucharist there was a real transubstantia- called upon their lordships, on these tion of the elements into the body of grounds, to agree with his bill in abolishChrist; the church of England believed ing a test which unnecessarily declared in what was called consubstantiation; and against the dogmas of another church, the Calvinist in a mysterious union of the and reviled a religion which on the point soul of the worshipper with the saviour, in question, was so little different from through the sacred symbols: in one way their own. or other the doctrine of the real presence
ce On the impropriety of such epithets as was adopted by them all. Was not some- idolatrous and superstitious, as applied to thing very similar to the doctrine of the the Roman Catholic lenets, he would not real presence believed in by the most further enlarge; but as he understood
there were objections to the repeal of the convinced that upon the maintenance of act in question, he would endeavour to that compact and of those acts of settle. answer them as well as he could. He ment, the safety of his majesty's person would have found it difficult to know what and government-the continuance of the these objections were, had he not met monarchy of England - the preservation of with a statement of them—a paper, which the Protestant religion in all its integrity contained the resolutions of a certain body - the maintenance of the church of Eng. of men against the present bill, on which land, as by law established the security a petition was to be founded, which, as of the ancient and undoubted rights and far as he knew, had not yet been present| liberties—and the future peace and tran. ed to the House. This paper evinced the quillity of this kingdom, do (under God) same spirit as had been manifested against entirely depend, this meeting is filled the bill which he (lord Grey) had intro- with alarm when the least attempt is made duced to another House in 1807, which to abrogate any of the laws, or subvert excited at that time such clamour, and any of the securities, by which those inesproduced such consequences; and it was timable privileges are held.” He was some consolation to him to reflect, that ready to give praise to those who supas the hostility to that measure had sub- ported the Protestant constitution, and sided when its objects were better under. were ready to guard the church from any stood; and as it had received the sanction danger with which it was threatened; but of parliament without creating any alarm, he should wish that they would show the without leading to any discussion, or same resolution to support the constitution, meeting with any opposition ; showing the rights and liberties of the people, on that what was resisted at one period, and other occasions when they were assailed. in the hands of one man, as dangerous In the third resolution they profess, and disastrous, was adopted at another, " that, by the wise policy of our ancestors, and from a different quarter, as wise and Roman Catholics were excluded from salutary: so it might happen with the bearing certain offices, and from the lepresent measure, which he might have gislature and councils of the nation; and expected to have been received with in-by, stat. 39, Car. 2, it was enacted, “ that dulgence, if not with favour. It was, no peer of the realm, or member of the however, to be opposed, and the resolu- House of Commons, should vote or sit in tions which he had alluded to stated the parliament, until he should take the oaths grounds. He could not say that the noble of allegiance and supremacy, and make, lord on the woolsack had had any hand in subscribe, and audibly repeat the decladrawing up that paper; but from the ration, against transubstantiation and technical terms in which it was expressed, popery.". The fourth resolution stated, from the particular phrases which were " that the meeting has been informed used, the style of thinking that it evinced, that a bill has been brought into parliaand the precision of the ideas that it con- ment, and is now in progress, in which tained, he did not doubt that it had come it is proposed, that the declaration against under his revision, and expressed his sen- transubstantiation, required by the statute timents. The noble and learned lord had 25th Charles 2nd, and the declaration said, that our constitution was funda- against transubstantiation and popery, mentally Protestant, and the first resolu- required by the statute 30th Charles 2nd, tion stated nearly the same thing: he shall no longer be required to be taken as said, " that the British constitution and a qualification for holding any office or government are essentially and funda- place of trust from his majesty, or under mentally Protestant, and the Protestant his authority, or for sitting or voting in religion forms the great security of the either House of parliament; provided that public happiness and welfare of this coun. nothing therein should dispense any pertry, as established and secured by a son from taking the oaths of allegiance or solemn national compact at the period of supremacy." The filth resolution was as the Revolution, and by the acts of the follows:- That although the said delegislature which happily settled the crown clarations against transubstantiation and of these realms upon his majesty's august popery "contain only a renunciation of family.” The second resolution stated, certain opinions entertained by Roman “ that, being sensible of the religious and Catholics, yet they form, in the opinion political blessings enjoyed under
the sway of this meeting, the principal test by of the royal house of Brunswick, and which Roman Catholics are to be ascer(VOL. XL.)