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which it might now be granted, and would was the fundamental distinction between be infinitely less advantageous in point of that and the other measure with which security. The Roman Catholics of Eng. the noble lord had compared it. The land had hitherto manifested a patient noble lord was correct in his reference to submission to laws of the most unjust and the case of an individual, as having given oppressive nature. If loyalty and attach- occasion to the alteration in the law. He ment to the constitution as citizens and would readily admit that no claims could subjects ; if the faithful discharge of every be more respectable; but he could not duty; could recommend men to the consi- admit that a hardship incidental to the deration of their lordships, none were more state of the laws, would be a reason for entitled to that consideration than the abrogating them, if in other respects it Catholics of England. He would not say was fit that they should be continued. that the religion which gave to the world When the case alluded to occurred, it was men of such character was necessarily well known that Roman Catholics had, free from objection ; but this he would under the same circum.stances, been for a assert, that the religion which trained its number of years admitted to the army. followers to such virtues ought not to ex- The question which then arose was, what clude those who professed it from privi. was the ground of the distinction between leges enjoyed under the British constitu- the two services ? Did it depend on prac. tion by every other class of men. He tice or on law? It appeared to have concluded by presenting a petition signed been long the practice in the army not by a great number of Roman Catholics, to tender any oath to officers previous to praying for the removal of the disabilities their entering on the service, leaving under which they labour.
them liable only to the operation of the The Earl of Liverpool had of course no test and corporation acts. In the navy intention to offer any opposition to this the practice was different. The oath had petition being laid on the table, and always been tendered previously to grantshould not have felt any disposition to ing a commission, and thus Roman Ca. say a word on the subject, had not some- tholics were excluded from that service. thing which fell from the noble lord ren- When the subject came under the considered it necessary for him to trouble their deration of government, some persons lordships with a few observations, not were of opinion, that the practice of the with the view of discussing the subject, army was correct, and that it was in the but of preventing misunderstanding when power of the government to relieve the it came to be discussed. Above all, he officers of the navy, by ordering the prehoped it would not be supposed that he vious administration of the oath to be intended to offer any objection to the mo- discontinued. The question, however, tion for laying on the table a petition being referred to those individuals who which he knew to be signed by many of were best able to form a judgment as to the most respectable individuals in the what was the law, they gave it as their country, and with some of whom he had opinion, that the practice of the army was lived many years in habits of friendship, erroneous. Under these circumstances, and of the worthiness of the character of it was thought necessary to legalize the others he was able to bear testimony. The practice of the army, and to make that of noble earl was perfectly correct in stating the navy coincide with it. The act which that he had acknowledged that there was passed accordingly made both sercould be no objection to the Roman Ca- vices subject to the test and corporation tholics on the ground of immoral princi- acts, but relieved them from the liability ples or doctrine. He, and those who con. of taking an oath in the first instance. curred in opinion with him, opposed the The difference between the present state claims of the Roman Catholics on consti- of the law, and the object of the bill tutional principles only-on the ground which the noble lord wished to pass in that it was necessary, for the security of 1807 was this--the noble lord's bill prothe church and state, that the existing posed to repeal the test laws entirely, and laws should be maintained. Under these to open the navy and army by a new oath circumstances he should have remained to Catholics and dissenters of every silent, had not the noble lord thought description as a matter of right. The proper to call their lordships' attention to measure of 1817, on the contrary, maina measure which passed two years ago. tained the test and corporation laws, He was anxiously desirous to state what making this essential distinction that (VOL. XL.)
Catholics, or other dissenters, were not claims, from certain Protestants of the admitted to serve as a matter of right. city of Dublin. With respect to a cirThe noble earl would therefore find it a cumstance to which a noble earl had matter of do small difficulty to show that alluded, he had to state, that inquiry had there was no difference beiween the two been made, whether any soldier bad measures. What be, and those he acted signed the petition; and the result of the with, contended for in 1807, was, that great inquiry was, that the names of no soldiers inconvenience would arise if a principle were affixed to it. He did not mean to were adopted which placed all religions admit that there was any objection to on a footing of equality. If the noble soldiers signing such a petition as this as lord's bill had passed, the members of individuals, but as the fact was that they every religion might claim to serve of had not, it was not necessary to discuss right, as well as the members of the that question. church of England, instead of enjoying The Earl of Donoughmore said, if the that privilege by way of sufferance as poble duke asserted from his own knowthey now did. If such a system of ledge that there had been no solicitation equality were to prevail, the great princi- of soldiers to sign the petition, he must ple on which the security of the church of course believe it; but unless the poble and state rested would be esse ully duke did so, he must continue to believe changed. It was upon that question of that some practice of that kind had been security that their lordships' decision, on resorted to. Why else did the commander every point connected with this subject, of the depot issue the order to prevent must finally rest. He was, however, far the soldiers under his orders from interfrom wishing that any privilege should be fering in any political discussion, or withheld, that could be safely granted. signing any paper.
Earl Grey said, he was not quite satis- The Duke of Wellington observed, that fied with the account which the noble he could of course say nothing upon the earl had given of the difference between subject from his own knowledge, neither the two measures in question. Their could he answer for the motive of a lordships were aware, that both the commander of a depot in Ireland, for measures proposed to open the army and issuing an order. It was possible that the the navy to Catholics and all dissenters. order might have been issued in conseThat was alike the object of the bill of quence of some trick played by the oppo1807, and of that which passed two years site party, to discredit the petition. With ago. He was therefore justified in stating, regard to the fact, he had the authority that the measures were in substance and of the whole committee who had the maeffect the same, though the one had nagement of the petition for stating, that caused a most extraordinary clamour, and no soldier had by their authority been the other had passed through both solicited to sign it, nor could they discover Houses with an almost silent approbation. that any soldier actually had signed it. The only distinction was this-that which With respect to another statement also he did in 1807, he did openly. He pro- that had been made respecting getting fessed to open the army and navy to every charity boys to sign the petition, he had description of dissenters, without the ne- the authority of the lord mayor of Dublin, cessity of the annual Indemnity bill. and the trustees of the Bluecoat school
The Earl of Charlemont presented se-(which his grace likewise read) for stating veral petitions from the Roman Catholics that it was a false and scandalous report. of Ireland, for the removal of the political Numerous petitions for and against the disabilities to which they were subjected. Roman Catholic claims were presented He stated, that the hopes of that body by the marquis of Lansdowne, the duke of were raised in a very high degree, that Sussex, the earl of Enniskellen, earl Fitzthe time had at length arrived for the william, and the duke of Leinster ; all of attainment of their proudest wishes. They which were ordered to lie on the table. could not suppose that in the present enlightened age of the world, any argu.
HOUSE OF COMMONS. ments could be successfully urged against claims which were founded on the immu
Wednesday, May 5. table principles of justice.
Royal BURGHS.] Mr. Primrose said, The Duke of Wellington rose, to pre- he rose to present six petitions to the sent a petition against the Catholic House, all intimately connected with the important question fixed for to-morrow. petitioner's exertions ; that at the pressTwo of the petitions prayed, in con- ing desire of his tenants, and to supply formity with the petitions from the greater their reasonable wants, he built a superior proportion of the royal burghs of Scot public house or inn in the centre of the land, for that adequate and general reform village, where two cross roads meet, and which was necessary to remove the abuses at a distance of 250 yards on one road, now notoriously in operation. These two and of three quarters of a mile on the petitions were from the provost and ma- other, from any licensed house ; that seven gistracy of the burgh of Stirling, in which annual applications have been made to they beg to call the attention of the House the licensing justices at Hammersmith for to the constitution of their own burgh, in a licence to open the house, but on diforder to afford an illustration of the bene- ferent pretences it has been always refits arising from the annual election of the fused; that the said justices, however, magistrates, by a poll of the burgesses. three years since, granted a licence for a The only remedy they proposed for these mean thatched house, standing almost abuses was, to give those who were in- alone in the fields, some hundred yards terested in the expenditure of the burghs, distant from the petitioner's buildings, for a control by annual elections of the ma- procuring which licence 3501. was paid by gistrates. Stirling and Montrose were, the owner to the vestry clerk, when the However, the only places in Scotland land about the house so licensed became where that salutary system was in opera- covered with houses, and the petitioner's tion, and its benefits were in those two land, being denied the convenience of a burghs strongly exemplified. Three other public house, became deserted; that, on petitions were from the different incorpo- the last licensing day, the chairman adrations or guildrys of Stirling, and they dressed the tenant to the following effect : prayed that the bill introduced by the lord • We cannot grant you a licence, because advocate might not pass into a law; but your certificate is not signed by the miat all events that the burgh of Stirling nister and churchwardens; he act of might not be comprehended within its parliament requires this, and we should operation. The sixth and last petition not be justified in granting a licence was from the burgh of Minto, with a without their certificate;' and another similar prayer. He could not sit down magistrate declared that that was the only without repelling the insinuation that had reason of their refusal; but the act of been made within the walls of the House, parliament rendered no such signing imrelative to the character and influence of perative, nor had the minister of Hamthe burgesses of Scotland. From his mersmith signed a publican's certificate own knowledge, together with the inform- for 30 years, the licensers have since acation he had obtained from the most knowledged, upon oath, that they had respectable sources, he took upon him- determined not to licence the petitioner's self to say, that, in their respective places, house before any thing about the minister's they were the first persons in consequence, certificate was mentioned, and in fact property, and consideration.
within half an hour's time of their refus. The petitions were ordered to lie on the ing to deliver a licence for the petitioner's table.
house, on the above ground of the want
of the concurrent act of the minister, PETITION OF MR. BARBER Beau- they granted new licences in favour of a MONT, COMPLAINING OF THE LICENSING | brewer in the neighbourhood, and anOF PUBLIC Houses.] Mr. Hume pre- other for two low tipling houses, which sented a petition from Mr. Barber Beau- had been suppressed by former magismont, setting forth, " That the petitioner | trates as disorderly, each being in the is suffering a virtual demolition of his same parish, and situated within a few property, against which the laws of this yards of similar houses already licensed, country afford no redress, and his case not only without any concurrent act of being that of a multitude of other un- the minister, but in opposition to his ear. offending citizens, he humbly appeals for nest entreaty, contained in a letter read that protection which loyal subjects may at the meeting, that one of these houses expect from a just government; that the in particular might not be licensed ; the petitioner is ground landlord of upwards petitioner, fully aware that in this counof 70 houses at Shepherd's-bush, a village try no relief is procurable for the sufferer of new houses, chiefly raised through the under the most corrupt refusal of a lie cense, still thought that some furtherance against the setting up of such houses might be given to public justice by bring where the wants of the neighbourhood did ing the above case before a criminal tri- not require them, and the admission of bunal, proving therefore the deceit and persons of improper character to retail illegality of the reason assigned by the li- excisable commodities therein ; and the censers for their decision, and contrasting regulations requiring a renewal of such the facility of their grants of licences for licences annually, were established with a disorderly houses in clusters, in favour of view to secure the due collection of the one interest, with their seven years refusal
revenue arising from the duty imposed of a licence of a very superior house, with from time to time on such licences; that such strong claims against another in. contrary to the spirit and true context of terest, he obtained a rule to show cause the several statutes on this subject, the why a criminal information should not justices of the peace in the several disbe filed against them in the court of tricts in which the petitioners reside, have King's-bench, but although the above assumed a power to suppress and refuse facts were fully proved in the affidavits of to renew such licences at their discretion, the petitioner and his tenants, and were at the annual meetings appointed by law, uncontradicted in the affidavits of the de- and that without assigning any reason for fendants; still it was held, that as there such decisions, acquainting the suffering was no legal proof of a corrupt motive, parties of the cause of complaint, or perthe rule must be abandoned; all which the mitting them to be heard in their defence petitioner is ready to prove by evidence; in against these arbitrary determinations ; this state of prostration of civil rights to that the court of King's-bench, the only arbitrary wills, the petitioner, for himself jurisdiction for redress against the abuse and for his fellow-subjects, humbly claims of power by justices of the peace, have such protection in the inoffensive occupa determined never to entertain an application of his and their estates as to the tion at the instance of a party whose House shall seem meet.”
licence has been suppressed, unless it can Ordered to lie on the table.
be clearly and fully established by affidavit,
that the refusal on the part of the magisPETITION OF The Licensed Victu- trates has proceeded from motives of parALLERS OF LONDON AND WESTMINSTER.] tiality, malice, or corruption ; facts and Mr. Bennet presented a petition, signed by motives which the almost general practice between two and three thousand Licensed of the magistrates in refusing to assign Victuallers of London and Westminster; reasons for their decisions, render it next setting forth, “That the houses wherein to impossible to ascertain or establish; the petitioners, and other licensed Victu- that armed with such assumed power, and allers carry on their trade, acquire, by protected by such judicial determinations, means of their being exclusively licensed the justices, in numerous instances which for that purpose, a degree of value far have occurred, have exercised it from beyond that of other places of trade which motives of partiality, interest, personal are free for the use and occupation of any pique, and the most wanton caprice, to person who may choose to carry on busi- the utter ruin of many honest industrious ness therein; that to enable a licensed persons, and their families; that
powers, victualler to exercise his trade with any such as those assumed and exercised by fair prospect of success, and any degree justices of the peace in regard to vicof respectability, he must of necessity tuallers licences, the petitioners have no embark a considerable capital in acquiring hesitation to pronounce, are inconsistent a permanent interest in his house, the with the principles of the constitution, value and security of which depend solely contrary to law, and destructive of the on the continuance of his licence to retail property of the individuals subject to their exciseable commodities; and property to jurisdiction, having a tendency, by the the extent of several millions is invested most powerful operation, to defeat the in houses of this description in that part very end for which the jurisdiction was of the United Kingdom called England; established, by rendering insecure, uncerthat the obvious intent of the several sta- tain, and comparatively unproductive, the tutes investing a power in magistrates, property of the licensed victualler, which and other competent persons, to grant must necessarily drive from this trade men licences to the keepers of public alehouses, of character, respectability, and capital; victualling houses, &c. was, to guard that the petitioners are prepared to prove at the bar of the House, or in any, the first time annually licensed: it reother way that the House may be pleased quired that the party demanding a license to order, the oppressive, partial, and should be provided with the certificate of capricious exercise by the justices of the the clergyman, the churchwardens, and peace in many of the districts wherein the overseers, and of four respectable inhabipetitioners reside, of the power complain- tants of the parish. Upon this point the ed against, as well as that such power is practice had varied in different places : in in no case expressly given to such jus. some the magistrates would not license tices, by any of the statutes now in force without the signature of the minister; and for regulating licensed victualling houses, as the minister, from conscientious mo&c. and that its exercise is contrary to tives, would not sanction these places of the fair context and obvious intention of entertainment, no public houses at all exthe several statutes passed upon the sub- isted. In the metropolis the practice was ject; the petitioners refrain from enter- quite the reverse, for there the clergyman ing into all the cases of hardship, oppres- signed as a matter of course, and the bea. sion, and unwarrantable interference, of dle, for a fee of from half-a-crown to a which they complain, many of which are guinea, procured the necessary names of detailed in the several reports of the com- ihe parish officers and the inhabitants. mittee appointed by the House, to inquire The law was therefore in this respect a into the state of the police of the metro- dead letter. The alteration he suggested polis; they submit to the House the pro-was, that the signatures of the clergyman priety of some legislative relief from the the churchwardens and overseers, and six intolerable oppression under which they inhabitants should be necessary; or of now labour, and look with confidence to twelve inhabitants without the minister the House for such regulations, as, while and the parish officers : but that they they provide sufficient restraints for the should be obtained from the parish where public safety and good order, may afford the applicant for a license had last re. the petitioners and other persons exer- sided : for it not unfrequently happened cising the same trade, that security in the that a publican, whose house had been enjoyment of their property, which by the the resort of the vilest of mankind, obconstitution and law of the land, every tained a license from magistrates in a siBritish subject is entitled to; the peti- tuation where he was totally unknown. tioners therefore humbly pray, that the The next change he had to propose was in House will take their case into considera the system of recognizances, which hitherto tion, and grant them such relief as to the had been either two of 51, each, or one of House shall seem meet; and the peti- 10l.: and in general one publican became tioners farther pray, that the House will surety for another, through a whole line be pleased to permit the petitioners to be of applicants. without the slightest knowheard, touching the matter of the said ledge of their characters or circumpetition, by their counsel or agents, and stances. It was his object that the to adduce evidence before the House in amount of the recognizance should be support of their complaints."
increased, and that the parties entering · Ordered to lie on the table.
into it should be sworn as to their res
ponsibility. The arbitrary power which PUBLICANS. Licenses REGULATION magistrates enjoyed of depriving a Bill.] Mr. Bennet rose for the purpose man of his license and his living, with. of moving for leave to bring in a bill for out the assignment of any reason, was the better regulation of the mode in which a great evil in the existing law: he did licenses are granted to publicans. He not mean 10 cast any slur upon the gesaid that few questions regarding the in- neral impartiality of the mode in which terests, and what was of more conse- magistrates discharged this part of their quence the morals of the people, were of duty in the country: cases of oppression superior importance to the present : he could be pointed out, but they were few would not travel through long details in number compared with the metropolis, which this House had heard over and where, according to the evidence before over again, but would merely state the the committee, a system of petty tyranny law as it stood, and the amendment he had been carried on to a most injurious proposed to introduce. The principal act and shameful extent. Instances could be upon this subject was the 26th Geo. 2nd, detailed where victuallers, with the signac. 35, under which public houses were for ture of the clergymen, the parish officers,