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should be retained, but at all events he should vote for the bill, as he considered it the restoration of a constitutional principle; the common law was now practically repealed, and it required to be revived by statute. The bill (owing to its modifications) might not immediately produce the benefits intended, but it might operate slowly, and in the end produce some salutary effects. He was in favour of the oath; there were many other clauses which he considered advantageous, but so great was his attachment to the principle, that he would take it even destitute of those provisions.
The House divided : for the amendment to omit the word · express” 74, against it 97; Majority 23. Tellers for the Ayes, Lord Binning and Mr. Huskisson.
Noes, Lord Milton and Lord Porchester,
MR. GRATTAN PRESENTS THE PETITION FROM THE ROMAN CATHO
LICS OF IRELAND.
February 28. 1810. MR.GRATTAN rose to present to the House a petition from
divers Roman Catholics in Ireland. It was a prayer for constitutional privileges. It applied for those privileges through the constitutional organ; it sought for a legitimate object, by legitimate means; it was right to encourage communion between the people and their representatives; it preserved that mutual understanding, that was so necessary to the maintenance of mutual good will. When last he had the honour of addressing the House in behalf of the Catholic claims, he had then stated, that the Catholics were willing to accede to His Majesty the right of veto on the Catholic nomination of their bishops. He was sorry to say, that he could not now affirm, that such were the sentiments of the Roman Catholics of Ireland upon that subject. Whether he had misinformed the House, or the Catholics had been guilty of retractation, was a question which he should never agitate, it being his fixed principle never to defend himself at the expence of his country.
The admission of the Catholic to a participation in the rights enjoyed by his Protestant fellow-subject, he had always thought a measure of imperious necessity, originating in wisdom, and founded upon the public good. He had, however, at the same time thought, and uniformly thought, that
the investiture of a foreign power, with the unqualified and arbitrary right of nomination to any portion of our magistracy, was, in itself, an objection that circumscribed the liberality of many, and had shaken the confidence of more. This objection might perhaps be removed, certainly be modi. fied. He thought it ought to be modified, for, putting.it broadly, it was calculated to awaken apprehensions of injurious consequences to these realms, and more particularly if looked at in reference to the present situation of the Spiritual Head of the Romav Catholic religion. The Pope was, or was likely to be, a French subject; it was desirable, it was indispensible, that the nomination of the spiritual magistrates of so great a portion of the community should not be at the control of the common enemy. In saying this, he spoke the sentiments, the wishes of the Roman Catholics of Ireland; their opinion in this respect was notorious and decisive; they were unanimous as to the object; they differed only as to the means; and if the majority should ultimately disapprove of the measure of veto, he thought that it behoved the Catholics to provide by some other mode equally efficient, and not equally obnoxious, that no grounds be left for those gloomy apprehensions of insecurity, resulting from acceding to their claims. It was, he repeated, absolutely incumbent upon the Catholics to adopt some other mode, since they could not agree to that, to show that the admitting them to the privileges of the Constitution was wholly consistent with its safety. He had deep and ample faith in that consistency; but now when the Pope was, or was soon to be, the subject of a foreign enemy, the Catholics would be solicitous to provide that the nomination of their spiritual magistracy should not be an instrument against that Constitution they had so long contributed their aid to support, and so long solicited the privilege to enjoy. The Catholics may not think the mode of veto the best way to effect this desirable purpose; but the object was not the less ardently wished for because they disputed the best means of attaining it.. Upon some future day, he would take occasion to call the solemn deliberation of the House, to sit in judgment upon the great question of giving all the defenders of the empire the same interest in its security; of consolidating our means, as a people, by making us an united people, cementing our strength by a more universal diffusion of the privileges that made us strong, and extending the defence of our rights by extending their participation. On that day, he should rest his arguments upon two great claims, which he would put in on the part of the constitution: first, no religious disability: next, no foreign nomination. Upon the
common ground of those two principles, he would take his stand; for the present he should say no more.
He deprecated, in the present stage, any conversation that could not embrace the question fully, and that might go too far upon detached points; and upon the future discussion he trusted that there would not be betrayed, upon either the one side or the other, any heat or violence. This was a question upon which transient effusions of ungoverned warmth might inflict permanent wounds. Passion and prejudice should keep equally aloof from its discussion. The soothing progress of time had imperceptibly done much to heal, and change and reconcile; reciprocal good-will had been gaining upon reciprocal recrimination. The question was a sort of protracted, marriage. Both parties were growing wearied of asperity; they were learning to bear with one another's failings, to take the worse for the sake of the better, and would soon have a common sympathy in their sufferings and enjoyments. He concluded with moving, that the petition do lie on the table.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Percival) said, that he hoped, as the right honourable gentleman seemed to admit the danger of concession to the Catholics, that he would hear no further of charges of intolerance, since the right honourable gentleman acknowledged that some danger was to be apprehended from the spiritual influence of the Pope. He concluded by entering his protest against the principle of condemning men as intolerant, because they exercise their judgment upon a great, religious, and political question. Mr. Christopher Hutchinson complained of the want of candour and discretion in the conduct of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He hoped that what had fallen from Mr. Grattan would have due effect upon the Catholics, and that they would be ready to come forward to separate themselves from foreign influence, and yield any pretension inconsistent with the security of the Constitution. He would not give up his opinion on the veto, and he was sure the Catholics would
do right to assent to it if they could do so consistently with their religion. In reply to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mr. GRATTAN said, that he had never changed his mind upon the great question of the Catholic claims: the course he had pursued, had been pursued by others. When Mr. Fox presented the petitions of the Catholics, he did not enter into the consideration of the small items of minor expediency; that was for the Committee to do, and he moved for a Committee; so had he (Mr. Grattan) done. He supported the broad question, and reserved the minor questions of qualifications, limitations, and security, for the Committee. He first asked them to go into the Committee. It had been argued on the
ground of provision and of security, in another place; it was allowed to be a question of complicated consideration; this was then an argument for going into the Committee; besides, the Pope was then an independant power, or at least a power dependant upon England; but now the Pope was wholly dependant upon France; and it was to be remembered, that the actual situation of the Pope was a mere ingredient in the question. By delaying the measure until now, the Catholics had lost the opportunity of obtaining their privileges, and England had lost the opportunity of displaying her generosity.
The Petition was then received.
Mr. Parnell and Mr. Hutchinson also presented petitions from the Queen's County and the County of Cork; and after a few words from Dr. Duigenan, they were received, and ordered to lie on the table.
LORD PORCHESTER PROPOSES HIS RESOLUTIONS OF CENSURE ON
MINISTERS ON ACCOUNT OF THE FAILURE OF THE EXPEDITION TO THE SCHELDT.
March 29. 1810.
IN the month of July 1809, the largest expedition, both naval
and military, that had ever left England, sailed for the Scheldt. The army landed in the Island of Walcheren, and took possession of the port of Flushing after a siege of fourteen days; but in consequence of the delay occasioned thereby, the French fortified themselves so strongly at Antwerp, and in the adjacent places, that the expedition, after a considerable loss of men by casualties and fever, were obliged to return to England. In order, however, to give a colour to justify the sending such an expedition, a garrison was left in the Island of Walcheren, the climate of which, towards the fall of the year, was peculiarly unwholesome; in consequence of which the British army fell a victim in great numbers to sickness and fevers. An enquiry was instituted before a Committee of the whole House into the causes of the failure of the expedition, and after a long and minute examination of the principal officers and persons employed, from which the impracticability of success was clearly manifest, Lord Porchester gave notice of a motion on the subject, and on the 26th he entered at great length into the question. He detailed the extravagance of the project, and condemned the ministers for undertaking it contrary to the opinion of the ablest officers, and still more so for retaining the island at the most unwholesome period of the year, and without any object but an endeavour to screen theịr original error. He proposed a vote of censure on the government; and concluded by moving two different sets of resolutions; the one on the policy and conduct of the campaign, the other on the retention of Walcheren, after the ulterior object was found impracticable, Being exhausted, the resolutions were read by Earl Temple, as follow :
No.I. 1st. “ That on the 28th of July last, and subsequent days, an armament, consisting of 39,000 land forces, 37 sail of the line, two ships of 50 guns, three of 44 guns, 24 frigates, 31 sloops, five bomb-vessels, and 23 gun-brigs, sailed on the late expedition to the Scheldt, having for its object the capture or destruction of the enemy's ships, either building at Antwerp or Flushing, or afloat on the Scheldt ; the destruction of the arsenals and dock-yards at Antwerp, Terneuse, and Flushing; the reduction of the island of Walcheren, and the rendering, if possible, the Scheldt no longer navigable for ships of war.
2d. “That Flushing surrendered on the 15th of August, whereby the reduction of the island of Walcheren was completed ; and that, on the 27th of August, all attempts upon the fleet and arsenals of the enemy at Antwerp was, by the unanimous opinion of the Lieutenant-Generals, declared to be impracticable, and was abandoned.
3d. “ That the destruction of the basin, dock-yard, arsenal, magazines, and naval store-houses of the town of Flushing, and of such part of the sea defences as it was found proper to destroy, having been effected on the 11th of December, the Island of Walcheren was, on the 23d of December, evacuated by His Majesty's forces, and the expedition ended.
4th. “ That it does not appear to this House, that the failure of this expedition is imputable to the conduct of the army or the navy, in the execution of their instructions, relative to the military and naval operations in the Scheldt.
5th. “ That on the 19th of August a malignant disorder showed itself amongst His Majesty's troops; and that, on the 8th of September, the number of sick amounted to upwards of 10,948 men.
6th. " That it appears, by the report of the Physician appointed to investigate the nature and causes of the malady to which His Majesty's troops were thus exposed, that the disease is one which prevails periodically in the islands of Zealand, and is of peculiar malignity there, and which constantly follows a law of season, appearing towards the end of Summer, becoming more severe in the autumnal months, declining in October, and nearly ceasing in November. That perfect recoveries are rare, convalescence never secure, and that the recurrence of fever quickly lays the founda ation of complaints which render a large proportion of the sufferers inefficient for future military purposes.
7th. “ That of the army which embarked for service in the Scheldt, 60 officers, and 3900 men, exclusive of those killed by the enemy, had died before the 1st of - February last, and on that day 217 officers and 11,296 men were reported sick,
8th. “ That the expedition to the Scheldt was undertaken under circumstances which afforded no rational hope of adequate success, and at the precise season of the year when the malignant disease,