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leave other provisions to be filled up by others in the committee, provided they were not filled up in such a manner as to qualify, or rather to neutralize, the liberty you were conceding, or to displace the gift you were bestowing. Such a measure I think practicable, and I know it to be desirable. This preamble I would make a covenant of concord, in which I would urge the necessity of putting an end to all animosities, national and religious. The two islands have been for two centuries in a state of political contest. I would put an end to it. I would have the liberty of the press unrestrained in every thing but one-the people should not abuse one another out of their allegiance. They have the French and the Dutch to quarrel with abroad, and they may quarrel with ministers at home, or if they do not like that, they may attack the opposition; but they should never wage war against each other. It is a system that you cannot put an end to too soon. You are one people.

You have but one interest. The outcry which is raised among you, is neither the voice of religion, nor the voice of nature, and it cannot be appeased too soon. I would, therefore, propose as a first step, that the House should go into a committee on the Catholic claims, agreeably to the resolution of the last Parliament; and I will now read the resolution which I shall bring forward in the committee, as the foundation of a bill. 66 That with a view to such an adjustment as may be conducive to the peace, strength, and security of the English constitution, and the ultimate concord of the British empire ; it is highly advisable to provide for the removal of the civil and military disqualifications under: which : His Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects at present labour; making full provision, at the same time, for the maintenance and security of the Protestant succession to the Crown, according to the act of limitations, and for preserving inviolable the Protestant episcopal church of Great Britain and Ireland, and the church of Scotland, their doctrines, discipline, and government, as by law established.”

Mr. Grattan then moved, “ Thạt this House will resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to take into its most serious consideration, the state of the laws affecting His Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in Great Britain and Ireland, with a view to such a final and conciliatory adjustment as may be conducive to the peace and strength of the United Kingdom, to the stability of the Protestant establishment, and to the general satisfaction and concord of all classes of His Majesty's subjects.”

Mr. G. Ponsonby seconded the motion. It was opposed by Mr. Tomline, Mr. Bankes, and Mr. Yorke. It was supported by Sir Robert Heron, Mr. Plunkett, and Mr. J. Smith; and at three o'clock in the morning, the House adjourned to next day (the 27th). The motion was then supported by Sir J. Hippisley, General Matthew, Mr.J. Daly, Mr. V. Fitzgerald, Mr. Wise, and Sir F. Flood. It was opposed by Sir James Stewart, and Mr. Protheroe. On the motion of Lord Castlereagh, the debate was adjourned, at two o'clock, to Monday (the 1st of March). The debate was then resumed, and the motion was supported by Sir J. Newport, Mr. W. Pole, Mr. Ward, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Robinson, Sir Thomas Sutton, Viscount Palmerston, and Sir T. Acland. It was opposed by Mr. Peel, Mr. Ryder, Mr. Hart Davis, and Mr. Henry Lascelles. On the motion of Mr. Ponsonby, the debate was adjourned, at two o'clock, until the next day (2d.) The debate was then resumed ; and the motion was supported by Sir H. Parnell, Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Ponsonby, and Mr. Canning. It was opposed by Sir Wm, Scott, Mr. Rose, Mr. Manners Sutton, and Mr. Bathurst.

Mr. GRATTAN rosé in reply: he would not, he said, at that very late hour, and in the exhausted state in which the House was, enter into any thing but a brief comment upon some observations which he had just heard. I am asked, Sir, why I did not come forward with a specific detail on the part of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, of those grievances, the redress of which they now seek from the legislature, and the securities which they mean to concede. Had I so proceeded, Sir, in what manner would I have been met? I should have been answered, “ You, Sir, do not speak the sentiments of the Catholic body of Ireland. You do not speak the opinions of the great population of the land; you merely pronounce the decision of a body, calling itself the Catholic Board; you bring before the House the proceedings of a set of men unconstitutionally legislating out of the kingdom. A party now coming forward, not with the view to consult, but to command the legislature of the empire.” Such, Sir, would have been the argument by which I should have been received. But the right honourable gentleman opposite (Mr. Bathurst,) called upon me to institute an inquiry into the principles of my bill, before the proper stage of its discussion, before it should meet with the investigation of a committee. I will do this right honourable gentleman the justice to believe, that his argument in favour of a point so erroneous in principle, so utterly untenable, arises not from his conviction of the correctness of his logic, but is the result of the ministerial situation in which he is placed. He naturally writhes at the idea of this discussion, and easily finds objections to articles not


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founded in fact. You, Sir, in a committee will have opportunities of considering, in the most minute manner, the nature of that important subject “ Catholic emancipation.” It is true, Sir, that from various parts of England and Ireland, a variety of petitions have been presented, which now lie on your table. These petitions are of three different kinds; one class from Roman Catholics praying the removal of disabilities under which the penal statutes had placed them. A second class from Protestant communities, in support of the claims of their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects: and a third class, Sir, praying the legislature to guard against the danger arising from granting the prayer of the aforesaid petitions, and imploring Parliament to guard the supremacy of the established church; the latter, however, in very few. instances, objecting totally to the nature of these claims, provided sufficient securities were at the disposal of the state. Very few in Eng-, land, Sir, very few in Ireland, very few in the empire, are hostile to this discussion. On the contrary, the great majority are favourable to the principle of emancipation; the qualifications of which (if any be deemed necessary) will be the matter to which I would call the attention of the House, should we go into a committee. The right honourable gentleman, Sir,

has expressed his displeasure at my remarks on the means which have been resorted to, in this country, and, in many instances, by individuals professing our religion, to procure some petitions, wbich your clerk has reau. I would not, Sir, indulge in any unconciliatory remarks upon the clergy of the country. But when the under clergy of this country charge my countrymen with the crime of holding principles dangerous to the community, with the profession of tenets hostile to the existence of the state, I shall not withhold my astonishment at such a calumny; nor shall I silently submit to the propagation of such libels, without those severe animadversions against them which their conduct deserves. And here I most solemnly protest against the foulness of those proceedings. The honourable gentleman (Mr. Yorke) has been so completely answered by the honourable gentleman opposite (Mr. Canning) that I have little to add upon the inconsistency of his vote. I shall merely confine myself to that part of his speech, in which he directed the bill of rights to be read; and pronounced any repeal of the penal laws to be at variance with the solemn enactments of that celebrated law. I am the more led to remark



because it was afterwards enforced by the secretary for Ireland.* These official gentlemen contend, that the exclusion of Catholics from Parliament, formis

* Mr. Peel.

a part of the bill of rights. In answer to the assertion, Sir, I shall produce the authority of Parliament, and refer them to an act of Queen Anne. I shall therefore, Sir, upon

their own document, refute their own principle. [Here, the right honourable gentleman read some extracts from this act, at the time of the union of Scotland, also from the Irish statutes; the tenor of which was, “ that every person in Great Britain, until Parliament should otherwise direct (the right honourable gentleman particularly called their attention to this reserv-) ation), should take the oath prescribed.”] He concluded, by contending, that any man of the plainest capacity, need only read the oath, to be fully satisfied that it was a conditional, not a fundamental provision.

66 I leave to this House to consider its construction; that which is plainly and obviously accompanied by a provisional reservation, can never be recorded as a fundamental enactment.”

The House then divided on Mr. Grattan's motion : Ayes 264, Noes 224 ; Majority in favour of going into a committee 40. Tellers for the Ayes, Sir Henry Parnell and Mr. William Smith.

Noes, Mr. Bankes and Mr. Lascelles. It was then resolved, that the House would go into a committee, on Tuesday, 9th March.




March 9. 1813.

ON this day Mr. Grattan moved, “That the House do resolve itself

into a committee, to consider the laws affecting His Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects.” Mr. Lushington stated, that as he would not, after the Speaker had left the chair, have an opportunity of delivering his sentiments, he begged to express his apprehensions with regard to any further concessions to the Catholics ; that he conceived it was necessary they should disclaim certain doctrines attributed to them, and which he considered as dangerous to the civil and religious liberties of the country. The Speaker having left the chair, the House resolved itself into a committee.

Mr.GRATTAN said, he had thought it unnecessary and inconvenient the other night, when the House showed the greatest anxiety to come to a decision on the question, to go at large into any reply to the arguments against his motion. He

would now, however, remark upon several of them; and" in doing so, he thought it right to observe, that he had made an alteration in the resolution, as it was originally proposed. It did not, however, at all alter the principle, but merely modified the terms in which it was expressed. The alteration, which he was sure could not meet with the disapprobation of the opponents of the measure, was to this effect: That the House would take measures for restoring to the Catholics the privileges of the constitution, subject, however, to certain exceptions, and under such regulations as might be deemed necessary to support the Protestant establishment in church and state. This was a suggestion proposed by a right honourable gentleman, with whom, in principle, he completely agreed: and he did most willingly comply with it, not as any dereliction of the principle, but as a modification of the terms in which it was conceived. With regard to the church of Scotland, and the people of that communion, they seemed to be perfectly acquiescent in the wisdom of Parliament on this question. It was of great importance to the motion, that he could say that the presbytery of Scotland were not hostile to the measure of concession and conciliation. The presbytery of Edinburgh were, indeed, against the Catholics, but that of Glasgow was favourable; and he might conclude from their not having petitioned, that the great body of the church of Scotland was friendly to the Catholic cause. Nor could it be maintained, that the church of England, generally speaking, was against the principle, though many of its members had been more active in opposing the measure, than the Scottish clergy had been; and though it may be granted, that many of the clergy were not placable, yet it did not follow as a truth, that the people of England were in general hostile to the communication of their own privileges to the people of Ireland. The opposition to the Catholic claims was respectable: but at the same time they had received great and efficient support. Notwithstanding the opposition, to which he would not deny the name of respectable, how were we warranted to say, that the people of England were against the motion, when so few great public bodies had expressed their opinion ? If such was the case with the people of England, sure he was the great body of the Protestants in Ireland were still less unfavourable. The most respectable of the petitions from that part of the empire also, were not founded on the principle of opposition, but on the principle of security to existing establishments. He had no do

He had no doubt, in short, that the weight of Ireland, both in point of property and respectability, was decidedly in favour of the Catholics.

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