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from doing that which they would not do, if they could, and could not, if they would. Yet these were the idle fears for which we were called upon to make such sacrifices.

He begged leave to add, that the empire, according to the admission of all parties, was at present in a state of great splendour. We had made great additions to it by conquest, and it required large standing armies to keep those conquests. Why then should we add to the number of our troops, in order to keep a part of our fellow-subjects as aliens in their native country ? Such conduct was most absurd and impolitic, and tended greatly to reduce the strength of the empire. Here then was the danger which was to be incurred; and for what? For refusing emancipation on those very terms on which it had been opposed some time back. The opponents of emancipation feared some time back, that by granting that measure, they would be granting an influence to a foreign power; that fear was now done away, by the terms which he proposed. The terms would place the Catholic prelates out of the danger of any foreign influence, and sufficiently under the power of the Crown, for any security which it could demand. He begged the House to be on their guard against any thing like recrimination on the Catholics. It would not be politic to refer back to ancient dates of history, to see what had been done on former occasions by them. It would be sufficient to know, that in 1782, we had made most important concessions to Ireland, which we should not now retract in part, by refusing the benefits of our law to threefourths of its inhabitants. It had been once said, that Ireland would not receive the English law, when it was pressed upon her. The House should not now act upon a contrary-principle, and refuse those benefits to so large a portion of the Irish population, who would receive them with joy and gratitude. · He then moved, That this House will, early in the next Session of Parliament, 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 final and conciliatory adjustment as may be conducive to the peace and tranquillity of the United Kingdom, to the stability of the Protestant establishment, and to the general concord and satisfaction of all classes of His Majesty's subjects.

The motion was seconded by Sir Henry Parnell, and supported by Gen. Matthew, Sir J. C. Hippisley, Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Ponsonby, and Sir Nicholas Colthurst. Mr. Ponsonby stated, that he was glad to find the Catholics had shewn a spirit of conciliation. With regard to the securities proposed, they could only be intended

tain ;

to allay the fears of the Protestants, but he conceived, that the true security was in the content and satisfaction of the Catholics ; Lord Castlereagh said, it was necessary that this question should be set at rest; it was important to Ireland, but still more so to Great Bri

and until it was settled, it was impossible that the government could assume an attitude of impartiality. It was opposed by Mr. Peel and Sir George Hill.

The House divided : for the motion 141, against it 172; Majority against the Catholics 31. Tellers for the Ayes, Sir H. Parnell, Mr. Calcraft.

Noes, Mr. Osborņe, Sir George Hill,




May 9. 1817.


R. GRATTAN, previous to submitting his motion to the

House, on the subject of the Catholic claims, moved, “ That the petition of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, presented on the 15th of May, 1816, be read."

The petition was accordingly read by the clerk.

Mr. GRATTAN then said, “ Having been applied to by the Roman Catholics of Ireland, to bring their case under the consideration of the House, I shall now proceed to discharge the duty I have undertaken. But, Sir, it is not my intention at present to go into this important question. I shall entreat the indulgence of the House, to hear my sentiments fully by way of reply. Upon a question of this sort, which has been debated in this House so often, it would - be monstrous presumption in me, to expect to be heard twice in the course of one night; I shall, therefore, request the indulgence of the House for my reply; and shall now trouble gentlemen but a very few minutes.

The resolution I intend to move is, for a committee to take the laws affecting the Roman Catholics into consideration. It is the same motion which was carried in 1813; and does nothing more than pledge the House to examine the penal laws, with a view to relieve the Catholics; to give every security to the Protestant establishment; and ultimately to impart satisfaction to all orders of men in the empire. I say ultimate satisfaction; because, in such a question as this, the hope of giving immediate satisfaction to every order of men, is a matter of utter impossibility; and, therefore, the House must legislate to the best of its judgement, with a view to the ultimate satisfaction of one party, and the immediate relief of another.

“ I have read the report* which my learned and useful friend (Sir J. C. Hippisley) has presented to the House, which has clearly shewn you, that, in all the great countries of Europe, there is a civil and military toleration, incorporation, and qualification, for all religious sects; that there is, in nearly every state of Europe, a certain connection between the clergy and the government, so as to preclude the danger of foreign influence, and that England is almost the only country where such an arrangement has not yet been made. I beg to observe, that there is now every reason to hope, and there is no reason to doubt, but that securities may be had, and such securities as the House will perhaps think desirable. There may be domestic nomination, there may be a veto, there may be both! Now you may command your own securities, and therefore, let not gentlemen say, "We cannot accede to Catholic emancipation, because we have no securities.' The question is, will you endanger the safety of your own church, in order to exclude the Catholics from the constitution ? You now have securities, both for church and state, at your command. If you exclude the Catholics, if you keep from them civil and military rights, will you not say, that you will exclụde the Protestant church and the Protestant settlement from security ? That is to declare, that you will prefer to the securities which your fellow-subjects offer, and which have so often been represented as necessary to the safety of the church and state, a monopoly, the monopoly of power, the monopoly of seats in Parliament, the monopoly of civil and military offices. Is it not to say, that you will prefer this power, not to the freedom of your Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, but to the security of the Protestant church? So that it will appear that, having called for securities, in order to justify you in granting liberty, you now refuse them, when offered, and exclude the Catholics, in order to prevent them from participating in that power which they were expected to share. I beg leave to say, that the present question is not about the means by which securities may be effected. I will not debate that point. The question is, whether any securities whatever will be received ? Let me tell you why. There is a communication between the Pope and the Catholic clergy, which must end either in incorporation with the See of Rome, or

Official papers relating to the regulation of the Roman Catholics : printed by order of the House of Commons.

connection with the government of England, and if the latter be refused, it will be dangerous to the safety of England. You will have the Catholic clergy incorporated with the See of Rome, and the Catholic laity discorporated from the people of England.

66 I shall into a committee to move the repeal of the laws that disqualify the Catholics from civil, military, and naval power, subject to such arrangements as may be judged necessary for the safety of the Protestant religion, the act of settlement, and the government of Great Britain; that is to say, subject to such provisions as you will feel necessary for the security of your church and state. That, if you choose to adopt the resolution, you may shew to the world, that you have ceased to be the only country in Europe that withheld those rights; but that you are ready to give franchises; and that you are willing to grant a participation in the benefits of your constitution to your Catholic fellow-subjects. This will acquit you with regard to your having a just idea of the principles of liberty, whilst the securities you will receive, will effectually protect your civil and religious privileges. Give to the Catholics all they require, taking care that your church is properly protected. This is the principle on which the question will stand, and the point which you must ultimately concede. With respect to safeguards, I think there is no man, when he procures rights, which he considers inestimable, that ought not to give you those securities, which, while they do not trench on the Catholic church, afford strength and safety to the Protestant religion. I shall now move,

66 That this House do 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 the general satisfaction and concord of all classes of His Majesty's subjects.”

I beg to say this, that my idea is not, in any degree whatever, to put it out of the power of this House, to insist on full satisfaction relative to the proffered securities, before they proceed to legislate; so that nothing that shall occur in the House, either now, or at any future period, shall be considered operative, unless the House be perfectly satisfied that the securities offered will insure the safety of the Protestant church and state.

The motion being seconded by Mr. W. Elliot, was then put from the chair:

It was supported by Sir J. C. Hippisley, Lord Castlereagh, Gen. Matthew, Mr. W. Elliot, Sir Henry Parnell, and Mr. Canning. It was opposed by Mr. Bragge Bathurst, Mr. Peel, Mr. Webber, and Mr. Leslie Foster. The two last members entered into a very long disquisition on Catholic theology, and Irish history. They contended that the constitution was essentially Protestant, King, Lords, Commons, and Ministers ; and that acceding to these demands would not only create a Catholic ascendancy in Ireland, but would shake the Protestant ascendancy in England.

Mr. Grattan, in reply, spoke in substance as follows :

I beg to re-state what I said in the beginning, that you can now command your securities, and in refusing to agree to this motion, you not only reject the emancipation of the Catholic subject, but the security of the Protestant. It is very true, a certain unpopularity may for a while attend one species of security, but I agree with the noble lord (Castlereagh), you are not to legislate to please, you are to legislate to serve you are to legislate to save; and then rely on it, you will ultimately satisfy. If you reject this motion, I repeat it, you reject your security, you oppose the franchises of those of another religion, and the security of your own. The right honourable gentleman (Mr. Peel), has called our system a Protestant constitution; as justly might he have called it a Protestant empire; he means a constitution to which the Protestants have an exclusive right without the participation of any Catholic member; he will prove that title. 1. do not find that he has produced any authority, in which that constitution is called Protestant, and if he did, denomination is no title. Still less can he advance prescription, the constitution was the work of Catholics, and the fundamental laws the work of Catholics. The bill of rights, and the declaration of rights, went no further than to declare the rights obtained by Catholics. The honourable gentleman has no right to say, the oath is a fundamental law; the oath was not intended to go against the Catholic religion, but against those who obey the temporal power of the Pope, and such is the explanation by act of parliament. [Here the statute of 33 Geo. 3. chap. 44. was read.] Mr. Grattan proceeded and observed, that the preamble ran thus: that the oath was a dogmatic renunciation of religious tenets, instead of an oath of allegiance; that the oath had been enacted to preserve the government against the attempts of those who were supposed to acknowledge the temporal power of the Pope, and not against their religion; that it was accordingly repealed, and the oath of allegiance put in its place. I speak of the repeal of the Scotch oath of 1793. There is another act which declares the oath to be provisional,

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