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which the Union has iinposed upon you, and to provide for the real and essential Union of all the inhabitants of this kingdom, in bonds of affection and loyalty, and a resolution to defend the King and Constitutional interests of the country, against all enemies, external and internal.

“ This question is in a certain degree to be placed on the ground of expediency, and not of right. When the safety of the whole requires it, it is in the privilege of the whole to provide disabilities. But the question is, whether there is any necessity for the continuance of those restraints on four or five millions of the King's subjects, from the benefits of the Constitution of the country? I might only state, that on the eternal principles of justice, if there be any such necessity apparent, those who would continue these restraints, ought to shew theis

If it be our pride and happiness to be judged by equal laws, let those who would limit and curtail that'equality, explain the grounds of their restriction. This principle I ventured to state on a former occasion, and though some were inclined to dispute it, they could get no farther in their opposition than to deny it: indeed it seems to be impossible for any man, who has the right use of his understanding, to deny its application, in such a Constitution as ours. I submit my motion now, stating that no such necessity exists, waiting for an answer, and ready, should it be necessary, to offer my poor thoughts in reply. But really, my Lords, I am ready even to take the proof upon myself. I take the British Constitution to be founded on equal laws. It acknowledges some distinctions and privileges, it is true; but where there is a restraint on four millions of persons, there must absolutely appear some manifest and palpable ground of expediency or necessity for its continuance. The Catholics come before you restrained from seats in Parliament, from various high offices in the State and in professions, from serving as sheriffs, and with some qualifications from


corporations. The question is, what should induce you to retain these restrictions? One reason that I have heard, I should be unwilling to impute to any person: but I have heard or read somewhere, that no Catholic can be a good subject. Thus, let me ask your Lordships, if this be true, how can they be fit for all that mass of offices for which their eligibility has been acceded to them, with the exception of about 30; to all military rank below that of generals; to all revenue offices, except four or five; or to swear allegiance at the table of a court of justice? No man should have agreed to their admission, much less have proposed to admit them into courts of justice, who held such opinions of them. But endeavours have actually been used to persuade the public, that no Catholic can be a true and loyal subject. I have heard of some old musty forgotten records, from which old doctrines have been picked out, which are drawn forth against the solemn and positive declarations of living men saying what they profess, and disclaiming what has been objected to them. In fact, saying to the Roman Catholic, 'I know your, religion better than yourself. If you deny the persecution

of heretics, I tell you that your religion enjoins it. If you disclaim the violation of faith with heretics, I tell you that it is a doctrine of your church. If

you say you do not believe in the dispensing power of the Pope, I say you do believe it!' I should think, my Lords, it is enough to take a man's own sense of the obligations of his own religion, and his own test and declarations on those subjects which have been disputed, and not your own opinion on some obsolete opinions which they deny. I know not where persecution is to end, if you try, and condemn and punish men not for being guilty, but for opinions which they do not hold. If it be true that you have actually discovered by the Counsel of Lateran or of Constance, or by some old decretal or canon, that a Catholic cannot be trusted, it must apply to all modes, and to

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every view of the future, and lead to a crusade, to drive all those irreconcileable enemies of the Protestant Government out of the country they inhabit. How am I to argue the point, that the whole body of the Catholics is not disloyal? By referring to the repeated Acts of the Protestant Legislature of Ireland! I know of no mode to exhibit mathematical, or strictly logical proofs of the rebellion in Ireland not having been what is termed a Catholic rebellion. There had been two separate rebellions in the Empire before. Look at the Acts of Parliament, and you will find that the demeanour of the Catholics is characterized for the loyalty of that body, notwithstanding the convulsed state of the times. Noble Lords cannot forget the period of the American war, when the navyof the enemy triumphed in the Channel; when Ireland was threatened with invasion; I speak in the hearing of individual witnesses, of those who have been Lords-Lieutenants, and Secretaries to Lords-Lieutenants. At that critical time the Catholic body was not considered to be disaffected to the Protestant Government, but were thought fit to be entrusted with arms for the defence of their country. The next thing I shall notice is what is notorious to every man who has heard of the Rebellion, that the conspiracy was framed and carried on by persons naming themselves United Irishmen, a termevidently adopted to comprehend men of all descriptions in religion, an union of sects, and by no means of the Catholic persuasion only. In the course of the insurrection, the principas leaders punished were actually Protestants. The Rebellion took its rise in . circumstances wholly foreign to religious opinions, and pointed to very different objects; and in the event of its success, the overthrow of Catholic

power was as certain as that of Protestant ascendancy. Its object was, not overturn the Protestant Establishment, but the Monarchy, and to atchieve the independence and separation of Ireland from Great Britain. It has been said, that in some places


all the Rebels were Catholics; but if nearly all the inhabitants there were Catholics, it is not very surprising that many Catholics should be Rebels, But did that Rebellion display no instances of Catholics struggling for the Constitution, risking their lives against the enemies of their Sovereign, and manifesting as much bravery as others did in the ranks of rebellion, sharing with Protestants the dangers of the times? If at present three-fourths of Ireland are better disposed towards you than they have been for many years past, is it not as fair to give them credit, as to throw reflections upon their loyalty? You have the strongest evidence in their favour, in their own solemn, repeated disclaimer of all that you object to them; but you have recourse to old-fashioned absurd arguments. Aye, let them swear what they will, they can recur to the dispensing power of the Pope, in which every Catholic believes ! If that be true, and that four millions of subjects cannot be believed on their oaths, then they are positively disqualified from civil government; and therefore we ought to withhold from them, not merely, what they now ask, but the partial concessions made to them ought to be retracted; for, I repeat it, in such a situation they are absolutely disqualified by God and nature from the advantages of civil government. But this is not a very happy 'argument for those who use it, since the very restrictions impose an oath. You say you think the Catholic dangerous, unless he take the oath of supremacy. What! but will he not violate the oath? If he be disposed to violate his oath, what prevents his taking it? I expect to hear it observed, that no Priests have signed the Petition I have had the honour to present. But I am authorised to state as a reason for this, that the matter, relating only to civil rights, and not having any relation to any stations the Clergy can fill, they thought it more proper to abstain from putting their signatures to it. But they are perfectly willing to join in it; and I am willing and ready to shew that the respectable Prelates of that Church (for respect


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able I nust call them) have all actually taken the Oaths, and believe them to be quite conformable to their church. They have earnestly exhorted their Clergy to do the same, who are ready to take them as willingly as the subscribers. But if all Catholics have not been traitors, all Catholic Priests, it appears, must now, of necessity, be reckoned traitors, since their master, the Pope, has taken a journey to Paris to crown Bonaparte, and by this transaction their allegiance is transferred to France. Mark, my Lords, the wonderful force of this species of argument! Really it is so trifling that I should have taken no notice of it were it not attempted to make use of it, to revive heart-burnings and animosities not only in Ireland, but even here also. As if we had not known enough in this very town of the mischief and danger of the absurd cry of “No Popery,' bandied about for the purpose of raising a clamour and riot, and creating an insurrection to prevent the Legislature from passing an Act of substantial justice. But is the Pope really more the enemy of this country now than he was when the family of the Bourbons were on the throne of France ? Is he more hostile to us than when the claims of the Pretender were declared and supported at Rome, and when he resided there? Can any person imagine that the Pope has a more earnest wish to exalt the power of France more at present than in former times? I hope there is no man but views with pity the degraded situation of the Roman Pontiff in the recent transaction at Paris, and the humiliating circumstances in which he is placed. Circumstances which must, one should think, inspire him with deep mortification, and with disgust at those who imposed them upon hiin. What inference can be drawn by any reasonable man from the situation of the Pope, but that his influence is diminished, and his power much less to be feared in every respect, than any preceding Pope? What can be better calculated to destroy his greatness than to represent him in that degrading and dishonouable


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