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Catholic Question--Mr. Grattan's Motion for a Committee of the whole
House totake the Subject into Consideration, carried.-His Resolution carried. His Bill for the Removal of Disqualifications, &c. brought in and debated.—Sir J.C. Hippisley's Motion for a select Committee rejected.- Second Reading of Mr. Grattan's Bill.-Call of the House and the first Clause debated.- Rejected, and the Bill abandoned.
T the close of the parliamen- Roman Catholics. Three of the tary session
in the summer sections of the Bill of Rights havof the last year, the House of ing been read on the motion of Commons, by a majority of more Mr. Yorke, Mr. Grattan rose and than two to one, had agreed to a said, he was happy that the hon. resolution for taking into consi- gentleman had caused those pasderation the affairs of the Irish sages to be read from the Bill of Catholics earlyin the next session; Rights, since he was decidedly of whilst the House of Lords had re- opinion that the qualifications enujected a motion for a similar reso- merated in them as indispensable lution by a majority of one. From accompanimentsofthe sovereignty that time great activity had been of this empire, ought to form the shown by the different parties in preamble of any bill introduced promoting their several views; into parliament for the relief of and it has already been noticed, the Roman Catholics. After dethat the tables of both Houses claring that his purpose was, to were crowded with petitions on moveforacommittee of the House the subject, from the time of the in pursuance of the resolution first meeting of parliament in this which, though made by a former year, after the recess. The tenor parliament, he did not think he of the great majority of these was guilty of an impropriety in petitions was unfavourable to the referring to, Mr. G. proceeded to Catholic claims; and it soon be- make some observations on the pecame manifest that the friends to titions which had been presented their cause would have a hard against the claims of the Catholics. battle to sustain.
He first objected to the manner in The parliamentary discussion of which, particularly in Ireland, they this important subject, so often had been obtained. They had of already discussed that there would ten been the consequence of a reseem nothing left for farther ar- quisition to the sheriffs of the regument, recommenced with Mr. spective counties to call a meetGrattan's motion on Feb. 25th, foring of the Protestant inhabitants. a committee on the claims of the Now he thought it exceedingly ob
jectionable for a public officer to granting to the Catholics their call people together in sects, and claims, to that of refusing them, to give to a private and party meet- the hon. gentleman proceeded ing the authority of a public'assem- “ But (say the Anti-catholics) tobly. He also objected to the call- leration in England is already ing of one part of his majesty's greater than in any other country." subjects to petition against another, I know very well that the princiespecially to their petitioning an- ples of every established church other country against the liberties are in some degree hostile to toleof their own. One of the first ob- ration: there is scarcely any esservations in these petitions is, that tablished church which will tolethe tone which the Catholics have rate so extensively and liberally as assumed renders it unwise to grant a wise parliament ought to do; but their claims. But this is not the when it is maintained that tole. matter in question. The question ration in England exceeds that of is one of allegiance; and it may any other country, that it is perbe asked, Can you in any of their fect, I must declare my opinion to proceedings charge the Catholics be the reverse. Mr. Gráttan then with want of allegiance? The brought the instances of France Anti-catholios say, that the Catho- and Hungary, in which, Catholic lics desire political power. Why governments have given not only should they not? Why should toleration but qualification; wherethey be sentenced to utter and as ours have given the former hopeless exclusion from all politi- without the latter, and has accomcal power? But in fact it is not panied its toleration with pains and power that they desire, but pro- penalties. He then entered upon iection. They desire not to be that ground of debate concerning taxed without their own consent; the allegiance capable of being not to be tried by persons who are rendered by Catholic subjects to a not only partisans, but are actually Protestant government, which has covenanted against them. They so often been matter of contest; wish only for their liberties. They and he concluded with moving do not demand this or that office, " that this House will resolve itself 'but to possess their just civil qua« into a committee of the whole lifications. It is the Protestants House, to take into its most sewho ask for power. They desire rious consideration the state of the by their petitions to keep all the laws affecting his majesty's Roman patronage of Ireland in their hands; Catholic subjects in Great Britain to maintain a continued ascendan- and Ireland, with a view to such a cy; to govern the other sects of final and conciliatory adjustment the country.
The tendency of as may be conducive to the peace their argumentis, that we ought to and strength of the United Kinga have a church government. But dom, to the stability of the Propurs is not a church government; testant establishment, and to the it is a representative government, general satisfaction and concord of including all classes and religions. All classes of his majesty's sub
After some further observations jects.” to show the superior policy of Of the subsequent debate, when
it is stated that it was continued in the morning, after the debate of by adjournment during four days, March 2nd, when there appeared, and that its printed report occupies for Mr. Grattan's motion, 264 ; the compass of a moderate volume, against it, 224; majority in its it will scarcely be expected that favour, 40. we should fill our pages with an This point being gained, though abridgment, especially when no by a hard contest, Mr. Grattan, on argument on the main points was March 9th, moved the order of the produced on either side which had day for a committee of the whole not repeatedly been offered in the House on the Catholic question. many previous discussions of the When this was formed, he rose, same subject; and what there was and after some preliminary obserof novelty, referred to the conduct_vations, he said, that he intended of the Roman Catholics in Ireland to propose resolutions, 1st, that since their minds had been irritated the Catholic disabilities should by disappointment, and the cir- be removed ; 2nd, that the estacumstances of the late petitions. blishments in church and state With respect to the latter, various ought to be effectually secured: remarks were made by the diffe. and he then should propose regurent speakers on the conspicuous "lations for the ecclesiastical courts, part taken by the established clere and other matters, and an oath gy in opposition to the Catholic against foreign influence. He conclaims; which some represented cluded with moving, “ That with as a renewal of that cry of danger a view to such an adjustment as to the church which had too often may be conducive to the peace and been raised at the instigation of strength of the United Kingdom, bigotry and worldly policy; while to the security of the established others justified it as a reason- church, and to the ultimate conable measure of defence of the Pro- cord of all classes of his majesty's testant cause against hazards by no subjects, it is highly advisable to means imaginary. Some of the provide for the removal of the most temperate debaters were ad- civil and military disqualifications vocates for the present motion, on under which his majesty's Roman the ground that it was only re- Catholic subjects now labour, with deeming a pledge given to the such exceptions and under such country by its representatives, that regulations as may be found necesthe Catholic question should un- sary for preserving unalterably the dergo a full consideration in order Protestantsuccession to the Crown, to a final settlement. That, how- according to the act for the further ever, the alarms excited through.. limitation of the Crown and better out the country by the Anti-catho securing the rights and liberties of lic petitions, and their operation on the subject, and for maintaining the minds of individual members, inviolate the Protestant episcopal had produced a considerable ef- church of England and Ireland, fect, appeared from the result of and the doctrine,discipline, and go. the division, compared with that vernment thereof; and the church of the preceding session on a simi- of Scotland, and the doctrine, worlar motion. It took place at four ship, discipline, and government
thereof, as the same are respec- the suggested securities he then tively by law established.” considered and objected to; and
The Right Hon. Charles Abbott he spoke of the ill consequences (the Speaker) then rose to take the that might result from a bill framed earliest opportunity of entering his upon such grounds, even if lying warning protest against the course over to another session, by exaghitherto pursued, and also against gerating the hopes of the Roman the measure now proposed. He Catholics, and dissatisfying the said, three plans had been proposed established church. He did not relative to the object in question. wish, however, that matters should The first was for unlimited and remain on the present footing, unconditional concession as urged and there were certain important by the Irish Roman Catholics in changes to which he could agree. their petition ; but this had found The first of these was the admisfew advocates in the House, and sion of Roman Catholic military had been abandoned by the right officers to a larger share of the hon. mover of the question, as well honours of their profession, which as by his eloquent supporter, Mr. he would extend to all ranks of Plunkett. The second was for command, except the very highest qualified concessions, with some at home. He would likewise give legislative control over the Ro- the Roman Catholic soldier a legal man Catholic clergy; which was right to his own religious worship
ri apparently that of the mover, and in England as well as in Ireland; undoubtedly that of Mr. Canning: he would take away the necessity but this was resisted by the Roman of English Roman Catholics marry: Catholics themselves, who call it ing in Protestant churches; and persecution, and inadmissible con- would give full protection to Catrol. This plan is also acknow- tholic worship from disturbance. ledged to involve a repeal of the He then adverted to some other Corporation and Test acts. The matters of regulation; and conthird, that of lord Castlereagh, cluded with saying that he must was for bringing the Roman Ca- give his decisive negative to the tholics within the reach of politi- sweeping principles of the propor cal
power with safety to the Pro- sition now laid before them. testant establishment, by obtaining Mr. Ponsonby said, that the right the concurrence of the head of the hon. gentleman seemed entirely to Roman Catholic church to such have misunderstood the nature of arrangements as shall be satisfac- the resolution, which proposed tory to both parties. This, how- nothing subversive of the establishever, is admitted at the present ment, but coupled the measures time to be wholly impracticable. for the relief of the Roman CaHaving stated these plans, the tholics with others for its security; right hon. member proceeded to and in coming to the details, it. object to the measure now pro- would be in the power of any genposed. It began, he said, with a tleman dissatisfied with such secusweeping repeal of all known secu- rities to superadd others. Hemade. rities, upon the faith of other secu. several remarks on thelast speaker's. rities as yet unknown. Some of idea of giving honours to the Ro. man Catholics, but granting them ings of our free constitution, in or. no political power, and affecting der to put an end to all religious to make them concessions which jealousies, and unite all the inhaat the same time it was rendered bitants of those islands in the de. impossible for them to receive; fence of their common liberties and and he regarded it as an absurdity government, it enacts, that it shall to retard the measure in its pro- be lawful for persons professing the gress, lest the plan should not ulti- Roman Catholic religion to sit and mately prove acceptable to the vote in either House of Parlia. Catholics.
ment, upon taking the following · Sir J. C. Hippisley entered into declaration and oath instead of the a detail of considerable length re- oaths of allegiance, abjuration, specting the course of proceeding and supremacy, and the declarawhich he would recommend to the tions against · transubstantiation committee, and the objects which and the invocation of saints. The would be proper for their delibe- oath, which is of great length, conration.
tains a promise of allegiance to the Several other members then gave king; of supporting the Protestant their opinions on the subject, succession to the Crown; a rewhich, at the present state of the nunciation of belief in the temporal business, were rather anticipations jurisdiction of the pope or any fo. of their intended line of conduct, reign potentate in these kingdoms, than immediately called for; and and of the validity of exconimunion a division of the House there cation by the pope or council to appeared, for the resolution, 186; depose princes ; a declaration that against it, 119; majority, 67. no act in itself immoral can be
On April 30th, Mr. Grattan pre- justified on pretence that it is for sented to the House his bill is to the good of the church, or in obeprovide for the removal of the civil dience to any ecclesiastical power ; and military disqualifications under and that po sin can be forgiven at which his majesty's Roman Catholic the will of the pope or any priest subjects now labour," and moved without sincere repentance; a dethat it should be read the first time claration that the infallibility of and printed, which was agreed to. the pope is not an article of the He then moved for the second Roman Catholic church; a disreading of the bill on the 11th of avowal of any intention to subvert May, which was also carried. or disturb the present church es.
The following is an abridged tablishment; and a promise to make view of the most important con- known all conspiracies, &c. for tents of this bill.
such a purpose; and, finally, an After a preamble declaring the attestation that this oath is taken inviolable establishment of the in the plain sense of the words, Protestant succession to the without equivocation or reservaCrown, and the Protestant national tion, and that no power or authochurches of England, Ireland, and rity can dispense with or annul it. Scotland, and the expediency of It is farther enacted, that on communicating to his majesty's taking the above oath and declaRoman Catholic subjects the bless. ration, it shall be lawful for Roman