« ForrigeFortsett »
“It has been suggested that it would the religious establishment of this counbe right to divide the whole of the try. But the question is this—whetemporal emoluments of the church of ther in a protestant country, whilst it Ireland between the catholic and pro. remains protestant, you can introduce testant clergy. I shall expect then, a Roman catholic power without an when the subject is more matured, to insurrection, or at least the most hoshear that the Irish protestant bishops, tile prejudices against it? I say it is inhaving first generously made over a consistent with the principles of goportion of their endowments, for the vernment, and at variance with every peace and maintenance of their catho- example of history. lic brethren, are ready to make a fur- “ What do the Roman catholics say ther proposition, as in some of the themselves ? I do not wish to go now German states, to subject all his ma. into the question of the veto. The Ro. jesty's dominions, by law, to a division man catholics profess exclusive sub. of the produce of ecclesiastical dues mission to a foreign catholic church, between the two churches. That this and then they call upon you to admit is an opinion even now entertained it them to all the benefits of your prois not irrational to suppose ; but that testant establishment. This goes' it is one of the consequences that will materially and most essentially to the follow the concession of the catholic important view under which this
quesclaims, I most sincerely believe. tion is presented to you. My lords,
“ My lords, we are not without if I am to consider the effect that this authorities
the constitu. ject in foreign countries ; and I should tion of this state : If I am to consider be glad to know where you would find of the effect it may
upon poa check on that spirit to which the con- litical and civil establishment of Ireflict of these different interests must land, I do believe whatever convenecessarily lead ? I believe I may safe- nience may arise, from acceding to ly say that there is no free state in these claims, the mischief would be Europe, in which it has been found infinitely greater than the danger of practicable for catholics and protest- refusing them at once. ants, for any long continuance, to ad. “When I speak of the opinions of minister government under the same the Roman catholics, as they maintain system together.
them at present, I do not shut out the “ In Switzerland we find it was not hope that some serious and essential the case, nor in Holland; and in Po- changes may take place. If they do, land the attempt was made, but it ter. the question may come, under new cire minated in the exclusive domination of cumstances, before parliament. Then the catholic religion. My noble friend will be the proper time to enter
the interest that is hos. tain the consideration of the question. tile to the establishment, and you are But until we have these changes, or secure. For my own part, I believe that until we have sufficient security against if in Ireland you could establish the that foreign power of which I have Roman catholic religion, you could not spoken, I do consider it to be utterly also preserve a protestantking; because inconsistent with the principles of our the Roman catholic clergy would look constitution to admit the catholics. up to the crown for their temporali- “ My noble friend concluded his ties, and the laws of the church must speech with a reference to the constibe Roman catholic instead of those of tution as established at the Revolution ;
but I will not go into the considera- man catholic family on the throne ? tion of that question. My noble friend and if you would not, how could you seems, however, very much to under- exclude the Roman catholics, if it be value the security which the intimate their right, from the benefit of having connection between the protestant es.
a catholic monarch? I do therefore tablishment and the government gives maintain, that the very essence and to the constitution. My own view of principle of the Revolution was that the Revolution of 1688 is this that you should have a limited monarchy ; the church establishment of the coun
and that the state should be protestant. try, as it now exists, having always been I am thoroughly satisfied that in the an object of affection to the government, present state of things, no benefit can the Revolution was as much founded arise from the discussion of this subupon the principle that the state should ject. You are called upon to make, be protestant as that the monarchy not a particular concession, but to conshould be limited. The object sought cede the whole ; and upon grounds, as by that great event was the mainte. I think, inconsistent with the general nance of our religious, civil, and politi- security of the establishment of your cal liberties together.
country ; and therefore I give my op“ In viewing this question, let me position to this motion.” entreat noble lords to consider upon Having thus submitted ample specie what principle you can justify the li. mens of the sentiments and reasonings mitation of the crown to a protestant of the leading men in both houses of succession, if this question, as of right, parliament on each side of this great can be admitted ? You have done away question, the chapter shall be concluall restrictions upon the catholics short ded by a few general reflections. of political power, and now it is desi- Every man who is capable of taking red to surrender that. If this is a ques- a dispassionate view of this subject, tion of expediency I can understand it; must be aware, that in the heat of but if it is argued as a question of controversy many very silly arguments right, you have no alternative, and have been urged on both sides, from you can do nothing else. That they which it were well if the subject could will not stop at the point that we may be disencumbered. It would be too think.expedient is pretty evident- the much to say, that even the discusprayer of this petition is for every sions of the legislature have been unthing. You are not desired to consi- tainted with this species of folly, ge, der their case with a view to give them nerated in the violence of debate, and any particular privilege, or a part of the desire of victory ; while the prowhat they ask; but you are called ceedings of the catholics themselves upon not only to give every thing, have been wholly stained and debabut to consider their demand upon the sed by the most despicable extravaground of right. My lords, it is an gances. It might have been suppo. essential principle of your protestant sed, for instance, that_a general as. constitution, that your king be a pro- sent would have been given to some testant; yet I ask upon what princi. leading propositions, not less obvious ple of justice it is you can exclude the to common sense than to the most recatholics from having a catholic prince fined philosophy ; viz. That the end in possession of the crown ? If you sur- of all free governments is the general render what they now claim, then I benefit of society ; that the greatest would ask you, would you put a Ro- benefit is produced by the equal participation of all classes of the people birth-right, as well as that of their in the rights and privileges of the con- fellow.citizens, and unless it can be stitution; and that under such a go- proved that there is a clear advantage vernment, therefore, all the subjects to the state, in giving a monopoly of are entitled to the same privileges, un- powers to certain
classes, and that there less some weighty reasons can be ure would be danger in admitting others to ged to justify an exception. The an equal participation, no benefit can right of the people may not be what be derived from the distinction. The is called an absolute right, that is, iť extent to which the measures of exclucannot be vindicated by force, since sion ought to be carried, is a quesno abstract reasoning can for a moment tion, not of principle but of degree : imply an appeal to force against the and the catholic or dissenter is still supreme power of the state. But all injured, if he be deprived but of one classes of the people have a fair and un- insignificant privilege, to which his questionable claim, in justice and poli- fellow subjects are entitled. He who cy, to an equal participation, not of owes a debt, does not discharge it by some but of all the privileges which are paying one half, nor by paying up to enjoyed by their fellow subjects, the last shilling, if that shilling be claim which cannot be lawfully resisted, still withheld ; the catholic is the creunless some strong case of necessity is
ditor of the state for his natural privi. made out to justify the exclusion. The leges; and unless he has done somenecessity which creates also limits the thing to forfeit them, no part can be right exercised by the supreme power; refused him. Those who resist cathoand any disability imposed, any abate- lic emancipation on such grounds, are ment of privilege--without a cogent the worst enemies of that cause which reason to justify it is an act of mere they are so forward to espouse. tyranny. It is not the business of him Lord Wellesley declared, « that who is excluded or oppressed to shew the claim of the catholics is not a claim that he may be safely admitted to the of right; that the question before the enjoyment of his rights ; he pleads the legislature was a question of mere pogreat and general law which sustains litical expediency." He must by this the very being of society, and requires have meant to express his disapprobanot arguments to make it out; his tion of the doctrines propagated by case is established if his adversary, on some insane persons, who described whom the whole burden of the proof the catholic claims as claims of ablies, cannot justify the exception.. stract right, which under any circumThese reflections expose the folly of stances must be conceded. There is the distinction which is so ignorantly not--there cannot be, any such thing taken by some persons--a distinction as abstract right-the adage fiat jusbetwixt toleration and power--a dis- titia ruat cælum, as applied to politinction which falsely assumes, that if tics, is a brilliant absurdity ; all that persons whose religious sentiments dif- the most virtuous and enlightened fer from those of the established mind will require on a great quesa church are merely tolerated, they have tion of policy, is, that no base mono right to complain, and that their tive's should interfere with the disexclusion from power requires no jus- tribution of national justice, not that, tification. The catholic or the dis- from a veneration for empty sounds, the senter have an irresistible answer to being or happiness of society should such puerilities; they are entitled to be hazarded. In this limited and insay that what is called power is their telligible sense, the claims of the ca
tholics are as much claims of right as deed, in an age when a spirit of turbuany other pretensions submitted to lence made it necessary to surround it the cognizance of legislative wisdom. with many defences, which were nei- . This concession, however, alters not ther essential to its integrity, nor prothe basis on which these claims must pitious to its elegance; but when bet. for ever rest. Those rights which ter days shall arrive—when its defendare recognized,--that justice which is ers shall become so powerful, and its reverenced solely because it is neces
enemies so weak, that it might safely sary to the support of the social or be stripped of these cumbrous append. der, can never demand that any thing ages, how stupid must that veneration should be done which may bring into for ancient deformity be, which with peril the repose, nay, the very exist- religious care would still retain so ence, of that frame of society which much of what would be at once useless our duty and our interests alike call and inelegant ? If the British con.. upon us to support.
The catholic stitution were, indeed, such as it has can gain no advantage, therefore, by been represented ; if it were stating his claim as matter of right; structed on the principles of eternal his enemies may concede so much exclusion and endless tyranny; if it without fear or hesitation, but he him- perpetuated alarm when the danger self, if he really wish to succeed, had subsided, and immortalised ani. should direct all his efforts towards mosities, which time might already convincing his fellow-subjects, that have extinguished, every wise and he may be safely admitted into the good man would pray as devoutly for bosom of the constitution. It is a its speedy apotheosis, as he now with singular circumstance, that in the be. a fervour, not less than that of Roman ginning of the 19th century, the states. patriotism, will exclaim, Esto perpe. men of the most enlightened nation of Europe should be chiefly occupied It is quite absurd to pretend, iu dein adjusting the pretensions of religious fence of their exclusion from political sects; and it is no less curious, that power, that the great body of the cascholastic questions should find their tholics suffer no injury ; that the way into a great controversy
prac- whole clamour originates in the ambitical politics.
tion of a few individuals, and that the It can never be an essential part of people have no interest in the dispute. the constitution to exclude a large Even if it were true that only the proportion of the subjects from the higher orders of the catholics suffer power and honours which are accessi. from the existing disabilities, and if it ble to others. Those who maintain were also true that they suffer without a different opinion, offer an insult to reason, the danger of refusing to acthat constitution, of which it is pro. cede to their just claims might be less bable they understand but litile; they imminent; but the moral obligation affirm, that under any circumstances, to grant relief would not be less bindhow favourable soever to the most ing. The most galling tyranny to its generous and liberal principles, the victims, is that which selects but a British constitution prescribes the de. small number for vengeance, and leaves . gradation of a portion of the people. them without even the consolation Yet this venerable pile was constructed, which is derived from a community of we are told, for the security and pro. suffering. But is it true that the tection, the comfort and happiness of higher orders--the candidates for the the whole people ; it was reared, in. great honours of the state, are alune
affected by the disabilities? is it true few; yet the deadening influence of that in this free country the distribu- such laws extends to all who may untion of honours is confined to certain der a free government aspire to its privileged orders, and that genius hum- highest dignities; that is, embraces bly born dares not look forward to its the whole population which professes due reward? No man will presume the Roman catholic religion. It is vain to say this ; so that although the re- and extravagant, therefore, in the highmaining disabilities which attach to est degree, to attempt to palliate the the catholics may affect but a small evils of any system of exclusion ; they number, even of their nobles, in the are great and prominent; and the only way of actual exclusion from power, question is, whether a change may be they damp the hopes and repress the effected without danger to the civil energies of all; they wound the repu- and religious institutions of the countation of the whole professors of the try, which we are all bound to de. catholic religion, and lower their rank fend, even ad internecionem. in the scale of society. Hope and It is an unfortunate circumstance fear are passions opposite in their na- that the enemies of catholic emancipature, yet analogous in their operation; tion should have shielded themselves when you repress hope, you mortify under the coronation oath, and should the feelings of a thousand, whom you have entangled their cause with so much do not positively injure in the vulgar sophistry, which no talent could ever sense of the word ; when you excite reconcile to common sense and upright a general alarm, you may agitate the feelings. To conscientious scruples expassions of multitudes, whom the evil isting in the breast of an illustrious inso much dreaded can never overtake, dividual, the loyalty and affection of his It is insulting to tell the catholics, people might well pay the highest rethat as a body they should not com
paternal cares and distinplain of the disabilities imposed on guished virtues of the sovereign displaythem, because a very inconsiderable ed in a long reign, were more than sufproportion of them can ever attain the ficient to command the love and venehonours and the power from which ration of a generous people. Yet as they complain of a peremptory exclu. the king of England is not responsible sion. As a question of the actual en- for any measure of policy, his ministers joyment of power and emolument, the could not be bound by the private catholic question is indeed nothing; sentiments of their sovereign; and albut as a question of character and re- though it might have been highly im. putation in society; as a point of ho. prudent in them to press a measure to nour to which high-minded men must which he was averse, and to which be acutely sensible, it is every thing he could at the last stage have given which can agitate their feelings and his negative, still it was their duty, if rouse them to exertion. Hope is the they differed in opinion, to remon. grand stimulus to every noble enter- strate with firmness, yet with
respect, prise; the spring which gives life to against sentiments which they could society, and generates all its comforts not approve, and to refuse encounterand refinements ; yet hope is denied ing the danger of responsibility, while to all by a system which is vainly re. they were not enabled to exercise presented as affecting only a small their legitimate and constitutional innumber of the people. By the disabi- fluence. Thus far it was at all times lities on the catholics, the actual en- their duty to go ; yet, in the whole joyment of power is denied but to a
is denied but to a circumstances of the case, it might