his present Majesty's reign, accompanied account of his religion, when it is a noto-
as they are with necessary restrictions and rious fact that the right even to the crown,
securities for the safety of the established the highest civil right in these dominions,
Church, but they look with the deepest was conferred on, and is now enjoyed by,
anxiety to the claims now made for the the present royal family, to the exclusion
abrogation of all restrictions by persons of others more nearly related to it, upon
who acknowledge the spiritual superiority the mere ground of an objection to their
of the Pope in these realms, and who hold religion, and, should it once be established
tenets in many respects as inimical to the by the legislature that religious opinions
principles of the English constitution in mat- are not a sufficient ground of civil inca-
ters of state as they are subversive of all reli-pacity, the petitioners apprehend there
gious toleration, and utterly inconsistent can be no pretence whatever afterwards
with the doctrines of the established for saying that the crown of these domi-
Church; and praying the House to adopt nions shall not be worn by a Papist; and
such measures as will best maintain the Pro- that the petitioners cannot but observe,
testant ascendancy in Church and State, that the most strenuous supporters of the
and give stability and permanence to the claims of the Roman Catholics admit that
civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the every attention ought to be paid to the se-
curity of our civil and religious establish-
ments, and that effectual measures ought
to be adopted for the security of both, but
the petitioners also observe, that none of
those persons who make these admissions
have ever pointed out or suggested the
measures they should think effectual for
that purpose, from which they cannot but
infer the extreme doubtfulness and diffi-
culty, even in the judgment of those per-
sons themselves, or rather, as the peti-
tioners firmly believe, the absolute im-
practicability of devising such measures;
and that the petitioners apprehend, that,
if the claims of the Roman Catholics
should be acceded to, every other restric-
tion and test must of course be abolished,
and that the government of our establish-
ments in Church and State must be thrown
open to sects of every denomination, and
of the most discordant opinions and prin-
ciples; and that the petitioners most
solemnly declare, that they are not influ-
enced by any wish to restrain the free
exercise of religious opinions, and, if pos-

"That the petitioners have observed, with the deepest concern, the repeated attempts that have been made to break down, repeal, and destroy, all those secu. rities of our civil and religious establish ments which we owe to the wisdom and firmness of some of the best of our ancestors, securities not demanded by any occasional or temporary causes only, but founded in principles as immutable as they are wise; and that the petitioners cannot conceive a situation of things more repugnant to the principles of sound policy, than that Roman Catholics should possess the power of framing the laws and of administering the highest offices in the government of a Protestant establishment in Church and State, to the very character and principles of which their tenets are decidedly hostile, nor can they conceive

it to be any hardship that Roman Catho-sible, still less by any kind or degree of lics, who exclude all persons except those animosity towards their Roman Catholic of their own communion, from any autho- fellow-subjects, but they are actuated by rity or interference whatever in the go- an honest and firm persuasion that the revernment of their Church, should be strictions now attempted to be abolished excluded from any share in the govern- have essentially contributed to the preserment of a Church to which they are not vation of those establishments which have only strangers but adversaries; and that, been the source of our prosperity and by the constitution of England, the go. happiness, and that the abolition of them vernment of the Church and the State are would inevitably tend to weaken and uninseparable, and whoever is admitted into dermine those establishments, and ultithe share of the government of the one, mately lead to the overthrow of the conmust consequently be intrusted with a stitution; and praying, that the restricshare of the government of the other; and tions by which Roman Catholics are exthat the petitioners have heard, with asto- cluded from the power of framing the nishment, persons contending that no one laws and administering the highest offices ought to be excluded from a civil right on in the government of our civil and reli

A Petition of the freeholders of the county of Oxford was also presented and read; setting forth,

[ocr errors]

gious establishments may not be abolished."

A Petition of the mayor, aldermen, capital burgesses, clergy, and principal inhabitants of the borough and town of Sudbury, Suffolk, was also presented and read; setting forth,

"That the petitioners, ever grateful for those privileges, civil and religious, as also for that internal peace and prosperity which they, in common with the subjects of this country, have enjoyed since the glorious æra of the Revolution, and deeply convinced of the magnitude and importance of those blessings, must ever deprecate, in the strongest manner, the least departure from those principles, the adherence to which alone has raised this country so eminently above all other nations in religious and political freedom; and that the petitioners are, therefore, greatly alarmed by the repeated and incessant attempts that have been made by the Roman Catholics of this united kingdom to obtain the full enjoyment of political power, by procuring the repeal of those statutes which the wisdom of our ancestors enacted for the safety and protection of the Protestant government of this country in Church and State; and praying that those statutes may not be repealed, but that the same may be preserved inviolate, as in their opinion these salutary provisions appear to be still essentially necessary to give permanency and security to our most excellent constitution.”

A Petition of the mayor, corporation, and principal inhabitants of the borough and town of Great Torrington, Devon, was also presented and read, setting forth,

liam in 1688, the maintenance of the Protestant Church is secured by law as an essential part of the constitution; and it appears to the petitioners to be attended with the greatest danger to remove these safeguards, which our ancestors thus wisely provided, and which the experience of more than a century has confirmed; and that the petitioners have seen with satisfaction the concessions granted by the legislature to the Roman Catholics during his present Majesty's reign, accompanied as they are with necessary restrictions and securities for the safety of the established Church, but they look with the deepest anxiety to the claims now made for the abrogation of all restrictions by persons who acknowledge the spiritual superiority of the Pope in these realms, and who hold tenets in many respects as inimical to the principles of the English constitution in matters of state as they are subversive of all religious toleration, and utterly inconsistent with the doctrines of the established Church; and praying the House to adopt such measures as will best maintain the Protestant ascendancy in Church and State, and give stability and permanence to the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the country."

"That whilst the petitioners place the firmest reliance on the wisdom of parliament, the lawful guardian of the constitution of their country, they feel it their duty humbly to offer their sentiments upon the recent claims of the Roman Catholics to a full admission to the highest offices of trust in the state, and to the power of legislation for these Protestant kingdoms; and that the petitioners are the zealous friends of every toleration in religion which is not inconsistent with the maintenance of one national Church in full vigour and security, and that in the provisions adopted by parliament at the period of the accession of king Wil

A Petition of the bailiff, justices, bailiffs, peers and burgesses of the very ancient borough and liberties of Wenlock, Salop, in common-hall assembled, was also presented and read; setting forth,

"That the petitioners view the present claims of the Roman Catholics of Ireland as unconstitutional, presumptuous, and, if granted to them, dangerous in the extreme to the Protestant establishment; and that their claims are unconstitutional, inasmuch as they insist upon unqualified emancipation, with free admittance to all places of trust, power and authority in the executive government of these kingdoms, without suffering any of those guards and conditions to be applied which might tend to secure from future dangers or encroachments the Protestant establishment; and that they are presumptuous, inasmuch as this would place the Catholics in a far more independent and uncontrouled state than are even the Protestant subjects themselves, who are required, previous to their being admitted to or exercising any office, post or place of honour power trust or authority within these realms, to take the Oaths of Allegiance, and of the King's Supremacy, as also the Oath of Abjuration,

it is peculiarly incumbent on the petitioners to make this unreserved avowal, as the city over whose civil polity they preside is the general resort of strangers of every description, and in which almost all denominations of Christians have established places of devotion, where they may address themselves to their Creator agreeably to their own form and creed; and that the protection of all in the enjoyment of those valuable privileges which our admirable constitution has allowed them, the petitioners will ever esteem as one of the most sacred duties of their corporate functions, but while they make this just and candid acknowledgment of their tolerant spirit, they must as Protestants, anxious for the preservation of our invaluable constitution, object to the grant of unrestricted powers to persons whose religious tenets would, in their apprehension, endanger those civil and ecclesiastical establish

and receive the blessed holy Sacrament, according to the rites of the Church of England as now by law established; and that they may be dangerous, inasmuch as recent events and past experience have taught the petitioners, and the whole tenor of history furnisheth them with many proofs, that no indulgence granted can satisfy Catholic ambition, but that it only tends rather to provoke and strengthen their demands for fresh and future claims and encroachments upon, and thereby manifestly endangers, our invaluable Protestant constitution and government, under which the petitioners enjoy so many and great blessings; and that they do therefore humbly, though earnestly and heartily, pray the House not to grant the Roman Catholics any further indulgences, but to maintain, keep and preserve inviolate, from all further and future encroachments, those truly pure Protestant principles and interests, which placed the augustments, the maintenance of which our anHouse of Brunswick in the throne of these cestors so wisely and providently endea kingdoms, and for the preservation of voured to secure; and that, under the which our present most gracious sovereign mild and equable reign of the present sohath always shewn himself particularly vereign, many of the restrictions and disanxious, and upon a very recent occasion abilities which controuled our fellow subproved himself to be most tenderly and jects of the Romish communion have been paternally solicitous; and that, as far as either totally removed or liberally ameliomerely regards the free worship of God, rated; and the petitioners would humbly the petitioners would that every obstacle submit to the consideration of the House, be removed, and that the Roman Catholics that the admission of those claims, so long should enjoy the most extensive toleration; and now so strenuously urged, might be an but they again and again do most humbly unsafe, injudicious, and imprudent meabeseech the House to guard and watch, sure; and praying the House, weighing with a jealous eye, their inroads and am- the danger of concession, maturely to de-bitious incroachments made from time to liberate before they admit persons who time upon the Protestant establishment, maintain principles inimical to the estabbut above all on no account to permit lished religion of the realm, and who acthem, either directly or indirectly, to knowledge the supremacy of a foreign interfere with the legislation of these power, to the unlimited right of enjoying realms, nor suffer them to fill any judicial offices of authority and high responsibisituation, nor to have, hold, or exercise lity." any office or place of power, trust, or authority in the empire, nor at any time to have, hold, or exercise any command, either naval or military, in any of his Majesty's fleets or armies."

Ordered to lie on the table.

A Petition of the mayor, aldermen, and common council of the city of Bath, was also presented and read; setting forth,

"That the petitioners beg leave to premise, that they are sincere friends to religious toleration, and would have every sect and society of Christians possess the unrestrained use of divine worship, in such manner as their opinions may dictate, and their consciences approve; and that



[386 that some arrangements will soon come tish-built ships; they, however, presume it under the consideration of parliament, will be admitted, on an impartial considewith regard to the trade to India, they ration of the subject, that, to encourage humbly hope that it will in its wisdom the building and equipment of ships in discover good grounds for extending the Asia, for the purpose of being employed indulgence that was granted to private in the carrying trade of this empire, will traders by the Act of 1793; indeed they be both impolitic and unjust; and that it would hope that parliament will judge it will be impolitic, as the removal of a maexpedient to place all his Majesty's sub-nufacture of such importance as the buildjects in the same situation with regard to ing and equipment of ships from this the trade to the East Indies, as they placed country to India (a manufacture of more the subjects of all foreign powers who are importance than any other) will render in amity with Great Britain by the Act of precarious the means of maintaining his the 37th of his Majesty, and whatever ex- Majesty's navy, and especially of fitting tension of the trade may appear to parlia- out with dispatch his Majesty's fleets on ment to be proper to be granted, the peti- pressing emergencies, and will thereby tioners humbly hope, that that extension undermine that great bulwark of our inwill not be limited to the port of London, dependence and greatness as a nation; but embrace such other of the ports of the and secondly, it will be unjust, as many kingdom as to parliament shall seem just, of the stores and materials necessary to and among others Leith, the port of the the building and equipment of ships in this metropolis of Scotland; and the peti- country are charged with considerable tioners confidently trust, that if such an duties, and as the mechanics and other extension of the trade as has been stated persons employed therein, as well as the shall be granted, this reasonable indul- petitioners, contribute their proportions gence will have the most beneficial effects of the burthens imposed on the public on the commerce and prosperity of the from the exigencies of the state, to neiUnited Kingdom, without injuring the ther of which persons engaged as owners great and important concerns of the East or builders of ships in Asia are subject or India Company." liable; and that the petitioners respect fully submit to the House, that, from the heavy taxation of the country, there never was a period when it was so necessary to confine the carrying trade of the country to British-built ships, from the utter inability of the owners of them to enter into a competition with the owners of East. India or other foreign ships upon terms at all like equality; and, for these and other reasons, which the petitioners flatter themselves must be obvious to the House, praying, that in future ships built in Asia, and the islands thereto adjacent, may be prohibited by statute from being admitted to registry, and to the privileges of British-built ships."

A Petition of several ship-builders of Great Yarmouth, was also presented; setting forth,

That the petitioners have for some time past observed, with very great regret, that ships and vessels, built within the territories of the East India Company in Asia, have been admitted to registry in Great Britain, and, in consequence thereof, allowed to participate in the carrying trade of this country and its colonies; and that, if Indian-built ships continue to be admitted to British registry, and to participate in the carrying trade of the empire, the most injurious consequences will result to the maritime interests of the nation, and more especially so, when the trade to the East Indies is opened to all his Majesty's subjects; and that the petitioners forbear to press on the attention of the House, by entering into any detail of observations on the impolicy of admitting Indian-built ships to the privileges of British-built ships, not only as affecting the in-newal of the E. I. Company's monopoly, terests of the petitioners, but also the landed and that in a Petition to the late parliament commercial and manufacturing interests of they stated their ideas upon this subject, the country as well as those of the various showing that confining by a monopoly classes of persons who are dependent on the the trade with the extensive countries to building, repairing and equipment of Bris the east of the Cape of Good Hope, had (VOL. XXIV. ) (2 C)

A Petition of the chamber of commerce and manufactures of Glasgow, was also presented; setting forth,

"That the petitioners, in common with the other commercial bodies of the empire, feel deeply interested in the question now before the House respecting the re

countries to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, in consequence of charters of monopoly granted to the E. I. Company; and they humbly beg leave to represent that they are by such charters not only individually excluded from a most beneficial commerce, but they are deprived of privileges which they are proud to prize as their birth-right, and which, as no temptation could induce them willingly to relinquish, no payment is sufficient to purchase; and that, besides the manifest injury which such charters have produced on the efforts of individuals, they have necessarily had a similar effect on the

zens of those states, had been commenced and prosecuted with a success unexampled in its rapidity of progress during the period in which the trade of the British empire with those countries had been progressively on the decline; and that with regard to the trade to China, a trade carried on with an independent foreign nation, there existed, the petitioners humbly conceived, no plea for giving a monopoly of it to a particular company, or confining it to particular ports, more than might be offered for bringing, under similar restrictions, any other branch of foreign trade at present free, and that no danger, they believed, was to be apprehended to the revenue from opening to the outports the trade with those countries, it being an unquestioned fact that the duties leviable upon other foreign articles, now importable into the outports, have been collected with a fidelity not less successful in productive amount than will be found in the case of those leviable upon similar articles destined for the port of London; and that these principles and facts, with regard to this trade, being as the petitioners believe truly what they have stated them to be, they confidentially trust that the House will not again consent to confine this commerce, either in whole or in part, to a single company, but will open it intire to the nation at large, permitting it to be carried on from all the ports of the United Kingdom, subject to such regulations only as may be considered necessary for the protection of the revenue."

been no less an 'infringement of general rights than it had been impolitic as a measure of commerce in having appropriated to the benefit of a few advantages which were the property of all, and impolitic as a measure of commerce, because trade conducted under a monopoly never can prove beneficial to a country in the degree that the same trade would, if left open to the exertion of individual enterprize; and that this principle, considered a fundamental one in political economy, had been strikingly exemplified in the circumstances of the case in question, the trade from the United States of America to the East Indies and China, carried on by individual citi-national resources, which under a free trade must have become greatly more considerable than while the commerce is restricted and confined; and that the petitioners being convinced that such important truths cannot fail to produce conviction of the impolicy of any monopoly of the trade to India and China, look to the expiration of the present East India charter with the confident hope of seeing a period put to any exclusive trade to these countries, and a wide field thus laid open to the capital skill, and industry, of British merchants and manufacturers; and that, in this confident hope and expectation, the petitioners humbly pray that no monopoly be granted of the commerce and navigation to the countries eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, but that the trade may be free and open, in the same manner as other branches of commerce, not only to the port of London, but to other ports of Great Britain and Ire. land."

A Petition of the merchants house of Glasgow was also presented; setting forth,

"That the petitioners have, in common with other classes of his Majesty's subjects, been prevented from trading to the

A Petition of several merchants, traders, and manufacturers of Port Glasgow and Newark, was also presented; setting forth,

"That the petitioners with regret have observed, in the hon. E. I. Company, a continuance of the spirit of monopolizing the commerce of India, China, and the other countries to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, which it has too long held, as the petitioners conceive, to their prejudice, and that of the other ports and towns of the United Kingdom; and that the petitioners respectfully advance, along with their fellow subjects of the empire, their claim to a participation of a free trade with those countries, and right to oppose any farther exclusive monopoly, either to that Company, or any other company or body whatever; and that this

« ForrigeFortsett »