Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]


cite considerable astonishment; and more had been vested in other hands ; in the especially with those who are disposed to hands of men of whom he was not disposed resist the repeal of the test and corporation to speak with severity—but when he obacts in Great Britain ; and were it just, it served that they (he meant the catholic must equally apply. What effect such a committee) employed as their agent Mr. declaration might have upon the persons Theobald Wolfe Tone, a man, not even of affected by th acts, he would not under their own persuasion, who was the founder take to anticipate ; but he did not think it of the society of united Irishmen, who was consistent with that moderation which the at the very time employed in an attempt to noble lord had so strongly recommended. form a traiterous conspiracy for the purpose So far from agreeing with the noble lord, of effecting a separation between Great Brithe earl of Buckinghamshire was decidedly tain and Ireland, and who was engaged in a of opinion, that considering the tenets of the correspondence with the French government Roman catholics, the indulgencies they had with a view to the procuring their assistance received from their sovereign and the legis- to further his designs, the noble lord would lature could only have been the result of a not say, that connection with such a man confidence in their loyalty ; but so long as was proof of disloyalty, however obliged he they acknowledged a foreign ecclesiastical might be to admit that it was calculated to jurisdiction within the united kingdom, it excite suspicion. The noble lord then read, was impossible to entrust them with any from the publication (subsequent to the bill large share of political power. Doctor Troy, of 1793) of the proceedings of the Roman a man of ability and unexceptionable cha- catholic committee, the following resoluracter, in his pastoral letter of 1793, ex- tion : “Resolved, that the sum of fifteen presses himself in the following manner :- hundred pounds, together with a gold medal, * That catholics are obliged to believe as an of the value of thirty guineas, bearing a article of their faith, that the pope or bishop suitable inscription, be presented to Thcoof Rome, as successor of St. Peter, is the su- bald Wolfe Tone, esq. agent to the compreme visible head of the church on earth, mittee, as a testimony of his services and and the centre of catholic unity, with a pri- our gratitude.” His lordship then adverted macy by divine right, of real authority and to what liad fallen from the noble baron rejurisdiction in the universal church, and specting the expectations the catholics might that all ,catholics owe him canonical respect have been induced to entertain at the time and obedience on that account; and that the union was under discussion. The noble the supremacy of the pope is one of those baron had fairly admitted that no pledge was points on which all catholics are agreed as given, whatever hopes might have been enan immutable article of their faith.” His couraged from an assurance that the situalordship then put it to the house, whether tion of the catholics would receive an imperseus professing such a doctrine could partial consideration in the parliament of safely be admitted to the higher offices of the united kingdom. The noble lord said, state or to seats in parliament. His lord- as far as the observation could have reference. ship then proceeded to state that the noble to his sentiments upon the subject, having baron having appealed to those peers who been one of the persons called upon to assist had held official situations in Ireland for in preparing the articles, he must confirm their sentiments respecting the loyalty of the the declaration of the noble baron, that no catholics, he should declare his without any pledge had been given ; but to what extent reserve. He was satisfied it was better for the catholics might have been justified in inhim to answer distinctly to that appeal, lest dulging a sanguine expectation from a disan interpretation should be put upon his cussion of their situation in the imperial parsilence which was not conformable to his liament he could not attempt to form a conreal opinion. He had no hesitation in say- jecture. He certainly could not charge ing, that the conduct of the persons of high himself with having contributed to their disrank and the gentlemen of the old catholic appointment. In the house as well as out families had uniformly been distinguished of it he had always stated the principle upon by loyalty to their sovereign and attachment which he acceded to the union ; a principle. to the government of the country ; but he that must preclude him from acquiescing in was concerned to be under the necessity of their being admitted to seats in parliament. adding, that those persons had ceased to have The noble baron had felt, that whilst Ireany influence upon the catholic body : that land remained a separate kingdom, the obthe infuence formerly exercised by them jections to catholics being eligible to seats in the house of commons were almost insuper-| lands for lives, a great proportion of the peaable. The earl of Buckinghamshire was of santry have freehold tenures. His lordship opinion, though not exactly upon the same then asked, if any person who was conver. grounds, that the arguments against their sant in the character and disposition of the sitting in the imperial parliament were Irish catholic, would venture to state, that in equally forcible.

In their (the catholics) an electioneering contest between a prosituation, however, he could perceive a ma- testant and a catholic, the influence of the terial difference. From being a majority in protestant landlord would stand a competia separate, as they would become a minority tion with that of the popish priest. The arin the united kingdom, their pride would guments deduced from the interests of the naturally be less affected at the continuance popish religion, the possible, or rather cerof the disability. They inight expect a more tain relief from the payment of tithes, with unbiassed consideration of their interests, the variety of inducements which the ingewhen in their opinion local prejudices and nuity of the priest would suggest, could partialities are less likely to prevail. The leave no doubt of his ultimate success. The irritation that had been produced from a mischief that must arise during the few years variety of circumstances, had a direct ten- that such a contest would continue, the dency to lead to such a conclusion, and his manner in which it would be conducted, lordship saw no prospect of permanent and the animosities that it would create, his tranquillity in Ireland, except by means of lordship said, might be better understood by legislative union with Great Britain. With a recital from the history of Ireland, than by every disposition upon these grounds to give any representation that he could make. He his support to that measure, his lordship ex- then quoted a passage from Leland, who, in pressly declared, that it would have met describing the struggle for power which took with his most strenuous opposition, if he place in Ireland in the time of James the could have anticipated the probability of an First, says : "Agents were dispatched from acquiescence in the prayer of the petition upon the pale into every province to support the the table. It went, in the view he took of election of their friends, and to entreat the it, to the total annihilation of the protestant assistance of every man of quality or inteinterest in Ireland. The system of repre- rest in this time of danger. The clergy sentation, as settled at the union, had been preached the cause of religion, and deso formed by the abolition of the boroughs, nounced their excommunications on those which had been created as a counterpoise to who should presume to vote against the the power of the catholics, and by throwing friends of the holy Roman church.” Hava the whole weight of the representation into ing endeavoured to convince the house, the counties, that the share the protestants that, in three provinces out of the four, would be able to retain, after the catholics Connaught, Leinster, and Munster, the resat in parliament, would not be sufficient to presentation, with scarcely an exception, leave them any influence in the country; would be catholic, his lordship proceeded to and although the noble baron had treated state, that in Ulster the catholic, with the such an idea with no small degree of con- protestant dissenters, constituted a great tempt, saying, that nothing but bigotry proportion of the population ; and said he could induce any man to entertain it, the would leave to the house seriously to consi-. noble earl was ready to acknowledge him- der the effects that such a weight of dissentself a bigot upon that subject ; having the ing interest thrown into the house of commost perfect conviction, that if such a step mons might have with respect to the secuwas unfortunately taken as to admit the ca- rity of the church establishinent. How tholics into the house of commons, in the soon the common object of all the dissenters course of a very few years there would might be accomplished, must depend upon scarcely be a representative from Connaught, circumstances; but that that object would Leinster, and Munster, that was not of that be the destruction of the property of the persuasion. In those provinces the number church, no doubt could be entertained. His of catholics to protestants are computed as lordship then adverted to the evidence of six to one, and the freeholders in nearly the Doctor Macnevin, a catholic and a rebel, in same proportion. The protestant landlords his examination before the committee of the would depopulate their estates if they attempt- Irish house of commons, in 1798. – R. ed to dispossess their catholic tenants ; a Have you seen a resolution of the Leine measure at all events difficult to accomplish, ster provincial committee of the 19th Fea as, from the practice in Ireland of letting the bruaiy, 1798, viz. that they would not be

« Do


diverted from their purpose by any thing church of England upon a similar foundawhich could be done in parliament, as no- tion? The noble lord considered the expething short of the total emancipation of their riment too desperate to be hazarded, and country would satisfy them ?" A." I have." trusted their lordships would not make it.

you think the mass of the peo- The principles established at the revolution ple in the provinces of Munster, Leinster, were the landmarks by which he would adand Connaught, care the value of this pen, vise their lordships to direct their conduct. or the dip of ink which it contains, for par- The blessings they had enjoyed, by the opeliamentary reform or catholic emancipa- ration of those principles, had not been tion ?" 1.I am sure they do not—but equalled by the people of any country that they wish much to be relieved from the pay- had ever existed. The British constitution ment of tithes.” His lordship then said it had stood firm amidst those storms by which was extraordinary to observe how much Europe had been convulsed during the crieven the language of the protestant dissenter tical times in which it had been their lordin England accorded with that of the ca- ships destiny to live. The interests of the tholic dissenter in Ireland. In the debate church were so interwoven with those of the upon a motion for repealing the test and staté, that the one could not be shaken withcorporation acts in the year 1790, Mr. out endangering the other. No substantial Burke, in the course of a most able speech reason for the proposed innovation had been opposing that motion, produced a letter adduced, whilst much cause for remaining written by Mr. Fletcher, a dissenter, stating, as we were was felt by every man. The that the principles held at a meeting of dis- people of England, he said, looked to the senting ministers, at Bolton in Lancashire, decisions of their lordships with an anxious were so violent that he would not stay; it expectation, and he trusted they would not described, that one member, on being asked be disappointed. Feeling as he did, that what was their object, and whether they the prayer of the petition might be fatal to meant to seek for any thing more than the the title of the house of Brunswick to the repeal of the test and corporation acts, an- throne of the united kingdom, his lordship swered in the language of our Saviour, would not place the noble lord upon the “ We know those things which we are not woolsack in the distressing predicament of yet able to bear.” And, on another mem- presenting a bill to his majesty for his asber's saying, “ give them a little light into sent, which, exclusive of other important what we intend," informed him," that considerations, was calculated to destroy the they did not care the nip of a straw for the permanent interests of his family. His repeal of the test and corporation acts, but lordship would be no party to such a prothat they designed to try for the abolition of position. By leaving the petition upon the the tithes and the liturgy.”—The noble ba- table for so many weeks, the noble baron ron had adverted to the apprehensions en- who introduced it, had given that time for tertained from the introduction of forty-five deliberation that was due to the impormembers of the presbyterian church into tance of the subject. He was persuaded, it the house of commons, at the time of the had been fully, impartially, and most seunion with Scotland, and had asked how far riously considered. The result, in his mind, the predictions of that day had been realized. was a determination to vote against going The noble earl admitted that they had not. into the committee. But he would ask, whether the day might

Lord Carleton said, that the measure pronot yet come, if the prayer of the catholic posed would affect the whole empire, but petition was complied with, when the fate more particularly Ireland; therefore, several of the church of England might depend of the observations which he meant to make upon the Scotch representation—when a would specially relate to the measure, as it question might arise whether the revenues might peculiariy affect that country. The of the church should not be made applicable main object of the petition is power. In to the exigencies of the state? The senti- his opinion the Roman Catholics already ments of the Irish and English dissenter had have as much power as they ought to pose been already expressed. The church of sess under a protestant government, and Scotland has been emphatically described therefore he would oppose the petition." as being built upon a rock of poverty;" | The concessions in 1793, as to reinoving peand when a great object was to be obtained, nalties, were wise, but, as to every thing who would be responsible that the Scotch beyond that, doubts might be entertained as members might not be disposed to place the to the wisdomn of the measure. However,

it is to be observed, that the parliament of the state, is the reverse. An exclusion from Ireland only gave the right to possess in- holding certain situations, deemed necessary ferior offices, but did not transfer the power to the safety of the state, neither stigmatizes of the state. The concessions already made nor enslaves. An equal diffusion of political to the Roman catholics have extended their power amongst all the different sectaries influence, increased their demands, and would, in their union against the established multiplied their discontents. Nothing hither- religion, denounce its downfall by the systo conceded has given them content; what tematic, persevering, deliberate, though slow probability is there that any thing short of conjunct exertions of religious zeal, politiall will satisfy them? To guard against their cal ambition, and inordinate thirst for powbeing superior in power, care must be used er. To bestow such power on Roman cato prevent them being equal. The petition tholics, and to with-hold it from other secclaims every thing; refusing to commit it taries not belonging to the established reliis an answer to the claim of every thing. gion, would prefer Roman catholics to some If there are minor concessions which might whose motives of action were less objectionbe safely granted, when the Roman catholics able than those of Roman catholics. There think fit to ask them distinctly as matters is no foreign ulterior supreme authority of favour, they may call for a distinct con- which the tenets of other religions bind sideration. Catholics are not eo nomine ex- their professors to maintain as superior to cluded from holding any offices of the state, the established legal government of the emor from sitting in parliament. The obstacles pire; but if Roman catholics were in poswhich stand in their way are certain oaths, session of political authority, their religious a declaration, and the sacrament of the principles would bind them to use it in an Lord's supper, according to the sites and ce- endeavour to render the constitutional auremonies of the church of England, which thority of the empire subservient to a foreign are to be taken by persons of every persua- dominion. By statutes passed in both counsion upon taking possession of office, and tries in the reigns of Henry the Eighth and the same oaths and declaration to be taken Elizabeth, in unison with various more anon coming into parliament. Roman catho-cient statutes, the king is declared supreme lics are less restrained in Ireland than here; head of the church, and the pope's authority, there the Roman catholic oath qualifies for spiritual and temporal, is, to all legal effect, all offices civil and military, save a few, declared void. The king, in virtue of this. which are specially excepted. Not so here; authority, convenes, prorogues, dissolves, though the English Roman catholic oath is regulates and restrains synods or convocamore forcible than the Irish, and binds the tions, appoints or recommends to bishoptics Roman catholic to support the protestant and certain other ecclesiastical preferments, succession, whilst the Irish does not. He and has the dernier decision and appellant agreed entirely with the noble lord who im- judicature over all ecclesiastical causes. That mediately preceded him, in the well-merited the authority of the state is not supreme in eulogium which he had pronounced on the the countries subjected to its dominion is a character and conduct of the Roman catholic most dangerous doctrine ; any interposition noblemen and gentry of Ireland; they were in these dominions by a foreign judicature, men of great integrity, honour, and loyalty, governed by the laws of a foreign prince, and

many of them had fought very gallantly laws tending to the subversion of the proin quelling the rebellion of 1798. They testant religion, leads to ruinous consehad disclaimed the obnoxious doctrines con- quences. Roman catholics acknowledge and tained in the decree of the fourth council of pay obedience to a foreign, final, ecclesiastiLateran. That disavowal was consistent cal authority, which can make laws upon with morality, social duty, and good sense. spiritual subjects, and, in violation of the He gave credit to their assertion, and he did laws of these countries, enforce them (withnot rast his opposition to the petition upon out the aid of any temporal process) by ecthose objectionable tenets; other tenets, clsiastical coercion and punishment. That which greatly influenced his opinion, were foreign ecclesiastical authority is under the such as their religion bound them, as good influence of the ruler of France. Before catholics, to enforce. They were not such the French revolution, if any potentate had as reflected disgrace on the Roman catholics, attempted to enslave the pope, all other Rothough they might expose the constitution man catholic countries would have interin church and state to some hazard. To posed in his behalf; such interposition tolerate is wise, to invest with the powers of against France cannot at this day be expect

ed. The influence of the pope over Irish objects Were Roman catholics possessed of Roman catholics is now as great as it ever temporal power, they must (acting conformwas, and the government of France guides ably with the principles of their sect) use it its direction. The Roman catholic bishops' to legally enforce Roman Catholic ecclesioath is, " to defend the royalties of St. astical decrees; to give increased importance Peter, and to maintain, promote, and aug- to their religion ; to depress the protestant ment the authority of the 'see of Rome." religion ; to legalize a foreign supremacy, It embraces the supremacy of the pope's ju- that of the pope, with all its claimed temrisdiction over all spiritual matters, and over poral consequences ; to overthrow the conall temporal consequences flowing from that stitutional supremacy of his majesty, with spiritual authority, and calls for unceasing all its now enjoyed temporal consequences; efforts to increase the power of the see of and to obstruct the execution or procure the Rome. The Roman catholic bishops are repeal of all our laws which relate to spiribound to influence all persons who are un- tual atfairs, howsoever extensively affecting der their superintendence to assist in fulfill temporal rights. It would be highly daning their oath. The Roman catholics hold gerous to afford the means of futurely weakthat the state cannot bind them over to pas- ening in effect that supremacy of the king sive obedience in spiritual affairs, and that which is already openly denied in theory. the sole power of making and interpreting A participation of equal power must take all laws respecting spiritual affairs is vested in pre-eminence from the established religion ; the pope or their church, consequently (as in such case how is the king's supremacy to they think) our laws cannot bind them, as to be maintained ? What is to become of temporal matters inseparably connected with those acts of parliament which renuer it pespiritual matters.--Their opinion on this sub- nal to deny that supremacy? Is every atject derives additional weight from their contempt to invade it :o be rendered legal? Is sidering Ireland as a fief derived under a grant a right to be conferred of denying it without from the pope, Dr. Troy's pastoral letter, control, anú of obstructing it with impunipublished only thirteen years ago, strongly ty, and perhaps success? The ulterior supports those positions. It distinctly as- views of the Irish Roman catholics may be serts the pope's supremacy, even in matters strongly collected from the caution used in of appeal, treats that of the king as an usur- framing their oath, in the 13th and 14th of pation, and inveighs not very decorously George III. cap. 35. in which they have against the legislature for having declared adopted the expressions, " the succession of the king supreme head of the church. In the crown in his majesty's family," declinIreland, the Roman catholics hold regular ing to klopt the expressions which the Enecclesiastical courts, whose decisions are glish Roman catholics had no hesitation to completely enforced by ecclesiastical influ- make use of, in the 31st George III. cap. ence, lay submission, and the all-powerful 32d, “ which succession is limited to the effect of excommunication, prohibiting all princess Sophia, &c. and the heirs ,of her intercourse with persons excommunicated. body, being protestants.” In the one case Their spiritual jurisdiction draws to it tem- the oath binds to the support of a protestant poral power and influence; it involves dis- succession ; in the other case it leaves an pensations, licenses to marry, legitimacy, opening for the possibility of a Roman caand the right of succession, as dependent on tholic succession. Can it be supposed that the validity of marriage; pre-contract, for the Roman catholics, if possessed of consimer marriage, affinity and consanguinity, derable political influence and power, would as incapacities; maintenance and liabillity not seek an exemption from contributing to to debts as consequences resulting from mar- the support of the protestant clergy; a riage, divorces as dissolving the bond of church establishment for the Roman catholic marriage, and the validity of wills of per- clergy equa ly splendid, permanent and insopal estate. In all those instances the ex- dependent as that of the protestant clergy, ercise of spiritual authority influences tem- and a recognition of the laws of the Roman poral rights. The extent of that influence catholic church, and of the competence of is liable to be greatly increased, as Roman the authority of their courts ? Thus tithes catholic ecclesiastics claim the right of de- must be annihilated, or divided between the ciding what are spiritual matters within protestant and Roman catholic clergy, and their cognizance, and by an undue exer- the supremacy of the pope, or, in othe: cise of that claim of power, they may words, of the ruler of France, must be greatly extend their influence over temporal completely established.-A number of acies VOL IV.

3 C

« AnteriorContinuar »