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whether they be ecclesiastical or and therefore enacted that they temporal, and restrain with the should no longer be taken as civil sword the stubborn and evil qualifications for office or franchise doer.
by any of his majesty's subjects, 6. That it is the opinion of this save as therein after provided. committee, that such act of repeal The bill then recited, that, with and explanation should be accom- respect to the oaths of allegiance, panied with such exceptions and supremacy, and abjuration, the regulations as may be found neces- Catholics had never objected to sary for preserving unalterably the any of them except the oath of Protestant succession to the Crown, supremacy, and to that merely as according to the act for the further apprehending that it might be limitation of the Crown, and better construed to import a disclaimer of securing the rights and liberties of the spiritual authority of the pope the subject, and for maintaining or church of Rome in matters of inviolate the Protestant episcopal religious belief: and it therefore church of England and Ireland, enacted that the following oath and the doctrine, government, and might be taken, in lieu of the oath discipline thereof; and the church of supremacy :of Scotland, and the doctrine, wor- “Í, A. B. do sincerely promise ship, government, and discipline and swear, that I will be faithful thereof; as the same are by law and bear true allegiance to his respectively established.
present majesty, and will defend These resolutions were adopted, him to the utmost of my power and a bill founded upon them was against all conspiracies and atordered to be brought in by sir tempts whatever that shall be made F. Burdett, Mr. Plunkett, Mr. against his person, crown or Tierney, Mr. C. Grant, sir, J. dignity; and I will do my utmost Mackintosh, Mr. secretary Can- endeavour to disclose and make ning, viscount Palmerston, Mr. known to his majesty, his heirs, Wynn, sir J. Newport, sir H. Par- and successors, all treasons and nell, Mr. Abercromby, and Mr. traitorous conspiracies which may Spring Rice.
be formed against him or them : On the 23rd of March the bill and I do faithfully promise to was introduced by sir Francis maintain, support, and defend, to Burdett, and was read a first time. the utmost of my power, the sucThis bill, after declaring that the cession to the crown, which Protestant succession, and the succession, by an act intituled . An Protestant episcopal church of Act for the further limitation of England and Ireland, and the the Crown, and better securing the Presbyterian church of Scotland, rights and liberties of the subject,' are established permanently and is and stands limited to the princess inviolably, and setting forth the Sophia, electress and duchessdeclarations against transubstantia- dowager of Hanover, and the heirs tion, the invocation of saints, and of her body, being Protestants, the mass, stated, that these declara- hereby utterly renouncing and tions related only to matters of abjuring any obedience or allegispiritual and religious belief, and ance unto any other person claimdo not in any manner affect the ing or pretending a right to the allegiance of his majesty's subjects, crown of these realms: and I do
swear that I do reject and detest, tal reservation whatever, and withas unchristian and impious, the out any dispensation already grantposition that it is lawful to murdered by the pope, or any authority or destroy any person or persons of the see of Rome, cr any person whatsoever, for or under the pre- whatever, and without thinking tence of their being heretics or that I am or can be acquitted infidels; and also that unchristian before God or man, or absolved of and impious principle, that faith is this declaration, or any part therenot to be kept with heretics or of, although the pope, or any other infidels: and I do further declare, person or authority whatsoever, that it is not an article of my shall dispense with or annul the faith, and that I do renounce, same, and declare that it was null reject, and abjure the opinion, that or void. “So help me God." princes excommunicated by the All persons taking this oath, pope and council, or any other to be capable of taking, authority of the see of Rome, or by holding, and enjoying any right, any other authorities whatsoever, office, and franchise, as fully and may be deposed or murdered by effectually, to all intents and purtheir subjects, or by any person poses, as if they had taken and whatsoever ; and I do promise that subscribed the oath of supremacy, I will not hold, maintain, or abet save thereinafter provided. any such opinion, or any other Another clause provided that the opinion contrary to what is ex- act should not extend to alter the pressed in this declaration : and I laws respecting the Protestant sucdo declare, that I do not believe cession, the marriages of the royal that the pope of Rome, or any family, or the acts of uniformity, other foreign prince, prelate, state, or to enable any person to hold or potentate, hath, or ought to any office belonging to the church, have, any temporal or civil juris- or any ecclesiastical court or court diction, power, superiority, or pre- of appeal from such court; or any eminence, directly, or indirectly, office in any cathedral collegiate within this realm: And I do or ecclesiastical establishment, or hereby disclaim, disavow, and in either of the universities, or in solemnly abjure, any intention to colleges or halls, or schools of subvert the present church esta- ecclesiastical foundation; or to blishment, for the purpose of enable Roman Catholics to take substituting a Roman Catholic orders; to enable Roman establishment in its stead: And I Catholics to present to any eccledo solemnly swear, that I will siastical benefice; or to hold the never exercise any privilege to office of lord lieutenant of Ireland, which I am or may become entitled, or chancellor of Great Britain or to disturb the Protestant religion Ireland. or Protestant government in this By subsequent clauses the king kingdom: And I do solemnly, in
was to appoint, by a commission the presence of God, profess, testify, under the great seal of Ireland, and declare, that I do make this such Catholic bishops as he pleased, declaration and every part thereof, to form a board for the execution in the plain and ordinary sense of of certain duties. The commission the words of this oath, without was to be revocable, but was to be any evasion, equivocation, or men- re-issued within a limited time. The
commissioners appointed by it were
On the 23rd of March the bill to take an oath, by which they was read a first time. swore that they would faithfully The second reading was moved and impartially perform the duties on the 19th of April. The debate vested in them by the act; that on the measure occupied the whole they would honestly advise his of that evening, and was adjourned majesty in all matters which should to the 21st; when it was carried come before them under the act; by a majority of 268 to 241. The and that they would not directly argument was maintained on the or indirectly disclose, except to his one side, principally by Mr. Canmajesty, or by his majesty's com- ning; and on the other, by Mr. mand, any matter or thing which Peel
. should come to their knowledge by Mr. Canning relied chiefly on reason or in consequence of their the general principles on which being commissioners. They were the cause of Catholic equalization to certify to his majesty or the lord is defended : but went, in one part lieutenant, appointments of bishops of his speech, further than the and deans, and the loyalty of the advocates of the question usually personsappointed; bishopsand deans venture ; for, by a criticism on the were not to act, until a certificate peculiar doctrines of the Roman had been transmitted to them by Catholic religion, he tried to prove the commissioners.
that the professors of that faith The other duties of this board were not, in respect of their prinrelated to the examination of bullsciples, more proper objects of and dispensations proceeding from suspicion than any other dissenters. the see of Rome.
The whole of his harangue, though
more laboured and more artificially Mr. O'Connell, in a letter which ornate than his discourses in general was published in the newspapers, 'stated, are, was wordy, and full of a that the preparation of the draught of this bill had been committed to him. subtle sophistry, better fitted to This circumstance being alluded to by puzzle than to convince. Mr. Peel in the House of Commons, Mr. Peel, without again enterMr. Tierney stated, that, “ as one of the ing into the general question, committee which prepared the bill, be directed his attention principally would say, that he did not know, and did not believe, that Mr. O'Connell had
to the particular frame of the drawn it up. Some gentlemen of the measure before the House. He committee might have consulted Mr. confessed, that he was surprised at O'Connell on the subject of this bill, the two first clauses in the preamble and he, in return, might have communicated to them his sentiments in of the present bill :-“Whereas writing. Those sentiments Mr. O'Con- the Protestant succession to the nell might have considered as the imperial Crown of this united foundation of the bill; and so it might kingdom and its dependencies, is, have got abroad that he had drawn it by the act for the further limitaup. If it were meant to be insinuated, that the committee had delegated tó tion of the Crown and the better Mr. O'Connell the duty which the securing the liberties of the subHouse had delegated to them, he must ject, established permanently and be permitted to give a most peremptory inviolably: and whereas the Prodenial to such an insinuation, and to say lat no others but the committee had
testant Episcopal church of England been engaged in preparing it for the and Ireland, and the doctrine, consideration of parliament."
discipline, and government thereof,
and likewise the Protestant Pres- anxiety for the welfare of the byterian church of Scotland, and church of England exhibited in the doctrine, discipline, and govern- the preamble, and not followed up ment thereof, are, by the respective in any of the enactments of the acts of union between England and bill, was one of those touches of Scotland, and between Great Bri- nature which showed a conscioustain and Ireland, therein severally ness of danger in the bosoms of the established permanently and in- framers of the bill; and which violably." Now, why were these ought to excite a lurking suspicion two clauses introduced into the that all was not so correct in it as preamble? There was no clause in at first sight it might appear to be. the bill, which provided for the The constitution, he contended, permanent and inviolable security was virtually altered by this bill. of the Protestant establishment. The bill of Rights was repealed by These clauses had some connexion it. That bill provided, by a most with the first bill that was solemn enactment, that the oath introduced by the late Mr. Grat- taken by every person, on his tan; for they were there followed admission to office, should be the by a third clause to this effect oath of supremacy, which asserts, “ And whereas it would tend to “that no foreign prince, person, promote the interest of the same, prelate, state, or potentate, hath or and strengthen our free constitu- ought to have any jurisdiction, tion, of which they are an essential power, superiority, pre-eminence, part, if the civil and military or authority, ecclesiastical or disqualifications under which his spiritual, within this realm.” This majesty's Roman Catholic subjects oath was now to be repealed. He laboured
removed." did not deny the right of the That clause was omitted in the House of Commons to alter this present bill ; for to say that the oath, but, when they told him privileges, which it conferred upon that they wished to secure to the the Catholics, were intended to church of England permanency promote the interest of the church and inviolability, and when they of England, and to strengthen our altered that act which provided free constitution, would be, an for it most effectually, he had absurdity too great for any man to right to ask what security they had think of believing. In the feast in to give him for the fulfilment of Macbeth, that tyrant, before he their promises ? He would not went round the table to pay his deny, that the maintenance of the respects to his guests, expressed an succession to the Crown in the Proanxiety for the presence of Banquo, testant line, together with the neceswhom he had doomed to die : and sity of two or three of its principal one of the commentators had re officers still remaining Protestants, marked, that this single touch of was an important security. Still nature showed a greater conscious- it amounted only to this that the ness of guilt in Macbeth's mind, individual who came to the throne and excited a stronger suspicion should make the declaration against that he intended mischief to transubstantiation, and should be Banquo, than a thousand laboured in communion with the church of speeches would have done. So he England. All the security derived (Mr. Peel) thought, that the from surrounding him with Pro
testant councillors was taken away. reign of James and it had produced How was it that James 2nd endea- them; and in that of Charles 2nd, voured to effect his purposes ? “By the suspicion of such an event had the assistance of divers evil coun- given rise to the precautions which cillors, judges, and ministers em- it was the object of the present ployed by him"-(such was the bill to get rid of for ever. He language of the bill of Rights)- knew that such an event might “ did he endeavour to subvert and occur under the present system ; extirpate the Protestant religion, but, if the ancient barriers of the and the laws and liberties of this constitution were broken down, and kingdom.” The House would the sovereign was enabled to surtherefore see, that, though the round himself with Catholic adking was obliged to be in commu- visers, facilities for it would be nion with the church of England created which at present had no at his accession to the throne, he existence. He allowed that the was left at liberty, by this bill, to danger he was now describing was make his selection of councillors merely speculative; but, when the amongst his Roman Catholic sub- fundamental laws of the country jects. What might be the conse- were going to be repealed, it was quence of such an event ? He right to look even at speculative would suppose that the individual danger. It had been said, that they who filled the throne, after he had were not to look at the clouds with taken the oath against transub- a telescope, and disregard the imstantiation, found the grounds of mediate danger at their feet. his creed to be erroneous, and con- Agreed; but still they were bound sidered the ancient religion of the to be cautious; and, if they saw a country to be the wisest and the cloud in the sky, which at present best. He would suppose that he was not larger than a man's hand, took advantage of the liberal doc- they ought to recollect that it trine which had been that night might, ere long, overcast the firadvanced, that a man's religious mament, and involve the whole opinions were not matter of his face of nature in gloom and desoown choice, and that it would be lation. Against this they were the height of intolerance to subject bound to provide. They ought to him to any disqualification on that act towards those who were to account. Now, if a king or queen succeed them, with the same cauof this country, with a mind liable tion and prospective regard with to the influence of designing per- which their ancestors acted towards sons, were, after his accession, to them, and were not, for any tembecome a convert to the Catholic porary convenience, to diminish the faith, and were to declare his or strength and security of their inher adherence to it, the peace and stitutions. They were not now tranquillity of the country would deciding on the formation of new rest on the will of a single mind. institutions. The question was An attempt to dismiss that indi. not, whether the form of governvidual from the throne, because he ment was to be republican, where had, upon conscientious principles, all religions were admitted equally changed his religious faith, might to the participation of political be productive of very serious con- power, but whether, being a movulsions in the country. In the narchy, with the Protestant religion