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college, and one for each of the thirty-one to that bar from the House of Commons, most considerable towns and boroughs. and the next day sitting and taking a part In forming and appreciating this quota, in the deliberations of their lordships ? they had referred to the union with Scot. The provision, in some respects, was even land, but in the present instance the num- futile, as an Irish peer had only to resign
of members was proportionably his other privileges, in order to beconie a greater, because Ireland had peculiar commoner, and resign his seat in the pretensions to indulgence and allowance, House of Commons, to become a candi. since she was called upon to give up her date for the peerage. What could be separate legislature. With regard to the more preposterous than to see a peer of 28 lords temporal of Ireland, who were the kingdom sitting as the representative proposed to have seats in that House they of the Commons ? The peers, were a were to hold their seats by the same te distinct body, placed in the middle class nure with their lordships, viz. for life, and between the people and the crown; and as it was intended that they should be yet here was a preposterous proposition chosen by the members of their own to place a number of their body cii a level body there could be little doubt, but that with the Commons. If the nobleman of those noble lords who were most distin- highest rank in Ireland, for instance, the guished by their talents and were best ac- duke of Leinster, should happen to be a quainted with the political interests of member of the House of Commons of the their country, would be the persons re- united kingdom, and should be sent up as turned to sit in that House, and as all the a manager of an impeachment to that bar peers of Ireland individually were equally with a message, what sort of decorum entitled to be chosen from that body to would there be in seeing a nobleman de- ! make up the 28, the investing them with corated with all the insignia of the most their seats for life would prevent the mon- exalted rank, stand at their bar a messtrous anomaly in our constitution of their senger, when, perhaps, there was sitting being one day representatives among the among their lordships the junior and last Commons of the united parliament, and the created baron of Ireland ? In support of preceding day peers of parliament. By his argument the noble lord quoted continuing them for life, there would be Blackstone vol. 1, ch, 2, s. 2, and vol
. 4, no room for that cabal and intrigue which cb. 19. Even so early as 1628, the House might otherwise be inseparable from fre- of Lords, feeling a proper jealousy on quent elections. Having gone through all the subject, presented a petition to the propositions in the resolution, his Charles 1st on account of his having cre. lordship concluded with moving, that the ated one of their members (Cary, lord said Resolution should form one of the Falkland) a peer of Scotland. It was articles of union.
true that nothing was done upon that peLord Mulgrave objected to that part of tition, the king wisely answering, “ That the resolution which related to the peers the matter was of weighty consequence ; of Ireland being permitted to sit in the and as their lordships had sat some days House of Commons of the united parlia- to prepare the same, so he would take ment deprived of the privilege of peerage, some time to consider of an answer to and liable to be proceeded against as com- it." The noble lord then moved, moners for any offence with which they “ That the following words be omitted : might be charged. This part his lordship that so long as suchi Peer of Ireland reprobated in the strongest terms, as cal shall so continue to be a member of the culated to create infinite confusion, by House of Commons, he shall not be enblending peers of the realm with com- titled to the privilege of Peerage, nor be moners, at once vitiating the blood of the capable of being elected to serve as a nobility, and degrading those of high peer on the part of Ireland, or of voting birth from their rank in society. In those at any such election; and that he shall few words of the resolution were couched be liable to be sued, indicted, proceeded much mischief. He should esteem him. against and tried as a Commoner for any self unworthy of his rank and privileges, offence with which he may be charged."** and ungrateful for the favours of the The Lord Chancellor was a good deal crown, if he did not oppose a scheme that surprised at what had fallen from the went to the degradation of the peerage. noble lord, whose whole discourse seemed Could any thing be more monstrous than to see a peer one day bringing down bills
* See Vol. 2, p. 138,
rather calculated for an address to an as the disabilities under which they laboured sembly of French, or German noblesse, in each country was different. In as far than a British House of Peers. Did any as the Roman Catholics of this country of their lordships, at any time of their were concerned, it was a matter of justice lives, estimate so highly their nobility of that they should be restored to privileges blood, as to think it all vitiated by their of which they had been so long deprived. mising as legislators with the gentry of In as far as the Irish Catholics were conEngland? The noble lord had said, that cerned, the abolition of the disabilities, it would be a degrading thing to see an was a measure essential to the tranquillity Irish peer of the first rank come to that of the sister kingdom. The motion he bar as a member of the House of Commons was about to make, was for an instruction decorated with ribbons, whilst the young to the Committee to consider of the disest Irish baron sat among their lordships. abilities under which Roman Catholics He saw nothing degrading in it, and it labour, in consequence of two acts of had fallen to his lot, when the junior baron parliament, of Charles 2nd and William of that House, to walk down to the bar to and Mary. The object of the instruction receive messages from the eldest son was, to remove those disabilities; the of the premier duke of England, and effect of which would be, to place the from Irish peers of higher rank than Roman Catholics of both countries on a himself , but he never felt
any embarrass- footing with regard to political rights: ment in so doing. The noble lord had The noble lord then adverted to the situasaid that the eldest sons of peers had notion of the Roman Catholics in this coun. relation to the peerage. Was the noble lord | try. There were many acts respecting to learn that the eldest son of a peer that body of men that partook of the viowas an heir expectant of his father's title, I lence and prejudice of the times in which as near a relation to the peerage as could they were passed. The most sanguinary possibly be imagined, and yet, did the eldest of them, however, had not directly ex. son of a duke think himself degraded by cluded Roman Catholics from being memsitting in the House of Commons ? What bers of the two Houses of Parliament. then was there in the superior nobility of The policy which excluded them from blood of Irish peers, that they should feel parliament considered them not so much more degraded by being members of the as Roman Catholics, but as a faction nosHouse of Commons than the eldest sons tile to the established government, in of British nobility of the highest rank? church and state. The oath of supremacy, The noble lord had mentioned the case of in the case of Roman Catholics, was made lord Falkland; but though the Commons to involve, not merely the renunciation of had petitioned, yet it was notorious that any temporal authority of the pope, but lord Falkland continued to sit. Nor was he questions of faith which had no coonexion the single instance of a Scotch peer having with that object. If it was objected, that a seat in the other House ; lord Dunbar, the Roman Catholics held opinions hostile lord Fairfax, and several other Scotch to government, in acknowledging the tempeers, had sat in the House of Commons. poral authority of the pope in civil.conHe should therefore vote for the resolu- cerns, it might be answered, that in fact tion as it stood at present.
the very position which was imputed to After some further debate, the Com- the Roman Catholics as most dangerous, mittee divided on lord Mulgrave's Amend. had been disclaimed in the practice of ment : Contents, 9; Not-Contents, 52. many Catholic countries. In this country The Resolution was then agreed to. it was proved, by many acts of parliament,
that previous to the Reformation the temApril 30. The order of the day being poral authority of the pope had been deread,
nied, and that it was thought criminal to Lord Holland rose to make his promised acknowledge such a right. It appeared, motion upon the disqualifications under therefore, that the sentiments of the which the Roman Catholics laboured. Roman Catholics upon this point were The question of union pressed this subject perfectly consistent with the oath of sustrongly upon their attention. In viewing premacy, in so far as they were not subthe thought it should be considered jected to be questioned by it on articles both as it affected the Roman Catholics of belief. By an act of his present main this country and those in Ireland. The jesty's reign, however, several of the palicy which dictated the abrogation of hardships to which the Catholics had been
exposed, were done away, and they were | How and when these concessions had been entitled to hold property on renouncing made for that purpose he should not now the supremacy of the pope, an oath which inquire. Some of the warm supporters he believed not twelve Catholics in Eng. of the union had been the enemies of these land would now refuse. But it was unne- concessions. Now, however, that the cessary to show that the sentiments of the Catholics were restored to their elective Catholics respecting the power of the franchises, he saw no reason why they pope were at the present moment of very should not lik ise be rendered capable little importance. 'What danger could be of sitting in parliament. It was often apprehended from the pretensions of a bi- said, that the great body of the Catholics shop of Rome, whose authority was now was of the lower class, and were not afso greatly circumscribed; and who, since fected by the exclusion from parliament. his election to the papal chair, had not Those who reasoned so had but little idea been able to obtain possession of the tem- how deeply men might be affected by an poral dominions which remain to the insult. Though they might not feel the
With respect to the English actual operation of the law, they were Catholics, there could be little objection wounded by the degradation to which to restoring to them the right of sitting their whole body was exposed. This in either House of Parliament. Whatever rankled in their minds, and was often of policy might have dictated their exclusion more fatal tendency than a substantial in former times, the same causes did injury. But perhaps it would be said, not now exist. The disability under though ministers did not disapprove of the which they laboured was a stigma that had measure in itself, the time was not favour. continued too long, and could not be too able to it, and that it ought not to be imspeedily removed. The justice and policy mediately connected with the union. On of such a measure were so evident, that the contrary, he thought, that to render he would not waste their lordships time the union more acceptable, to reconcile in illustrating the argument. With res. so many of the people of Ireland to it, pect to Ireland, the same justice and libe. was ne of the chief recommendations of rality not only called for the abrogation of his motion. Though he considered the the disabilities; but it was absolutely ne- policy of the union doubtful, and some cessary to the tranquillity of the country of its provisions, particularly with regard A great authority had lately stated, that to representation, alarming innovations, whatever benefits the union was calculated yet if he thought that the emancipation to produce, their being realised would of the Catholics was to accompany the depend upon the peace and tranquillity of union, it would soften much of his hosIreland. "If this position was just, there tility to the project. It was an object of could not be a stronger inducement to the the highest importance to strengthen his adoption of the measure he had in view. majesty's government by conciliating the The emancipation of the Catholics was a affections of all his subjects. But it might measure absolutely necessary to tranquillize be said, it would be better to wait. He, men's minds in Ireland, and prepare the way on the contrary, thought that the present for the attainment of those benefits which was the moment to remove all the doubts were expected from the union. The Ca- which the Catholics might entertain, and tholics were computed to form two-thirds to render them friendly to the measure, of the population of Ireland; and it surely by showing them the advantages they was a matter of the utmost importance to would gain. It might be said that the consider how these men were to be recon. parliament of Ireland would not agree to ciled to the measure. With a view to ge- the union if the restoration of the Catholics neral utility, it was necessary that this to their rights were connected with it, immense body should be admitted to the and that it might be granted by the united enjoyment of their political rights. He parliament. Not to mention, however, had the authority of the friends of the that the same influence against the meaunion for saying, that a state of things sure would afterwards continue, that was where so many men were excluded from a disingenuous mode of proceeding. The the exercise of the most important political Catholics could now have no security rights, was a solecism in government, and that any thing would be done in their productive of the greatest mischiefs. But favour, and they would naturally be init might be said, that much had been clined to doubt. This question was comdone to conciliate the people of Ireland. pared to that of the heritable jurisdictions in Scotland, which, though expressly taking part in the various discussions in guarded by the articles of union, were which their lordships had lately been enafterwards abolished. What was there, gaged, he hoped to be indulged in saying then, in that example encouraging to a few words upon the subject at large. the Catholics of Ireland ? The abolition He had in the course of the last session of the heritable jurisdiction did not take pretty strongly intimated his opinion in place till forty years after the union, and favour of the proposed union. Having in direct violation of it. The only way, considered it more and more since that therefore, to give the Catholics of Ireland time, he had not changed a single ray of a direct interest in the union was, to hold his sentiments on the subject. He out to them a certain advantage, and it stood up then to avow himself a firm was at the same time the only means of friend to the measure, because he was securing that tranquillity which was ad- convinced that it was founded in the trumitted to be essential to the success of est political wisdom, and conducted in a the measure of a union. His lordship manner at once liberal and fair to Ireland then moved, “ That the Committee of the as well as judicious and just in respect to whole House, to whom it is referred to this country. He highly applauded the take into consideration his majesty's Mes weight that was given in the scale of resage, respecting the propositions from presentation to the counties of Ireland, as Ireland, be instructed to take into their that was the surest means of having inteiconsideration so much of two Acts, one ligent and independent men, men of local passed in the 30th year of Chas. 2nd, inti- knowledge, and deeply skilled in the intertuled • An Act for the more effectual Pre- ests of Ireland, sent over to the united serving the King's Person and Govern. parliament. The only blemish that was, ment, by disabling Papists from sitting in his mind at all discernible in the union, in either House of Parliament,' and the was, in respect to some of the great towns. other passed in Ist William and Mary, For instance, in the midst of the popu. intituled · An Act for removing and pre. | lous town of Belfast, consisting of 25,000 "venting all Questions and Disputes con inhabitants, there was a petty borough,
cerning the assembling and sitting of the consisting of twelve persons only, and present Parliament,' as excludes per that the property of an individual. It sons professing the religion of the Church was, in the plainest sense of the words, a of Rome, from sitting in either House of rotten borough: because so long as it reParliament."
mained private property, it was natural to Lord Boringdon deprecated the enter- expect that a brother, a cousin or some ing into any debate upon a question of dependent, would be chosen the represensuch magnitude, which the wisdom and tative, instead of a well informed merchant good sense of the legislature of Ireland capable of assisting in the framing of such had forborne to interfere with, and which, measures as might be most advantageous from the silence hitherto observed re- to the commerce of the north of Ireland. specting it, he had hoped would have This, however, was a little blemish which been suffered to remain undisturbed, while he hoped would in time be done away, the two Houses were engaged in discussing and then the union would remain a brillithe propositions. No small part of his ant sun, without a single spot to deface approbation of the measure arose from a or deform it. While the states on the consideration that the union when effected continent were aiming at aggrandizement, would afford a salutary opportunity for it behoved us to concentrate the strength the discussion not only of the subject to of the British empire, and unite its parts. which this motion went, but of all other No man could look on a map without scequestions of a delicate nature, which could ing how advisable it was that Great Brinot be agitated with equal safety, temper, tain and Ireland should consolidate their and caution, in an Irish, or even in a Bri- strength. The one island was a security to tish house of parliament, as they could be the eastern coast of the other ; the other isin an united imperial parliament, the land a security to the western coast of the members of which would have the benefit former. If it had pleased Providence to of all the local knowledge of the repre• have made a continent of Great Britain sentatives of Ireland. For these reasons and Ireland, how desirable would it have he would move the previous question. been that the two should have been sepa
The Marquis of Lansdown said, that rate, and a navigation cut between them; having been prevented by ill health from The Irish sea, therefore, was to be considered as a glorious navigation, well fitted the country. Even if a proposal were for assisting the commerce and adding to made to open the port of London, on conthe wealth of both kingdoms. The mar- dition of the city's giving up the lord quis said he had only heard of two objec- mayor's gilt coach, and the dinners at tions made to the union, that had any Guildhall, he verily believed some of the weight whatever, the most material of them citizens would stick to the syllabubs and was that it was against the sense of the their Guildhall dinners and gilt coach, ra. people of Ireland; the other, that which ther than consent to part with them as a was brought forward by the woolstaplers. condition to have the port of London opened Upon mature reflection, however, he was for the importation of the merchandise of convinced that they had no cause for Dantzic, Embden, and all the rich ports, alarm at the proposed union. In answer and cities of the continent. As to the to the objection, that the sense of the notion that this alteration of the legislature Irish nation was against the union, sure he would increase the influence of the crown, was that the majority of the people of he entertained no such idea; it was a property in that country were strongly in mere pin, compared to the influence favour of it; and it was the parliament of created by the East and West Indies. Ireland, the representatives of the proper. Besides the alterations which ought to be ty of the country to which we must look made in the borough representation of Ireup for the sense of the people, and not con- land, he would recommend that proposed sider the population numerically, nor by the motion of his noble friend. It was look to petitions or subscriptions. Indeed, proper to hold out, in the first instance, there was scarcely one of their lordships so every thing that could reconcile the people young as not to know how easy it was to of Ireland to the union ; every thing that obtain petitions and numerous subscrip- could manifest the sincerity of government tions on almost every occasion. He recol- in its wishes for their prosperity ; and all lected, in the year 1767, when he was secre- this should be done without waiting for the tary of state, on coming down rather late to imperial parliament. With respect to that House, he was told, that a petition, what had been absurdly called Catholic with a numerous list of subscribers, had emancipation, the matter was merely fanbeen just presented, the prayer of which ciful,this countryhaving nothing to concede was, that he might be impeached. He as they had already restored the Catholics was told it came from the Royal Ex- to the free exercise of their franchises, change, and being desirous to see who and what little remained to be done he were the subscribers, he took it up, when hoped would be done liberally. But perthe very first name he cast his eye upon, haps the union did not go far enough; the was that of one of his particular friends, Catholies should be set at rest; and there an alderman of London. The next day the was another grievance that called loudly alderman called on him, when he told him for redress. The whole produce of the he did not expect to see him again in his tythes of Ireland did not amount to more house. The alderman (sir William Ste- than 200,0001. In God's name abolish phenson) stared, and asked him, why so ? them, and lay it upon the landlord ; any His lordship explained that he had seen his where else, than on the poor occupant ! Let name to a petition, desiring that he might the clergy have as much more as you will, be impeached ; when the alderman replied but in some other way. The lower orders with indifference, " Oh, aye Idid sign a pe- of occupants in Ireland, had nothing but tition at the Royal Exchange, which they their paltry bed of potatoes; and even that told me was for the impeachment of a mi- they were harassed by proctor after proc. nister; I always sign a petition to impeach a tor after proctor to pay tythes for. "The minister,and I recollect that as soon as I had true interest of Ireland required, that the subscribed it, twenty more put their names landlord and the tenant should come toto it.” Their lordships therefore would gether, and that the middle man should judge what weight was to be given to subo be wholly done away. He had promised scriptions. Not at the same time, that he his peasantry in the South-west of Ireland, meant to undervalue the population of the that he would never let pass an opportucountry. It was the bulk of the people nity of enforcing the abolition of tythes, who were in effect, the active force of every and he was determined to keep his word. country, and especially so of Ireland: but He was an enemy to Jacobinism; not in in general they were not sufficiently well thc hackneyed sense in which the word informed to know the political interests of was applied, but as confounding property