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church was established by law. This of the times. In like manner, the was specially provided for in the right of petitioning was provided for Bill of Rights and the Act of Settle in the Bill of Rights. Would the ment. None of the disabilities now noble and learned Lord, however, proposed to be removed were to be say that this right could not in any found among the securities taken circumstances be made the subject for the Protestant religion at the of qualification and restriction? The Revolution. All of them were imnoble and learned Lord himself had posed either before or after the Re- laid his unhallowed hands on the volution. If, then, he could prove most sacred security of the constithat all those disabilities were oc- tution, when he suspended the right casional, the whole argument of the of every man to enjoy personal libernoble and learned Lord went to the ty, or to have a fair trial by his ground, and what was collateral and country; and yet they were now subsidiary, being no longer necese stopped from any further applicasary, might be removed without any tion to their Lordships, on the injury to what was fundamental and ground that whatever had been esessential. The constitution, the tablished at the Revolution was funnoble and learned Lord would ad- damental and essential. Of those mit, was fundamentally and essential laws which were now complained of, ly free. At the Revolution, securi- the first was the Corporation Act, ties had been taken to guard the na- which had been passed in the first tional freedom. The Bill of Rights year after the Restoration : its object and the Act of Settlement contained was to exclude from Parliament, those securities. Yet the noble and not the Catholics, but the supporters learned Lord would be the last to of Cromwell, who had overturned contend that those securities were the Government and the constitu80 essential and fundamental as to tion. The next law was the Test Act, be inseparable from the constitution, in the 25th of Charles II. That law and that they could not be altered. had been directed against the CaThe purity of Parliament was pro- tholics, but particularly against the vided for both in the Bill of Rights Duke of York. The next law was and in the Act of Settlement; and it the 30th of Charles II. to exclude was enacted by them that no place. Catholics from both Houses of Parman could have a seat in Parliament. liament. These laws had passed Yet a few years afterward this pro- before the Revolution, and were convision was repealed. A similar re- tinued, and additions made to them peal had taken place of an enact. after the Revolution.
There was a ment of equal authority respecting law to disqualify Catholics from vot. appeals to the Privy Council. Ai ing at the elections of members of the Revolution it had been provided, Parliament, and the 1st of Geo. I. that Parliaments should be frequent- disqualified them from bolding any ly holden. Two years afterwards it office or place of trust, civil or miliwas enacted that the other House tary. The reasons for such mea. should be elected every three years. sures were, that a prince expelled Yet it was well known that by the from the throne was attached to the 1st George I. this act had been re- Catholic religion ; that that attachpealed. The septennial act was one ment had been the cause of his inof doubtful righi, which he thought vasion of the rights of the people; justified by the necessity and danger that he was supported by great numbers at home, not only of the Ca. gion were thought hostile, not only tholic but of the Protestant religion; to religion, but to the existence of and that he was received and sup. society. Both these causes having ported by the greatest Catholic ceased to exist, they could not conpower on the Continent. Queen tinue the laws which had arisen from Anne, the last of the family, was them without injustice. It remainstrongly suspected, and not without ed that he should reply to the asserreason, of a desire to restore her ex- tion that it was impossible for the iled father. This suspicion and the King to distinguish between spiritual sinful nature of the Catholic religion, and temporal obedience. If the as viewed in that age, formed the common law of the country, precause of laws so inconsistent with viously to the reign of Henry VIII., the spirit of the Revolution. It was required obedience to the King, this to represent the Revolution in black common law was the growth of Ca. and odious colours, if he might use tholic times. But in the oath prea parliamentary expression, to im- scribed to Roman Catholics, by the pute to its spirit what was only oc- act of 1793, there was the distinc. casional. Those dangers were now tion clearly made between spiritual past, and could no longer justify and temporal obedience. But this measures which depended on them. argument applied, with equal force, There had been another act against to a Catholic Government. History the Catholics, which he had ne- recorded many attempts by Popes glected to mention, whose provisions to increase their power, and many were the severest of all. It was the contentions between the Pope and act 1699, now happily repealed; but the Emperor of Germany, the King it illustrated how our ancestors had of France and the King of England. legislated upon this subject. This On those occasions no such effects act precluded Catholics from devi- had arisen as were now represented sing property, and imposed a penale to be the consequences of recognity for every performance of mass. sing the authority of the Pope. Had Their Lordships could now see with the Pope at this moment, either in what deliberative wisdom this law Austria or in France, any civil power had been passed. Bishop Burnet that could endanger the safety of said, that those who brought in the these states ? It would be ridiculous bill had hoped that the Court would
to say he had.
Even in former oppose it; and finding that the Court times, when arbitrary mandates had did not, they added severer penalties, been issued by the Pope, there were with the hope that the Lords would instances in which neither the sove. reject it. But the bill passed with reign nor the subjects had shown any out any amendment, and loaded, as disposition to obey them. Edward Burke said to his constituents at 1., when called on by the Pope to Bristol, with the injustice of both desist from attacking Scotland, had parties, who played at cups and spurned the remonstrance; he anballs to the danger of the lives of swered, that he would repel every their fellow-subjects. The reasons attempt to deprive him of the right of those measures then were, 1st, of managing his own kingdom, and that there was a Catholic family pre. that he would not admit the interfer. tending to the throne, who were ence of his Holiness, as it would hostile to liberty: and next, that tend to lessen the dignity of the the principles of the Catholic reli. English throne, and might ultimate
ly lead to the subversion of the Eng. the Roman Catholics, but actually lish constitution, both of which he contemplated the restoration of that was determined to defend with all liberty which the Catholics, after a his strength. But the spirit of op- lapse of so many years, were still position to the civil power of the contending for. The object of the Pope was not confined to the reign motion was to make Catholics eligiof Edward I. In the reigns of Ed. ble to offices of trust : and he mainward III. and Richard II. statutes of tained, that eligibility being a civil præmunire were enacted, tending right and the distinction of a free directly to abridge the power of the government, if necessity did not obPope; and in all subsequent times, lige them to be excluded, Parliadown to the Reformation, numerous ment did them an injustice by ex. instances occurred of sovereigns op. cluding them. He admitted, that posing the will of the Pope. And this civil right was subject to the yet a noble Lord had asserted, that safety of the State ; but what he cobin history there was no example of tended for was, that Parliament such opposition, and had maintained could not curtail or abridge the right that a Roman Catholic could not of any subject, unless the necessity acknowledge the power of the of such a measure could be shown. Pope in matters of faith, without While their Lordships continued to weakening his allegiance to his King. abridge the civil rights of any class Allusion had been made by the Noble of subjects, toleration was not comLord to the conduct of the Catho plete; and if the public necessity of lics at a subsequent period, during the measure could not be proved, the attempts of the Pretender. It the measure was injurious and unought, however, to be borne in just. He remembered well, that on mind, that the particular circum- a former occasion, a Noble Lord stances of the times, which had been stated, that although the Catholics the cause of that misconduct, no
believed in transubstantiation, in longer existed, and consequently the the invocation of saints, and in the danger was no longer to be appre- sacrifice of mass, these articles of hended. The Noble Lord had next belief could constitute no objection alluded to the articles of the union, to their enjoying the same civil rigbts in support of the doctrine of exclu- as their Protestant fellow-subjects. sion; and certainly when the Noble If, then, these doctrines were no Lord cited the union with Ireland proof of allegiance to a foreign sufor that purpose, he (Lord Grey) premacy, why continue the declaracould not help expressing bis sur- tion act? The question as to the prise. Was there one word in that Catholics was now much narrowed, act which sanctioned the permanent and their Lordships ought to relieve exclusion of the Roman Catholics ? themselves from the impropriety of He took it upon him to say, that it the declaration oath. Had their did not contain one word to justi. Lordships so far examined the docfy such an exclusion. Indeed, if he trine of transubstantiation, as to be read the act rightly, it furnished prepared to call it superstitious ? grounds for a contrary inference, It Had they so closely investigated the appeared as if Ministers at that time doctrine of invocation and the celenot only had not made up their bration of mass as to be able to pro. minds as to the final exclusion of nounce them idolatrous: If these
questions could not be answered in under which the Catholics still conthe affirmative, then he contended ceived themselves to labour. With the argument was irrefutable for go- this view, a bill was introduced into ing into a committee.
the Lords for the purpose of abroAfter some very pointed and ju- gating the declarations enacted by dicious remarks by the Earl of Li. the 25th and 30th of Charles II., the verpool, and a few words from seve- former of which, commonly called ral other Noble Lords, the House the Test Act, was required on addivided, when the motion was nega. mission to office, the latter to a seatin tived by 147 to 106.
Parliament. The second reading was The smallness of the majorities, moved on the 10th of June by Earl both in the Lords and Commons, ap. Grey; but after a keen discussion, pears to have inspired the friends of enlivened by a splendid display of Catholic Emancipation with the argumentative eloquence on the hope that some qualified measure part of Lord Grenville, the bill was might yet be carried ; and that Par- thrown out by a majority of 141 liament would agree to remove the to 82. most obnoxious of those disabilities
MICELLANEOUS PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS.
Legal Reforms.-Abolition of Trial by Wager of Battle.--Insolvent Debtors'
Act. Bankruptcy Laws Amendment Bill.- Game Laws' Amendment Bill. -Bill for regulating the settlement of Paupers.-Mr Tierney's motion on the State of the Nation.-Cession of Parga to the Turks. — Foreign En. listment Bill carried through all its stages. - Charitable Foundations Bill. -Sir Francis Burdett's motion on the subject of Parliamentary Reform.Prorogation of Parliament.
Such portions of the proceedings of a barbarous age; no trial by battle this Session of Parliament as may having been awarded since the time not be conveniently arranged under of Charles I., when, however, the separate heads, we have resolved to commission was revoked. In order group together in one chapter ; but to expunge from the statute-book to prevent confusion, and to facilitate such a preposterous mode of deter• reference to the different subjects mining innocence or guilt, the Attorhere introduced, we shall carefully ney-General, on the 9th of February, distinguish each branch from the o- moved for leave to bring in a bill to thers,
and endeavour to condense all abolish the proceeding of appeal of the information we have been able death, felony, or maybem, and all to obtain under the department to wager of battle, joining issue by batwhich it properly belongs.
tle, and trial of battle in writs of The remarkable case of Abraham right. The bill was accordingly inThornton, who had been tried at War. troduced, read a second time on the wick Assizes, in 1817, on the charge 12th, committed on the 15th of Fe. of murdering a young woman, named bruary, and read a third time and Mary Ashford, and acquitted, but had passed on the 22d of March. In its afterwards been prosecuted by appeal progress through the Lords, the at the instance of William Ashford, Chancellor expressed his entire apbrother of the deceased, and had a. probation of the bill, remarking that vailed himself of the plea of Wager the appeal by wager of battle was "a of Battle, (See Edinburgh Annual proceeding founded in a spirit of Register for 1817, Part II. p. 174,) vengeance, and that it was difficult to excited great interest at the time, and know by what management a man's forcibly fixed the public attention on life might be exposed a second time this relic of the laws and usages of after having been fairly tried and ac