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college, and one for each of the thirty-one | to that bar from the House of Commons, and the next day sitting and taking a part in the deliberations of their lordships? The provision, in some respects, was even his other privileges, in order to beconie a commoner, and resign his seat in the House of Commons, to become a candi. date for the peerage. What could be more preposterous than to see a peer of the kingdom sitting as the representative of the Commons? The peers, were a distinct body, placed in the middle class between the people and the crown; and yet here was a preposterous proposition to place a number of their body on a level with the Commons. If the nobleman of highest rank in Ireland, for instance, the duke of Leinster, should happen to be a member of the House of Commons of the united kingdom, and should be sent up as a manager of an impeachment to that bar with a message, what sort of decorum would there be in seeing a nobleman decorated with all the insignia of the most exalted rank, stand at their bar a messenger, when, perhaps, there was sitting among their lordships the junior and last created baron of Ireland? In support of his argument the noble lord quoted Blackstone vol. 1, ch, 2, s. 2, and vol. 4, ch. 19. Even so early as 1628, the House of Lords, feeling a proper jealousy on the subject, presented a petition to Charles 1st on account of his having cre ated one of their members (Cary, lord Falkland) a peer of Scotland. It was true that nothing was done upon that petition, the king wisely answering, “That the matter was of weighty consequence; and as their lordships had sat some days to prepare the same, so he would take some time to consider of an answer to it."
most considerable towns and boroughs. In forming and appreciating this quota, they had referred to the union with Scotland, but in the present instance the num-futile, as an Irish peer had only to resign ber of members was proportionably greater, because Ireland had peculiar pretensions to indulgence and allowance, since she was called upon to give up her separate legislature. With regard to the 28 lords temporal of Ireland, who were proposed to have seats in that House they were to hold their seats by the same tenure with their lordships, viz. for life, and as it was intended that they should be chosen by the members of their own body there could be little doubt, but that those noble lords who were most distinguished by their talents and were best acquainted with the political interests of their country, would be the persons returned to sit in that House, and as all the peers of Ireland individually were equally entitled to be chosen from that body to make up the 28, the investing them with their seats for life would prevent the monstrous anomaly in our constitution of their being one day representatives among the Commons of the united parliament, and the preceding day peers of parliament. By continuing them for life, there would be no room for that cabal and intrigue which might otherwise be inseparable from frequent elections. Having gone through all the propositions in the resolution, his lordship concluded with moving, that the said Resolution should form one of the articles of union.
Lord Mulgrave objected to that part of the resolution which related to the peers of Ireland being permitted to sit in the House of Commons of the united parliament deprived of the privilege of peerage, and liable to be proceeded against as commoners for any offence with which they might be charged. This part his lordship reprobated in the strongest terms, as calculated to create infinite confusion, by blending peers of the realm with commoners, at once vitiating the blood of the nobility, and degrading those of high birth from their rank in society. In those few words of the resolution were couched much mischief. He should esteem himself unworthy of his rank and privileges, and ungrateful for the favours of the crown, if he did not oppose a scheme that went to the degradation of the peerage. Could any thing be more monstrous than to see a peer one day bringing down bills
The noble lord then moved, "That the following words be omitted: that so long as such Peer of Ireland shall so continue to be a member of the House of Commons, he shall not be entitled to the privilege of Peerage, nor be capable of being elected to serve as a peer on the part of Ireland, or of voting at any such election; and that he shall be liable to be sued, indicted, proceeded against and tried as a Commoner for any offence with which he may be charged."
The Lord Chancellor was a good deal surprised at what had fallen from the noble lord, whose whole discourse seemed
* See Vol. 2, p. 438,
[162 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. mixing 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 said that the eldest sons of peers had no relation to the peerage. Was the noble lord to learn that the eldest son of a peer was an heir expectant of his father's title, as near a relation to the peerage as could possibly be imagined, and yet, did the eldest son of a duke think himself degraded by sitting in the House of Commons? What then was there in the superior nobility of blood of Irish peers, that they should feel more degraded by being members of the House of Commons than the eldest sons of British nobility of the highest rank? The noble lord had mentioned the case of lord Falkland; but though the Commons had petitioned, yet it was notorious that lord Falkland continued to sit. Nor was he the single instance of a Scotch peer having a seat in the other House; lord Dunbar, lord Fairfax, and several other Scotch peers, had sat in the House of Commons. He should therefore vote for the resolution as it stood at present.
The noble lord then adverted to the situation of the Roman Catholics in this country. There were many acts respecting that body of men that partook of the violence and prejudice of the times in which they were passed. The most sanguinary of them, however, had not directly excluded Roman Catholics from being members of the two Houses of Parliament. The policy which excluded them from parliament considered them not so much as Roman Catholics, but as a faction nostile to the established government, in church and state. The oath of supremacy, in the case of Roman Catholics, was made to involve, not merely the renunciation of any temporal authority of the pope, but questions of faith which had no connexion with that object. If it was objected, that the Roman Catholics held opinions hostile to government, in acknowledging the temporal authority of the pope in civil.concerns, it might be answered, that in fact the very position which was imputed to the Roman Catholics as most dangerous, had been disclaimed in the practice of many Catholic countries. In this country 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 subit, he 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 policy which dictated the abrogation of hardships to which the Catholics had been [VOL. XXXV.]
After some further debate, the Committee divided on lord Mulgrave's Amendment: Contents, 9; Not-Contents, 52. The Resolution was then agreed to.
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 likewise 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 Church? 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 favourcontinued 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. 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 one 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 intelconsideration 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'ment, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament,' and the other passed in 1st William and Mary, intituled An Act for removing and pre'venting all Questions and Disputes con'cerning the assembling and sitting of the present Parliament,' as excludes persons professing the religion of the Church of Rome, from sitting in either House of Parliament."
Lord Boringdon deprecated the entering into any debate upon a question of such magnitude, which the wisdom and good sense of the legislature of Ireland had forborne to interfere with, and which, from the silence hitherto observed respecting it, he had hoped would have been suffered to remain undisturbed, while the two Houses were engaged in discussing the propositions. No small part of his approbation of the measure arose from a consideration that the union when effected would afford a salutary opportunity for the discussion not only of the subject to which this motion went, but of all other questions of a delicate nature, which could not be agitated with equal safety, temper, and caution, in an Irish, or even in a British house of parliament, as they could be in an united imperial parliament, the members of which would have the benefit of all the local knowledge of the representatives of Ireland. For these reasons he would move the previous question.
The Marquis of Lansdown said, that having been prevented by ill health from
parliament. The only blemish that was, in his mind at all discernible in the union, was, in respect to some of the great towns. For instance, in the midst of the popu lous town of Belfast, consisting of 25,000 inhabitants, there was a petty borough, consisting of twelve persons only, and that the property of an individual. It was, in the plainest sense of the words, a rotten borough: because so long as it remained private property, it was natural to expect that a brother, a cousin or some dependent, would be chosen the representative, instead of a well informed merchant capable of assisting in the framing of such measures as might be most advantageous to the commerce of the north of Ireland. This, however, was a little blemish which he hoped would in time be done away, and then the union would remain a brilliant sun, without a single spot to deface or deform it. While the states on the continent were aiming at aggrandizement, it behoved us to concentrate the strength of the British empire, and unite its parts. No man could look on a map without seeing how advisable it was that Great Britain and Ireland should consolidate their strength. The one island was a security to the eastern coast of the other; the other island a security to the western coast of the former. If it had pleased Providence to have made a continent of Great Britain and Ireland, how desirable would it have been that the two should have been separate, and a navigation cut between them; The Irish sea, therefore, was to be consi
dered 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, rapeople 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 country having 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 200,000. 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 opthe 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 procnister; 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 sub- 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 the hackneyed sense in which the word informed to know the political interests of was applied, but as confounding property