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and which had been proved by the experience of ages, to be the best safeguard of our national properity.”
Lord Andover said, “ When he rose to oppose the resolutions against the claims of the Catholics, he did so because that resolution was prejudging the question, which ought to be left to the wisdom and justice of Parliament. He would submit a few observations on the speeches of the mover and seconder of the resolution. These speeches seemed to be at direct variance with one another. The one · represented the Catholics as a poor despicable body; and the other as so powerful, that if their claims were granted the constitution might possibly be overturned. - Little did he expect, that in this age of liberality, in the nineteenth century, sentiments would have been brought forward, more suitable to the eleventh century, and which would even have disgraced the reign of Queen Anne. The army and navy were composed in a great measure of Catholics ; and would it be pretend. ed that those who were fighting the country's battles abroad, would endeavour to destroy its constitution at home?-Would they put arms into the hands of those Catholics who were poor and illiterate, and refuse the privileges of the constitution to those men who were bound by every tie to support it, and who had the greatest interest in the well being and prosperity of their country? He had one observation to make on the speech of the seconder of the resolution. When he talked of the glorious Revolution of 1688, was he aware that no mo.
narch was more willing than William III, to
" That your petitioners have observed that the House of Commons did, in June last, resolve, that it would, early in next session, take into its consideration the state of the laws affecting the Roman Catholic subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, with a view to a final and conciliatory adjustment; that perceiving that attempts have been made to convey opinions.
hostile to any relaxation of the disqualifying laws by which Roman Catholics are excluded from Parliament and office, and thereby to impress upon your honorable House, that the sense of the Protestant inhabitants of this country is generally inimical to any consideration whatever of this important question, your petitioners humbly beg leave to lay their sentiments before your honorable House.
- They rely implicitly on the vigilance of Parliament in discovering, and on its wisdom in removing all causes of discontent and dissatisfaction; they are convinced that the deliberative faculties of the legislature are fully adequate to devise such comprehensive settlement of this interesting subject, as may be equally conducive to the peace of the United Kingdom, and the interests of the established Church ; which cannot be more effectually promoted than by conciliating the affections of all classes of his Majesty's subjects, and providing for the general safety of the empire, by strengthening the attachment of all its inhabitants, of whatever persuasion, to its constitution and government."
The Rev. Richard Goddard, son of the late member for Wiltshire, seconded this motion.
An interval of some minutes having elapsed, and the chairman having proceeded to put the question,
The Marquis of Lansdowne rose."He had waited till the last moment, when the Chairman called on the Meeting to come to a deci. sion on the question on which they were unexpectedly convened that day, that he
might hear the grounds on which the resolu. tion was recommended, which had been moved on the other side. He had waited till the very Jast moment, because he wished to hear something more than he had yet heard, and because he could not be persuaded, that on the arguments which had been stated, and by them alone, the meeting could possibly come to a resolution, that a petition should be presented to Parliament, hostile to any alteration whatever in the laws relating to the Roman Catho, lics. He had expected to hear from those who originated the resolution, a distinct statement and explanation of the dangers to be apprehended-he did not say from the Catholics, but from the legislature allowing themselves to take the subject into their consideration, For, let it be considered that it now appeared from the resolution which had been proposed, that they had been called to meet there that day, for the purpose of interposing to prevent the House of Commons from doing, what in the course of the last session of the late Parliament, they had pledged themselves to do; and that the House of Commons had done it avowedly upon the ground, that this step was necessary for the defence of the country, and for the union of all hearts in the great cause in which we are all engaged. By such a step they took upon them to say, that the House of Commons had judged wrong-that what the House meant to do in the business they really knew not, that what would be the result of their judgment they had no means of ascertaining : but that nothing which the House of Commons could possibly do would they agree to. This, he contended, was the only view in which the petition could be brought forward ; for the petition must distinctly convey their opinion, that Parliament was not able, in any way whatever, to effect any thing beneficial, improve any thing defective, or guard agaiost any thing dangerous, in taking the claims of the Catholics into consideration. After listening to the speeches of the mover and seconder of the resolution, he confessed he should have supposed that we were in a state of the world in which nothing was to be apprehended from foreign enemies, but every thing from our own subjects. He, however, was not asham. ed to avow that, in his opinion, everything fatal and threatening was to be apprehended from our enemies abroad, and every thing good was to be looked for from the establishment of harmony and union at home, from improved confidence, and increased co-operation between all classes of his Majesty's subjects. These gentlemen, however, were ready to pronounce, that those persons whom the country admitted into the army and navy, and who were gallantly fighting our battles, not only should not be admitted into the privileges of the constitution ; but that a Protestant House of Commons should not safely be allowed to deliberate whether they ought so to be admitted or not. He called upon any gentleman who entertained such an opinion, to shew wherein the danger lay which they apprehended. The mover of the resolution bad told them, that he declined making any