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2o and subscribed in any of the Courts, or before any of the per

sons above mentioned, shall be of the same force and effect, to all intents and purposes, as, and shall stand in the place of, all Oaths and Declarations, required or prescribed by any law now in force for the Relief of his Majesty's Roman Catholic Subjects, from any disabilities, incapacities, or penalties." That is the second portion of the 23d section, and in one mode of punctuation it will bear the meaning I attribute to it. However, as there is no punctuation in Acts of Parliament, I shall not trouble the House with any special pleading on pare ticular words; but come to the remaining and distinct portion of the section :-“ And the proper Officer of any of the Courts above-mentioned, in which any person professing the Roman Catholic Religion shall demand to take and subscribe the Oath herein appointed and set forth, is hereby authorized and required to administer the said Oath to such person; and such officer shall make, sign, and deliver a cer. tificate, of such oath having been duly taken and subscribed.” There is the time, and that time is when it is demanded. The Courts are also specified, viz., the King's Bench, Common Pieas, Exchequer, and Chancery. The time is as universal as the benefit of the Statute was intended to be, and every thing is complete for my purpose. The objection vanishes, because the time is as extensive as can be demanded. I have taken that oath in one of the Courts named. I am ready to prove it. I produced the certificate at the table; and having taken that oath, and produced the certificate, I turn round and respectfully ask, why I am not to be allowed to exercise my rights ? Let it be remembered that my case cannot be drawn into precedent: it can never occur again; and I ask the House, in construing the Act, whether it intends to make it an outlawry against a single individual ? If the Act were meant to meet my case, why was not my case specified in it? It existed when the Act was passed; it was upon the records of the House, for a Committee had sat while the Bill was pending, and had given in its report upon oath. Why, I ask again, was


not my case specified ? Because it was not intended to included. Where, then, is the individual who would ther: ought to be included? Let me call the attention of D House to the recital of the Statute:-“ Whereas by varios Acts of Parliament certain restraints and disabilities are in posed on the Roman Catholic subjects of his Majesty, E which other subjects of his Majesty are not liable.” It is cludes all restraints and disabilities affecting Roman Catholes: and proceeds—“And whereas it is expedient that such as straints and disabilities shall be henceforth discontinued: and whereas by various Acts certain oaths and certain declarations, &c. are or may be required to be taken, made, ani subscribed by the subjects of his Majesty as qualifications is sitting and voting in Parliament, and for the enjoyment of certain offices, franchises, and civil rights: Be it enacted, &c. that such restraints and disabilities shall be from henceforth discontinued.” All are to be discontinuedWhat do I claim? That they shall be discontinued. It is a maxim in law that the recital of a Statute shall not controul the enactments; but with this qualification, that although a particular recital cannot controul a general enactment, there is no rule of law that a general recital shall not explain a particular enactment. But I have a general recital

, and a general enactment too, in my favour. If to sit and vote be not a civil right, what civil right was intended by the word, for every other is provided for? Why should this be excluded ? Look at the recital and look at the intention of the statute, and shall I then be told that a doubt can arise as to the right to sit and vote? If I have not that right, what is to be done? Is the statute of Charles II. enabling the House to exclude me still in force ? What is to become of me? Am I to remain the Representative for Clare? Will the House not let me in, and is it not able to turn me out? What, I ask again, is to become of me?-I call the attention of the House to that-what is to become of me? The statute of Charles II. imposed penalties for not taking the oaths and

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signing the Declaration; among others there was a pecuniary penalty, and it continued in force until the Union with Ire. land. The first question I would ask the Lawyers of the House, then, is this-Did the Union Act continue those penalties? I take upon me to say it did not. Then, I ask, ! can any penalty or punishment be continued on a free-born British subject, when an Act of Parliament, like that of the Union, is silent, and contains no enactment as to penalty That is a question of Constitutional law; and if I were sued

to-morrow for the penalty of 5001. I should, of course, in• stantly demur. If I am right in that position—if the penalty

of 5001. could not be recovered, shall the greater infliction remain ? When Courts of Justice would refuse to enforce the fine, shall this House take the law into its own hands, and deprive me of what ought to be more precious—the right to sit and vote as the Representative of a devided, a disinterested, and, I had almost said, a martyred people? The Union Statute, I apprehend, would alone be sufficient; but I do not stand on that merely. This Relief Bill has abolished the oaths and Declaration, and abolished with it the punishment for not taking the one and subscribing the other. If the Declaration be abolished, does the pecuniary penalty remain ? I answer, no; and if the pecuniary penalty do not remain, does the heavier penalty of exclusion continue ? Certainly not; and I repecfully submit to the House, that it has not now jurisdiction to prevent the exercise of my civil right of sitting and voting here. I acknowledge that I should take the oath precribed by the Relief Bill; and then let any individual, by favour of justice, bring an action against me, and if the Court should determine that I ought to pay the penalty of 5001., my exclusion follows as a matter of course. The House should consider that this is a large and comprehensive enactment; and I ask why this House should interfere in my case, and not leave it to the Courts of Justice? I do not want this House to yield its privileges to the decisions of any Court or Tribunal in existence; but I wish to shew that the House, by deciding with me, could not preclude any body from trying the

question legally. It is to put my case into that transfer decision that I am arguing here; that is the utmost I strugg, for. The question is: Is it not my right on this return to take the seat to which I have been duly elected ? Is the questa free from doubt? If there be a doubt, I am entitled to te benefit of that doubt. I maintain that I have a constituticaal right, founded on the Return of the Sheriff and the voice of the people; and if there be a doubt on the subject, it should be removed. The Statute comes before us to be coustrued from the first clause. I did—and I am not ashamed to owa it, I did defer to the opinions of others, and was averse fros calling for that construction; and if it had not been for the interests of those who sent me here, my own right should have been buried in oblivion. But now I require the House to consider it. Will you decide that a civil right does not mean a civil right? And if this case of mine be not excepted, wil you add it as an additional exception? It might have been said by some of those who supported the Bill that it was inteuded by that measure to compensate a nation for by-gone wrongs, and to form the foundation-stone of a solid and substantial building, to be consecrated to the unity and peace of the Empire. But if what is certain may be disturbed ; if what words express may be erased; civil rights may be determined not to be civil rights ; if we are to be told that, by some excuse or by some pretext, what is not uncertain, may be made so—we shall be put under an impossibility to know what construction we must hereafter place on the Statute. I bare endeavoured to treat this House with respect. My title to sit in it is clear and plain; and I contend that the statute is all comprehensive in its intention, in its recital, and in its enactments. It comprehends every principle and measure of relief, with such exceptions as are thereinafter excepted. But while I shew my respect for this House, I stand here on my right, and claim the benefit of it. The Honourable and Learned Member then bowed to the House and withdrew, amidst very loud and general cheering. Some time elapsed before the House, which was extremely crowded, was restored to order.

The Solicitor-General:The Hon. Member for Clare having now withdrawn from the Bar of the House, after stating his claim to the right of sitting and voting without taking the Oaths of Supremacy and Abjuration, with that degree of ability which we expected from so distinguished a member of his profession, I trust the House will permit me to say that the temper which he has shewn does him great credit as a man and a gentleman. It now becomes the duty of this House

-first to discuss and deliberate on the question on which he has addressed us at the Bar, and then to come to some determination upon it; and I am sure that all the Members of this House will make an endeavour to do so without any thoughts of party feeling, as this is a question that justly deserves to be considered as one strictly judicial. If it were the temper of my mind to look at this question with any party or political bias, I would correct it by reflecting that the Acts of Parliament are long by-gone, and the first actors retired from the stage; and if the House will bear with me while I state the grounds on which I form my opinion on this question, I think it is not impossible that the House may adopt the same opinion, unless stronger reasons should be used by some Hon. Member on the opposite side. It is my opinion that Mr. O'Connell, the Member for Clare, is not entitled to sit and vote in this House without first taking the oaths of Supremacy and Abjuration. On attending to the argument of the Hon. and Learned Gentleman this evening at the Bar, I observed that it embraces two parts, perfectly distinct from each other; one relating to the effect of the Act of the Union with Ireland, by the articles of which he contends that all the oaths and declarations then required by law to be taken and subscribed were virtually done away with. The other part of the Hon. and Learned Gentleman's argument arise3 solely and entirely on the effect of the Relief Bill passed this Session. It is perfectly clear that these two arguments are entirely different from and independent of each other. As to the firs! point, I must say it is certain, from the peculiar language of the Act of Union with Ireland, that the penalties and disabili

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