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that it sets the question at rest ; so that there can be no doubt of what was the intention of the Legislature on the question. In order to understand this, let us remember how the law stood at the time of the passing of the Bill. I will state what it was—at least what it was as I view the subject. Up to the moment of the passing of that Bill, no Member could take his seat in this House without first taking the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy; no person, then, up to that time, could be considered as a member but by those two means; but then comes the present Statute, containing the declaration under which Roman Catholics shall be admissible to Parliament, repealing so much of the former law as related to the Oath of Supremacy. If the new Act of Parliament nad stopped at the end of the first section, merely repealing the oaths as they had formerly stood, the argument of the Honourable Member for Clare would have had considerable weight in it; but the next clause goes on to state, “ that from and after the commencement of this Act, it shall be lawful for any person professing the Roman Catholic religion, being a Peer, or who shall after the commencement of this Act be returned as a member of the House of Commons," &c. Therefore, I ask, to what class of Roman Catholics does this Act apply? Not to all, clearly, because the words expressly are, “who shall after the commencement of this Act be returned ;” and, therefore, since no man before the passing of this Act could enter the House without taking the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, by what authority are we now to say that the application is general, and that no one, whensoever returned, is required to take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy? My argument then, Sir, is, that by looking at these two sections of the New Act of Parliament, we shall find a clew by which to interpret the intention of the Legislature. Allow me also to state, that the reason which runs in favour of the intention of the Legislature, as I interpret it, is also consistent with the real justice of the case, because it is well known to every body that there was a measure, which, though it was not actually included in this Act of Parliament, was made an accompaniment of it, and

the effect of which was to disfranchise an entire class of tim freeholders of Ireland: the exclusion, therefore, of any Men bers elected previous to the passing of that Act, seems to me to be no more than justice, if the effect of that measure is fairly taken into consideration ; for, as that accompanying As may be looked upon as the price paid for the new privilege obtained through the medium of the Relief Bill, it is but cosistent that those only who come in under the new state d things should reap the privilege for which the price has been paid. If this were not so, the effect will be that the Hot. Member for Clare, or any other person, who might have been elected under the old system, having the benefits which thas old system was able to give, will now be able to claim also the benefits of the new system. I therefore again say, that it appears to me perfectly just and right that none should claim the privileges to be derived from the new Act, without giving up those which belonged to the old Act. All this, howeven would not have been material; nor should I have said so much upon it, but for the imputation which the Honourable Member for Clare seemed to throw out, that something personal towards him was intended in the provisions of the new Act. I can assure the House that I have no such feeling in my mind, and that my only desire is to deal with the meaning of the Act, as I believe to be within the intention of the Legislature. By looking at the first two sections of the Act, it appears that only a limited class of Catholics are admissible upon the terms prescribed in those sections, and if the matter rested there, I should say at once that the Honourable Member for Clare is not one of those who are entitled to take advantage of those provisions. I know that it has been contended—but the Honourable Gentleman himself does not appear to bare relied much upon it--that a Member who is returned before the passing of the Act is also returned after the passing of it; or, in other words, that once returned is always returned; but though this may be a very palatable doctrine to many Gentlemon, I am sure that no one will think of insisting upon the wciglit of such an argument for a single minute. Let us

:: then, go a little further, and consider the rest of the Hon. - Gentleman's argument. We have seen that the first two sec.. tions relate to the right of voting in Parliament; the tenth · section, upon which the Honourable Gentleman appears chiefly

to rely, provides that Roman Catholics shall enjoy all civil rights • upon taking the oath that is set out in the Act, but the only

argument of the Honourable Gentleman upon this point is, that the words “ Civil Right," include the right to sit and vote in Parliament. I know that the Honourable Member for Clare is a gentleman of high legal attainments; but nevertheless, with all deference to him, I must say that nothing can be so clear as that the Legislature has given distinct interpretation as to the different rights of the Roman Catholics. The Hon. Gentleman well knows that the only rule of law by which a Statute is to be construed is to look at every part of it, and to consider the bearing of each ; this is the principle that Lord Coke distinctly laid down, when he states that the whole of an Act of Parliament must be looked at quasi ez visceribus actis : following up the rule thus laid down, let us try to eviscerate the meaning of the Act from the general bearing of the various sections; and in order to do this effectually, I pray you to look back to the first section : after the preamble has recited, that by various former Acts certain Oaths were required to be taken, the first section goes on to state, that "for sitting and voting in Parliament," which is one of the divisions contemplated. and “ for the exercise or enjoyment of any office, franchise, or civil right,” which are the other two divisions within the contemplation of the Act, those Oaths shall be repealed. So that by this arrangement the Legislature appeared to make a triple distinction of the disabilities of the Roman Catholics, the first three section of the Act were taken up by the question of sitting and voting in Parliament, and prescribing the oath and declaration to qualify for that: then, that question being disposed of, it goes on to the right of holding office, and gives the particulars on that head; and thirdly, it alludes to the subject of franchise and civil right, and lays down the oath to be taken in all ca But the Hon. Member for


Clare puts his finger on a single word ; and dragging it for: from the tenth section, contends that when it has received ! interpretation, it is to be taken as the whole spirit of the Ac Now, Sir, I am ready to contend that, on the Honoura!! Gentleman's own shewing, he is, to use a term which is re understood in our profession, out of Court; for if we look the tenth section, on which he founds his right, we find their it says that it shall be lawful for any of his Majesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic Religion to hold, exercise, ad enjoy all civil and military offices, &c., upon taking and subscribing at the times, and in the manner hereinafter mentioned the oath, &c.Now the Honourable Gentleman has not taken the oach " in the manner hereinafter mentioned," be claims upon the oath previously mentioned, so that in fact he merely takes up a part of the sentence without following it up through the remaining conclusions. But, besides this, there is another answer which, in my mind, is conclusive—if there is any foundation in the Honourable Gentleman's argument, that “civil right includes the right of sitting and voting in Parliament, the only step that it would be necessary for the Hon Gentleman. or for any Roman Catholic to take, would be to go before a justice of the peace and take the oath as prescribed ; and if this would do, what was to come of the first and second sections of the Act, in which the Legislature had with such care and anxiety pointed out the only mode by which a Roman Catholic could qualify himself to sit and vote as a Member of that House? If the House will only bear in mind that a single word is not to be picked out of an Act of Parliament, and have the widest meaning comprehended by it, in any case, affixed to it, and that the only fair mode of construing an Act of Parliament is by studying the general bearing of the various sections, I think that no doubt can be entertained that we shall come to the conclusion that the Hon Member for Clare was mistaken when he supposed that under the tenth section was comprehended a right for him to sit and vote in this House of Parliament. If the matter were of any value, I should be willing to make the concession, that if there

were no word but “ civil right” in the Act, and no section but the tenth section, the Hon. Gentleman would then have a right to the weight of his argument in its fullest extent; but the great point on which I rest is, that the tenth section is merely applying to inferior offices after the superior one of a Member of this House has been disposed of by the first and second section. I have, perhaps, taken up more of the time of the House than I ought on this subject—but as I look upon it as a mere legal question, I thought that by so doing I might be able to excite the minds of those who have taken a differ. ent view of the matter to canvass and answer the objections which I have urged. This is the reason that I have thus early in the debate presented myself to the attention of the House, and I can assure it that I have done so without the least refer. ence to the particular individual concerned, and without the least desire of keeping him from a seat in this House. Such a course would be the last thing in the world by which I should be actuated; the sole feeling by which I have been guided is, that the privileges of this House might be preserved inviolable. I have looked only at what appeared to me to be the law of the subject; and from the conclusion which I have drawn I feel it to be my duty to conclude by moving—,, That Mr. O'Connell, having been returned a Member of this House before the passing of the Act for the Relief of the Roman Catholics, he is not entitled to sit or vote in this House unless be first takes the Oath of Supremacy."

Mr. G. Lamb: The question certainly appeared to him to be one of some difficulty; but as he believed that the Act which had just been passed had been conceived in an enlarged and extensive spirit, he thought that they were bound not to be too nice as to the minor points at issue, and he should therefore give his vote for the admission of Mr. O'Connell. He would state to the House the way in which he read the clauses of the Act: the declaration contained in the preamble expressly stated that every disability should hereafter be removed : in the second clause he found an arrangement that related to persons who should hereafter be returned to the House of

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