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of foreign potentates; and he must say, that if the church was in danger, it was better secured by this bill than by the 30th of Charles II., which had continued in force up to the present moment; though the object for which that act was recognised at the period of the revolution--namely, to keep out the house of Stuart from the Throne—had long since ceased to exist, by the extinction of that family.
It was the opinion of nearly every considerable man in the country, that the time was now arrived for repealing those laws. Circumstances had been gradually moving to their repeal since the extinction of the house of Stuart, and at last the period was come, when it was quite clear that repeal could be no longer delayed. But he knew that there were many in their lordship’s house, and many in this country, who thought --and he admitted that he had formerly been of the same opinion himself-that the state ought to have some security for the church against the proceedings of the Roman Catholic clergy, besides the oaths imposed by the act of Parliament he had already alluded to. But he confessed that on examining into the question, and upon looking more minutely than he had before an opportunity of doing, at the various acts of Parliament by which the Church of England was constituted, and which formed the foundation on which it rested, he could think of no sort of arrangement capable of being called into execution in this country which could add to the security of the established church.
He begged their lordships to attend for a moment, whilst he explained the situation of the kingdom of Prussia with respect to the Roman Catholic religion. The King of Prussia exercised the power which he did over the Roman Catholic church, in his various dominions, under different concordats made with the Pope : in Silesia, under a concordat made with the Sovereigns of the House of Austria and the Pope; in the territory on the left bank of the Rhine, under a corcordat made with Bounaparte and the Pope; and in the territories on the right bank of the Rhine, under a concordat made with the former
sovereigns of those countries and the Pope. Each of those concordats supposed that the Pope possessed some power in the country, which he was enabled to concede to the sovereign with whom the concordat was made. That was a point which we could never yield to any sovereign whatever. There was no sovereign, be he who he might, who had any power in this country to yield up to His Majesty. We must keep our snvereign clear from such transactions. We could have no security of that description,-not even a veto, on the appointment of a Roman Catholic bishop,—without detracting, in some degree, from the authority and dignity of the sovereign, and without admitting that the Pope had something to concede to His Majesty
Now let their lordships suppose another security. Suppose it were arranged that His Majesty should have the nomination of the Catholic Bishops. If he nominated them, he must also give them a jurisdiction,-he must give them a diocese. He should like to know in what part of Ireland or England the King could fix upon a spot where he could, consistently with the oath he had taken, nominate a Catholic bishop or give a diocese? The King was sworn to maintain the rights and privileges of the bishops, and of the clergy of this realm, and of the churches committed to their charge. Now, consistently with that oath, how could the King appoint a bishop of the Roman Catholic religion; and would not the established church lose more than it gained by the assumption of such a power on the part of His Majesty ? Then, there was another security, which some noble lords thought it desirable to have,-namely, the obtaining by Government of copies of all correspondence between the Catholic clergy and the Court of Rome; and the supervising of that correspondence, in order to prevent any danger resulting to the established church. Upon that point he must say that he felt the greatest objection to involve the Government of this country in such matters. That correspondence, their lordships were told, turned on spiritual affairs. But he would suppose that it turned on questions of excommunication. Was it, then, to be suffered, that the Pope and His Majesty or his Majesty's Secretary of State acting for Him, should make law for this country? for that would be the result of communications between the Catholic clergy of this realm and the Pope being submitted to His Majesty's inspection, or to the inspection of His Majesty's Secretary of State. Such a security amounted to a breach of the constitution, and it was quite impossible that it could be made available. It would do more injury to the constitution and to the church than any thing which could be done by the Roman Catholics themselves, being placed by this Bill in the same situation as Dissenters.
With respect to communications with the Court of Rome, that has already been provided against and prevented by laws still in existence. Their lordships were aware that those laws, like many others regarding the Roman Catholic religion, were not strictly enforced; but if they should be abused, -if the conduct of those persons whose actions those laws were intended to regulate, should be such as to render necessary the interference of Government, the very measure which was now before their lordships would enable Government to interfere in such a manner as not only to answer the object of its interference, but also to give satisfaction to their lordships and to the country.
Another part of the bill had for its object the putting an end to the order of the Jesuits and other monastic orders in this country. If their lordships would look at the act passed in the year 1791, they would probably see that at that time it was possible to make laws through which a coach-and-four might be driven. His poble and learned friend (Eldon) would excuse him, he hoped, for saying, that notwithstanding all the pains which he had taken to draw up the act of 1791, yet the fact was,- of which there could not be the smallest doubt,that large monastic establishments had been regularly formed, ant only in Ireland, but also in this country. The measure wbich he now proposed for their lordships' adoption would prevent the increase of such establishments, and, without oppression to any individuals, without injury to any body of men, would gradually put an end to those which had already been formed. There was no man more convinced than he was of the absolute necessity of carrying into execution that part of the present measure which had for its object the extinction of monastic orders in this country. He entertained no doubt whatever, that if that part of the measure were not carried into execution, their lordships would very soon see this country and Ireland inundated by Jesuits and regular monastic clergy sent out from other parts of Europe with means to establish themselves within His Majesty's kingdom.
When he recommended this measure to their lordships' attention, they had undoubtedly a right to ask what were the reasons he had for believing that it would answer its object, not only from the example of all Europe, but from the example of what occurred in a part of this kingdom on a former occasion. If he was not mistaken, at the time of dispute between the Episcopalians and the kirk of Scotland, the state of society in Scotland was as bad then as the state of Society in Ireland was at the present moment. Their lordships knew, that abroad, in consequence of the diffusion of civil privileges to all classes, the difference between Protestant and Catholic was never heard. He was certain that he could prove to their lordships when he stated, when he said, that the state of society in Scotland, previous to the concession of civil privileges to the Episcopalians, was as bad as the present state of society in Ireland.
He hoped their lordships would give him leave to read a petition which had been sent to him that day, and which had been presented to Parliament at the period when those concessions were about to be made, and their lordships would perceive that the petition was almost a model of many petitions which had been read in their lordships house respecting the question under discussion. He was therefore in expectation, that should the present bill pass their lordships' house, there would be no longer occasion for those complaints which had been expressed to their lordships, and that the same happy
and peaceful state of things which had for the last century prevailed in Scotland would also prevail in Ireland. He would, with their lordships' permission, read the petition he had alluded to, and he thought that after they had heard it, they would be of the same opinion as himself with respect to the similarity it bore to many petitions which had been presented to their lordships on the Catholic question. The petition stated, that “ to grant toleration to that party (the Episcopalians), in the present circumstances of the church, must unavoidably shake the foundation of our present happy constitution ; overthrow those laws on which it is settled; grievously disturb that peace and tranquility which the nation has enjoyed since the late revolution ; disquiet the minds of his Majesty's best subjects; increase animosity, confirm discora and tumult; weaken and enervate the discipline of the church ; open a door to unheard vices, and to Popery as well as to other errors ; propagate and cherish disaffection to the Government, and bring the nation under the danger of falling back into those errors from which it had recovered itself. The petition in conclusion stated, “ that to grant toleration to the Episcopalians would be to establish iniquity by law, and they therefore prayed the members of the High Court of Parliament to uphold, and preserve the laws.” He (the Duke of Wellington) sincerely hoped that as the prophecy contained in the petition he had just read had not been fulfilled, that a similar prophecy respecting the passing of the present bill, contained in many petitions presented to their lordships, would not be fulfilled. But he had other grounds besides those which he had stated for supposing that the proposed measure would answer the object in view.
There was no doubt that after this measure should be adopted, the Roman Catholics could have no separate estate; for he was sure that neither their lordships nor the other house of Parliament would be disposed to look upon the Roman Catholics, nor upon any thing that respected Ireland, with any other eye than that which they beheld whatever affected the interest of Scotlani or of this country. For his own part, he would state that if he was disappointed in the hopes which he