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motion for recommitting this bill, various objections were made to its principle, which were replied to by its friends. The House then went into a committee, and a desultory conversation took place on its several clauses. The bill afterwards passed.
In the House of Lords it was introduced by the Earl of Liverpool, who briefly stated its objects, on June 10th. The Earl of Lauderdale spoke against it, but no division being proposed, the bill was read a third time, and passed.
It is observable, that when the first mention was made of an intention of introducing such a bill, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the sum of money which he spoke of proposing was between one and two millions. But the actual sum contained in his two resolutions amounts only to 750,000l. and it does not appear that any thing farther was required.
THIRD SECRETARY OF STATE FOR
On April 29th, Mr. Tierney rose to renew, in point of substance, though not of form, a motion relative to the abolition of the office of third secretary of state for the colonies, in which he had been defeated during the sessions of the last year. He now intended to move for a committee to inquire into that subject; not, he said, that there were any doubts in his own mind as to the propriety of abolishing the office; but because he saw that in questions of this kind, he had not the smallest chance of success in any other way. One great inducement for him to undertake this subject was,
that he had the previous sanction of his Majesty's ministers; for a committee of their own appointment had been named in the last year by the lords of the treasury for purposes under which this subject particularly fell. They were confined in their operations to all offices created since the commencement of the war in 1793. The office of third secretary of state had been created in 1794; and how it could escape the notice of the committee was to him quite unintelligible.
All (the right hon. gentleman said) that he had now to do, was to make out a case strong enough to refer the subject to the examination of a committee. The increase of colonies since 1792, was all that he had to meet. These were, in fact, nine in number, for he would not include Heligoland, nor yet St. Helena. Four of these were in the West Indies, three in the East Indies, and two in the Mediterranean. Those in the West Indies were nowise connected with those in the East Indies, and neither of them with those in the Mediterranean. His proposal was therefore to make over the four first to the home department; the three next to the board of control, and (said he) they might add St. Helena, though it would not give much additional trouble; as it might rather be considered as a gaol under the care of the police of Europe. Malta should belong to the foreign secretary. As to the Ionian islands, he scarcely knew how to speak, whether they were our own or not; but he apprehended that the nature of Sir Thomas Maitland's connexion with them was not colonial, but purely political.
After various other observations
on the subject, partly serious and partly sarcastic, he concluded by moving, "That a committee be appointed to take into consideration the business now remaining to be executed by the secretary of state for the war and colonial department, and to report their opinion, whether the continuance of the same be any longer necessary; and whether the duties performed by the said department may without inconvenience to the public service be transferred to any other offices, and with what diminution of charge."
Mr. Goulburn said, that the period which had elapsed between the first institution of the colonial department in 1768 and 1782, would form a fit subject of comparison with that which had elapsed between 1802 and 1816; for which purpose he would take the pages of entry in the books of office as a fair criterion. In the 14 years of the first period, the number of pages for twelve colonies amounted to 3139, giving an average of about 224 for ea h year. The same twelve colonies in the second period filled a number of pages amounting to 6098, forming an average of about 435 for each year; so that the quantity of business in these colonies was nearly doubled. But if the whole business of the North American colonies be added to that of the twelve above stated, and opposed to each other in the two periods, the disparity would be found infinitely greater. The number of pages written from 1768 to 1782, averages 446 per annum; whilst that from 1802 to 1816 rises to 1994. It might be supposed that the increase in the latter period was occasioned by the war:
but the fact was otherwise; for the war had only made a difference of about 500 pages per annum, and the remainder was occasioned by the ordinary influx of business. This difference, in a great degree, was imputed by the right hon. gentleman to the extension of education in every quarter of the empire, which has afforded to almost every person in public life, the opportunity of addressing the different offices of government. It was this which had created the necessity for a third secretary of state, and had increased the public business beyond all former precedent.
Mr. Wilberforce declared, that from all he knew and heard of the office in question, it was overloaded with business; and such, from what he understood, was the case in the home department. The House then should duly consider, whether the business of the colonies would be exposed to any neglect by acceding to the proposed arrangement. He was of opinion that it required an individual of great consideration to look after concerns so important to the public interests: a person who should hold a high station in the public eye. The saving of 12,000l. a year was, doubtless, a serious consideration; but the question was, whether the saving of 12,000l. a year would not be much too dearly purchased ty hazarding the good government of the colonies. It appeared to him, that the superintendence of our colonial concerns should constitute the business of a distinct, efficient, and d gnified depart
he had bestowed upon the mover of the question, said he was one who would give any thing to a man but his vote. He proceeded to say, that there was only one solid reason that could be urged against the present motion, and that was, that the departments among which the business of the colonies was proposed to be divided, were already over-worked with their own separate concerns. But none of those persons stepped forward to make such a declaration, because they knew full well that the state of the case would not bear them out. After all (said he) what was the motion ? Did it invite the House at once to abolish the office? All his right Hon. Friend wanted was, that they should go into an inquiry whether they could save 12,000l. a year to the country.
After some other speakers had delivered their opinion on both sides, the House divided, when there appeared, For the tion 87, Against it 190: jority 103.
ROMAN CATHOLIC QUESTION.
having been applied to by the Roman Catholics of Ireland to bring their case under the consideration of the House, he now proceeded to discharge the duty he had undertaken. The resolution which he intended to move was the same which was carried in 1813, and does no more than to pledge the House to examine the penal laws, with a view to relieve the Catholics, to give every security possible to the Protestant establishment, and ultimately to satisfy all ranks and orders of men in the empire. He proceeded to say, that the present question was not about the means by which securities might be effected, but whether any securities whatever will be received. There is a communication between the Pope and the Catholic clergy, which must end either in incorporation with the see of Rome, or connexion with the government of England; and if the latter be refused,i will be dangerous to the safety of England.
The right hon. gentleman, who reserved himself for a reply, now moved, "That this House will resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to take into its most serious consideration the state of the laws affecting his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in Great Britain and Ireland, with a view to such final and conciliatory adjustment as may be conducive to the peace and strength of the United Kingdom, to the stability of the Protestant establishment, and to the general satisfaction and concord of all classes of his Majesty's subjects."
On May 9th, Mr. Grattan, on rising to submit to the House of Commons his motion on the subject of the Roman Catholic claims, moved that the petition of the Roman Catholics of Ireland to the House, presented on April 26, 1816, should be read. This being done accordingly, Mr. W. Elliot next moved, that the petition of the Roman Catholics of England presented on May the 21st, 1816, should also be read; which was done. The motion having been seMr. Grattan then said, that conded and put from the chair,
Mr. Leslie Foster rose, and after stating the character of the two parties into which the Irish Catholics were divided during the last year, he proceeded to show what the conditions are on which they seem now agreed. The nomination of the Bishops has for a long time been as practically domestic as any possible arrange ment can make it. When a see is vacant, a recommendation is forwarded to Rome from Ireland, and within memory not more than two or three instances have occurred of any difficulty in confirming this choice. Lately, it is said, the persons thus nominated in Ireland have been the coadjutors of the deceased bishop, who has been selected by the bishop in his life-time. The transmission of the episcopal rank has therefore, in practice, been a mere matter of testamentary bequest. Some persons, it seems, now propose that the elections shall hereafter be made by the deans and chapters; but if they should, will this mode be either less domestic, or more conducive to give satisfaction to a Protestant, than the present? The proposition of domestic nomination is distinctly this that the Protestants and Catholics having each much to require, and much to give up, the Protestants are to cede all that remains, and the Catholics are to make the single concession of remaining exactly as they are, as the ground of being admitted to a complete participation of political power.
After some discussion of the principle of the veto, Mr. L. F. proceeded to the consideration of the manner in which the Pope is
treated by the different powers of Europe, which he borrowed from the work of Sir J. C. Hippesley. He concluded, We have thus, Sir, looked around Europe, and seen Calviniste, and Lutherans, and Roman Catholics, and Christians of the Greek communion, agreeing in two propositions: first, that the patronage of the higher stations of the Catholic clergy must be vested in the state; and secondly, that the most vigorous superintendence must be exercised over all their communications with the see of Rome. And therefore, when the right honourable gentleman asks, whether this country will continue to be the only great nation that shall persist in intolerance, I say, that his question rather ought to be, whether this nation will determine to be the only one in Europe which shall consent to place the Roman Catholic religion in a situation so free from all practical control, as to form a complete imperium in imperio within its bosom.
Mr. Yorke said, that the great difficulty he had always found of bringing this question to a satisfactory result was the foreign influence; and no consideration could induce him to yield in any material degree to the petitions of the Roman Catholics, but the prospect of security to the Protestant establishment from such an influ
might be necessary with the holy see; it also appeared to stand more favourably with respect to the petitioners themselves. First, they stated themselves to be willing to acquiesce in the form of the oath proposed to them in the bill of 1813. Secondly, as to the nomination of bishops, it was, in his opinion, necessary to take away from the Pope the virtual nomination of the Catholic bishops in this kingdom; and if this plan were adopted, he was not inclined to forebode more danger to the church establishment from hence, than from the elections without the interference of government in the church of Scotland. There was a third point not taken notice of in the Catholic petitions, which appeared to him of importance with regard to security; which was that of the regium exequatur, or regium placitum, which admitted the right of all governments to inspect every bull, rescript, or other document coming from Rome, previous to publication, and of authorising it (except in cases relating merely to points of conscience), in the same manner as in all the other states of Europe, Catholic or Non-Catholic. This, he supposed, would not be objected to by any rational Roman Catholic as a measure of security, to which he, for one, looked forward as an essential part of any future arrangement.
Sir Henry Parnell returned thanks to Mr. Yorke for his very valuable, cordial, and conciliating speech; and he hoped to be able to satisfy him that the Catholics were perfectly willing to do all those things which the right hon. gentleman required should be
done. In order to understand exactly the proposed plan of domestic nomination of all future bishops, it was necessary that the House should know the proceedings which now took place for filling a bishop's see when vacant. The bishops of the province in which he had been situated assembled together, and having consulted with the priest of the vacant diocese, named certain persons as fit to be chosen by the Pope for the new bishop. It had been nearly the constant practice of the Pope to choose the person whose name stood first on the list; but there was no law to compel him to do so. It was to exclude the possibility of any such proceeding, and to render all future appointments entirely those of the Catholic Irish priests and bishops, that it was now proposed that the Pope should issue a concordat by which he should bind himself to appoint no person to be a bishop in Ireland, except such as should be in the first place elected by the Irish clergy themselves. It was then proposed by the Catholic bishops to have the following provisions inserted in every bill. [These were provisos stipulating that no Roman Catholic clergyman shall be elected a bishop who is not a native of his Majesty's dominions, and who has not taken an elective oath guarding church and state from any future dangers.] As the Pope had communicated his readiness to give his consent to this plan of electing the bishops by a larger number of clergy than had hitherto been concerned in the nomination, and also to grant the necessary concordatum to bind himself to give [E 2] institution