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Search the scriptures diligently of some Christians of different deand impartially, with daily prayer nominations, in a country town, to the Father of Lights, for divine with the Petition drawn up by ihe illumination : and allow me to Rev.C. Wyvill, in favour of liberty add the following bints :- Consi- of conscience, and with a request der carefully in reading the differ. that his lordship would have the ent parts of scripture, who is the goodness to present it to the House speaker,-to whom he addresses of Lords. This he did, at the time himself, i. e. under what particu- that the Right Honourable Earl lar circumstances his auditors are Grey, the Marquis of Lansdowne, to be regarded; and how they, of and Lord Holland presented simicourse, would most naturally un. lar petitions, viz, April 20th, derstand his language. Distinguish 1812. I shall only add an obserbetween those passages where any vation of his lordship in answer particular point is evidently law to this letter, which in my opinion boured by ile inspired writer, I does him more real honour than mean, formally stated and his high title. “ I observe with larged upon, and where, at most, pleasure that your petition em. it is unly occasionally alluded to: braces the claims of Christians of Weigh as carefully as you can, every denomination, a liberality the exact amount of different scrip. and justice which I am sorry to tural expressiuns on different sub. say has not always marked the jects, when you have compared language and conduct of Protes. them together :- collections of tants, but which I now hope to texts of scripture, on the leading see universal, and which must doctrines of Christianity, may,
sooner or later (and I think at no in this view, he very useful. Re. very distant period) be success. member, truth is consistent ful.” throughout, and divine truth all With fervent wishes and ardent practical. - But I have not room hopes that no intolerant law on ac. or time to enlarge. Let me hear count of religion, will much longer how you go on; and be assured of remain to disgrace our Statute The best wishes and prayers of
Book, I am, Sir, respectfully
To the Right Honourable Lord Letter to a Noble Lord, with
MY LORD, Mr. Wyvill's Petition. To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. of sending your lordship, by this
I have done myself the honour Sir,
day's mail.coach, a Petition on I have transcribed the follow- the unalienable rights of consci. ing letter for insertion in your va- ence, drawn up by that well-known luable Repository, if you think it 'liberal clergyman of the Estabin the least degree calculated to lished Church, the Rev. C. Wyvill. promote liberal sentiments respect. It was sent to me by a Dissenting ing the unalienable rights of con. minister in this place with a rescience. It was sent, a few months quest that I would lay it before ago, to a nobleman, in the name my friends, and if they with my.
FRIEND TO UNIVERSAL
482 Letter to a Noble Lord, with Mr. Wyrill's Petitton. self approved its contents, that we jects of other states from their al. would affix our signatures to it, legiance," &c. are not entertained and apply to other persons in the by them as a body of Christians, town and neighbourhood who may whatever may be che sentiments be supposed favourable to the ob. on these points of a few obscure, ject of it, for the same purpose. ignorant and bigotted individuals This has been done, and upwards among them. With respect to of ninety professing Christians of their avowed religious principles, differeni denominations, have put such as the “ doctrine of transub. their names to it.
stantiation," " the worship of the Considering you, my Lord, as virgin Mary and of the saints," the zealous friend and eloquent and other articles of their faith, advocate of the civil and religious however irrational and absurd they rights of all classes of the com- appear to us, we think these ought munity, the subscribers take the to be considered as no more a liberty of requesting your lordship ground of their exclusion from the to present their petition to the freest toleration, than the pecii. House of Lords. We are by no liar sentiments of the various dismeans sanguine in our expectations cordant sects of Protestant Chris. of immediate success, but it will, tians, some of which must, neces. we apprehend, produce discussion, sarily, be false and anscriptural. and discussion your lordship knows We also apprehend that the ex. is eventually fatal to groundless tending to the Catholics as well as prejudices and errors, and favour. to all classes of Protestant Disable to the cause of truth. We senters, the free toleration or are persuaded that the more freely rather the just rights, civil and re. the civil and religious rights of ligious, for which the Petition men are examined, the more pleads, would instead of being clearly they will appear to be attended with any danger either to founded in reason and justice, and church or state, add to the security that it would be as much a point of both, and be the best safeguard of policy as equity, to abolish to the British empire, in the prethose penal laws which interfere sent awful and critical situation of with them, and which disgrace our public affairs. the Statute Book, the presert Should you, my Lord, think enlightened age, and this land, in proper to present this petition to various respects, of justly boasted the House of Lords, your Lord. liberty
ship will have the goodness to The object of this petition, as state it as the petition of individual your lordship will perceive, em. Christians of different denominabraces the Roman Catholics as tions in the town and neighbourwell as Protestant Dissenters; hood of their cause, however, we should Your Lordship’s compliance with not advocate, were we not con- the request contained in this letter, vinced by what appears to us will oblige the petitioners, and satisfactory evidence, that the per. more particularly nicious tenets attributed to them,
My Lord, such as that " no faith is to be
Your Lordship's most respectful kept with heretics," and the power and bumble servant, of the Pope to dispense the sub
Since transcribing the above received by them with all due letter, I have seen it announced gratitude to the legislature, but in the Newspapers, that Lord Cas- not induce them to compromise for tlereagh means to introduce a it their just rights, or be content Bill into Parliament, explanatory with any ihing less than the repeal of the Toleration Act, in favour of all the penal statutes on account of the Dissenters. This I trust, of religion. should it pass into a law, will be July 10, 1812.
EXTRACTS FROM NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Penal Laws which aggrieve the the Catholic might thus chance to Catholics of Ireland,
re-enter the sanctuary of the legis.
lature. As a barrier against Catho. (From A Statement, &c. - Continued lic hope it was therefore enacted, from the last No. p. 424.]
". That all clauses in English
statutes, relating to the taking of of the Laws which deny to the oaths, or making or subscribing Catholics the Right of Sitting and any declaration or affirmation in Voting in the Houses of Legisla. Ireland, or to penalties or disature : and herein, of the elective bilities in cases of omission, shall Franchise, as enjoyed in Ireland. be in force in Ireland, according
Until the year 1692, the Cath to their present tenor." olics were admissible by law into The Irish Parliament having both the houses of legislature, in' thus, in the express terms of this Ireland. Their exclusion was ef. statute of 1782, confirmed this tected by an English statute of exclusion of Catholics, thought this year.-The English Parlia. proper to renew their vigilance in ment, exercising in those days the 1793. jurisdiction of binding the people The statute of 1793, professing of Ireland by laws expressly to be an Act for the further Relief naming Ireland, passed an Act of the Catholics of Ireland, bas declaring that the provisions of a expressly reserved and re-enacted former English Act, (namely the a great number of the most griev. 30, Cha. ii. stat. 2. ch. 1.) should ous privations, disabilities and inextend to Ireland.
capacities, which, however obso In 1782, upon the restoration lete, heretofore existed in the of legislative independencc to Ire- Statute Book. This dormant proland, the friends of the Protestant hibition against the admission of Ascendancy became alarmed, lest Catholics into either House of in the national enthusiasm for Parliament, was found amongst freedom, the chains of the suffere others and was renewed. ing Catholic might be loosened. Having stated this article of ex. It was apprehended that the Irish clusion, according to the letter Parliament might, by a retrospec. of the law, we shall next advert tive operation, defeat the policy to its extent and operation in Ire. of the English statute of 1692, land. amongst many others, and that 1. As to the House of Peers. i
484 Penal Laws which aggrieve the Catholics of Ireland. 2. As to the House of Com. parative merits. Nor do we pre
sume to insinuate any diminution 1. The honors of the Peerage, of those merits, when we offer the the profitable rank and effective observation, naturally growing out power attached to it, the personal of this subject--that these 500 benefits derived from that rank and personages have been thus selected power, not only to the individual and distinguished, not from peer, but also to the wide circle amongst the people of these realms of his family and connections, are at large, but from amongst the objects deservedly high in the es. members of a favoured religious timation of all, who are gifted community, wbo, in Ireland, do with superior minds, or capable not amount to one tenth part of of noble exertions. They are the population. valuable in the eyes of any person, If, therefore, these honours be who looks around him, and ob- great, the compe:ition for them serves, even cursorily, the pre- must be recollected to have been sent state of society.
necessarily very limited, and espeLet us take a short view of the cially in Ireland. extent to which these honors and Now it will scarcely be denied, privileges are now enjoyed. that some portion of talent, virtue,
The lords temporal, who sit and or other claims to honorary disvote in the Parliament of the tinction must naturally have been United Kingdom, exceed 340 in dispensed by Providence to the number. Taking a view of the Catholics of Ireland, during the creations to peerages, which have period we have taken. Su large occurred only within his present a number of Christians as four Majesty's reign, comprizing about millions, dwelling in the immedi. fifty years, we find about 250 in ate vicinity of enlightened nations, England, and nearly an equal cannot in the ordinary course of number in Ireland, forming a total, affairs have been so utterly aban. not far short of 500 peerages. doned by nature, so long uncul. Of these, however, several are tivated and sunk in stupid torpor, extinct.
as to have remained altogether The books of peerage will satisfy destitute of individuals, whose any reader, how very large a pro. merits might have laid claim to a portion of these five hundred per. participation of those rewards. sonages have raised themselves from Perhaps many brave captains, the rank of commoners, perhaps many upright statesmen, many from a mere equality with their useful legislators, might have Catholic neighbours, even within arisen amongst the Catholics of these last thirty years. Some few Ireland, if the laws had not may have been indebted to acci. frowned upon their early hopes, dental causes for their elevation: and paralyzed their exertions. many to the display of eminent Who will affirin, that there might virtues, talents, or other splendid not have appeared amongst them a qualifications: all, however, may Rodney or a Nelson, a Hutchinson, have had cause to feel, that the a Moira, or a Moore, to swell laws afforded exclusive encourage. the triumphs, and spread the re. ment to their services and claims, nown of his country, if the grand and ready rewards for their com- incentives, public reward, respect
and rank, had been permitted to Catholics. It appears, that all dawn upon his youthful prospects? access to the benors and powers of How many, at this moment, berest the peerage is closed against every of hope and of emulation, are the Catholic. He remains without withering votaries of inglorious in. even the hope of ever attaining dolence! How many desponding any participation in them. This Catholics now stagnate in obscu- exclusion operates as a bar against rity, or pine in wasting chagrin, every Catholic, who might other.. who could refect ample honour wise reasonably expect to count upon their country, if they might the ennobling of his name amongst hope for honour in return! But, the possible events of bis future without chance of reward, with. lise, and whose actions might acout an object worthy of exertion, cordingly be influenced by this inthey now languish unnoticed and centive. No such bar stands in useless.
the way of the Protestant. There
fore, this exclusion, by the par. Virtutem quis amplectitur ipsam, tiality of its principle and the Præmia si tollas ?
general mischief of its spirit, in. The exclusion of the Catholics flicts injury, not merely upon a from the honors and benefits of few Catholic peers,
the the peerage operates, therefore, Catholic community at large. like their exclusion from all other That the ancient Catholic peers rewards, equally to the detriment are peculiarly aggrieved by this of the public, and to the depres. exclusion, will readily be admitted. sion of the individual.
Survivors of the stormy persecu. For it is really but a puerile tions of centuries, they present at and confined view of this interest. this day a disheartening spectacle ing subject, to argue, as some of shattered greatness. Blameless have recently argued, that "there in private life, circumspect in the are not more than about ten Cath- narrow sphere of their public conolic individuals actually aggrieved duct, they are, nevertheless, treated by this exclusion.” The number with ignominious distrust. А of Catholic peers, say they, does Catholic peer is, indeed, in a not exceed 7 in England, 8 in singularly distressing predicament, Ireland, and 2 in Scotland : not He is subject to all the responsi. more than two or three of the bility and charges of ostensible Irish and Scotch would probably rank, yet berest of its incident be elected as representative peers : patronage and power; nay, dethe united number therefore, would barred, by honour and etiquette, not exceed ten, and these are the from many pursuits, many means only persons entitled to complain. of providing for his children,
Now, this argument is fallaci- which are free to a commoner; ous. According to the letter of from all enterprizes of trade, from the constitution, every situation all gainful occupations of a merely of honour, trust and power, ought pecuniary nature. The professions to be accessible to every citizen, of arms, diplomacy and literature In daily practice the Protestants afford the sole legitimate pursuits, enjoy the full benefit of this prin. in which a nobleman is permitted ciple. It is withheld from the to seek for wealth or advance