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ment, but the exclusion of persons who had been supporters of Cromwell, who had contributed to overturn the constitution. The next was the Test Act, passed in the 25th of Charles 2nd. Undoubtedly that act was directed against the Catholics, but chiefly against the duke of York, the presumptive heir of the crown, and known to be of the Catholic religion. Then came the 30th of Charles 2nd, of the origin of which it is notorious, that it was a con..". of the plots of Oates and Bedloe. This act was passed, not as the noble and learned lord described as emanating from the deliberate wisdom and prospective caution of parliament, but for the purpose of excluding one class of the king's subjects from the rights and privileges, which until that period they had enjoyed. sid: were the laws passed previous to the Revolution, all of them founded on particular circumstances which no longer existed. It was true that our ancestors, after the expulsion of James, retained those laws, and added others of a more severe tenor; but let their lordships look at the causes which induced them so to act. The king had taken refuge with, and received assistance from, the greatest Catholic sovereign in Europe. He was supported by a number of partizans in this country, of whom the largest proportion were Catholics. Our ancestors, wisely deviating as little as possible from the principle of hereditary succession, had established the succession in the line of the exiled monarch's daughters. Added to that, was the belief entertained by
the great men by whom the Revolution was effected, of the deceitful character of the Catholic religion, and of the abhorrent nature of their tenets. In all these circumstances would be seen the cause of laws so contrary to the spirit which produced the Revolution. The necessity for those laws no longer existing, the policy which induced our ancestors to pass them could no longer be urged for their continuance; but the policy which induced them to declare that the English were free, required that freedom should be extended to the Catholics, now that no cause remained for with
holding it. The earl then deviated into a close attack upon the principles avowed by the Chancellor, in which he did not forget a defence of the system of Locke, in whom he found the friend of justice, benevolence, and freedom. He ended his speech, with noticing the present dangers which threatened our security; and he asked, why is Ireland to be left a continued prey to that system of proscription from whence so much alarm and danger has been felt through the empire? Was it any thing less than madness to suffer such dangers to accumulate, and not, when the opportunity presented itself, to take the certain means to allay present discontent, and provide future security. The Earl of Liverpool, who succeeded to the last speaker, found little to add to the attacks made by the Chancellor and other opposers of the Catholic claims. He fully subscribed to that system which maintained itself by a Protestant religion, with a ProteStant testant monarchy, and a Protestant parliament. The remaining speakers, comprising the Marquis of Lansdowne, the Earl of Westmoreland, the Earl of Carnarvon, the Duke of Wellington, and the Earl of Darnley, made little addition to the arguments used by the speakers which had preceded them. The question was then loudly called for, which gave, Contents . . . . . . . 70
Proxies . . . . . . . . 36 - —106
Not Contents . . . . 97.
Proxies . . . . . . . . 50 —147
Majority against the Motion, 41. On May 25th, Earl Grey rose, to submit to their lordships a bill to relieve Roman Catholics from taking the declaratory oaths against Transubstantiation and the Invocation of Saints. He presumed, that no obstacle would be opposed to the passing of this bill, which did not in the least interfere with any securities which some noble lords thought ought to be required of Roman Catholics. It merely affected certain dogmatic opinions, and had no reference whatever to any question of supremacy, political or spiritual. He then presented a bill for abrogating so much of the Acts of the 25th and 30th of Charles 2nd as prescribes to all officers civil and military, and to members of both Houses of parliament, a Declaration against the Doctrine of Transubstantiation and the Invocation of Saints. The Bill was read a first time. On the 10th of June, Earl Grey said, that the bill the second reading of which he rose to move,
would, he hoped, have met with the general concurrence of their lordships. That hope was founded on the reasonableness, as it appeared to him, of the bill itself, and the admission that doctrines of faith were not a ground for the exclusion of Roman Catholics from the enjoyment of the advantages of the British constitution. But he was told, from an authority which he could not doubt, that his bill was to be met with a most determined opposition. His lordship entered with much ability into a discussion respecting the intended attack; but it will probably be more to the purpose, to consider the resolutions of a body of men against the bill in question, on which he was told that a petition was to be
founded. The first resolution stated, “That the British constitution and government are essentially and fundamentally Protestant, and the Protestant religion forms the great security of the public happiness and welfare of this country, as established and secured by a solemn national compact at the period of the Revolution, and by the acts of the legislature which happily settled the crown of these realms upon his majesty's august family.” The second resolution mentioned, “That being sensible of the religious and political blessings enjoyed under the sway of the royal house of Brunswick, and convinced that upon the maintenance of that compact, and of those acts of settlement; the safety of his majesty's person and government; the continuance of the monarchy of England; the preserva
tion of the Protestant religion in all its integrity; the maintenance of the church of England, as by law established; the security of the ancient and undoubted rights and liberties; and the future É. and tranquillity of this singdom; do, under God, entirely depend; this meeting is filled with alarm when the least attempt is made to abrogate any of the laws, or subvert any of the securities, by which those inestimable privileges are held.” 3rd, They profess, “that by the wise policy of our ancestors, Roman Catholics were excluded from bearing certain offices and from the legislature and councils of the nation; and by stat. 89, Charles 2nd, it was enacted, that no peer of the realm, or member of the House of Commons should vote or sit in parliament, until he take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and make, subscribe, and audibly repeat the declaration against transubstantiation and popery.” The 4th resolution .. “ that the meeting has been informed, that a bill has been brought into parliament, and is now in progress, in which it is proposed, that the declaration against transubstantiation required by the statute 25, Charles 2nd, and the declaration against transubstantiation and popery, required by the statute 30, Charles 2nd, shall no longer be required to be taken as a qualification for holding any office or place of trust from his majesty, or under his authority, or for sitting or voting in either House of parliament; provided, that nothing therein should dispenseany person from taking the oaths of allegiance or supremacy.” The fifth resolution was as follows: “That
although the said declarations against transubstantiation and popery contain only a renunciation of certain opinions entertained by Roman Catholics, yet they form, in the opinion of this meeting, the principal test by which Roman Catholics are to be ascertained, and without which, the oaths of allegiance and supremacy are not sufficient to exclude Roman Catholics from parliament, and from situations of political power.” The sixth resolution represented, “that the Catholics regarded certain oaths as null and void, and affirmed that the Pope had himself, a few years ago, published a proclamation to his subjects, wherein he authorized them to take a distinction between active and passive oaths.” In the seventh it was asserted, “that the Romish church granted no toleration to those who did not participate in its communion; and that therefore there could be no peace or security for those who professed a different creed.” It maybe supposed, that several of the allegationsbroughtforwards in this declaration were severely commented on by the mover of the bill; and the accession of Lord Grenville to the Catholic side was an important addition, which seemed to make a powerful impression on the House. When, however, a division of the House was declared, it appeared that the numbers were kept steady to their party. It stood thus: Contents ................ 49 Proxies .................. 33
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Majority against the Bill, 59. Jority aga CHAP.
Parliamentary Proceedings.—Second Report on o of CashPayments.-Motion for a Committee on the Royal j. of Scotland.—Army Estimates.—Marquis Camden's Tellership Bill.— Foreign Enlistment Bill.—Motion on the State of the Nation.— Motion for considering of Parliamentary Reform.—Reversal of Fitzgerald Attainder—Motion for an Address respecting the Slave Trade.—Bill for Encouragement of Emigration to the Cape of Good Hope.—Budget.—Speaker’s Speech.-Prince Regent’s Speech
S ECOND Report of the Committee of Secrecy on the ResumptionM. Cash Payments.-On May 6, Mr. Peel presented to the House of Commons an elaborate report, divided by the committee of secrecy into two parts;–the results of their inquiries into the state of the Bank of England,— and their opinion with respect to the expediency of the resumption of payments in specie, at the period at which by law they are to be resumed. On the first head, they stated themselves to have begun by ascertaining that the sums which the Bank were liable to be called on to pay in fulfilment of their engagements, amounted on the 30th of January last, to 33,894,380l., and that the Bank were then in possession of government securities and other credits to the amount of 39,096,900l., leaving a surplus in favour of the Bank of 5,202,320l.; ‘exclusive of the permanent debt due from government to the Bank of 14,686,800l., re-payable on the expiration of the charter. Wol. LXI.
The committee then informed themselves of the amount of cash and bullion in the coffers of the Bank at various periods since 1797, and of the quantity of gold coin issued by it between the 1st of January 1817, at which period a partial resumption of cash payments had been resorted to, and the 1st of January 1819; which was found to amount to about 6,756,000l. They next call the attention of the public to the amount of the debt due by it to the Bank of England, which, on the 29th of April last, reached the sum of 19,438,900l. After a variety of details and references to evidence connected with this part of the subject, the committee' add ;—That the amount of their advances to the public is urged by the Bank as one of the main impediments to their early resumption of cash payments; and that, in order to make preparations for their resumption, the Bank require a re-payment to the extent of ten millions. For such' re-payment, the committee ear
[F] . nestly nestly recommend it to the House to make immediate provision, and also to establish some permanent provisions limiting and defining the authority of the Bank to make advances to the government, and to purchase government securities; and bringing under the constant inspection of parliament, the extent to which that authority may be in future exercised. On the second head of inquiry,
the expediency of returning to
cash payments at the period fixed by law,-the committee proceed to state arguments and detail evidence from which it appears first, that the Bank have already very considerably reduced their issues of notes since the beginning of 1818; 2ndly, that in order to secure themselves against the effects of a return to cash payments in July next, it would be necessary for them to make a further and very sudden reduction of that portion of their currency which they have immediately within their control; 3rdly, that such reduction in the present state of the trade of the country, would be attended with very serious inconvenience; in consequence of which, the committee recommend the further postponement of the resumption of payments in specie.
A third branch of the inquiries of the committee had for its object to ascertain the supply of gold which might be required to meet the demands upon the Bank en the resumption of payments in specie, and the practicability of commanding such supply. The
evidence on this head embraces a
variety of facts relative to the in
vestment of British capital in foreign funds,—the rates of exchange, and the effects likely to be produced on such rates by the proposed resumption. On the whole, it is inferred that Great Britain has the power of commanding a metallic currency, but that the return to it ought to be gradual; and the committee conclude, by recommending to the attention of parliament the following outlines of a plan for the purpose. “That, after the first of May 1821, the Bank shall be liable to deliver a quantity of gold, not less than 60 ounces, of standard fineness, to be first essayed and stamped at his majesty's mint, at the established mint price of 31.17s. 10#d. per oz., in exchange for such an amount of notes presented to them as shall represent, at that rate, the value of the gold demanded:– That this liability of the Bank to deliver gold in exchange for their notes, shall continue for not less than two, nor more than three years, from the 1st of May 1821; and that, at the end of that period, cash payments shall be resumed : —That on a day to be fixed by parliament, not later than the 1st of February 1820, the Bank shall be required to deliver gold, of standard fineness, essayed and stamped as before-mentioned, in exchange for , their notes (an amount of not less than 60 oz. of gold being demanded) at 4l. 1s. per oz., that being nearly the market price of standard gold in bars on an average of the last three months.” * * These suggestions of the committee of secrecy on being referred to a committee of the - - - - - - whole