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House in Committee on the Bill

Mr. Burke


The House, according to order, was resolved into a Committee of the Whole, upon the Bill.

Mr˙ Burke said, he had last night, when it was past eleven o' clock, moved to adjourn, but his motion was rejected on account of the great necessity of going through the Bill with all possible despatch; yet he understood they were to adjourn on account of a champêtre to be given by a noble Lord (Stanley,) and therefore desired to know which ought to be given way to most, the pleasures of dissipation, or a Bill of such magnitude as that before them? He said, he had several very material amendments to propose to the clauses, which had been so slovenly and scandalously gone through that morning, but now he was precluded.

Lord North

Lord North replied, he was sure he had shewn great candour to the House at the time the honorable gentleman mentioned, and that he should always trust to his conscience for the uprightness of his conduct.

Mr. T. Townshend

Mr˙ T˙ Townshend rose, and answered the noble Lord as to the slovenly manner in which the two clauses mentioned had been carried through the Committee; he said, he likewise understood that the House was to adjourn a day on account of a champêtre, and to be sure, the ninth day of June was more proper for a champêtre, than for a Committee of the House of Commons to be sitting on so important a Bill; but he, at the same time, could not but allow that the noble Lord had an amazing foresight, in ordering, above all days in the year, the tenth day of June, for the finishing a Bill to establish Popery: he said, the day was truly characteristic to the business; and he made no doubt, but the noble Lord and his party would come with white roses in their breasts, which would at once make them truly respectable; he said, however, he should have a clause to introduce on the report, which, if the noble Lord would suffer it to pass, he should be so far devoted to him as to smirk and smile with the rest of his friends.

Mr. Edmund Burke

Mr˙ Edmund Burke also, in a most pointed speech, attacked the noble Lord as to candour and conscience; he ran on in such a vein of humour that the House was in a continual laugh during the whole of his speech. He said, the noble Lord ought to be highly commended for his humility, for he always gave way to the majority of the House; he said, as to the father of the Bill, he would be bold to say the noble Lord was the father; he brought it into that House, he supported it, and he was responsible for the mischiefs that might ensue from it.

Colonel Barré

Colonel Barré severely attacked the noble Lord as to his candour and conscience. He said, the Bill had originated with the Lords, who were the Romish Priests that would give his Majesty absolution for breaking his promise given by the Royal Proclamation, in 1763; that they, in this Bill, had done like all other Priests, not considered separately the crimes with which the Bill abounded, but had huddled them all up together, and, for despatch, had determined to give absolution for the whole at once. He said, the noble Lord might go on and support that or any sinful affair, as he was sure of getting absolution for all at last. He said, he was certain, by the noble Lord and his dependants proceedings, that after their death, People might say as they did after the death of King Charles, "that by papers found in their closets, they appeared to have died in the Roman Catholic belief."

Mr. Dempster, Governor Johnstone, Mr. Baker

Mr˙ Dempster, Governor Johnstone, Mr˙ Baker, &c˙, attacked Lord North, for hurrying the two clauses through the Committee at such an improper time of the morning.

Mr. C. Jenkinson, Mr. Welbore Ellis, Lord Beauchamp

Mr˙ C˙ Jenkinson, Mr˙ Welbore Ellis, Lord Beauchamp, &c˙, supported Lord North, and said, as they were Roman Catholics, and were deemed near their end, it would be kind to let them die in peace; but that they found their case was like most Roman Catholics, who, generally, at their end, were surrounded by a number of troublesome People.

Charles Whitworth

The House was full two hours and a half thus wrangling about the mariner in which the business had been conducted the night before. After which, Sir Charles Whitworth, the Chairman, read the clause which mentions the number of the Legislative Council to be appointed, which is not to be more than twenty-three, nor less than seventeen.

Mr. Dempster

Mr˙ Dempster objected as to the number, and proposed thirty. Lord North strongly opposed the amendment, and on the question being put, it was rejected.

Mr. E. Burke, et al

Mr˙ E˙ Burke, Captain Phipps, Mr˙ Baker, Mr˙ C˙ Fox, Mr˙ Dempster, Governor Johnstone, &c˙, opposed the clause, and Lord North, Lord Beauchamp, Mr˙ C˙ Jenkinson, Mr˙ Welbore Ellis, Mr˙ Gascoigne, &c˙, supported it; which clause, on the question being put, was carried without a division. They next proceeded to several of the provisos annexed to the clause, which likewise occasioned much debate. Several amendments were proposed by the enemies to the Bill, but rejected, and other amendments inserted in their stead, proposed by Lord North; after which the last clause was read without any debate.

Mr. Jenkinson' s Oath Proposal

Mr˙ Jenkinson said, he had the other evening heard an honorable gentleman mention, that the oath to be taken by any person who was entrusted with power, would not suit the Roman Catholics, he had therefore substituted a new oath, which he begged leave to bring up, and to have it inserted as a clause, which being brought up and read, was approved of, as follows:

"Provided always, and be it enacted, That no person professing the religion of the Church of Rome, and residing in the said Province, shall be obliged to take the oath required by the said statute, passed in the first year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, or any other oaths substituted by any other Act in the place thereof; but that every such person, who by the said statute is required to take the oath, therein mentioned, shall be obliged, and is hereby required to take and subscribe the following oath, before the Governor, or such other person, or in such court of record, as his Majesty shall appoint; who is hereby authorized to administer the same; videlicet:

I, A— B—, do solemnly promise and swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty, King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my power, against all traitorous conspiracies and attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his person, crown, and dignity; and I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies and attempts which I shall know to be against him, or any of them; and all this I do swear, without any equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation, and renouncing all pardons and dispensations from any power whomsoever, to the contrary. So help me God.

And every such person who shall neglect or refuse to take the said oath before mentioned, shall incur, and be liable to the same penalties, forfeitures, disabilities, and incapacities, as he would have incurred, and been liable to, for neglecting or refusing to take the oath required by the said statute, passed in the first year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth."

Report of the Committee to be Received

The Committee then rose, and

Sir Charles Whitworth reported from the Committee that they had gone through the Bill, and made several amendments thereunto; which they had directed him to report, when the House will be pleased to receive the same.

Ordered, That the Report be received on Friday morning next.