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The honorable member's speech has been called an able one; but it is a slanderous speech — a calumnious speech - a speech replete with foul, envenomed, and unfounded calumnies. Of what church does the honorable member call himself? The idol whom he appears to set up and glorify is John Knox: a certain northern member would thereupon gladly ask him, “But do you belong to any church at all," and I will say to the honorable member, “ Have you ordination in yonr church, and do you know who John Knox really was ?” Has the honorable member ever read Mr. Tytler's work? That protestant presbyterian historian proves that John Knox was accessory to two murders - a notable idol for the honorable gentleman! And yet he dares to talk about the Roman Catholic doctrine inculcating the violation of faith even to protestants ! The honorable gentleman's idol, John Knox, indeed, said that no faith was to be kept with catholics ; but to assert that Roman catholic doctrines, in any place, or in any manner or degree, inculcated the abominable principle that faith was not to be kept with protestants, is a preposterous and unfounded calumny. It is the doctrine of the Roman catholics that faith is invariably to be kept with everybody; and he violates his faith with God, be he who and what he may, who violates his faith with man. But what was John Knox's first act when he got into power? He procured an act of parliament to put Roman catholics to death as idolaters. And yet the honorable gentleman opposite, who gloirfies John Knox, assailed the Roman catholic priests because, he declares they are intolerant. They are assailed too, because it is said that they inculcate the violation of allegiance to the crown; but who was so open a teacher of rebellion as John Knox ? The disciples of such a man must be viewed with pity, guarded with a large share of distrust. I have been compelled by the change which the discussion has taken, to look at the question more than I could have wished in a polemical point of view; but polemics having been introduced by others, I feel that, standing in the presence of that God before whom I may so soon appear, I cannot afford to give up one tittle of the faith which is my consolation and my hope, and which, while I have breath, I will never cease to uphold and to maintain, a faith which
has been the faith of some of the greatest names in history-a faith which, in my firm belief, is fated to endure for all time
-a faith which, to use the eloquent words of a recent publication, “will be found standing when some traveller from New Zealand shall take his stand in the midst of a vast solitude on the broken arches of London bridge, to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.”
ON CHURCH RATES.
I CERTAINLY regret that there is not a mode of providing for the repairs of Churches less objectionable than church rates. But it is a very different thing to establish, either by a resolution or any bill brought forward in this House, the principle, or countenance the opinion, though held by several among the dissenters, that the payment of church rates ought to be refused upon the ground of conscience, and the law of the land disobeyed upon the same pretence. I think that this opinion, though held by many respectable persons, is not only incompatible with the existence of an established church, but with the maintenance of the general law of the land; neither is it an opinion countenanced by the early christians. They paid tribute to the Roman emperors, who, as they well knew, in many instances devoted the money to the erection of temples in honor of the heathen gods. The early christians knew well that the most superstitious and abominable rites were often performed in those temples; and yet were told by the highest authority that it was their duty to pay tribute. I cannot understand how it can be a violation of the rights of conscience, to be obliged to pay a sum of money for the support of a worship with which the individual does not agree. I wish to respect all conscientious feelings; but it is absurd to lay down a principle such as that a man would have only to pronounce the word “conscience" to be freed from the payment of legal demands. It has been said that it is unjust to confine a man in a goal when he is guilty of no crime against society, but merely carries out the principles of a dissenter from the established church, and chooses to obey God rather than man. I have no doubt that such is the feeling of dissenters who are opposed to church rates; but I cannot say that I exonerate defaulters in payment from all crime against society. I think that in setting an example of disobedience to the established laws of the community, such defaulters act in a way calculated to shake the confidence and respect which ought to belong to them. With respect to adopting another mode for collecting church rates, that is another question. There is one alteration of the laws, which nothing but what appears to me to be indifference on the part of the dissenters with respect to the change, has prevented from taking place. I mean an alteration which would transfer the enforcement of the law, such as it is, from the ecclesiastical to the civil courts. I cannot see the propriety or advantage of such questions going before ecclesiastical courts; while, on the other hand, there is a very great disadvantage attending it; and parties think it a greater hardship to be suinmoned before the ecclesiastical courts than before others. If church rates were levied by a court of quarter sessions, with appeal to the superior courts of common law, I think they would form as fit a tribunal with regard to payment of church rates, or tithes, as any other. If it be thought better to abolish church rates altogether as onerous and oppressive, let it be done upon the general grounds; but let not the House agree to a resolution, which, in sanctioning the refusal of church rates, may be used in disobeying any law whatever.
ON THE WANT OF CONFIDENCE, 1841.
ALTHOUGH I have resisted, and always will resist, any unconstitutional attempt on the part of the House of Commons to trench upon the prerogative of the crown, I have yet endeavored to maintain in the House of Commons, every just principle to which it
could lay a claim. supported Lord John Russell last year in defence of the privileges of the House of Commons: I might upon that occasion have been seduced by the temptation of party advantage to take a different course ; and, as it was, I had to encounter the pain of differing, perhaps, from a majority of my friends. But I thought that vital interests that important powers were at stake; and I was determined that I would not, to conciliate the favor and affection of my own esteemed friends, put to hazard the legitimate privileges of the House of Commons, and subject the House of Commons to a court of law. I know that it is imprudent and unwise to revert to these things — I know that it would be more politic on my part to conceal these differences with my friends. But I will be guilty of no such concealment. I differed from them and voted against them, from a sincere belief that it was absolutely necessary for the vindication of the privileges of the House of Commons — nay, that it was essential to our existence as a legislative body, that we should have the power of free publication. Why should I shrink from a reference to the opinions I then expressed, and the vote I gave? Is it not rather a subject of pride with me, that I can be permitted to take my own independent view as to the vital privileges of the House of Commons, and yet that due justice shall be done to my motives, and that I shall again be able to rally around me, in the band of common connexion and common esteem, those friends from whom on that occasion I happened to differ?
Acting in conformity with these views, which teach me to resist the encroachment of the House upon the prerogative of the crown, and yet to maintain the House itself in its legitimate influence in the state, I think I may fairly conclude that the House of Commons has a right to expect that the minister of the crown, who is alike the proper guardian of the royal prerogative and parliamentary privilege, should possess its confidence. This present House of Commons has been constituted and moulded upon the views of the noble Lord opposite. The noble Lord was the author of the bill by which this House of Commons was constituted. It was the noble Lord who thought it expedient to abolish the system of nomination boroughs. It was the noble Lord who thought it expedient to introduce more of popular spirit into the constitution of the House — to make it correspond more with the progress of popular intelligence, and with the advance of knowledge. To achieve this, the noble Lord thought that we ought to make the House more an image of public opinion --an assembly more sympathizing with the people—more expressive of the public view. This House of Commons, thus constituted according to the views of the noble Lord—this House of Commons had the advantage, if it could be considered an advantage, of being elected under the noble Lord's auspices; and whatever benefit there may be from having had its election at the time when her most Gracious Majesty came to the throne, that benefit also the noble Lord was possessed of. Yet this House of Commons so constituted, so elected under the auspices of the noble Lord — this House of Commons it is, that has given, as I think, indication that it withholds its confidence from the government of which the noble Lord is a conspicuous member.
I trust I have executed this duty in conformity with the spirit in which I intended to have executed it—with none of that asperity of party which I may sometimes display, when rising at the end of a debate to speak under the excitement and agitation which naturally belong to that period of our deliberations. It has not been my intention to treat with disrespect those who hold the executive offices of the government; but it has been my intention to say to the government, “It is your duty to the House of Commons - if it has these additional claims upon public confidence which you ascribe to it — if it embodies more of the public spirit — if it reflects more accurately the image of the public mind than those which have preceded it — it is your duty, your peculiar duty, not to deprive it of any of that legitimate influence which it ought to possess.”