HC Deb 20 February 1807 vol 8 cc937-40

The house resolved itself into a committee of supply, to which the various accounts respecting the Irish Miscellaneous Services had been previously referred. Sir John Newport moved, and it was resolved by the committee, that the several sums in the respective estimates, be granted for his majesty's further services to which they referred, for the year ending the 1st of January, 1808.

Mr. H. A. Herbert

observed upon the resolution voting a certain sum to the association for discountenancing vice and promoting the knowledge of religion and virtue, that however he might respect the individuals composing that body, he could not entirely approve of any self-created corporation, not relying upon their own voluntary contributions.

Sir J. Newport

said, that the grant now called for, was for the purpose of enabling the association to purchase a quantity of Bibles and Testaments, in order to retail them at a very low rate to the lower orders of the community.

Mr. Corry

wished it to be generally understood, that the sums now called for, for the miscellaneous services of Ireland were in principle guaranteed by the union compact; as to the association interested in the resolution now before the committee that association was incorporated before the union, and sanctioned uniformly by the parliament of Ireland, and most deservedly so, for the country had derived the most inestimable advantages from its unwearied zeal in the cause of religion and morality.

Mr. Wilberforce

thought the diffusion of Bibles and Testaments the best possible way of promoting the moral and intellectual improvement of the lower orders in any country, but above all in Ireland.

On the Resolution that a sum of 5000l. be granted for the Roman Catholic college, at Maynooth, in addition to the sum of 8,000l. annually, which additional grant was for the erection of other buildings, for the further accommodation of the students in that seminary, a short conversation took place.

Mr. Perceval

had no objection, as this establishment had been founded previous to the union, to granting the sum of 8,000l. as usual; but as he looked upon the present proposed addition as the commencement of an increasing expenditure, which would tend to make that institution rival the university of Dublin, and tend to the establishment of the catholic religion, he felt it his duty to express his dissent to it in the first instance, though he did not then mean to press his opposition to a division. If he was rightly informed, the youth of the Roman catholic gentry were educated in the university of Dublin, before the establishment of this institution; which practice had wholly ceased since. If this addition were in this instance to be granted, it would be the foundation for a further application next year, and he was against the policy of giving any encouragement to the growth of the Roman catholic religion.

Sir John Newport

observed, that the question was, not whether the catholic clergy should be educated in foreign countries, or at home; for, in the present state of Europe, they could not go for education to foreign countries. The question therefore was, whether they should be educated at all. Every gentleman would admit, that the catholics could not, by being educated abroad, be rendered better subjects, and that a domestic education for them was most desirable. Since the establishment of the institution by the disuse of foreign education, the demand for a supply of catholic clergymen had increased, in order to replace the infirm or the dead, and had increased to such a degree that the college did not afford sufficient. It had on that account been recommended by the government of Ireland to increase the grant, for the purpose of providing greater accommodations. The petition was solely for the education of the catholic clergy; but a lay seminary had been established near the college, which had the benefit of the professors of the college. The catholics had not been allowed to enter the university of Dublin till the relaxation in 1793, and this institution had immediately been founded.

Mr. H. A. Herbert

said, that there was not an item in the whole accounts, to which he should give so hearty and cordial an assent, as that which was now before the committee; he insisted, that if we were in earnest with the people of Ireland, if Maynooth college was not a mockery, we should not hesitate to give the grants necessary for its maintenance.

Mr. Perceval

said, that many of the catholic gentry were educated in the protestant university of Ireland, before the erection of Maynooth college; but that since that impolitic measure, the number of catholic pupils in Dublin college had considerably diminished.

Sir J. Newport

thought, that the right hon. gent. must have been misinformed on that head, as before the year 1793 no Roman catholic students were admissible.

Mr. Perceval

further contended against the policy of any institution for the encouragement of Catholicism in Ireland, to the manifest injury of Protestantism.

Sir J. Newport

denied that there was a lay institution of the nature asserted by the hon. member; the college founded and supported by government, was for the education of the priesthood, and the priesthood only; instruction to the laity however, he admitted, might have been a secondary object.

Mr. Grattan

said, that the question lay within a narrow compass; whether the Roman catholic was to go abroad; form foreign connections; involve himself in foreign relations, and bring home foreign affections to his country; or whether he was to remain in his native land, and there acquire the instruction he was there to disseminate? If this could be as well effected in the college of Dublin, he should rejoice at it; for he would ever wish to see the catholic and protestant walking hand in hand together; he would wish to have them acting in such co-operation as to have in common the one grand impulse, and the one grand end; but the expence of instruction was complained of. What was the expence? 13,000l; and what was got by that 13,000l? the instruction of 3 millions and a half of people; this would be more than economy; it would be worse than parsimony; keep the Roman catholic at home; home education will promote alle- giance; foreign education can engender no great loyalty; kept at home and taught to love his country, he must revere its government.

Mr. Bankes

thought the institution highly impolitic, and maintained that catholicism in Ireland should be discouraged rather than upheld.

Captain Herbert

warmly supported the institution, and illustrated its policy, by an allusion to a certain occurrence in the French revolution, at the expulsion of the priests, and the consequent degradation of the protestant clergy.

Lord Stanley

approved of the principle of the institution.—The resolutions were then agreed to, and on the house resuming, the report was ordered to be received on Monday.