HC Deb 27 July 1832 vol 14 cc889-96

Mr. Spring Rice moved the further consideration of the Report on Supply, the Question being the Grant to Maynooth College.

The Speaker having put the Question,

Mr. Spring Rice

said, that though the hour was certainly late (half past one), yet he trusted that there would be no opposition to the going on with the question. He trusted hon. Members would recollect that it had been before postponed at the request of some Members at the other side of the House, in order to give them an opportunity to state their objections. He hoped, therefore, that, at that late hour of the morning, they would not interpose any further delay.

Lord Ingestre

wished, as many of the Irish Members interested in this discussion had left the House, and particularly as the hon. and learned members for the Univer-versities of Dublin and Oxford had gone away under the impression that the vote would not be gone on with to-night by the right hon. Secretary to the Treasury, that the vote might be postponed, to give those hon. Gentlemen an opportunity to state their objections to it.

Mr. Spring Rice

denied, that he had entered into any understanding that the vote should not be proceeded with. He had been asked by hon. Members in the early part of the evening, if he thought the vote would be proceeded with, and he had said, that he could not take upon him to state, as the debate on the sugar duties might occupy a long time, but if, after that, he could bring it on, he was determined that it should not be postponed.

Mr. Andrew Johnston

said, that he could not conceive how any Protestant or Presbyterian could on principle contribute to the education of persons to propagate a doctrine to which they were opposed as anti-Christian. Moreover the priests of the Catholic religion were now the great leaders of sedition and agitation. He regretted that the hon. members for Kerry and Louth were not in their places, for he was astonished, how, after the solemn oath that they, as Catholic Members, had taken on their entrance into that House, not to interfere with the institutions of the Established Church—he was surprised how they could find it possible to reconcile with the spirit of that oath their oft repeated endeavours to upset that Church. He recollected that the hon. and learned member for Louth had declared that he was not an enemy to the Protestant Church, but he also recollected that, on a former occasion, he had also declared that he could not be its friend. He thought the hon. and learned Member would find some difficulty in selecting the intermediate position he might choose to occupy between those conflicting declarations. He hoped in future, whenever those hon. Members came to speak on tithes, they would treat that subject very slightly.

Sir Edmund Hayes

hoped that any further discussion would be postponed, and assured the House that the hon. and learned members for the Universities of Dublin and Oxford, and the hon. and gallant member for Dundalk, had left the House under an impression that the Secretary of the Treasury had assured them that the vote could not possibly come on that night.

Mr. Spring Rice

again denied emphatically that he had given any such undertaking. The vote for Maynooth, now before the House, stood upon quite a different footing from the vote to the College of Maynooth in the former Session of Parliament. The sum now intended to be granted was to provide for the expenses of that college which had been incurred since last January, and the House would feel that it would be the highest injustice to refuse that which went to provide for expenses already incurred, and engagements already taken. It was on these grounds that the former grant had been given to the Kildare-street Society; it had been agreed on by Parliament to discontinue the grant to that society in future. The voting this grant of money to Maynooth did not by any means pledge Parliament to the continuance of it in future, and therefore the objects of the hon. Gentlemen opposite would be just as well answered by giving a notice for any particular night to raise a discussion upon the policy of continuing further grants to Maynooth College. If hon. Gentlemen had really laboured under the impression, however, that the vote would not come on to-night, and had consequently gone away, he should be sorry to press the vote, and would consent to postpone it.

Mr. Stanley

said, he could not consent to any further postponement, and he trusted his right hon. friend would not persevere in that intention. It had now come on a third time; it had been postponed the first time at the request of hon. Members at the other side, who said that hon. Members had left the House who had intended to oppose it. The second time it was brought on at nine o'clock in the evening, when, even at that early hour, the further postponement was requested on the part of Gentlemen who were opposed to it, and was agreed to by his right hon. friend, those hon. Members having stated that they were not then prepared to enter into the discussion. That postponement had been acceded to by Government, but upon the understanding that, upon the first opportunity, the discussion should be proceeded with, and the vote disposed of.

Sir George Rose

said, that, though he was opposed to the grant, he felt bound in honour and fairness to state, that his hon. friend, the member for the University of Oxford, had not gone away upon the faith of any undertaking from the Secretary of the Treasury that the grant would not come on, but, that, on the contrary, he had told him when leaving the House, that the Secretary for the Treasury had mentioned to him that he intended to bring on the vote that night if there was time to do so, but his hon. friend did not think there possibly could be time, and had, therefore, gone away.

Mr. Ruthven

stated, that he had been sitting for a considerable time with the hon. member for Dundalk, and the hon. and learned member for the University of Dublin, and both had mentioned, before they had left the House, that they were aware that the vote was to be brought on that night if there was time, but, from the lateness of the hour, they considered that quite impossible.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, that under these circumstances, and after those explanations, which fully bore out his own impression, he could not consent to any further postponement. The discussion had already been postponed on two former occasions, at the request of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and particularly on one occasion, when he had brought it on so early as half-past nine in the evening. These hon. Gentlemen still had, as he before stated, a power to raise a discussion on the principle on any evening they pleased, by giving a regular notice to that effect whenever they might think fit, and such a discussion would, in his mind, answer all their objects.

The question was, that this part of the Report be agreed to, put.

Lord Ingestre

opposed the grant. The Government had refused a grant to the Protestant Society of Kildare-street, and he would never consent to a grant for a Catholic College unless all parties were treated equally.

Mr. Fane

said, that the argument of its being politic to educate Catholic priests at home, instead of abroad, appeared to him to be quite fallacious. It had been mistakenly supposed that Catholic priests, when educated as formerly, in France and Spain, returned to this country with all the prejudice of foreigners against our institutions, superadded to the well known prejudices of the Catholics towards every fair, free, and liberal institution of constitutional Government. They had, however, found by experience the fallacy that priests educated at home were not more attached to our Constitution, or less prejudiced against the English Government, than priests educated on the continent. The priests of Maynooth, he would assert, were found to be considerably more violent, and more opposed to the institutions of Great Britain, and to British connexion altogether, than those educated abroad. He asserted, that the priests educated at Maynooth were admitted by every one to be the leaders of sedition and agitation. He, at all events, should not be contradicted when he said, that the priests educated at Maynooth were inferior in every respect, both as to education, conduct, and loyalty, to those who had been educated abroad. He knew no one who had ever dissented from that opinion. He also opposed this grant, because a grant had been withdrawn from the Kildare-street Society; and it was too bad that a Catholic institution for education should be upheld by the public money, and that the Protestant institutions of the Kildare-street Society, whose services to the cause of education and truth were admitted everywhere, should be ungratefully abandoned.

Mr. Sheil

could not avoid congratulating the hon. member for Crail (Mr. Andrew Johnston) upon the very argumentative and illuminating speech, with which he had gratified the House. The hon. Member had set out by opposing the Maynooth grant, but, in the course of his discursive and adventurous flights, he had not thought it beneath his notice to pounce upon such ignoble quarry as himself. Indeed, he could not fail to compliment the hon. Member upon the consistency he manifested. He loved consistency, even though it should be a consistency in bigotry, and the assertion of opinions which happily were of too antique and anterior a character for the age in which we lived, and for the intelligence and liberality that was everywhere springing up around us. He could not but admire the Christian charity which the hon. Member had so laudably manifested in his zeal for upholding that religion of whose principles he was so felicitous an exemplification—that religion which inculcated amongst its first moral precepts, "Do unto another as thou wishest another to do unto thee." But let that pass, he would not deem it of sufficient importance to vindicate the attack which had been made by the hon. Member upon himself, and upon that religion of which he was a member. He could not avoid coupling in this testimonial of the charity by which their actions were governed, the hon. member for Crail with the hon. Member who had just sat down. He regretted that he could not give those hon. Gentlemen equal credit for their knowledge of facts. They had ascribed the agitation and resistance to tithes in Ireland to the conduct of the priests educated at Maynooth College. Now it was well known that that opposition to tithes had also been with equal sagacity ascribed to the writings and the exertions of a distinguished prelate of the Catholic Church, the rev. Dr. Doyle. But he presumed they would not have used an argument which destroyed itself, had they not been ignorant of the fact that that very Prelate was educated at Coimbra. He also begged to remind them for the additional force of their argument, that that eminent divine had formerly published opinions of an enlarged, and as was thought by some, of too liberal a tendency, and in reference to which the College of Maynooth had published a manifesto that would have done honour to the University of Oxford, condemnatory of the opinions then published by the rev. Dr. Doyle. As, to the assertion that the priests of Maynooth were educated so as to have prejudices against the Government, he would venture to assert, that there was no greater friend, both to British connexion, and to submission to the ruling authorities, than the present professor of dogmatic theology in Maynooth. He thought it ungenerous that such opposition should be given to the trifling and insufficient grant that was in the spirit of almost narrow justice, given to that most valuable, and excellent establishment.

Mr. Leader

supported the grant. When he saw the vast drainage on the country in the shape of absentee rents, and the immense payments of indirect taxes, for which the country received no credit, and which went to the benefit of England, and when he saw 1,000,000l. annually wrung out of the Catholic population of Ireland in tithes and rents of Bishops' lands to support an idle Church from which the people received no benefit; and when he saw this miserable and pitiful grant resisted in order to deprive an impoverished country of the means of educating the clergy of 7,000,000 of people; when he saw this, he thought it was shameful, and calculated to fill every just and generous mind with indignation.

Sir John Milley Doyle

would not trouble the House at that very late or rather very early hour, at any length. But as the right rev. and distinguished Prelate, with whom he had the honour of being connected, had been introduced into the debate, he trusted the House would permit him to say a few words in reference to him and the clergy to which he belonged. Though the clergy of the Church to which that distinguished Prelate belonged, were not intrusted with the legal magistracy of the county, yet it was acknowleged by all parties and by the Government with gratitude, that the Roman Catholic Bishops and Clergy of Ireland, were the real and effective police of the country. The country was put to an immense expense in support of an armed police. They had heard of tens of thousands of additional troops being sent over to that country; but even all their police and troops would be unavailing to preserve quiet and tranquillity among an aggrieved and oppressed people, were it not for the indefatigable exertions of that most valuable body of men, the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. Nothing but the exertions of that clergy would prevent the country from insurrection or be sufficient to preserve its peace; and of that clergy there was none more distinguished by his great and eminent talents, and public and private virtues, than Dr. Doyle.

Lord Sandon

supported the grant, and though he had opposed the withdrawal of the money and the discontinuance of the grant to the Kildare-street Society, yet he did not consider his vote on that occasion and the vote he intended to give in support of this grant were at all inconsistent, as the two subjects stood upon perfectly distinct grounds. Neither did he think it necessary to defend his support upon the grounds of policy, or to discuss whether it was better to educate the Catholic priests at home or abroad. He looked at the question on the broad and proper grounds. The Catholics of Ireland paid an immense sum to the support of the clergy of less than half a million of the people, whilst the only support given in return to the clergy of 8,000,000 of the people, was this trifling, and he would call it miserable grant. He did wish that this grant should be more liberally afforded, and he thought the people of Ireland were in everyway entitled to it, and not alone to a provision for the education of their clergy, but to a provision for the support of their clergy. He thought that grant should be enlarged, and that the Catholic clergy ought to be supported by the State, or in some way at the public expense.

Sir George Rose

said, that he should oppose the Motion, on the ground that the Government had withdrawn all support from the Kildare-street Society.

The House divided: Ayes 55; Noes 8—Majority 47.

List of the NOES.
Burrell, Sir C. Bart. Rose, Sir G. Bart.
Corry, Hon. H. Sibthorp, Colonel
Fane, Hon. H.
Hayes, Sir E. Bart. TELLERS.
Ingestre, Viscount Tullamore, Lord
Pelham, C. Johnston, James

Resolution agreed to.

Report agreed to.