§ On the Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate on the Irish Church, having been read,
§ Mr. Sergeant Talfourd
rose, and said, he trusted the House would grant him its indulgence, as it was the first time he had ever risen to address it. He could assure the House, that nothing save the paramount importance of the principle at issue could have induced him to trespass on its attention; but when the assertion of that great principle was at stake, he could not justify silence on his part as the representative of a numerous and enlightened constituency. He confessed, he felt that the resolution of the noble Lord, the Member for Devonshire, not alone called upon every hon. Member for his vote, but required him to express also his sentiments, because it seemed to him, and it had been confessed and boasted by hon. Members who spoke 548 on the opposite side of the House, that it involved a great and a vital principle; and was likewise a declaration of an intention to do justice to a country and a people oppressed and trampled on by misrule for ages. Hon. Members, he maintained, were not called on to vote for the simple words of the resolution; but they were called on to give Ireland relief from a long and hideous series of legal oppression, and to open a door to them, however small, to let in a light, however little, on the darkness and thraldom to which they had been consigned for ages. They were called upon, in a word, to consolidate, by acts and deeds, that Union which had been declared, by the Legislature between England and Ireland. He was induced to avail himself of the opportunity offered him, by remarking on some of the observations of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Exeter (the Solicitor-General). He deemed it an honour to him to have such an opponent; a man of such high legal attainments, clear logical mind, and pure moral character—and he thought that the profession to which he had the honour to belong, as well as the country at large, owed a debt of gratitude to his Majesty for selecting that hon. and learned Gentleman—so young, yet so learned, so high in his profession, and so honourable in character—to fill the office he enjoyed—creating a source of emulation for others, and conferring on the whole profession a great moral reputation. His hon. and learned Friend had taken the question of Church-property in the legal light of a trust, and he had argued that the Legislature could not apply it to any other purposes than those purely ecclesiastical. He (Mr. Sergeant Talfourd) was rejoiced to have an opportunity of pointing out the weakness and fallacy of his hon. and learned Friend's argument. His hon. and learned Friend had stated to the House, as he had already observed, that the Question was one of trust—trust, not alone of an Ecclesiastical nature, for that would not serve his purposes, but he had anticipated, in his legal imagination, a long line of consequences—for instance, that the Church-property, if appropriated by the admission of the principle at issue to purposes other than ecclesiastical, would ultimately be converted to Roman Catholic purposes. If his hon. and learned Friend reverted to history, he must acknowledge, carrying his mind as far back as possible, that these very revenues, about the re-transference of which he was so chary, would be found 549 in the possession of the Roman Catholic Church—and moreover, that it was that Church alone which first awoke Christianity, and nourished the religion of the Redeemer in the minds of the Irish people. He would then beg to ask his hon. and learned Friend, even supposing the fulness of time had arrived when the legal phantoms which beset his otherwise lucid imagination, had taken shape and consistency, when they had in a word become realities—when the surplus property of the Established Church should he applied to the support of the Roman Catholic religion—he would ask his hon. and learned Friend, whether it would reflect more shame on those who should propose and effect a measure to re-transfer this surplus from the Protestant to the Catholic clergy, than the original transfer of the whole from the latter to the former, reflected on those who carried that transfer into execution. The original transfer was made by the Act of the Legislature, not in so mild a manner as the resolution of the noble Lord would effect the changes; the law was, therefore, the charter by which the Protestant Church had its tenor of its property. The Solicitor-General was himself compelled to admit that the penal enactments which attended that change—the origin of his own title—were of a character which he could not endure to contemplate, that the powers he sought to maintain inviolate were cradled in oppression, and defended by a long series of legal barbarity and injustice, the last link and symbol of which he sought now to cherish. The doctrine of a Protestant trust, therefore, failed in the hands of its most learned supporter, but the deficiency was supplied by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Cumberland, who insisted, that the truths of a religion were the best criterion of its fitness for an alliance with power. Passing over the great question of that alliance—admitting that religion supplied elements fit to be moulded with the coarser materials of legislation—still, all history, sacred and profane, proved that its practical adaptation to the feelings of a people did not always depend on its abstract truths. The Jew's religion now separated its professors from the full enjoyment of the rights of citizens; and yet, in its uncouth form of mysterious power, in a narrow and peculiar sphere, was the pure worship of God sustained through ages of refinement and idolatry. So, who could venture to pronounce, though he might prefer the clear light shining through 550 the unstained and lucid medium of Protestantism, the same light reflected through a coloured and interrupted, though specious medium, that for the infancy of Christianity in past times, and for the condition of Ireland as she had been, and as English oppression had left her, the Roman Catholic faith was not a blessing? Could we forget the virtues which that faith had nurtured, the arts and graces which it had preserved, the pieties which had been embodied in forms of exquisite and imperishable beauty under its auspices, and treat it as other than a part in the great education of the human race, which, when it should have passed away, in happier times, would leave the world enriched by that which had been? The question, then, was, not whether the Catholic was the true religion, but whether it was best for Ireland; and that Ireland alone could answer. Looking to the character of Ireland—to its long separation from those means of knowledge which England possessed, and which facilitated the extension of religion among her people—looking to the obstacles which intervened between the people of Ireland, and the acquisition of religious principles—the result of discord, misgovernment, and a host of similar evils—looking to all these, he thought that religion not unsuitable to the people, but whether that were so or not, he would ask the House why there should be mockery cast upon the religion of the Irish peasant, which had been the religion of his fathers for generations upon generations. He would ask why, when it was the boast of England, that in her various dependencies she tolerated the most barbarous superstitions, because they were the creed of the people, why should the Irish Catholic and Christian peasant be insulted by a pompous array of dignitaries of another Church, wringing from him for their support his last shilling. It had been asserted, that threats were held out of a repeal of the Union, if this motion should fail. To these he would answer, that if the Ministry chose to prove that the Union was only to be felt in its evils—if it was to be used as an argument for continuing the mockery of that wealthy establishment as emanating from Protestant England, and stifling the expression of sympathy so long deferred, the responsibility was on the heads of those who thus applied it. He trusted it would be sustained, not as a union produced by conquest and continued in insult—not as a mere parchment union, recorded in Acts of Parliament, but a moulding and 551 blending of the nations into one—an identification of feelings, and interchange of forgivenesses—an appreciation of frailties, not taking them together, but associating them in one living whole. His lion, and learned Friend, the Member for Exeter, pursuing the example set by the right hon. Baronet, the Paymaster of the Forces, had seen, in the resolution before the. House, that which not alone affected the state and welfare of the Irish Church, but which threatened the dissolution of the union between Church and State at large. Could any thing be more preposterous than such a belief? It had been made matter of complaint against the noble Lord and his supporters, with whom he (Mr. Sergeant Tulfourd) had the honour to act, that they tried the strength of parties, not on a direct vote of confidence, or the contrary, but on an indirect one, such as the principle of the resolution. But was not that principle a public one? Was it not on their own admission a vital one? A reproach of that nature came with a very bad grace from those hon. and right hon. individuals who had made their rallying cry on the last election contest, "Measures, not men." The talents of the right hon. Baronet, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, were, no doubt, of the first order; but he would find them insufficient to support his Government if he did not resolve to redress the crying evils of the Irish Church—to efface the wrongs wrought in the lapse of centuries by the misgovernment of his predecessors in Ireland, and to make amends to the people of that country as far as lay in his power, for all the sufferings they had experienced, and all the miseries they had endured through ages. With respect to the coincident course which his hon. and learned Friend and the right hon. Baronet, the Paymaster of the Forces, had taken, he should be satisfied to put the question on the issue of confidence or no confidence. He would be content to put it to the people of this country, "Here is a Resolution which opens the door of joy, and lets in a little of the light of hope upon the oppressed and unjustly dealt with people of Ireland. There is the Government of this country opposed to it. Choose between them." He was satisfied of the choice which would be made by the people's Representatives. Although personal results of the question were the least momentous, was it no trifling question whether the hopes of this country and of mankind were to be committed to those who had struggled and 552 resisted reform in all the stages of its progress, or to those whose conduct, hopes, and struggles and prayers had been devoted to its promotion—whether its results were to be conducted by genial hands, or by those who, even if honest in their present purpose, like those spirits who in fable lore were compelled to labour in the service of the mighty spirit who had conquered them, were now the vanquished captive, reluctant draggers of the aerial and triumphant genius of humanity and freedom. They taunted their opponents with the difference of opinion they discerned among them on certain subjects; but that difference was not the true ground of their displeasure—that was not their former difference, but their present union. For that they deserved the displeasure of their foes, and he trusted they would long continue to deserve and to receive it. For the first time the great defect in the operations of freedom—a defect arising from the excellence of its nature, but blending the elements of weakness with its strength, the varieties which free inquiry and large discourse of humanity produced, had been countervailed by the strong necessity which the crisis presented. During the long dominion of those of whom the Ministry were the legitimate successors, they were bound together by ties palpably intelligible, not to be mistaken, the Treasury Bench bounded the horizon of their hopes, and they prevailed accordingly over those who felt for the sufferings of mankind, and looked towards the shifting aspects of their future condition. Well had the great poet of our own time represented a similar triumph—For by superior energies, more strictAlliance in each other, faith more firmIn their unhallow'd principles, the badHave fairly gained a victory o'er the weak,The vacillating, inconsistent good.Such, he trusted, would be the case no more. Reform might be vexed and impeded in its course of majesty, and power, and beauty, by the efforts of the right hon. Baronet and his party, but the impediments would be eventually awept away, and the friends of humanity would witness its career, rejoicing at the good it effected. The right hon. Baronet had said, that he would carry on the Government in the spirit of Reform, and he wished to be made the depositary of the confidence of the people. He (Mr. Sergeant Talfourd) would rather see infant freedom, young Reform, consigned to the care of those who 553 had nurtured them in their tender age, rather than to those avowed enemies, of which the right hon. Baronet and his Government were the most prominent, who had endeavoured to prevent their growth, to destroy their increasing strength, and to strangle them in their very cradle, while they even pressed their pillow. The result he waited for without any great anxiety; he was sure that it would be as he wished, and as the country desired. He awaited with quite as little dread the more remote effects of appropriation, which had gathered like thick clouds around the head of his hon. and learned Friend, the Solicitor General, and so obscured his lucid understanding, that he saw danger to the religion of England from an improved appropriation of the wealth of the Irish Church. As he did not participate in the nearer fears of the learned Solicitor General, so neither did he participate in the more remote apprehensions he had expressed; but he drew his hopes from another source. He believed the true principle of conservation was not to be sought in sinking the last remains of ancient oppression, nor in preserving the middle walk of particular native sects and parties, nor even in the safety of particular institutions, but in the human heart itself, when an appeal should be largely made to it, and when the imagination and affections, which now gave all their sanctity to the most honoured institutions, would not be appealed to in vain. In that appeal true safety was to be found, and the more largely, liberally, and unreservedly it was made, the more security would be found, and the more clearly would it be found, that even in the Irish hovel there was a disposition not only to inquire and to know, but to love, to revere, and to enjoy. He believed that the defeat of the present Motion would throw the country back for many years. In vain could those who opposed the Motion revert to the most shameful parts of the Constitution, they must look forward and consult the interests of the people, and he called upon the right hon. Baronet at once to throw himself manfully into the arms of those who were the friends of the liberties of the country. He would give his most cordial support to the Motion.
§ Mr. Praed
rose and said the hon. Member for Reading, who had just sat down, had been mistaken in one of his concluding remarks, for the reproach made against him, and the side of the House with which he acted, was not that they brought forward 554 an important question with the view of displacing his Majesty's Government, but that they had brought forward a question which had compelled so many of them to flinch from their own opinions, which were on record against them. The argument was, not that the surplus revenues of the Irish Church was property to be alienated, but the question was, whether the point would have been mooted at all by the noble Lord, the Member for South Devonshire, if he had still been sitting on the Ministerial side of the House? Having made these remarks, he would now call the attention of the House to the actual question itself. The House, by the noble Lord's resolution, was called upon to vote an abstract resolution. The words of the Motion were—"That the House resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House in order to consider the present state of the Church of Ireland, with a view of applying any surplus of its revenues to the general education of all classes of the people, without reference to religions distinction." The Committee was to make the inquiry into the state of the Irish Church, with a view of applying its surplus revenues to cerium purposes, and it was true that those purposes were specified in the resolution; but he could only say, that if the House could be justified in adopting such a course, it could be equally justified in adopting any other. He would ask what did the House at present know of the question? What did it know of these revenues? His hon. Friend, the Member for Halifax, had said that it was an assumed fact—that it was a point conceded by all persons—that there did exist a large surplus revenue. This said his hon. Friend, was a fact that did not admit of a doubt. He was astonished that his hon. Friend, the Member for Newark had not controverted that proposition, although he had received it with something like a doubt. He (Mr. Praed) denied the proposition, and even if it were true, that truth was not known at the present moment. What, for instance, he would ask, did Lord Brougham know upon this question? It was only in the last Session of Parliament that Lord Brougham had said in the House of Lords:—He had stated most distinctly, that whether there would be any surplus to take, or whether, on the other hand, the Church might not want some additional support, they must wait to ascertain the fact until the result of the inquiry which had been set on foot was known."**Hansard, (third series) vol, xxv, p, 1136, 555 Not very long before that, on February 12, 1833, Lord Althorp, in his place in Parliament had said:—A very great exaggeration has prevailed as to the amount of these revenues. I say, conscientiously, that greater exaggeration has prevailed on this subject, than has prevailed on any political topic which I recollect. Before I looked more narrowly into the question, I myself greatly exaggerated, to my own mind, the amount of the revenues of the Irish Church Establishment.This was a confirmation by the speeches of the Members of the late Government of the fact of their ignorance upon the subject, and he asked the House whether before any attempt had been made for the removal of that ignorance, it would be right to pass the absolute resolution contained in the Motion of the noble Lord? He could not conceive how the noble Lord could argue that his change of place could justify him in now bringing forward a question which he formerly would have opposed if he were sitting on the Ministerial side of the House. The noble Lord, when on the Ministerial Benches, on June 21, 1833, when the 147th clause of the Irish Church Temporalities' Act was under discussion, made use of the following words in reference to the abstract power of the House to appropriate the property of the Church:—The present was but the shadow of a claim, to prosecute which, would be risking the peace and tranquility of the country for the sake of an abstract principle."†The noble Lord had stated on a subsequent occasion—With regard to the other part of the resolution, that the Establishment exceeded the spiritual wants of the Protestant population and ought to be reduced, that certainly ought to be founded on facts. He had a strong opinion on the subject, and did not hesitate to say, that if it should be found on inquiry that the religious and moral instruction of the people was not properly provided for by the Church of Ireland—the only ground on which an Established Church ought to be upheld—some measure should be devised for appropriating or reducing her revenues. He begged to say that he did not think the House right in the first instance to agree to a resolution pledging themselves to an abstract principle which might be afterwards contradicted by the inquiry consequent on that pledge."‡The noble Lord was met on that occasion by the argument which he himself now* Hnnsard, vol. xv., p. 566.† Hansard's, (third series) vol. xviii., p. 1095.‡ Hansard, (third series) vol. xxiv., p. 31.556 used against the right hon. Baronet, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The noble Lord was told, that if the movers of the resolution had confidence in his Majesty's Government they would be satisfied with the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into the state of the Irish Church, but as they had no faith in Ministers, and did not know how soon they might be displaced by those who were hostile to all reform, they must call upon the House of Commons to vote the expediency of such a proposition. It was curious to observe how the noble Lord had met this argument:—He thought it necessary to state that the House of Commons had aright, if the Ministers of the Crown had not their confidence, to express their opinion to the Crown, and had a right to require that the Ministers of the Crown should be persons in whose character and principles they are disposed to confide. But having secured that point it would be consistent with all proper principles of Government, and with the wisdom of the Legislature, to leave to such Ministers the task of bringing forward their measures according to the principles which they approved of."*These were the charges now brought forward against the noble Lord by the right hon. Baronet. If the noble Lord had no confidence in his Majesty's Ministers why did he not bring forward a resolution to that effect, instead of (to serve his party purposes) proposing to the House of Commons to pledge itself to a resolution which, according to the noble Lord's own doctrine, it might not find it expedient to adopt? Another noble Lord, whose sentiments he did not like to quote, because lie was no longer a Member of that House (Lord Palmerston), had spoken on the same debate, and as he was then a Cabinet Minister, he must be supposed to have spoken the sentiments of his party. The Noble Lord said:—What then did they intend? Did hon. Members gravely propose to record a solemn resolution of that House affirming the existence of certain facts, and then institute an inquiry to ascertain whether these facts did or did not exist."†To him, therefore, it appeared little less than a gross absurdity for the House to accede to the Motion of the hon. Member. If the House were prepared to deal with a question of such importance, in which the religious feelings of the country were so deeply interested without previous investigation, they would support the hon. Member, but if they conceivedBut the question had been brought forward now, and with a view solely embarrassing his Majesty's Ministers. Well, the question was before the House, and how he would ask, was it likely to be concluded? Suppose the measure were to be carried, and it was to turn out that no surplus revenue of the Protestant Church Establishment in Ireland did exist. The House might surely assume it to be possible, for even Lord Brougham had supposed the possibility of it. Perhaps hon. Members might say, well then there had been no harm done, the Committee had passed a Resolution that involved nothing. He would ask the House whether that was a proper manner to deal with a question of such importance? How had this very point been dealt with by hon. Members opposite, when they had been sitting on his (Mr. Praed's) side of the House? The point had been discussed on four or five occasions, when the 147th clause of the Irish Church Temporalities' Bill had been before the House. Four or five times had the present question been brought forward, and on every occasion had the Ministers of that time pointed out the danger of establishing an abstract principle before there existed anything to carry it into effect, he would now allude to an hon. and learned Member opposite, who gave to the present Motion his support, and who had yet on the former occasion expressed his strong sense of the danger of asserting the principle. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets speaking upon a former debate, expressed himself to the following effect:—* Hansard, (third series) vol. xxiv., p. 32.† Hansard, (third series) vol. xxiv., p. 78.557 that a solemn inquiry was necessary before adopting such a proceeding, he called upon them to reject the Motion."*What can be gained by assenting to this proposition? Are we to assent to it merely that we may conciliate one part of Ireland at the cost of irritating the remainder? If we were to legislate in the spirit of the Member for Dublin would any impartial man suggest that we should be dealing even-handed justice to the different parties in Ireland? I am not prepared to sanction a proposition which at the same time that it will not confer any advantage on one class will be considered as insulting the remainder. I never will consent to insult the Protestants of Ireland unless from the pressure of some deep necessity. I am not prepared to offer this useless and unnecessary affront.If, then, the House were now to go into* Hansard, (third series) vol. xxiv., p. 79.558 the Committee, and it were to be found that there existed no surplus revenue, to what end or purpose, he asked, had the noble Lord proposed this insult on that mass of the population whom they admitted to be loyal? But he (Mr. Praed) would put the question in another point of view. Suppose there was a surplus, suppose it was to turn out a large sum, how then were they to dispose of it? Let the House consider before they adopted the Resolution, how the surplus was to be disposed of. In the first place, you pare down the funds of the Protestant clergy of Ireland, a clergy that, as individuals, (whatever they may have been according to the hon. Member for Halifax in the days of Queen Elizabeth) were now allowed by all persons to be a body of pious, charitable, and deserving men. The House was to take the means of charity from them, and to give them to a Board presiding over the moral and religious education of the community. He would assert that in the hands of the Protestant elergy the Church revenues possessed so much the character of property that the State had no right to take it for that or any such purpose. The noble Lord, and those who acted with him, asserted on the contrary, that they had a right to take from the Church this property, and to destroy its title, as property in order to apply it to more useful purposes, and it was, therefore, incumbent on them to show that the objects to which they would devote it were such as to justify its misappropriation from the hands of the Protestant Church. They were bound to shew that they had a right to deal with this fund as with any tax levied upon the Irish people. Suppose the property to amount to 100,000l.—and he would ask—was there one man in that House who would say that he thought it fit to raise 100,000l. per annum (he took it at the smallest point) from the people of Ireland merely for the purposes of their moral and religious education? ["Hear, hear," from the Opposition Benches.] Was he to take those cheers as a mark of assent. ["Yes!"] He then was not, one who could be ever brought to give his consent to the raising of such a sum for affording a moral and religious education to the people of Ireland in the situation in which they now existed. He would read to the House a few extracts of documents, in order to prove the condition of the people from whom this money was to be raised. Dr. Doyle had said before the Committee on the state of Ireland— 559I myself found three families in a little space not larger than what is within the circuit of these tables. Their beds are merely a little straw strewed at night upon the floor, and by day wrapped up in or covered with a quilt or blanket. They are obliged to do it up in that manner by day in order to have some vacant space. In these abodes of misery disease is often produced by extreme want. Disease wastes the people, because they have no food or comforts to restore them. They die in a little time. I have known a lane with a small district adjoining in the town in which I live to have been peopled by about thirty or forty families who came from the country; and I think that in the course of twelve months there were not ten families of the thirty surviving. The bulk of them had died.After this evidence he for one was not prepared to raise anything like a tax of 100,000l. for the purposes of education until he had provided for such deplorable distresses. He even went further than this, and he would maintain that the proposition of the noble Lord would take from the lands of the Protestant clergy for the purposes of giving a moral and religious education those funds which now went to the supply of those physical wants of which the House had just heard the description. [" No, no."] Oh, then, was the House to suppose that there was no charity on the part of the Protestant clergy who at present received these funds? He would remind the House of one case, when the fever raged at Limerick, and when it was proved that the Protestant and Catholic clergy vied with each other in affording relief to the sufferers. The Resolution would deduct from the funds what now went to the relief of physical wants, in order to afford the means of education. Suppose the Resolution to pass, and suppose that the surplus was to be devoted to this moral and religious education, how, he would ask, did the friends of the Resolution know that they could raise the money? The hon. Members opposite appeared to him to have lost sight entirely of this great difficulty which they themselves said had forced upon the House the consideration of the present Question. Their cry was, that they could not get the tithes. It was impossible to collect the tithes, and therefore, had they proposed a Bill to place on the landlord the burthen of the tithes in order to relieve the Church. It had been argued that this Bill would give effect and facility to the raising of the tithes. He would ask whether it could be supposed that it was 560 possible to raise a moral and religious education tax from landlord or peasant as great as the tithes which it had been found impossible to raise before. Perhaps he should be told that the objection on the part of the people of Ireland was an objection only against tithes paid to a Protestant Establishment. He was astonished that this had been taken in that House as an undisputed statement. He would maintain, that all difficulties now found in collecting tithes would be just as great in levying the same sum, to be applied to moral and religious education. If he were wrong in this, he could only say, that he was wrong with men of the highest authority on this subject. He would show that the Irish people did not object to tithes on the ground of religious differences so strong as they objected to them as mere exactions of money. Upon this subject he would quote the evidence given before the Committee of 1825, by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. The hon. and learned Member was asked,Do they consider it a greater hardship to pay to Clergymen than to lay impropriators?I cannot say that they do, was the answer. I recollect many instances where they considered it a still greater hardship to pay to a lay impropriator. In lay impropriations they have considered it quite ridiculous to be paying tithes where there is not the slightest pretence of religion at all connected with it.Which do you think is the feeling that operated most—an objection to pay where religion is not concerned, or an objection to pay where a different religion is concerned?I do not think it makes any great difference. I am sure they would have a great objection to pay their own Clergy tithes. Abstract points of faith do not matter muchHe would next quote the evidence upon the same point given before the Committee by Dr. Murray, the titular Archbishop of Tuam.Is it not a general feeling among the Catholics and amongst a great part of the Protestants also that the Establishment of the Church of Ireland should be very much curtailed?It is a general opinion that the Establishment is unnecessarily rich; but I do not observe any feeling in Catholics as Catholics to exert themselves for its curtailment.The feeling is rather an opinion of political economy than a religious feeling?Exactly so. As religionists they have no particular feeling.The Committee understand you as saying that it is the burthen itself that is oppressive, and not the circumstance of the person to whom it is paid?561Yes; the burthen.He would appeal to any man of common sense whether the Catholics had not from year to year been persuaded that in clamouring for a removal of tithes they were clamouring for putting the money into their own pockets, and to whatever other purposes the tithes might be perverted the people would complain just as much as they ever had done if they found the tithes remained the same burthen under another name? He was sensible that he had been putting the question on the lowest grounds on which it could possibly be put. He would never shrink from avowing that lie held to quite as great an extent as any man the inviolability of that property, and the inapplicability of it to any other use than that, most strictly speaking, of the Church. If the House violated that principle they must go to the full extent with respect to all other sorts of property. But it was said that those who opposed the Motion begged the whole Question when they applied the sum to the education of Protestants. He denied that they did any such thing, and if he was wrong in this he was wrong in very good company. In support of his view of it, he would refer hon. Members opposite to the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the town of Cambridge: he would quote his authority as he found it, but he would leave it to others to ask the right hon. Gentleman how long it was he held the opinion that Protestant Church-property should be applied to other than Protestant purposes? During the discussions on the measure of Roman Catholic Emancipation, the hon. and learned Member then sitting for Colchester had rested his support of it almost upon one solitary principle. The hon. and learned Member had on the occasion to which he now referred, in declaring the grounds upon which he gave his support to that measure, stated as distinctly as words could state, that his reason for supporting that measure was, his conviction that if it were passed it would lead to a combination between the Catholics and the Protestant Dissenters from the established Church of Ireland, for the purpose of making a joint attack upon its revenues and emoluments. In response to this, what had been the comments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rice).What," said the right hon. Gentleman referring to a speech of the hon. Member for 562 Colchester, "was the hon. Gentleman's statement on that occasion? He was declaring the grounds on which he supported the measure for the relief of the Roman Catholics; and he then slated, as distinctly as words could state that his reason for that measure was his conviction that if it were passed it would lead to a combination between the Catholics and the Protestant Dissenters from the Established Church of Ireland for the purpose of making a joint attack upon its revenues and emoluments.If, then, the vote of the hon. Member be given on such grounds as he had stated to the Bill for the removal of civil disabilities from the Catholics, I, friend as I have been from my infancy to the Catholics, would rather have his vote against me than see the cause to which I am attached burthened with, I will not say the disgrace, but the inconvenience, of his support. So that the hon. Member is at liberty to vote as he pleases, provided that he will not burden us with the absurdity of his opinion, I have been from the earliest period of my life an attached member of the Church of Ireland, and I am quite sure that I have never supported any motion which had a tendency to diminish the revenues of that Church.Fearful, however, that this might not satisfy the hon. Member for Colchester, and, in reply to some previous taunts, the right hon. Member for Cambridge had entered into these further explanations:He considered the Church property of England and Ireland as created and protected by the law like other property, but that it was not held absolutely, but on a certain condition. Therefore, while he denied the right assumed by one class to confiscate or appropriate the property of the Church, be equally denied the right of the other class to refuse inquiry into the way in which those public trusts were discharged, or in which the stipulated conditions were fulfilled. Acting upon this principle, whenever in Parliament a proposition was made for laying hold of the right of the Church and confiscating that property, to such a proposition he had always said "No!" But, on the other hand, whenever a motion was made for inquiry into the state of Church property for the purpose of seeing that it was properly applied, he would give that motion Ills cordial assent. He had voted uniformly against confiscation—he had voted as uniformly for inquiry.In 1825 the hon. Member for Montrose brought forward his final attack on the Church—an attack which produced the magnificent speech of Mr. Canning in its defence. The motion on that occasion was,'That the property new in the possession of the Established Church in Ireland is public property under the control of the Legislature, and applicable to such purposes as, in its wisdom, it may deem beneficial to the best interests 563 of religion and the community at large, due regard being had to the rights of every person in the actual enjoyment of any part of that property.'Did I, Sir, vote for that motion? Certainly not. If I had, on either of the two occasions to which I have alluded, voted for such a proposition, then the hon. and learned Gentleman might justly charge me with inconsistency.He had perhaps dealt with quotations more on the present occasion than was usual; but if he had done so, it was to avoid unfair misinterpretation of sentiments expressed by hon. Members, and with a view to quote them rather as an authority than with a view to charge insincerity upon those individuals whose language bearing upon this important question he had felt it to be his duty to submit to the House.—He therefore had no apology to make to the House for the course which he had pursued; he did not call upon the right hon. Gentleman to say why he was not sincere on the present occasion, but he did call on him to give to the House some reason for the extraordinary change in his sentiments, which he was sure the right hon. Gentleman, as a man of honour, was quite ready to give. There was one other point to which he wished before he sat down, shortly to refer. Those on his side of the House had been charged with bigotry and intolerance, because in the consideration of this question they could not conceal from themselves that the revenues of that Church were about to be confiscated, which, in his opinion, taught the truth and dissuaded from error He trusted that he would not be visited with the imputation of acting from uncharitable motives, if, admitting that there were many Catholics for whom he entertained sincere friendship, and others for whom he felt a cordial esteem, he expressed himself unwilling to give his assent to that doctrine which had been propounded on that night and previously, and which went to imply that in the settlement of this Question the Legislature had nothing to look to but the fact, whether or not the inhabitants of Ireland were good subjects, and were willing to pay those demands which were made upon them by the United Parliament. He must, however, be permitted to say that he considered an attachment upon the part of the people to that persuasion which he believed to be the true one, to be the best security for loyalty to the Crown, attachment to the constitution, and for the per- 564 formance of all the duties of both public and private life. He could, as a protestant, not help thinking, and he would not hesitate to assert, that in countenancing the adoption of error, he should take a course which would endanger the stability of that Church which he believed to be the true one, and the maintenance of which in its present position he deemed essential to the proper discharge of all the duties of life.
would not have presented himself to the House on the present great and momentous occasion but for the observations personal to himself which had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to sentiments expressed by him (Dr. Lushington) on former occasions, but when he declared his intention of supporting the motion now before the House, he must at the same time express his conviction that he should give that support without inflicting any violence upon any principles which he had heretofore expressed, and which he still maintained. He hardly thought it necessary to detain the House with even the briefest explanation of the language which had fallen from him in the course of former debates, inasmuch as the extracts which, by long and laborious research through the debates, had been submitted to the House, were too insignificant to call for a lengthy reply. It was, he thought, almost sufficient for him to say that mere portions of speeches, without adverting to the precise question in reference to which they were delivered, could not convey a correct notion of the sentiments which called forth that or those speeches. Nevertheless, an attempt had been made to put in opposition to his present sentiments words he had formerly uttered. The sentiments which had been quoted were those which had been expressed on the occasion of his noble Friend (the member for North Lancashire) withdrawing, or rather refusing to carry forward, the 147th clause of the Irish Church Temporalities' Bill. He believed that it was notorious to all who were acquainted with his opinions on that subject, that in that 147th clause he entirely acquiesced, and he now acknowledged that it was with considerable regret he found the determination of the late Government to withhold that clause, and what he had on that occasion said had not been intended to impugn the sentiments upon which that clause stood, or the truths upon which it was founded, but for the purpose of preventing the danger at that moment of 565 carrying successfully that bill, and for the purpose of obtaining a postponement of a question at least doubtful; and, by that postponement, obtaining by the other provisions of the bill one step forward in the ways of truth and justice. Such were his sentiments then and now, and he wished to be informed when and on what occasion had they been otherwise? He acknowledged his own fallibility, but he, like the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel), was not to be judged by quotations from former speeches, but by looking to his conduct with reference to great questions of truth and the interests of the people, to both of which it was the duty of a legislator to look. With these brief observations he proceeded to the great and important question before the House for its determination, and though he made no protestations of faith in the market-place as it were, but thinking that every honest man, zealous in his religion and attached by loyalty to his country, had the right to form the faith which he openly and publicly avowed, and though he thought also that such protestations were misplaced, and savoured rather of fear and alarm than of sincerity in him who uttered them, there was no consideration so high in principle, whether it was a principle of religion, eternal justice, or policy, for which he was not prepared to make his humble appeal on this great and momentous occasion. What was it that, from time to time and year after year, had called the Parliament of this country together, but the calamitous state of Ireland, but the evils which threatened that country with destruction, arming man against man; and what had been the remedies from time to time proposed for the alleviation of those evils? First of all came the bill for the emancipation of the Roman Catholic population, and the sup porters of that measure had been taunted, in the course of this debate, with quotations, and comments upon those quotations, from the evidence of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary, of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and others examined before committees of this House: and it had been urged that their prophecies and predictions as to the result which would follow the passing of that great measure had not been fulfilled, and that it had not been productive of that peace, happiness, tranquillity, and prosperity which some of the most sanguine adherents to that measure had promised. He (Dr. Lushington) had never entertained any such hopes; he had 566 never supposed, that after an injustice of three hundred years' standing, the irritation of men's minds, occasioned by these continued wrongs which desolated the country, it could accord with human feelings or the principles of sound reasoning, that by the single measure of emancipation the Legislature could put an end to all the consequences of past errors, and at once set all to rights. He had no such belief in the healing qualities of the measure of emancipation; he conceived it to be only an ingredient in the medicine to be administered—an ingredient, it was true, without which it would be impossible to effect a cure. To the measure of emancipation what had followed? The bill of the right hon. Baronet opposite, designed as a remedy for the tithe grievance. Of that bill he would say that the abolition of tithes in some shape or other, and not commutation, was indispensable to the pacification of Ireland. That bill was only another remedy in part, and upon it he had said that the Legislature must necessarily do more. Now he came to the motion proposed by the noble Lord the Member for Devonshire. His noble Friend proposed that the surplus revenues of the Protestant Church of Ireland should be devoted and disposed of in the way stated in the motion. Did he say that this even would complete a cure? No, for here he would again tell the House that a deadly disease was preying on the vitals of the Irish nation—a disease which was likely to rend the vitals of the British nation; but still this was one of those measures which was indispensable to the final termination of all causes of dispute? Let the House look to the state of Ireland: in that country the peace was maintained by the presence of not less than 20,000 soldiers, with the aid of Acts of Parliament destroying every sign of the constitution; with constabulary and police force without number; so that no man who would dare to have the courage to look, at one moment, at the state of England, and at another to that of Ireland, could say that they resembled each other cither in liberty or happiness. That man, if an Irishman, must regard this state of things with pain and shame, and if an Englishman, with feelings of disgrace for the past, and fears for the consequences. He (Dr. Lushington) would now look to see the causes of discontent in Ireland, and whether or not, by probing those causes to the bottom, a just and adequate remedy could not be found and made effective. He hoped no 567 misconception might arise, when he stated that, on his word and in his conscience, he believed the introduction of the Protestant Church into Ireland was the main cause of the existing evils. He would not venture to say thus much but that he had deeply considered the matter, and he conscientiously believed it, despite what had fallen from the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin. He contended that the Protestant religion had been forced upon Ireland by the conquering people of England, who, by themselves and their priesthood, turned out to beggary and destitution, those who refused to become apostates to the faith they reverenced. The power thus gained was established subsequently by Acts of Parliament. Thus it was, that the population of Ireland was divided into two classes of people, and hence it became indispensable for the class in power to crush their fallen brethren by the enactment of a code of penal laws—laws which deprived them of their just right as British subjects, of rights not only nearest and dearest to an Englishman, but also to human nature. What had been the consequences which had ensued, and which had continued from that hour to the present?—why, that instead of having a people united, happy, and flourishing, Ireland had a population living under fears and trembling, in dread of the halter of the public executioner, the sufferers from rebellions, and the victims of perpetual insult. Admitting, as he did, and as he conscientiously believed in the truth of the Protestant faith, his principle was this, that by means not sanctioned by the majority of the people—by means not authorized by holy writ, but forbidden on the principle of universal justice, a religious faith had been forced upon the majority of the people, which was hostile to their opinions long expressed. What could be expected, then, to result from such a course of proceeding? Was, he would ask, peace, happiness, and tranquillity to be anticipated? What had been stated upon the authority of a quotation from the pamphlet of the reverend Mr. Croly? He (Dr. Lushington) assumed every word of that statement in reference to the existing condition of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. It would seem from that quotation and statement, that although the majority of the people of Ireland adhered to the faith of those ministers, they were compelled by their poverty and destitution to exact the last farthing in order to pay for the rites 568 of that religion which they believed to be essential to their salvation. He would admit, for the sake of argument, that there prevailed a disgraceful bargaining for the rites of the Catholic Church between the priesthood and the people; he would admit, for the same purpose, that those rites were made the subject even of bargain and sale, but admitting all this, he would inquire what must be the feelings of the descendant of an ancient Catholic family, when he portrayed this picture of the religion he professed, and compared it with that presented by the condition of the Protestant Church established in the land of his forefathers? What, he repeated, would be the feelings of such a man on remembering his own degradation, or recollecting, from the details of his own family history, that his ancestor had been compelled to quit his native land to seek elsewhere that education which his English persecutors refused him at home, or if he called to mind the fact that his gallant Catholic progenitor had reaped those laurels in a foreign service which was denied him all share in in the service of his native country? However great the indignation for this degradation of his ancestors, it would be increased still more if he himself regarded the state within his own times of the Church to which, from religious feelings, he was attached—the ancient Church, not of the small minority; let him regard the rites of that Church having become the mere matters of bargain and sale, and, having drawn this picture, let him compare it with the Protestant Church raised on the ruins of that of his own faith—a Protestant Church, not merely amply but gorgeously provided for, and then would it be in human nature that he should be quite happy or content? For these evils and wrongs it was impossible for the House, or the country to do complete justice. Would to God that it was possible! But after wrongs of 300 years' duration, it was at least incumbent upon the House to show its anxiety—to show its feeling in respect to these wrongs—its anxiety to conciliate the affections of the great majority of the Irish people, and to tell them that the Legislature could not effect all that it desired, but that it was at least anxious to bury in oblivion all past differences. He was in earnest expectation that this would be accomplished by some such measure as that before the House. The question was one not merely affecting Ireland but England also, for what had been the cones- 569 quences of the system so long continued in the former country? The clergy became distressed, and 1,000,000l. Had been advanced by England for their relief. That amount of British money had been sacrificed on the plea of conciliation, to maintain the system which had so long prevailed. This was now made a call upon the Church of England, the members of which paid their tithes, and upon the Protestant Dissenters of England who paid Church-rates and tithes, and supported besides the ministers of their own creed; and that demand, too, made to support a Church inconsistent with the views and feelings of the majority of the people. This showed how just and true was the principle, that when once the course of justice was departed from, it would be difficult to trace back the steps pursued out of that straightforward career, and that the time would arrive when the poisoned chalice would return to the hands of those who had sent it forth. He now came to the objections which had been raised to the Motion proposed by the noble Lord, the Member for Devonshire. He thought it was the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Cumberland, who had stated, that of all the provisions contained in the articles of Union there was scarcely one to be observed with greater sacredness than that which related to the maintenance of the Protestant Church in Ireland. With great deference to the right hon. Baronet, while he acknowledged the binding authority of the articles of Union, yet he must contend that they were not binding to all eternity, neither were they so binding but that, if by the events of time it should be found to the benefit and advantage of both parties to the compact, they might not be reviewed. But if he placed any confidence in that compact to which allusion had been made, it was in the fact, that if any doubt arose, that doubt ought to be ruled in favour of the party which had the majority in Ireland, and not according to the interests of the minority. Of the two parties, the Catholics of Ireland had most unquestionably the majority. He (Dr. Lushington) considered the arguments on this head advanced by the right hon. Baronet as incapable of being maintained on any principle, still less could he accord with the right hon. Baronet in taking for his guide his own conviction of the truth of any mode of faith. Individual conviction could not be applied as the test of the truth of any religious faith. That principle hail been consecrated by the wisdom of the 570 Legislature. He would say further, that it would not be dared to adopt the test contended for by the right hon. Baronet in the Canadas, in the Catholic colonies of this country, or in the British possessions in the eastern hemisphere. His hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Oxford, had said, "that no man could be sincerely zealous in his own belief if he did not desire to propagate that faith by every fair, just, and befitting means." No man could agree more cordially than he himself did to a proposition so guarded. What, then, were these fair, just and befitting means? Were they degradation on the one side, and assumption on the other? or did they not rather consist in perfect justice and equality on both sides and in promoting the diffusion of education, which would enable every man to judge for himself, which in England and in Ireland, and in every country on the face of the globe, would, in God's good time and not sooner, bring all men to the conviction of the truth. Where zeal outstrips understanding, and where passion is listened to instead of reason, men think, that by their own petty and insignificant efforts, by trenching on the freedom of others, they can do that which God alone reserves to himself the power of doing, and which no being else had the power of performing. With these feelings, he was most anxious that this Motion should receive the ultimate approbation of the House. Reject it—deny to Ireland the consolation which it is calculated to afford—say that you will retain the Protestant Church with all its existing revenues, even if the number of its members should fall down to 50,000 from its present number of 1,000,000—for that was the extent of the doctrine for which his hon. Friend contended—and what was it that the House could expect? Yes, the doctrine which the other side contended for was, not that the Church should be in proportion to the existing wants of the Protestant population, but that be those wants what they might, the fund out of which they were to be supplied should be sacred, even though one-twentieth part of it should be fully adequate. Resolve against the Motion of his noble Friend, the Member for Devonshire—consecrate the principle for which Gentlemen on the other side contended—and it would be tantamount to a declaration of perpetual civil war against the religion professed by a large majority of the population of Ireland.
Mr. Beilby Thompson
said, he rose as a country Gentleman to declare, if not wisely, 571 at least fearlessly and independently, the reasons which biassed him in coming to the vote which he intended that night to give. In doing so, he felt himself under the necessity of claiming for himself the indulgence of the House—an indulgence, which he knew from a ten years' experience, it was always ready to grant to Members, who, like himself, were not in the habit of trespassing frequently upon its indulgence. After expressing the diffidence which he felt in coming forward on this occasion, and hoping that, if he were unable to arrange his ideas lucidly, the House would bear with him for a few minutes, he repeated, that he stood forward in the character of an independent man to make a brief statement of the reasons for his vote. He should begin by expressing his deep regret, that the right hon. Paymaster of the Forces should, in his place, as a Member of that House, and a Member of the Government, have stated, that he considered the noble Lord, the Member for Devonshire, to have brought forward this Motion with factious and self-interested motives. He would also take the liberty of regretting, that the hon. and learned Member for Yarmouth should have found fault with the same noble Lord for not having brought it forward last year. He was sorry that those two hon. Gentlemen should have narrowed the question into such grounds. He could freely state that he was not actuated by any motives of self-interest in the course which he was then about to pursue. If the noble Lord had brought forward this Motion last year, he should, on the Ministerial side of the House, have pursued the same independent line which he was then going to pursue seated on the benches of the Opposition. The noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, had ably, and with that inborn eloquence which belonged to the illustrious stock from which he was descended, rebutted sufficiently the charge of factious motives which had been imputed to hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House. That refutation was so complete that he would not attempt to carry it further. He was sure that the noble Lord would acquit him of any improper motive when he now frankly declared, that he must dissent from him on the present occasion. He said it proudly—he arrogated to himself the full exercise of his own judgment. That he was willing to grant to others, and that was all he claimed for himself. He trusted that he should he permitted to state, that, 572 if he had himself been influenced by factious motives, he should not feel the pain which he then felt in declaring the vote which he was then about to give. He should not feel the pain which now oppressed him in stating, that he could not concur in the Resolution of the noble Member for Devonshire, whom he rejoiced to hail, and whom he then did hail, as the leader of the Opposition, of which he himself was proud to avow himself an humble Member. He thought that the present was not a question of confidence either in the present Ministers or in the Leaders of Opposition. He was actuated by feelings that he could not repress; and he wished that he could conceive it to be consistent with his duty to vote for the noble Lord's proposition. One of the earliest—indeed, the earliest resolution which he had formed in his political life, was to vote in favour of Catholic Emancipation; and his learned Friend who had just sat down, whose friendship he was proud of having possessed for thirty years, had conceived, and he had always agreed with him in conceiving, that Catholic Emancipation was an ingredient which must enter into every scheme for remedying the evils of Ireland. He was a sincere Protestant, and he might, from his vote of that night, incur the charge of being a rigid Protestant, but he sincerely respected the feelings and honoured the devotion and zeal of his Roman Catholic fellow subjects in promoting the tenets of their religion. He had, however, anticipated, and so, he believed, had his hon. and learned Friend, that more favourable results would have emanated from that measure of Catholic Emancipation than those which had actually come to pass. He would not trouble the house with a long speech on this occasion. He would simply state that his decision upon this Resolution rested upon three distinct grounds. As a Protestant, and he hoped not an intolerant Protestant, he felt it to be an act of pressing injustice to many existing clergymen of the Protestant Church in Ireland. It was his firm belief, that many Protestant clergymen in Ireland were entitled to his support, feeble as that support might be. It was, therefore, on the principle of alienating, in this manner at least, the property of the Protestant Church from those who were now shining forth as the elements and ornaments of that Church, that he now refused his assent to the Resolution before the House. The second ground of his decision was, that this Resolution was an interference with exist- 573 ing property, and was pregnant with danger to every other species of property. The third ground was one to which he had already alluded, or which was, at least, connected with it, and was this—that almost all the arguments which he had heard (and he had listened with mute attention to all the arguments which had been urged) had been founded, as was the case in the debates on the Catholic Emancipation, on the contingency of future benefits to be derived from it. He regretted that, on these grounds, on the impulse of his own free judgment, he was compelled to vote against the Resolution of the noble Member for Devonshire. But in so doing, he must again state that he was not biassed by political feeling to vote either with one side or the other.
§ Mr. Littleton
said, that, although the Gentlemen with whom this motion originated were not to have the benefit of the vote of the hon. Member who spoke last, he had still heard with pleasure the honest expression of his independent opinion, because he could not conceive anything more unfortunate than that this Resolution should be carried by a mere party feeling, or, indeed, by any other motive than a sincere conviction of its importance and necessity. As far as he had been able to collect the speech of the hon. Member, for he had not heard the hon. Member very distinctly, the hon. Member had said, that his principle and primary ground for opposing this Resolution was, that it would trench on the existing interests of the clergy of the Protestant Church of Ireland. He believed—indeed, he was certain—that it would do no such thing. The hon. Member was completely in error on that point. It never was the intention of any man on that side of the House to propose a measure of such sheer injustice. He had never heard any of those who sometimes expressed extreme opinions,—he had never heard his hon. Friend, the Member for Middlesex, nor the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, speak upon this subject, without hearing them express this conviction—that honesty required that existing interests should be regarded. His right hon. Friend, the Member for Cumberland, and several of the hon. Members who had followed him, seemed to entertain the opinion, that the House was precluded by the Act of Union from requiring any further sacrifice from the Protestant Establishment in Ireland. He hoped that he was not less scrupulous than his right hon. Friend in regarding the 574 compact which had been made between the two countries. He had heard his right hon. Friend's argument with some surprise, because he recollected that his right hon. Friend had been a Member of the Cabinet which had brought in and passed the Irish Church Temporalities' Act—an Act which abolished the sees and revenues of ten bishops, and applied a portion of their property to the payment of the vestry cess—a purely secular object, if ever there was one. But, without inquiring too rigidly into the competency of those by whom that compact was made, it was not to be disputed that a power, the power of public opinion, had since then grown up in Ireland, which it was incumbent upon them to regard with respect. It was incumbent upon them as Englishmen to recollect, that, if the feelings of the Irish nation were to be considered—if, with their present free electoral system, they were to have the privilege of choosing a Parliament of their own, the Protestant Church in Ireland could not be maintained even for a single Session. The Protestant Church Establishment in Ireland had been maintained and supported by the exertions and assistance of the clergy of the Protestant Church in England—erroneously, as he conceived—as an outwork and bulwark of defence for the Church Establishment in England, to which it was a source of real danger, surrounded as that Church was by enemies who disputed the expediency of establishments altogether. As a friend to that Establishment, he protested against its being considered as inseparably united with the Church Establishment of Ireland. He thought that his Majesty had never been more wisely or patriotically advised than he was two Sessions ago, when he was advised to inform his Parliament, that, "although the Established Church of Ireland was, by law, permanently united with that of England, the peculiarities of their respective circumstances would require a separate consideration." Hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House needed not the speeches of his right hon. Friend, the Member for Cumberland, nor of the learned and eloquent Solicitor General, to instruct them that attempts would be made to represent those who supported a modified appropriation of Church property in Ireland as only lukewarm supporters of the Church Establishment in England. That consideration involved topics of such importance, that he trusted that he should meet with the indulgence of the House whilst he said a few 575 words indicative of his sentiments on the subject of Establishments generally. He supported a modified appropriation of Church property in Ireland; and in so doing he felt that he was effectually securing Church property in England. He supported the Church Establishment in England, not from any blind partiality to it, not merely because he had been educated in and was attached to its tenets, but on principles which he should sustain, even if he were a dissenter from its doctrines. He supported it not only as the Establishment, but also as an Establishment. He considered it important to the interests of the community that as a means of resisting the baneful assaults of infidelity, there should be some one denomination of Christian sects recognized and endowed as the religion of the State. He also thought it expedient that, whilst the clergy were not debarred from obtaining and exercising a legitimate influence with their congregations, they should be saved, by the assignment of a regular provision to them, from desperate and reckless endeavours to obtain illegitimate influence, that they should be saved from the many shameful compliances with popular feeling to which the most talented men were the most likely to be exposed, and the most likely to yield—that they should be rescued from the necessity of appealing to the passions, rather than to the reasons, of their flocks, and of holding up to them attractive novelties or eccentric originalities, departures, from generally received doctrines, in order to obtain a fleeting and temporary celebrity. These were errors into which the pastors of other sects had not unfrequently fallen; and if these were arguments which applied to us in England, who would not admit that they applied with still greater force in Catholic Ireland? The Protestant Church Establishment in that country had long been supported by the State. Rights and interests had grown up under it, which he should be the last man in the country to counsel Parliament to disregard. But he would assert that there never was a clearer policy than that which prompted us to take care, seeing that 10–11ths of the population of Ireland dissented from the Protestant Church, that the Establishment was made as little offensive as possible to the majority of the nation, and that if it had a surplus of revenue above its legitimate wants, that surplus should be applied to the moral education and improvement of all classes of the community. He contended that the nature of 576 the Established Church in Ireland was an anomaly without a parallel in the history of the world. In other nations religion had been planted by the sword, and success had justified the result. But in Ireland, after three centuries of oppression, the great mass of the people still continued hostile to the religion established by law; and as that people became enlightened their opinions must and ought to be considered. In the course of the speech which his right hon. Friend, the Member for Cumberland, had delivered the day before yesterday, he had said that the appointment of the Irish Church Commission, which was issued last Session for the purpose of making a census of the number of persons belonging to each different denomination of Christians in every parish in Ireland, implied an approbation by the Government of the principle of proportion. He could not agree with his right hon. Friend that that Commission implied any such thing. That Commission had been appointed to ascertain—what? The number of persons belonging to each different sect in every parish in Ireland. For how was it possible, without ascertaining that number, to ascertain whether the living was or was not a sinecure in the hands of the incumbent? And without ascertaining that point, in each single parish, how was it possible to ascertain whether the whole establishment of the Church did or did not deserve to bear the name of a sinecure? He denied that the appointment of the Commission implied approbation of "proportion." He asserted further, that he had never in his communication with the late Government heard anything like approbation of "proportion." It was not for him to declare then what principle it was that the late Government intended to establish; all that he should say was, that by that Government the principle of proportion had never been avowed. His right hon. Friend had further said, that in a former Session he had screwed up his courage to agree to the suspension clause in the Church Temporalities' Act; but that having done so, he could go no further. Now it was fitting that the House should know how far it had already gone in the appropriation of the revenues of the Church of Ireland. Did his right hon. Friend know—he supposed that his right hon. Friend did—how far the House had gone in the 116th clause, which gave the Commissioners power to suspend the appointment of a clerk to any benefice where divine worship had not been cele- 577 brated for three years? Did his right hon. Friend know that the tithes and profits of such benefices were vested in the Commissioners, and were to be paid into the general fund under their administration? Did his right hon. Friend know what had been done under that clause? He could say from papers then on the Table of the House, that 40 benefices, but those of no very great amount, had already fallen in under that clause. Let not the House suppose that he undervalued the benefit of the principle contained in that clause—no such thing—it was a principle which he thought would serve very usefully as the basis of future operations. That principle, the principle of the Irish Church Temporalities' Act, was at once expansion and contraction. It contracted in some instances, but expanded more, and its only fault was that the expansion had not gone further. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, who addressed the House last night, had made some statement with regard to the finances of the Church of Ireland which had caused him great surprise. The hon. and learned Member had said that they did not exceed 541,000l., and that when the tax to which benefices were not now liable was deducted, they would be short of 500,000l. Now, he must object to the amount of the deduction which the hon. and learned gentleman had made—it was much exaggerated; instead of amounting to 41,000l., it would not be more than 22,000l. or 23,000l. It was worth while for the House to consider what was the amount of Irish Church property. That amount could be ascertained from various Parliamentary papers then on the Table. It was not far short of, if it did not amount to, 800,000l. He said yes. Ministers' money had never been included in the calculation, and that amounted to 12,000l. or 14,000l. [An Hon. Member said, 20,000l.] Well, this 12,000l. or 14,000l., or 20,000l., was to be added to the 791,000l. mentioned as the amount of Church-property by his noble Friend, and thus it came out at last that it exceeded 800,000l. As any calculation which did not include the amount of the Perpetuity Fund would be incorrect, the amount of that fund, when carried to the general fund, would still further increase the sum total. For if the House would only examine the purposes to which that fund was to be applied, it would see that it was an Ecclesiastical fund under the administration of Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He asserted 578 then that the amount of Irish Church-property exceeded 800,000l. His hon. and gallant Friend said no; and he would soon have an opportunity of showing whether his contradiction were corrrect. [An Hon. Member.—"You forget the deduction made by the Tithe Bill."] He was aware that the Tithe Bill would impose a charge upon Church-property; but then it should be recollected that the Tithe Bill was not yet law, and he was speaking of the Church as it existed at present. He was aware that the Tithe Bill, when passed, would make a deduction of 25 per cent. When the Tithe Bill of last Session was before the House, he had stated—and unquestionably, at that time, it was his opinion—that the Appropriation Question ought not to be discussed until the law had been enforced, and the property realized. The last occasion on which a Tithe Bill had been brought forward without a clause of appropriation was in the last Session of Parliament, and the efforts made by the Members of the present Government to defeat that measure had prevented the question from being ever brought forward again, without settling the Question of Appropriation. Once more he would repeat that the revenues of the Protestant Church of Ireland exceeded 800,000l. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin said, that they only amounted to 541,000l. Now if there were this wide difference in the estimated amounts of them, could there be a stronger case made out for inquiry? and not only for inquiry, but for a sweeping and extensive Reform? But was the House so much in the dark upon this subject as some hon. Members were pleased to represent? No such thing. The revenues of the Archbishoprics and Bishoprics were stated in a report presented to the House last year—so were the rents, profits, and emoluments of all Collegiate Churches, Prebendaries, Canonries, and other small sinecures. The amount of Tithe Composition was also before Parliament, it was not quite accurate, but still, with the exception of a small amount, it was correct. The amount of glebe was also ascertained in several Parliamentary documents. These facts were already all ascertained. The right hon. Gentleman opposite, in speaking on the Irish Tithe Bill the other night, had stated that never was there a more fallacious statement than that which had gone abroad as to the amount of revenue in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to meet the 579 payment for Vestry Cess and other purposes. The amount of revenue which the Commissioners would be entitled to receive would be about 91,000l. The hon. Member opposite asked when? As the lives of the holders of the abolished Sees fell in. They would fall in, and it could be proved at no very distant date, as the lives of the Bishops who held the Sees to be suppressed were extremely advanced. Four had fallen in already. It had been said, that the Vestry Cess which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had to pay would amount to 70,000l. a-year. Now, the fact was, that it would only amount to 31,000l. a-year. The annual repair of the churches of 1,250 benefices at 20l. a church—which would be more than was requisite in future years, when the churches were put into repair—would be somewhere about 25,000l. and the expenses of the Commission would be about 6,000l. more. He would now proceed to calculate the amount of the saving which would accrue from the Bishoprics after the lives had fallen in. It was stated in the summary of the first report on Irish Church affairs that the gross amount of Archiepiscopal and Episcopal revenues in Ireland was 151,000l. Now the amount of the revenues of the Bishoprics suppressed was 51,000l. Cashel and Tuam raised it to 59,000l. The excess of the revenue of the Sees of Armagh and Deny would raise it to 71,400l.; so that the whole amount of the Episcopal revenues, after the reduction, would be 80,460l. This would give to each right rev. Prelate of the Irish Church an annual income of 6,000l. or 7,000l. The amount would be more near the latter sum than the former. The House would recollect that a Commission had been issued for the purpose of inquiring into the state of the English Church Establishment, and the Members of that Commission recommended that where the income of a Bishop was as much as 4,500l. no increase should take place; and that where the income was not more than 5,500l. no diminution should be made. Now, if that sum was thought a sufficient income for an English Bishop, who had a palace in the country to maintain, who had to visit the different parishes in his diocese—to keep up an establishment in London during half the year, for the purpose of enabling him to attend to his duties in Parliament—was it not obvious, that, according to the same principle, a very material diminution might be made in the income of the Irish Bishops? He was unwilling to ex- 580 press any opinion as to what might be a sufficient income for an Irish Bishop; but it was quite clear that the revenue of the Prelates in Ireland might be subjected to considerable reduction. Then there were a number of Church sinecures, such as Deaneries for instance, which contributed nothing to the efficiency of the Establishment. There would be no difficulty in showing that, without the slightest injustice to the Irish branch of the English Church, a saving might be effected under that head of 20,000l. or 30,000l. Yet this was but a small amount compared with what might be saved from the suspension, not to say extinction, of the numerous benefices in Ireland, which had neither any Protestant Church nor congregation, or in which the Protestant congregation was so small as to impart to the benefice very much of the character of a sinecure. He confessed that he felt greatly concerned and surprised when he heard his right hon. Friend, the Member for Cumberland, after all that had passed in the Cabinet of Lord Grey in respect to the preparation of the Irish Church Temporalities' Bill, express the opinion which he had done on the abstract proposition of the inalienability of Church property. From him, of all men, he should not have expected to have heard such a doctrine. It was singular to see his right hon. Friend, who had stretched his conscience to swallow the camel of the abolition of ten Irish Bishops, and of the vestry cess, straining at the gnat of regulating the benefices partaking of the nature of the sinecure. Laying aside all question as to the difference of religion, who would be bold enough to assert the monstrous principle, that it was not possible for the Temporalities of the Church to be greater than necessary for the wishes of the people, or the safety of the Establishment? Who, in reference to the Temporalities of the Church of Spain, of the Church of Portugal, would maintain that they were inalienable? But if they were alienable in one country, they must, on the same principle, be equally alienable in another. The House would bear in mind that he was now arguing the Question apart from all reference to the existence of two religions. Who, he repeated, would ever be found to maintain that the Temporalities of the Churches of Spain and Portugal were not greater than necessary? But, compared with the spiritual wants of the Members of those Churches, were the Temporalities more disproportionate than 581 the Temporalities of the Irish Church? If the Temporalities of the Church were inalienable, on what principle could the property of the Crown be meddled with, by what principle could the revenues of the one be considered more disposable for the benefit of the people than the revenues of the other. The inalienability of Church property was a phrase which Churchmen in former times industriously disseminated through the country, with the view of giving to the possession of that property the character of an ancient tenure, the authority of which men could not dispute. The people in this country at the present day paid homage to no such principle. They reverenced the King and respected the Church; but they reverenced the one and respected the other only for the advantage which the country derived from them, it must be clear to every one who had studied the facts of the case, that the Question of Appropriation was the real foundation of all those disputes which had obstructed the progress of improvement in Ireland, and created continual alarm in this country. For the purpose of showing that the Question of Appropriation was really at the bottom of all those disturbances which had so frequently occurred in the other country, he begged to call the attention of the House to two facts. An act was passed in the reign of George 4th, which relieved, under certain regulations, the poorer classes of Roman Catholics from the payment of tithe, yet from that time to the present the collection of tithe continued to he resisted. It might be said, that if a compulsory measure of Tithe Composition had passed, this resistance would have diminished, but the fact was, that the fiercest disputes occurred in those parishes where the composition was effected. The county cess in Ireland was far more onerous and unequal, and, like the tithe, it was levied from the poorer classes of the occupying tenantry: but a general resistance to that impost was never sanctioned by public opinion among the poorer classes of Ireland. The question, then, of Appropriation was at the bottom of the opposition which was shown to the payment of tithe. Were not frightful affrays which had occurred at New-townbarry, Middleton, and various other places, so many evidences of the impracticability of the reformation in Ireland? The statements made by the present Secretary for the Home Department, when Secretary for Ireland, by the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, by his right 582 hon. Friend opposite (Sir H. Hardinge) what did they all show but the impracticability of enforcing the Reformation in Ireland? The statement which he (Mr. Littleton) made last year in that House, was an epitome of all cases of a similar character; he alluded to the case of Mr. Lock, who, though aided by the police and a large military force, for seventy days, was unable to collect more than 4l. out of a sum of 3,0001. which was due to him on account of tithe. His hon. and learned Friend, the Member for the Tower Hamlets, had alluded to the pecuniary sacrifice which the House had been called on to make to maintain the Protestant Establishment in Ireland. The Legislature had at various times made considerable advances for that purpose. At the request of the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, it had consented to grant 60,000l. to the clergy of Ireland; and no less a sum than 20,000l. was expended in collecting tithe to the amount of 12,000l. Since then the Legislature had advanced a million of public money to the Irish clergy, and the whole of that sum would have been recovered if the Tithe Bill proposed last year had been passed into a law. It was now, however, proposed that that sum should also be given up. But, besides mere pecuniary considerations, there were other considerations of a most important character in reference to the peace and security of Ireland, and the connexion of the two countries. Let the House consider what had occurred in Ireland since the last Session of Parliament. In the month of September processions of Orangemen had taken place, headed by clergymen, who, on such occasions, had acted but little in conformity with the character of their spiritual calling. Meetings had likewise taken place at Dublin and other places in Ireland, where language had been held and principles expressed, as inflammatory, if not more inflammatory, than he had ever before heard proceed from any party whatever. In Cavan, the sheriff had convened a meeting—composed of whom?—of the inhabitants of the county, or of any class known to the laws?—no, but of persons belonging to one religious sect. He believed that such a proceeding was unprecedented. The Protestant Lord Lieutenant and Sheriff of Louth had acted in the same way, having taken on himself to convene a meeting of Protestants only. If this were permitted, what was to prevent any Roman Catholic Lord-lieutenant from convening a meeting 583 of Roman Catholics? Any Magistrate in a county had as much right to convene a meeting as the Sheriff; and if the Sheriff of Louth was entitled to convene a meeting of Protestants, any Roman Catholic Magistrate was as fully empowered to convene a meeting of Roman Catholics. Some Gentleman cried out "hear, hear!" Would, then, that hon. Member have had such a course pursued? He could assure the House that the Government had the greatest difficulty in repressing the fury of the Roman Catholics, which was excited by what passed in Ireland. This had only been done by the greatest exertions on the part of the Government; but if the Roman Catholic Magistrates had followed the example of the Protestant Sheriff, and convened meetings to be composed only of persons of their own religious persuasion, the most frightful and sanguinary collisions must inevitably have taken place. What was the sentiment expressed at the meetings to which he had alluded? A determination to resist the intentions of the Legislature. In consequence of this unfortunate state of things, the inhabitants of Ireland were continually sleeping on a volcano. They had been told that there were honest and just modes of discussing the present question; but the best mode, in his opinion, of putting its merits to the test, was that suggested by the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland. Let Englishmen make the case of Ireland their own. Imagine a community ten-elevenths of which were English Protestants; imagine that body of Protestants composed principally of small farmers and peasantry, zealously devoted to the Protestant faith, and, despite of their poverty, building by subscription their own places of religious worship, and providing out of their own means for the maintenance of their clergy, to whom they were honourably attached. Then, imagine a supreme Legislature, composed of Roman Catholics, sitting in Dublin, combined with Roman Catholic landed proprietors in England, maintaining over the people a splendid and expensive Catholic Church Establishment, would they, the English, be reasoned into affection for that Establishment by the arguments that they and their ancestors had for a period or 300 years lived under it—that it took nothing of what belonged to them from them—that it accorded toleration to every religious sect—and that there was nothing in the superior dignity of the established hierarchy that ought to excite envy, or be 584 considered offensive to reason or national pride? He knew not how the spirit of Englishmen would reply to such an argument; but he asked the House, was not the case which he had pictured similar to the actual condition of Ireland? The Reformation, as he had often said, had never taken effect in Ireland. As a Protestant, he deeply lamented that such was the case. Every year for the last 300 years, had afforded practical proofs of the impossibility of carrying the Reformation into that country; yet for the last 300 years it had been endeavoured to maintain the questionable authority of the Protestant Church, there by force and every description of arbitrary power—by proscription—by the confiscations of land—by the disinheritance of Catholics—but all in vain. The Roman Catholics had baffled and defeated their oppressors. They had succeeded, not always without having recourse to arms—and sometimes by public discussions scarcely less alarming—in re-conquering by degrees all their civil rights—which had been conceded to fear and necessity, and in no instance to justice, or to enlarge and sound views of policy. And what had been the result? The Roman Catholic clergy had gone on, always thriving best under persecution, and increasing their influence over the people; while there had been implanted in the breasts of the ill-educated peasantry of Ireland a hatred to the English Government and Legislature much more intense than hon. Gentlemen opposite were inclined to believe. What other country in Europe could be named in which the Temporalities of the Church were given to a decided minority? In the Lutheran countries of Europe, a legal provision was made for the Ministers of every other religion. Such was the case in Holland; there the Government tolerated and paid the Ministers of all faiths equally. In Catholic Belgium a splendid instance of liberality had recently been afforded. In the Belgic budget for this year, a vote was taken for the erection of Synagogues for Jews. Moreover, a grant of 10,000 francs had been passed, for the purpose of establishing Protestant chapels in that country, and paying Ministers of the Church of England. This had been done on the principle that the Government were bound to see that the English who resided in Belgium and contributed to the benefit of the State had the opportunity of enjoying, by the aid of the State, the consolations of religion. In Saxony, there were four 585 religions (the reigning family professing the Roman Catholic faith), all of which were equally provided for, and care was also taken to diffuse a liberal education among the people. In Prussia and in the Rhenish provinces the same liberality was observable. He begged also to direct the attention of the House to the state of Scotland. In that country the dogged spirit of Presbyterianism had enabled the people to withstand all the attempts of the Stuarts to establish episcopacy. Since then it had been the policy of every Administration to conciliate the affections of that country, and in the present Session the King's Speech recommended the Parliament to consider by what means the benefits of the Scotch Church might be more extensively diffused among the poorer classes of the population. It was in consequence of the people of Scotland being attached to their Established Church which made that country present a spectacle of peace and industry, constituting her a great source of moral and physical strength to the Empire. As the present Question had now been fully debated in all its points, he should consider it unpardonable on his part to trespass longer on the attention of the House; but he could not, consistently with his sense of duty, or with those very strong feelings which had controlled his mind on this subject ever since he had had the power of reflection, refrain from stating his opinion respecting the present Question; and he begged leave to remind the House that he contended for nothing more than this—that after the most ample provision was made for the existing wants of the Protestant population in Ireland, after the most ample provision was also made for extending the Establishment wherever its extension would be justified by the existence of a congregation, the remaining revenues should be managed in a manner not only not offensive to the great majority of the people of the country, but compatible with the general improvement of all classes of the community.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, that if he had felt alarm and apprehension at the Resolution proposed by the noble Lord, the Member for Devonshire, that alarm and that apprehension were much increased, if he was to believe that his right hon. Friend, the late Secretary for Ireland, had spoken the sentiments of the Gentlemen with whom he was connected. He said so, because most of the arguments used by his 586 right hon. Friend, did not go to change the appropriation of Ecclesiastical revenues in Ireland, but to the entire destruction of the Protestant Establishment. Of all the Gentlemen who had addressed the House, in the course of this debate, his right hon. Friend had gone farthest in establishing, both the voluntary principle as to religion in general, and to the subversion of the Protestant establishment in particular. He had even suggested that it would be proper for this House to pass a vote to aid in building a synagogue for the Jews.—[Mr. Littleton: I said nothing of the kind.]—Why, then, had his right hon. Friend introduced the subject; and why had he urged it as a claim of merit for the Belgian Government, that it had granted money to the Jews, and to the ministers of other religions, unless he meant the inference to be drawn that such conduct was worthy of imitation, and that as soon as possible we should imitate it? It was not his intention to discuss the abstract point of the principle of appropriation, for it had been done much more ably than he could pretend to do it. All he should do, therefore, would he to contribute his share in the debate, by giving such details with respect to the revenues of the Irish Church as would show that his right hon. Friend was mistaken in his assumption of their amount. The hon. Member for St. Alban's had stated the revenues of the Irish Church to amount to 900,000l. per annum, and his right hon. Friend had stated it at 800,000l., but both were in error. The documents he was about to quote to the House on the subject, had been transmitted to him with in these forty-eight hours by the Board of Commissioners, and would have been laid upon the Table of the House, had some calculations necessary to their perfection been completed. It appeared that as the revenue of the Church stood four years ago, it did not exceed 720,000l. or at most 730,000l. But he contended that it was not fair to argue upon what was the revenue of the Church three or four years ago, but upon what it would be under the operation of the Church Temporalities' Act of the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, and of the Tithe Bill before the House, which would have a similar effect in reducing the revenues of the Church, as that which his right hon. Friend himself introduced last Session would have done, had it been carried into execution. He found by the Report in his hand, that the Church Temporalities' Act would cause a 587 reduction in the revenues of the Church of 59,000l. per annum; the future tax on the clergy a reduction of 22,000l. per annum; and the deduction of twenty-five per cent. on the Bill before the House, a reduction of 186,000l. per annum. In these items was to be added a sum of 22,000l. by the reduction of prebendaries, and other sinecures of that description, and a loss of ten per cent, on re-investment in land, after redemption, which, with expenses of collection and law charges, would make 54,000l. The whole of these reductions, which were to take place by Act of Parliament, amounted to about 293,000l. He defied his right hon. Friend to show that there was any inaccuracy in this account, which was supplied to him by the Ecclesiastical Board in Dublin, and which he should assuredly lay before the House. If these sums were deducted from 730,000l., the amount of the Ecclesiastical revenues in Ireland, four years ago, there would be left a sum of about 437,000l. He was safe in asserting, therefore, that the whole of the revenues of the Irish Church could not exceed 450,000l. and that included a credit of 63,000l., for glebe lands attached to different benefices. He would illustrate, in the case of all livings, what would be the operation of the different measures passed, or to be passed, for the regulation of the Church of Ireland. He would take a living of 1,000l. per annum. According to the Bill now in the House, twenty-five per cent. would be deducted from this living. That would be 250l. The loss by reinvestment might be taken at five per cent., making 37l. 10s.; the curate's salary would be 751.; the tax at 7¼ per cent., would be 45l.—making altogether 407l.; which, deducted from a reputed income of 1,000l., would leave the clergyman 593l.; from which, moreover, ought to be deducted, the expense of the repairs of the glebe-house, and various sources of outlay imposed upon a clergyman by his profession. When, therefore, the Church Temporalities' Act came into operation, and the Tithe Bill before the House was passed, there would be a deduction of one third from the incomes of the larger livings, if not of one-half. With respect to the surplus income, of which his right hon. Friend had spoken this year as well as the last, nothing could be more fallacious and delusive than the statements he had made with respect to it. His right hon. Friend had stated, that there was a fund of 90,000l., out of which repairs and other 588 expenses might be defrayed; but he pledged himself to show, from the Report he had received from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners within these forty-eight hours, that there was no foundation for any such statement. According to that document, the present income which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, derived from the suppressed sees, was 19,477l., whilst their permanent expenditure was 69,412l. per annum, or in round numbers 70,000l. This, of course, left a deficit of 50,000l., and, to make good its payments, the Board had been already obliged to borrow 100,000l. It was supposed, however, that there would ultimately be a further income from suppressed bishoprics of 41,000l. per annum, which, with 22,000l. odd from the tax on the remaining bishoprics, and the 19,000l. odd of actual income, would give a total future income to the Commissioners of 83,000l. This was the fund from which his right hon. Friend hoped to draw 90,000l. But calculating the probable duration of existing interests, before the expiration of which the Board would not be in possession of its full income, it must by that time be 174,000l. in debt; and according to the calculations of Mr. Finlayson, the actuary, it must be 51 years from the present time before the Board could be out of debt. No one, therefore, could reasonably count upon any available income coming into the hands of the Commissioners. Did his right hon. Friend recollect that he had last year spoke of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners having a fund of 91,000l. in hand.—[Mr. Littleton: I did not say so.]—As his right hon. Friend denied having made the statement, he would only observe, that it was clearly a fallacy to suppose that this fund could be kept clear of incumbrances. His right hon. Friend, however, certainly stated last year, that he expected 80,000l. interest from the Perpetuity Purchase Fund; but, in point of fact, there was no such fund. It was as much a delusion as the other fund. What was the state of the facts? Why, that the tenants of the Bishops had permission to buy up their leases; 50,000l. had been received on that account, and, perhaps, 80,000l. more might be expected; but no more, as the tenants for the most part had no pecuniary interest in the transaction. There was not, therefore, the smallest likelihood of the sum estimated by his right hon. Friend last year, being obtained from that source. He would beg to take this opportunity of correcting another statement of his right hon. Friend equally extrava- 589 gant. His right hon. Friend had said, that if the Bill he advocated in August, last year, had passed, the clergyman would have had his tithes, and the million loan would have been repaid. Now, what was the fact as appeared on the face of that very Bill? So little idea or intention had the Government, last year, of getting repayment of the million this year, that the Bill enacted that the payment of the instalments on the million should not commence till the month of November, 1835. Had he not then strong ground for saying, that it was never intended to get back the million. But there was another view which might be taken of the Bill of August, so praised by his right hon. Friend, but to the parentage of which the lion, and Learned Member for Dublin could lay some degree of claim. If it had been carried into effect, the annual sum to be paid to the clergy and to the lay impropriators, would have been 666,000l., and the difference between the rent-charge of 77l. 10s. on the landlord, and the full 100l. due (short five per cent, allowed for the expense of collection), amounting to 17l. 10s., was to have been paid by the nation. But had his right hon. Friend, had the House, any notion to what this payment to the tithe-owners by the public would have amounted? It would have been no less than 136,000l. per annum, which had been calculated by Mr. Finlayson as equal to a gross charge of 3,195,000l. Although the noble Lord, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, that he thought the charge to the country might for some years be 20,000l., putting it to the House, if they would not purchase peace in Ireland by that small sum. Having thus pointed out the delusions under which his right hon. Friend appeared to labour, he should proceed to address himself for a few moments to some of the observations that had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in his speech of last evening, made a statement with regard to the Archbishop of Armagh, by which he led the House to suppose that the right rev. Prelate had an income of 17,000l. a-year, and that he would eventually have 6,000l. a-year more, making in the whole an income of 23,000l. a-year. That appeared to him so very extravagant a statement, that he had made a point that morning of inquiring what the real state of the case was; and he found, that so far from 23,000l. a-year being the net income of the right rev. Prelate in question, 590 14,494l. was all that it amounted to, of which 4,500l. would shortly be reduced, in compliance with the measure which had not long since received the sanction of the Legislature. The actual sum, therefore, to be eventually received by the right rev. Prelate, instead of 23,000l. a-year, would, in point of fact, amount to little more than 10,000l. a-year. The ground upon which he (Sir H. Hardinge) made that statement were drawn from the most accurate sources, and he had every reason to know, that so far from the income of the Archbishop of Armagh being increased 6,000l. a year, as was stated by the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary, it was actually reduced to the extent he (Sir H. Hardinge) had mentioned, in consequence of the right rev. Prelate's liberality in taking only one-eighth instead of one-fifth of the rent as the fine for the renewal of leases, as was done by the rest of the clergy. If, indeed, it were necessary that he should say anything in vindication of the character of that most excellent Prelate, he might mention that, within the last few years, he had bestowed 3,000l. upon a fever hospital, and contributed 8,000l. towards the restoration of his cathedral, independent of many other acts of munificent charity which at that moment he (Sir H. Hardinge) would not dwell upon. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Staffordshire, had stated, that in his opinion the best mode of settling the affairs of Ireland, and of establishing peace in that country, was at once to come to the appropriation of Church-property, and to the adoption of a popular system of education adding, that in his view of the subject the existing mode of collecting the revenues of the Church, the existing mode of education, and the continuance of tithes in their existing shape, were the causes of all the evils by which Ireland was disturbed. He took a very different view of the subject from the right hon. Gentleman, and accounted very differently for the causes which led to the disturbance of Ireland. He undoubtedly considered that the question of religion, and the mode of collecting tithes, were very material elements in the disturbances of that country; but to say that those disturbances solely arose from religious differences, or from the collection of tithe, was by no means accurate. The hon. and learned Doctor (Lushington) who preceded the right hon. Member for Staffordshire, also stated to the House, that, in his conviction, religion was the cause of the disturbances of 591 Ireland, at the same time alluding to the more peaceful dominion that the English conquerors held in that country prior to the reign of Henry 8th, when the religion of the two countries was the same. He (Sir Henry Hardinge) denied the fact upon which the hon. and learned Doctor founded his argument, and was prepared to show him from the pages of history, that the same jealousies, the same animosities, the same hatred existed in Ireland before the reign of Henry 8th; and when the conquerors of the conquered (to adopt the learned Doctor's phraseology) were all of the same Roman Catholic religion. Prior to the Reformation, and before religious differences were known, the same feelings of hatred existed in Ireland, and the same descriptions of violence were committed by the stronger party upon the weaker. The hon. Member for St. Alban's (Mr. Ward) had also alluded to the period that elapsed between the years 1792 and 1823, and had quoted the words not only of Mr. Canning, but of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge, and of several other hon. Gentlemen upon the other side of the House, to show that the disturbances which occurred during that period were attributable to the differences that existed amongst the people upon points of religion. He would appeal to hon. Gentlemen, who were well versed in the history of those years, to say whether, within that time, the question of tithe or any difference of religion was the real cause of the disturbances by which the country was afflicted. It would be remembered by every one that at the commencement of the period to which the hon. Member for St. Alban's referred, the French revolution had just broken out; and it would also be remembered that the disturbances which then arose in Ireland originated not with the Roman Catholics of the South, but with the Presbyterians of the North. That was a well ascertained point of history. Every Gentleman recollected the very interesting memoirs of Wolfe Tone, and of Lord Edward Fitzgerald: in these memoirs it was distinctly shown that the disturbances which broke out in Ireland at the period referred to did not originate in the collection of tithes, or from any religious differences, but from the attempt that was then made to erect Ireland into a republic. From the year 1799 to the end of the war, the disturbances in Ireland were few. During that period rents were high, the produce of farms sold at a high rate, the country was tranquil, and 592 the people comparatively happy;—yet tithes were collected—the same religious differences existed. In the years 1823 and 1824, when his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn) near him was Secretary for Ireland, an insurrection of a very formidable character broke out in that country; and the nature of that insurrection was such, that a Committee was appointed by the House of Lords to endeavour to ascertain the cause of it. The Committee prosecuted its inquiries to the furthest extent—it probed the matter to the bottom; and what was the result—to what cause did it attribute the disturbance? Not to the collection of tithe—not to the existence of religious difference of opinion 5 but almost universally to the poverty and distress of the people, and particularly to the want of employment. He might also refer to the evidence of General Bourke upon the same point. That gallant officer, in alluding to the state of Ireland, distinctly stated, that so far from religion being any part of the cause of disturbance in Ireland, he looked upon the distress of the people as the sole cause. Mr. Barrington stated the same thing; and indeed he might quote the opinions of all the gentlemen connected with Ireland who were examined before the Lords' Committee—they all declared that the disturbances of the country were attributable not to religious differences, but to the great poverty and distress of the people. Judge Day was asked: "Have the disturbances in Ireland arisen from religious differences?" What was the learned Judge's reply? "The recent disturbances in Ireland have not had any thing to do with religion." He was asked again: "In what cause did they originate in your opinion?" Let the House mark the reply. "In the poverty of the people." He (Sir Henry Hardinge) would not detain the House by reading any further extracts from the evidence given before the Lords' Committee; but the whole of it went to prove, that so far from the disturbances which vexed the peace of Ireland in the years 1823, 1824, and 1825, arising from religious discord, they were solely to be attributed to the poverty and distress of the people; and above all, to the general want of employment. From the year 1825 to the present period, with the exception perhaps of the last three or four years, comparative tranquillity had prevailed in Ireland. He asked the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Staffordshire, whether during the time that he was in Ireland, and 593 had the same opportunity that he (Sir Henry Hardinge) had enjoyed, of referring to authentic documents, he did not see something very extraordinary in the position in which that country stood. He (Sir Henry Hardinge) had called for returns of the outrages that had occurred in Ireland during the last three years. He had called for a return of the number of outrages that had occurred within that period in four of the northern counties, and in four of the southern counties, and he had also desired Sir William Gossett to ascertain as far as possible, in what the outrages had originated, and in what they resulted. The return had been made, and he found that, whilst in four southern counties, where the population amounted to 990,000, the number of outrages in the year 1832 was 1,795; the number of outrages in the four northern counties, where the population was nearly as great—being 896,000—was only 184. Again he found that during the three years there were, in the four southern counties, no less than 219 outrages against the person; whilst in the four northern counties there were only 36. Not to weary the House by going through the whole of the return, he would shortly state that the result of it was to show that, in 1832, the number of outrages committed in the four southern counties, as compared with the four northern counties, was 9 to 1; in 1833, 7 to 1; and in 1834, 3 to 1. He asked any hon. Gentleman who attributed the disturbances which existed in Ireland, not to the poverty of the people which was much greater in the south than in the north, how he accounted for the comparative quiet of the north, whilst in the south outrages and violence prevailed to so great an extent? He (Sir Henry Hardinge) contended that the fair inference to be deduced from the disproportion of outrage in one part of the kingdom as compared with the other was, that it originated not in religious difference, but in the unfortunate circumstances of great poverty, great distress, and great want of employment. He made these observations merely to prove, according to his views of the case, that although the question of tithes for the last three years had been a most material element in the disturbances of Ireland, yet that it was not the sole cause—that there were other elements at work, and that the chief evil of the country was the poverty of the people and the general want of employment. Seeing the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. C. Hobhouse) the Member for Notting- 594 ham in his place, he begged for a moment to refer to an observation that fell from the right hon. Baronet in the course of his speech last night. The right hon. Baronet stated that, in his opinion, the present was a most proper question to bring forward, that he hoped no factious opposition would be extended to it by the Ministerial side of the House and, above all, that the cry of "No Popery" might not be raised. Now he (Sir Henry Hardinge) begged to remind the right hon. Baronet, that he (Sir Henry Hardinge) had, on every occasion in which the opportunity had been afforded to him, voted in favour of Catholic Emancipation, and done everything in his power to support and maintain the claims of the Catholics. In the next place the right hon. Baronet observed, that if the Government of Lord Melbourne had remained in office they would have brought forward a measure in which, in his opinion, the principle of the present motion would have been embodied. Now, the right hon. Baronet would of course allow Lord Brougham, the Lord Chancellor of the late Administration, to be an authority upon that point. If Lord Brougham were a member of the late Administration, as the right hon. Baronet would of course admit, where he (Sir H. Hardinge) begged to ask, was the harmonious Cabinet of which the right hon. Baronet spoke in such warm and confident terms? If Lord Brougham, who of course knew very well what he was stating, made the declaration that was attributed to him in the month of August, it would certainly be difficult to account for the perfect harmony which the right hon. Baronet assured the House existed in the Cabinet in the month of November. On the 11th of August last, Lord Brougham, in reply to some observations from the Duke of Cumberland upon the subject of the Irish Church Commission, said, that "the illustrious Duke had correctly noticed the observations that had fallen from him on a former occasion, with one exception. He had stated that he would not expend one farthing of surplus, if there were a surplus of Church revenue, for any except Ecclesiastical and Protestant purposes. Now, he had spoken of Protestant purposes, in contradistinction to devoting any part of it, be it ever so small, to the support of a Roman Catholic hierarchy. When he spoke of Ecclesiastical and Protestant purposes, it was to prevent its being supposed that he contemplated giving assistance to a Roman Catholic hierarchy at the expense of the 595 Protestant Church. He had stated most distinctly, that whether there were any surplus to take, or whether, on the other hand, the Church might not want some additional support, they must wait to ascertain the fact until the result of the inquiry that had been set on foot should be known. If it then happened, he had observed, that there was a surplus unappropriated, it should first and foremost, before any thing and every thing else, be applied to Ecclesiastical purposes. The wants of the Church must first be supplied."* The noble and learned Lord continued to observe, that "he had followed that up by stating that those wants being provided for, any residue should be appropriated to a purpose which, though not strictly Ecclesiastical, was yet connected with the welfare of the Established Church, namely, the affording education."† ["Hear hear!" from the Opposition.] Would hon. Gentlemen curb their impatience for a moment, and allow him (Sir Henry Hardinge) to complete the sentence—"namely the affording education on the principles of the Established Church. Further than that he (the Lord Chancellor) had not gone; and he had stated that every controversy of this nature was premature, because the question might never arise, and there was no wisdom in a practical legislature discussing hypothetical cases."‡ If it were necessary, he (Sir Henry Hardinge) could quote another statement of the noble and learned Lord, expressing the same sentiments in still stronger terms; but having shown distinctly what the sentiments of the late Lord Chancellor were at no remoter period than the month of August last—having shown that they were completely and diametrically opposite to those entertained and expressed by the hon. Gentlemen who supported the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Devonshire—he thought he was justified in stating that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Nottingham was completely in error when he declared that the late Cabinet was perfectly harmonious in its views upon this as well as upon all other subjects. Much as he apprehended mischief from the measure now brought forward by the noble Lord, he must say that, in his opinion, the severest animadversion that could possibly be passed upon it was uttered by the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. F. O'Connor), in his speech of last evening. The* Hansard, (third series) vol.xxiv, p.1135.† Ibid. ‡ Ibid.596 hon. and learned Gentleman stated that the majority of the House, if they passed the Resolution at present under their consideration, would justify not merely the agitation of the Tithe Question, but the actual resistance to tithes that had taken place during the last four years. Considering that the noble Lord was a member of the Government whose measures were applied to Ireland during the last four years, he (Sir Henry Hardinge) confessed he could not conceive a severer animadversion than that which had escaped from the hon. and learned Member for Cork. Upon all these grounds, he (Sir Henry Hardinge) maintained that the measure now before the House was one pregnant with mischief to the future welfare of Ireland; that it was one which never could be carried into effect without running the risk of bringing the two opposing parties in that country into the most serious collision; and if once those animosities arose, it was impossible to tell how soon they might be plunged into all the horrors of civil war. The noble Lord was undoubtedly right in the observations he had made with respect to the disturbed state of Ireland; but whose fault was it that the country was placed in such a dilemma? Had not the noble Lord who introduced that measure been the first to lead the attack upon the Established Church? Had he not lighted the first firebrand by which the Church was to be destroyed? He (Sir H. Hardinge) trusted that any forebodings of his might turn out to be groundless; that he might be completely wrong in the view that he was disposed to take of the subject; but he confessed he had the most serious misgivings, and he hoped that the noble Lord himself, in preference to passing a measure of this description, which must be fatal to the whole establishment, would rather confine his attention to the real abuses of the Church, and limit himself to a measure that should provide for their correction. If the value of livings was various, unequal, unjust, and in some instances too great, let them be equalized; if non-residence prevailed, let it be corrected; if pluralities were discovered, let them be abolished. All this the noble Lord might do; but let him abstain from making an attack upon the Established Church, which, if successful, must be fatal and destructive to the whole Establishment. This was the position upon which he stood. He considered this measure one of the most pregnant with danger that had yet been brought 597 forward; he opposed it because he thought it must lead to tumult and bloodshed, and he opposed it because he considered it destructive to the best interests of the Church.
§ Mr. Littleton
rose to explain. The right hon. Baronet had noticed an observation which he described as having fallen from him (Mr. Littleton), to the effect that if the Tithe Bill proposed by the Government last year had passed, the 1,000,000l. granted to supply the immediate wants of the Protestant clergy in Ireland would have been repaid. If he (Mr. Littleton) made that statement, he certainly was in error, because he was aware that no clause was introduced into the Tithe Bill of last year to delay the repayment of the 1,000,000l. for a year.
§ Mr. Spring Rice
I had been prepared to thank my right hon. Friend who spoke lust for having effected so much, in the course of his speech, towards giving this discussion the character of fair argument; but I must confess that I am compelled to withhold any expression of satisfaction, seeing that, before he sat down, he felt himself at liberty to alter his tone, and to address himself in terms of unmerited reproach to hon. Members on this side of the House. When the gallant Officer charges my noble Friend, the Member for Devonshire, with being the first to light a firebrand for the destruction of the Church, I will content myself with giving a simple denial to that charge; because, if I were driven to inquire from what quarter the firebrand was first flung, I might be tempted to err in the same manner which I condemn in the hon. Baronet. But I will not do so; rather let us discuss this question calmly and dispassionately—let us discuss it for the purpose of trying the simple issue of what is best to be done in the present exigency of affairs; what is most for the interest of the people of Ireland. Let us discuss this great question without perplexing ourselves with calculations of figures, like those of the right hon. Baronet opposite, upon the strength of which he has taken on himself the tone of legislative prophesy, venturing to assume that the Bill which he has introduced for the settlement of tithes in Ireland can be successful. On this point I must be allowed to express a very serious doubt; or rather, if I, too, might prophesy, I should say, that the fate of the Bill will be different from that which he expects. Let the influence of the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Treasury, be what it may— 598 let the strength of the Government be ever so undeniable—let them come down, as they were formerly accustomed, with a majority ever so decided—let the question be discussed the warmest and most violent, or in the most dispassionate and reasonable tone—still I venture to say, that the Irish Tithe Bill can never become law, unless the Question of Appropriation, the very Question that we have now under consideration, be first decided. Can the right hon. Gentleman opposite, really anticipate the carrying of an Irish Tithe Bill, whilst the Question of Appropriation remains unsettled? All that I will say is, that I believe the late Government, the late House of Commons, and the late Leader of the House of Commons (Lord Althorp), had a sincere and steadfast inclination to act together in con cert and confidence; but yet I am prepared to declare that if Lord Melbourne's Government had approached the Irish Tithe Bill, without having first settled the Question of appropriation, they would not have succeeded in obtaining the approval of Parliament to any measure they might have proposed. Having made this admission, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman may ask me, "How, then, could you have expected to carry through your Tithe Bill of last Session?" My reply to that question would be, that we expected to carry through the measure, because we were known to be perfectly sincere in our intention of settling this Question of Appropriation, and that the Commission issued was a pledge of that sincerity. Sir, in the present Session of Parliament even the late Government could not have succeeded; but now, having to deal with a Government adverse to any new appropriation, the successful issue of a Tithe Bill in Ireland is, in my opinion, one of those legislative impossibilities which no man can seriously expect to accomplish. The gallant Officer, in introducing his Bill, declared the other evening that, without a Tithe Bill, the clergy of Ireland were gone.—
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood him. He had said, that in consequence of what took place in Parliament, when the Million Act was in progress, the people of Ireland were under an impression that they were no longer to pay tithes; and that after being called on to pay tithe to the State, which tithe the State found it impossible to levy, it would not be easy for the clergy to obtain tithe from them. He had never contemplated the employment of force.
§ Mr. Spring Rice
The right hon. Baronet admits that he stated the collection of tithes in Ireland cannot go on without the employment of force; and, with the good sense for which he is distinguished, he further admits, that he is opposed to the application of force. Then, unless the House are prepared to differ with him, and to say that the collection of tithes shall for the future go on by force, I am justified by the right hon. Baronet's own admission, in saying, that the collection of tithes in Ireland is at an end. That is a dilemma, upon the horns of which the right hon. Baronet has fixed himself, and from which he cannot escape. Then what becomes of the Church of Ireland? Are the Clergy to live without tithes? To collect tithes is impossible, except upon an impracticable condition. Then what remains to be done? I again tell the right hon. Gentleman, that he cannot expect his Tithe Bill to pass into a law, whilst this Question of Appropriation remains unsettled. The gallant Officer, in alluding to the observations which had fallen from my right hon. Friend (the Member for Staffordshire), attributed to my right hon. Friend two opinions, which are the last to which I think he would have given utterance. The gallant Officer stated first, that the right hon. Gentleman had declared against a Church Establishment; and, secondly, that he was in favour of the voluntary principle.—Nothing could be more contrary to the fact. And. what does the right hon. Baronet allude to, as an illustration of what he most singularly termed the voluntary principle? Why, the budget of the King of Belgium, by which Protestants, Catholics, and even Jews, are instructed in religion—at the cost of the State. The right hon. Secretary for Ireland threw out insinuations against the principle of the measure brought forward by the noble Lord, the Member for Devonshire. The noble Lord, and the supporters of his measure, are charged with a disposition to attack the Church, and with a wish to cast fire brands, and to disturb the whole Church Establishment. I will only request hon. Gentlemen, before they take for granted, before they believe all that is asserted with so much hardihood, to take the trouble of referring to the debates that took place upon a Bill which is now the law of the land—the Church Temporalities' Act,—when they will find that there was no reproach, now brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, which was not urged by them with equal violence on 600 that occasion. We are now told—as we were then told—that the Bill we seek to bring in is contrary to the Articles of the Union, contrary to the Coronation Oath, contrary to the oath that we ourselves have taken at the Table of this House, and contrary, also, to the principle upon which the Catholic Emancipation Bill was framed. Then, as at present, we were told that we were Republicans—violators of our own oaths, and guilty of calling on our King to violate his. We were told, also, with the same confidence as at present, that we were deserters from the Church, and that we only sought its destruction. But we are not the only persons so charged. Has the right hon. Baronet read a charge very lately made against himself, and against his measure of English Church reform? Is he aware that persons who are supposed to represent the opinions of a great portion of the Church of England, have declared that his measure of Church Reform is "fraught with ruin both to the Church and State." The writer proceeds,—We say ruin, for we no more doubt that the complete overthrow of the Established Church will follow upon the execution of the plan now suggested for its reformation, than we ever doubted that the passing of the Reform Bill sealed the fate of the monarchy. A few years of uneasy existence the Church and the monarchy may drag on; possibly, probably, the latter may endure through the present generation: but both the one and the other are now as certainly doomed, as if a hand had written their downfall on the wall of our excellent monarch's banqueting-room.It appears, then, that the First Lord of the Treasury, as well as my noble Friend, is considered a firebrand! Such is the opinion of a newspaper, of which I speak with great respect; it is the opinion of The John Bull. I speak of that paper with reverence, because I know it is the organ of the opinions of a great number of grave and venerable gentlemen, who are its chief supporters. I have quoted the passage for the sake of stating the expressed opinions of others,—opinions, however, to which I, for one, certainly cannot subscribe. I do not wish or intend, by alluding to the paragraph, to give the slightest countenance to so very absurd and exaggerated a statement; but I wish to prove that exactly the same charge that is now brought against us, is also brought, and with equal justice, against the right hon. Baronet opposite, when be attempts in any way to interfere with the Church, and when he comes forward to perform his new functions as a 601 Reformer. We are all exposed to misrepresentation. There are but two courses to be taken; the one is, to hold to things as they are,—the other, to pursue, honestly and unflinchingly, the course of improvement. From those who adopt the first principle, as the writers to whom I have referred have done, the right hon. Baronet, in the measure that he has proposed, with respect to the English Church, must be exposed to all the low and vulgar fallacies with which we have so frequently been assailed. For this I may say, that there is no one argument that has ever been used against us, that may not, with equal propriety, be used against the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet may be told—"Beware of your associates: we mistrust you because you are supported by the Whigs; we respect you, but we dread your new friends." A more vulgar fallacy than this cannot be employed; but is there any fallacy that has been more frequently employed against us? How often have we, on this side of the House, been taunted b- cause we derived support from Gentlemen who went beyond us in their opinions? If that argument be good for anything when used against the Whigs, it is equally good when turned by Tories against the right hon. Baronet; but, in fact, it is good for nothing, as against either party. To pursue this comparison one step further. The right hon. Baronet may be told, as we have often been told, "Your measure may be good as far as it goes, but we do not know to what it may lead; when you venture to parcel out the kingdom into new Ecclesiastical departmental divisions, it is impossible to foretel to what ulterior measures you may be led, or what principles you may be forced to adopt. However right, therefore, you may be in your first step, we will not accompany you in it, for fear of your second." That is, again, an absurd and stupid fallacy, by which, I am convinced, the right hon. Baronet will not be daunted in the course he feels it his duty to pursue; it is, likewise, an absurd and stupid fallacy, by which we shall not be deterred from what we conceived to be best for the welfare of the empire. The right hon. Gentleman has compared the state of the Church now, as affected by the lately passed Act of Parliament, with the state of the Church as it formerly existed; and he has said, that the Church is in a safer state now, by reason of our late measures, than it had ever previously been. He also added, that he was an ad- 602 vocate of Church Reform. The Church in both countries—Ireland and England—is admitted to stand in need of revision. The evil complained of is not merely that of non-residence or pluralities—is there not such a word as sinecures, also? I perceive that the right hon. Gentleman acquiesces; he, therefore, is friendly to the abolition of sinecures. Let us, then, inquire how far, in certain parts of the Church of Ireland, such things as sinecures contrive to exist? Upon the showing of the right hon. Gentleman himself, if they exist, I claim his vote for their extinction. [Sir Henry Hardinge.—Hear, hear!] What! do we differ upon the meaning of words? Does the term "sinecure," mean any thing but an office to which no duties are attached? Is an Ecclesiastical sinecure, more a sinecure, because it is a stall of a cathedral, or a deanery, than if it be a parochial preferment, where there are no members to form a congregation? Is it not exactly the same thing? If a dignitary of Christ Church in Dublin receive 1,500l. a-year for doing nothing, and if a clergyman in the county of Cork receive 1,5001. for doing nothing also, is not the one a sinecure as well as the other? I feel it to be a great disadvantage to discuss this question in the absence of the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of the Church, and of the population of Ireland; but I hold in my hand a Return with respect to about fourteen or fifteen parishes in the diocese of Limerick, some of which are in my own immediate neighbourhood. This Return shews the proportion of the Catholic and Protestant population of those parishes. I will not trouble the House with an enumeration of Irish names, which are not to be repeated either in verse or in prose; but I will state the particulars of the Return without mentioning the names of the parishes. In the first parish there are 625 Catholics, and not a single Protestant; in the second there are 545 Catholics, and not a single Protestant; in the next 495 Catholics, and not a single Protestant; in the next 1,515 Catholics, and still not a single Protestant; in the next the Catholics are 756, but there is no Protestant; in the next there are 531 Catholics, and not a single Protestant; in the next 863 Catholics, still not a single Protestant. Now I come to parishes where there are a few Protestants. In the first of these there are 1,371 Catholics, and 11 Protestants; in the second 1,444 Catholics, and 11 protestants; in the next 1,449 603 Catholics, and 21 Protestants; in the next 3,450 Catholics, and 15 Protestants; in the next 1,767 Catholics, and 15 Protestants; the next parish contains 1,842 Catholics, and 27 Protestants; the next 4,393 Catholics, and 27 Protestants: in the next there are 5,635 Catholics, and 12 Protestants. Now, some parishes in these Returns are in districts in my own neighbourhood, and, as far as I am able to collect information on the subject, I believe the account to be strictly correct. Thus, it will be seen, that in several of these parishes there are no Protestant inhabitants at all, while, in the others, the disproportion between the Catholics and Protestants is so great, as to be quite overwhelming. This Return relates to the diocese of Limerick. In that of Ossory there are 17 parishes where there are no Protestants; 9 having only two Protestants each, and 2 in which there are but 3 Protestants. I ask is the maintenance of a great Church Establishment in those parishes in which there are no Protestants, a matter either advantageous or creditable to religion, or consistent with the peace and interest of the country? At the same time, I am not prepared to abandon the small minority; nor do those who advocate the most extreme opinions say, that because there are but a few Protestants in districts in Ireland, they are therefore to be deserted, and left without religious instruction. But, as a matter of principle, I cannot be guilty of maintaining that most manifest absurdity, that where, as in the parish of Killeedy, there are but twelve Protestants, the Protestant religion shall be supported on a scale as if it were the religion of all, in preference to the religion of a population of 1,500. I beg again to repeat, that the plan proposed by my noble Friend, does not by any means go, as it has been injuriously stated, to the abolition of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland, it aims solely at proportioning the wealth in that Establishment, to the duties it is called on to perform. The language which I used on a former occasion, has been quoted by the Member for Yarmouth in the course of this night's debate; I do not complain of it. I still adhere to every word, and every tittle of those opinions, which have been thus justly imputed to me. From no main point of those opinions do I depart. I ever will maintain that it is the duty of the House of Commons to support the Protestant Establishment in Ireland; but the House is equally bound not to allow that Establishment to be dispro- 604 portionate to the duty it is called upon to perform. I would wish to maintain that Establishment in its fulness, and integrity, as far as can be required in reference to the duties which are to be discharged. It is for the House to inquire whether the proportion which now exists, is or is not consistent with the principle I have laid down. It is admitted on all hands, that Church-property is trust property, and that it is the duty of Parliament to ascertain whether those trusts have been faithfully discharged. Such was, and such is my principle. But it must also be conceded as a necessary consequence of this proposition, that if it be the duty of the House to inquire whether a trust is performed, it is equally its duty to enforce the discharge of such trust. This inquiry goes so immediately to the root of the Question before the House, that I entreat the attention of hon. Members, whilst I take upon myself the proof of the proposition—that the Church of Ireland is subject to the trust of educating the people,—that this trust has been on various occasions recognized by the highest authorities—and that, therefore, we are not now advocating any measure of spoliation or of robbery—but one of strict justice, when we require that a proportion of the revenue of the Church shall be applied to the civil education of the people. I hope to prove not only that the property of the Irish Church is subject, by the peculiar law of Ireland, to the trust of educating the people, but that such education comprehends, not an exclusively Protestant education, but the education of all classes of the King's subjects. If I fail in sustaining the latter, as well as the former part of my proposition, I give up the whole argument. I support my noble Friend's proposition, not upon mere general grounds, but upon peculiar grounds, arising out of Irish Ecclesiastical law. And here, before I go into the case, I beg to say one word. If there be any Member of this House, who is afraid of this question as leading to a bad precedent in England, let him but follow me, I humbly entreat him, in the argument I am now about to advance. It is an argument founded upon Irish law, Irish usage, and a state of things existing in Ireland only; and it is perfectly competent for the hon. Member, or for the House, to adopt it, and yet to resist a similar proposition if made in reference to England. Those who have attended to this subject are aware, that in the 28th of Henry 8th.—at a period 605 when, in point of faith, Ireland was still a Roman Catholic country—an Act was passed by which every incumbent was bound by oath at his ordination, to keep, or cause to be kept, in his parish, a school for the instruction of the parishioners, taking for the same the accustomed stipend. This docs not rest upon a naked enactment, but progressive penalties were imposed, and the object of the Statute is set forth to be for the purpose of making the manners of what were then termed, "the wild and savage folk of Ireland," more conformable with those of civil folk. I will not stop to inquire whether that Act was very faithfully adhered to. There are authorities to shew that to a certain extent it was practically enforced; and in late times, these parochial schools were considerably extended. If there be one individual to whom, more than another, the public are indebted for the enforcement of the Act, it is to the late Lord Primate (Stuart), who applied himself most earnestly to the subject. I shall be able to shew that upon the authority of this Statute, at various times, both in Ireland and England, the property of the Irish Church has been held to be a trust capable of enforcement and of extension at the will of the Legislature; and this, not for the education of any exclusive class, but for the general education of all classes of the people. If this be shewn, and if such be the case, as I contend it is, what becomes of the cry of spoliation—what of the insane denouncement of what is affectedly called the secularization of Church-property? I can prove, if necessary, that the Gallant Officer's Bill would do more to secularize Church property, than can possibly be effected by the proposition now before the House. The first evidence I shall adduce is a proceeding taken in the Irish Parliament on the 6th of April 1786. In consequence of the Lord-Lieutenant's speech at the opening of the Session, recommending the subject of education to the attention of Parliament, Mr. Secretary Ord moved certain Resolutions, stating at the same time, "That his object was to extend the means of education at a cheap rate, so that few persons should be excluded from its advantages." Connecting the general argument with the obligations cast upon the Church, he also moved for an account of the number of diocesan and parochial schools, and the number of scholars educated in each. In the following year the subject was again brought under the consideration of the House, and the Lord-lieutenant 606 addressed the Parliament in these words:—"I hope that some liberal and extensive plan for the general improvement of education will be matured for an early execution." On the 12th of April, in the same year, Mr. Secretary Ord moved his Resolutions, and stated:—By the Act 28th Henry 8th, the minister of each parish is obliged to teach every child that presents himself for instruction, in the English language—the English language, at the time of enacting that law, being as little known to the peasantry as the language of Athens or of Rome; and, therefore, teaching children to read was not a very trivial duty. Yet, though every minister of a parish is bound by oath to comply with this Act, the only thing done towards carrying it into effect is a commutation of 40s. per annum paid by the minister of each parish. This sum he proposed to take as the lowest rate of contributions from all livings not exceeding 150l. from thence to 200l. per annum, the contributions should be 3l. 2½ per cent, after 200l. The same rule of contribution he proposed on lay tithes, and the balance to be raised by rate on the more opulent proprietors of land.I must admit, that we who discuss this question on these principles, deprive my noble Friend (Lord John Russell) of all the merit of invention; but we give him, on the other hand, the weight of the law, and the authority which I have adduced. The Resolutions passed unanimously on that occasion, were as follows:—That it is expedient to revise the Act of the 28th of Henry 8th, for the establishment of parish schools, and to make provision for ascertaining a new scheme, and rate of contribution towards their more effectual support and improvement.That it is expedient to establish, by the aid and authority of Parliament, an annual fund for providing school-houses in every parish and union within this kingdom, a residence for the school-master and for the free instruction of the poor.Here, then, in 1786, is the principle laid down by no less an authority than the House of Commons, that Irish Church-property may be taxed for the purposes of education. It is true that, in the many rapid changes of Irish Administration—there being "a Secretary with every summer, and a system with every Secretary"—this plan of Mr. Secretary Ord was not carried into effect. But the principle was not abandoned; on the contrary, the principle has been again asserted; and by whom do hon. Members think this principle has been sanctioned in later times? I request the attention of the right hon. 607 Member for Cumberland, when I enumerate the names of my authorities; the late Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Stuart, the Bishop of Killala, Virschoyle, the Provost of Trinity College, Dr. Elrington, now Bishop of Ferns, the late Mr. Disney, and last, though not least in orthodox principles, Mr. Leslie Foster, now Baron of the Exchequer. These Prelates and Gentlemen state, in the Eleventh Report on Eduction in Ireland, that:—The object of the Statute of 1537 (28th Henry 8th,) was the extension of the English tongue, language, order, and habit, with a view that every person should, to the uttermost of his power, use and speak the English tongue and language; and every such person having children shall procure them to use and speak the English tongue and language. And with a view to the general introduction of the English language, it enacts that no spiritual promotion should be given to any clerk, who did not speak English; unless, after a proclamation in the four adjacent market-towns, qualified persons could not be heard of. The statute contained the further enactment of the oath by which each incumbent is bound to keep, or cause to be kept, a school to learn English, taking for the same an accustomed salary or stipend.The Commissioners add, that the measure was opposed by the heads of the Church, but that, in spite of such opposition, it became the law of the land. They further inform us:—We now find a custom which has universally prevailed, to allow the schoolmaster 40s. as his salary, a stipend utterly inadequate at present. The present course of instruction in these schools comprises spelling and reading, writing and arithmetic. The schools are open to all persons of all religious denominations.They further state, that originally the object of the institution was the diffusion of the English language; but, that the parish schools were no longer necessary for that purpose; and they recommended further—what will the House think? We are called spoliators and robbers of the Church, because we presume to think that it is right to apply any surplus that there may be of the Church-property, to the civil instruction of the people; and yet this very Report, adopted too by Archbishops and Bishops, concludes by recommending that:—It is highly expedient that the contributions of the clergy should be paid with more regularity, and to a greater extent, than heretofore usual. It might not, it is submitted, be deemed unreasonable that they should be 608 rated at a sum not exceeding 10½ per cent, of their respective incomes, to be ascertained by the Bishops.In these words are involved the very principle for which we contend. If hon. Members are resolved to be more orthodox than the dignitaries of their own Church, they may object to them and to us. But in so doing, they are exposing themselves to the reproach addressed by some foreign writer to my countrymen—"Les Irlandais sont plus Catholiques que le Pape." But if these Ecclesiastical authorities are rejected, I rest still upon the Resolution of the House of Commons, in 1786, which concluded by recommending a pecuniary contribution from the clergy, being the graduated Property-tax, according to the very words of Mr. Secretary Ord. I have not yet done, for tedious as this detail may be, I would rather weary the House, than by omitting any branch of the subject, leave myself and my friends exposed to the unjust imputation of being spoliators; and that—only because we are not afraid to discharge our duty, and because we would free this unfortunate question from delusions which violence and agitation have cast around it;—and would rescue the Church from the difficulties with which it is beset. I most sincerely wish that it was possible to come to an amicable agreement on the question, with the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel.) I have often and often urged this view of the subject upon the attention of my friends in private, and I shall still urge it, and shall continue to do so whilst I have a hope of convincing a doubtful mind, or of rescuing one Friend from the unmerited and unjust accusation which has been made against us. I now proceed to further and more recent authorities. It has been said, that during Lord Grey's Government, England was over-run with Commissions, and that it was the favourite course resorted to by the late Administration; but I must take the liberty of saying that the Gentlemen at present in office, young as they are in their vocation, have been in this as, in other respects, fond of imitating their predecessors. Considering their short tenure of office—considering them as young beginners—they have done as much business in the Commission line as we who preceded them, or as any other Administration. But among the Commissions issued by Lord Liverpool, was one, at the head of which were placed Mr. Frankland Lewis, and Mr. Leslie Foster; 609 the subject of parochial schools came before that Commission. The observations made by them in their Report to which I shall advert, applies especially to the argument, which asserts that the parochial schools were to be exclusively Protestant schools, and not schools for general instruction. The latter is our proposition; for it is our desire that the new schools shall be governed in accordance with the system introduced by my noble Friend, the Member for South Lancashire, who has not, I am sure, abandoned his system, though the friends of the Government have abandoned their opposition. I trust they will be as sincere advocates on the one side as on the other. Never was there so signal a conversion. I can assure the House, in all solemnity, that great as was my satisfaction at seeing the plan of education of the late Administration adopted by the present, my satisfaction was not greater than my surprise. Never was triumph so unexampled or so complete, as when I found that the first school, according to our principle, had been established in England, in Downing-street itself, and that our first scholars, and most promising scholars, were the Members of the present Government. But to return to my argument. In the Report of the Royal Commission of 1825, it is stated that, as 28th Henry 8th, provided, by section 9, chap. 15, "that the priest should bid the beads in English," we may conclude that no alteration had been made in the established form of the Roman Catholic worship, and that the schools which this Act contemplated, could not have been intended to induce any change in religious opinions. This I cite as an additional authority, to prove that the object of these schools was wholly unconnected with proselytism, or exclusive faith—the sole object of the statute being the diffusion of the English tongue. But I have one still more recent authority—that of the late Archbishop of Dublin (Dr. Magee). I had the honour of examining that most reverend Prelate, in the Committee appointed to consider the slate of Ireland in 1824 and 1825. The question put to that most reverend Prelate was as follows:—"In the fourteenth Report of the Commissioners on Education, it is recommended by the late Primate, the Bishop of Killala, the Bishop of Cashel, and Bishop Elrington, that the contributions of the clergy should be rated at a sum not exceeding 2½ per cent, on their respective incomes—does your Grace concur in that recommendation?" 610 His Grace answered, that he did; and yet for acting on this principle, so assented to by the Archbishop of Dublin, my noble Friend (Lord John Russell), and those who support him, are stigmatized as spoliators, and as enemies of the Church! Indeed, unless all that I have stated be delusive, we have all these lay and clerical authorities with us on the question of principle. Then our Resolution is no invasion of Church property; for the principle of taxing the Irish Church for the civil education of the people has been over and over again admitted,—in the reign of Henry 8th; by the Irish House of Commons in 1786; and by Commissions and Committees since that time. If it were not spoliation, on the part of those whose authority I have quoted thus to recommend the imposition of a tax upon the clergy for the purpose of educating the people of Ireland, then I contend that it cannot be considered spoliation to support the proposition of my noble Friend. The House may rejoice to hear that I have but one authority more to quote. This last is the authority of a living statesman—a Member of the former, thought not of the present Cabinet. In the year 1813, the then Secretary for Ireland, speaking on the subject of education, made use of these most impressive words:—The parish schools were established in the reign of Henry 8th, for the purpose of teaching the inhabitants of Ireland the English language; and the law directs that they should be kept by, or at the expense of, the clergyman of the parish. From that circumstance, it appears at one period to have been inferred, that the children brought up in the parish schools were to be educated exclusively in the Protestant religion. But that opinion is exploded, and in point of fact, children of every religious persuasion were eligible to be educated in these parish schools. Every clergyman took an oath to cause to be kept, or to keep such a school.Then follows a caustic observation—non meus hic sermo.He was sorry to say that this law was very imperfectly complied with.* He had declared in 1811, that the clergy should furnish a part of the funds that would be necessary. He was glad to find that the principle on which he was prepared to act, was, in some degree, recognized by the Board of Education.In this speech the House will observe the principle laid down. Here I am distinctly told, that one of the purposes for which* Hansard, vol. xxv. p. 266.-7.611 the property of the Church was granted was, the general education of all classes of the people. I am further informed, that in 1811 and 1813, it had been intended and recommended to raise a contribution from Church-property for such purposes of education. And let me now ask who is the authority, by whom these principles are laid down? A brother of the heat of the last Tory Government—a brother of his Grace the Duke of Wellington! The conclusive statement I have read is that of Lord Maryborough, then Mr. Wellesley Pole. I have thus shewn upon high authority both upon that of the Legislature, on that of the House of Commons, and upon the recorded principles of Prelates and of Statesmen, that in law, education constituted one of the trusts to which the Irish Church was subject, and that in justice, this trust might be enforced; that there was nothing of sectarianism to be found in these principles of parochial schools; but that they were for the common and general instruction of all classes of his Majesty's subjects. I have shewn that this can be proved emphatically according to ancient usage and undeniable law. I now ask the House and ask the country, to whom it has been endeavoured, through the medium of this debate, to make an appeal, on the ground that the Church is in danger, what there is of innovation, what there is of a subversive or a revolutionary character in the Motion of my noble Friend? There is one point connected with the question to which I wish to draw particular attention. I need not rest exclusively upon the Irish authorities; fortunately, the good sense, and the liberality, and the munificence of a branch of the clergy of the Church of England have afforded me another, a further, and most important illustration. We are told, forsooth, that we cannot, except as spoliators, appropriate any portion of the Church revenues to secular purposes including among secular purposes, the instruction of youth. We are told too, that our plan becomes still more especially and peculiarly objectionable, when the education to be afforded is general, and not confined exclusively to Protestants. The right reverend Prelate, the present Bishop of Durham, has, within, a very few years, brought before Parliament a proposition, which, according to the doctrines laid down on the other side, is a proposition to secularize a part of the property of the Church. It is to the preamble of the Act 2 and 3 612 Will. 4th, c. 18,—for the enactment took place so late as the year 1832,—it is to that preamble that I am most desirous of calling the attention of the House. It is as follows:—Whereas, the Dean and Chapter of Durham are desirous of establishing, in connexion with the Cathedral an University for the advancement of learning; and, whereas, the same Dean and Chapter are desirous that a specific portion of the property of the said Cathedral Church should be appropriated—awful word!—appropriated and set apart for the purposes of such University. And, whereas, this object cannot be effected without the authority of Parliament.And the statute then proceeds to enact—That the property shall be vested in the Dean and Chapter, in trust, for establishing an University for the advancement of learning. There is still a power to sell, free from all trust, and free from any future claim on the part of the said Dean and Chapter, and their successors for ever. Well, but perhaps it may be said—indeed I am quite sure it will be said—that this Act is sanctioned by some ancient trust erected under the original grant or Charter. True, and in order to avoid all misrepresentation, I proceed to read to the House the Bishop of Durham's own explanation on this subject:—The proposed application of the Chapter Funds to the University of Durham, is strictly in accordance both with the spirit and the letter of the Chapter Statutes, which expressly point out the advancement of learning as one especial object of their endowment as a collegiate body; and had either the Chapter or myself imagined that the present measure was liable to misconception, nothing would have been easier than to have guarded against it, by a simple recital in the preamble of the Bill, of the very words of the original endowment as set forth.In what? let me pause to ask. In a charter granted by Henry 8th, the very same monarch who gave his assent to the Statute which imposed upon the clergy of Ireland the obligation which I have so frequently referred to. The. obligation then is analogous in both cases. But it may be said, that the words" connected with the Cathedral," lead to the inference that the University of Durham was intended to be confined exclusively to Protestant instruction. Perhaps my hon. Friend who cheered the quotation, thinks that it was for the instruction of the minor canons in singing, 613 or for disciplining a verger or two for their important duties, or for some other purposes strictly connected with the cathedral, and with our Establishment. No such thing. Before the Rill passed the House of Lords, a noble Lord, who had every right to feel a very deep interest in the county and city of Durham, expressly asked the Bishop of Durham what was the real object and scope of the intended University? and whether the system of education, and the course of study, was to be confined to the Established Church? Now, if the doctrine advanced by some, as to the parochial schools of Ireland, be correct, and if these schools must be necessarily exclusive, because supported from Church funds, it must be admitted, that the Bishop of Durham would have equally felt himself bound to have made this University exclusive and sectarian, But the learned Prelate did not so act. The right reverend Prelate expressly declared—Persons might be admitted to public lectures, in science or literature, of whatever description, without being subject, as students, to the discipline of the University. By this regulation, many might avail themselves of very considerable advantages from the institution, subject to no previous inquiry, or restriction as to their religious persuasions. With respect, also, to those students who were to be actually members of the University, it was intended to adopt the regulations of the University of Cambridge, which did not require tests or subscriptions at the admission of members, nor until they take degrees or other academical privileges.*The Bishop of St. David's added:—He had great pleasure in being able to confirm what had been stated by the noble Earl (Earl Grey), that arrangements had been made to enable persons of all denominations to benefit by the instruction that would be afforded at the University. No religious tests would be imposed at the time of admission.†So little did the Bishop of Durham adopt the doctrines I have heard in this debate, that, whilst he relied on the Charter, he also boasted that the usefulness of this University should be unconfined. He declared, too, that the aid of Parliament was requisite to enable the Chapter to endow the University, and he proposed that the foundation should take place on such terms of liberality as might admit, within the embrace and scope of its institution, persons of all religious denominations. Well, then, if I and my noble Friend are violating our*Hansard, (third series) vol. xii. p. 1215.† Ibid, p. 1218.614 duty by supporting this Resolution, I maintain that we have hon. companions in our imputed crime. If our opponents can brand us with robbery and spoliation, they must class together the Bishop of Durham and my noble Friend, the Member for Devonshire, as being both enemies to the Church, and as throwing firebrands intended for its destruction. I am not now contending for the abolition of the Protestant Church. I am contending simply that it ought to be apportioned, in magnitude and revenue, to its uses. I wish to add one further declaration; I make it frankly to Gentlemen who may be disposed to take an extreme view of this case. It has been suggested by some, it is hoped by many, that Protestantism may hereafter extend itself in Ireland; upon the same principle that I now express my willingness to reduce the Establishment where no Protestants are to be found, I am prepared hereafter, if Protestants can he found, to enlarge the Establishment, But if the progress of passing events shall unhappily lead not to the extension, but to the further decay of Protestantism, in any particular parish or parishes, I would in those places reduce the Establishment, and thereby obtain additional funds for the purposes of education; but in any case I will not consent to sacrifice one jot of the real interests of the Protestant Church. I would not deprive the parties of the means of obtaining religious instruction—I would not desert them in their weakness—I would not leave them in their hour of need; but I cannot defend nor refuse to expose to the world and to this House the scandal, and to Ireland the disgrace, of the continuance in various parts of that country, of an establishment of which the people feel only the evil, and none of the use; nor can I think of supporting a clergy without flocks, or churches without congregations. The right hon. Gentleman opposite may tell me, that in one respect the present course of proceeding differs mainly from those precedents to which I have referred; and that under the recommendations of Mr. Ord and Mr. Wellesley Pole, as well as under the Church Temporalities' Bill, it was proposed to proceed in the way of a fixed and ascertained tax payable by all. The propositions, undoubtedly, do differ in that respect; but our Resolution differs from former suggestions, chiefly in being very much better in principle. In the provinces in the north of Ireland, where there are large Protestant congregations, the Protestant clergymen 615 are not, in all probability, overpaid at present. In the county of Down, a clergyman discharging important duties and receiving 400l. a-year might not be overpaid, while one in the south of Ireland, receiving 200l. a-year and doing no duty at all, would be greatly overpaid. Well then, Sir, I say, for the sake of the Church itself, as well as that proper religious instruction may be secured for the denomination of Christians to which I belong, I would not reduce the income of the clergyman who is not overpaid for the duties lie has to perform; while, for the sake of the peace and tranquillity of Ireland, I would make a better appropriation of the income of an incumbent who is now paid 200l. and who performs no duty whatever. Upon what premises the gallant Officer opposite has come to the conclusion that the collection of tithe is not at the bottom of most of the disturbances which have taken place in Ireland, I know not; but I think he will, when he has more experience upon this subject, alter his opinion. He will find, that the tithes in Ireland have been the fruitful source of agitation and disturbance. If, as is suggested by others, the Catholic has any disposition to overthrow our Church, we give him the power so to do, by continuing the Protestants in so false a position, that they must blush to contend for it, because they have not truth or justice on their side. He confounds together two things, essentially distinct and separate, when he asserts that it is expedient to preserve a sinecure Church, where there is no congregation, because it is expedient to maintain one in another country, where there is a congregation, and where there is a working clergy, zealous, anxious, and unremitting in their exertions to discharge their duties. I cannot conclude, Sir, without expressing my hope that not one word may have escaped from me in the course of this debate, which may, in the slightest degree, give rise to a supposition that I am indifferent to the paramount duty of providing religious instruction, or that I am indifferent to the true interests of the Established Church, I am aware, that this is not the place for religious contentions, nor for professions of religious faith. Let the principles of religion, which have been eloquently expressed by the right hon. Baronet opposite (the Member for Cumberland)—let those sentiments, I say, Sir, dwell in our hearts, and influence us in our private judgments; but depend upon it, that it is neither for the interest of religion, nor 616 for the interest of the Church, that we should make those principles the subject, either of profession or of discussion, in the House of Commons. Before I sit down, Sir, I wish to take the liberty of removing two misapprehensions which appear to have existed in the mind of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Solicitor-General, whose speech we all heard last night with so much interest and satisfaction. Sir, that Gentleman not only misapprehended my noble Friend's statement in a most essential point, but he attributed to him the very reverse of what he uttered. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, "the noble Lord threatens us with force; he employs the language of menace, and calls on us to yield to intimidation." Now, Sir, my noble Friend, in his argument, referred to our experience of the past, to raise a contrary impression; he said that former concessions had been wrung from hands which were reluctant to yield them; that they had been extorted from men who disavowed their own work, who blushed at the course they felt themselves obliged to take, and who, whilst they did the thing, did it not of choice, but upon compulsion. My noble Friend added, that in such cases concession lost all its grace and virtue; but, said he, in the present case, no such objection applies; no menace is raised here when there is no force upon you—when you can settle this question as an act of peace—when we ask you to support us in the name of justice and common sense; do that which is right boldly and fearlessly, and obtain, by your mode of doing justice, not only the reward of your own approving conscience, but the gratitude of a tranquillized country. The other misapprehension, Sir, was one which related to the Repeal of the Union. I could scarcely trust my senses when I heard my noble Friend charged with threatening the House that he would become a repealer—that he would join or countenance the advocates of the Repeal of the Union. Why, Sir, how could it ever have entered into the mind, I will not say of so quick-sighted a gentleman as the hon. and learned Solicitor-General, but how it could ever have entered into the mind of any man, woman, or child, including even that class designated and known under the title of "old women,"—how could it have ever entered into the mind of the most credulous, to impute such an intention to my noble Friend? His argument was far different: he read an Address moved on a former occasion by myself, and adopted by an 617 unprecedented majority, in which Address, the House pledged itself to a determined resistance to the Repeal of the Union; but, at the same time, the House undertook to provide redress for the grievances of the Irish nation. My noble Friend then urged that, therefore, we ought to be ready to perform our part of the contract; and, Sir, he then stated, and truly, that if we do not perform our engagements, we are adding force to the demand which is made for the repeal. One word more before I close. I find that we are threatened, now with the revival of a church cry throughout the country. Not the cry of "No Popery," because that is worn out, and because if grave and reverend personages were to endeavour to raise that cry, and to appear in their worn-out dresses of 1806, they would be hissed oft' the stage by any audience before whom they might present themselves, even though assembled in the humblest barn in the land. The cry intended to be now raised is that of the "Church is in danger!" I deny, Sir, that our measure, either directly or indirectly, justifies the cry; and I take the liberty of warning Gentlemen not to give way to their political or religious enthusiasm, against those whom they are pleased to designate as the rash innovators of the present day. I address myself to my noble Friend opposite, and to others, who, in their zeal for the Church, would wish to raise this cry. I take the liberty of warning them, and I do it at the same time most respectfully, what may be the consequences of calling forth the Church into the field of action as a political disputant and partisan. Do they wish, Sir, to raise a theological warfare throughout the land? It has been said by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, that there is a growing disposition already in the country to demand a separation of the Church and State. I hope and trust, therefore, Sir, that such a cry may not extend itself. No one could deprecate such a state of things more than myself, yet I must say, that if you send the Church into the field as a political disputant, and that this cry of "the Church is in danger" is to be raised at all the elections in England, come they when they may—if the supposed danger of the Church is to be the watchword by which the people are to be aroused to the resistance of wise and sound measures of constitutional reform, both in Church and State—then I say, Sir, that there is a dreadful probability that the cry you have raised with so much industry 618 will turn out a prophecy which will be verified to the fullest extent of your apprehensions. Let us, therefore, calmly discuss this question while we have an opportunity afforded us of doing so in this House; let us here deliver our consciences; let us here discharge our duty, now, according to the best of our abilities; and let us not, for the purpose of obtaining any temporary political advantage, be induced to endanger the real and permanent interests of our common country, in my anxiety for the welfare of which, I must assure the hon. Gentlemen opposite—Conservatives though they be—I yield to none among them. I thank the House for the kindness with which they have heard me. I know that mine has been a dry and uninteresting detail of facts, to the authority of which—and I hope I may also add, to the confidence which the House has in my sincerity—I am alone indebted for the patient indulgence with which I have been honoured.
said, that he could assure the Gentlemen who were anxious to adjourn, it was a very natural desire at that period of the night ["No, no!"]. He was going to have said, that even if he had been otherwise disposed, he had not the physical strength that would enable him to trespass on their attention for more than a very short time [Cries of "Adjourn," and "No, no!"]. He stood more than usually in need of their indulgence, because he felt, from his state of health, that he should have great difficulty in claiming the attention of the House, even for a very short time. He regretted this the less, because, upon the higher and more important principles that were involved in this debate, the ground had already been so ably occupied by the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Solicitor-General, the Under-Secretary of the Colonial Department, and, without disparagement to them, he might say, above all, by his right hon. Friend (Sir James Graham), that he felt he had very little occasion to trouble the House with any observations at all. His opinions upon this point were well known. The indulgence of the House had frequently allowed him to express them at various periods during a term now of no less than eleven years since he had first spoken on this subject. During that period, it might be from obstinacy, it might be from prejudice, his opinions had undergone no alteration, his principles had suffered no change. He had therefore nothing to retract, nothing to modify or to qualify. He had only to repeat, with regard 619 to the opinions he had ever entertained on the principle of the alienation of the Church-property, that he, for one, could not feel himself justified in assenting to any alienation of that property to uses not strictly Ecclesiastical. The hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for the county of Tipperary, had informed him, that in the course of last session he had used expressions offensive to a person for whom no man entertained a higher veneration and regard than himself. In alluding to those expressions, or supposed expressions, which he sincerely hoped had given no offence, the hon. and learned Gentleman stated, that he had the authority of the name, and the sanction of Earl Grey, in favour of the proposition now before the House. If there was an individual more bound to that noble Earl than another, by feelings of regard, of veneration, and affection, it was the humble individual who then addressed them; but when the hon. and learned Gentleman claimed, in consequence of an expression of his noble Friend, the Member for Northumberland, the authority of Earl Grey for the proposition now before the House, he begged the House would not be misled so far as to suppose his noble Friend's authority was to be taken in all cases to carry with it the authority of Earl Grey. He had no right to speak of the noble Earl's private opinions; but if he knew any thing of his opinions, he knew this—that, to use the words of his noble Friend, the Member for Devonshire, whatever might be his opinion of the abstract right and power of Parliament, that noble Earl had too long experience in Parliament, not to know that the assertion of an abstract power was one of the most imperfect and improper courses that could be pursued. He regretted that his noble friend (Lord John Russell), who brought forward this proposition without having added much to his experience since last year, had so much altered the opinion he then entertained. He, for one, adhered to the opinion which was then expressed so strongly, not only by his noble Friend, but also by an authority which the House would not lightly treat, he meant the authority of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, upon the debate of this very subject, upon a motion introducing it by the hon. Member for St. Alban's, expressed himself to this effect:—"Without information, it was impossible for the House to say, how far it ought, or how far it ought not to go, and the resolution was merely a vague declaration of the right of 620 Parliament to interfere, a right which he was confident, as the House was at present constituted, it would be ready at all times to recognise, and if it was not so constituted, the declaration, supposing it was now adopted, would not hereafter receive the slightest attention, and, therefore, it was needless and useless to pass the resolution."* He admitted the argument of his noble Friend was addressed only to the case of the assertion of an abstract principle, and not to the question as to the right of Parliament to dispose of Church revenues, or even Church-property of any description. He used it therefore only as referring to the general abstract question, which was now raised by his noble Friend, then one of the colleagues of his noble Friend, whose language he had quoted; and the assertion of which was compelled, as was stated by his right hon. Friend, the Member for Cambridge, by circumstances, but as to what those circumstances were, the House was left entirely in the dark. In the absence, then, of the evidence, and all the information to be obtained by that commission, which his Majesty's late Government deemed it indispensable to issue, but which he deemed to be of no value whatever, his noble Friend now pressed forward the same abstract principle which at that time one gentleman deemed improper, which another, resting on his Parliamentary experience, considered to be injurious, which a third said was unjustifiable, and a fourth said was the grossest of all absurdities. He knew the right hon. Member for the town of Cambridge would press on the House, that, with regard to the motion of the hon. Member for St. Alban's, it affirmed a fact. He objected to that in the absence of information necessary to affirm the fact. But then the motion of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, affirmed no facts, but merely stated, that if there should be a surplus, that surplus was applicable to general charity and general distribution. Well, what was the objection then? He would ask, without meaning to be in the least invidious, whether the right hon. Gentleman's objection who had just sat down was not this—that he objected to the proposition, because it was hypothetically framed—because it might be interpreted in one sense by one hon. Member, in another by another, and interpreted mischievously by many Members of that House? In fact the objection was,*Hansard; vol. xxiv, (third series) p, 16.621 that the proposition was hypothetical, and capable of a variety of explanations; and upon that ground his right hon. Friend contended against the propriety of assenting to the resolution of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin. What, then, was the resolution brought forward by the noble Lord, the Member for Devonshire? It was a motion for the House to go into a Committee to inquire into the state of the Irish Church, with a view to appropriating the surplus, if any should he found, to general education of persons composed of all classes of religion; and his noble Friend had said, that any deficiency of his argument would be altogether removed from the mind of the House by the clearness of the proposition. If there was one point above another which was open to discussion and difference of opinion—he was going to have said upon which there prevailed a great difference of opinion, but he would rather say, quite an uniformity of opinion different to the noble Lord's—it was this subject. What did the noble Lord mean by a surplus revenue of the Irish Church? and what did lie mean by the resolution which he called upon the House to pass? His right hon. Friend who had just sat down, passing by for a moment what was to be understood by the surplus revenue of the Church, had said, that he desired to appropriate this surplus revenue to no purposes except those of general education; and he brought forward, in support of that application of Ecclesiastical property, a certain statute passed in the reign of Henry 8th, which statute was passed for the purpose of consolidating the right; of conquest by, amongst other things, doing away with the Irish language. With all the respect which he had for his right hon. Friend, he could not attach the importance to that statute of Henry 8th which his right hon. Friend seemed to attach to it; but if the question he raised was this, was it expedient to enforce it on the Protestant clergy throughout Ireland as one of their paramount duties, as one of their duties calculated to bring under their control the rising population of that country—if that was the object his right hon. Friend had in view, he would say, that a more fit subject of discussion could not be brought under the consideration of the British House of Parliament, and that no person would be found more ready to enter calmly, deliberately, nay, favourably, into that consideration than himself. But with regard to the University established at Durham, his right 622 hon. Friend must allow him to point out to him the broad distinction that must exist between applying Ecclesiastical property to secular purposes, and any inference that could be drawn from the University of Durham, as a precedent. In the first place, the original endowment of the chapter of Durham was an endowment subject to secular purposes, and for Protestant instruction. It was very true, that no test was required of the religious persuasions of those who were to be admitted for instruction in that University. He wished that the same rule applied in other universities; but, admitting that no test was required from students, to be present at a course of study and a course of lectures by Protestant teachers and under Protestant professors in England, he would ask what analogy could be drawn from that to the appropriation of Church-property in Ireland, upon the system which it was the intention of his noble Friend to insist upon? Whatever might have been the general arguments which he had thought it his duty, as it certainly was his inclination, and as a member of society his interest, to address to the House against the principle of appropriating the revenues of the Church to any other than strictly Ecclesiastical and Protestant purposes, he would have had language of quite a different character to address to them as an Irish landlord. In his own proper person he was willing to submit to any scale of taxation that might be imposed for the purpose of affording instant and abundant instruction to all classes of his Majesty's subjects in Ireland, be they Protestant or be they Catholic. Whatever might be requisite for the purpose of public instruction, without distinction of sect or creed, he was perfectly willing to contribute in common with other landlords out of his own pocket, but not out of the funds of the Protestant Church of Ireland. He would now, with the permission of the House, put one test, as to the great and extreme anxiety which had been expressed in some quarters for the extension of popular education—he would suppose the Tithe Bill of last year carried, by which the landlord obtained the benefit of a deduction of 25 per cent, from the Church, which was given to him as a premium. Now, he would ask those gentlemen who were so anxious for the spread of education, and whom he would suppose to be in the full enjoyment of that premium, he would ask them this, were they prepared to contribute 10 per cent, out of the pro- 623 ceeds of that 25 to the purposes of popular education—would they give even 2—would they consent, for that so much extolled education, to give even that small portion of the fourth, which they were to obtain from the Church? If they should so consent, he was as ready as any man could be to concur with them. If they went further, and consented to 5 per cent, he should be quite as ready to go along with them to that extent also; if they were prepared to go the length of even 10 per cent., he should still go along with them, even to that length; he would go forward with them in the plan to an extent which should have no limit but that which the demand for the contribution actually supplied. His right hon. Friend, the Member for Cumberland, had been taunted last night with having on former occasions objected to the principles now supported by his noble Friend, and embodied in the present Resolution, that their adoption might, or rather must of necessity, lead to ulterior consequences of an exceedingly hazardous character, to say the least of them. He was told that in so reasoning he had only offered the old argument, which ever had been opposed to all and every species of improvement—an argument amounting to this—if you take one step you create the necessity of taking all the rest; you let in an overwhelming torrent, which no human effort could subsequently stem. Was putting the matter in that way fair and candid towards his right hon. Friend? Had he so dealt with generalities—had he so indulged in vague declamation, as to justify the imputation attempted to be fixed on him, of reluctance to take the first step in the work of real and substantial improvement? Why was it any matter of surprise that his right hon. Friend should pause before he ventured upon a step, that, even upon the showing of the advocates of that step themselves, was nothing considered by itself, but everything in its consequences? They had been told over and over again that the Motion was of no value but as a precedent. His right hon. Friend had said, that the step would find its supporters in high places, and that he shrank with horror not merely from its supposed or alleged, but from its avowed consequences. When reference had been made to the probable expulsion of the Bishops from the House of Lords, and when that was cited as a proposition which an hon. Gentleman had supported on the ground of abstract right, without reference to remote or possible 624 consequences, and when it was added that that hon. Member when he said so, was a Member of his Majesty's Government,—he was not a Member of the Grey Administration—(a voice from the Opposition side of the House, "He was.") Of whatever Government he was a Member, the argument, as he understood it, was directed against the probable feelings and objects of those who formed the late, and possibly at no distant time future, Government of this country. He saw this also with respect to the views of that gentleman, that though holding opinions supposed to be dangerous to the Church, he was selected as a fitting and proper person to form a Member of the Government—he would not say on account of those opinions, but most assuredly they were not held to form any disqualification for offices, and he was accordingly called upon to fill a confidential situation. When he was told that it was idle, and worse than idle, that it was mischievous, to argue against any specific proposition—that it should be rejected and repudiated, because it might lead to ulterior and evil consequences, he hoped he might be allowed to make one reply to that species of argument—a reply which, in his apprehension, would be perfectly conclusive; he begged, however, to be allowed to make it in perfect good humour, and without conveying the slightest offence to any individual or body of persons. Premising so much, he would take the liberty of asking what had been the result of the concessions already made, and which they had been so urgently called upon to make, for the sake of preserving unanimity and cordiality? He had heard his right hon. friend taunted with having screwed his courage up to the sticking place, when he voted for the suspension clause, and when he agreed to the measure for striking off ten Bishops from amongst the Prelacy of the Established Church in Ireland; yet that, having made those concessions, he was unprepared to go further, and would not follow them up to their legitimate consequences. Was it generous, was it politic, so to goad him into excessive submission or open hostility? Did those who assailed his right hon. Friend really and earnestly desire to lead him and prevail on him to go to the full extent to which he could be induced to go, without violating the obvious dictates of his conscience? The hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Tipperary, on the last night had triumphantly exclaimed "You wanted no Commission to strike off 625 ten Bishops—you wanted no Commission to induce you to agree to the suspension clause—you wanted no Commission to furnish arguments in favour of agreeing to the 147th clause of the Church Temporalities' Bill." Now, what were the facts? The whole of these alterations referred to by the hon. Member for Tipperary, were founded upon the Report of a Commission, and upon the evidence so obtained. The hon. and learned Member was, therefore, wrong in his facts; that in that case, they had not waited for a commission, he was no less wrong in using the argument that they called for the report of a commission on the present question. For the Report of that Commission, as far as he was concerned, he did not care a single farthing. Commissions might be useful for means of general information, but as regarded this question he would not for a single moment admit that they possessed the slightest weight—they would not alter the course which he should take a single jot or title. He might think no mode of argument so unfair as the use of a Report partially in the hands of Members at one side, and wholly unknown to those at the other. He might think it not candid that use should be made of certain information in the hands of certain Members without corresponding information in the hands of others. For his part, he asked for no such information; the question which, as he conceived the House had to decide was this—how should any surplus be disposed of, let the income of the clergy be 500,000l. per annum, or five times that sum, and also whether it was wise and expedient to come to any decision at all without ascertaining whether there was or was not a surplus. Now, he entreated the House to look at the real grounds upon which he and his right hon. Friend and those with whom he generally acted voted upon those propositions for diminishing the number of the Bishops, and for adopting the Supension Clause; it was not for the purpose of obtaining the revenues of those Bishoprics or those suspended benefices for the purpose of popular education or for any other secular purpose, but simply and exclusively for the purpose of applying them to the interests of the Church itself. He would ask the House was the way in which the argument had been put fair and legitimate? He knew the candour and sincerity of his right hon. Friend the Member for the town of Cambridge; he knew well that that right hon. Gentleman 626 was not to be moved a single inch beyond the line which he might believe to be the strict line of duty; but how many persons amongst the newly-formed associates of his right hon. Friend would rest contented with the little boon he had demanded? His right hon. Friend had objected to the vulgarity of the argument which had been founded upon the old cry—"the Church is in danger." Facts as they stood, and as they were known to the great majority of the House, would best answer that. He should now come to one of the observations made by a right hon. Friend who had not long since filled the office of Chief Secretary to the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. He had described the object against which the resolution was intended ultimately to act as a great and vital disease, praying upon all that was essential to the happiness or the existence of Ireland as a country. It was candid of the right hon. Gentleman so to put the argument; it was candid of him to acknowledge that the Resolution in itself was nothing—that he cared little for the Resolution, and that he only looked to the great and vital disease which, according to him, could only be removed by cutting out the affected part. Was the House prepared to admit the principle involved in that argument—were hon. Members at his side of the House prepared to expose themselves to all the successive assaults which they would have to sustain from the well mar-shalled phalanx which he saw arrayed on the opposite benches? He congratulated the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin upon the position which he now occupied, as compared with that which he filled in the last year. Oh, how proud was the triumph enjoyed by one of the parties at the Opposite side of the House, for two different parties they were, though at present they sat on the same side of the House. How proud was the triumph for one of those parties, and how bitter the submission for the other. Well might they follow and support their noble leader, though in this year he was forwarding, supporting, and advocating the proposition which in the last Session of Parliament he had earnestly and strenuously opposed. It was said, that the two parties now filling the benches opposite to him, were not bound together by any tie, save that of the one little Resolution then, under the consideration of the House. But when he looked at the dominant principles of the other side of the House—when he saw the present support of one 627 of those parties was yielded to his noble and right hon. Friends, who now mingled with that party as a means of ultimate ascendency over those with whom he had formerly acted as part of the Grey Administration, he could not but ask, was he factious? Was he vulgar when he called upon them to abstain from falling into that trap which had been laid for them, and to look to the associates with whom they were engaged? In his view of the question which the House had to decide, it did not materially differ whether the amount of the revenue enjoyed by the Church was 400,000l. or 600,000l., at the same time that he was perfectly aware that the amount made a serious difference in the effect of arguments addressed to a popular assembly. Though for his own individual part, he attached no sort of importance to the exact amount of the sum possessed by the Established Church in Ireland; he nevertheless could not refrain from expressing his firm and rooted conviction that upon full investigation it would be found to be under 450,000l.: the whole sum available for the use of the parochial clergy would, he was assured, if fairly divided amongst them, not exceed an average of 200l. a-year, to each; was allowing such a revenue creating an over-endowed and bloated establishment? He well remembered the time when the hon. Member for Middlesex was accustomed to represent the revenue of the Established Church in Ireland as amounting to 3,000,000l. Of late they had shrunk into such narrow dimensions as 800,000l., and he repeated his full persuasion that minute and fair inquiry would bring them down to 450,000l. He assumed that no Member of that House, and that even no intelligent and unprejudiced man in the Community, would attempt to say that the property of the Church should not, in the first instance at least, be applied to Ecclesiastical purposes—he might then, he hoped, be allowed to say that an income of 200l. per annum was not an excessive allowance for the clergy of the Established Church. Under the Irish Church Temporalities' Act, that sum had been fixed as the amount to be exempted from the annual payment, which, as the House would recollect, would go on for fifty years, towards the liquidation of the debt. In that state of things, and with no prospect of a higher revenue to the Members of the clerical body of Ireland, the House of Commons was gravely called upon to appropriate the amount that 628 might be left, though, as had been fully ascertained, the parochial ministers would not have an income exceeding 200l. a-year. Really there would be too much of the ludicrous, if there were not so much of mischief and of danger, in those measures of sham legislation. When the debt was discharged—if any amongst them could hope to witness such an event, or could look forward to its probable effects, something plausible might be said about the appropriation of the surplus, if any there should happen to be, in half a century hence. Was it necessary for him to remind the House that the funds arising from the reduction in the number of Prelates had already by anticipation been applied to strictly Ecclesiastical objects, and that they were for the most part used in the division of unions, in the augmentation of smaller livings, in the building of Churches and glebe-houses, and other purposes of a like nature? It would, of course, be recollected that his noble Friend had exempted from taxation for the payment of the debt, which would be liquidated in 1886, livings only under the value of 200l. a-year, while the maximum he had previously fixed at 300l. Many hon. Members then in the House differed from him with respect to that arrangement, and pressed their views upon his noble Friend at the time. The answer which he gave at the time might have been a sufficient answer or it might not, but it was then received by many as a sufficient answer—namely, that the effect of that arrangement, would be to relieve a greater number of incumbents and afford assistance to a greater body of the poorer parochial clergy. They had been told frequently in the course of the present debate, that if they only agreed to the single resolution which had been put forward for their adoption, the war would close,—there would be no more Rathcor-macs,—that peace and quietness would spread themselves through the land; that that abstract resolution of the House of Commons would, all at once, and at a single stroke as it were, allay for ever the heartburnings and animosities, the civil broils and contention which afflicted Ireland from one end to the other. Did not assertions of that nature pass the credibility of any rational being? He well knew how easy it was to gain upon the humane and generous feelings of the English Members of that House; and then he remembered that all which was specious, and captivating, and plausible, lay with his opponents, while 629 nothing but reason, and truth, and justice, could he or his friends call to their aid. When hon. Gentlemen on the other side told the English Members that if they would but agree to the Motion, Ireland would occasion this country no more trouble, that then there would be no more violence and blood,—when hon. Members argued so, he confessed he did feel himself called on to ask them to follow out their reasonings to the legitimate conclusion; it was really not acting a fair or generous part so to deal with the English Members of that House. Had it not been made a main part of the arguments, that there existed a settled resistance to tithes in all parts of Ireland—that the violence, dissension, and ill-will prevailing in that country had been made topics of complaint, as well in the present debate, as they had in all discussions relating to Ireland—a practice with which all old Members had been familiar for the last twenty years, and of which they hail heard and read for the fifty years preceding? There were now two courses open to the House: one was the measure of his Majesty's Government; the other was the Resolution then under discussion. They had been told from the other side of the House—and how hon. Members reconciled it to their consciences he knew not—that unless they passed that abstract Question of Appropriation, nothing else they could agree to would be of any material value. Now he asked the House to bear with him for a moment while he endeavoured to show the gross inconsistency, the almost madness, which characterized the adoption of such a course. The proper way of looking at the question was with reference to its effect upon the present condition of the country. What measure, he put it to the House, was calculated to put a stop to those scenes of violence and outrage the occurrence of which all had so much reason to deplore, the details of which had so excited the indignation and compassion of English Members? Would the adoption of the Resolution have that effect? It was clear, quite clear, it would not. Did it, he begged to ask, hold out to the people of Ireland any immediate reduction—any, even the smallest, alleviation of the burthens under which they laboured? Not the smallest. When would that resolution practically come into operation? Why, nobody proposed; and even at the risk of losing the support of one hon. Gentleman opposite, he must say, that he did not be- 630 lieve the noble Lord who proposed the Resolution had any inclination, and much less, any intention whatever to trench on the rights and payments of existing individuals. Where, then, he begged to ask, was there immediate reduction of Church taxation—where their immediate alleviation of Ecclesiastical burthens? The incumbents were to be told that the same system was to be kept up—that tithes were still to be levied and (the plan of proposed operations includes the rejection of the Government measure with respect to tithes) that they, the Clergy, were still to be brought into collision with the people in the collection of the Church revenues. Why, then, what must be the consequence? Would not the same intimidation, so much condemned—the same outrage so much deprecated—the same bloodshed, so much lamented—would not these, and all the other terrific results of the present tithe system be continued in their full and unmitigated horrors? There was to be no alteration in the circumstances of any one single parish, and yet they were told that the people were to be satisfied, and that the burthens would be removed by the mere adoption of the noble Lord's Resolution. Could it be possible that such an argument had been addressed to any set of rational men? Could it be possible they would attend to it? Some short time ago it, perhaps, would be recollected the right hon. Gentleman, the ex-Secretary for Ireland, proposed that the burthen of tithes should be by degrees thrown on the landlord; and it was contemplated under that measure, had it passed into a law, that at the expiration of five years the transfer should be perfected. Now, what was the indignant exclamation used by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, one of the understood supporters of the noble Lord's present proposition, when that measure was introduced? On the present debate that hon. and learned Member had not as yet given the House the benefit of his deep wisdom and eloquence. Why he had not been pleased so to do, he (Lord Stanley) could not say, nor would he even hazard the suggestion that his silence might originate in the fear of producing some awkward difference of opinion among the present unanimous and well-cemented Opposition. Should he, and of course it was impossible to suppose any earthly consideration would induce him not to do so, lay before them the plain, unvarnished detail of his opinions—[A laugh]—no, he, (Lord Stanley) was not then 631 speaking of anything the hon. and learned Member had said upon the question then under discussion; he was alluding altogether to a speech of the hon. and learned Member's on a former occasion, when, with a view of refuting the doctrine urged by the then Secretry for Ireland, that to throw the burthen of tithes upon the landlord at the expiration of five years, he used a most indignant exclamation, descriptive of its absurdity, and used language somewhat to the following effect:—"The people of Ireland are now determined to be satisfied, and it is vain your attempting to put them off by such paltry legislation as that you now propose. Is not this a fitting time for the Government to throw oil on the troubled waters of political discord? Is any attempt of this kind likely to satisfy the Irish people? No—you do nothing—absolutely nothing. Good God, was there ever such another instance of insanity as to suppose that such a measure as this will tranquillize Ireland. Talk of five years—you might as well talk of a century. The time is come when years reckon as centuries, months as years, weeks as months, days as weeks, hours as days, and minutes as hours. Talk to me of reducing the burthens of the Irish peasanty five years hence. It is nonsense. Talk to me of the millennium, and I will listen to you. You might as well tell me that in the year 2500 of the Christian sera something will be done for Ireland, as tell me that the people are to have no relief for five years." Such was the emphatic, the decided language of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin when the ex-Secretary for Ireland proposed a measure for transferring the burthen of tithes to the land at the expiration of a period of five years. And what was the consistent course the hon. Member was now about to take? Why, he was about to vote in favour of a resolution on the principle that it was to tranquillize Ireland, and give to the Irish people all they wanted, when it could not but be evident to every rational being who bestowed one moment's reflection on the subject, that its principle could only become of some effect, not, perhaps, at so remote a period as the year 2500, but at the nearest, about the year 1886. What had caused the violence, bloodshed, and outrage which, of late years, had so frequently occurred in Ireland? Was it not the interference, the hitherto necessary interference of the clergy in the collection of tithes? Did the resolution proposed alter that system? No. Did it touch 632 one atom of it? No. What a mockery, what an absurd mockery, was it then for hon. Gentlemen opposite to call upon the Government if they wished to give peace to Ireland—if they were sincere—as if there could be a doubt of it—in their professions of anxiety to see the authority of the law there vindicated—to pass the Resolution. He had been taunted with the failure of the Bill he had introduced in 1832—he meant that for transferring the tithe to the land, or rather to the landlord. He was told that Bill had failed, universally failed, throughout Ireland.—Failed!—Why failed? How had it failed? Why, it had not yet come into operation. It could hardly as yet have come into operation. Yet even as it was, it had by this time diminished by one-third the number of tithe-payers in Ireland. It had hardly as yet come into operation, but it was, he was happy to say, working its way both prosperously and satisfactorily, and all that was required to render it constantly effective, was, to call its provisions into immediate use. Of its utility, he was in a situation to speak from his own experience, as one of the landowners of Ireland. Since the period of 1833, he had made himself liable for the tithe of his land. Situated as his land was, in an exclusively Catholic district—living as he did among an exclusively Catholic tenantry—he had seized the earliest opportunity that presented itself of rendering his land liable to the tithes, and the way he had effected that object, was, when granting new leases to impose, above the amount of rent, a sum sufficient to pay the tithe. In one instance a large farm had fallen out of lease, and he would briefly state what the course he pursued on that occasion was, to exemplify the working, he was happy to add the beneficial working, of his measure. In the instance of the farm in question, he found that the land was let for 20s. an acre to the middle man, and for 27s. an acre to the occupying tenant. On the falling-in of the lease, he sent for every one of the occupying tenants who had been on the farm, and intimated that he would in future charge the whole at 22s. an acre; that was allowing 20s. an acre for the land, and 2s. an acre (that was the amount at which it was valued) for the tithe. Nothing could exceed the gratitude which the tenants expressed on being informed that they might obtain their land on such terms, and he (Lord Stanley) expected, as he had every right to expect, the rent he fixed would be 633 cheerfully paid. When, however, the first rent day came round, to his great surprise he was informed by his steward, that they appeared before him in a body, and after telling him they had been informed that the amount of rent for the low land they occupied was but 20s. an acre, and that the remaining 2s. were on account of tithe, they one and all declared, that beyond 20s. an acre they would not pay. Hon. Gentlemen cried, "Hear, hear," as if they regarded this incident as a proof of the determination of the people of Ireland not to pay tithes; but let them, before they came to that decision, hear the result. On his steward's apprising him of the conversation, he at once answered that he knew nothing of tithes in making the arrangement with them—that instead of requiring 27s. an acre for his land, he had demanded but 22s.—that that was the sum agreed upon, and that sum and no other would he consent to receive, leaving, of course to them, the option of paying it or not, as they pleased. What was the result? It was paid without one other word. There was an instance worthy a host of arguments—there was the bursting of the bubble about the Catholic peasantry having to pay tithes to a Church to which they did not belong. He was told by those opposite, hon. Gentlemen talked to him, of the menaced invasion of the Protestant religion by the Catholic population, and of the impossibility of satisfying the Irish people until tithes were abolished, he met them by this single case, and he asked them to refute it if they could. He asked of the English landlords to deal with the question submitted to them on the principles of common sense and sound reasoning; and sure he was, confident he felt, their decision would be consistent with those principles of which he was the humble but zealous advocate. He now came to the Tithe Bill lately introduced by the Government. That Bill held out every prospect of substantial, and of what was still better, of immediate relief. Would the measure which the noble Lord proposed introducing upon his Resolution do so? Me felt inclined to say "No, it will not." But before he came to express a decided opinion upon it, he must have one little question answered. Before they came to a vote, let them be agreed as to what was meant by the term "surplus"—what was the noble Lord's interpretation of it—for what purpose was it to be created, from whence was it to be obtained, and how was it to he collected? He would not 634 then go into the question of the right of Parliament to interfere with Church property; it had been already, during the present debate, most ably discussed by the right hon. the Solicitor-General, and the hon. Gentleman, the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and his (Lord Stanley's) opinions upon it had been already placed before the House. Neither would he enter upon the case of Scotland, which had been brought forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite.—["Hear, hear" and laughter from the Opposition.]—Well, then, as hon. Gentlemen wished him, he would enter upon it.—[Loud Cheers.]—The hon. Gentlemen declared that they were willing to support an Episcopal Establishment in Ireland, and their object was to curtail the Protestant Establishment according to some numerical proportion which they contemplated, but had not yet been good enough to declare. But they did not want to destroy either the Protestant or the Episcopal Establishment in Ireland. Ay! but referring to the case of Scotland, it was said, you tried to impose an Episcopal Establishment on Scotland, and you failed, and, added the learned Civilian, you dare not impose an Episcopal Church on Canada. Well, but as to the latter case, what was the fact? Within certain districts limited by prescribed bounds, the Roman Catholic religion was established in Canada, and it was recognised by us as being so established. We found this district of country Catholic when we took possession of it by right of conquest, and we entered into solemn treaties by virtue of which we were bound within the particular limits to recognize the religion of the majority of the inhabitants as the religion of the state. There we could not introduce a Protestant Episcopal Church under the obligations of our treaty, but in all the rest of Canada, where we were free to act, had we not introduced the Protestant religion, and made a fund in every district for the support of Protestant ministers? In Scotland, the hon. Gentleman said the inhabitants resisted, and resisted successfully, the attempt to impose upon them an Episcopalian Establishment. The hon. and learned Member for Tipperary had been peculiarly eloquent and enthusiastic in his approbation of the course they had pursued, and the moral results they had achieved. Would that the ghost of John Knox could arise, and hear the hon. and learned Gentleman quoting his authority for such an application of the possible surplus from the exigencies of a Pro- 635 testant Church, as the hon. and learned Member evidently contemplated. Or only think what would be the horror of John Knox if he could be again alive and hear the hon. and learned gentleman calling him to aid upon such a question. And now when Gentlemen so fiercely urged this opposition upon the part of Presbyterians to a Protestant Establishment, were they aware that, in the reign of James 1st so little was considered to be the difference between the Presbyterian and the Protestant Minister, that the former was without hesitation inducted, in the north of Ireland, into livings under the control of the Episcopal Church? In Scotland, however, prelacy had been found ungenial to the feelings of the great majority of the population. Ay, and to the majority of those possessing property in the country, and gifted with intelligence. Presbyterianism was the religion of their choice, and by the Act of Union they were established in the full right and exercise of it. And so was it firmly established as the religion of the Scottish people. But as to Ireland, it was altogether different; the religion of the State was by the solemn obligation of treaties to be Protestant. They were not bound as they had been in the cases of Canada and of Scotland: the rant, the wealth, the property, the intelligence of the country was not Roman Catholic. They were not bound by any compact to support a Church separate and distinct from the Protestant Church, as in Canada and in Scotland. There they held it binding beyond all considerations and arguments to maintain, by virtue of the faith of treaties, the Roman Catholic religion in Canada, the Presbyterian in Scotland; but when they found that in Ireland every thing was directly different, were the same arguments, was a parallel process of reasoning to be applied? Instead of having there a Church which was distinct from that of the State, they found a Church which was declared to be one and indivisible with the Church of England which was united to the State. And certainly, before he could consent to dissolve that bond, and do away with that Church, he must hear some sounder arguments than any which had been yet advanced by any of the privileged leaders of the miscellaneous multitude on the other side. He did not mean to say, that the Motion actually went to do away with the Protestant religion and its ministers, and to substitute the Roman Catholic clergy and 636 their religion in its stead; but he held that a proposition for a substitution of this sort would be more consistent with the fair course of Parliamentary and Legislative proceeding, less dangerous and less destructive, than that they should agree to establish those nice religious proportions which had been adverted to, and be compelled to determine upon the affirmative or the negative of Protestant worship in a parish by the number of souls who might happen at the moment to avail themselves of the ministry. He would next beg to ask them what was the surplus they had in view, and how they proposed to deal with it? Did they intend to impose an additional and doubtful taxation, or did they propose to act upon fixed principles? Was the surplus they talked of to arise after they had to the full extent provided for the wants of the clergy? If so, he took no thought of it; it was a matter for the consideration of his grandson. It was a question for the year 1900; 1835 need take no cognizance of it. There was no positive necessity that they should now build a wall, and at the same time volunteer to knock their own heads against it. Taking it at the worst, it was an enterprise which should be left to their posterity. But looking at this surplus in another light, if it were to be acquired by the suppression of certain benefices, the injury of others, and the weakening of the whole Church Establishment, he should not shrink from designating it as dangerous and ruinous. So far from a measure founded on such principles producing anything like the pacification of Ireland, it would lead to an increase of feuds and bloodshed, and would obstruct and most materially affect and distract the whole course of Government for centuries to come. His right hon. Friend was anxious to proportion the revenues of the clergy to duties which they had actually to perform. This was for Ireland. But let this be once granted, why should not the principle be extended to England? Why should not the whole Church-property be thrown into a common fund, and the revenues doled forth in proportion—a proportion which they should fix to the fluctuating exigencies of the Establishment. Did they pretend to lay down any fixed rules? If he could find any intelligible principle applied to the doctrines which they had indicated, he would be content. Surely his right hon. Friend, when arguing for the suppression of benefices never so eagerly, must admit that even in parishes where the Catholic population most prevailed, it was no small 637 advantage to have in the person of the clergyman a resident Protestant Gentleman. Hon. Gentlemen cried "No, no;'' he could not understand the meaning of the cry. He could not conceive how any person could he hold enough to deny the fact, that a gentleman of education, residing in a remote and uncultivated parish, must, independent altogether of his clerical functions, he a source of advantage to the inhabitants. Nobody can deny, that the Protestant clergy in Ireland have liberally and indiscriminately, so far as religion was concerned, distributed, according to their means, their benefactions among all classes of the people. All he wanted of the hon. Gentleman was, that they should announce some fixed principle—that they should declare their limit. Let the House have something precise and intelligible on which they could proceed. He would quote them a passage from the work of a recent traveller in Ireland, who was, he believed, impartial—from the work of Mr. Inglis, in which it was stated, that in all cases in which Protestant Churches had been established in parishes with zealous ministers, the result had been that a congregation was speedily created, and that it was a matter of regret that the Protestant religion was not by its preachers more extensively disseminated throughout the country. He would also remind the House of the authority of Mr. Leader, lately member for Kilkenny, who was by no means a bigoted Protestant, and who had stated that he had been instrumental in establishing churches in places wherein it was supposed there was scarcely a Protestant to be found, and that, nevertheless, when they were once established, there was no lack of a congregation. There was still a stronger case—that of Cahirseveen—Mr. O'Connell's own place. Formerly there had been a curate there upon a small stipend, and the duties were negligently performed; but, upon a new appointment, a great change had taken place. He would state that which he was about to state on the authority of a gentleman. [Mr. Maurice O'Connell—name!] He was not at liberty to name; but he pledged himself the authority was unimpeachable. In the olden time, public worship had been all but discontinued, but on the appointment of a new rector to the parish, who came to this place, and who was young, active, and zealous, and who, above all, was a man of good nerves, which in such a district was especially necessary for a Protestant clergyman, a congregation of seventy Protestants 638 was speedily gathered together in a place where it was supposed hardly a Protestant could exist, and this in the very neighbourhood, nay, at the very door of the house of the lion, and learned Member for Dublin—he meant at the very door of Derrynane Abbey. He protested against the argument which would tend to proscribe a Church Establishment in a particular district because only a few persons, estimating them numerically, were attached to it. See what inducement it would hold out to the multitudes of Roman Catholics to drive out from amongst them the few Protestants there residing against whom they could exercise their power. On the other hand, see the temptation which would be held out to the conscientious Protestant landholder who wished to have a congenial place of worship on his estate to labour anxiously to establish around him a Protestant tenantry. The abstract principle under which the hon. Gentlemen opposite shielded themselves was too dangerous. The resolution was utterly vague and worthless. Its only advantage was in its vagueness, that it might be understood by the hon. Members opposite in any way or to any degree that their consciences might permit, their wills direct, or their fancies intimate. Some hon. Members looked to a correction of what they considered to be abuses in the distribution of Church-property; some panted for a positive confiscation. That House was called upon without waiting for information, (which he wanted not, but which many might perhaps want)—without knowing what his noble Friend's Bill was—for he took it for granted, his noble Friend had a Bill prepared, without any explication of the mystic phrases of a resolution, which were only remarkable for their oracular ambiguity, an ambiguity which permitted men, with feelings the most adverse, to support the Motion—men who could not, if their lot should happen to be cast together, unite in carrying on the affairs of Government for one single week, without anything which could satisfy them as to the safety or expediency of the course to which they were invited—that House, he repeated, was called on by his noble Friend to affirm a proposition and assent to a principle which he considered to be fraught with the most deplorable elements of mischief. His Friend, the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Nottingham, (Sir J. Hob-house), in throwing his sarcasms about the other night, had, amongst the rest, observed that it would be easy from the ranks of the hon. Gentlemen opposite to form three or 639 four such Governments as the present. Well, suppose this true, and he doubted it not—but the difficulty was, not to form three Governments, but to form one: and most certain was he that each and all of these sections capable of governing or capable of giving forth a government, would be in bitterest opposition one to another before the termination of a single week, an opposition far more sincerely intense and vehement than any which had been yet exercised against the present Administration. How were they to deal with the various leaders who had severally stood in the van of their discordant array? The hon. Member for St. Alban's, for example, suppose this resolution carried, would doubtless hold a prominent situation in the new Ministry. His noble Friend could not do less than give the hon. Gentleman some high situation—the man who originally proposed this great question, and who had succeeded his noble Friend on the present auspicious occasion. He would ask that hon. Member would he be contented to go no further? Would the dry bones of this abstract resolution satisfy? He should think not. What then would be the result of their first cabinet? But pass that over; suppose it most satisfactory and harmonious, still some of the hon. Leaders opposite must be excluded from this Government. They might all say, we have carried our measure—by the way they had not carried it yet, but suppose it carried with the perfect consent of the Commonsand of the Lords, but he forgot, with their Lordships his noble Friend did not find it convenient to communicate. Suppose it carried, and, under all these circumstances—monstrous supposition!—suppose Ireland at peace—would not there be even then some nice questions to be settled amongst the hon. Members? Might it not be that the right hon. Gentleman, late Secretary for Ireland, should perhaps be excluded from the new Government, and then might he not come forward and say, "Oh, this resolution is not at all what I meant; this is only an instalment; I shall want the whole; I spoke of the Church Establishment as a disease, and I shall not be easy until this corrupting disease has been totally eradicated, completely excised." We did certainly put it on the question of education, by uniting it with which we carried it, but now we shall bring on the Question once again in the teeth of the Government, and we shall not be satisfied unless half the property of the Protestant Church be given to the Catholic clergy. The excellence of this 640 resolution was, that nobody could be bound by it. Would the hon. Member for St. Alban's say that he considered it a final measure? Would that hon. Member say that he would not assist in urging on the principle still further? He would not. Well then if not, as to the majority on the other side, ex confesso, they were only at the commencement of it. He called then on the House in the name of common sense, first, to see how the measure recommended to them could be carried into effect, and secondly, whether, supposing it could be practically carried into effect, to examine the probability of its being safely brought into execution upon the principle propounded. If they were not satisfied on this point, he asked them if it would not be well to consider whether they were not now tempted to engage themselves in that Serbonian bog which had been alluded to, in which the farther they pressed the deeper they would plunge, until at length the rights of the Established Church would be engulphed together with the safety, peace, and prosperity of the country.
§ The debate was again adjourned.