HC Deb 29 July 1835 vol 29 cc1201-27

The House went into a Committee on the 3rd and 4th William 4th, cap. 100, sec. 19.

Viscount Morpeth

said, he had three Resolutions to propose, which he should then merely put into the hands of the Chairman, in the hope that the House would consent to take the discussion on them, when the Clauses which were to be founded on them came to be inserted. The noble Lord moved the first Resolution as follows:—"That advances be made out of the Consolidated Fund to defray the expenses incurred in the revision of the Tithe Composition; such advances to be repaid out of the rent-charges to be received by the Commissioners."

Mr. Hume

wished to know in what way the money was to be repaid. He trusted that the noble Lord did not mean to call upon the people of England to pay for the support of the Irish Church. As an Irishman, he might, indeed, say to England—if you will maintain an Irish Church against our will you ought to pay for it. But, as an English Member, he hoped the noble Lord would explain how the money to be advanced was to be repaid. Surely the Commons of England, at this time of day, knowing the situation of the Church in Ireland, would not quietly pay a million of money to support what they considered to be a grievous abuse in that country.

Viscount Morpeth

said, the money would be repaid under the provisions of the Bill which had just passed through a Committee. It was provided, that it should be repaid out of the amount of the rent-charges, and out of the money to accrue under the Bill from suspended benefices.

Mr. Charles Barclay

was not at all surprised that this proposition should be made. Had Ministers proposed, by a separate measure, a grant of 50,000l. a-year for the purpose of promoting general education in Ireland, they would have had his vote, as they had for the vote of 35,000l. the other night for a similar purpose. He would willingly grant 100,000l. a-year for such an object; but he could not allow these Resolutions to pass without protesting against the principle of the Bill altogether. It had been observed to him that there was no occasion for his opposing the Bill, as it provided for certain purposes which could never be effected; but his answer was, that if the Bill passed they might depend upon it a surplus would soon be found. He had no doubt, if the Bill passed, that, in the course of next Session, an additional grant would be taken from the people of England and Scotland to promote what was called general education in Ireland.

First Resolution agreed to.

The second Resolution was moved as follows:"Provided that the instalments in repayment of any money advanced under an Act of 3rd and 4th William 4th, cap. 100, sec. 19, for the relief of owners of tithes in Ireland, be remitted or repaid, and that the remainder of the Exchequer bills, authorised under said Act to be issued, shall be applied to such purposes as may be authorised by an Act of the present Session of Parliament, for the better regulation of ecclesiastical revenues in Ireland."

Mr. Hume

wished to be informed who were the parties to benefit by this advance. It was understood that individuals, both lay and clerical, had taken out of the grant advances to the amount of about 600,000l. in part payment of the arrears due to them for tithes. Now, he should be glad to know who were to be gainers by this advance, and the remission of the repayment. Was it to be the clergy, the lay-proprietors, the tenants who had obeyed the law and paid their tithes, or those who had disobeyed the laws and refused those payments?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was understood to say, that the amount which had been received in payment of the arrears was very small—about 250l.

Mr. Potter

objected to making the funds of the United Kingdom liable to the payment for the Clergy of Ireland. He, as a dissenter, could not consent to vote one penny for the Church of Ireland. That Church was to be supported by the land—tithes were paid by the land, and, therefore, the landlords of Ireland ought to pay all that was due to the clergy.

Mr. James Grattan

said, that the landlords of Ireland had had no concern whatever with the 1,000,000l. to which the hon. and learned Member for Southwark had alluded, and he at once protested against the doctrine that they ought to be made responsible for its repayment. For his own part, however, he was not unwilling to pay his share of the million, if Parliament would in return give a good Tithe Bill to his unfortunate country.

Mr. Harvey

had given notice to move the insertion of a proviso, but he had since altered the terms of it; he hoped, however, that he should not be precluded on that account from bringing it forward. The proviso he intended to move was, "that in every case where arrears of tithe for all or any of the years 1831, 1832, 1833, and 1834, remained due, there should be added to the rent-charge, proposed to be raised on the land from which those arrears were due, a further permanent rent-charge at the rate of 4 per cent. on the amount of the money advanced with respect to such arrears of tithe due from such lands; the produce of such additional rent-charge to be payable to the consolidated fund, in order to provide for the additional money that may be advanced, or be necessary to be advanced, to the owners of such tithes in arrear."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that by allowing the Resolutions now to pass, the hon. and learned Gentleman would not be precluded from bringing forward his Motion hereafter.

Mr. Harvey

would move it on Friday.

Mr. Dominick Browne

wished to remind the House that this 1,000,000l., and, also, a further sum of 168,000., in the shape of interest upon it, belonging to the people of England, had been thrown away for the sake of keeping the people of Ireland out of their rights. It had been thrown away by the late and by the present Ministry to conciliate the prejudices of some persons in England. Now, the people of Ireland would have no objection to repay that million, and pay the 30 per cent., which was in future to be taken off the amount of tithes, provided the people of England would abandon their prejudices respecting the purposes to which it was appropriated; for the objection of the people of Ireland was not the present amount of tithes, but to the purposes to which the tithes were at present appropriated.

Mr. Hume

wished to be informed what would be the use of making any such compromise as that which hon. Members had proposed, if this Bill were certain, as they had just been told, to be rejected in another place? The Government might depend upon it that half-measures would not do. The country had already lost a million in this attempt to conciliate and compromise, and was still as far from a settlement as ever. He would have no objection to throw away such a sum of money, if peace were likely to result from throwing it away; because he knew that, with peace established on a firm basis in Ireland, he could save a million in a year, by the reductions which he should be enabled to make in the army now garrisoned in that country. He was glad, however, that they were to have another opportunity of discussing this particular question. In the meanwhile let Ministers make up their minds as to the manner in which they would act. He should recommend them to make this Bill as perfect as possible—to send it up to the Lords in that shape, and to let the Lords throw it out if they dared. If, as they had been told by the noble Member for North Lancashire, it was determined elsewhere that this Bill should not pass, let Ministers be prepared to do their duty, and to speak out manfully to the people of the united empire. Let them see whether the Commons of England will submit to have misrule continued, and peace denied interminably to the people of Ireland. Looking at what was then going on, he would recommend the Ministers, if measures were taken to destroy this Bill or any other Bill in another place, by the exhausting process of delay, to let the business of that House proceed regularly as before, and then, as soon as that business was completed, to adjourn the sittings of the Commons till the Lords had weaned out their own patience by the delays which they had themselves originated. Yes; he recommended the Ministers to adjourn the sit- tings of that House while their Lordships were taking measures to defeat by delay either this Bill or the Municipal Corporations Bill, both of which had met the approbation of the Commons of England. The people were determined to have Municipal Reform—so were their representatives. Backed, then, as Ministers were by a majority in that House, and backed as they were by a still larger majority out of that House, they would desert their duty to the people if they gave up either of the two great measures which had that Session obtained the sanction of the House of Commons. He hoped that Ministers would act like men, and not be frightened by shadows.

Mr. Finch

complained that the hon. Member for Middlesex had mixed together two questions which were quite distinct from each other—he meant the Municipal Corporations' Bill and the Church of Ireland Bill. The people of England were certainly not prepared to go the lengths which the hon. Member for Middlesex described; and he believed on the next appeal made to that people that the hon. Member would find that the constituency of Middlesex would not be inclined to support him any longer.

Mr. Phillip Howard

was induced to coincide with the hon. Member for Middlesex, who had not attacked the privileges of the other House. If those privileges were used to obstruct the public welfare, his hon. Friend thought they would be destroyed.

Mr. Hume

meant, that, if in another place, all salutary reforms were to be thwarted and thrown out, and if the public money were to be squandered and the public peace destroyed, without any attention to the claims of either reason or justice, it was high time to consider for what purposes the privileges of the two Houses of Parliament were granted. It was, therefore, for Ministers to consider and to act. How far the hon. Member might be correct in the opinions which he attributed to the people of England it was not for him to say. This, however, he would declare, that he did not believe that the hon. Member's version of the opinions of the people of England was correct. If the constituency of Middlesex disapproved of the opinions which he had expressed, either on that night or on any former occasion, they would act wrongly if they did not turn him out. He had no objection to that appeal which the hon. Member said would be made to the people. The sooner the better, said he. The appeal which had recently been made to the people by the right hon. Friends of the hon. Member had produced a very different result from that which they had anticipated. If the hon. Member meant by his appeal a general election, he entertained the greatest confidence that the people would then show the hon. Member that they were determined not to allow those abominations to go on any longer, which seemed so dear to hon. Gentlemen on the other side. Let those who were for supporting abuses, and for refusing all terms of compromise at present, consider what terms they were likely to get if this Bill should be rejected, and it should become necessary to introduce another in a new Parliament.

Mr. Goulburn

rose to Order. The hon. Member for Middlesex had no right to impute to his hon. Friend that he was a supporter of abuses.

Mr. Hume

I accused no man of motives. I said that abominations and abuses existed, but I attributed no motives to any man. The right hon. Gentleman should know me well enough, to know that it is not my practice to attribute motives. I said the other night that he supported what I considered to be abuses; but I added, at the same time, what I believed,—namely, that he was most conscientious in supporting them, not as abuses, out as safeguards of the Establishment. Nothing has fallen from me this night which justifies him in stating that I have imputed improper motives to any man.

Resolution agreed to. On the next Resolution that 50,000l. should be annually paid out of the Consolidated Fund to the Board of National Education in Ireland from and after the 1st of April, 1836,

Mr. Goulburn

returned his thanks to the noble Lord for the alteration which he had made in this Bill by the introduction of the present Clause. In the unanswerable speech which his right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth had made on a former night, he had proved to demonstration that there could be no surplus to appropriate to the purposes of education, after the revenues of the Church of Ireland were reduced as this Bill proposed to reduce them, and the other purposes of the Bill were accomplished. Of that speech the present Clause was strong con- firmation, for it clearly anticipated that there would be no surplus. If it did not, why was it introduced at all? Up to the present time Parliament had been accustomed to vote annually all the grants of money which was destined for purposes of education in Ireland. But now Parliament was called upon to enact at once the payment of 50,000l. annually, for some years to come, thus depriving itself of the power of controlling the sum voted, or of altering the arrangements to the support of which it was appropriated. He contended that the plan of the noble Lord was nothing else than a direct sacrifice of the interests of the Established Church in Ireland. For what was the noble Lord's arrangement? To sacrifice the revenues of 860 parishes in Ireland to obtain a fund for the repayment of this sum of 50,000l. The result of confiscating the revenues of so many parishes would be to place 58,000l. a-year in the hands of Government. But was the whole of that sum applicable to the purposes of this Bill? No; the noble Lord had saddled it with the support of so many other purposes, that he would find himself in debt upon his Reserve Fund, as he had found himself in debt for other purpose supon his Perpetuity Fund. What were the charges which the noble Lord must satisfy before he could avail himself of his Reserve Fund? Here was one, which in itself was a pretty large charge. In cases where the benefices were in the gift of lay patrons, the noble Lord must purchase that lay patron's interest in the advowson. The income of the livings in the gift of lay patrons amounted to 15,000l., and this must be bought up out of the Reserve Fund before it could be serviceable to any other purposes. Now, these advowsons must be worth at least ten years' purchase, and therefore would cost 150,000l. This sum must be provided for before they could provide for anything else. Then a sum of money must be paid to buy up glebe-houses. Add to that the sum necessary for the stipends of curates in benefices, and the other charges which must fall upon the Fund, and then where was the surplus to be found to repay the charge put upon the Consolidated Fund by this Clause? He had said on a former night, that he would not take any part in amending this Bill, but this Clause was such an improvement to it, that he had been induced to reconsider his resolution. The noble Lord now, in point of fact, admitting that there would be no surplus under the Bill, asked the Legislature to apply 50,000l. a-year to the purposes of education, in order to meet the disappointment that would be otherwise felt by the people of Ireland, at the result of the measure.

Lord John Russell

thought that the anger shown by the right hon. Gentleman was not because his argument had been confirmed, which ought to please and satisfy him, but because one of the arguments on which he and his friends relied was taken away by this provision. Gentlemen on the other side said, "Your pretence of having a Reserve Fund, as the incumbents of livings which are to be sequestered die off, instils into the people a notion that the benefits of education are contingent on the death of certain individuals; and is, in fact, an encouragement to the assassination of Protestant Clergymen—a bonus upon their murder throughout Ireland." Such was the arguments of Gentlemen opposite against the Bill, but this argument was entirely destroyed when the House of Commons said, that a sum should be given from the Consolidated Fund for the purposes of education, and that the monies which fell in yearly from vacated and sequestered benefices should go to repay these advances made out of the Consolidated Fund. Now, whatever might be the enthusiasm of the Irish people in the cause of education, it could scarcely be supposed, even by Gentlemen opposite, that they would be such enthusiastic supporters of the Consolidated Fund as to put clergymen to death in order to repay its advances speedily. He did not wonder that the right hon. Gentleman should be a little sore when he found those favourite predictions of desolation and murder (which answered so well for making beautiful perorations and rounding sentences) completely done away with by the resolution in the hands of the Chairman. But the right hon. Gentleman, who at the same time admitted the sincerity of his noble Friend in making the proposition, said, "This comes of your conviction that there will be no surplus." Now in reply to this he must observe, that one part of the right hon. Gentleman's remark answered the other, for he admitted his noble Friend's sincerity, and certainly, if his noble Friend made the proposal, believing that there would be no surplus, he would not have been sincere in his plan, considering the terms in which it had been brought forward. He contended that his noble Friend was correct in assuming that there would be a surplus, out of which to repay the advances from the Consolidated Fund. As far as the calculations he had seen could be relied on, it appeared that the sum arising out of suspended livings would amount to 86,000l. a-year, on which sum there were immediate charges to the extent of about 28,000l. leaving a yearly surplus of 58,000l. On the one side a sum must be allotted for the purchase of advowsons, and on the other might be reckoned monies arising from the reduction of benefices of 600l. or 700l. a-year, with but small duties to be performed; so that he thought it not extravagant to say, that 50,000l. or 00,000l. a-year might be expected to accrue to the Reserved Fund. Certainly as had been remarked, there were advowsons to be paid for, but supposing the price to be calculated at ten years' purchase, it ought not to be forgotten that the whole of those incomes would be paid in perpetuity to the Reserve Fund. He thought, on the whole, that this was a fair proposition; he did not pretend to call it a wonderful improvement, to insinuate that it effected any change in the main provisions of the Bill, or that it would alter materially what might otherwise have been expected to take place as the practical result of the measure; but it must be admitted, that the resolution removed one of the objections which Gentlemen opposite seemed to rely on—an objection, however, that had no other foundation than their own exaggerated and fanciful apprehensions.

Mr. Goulburn

thought it rather extraordinary that the noble Lord should be willing to pay 50,000l. a-year out of the Consolidated Fund to obviate an exaggerated and fanciful apprehension that Irish clergymen might be murdered in consequence of the provisions of his Bill.

Sir Henry Hardinge

certainly understood the noble Lord to say the other night that he should introduce this Clause to prevent the "disastrous consequences" that, might otherwise follow. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had last year distinctly referred to the possibility of similar "disastrous consequences" ensuing from a numerical statement of the Irish Protestants. Though he did not dispute the propriety of a grant for purposes of education, he denied that the security for its repayment was an honest or bonâ fide one. He thought the noble Lord must be himself aware that there could be no surplus, consequently that the Consolidated Fund would never receive back a farthing of the advances.

Viscount Morpeth

was prepared to contend that, if the Bill passed into a law in its present shape, there would be a large surplus. He had expressly guarded himself against the supposition that he brought forward the resolution through an apprehension that Protestants would be massacred if such a provision were not made. He only observed that such an inference had been erroneously drawn, and one of the reasons which induced him to suppose it had, was to be found in the speech made by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman on the night when he introduced the Bill.

Mr. Twiss

said, that it appeared it was because disastrous consequences were dreaded from the measure that Ministers now asked for the present grant out of the Consolidated Fund. He did not think it fair that Ministers, on the mere supposition of a surplus, should ask for 50,000l., to be repaid out of such estimated surplus. Ministers, in arguing the right of appropriation, took a high ground, and said that unless the surplus was large they would not claim the right to appropriate it. Was the House fairly treated on this point? Was there no doubt as to this surplus, and did not upwards of 300 Members, by their vote the other night, show that they had their doubts respecting its existence? If there was any truth in figures a surplus could not arise, at least for a very considerable period of time. If the noble Lord, in a straightforward way, proposed a grant for the education or for the maintenance of the religion of the majority of the people of Ireland he would not oppose it. He was anxious for the welfare of the Established Church in that Country, and at the same time he did not wish to see 6,000,000 of people without the means of moral and religious instruction merely because they differed from the minority of the population, who professed the doctrines of the religion of the State. But it was too hard that funds for that purpose should be taken exclusively from the property of that Church to which those persons, for whose benefit they were intended, did not belong. The Established Church should not exclusively supply those funds; they ought to be supplied by the common property of the whole realm. He considered that the measure was one either of spoliation or delusion, and as such he could not consent to it.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that it seemed to the hon. and learned Gentleman who had last spoke that the case of a surplus was not sufficiently argued. On that point he begged to refer the hon. and learned member to the speech of his noble Friend (Lord John Russell), delivered at the close of the protracted debate on the Bill the other night, when his noble Friend went fully into the figures and facts of a surplus. If the facts there stated were true, a surplus did exist. The hon. and learned Member need not be afraid that the people of England would object to this vote of 50,000l. a-year for the education of the people of Ireland, for the people of England would not have to pay it. If the House had the sums that had been wasted on Protestant charter schools in Ireland they would hear nothing now of the present vote, for it would not be wanted. He held an account in his hand, by which it appeared that two of those establishments, the Protestant Charter School and the Foundling Hospital, in Dublin, cost, up to 1829, before the Administration was polluted by Whig Members, no less a sum than 1,510,000l. This sum was paid out of the taxation of England and Ireland. All Gentlemen on both sides of the House were agreed on the necessity of providing for the education of the people of Ireland. He doubted if the hon. and learned Gentleman knew anything of the surplus they had to deal with. Until the avoidance of benefices there could arise no surplus. By degrees there would be avoidances of livings, and then there must be a surplus. There was no inconsistency in beginning by applying to Parliament for this grant, as there would be a surplus to repay it. They might have created a surplus already, but they respected vested rights, and all he asked was, that Parliament should do now permanently what it already did from year to year.

Mr. Pringle

complained that the House was taken by surprise, and he said that they ought not to consent to the grant. He was not opposed to the education of the people of Ireland, but the present system was calculated to plunge them in still greater ignorance and superstition.

Mr. Pease

said, the sum now annually allowed was, he believed, 36,000l., and he was willing to allow 15,000l. more, if it were applied to a judicious system of education in Ireland.

Mr. Shaw

had a great objection to the principle of numbering the Protestants in the parishes in Ireland. He had letters to prove that threatening notices were served on Protestants to induce them to avow themselves Catholics. He believed with the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) that the measure would lead to disastrous consequences, and to murder. The present Bill was telling the people of Ireland that the Protestant religion was to cease in those parishes where there were not fifty Protestants. He did not object to the grant of 50,000l. if it were properly applied; but he thought it would be applied to other purposes than those of education. It would be a tax on the people of England, as there never would be a surplus to repay it.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

said, that the Protestant religion would not be extinguished in parishes where there were not fifty Protestants. He was surprised that the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Shaw) should now consent to a grant of 50,000l. for educating the people of Ireland, as he remembered having heard the hon. and learned Member on a former occasion say that there was no necessity at all for such a grant, and that in Ireland they were obliged to beat up for people to partake of its benefits. Ministers had always admitted that there was no surplus at the present moment, but his noble Friend had, he thought, shown that if the revenues of the Church were properly managed there would be more than sufficient for the maintenance of the Establishment, and what his noble Friend asked was, that they should allow this surplus, whatever it might be, to be applied in the furtherance of national education. What they were called upon to do was to vote an advance of money for the purpose of education, and those who thought that this money never would be repaid certainly ought, he was free to admit, to oppose the present resolution.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

was willing to admit to the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that the intention of the Government was not to banish Protest- antism altogether from 860 parishes in Ireland; neither did his hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw) say that this Bill professed to have any such object in view. What his right hon. Friend said was, and in so far he agreed with him, that though the measure professed to be for the benefit of the Established Church, the practical result of its operation would be to diminish, if not to banish, Protestantism altogether from Ireland. It had been demonstrated in the most clear and convincing manner possible, not only that there was no surplus, but that none would be produced by the operation of this Bill; and no one who had heard the able statement of his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, could help being satisfied that the idea of a surplus existing, either at present or hereafter was nothing more nor less than a gross delusion. This, however, was not a question of surplus, but an educational discussion, and the subject on which they were called upon to vote was, whether they should grant 50,000l. next year, and so on year after year, to be applied to the education of the Irish people according to a particular system. Now he must say, that he was, and always had been, the advocate of education for the people of Ireland upon a liberal scale, but he could not at the same time avoid expressing it as his opinion that the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had travelled out of his way in the comparison which he had drawn between the system now in use and the Protestant charter schools. There was no analogy whatever between the two cases. It was not because the charter schools were founded on a mistaken policy—and he would not attempt to deny that the fact was so—that they were now to vote 50,000l. for an experiment which, if it did not altogether fail, might be just as objectionable. He boldly affirmed that the present system of education in Ireland, so far from being an united national system, was neither more nor less than a Roman Catholic system of education;—and in referring to the Report of the Commissioners on this subject, what did he find? Why, that only 140 Protestant clergymen throughout the whole of Ireland had applied for assistance from the fund at the disposal of the Board, while it was entirely silent as to the number of Roman Catholic clergymen who had re-received it. It was not stated in this Report how many Protestant applications had been complied with—whether ten or one; and this he could not help saying, was a highly culpable omission. For his part he did not feel the least surprise at the smallness of the number of the Protestants who had applied for a participation in these funds, when he knew that the schools of the Board were kept either contiguous to the Roman Catholic chapels or within the walls of the nunneries. Such places were unsuitable for schools in which Protestant children were to receive instruction; and yet, with this fact before them, they were told that it was a system of united national education. It was idle to expect that Protestant parents would allow their children to go to schools in which they were surrounded by all the paraphernalia of Catholicism; nor could it be supposed that the nuns would abstain from inculcating their own religious feelings into the minds of such Protestants as might be placed under them for tuition. He had seen the crucifix raised over a great many of these schools. ["No, no!" Hon. Members opposite meant to deny his assertion, but he maintained that the fact was as he had stated it to be. Not only were the insignia of Catholicism displayed in these schools, but in some of them that he had visited the books sanctioned by the Board were nowhere to be seen, while Roman Catholic catechisms and other Roman Catholic books were everywhere visible. This he thought was not only wrong, but a violation of the rules of the Board, and such abuses ought not to be sanctioned by any Protestant Government. While, however, an experiment was carrying on, he thought it unreasonable to call on the House for such a sum as 50,000l. for the purpose of united national education; and he must say, that the principle of proportion, on which this Bill was based, was the most vicious and pernicious principle that could have been adopted. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might cheer if they pleased, but he denied that the Established Church, whether in Ireland or of any ether country, ought to depend on numbers. Notwithstanding that renewed cheer, he asserted that where there were ten or even five Protestants in a parish, they were as well entitled to the ordinances of their religion as any larger number would be. What man, he should like to know, would be daring enough to set a value on the salva- tion of even a single soul: and if that were not done, had he not a right to contend that even five Protestants, supposing there were only five in a parish, were as much entitled to the benefit of the spiritual consolation and instruction of their religion as any other number that could be named? The principle of applying the surplus revenues of the Church, taking it for granted that the existence of a surplus could be shown, to other than Ecclesiastical purposes, was pernicious and unjust; that it would work nothing but mischief; and that the disastrous consequences which had entered into the contemplation of the noble Lord, and which he was so anxious to guard against, must follow the adoption of any scheme founded on the principle of proportion on which this measure proceeded. To what other result could such a principle lead, but that of endangering the lives of those Protestants who might be scattered thinly amongst the Roman Catholic population? It would operate as a sort of bounty to the Roman Catholics to act uncharitably and unkindly towards persons of other persuasions; and, although he would not yield to any hon. Member opposite in sincere love and affection for his fellow-countrymen, although he was as anxious as any one to extol the favourable traits of their character, he still could not shut his eyes to their faults. If they possessed many points that were excellent, they also, he was sorry to say, had their blemishes; and no person, at all acquainted with the Irish character, could deny that, though easily led to good, they were still more easily, when worked up by designing and interested parties, incited to evil. It was not dealing fairly by the Irish people, who, he regretted to say, were reckless of human life—who regarded neither their own lives nor those of others. ["No, no."] What! did hon. Members mean to deny that homicides were frequent in Ireland? Why, it was only very recently that a fight occurred at a fair without being provoked by either religious or political animosity, and that sixteen lives were sacrificed. It was clear, then, that they set no value on human life. With all his affection for his countrymen, he could not be blind to the blemishes in their character; and, therefore, he asserted that it was not acting fairly by them to adopt a principle calculated rather to increase than to diminish their dislike of Protestants.

Viscount Morpeth

observed, that hon. Gentlemen opposite, one after the other, continued to repeat that there would be no surplus, he must, therefore, trouble the House with once more stating the grounds why he entertained the opinion he had adopted, although by so doing he might run the risk of causing fatigue. From the benefices or parishes which, under the operation of this Bill, would have no new incumbents appointed to them after the next vacancy in each, after deducting-thirty per cent., he found there would arise 82,327l. a-year to be paid to the Commissioners. After deducting the expenses which would fall on this fund, and which were made chargeable on it by this Bill, including the interest of the money to be raised to compensate the owners of the advowsons, there would remain about 50,000l. a-year to be devoted to the purposes of education. This amount did not include the sum that would be derived from the operation of the Clauses which allowed the income of rich benefices in certain cases to be reduced to 300l. a-year. He had never made any allowance for what might be derived from this source, but he had no doubt that the amount would not be inconsiderable. With regard to the present system of education, he wished to say a few words. He wished that he had brought down with him some letters he had received from persons in Ireland, contradicting statements made in that House respecting some of the schools under the new system. One of these was from the master of the school, of which it was alleged that the scholars attending it were compelled to attend mass both evening and morning. This person denied that there was a word of truth in the statement, or that any Protestant child was ever called upon to attend the Catholic place of worship. It had been said, that the number of Protestant clergymen who had applied to the new Board of Education did not exceed 140. Now, he believed that, if proper inquiry were made, it would be found that the number of both Catholic and Protestant clergymen who had made application to the new Board of Education was pretty equal, allowing, of course, for the different amount of the numbers of the members of the two religions. The hon. Gentleman had said, that the number of Protestants in a parish had nothing to do with the question of the Establishment. He (Lord Morpeth) did not know what taunts he might bring on himself if he stated that he entertained an opposite opinion. He was quite at a loss to conceive the utility of keeping up an expensive establishment for the religious instruction of persons who did not exist in many parishes. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that they ought to provide religious instruction for even five members of the Establishment in a parish. Had the Bill made no provision for such purpose? It had been said, that the salvation of five souls was of infinitely more importance than the obtaining this surplus of 50,000l. a-year. He (Lord Morpeth) agreed that the value of a human soul was far beyond any human estimate or any expense that could be incurred; but, he would recommend those who had urged this, to consider the value of the souls of the millions in Ireland who were now neglected, and had not the adequate means of instruction.

Mr. O'Connell

remarked, that the disclosure of bad principles sometimes led to good. The right hon. Member for the University of Dublin had that night given them a specimen of his liberality of feeling—he seemed actuated with such zeal as to amount almost to spiritual ferocity. The hon. Member seemed to be actuated by the feeling that he was alone infallible, and that the law which he laid down must be right. He was glad that the hon. and learned Member for Bandon had at last shown himself up. Perhaps the House was not aware that the hon. and learned Gentleman had been secretary to the Kildare-street society for twenty-five years. He was the man to whom the superintendance of the education of the people had been intrusted. Could they be surprised that the people of Ireland were dissatisfied with the system of education afforded in the Kildare-street Society Schools, after what had fallen that night from the hon. Member. He had told them—and had been cheered by those behind him when he did so—that children had been educated within the walls of a convent. The hon. and learned Gentleman did not say whether or not there were any Protestant children in the number. What was the use, he would ask, of keeping up a church in a parish in which there were no Protestants? Were they to maintain a church for abstract Protestants? If there was not a single Protestant in a parish, what was the use of keeping up a church and paying a clergyman? Was it that the atmosphere might be improved by the savour of Protestantism? He would ask the late secretary of the Kildare-street society at once, where was the Protestantism where there were no Protestants? But were the souls of Catholics of less value than those of Protestants? The hon. and learned Gentleman would make the 9,000 Catholic inhabitants of some parishes pay largely for the support of a Protestant clergyman, and the maintenance of a church for the religious instruction of five Protestants. Were not the Catholics equally entitled to the means of instruction as the Protestants? Was redemption to be counted in money? Was it a part of the Divine operation, not to think it charity to inculcate the feeling of benevolence on the part of the five to the 9,000? "But you only think of money," said the hon. and learned Gentleman. If that be your religion, avow it, and then we understand it; and I say, we want not your cant or hypocrisy; but tell us that you battle for money—for pounds, shillings, and pence. Is that your religion? If it be, say so. If, indeed, you have Protestant feelings, you will rejoice to take away the tarnish upon your religion." Great alarm had been expressed at the idea of a number of children being educated at a school-room in a convent. What harm was there in the school-room being within the walls of a convent? It was an absurdity to suppose that a school could be held there for the purpose of proselytism. There were two classes of nuns in Ireland—one who devoted themselves to the education of the poor, and the other who were employed in visiting the sick. When the cholera raged with such violence in Ireland, these excellent women devoted themselves to attending the sick in the hospitals. In his neighbourhood, eleven nuns constantly attended the hospital for twenty-four hours; and, at the expiration of that time, they were succeeded by eleven others. There was not one individual, however, from Kildare-place, to be met with in those scenes of misery. In the prime of life, and vigour of health, these amiable women tended, in the most pestilential atmosphere, those who had been attacked by that frightful disease. He had seen them at the time, and they were most cheerful in consequence of the satisfaction they experienced in doing good and alleviating the sufferings of their fellow-creatures. In Killarney he knew a convent in which three young Protestants had been placed by their parents for the purpose of education. Their parents had sent them there from choice, and had no fear of proselytism. He challenged any man to point out a single instance in which the nuns engaged in education in Ireland, had ever interfered with the religion of the Protestant children intrusted to their care. He would meet any antagonist foot to foot on this point, and would defy him to point out a single instance where such conduct had been proved. He denied, also, that the Protestant children attending the schools under the new system of education were ever interfered with by the Roman Catholic clergy. This had repeatedly been asserted, but he challenged any hon. Member to show him a single instance of the kind—if they did not do so, what became of their declarations on the subject? The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had spoken with a degree of bigotry which he was surprised that a man of education could exhibit. It was the remains of that bigotry which, thank God, the present Government had put down. They never could have a recurrence of that system which the hon. Gentleman was so anxious to see carried into effect. The late Government even had shrunk from adopting that system which the hon. Gentleman advocated. They had refused to abolish the new system of education, and fell back on the Kildare-place Society. All that he required was a modification of the law. He had been told that there could be no surplus. At the present moment there was a Protestant clergyman in every parish in Ireland—there was not a benefice or parish that was not filled up. Now, a certain number of these, on vacancies occurring, were not to be filled up; and was he to be told that no income would be derived from these parishes? Was there no difference whether or not the parishes were filled up? In the province of Leinster there were 2,200,000 Catholics and 183,000 Protestants. The Church was to be better apportioned to the wants of the latter than it at present was. It was, therefore, a monstrous absurdity to tell him that there would be no surplus in that province. The truth was, that the animus which was now manifested on the subject, originated in that paltry feeling of superiority which had been engendered in one party in Ireland, through the instrumentality of England, whose policy it was to create division. He trusted that the time was not distant when the Kildare-place society and its orators, and the Recorder and his judicial qualifications, would be estimated at their full value, and would sink into the insignificance they deserved.

Mr. Shaw

said, in answer to the appeal made to him by the noble and learned Gentleman (Mr.O'Connell), that the Protestant religion did not consist in pounds, shillings, and pence; nor did he ever suppose, or say that that Bill, or any other act of a human legislature, could destroy the Protestant religion as such; but the Church Establishment of any country must be supported by money; and that particular form of religion to which the law annexed the property of the Church, constituted the established religion of the country—or, in other words, "the present Church Establishment, as settled by law within this realm." Now, that was the precise thing which the hon. and learned Gentleman, on his oath, had solemnly abjured all intention to subvert; and it was also the very thing which the hon. and learned Gentleman, in his published letters, since he had taken the oath, had declared it was his great object to abolish. [Mr. O'Connell, "It is false!" Order, order! He rose to order. He submitted that the right hon. Member was out of order in accusing him (Mr. O'Connell) of swearing to one thing, and doing directly the contrary.] ["Order!"]

Mr. Finn

said, a grossly calumnious attack had been made on his hon. and learned Friend by the right hon. Member.

Mr. Shaw

observed, that he did not intend to charge the hon. and learned Gentleman with perjury; but he contended, that he was perfectly justified in the argument he had used.

Mr. Finn

It is a false and atrocious calumny.

Mr. Shaw

said, the hon. and learned Member had privileged himself to use what language he pleased. He had placed himself out of the pale of all civilized society; and nothing he said could have the slightest effect on the feelings of any Gentleman.

Several hon. Members rose at the same moment; but there was much confusion, and loud cries of "Order."]

The Chairman

stated, that if order was not restored, he must leave the Chair, and report the reason to the House. It was utterly impossible to proceed with the public business if seven or eight hon. Members rose at the same moment to address the Committee. He called on Mr. Shaw.

Mr Shaw

After the appeal which had been made from the Chair, would only say, that having heard the clergy of the religion to which he belonged, designated as so many cormorants, he naturally felt anxious to remove from a body of men whom he loved an imputation so foul and unmerited as that they were actuated only by the consideration of pounds, shillings, and pence. He wished to show, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had used a fallacy, to which he had often before resorted,—namely, that of confounding the religion with the Establishment. He would say no more about the matter then. But had not the hon. and learned Member in one of his letters said, that he would, if he had his will, have no Established religion—that he would let every one support his own religion? That was the hon. and learned Member's opinion; but was he justified in drawing the distinction he had drawn between the Establishment and the religion connected with it? When so many hon. Members rose in a manner which called forth such strong observations from the Chair, he was about to give his reasons why the hon. Member for Dublin had used the word "falsehood" to him. But, not to pursue that subject further, he would advert to the argument which the hon. and learned Gentleman had used in answer to the speech of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bandon, with respect to schools being established within the precincts of convents. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin said, "Oh! if schools are held in such places, what mischief do they do?" He did not attempt even to deny the fact, and surely everyone at all acquainted with the principles on which the Board of Education acted, must know that this was contrary to the rules which they had laid down. Again, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin did not deny, that the books directed by the Board to be used in those schools were not to be found there, and that the only books in use were Roman Catholic books. These, however, were facts, which were all capable of proof, and therefore they were, wisely enough, left unanswered. He objected to any system of national, united education, because he was satisfied it could not produce any beneficial result. Whilst the schools were held in convents and monasteries no Protestants would attend them. The hon. and learned Gentleman had alluded to his spiritual ferocity; his, however, was not like the ferocity of the hon. and learned Gentleman, for that exhibited itself in a death's head and cross-bones over the door of every man who refused obedience to his commands.

Mr. George F. Young

said, that whatever might be the expectations of the framers of the Bill there was still a possibility that there might be a disappointment in the surplus which they expected to realise, and at all events it was obvious that this surplus would not accrue until a period of time had elapsed. He did not yield much weight to the argument with regard to the motive which this measure held out for assassination, but those who had used that argument should admit the force of the reply,—namely, that by the present grant such motive would be done away with. The evils complained of in the course of the discussion on this Bill were not chargeable to the system of national education now pursued in Ireland, but were rather abuses arising out of the niggardly supply afforded for carrying that system into effect. For himself, he was ready to concur in every vote which had a tendency to increase the spread of intelligence in Ireland. With respect to the present grant, although prepared to support it, he entertained one scruple,—namely, that it was placed beyond the control of the House, and he hoped, that some means would be adopted to prevent any misapplication.

Mr. Sharman Crawford

would not look upon this Act as a final settlement of the question, but rather as an acknowledgment in part that the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians ought not to be taxed for the support of the Establishment. The Bill professed to go upon the principle of population; but even in this it was delusive. No measure which did not go to the complete extinction of tithes, as an Ecclesiastical exaction, would, or ought to, satisfy the people of Ireland; and this measure could only be considered by the opponents of tithes in that House as an approximation and a step to their total ex- tinction, and as such entitled to their support.

Sir Henry Hardinge

said, that he never in any of the previous years when the grant for education in Ireland was proposed expressed an opinion or gave a vote on the question. When it became his duty to bring forward the grant, he looked to see what had been done by his predecessors; and finding it was impossible that benefit should not result from it, if it were fairly and honestly applied, he did not hesitate to give it his sanction. He had every reason to believe, that the system would in future have his support, but he would frankly state that much must depend on its being carried into effect in a bona fide manner. If such a course were taken, he thought it must prove salutary; but if not, the system would be most objectionable. If what his hon. and learned Friend had stated was true—if the Protestant children were treated in the monasteries and nunneries as he had described, then he would say, that the intention of the grant was perverted, and the Commissioners, if they did their duty, would take care that such abuses were not continued.

Lord John Russell

said, that the explanation just given was exactly what might have been expected from the frank manner in which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman usually spoke. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that any contravention of the rules laid down by the Board ought to be looked into. The rules, if good, ought to be observed; if imperfect, they might be amended. If they were contravened, an authority ought to be exercised to secure their due observance. He must say, it was a subject of regret with him that when the Government on a former evening brought this question before the House, the hon. Secretary of the Treasury under the late Government did not attend the Committee, and defend the present Ministers from the attacks of hon. Gentlemen opposite, to which they were exposed. Hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House had supported the late Government on this question; but they, in their turn, were not fortunate enough to have the support of those by whom the estimate was signed and proposed.

Sir Henry Hardinge

believed that the late hon. Secretary of the Treasury, as well as the majority of the House, did not expect the vote to be brought forward on the evening when it was moved.

Mr. Williams Wynn

begged to say, that he came down to the House intending to support the vote, but he found the feeling of the House so strong in its favour that he thought he might be spared. Certainly he was prepared to support it, and if any doubts had been entertained of its being granted, he would have voted for it.

Sir John Hobhouse

said, that on the night in question there were forty-one of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, greatly to his astonishment, who voted against that very grant which had been introduced by the right hon. Baronet opposite. It was certainly most unfortunate that when the vote did come on—owing, he would not say to any defection, but to some unaccountable accident or other—not one of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who would have supported the Motion, had they not been absent, was present. That being a vote which was viewed very invidiously—that being a vote which was much objected to—it unquestionably would have been more fortunate for the present Government if the speeches which they had heard this evening had been declared on the former occasion.

Sir Henry Hardinge

said, it had not been stated that the miscellaneous estimate would come on that evening.

Sir John C. Hobhouse

said, it was to his very great disappointment, on account of the high estimate he had formed of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, that he did find him opposing the grant which had been proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman' spolitical friends when in power, and that none of the late Government were there to support them in their utmost need.

Mr. Serjeant Jackson

, was opposed to the principle on which the new system of education was founded. He rose, however, principally to notice the observations which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had made upon him. The hon. and learned Member had alluded to the fact of his having been Secretary to the Kildare-place Society. It was true, that he had been Secretary to that society for twenty-five years, and there was no part of his conduct through life to which he looked back with greater satisfaction than to his exertions in support of that institution. The improvement in education in Ireland was, in point of fact, attributable to the indefatigable exertions of that board. The fact was admitted by the Report of Commissioners appointed by a Government which was not favourable to the Kildare-place Society. Those Commissioners had rigorously examined into all the charges of proselytism which it was well known had been brought against the society, and the result was that they could not in even a single instance be substantiated. The Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr. Doyle, stated in his evidence that the society had issued 1,500,000 cheap books, to only one of which the Roman Catholic hierarchy objected, and that was a book of travels, in which the author stated, that he had seen a Roman Catholic priest at Rome giving absolution to a man who had committed murder. Dr Doyle further stated, that but for two inconveniences attended the Kildare-place system, he considered it a most excellent one. Now, what did the House suppose those inconveniences were? The first was, that the Scriptures were admitted into the schools without note or comment; and the second was, that books of religious controversy were excluded. He thought it was impossible to found any good system of education except on the basis of the Scriptures. All that he and those who thought like him required was, that there should be no garbling of the Scriptures. They would be satisfied if the children in the new schools were allowed to read even the New Testament unmutilated. He had not quite done yet with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. A few nights since, he had occasion to remind the House that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had written a letter to the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Sharman Crawford), in which he stated, that although he had, last Session, consented to accept of a reduction of three-fifths of tithe-property, he would not be content until the whole was destroyed; upon which the hon. and learned Member denied, that he had so written. Now, he had brought to the House with him the hon. and learned Member's letter, from which he begged leave to read an extract in order to satisfy the House that he at least had not stated that which was untrue. The letter was headed, "Tithes, Tithes, Tithes," dated "Derrynane Abbey, September 27,1834," and was addressed to "William Sharman Crawford, Esq.," and signed "Daniel O'Connell." The passage which he felt it necessary to read was as follows:—"It is quite true that I demanded for the pre- sent but a partial reduction—it was 3–5ths of the tithes. Why did I not demand the abolition of the entire? Why did I ask for no more? Because I had no chance, in the first instance, of getting the entire abolished, and you perceive that I was refused the extent which I asked, being 3–5ths, and only got from the House of Commons, 2–5ths. I had, therefore, not the least prospect or possibility of destroying the entire; and because I am one of those who is and have been always ready to accept of any instalment, however small, of the debt of justice due to the people—the real national debt—I have been, and am ready to accept of any instalment of that debt, determined to go on and look for the remainder as soon as the first instalment should be completely realized." Now, he begged to ask the hon. and learned Member whether he was sincere when a few nights since, he told the House that the present Bill was a pacificatory measure—that it would be final and conclusive, and that after it passed, there would be no more disturbances in Ireland? How was it possible to reconcile the contradictory statements of the hon. and learned Member? Which were they to believe? Did he tell the truth now, or—he begged pardon for having put the case in that way, and would not proceed with the question. The hon. and learned Gentleman's statements, however, were utterly irreconcilable, and it was desirable to know which represented the real state of his mind. To quit this subject, and return to the question immediately under discussion, he (Mr. Jackson) had complained, that the schools under the new system were in some cases held in convents. The hon. and learned Member met that complaint by asking whether the Protestant children had been tampered with. They had not, because there were none to be tampered with; for Protestant parents would not allow their children to go into convents. The hon. and learned Member left his objections entirely untouched, and yet he was cheered by the Members around him.

Mr. Ronayne

remarked, that the hon. and learned Member had lost a good deal of time in endeavouring to convince them that he was opposed to the new system of education. The hon. Member had only to state that he was Secretary for so many years to the Kildare-street Society, to render any assurances unnecessary that he was opposed to a system which did not sanction proselytism. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Shaw) had talked of agitation. Agitation forsooth! When he himself was one of the most notorious agitators in the country, addressing to the Corporation of Dublin language that was not fit to be used by any hon. Member of that House, and that was particularly unbecoming a Judge and a Privy Councillor.

Mr. Hume

asked in what manner the House was to have an account of the expenditure of the money proposed to be granted.

Lord Morpeth

said, that the monies issued under the direction of the Treasury would be always accounted for.

Mr. Hume

thought that it would be much better that the money should be voted annually.

Lord John Russell

said, that there was no objection to the insertion of a provision, in the Committee on the Bill, requiring an annual account of the money expended to be produced.

Mr. Hume

still thought it would be more desirable that the House should have an opportunity of discussing the subject of the grant, on annually voting.

Resolution agreed to, and the House resumed.