§ Mr. Plumptre
, after presenting several petitions against any further grant of public money to the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, proceeded to bring forward 42 the motion of which he had given notice, that after the grant for the current year no further payment of public money be made to Maynooth College. He did exclude by his motion the grant for the current year, because he knew that the grant had been anticipated for this year. This he was aware had been the ground on which many hon. Members had refrained from opposing the grant for the current year. The Roman Catholic priests in Ireland could bring their power to bear upon any question whatsoever, and this they had done in several recent instances at the election of boards of guardians under the New Poor-law. The hon. Gentleman read extracts from newspapers and various communications he had received, in order to show that this power was extensively exercised by the Catholic priesthood. His principal objection to this college of Maynooth was, that instead of its professors and members being the aiders and abettors of religion, good order, and submission to the laws of the land, they were ever found to be the leaders and promoters of disorder. Another objection was founded on the works that were introduced there, which were destructive of the best principles of morality. The grant in effect went to support a religion that was at once idolatrous and unsocial. It was a feeling among the Protestants of this country—a growing and a lively feeling—that they ought not to pay for the dissemination of a religion which, in their hearts, they believed to be contrary to the true religion; and this independently of any of the other considerations arising out of the doctrines taught in the college. Therefore it was, that he felt he ought not to shrink from his duty, but upon the grounds of the nature of the education, the character of the books used, and the strong feeling of the Protestants, to move, that after the present year the grant to Maynooth should be discontinued.
§ Viscount Morpeth
said, that there were two points from which the vote now complained of might be viewed. The first was the principle of the grant itself, and the second the mode in which this grant was administered. The hon. Member who had just sat down had taken both grounds of objection; he objected to the mode of instruction adopted in the college, to the books read there, and to the conduct of the clergymen who issued from its walls. 43 This, evidently, was an objection to the mode and system in which the college was carried on; but the hon. Member further objected to it on the ground that no grant should be made from the public funds for the education of Roman Catholic priests, or of the Roman Catholics at all. Now there might be a general objection to the grant of public money for the instruction and the education of the Roman Catholic clergy; but taking the propriety of such a grant as admitted, then, with respect to the system carried on in the college, and the mode in which the grant was administered, he contended that they were more the subjects for the consideration of the Roman Catholic clergy and of the Roman Catholic authorities, than of the hon. Member for Kent. So also with respect to the objection which was made to the books which were read and the studies which were pursued there. For himself, he confessed that he was not compelled to enter into any argument as to the character of the books, or the extent of the studies pursued there, for he had felt that into these matters it was no part of his duty to inquire. But from what he had heard, he believed that the books which were used were the recognised books of the Catholic Church, but he believed also that upon these points the House had no more right to inquire than any Roman Catholic Member in that House would have to come forward and object to the books which were used or to the education that was pursued at either of the universities of Oxford or Cambridge. One specific objection which had been made to the books at this college was, that they enforced intolerance; he was glad to see that hon. Members had become so sensitive to the evils of intolerance, because, after this sensitiveness, when the hon. Member for Kent, in the presence and in the hearing of so many members of the Roman Catholic faith, branded their tenets as idolatrous and anti-social, he was sure that the hon. Member would raise no blush nor give one pang to any one of those Members. Now, with regard to the system of instruction pursued in the college. A commission was prayed for by that House, and appointed by the Crown, in 1837. That commission had laid upon the table a specific and minute report of every thing with regard to the college, the statutes, the constitution, the education, and the discipline. This was the 44 statement made in the 8th report of the commissioners on the Irish Education Inquiry in the year 1837:—The instruction given in the divinity classes generally at Maynooth, we are assured, does not differ materially from that given in the university of Paris. The discipline maintained in the college is stated to differ very little from that which is observed in other institutions for the education of the Roman Catholic clergy.An opinion has prevailed, that the free education which the bounty of the Legislature has provided at Maynooth, has both induced and enabled persons of a much lower class to enter into the Roman Catholic priesthood than those who generally filled the ministerial office, and who, without such aid, could not have prepared themselves for holy orders. He collected, however, from the evidence, that this effect has not been produced, and that the care of the previous education, the expenses of admission, and the charges which still attends the course of instruction at Maynooth, accompanied by other regulations adopted by the Roman Catholic bishops, have prevented this result. That report had been laid on the table of the House in June, 1807, and since that period no Parliament that had been subsequently called together, and not one administration that had since been entrusted with the Government of the country, had been called upon to submit to the House any motion to Parliament with respect to the College of Maynooth, or had proposed any alteration, or sought to diminish the annual grant. By the statutes and an act regulating the college, certain visitors were appointed; some were named in the act, and others by reason of the office which they held; and he must state, that if there had been any abuse or neglect, or any departure from the understanding on which the original grant had been made, an appeal would lie to the visitors. If they had refused to give to the complaints any attention, the next most advisable course would have been to lay the matter before the Government, that they might have the opportunity of impressing upon the visitors the propriety of conducting every thing connected with the college orderly and correctly, and in accordance with the intention of the grant. If all this had failed, and if the abuses had still continued, then would have been the time to make the appeal to Parliament. 45 As it was, no complaint had been made to the Government of any neglect or abuse, or departure from the original intention. The only complaint that had reached the Government was of the utter inadequacy of the funds allotted to the college, and he believed that the correctness of this representation was more to be feared than those of the hon. Member for Kent. He believed that the walls of Maynooth, without the help of other colleges elsewhere, were utterly incompetent to supply the demand which was made of proper parties to discharge the duties of the parochial clergy throughout Ireland, and he believed that great good would ensue if a larger amount of annual provision could be assigned to this college; if, for instance, the salaries of the professors could be enlarged, and their position raised in the scale of society, and if something more of the human ties and refinements of learning could be mixed with the more severe studies of the college. He was sure that the worst effects would be produced, and the worst impression made upon the public mind, and that the very feelings which the hon. Member most dreaded, would be fostered among the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland if the House in a moment of haste or carelessness should refuse to the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland any assistance from the State in aid of their education. The hon. Member for Kent had been pleased to deal very largely in wholesale charges against the whole body of the parochial clergy in Ireland. No doubt that in this community, as in every other large community, there would be found some bad, some ill-judging, and some turbulent men; he would like to know in what church, in what community, some such were not to be found. The hon. Member for Kent had dwelt with just severity on those who called in the terrors of the life to come in aid of secular objects, and who debarred from religious privileges those who would not vote for particular candidates. He was sure that no one would reprobate such conduct more than himself; but when the hon. Member for Kent chose to infer that this conduct was to be charged exclusively on the Roman Catholic clergy, he, although he was most unwilling to carry on a war of recrimination, yet must say he thought that this conduct was not confined exclusively to clergymen of that persuasion. He found that this conduct 46 was adopted by a clergyman of another Church in Ireland, in or near Londonderry — a minister of what was certainly a Church—the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He did not know whether hon. Members meant in that House, as had been done elsewhere, to deny to the Presbyterian Church the character of a Church, but these were the words of a Presbyterian clergyman addressed to those of his congregation who were about to join in the Lord's Supper:—I debar from this holy table (both doctrinally and officially) all those who, at elections, give their votes in favour of the candidate who supports an anti-Christian Government—a Government that has ever been the patronisers of Popery and idolatry throughout the British colonies.And as words were sometimes misunderstood, he would quote the reverend gentleman's own explanation of the words which he had used, and which left the matter very much in the same state as he found it:—I did, therefore, debar from a seat at the table of the Lord, all voters at elections for candidates for office under un-scripturally constituted systems of civil government. And, as an illustration of the anti-scriptural basis of the British Constitution, I instanced the provision which, by its law enacted, was made for the maintenance and propagation of Popery in the British colonies.Clearly alluding to the present Government alone; but, continued the reverend gentleman:—This I did, sir, without reference to personality, to the political creed of any Member of Parliament, or to any individual candidate for office under the general Government, but as being applicable to all governments and to all politicians who pay no regard to the moral law as the basis of their national constitution, or to the infallible directory of God's word in the choice of their governors, or in the regulating the obedience and submission to which they are entitled from their subjects. Under the same precept of the decalogue, I also debarred all anti-government men —all who would not vote at elections for eligible candidates for office under a scripturally constituted civil government.He was afraid that it would only be when the hon. Member for Kent assumed the Government that the reverend gentleman would find cause to desist, or that his denunciation of candidates would be brought to a climax. Then the hon. Member for Kent brought forward the cases of the contests for Poor-law guar- 47 dians; and although he complained of the logic and casuistry of the doctrines at Maynooth, the hon. Member himself exhibited rather loose logic and some casuistry, when he referred the proceedings at the election of Poor-law guardians to the education at Maynooth and the writings of Thomas Aquinas. He would not now go into an account of those proceedings, as they might be made matter for judicial inquiry. He could only say with respect to them that the statements which he had received were of a most conflicting nature; and whether the taking of tenants from their beds was so constraining and compulsory a proceeding as the hon. Member for Kent had represented, he could not now say. He would only now refer to what had been the parting remark and the mainspring of the petitions which had been presented to the House, the objection to any grant of public money for the maintenance of the Catholic religion, and the statement that it was wrong to support a religion which the hon. Member charitably and kindly called idolatrous and anti-social. He should not quarrel with the hon. Member's conviction upon that point. He knew it to be a conscientious objection on his own part, and so might it possibly be on the part of the petitioners, although they had not, perhaps, exercised their own opinions so freely as they would have done if some artful misrepresentations had not been made use of. They started, however, with the proposition that it was wrong to support a religion of which they disapproved. That might be a very good opinion to hold; but it appeared to him, that any one who conscientiously held that opinion, was bound to support the voluntary system. How any one could, in common candour, say, that it was wrong to support a religion which they thought erroneous, and yet exact the very same support for another religion of others who equally thought that erroneous—how they could allow the great majority of the people of this country to impose upon the vast majority of the people of Ireland, the duty of supporting persons to advocate the tenets which the majority in Ireland deemed wrong, he could not conceive. It seemed to him to be utterly at variance with every notion of consistency, of candour, and of sense. In this sense, the laws which required the payment of church-rates from persons of all persua- 48 sions, ought to be instantly repealed, and these rates—which, in his opinion, were a fair provision—if the hon. Member's proposition were adopted, must be given up. He could not conceive, he really could not see, if the hon. Member called upon that House to support the union; if he called upon them to support the present tithe-commutation in Ireland, which was working better than could have been or was anticipated, how, with any sense or candour, the hon. Member could grudge the paltry grant of 8,900l. a year, which was all that they gave for religious purposes to the great portion of the people of Ireland, or to the supporters of that religion which extended its influence through every part of Ireland. The last thing which had been brought against this offending college at Maynooth was, that a large part of the students had lately taken the temperance pledge at the hands of a Roman Catholic clergyman, Father Matthew, and in so doing, in his opinion, they were giving an excellent example, and afforded a good omen for the flocks about to be committed to their charge. And he thought that the hon. Member for Kent would do better by teaching his fellow-religionists in England, and even some in his own neighbourhood in Kent, to imitate the example, and to lay aside the filthy habit of drunkenness, and adopt a life of sobriety, which would perhaps bring with it some of the Christian virtues of charity and good-will; and that the hon. Member would thus be doing more good to that religion which he so warmly cherished, than by calling upon Parliament to deny the grant which was now doled out to a large portion of our Roman Catholic fellow subjects in Ireland.
§ Sir Robert Inglis
said, the noble Lord had endeavoured, in this discussion, to raise questions with which, as he conceived, the Government of this country had nothing to do. The Government had no right to think it an open question whether the established religion of this country should be looked upon in the same light as the faith of the Dissenters. The Government was bound to support the religion of the State, and that religion alone which the State recognised as truth. For himself, he never would consent to pay a sixpence for teaching as the word of God what he believed to be contrary to that word. We were living in a Christian land, having the blessing of an Established 49 Church, and the State and the Government ought to give no support to any church but the Established Church founded upon truth; because if they adopted any other rule, they might give a grant to every college—to the college of Mill-hill or Hoxton as well as the college of Maynooth. But the noble Lord went even further, and had uttered sentiments which would never have been tolerated in any Member of the Government forty years ago. [Ironical cheers from the Ministerial benches.] A pretty compliment was that interruption to those who, on conviction had granted, or against their conviction were compelled to grant, to those who now cheered, the seats which enabled them to cheer. The noble Lord had twice used the term "parochial clergy," as applied to the Roman Catholic priests; so that the present Government must recognise the Roman Catholic priests as the parochial clergy of Ireland; and the noble Lord thought, that instead of 8,900l., they ought to add to the amount, for the purpose of adding humanities and refinements to the severer studies of the college. Be it so, if the members were of the Established religion, [Cheers from the Ministerial benches] but unless the hon. Members who cheered, and among them the hon. Member for Kerry, were prepared to vote sums for the support of the Memnonites and the Morganites, were prepared to propose grants to members of every persuasion, they could not support the present grant. He held that it was not right, when the great majority of the people of England recognised the Church of England as the repository of divine truth, that they should give to any other religion the countenance which this vote was likely to afford. The noble Lord had imputed something like uncharitableness to the hon. Member for Kent, for representing the Church of Rome by strong expressions, but he would ask the noble Lord himself, whether at the table of that House, he had not characterized the tenets of the Church of Rome by the same terms as his hon. Friend had used? Therefore, the noble Lord ought not to complain of his hon. Friend for characterising that same Church by the same terms which the noble Lord himself had used. He had been content in former years, and when he was a young Member of that House, to vote for this grant as a legacy from the Parliament of Ireland; but even then he had often felt great repugnance to the grant, and of late years had voted against it. There were something like thirty-six 50 votes for charities, which the Irish Parliament regularly maintained. So long as those votes remained unaltered, he felt that he ought not to resist the vote for this college. He did not feel at liberty—he would not say bound—to enquire what particular tenets were taught, any more than he would feel himself at liberty to dispute the disposition of a legacy bequeathed through him to another individual. He only felt bound to discharge the trust committed to him, and to pay over the money as a matter of course. But when Parliament had taken away from other institutions the money which the Irish Parliament had granted, then every case stood on its own merits; and those who stood on the claims of precedent, and of a legacy from a deceased Parliament, here ceased to have a firm footing. He thought himself at liberty to say, that he would be no party to the teaching of any such tenets. He felt that he was not bound to be a party to it, because, although it might be true, that an agreement had been entered into, it had been broken in other respects, and he conceived that the nation was not bound to hold itself to any Christian obligations, except such as called for the support of its Church—that Church was at variance with the college of Maynooth. He, therefore, should vote for the motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Kent.
§ Mr. Sheil
; Salamanca would, in the Spanish Cortes, be faithfully represented by the Member whom a Protestant University delegates to this House. He is a consistent politician, whose virtues are best illustrated by the Horatian metaphor, for if any man ever was, the hon. baronet must be on all hands admitted to be "totus teres atque rotundus." In some of his positions, however, there is a good deal of anomaly; he says, that because the Protestant Charter schools were deprived of the fund once annually voted to them, we ought to perpetrate what amounts to a violation of Conservative principle in reference to the Catholic seminary at Maynooth. The case of Maynooth rests on a clear contract entered into before the Union, and ratified by Act of Parliament. I have been a good deal surprised that this act has never been quoted, at least has never been relied on as strongly as it ought to have been in this House. In 1795, the British Government felt that the foreign education of the Catholic priesthood was a very great evil. They 51 became apprehensive that doctrines hostile to British interests might be diffused through Ireland through the system of instruction which then prevailed; the infusion of Jacobinism into foreign seminaries was dreaded, and it was considered to be most impolitic to encourage a continental connection with Ireland, through the colleges in which the Catholic clergy had, previous to the foundation of Maynooth, been educated. It does strike me indeed to be most preposterous to intrust to foreigners, who may become our worst foes, the instruction of men who exercise, and ought, and must continue to exercise, so vast and so legitimate an influence over the Irish people. The Catholic clergy are a most powerful corporation; the parochial minister is found in every priest, and over the whole frame of our Church presides a hierarchy, composed of able and enlightened men, whose talents, whose station, and whose virtues concur in giving them a great and inevitable sway. We have in our Church all the advantages resulting from a division the most minute, accompanied by a perfect centralization. It seems obvious, then, that the members of such a body ought not to be driven from their country to seek for that instruction among your enemies, or your rivals which you are called on to deny them. Mr. Pitt felt, that the ministers of Catholic Ireland ought not to be conductors of French principles or instruments of French machination, and accordingly, the college of Maynooth was founded and endowed under the 35th of George 3rd. That act recites the expediency of endowing a Catholic seminary, and a grant of 8,000l. (after various provisions for the establishment and regulation of Maynooth) is made by that Act of Parliament. The college having been thus endowed, another act was passed in 1800, confirming the former act, and making further regulalations. Thus Maynooth, before the Union, became one of the national institutions of Ireland. It was in some sort incorporated with the State. The Union passed, and the grant was continued to be regularly voted by the Imperial Parliament. In 1807 the Whigs increased the grant to 12,000l.; but Mr. Perceval reduced it from 12,000l. to 8.000l., on the express ground that the Imperial Parliament was bound to give what the Irish Parliament had granted by a legislative donation. It is very extraordinary that the Member 52 for Kent, who referred to what happened in 1808, did not allude to the opinions of Mr. Perceval. Mr. Perceval was a great enemy of Popery—bore it the deepest antipathy, yet found himself bound by contract—bound by two Irish Acts of Parliament. It was not, I trust, in the spirit of "pious fraud" that the Member for Kent suppressed Mr. Perceval's opinion. For forty years the grant has been annually made, but I have more recent authority than that of Mr. Perceval. I hold in my hand Mr. Gladstone's book on the Church, in which, after condemning Maynooth, he says, that if it rests on the public faith, the public faith must remain inviolate. Sir, while the Member for Oxford was inveighing against the Catholic religion, having Mr. Gladstone's book in my hand, I turned to the first page of it, in which is contained a dedication to the University of Oxford. It is inscribed to the University of Oxford as the tried in the vicissitudes of a thousand years. A thousand years ! Did the Member for that famous university, who denounces Popery, hear the word—a thousand years? I will not ask where was your boasted truth a thousand years ago; but I will venture to refer to the sermons of Father Prout, of Watergrass-hill—" These words are taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans; did you ever hear of his writing a letter to the Protestants?" The Member for the University of Oxford, was sufficiently vehement in his denunciation of the religion once taught in the University of Oxford, and to which that magnificent assemblage of colleges owed its chief ornaments; but he abstained from the use of opprobrious expressions. The hon. Member for Kent, could not restrain himself from an indulgence in invective against the religion and the priesthood of one-third of the inhabitants of these islands. I will not follow him, however, through the snares of his theology. I leave the Member for Kent to "rush in, where angels fear to tread." While he preaches, I practise the precepts of Christianity, and listen to his vituperation with the forbearance and the patience which ought to be produced by the spirit of Christian commiseration. He is accounted by his associates as sincere. I own that in listening to him, I am inclined to exclaim with Bassanio—Thou almost tempt'st me to forswear my faith, And hold opinion with Pythagoras.53 The hon. Gentleman furnishes a proof of metempsychosis, for he must have lived two hundred years ago, and played a conspicuous part in that celebrated Parliament of "Praise God" legislators, associated by history with the name of a religious statesman of whom such strong reminiscences are presented by the hon. Member for Kent.
§ Mr. Litton
said, that his objection to the grant of public money to the College of Maynooth was founded simply upon the mode of education adopted in that seminary. If ever there were such a contract as that to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded, it must be considered as a contract made between the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland and the people of both countries, and a portion of that contract was, that doctrines useful to the morality, the religion, and the peace of Ireland, should be taught in that college. This he contended had not been done. He maintained that the doctrines taught at Maynooth were deeply injurious to the welfare of the country; that they were doctrines of great intolerance towards the Protestants of Ireland; that they were doctrines of great immorality, staling that allegiance to the pope was higher than allegiance to the lawful sovereign of these realms; and he was convinced that if hon. Members would take the trouble to look into the class-books referred to by the hon. Member for Kent, they would find that these doctrines, and worse, were taught and inculcated in this scholastic seminary. No denial had been attempted to be given to the statements on this point which had been made by his hon. Friend near him. He was a friend to a real and just system of education, and he was opposed to a system which inculcated doctrines inimical to the best interest of the nation at large. The Roman Catholic priests who sanctioned the doctrines promulgated at Maynooth were the fixed, the determined, the avowed enemies of the Established Church; they proclaimed the doctrines of that church to be heretical, and they claimed the ascendancy of the church of which they were members. Feeling that the Established Protestant Church afforded the only means of protecting the liberties of Ireland, and looking upon the attacks already made upon that Church, he should give his vote in favour of the motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Kent.
§ Mr. H. G. Ward
said, he could not but think the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down somewhat singular, inasmuch as the hon. and learned Member had complained of the desire for ascendancy on the part of the Roman Catholics, and declared his intention to vote in support of the ascendancy of another church. The hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford, by his speech to-night, had answered the arguments upon which he must found his motion on Tuesday next, on the subject of Church extension, for the hon. Baronet had to-night said he would not give sixpence in support of any religion which he did not believe to be true. The hon. Baronet had, therefore, laid it down as a principle that no man should contribute to a church in the doctrines of which he had no belief. The hon. Member for Kent, had in the mildest manner, and with the meekest spirit, laid down tonight the most intolerant and bigotted principles ever heard in that House within the last few centuries His speech formed a forcible illustration of Byron's lines:—He was the mildest-mannered man afloat That ever scuttled ship or out a throatHe had called upon the House to legislate upon the principle followed by the Inquisition in Spain, and to apply a secular arm to the extinction of all dissent. The hon. Member by his resolution called upon the House to rescind the grant of 8,900l. voted to the Roman Catholic priesthood, while upwards of 5,000,000l. was enjoyed annually by the, clergy of the Established Church. The hon. Member had said that Maynooth college had failed to effect the objects for which it was established, and he had cited the language of Mr. Pitt to show that the principal object was to establish a college of loyal men. Now, he begged to ask, whether the scholastic establishments of this country had answered that end? Was the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, satisfied in that respect even with his own establishment? Did the hon. Member for Kent, looking to the occurrences which had taken place in his own county, mean to claim for it exclusive loyalty? Could he refer to the transactions near Canterbury with feelings of either pride or satisfaction? The hon. Member had also spoken of the political character of the priesthood of Ireland. He would, however, ask the 55 hon. Member whether there was a county in England, in which the clergy of the Church of England were not the best possible whippers-in at any election. There was just as much of politics mixed up in the English Established Church as in any church in the world. He said this with regret, for he thought it a misfortune to the country and a blot upon the Established Church; but while such a system existed here, it was too much to talk of the Irish clergy as those who alone exercised political influence. He wished to put this question upon the basis that there were faults in both establishments; on the one side there was the Irish clergy struggling for existence, and the clergy of the Established Church struggling for ascendancy. The one was supported by 5,000,000l. annually, while the Irish clergy were to be denied the paltry pittance of 8,900l. Much had been said on the subject of the petitions which had been presented against the grant to Maynooth; on inquiry it would be found that the signatures did not exceed those affixed to the petitions praying for the abolition of the dog-cart nuisance. It was with great pleasure that he observed the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, had returned to his place; it was necessary the right hon. Baronet should be there in order to rebuke the follies of some of his followers on this occasion, and to redeem his party from the difficulties in which they were placed by the arguments of the hon. Member for Kent, and of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. The right hon. Baronet had come in just in time to redeem the errors of his friends, and if not by his speech, at least by his vote on this occasion, to draw a line of distinction between his own conduct and that of his followers.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, the hon. Gentleman was a correct prophet with respect to the vote he (Sir R. Peel) should give on the present occasion, but the hon. Gentleman was not equally happy in his anticipations as to the speech he (Sir R. Peel) should make. He did not intend to rebuke those who had proposed and supported the present motion, neither should be express any compunction or regret for the course he was about to take. He was bound to say, that no man at present in this House, or who had ever sat in it, when he did come forward on a public question, was actuated 56 by purer or more disinterested motives than his hon. Friend, the Member for Kent, who had brought forward this motion. But he (Sir R. Peel) had not the slightest hesitation as to the vote he should give on that motion, or in avowing the grounds upon which he should oppose the pledge contained in it. In the first place, it would be calculated to give equal dissatisfaction to those who would be affected by the vote, whether the grant were to be immediately withdrawn, or whether the House pledged itself to a withdrawal at a future period, for if there had been a contract, as was contended, that contract would be quite as much violated by a withdrawal of the grant next year, as if it were to take place now. Having passed the grant for the last thirty or forty years, and as persons had prepared themselves for Maynooth, on the faith that it would not be withdrawn, the pledge to withhold it next year would be productive of quite as much embarrassment as if it were proposed to withhold it at present. For his own part, he did not think that there were sufficient grounds for violating an implied understanding upon which Parliament had acted for thirty years, and he could not acquiesce in any motion for withholding the grant unless stronger grounds were made out to show him that he had been in error in the votes which for the thirty years that he had been in Parliament he had given upon this subject. The foundation had been established in Ireland at a period when religious animosities ran as high, at least, as they did at present, and political divisions were as great as they were now. It had been established by a Parliament exclusively Protestant as an instrument to produce a disposition favourable to the Established Church, and to discourage the Jacobin doctrines which a foreign education was calculated to engender in those who were educated for the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland. The grant had survived the Act of Union, and had been continued by Mr. Perceval in 1806, though something diminished in amount. It was continued even after the event connected with the election of 1806 by Mr. Perceval, who thought that its continuance was necessary for the fulfilment of the public faith. It was still further continued after the removal of the disabilities which affected the Roman Catholics, and, being retained under all these great changes, he did not see now 57 why the House should pledge itself to the abolition. He did not mean to say, that there had been any contract entered into, but, originating as the grant did, and having survived so many changes, he must confess that he could not help thinking that a concurrence with a pledge would show a hostile disposition towards the Roman Catholics of Ireland. He could not, however, concur in an observation which had fallen from the noble Lord. He did not think that there existed such a compact as ought to prevent the interference of the Legislature if the grant should be perverted to evil purposes. He could not agree in the opinion that the system of instruction pursued at Maynooth ought to be a matter of indifference to the House. He had not heard that observation made by the noble Lord, but he had heard it imputed to him, and he had not seen, on the part of the noble Lord, any sign of an energetic denial. Now, the system of education was a legitimate matter for the consideration of Parliament, and the House would abandon its duty if it were to avow the doctrine, that because the grant had been continued for thirty years; it was, therefore, pledged to say to Maynooth, "You may inculcate what doctrine you please, however injurious to the supremacy of the law, and destructive to the established government and monarchy of the empire." If an opinion of that kind were put forward, he, for one, would never concur in it, and he thought it should be repudiated by every Member of the House. A misappropriation of the grant would form a very proper subject of inquiry, and if it were proved, the question might be submitted to the House whether on that ground the vote ought not to be discontinued. If accusations of this sort were made, all he could say was, that the recipients of the grant were the persons who should show most interest in challenging inquiry, for the purpose of conciliating the good will of the public by showing, if such was the fact, that the charges were groundless. Under such circumstances, so far from inquiry being injurious, they should, as he said, be the first to challenge it. But, at the same time, he should say, that nothing but full proof of abuse would render it wise in the House of Commons to enter into a pledge as to the future with respect to this grant. To him, however, it would be much more satisfactory to have the ground of accusa- 58 tion cut away, and, having established that, he should be able to give the vote which he was about to give with greater satisfaction. When persons not hostile to the establishment admitted the necessity of inquiry at the same time that accusations were made, it was but fair that some inquiry should be entered upon which would remove the suspicions thus engendered. He had now given his opinion upon the question, without either censuring the opinions or impugning the conduct of the hon. Gentleman by whom the question had been brought forward.
§ Viscount Morpeth
explained that he had not meant to say, that it did not signify what was the course of instruction pursued at Maynooth. All he said was, that he did not think himself bound to examine the contents of the books used in the education of persons destined for the Roman Catholic church, as long as he knew them to be the books sanctioned and prescribed by the Roman Catholic authorities. On the contrary, he had said that if any abuses existed, or practices that were contrary to the intentions of the grant, the visitors ought to be appealed to, and after them the Government or the Parliament.
Mr. M. J. O'Connell
felt bound to state that the feeling of a great number of Roman Catholics as to this grant was positively indifferent. If the principle laid down by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford were adopted, and if the grant were withdrawn on the ground that it was unfair to tax the inhabitants of a country for the support of a religion in which they did not conscientiously believe, he was quite sure it would meet with universal approbation. This motion came most appropriately from the hon. Member for Kent, for that part of Kent which contained the metropolitan see was the scene of operations of the missionary Thom. He had remarked, in the course of this discussion, that while the hon. Member for Kent was engaged in an attack on the Roman Catholic religion, the Scotch Members had loudly cheered; but when the hon. Member came out with his exclusive Church of England doctrines, those Members retired to the back benches. He cautioned those hon. Members against supporting such a measure as this, seeing on what principle it was founded.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
did not see how 59 any man at all acquainted with the law could vote for the discontinuance of the grant on the ground of there being no compact. He recommended his hon. Friend to withdraw his motion, and instead of proposing that there should be a discontinuance of the grant after the present year, he would suggest that his hon. Friend should, on a future occasion, propose that the Government should institute an inquiry with the view of seeing whether the charges which had been brought forward against the system of education in Maynooth, and against the system of morality inculcated there, were founded in fact or not. If such abuses existed there as had been described, it was the duty of the executive to prevent future grants being made to such an institution. He trusted, therefore, his hon. Friend would consent to withdraw his motion.
§ Mr. W. Lascelles
cordially concurred with the right hon. Gentleman in opposing any breach of any compact that had been entered into on this subject. But independent of the compact, he would go upon general principles, and would ask whether they, the House, could adopt the motion on the general principles laid down by the hon. Member for Kent. The suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman behind him, for a motion for inquiring as to the course of instruction at Maynooth, or as to the regulations there, were very different from the present proposition for the discontinuance of the grant. The matter had been taken up on grounds very different, and it involved questions to which he would not allude. He must observe, however, that having been engaged in attending to matters connected with the improvement of Ireland, he wished to disconnect these practical measures with those topics which could only cause disunion. He had expressed these feelings with reference to the subject of education generally, and he thought that it should be the object of the Legislature to do all that they consistently could to conciliate the feelings of the people of Ireland; and if, therefore, they came to a vote on the subject of a grant to the College of Maynooth he hoped that it would be distinctly understood in the country that it was not on the minor point as to the regulations of that institution, but whether a system of education should be continued there in conformity with the feelings of that country. He was ex- 60 tremely sorry to have heard many of the opinions that had been uttered by hon. Gentlemen who sat on the same side of the House as himself, but he could not refrain from expressing his cordial concurrence in the feelings that had been expressed by the right hon. Member for Tamworth.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
recommended that the motion should be withdrawn, in conformity with the suggestion of his right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Plumptre
was willing to withdraw his motion, if such was the opinion of those who supported the view which he took of the subject; but he was in the hands of the House.
§ Mr. Hume
stated that the hon. Member had brought forward his motion in the proper form, if he was anxious to take the decision of the House on the subject. After the statements that had been made by the hon. Gentleman and others who supported the motion, he thought that it was incumbent on him to take the sense of the House on the subject.
§ Mr. Barron
observed that it would be considered an insult to the people of Ireland, if the House did not go to a division on this subject. It was notorious that many Members opposite had gained seats in that House by their declamations on the hustings on this subject, and by the base and cowardly manner in which they had made their attacks on this institution.
§ The Speaker
called the hon. Member to order, and declared that the application of the terms cowardly and base to any Member in that House was clearly out of order.
§ Mr. W. Barron
stated that if the Speaker declared the terms to be unparliamentary, he of course must withdraw the expression. He, however, would suppose a case, and would observe that he could not conceive anything more base or cowardly than for any body of men on the hustings supporting the gravest charges against an institution, and coming forward before their constituents, whether in Kent, or Maidstone, or Cambridge, he would not stop to say, and addressing to them the basest calumnies and falsehoods that could be invented, and indulging in the most unfounded and uncharitable observations against a body of their fellow Christians, and denominating the college of Maynooth a den of thieves, and even worse than a den of thieves. He must say 61 that it was the very acmé of baseness, when the question came before the House for discussion, to shrink from a division.
§ Mr. Christopher
rose to order. He appealed to the chair whether the observations of the hon. Member did not distinctly apply to certain Members on his side of the House. The hon. Gentleman had stated that hon. Members had shrunk from using language in that House which they had addressed to their constituents out of it.
§ Mr. W. Barron
was extremely sorry to attribute proceedings to certain persons which the hon. Member had said were so applicable to his friends around him. He thought that it would have been more prudent of Gentlemen opposite to have followed the example set them that night by the right hon. Member for Tamworth, for the language which he used did him honour. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would give credit in the country for the conduct which he had pursued, and he (Mr. Barron) was happy to see him shrink from contact with a certain portion of the party with which he was still connected.
§ The House divided—Ayes 42; Noes 121: Majority 79.
|List of the AYES.|
|Archdall, M.||Hepburn, Sir T. B.|
|Bateson, Sir R.||Hodgson, R.|
|Bell, M.||Houstoun, G.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Kelly, F.|
|Buck, L. W.||Kemble, H.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Litton, E.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Maclean, D.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Maunsell, T. P.|
|Cole, hon. A. H.||O'Neill, hon. J. B. R.|
|Conolly, Edward||Pakington, J. S.|
|Dalrymple, Sir A.||Pringle, A.|
|Duffield, T.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Dugdale, W. S.||Rushout, G.|
|Du Pre, G.||Shirley, E. J.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Sibthorp, Colonel|
|Farnham, E. B.||Smyth, Sir G. H.|
|Feilden, W.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Glynne, Sir S. R.|
|Hale, R. B.||TELLERS.|
|Halford, H.||Plumptre, Mr.|
|Hawkes, T.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Archbold, R.|
|Adam, Admiral||Baring, rt. hon. F. T.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Barnard, E. G.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Barron, H. W.|
|Alston, R.||Beamish, F. B.|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Muskett, G. A.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Nicholl, J.|
|Bewes, T.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Blake, M. J.||O'Brien, C.|
|Blake, W. J.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Bowes, J.||O'Connor Don|
|Bridgeman, H.||Ord, W.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Parker, J.|
|Brotherton, J.||Pechell, Captain|
|Busfeild, W.||Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Chalmers, P.||Pigot, D. R.|
|Chetwynd, Major||Power, J.|
|Childers, J. W.||Power, John|
|Clay, W.||Price, Sir R.|
|Collier, J.||Pryme, G.|
|Collins, W.||Rawdon, Col. J. D.|
|Craig, W. G.||Redington, T. N.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.||Roche, E. B.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Rundle, J.|
|Dundas, C. W. D.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Dundas, Sir R.||Russell, Lord C.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Salwey, Colonel|
|Euston, Earl of||Scholefield, J.|
|Evans, G.||Sheil, rt. hn. R. L.|
|Evans, W.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Ewart, W.||Smith, J. A.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Smith, B.|
|Finch, F.||Smith, R. V.|
|Fitzroy, Lord C.||Somers, J. P.|
|Gordon, R.||Stanley, hon. E. J.|
|Greenaway, C.||Steuart, R.|
|Greg, R. H.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.||Stock, Dr.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Hawes, B.||Strutt, E.|
|Hawkins, J. H.||Style, Sir C.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Hector, C. J.||Thornely, T.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Townley, R. G.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Hoskins, K.||Wallace, R.|
|Howard, hn. E. G. G.||Warburton, H.|
|Howard, F. J.||White, A.|
|Hume, J.||White, H.|
|Humphery, J.||Williams, W.|
|Ingham, R.||Williams, W. A.|
|Langdale, hon. C.||Wilshere, W.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Loch, J.||Wood, G. W.|
|Lushington, rt. hn. S.||Wood, B.|
|Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.||Worsley, Lord|
|Macnamara, Major||Wyse, T.|
|Martin, T. B.||Yates, J. A.|
|Maule, hon. F.||TELLERS.|
|Mildmay, P. St. J.||Ward, Mr.|
|Morpeth, Viscount||O'Connell, M. J.|