§ Mr. Ward
* I shall make none of the customary apologies to the House for venturing, at this most unusual period of the Session, to bring before its notice one of the gravest and most difficult questions that can possibly be submitted to the Parliament of a country, singularly divided in its religious opinious, and singularly tenacious in adhering to them. I shall not say that I wish that the subject had fallen into more competent hands, or that I dread my own inability to deal with it, because, although both of these things are strictly true, yet I acknowledge that they are rather matters for private consideration, than things which furnish me with any claim to indulgence—but I shall say, and I claim credit from all, for perfect sincerity in affirming it, that nothing except my deep conviction, that for Parliament to separate, under the present circumstances both of England and Ireland, without one honest attempt to look fairly in the face that which is the real difficulty of every Administration in its Irish policy, would be most injurious to the best interests of the country, would have induced me to undertake a task, which so many men of infinitely higher mark and ability than myself have shown little disposition to enter upon. Sir, no man can feel more deeply than I do, the difficulties with which this Irish Church question is surrounded. It involves great interests, as well as great principles. It is a question of money, as well as of creed. It is a question which no Government, however strong, can hope to settle without wounding honest and cherished convictions, as well as alarming stubborn prejudices. Two Governments have already sunk in the attempt to grapple with it, and I do not wonder that a* From a corrected report, published as a pamphlet by Ridgway.119 third should show some reluctance to repeat so fearful an experiment. And yet, Sir, it is a question which must be dealt with. It is eminently a practical question. There it stands unchanged and unchangeable—a bar to that Union which we all desire—a stumbling-block in every system—a source of perpetual weakness in the midst of apparent strength—the constant drop, that is eating, into the fabric of the British constitution. Is that language too strong? Are my apprehensions exaggerated? I always like to fortify my own opinion by that of others, who are of greater consideration than myself—and I cannot appeal to better testimony than that of the right hon. Baronet opposite, the Secretary for the Home Department, who is, from his situation, peculiarly responsible for the peace and tranquillity of Ireland. What did that right hon. Baronet tell us, almost the last time that he addressed the House upon Irish subjects? Compare his words upon that occasion with mine. The right hon. Baronet said:—I cannot dissemble from myself that this crisis is one of urgency—that it is no ordinary crisis—that great interests, that national safety and our position in the scale of nations are at stake. Any hesitation on the part of Government or of this House will aggravate the danger a hundred fold. If we falter, if we hesitate to repress that rebellious spirit, which has shown itself upon the subject of Repeal in Ireland, then the glory of this country has departed—the days of its power are numbered—and England, all glorious England, will present a melancholy spectacle to surrounding nations.Now, Sir, what stronger warning can this House have of the absolute necessity of not leaving Ireland in the state in which she is unhappily plunged at present? But, Sir, in the House of Lords, similar sentiments have been expressed. On all sides, I find men formerly entertaining the strongest views with respect to Ireland, admitting that the time has come, when every man must be prepared to re-consider his opinions upon Irish questions. I find, in short, in that House, as I do in this House, if we speak out openly, a general conviction of impending danger, although, upon the part of the majority, it is unfortunately accompanied by as general an indisposition to do anything to avert it. Sir, some time ago, when I said that the sum and substance of the Irish policy of the present Cabinet 120 was contained in the Arms Bill, I was met on the part of the right hon. Baronet opposite by a somewhat indignant contradiction. But how stand matters now? Time has passed away—week after week has gone by in the discussion of Irish affairs. When old bills are dropped, I think no new ones can be anticipated. We have all the measures of the Government before us. Those measures are limited to the Arms Bill; and unless it should please the House to adopt the address of which I have given notice this evening, it is my firm belief that Parliament will separate without a single attempt being made to allay irritation or to conciliate the Irish people. Now, Sir, I shall perhaps be met by an assertion that this address is nothing—that like many other addresses, even if adopted by the House, it will be regarded afterwards but as waste paper. I do not mean to treat it so, for one, at all events, I shall be told that it is vague in its object—that it pledges the House to no immediate plan. I admit it; but it pledges the House to a principle. It is not equivocal in its language. It pledges the House to what I consider as a most important principle at the present moment; it pledges the House to such a settlement of the Church question in Ireland, "as will remove all just ground of complaint, and give satisfaction to the Irish people." I shall be told, perhaps, that that is vague. Now, I do not want any support upon false pretences. There are other words here, to which I attach more importance, for the man who affirms, by voting for this Address, "that the laws which regulate the present distribution of Church property in Ireland are not conformable to reason, or to the practice of any Christian country," can hardly shrink afterwards from applying to these laws a radical remedy. The man who votes for this address—I say it distinctly—can hardly hope to stop afterwards within the limits of Temporalities Acts, and Appropriation Clauses. These were all very well ten years ago as a beginning—as a first step—towards a great national compromise of a most difficult question; and if you (addressing the Ministerialists) had chosen at that time to act in the spirit of my resolution of 1834—to adopt the changes proposed by the bills of 1835 and 1836—to prune down, while it was yet time, the redundancies of the Irish Church Establish- 121 ment, I believe that that compromise, accepted as it was by the majority of Irish Members in this House, would have been satisfactory, and might have been permanent. [Mr. Shaw: No.] Yes, but you lost the opportunity. You rejected the terms, and now you may wish in vain to come back to them. It is the old story—the Sybil's books. You must give more—get less—and if you haggle much longer about the terms, you will lose everything. Now, Sir, in dealing with this question, and having taken upon myself the responsibility of bringing it forward, I certainly shall feel it my duty to state my own views fully and unequivocally respecting it. I have neither the right, nor the wish, to consider any other person as bound by them. Those who choose to put a different construction upon the address, may do so, and so vote for it, but I should consider myself wanting in respect to this House, and in that plain speaking to which I have always accustomed myself, if in grappling with such a subject, I were to shrink from giving the plainest possible statement of my own opinions. My principle is a very simple one. It is this—that everything that we have done for the last three hundred years, in the name of religion in Ireland, has been wrongly done—and that if we could succeed in obliterating, it from our Statutes—if we could retrace our steps—if we could begin again, and do what we have to do, on a diametrically opposite principle, we should never hear of jealousy between England and Ireland—still less of a Repeal of the Union. Indeed, and I say it with all deference for my hon. Friend, the Member for the county of Cork,—I believe that the man who, under such circumstances, would declare himself here an advocate for Repeal, would be considered in no other light than as an enemy to the interests and happiness of both nations. Sir, I have no wish to re-open old wounds—I have no wish to revive old enmities; but, in dealing with this subject, I must deal with it as a whole, and I must, consequently, entreat the indulgence of the House while I endeavour to show, that what has been done by England in the administration of Irish affairs has been done wrongly, and how, to my mind, the Church has been one of the instruments of wrong-doing in the hands of the Government. Sir, the Protestant Church 122 in Ireland is a part of the English system of policy; it is the principal link in the chain with which England has bound her Roman Catholic subjects. Every Catholic—every Catholic Member of this House, at least, and I hope many of them will deliver their opinions openly during this discussion, for there is no use in their being here if they do not,—if he speaks his mind publicly, as he does privately, will say that he considers the existence of the Protestant Church as at once the type, and the consequence of his own degradation. Sir, it is so. It is part of a system,—and that system was to distrust, and humiliate the Catholic population of Ireland. Nothing else can account for such an anomaly as a Protestant establishment existing in the heart of a Catholic population. The Crown, Sir, has an equal interest in all its subjects, without distinction of creed. It is rigidly impartial in its demands, when it asks them to concur in its defence or to contribute towards its splendour; and in return the Crown has wisely adopted a conciliatory policy in dealing with the religious opinions of its subjects, and in every instance, with the exception of Ireland, has taken the belief of the majority as the rule of the Establishment. But in Ireland that rule has been reversed. Why? Because, from the first, in Ireland religion has been mixed up with other questions. It has been mixed up with the question of allegiance—with questions of property. Ireland was only partially conquered when the Reformation took place, and the reformed religion became the type of the conquering few,—the Catholic religion the badge of the conquered many. Sir, even in this Protestant country we must not look too closely at the motives which brought the caprice of the King into harmony with the deeper seated feelings of the people. But in Ireland there was no preparation at all. The change of religion there was the mere consequence of our changes. The very same act—the 28th Henry 8th, which enacted the Oath of Supremacy, alienated the whole of the temporalities of the Irish Church—alienated, in fact, the temporalities of all who refused to conform. Here, only two bishops refused to take the oath; in Ireland only two took it. Twenty-six out of twenty-eight bishops, and the whole of the parochial clergy, gave up their livings rather than hold them on such a condi- 123 tion. They all abandoned Church preferments. They acted as the free Church of Scotland is doing at the present time—they went out, into voluntary poverty, rather than submit to what they considered an unjustifiable clog on their opinions. Yet, Sir, the Church of Ireland is said now-a-days not to be the creature of the law, and there are many in this House—I allude particularly to the hon. Baronet, the Member for Oxford, who deny the power of the law to deal with it, as if it were not by act of Parliament that it acquired its property. Well, this was a harsh step in the first instance, and there was nothing afterwards to redeem that harshness. There was no attempt—perhaps there was no wish—to conciliate the people of Ireland, or to alter their religion, for religion, unfortunately, became the favourite plea for forfeitures. What was the circumstance, which of all others most tended to popularise the principles of Protestantism in Germany, and this country? It was the privilege of prayer in the native tongue. But that privilege was refused to Ireland. Ireland was told of two foreign languages, to choose that, which was the least familiar to the people—the type of our conquest, and their humiliation. Why, to this day the English Liturgy has never been translated. I recollect in the debates of 1833, Mr. Finch, then a Member of this House, stating that three or four years before that time, an Irish class had actually been founded in Trinity College, Dublin, to teach to future pastors at some day, the means of rendering the doctrines of Protestantism intelligible amongst their flocks in the south of Ireland. I could not help thinking at the time, that it was a beautiful, and most philosophical idea. The only pity was, that it came three centuries too late; it ought to have suggested itself under Queen Elizabeth, and not Victoria. But we must not mince the matter. The plain fact is, that the care of the Reformation in Ireland fell into the hands of the scum and refuse of the English clergy. I always like taking evidence on such a subject, from an authority that cannot be cavilled at. I will not cite Lingard; I will not cite any Catholic writer. My authority shall be Protestant. The best Protestant writer of that day is Spenser, and what is the account which he gives of the reformed Protestant clergy, on the first introduction of the Reformation into that country? Why, he says,— 124Some of them (the Protestant bishops), whose dioceses are in remote parts, and out of the world's eye, doe not at all bestow the benefices, which are in their own donation, upon any, but keepe them in their own hands, and set their own servants and horse-boys to take up the tithes and fruites of them, with the which some of them purchase great lands, and build fair castells upon the same. Of which abuse, if any question be moved, they have a very seemly colour and excuse, that they have no worthy Ministers to bestow them upon.Sir, it is curious to observe how ancient and modern times may be brought into juxta-position in Ireland. Errors, always acknowledged, are never rectified. The practice of "buying great landes, and building fair castells upon the same," has always been one of the characteristics of Irish Episcopacy. Half the great families of the country may be traced to it. But, the other day, when the Government was accused of giving preferments on the Episcopal bench only to those dignitaries of the Church who were opposed to them on the education question, the right hon. Gentleman, the recorder of Dublin (Mr. Shaw), said they did it for the best of reasons; or, as Spenser has it,—Upon the seeming colour or excuse, that they had no worthy minister, upon whom to bestow these preferments,Who were at all favourable to the national system of education. Spenser adds:—Whatever disorders you see in the Church of England, you finde these, and many more; namely, gross simony, greedy covetousness, careless sloth, and generally all disordered life in the common clergymen.And he pays a singular tribute to the zeal of Popish priests, who even at that time,—Spared not to come out of Spaine, from Rome, and from Remes, to a land where they know that peril of death awaiteth them, only to draw the people to the Church of Rome; whereas some of our idle ministers, having a way for credit and estimation thereby opened to them, will, neither for love of God, nor zeal for religion, or for the good they may doe by winning souls to God, be drawne forth from their warm nests to look out into God's harvest.Similar evidence might be drawn from almost every contemporary writer. Yet, Elizabeth, and her royal father, never contemplated the abuses, that her neglect, and precipitation have given rise to. She had too much of the Tudor blood in her, and was too much spoilt by the adula- 125 tion of her courtiers, to imagine that her will would not be implicitly submitted to. She never meant to establish the Church of a minority, when she adopted Hooper's celebrated maxim, "that every member of the commonwealth must be a member of the Church of England." She believed, that they would be so, and then there would have been nothing; inequitable in the transfer. But let us look thirty years later, and we shall see how the spirit of religion, and worldly matters, continued to be unfortunately mixed up together, in the Government of Ireland. In 1613 the colonization of Ulster by James 1st took place. I hold in my hand the terms of a charter to the borough of Coleraine, in which the motives that led to the grant are broadly stated;—Whereas the province of Ulster in our realm of Ireland, for many years past, had, grossly erred from the true religion of Christ, and divine grace, and hath abounded with superstition, &c.—We, therefore, deeply commiserating the wretched state of that province, have esteemed it to be a work worthy of a Christian prince, to stir up, and recal the same province from superstition, rebellion, calamity, and poverty, which, heretofore, have horribly raged therein, to religion, obedience, strength, and prosperity. And whereas our beloved, and faithful subjects, the Mayor, and Commonalty, and Citizens, of our City of London, burning with a flagrant zeal to promote such our pious intention in this behalf, &c. We, therefore, of our special grace, do grant unto them certain lands,—on condition that the native population shall be expelled, and none allowed to live within their grant but men who took the oath of supremacy.By such grants a strong incentive was given to the "flagrant zeal" manifested by the London corporation. But one condition of the grant being to remove and absolutely extirpate the Catholic population, it is notorious (and the matter has been discussed very recently in the House of Lords) that those charters were actually voided, on the ground that the corporation of London, like wise men, retained some of the Catholic serfs for their own convenience. The charters were voided on the ground that the grantees were not rigid enough in extirpating the Catholic population, and it cost them much trouble, and a good deal of money, to get them renewed in the time of Charles the let. The colonization of Ulster, on such conditions, and in such a spirit, had one serious disadvantage—the rebellion of 1641—and that again led to the Cromwellian settlement, 126 which made it absolutely impossible to do justice between Protestant and Catholic afterwards. On what principle did that settlement proceed? That every man's life, and property, were at the mercy of the Government, provided he were an Irishman and a Papist, and the only condition on which mercy was extended to the Catholics, was, the surrender to the Crown of their lands, for which purpose they were divided into three classes,—the first, losing two-thirds—the second, one-third, and the third, one-fifth of their properties, and consenting to take an equivalent for the remainder in the province of Connaught. Ireland was treated much in the same way as the land of Canaan was by the Israelites. I know no other country where the land was forfeited generally in the name of Christianity. I do not say that Christianity led to the partition of the land of Canaan, but that its conquests were effected in alleged obedience to the will of God—while in Ireland the dangers to be apprehended from Popery were held to be a full justification of all that was done. The Cromwellian settlement was confirmed by what are called the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, under which Charles 2nd made about twenty exceptions out of 3,000 forfeitures, in favour of his most devoted adherents. This sufficiently explains the adhesion of Catholic Ireland to James 2nd, by whom the forfeitures might have been reversed; but when the question of divided allegiance was settled by the Battle of the Boyne, and the capitulation of Limerick, then, at least, there was a noble opportunity for England to show a magnanimous oblivion of past events. She might have dealt with Ireland as Frederick the Great dealt with Silesia: but if Frederick had treated Silesia as England treated Ireland, he would not have held it for twelve months. But what were the first-fruits of William's victory? The penal laws, and in the establishment of those laws, the Church of Ireland was particularly active. It was the Church that actually forced their adoption on the Government, for Dr. Dopping, amongst others, applied to the Catholics the maxim which the Catholics are often charged with wishing to apply to us, "that no faith is to be kept with heretics" Sir, I have referred to the capitulation of Limerick, and no Protestant of this day, however zealous, now that angry passions 127 have subsided, will deny that that treaty was scandalously violated. Disabilities the most humiliating, penalties the most atrocious, were imposed on the Catholics, with the view of getting rid of them altogether; and this system was upheld by the Church, and defended by the best, and wisest, men at hoth sides of the water. King William's last speech expressed his wish to Parliament—That all distinctions might cease amongst his subjects, except those of English and French—Protestant and Papist.Swift, the first man who roused anything like a national feeling in Ireland, and who said of some friend, whose merits were overlooked by the Government—That he had the curse of an Irishman upon him;—he had some ability, and tried to use it for the benefit of his native country.Had none but Protestant sympathies. His principle was, speaking of other sects,—That a Government cannot give them too much ease, nor trust them with too little power.But he says of the Catholics—They are the common enemy; but, happily, too inconsiderable to be feared. Their lands are almost entirely taken from them, and they are rendered incapable of purchasing any more. Their priests are registered, and without permission (which I hope will not be granted), they can have no successors. And as to the common people, without leaders, discipline, or natural courage, they are little better than hewers of wood, and drawers of water, and are out of all capacity of doing any mischief, if they were ever so well inclined.Even Bishop Burnet, who opposed the bill against what was called "Occasional conformity," in the jargon of that day, upon the broadest, and most comprehensive grounds, saying:—I was resolved never to be silent when toleration should be brought into debate, for I have long looked on liberty of conscience as one of the rights of human nature, antecedent to society, which no man could give up, because it was not in his own power, and which our Saviour expressly decided, by his rule, of 'doing as we would be done by,' and 'judging as we would be judged,'almost in the same page defends the penal laws, which, he says, were more likely to prove effectual than the act passed in England—Because they contained some efficacious 128 clauses, for the want of which, the English act had not produced any fruit.From this time the Catholics were, for seventy years, slaves in a land of written liberty, and the Church, unhappily, was made one of the instruments of their oppression. I hurry over a period of sixty years, during which even the abuses of the establishment were cherished as virtues. Tithes were the only provision for the clergy. Every man now admits that it is impossible to exaggerate the iniquity and absurdity of the old tithing system in Ireland. I will not do the Gentlemen opposite the injustice of supposing that that system could find a single defender on their Benches, and yet every attempt at commutation was resisted as destructive to the Church. Grattan's splendid efforts before the Union, were as unsuccessful as those of Sir John Newport, and Sir Henry Parnell, after it. A commutation was promised, to be sure, but so was emancipation,—so was the payment of the Catholic clergy,—all of which promises were only made to be broken. The only engagements faithfully kept were those contracted with private interests, the disreputable character of which had stamped the Union between England and Ireland with general reprobation. Mr. Pitt, than whom there was no man of larger, and more comprehensive views, sacrificed his own opinions to what I must call the narrow-minded bigotry of his master. Emancipation had been promised, but what followed? The Ministry of 1806 was broken up by the No-popery cry. For twenty years Ireland was governed by insurrection acts; and it was not until the growing discontent, and, I will add, the growing importance, of the Catholics, forced their claims on the attention of Parliament, that there was the slightest indication of a wish to reform the "proved abuses" of the Establishment. Sir, it was in the years 1821 and 1822, when the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was Secretary, and Lord Wellesley Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, that the first symptom of improvement manifested itself; and then how reluctantly was any measure of relief forced on this country! How many motions, that everybody, in cold blood, must now blush to see so long neglected, were made, before the first step was taken towards any practical measure of amelioration. All the abominations of the tithe system were 129 admitted. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said they were collected "from the lowest and poorest classes." In fact, considering the largeness of the numbers liable to them, the smallness of the claims, and the disproportionate expense with which the collection was attended, tithes might be regarded as homoeopathic doses of disaffection. [The Chancellor of the Exchequer: I never said that.] I know you did not, but it is the natural inference from your admissions. You instanced a case in Kerry where 480l. was collected from 1,960 persons; and you said the clergyman was forced to give up his income or proceed against the poorest of his parishioners. The right hon. Gentleman's remedy was a voluntary composition, which, in fact, was no remedy at all; and even this was forced by repeated motions here, and in the House of Lords, where the Duke of Devonshire, the largest Lay-impropriator of tithes in Ireland, stated unequivocally his conviction that the system must be altered, and expressed his own readiness to make great sacrifices, in order to accomplish it. In the same debate, Lord Lansdowne said:—It was most unfortunate that a species of property, already abolished in most parts of Europe, should continue, in its very worst state, in that particular country where its existence presented the greatest possible anomaly with the state of society, and was productive of the greatest possible mischief.Lord Liverpool, at that time without a rival in power, took the matter very coolly. He said "that it was necessary that some prejudices should be removed before the question could be dealt with by Government." He was forced on in the following year, by the Marquess of Wellesley and Lord Lansdowne's motion, who proved that the time for consideration was over. He stated that in six years there had been 2,178 tithe causes before the Ecclesiastical Courts, and 7,149 causes in the Civil Courts of six counties. In Kerry alone 2,195 causes. If the proportion throughout Ireland were the same, there must have been 17,357 tithe causes, without including claims under. 5l., decided by a single magistrate, of which there were 100 a week, ranging from 4d. to 5s. in amount, with costs averaging 3s. Why, if the devil himself had aided the perverse ingenuity of man to bring religion into discredit, and to inspire an undying hatred of the system under which these abuses 130 were perpetrated, he could not have devised anything more effectual. Well might Lord Lansdowne ask, whether the Church was intended for the benefit of Ireland, or Ireland for the benefit of the Church?"—and Lord Holland characterised the Government, which declared these evils to be "social evils," over which Legislation had no power, and which only contemplated measures of relief at some distant day, "as a pretty, contemplative government," unfit to deal with the practical necessities of the times.The Government contemplated measures of relief! A pretty contemplative Government it was, truly! It had been contemplating for twenty-two years, during which Ireland had been left a prey to every species of calamity.Sir, it does one good to go back to the vigorous sense of some of these old Whigs—it is such a contrast to the mawkish sentimentality of the present day, and to the namby-pamby phrases that we hear, whenever the interests of the Church, and those of the people, are brought into collision. Lord Holland added—Though warmly attached to the constitution of his country, he was by no means sure that he could continue a good subject, if compelled to pay one-tenth of his substance to the clergy of one-fourteenth of the population, and for the support of a religion which he might think heretical.Yet that is the case of the Catholics in Ireland succinctly stated. Sir, these discussions in the Lords were exceedingly important, as they paved the way for the motion in this House of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose. He, Sir, has the credit (and ought to have it), of having first asserted here that the maintenance of a State Church in Ireland, which was not the Church of the Irish people, was an anomaly most dangerous to the peace of that country. I look back with the greater pleasure to my hon. Friend's motion, for I find there good broad principles boldly stated. I find him, twenty-five years ago, saying thatTithes were a trust, and that the rights of the clergy, as proprietors, were limited. That the application of the tithe-fund might be changed, provided that existing rights were respected; that benefices were freeholds during life or good behaviour; an establishment was not a part of Christianity, but only a means of inculcating it.All the things that we are still disput- 131 ing about—all the authorities that have since been quoted, are to be found in my hon. Friend's speeches of 1822 and 1824, supported by arguments that have never been answered, but are now approaching a practical solution. And how were they received? Why, his measures were called "monstrous," and his principles "revolutionary." Now, I venture to say, I shall hear nothing of this sort during the present debate, in the House of Commons, though I am informed, through those channels that are open to everybody's inspection, that no later than last night a noble Duke in another place, to which I am forbidden to refer more directly, gave expression to opinions very similar to the No-Popery cry. And this, on the preposterous ground, that if Parliament were to interfere with the property of the Irish Church, it would be an abandonment of the principles of the Reformation. Sir, I cannot conceive for a moment, that this should be any other than a scandalous libel upon the noble Duke, put into his mouth by some enemy. It is perfectly impossible than one of his high intelligence and capacity should have gone back to 1798 for his political opinions, and fancy he was addressing an Irish Parliament before the Union, instead of one which had passed Appropriation Clauses, and Tithe Bills, But to return to the motion of 1822. The pledge to "consider next Session" was scouted as worse than useless. The present Chancellor of the ExchequerHoped that the House would mark with its decided reprobation the line of argument pursued that night for the first time—he meant the doubts thrown out as to the nature of Tithes as property. It was no waiver of a man's title to his property, to say that he spent it improperly. Tithes, to all intents and purposes, were private property, held under the most ancient and unobjectionable of titles, and to be approached with a degree of delicacy and caution to which no other kind of property was entitled.Mr. Hume, "if encouraged, would extend his system of spoliation and robbery to England." These were hard words, but powerless to stop the progress of truth here, or of disaffection in Ireland. We know better now. We know that Tithes are set apart, a public fund for public purposes; "the salary of prayer," as Mr. Grattan said; "not the gift of God independent of the duty;" that there is in the Legislature a superintending power, and a 132 right to enforce the conditions, on which the Trust was founded. The misfortune is, that in this country the necessity of change has always been seen too late, and admitted too reluctantly. We have the best principles and the worst practice. Tithes were admitted to be a tax more vexatious than oppressive, and more impolitic than either, for thirty years before the mode of collecting them was altered. Commutation, which might have been effectual in 1802, was not tried till 1838, when a new appropriation was universally sought for. Even voluntary compositions were never thought of till 1822. The Vestry Cess was persisted in till 1833, though then declared by the Secretary for the Colonies himself, to have been "a galling blister and a petty annoyance, unworthy of any Christian community." If this were its character, why was it tolerated for 300 years, and forced upon the people of Ireland? It is useless now to ask what might have been the state of things, had all this been altered. It was not altered till the time was passed when any alteration short of a new appropriation could be useful; and a new appropriation to a certain extent was undertaken by the Temporalities Act of 1833. I admit that that bill had great merit. It was a great concession to public opinion. It was called "Re-distribution," but it almost amounted to a new appropriation, and if we wish to judge of its merits, we must look to the language, not of its supporters, but of its opponents. By them it was called, "an invasion of existing rights, a diminution of existing incomes!" "A highway robbery between man and man; just and equitable, between a reformed Parliament and the Church!" Who applied that language to the Church Temporalities Act? The very first man whom the right hon. Baronet placed on the bench in Ireland, namely, Mr. Baron Lefroy. Speaking of the same measure, the hon. Baronet, the Member for the Oxford University said,To reduce the bishops is to touch, not only the Temporalities, but the Spiritualities of the Church, by diminishing the numbers of a sacred Order of Apostolic succession. Parliament is not competent to do it. The measure is contrary to the Coronation Oath, the Act of Union, the Emancipation Act, and the oath taken by the Members of this House.The hon. Baronet will, I hope, pardon me for telling him that these were remark- 133 ably harmless ravings. Parliament proved its competency, by doing the very thing which the hon. Baronet said it was not competent to do. The skies did not fall in consequence of it; and notwithstanding the reduction in the number of bishops, there were plenty left to keep up the Apostolical succession, which the hon. Baronet attached so much importance to, and to which, by-the-by, Dr. Higgins, the Catholic Bishop of Ardagh, lays claim just as much as the Bishop of London. The vestry cess, too, was taken from the Church, and the Church was much the better for it, although the hon. Baronet made use of a curious remark upon that point, for he said—That to make the Church alone liable for its own support, was like maintaining the gaols of an Assize town by a tax upon the barristers.The hon. Baronet, however, was told by the noble Lord, now Secretary for the Colonies, who was not then sitting in quite such juxta-position to the hon. Baronet as he is at present—"That for the safety of the Church itself, the welfare of the Protestant religion, and for the sake of peace, tranquillity, and good order—it was essential that the revenues of the Church of Ireland should be differently distributed;and by that opinion Parliament abided. Sir, I have said, that I am not at all disposed to carp at the merit of the Church Temporalities Act. I think it was a great, and useful concession to public opinion. Some of its provisions were very strong; so much so, that I recollect that Mr. Warburton, then Member for Bridport, said at the time, that he felt very great doubt whether he could concur in the original resolutions, because it was always his maxim that we should deal most liberally with existing interests. The right hon. Baronet, the present Secretary for the Home Department, pronounced what, in my mind, was the highest panegyric on the measure, when, in speaking of the vacant benefices which, it was proposed, not to fill up, in places where no service had been performed from 1830, to 1833, he said:—In consenting to this suspending power, I strained my conscience to the utmost.Sir, consciences, at the present day, possess so much elasticity, that it is extremely difficult to ascertain when any 134 man's conscience is strained to the utmost limit; but if the right hon. Baronet's profession de foi, that, in consenting to suspend the right of presentation to benefices, in which no service had been performed for three years, he strained his Protestant conscience to the extreme point, be his last word in this matter, I fear that I cannot expect much countenance from him in what I am about to propose. The right hon. Baronet, however, exhibited his usual shrewdness even in this admission. He could not have said another word, without admitting the badness of his title. The history of the Church Temporalities Act was simply this—it was brought forward by the more judicious friends of the Church—I hope the hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford, will pardon me for making that distinction—in the hope that, by sacrificing a portion of the property, which it had unjustly acquired, it might be permitted to retain the remainder. What was the result? Hostility was encouraged, and discontent continued unabated. I see that the right hon. Baronet opposite is taking down my words, and he is perfectly welcome to the admission. Hostility to the Church was encouraged, because what was done, was tantamount to the admission of a bad title, and dis-discontent continued unabated, because enough was not done to satisfy the people. The state of Ireland was never worse than in the year after the Temporalities Act was passed. Religious warfare—if I may so call it—never raged more fiercely. Besides, the facts, which were brought out in the discussion on that measure, set people thinking. That was the mischief of the thing. The refusal to affirm the principle of appropriation in the 147th clause, set me thinking among the rest, and was the primary cause of the motion, which I made in the following year, and which had the effect of removing some of the greatest ornaments of the then Government. The hon. Member for Montrose, ten years before, had humbly asked Parliament to inquire,Whether the Church Establishment in Ireland were not more than commensurate to the services to be performed, both as regarded the number of persons employed, and the incomes received by them.I ventured to go a step further. I affirmed—That the Protestant Episcopal Establish- 135 ment in Ireland exceeded the spiritual wants of the Protestant population.I asserted the right of Parliament to deal with it, and affirmed, "That it ought to be reduced." The consequences of my motion everybody recollects. It led to the resignation of the right hon. Baronet opposite, (Sir J. Graham), and three or four of his friends, and, in its consequences, led to their translation to the benches, which they now occupy, and I wish them joy of their bed of roses. My motion led to the formation of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth's Government, in 1834, and it also led to its very rapid dissolution. It likewise led to the bills which were brought in in 1835, and 1836, to carry out the Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, and although it is my wish to pass as briefly as possible over this period, during which the Irish Church became the pivot of English policy, I must call the attention of the House to some circumstances which have a distinct bearing upon the present state of Ireland. My noble Friend, the Member for London, in bringing forward the proposition for the settlement of the Irish tithe question, in March, 1835, distinctly avowed that it was introduced in redemption of the pledge, given by this House in an Address to the Crown, upon the rejection of Mr. O'Connell's motion for the Repeal of the Union, "to remove all just causes of complaint, and to promote all well-considered measures of improvement in Ireland." He said—I come before you to-day, to represent what I consider a just cause of complaint.and to induce you, it I can, to adoptA well-considered measure of improvement.The Resolution proposed by my noble Friend was carried by 322 to 289. Subsequently, in committee, my noble Friend moved a resolution relative to the appropriation of the surplus, in the following terms:—That any surplus, which may remain, after providing for the spiritual instruction of the members of the Established Church, ought to be applied to the general education of all classes of Christians.This resolution was carried by 262 to 237. Then, on the 7th of April, my noble Friend proposed the celebrated resolution:— 136That no measure upon the subject of tithes, in Ireland, can lead to a satisfactory and final adjustment, which does not embody the principle contained in the foregoing resolution.This resolution was affirmed by 285 to 258, and its adoption by the House broke up the Government of the right hon. Baronet opposite. The right hon. Baronet, in that most honourable and dignified speech, in which he announced his surrender of power, stated distinctly,The vote of last night implied the necessity of a total change of system in Ireland, so far as the Church revenues were concerned. The vote was one, the practical execution of which could not lie dormant. It was no abstract resolution. The House of Commons could not leave the tithe question in its present state, without destroying the authority, not merely of that particular law, but of all laws confirming the rights of property.What was the effect in Ireland of these declarations? It is all very well to look upon them here, as a mere party game—a question, which of two conflicting parties shall be in power; but in Ireland our resolutions and declarations were considered and received by a generous and confiding people, as a pledge, not as between two parties, but between two nations. The people of Ireland did not suppose that the resolutions of the House of Commons were to lie dormant; and, if there he faith, and honesty in man—if there be such a thing in the world as a corporate conscience—the House of Commons must blush to see such pledges unredeemed. With respect to the bills of 1835–6, Lord Morpeth said of the former:I tender this bill as the compromise of enormous difficulties, as an acknowledgment of the consideration due to the bulk of the Irish people.The terms proposed by that bill were such, as I ventured to tell the Recorder of Dublin, he will never be offered again. The terms were, the payment of 1,000,000l. of arrears: and the only return asked from the Church, was, that it should consent to the application of 58,076l. from the Reserved fund, as it was termed, to "the religious and moral instruction of all classes of the people." And how was this proposal received? Why, ridicule was heaped by the right hon. Baronet the present Secretary for the Home Department on the "reserved fund," and "its feeders." The opponents of the bill taxed their ingenuity to the utmost to prove that no surplus 137 could possibly arise. They refused to fix any point, below which presentation to benefices should cease. Lord Morpeth proposed that the limit should be fifty Protestants, but hon. Gentlemen opposite refused to fix fifty, or thirty, or twenty, or even ten, but doggedly insisted, as Lord Morpeth observed, in defiance of opinion, or rather of justice, "to keep up livings without cures, clergymen without flocks, pay without work—the worst gains of the sinecurist, upon the worst plea of the bigot." I am bound to admit that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, repudiated the abuses of the Church in strong terms. He said,—I will not support Church sinecures, for the maintenance of learned leisure, or pluralities for the benefit of men of high families.But what is the use of these excellent principles, when they come to be applied to a part of Ireland, in which there can be no cures, because the population is exclusively Catholic? Then, as a sort of counterpoise to the declaration of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, we were told by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State fur the Home Department, "that the first, and only claim, to which he would look, was the claim of the Protestant population." The struggle continued in this House for three years, and ended, as I have said, and always shall say, in a manner most discreditable to the side of the House on which I sit, by the abandonment of the appropriation clause. On this point, my own hands are clean, at all events. I entered my protest against the decision of this House, and my party, by a division in which I was supported by forty-six Members against the whole of the Conservative party, and all my own Friends in the bargain. I believe that that decision, however justifiable it might be considered at the time by those who resorted to it, was a great mistake and a great calamity. I think it was a great mistake, as a mere political calculation, for it settled nothing and disgusted everybody. It was a great calamity, because it shook that confidence in the honour of public men, which is essential to the Government of a free country. What was the immediate consequence of that act? A great impulse was given to the Repeal agitation. Lord Howick, with his usual sagacity, said, three years previously:— 138To mutilate this bill, would be to supply Mr. O'Connell with an argument in favour of Repeal, which I am unable to answer, because it will justify him in contrasting the determination of a united Legislature, with the probable decision of a Parliament sitting in Dublin. If the House wish to make the Union a real Union, not a mere paper bond, to be dissolved in the first moment of difficulty, it will give its most decided negative to the attempt to destroy the healing measure proposed by the Government.Mr. O'Connell, himself, said, at a later period,—You have given me one pledge, and one only. Retract it, if you please; but if you do, recollect that you proclaim, at the same time, to the people of Ireland, that they have no hope but in a Repeal of the Union.The hon. and learned Gentleman is perfectly consistent, after giving tins warning, in adverting to this question, as he does at every Repeal meeting. In his very last speech at Tullamore, Mr. O'Connell said, that—He had given the English Parliament a trial of three years, and that all the promises made in the two first, were broken in the last of them.Who can gainsay the truth of this? In his "Memoir of Ireland," he said,—The Union entitled the Catholics of Ireland—that is, emphatically, the people—to religious equality with the English and Scotch. It was distinctly promised by Mr. Pitt, in his negociations with the leaders of the Catholic people. In this respect the union was, for twenty-nine years a living lie. As long as the people of Ireland are compelled to do that, which neither the people of England nor the people of Scotland do, that is, to support the Church of the minority, so long will the Union continue to be in that respect a living lie.Sir, I may disapprove of the coarseness of this language, but I cannot deny its justice. Mr. O'Connell adds:—Ireland has sought equality, identity. She has been refused—contemptuously refused! Her last demand is free from any alternative. It is the Repeal.I say there is an alternative, to the adoption of which the Church of Ireland is the main obstacle. All agree as to the danger which exists, though we differ as to its causes. The noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland says that all the evils of Ireland may be traced to the state of society. I tell the noble Lord that the state of society in Ireland may be traced to the statute-book. Some evils, no doubt, 139 there are, which no law can reach; but the majority of them the law has made, and the law must remedy. Sift them, and you will find that the Church question is at the bottom of them all. Take the franchise. What caused the hostility of the great party opposite to the miserable franchise of Ireland? Why, their fears for the Church. What stands in the way of a more equal representation of Ireland in the Imperial Parliament? Their fears for the Church! Why did they limit the municipal franchise? It was avowedly and notoriously on account of their fears for the Church. There is not one of these points with respect to which we are not, all of us, ready to talk like reasonable men, if we could only get rid of those fears for the Church, by which we are haunted. The Church stands in the way of the settlement of every question; and have I not then, a right to ask what is the precise value of that Church, as an instrument for the dissemination of religious and moral principles in Ireland? One of the greatest moral revolutions, that ever took place in any country, has just occurred there. The Exchequer is beggared by the new-born virtue of the peasantry. And the change is accompanied by the most satisfactory proofs of a corresponding improvement in the condition of the people. Who has wrought this miracle? The Church? The rich—the favoured—the Protestant, Episcopal Church? Not a bit of it! Very few Protestants have joined the temperance movement. The miracle has been wrought by one of those humble men on whose heads a price was set by the wisdom of our ancestors, a hundred years ago, and who are still regarded in England with the most unwarrantable suspicion. It was impossible, from the nature of things, that the Irish Church could have any share in this great work. It is Irish in nothing but the name. It is the Church of the minority—the Church of the State—anything but the Church of the Irish people. Yet, what is the present position of that Church? The whole ecclesiastical property of the country is absorbed by it. It is necessary that we should see what the amount of that property is. I am aware that I speak in the presence of those who will scrutinise my figures closely; and, in the statement I am about to make, I have endeavoured to understate, rather than overstate, everything. The estimate I have made of the property of the Irish Church, 140 I believe to be as nearly accurate as possible,
The rate of remuneration for episcopalian religious instruction is about 14s. 9d., whilst that of the Presbyterians is only 1s. a head. The Wesleyans and Catholics are left without any provision at all. Notwithstanding this difference of cost, no one can pretend that the Presbyterians 141 are less religious, less moral, or less efficiently instructed, than the Episcopalians: and yet this singular anomaly presents itself, that the richest class in Ireland is superabundantly provided for; although only one-seventh of the population; the Presbyterians, the next wealthy class, are moderately provided for; while the Catholic millions are utterly neglected. In the words of Lord Morpeth, I ask, "What powers of speech can equal this arithmetic?" The hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Pusey), speaking of this state of things in 1835, said "it was Liverpool against Portugal—a town of Protestants to a kingdom of Catholics." The hon. Member was, at that time, in favour of doing justice to the "kingdom;" I hope he has not forgotten the principles on which he then acted, and that he will repeat the vote he gave on that occasion. Sir, the original injustice of this arrangement has been greatly aggravated by the conduct of the Church itself. I do not cast the blame of this on the Members of the Establishment. It is the result of the system. The conduct of the Church has arisen from its consciousness of a bad title, and an unnatural position. The fear of inquiry has prompted it to form political alliances in order to avert investigation. I beg to remind the hon. Baronet, the Member for Oxford, of an expression which he used on a former occasion, when he said that "the Church of Ireland had become too secularised; it had lost something of its holy and peculiar character." [Sir R. Inglis: What period did I refer to?] It was in the debate on the Church Temporalities Bill. [Sir R. Inglis: That is when I spoke; but I wish to know what was the period in the history of the Irish Church to which I referred?] I believe the hon. Baronet spoke generally; but so convinced am I that the Irish Church never possessed the Apostolic and peculiar character which the hon. Baronet alluded to, that I am quite willing to give him the chance of rendering his observation applicable to any period of its history he can select. Sir F. Buxton, a warm Protestant, in 1836, went still further. He made use of these remarkable words—"The abuses of the Protestant Church had been the great impediment to the progress of the Protestant religion." This is perfectly true. The history of the Church proves it. It is tainted with the vices of a worldly and rotten system. It has always been a po- 142 litical, and never a missionary Church. Sir, in proving this statement, I will not appeal to Swift or Spencer, but to authorities which the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford cannot object to, because they are connected with that establishment, for which he has so unfeigned a respect. I will appeal, first, to Primate Boulter—a disinterested, simple-minded, kind-hearted, man—and, consequently, by his position, his character, his faults, and his virtues, a fair specimen of the system, which it is my object to illustrate. Unfortunately he became a leading Member of the Irish Government, during the absence of successive Lords-lieutenant; and if Lord Clonmell's death-bed phrase, "that if he had to begin life anew, he would sooner be a chimney-sweeper, than a member of the Irish Executive," be true as regards Laymen, how much more true is it, as regards the Church and her dignitaries! For what is the impression produced by the correspondence of Primate Boulter? Why, that, for a period of twenty years, (from 1726, to 1746), he always considered it his duty to side with the English, against the Irish interest, as if it were impossible to amalgamate them, and recommended every vacancy at the bar, or on the bench, to be filled up by an Englishman, not a native, though natives, at that time, meant English of the second or third generation, for as to Catholics, nobody dreamt of them for anything. Thus, speaking of the death of the Lord Chancellor, he says—
ACTUAL REVENUE OF THE IRISH CHURCH IN 1843, Episcopal Revenues:— Land and tithes—gross £151,127 Deans and Prebends, exclusive of those attached to Episcopal Sees 34,481 Minor Canons and Vicars Choral 10,525 £196,133 Parochial Benefices, Value of Glebes and Tithes, Ministers' Money, Easter Offerings, &c.;— Province of Armagh £256,372 Tuam 42,738 Dublin 121,859 Cashel 189,682 610,651 Gross Receipts £806,784 Tithe Composition, taken separately;— Parochial £486,785 Episcopal 9,515 Received by Dignitaries 24,360 520,660 Deduct 25 per cent., for rent charge, under act of 1838 130,165 Remain £390,495 Add Episcopal Revenues, after deducting 33,875l. for Tithes, received by Bishops and other Dignitaries 162,258 £552,753 Population. Census of 1834, by Commissioners of Public Instruction;— Protestant Episcopalians 852,064 Presbyterians 642,356 Other Protestant Dissenters 21,808 Catholics 6,427,712 Total 7,943,940 But the Wesleyan Methodists, who are all included in the Establishment, amount to 100,000. Deduct these, and the Protestant Episcopalians will be 752,064 Protestant Dissenters 764,164I take it for granted his successor will be an Englishman.Referring to the Archbishop of Dublin he says—Whenever his Grace drops, I am entirely of opinion that the new archbishop ought to be an Englishman; either already on the bench here or in England. As for a native of this country, I can hardly doubt that whatever his conduct has been or his promises may be, when he is once in that station he will put himself at the head of the Irish interest, and he will naturally carry with him the college and most of the clergy.On another occasion, he says:—I hope when a vacancy happens of an archbishopric, his majesty will not think proper to reward one with it, who has endeavoured to form a conspiracy of lay Lords against the bishops here, who are the persons on whom the Government must depend for doing the public business."—"If it be thought proper to send some bishops from England to 143 Cashell, Derry, or Meath, I should be sorry if any should be sent because of his little worth or troublesomeness at home; for such an one will do—the English interest" not the Irish Church mind—"a great deal of mischief here.Referring to a great move upon the bench, in consequence of a vacancy of the Archbishopric of Cashell, he writes, on January 21st, 1726, to the Duke of Newcastle, "I can assure your grace I had no other view in the several parts of that scheme, than"—What?—the good of the Church?—the interests of religion?—the conversion of the Catholics?—No!—The promoting of his Majesty's service by obliging a number of persons who are all very well affected, and will, I doubt not, fill their respective new stations to the satisfaction of his Majesty's friends here.Am I right in saying that this was a political, not a missionary Church? I think even the hon. Baronet, the Member for Oxford, must admit, that, when an Irish primate was writing thus to an English Prime Minister, something of "that holy and peculiar character" must have been lost, the precise date of which I am so anxious to arrive at. But the mischief did not stop here. One of the most obnoxious bills ever passed in Ireland—a bill sharpening the severity of the penal laws, by excluding barristers and attorneys who had been Catholics, or were married to Catholics, from practising, until they had proved the sincerity of their conversion, by belonging, for five years, to the church of Ireland, and obliging them to bring up in the Protestant faith, all the children of such marriages—both the "Postnati," and the "Ante-nati,"—as they were technically called—was carried by the influence of Primate Boulter, whose maxim was—That the Catholics are the natural enemies of his Majesty, while the Protestants in general are well affected, the title to their estates being visibly interwoven with that of his Majesty's to the Crown.Yet, at this very time, great abuses in the Church itself were frankly admitted. Non-residence was almost universal, for the clergy refused to build glebe-houses upon their lands, though extraordinary facilities were given them at the expense of their successors. The Church, in short, was a sort of refugium peccatorum—a place of refuge for destitute court favourites—and Primate Boulter seems to 144 have been by no means nice as to their qualifications, for I find him, in one letter, pressing the suit of a Monsieur Abbadie, the Dean of Killaloe, who could speak neither English nor Irish, but had been sent over with a letter of recommendation from the Government, and wished to change his living, because when pressed for money on his first arrival, he had let his tithes during his incumbency, for something less than their real value. This therefore, unquestionably, is not "the Apostolic age" of the Irish Church. Let us look forty years later. We come then to the Vice-royalty of the Marquess of Buckingham, the type—the beau ideal—of English corruption; and I sincerely hope that this is not the period, on which the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford relies, to make out his case of peculiar purity. Sir, the Marquess of Buckingham is the man of whom Grattan said, "He sells the Lords, and he buys the Commons;" and I fear that the papers which I hold in my hand, will prove that he considered bishoprics also as marketable commodities and livings, as the elements of a Parliamentary majority. In a despatch dated November 19, 1780, I find him saying—I take it for granted that I shall soon be favoured with his Majesty's pleasure respecting the bishoprics, the livings to be vacated in consequence of which, are very particularly called for at the present moment. Nobody can see the inconvenience of these arrangements more forcibly than myself; but my recommendations to his Majesty have arisen from engagements taken up at the press of the moment, to secure questions upon which the English Government were very particularly anxious.Dean Coote was one of those recommended for preferment, whose son was Member for the Queen's County—Last Session, when it became difficult for county Members—(what a delicate mode of expression)—to give an uniform support to Government, I promised Mr. Coote to recommend him to his Majesty for this favour, upon conditions which he has very honourably performed.I appeal to the hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford, to say, whether this is a proper exercise of the King's supremacy? If these are the purposes for which an establishment is intended, the Catholics are quite right to repudiate it. It is a prostitution of language, and a perversion of common sense 145 to talk of religion, and such practices in the same breath. Let us now come to the Union. What were the Union bishops? Why, the sees were stipulated for like commissions in the army. There is one well-known case, to which I must refer—the case of Lord Robert Tottenham, the present Bishop of Clogher, who when he was first consecrated as Bishop of Killaloe, had never read prayers, had never preached had never baptised, and in short, when he became a bishop, had never performed any of the offices of his holy calling; but his father the Marquess of Ely, happened to have the command of six votes, and these were the price of a bishoprick, worth 9,000l. a year. Why do I revive these old stories? Why wound the feelings of perhaps very worthy individuals by reverting to them? Because they are parts of the system, for the maintenance of which Parliament is called on to risk the peace of this country. For the same reason I call on the House to look at the enormous fortunes accumulated by some of the prelates on the Irish bench. Dr. Stewart, Archbishop of Armagh, left 300,000l. Dr. Porter, left 200,000l. Dr. Porter indeed, had peculiar means of increasing the revenues of his see—means that are not to be reckoned among the ordinary sources of Ecclesiastical income. Mrs. Porter had a great passion for gold. The late Mr. Cobbett himself had not a greater aversion to paper currency; and she always objected to receive any payment, that was proffered in paper. For the convenience, however, of those who were unprovided with gold, there was always a gentleman in another room ready to accommodate them—for a consideration—so that a single bag of gold on rent-days, travelling in at one door and out at the other, brought in a handsome return to the bishop. Another important point is the extent to which bishops' lands have been alienated in Ireland. Lands at one time of immense value have now been reduced to almost nothing; but the sons and nephews of the bishops who granted away those lands, are in many instances still living, and enjoying them. And what is the result of this great Ecclesiastical experiment? A country distracted, and a Church losing ground, every year, in spite of every species of factitious encouragement. The Church has had a constant monopoly, of Ecclesiastical Revenues, and that mono- 146 poly has been accompanied by a constant decrease of congregations. Things have altered of late, certainly. I admit there has been a great improvement within the last ten years, and that there are now on the Bench of Bishops in Ireland many most excellent, and enlightened, men. Many of the worst abuses have been done away with. Residence has become more general among the Clergy, and, in every respect a better spirit prevails, than was formerly the case. Still, great abuses continue, and among them there are some as grating to the feelings of Protestants, as of Catholics. Look at the immense Unions, comprising a large number of Parishes thrown together, without any natural connection whatsoever, for the sake of forming an establishment for some favourite Clergyman. [An hon. Member. "No such thing."] What, then, do you say to the Union of Armagh, of which it is needless for me to say anything, as it is in the hands of my noble Friend behind me (Lord Ebrington), who will do it ample justice. Or what to the Union of Burnchurch? You will say, perhaps, that for the Union of Burnchurch the present Government is not responsible, the present incumbent having been presented by Lord Fortescue; but the presentation was made by Lord Fortescue under a distinct understanding, as I am assured, that a Bill should be brought in for the better regulation of that Union, and that no plea should be set up on the ground of any vested right. Had Lord Fortescue continued in power, I have no doubt that such a Bill would have been brought in, and I should wish to know with whom rest the blame, and the responsibility, of the delay? One of my correspondents has sent me a map of the Burnchurch Union, and I should like very much to show it to the House of Commons, for it is a sort of geographical curiosity. It extends the whole length of the county of Kilkenny. The Tithe Rent Charge amounts to 1,806l., and the Union includes no less than eleven parishes, the extreme points being thirty Irish miles asunder. One of the natural consequences of such an accumulation of Parishes in the hands of one Incumbent, was a constant decrease in the Protestant congregation. In 1701, the Parish of Burnchurch alone contained 69 Protestants, and in 1841, only 52. In Gainsford, there were 34 Protestants in 1701; now there were only 147 32; and in each of the eleven Parishes a corresponding decrease has taken place. Whilst constant care has been taken to preserve the revenues of the Living, there has been a constant falling-off in the numbers of the flock, which has decreased 25 per cent. within a period during which the general population of the country has actually increased fourfold. I will next mention the Union of Callan, comprising six Parishes, and containing 328 Protestants. In some of these Parishes, I am told, it would puzzle the Rector himself to find a single Protestant. The annual composition for tithe for this Union is 2,339l. 7s. 3d., and there are fifty-two acres of Glebe-land attached to it. In the parish of Callan there is a Church with a mansion and demesne, fit for a prince. There is a small Chapel of Ease at Ballycallan. The other four parishes have no churches. Now, surely, these are very gross cases. But there is another circumstance, that goes far to justify the opinion which I ventured in a former debate, to put forward as a humble Member of Parliament, that the reduction of the establishment must be the price of the continuance of the Union of the two countries,—and that is the state of feeling that unfortunately exists between the Protestant Pastor, and his Catholic flock. I quoted, in that debate, Mr. O'Connell's words, "that the Union was 'a living lie' until this reduction was made;" and I have received in consequence of this, a letter which affords an admirable illustration of the spirit which the system begets, amongst those who live under its influence. It is addressed to me by a Protestant Clergyman, and it begins:—Sir,—The privilege of Parliament, which throws its shield over every Member, permitting him to use what language he pleases, will, in this instance, prove your best protection from the chastisement, I felt that man deserved, who had made use of the following expression:—'That, until the Irish Church was reduced, the Union was a living lie.'—To such a man I should say, that I held his principles in equal contempt, and abhorrence; and that I doubted not, had he the power,"—he has the goodness to put the case hypothetically,—"that the flagitiousness of his practice, would correspond with the depravity of his intentions; and that he would delight to reduce the whole Protestant Clergy of Ireland to beggary and starvation, whose greatest offence had been that they had been deputed by heaven to set up the kingdom of truth and righteousness, in a land of moral darkness and turpitude.148 In this letter was inclosed to me a sermon, upon a text taken from the Canticles of Solomon, which I will not take up the time of the House by reading,—but in which the Catholics in general, and his own Catholic parishioners in particular, are treated in the same mild, and Christian-like spirit;—and both the sermon and the letter, bear the signature of the Rev. Edward Leslie, late of Christ Church, Oxford, and now Rector and Treasurer of Dromore. In my reply I told the Rev. Gentleman, that, though I might have quarrelled with parts of his letter, which somewhat exceeded the licence of correspondence, I preferred returning him my thanks for the valuable illustration his letter and sermon had afforded me, of the incompatibility of the Protestant establishment with the welfare of the people. But I have another clerical correspondent, Mr. M'Ghee, who writes to me thus:—It is possible that an honest man may advocate the cause of a knave, or a traitor, unconsciously, but impossible he can continue to do so, when means of ascertaining the truth are put into his hands.And then, by way of ascertaining the truth, he calls upon me to move for a committee of the House of Commons, before which he challenges me to discuss the Bulla Cœnœ Domini,—the 3d Canon of the 4th Lateran Council,—the Ribbon-men's oath,—and half-a-dozen other Catholic crimes and heresies, the toleration of which he declares to be incompatible with the existence of law, life, or liberty, in his unhappy country. Sir, these are really lamentable instances of what men will do, and feel, under a false system, such as that now in existence in Ireland. That system has produced a deep feeling of hostility towards the Church, and it is in vain to deny that this feeling is deeply mixed up with the present agitation. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) himself, may be said to have admitted this, when, in 1817, he expressed himself in the words which I lately took occasion to quote in this House:—"The Catholics," he said, speaking of what he termed, the "Intrusive Church, "would not have the passions, feelings, or affections of men, if they did not use their political power to get rid of it;" and then he went on to say, that if he were a Catholic himself, he should feel as they did. The Secretary for the Home Department, indeed, has since discovered "that concession, and 149 conciliation, have been carried to the utmost." The right hon. Gentleman is very fond of quoting the words of Mr. Fox, when, by any accident they suit his purpose. Let me therefore remind him of what Mr. Fox once said on this subject:—But I am told," (said Mr. Fox,) "The Catholics have already got so much, that they ought not to ask for more. My principle is directly the reverse of this. Until men obtain ALL they have a right to ask for, they have compararively obtained nothing.Sir, the Catholics regard the present system as a stigma, and nothing is so effectual a bar as a stigma, to a good understanding between two high-spirited people. They look upon it as an insult, as well as an injustice. But many plead guilty to the charge, yet refuse to deal with it, because they despair of a remedy. I admit the difficulty, but I ask, is it the only difficulty? You tell me the Church must not be touched. I tell you the Catholics are men, and must be governed; and they never can be governed, while England continues to force an establishment upon them, from which they derive no benefit. The "hewers of wood, and the drawers of water," have become a mighty people. There are eight millions of them in England, Ireland, and Scotland. England has no more gallant men;—the Queen no more devoted subjects. Do you wish to make a separate community of these men, and to knit them together by a feeling of common injustice? Sir, justice, policy, and the experience of every other power, points out to us a course, precisely the opposite of that, which we are pursuing. I know no country in the world, in which such a system has been tried as is now in force in Ireland. In Germany, you find the greatest possible subdivision of religious feeling, but this is never allowed to affect the proper relation between the Government and the people. Protestant Prussia has 8,000,000 of Protestants, and. 5,000,000 of Catholics. The most perfect equality of treatment prevails. The Protestants have one church to every 1,009 inhabitants, the Catholics have one to every 1,051. In Rhenish Prussia, and Silesia, where the population is chiefly Catholic, the Catholic Archbishops receive an income of 12,000 dollars, the Bishops receive each 8,000 dollars, the Deans 2,000 dollars—revenues sufficient to place them 150 on a level with the superior officers of state. In Saxony, you have a Catholic government and a Protestant population. Some little partiality may be shown to the Catholics; but the Protestant and Catholic clergy are both salaried by the State, and there is one Lutheran minister to every 1,600 inhabitants, and one Catholic to every 1,432. In Austria, with its 25,500,000 of Catholics, and 3,000,000 of Protestants, a Protestant college has just been founded, and richly endowed, in the capital. In Prussia, Frederic the Great built a Catholic church opposite his own palace at Berlin. Every where but here the great principle is understood, that the Government should look to the services, and not the creed of a man—should value him as an Austrian or a Prussian, not as a Catholic or a Lutheran. Before the Emancipation Act, there were thirty Irish generals in the Austrian service, because they were not allowed to rise in that of their own country. In Ireland alone, this unhappy prejudice still clings to us. I cannot find on the Continent, any parallel for the system, that prevails there. I cannot find any in our own colonies. In Canada, you have tried the plan recommended by my hon. Friend, the Member for Kildare, the very plan proposed in Ireland, as far back as in the reign of James the 2nd, by the Catholic Parliament, that sat at Dublin—namely, that each man should pay tithes to the clergy of his own communion. We could not apply anywhere the principles that have been applied to Ireland, without losing the colony. In Ireland, at present, there are three distinct principles in action. There is an establishment for the minority, a Regium Donum for the Presbyterians, and the voluntary principle for the Catholics. The tithe-fund is applied exclusively to the Protestant Episcopalian Church; yet this fund was intended for the benefit of all. Its original objects are forgotten. It was intended for the support of the Bishop, the fabric, the clergy, and the poor. Our system neglects the fabric—at least it did so until 1833, when the vestry cess was charged upon the Church revenues—utterly discards the poor, gives the Bishops a princely revenue in land, but leaves the working clergy of seven-eighths of the population without any provision whatever. The consequences of this iniquitous experiment are coming back to us, in the complete dis- 151 organization of Ireland—and for what is the system maintained? The proportion of Protestants to Catholics has been constantly diminishing, while it has been in force. In the time of Charles 2nd, the Protestants were to the Catholics in the proportion of 3 to 8; in 1733, of 3 to 7½ and in 1834, of 3 to 12¾. And what, meanwhile, is the position of the Catholic population? They support a complete hierarchy by voluntary contribution. That hierarchy is composed of 4 Archbishops, 23 Bishops, 983 parish priests, and 1,310 curates. Look at the contrast, however, between the religious accommodation of the Catholics, and Protestants, so feelingly described in the petition of Lord Oranmore. Few things can be more galling than the scene exhibited every Sunday. Thousands kneeling around a thatched hovel, which they call a church, while two or three families, meanwhile, are warm, and comfortable, within the parish church, repaired, warmed, and ornamented at the expense of the poorer parishioners. But why dwell on minor matters? The difficulty is not to describe, but to apply a remedy to the evil. My principle would be—my prayer would be—to reverse the principle. Take all to be equally entitled to a share in the tithe fund, and break up the present Establishment. A large hierarchy of Archbishops and Bishops is totally unsuited to so small a body as the members of the Established Church in Ireland. Give up this cumbrous machinery, which is wholly unnecessary for the spiritual education of the people. Follow out the principle of the Temporalities Act. Look only to the working clergy, and take for your standard of remuneration, what has been found sufficient for the Presbyterians. Accompany this change by proofs to the Catholic clergy, that it is meant to be honest and lasting. Give to their bishops a legal right to the titles they bear, and of which no law can deprive them. Give back to them the churches they possessed before the Reformation, and for which you have now no Protestant congregations. Get rid, above all, of that little, miserable, pettifogging, annoyance, which transfers the old Catholic burying-grounds to the Protestant clergyman as his freehold, and enables him to shut the Catholics out at his pleasure from the resting places of their ancestors. Make their clergy the link between the Crown 152 and the people, as Mr. Pitt proposed to do; and atone, by unreserved confidence in Catholic loyalty, for the unjust suspicions of which you have so long made them the object. Sir, it is my firm belief, that if the House of Commons will enter steadily on that course, we may succeed in converting even my hon. Friend near me, the Member for Cork. We may succeed in changing that provincial feeling of nationality, which is, just now, the bane and peril, both of Ireland and England, into a feeling of imperial nationality founded upon a perfect community of interests between the two countries. But then, I shall be asked, how I proposed to distribute the tithes, supposing the House to agree to adopt this principle? Many Gentlemen think, it would be better not to interfere with the revenues of the Establishment, but to pay the Roman Catholic clergy from the public funds. That might have been well and wisely done, as I believe, at the time of the Union. The Catholic clergy would then have accepted payment from the State; and so late as 1825, when a motion was made by a noble Lord, not now present, for so paying them, the right hon. Baronet, now at the head of the Government, said, he saw no possible objection to the proposal, if Emancipation were carried. The objection to Lord Francis Leveson Gower's motion then was, that Emancipation was not yet carried, but there was no objection made, on principle, to the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy. But now, that measure would be received with general distaste, because it would be coupled with the exercise of control over the clergy by the civil power. When a liberal stipend is paid by the State, I think it cannot be denied that the State has a right to some control; but in repudiating all such control, there is now perfect unanimity between the Roman Catholic clergy and their congregations. How, then, are you to deal with the tithe fund? Its present application is a gross injustice, and cannot be defended on any reasonable principle. In its future distribution, I can only say, I would take as the basis of my plan the most perfect equality between all classes of religionists—perfect equality, either of payment, or non-payment, just as you may determine. As to a grant from the Consolidated Fund, in these days, for the payment of the Catholic clergy, which is an idea, I know, very warmly espoused by 153 some hon. Gentlemen, whom I see opposite, I object to that, simply, because it is impossible, upon the most moderate estimate. If you gave the Archbishops 3,000l., the Bishops 1,500l., the parish priests 200l., the curates 70l. a-year, you would need a sum of 435,000l. a-year, for the Catholic clergy. Does any hon. Member, on either side of the House, really believe that in the present state of religious feeling in England and Scotland, you could try such a proposal as that? Parliament has no fund at its disposal, except that already appropriated to the support of the Protestant clergy. It must pay the Roman Catholic clergy out of the taxes of England; and to suppose, that the Dissenters of England, and the free Church of Scotland, will ever consent to place themselves in the position, in which the Catholics of Ireland stand now, by being called on to contribute to the support of a Church, from which they derive no benefit, and to the payment of a clergy, from whom they receive no service, a man must be very sanguine, or have very little knowledge of human nature. As to my own views, Sir, they are of very little importance; but, having brought this subject forward, it may be expected of me that I should state my opinions, which I will throw out with great diffidence, on this head of the question. You have, applicable to the support of the teachers of religion in Ireland, a sum amounting to 552,753l., which is disposable, annually, for that object. I would vest this in the hands of commissioners, scrupulously respecting all vested interests,—paying to each incumbent, however long his life, the last shilling to which he is entitled. I would then divide it between the three religions, according to the numerical proportion of each; and, if my calculation be right, this would give, placing the Protestants and Catholics on a footing of strict equality one-eighth of the sum, or 70,000l., to the Episcopalian Protestants; one-eight to the Presbyterians and Wesleyans—70,000l. more—leaving 412,753l. to the Roman Catholics. I would then substitute the congregational, for the parochial system, breaking up the whole system parishes in Ireland. I would pay the clergyman according to the number of hi flock, and not the size of his parish; and I cannot help thinking that if the Regium Donum of 25,000l. has been found suffi- 154 cient for 642,000 Presbyterians, a sum of 70,000l. would be found quite sufficient for the working clergy of the Episcopalians. As to the fund for the spiritual instruction of the 7,000,000 Catholics of Ireland, I would place it in the hands of their own commissioners for distribution. I would apply it to the building, and repairing, of chapels, churches, and schools, and to making Maynooth, something like what it ought to be, as a place of education for the clergy of 7,000,000 of the people. I would require an annual estimate of the expenditure of the money to be submitted to this House by the Irish Secretary:—I would distinctly retain the right of Parliamentary control so that if the money were improperly applied, or the House were not satisfied with its application, it might be devoted to other purposes, such as national education;—but when one considers how slowly the fund would accrue, and how large the demands on it, in the first instance, would be, I really think that at present it is hardly worth disputing as to the application of the amount. Look at Maynooth. You have an establishment there for the education of the Catholic clergy, in which you show the most disgraceful parsimony. What salaries do you pay the heads of that institution? You pay the president 326l. a year, the vice-president 150l., the senior dean 122l., the junior dean 112l., the three professors of theology 122l. each, the professor of scripture and Hebrew 122l., of mathematics 112l., and so on,—assigning the salaries of cooks, and butlers, to men of distinguished abilities and learning, who generally leave Maynooth to become bishops in their own country, or to go out as bishops to the United States, where Irish bishops are in great request, and who carry with them, when they do go there, the undying sense of unmerited humiliation. Sir, this ought to be changed;—and one advantage of the change would be, that you would get rid of an imperium in imperio—an influence which is continually at work, sometimes perhaps to the counteraction of important objects of your policy. I do not mean the influence of the Roman Catholic clergy of this country. I mean the influence of a foreign body of clergy, who are interfering largely in the religious concerns of the British colonies. I allude to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, established at Lyons, of whose 155 operations most Gentlemen in the House probably know very little. Their income amounts to more than 3,500,000 francs; and the House will be surprised to hear that in every one of the British colonies it has agencies at work. It follows us everywhere—to Hong Kong, to British Guiana, to India, the Cape of Good Hope, to New Zealand, and Jamaica. Year by year, you invariably find this foreign association stepping in—not merely to convert the heathen, but to supply to your Catholic subjects that spiritual instruction which you refuse them, because you will not discharge this great duty of a Government, even to your own soldiers, and your own regiments. This is most impolitic. Every Government, conscious of its own duties, must be desirous to get rid of it. When you hear of such facts as these—when you see that in Guiana the English bishop sent out by this society, and provided with funds by it, was received everywhere with rejoicings; that ten churches have been built already—although small, no doubt; that two vicariates apostolic have been created in Oceania, and five in Australia; that at the Cape of Good Hope, one of the Lyons missionaries was the only Catholic clergyman who had access, for ten years, to a regiment with a very large number of Irish soldiers in it. I say these are things, which the House ought seriously to consider before they decide that they will continue the present system. I now come to the last branch of my subject—the objections to what I have proposed. The hon. Baronet opposite, (Sir Robert Inglis) will, probably, tell me, that we are bound to look to the truth of any religion, for which we provide public support. Now, I maintain, unreservedly, and broadly, that the State is no judge of the truth of religions, and that it never ought to undertake that duty. To suppose that it is, can proceed only from a confusion of ideas in the hon. Baronet. Because he sees that religion established in England, which he happens to think the true one, he supposes that it is established because it is the true religion instead of which it is established because it is the religion of the majority. If we applied the principle he supports to other parts of the British empire, we should throw them at once into inextricable confusion. The hon. Baronet declared, in 1833, that no human power should compel him to contribute to the support of a religion which he did not 156 believe to be true. Why, this is a complete justification of the resistance to tithes in Ireland, and to church-rates by the English Dissenters. Besides, if a religion be established because it is true, nonconformity is a sin, and toleration is a sin on the part of the Government. If we are powerful, we are bound to exercise our power for the salvation of those who live under it, and to bring them to the truth by force, if milder methods fail. Few countries have ventured to try these principles in practice, and none have done it without rueing the day, on which they listened to such doctrines. France tried them, practically, by the revocation of the edict of Nantes. What was the consequence? She lost the most valuable part of her population, and saw her trade and manufactures transferred to her commercial rivals. Spain tried them. She expelled the Moriscoes, the most industrious part of her population, from her southern provinces, and cast them on the coast of Africa, at an expense of a million of ducats, to the ruin of her agriculture and manufactures. What was the consequence? Why, those provinces were a desert compared to what they formerly were. She tried the same experiment in the Low Countries, and lost them irrevocably. We may find too late, if, in spite of her experience, we persist in following her example, that Catholic France will extend to Catholic Ireland the same sympathy and assistance which Protestant Elizabeth gave to Protestant Holland. If, Sir, this House should unfortunately adopt the principles of the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis), it will only be the prelude to the utter dismemberment of the empire. But England, hitherto, has had a sort of via media of her own in these matters. We have had plenty of disabilities and forfeitures, and persecutions in Ireland, but we have always stopped short of absolute extermination. Even Cromwell offered the Irish the alternative of "Hell or Connaught." But this whole system has been broken up and abandoned. It was a rotten system which has broken down in the hands of those who attempted to apply it; and the only remnants of it now are the Irish Church and the oath which you require to be taken at this Table by the Catholic Members, both of which I hope to live to see removed. The inconsistency is too glaring. We confine our principle now to a gratuitous insult to the representatives 157 of Ireland, and a most unblushing monopoly of the Irish Church revenues for our own benefit. But if the principle be sound, we ought to make it co-extensive with the empire. It should be applied everywhere. Lord Ellenborough ought to have paraded the Thirty-nine Articles, instead of the Gates of Somnauth, from the Indus to the Ganges. We ought to compel the Catholics of Malta, to-morrow, to renounce the heresy of the mass, and the Catholics of Lower Canada, to pay tithe to the Protestant clergy of the Upper province. Why do not you do so? Because you know that you would become the laughing-stock of the world, if you attempted it. Because you know that you would lose your colonies,—and that you would deserve to lose them. We have reserved the curious expedient of manufacturing a majority of one creed, out of a population in one island, and a population in another, to be applied to the benefit of Ireland only, where the prize was rich enough to tempt our cupidity, and not, as we fancied, beyond our power. The creed of the majority has been our rule everywhere but in Ireland. There, we have reversed the practice, and we see the fruits of our mismanagement in the present condition of the country. Sir, another objection, by which I anticipate I shall be met, is, that the Catholic religion is inimical to liberty, and that the Catholic population is ignorant. Even admitting the ignorance, which I do not do, we must recollect that it is the fruit of our own legislation. Permit me, Sir, to recal to your mind the celebrated appeal of Dr. Doyle, on this subject, in vindication of his countrymen, when this charge of ignorance was brought against them.In good truth, my Lord, (he said), the accusation is not less ungenerous than unjust. We sought to give our people education at home, and you declared, by Statute, that if we presumed to teach, or they to learn, we should be treated as malefactors. We became a nation of peripatetics, and sought knowledge far from our native land, and, for having done so, you pronounced us guilty of misprision of treason. We staid at home in reluctant ignorance, and you reproach us for not being learned and refined.Sir, Catholicism is not a creed that unfits men for liberty. England was Catholic, when the Common Law came into existence. Magna Charta, was carried under this slavish superstition. Science was preserved by it, during the night of 158 the Middle Ages; and those noble monuments of the Christian Faith, to which my hon. Friend, the Member for Liskeard, alluded this evening, the temples which ornament our land, arose under the sway of that religion, which is said to be so inimical to freedom. Catholicism, if we lose sight of those fatal prejudices, which environ this subject, is nothing but a type of Christianity, somewhat older than our own,—differing from it in certain Theological dogmas, but not in any of those great principles, which Christianity was intended to inculcate. But, may I beg the hon. Baronet opposite to tell me what are the opinions of the English Church, at the present moment? As the representative of Oxford, he may be able to inform me which of the two sections, that divide that learned University, is right—that, which regards Dr. Pusey as a saint, or that, which stigmatises him as a heretic? Why, we are gravitating towards Catholicism every day. I am told there are 5,000 Puseyite clergymen in England; and there can be no doubt that the tendency of what is called Puseyism, is to make the Church lean more on authority, and less on that right of private judgment, which was held, at one time to be the great distinction of Protestantism. Another objection, which may be brought against my proposal, is that alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Articles of Union. I argued that question in 1834, at great length, and I have heard no refutation of the arguments then employed by me,—not that the arguments themselves were unanswerable, but that the facts could not be denied. I said, then, that the word Temporalities was not to be found in the Fifth Article of the Act of Union, by which the protection of England was thrown over the doctrine, and the spiritual, jurisdiction, of the English Church in Ireland, but no mention was made of the Temporalities. They were reserved, expressly, because Mr. Pitt thought it might be necessary, hereafter, to deal with them. But even if they had not been thus omitted in the Act of Union, I maintain that the two contracting parties had no power to bind their successors to all generations. The right hon. Baronet, the Secretary for the Home Department, in speaking of the Union with Scotland, said, that, in dealing with these international compacts, we must not look at 159 them with English feelings, and English prejudices; but not as one of the component parts of a great empire, which could only be kept together by the maintenance of a good understanding, between all its members. The right hon. Baronet, the head of her Majesty's Government, has also told us that the Union with Scotland was only perfected, when England abandoned her attempt to force her own Church Establishment upon that country. I implore the House not to be misled by the jingle of words, or to think that these great questions can be settled by a simple appeal to "Rights," or to "Sovereignty," which have their practical limits. We insisted on our "Rights," in our dispute with America, and tried to force our own interpretation of them on her people, until the very name of British sovereignty became hateful. I entreat the majority of this House to recollect, that Lord North was supported by successive majorities, throughout that odious contest, until he, and his majorities, were scattered to the winds, by the execration of the country. Let the right hon. Baronet take care that Ireland prove not his America. There is a great analogy between the two cases. A cloud is gathering in Ireland, which is watched with intense interest, and sympathy, by the whole continent. We have no friend there. There are many, who are jealous of our greatness, and who wish to see us taking a false step at this most critical moment of our history. My belief is, that it is not too late, yet, to avert impending evil, but if this golden opportunity be lost, it will be lost for ever. As yet, no overt act has occurred to commit either party; but great excitement exists, and no man can foresee the consequences, if Parliament should separate without doing anything to produce a better feeling. Sir, I am always fond of impressing my own views on the House in stronger language than I myself can use, and perhaps they will allow me to turn to a remarkable passage in a speech of Mr. Grattan, in 1797, which expresses all, that he might have felt at this moment:—There are but two measures possible, in the present state of Ireland—reform, or force. We have offered you the former—you prefer the latter. Let us consider it! To subdue, to coerce, to establish unqualified submission—that must be your principle. An arduous, a most precarious undertaking. So it was, in the American business; and how did that 160 end? There, you said, the stamp act, and the tea tax, were only pretexts. The object was separation! Here, you say Reform, and Emancipation, are only pretexts. The object is separation! You must subdue before you reform! You forget that you subdue by reforming! It is the best conquest you can obtain over your own people. But suppose you succeed, what is your success? A military despotism. A hapless victory, over the principles of a mild Government, and a free Constitution! A union, perhaps, but a separation afterwards—for there can be no union upon such principles!How singular, and how sad, was the realisation of this prophecy! We have had the Union, but it was founded on the very principles, which Mr. Grattan denounced, and every body sees now that it is precarious, and rotten. We stand now on the verge of separation. The course, which this House will take to-night, will have great influence on this important question. I propose the address, which I hold in my hand, as the first step in the path of conciliation. I propose it as an honourable settlement, not an unworthy compromise. I will not haggle about the terms. Bargains, and compacts, are very well for little objects, but great ends must be attained by great means; and nothing but a noble, a generous, a confiding policy, can efface the impression, which a miserable, jealous, persecuting policy, persevered in for three centuries, has produced on the minds of the Irish people. I care not from what side the change may come. This is a national, not a party, question. Let who will have the merit of it, it shall have my support, and praise; but, I say, let it be tried. Let us abjure all unworthy prejudices. Let the two people, and the two kingdoms, be one,—and let the perfect equality of civil, and religious rights, be, from this day forward, to both, a pledge of the future identity of their interests.—Sir, with these feelings, I beg leave to move,—That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, representing to her Majesty, that, in the opinion of this House, it is not by measures for the repression of local violence, that the discontents of Ireland can be allayed, but by removing those grievances, which have formed, for many years, the subject of recorded complaint, and remonstrance between the two countries.That amongst the most prominent of these, is the law by which the whole Ecclesiastical property of Ireland is assigned to the clergy of a small section of the population; and that 161 this House, deeply impressed with the belief that such a law is not conformable to reason, or to the practice of any Christian country, pledges itself, after providing for existing proprietary rights, and for the claims of her Majesty's Protestant subjects, cordially to co-operate with her Majesty, in effecting such a settlement of Church property in Ireland, as will remove all just ground of complaint, and give satisfaction to the Irish people.
§ Mr. Carew
I rise for the purpose of seconding the motion which my hon. Friend, the Member for Sheffield, has just laid before the House; and, on the present occasion, when the interests of a large body of the inhabitants of Ireland are at stake, I trust that the House will pardon me, if I take up a short time in representing the views and feelings which my constituents entertain on the motion which is at present before you—a motion which, permit me to say, involves a principle which has been contended for ever since the Protestant establishment was first intruded upon Ireland, and which, growing with the power of the people, has at length, after the repeal of the penal laws, and the tardy acknowledgement of the Catholic claims, assumed such an aspect, that it is no longer either politic or prudent on the part of the Government or this House to refrain from legislating on the question, with a regard to Irish interests and to Irish feelings. I would request, then, the indulgence of the House on the present occasion, because I feel that the interests of Ireland, the prosperity of that country, the well-being of the various classes of which society is there composed, are closely and intimately connected with the measures which you are about to bring forward with respect to the Irish Church. And in entering upon this subject, I am fully, I am deeply aware of the importance of the question under consideration—a question which involves the religious interests, not of hundreds, not of thousands, but of millions, of souls—a question which you are now called on to settle, and which I am firmly convinced you ought to arrange upon a firm, upon a stable, and upon a satisfactory footing, before you are called upon by the pressure of events from without, and compelled to do so. First, then, I would ask, what is the intention for which a Church is established in a country? For what purposes are a body of men, in the situation of the Irish clergy, paid by the contributions of the mass of the people? Is it not to visit 162 he sick, to comfort the afflicted, and to afford religious consolation to those that are in want? Is it not to assist in the education of the people, to be friends to the fatherless, and to be engaged in works of piety and charity consistently with the requirements of their sacred calling. Are not these the important, may I not add the all-important duties of an ecclesiastical establishment? And how does the Irish Church fulfil these manifold duties? Out of eight millions and upwards of souls, to how many does she afford the blessings of religious consolation and relief? When I say to 750,000, I believe I am above the mark. I appeal then to the House, I appeal to the sense and the feeling of England, and I ask how can this state of things continue? How can this House, when the plain facts and figures are before you, how can you refuse to deal with this anomaly as it deserves? How can you refuse to do what I firmly believe every other country in Europe would have done long before, if placed in the same situation—how can you refuse to redress this grievance? Whilst the Established Church in Ireland is allowed by you not only to exist, but, in its present state to flourish, how can you talk to the people of Ireland of your desire to govern them on the principles of equality and on the principles of justice? I firmly believe, that the day is passed when the do-nothing policy can be pursued any longer, either with credit to the Government, or with safety to the State. The time is now come when this House is called upon to deal with the question of the Irish Church. The Catholics have during these last eighty years increased so much in wealth and in power; that their feelings, and especially their religious feelings, should be earnestly attended to by a Government which lays any claim to be considered wise or prudent, and which is disposed to act towards a country on the principles of a sound and enlightened policy. Act towards Ireland in this manner, and you will reap your reward, in the lasting gratitude of the people; act towards Ireland on these principles, and you will make your Government what it is not now—strong, respected, and successful. I have but lately come from that part of Ireland with which I am connected, and I think that I feel justified in saying that an important change has taken place in the 163 minds of many of those who heretofore were but too littled disposed to favour the Catholic claims. In connection with, and in illustration of, this view of the case, I would, with the permission of the House, read a short extract from a letter received from a gentleman of Conservative politics, a person of weight and consideration in the district to which he belongs.I trust," says this gentleman, "that the extremes of both sides will give way, to adopt some course which may be practicable, and at the same time may conciliate the Church of the majority in this country.This is the opinion of a gentleman of Conservative politics, and a magistrate of the county of Wexford. I may also state to the House, that I have the opinion of the Protestant rector of a parish, a Conservative and a high Churchman, who says that he thinks it advisable, that the Catholic clergy should be endowed. I will not occupy the House with any further details of this kind. I mention this because I think that a feeling has arisen which I hope may increase, and I sincerely trust, that it will be responded to by the people of England, and by this House. But amongst the many plans that I have heard lately of dealing with this question, the more I consider the subject, the more I am convinced, that none will prove permanently successful, that does not separate the Church in Ireland from its present connection with the State. You may manage to prop it up for a few years longer; but from the current which has existed against it for the last 300 years it cannot long maintain its present position. It rests, then, with her Majesty's Government to say how they intend to act upon the present occasion. Whether they intend to keep up the Protestant establishment in Ireland, in its present overgrown and glaring deformity, unreformed, whether they would, after the due maintenance of the Protestant clergy, appropriate the surplus to the feeding of the hungry, to the clothing of the naked, and to the maintenance of the poor, or whether they would appropriate the whole to a commission of Catholic and Protestant Prelates in Dublin, to manage there for the benefit of the community at large. But should hon. Members ask, how are we, then, to support the Protestant Church, I would remind them that a small tax laid on the wealthy Protestants of the country would without difficulty and without hard- 164 ship support a clergy suitable to their wants, and to the duties which they are called upon to perform: and I think that hon. Members opposite will see that it is a bad state of things when the wealthy minority, in order to support their Church, call upon the poor majority of their fellow-countrymen to swell its coffers. By this arrangement you would have 580,000l. per annum for the relief of the sick and aged indigent poor; you would have the Protestant clergy paid suitably to the duties that they are called upon to perform; and you would set at rest for ever the unpleasant feelings arising, and naturally arising out of the present state of things. To an arrangement of this question, I feel convinced that this House must soon arrive, although the details and mode of appropriation will necessarily belong to that Government to whose care they may be entrusted. In making these remarks, I trust that the House will bear with me when I say that I am not actuated by any feeling of personal hostility to the clergy of the Church in Ireland. Some of them, I know, by the suffrage of all classes and creeds of their fellow-countrymen, to be pious, good, and well-intentioned men, But it is against the principle that I feel it my duty to enter my humble protest, because it has no analogy in any other portion of the civilised world, because there is not one argument that can be asserted in its favour because it is a system which is neither equitable nor just, or in conformity with Christian precept and practice in any other country on the surface of the globe. These are the reasons for which I feel it my duty to object to the Irish establishment, which that eminent statesman, Burke, said was—A Church from which the great body of the people do not partake the least, living, or dying, of instruction, or consolation.Compare this Church with Catholic Belgium on the one side, or with Protestant Scotland on the other, and after the comparison with the different states of Europe, how can you suffer it to retain its present position unreformed? The Catholic population of Belgium amounts to 4,000,000. In no country is the Catholic Church maintained in greater dignity or splendour. Were it endowed on the same costly scale as the Irish Church, its annual revenues would amount to 3,540,000l. Its actual revenue does not exceed 130,000l. There are 1,600,000 165 members of the Established Presbyterian Church in Scotland. Were the State to supply the spiritual wants of the Presbyterians as it does the Irish Episcopalians, the expense of the Scottish Church would be about 1,400,000l. a year. Its actual cost is not 270,000l. Such is the condition of the Irish Church as compared with other countries, Protestant as well as Catholic. This is the case. There are in Ireland 700,000 Protestants. There are in round numbers 8,000,000 of Catholics, and the revenues of the Church in tithes and lands amount to 590,000l. per annum. I shall not detain the House any longer. I am firmly convinced that true religion can never suffer from the prevalence of the principles of truth and justice, and I will conclude the observations which I have considered it my duty to make, by reading a short extract from a speech of Mr. Burke, relating to this subject.My decided opinion, (says that statesman), is, that all the three religions prevalent more or less in various parts of these islands, ought all, in subordination to the legal establishments, as they stand in the several countries, to be countenanced, protected, and cherished; and that in Ireland particularly the Roman Catholic religion should be upheld in high veneration and respect, and should be provided with all the means of making it a blessing to the people who profess it; and that it ought to be cherished as a good, and not tolerated as an inevitable evil.In these opinions I heartily concur, and beg leave to second the motion of my hon. Friend.
§ Lord Eliot
said, it was his wish to express his opinions on this important subject fully, frankly, and fearlessly: and in doing so it was far from his intention to wound the feelings of any individual, whether belonging to that Church of which he was a member, or to another religious persuasion. He could not say that the proposition of the hon. Member for Sheffield was vague in its character; on the contrary, it was one of the most distinct and definite that had ever been made in that House. If any doubt had existed in his mind as to the nature of that proposition, it would have been at once removed by the speech of the hon. Gentleman; and he regretted that the noble Lord the member for the city of London had not been present during the delivery of a great part of that speech, for he believed, that after hearing the hon. Gentleman's statements, the noble Lord would have hesitated before 166 he gave his sanction and support to the address. If he had correctly understood that speech, the hon. Member proposed, in the first place, to do away with what he called the cumbrous machinery of bishops and archbishops, and to place the whole property of the Church in commission, leaving, according to his own calculation, about 70,000l. a-year for the maintenance of the Established Church. They were not now called upon to consider what would have been a suitable Church Establishment for Ireland if no Establishment had existed in that country; but he would ask the House to remember what were the compacts which were entered into between this country and Ireland at the time of the Union. [Hear.] He heard a derisive cheer from the hon. Member for Limerick; but the hon. Gentleman surely would not deny that the Protestant Legislature of Ireland would not have consented to the Union if the maintenance of the Protestant Establishment had not constituted one of its provisions. He was convinced, that if the Union had not been carried, Catholic Emancipation would not have been conceded. It was the confidence of the Protestant Legislature of Ireland in the support they anticipated from this country, that induced them to consent to the Union; and if the Union had not been effected, the principle of self-preservation would have prevented them from granting Catholic Emancipation. It could not be longer professed that the terms of the Union were fulfilled, if they adopted the proposition of the hon. Member for Sheffield, at once to do away with the cumbrous machinery of bishops and archbishops, and put the whole property of the Church in commission. The question now propounded was, not whether the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland should be endowed—whether a provision should be made for the spiritual instruction of her Members, but whether they should at once alienate the property of the Irish Church, thus setting at nought the faith the Parliament had pledged. The hon. Member for Sheffield commenced his observations by stating, that it was competent to any hon. Gentleman to put what construction he chose upon this address, if he thought proper to vote for it; but the hon. Member also said, he conceived that any one who did give it his support, pledged himself to what he termed a radical remedy, He trusted 167 therefore, that no hon. Member of that House would deceive himself, but would remember, in supporting this address, he was voting for the subversion of the Protestant Church in Ireland. The hon. Member had not only complained of the disproportionate revenues received by the Irish Church as compared with the number of persons who received the benefits of her instruction, but he also said that the Roman Catholic population of Ireland regarded the maintenance of that Church as a stigma on their country. Now, he confessed he saw no difference between the existence of a Protestant Establishment and of a Protestant Sovereign. So long as the Sovereign of this State must, by the constitution, be a Protestant, so long might it be said that the Catholics were a proscribed and degraded sect. He saw some hon. Gentlemen opposite intimate their dissent, but he thought they would allow that the two religious persuasions could not be on a footing of perfect equality as long as the Sovereign must profess one of the two creeds. He denied that the Established Church of Ireland was maintained by the great mass of the Roman Catholics of that country. The hon. Member for Sheffield had gone through a long historical retrospect, in order to show the existence of abuses in the Protestant Church in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and subsequently. But he would ask the hon. Member to look at the history of any church at the periods to which he had referred—take, for instance, the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and France; and he would remind him that there was great difference between the standard of religious feeling which existed then and that which prevailed at the present time. No doubt, at the periods to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, the Established Churches in every country were regarded as a means of rewarding political partisans. The hon. Gentleman had, however, borne a very fair tribute to the merits of the Protestant clergy of Ireland, and had said that there were among them men of eminent piety and exemplary virtues; and that with regard to them there was no reason to complain of such instances of abuse as those to which he had referred. But if that were the case—if such abuses had ceased, the necessity for an alteration on this ground no longer existed. The hon. Gentleman had alluded, in terms of some 168 commendation, to the Church Temporalities Act, and had stated that that measure and the Tithe Act had done much to abate the hostility, and to diminish the jealousy which the Roman Catholic population of Ireland entertained with regard to the Established Church. He thought that was a delusion; but he believed that the present outcry for Repeal in Ireland was attributable to those social evils under which that country laboured, and to that desire for fixity of tenure which had been encouraged by those who preach agitation. The hon. Gentleman had read to the House several statements founded on returns of the Ecclesiastical commissioners; and he would read a return which he had procured from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of the actual revenue of the Irish Church. The total income of the Protestant Church of Ireland was 432,023l. 4s. 5d. This sum consisted of these items:—Rents of lands, houses, &c., duties, fees, &c., reserved by lease, 62,945l. 9s. 7d.; value of demesne and glebe lands, &c., not reserved by lease, 28,128l. 13s. 3d.; fines on renewals, 83,556l. 3s. 11d.; rent-charges, &c., 239,047l. 18s. 6d.; ministers' money, 11,249l. 16s. 8d.: dividends on Government stocks, 926l. 15s. 2d.; from other sources, 6,168l. 7s. 4d. The following statement would place the question in clear view:—
"Fund applicable to purposes of vestry cess and first fruits (besides the tax of 7 per cent.) is 7,094+38,076=45,170l. There are 1,396 parochial clergy, and 744 curates. Their average income, including deans and chapters who have property exclusive of parochial benefices is 306,300l., say 2,150 is 142l. each, subject moreover to numerous charges."
£ "Total income of the Irish Church was 432,023 Deduct revenue of bishoprics £80,553 And of suppressed bishoprics 38,076 118,629 The gross property of deans and chapters (subject to heavy necessary deductions) is 57,800 Parochial clergy, rentcharge, and ministers' money 248,500 306,300 Interest on stocks and other funds 7,094 Total 432,023
169 For a population of upwards of 900,000 persons, spread over 20,000,000 of acres, it surely could not be said that such a amount was too much for their spiritual instruction, or that 2,000 clergymen, with an average income of 150l. per annum was too great an allowance. Was that the cumbrous machinery upon which the hon. Member for Sheffield so strongly insisted as being an insupportable burthen to Ireland? Allowing for argument's sake that it would be desirable to convert these funds for the purpose of inculcating the Roman Catholic religion, how inadequate would it prove for the object! The hon. Member for Sheffield had referred at considerable length to the opinions of various celebrated Irish patriots, and quoted from a speech of Mr. Grattan in 1793. The hon. Gentleman, as he was quoting, might have referred to a speech of Mr. Grattan delivered in that House at a subsequent period, and might have quoted what were almost Mr. Grattan's last words, when he made the following motion with a view to procure a repeal of the disabilities under which Roman Catholics laboured;—Resolved, that a committee be appointed with a view to repeal the civil and politic disabilities which affect his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects on account of their religion Resolved that such repeal be made with due regard to the inviolability of the Protestant religion and establishments.Every bill which Mr. Grattan introduced into Parliament for the relief the Roman Catholics was framed with reference to the 6th article of the Union The preamble was in substance this;—Whereas the united Protestant Church England and Ireland is established permanently and inviolably, and whereas it would tend to promote the interests of the same, at to strengthen the free constitution, of which the said united Church forms an essential part.The hon. Gentleman might have referred to these expressions of Mr. Grattan, but he did not nor did he refer to the opinions of Lord Plunket, a name scarcely less eminent and illustrious. Lord Plunket said:—With respect to the Protestant establishment of the country, I consider it necessary for the security of all sects, and I think the there should not only be an Established Church, but that it should be richly endowed and that its dignitaries should be able to take their station among the nobles of the land Speaking of it in a political point of view, I have no hesitation in saying that the existence 170 of the Protestant establishment is the great bond of union between the two countries, and if ever that unfortunate moment shall arrive when the Parliament shall rashly lay their hands on the property of the Church to rob it of its rights, that moment will seal its doom, and terminate the connexion between the two countries.Such were the opinions of Mr. Grattan, such were the opinions of Lord Plunkett, and such too were the opinions of Lord Castlereagh [Cheers.] Yes, of Lord Castlereagh, of whom it could not be denied that he had always been the constant promoter and supporter of Catholic emancipation. The House then would see that all the most strenuous supporters of Roman Catholic Emancipation—Mr. Grattan, and Mr. Canning, Lord Plunkett, and Lord Castlereagh, had held the same doctrine with respect to the Church of Ireland, and that its maintenance was necessary to preserve in good faith the Act of Union. The hon. Member for Sheffield propounded a studied plan, not for the division but for the spoliation of Church property in Ireland. He had heard the hon. and learned Member for Bath pronounce the Protestant Church in Ireland as a cancerous sore in the vitals of that country. What plan of cure, then, would he propose? Would he merely make an incision to diminish the evil, or propose a total eradication of the part? He presumed that the noble Lord sitting near the hon. Member for Sheffield—that the noble Lord the Member for London, and the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, would use rather different language upon this subject. One of those noble Lords was for putting the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland on an equality with the establishment, but neither of them went to the extent of suggesting a total alienation of the property of the latter. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton would have the mortmain statutes relaxed as far as regarded the Roman Catholic Church, but such a proposition as that would find no countenance in this motion, but, on the contrary, would be laughed to scorn. He would say to the hon. Member for Sheffield, in the words of the poet—Quid faciam vis?Denique non omnes eadem mirantur amantque.Tres mihi convivæ propè dissentire videntur,Poscentes vario multùm diversa palato.Quid dem? quid non dem? Renuis tu quod jubet alter;Quod que petis sanè est invisum acidumque duobus,171 Such was the position in which the hon. Member for Sheffield was placed. He certainly looked with great curiosity to the declarations which the noble Lords the Members for London and Tiverton would make upon the present motion, for he felt it would be impossible for them to vote for the resolution, couched even as vaguely as it was. Would the noble Lord, the Member for London, or the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton, vote for doing away with the hierarchy of Ireland even if for a moment it could be supposed that the majority of the House would support them? To suppose that such a course would be a remedy for Irish grievances was but a mockery of the Irish people. They spoke of the people of Ireland, as if none but the Roman Catholics were the people of that country, when it was known that the great bulk of the property of Ireland was in other hands, and a great proportion of the intelligence of the nation professed another creed. He was not at all disposed to offer the slightest disrespect to the Roman Catholics of Ireland; but he would put in for the Protestants of that country a claim for a component part of the wealth, the intelligence, and the population. The motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield, though intended as "a heavy blow and great discouragement" to the Established Church, was but an idle delusion as regarded the welfare of the people of Ireland, for as to offering the endowments of the Established Church to the Catholics he would ask was it consistent with the articles of union or with what the Roman Catholics themselves had expressed upon the subject? Even if it were otherwise, would the House permit of such a spoliation of the Protestant Church? He was satisfied that such a proposition must be a mere brutum fulmen whilst that Parliament legislated for the empire [Cheers]. He understood those cheers, but he would again say, that by this or any other Imperial Parliament, such a proposition would be scouted. Was it meant to be said that there would either be a civil war or that the rights of property would be abolished? Would the noble Lord who sat near the hon. Member for Sheffield support him in such an opinion? If not, did he think the measures which those noble Lords would be inclined to countenance would be sufficient? If the hon. Gentleman was completely sincere in his own opinion, as expressed in the 172 present motion, he must look upon any concessions which the noble Lords would be inclined to make as p ltry peddling measures, and totally insufficient to meet the wants of the case. Was the House to sacrifice or to transfer the property of the Established Church in Ireland? for that was the question upon which they were to go to a division. The question was not, whether any or what provision should be made for the religious instruction of the majority of the Irish people. That question he should at any time be ready to discuss. That, however, was not the question before them then, and the hon. Member for Kildare had repudiated it with scorn. There were one or two witnesses whom he should have to call into court on this question. He had in his hands the evidence of the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell), given before the committee of the House of Lords in 1825. That hon. and learned Gentleman said—I beg to say that I ant thoroughly convinced that the object of the Catholic clergy and laity of Ireland is sincerely and honestly to concur with the Government in every measure that shall increase the strength of the Government in Ireland, so as to consolidate Ireland with England completely. Which do you think is the feeling which operates the most, an objection to pay where religion is not concerned, or to pay where a different religion is concerned? I do not think it makes any great difference. I am sure they would have great objection to pay their own clergy tithes and cattle, and fight as hard as they do with the layman or the parson on questions of property. Abstract points of faith do not enter much. I am quite convinced that the Catholic gentry would oppose as strongly as it would be possible for them to do, any transfer of the property of the established church from that church to their own. I am quite convinced they would oppose it. I am sure, for one individual, I should concur in that opposition most heartily.He had read a speech delivered in the present year by the same hon. and learned Gentleman at Enniscorthy, and he found that the hon, and learned Gentleman there enounced the following doctrine:Why should we pay for the support of any religion in the doctrines of which we do not believe? The first thing that I want is, that the tithe rent-charge should be done away with, that the ecclesiastical temporalities should be applied to public purposes.With respect to a provision for the Roman Catholic clergy, the hon. and 173 learned Member for Cork had thus recorded his opinion:I think it would be unwise in Government, if emancipation were carried, to leave them un provided, and I think it would be extremely wrong in the Government to give them any part of the revenue of the present church establishment, and that they would not accept it. But I think a wise Government would preserve the fidelity and attachment of the Catholic clergy, by what I call the golden link—by pecuniary provision. …. Our wish would be, that the Government should have proper influence over them, which a certain pecuniary provision would give. The Catholic clergy would become in the nature of servants of the Crown.But Archbishop M'Hale made a statement to the following effect at Tuam, in July of the present year.As force has failed they are resolved to try what virtue there may be in intrigue, and hence the frequency of those propositions that are now made to link the priesthood with golden fetters to the Crown.… I have no hesitation in saying, that if the Catholic clergy were capable of listening to such overtures the doom of the liberties of Ireland is sealed.In 1825 the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell) having, before the select committee of the House of Lords given some answers strongly in favour of domestic nomination (of bishops), as tending to the influence of Government and the security of the Protestant Church, went on to say:In my answer I coupled the church with the State in my idea. I conceive that as long as the State is secure, the Church is secure. As it must be a Protestant State, the State will protect the Church, and all the State has to do is to guard itself against foreign influence.He asserted that such language as this used by Mr. O'Connell was generally used by the advocates of Catholic emancipation, and did prepare the public mind for the reception of that great question; and without speaking of the transaction as a treaty or compact, he must say that there was an implied intention on the part of the great leaders who took part in furthering Roman Catholic emancipation, and an impression among the public, that the Protestant establishment should be maintained. His right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel), and a noble Duke in the other House, great and deserved as their influence was, would have failed to have carried the measure of Catholic emancipation had not such an impression existed. With- 174 out such a feeling his right hon. Friend and the noble Duke would not have been parties to that measure; but supposing for a moment that they had proposed that measure unaccompanied by the guarantee which the assurances of the gentlemen to whom he had referred afforded, in vain would they have striven to pass it, and Catholic emancipation would not now have been the law. Going back to the time of the Union, he found there was a distinct compact for the preservation of the Protestant Church, and in 1829, when Catholic emancipation was accomplished, there was an implied agreement, which it would be a gross breach of faith on the part of the Government which carried that measure to depart from. Therefore, without discussing the question whether it was practicable or not to make a provision for the Roman Catholic clergy, he said—he was authorised to say it on the part of the Government—that they could not lend any countenance or support to such a proposition as that which was embodied in the motion of the hon. Gentleman. He should consequently meet that motion by a decided negative.
§ Debate adjourned.