HC Deb 06 August 1844 vol 76 cc1849-68
Captain Bernal

rose to move for Copies of any Letters or Instructions which may have been written to Lord Heytesbury, relative to the future disposal of Church Patronage in Ireland with reference to the Education Board. An hon. Member, who was not now present, had on a former occasion charged him with an attempt to revive what was called an Irish debate. But he was not open to that charge. It would be in the recollection of the House that the Irish Estimates were delayed to a very late period of the Session; so late, indeed, that the Member for Salford (Mr. Brotherton) was wanting in his supervisal duty in allowing 25,000l. to be voted away after twelve o'clock at night. Neither did he think that he was guilty of any undue presumption in moving for these Papers, because the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had himself during this Session spoken out boldly in favour of a system of National Education. It was, therefore, but natural for him to suppose that the right hon. Baronet would advance one step further, and having agreed to grant 25,000l. additional for Catholic Education, he would give a specific assurance that the system of Church Patronage should be impartially administered. In a letter from the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) to Lord De Grey, in September, 1841, the right hon. Baronet said:— Let it be understood, that in respect to the Church preferments you will act upon your own sense of duty, and on the result of your own inquiries, and if that sense of duty prompts you to prefer the claims of professional merit, let your inquiries be directed to the ascertainment of those claims. * * * It is absolutely necessary, for the best interests both of the Church and State, that the patronage of the Irish Church should be applied on such principles. I will willingly forego any Parliamentary support which would only be conciliated by a disregard of those principles, though, indeed, the fact is, that if such considerations be attended to, the interests of Government are in the long run much better protected by the honest exercise of patronage than by administering it to favour individual supporters. The letter read uncommonly well, and the House of Commons was so charmed by its being a private communication of the right hon. Baronet, to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that they took no further proceedings on the subject, believing that those sentiments of the right hon. Baronet had been strictly attended to. But those hon. Gentlemen who had not that strong faith in the right hon. Baronet or in the documents that were to be found in the archives of Downing Street, suspended their judgment until facts should confirm or contradict the terms of that document penned by the right hon. Premier. What was the result? Three Bishoprics fell vacant. Two out of the three appointments that were made by the right hon. Baronet were of persons notorious for their hostility to the National System of Education. In 1841, Lord De Grey appointed the right rev. Dr. O'Brien Bishop of Ossory, who was well known to be opposed to the National System of Education. The next appointment was that of Dr. Stopford, as Bishop of Meath, who was equally well known as an Anti-National Education man. A third appointment was that of Dr. Daly to the bishopric of Cashel, who had been editor of the Christian Examiner, most bitter in its denunciations of the system of National Education. A fourth was the Very Rev. H. Newmam, Dean of Cork, brother-in-law of Dr. Daly, and of the same opinions and principles. A fifth was the Very Rev. Holt Waring, Dean of Dromore. A sixth was the Very Rev. H. Newland, Dean of Ferns; a seventh, the Very Rev. H. Packenham, Dean of St. Patrick; an eighth, the Very Rev. Charles Vignoles, Dean of Ossory; a ninth the Venerable Dr. Stokes, Archdeacon of Armargh; and a tenth, the Venerable H. Irwin, Archdeacon of Emly. Thus much for the dignitaries of the Irish Church; and without adverting to minor apppointments, he might observe that the Lord Lieutenant had the unprecedented number of thirty-nine chaplains, all, with only two exceptions, opponents of National Education. One of these exceptions was the Rev. Mr. Duncan, and for him there was of course no promotion. It might be remembered that in the course of a former debate the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Home Department drew down tremendous cheers by quoting Lord Bacon; but he would now ask him how he could reconcile such appointments with the warm interest he now felt in the cause of National Education. The right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government was reported to have said formerly that the feeling against National Education was gradually wearing out. Nobody acquainted with Ireland would be found to corroborate this assertion, and seeing that professional advancement was to be secured by hostility to National Education, it was no wonder that the feeling was so prevalent. In December, 1841, only two months after the date of the right hon. Baronet's letter, the Bishop of Down and Connor preached a sermon, in which he denounced the system of National Education as little better than inculcating Deism and Mahometanism. There was another point to which he wished to draw attention; the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cashel and Waterford, and of the Bishop of Ossory extended over several counties, including 320 parishes, and more than 400 clergymen. What would be the conduct of those clergymen? National Education would be effectually excluded. What had been the conduct of Dr. Daly? It was a remark of Lord Orrery, in his Life of Swift, that he had been so long in the habit of giving way to his passions, that he at last mistook them for his duties. So with Dr. Daly, who had pronounced so many denunciations against National Education that he might begin to think them well-founded. At his last visitation of Lismore, a clergyman mentioned that he had been to a school upon the National Education principle, upon which Dr. Daly denounced him as having been engaged in doing the devil's work. During a tower of agitation this same peripatetic Prelate had denounced even the right hon. Baronet for entering into a God-denying compact with the Roman Catholics. During the present Session the Recorder of Dublin had presented a petition from the Bishop of Waterford and Cashel and the clergy of his diocese, stating that they could not carry out the system of National Education. One clergyman, indeed, of that diocese, was of a different opinion, the Rev. H. Woodward, who had written a pamphlet in favour of National Education, and who therefore remained only the rector of a parish. He could not help thinking that if Government had sincerely notified its intention of carrying that system into effect, they would not have experienced their present difficulties, and would have moderated the transports of vituperative Bishops. Depend upon it, these ecclesiastical dignitaries, the moment the warm and cheering light of Government favour was withdrawn from their eyes, would cease to kick against the pricks. If one man man more than another were indebted to National Education, it was the right hon. Baronet; it was very well for him to turn round and direct attention to his troops and to his barracks, but if it had not been for the exertions of Father Mathew and National Education, there would have been a rebellion in Ireland before now. If the money had been granted in 1835, and moreover, if an additional grant had been then made to Maynooth, and it had been placed on the footing of a Roman Catholic College instead of a wretched almshouse, he would appeal to the right hon. Baronet, who sat still and did nothing when it was useful to move, what might not now have been the state of Ireland? It was very well for him, under the pressure of circumstances, to come down to the House, to say that he deplored the present condition of affairs, to propose a larger grant to Maynooth, and to throw a little dust in people's eyes by his 25,000l. increase for National Education, but he would find that such a course in the long run would not answer his purpose, and that he must speak out and deal plainly. His main object in moving for the papers of which he had given notice was, if possible, to draw from the Government a pledge that, in future, Church patronage should not be given away to the opponents of National Education.

Sir R. Peel

Sir, it is perfectly true that I stated to the House, in the course of the late discussion on Irish affairs, that I had written a letter in September, 1841, to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to the Effect of that letter quoted by the hon. Member opposite. Whether the words were exactly the same I cannot answer for, but certainly the purport of them was that which the hon. Member has stated. In the course of that debate it had been remarked that one cause of the inferiority of the Irish Church was, that for a long series of years the promotions and patronage had been made conducive to the advancement of political interest. I said that this charge could not apply to this Government, for after the appointment of Lord De Grey it was intimated to the Lord Lieutenant that it was the opinion of Her Majesty's Government the best mode of strengthening the influence of the Irish Church was to appoint to the offices of the Church men of unblemished character and of the highest merit; and that understanding from Lord De Grey it was his intion to make these qualifications the condition of appointments in the Irish Church, that Lord De Grey would never have any solicitation from the Government on account of parliamentary interest in respect to these appointments. This was the understanding and engagement on the subject, and this engagement Lord De Grey did literally fulfil. Her Majesty's Government had never pressed those political or parliamentary claims which other Governments had advanced, believing that Lord De Grey would exercise the Church patronage with fidelity, and according to the principles stated in the letter to which reference has been made. And my firm belief is, that Lord De Grey has acted with fidelity to the understanding which was arrived at between himself and Her Majesty's Government, and that at no period has professional eminence and private character been more strictly adhered to as the rule of recommendation to the patronage of the Church. I do not believe that either parliamentary or political motives have ever influenced Lord De Grey in his recommendations to the patronage of the Church. [Captain Bernal: "Hear, hear."] And I again repeat, notwithstanding the hon. Member opposite cheers, that there never was a period when the appointments in the Irish Church were more influenced by a regard to professional character, learning, and professional worth. But what says the Report of the Commissioners? The Report says:— We have the gratification of observing that the unfounded impressions upon the subject of the national system, which we have had on former occasions to notice, are, at length, rapidly dying away. The hon. Member has referred to Dr. O'Brien, Dr. Stopford, and Dr. Daly. I admit, and I regret the circumstance, that some of the Irish Prelates have exhibited hostility to the system of National Education. I do not mean to deny anything. I do not deny that some have displayed an overforward hostility to the system, but what I stated was, that the professional worth and merits of the parties who received the patronage of the Church formed the exclusive ground of their recommendation. The hon. Member has said that I have only recently exhibited remarkable zeal in favour of National Education. This is not the fact. In 1835, during the short period in which I presided over the Treasury, in that year I proposed an increase of the Vote for National Education. During the whole period of the late Government, did I oppose the Vote for National Education? On the contrary, I gave it my cordial support. As I said before, in 1835 a proposition was made by Government for an increased Vote. The hon. Gentleman quotes a pamphlet written by Mr. Woodward, to whose opinion he attaches much importance. Mr. Woodward begins by saying:— So fully bent is the Government which now sways the destines of the country upon carrying out this favourite project, that the Prime Minister is reported to have declared his intention of patronising and promoting those ecclesiastics only who will co-operate with him in the design. This report, however, seems to rest on but slender grounds; and it is well that it does so. For surely it were much to be deplored that an Administration who have hitherto dispensed their Church patronage with such clean hands, should, by a rash determination, tie up those hands from the further prosecution of so good a work. This is the clergyman on whom the hon. Member relies and selects as an example. This very clergyman gives two opinions—first, he says that the Irish Government administered the Church patronage so as to entitle them to public approbation; and next he deprecates all intention of charging on the Lord Lieutenant that the opposition to or approbation of the system of National Education, was to be the test of the fitness of parties to receive the patronage of the Church. And, further, in this pamphlet it will be seen Mr. Woodward expressly states that up to the year 1843 he had been opposed to the system of National Education. Mr. Woodward in the pamphlet distinctly states that he never manifested any particular zeal in favour of the system up to a late period, and yet the hon. Member remonstrates with me because this Gentleman still remains a rector. I stated that I thought the objections to the system of National Education were gradually decreasing. And on what grounds did I make this assertion? I stated it on the authority of the Commissioners interested in the carrying out this system—the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Murray, Sir A. R. Blake, the Solicitor General, and others, who presented the last Report to this House. This Report distinctly states that the Commissioners have gratification in observing that the unfounded impressions on the subject of National Education, which existed at the outset, were at length rapidly dying away. So it will be seen it was not an unsupported opinion of my own, that the objections to the system were gradually weakening. I referred to the Report of the Commissioners, and from that Report I obtain an account of the increase which has taken place in the number of schools and scholars within these last few years. The Report in question states as follows:—

Date. No. of Schools. No. of Children.
1839 1581 192,971
1840 1978 232,560
1841 2337 281,849
1842 2721 319,372
1843 2912 355,320
At the close of 1842 we had 2721 schools in operation, attended by 319,792. At the close of 1843 we had 2912 schools, which were attended by 365,339 children. The increase in the number of schools amounted within the year to 191, and the increase in the attendance of children to 35,528. This, then appears to be a complete demonstration that the system is spreading; that the number of schools and of scholars is increasing; and that the increase does not arise from the increase in the number of the Roman Catholic children, but that the objections to the system are in fact fast vanishing. I do sincerely believe that many of the object- tions felt on the part of the clergy of the Established Church arose from mistaken impressions as to the intentions and objects of the system. I believe a general impression existed that the Divine Scriptures were absolutely interdicted in some of the schools. This impression arose from the fact not having been closely examined into, and this occasioned those vehement objections to participate in or to promote the system of National Education. But such is not the fact; and I am glad to have an opportunity of inculcating on the Protestant community of Ireland that no such prohibitions in respect of the Scriptures is contained in the National System of Education. On the contrary, it will be found that in 1000 of these schools the Scriptures are read daily, and that in 1400 extracts from Scripture are read. These details will be found in the Report. From a paper which was laid on the Table by order of the House of Commons last Session, I find that in 944 schools the Scriptures were read, and in 1300 the Scriptural extracts which the Commission published were read. So, therefore, the Report is totally without foundation that there is any prohibition of the reading of the Scriptures in these schools. What is the rule of the Commissioners on this head? The rule is published, and every one who impugns the system ought to have cognisance of it. The rule is that The patrons of the several schools have the right of appointing such religious instruction as they may think proper to be given therein, provided that each school be open to children of all communions—that due regard be had to parental right and authority—that, accordingly, no child be compelled to receive, or be present at, any religious instruction to which his parents or guardians object—and that the time for giving it be so fixed that no child shall be thereby in effect excluded, directly or indirectly, from the other advantages which the school affords. Subject to this, religious instruction may be given either during the fixed school hours or otherwise. So that any of these schools may be attended by Protestant and Roman Catholic children, and there the Scriptures will be read. The next rule was That the reading of the Scriptures either in the Protestant authorised or Douay version, as well as the teaching of catechisms, comes within the rule as to religious instruction. The pamphlet of Mr. Woodward is useful. Speaking of the regulations of the Commissioners, he states the several impediments in the way of clergymen or laymen of the Established Church becoming patrons of the national schools. Mr. Woodward then quotes the two orders to which I have referred, which shows that the Scriptures may be read in the schools, provided due regard is had to those differences in creeds for which provision has been made. Now," said this rev. Gentleman, "What, I would ask, would a patron desire more than this? What could he want beyond being enabled to read and explain the Scriptures for an hour each day to his own children, and to as many others as are willing to avail themselves of the opportunity; and, besides that, to convey what religious instruction he may thick fit? With such an impression, he added that he was not disposed to place himself in opposition to the system of National Education in Ireland, being desirous to derive all the benefit from the system it might possess or offer in the way of education for the mass of the people in Ireland. In answer to the question put by the hon. Member, I say that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government warmly and cordially to give our support to the system of National Education in that country. I might add, as a proof of the sincerity of our intentions, that an application having been made for a separate grant in aid of other schools in connection with the Established Church, the Government had declined to recommend the grant, from a fear that a separate Parliamentary grant for such a purpose would defeat the object they had in view—united instruction of the children of persons of different religious creeds in one class of schools. The Government had reason to apprehend, that the effect of such a grant would be to induce the Protestant parents to withdraw their children from the present general system of instruction to place them in their own schools, and thus a separation would be effected in respect to the education of children of Roman Catholics and Protestants. It was suggested, that if it were granted there was great reason to expect that the Presbyterians in Ireland, who had hitherto displayed a sincere desire to co-operate with the promoters of the National System of Education, might feel they were entitled to a grant for the establishment of separate schools on their own principles, which would be a still greater inconvenience, as the co-operation of the Presbyterians would thus be lost, and three different and separate systems of education would be in operation, instead of one. I am fully aware of the advantages which the present system of National Education offers, and therefore I will not consent to abandon the Vote of the House for enlarging the means of a general and united system of education in Ireland, embracing the children of Catholics, Protestants, and Presbyterians, with permission to the pastors of each persuasion to instruct the children of their flock one day in the week, and without, the exclusion of the Scriptures from the use of the scholars upon the other days of the week. With respect to the correspondence required to be produced by the hon. Member, there is no such correspondence in existence. I had an interview with the noble Lord before he went to Ireland, in which this subject, amongst others, was discussed. That noble Lord knows full well it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to support cordially the National System of Education of Ireland. He knows what are our sentiments with respect to Church patronage in that country. I have not pressed upon his Lordship any condition that in dispensing Church patronage there, he was to make advancement dependent upon political considerations, or the course which members of the clergy of the Established Church might adopt with respect to the system of National Education, from a conviction that it would be unwise in this way to enlist their pride in opposition to that system of education. I should be sorry to place the dispensation of Church preferment upon grounds so base. I wished it to be dispensed upon the only justifiable grounds, that is to say, upon the grounds of ability, activity, and purity of life in the clergyman preferred, convinced that if preferment were made to depend upon a clergyman's subscribing to any particular opinion, or set of opinions, as a test of his fitness for preferment, all hope of success in our object by means of Church preferment must be at an end. There is no such correspondence, at, I repe as that which the hon. Member requires, and I will say that no consideration could ever induce me to adopt such a test of fitness for clerical promotion. I repeat that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to give to the National System of Education its warm and cordial support. The Rev. Mr. Woodward begins his pamphlet by saying he claimed a right to address the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland, in consequence of what he had urged ten years before, in 1834, upon the subject of his indifference to Church preferment, in a pamphlet on the subject of tithes. For my part," says he, "in making these observations, I have no purpose to serve but the discharge of my own conscience, I seek the favour of no party. I expect no larger benefice than the one I hold; nor have I the slightest wish for advancement. Having thus disavowed, in 1834, any desire for advancement, in the words I have quoted in his late publication, he writes:— My first impression when I heard of the plan of National Education was, I will confess, that in the discipline of the schools an unholy attempt was ventured on, so to amalgamate discordant creeds as to form a kind of neutral compound for the scholars. Whether anything of this kind entered into the original intention of the Board I know not, for I have very little acquaintance with the subject; but assuredly in the present conduct of the plan, they are wholly cleared of such a charge. On the contrary, one of the grand objections of the Committee of the Church Education Society to the National Board is, that they will not sanction the very amalgamation I so much deprecate. So far I have been induced to enter into the arguments and statements of the rev. Gentleman alluded to by the hon. Member, and I shall now only add that in my opinion there never was nor could be devised a plan less likely to conciliate the Protestant and Catholic population of Ireland than that which would result from adopting the advice of the hon. Mover, which advice must obviously have the appearance of insinuating that men filling the sacred office were open to the influence of selfish motives when they changed opinions they had once conscientiously entertained.

Mr. Wyse

was glad that public apprehension would, in a great degree, be removed upon this subject by what had passed on the present occasion. Stronger evidence of the gradual removal of prejudices could not be adduced than the increase in the number of schools and in the number of children sent to them; and it ought to be added, since it was an important addition, that the increase had been much larger in the north than in the south and west of Ireland. Any grant intended for the education of the lower classes of the community must go to a greater amount towards the Catholic majority than towards the Protestants, but the education of every peasant must be a benefit to the whole community. A charge had been often urged against the Roman Catholic Clergy of being opposed to the reading of the Scriptures. He had repudiated the charge more than once: he had himself seen a bible printed by a Catholic Prelate in the north of Ireland in the same form as the authorised version, for which there was the full authority of the Pope, sanctioning the reading, and in addition to this Father Mathew had, at his own expense, also printed a bible. That charge, therefore, was unfounded. One of the chief objections against the national system had been the inspection of the schools; those prejudices had altogether passed away, and the parties were now glad of an inspection, which taught them the improvemets which had taken place elsewhere. Another great improvement had taken place in the mode of writing the books intended for the classes. Their value was best shown by the universal circulation of the books amongst all classes of the community. He believed that they were the best productions of their kind in any country, and had been in circulation not only in America and in France, but had also been translated, and were used in Italy. What he would be anxious to dwell upon, however, were the words of the right hon. Baronet, that he would give to the system not only a general and Ministerial protection, but a warm and cordial support; but to give this warm and cordial support he must see the execution of his intentions left not to persons absolutely bound and pledged, but at least to those who had not given opinions indirect, he might say factious, hostility, to which his hon. Friend had ascribed many of the appointments. If the right hon. Baronet were anxious that the system should be worked cordially and warmly, he would find that it could not be worked by Prelates directly opposed to the plan. He regretted, with respect to the Bishop appointed to the Diocese with which he was himself connected, that his conduct should contrast so strongly with that o his predecessor, who had mingled the performance of his high duties as a Protestant Ecclesiastic with consideration and good feeling towards his Catholic fellow subjects, and who not only attended the schools as a part of his duty, but also assisted in every charity for the Catholics. Such were the watchers over education which it would do well for the right hon. Baronet to appoint—not fettering them and compelling them to adopt the national system, but directing their favourable attention towards it. If he would do this, the time would come when he would not hear such Motions as this of his hon. Friend, and would have to gratulate the House not only upon the progress of education, but upon a rich harvest, ripened by the spontaneous support of the people of Ireland.

Viscount Ebrington

could have wished that the speech of the right hon. Baronet had been delivered upon some former occasion, when the question of Irish Education had been attacked, and had not reserved it for the period when he had the weight of Government upon his shoulders. Had he before stated his views the weight of his opinion might have mitigated the bitter and incessant hostility of the party by which he was surrounded and supported. He thought that it might have had influence with the hon. Member for Oxford, and might have dispelled what the right hon. Baronet himself admitted to be the utterly unfounded delusion as to the principle of the system which had pervaded not only this country but Ireland. It was now too late in the day so claim the character of a candid and warm supporter of those schools. Whether the right hon. Baronet, might upon some occasion, have given a silent vote in their favour he knew not; but when the system was threatened, and when it with difficulty bore up against the attacks, any expression of support from him would have come with a different force, and would have produced different results. There would have been no reason then to doubt the zeal which he now professed to feel, or to suspect that political motives were blended with his conscientious desire to extend the National System of Education in Ireland. Among the recommendations of the persons whom he had promoted to dignitaries in the Church was not that of accurately looking at a subject before they pronounced an adverse opinion as to what did not exist, for he believed that there was no one of the divines alluded to who had not sanctioned with his high authority, and had not disseminated the very delu- sions and errors which he (Viscount Ebrington) trusted the speech of the right hon. Baronet that evening would extinguish for ever. It had been well said that those who lived in glass houses should not throw stones. Upon a recent occasion the right hon. Baronet thought fit to throw out an insinuation against the rev. Dr. Hudson, dean of Armagh, that his only recommendation to the sinecure which he enjoyed appeared to be his large private fortune. That was not his recommendation, it was his zealous support of the National Education System. The right hon. Baronet called him a sinecurist. He was so, thanks to the Government, whose Attorney General had reconsidered the legal opinion he had formerly given, that the living of Armagh, with a cure of souls, was really attached to the deanery. But how did he employ his sinecure? He did not receive one farthing from the deanery; he was not one farthing the richer for it. He divided its revenue into four equal parts, one of which defrayed the tithes, taxes, &c., to be paid upon it. Another he devoted to the local charities of Armagh; another to the promotion of education, almost entirely in schools connected with the National Education Board, and the remainder to the promotion of temperance. It was only an act of justice to say thus much of Dr. Hudson. He only wished that the Dean whose establishment had been recently brought under the notice of the House had spent his income half as well. He was glad to find that the scruples of some of the Protestant Clergy with reference to these schools had been dispelled. He knew that many of the Clergy of the Establishment, especially in England, had come to the same conclusion as Mr. Woodward, that their objections to the system, as not allowing the reading of the Divine Scriptures, were untenable; and he thought the right hon. Baronet might better follow up his good intentions, than by making speeches in Parliament on the one hand, and promoting those who were scarcely known but for their hostility to the Board of Education with the other.

Mr. Darby

had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Woodward, who had been, at one time, unfavourable to the system, but had now sanctioned it: and if the rule suggested by the hon. Gentleman opposite had been adopted, they would have excluded from appointments such a man as Mr. Woodward, who, upon further consideration of the subject had changed his opinions. Whether the Clergy of Ireland had or had not conscientious objections to the system, he thought they ought not to abstain from visiting the schools and preventing abuses. He thought this was the best thing for the clergy to do, even if they did object to the system. But when they talked of bigotry and intolerance, he must say that to declare a man who conscientiously objected to the system, and yet did his duty in every way besides, and was an able man, should be, on that account alone, excluded from preferment, would be the worst possible way of promoting the object which the hon. Gentleman opposite had in view.

Mr. Sheil

did not complain of the right hon. Gentleman for not laying down a rule of exclusion, but what they did complain of was the practice. The modes in which the Government had exercised control, had effectually counteracted their own intentions. The right hon. Gentleman looked upon the system as fraught with benefits to the community, and declared that he would give to it his warm and cordial support. But how, and in what manner, did he give it? If the patronage of the Crown were applied in conformity with the system under the protection of the right hon. Gentleman, he would select those who were attached to the policy he supported. Let not the Government imagine that he charged them with any want of sincerity, they had given proofs of it sufficient, which some might argue upon, but none could controvert. But they had not carried out their support in an effectual way. He did not wish them to exclude every one who had opposed the system, but in practice, they had excluded every one who supported it. He had heard the list of the appointments read by his hon. Friend. The Government were charged with not having appointed one who supported the system. There were O'Brien, and Stopford, and Daly, and Newman, not one of whom was a supporter of the National Board. Their hostility was open, avowed, and undisguised; and he said that such appointments counteracted the intentions of the Government. They were not serving the Church by them—they were placing the Church in hostile array to the people—they were making it odious to the people. They saw this phalanx opposed to one of the most important measures, and they thence assumed that the Church of Ireland was hostile to this useful measure, and this excited, and justly excited, the hostility of the Irish people to that Church itself. How did this come to pass? The right hon. Baronet said that he did not control Lord De Grey as to his Church appointments. It was understood that the Irish Secretary had no control over the ecclesiastical appointments, but that they were left to the Lord Lieutenant whoever he might be. Surely the right hon. Baronet said that he had left those appointments to the Lord Lieutenant without control, and he said that these appointments were made in a manner which was injurious to the system supported by Government. But then it was said that this was a question which did not interfere with the Church, that it was a question merely political. It was not merely a political question, but was a religious question, it was a moral question. From the Education Board flowed morality, and charity, and Christian love; it was then a question of morals, and therefore religious. He thought they did wrong not to institute to preferments partizans of the system with merits for their appointments. His hon. Friend had spoken strongly against the Irish Church, but not half so strongly as the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland had spoken, to the surprise of his Friends in that House, and to the disappointment of those in Ireland. The noble Lord had declared that the conduct of the Church had been most factious in this regard. [Lord Eliot: No, no.] The noble Lord certainly used the word "factious," and the term rendered him the subject of paragraph after paragraph in the columns of the Evening Mail. The word was certainly used, and he was surprised that the noble Lord's memory was so treacherous upon the point. The noble Lord found the whole Church arrayed against him—he found a misapprehension of facts, and a misapprehension of sentiments—and it was but natural that, in his exasperation, he had said that the conduct of the Church was factious. Were they not justified, then, in asking the Government to reconsider this question, and to decide whether a course more consistent with the feelings of the Government might not be adopted? The new Lord Lieutenant had continued in office as chaplains thirty- nine men, all of whom were opposed to the National Board, with two exceptions. If he thought they were acting a double part, he would not ask them to reconsider the subject, but he knew they were not; still they were acting a part which Mr. Burke had condemned again and again. Let them look at the very last work of that eminent statesman; they would find it laid down that the best intentions of the Government had been counteracted by their own officials, and so it was here. The dignitaries of the Church were selected on account of the hostility they displayed to the system supported by Government. He hoped, sincerely, as they were at the end of the Session, that they would part in good humour; there were many intimations given by the Government, for which he was thankful, and more particularly for the promises that they would promote education; he only regretted that they should have done anything to mar its good effects, and to disfigure, if not wholly to destroy, their good work.

Lord Eliot

said, that as reference had been made to some expression of his two years ago, he wished to make one or two observations. This was the first time he was aware that the expression alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman had ever been attributed to him as applied to the Clergy of the Established Church in Ireland. What he said on the occasion referred to by the right hon. Gentleman was that in the communications he had received the failure of the system was attributed to the hostility of the Clergy of the Established Church, but that he was sure that hostility was governed by the most conscientious motives. He believed that if he had on that occasion made use of the expression alluded to, there were several of his hon. Friends behind him who would at the time have called upon him for an explanation of it. It was now some time ago, and he could not pretend to recollect every word he spoke on the occasion, but he was sure that he spoke with respect of Clergy of the Established Church, and declared his belief that their opposition was based upon conscientious motives. He differed altogether from the right hon. Gentleman if he thought that no Clergyman ought to be promoted unless he sacrificed his conscientious opinions, and as to the appointments of Lord De Grey, they were guided solely by a view of the zeal and ability and character of the individual, in utter disregard of all feelings of party. In the whole list there was not one who possessed any family influence, or could be said to have got promotion on such grounds. [Mr. Sheil: Bishop Daly.] Dr. Daly was certainly the brother of a gentleman who had been Member for an Irish county, but was no longer so, and surely this was no reason why his claim should be overlooked, he being in every other sense fully qualified. He believed that the majority of the most eminent divines of the Established Church were opposed to the National System of Education, but was this to deprive them of all claim to preferment, if they performed all the duties of a parish priest in an efficient and exemplary manner? He believed that although there was still considerable hostility to the National System, the opponents of the measure were beginning to look calmly into the matter, and to think that they may have been labouring under a misconception, and he believed that in a few years a great change of opinion would afford the means of a more beneficial application of the system, but that change must not be the consequence of any suspicion of a compromise of honour by a dispensation of promotion. When distinguished divines found that they were not proscribed on account of their conscientious opinions, they would begin to examine the system more calmly, and would see that it became their duty to superintend the schools, and improve them as much as they could, although they might not agree in the principle on which they were founded. He would repeat, that no Lord Lieutenant had ever dispensed the patronage of the Church in Ireland with more perfect impartiality than Lord De Grey did; or with a more anxious desire to select divines the most eminent for their ability, zeal, and piety; and to refuse promotion to such men, because of a difference of opinion, must surely be an injustice.

Mr. M. J. O'Connell

asked whether the Government thought they promoted the interests of religion or of the Church in a great district, and in two extensive counties, in which there were many Catholics, by placing at the head of the Church there a man who had used such language as had been quoted by his hon. Friend? He was indebted to the noble Lord for a statement of Dr. Daly's qualifications, for all he had heard of his work as a parish priest at Powerscourt was, that during the minority of Lord Powerscourt he had advised the mother of that noble Lord to refuse the Roman Catholics a site for a place of worship, and that they were in consequence obliged to worship in a barn. He (Mr. O'Connell) believed, that upon one of the occasions referred to at Lismore, last year, he had told his congregation to avoid intercourse with Roman Catholics, and had enjoined, above all, Protestants in a wealthy condition of life not to employ Catholic servants. He believed that those were facts which could not be denied. There was a rev. Gentleman in Trinity College, known for his literary attainments, who had been passed over, but as for Dr. Daly, in the name of all that was sacred, what had he to do with literature? He had never heard of him, except as the Editor of the Christian Examiner [And of the "Life of Lady Powerscourt" from an opposition Member]. He (Mr. M. O'Connell) had never heard of that work, and except for the instance of intolerance which had been cited, and for his opposition to the National System of Education, he had never heard that Dr. Daly was distinguished for anything. Perhaps his brother's services had been rewarded vicariously through him, and indeed it had been said that the Mitre had been substituted for the Coronet in the family of the Daly's. But, of course, on the principle on which the right hon. Baronet administered his patronage that could not be.

Lord Eliot

wished to say one word in explanation. Since he addressed the House an hon. Friend of his had brought him the Parliamentary Debates where he found the observations he had made on the occasion to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sheil) had just now referred, as to the hostility of the Clergy to the National System. He found that what he said was this:— He could assure the House that there was no dislike on the part of the Protestants to send their children to the national schools, and although the Protestant Clergy were opposed to the system, he did not doubt that they were influenced by conscientious motives. The right hon. Gentleman did him an injustice, therefore, if he supposed that he had any intention to depreciate the Protestant Clergy of Ireland.

Captain Bernal

did not wish the right hon. Gentleman opposite to lay down any fixed rule, but he did wish him to appoint Clergymen to clerical offices who were not strongly opposed to the System of General Education.

Motion withdrawn.

House adjourned at half past eight o'clock.