§ Sir J. Graham
rose to move the second reading of the Charitable Donations and Bequests (Ireland) Bill, and he could state with sincerity that he had never proposed any measure to the House with greater personal satisfaction, or with a deeper confidence and persuasion that it was entitled to the adoption of Parliament. Perhaps he might be excused if he stated shortly the circumstances under which the Bill had come under consideration. Some time previously the hon. Member for Cheltenham had asked a question respecting a Bill which had been introduced into the other House of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor, and which had been much pressed on the Government during that and the previous Session of Parliament. That Bill had for its object the establishment of some Board or Commission, which should exercise jurisdiction over Charitable Bequests and Donations; and which should ensure to testators and donors the faithful execution of their charitable or pious intentions. He and his Colleagues had always admitted the necessity for some legislative measure of the kind in England; but the House was possibly aware, that with reference to Ireland, such a measure was not now for the first time proposed. At an early period in the reign of George III., the Irish Parliament did make provision with reference to this subject, and at the time of the Union the 40th George III. c. 70, was passed, continuing in force the useful provision of this Act. The preamble of that Act stated, that its object was to prevent concealment or misapplication of Charitable Bequests, and the Act itself authorised the appointment of a Commission with power to 1512 watch over every Charitable Bequest, and to see that it was disposed of according to the intentions of the donor. He was now about to bring under the consideration of the House a revision of this important Act which had endured for forty-four years. In the Act, as it now existed, there were, as he conceived, three principal defects. First, the constitution of the Board; next, a power of departing from the intentions of the testator or donor on the ground of expediency, thus carrying what lawyers called the ci pris doctrine further than it ever had been carried in England; and the third defect was, the absence of any power to endow with landed property in Ireland the priesthood of the Roman Catholic faith. The Board, as at present constituted, consisted of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for the time being, the twelve Judges, the Judge of the Prerogative Court, the Provost of Trinity College, the Dean of St. Patrick's, the Vicar General of Dublin, and the incumbents of the several parishes in Dublin. At the time the Act passed, all the members of the Board were Protestants, but since the passing of the Relief Bill, some of the twelve Judges might, by possibility, be Roman Catholics. With that single exception, the exclusively Protestant character was still preserved. He had said he would call attention to the wide discretion given to the Board, and he would now do so. The Act at present in force, after reciting these functions, had these words:—In case it be inexpedient, unlawful, or impracticable, to apply the same strictly, they may then apply it to such practicable and pious purpose as they shall judge most conformable to the directions of the donor.In England the Commission was, in all cases, bound to find a channel approximating as nearly as possible to the intentions of the donors; but here the word "inexpedient" gave a very wide discretion, and it was the only instance, he believed, in which the word was similarly used. There was also in the Act a provision that five should be a quorum, with the addition that a Bishop of the Church of England should be one of the five. The last proviso of the Act of 1800 was, that the officer of the Court where wills were proved, should notify to the secretary of the Commission whenever a Charitable Bequest was contained in any will. Having stated the exclusive principles of the present Act, he would add, on what he believed to be the highest authority, that as 1513 much as three-fourths of the Charitable Bequests and Donations of Ireland, were contributed by Roman Catholics, The House would here permit him to notice another difference, which existed between the law of England and Ireland, relative to Charitable Bequests. The 9th Geo. II., which imposed a limit on the bequeathing of real property, and required that the deed conveying it for charitable or pious uses, should have been executed twelve months previous to the death of the donor, did not apply to Ireland. Neither did the doctrine of superstitious uses apply to Ireland—at least he had come to this conclusion after the most careful inquiry. Doubts on the subject might have existed previous to the passing of the Relief Act, but since that they had been removed. But this difficulty existed which was common to England, that any devise to a corporation, such as the Commission, for the benefit of a Roman Catholic Bishop or priest, and his successors, would be a violation of the Statute of Mortmain. Having now briefly stated the imperfections in the present law, first, as to the constitution of the Board, next, to its discretionary power with reference to expediency, and thirdly, the absence of any power to endow with lands, priests, or their successors, he wished to call the attention of the House to the Bill which had just come down from the Lords, which, as it appeared to him, removed all these defects. First, with regard to the composition of the Board: in the Bill as proposed by the Government, it was proposed that the Master of the Rolls, the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and the Judge of the Prerogative Court should be ex officio members, one of the three to preside according to rank. Now, two out of those three might be Roman Catholics. It was then provided that the Crown should appoint ten Commissioners, five Protestants and five Roman Catholics; and the sixth section of the Act provided that all matters in which the doctrine, discipline, and constitution of the Church of Rome were concerned, should be referred to the Roman Catholic Members only. If a question should arise as to the state or condition of any person who should claim, under a deed or bequest which should have been brought before the Commission, special provision was made that the question of who was entitled should, if the claimant was a Roman Catholic, be decided by the Roman Catholics of the Commission only. A certificate was to be granted as to the 1514 status, which was to be conclusive. As to the second objection of too large a discretion, that would be removed by Clause 10, which limited the power of the Commission, and strictly enjoined the application of donations according to the intentions of the donor, carefully excluding that view of expediency to which he himself objected. As to the third objection, relative to the difficulties under the Statute of Mortmain, that would be removed by Clause 13; but there was an imperfection in that Clause as it now stood, owing to the accidental omission, in line six, of the words "for the time being." That omission he should propose to supply; and the effect of the insertion of those words, coupled with the general operation of the Clause, would be to remove a great objection, which had been stated to exist under the Law of Mortmain in Ireland, and, would enable piously-disposed parties to apply their real and personal property without limitation in amount, for upholding and maintaining residences and chapels for the Roman Catholic clergy, and for the support of the pastors of the Roman Catholic flocks for the time being. In the 14th Clause there was a limitation introduced for the first time, with reference to the power of willing or giving by deeds, lauds, and property, within a very short time antecedent to the death of the testator. He had already said that this was a change in the law as it now stood in Ireland; but that change was common to all parties in Ireland, without distinction of religious creed, and was a question of general public policy, and as such quite open to discussion. He was certainly of opinion, that a more strict limitation, considering the interference that might be used with respect to dying persons or parties in extremis, was necessary. In the Clause that immediately followed, there was also a provision against waste and sub-letting of land; and there were other provisions of detail to which he anticipated no serious objections would be raised. Indeed, he could only anticipate one objection to this measure, as not satisfactory to his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in Ireland, and that would arise from difficulties as to the peculiarity of ecclesiastical discipline, when the question to be decided might be whether the state of any person in holy orders could be submitted to any person not of the Roman Catholic creed. On this head he would observe, that the Crown must necessarily select persons as members of the Board, who 1515 would enjoy the confidence of the Roman Catholic body, whilst they were equally entitled to the confidence of the Crown. The Board certainly could not be properly constituted, if Roman Catholics were excluded from it; and that being the case, and this being the avowed intention of the Government, he did not think it politic to tie up the discretion of the responsible advisers of the Crown. It was notorious, that in cases of doubt and difficulty, reference must be had to the Courts of Equity, and the Court of the last appeal was that of the Lord Chancellor, who, by the Constitution, must be a Protestant. Therefore by the law, as it now stood, Protestants had a supreme control in these matters. He wished, therefore, the House to pass a provision for the appointment of this Board, one-half of the nominated members of which were to be Roman Catholics, and a certain proportion of whom, one at least, would be a Catholic ecclesiastic; and it was also clear, that the Chief Baron or the Master of the Rolls might be, and in the course of time probably would be, of the Roman Catholic persuasion also. He did not know that he should carry this matter further. On the part of himself and of his Colleagues he would merely say, that this measure was framed in the spirit of peace. With reference to the circumstances of Ireland, it was not possible to offer, even if it would be accepted, any endowment from the State; but it was most desirable that provision should be made by the voluntary piety of individuals, to add to the comfort, and to secure the independence of that body of pastors, who were the religious teachers of so large a portion of the population of Ireland. He tendered this measure as a peace-offering, and he hoped it would mitigate those jealousies and heart-burnings which prevailed in Ireland, and which had so great a tendency to divide the inhabitants of that unhappy country. He hoped it would be accepted in the spirit in which it was offered. He hoped nothing had fallen from him which had a tendency to disturb that spirit, and if so accepted, he trusted it would prove the foundation and corner-stone of that temple of peace to which his right hon. Friend the First Minister of the Crown had referred, as about to be laid, when, at no distant time, the Queen should visit her Irish dominions, and there, upon the Throne of her western isle, should in person, appeal to the affections and support of a generous, gallant, and still loyal people.
§ Mr. M. O'Ferrall
concurred with the right hon. Baronet that the present law was defective, and required alteration and amendment. He believed that the right hon. Home Secretary, in the course of a debate on Ireland in February last, stated that it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill of this nature; but from that period up to the middle of July, no step was taken to bring the measure under the consideration of that House. He had done the right hon. Gentleman the credit of believing that, feeling the difficulties which encompassed this question, he had deferred introducing the Bill with a view to the removal of those difficulties; but, judging from the terms in which some of these Clauses were framed, he took it for granted that the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Ireland, had not been consulted on the subject. Indeed, very great pains seemed to have been taken to exclude the mention of the word "bishop," as referring to those dignitaries of the Catholic Church. That appeared to him most extraordinary; and it could not fail to be regarded as a most offensive proceeding by the Roman Catholics of this kingdom. If there had not been Bishops in the Catholic Church, there would have been no Bishops in the Protestant Church; and he thought they ought not to withhold from the Clergy of the Catholic Church the acknowledgment of those dignities which were recognised by those who were under their spiritual rule. He could state, on behalf of the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, that they had no desire to refuse any legislation which could be beneficial to that communion, of which they were the pastors. But he wished to contrast the mode of proceeding which had been adopted with regard to this Bill and to another. When a Bill was introduced into the House of Lords to repeal thirty Penal Statutes affecting Roman Catholics, it was referred by the Lord Chancellor of England to the Law Commissioners. Certain alterations were made in the Bill, and it was then referred to the Bishop of London, that he might ascertain whether those Statutes could be repealed without endangering the safety of the Church of England. The Bill passed through Committee, and then the Bishop of London stated that the Archbishops of the Protestant Church, were absent attending to their sacred duties, and he hoped that at that period of the Session such an important 1517 measure would not be pressed. But what a different course had been pursued with regard to this Bill! That Bill, which affected most materially the interests of the Catholic Prelates in Ireland, had never been referred to them—their opinion had never been asked on the subject. He considered that some of the Clauses in this Bill were of a most objectionable character. It was undoubtedly the fact, that a feeling of jealousy existed among the Catholics of Ireland with regard to all measures affecting the interests of their Church. They had already suffered materially by having wrested from them property which in former ages had been devoted to charitable endowments in connexion with their religion. This had been done in Ireland in a manner and to an extent which he thought would not be defended by hon. Gentlemen opposite; and it was not surprising that a strong feeling of jealousy respecting all legislation on subjects of this nature should exist in the minds of the Catholics of Ireland. They were not inclined to trust any legislation which interfered with religion; for they felt that, even if they could not endow their Church, the endowments might hereafter be directed to the support of another religion. The Irish Catholics felt that this Bill might operate to their future prejudice. By one of its Clauses, the Commissioners were removeable at the pleasure of the Crown. If, therefore, at any period it should suit the objects of a future Government to apply bequests arising under this Bill to purposes other than those contemplated by the donors, they could at once remove the Commissioners and replace them by others. Another objection to the Bill was, that one of the persons who was constituted a Chairman of this Board, was the Judge of the Prerogative Court in Ireland, appointed by the Archbishop of Armagh, to whom the Bishops of the Catholic Church owed no allegiance. There was another Clause which was as objectionable to the Catholics as it probably was to members of the Church of England. The Church of England deferred to the authority and intepretation of their Bishops with reference to matters of doctrine and of discipline; and the same principle had always been held by the Catholic Church. But, by one of the Clauses of this Bill, five members of the Commission were to decide upon points affecting the doctrine and 1518 discipline of the Catholic Church. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had stated that this Bill had been proposed in a spirit of peace: but he thought it his duty to state fairly his objections to the measure. Another objection he entertained to this Bill was, that the expressions used in the measure, and the restrictions it proposed, might be brought forward as precedents on future occasions. He could assure the Government, that if it was really their desire to conciliate the Catholics of Ireland, they would be met in a spirit of fairness; but if they sought to override that religious community—if they endeavoured to force upon the Catholic Church measures which it could not conscientiously accept, they would be met with stern and stedfast opposition.
§ Lord Eliot
defended the Bill, which, he said, was one that had received the approval of a nobleman in whom the Irish Roman Catholic people had a just confidence—the Marquess of Normanby. He could not see the force of the objections urged against it, and for this reason, that the Bill was of an enabling and permissive, and not of a compulsory character; and if any Roman Catholic founder did not feel confidence in the board, it was still open to him, as at present, to invest the funds in the names of other trustees. But he admitted that it was expedient to engraft on the principle of this Bill a provision to remove the just complaints made against the constitution of the board hitherto, which was not only exclusively Protestant, but chiefly consisted of clerical members of the Established Church. This had now been done, and it was hoped, that it would tend to facilitate voluntary endowments for the Roman Catholic Clergy. The hon. Gentleman opposite had objected to the Judge of the Prerogative Court being a member of the board, but that very appointment was suggested to him by the hon. Member for Waterford, and though it might be an individual suggestion, still he thought that hon. Member spoke the sense of the Roman Catholic Members of that House. With the exception of that Judge, the other Members might be Roman Catholics, and it was not, therefore, just or fair to say that the board were to be Protestants. The hon. Gentlemen had dwelt on the impossibility of Roman Catholic prelates permitting the reference of matters relating to the 1519 Roman Catholic Church to a board the majority of which might be Protestant. But in every Roman Catholic country, with the exception, perhaps, of the Italian States, matters of this kind were constantly referred to the State and to the civil authorities. It was so in Austria, it was so in France. Even ordination could not take place without the sanction of the Council of State; nor could any man act as cure in France without the sanction of the Government; and any matters in dispute between bishops and priests were referred for decision to the tribunal of the Council of State. He trusted hon. Members opposite would give the Government credit for feeling that it was most desirable to appoint persons who should enjoy the confidence of the Roman Catholic body, and to do this they must appoint parties who were prelates, or at least ecclesiastics of that church. He did not think the Government deserved the degree of suspicion that had been expressed, and he thought it was impolitic on the part of hon. Members thus to reject with a degree of scorn what he would not call the boon proffered, but the conciliatory act by which the Government desired to remove grievances which had long been complained of.
§ Mr. Bellew
thought this Bill was really intended to give as much satisfaction to the Catholics as was consistent with the ascendancy of the Protestant Church; but it would have been far better if the Government had more fully consulted the wishes and views of the Roman Catholic body. The Government had not consulted that body, and could not, therefore, be surprised that the Roman Catholic body in Ireland had no confidence in them. What, he should like to know, prevented the Government from giving the Roman Catholic bishops their titles? Were they bishops or not? Her Majesty might appoint them to-morrow to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, and they would require no new consecration. The hon. Member protested against the interference of laymen with any matters relating to the discipline of the Catholic Church. If the object of the Bill was to satisfy the Catholics, why not have made the Catholic bishops a corporation for the management of their funds. The noble Lord had said, that in other countries the State exercised an interference over the Roman Catholic Church, but in those other countries that 1520 Church was united with, and paid by the State. By the three months Clause, the Government proposed to take from them some advantages which they already possessed, and gave them some on the other hand, which they did not seek for. No measures of legislation would be satisfactory which did not admit the equality of the Roman Catholic Church; it was too powerful to be merely tolerated. He believed the Bill had been brought forward with good intentions, and he, therefore, did not like to vote against a second reading, but he hoped Her Majesty's Government would consent to postpone it to a future Session for more deliberate consideration.
The Earl of Arundel and Surrey
took that opportunity to thank Her Majesty's Government for introducing a Bill which appeared to him to be framed with the very best intentions, and with a real desire to conciliate and to promote the interests of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. It was true that the priests of his persuasion did claim for themselves the exclusive privilege of deciding in matters relative to ecclesiastical discipline and interpretation, but it did not appear to him that the questions likely to be referred to this board were such as would at all entrench upon that claim. He thought, however, that Her Majesty's Government would do well to take into consideration one objection which had been made, and see whether they could not recognise the bishops and archbishops of the Romish Church. The machinery of the Church of Rome did exist in Ireland, whether for good or for evil, and it was by that machinery this Bill must be worked, and he thought it would tend greatly to promote good feeling, and conciliate the good will of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, if the dignity of their reverend prelates were acknowledged and recognised in the Bill.
§ Sir R. Peel
had heard with very great satisfaction the speech of the noble Lord, a speech in every way creditable to him, and certainly most just towards Her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Government had been influenced by no desire whatever, in bringing forward this measure, except that of wishing to correct what had been made a matter of complaint by the Roman Catholics of Ireland as a great defect in the law of endowments. Not wishing to be provoked into a controversial 1521 spirit, he (Sir R. Peel) must, never the less, say that he had heard with regret the tenor of some of the speeches which had been made by some hon. Members on the opposition side of the House, It was said that they (the Ministers) had no knowledge of the feelings of the Roman Catholic population as to the existing law, and of the necessity of its amendment. He believed that those feelings had been very powerfully put upon record in a publication which had received the sanction of the Roman Catholic Association, and which was supposed to represent the feelings of the Catholic body. That publica- was written by a great lawyer, a man indisputably of high reputation, and whose work was supposed to contain in the fullest manner the object intended to be effected with respect to the enactment of all laws affecting the Roman Catholic class of Her Majesty's subjects. Mr. Scully said, that among other things the Roman Catholics complained of the state of the law with respect to Roman Catholic charities, and that an institution was appointed in the year 1800 for the purpose of superintending the administration of those charities. There was one chapter of the work which treated expressly of the law on charities. It was stated in Mr. Scully's publication, that the effect of the law was this, and it remained unaltered to the present day, until the present Government now came forward to apply a remedy to the grievance; that no person could give or grant any land, or sum of money, to or for the support of any Catholic establishment. The right hon. Baronet read further extracts from Mr. Scully's work, to show what was the present state of the law upon the subject of Catholic charities, and what were the grievances complained of, and then observed, that Her Majesty's Government were now attempting to alter that law by bringing in a Bill which would put it beyond all manner of doubt as to the wish of the Legislature with respect to charities to Roman Catholic institutions. By this Bill it was provided that henceforth there should be no concealment or misapplication of donations and bequests to public and private charities in Ireland, but that they might be made in the face of day. Thus a complete remedy was provided for the existing defect of the law in that respect. Then, with respect to the Board of Commissioners, it was proposed that 1522 the Board should consist of ten persons, five of whom should be Roman Catholics. But it was objected that the Lord Chancellor, whom it was proposed should preside, would necessarily be a Protestant. To obviate this objection, the Government agreed to omit the name of the Lord Chancellor, and had substituted the Master of the Rolls, who, with the Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, were both eligible for Office, although they were Roman Catholics. It was true they had appointed also as one of the Commissioners the Judge of the Prerogative Court, who could not, of course, be a Roman Catholic; but having made these concessions, they were yet taunted with not having appointed a fair and impartial Commission. The appointment of the Judge of the Prerogative Court was vested in the Lord Primate of Ireland, but that most rev. Prelate had stated to the Government, "I place in your hands the nomination; I wish to have nothing to do with it." He had, therefore, made the appointment. But the offices of the Master of the Rolls and the Chief Baron had recently been filled by two Roman Catholics, Sir M. O'Loghlen and Mr. Chief Baron Wolfe. There were ten other Commissioners to act concurrently with these official Commissioners, five of whom were to be Roman Catholics, This was the manner in which the Clause provided for that purpose:—And be it enacted, that the Master of the Rolls in the High Court of Chancery of Ireland, the Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, and the Judge of Her Majesty's Court of Prerogative for Causes Ecclesiastical and Court of Faculties in and throughout Ireland, together with ten other proper and discreet persons, to be appointed by Her Majesty in Council, by warrant under the Sign Manual, of which ten persons, five, and not more than five, shall at all times be persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, shall be one body politic and corporate, by the name of 'The Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland,' and by that name shall have perpetual succession and a common seal, and by that name may sue and be sued.He asked any man whether Government had been influenced by the motives imputed, and whether it was not most disheartening, instead of doing justice to those who were anxious to do justice, to have reference made to former debates respecting the restoration of Mr. O'Driscoll, or the appointment of a Lord of the Bedchamber. 1523 The noble Lord who spoke last said it was objectionable to the Roman Catholics to have lay Commissioners to interfere with spiritual matters; but it was perfectly open to the Crown under this Bill to appoint on the Commisson a Roman Catholic Prelate and a Roman Catholic Priest, and place them on the Commission, and why should it be supposed that the Crown would not secure the appointment of Roman Catholic Prelates, as in the case of Maynooth, if they found it to be desired by the Roman Catholic body and congenial to the wishes of the hierachy? He assured the noble Lord that his supposition was not consistent with the real state of the case, and he trusted that, having Stipulated that one-half of the Commission should consist of Roman Catholics, the House would feel that Her Majesty's Government were desirous of meeting what they understood to be the feelings of the Roman Catholics on the points in question. But it was said the Government were not acquainted with what was the Roman Catholic feeling in Ireland with respect to the subject of this Bill. He trusted he had shown that there were objections on the part of the Roman Catholics to the existing law, and that they had pointed out the defects of the law; and he trusted that for those defects of the law, Her Majesty's Government had provided a complete remedy in the Bill; he trusted he had also shown that the principle of the measure was a principle of fairness and equality, having stated that of the Commissioners two were to be legal authorities who might be Roman Catholics, and that as to the Special Commissioners, they had given a guarantee that one-half of them should be Roman Catholics. Reference had been made to a measure that had been in contemplation by the Marquess Wellesley, on which it was said that Roman Catholic Prelates had been consulted. He had not meant to allude to that measure, but as the allusion had been made on the other side, he would take the opportunity of showing what was the amount of difference between the measures, by contrasting them; the measure he meant that had the assent of the Roman Catholic Prelates, and the measure of Her Majesty's present Government. [An hon. Member: That was not a Bill.] He knew it was not technically and literally a Bill; it had not arrived at that stage of advancement; but still the print 1524 of the measure which he held in his hand had as much of the appearance and character of a Bill in all respects as any print of a Bill he ever saw. It was entitled,An Act to assist in Providing Places of Worship for Persons of the Roman Catholic Persuasion, and Houses and Glebes for the Roman Catholic Priests.And it recited the defects of the existing law, whereby the intentions of donors were frequently frustrated. There was a point to which he wished to call attention. In the title of this measure, the Roman Catholic clergymen was called "the parish minister." Her Majesty's Government noticing that, had introduced the expression in the Bill brought into the House of Lords; but they were told that there were most serious objections to the use of the term "minister," that "minister" was a Presbyterian term, and did not designate a Roman Catholic clergyman. Well, Her Majesty's Government yielded to that representation and substituted the word "priest" for the word "minister" throughout their Bill, though the latter was the word used in the measure of Lord Wellesley, which had been seen by Dr. Murray. Surely that was a proof that no insult to Ireland was intended by the use of the word in the Bill as originally proposed. The House might depend upon it, Her Majesty's Government would go on in their course of doing justice to all parties, but certainly it was hard that when they attempted to cure an admitted defect in the law in a way which they had reason to think would be considered satisfactory by the Roman Catholics, the means they took should be held out as a new insult; that the reward for their pains should be to be told they were doing wrong, and that all they had attempted to do was an insult to the people of Ireland. The Bill of 1834 provided that it should be competent for any party to give land or money for the purpose of building chapels, and it also provided that there might be an endowment for the use of the parish priest of the parish in which such chapel should be built, and of his successors, so long as they should continue possessed of such parish. A similar provision was contained in the Bill before the House. Did not this enactment practically take perfect security that the endowment should continue to the successors? Some Gentlemen had stated apprehensions, 1525 that after the Roman Catholic body should have been entrapped by the provisions of the Bill into giving money or and for these purposes, some change would be made in the constitution of the Commission; a set of subservient Roman Catholics would be appointed; and the whole of the bequests, donations, and benefactions swept away for the use of the Protestant Establishment. But did any man seriously think that the Crown would be base enough to put in five Roman Catholic Commissioners pledged to take part in such a scheme, if it were practicable? If hon. Gentlemen really conceived such opinions of the Government, the sooner the Government abandoned all hopes of conferring benefit on Ireland the better; it would be far better to leave the law as it was than that they should be subjected to such imputations, and the House be influenced by them. The Bill provided that no more than forty acres should be granted as an endowment. That was also the provision of the measure approved of by Dr. Murray. But still it was said that the Government were introducing new restrictions. The Bill also provided that no party on his death-bed should be able to make a bequest. That was the law in Ireland at present. In England the bequst must be made one year before the death to make it valid. Her Majesty's Government, in order to guard against undue influence, which was so liable to operate at the death of a party, whether Catholic or Protestant, under the influence of the feelings which those scenes naturally excited, had provided in this Bill that the grant should be made three months before death. It was entirely a question of public policy. If it was desirable that the term fixed in the Bill should be altered, that was a matter for subsequent discussion. With respect to personal property, the Bill imposed no such limitation. With respect to real property, it proposed the limitation of three months. The measure of 1834, which was seen by Dr. Murray, did exactly the same thing. Not a word of objection was urged then; not a word was said that the term of three months was too large. Thus it appeared that the Bill of Her Majesty's Government was the same as to the amount of the grant, and as to the limitation of three months. But now it was said, that there was some rule of the Roman Catholic Church that made it impossible for them 1526 to commit the consideration of spirituals to a lay tribunal; that it necessarily belonged to the cognizance of ecclesiastics, and of ecclesiastics alone. He thought, however, that the noble Lord's construction was perfectly just, that the Bill did not relate exclusively to spiritualities; that it was an ecclesiastical as effectually as a lay body. But his first answer to this charge was, that there was nothing in the Bill to cause the Crown to constitute this exclusively as a lay tribunal; his next answer was, that the Bill of 1834, which was said to have been submitted to the Roman Catholic Prelates—which was said to have had their assent—did devolve on a tribunal exclusively lay the consideration of these matters. The right hon. Baronet then read a long Clause from the proposed measure of the Marquess of Wellesley's Government, providing that on breach or abuse of the trusts the Attorney General or two of the Commissioners should petition the Lord Chancellor, who should adjudicate on the questions in dispute, subject to an appeal to the House of Lords. Thus the measure of that day gave the consideration of spiritual matters to a tribunal which must be lay, with an appeal to the House of Lords. His right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) had said, and said truly, that the Government had not brought in this measure for the purpose of conciliating the public favour by unwise concessions, but for the purpose of doing that which they thought to be just in a conciliatory and friendly spirit; that their motive was a kind and conciliatory motive, so far as doing justice could be consistent with a kind and conciliatory feeling. It rested with hon. Gentlemen whether they would oppose the measure or not. It was possible that an opposition, if strenuously directed against the measure at that period of the Session, might be successful; but whether the opposition did or did not meet with success, he hoped that during the recess, popular feeling in Ireland would not be inflamed by charging Her Majesty's Government with being wanting in a desire to do that which was just to-wards Ireland; he did hope that the Government would not be taunted next Session that they had permitted the business of England and Scotland to occupy exclusively the attention of the Government and of Parliament, and that that would not be made an additional argument in Ireland in favour of a repeal of the Union; 1527 he did hope that hon. Members on going down to their constituents would explain to them that the measure Her Majesty's Government had brought forward was a measure which permitted voluntary endowments, which permitted individuals to enter into voluntary subscriptions for building Roman Catholic places of worship; that it made it impossible for the Government to interfere with those benefactions, that it constituted the Commissioners of Roman Catholics and Protestants in equal numbers, and that the principle of the measure was one of equality; so that their constituents might believe,—and if it was permitted to pass, it might be considered by the reasonable and unbiassed part of the people, a valuable measure, and a proof that the Government was actuated by the desires respecting Ireland which they had all along expressed.
§ Mr. Sheil
began by requesting the right hon. Baronet to give his comments upon the Bill as much attention as they deserved, and perhaps the more because Ministers had not taken the opportunity of consulting others as deeply interested, and much better informed. He had waited with anxiety to hear what reason the right hon. Baronet could suggest for not having asked the opinion of a single Roman Catholic ecclesiastic. Upon that point he had not thought it judicious, or perhaps necessary to reply. Reference had been made to his (Mr. Sheil's) hon. Friend, Sir Henry Winston Barron, as the person at whose instance the Judge of the Prerogative Court had been inserted in the Bill.
§ Lord Eliot
observed, across the Table, that the Judge of the Prerogative Court had been substituted for the Lord Chancellor.
§ Mr. Sheil
did not mean, either directly or by insinuation, to say anything condemnatory of the Member for Waterford; but he might observe that he was not a lawyer, and did not advert to the fact that the Judge of the Prerogative Court must be a Protestant. It was true that the Chief Baron and Master of the Rolls might be Roman Catholics, and Roman Catholics had occupied those offices. Whether a similar event was likely to happen again under the Government of the right hon. Baronet was a question he was not prepared to answer. As the Bill was framed, it gave a majority of Protestants 1528 to the Board of Commissioners for a very considerable period; yet it had been stated on the other side that three-fourths of the property of charitable bequests was Roman Catholic. It was natural, therefore, to inquire why a majority of Protestants was to be placed on the Board? What reason could be alleged but the principle of maintaining Protestant ascendancy. He did not complain of the choice of the Judge of the Prerogative Court as an individual. On the contrary, he admitted his learning, his talents, and his integrity. His impartiality might be judged from the fact that he was assessor at the great Clare Election, and gave a decision against his own party, which was the cause of the return of Mr. O'Connell. [Sir R. Peel; And that was the man I appointed.] He would speak of every man according to his deserts, but the fact was, that he held an office which required Protestantism as a condition precedent. No reason had been offered for not consulting a single Roman Catholic Prelate upon a Bill which related to property held for ecclesiastical purposes; "the doctrine, discipline, and constitution of the Roman Catholic Church" were the very words of the Bill. Why, then, he repeated, had not one Roman Catholic Prelate been consulted? He did not attribute any sinister intent, but the neglect of which he complained had produced the existing embarrassment. The Marquess of Norman by had been mentioned as an authority, and unquestionably his opinion was of high value; but he (Mr. Sheil) did not think that any Protestant could enter into the feelings of the Roman Catholics: he could not appreciate their motives, or understand, their prejudices or jealousies, the unfortunate result of mistaken legislation. A friend of peace, a man distinguished for his moderation, who had never thrown any obstructions in the way of Government, had written to him in these terms:—"That with great regret he felt it his duty to express his conviction that the Roman Catholic Church could not asquiesce in a Bill by which authority was given to laymen in the affairs of the Church." Before Ministers precipitated themselves into this measure from their hurry to do what they imagined to be good, they ought to have asked the opinion of a Roman Catholic Bishop, and he would at once have told them that his church could not consent to it. He advised Ministers to take the 1529 course adopted in 1800, under Mr. Pitt, respecting the visitors of Maynooth. A Clause was inserted in the Act providing that in all matters relating to the exercise, doctrine, and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, the visitorial power should be exercised exclusively by Roman Catholics. Who were the Roman Catholic trustees of Maynooth? The Earl of Fingal, Archbishop O'Reilly, and Archbishop Troy. Let Ministers take that course; let them appoint their five Commissioners at once, and make the majority Roman Catholic ecclesiastics. Let them rid themselves of the inconvenience of hereafter selecting the individuals, and avoid all discussions in the newspapers as to the merits of different parties. He could not help thinking this a reasonable suggestion, and in this spirit Mr. Pitt had acted. In relation to this point he would venture to read a passage from the works of a much greater man (he said it with no intention to disparage) than any now living—he alluded to Edmund Burke—who, in his "Letter on the Penal Laws against Irish Roman Catholics," expressed himself thus:—Before I had written thus far, I heard of a scheme of giving to the Castle the patronage of the presiding members of the Catholic Clergy. At first I could scarcely credit it, for I believe it is the first time that the presentation to other people's alms has been desired in any country. If the State provides a suitable maintenance and temporality for the governing members of the Irish Roman Catholic Church, and for the Clergy under them, I should think the project, however improper in other respects, to be by no means unjust. But to deprive a poor people, who maintain a second set of clergy, out of the miserable remains of what is left after taxing and tithing—to deprive them of the disposition of their own charities among their own communion, would, in my opinion, be an intolerable hardship. Never were the members of one religious sect fit to appoint the pastors to another.In this passage were laid down the principles on which they should proceed. All interference by the State with the Government of the Catholic Church ought to be avoided. They should bear in mind that under this Bill questions connected with that Government would in all likelihood arise. Dr. Everard left 30,000l. to build a Roman Catholic College, and the removal of a Professor of that College would let in the whole question. He asked that there should be inserted the names of three or four dignitaries of the 1530 Catholic Church, and of one layman of high rank in whom the Catholics could have confidence. He might be mistaken in his views, but he appreciated the motives with which the Bill had been introduced. It was brought forward in the spirit of peace, and in the spirit of peace he received it. But he would have preferred that they should have adopted a course which would have established not an armistice, but an amnesty. There was, however, at the conclusion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech an intimation for which he thanked him; it was that there might be a royal visit to his country, and if there should be such a visit, he assured him that Her Majesty would find a loyal, a gallant, and still a loyal people, and he fervently prayed that she might display the noblest attribute of the Sovereign—justice, tempered with mercy.
sincerely rejoiced that the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had considerably departed from the tone of the observations which had been addressed to the House previously, and had confined himself to commentaries upon, rather than to the making of any decided objections to, the principle of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had done no more than justice, as well as his noble Friend (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey), if the noble Lord would permit him to say so, to the views with which Government had been actuated in the proposal of that measure; it was a remedial measure as applied to the existing state of the law. Objections had been made to the measure as compared to the existing law, but amendments might be introduced during its discussion, and which, as far as they were consistent with the objects of the Bill, would be by Her Majesty's Government taken fairly into consideration. Her Majesty's Government, in introducing that Bill, had in view, not a polemical or religious controversy, but one object, and one only—that of rendering the existing law practicable, and placing all bequests for charitable purposes—of Protestants as well as Roman Catholics—on a footing of equality, under one Board, having no leaning this or that way, but a Board that would do justice to all. He assured the right hon. Gentleman that the Government had no unworthy views in proposing the measure. Let the House recollect that this was not a question of religion which the unhappy 1531 jealousies in Ireland but too frequently caused to be introduced into such questions, but one of property and of law. What, he asked, had they done? Was it or was it not essential that they should have legal advice for the guidance of the Commission? The right hon. Gentleman must admit that. Objections had been made to legal authorities being placed at the head of the Commission; but let him remind them that being a question of law, and of law only, the ultimate appeal must be to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. From that they could not escape, nor did he think that an escape would be desirable. He asked, amidst all their differences of opinion, whether any one who differed from him in political sentiments would not rest with implicit confidence on any decision upon questions of property which Lord Chancellor Sugden might give? It had been told them (the Government) that the Lord Chancellor being necessarily a Protestant, and presiding in the Court of Appeal from the decision of the Commission, was not a fit person to appoint. What did the Government do? They appointed two Judges, not from their opinions, but from their situations, two of whom, the predecessors of the present Judges, singularly enough, had been Roman Catholics. Why did they not choose a Roman Catholic, it was asked? They had chosen, be it recollected, the Judge of the Rolls Court, upon the suggestion of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Waterford (Sir H. W. Barron). "Oh, but," said the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) "the hon. Member for Waterford did not recollect that the Judge of the Rolls Court must be a Protestant." What, however, had that right hon. Gentleman, himself said of that functionary? "That he (the Judge of the Rolls Court) was a man on whom he could rely, for in a matter of great moment, and wherein the party was of opposite political opinions to his, and when a counsel, before he had received his present promotion, and when he might have disobliged his party, he had dared, with courage and manliness, to decide against the opinion of his party and co-religionists." Again, the right hon. Gentleman said, "Why not appoint some legal authorities who must of necessity be Catholics?" To that the only reply was, that no one knew of any such persons—he knew of no legal functionary who must necessarily be a Catholic; 1532 but it was rather hard to force the Government to make this a religious question—they had no wish or intention to make it a religious question. It was the wish of Her Majesty's Government to create a tribunal that should be wholly independent of religious considerations. He regretted that anything should have been said about the Board being divided into five Protestants and five Roman Catholics, or that the discretion of the Crown should have been at all fettered by that discussion. He considered in such a tribunal that it should be quite unnecessary to ask whether the Members were of one persuasion. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) had complained that they had not consulted the Roman Catholic Prelates; but the Government had consulted neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic Prelates. It being a matter of property, they looked at the law of the case, and they looked at the legal and judicial powers with which the Commissioners would have to be invested. He begged the House not to lose sight of the fact that the matter now before the House was no new cause of complaint. How was the old Board, or rather the Board at present in existence, constituted? It consisted of the Lord Chancellor, the Bishops, the Judges of the three Superior Courts of Common Law, the Judge of the Prerogative Court, the Provost of Trinity College, the Dean of St. Patrick's, and the incumbents of the several parishes within the city of Dublin. Of this Board, five were to be a quorum, provided an Archbishop or Bishop formed one of the five. That constitution made the Board exclusively a Church of England Board. Such a state of things might very well excite the jealousy of the Roman Catholics. The powers given to that Board authorised them to search out for bequests, and authorised them, with five for a quorum, one being a Bishop, to apply the funds so acquired, not only in such manner as might be lawful, but in such manner as might appear to them to be expedient. That was what had excited the suspicions of the Roman Catholics. The Board, he repeated, had been hitherto composed chiefly of Ecclesiastics of the Established Church, to the exclusion of Roman Catholics, and that Board had more power than the Court of Chancery, for it could apply the trust property as it pleased if purposes of the testators appeared to them 1533 impractical or inexpedient. The Government had come forward to remedy that grievance. In 1829 a Committee was appointed, to consider the Irish Miscellaneous Estimates. Before that Committee Mr. O'Connell was examined, and the constitution of the Board was one of the charges made against it. In the course of Mr. O'Connell's examination, he was asked,Was there a want of confidence in the Board?He replied,There was a great want of confidence, and always would be as long as they remained in their then state.He was asked,Would he state his objections?"—"The fact is (Mr. O'Connell replied) if Roman Catholics wished to leave their money for charitable or pious purposes, they were apprehensive that their intention would not be carried into effect.Mr. O'Connell stated another objection—Their tendency to litigation.That was an objection which was common to all Boards, but certainly a much stronger one, where there was a reluctance to apply the bequests to the charity originally intended. Further on in his evidence Mr. O'Connell was asked,If this objection would apply, if the Commission were composed partly of Roman Catholics and partly of Protestants?He was invited to go further, and to state his objections to the Board, and was asked—If the Commission were composed of two or three Roman Catholics out of nine or ten?His answer was—That his objections in such case would be much weakened.There had been no other objection taken to the composition of the Board. One great objection then would be much weakened (said Mr. O'Connell), if two or three of the Commission were to be selected from the Roman Catholics. What did the Bill do? It provided that five out often of the Commissioners should be Roman Catholics. [Mr. Sheil: Five out of twelve.] He heard the right hon. Gentleman say, five out of twelve: why the Bill gave five Roman Catholics and 1534 five Protestants, and two out of the three Judges might be Roman Catholics. There was no question that the Church of Rome had secured five out of ten, the other two being competent to be of the Roman Catholic persuasion. He denied — he thought it most unwise, most false to allege—that any one placed in a judicial situation, be he Roman Catholic or Protestant, be he Episcopalian or Presbyterian, would not perform those functions belonging to his station, without reference So the sect or party of which he might be. Would it not have been taken as an insult, if it had been said of Chief Baron Wolfe, or of Sir M. O'Loughlen, that in ecclesiastical questions they would not have dealt out justice, because the parties might have been of a different religious persuasion to that of the judge? He deprecated the raising of any such questions; he deprecated still more, when Government had placed five of their own persuasion in the Commission, beginning to question whether it was five out of six, or five of twelve; he deprecated dividing the Board as to their opinions. There was no pretence for any jealousy of the kind, for, by the Bill, in the case of Roman Catholic charities, they were exclusively placed in the hands of Roman Catholics; and in the case of Protestant charities, exclusively in the hands of Protestants, They sought to reduce them in one common bond of fellowship; they sought to unite all sects and persuasions in Ireland in amity and peace; but if the charity be exclusively Roman Catholic, in order to meet objections, and to remove all charge of injustice, they had considered it right to provide that such should be administered by Roman Catholics, and by Roman Catholics only. They had been told, not by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil), but by some who had spoken before him, that comparing any new law with the law as it was, was an insult to Ireland. Did such remarks give the Government any chance of holding the balance equally between the two parties, when, in endeavouring to place all on a footing of equality, they were to be told that that relaxation was an insult? What encouragement to Government was there to proceed, when such was the way in which they were met? What encouragement had Government if, when seeking to place the Roman Catholics on equal footing with the Protestants, they were told that 1535 they placed power in the hands of Roman Catholics it was true, but it was in the hands of laymen? It was a new doctrine whether those Roman Catholics should be laymen. Let them, then, bring it forward, state it, and argue it; and see if they would decide for or against the Roman Catholic Church. The right hon. Gentleman had quoted Burke, to the effect "that the members of one religious sect should never be allowed to appoint the pastors of another." That members of one religious sect should never be allowed to appoint the pastors of another, how did that apply? The question was not left to the decision of the members of another persuasion, whose doctrines and tenets were different. The reference was plain enough, but in the present case it did not apply. Let them suppose the case of Mr. Crotty, who carried all his congregation along with him; the Commissioners have to decide it. The heresy would, indeed, be far spread, if five of the Commissioners, being Roman Catholics, should decide that the succeeding priest was, and the other was not entitled to the cure in question; in such a case the heresy must, indeed, be very wide spread. But he would grant that laymen ought not to be consulted. Who then ought to be the judge in the case of the foundation college of Dr. Edwards? [Mr. Sheil: The bishops.] That brought them to another question, should questions of that nature concerning property be exclusively referred to the jurisdiction of the Church? That was a large question, and which it behoved Roman Catholics to consider before deciding. However, suppose the case of A. B., whose rights, as regards a certain amount of stipend guaranteed by law, were involved—to what quarter should A. B. make application? To the Church of Rome. That supposed a tribunal superior to the law; but the English Constitution did not admit of any temporary tribunal holding such power. That was a large and most important question; but he would like to know what religious persuasion ever claimed that right? There were questions of salary and appointments, which were matters connected with property, and they were not within the cognizance of ecclesiastical tribunals. All the Bill went to effect was in the case of a bequest being left, to recover it and apply it, be the testator Protestant or Roman Catholic, according to his directions. 1536 If, for instance, there was a bequest of 100l. a year for the establishment of a professorship at Maynooth, all the Board would have to do would be to receive it, and pay it over to the authorities for the time being. If another claimed the professorship, and he shall be legally entitled to it, and his claim be recognised by law, it would be settled by law, and could not be considered a question at all relating to, or affected by, religious discipline. The ultimate resort, if secured by law, must be to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, or to the House of Lords. But (said the right hon. Gentleman) if the Roman Catholic Church did not permit of the decisions of laymen in matters ecclesiastical, surely, such being the case, Roman Catholic ecclesiastics ought to be on the Board. There was nothing in the Bill saying that Roman Catholic Ecclesiastics should not compose part of the Board. Nor was there anything to declare, that all legal questions should be decided by Ecclesiastics. For his part, he should consider it most unwise to give any such power as that asked for by the right hon. Gentleman to any Church, Roman Catholic or Protestant. There was nothing in the intentions, feelings, or wishes of Government, that could prevent them from hearing observations during the passing through Committee of that Bill, either in respect to the provisions for the Board or other parts. In confining the administration of religious charities exclusively to Roman Catholics, when the bequests were left for the purposes of the Roman Catholic religion, and exclusively to Protestants, when left for the propagation and advancement of the Protestant religion, he believed that they could act for the benefit of the two parties. They sought, when religious differences did not interfere, to do away with the jealousies of each, by conferring the administration of religious bequests exclusively on persons of the same denomination. In others they thought it unwise to proceed, excepting in so far as the Board was directed by legal authority, which had been provided for in the least possible objectionable manner. They would be ready in Committee to consider the details of the measure. They had considered the objection urged by Mr. O'Connell, the lay leader of the Roman Catholics, to the Board as at present constituted—they had conceded the objections of Dr. Murray—they had, in fact, framed the 1537 measure with a view to obviate excitement; and he deeply regretted that it should, on the second reading, or in the discussion of its details, be met with objections which were the farthest possibly removed from the intention of Government.
§ Mr. Wyse
could assure the noble Lord who had just sat down, and the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), that any remarks which he made should be characterised by the same moderation of tone as had marked their remarks. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) in introducing that Bill, had professed to be guided by a desire to mete out equal justice to Roman Catholics as well as Protestants. It was most important for the encouragement of bequests and endowments that they should be untainted even with the suspicion of their not being fairly adapted to the uses and intents of the testators. The old Board was founded at a time when prejudice was most abroad, and with a view, in a great measure, to carry out in its own way the general policy of the Government, viz., the gradual undermining of the Catholic faith, by taking away from them not only those endowments which they had inherited from their ancestors, but preventing also the possibility of any future endowment that might be made for posterity. The question before the House was simply this—whether the measure under consideration provided the remedy which was desired. He admitted to the same extent as the noble Lord, that the question of endowment was a question of temporalities and of property; but it frequently became a question of a spiritual and religious nature also. No man could be more anxious than he was to prevent ecclesiastical power and despotism in any shape from interfering with the property of a nation, but it was for the security of the State and of the Church, that the State should not go beyond its legitimate sphere. Many of the donations and bequests which were made from time to time were not Catholic or Protestant, were not necessarily connected with religion, for they might be left to schools, colleges, and for other secular purposes, and such bequests legitimately came under a mixed Commission; but those that did not come under that denomination ought not to be conducted by a mixed Commission, but by those who ought to be recognised as the spiritual and religious teachers of the 1538 people. The Catholics of Ireland had no objection to a mixed Commission for general charities. In his own town 20,000l. or 30,000l. were left by a Catholic to the poor generally of Waterford. Did the people of Waterford attempt to carry this solely to the account of the Catholic population? By no means. He assisted at many of the general meetings before the matter was referred to the general Board in Dublin, and the anxiety was, that all classes should share in the philanthropy of the donor. There was no objection on the part of the people of Ireland to a Board for the administration of general charities, but there would be such an objection if those charities became of a religious nature. Now the question before the House was, whether the arrangements in the Bill then under discussion were of such a nature as to remove the evils complained of. The noble Lord had stated that there were five Catholics and five Protestants on the present Commission. He (Mr. Wyse) did not wish them all to be laymen; he would have one ecclesiastic at least among them. Would it not be better that some of the Bishops should be on the Board, to give their opinion in limine, than that there should be any chance of litigation? The noble Lord said on a former occasion, that the Bishops had been consulted. The noble Lord might refer to the opinions of past days, but they ought not to legislate by the past, but by present opinions. He would not further trespass on the House but by saying, that his principal objection to the Bill was, that its object being (as the noble Lord had said) to consult the wishes of the people of Ireland generally, the Government did not take the precaution of ascertaining the opinions and feelings of that portion of the people of Ireland who, in such a case, ought to carry much weight—he meant the priests and Prelates of the people of Ireland—that the noble Lord and his Colleagues did not conciliate them—that they had not shown due regard for their position and character—that they had not placed beyond a question and doubt the chance of difference of opinion between laymen and ecclesiastics, which might have been avoided by placing ecclesiastics on the Commission. A measure such as that before the House ought to be perfect, instead of compelling them hereafter to make amendments; and it was of the greatest importance, that it 1539 should meet with the universal approbation of the people.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that he thought the tribunal proposed by the Bill was a very fair one, and that no objection could be made to it. He thought the Bill had been brought forward in the spirit of peace, and therefore he should support it. In the present state of feeling in Ireland he gave the Government the greatest credit for coming forward and doing what they had done. He hoped this was only a prelude to all the other changes which the people of Ireland wanted. He hoped, however, the same Government would look to the charities of England; 250,000l. had been expended to inquire into the charities of England, and at this moment there was no tribunal to see to their proper administration, and there was no evil of a greater and more crying nature in the kingdom. He advocated justice to Ireland, but he hoped in this case they would also do justice to England.
§ Colonel Rawdon
wished to know, as the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies had used the terms "exclusively Catholic" and "exclusively Protestant" with regard to the Commission, whether the Presbyterian interest was also to be regarded? He thought the measure had been brought forward in a good spirit. He would, however, suggest to the Government, that if this Bill was likely to be opposed by the Roman Catholics (some of whom had spoken against it that night), they might constitute two Boards, one for Roman Catholic, and the other for Protestant purposes. The present measure had, however, been brought forward in a good and kind spirit, and he should, therefore, give it his support.
§ Mr. R. Dillon Browne
thought that this measure ought not to be passed at this very late period of the Session. An opportunity should be given to the Catholic hierarchy to discuss it. Is was a measure which would not be satisfactory to the people of Ireland; it would not be received as a boon, as they had been told by the right hon. Gentleman on the other side of the House. Were not the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy the best judges whether it was a boon or not? The newspaper press in Ireland found fault with the measure, as did the Roman Catholic Bishops and Clergy. The hon. Gentleman then read extracts from the Patriot and Freeman's Journal, and also from a letter 1540 from the Rev. Dr. M'Hale, the Archbishop of Tuam, condemning the Bill. Out of 30,000l. given for charitable purposes in Ireland, 24,000l. had been bequeathed for Catholic purpeses; and he thought as so much dissatisfaction existed in Ireland amongst the Catholics with reference to the Bill, it ought at least to be postponed until next Session.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 71; Noes 5: Majority 66.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, T. D.||Hutt, W.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Ainsworth, P.||Jones, Capt.|
|Aldam, W.||Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir F.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Lyall, G.|
|Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Martin, J.|
|Baskerville, T. B. M.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Borthwick, P.||Northland, Visct.|
|Botfield, B.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Packe, C. W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Peel, J.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Pennent, hon. Col.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Polhill, F.|
|Cripps, W.||Pusey, P.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Duncan, G.||Richards, R.|
|Eliot, Lord||Ross, D. R.|
|Elphinstone, H.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Entwistle, W.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Escott, B.||Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.|
|Forman, T. S.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Forster, M.||Stanley, Lord|
|Fox, S. L.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Thornely, T.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Ooulburn, rt. hn. H.||Trotter, J.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Greene, T.||Wood, Col.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Hope, hon. C.||TELLERS.|
|Hume, J.||Young, J.|
|Hussey, T.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Blake, M.||O'Conor Don|
|Browne, hon. W.||TELLERS.|
|Collett, J.||Browne, D.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Somers, J. P.|
§ Bill read a second time.
§ On the Motion that the Bill be committed,
Mr. M. J. O'Connell
said, that after all the suggestions that were offered, and the complaints that were made, with reference to the Bill before the House, he was surprised 1541 that so little in the way of concession had fallen from the Members of the Government. It was but poor consolation to the Catholics, when they found that their Prelates had been treated with so little respect, to tell them that others had been treated in the same way. When they got into Committee, perhaps the right hon. Baronet would give some reasons why he did not consult the Catholic Bishops with respect to the provisions of this Bill. With reference to the title of Catholic Bishop being so studiously omitted from this Bill, he must say that they were resorting to the most contemptible legislation; and it had been said, that this had been done with the view of conciliating one of the most paltry bigots that ever disgraced any country. He would take that opportunity of giving notice, that in Committee he should propose an Amendment to provide for the full recognition of the Catholic Bishops, by proposing that there should be substituted for the words priests, and persons, and high rank and order in the Catholic Church, the words priests, and Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic Church in Ireland. He conceived that the proper mode of appointing the administrators of the trusts would be to let each body appoint their own trustees, not being removable by the Government; this would induce the people to place much greater confidence in the administration of trusts. There had been no time for the consideration of this Bill in Ireland, as it was only sent down to that House on Tuesday last, and was only printed in such time as to enable it to reach Ireland yesterday, and of course they had hitherto had no opportunity of manifesting any expression of opinion with regard to it.
§ Bill to be committed.
§ House adjourned at twenty minutes past ten.