§ Mr. George A. Hamilton
did not hesitate to confess that it was with some reluctance, but under a most imperative sense of duty, that he felt himself compelled to vote against the measure before the House. He could easily understand the motive by which Government was actuated in proposing that measure—the desire, namely, of conciliating the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, of showing good will and good feeling towards them, by making what they might consider a liberal and suitable provision for the education of their clergy. He (Mr. Hamilton) was perfectly ready to admit that it was most desirable that the respect and attachment of the population of Ireland towards the British Legislature and the British Government should, if possible, be secured by wise and just measures. There was no Member in the House more anxious than himself that all irritating topics, and all causes of dissension in Ireland, should be consigned to oblivion, and that each party in that country should hold out the right hand of fellowship to the other. He felt the peculiar importance of this at the present juncture of affairs in that country. To promote or effect this, there were no lengths he would not go, consistently with higher obligations; and he did not hesitate to say, that if he believed the measure now proposed would have the effect which Her Majesty's Government contem- 763 plated—and if he could reconcile it to his conscience to support it, no considerations of consistency—no considerations connected with his own peculiar position, should induce him to oppose it. It was, therefore, the more incumbent on him to state, unreservedly, the reasons which, after anxious consideration, had compelled him to oppose the measure; and especially, because some of them were reasons which some hon. Members—the Member for Bath and others—misunderstood and had derided, and which the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade had, to a certain extent, attempted to contravene in his speech. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bath had declared—and not now for the first time—that the State had nothing to do with religion; and, strange to say, the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade had used arguments, which, in his opinion, went nearly to the same length—for the right hon. Gentleman, although he had stated that a complete unity and coincidence in religious opinion between a State and all its subjects would be the consummation of political happiness, yet he seemed to be of opinion that where this happy state of things does not exist, all religions, without reference to truth or error, had equal claims upon the consideration of the State. Now, he was not ashamed or afraid to state, without involving himself in any question of political ethics or metaphysics, that he had always felt—and nothing he had heard in the course of the debate had convinced him he was mistaken—that considerations of religion, and of truth in religion, just as much as truth in reference to principles of morality, or trade, or commerce, or international law, were the subject matter, and within the scope and responsibilities of Government; and that it was the duty of every Slate—a duty that was owing to the Ruler of all Stales—to affirm that principle, by recognising and acknowledging some intelligible system or principles of religious truth. And if religion be something real, and practical, and important, and definite—he meant, if what is called religion involves necessarily certain great and essential doctrines, and if its essence consisted in the truth of those great doctrines—he could not but feel that although it was manifestly the duly of the State to tolerate and protect every subject in the free exercise of his own conscientious be- 764 lief, whatever it might be, and however contrary to the religion of the State, it was most inconsistent, and a great dereliction of the homage that was due to truth in religion, for the State to countenance and support any two systems of religion diametrically opposed to each other; and still more so, to pay for the promulgation of doctrines held by the State to be erroneous. It could not be dented that the Protestant religion is the religion of the State, and as such is the religion which by the State is held to be true—that the British Constitution and British Empire is a Constitution and Empire protesting against the errors of the Church of Rome; and he, holding the opinions and principles he had stated, did not see how it was possible to contravene those principles, and make it consistent to endow the Roman Catholic religion, or any other religion essentially differing from the Church of England, or an institution for its clergy, without going the length of affirming the opposite principle, namely, that a State has nothing to do with religion or religious truth or error. And, if that principle were sound and true, why it would fallow that the British Constitution ought to be unprotestantised; the Coronation Oath was an invasion of the liberty of conscience, the Act of Settlement at variance with sound policy and justice and toleration, and Her Majesty ought to be free to become a Roman Catholic to-morrow. He could not recognise the distinction which the right hon. Gentleman had drawn between the duty which appertained to any Member of that House in his individual, and in his collective capacity. He thought the same duly precisely, which, as he believed, appertained to the State, devolved upon those individually who held the same essential religious opinions which were recognised by the State as true. Those who professed the Roman Catholic religion would naturally, and most properly, seek to have it recognised and endowed. There was no inconsistency on their part; but, believing, as he did, that the Protestant religion is conformable to God's revealed will, and the Roman Catholic religion opposed to it, he could not reconcile it to his conscience—he should feel he was guilty of a great sin, and acting most inconsistently with his own principles, if he gave his vote for a measure expressly designed to encourage the promulgation of 765 what, in common with the State, he considered error on the most important of all subjects. The hon. and learned Gentle man the Member for Bath had argued as if there was some great degree of arrogance and pharisaical assumption on the part of those who, holding their own opinions in religion to be true, act in their public capacity upon the belief of their being so. He could not at all see that this was the case. He did not see how opinions on religion differed from any other opinions in this respect. The hon. and learned Member held, and no doubt most conscientiously, strong political opinions; he never hesitated to avow them, and was not over sparing of those who presumed to differ from him. He was a great admirer of truth, both in politics and religion; and he thought that the great cause of truth in either one or the other would be advanced by every conscientious man maintaining and upholding what he believed to be the truth, and not by that false liberalism which, by confounding what was thought true and erroneous, placed truth and error on the same footing. It was obvious, he thought, that the observations he had made, and the principles he had laid down, applied only to the encouragement of religions by the State which differed from each other in essential truths. It was not, therefore, necessary for him to show that it was not inconsistent to vote for the Regium Donum to Presbyterians, or for the Established Church of Scotland. Neither should he enter upon the case of the Colonies, which he thought formed an exception, though, he must add, he felt it to be the duty of the State to form branches of the Established Church in every one of the British Colonies. There were many other considerations which impelled him to oppose the measure, most of which had been adverted to in the course of the debate. He had stated that the endowment of Maynooth was, in his opinion, virtually an abnegation of the Protestantism of the Empire. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had admitted that it involved the principle of the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy. In that he fully agreed with him. It was quite necessary that Parliament and the country should have an explicit avowal of the intentions of Government in that respect. The House ought also to consider the effect which such a mea- 766 sure as this must have upon public opinion in Ireland on religious subjects; there was at present, it should be recollected, a great struggle going on in Ireland between two great antagonist principles, asserted and maintained by two adverse churches. The measure proposed would necessarily have the effect of throwing the whole weight of the Government and the Legislature into the Roman Catholic scale. This was a matter of serious consideration—it was a serious thing to consider that, while means are denied for the education of the children of the Established Church, in the principles of that Church—while disfavour is shown to the Protestants—the only clergy for whose education, as clergymen, the State undertakes to provide, should be the clergy of the Roman Catholic religion: and that at the very time when nearly all those clergy have declared themselves the enemies of the British connexion, and when many of those clergy are endeavouring, as at Dingle and Ventry, to resist the free progress of religious opinion by means of the most unjustifiable and unwarrantable nature. There was another objection which he had to make to the measure, and that was the total ignorance under which Parliament was called upon to legislate upon this important subject, and the want of all kind of control on the part of the State in respect to the system of education taught, or the principles inculcated in the College which they were about to endow. He approached this part of the subject with great hesitation and dislike; he trusted he would so express himself as to avoid giving offence to any Roman Catholic in the House. Certainly he had no intention of offending; nothing was more unpleasant than to impute error to others, who must be supposed to be as conscientious and to exercise their judgment as honestly as oneself; and he (Mr. Hamilton) was certainly free from that most depraved of all tastes—the taste which finds a pleasure in criminating the opinion of others. But it was his duty on such an occasion to speak out. He thought it was right that Parliament and the country should know what the system of education really was which was now to be sanctioned and endowed by the State. He was perfectly ready to admit that if Parliament should determine to endow a college for educating the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, it was 767 not to be expected that the State should be allowed to interfere with the doctrines of the Unman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholics would require, and rightly require, that these doctrines should be kept intact; but still it would be right for the State to know what those doctrines really were, and certainly, it would be right for the State to know and to ascertain what political ethics or doctrines of a political or social, or anti-social, character are taught there. His hon. Friend the Member for the city of Dublin had stated distinctly, and had adduced strong proofs, that certain very obnoxious doctrines and principles, both social and political, were taught at Maynooth—doctrines, in fact, which inculcated intolerance and disloyally. A noble Lord opposite, the Member for Arundel, had accused his hon. Friend of imputing to Roman Catholics obsolete and exploded doctrines; but what was the statement of his hon. Friend? Why, that the very doctrines and principles which the noble Lord considered obsolete and exploded, are at this moment inculcated at Maynooth, and are contained and taught in the recognised class books which are in use among the students. The question is one of fact, and admits of an easy proof or disproof. He was aware that a statement had been made to the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, that the ultra-Montane doctrines and principles are the doctrines and principles of Maynooth—that they involve principles of a most anti-social and anti-constitutional character—principles, in fact, so atrocious, that he (Mr. Hamilton) hesitated to repeat them; that the books which inculcate those doctrines, are the books in use among the students; and that, as a consequence, a system of ecclesiastical law prevails in Ireland at variance with and dangerous to the law and constitution of the realm. He was also aware that an offer was made to the right hon. Baronet to prove this charge before any tribunal which he might appoint. The right hon. Baronet had declined entering upon the question, considering, no doubt, that to entertain it would be inconsistent with the spirit in which he desired the boon to be conferred by Government and the Legislature. But was it right that Parliament and the country should be kept in the dark on such a subject as this? Was it, or could it be, the duty of a British 768 Minister, when charges such as these were urged against an institution which it was proposed that the State should endow, and with regard to which no control was henceforth to be exercised by the State—was it right, for the sake of conciliation, that no inquiry should be made as to the truth or falsehood of these charges? He had that day presented a petition from Harold's-cross upon the subject, couched certainly in strong language—setting forth the petitioners' objections to the endowment of Maynooth, and the grounds of their objection. The objections were not to the religious doctrines taught at Maynooth, but to the political and anti-social principles there inculcated. The petitioners set forth their proofs, and they demand inquiry. He (Mr. Hamilton) could only say, that if the charges in that petition were true, and proved to be true, he did not believe there would be found a single Member in that House, Roman Catholic or Protestant, who would be bold enough to get up in his place and defend a Bill intended to perpetuate, without control, an institution in which such principles were inculcated; and he did not believe that a Minister would be found who would venture to aver that it was consistent with his duly to his Queen or his country to propose it. But if no inquiry should be made by Parliament or Government on the subject, while he adduced that want of inquiry as a strong argument against the passing of the Bill, he saw hon. Gentlemen opposite, friends of his own, Gentlemen of the Roman Catholic religion, and who, he felt sure, would disclaim and repudiate such doctrines and principles as strongly as he would himself—even at the risk of weakening his own argument he would appeal to them, and would put it to them, whether they at least ought not to take the matter up, and ascertain whether these charges were true or false. If they were true, he would not say what considerations they ought to suggest; but he would, at least, call upon them to repudiate those objectionable class-books, and remove from their College the imputation of inculcating principles which they and yourselves abjure. He should, on all these grounds, feel it his duty to offer his most strenuous opposition to the Bill in all its stages.
§ Mr. E. Ellice (Coventry)
said, that it was not his intention (contrary to his ge- 769 neral usage), to give a silent vote on the present occasion. So much excitement had been got up, and he had received so many petitions from respectable bodies of his constituents against the opinion which he entertained on this subject, that he felt himself compelled, with much reluctance, to state very shortly the reasons which would induce him, without the least hesitation, to give his cordial support to the second reading of this Bill. He might probably thereafter vote with his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield on the Motion of which he had given notice, with respect to the quarter from which all funds should be taken for the advancement of religion and religious education in Ireland; but he (Mr. Ellice) was prepared now to state, that if he should fail with his hon. Friend in carrying that proposition into effect, still he would give his support to the present measure, believing it to be an act of tardy justice, and a partial restitution to the Irish people. He would not follow the hon. Member who had just sat down in his religious objections to the present Motion. He did not think, that after so many nights' debate, and with the prospect of so many more, he had any right to waste the time of the House in discussing that subject; and he said that without the least disrespect to the hon. Member, or the manner in which he had stated his objections. But he found himself called upon to give an opinion on a measure intended for the benefit and advantage of Ireland. If he were to follow the hon. Member for Dublin University through his religious opinions, he being himself, he hoped, as good a Protestant as that hon. Member, he should be obliged to shape the whole of his policy in accordance with the opinions of one-fifth, and hostile to the opinions of four-fifths of the people of Ireland. He could not conceive that, under present circumstances, any party could be found to persevere in a system such as had hitherto disgraced the conduct of England towards Ireland. If he was inclined to follow the hon. Member in his arguments, he should find them so inconsistent as to leave him no point to stop at. The hon. Momber said he could not grant the money on the score of conscience, because he differed in religion from the intended recipients; but at the same time he was ready to vote the Regium Donum, and money for the support of the 770 Established Church of Scotland. Why, as the right hon. Member for Edinburgh had stated, in his most luminous speech, the doctrines of a part of the Church of Scotland, and of some of those who received the Royal Gift in the north of Ireland, were more opposed to the Church of England than the tenets of the Church of Rome. ["No!" "Oh, oh!"] What! did they differ less from the Socinians of the north of Ireland than from the Roman Catholics? He did not want to pursue this subject; it was a painful and an odious one. He respected every man's religious opinions; and his principle was, that all the Queen's subjects had a right to equal privileges, no matter what might be their religious opinions. What, he would ask, was the danger to be apprehended from this small measure either to the Protestant Church, or to Protestant interests? The hon. Member for Dublin University had called upon them to consider for whom they were going to grant this money—the Catholic priesthood of Ireland—that priesthood being directly opposed to the best interests of the State. He (Mr. Ellice) denied that; he believed that there never was a time when the poor Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland were more distinguished for good conduct, and for attention to the duties of their calling, than at present. If he were told they took part in political agitation, he admitted the fact; and he asked whose fault was it? These men depended for support on their flocks; they sympathized with them in their complaints against English mismanagement of their country. Was it to be wondered at, that the poor prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, when he saw the Protestant bishop in luxury, should be dissatisfied? Was it to be wondered at, that such men felt no great love for the institutions of the Established Church? The Roman Catholic parish priest, overworked and underpaid, saw the sinecurist rector of the same district revelling in the enjoyment of abundance and luxury—derived from endowments of which his own Church had been robbed. Could the Catholic priest, under those circumstances, look with an eye of love upon the Church Establishment? He did not wish to rake up the past; but he was giving reasons why the Catholic priesthood of Ireland were not bound to the State by those ties which well-used and well-governed subjects of the Crown would readily acknowledge. 771 It was with him, therefore, a question of paramount importance to remedy that state of things in Ireland. The only difficulty which he (Mr. E. Ellice) had on the subject was to vote pounds out of the public taxes for any sectarian purposes whatever. He had been no party to the profuse votes of former occasions in that House, and he was adverse to them upon principle; but this was so grave a subject, presented under such an exceptional aspect, that he would hesitate before he refused to entertain it. If the funds for the purpose in question could be procured from the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland, it would be the best thing for all parties. There were large funds available in that Establishment; and, notwithstanding the complaints and representations that had been made to the contrary, the Protestant clergy of that Establishment were amply provided for. The members of the Established Church of Ireland were the proprietors of the whole country; the Catholics were the destitute and needy portion of the population. The great endowments of the Irish Church had belonged to the Catholics of former days; and the re-appropriation of them might be looked forward to when the measures of the right hon. Gentleman were ripe for the purpose. The State had taken the funds of their Church from those poor people; and until it restored them—and he had heard the word "restitution," in the course of that debate, with great satisfaction—seeing their inability to raise funds for the education of their clergy, it would be as unwise as it was unworthy of that House to reject, in a parsimonious spirit, the grant for that purpose now proposed to be made from the public purse. In the north of Ireland the condition of the Catholic population was still more anomalous than in the other parts of that country. There the Protestant was in the enjoyment of the Church Establishment, and the Presbyterian of his Regium Donum, being one the landlord, and the other the tenant of the soil; while the poor Catholic cotter had no earthly assistance to aid his destitution, physical and spiritual, and no means of providing for it except by his own miserable exertions. Having brought forward the measure, it would now be neither wise nor prudent to abandon it, and by that means create disappointment in the breasts of the Catholics of Ireland. He did 772 not know what were those further measures which Her Majesty's Government had in contemplation; but looking at the Bequests Act of last year—looking at the Landlord and Tenant Commission issued by them—and looking at the Bill then before the House, he could come to no other conclusion than that the Parliament and the country had embarked on a new course under their guidance — a course which he heartily approved of as regarded Ireland. It was with great satisfaction that he found the right hon. Member for Newark on his side of the present question. The maintenance of unity in government and in religion, might do very well for theoretical philosophers; but it was impracticable in this country. With seven millions of Catholics in Ireland, how could there be unity of religion and government? He (Mr. Ellice) had said on a former occasion that Mahomet was a merciful conqueror compared with the conduct of England towards Ireland, because he only exterminated one generation of those opposed to his creed, while England persecuted Ireland for ages. It would require some such practical philosopher as Mahomet to create unity of government and unity of religion in this country. The system that had hitherto been acted on towards Ireland could not now be persevered in under risk of the penalty of a civil war: good feeling, and expediency, therefore, concurred to justify the Motion. The proposition under discussion was a very different one from what that House had been accustomed to hear made by Tory Governments. The passing of the Reform Bill had, however, obliterated all those obnoxious principles. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of affairs, he (Mr. Ellice) had no doubt, felt that it would be utterly impossible to act on the principles which guided former Governments, and moved previous Parliaments. Before the Reform Bill, Parliament granted, without scurple, 700,000l. for Protestant Charter Schools, 100,000l. for building Churches, and finally 1,000,000l. in aid of the clergy, and in lieu of tithes. Why should the paltry sum now proposed be refused to the Roman Catholics? There was, no doubt, a great deal of feeling out of doors on the subject, but it was necessary to distinguish the motives of parties to that opposition. Some certainly opposed the grant on sincerely religious grounds, while others opposed it on the ground that 773 public money should not be granted for sectarian purposes. The principle of the latter opposition was a correct one as a general rule; but, after the enormous grants that had been made to Protestants, he conceived that the case of the Catholics formed a fair exception to that rule. Besides, now that it had been proposed, to recede from it would be at once so pregnant with danger, so unjust, and so illiberal, that it would be hard to say what might result from the adoption of such a course. It would certainly supply one of the strongest arguments that could be put forward in favour of repeal. Repeal was merely a hobgoblin, if Parliament dealt fairly and liberally with the Catholics of Ireland; but if the opposite course was taken, and Parliament dealt with them in a contrary spirit, then it was dangerous indeed. He (Mr. Ellice), therefore, counselled the right hon. Gentleman to persevere in the course he had taken—to carry forward without fear the measure before the House, and he felt satisfied that, by calm reasoning, by preparing the public mind, by avoiding all topics of irritation connected with the subject, he would ultimately succeed in reconciling the Protestant population of England to equality of justice on the part of the Catholic people of Ireland. He never voted for any measure on which he felt a more thorough conviction that he was doing justice to the country and to his constituents, and he should therefore give it his most cordial support.
§ Mr. Goring
deeply regretted that Her Majesty's Ministers had thought it their duty to introduce such a measure; the consequence of their doing so was that he was now unable to place that confidence in them which had hitherto been his pleasure. Whether there had been any compact with Parliament that Maynooth should be supported, he did not know; but he had always understood and believed that there was a compact between Her Majesty's Ministers and the Protestant Church in this country. When they found it was expedient that any other of our old and hallowed institutions should be destroyed, he had no doubt they would be ready to make the sacrifice. After their conduct, in regard to this measure, he could put no trust in them that they would support or maintain the Corn Laws. When they found it expedient, they would sacrifice the agricultural interest, as they 774 were now sacrificing the Protestant Church. He could not give his vote for the endowment of a college for the instruction of those who were being educated for the purpose of teaching error. He considered the Bill as a serious blow to the Protestant Church in this country. It was with regret and alarm that the agricultural interest had viewed the introduction of the measure; it had disgusted every Protestant who paid the Income Tax, to see the money so applied, and he considered it a measure of insult to the Protestants of Ireland; he would, therefore, take every opportunity of opposing it which was afforded him.
§ Lord Ashley
said: Sir, the position of those who vote for this Bill is far more favourable than the position of those who undertake to oppose it. They speak both on behalf of themselves and of many now present, whose principles and feelings are deeply interested in the question. We, on the contrary, have to urge what may be considered speculative opinions against what they maintain to be actual realities, and we have, moreover, to speak against the feelings and affections of many Gentlemen who are now listening; differing from us in religious opinions, with many of whom we are living on terms of friendship and intimacy, and for whom we entertain the sincerest respect. I, for one, feel a repugnance I can scarcely describe in resisting this Motion, to incur the appearance of casting reflections on the principles and practices of those Gentlemen who conscientiously believe the religion they profess. But, Sir, the question has been propounded by Her Majesty's Government, and we must address ourselves to it, as well and with as much forbearance as we can. I most unwillingly trespass on the attention of the House on this occasion; indeed, I have so often to address it in connexion with measures of my own, that in general I abstain from joining these discussions, and I would have done so in the present instance had I found it possible to withhold altogether my opinion on a subject that must excite such painful anxiety. This question, Sir, ought to receive from us the fullest and most minute investigation. It exceeds in importance any measure ever offered to this House, for good or for evil. I have never known any measure more important, for good or for evil, in Ireland. It very much exceeds in importance the Roman 775 Catholic Relief Bill; and it exceeds it on this ground—when we removed the disabilities that pressed on the Roman Catholics, we removed restraints, and gave free scope and opportunity to free action on their part; but in the present case we not only remove disabilities and restraints—we ourselves join that free action, and give all our energy and all our support to the principles of the Roman Catholic religon. If the plan works well, it will produce the regeneration of Ireland; if it works well, it will conciliate the affections of the people of Ireland, and mightily advance the prosperity of England. But, on the other hand, if it works ill, I believe it will lead to the utter destruction of the Protestant Establishment, and give rise to perils and feelings ten times more hazardous than the agitation that threatens us at the present moment. In discussing this question, I think we are at liberty to take it not only as propounded—not only as it stands in this Bill, but to consider also the consequences that will result from it—not the forced or unnatural consequences, but those which may be considered as just and legitimate. I will not enter on that part of the arguments which have been adduced touching on theological questions, and which leads us to examine how far it is admissible, or not, to propose to foster a religion from which we conscientiously dissent; that point may be handled by others; it is not at all necessary for the line of argument I wish to pursue. The first and main objection I take to the measure before the House is, that it proceeds to the endowment of this Roman Catholic College by Act of Parliament. This objection is one which, I find, has been taken very deeply and extensively by all the memorialists and petitioners to this House against the measure; it is, also, the one objection which is uniform and common to all of them, however they may differ on other points. This objection is urged by the advocates of the voluntary principle, by the petitioners belonging to the Church of England, and by those who take the high theological argument I have alluded to. I know that by the original constitution of this College it was based on an Act of Parliament; but there is a great difference between the Act of Parliament proposed at that time and the measure now before the House. The Act of Parliament of that day was one for the repeal of a penal law—a most just and necessary re- 776 peal. At that time it was illegal for the Catholics to found a college for the purposes of education in the Roman Catholic religion, and it was necessary to remove that disability. The College was founded, and a small sum of money granted towards establishing that seminary; but observe, the present Act not only founds the College, but gives it trustees in perpetual succession; and what is of still more importance, endows it in perpetuity with the large sum of 26,000l. a-year. I cannot understand how it can be said that the difference between this Act and the Act by which the College was first founded, is not sufficient to justify the opposition made to the measure. It seems to involve the whole distinction; the present Bill, by giving such an endowment, takes the whole expense of educating the Roman Catholic priesthood on the State; and whereas, by the other Act, only a small sum of money was given in aid of contributions for this purpose, this measure establishes a complete distinction, and makes the State the sole party to the education of those persons, and places the College, as one of the institutions of the realm, on the same footing—except that it is treated with much greater favour—as the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin. Now, I believe that the endowment of this College in perpetuity, and the removal of the grant from the annual Estimates, has more displeased and more alarmed the people of this country than if the grant itself had been increased threefold. They say that this measure is an immediate, direct, and perpetual recognition of the Roman Catholic Church, as one of the standing institutions of the Empire. [Mr. Sheil: Hear.] No doubt the tight hon. Gentleman is quite right according to his views; but I am urging this as one of the objections to this measure. It amounts very nearly to a declaration on the part of the State, that as far as the power of enactments and statutes extends, the Roman Catholic religion shall never cease to be the religion of Ireland. I say so, because this grant establishes that if at any time there shall be an apathy on the part of the Roman Catholics of Ireland as regards the support of their religion—if they should have a disinclination to expend money on their Church, the State will step forward and supply those funds which the Roman Catholics themselves will not provide. I think that I can see this result 777 from what occurred at a meeting of the Roman Catholic Institute the other day. The Secretary of the Roman Catholic Institute read, at that meeting, a statement to the effect that the condition of the Roman Catholic children in England was so deplorable as regards education, owing to the want of due provision for them, that they were falling off in great numbers, in proportion to the various Protestant sects. Now, if the House of Commons were to step in and provide the means of educacation for those children, it appears to me that such a course would be nearly what we are called upon to do now. There is no willingness on the part of the Roman Catholics of Ireland to subscribe towards Maynooth, but you are stepping in with this sum of money. This is going beyond toleration—it is going to the extent of absolute establishment; and you are calling on us to affirm that to which I am sure no sincere Roman Catholic would ever consent. But, Sir, connected with this there is another very important consideration—one which is so universally believed to be a necessary part of this proposition, not announced, but surely to follow, that I must consider it as one of the immediate and necessary consequences of this measure. I do not see how it will be possible for us to refuse our assent to the necessary consequence of such a plan as the endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood. I infer that such must be the result from the argument of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government when he introduced this Bill. The whole of his argument went to that consummation, and so it struck the intelligence of my noble Friend the Member for London; the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon also drew the same conclusion from the argument of the right hon. Baronet. The noble Lord said that the argument of the right hon. Baronet led him to conclusions which he was not then prepared to avow, although they were conclusions to which every one who had heard that argument must be driven. I must express my conviction, Sir, that those who have made up their minds to vote for this Bill will find, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newark said, that whenever the other subject comes to be discussed to which I referred, they will be unable to oppose the Motion on religious grounds. But, speak- 778 ing for myself, I say at once, that if I could make up my mind to vote for this Bill, I should also think myself almost bound in honour to vote for the proposition which may succeed it. It may be said by the right hon. Gentleman and others, that they do intend to go on and endow the Roman Catholic priesthood. If so, then they surely ought to pause before preparing themselves to encounter a degree of agitation much greater than that which has been shown against this Bill. If, on the other hand, the right hon. Baronet tells us that he is not prepared to propose the endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood, then I ask, what on earth becomes of his scheme and of his policy? Unless the right hon. Baronet is prepared to go to that full extent, he will not be carrying to completion the policy intended to be adopted by this Bill. The avowed reason for the measure is, that you wish to elevate the condition of the priesthood in Ireland, and, thereby, the condition of the people; but if yon raise the priesthood to a higher level, both your policy and the claims of justice require that you should keep them there. You would not then be in a condition to say to the priests, "Now, go and get your livelihood as you can; go from house to house; take from every one, as before, the smallest pittance." You would not then be in a situation to tell the Roman Catholic priest to continue to do that which is admitted by all parties to have aided so much to degrade the body of the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood and people. Because, how could the priest be independent of the people, if the existing system were continued? If you wish to break down that principle and cause of agitation—if you wish to make them guide, not follow their flocks, you must first make them independent. If then, Sir, this he admitted, what is the next step? What is to become of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland? I know very well that the Minister will say that he will use all the power he possesses to defend the Church; but the principle he lays down is a progressive one, and beyond his control. The fact is, that he will have given life and vigour to a principle which will destroy the whole Establishment in Ireland. If the priesthood are to be endowed, you must do it by Statute; for, as the right hon. Gentleman the 779 Member for Dungarvon said the other will quote the opinion on that head of the night, you must make the priesthood as independent of the State as of the people. Endowed by Statute, what is the consequence? Why, that you expose us to the enormous, the almost ludicrous, contradiction of two coexistent established Churches in the same country. You will have the Roman Catholic Church established by Statute, the Protestant Establishment existing by prescription and also by Statute. You will have the spectacle of 7,000,000 of people receiving an annuity of 500,000l. a year from the State, and in the other of 1,000,000 of people receiving perhaps double that amount. Whence will the funds be derived? You cannot suppose that after this country and this House shall be brought to establish the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, they would consent to pay an annuity of half a million of money, for the purpose of securing the Protestant Church against the assaults of a creed which they will have ceased to fear. The result of such a state of things is quite clear. For the instant you can bring yourselves to regard the Roman Catholic religion as neither spiritually nor politically dangerous, the result seems almost a matter of necessity. The reconstruction of their Church then becomes almost inevitable; and even before that what will you have done? You will have taken from the Church of Ireland its whole missionary character—you will have given to the Roman Catholic Church form and pressure, limits and possession. How, then, in such a state of things, can the Protestant Minister interfere with the cures and charges of the recognised Roman Catholic minister? It would be impossible. You will altogether have rendered nugatory the expansive force of Protestantism. Which then will you favour? Which is the religion which you will call the Established religion, and which is to enjoy the peculiar protection of this country? You will then have two Established Churches in Ireland, very disproportionate in numbers; animated, I fear, by perpetual rivalry, and breaking out into hostility, the issue of which can scarcely be held to be doubtful when you consider the disparity of numbers. In objecting to the removal of this grant from the Annual Estimates, I beg to say I am not actuated by illiberal motives; and I 780 will quote the opinion on that head of the present Lord Monteagle—a great friend to Ireland, and who objects to the removal of the grant from the Annual Estimates. He states his opinion that this grant ought to be year by year under the control of Parliament. And that I do feel is the strong opinion of many classes in this country. Sir, I hope that, in the opposition I may offer to the present Bill, I shall not be considered as animated by feelings of hostility to the Irish people; the whole history of that island demands the sympathy and repentance of the British nation; and I confess that I never can read those sad records, without a sentiment of shame and remorse, for the oppression of one time, and for the neglect at another, of which our Governments have been guilty. There are but few sacrifices that I would not cheerfully make for the happiness of Ireland; few things could be allowed to stand in the way of such an issue. But what profits will you derive from Motions such as these? Victories here will bring no triumphs; and whether the Bill be carried or lost, I see little on either side but darkness and deadly hatreds, increasing violence, and deep-brooding resentments — "without will be fightings, within will be fears." Would to God I were not summoned to give a vote on this painful question! but the matter is now submitted to our judgments, and we cannot evade a decision; we must act then with conscience for our guide. Did I believe that this concession would content the people, I would pause even here in my refusal; but first, I have never seen any thing gained by concession of principle; and next, the language of this very Session has assured me that the endeavour is hopeless. When, on the first night of our meeting, the Prime Minister had announced his policy in respect of Maynooth, a Member of no small importance, the right hon. Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil) rose to reply, and these were his emphatic words:—In Ireland it was a point of honour with Catholics that the University of Dublin should be thrown open. The revenue of the University amounted to nearly 40,000l. From this great national establishment Roman Catholics were excluded. Was it right that the exclusion should continue? It was a point of honour that it should not, and honour and interest were nearly identified. They wanted equality with Protestants in all respects; and 781 is they were excluded from Trinity College, the right hon. Gentleman's measures would not have gained the object he sought.So thus you will perceive that something will still remain behind; some right, as they say, to be demanded; some concession, as we say, to be resisted. Had this language proceeded from a less important person — from an ordinary agitator—I should not have noticed it; but I will speak of it now as bold, candid, and justifiable. When the Relief Bill was passed, there was an honourable though tacit understanding on both sides that all parties, both those who had made the concession, and those who had obtained it, should rest content with what they had got, and not trespass on the position of each other. But when the propounder of that measure comes forward himself, and says that concession has not reached its limits, and that there are other concessions to be made, which are not only safe but just; then I do say, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon has a perfect right to come forward and state in his own name, and in that of his Roman Catholic brethren, all that he demands as a matter of justice to receive at our hands. Still more should I pause, did I think that this concession would confer any effective benefit on our Irish brethren; but I foresee the very reverse; I see nothing but strife and confusion—hostility exasperated by the possession of greater power, and more frequent collisions both in this country and that. Nor can I, with a view to their lasting good, assent to a measure conducing, in any degree, to suppress or even retard the advancement of the Protestant faith, which we believe, and may be allowed to assert without offence, to be a well-spring of civilization and happiness, of social and religious freedom.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said: Sir, in common with many others who have addressed the House on this subject, I am about to take a course which is at variance with the opinions of many valued friends, and contrary to the feelings of those whom I am bound on every principle to respect; I am, therefore, anxious to state the grounds on which I feel it my duty to support the course which I have, as a Member of Her Majesty's Government, concurred in recommending to Parliament. I agree with my noble Friend 782 who has just sat down, that, taken in one point of view, the measure now under consideration is that of extreme importance. I think, at the same time, that there are other points of view in which the importance of this measure has been greatly exaggerated. When it is stated that we are about to make an enormous grant for the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church, I must call that a great exaggeration. I cannot consider that 17,000l. for the instruction of those who are to be the teachers of the Irish people can be deemed by any man an enormous grant for this country to bestow with reference to the purpose for which it is given. I should be rather disposed to say, that though liberal in amount, because adequate for the purpose for which it is given, yet it cannot bear the character which my noble Friend has given it. If, however, we measure the importance of this subject by the effects which it is likely to produce in the sister country, or judge of it by the satisfaction which is already expressed by those who are best able to perceive its full importance—I mean those who profess the faith, to the teachers of which this grant is to be made—I agree with my noble Friend that it is a measure of extreme importance, calculated to produce the best results on the tranquillity of the sister country, and calculated to promote those results without injury to the established institutions of that country, among which I place, above all, the Protestant Established Church, for which I feel as deeply and ardently as the noble Lord, and to inflicting the slightest injury on which I, in common with him, would never be a party. This measure is important also in the effect which it has produced on the disposition of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. When we witness the gratitude with which they have received a grant of no more than 17,000l., and hear the terms in which the most respectable of that body speak of the liberality of the Government and the country in making such a grant for a subject the dearest to their hearts—a sum of money, I may in passing observe, not more than we commonly vote, without observation or comment, for the purpose of gratifying our taste for ornament, or for some comparatively unimportant object—I say that we have an assurance that the forebodings which some hon. Gentlemen have expressed as to the effects of this measure will be disappointed. I believe, on the other hand, that this grant will produce the effects 783 which we anticipate. I believe it, because, though I differ from my Roman Catholic countrymen upon points of faith—and no man can differ more strongly, and if I were to enter into controversy no man would oppose them more fearlessly—yet I believe they are animated by the feelings that animate every Christian man, that they are grateful for kindness shown to them, and above all for that which, given in a disinterested spirit on the part of this country, contributes materially to the comfort of those in whom they take the deepest interest. Thinking thus of the importance of the question, and the effects that are likely to flow from it, I am not easily to be deterred from the prosecution of the measure. I shall certainly not yield my opinion in deference to casual expressions which may have fallen in the course of debate from Members, however distinguished, still less from incidental paragraphs which may be extracted from speeches which have been made here at antecedent periods. I have, doubtless, great respect for the abilities displayed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil), and for the talent he uniformly exhibits in discussing the subjects which he brings before this House. But if I were to select a Member of this House upon whose discretion I meant particularly to rely, I should certainly not fix upon that right hon. Gentleman, whose poetical temperament naturally leads him into the regions of imagination, and thus may, perhaps, form an excuse for indiscretion, and some forgetfulness of fact. I cannot believe, in opposition to the general feelings of others who are interested in this grant, that the right hon. Gentleman is correct when he states that no satisfaction will be entertained by those whom the grant is intended to benefit, unless it be accompanied by still further and impossible concession. I say, I would not give credit to such prognostications from any individual Member. Neither do I defer to the expression which Lord Monteagle is supposed to have used in some incidental debate in Committee of Supply, when, in answer to an objection from the other side, he stated, that the Vote to Maynooth ought to be an annual one, and constantly under the supervision of Parliament. That expression was used fourteen or fifteen years ago. We all know, that in a Committee unexpected questions often give rise to hasty or ill-considered answers; and this expression of the noble 784 Lord may have thus been casually used. It was not meant for the guidance of Parliament, perhaps, on the occasion upon which it was used; certainly it was not meant for the control of Parliament in discussing, fourteen years afterwards, a measure of a different character. In the course of the discussion which has taken place on this occasion, a great variety of arguments have been adduced. Attempts have been made to introduce abstract subjects of discussion, no doubt important in themselves as subjects of discussion, but appearing to me not necessarily to belong to the consideration of the present subject of debate. I do not think it necessary now to discuss whether it be proper that the State should extend equal favour to all religious sects. I do not deem it necessary to ascertain whether we are bound now to take into consideration the payment of every sect that may exist throughout the country. I say, that the decision of that question has no reference to the subject immediately under discussion. If that question were irreparably connected with the grant to Maynooth, the time for considering it would have been in the year 1795, when the Protestant Parliament of Ireland unanimously assented to the establishment and endowment of the College of Maynooth; when the bishops then in Parliament did not see any objection to the course before pursued; and the Bill, passed unanimously for the first establishment of the College, received the assent of the Crown. It might then have been a question — when you were releasing the Roman Catholics from the restrictions to which they were previously subjected in a country where the Protestant Establishment was guarded by various enactments, partly penal, partly restrictive—whether you should, for the first time, admit to a participation in the public money an establishment connected with another religion? But that point was long since decided. Upon the arrangement then made, the Imperial Parliament, has up to the present moment, acted, and we now have to decide merely the simple question, whether, the principle having been departed from, as far as regarded the endowment of this particular College, we are to make the institution effective for the object for which Parliament originally established and endowed it? Before I enter into the particular objections of my noble Friend, I may be permitted to make one general observation. Much stress has 785 been laid upon the petitions which have been presented to this House. I admit that they have been extremely numerous. But when I compare the prayers of those petitions with the speeches which hon. Members have delivered in this House, I observe a wide difference between them. What do the petitioners ask for? What is their object? And what is the argument adduced by those Gentlemen who resist this grant? I tell those hon. Gentlemen that, though opposed to me in the vote they will give, they and I are equally opposed to the prayer of the petitions presented to the House. Why, those petitions, with the exceptions so few that they are hardly worth mentioning, uniformly proceed upon the principle that Maynooth ought never to have been established — that the maintenance of a Roman Catholic Establishment like that was a sin and a crime; and they call upon us—not to vote a paltry grant instead of a reasonable one — but to put down this institution, which they regard as offensive in the sight of God, and which we ought never to have established at all. But, Sir, with the exception of the two hon. Representatives for Dublin, during the four nights' debate upon this question, I have not heard that argument urged by any hon. Members. They indeed object to the augmentation of the vote to Maynooth. They would avail themselves of the host of petitions presented with a totally different object. But they themselves are as unwilling as I am to come forward with a measure to take away the grant from Maynooth; and they fee that the proposal of the petitioners is so preposterous that if brought forward, it would have no possible chance of passing. Let not hon. Gentlemen, therefore, think if they succeed in rejecting the Bill now before the House, that they can stop there. They must proceed a step further, and announce to the Roman Catholic body in Ireland that the time is now arrived when, instead of further concession to their wants and reasonable demands, they are to have withdrawn from them the privilege which they have enjoyed for the last fifty years, and to which they very naturally attach a value, because upon the maintenance of this grant depends the existence of an establishment which is interwoven with their own religion. My noble Friend has mainly objected to the Bill before the House upon the principle that we are now for the first time endowing the establishment at May- 786 nooth. With deference to him, I beg entirely to dissent from that opinion. If the words of an Act of Parliament carry any force at all with them, the original Act as to Maynooth is itself a negative to the proposition of my noble Friend. The preamble of that Act says,—Whereas, by the laws now in force in this kingdom, it is not lawful to endow any seminary for the purpose of educating persons in the Roman Catholic religion.And then comes the enacting part in the subsequent clause, which says, "that the persons hereafter elected," who are to be the trustees under the Act, "shall be for the purpose of establishing, endowing, and maintaining, the said College;" and this word "establishing" carries with it all the strength and permanence, on account of which "endowment" has been objected to. The same words are used in other clauses of the Statute, to which, however, I do not think it necessary to refer. But, says my noble Friend, you did not mean that it should be endowed by Parliament I deny the premises of my noble Friend. I say that it was the intention of Parliament to give a grant for this particular purpose. They did that when the Act was passed, in the subsequent year, and in every year since. But supposing there was no intention to grant the public money, I say that the Parliament which empowered those who before had no power to have an endowment, and permitted them to receive money for the purpose of endowment, did as effectually endow the College and contribute to its permanence, and assert the principle that it was not contrary to the Protestant faith to give a grant to this Roman Catholic College, as if they had proposed the Bill now under discussion, and which we are called upon to reject, because it provides for the endowment of this institution. My noble Friend, in the next place, objects to this grant because, he says, that by making this a permanent provision, instead of an annual one, you lay down as a principle that the Roman Catholic religion shall never cease in Ireland. Now, I doubt very much whether by any legislative enactment to which any Parliament of the present time would assent, we can cause the cessation of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland. Least of all do I think that the permanency of that religion in Ireland can depend upon the fact whether the men who are intended to administer sacred offices are edu- 787 cated in a decent or an unbecoming manner. I think it a great stretch of imagination to suppose that because we educate a certain number of individuals in a manner disgraceful to the country that provides the means, and degrading to the individuals subjected to the education, we are at all affecting the permanency of the Roman Catholic religion; or that if we decide upon making their education more decent, more becoming the character of the country, and better calculated to raise the character of the individuals themselves, that we thereby prolong the existence of that faith. My noble Friend refers to a Report relative to certain Roman Catholic schools in London. In the Report to which he alludes it is stated that the Roman Catholics in London are utterly destitute of the means of education. Does my noble Friend mean that we are to leave that portion of the population without any means of instruction, in the expectation that by leaving them in that state, they shall of necessity be driven to adopt a faith which they do not believe to be the true one? My noble Friend says that to provide means for the education of the Catholic children is going beyond toleration. I say that the forbearing to give to them as citizens of a free State the advantages which the children of other faiths receive in matters of education, would be, in my view, to fall very far short of toleration. For whether I attempt to enforce upon them the doctrines of my own Church, by not removing the obstacles which poverty and discomfort place in the way of their education, or whether I positively prohibit their education by law, admits to my mind of very little distinction. I cannot, therefore, consent to act upon that principle with respect to the College of Maynooth, and to keep the tenants of that establishment upon their present footing of poverty, in the hope that, through that poverty, I may effect their conversion to the purer faith which I myself profess. I do not think, in the first place, that that course would answer its end. I believe that you have a better chance of reaching the hearts of the Roman Catholics, and rendering them more accessible to the purer doctrines which are taught by the Protestant Church, by treating them, whether they be laymen or priests, with the respect and consideration due to their character as the members or ministers of another religious persuasion. What is the effect of an inferior education upon them? Why, it necessarily hardens the heart against any im- 788 pression that may be attempted from without. The state they live in at Maynooth forbids the possibility of their being grateful to the Government which confers the means of their subsistence at the time. It imbues them with a hatred of the religion which the Government that so degrades them professes; and in my mind raises a strong additional obstacle to the prospect of making an impression on their minds by introducing to them truths to which their aversion is necessarily increased from their association of those truths with the misery in which their earlier lives have been passed. I know it has been stated in this debate, that if we give a better education to the Roman Catholic priesthood, we shall endanger the Protestant Establishment and the Protestant religion in Ireland. Sir, I am not of that opinion—history does not justify that opinion—reason does not justify that opinion. I ask my noble Friend who alluded to this subject, to tell me when and how it was that the Reformation itself was effected? Was it in the darker ages of the world, when the Roman Catholics were less literate; when little knowledge was abroad in Europe; when men were most confined to the study of the darker pages of divinity, and remained altogether secluded from other branches of science and literature? Was that, I ask, the time when the Reformation broke forth? Quite the contrary. My noble Friend knows as well as I do, that it was not until science and literature had begun to illuminate the convents on the Continent; it was not until the period when the arts and sciences were more extensively cultivated, and the monks in the several convents became men of science and literature. That was the period when the great leaders of the Reformation burst forth—men who had previously achieved a high literary character—men, some of whom had distinguished themselves by their classical and mathematical attainments, and others by their superior knowledge of divinity. And when the light to which their studies led broke in upon them, they burst the cerements in which they had been wrapped, and came forth as lights to illuminate the world, and bestow enduring blessings upon mankind. Am I to say, then, with these glorious examples before me, that to keep Catholics in ignorance is the means of stopping the progress of their faith, and of advancing my own? Sir, I have that confidence in the truth of the religion which I profess, that I believe the more the mind 789 of man is educated and enlightened, the more likely is he to adopt it; and therefore, I believe that whatever improvement takes place in the present system at Maynooth will be so much ultimately gained to the Protestant cause. It will soften the hostility which is now felt to that cause—more extensive learning will imbue their minds with juster feelings with respect both to religion and politics. It will be a blessing to them individually by enlightening their minds, and a blessing to the country by diffusing a greater degree of peace and contentment. Education, it is said, may make them more able in discussion, more powerful in argument; but by argument and discussion they are more likely to arrive at truth. I therefore differ from my noble Friend when he contends that the ignorance of the Roman Catholic is in favour of the extension of the Protestant faith. My noble Friend has followed the course which has been taken by many other hon. Gentlemen who have spoken in this debate. He has adverted in a very limited degree to the provisions and character of the Bill before the House, and the immediate consequences to result from it. But he has indulged largely in most dark visions as to the future; and says, if we pass this Bill, we shall be bound hereafter to endow the whole of the Roman Catholic priesthood—to establish two separate Churches in Ireland — and ruin entirely the Protestant Establishment. Now, I have been long enough in this House to know, that when hon. Gentlemen are opposed to a measure which runs counter to their particular feelings, they readily form to themselves visions of what is to come which the future has seldom been found to realize. But if such evils are necessarily to flow from endowment now, I wonder they were not foreseen by those sagacious individuals who originally submitted the establishment and endowment of Maynooth to the Irish Parliament; or by the Parliament of Ireland, who certainly felt as deep an interest in the non-endowment of the Catholic Church, and in the maintenance of the Protestant Establishment, and who were as competent to form an opinion as to the results which might flow from a measure of this kind, as—with all respect and regard for my noble Friend—I believe him to be. For myself, I scarcely need say that I, and those with whom I am associated, can be no parties to that invasion of the Protestant Establishment, its rights, its privileges, 790 or income, which has been recommended to us by various Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. We have uniformly and consistently contended that the property of the Established Church in Ireland was given, and must be continued to be applied, to purposes connected with that Church Establishment alone: And this is no argument against us to say, that because we wish to be liberal to a limited extent in the erection of schools where Roman Catholics may be taught, or in the maintenance of a College for Roman Catholic priests, we are, therefore, departing from principles to which we have uniformly adhered, of not permitting any appropriation of the property of the Established Church to purposes not connected with the maintenance and the welfare of that Church. But these arguments are beside the present question—these distant prospects of insecurity and danger—when we know that endowment for the last fifty years has not produced any of the awful effects adverted to—cannothave much weight. As to what may happen within the next half century, or what views the Parliament may then take upon this subject, it would be a waste of time to inquire. As far as regards the endowment of the Romish priesthood, we know that that priesthood have uniformly stated that they would not accept of an endowment from the Crown; and we know that the means derived from the contributions of the flocks which they serve, are ample for their wants, and in many cases not inferior to those which are enjoyed by the Protestant clergy man in the same district. "But," says my noble Friend, "you cannot allow these men, when educated at the College of Maynooth, to depend longer for their maintenance upon the contributions of their flocks. They will necessarily be discontented; they will be irritated against and hostile towards the Government, and you must therefore put an end to the system of permitting the ministers of the Roman Catholic religion to be so dependent." But is this system confined to Ireland? How do Dissenting congregations support their ministers? Is it not by contributions of a voluntary character? Are we on that account to suppose that Dissenters are the less attached to the State, or the less inclined to take a deep interest in the welfare of the country? There were, no doubt, great evils which resulted from the voluntary principle; but they were evils not of a political, but of a religious charac- 791 ter: they tended to invert the relative position in which the teacher and those who were to obey the teacher ought to stand with regard to each other, making the former in a great degree dependent on the latter. That, however, was an evil which was independent of the present subject—whether it admitted of remedy, or whether the Legislature might hereafter deal with it, were questions involved in the darkness of the future, with which, while there was so much to demand immediate attention, it was neither wise nor necessary to deal. It has been stated in the course of the debate, and my noble Friend has also made allusion to the point, that they were by this grant likely to increase the number of priests to be educated in Maynooth. That was altogether an erroneous view of the subject. The proposed grant to Maynooth would make that establishment adequate to the maintenance of the number of priests now required for the religious service of the Irish people. It was notorious that up to the present moment Parliament gave them 9,000l., a-year, under the impression that they were, for that sum, to educate a limited number of students; but the authorities at the College, finding that amount insufficient for the education of the number of priests annually required, had divided the sum among a larger number, adequate to the exigencies of the Roman Catholic Church: with the aid of the Dunboyne establishment, there were 470 now educated at Maynooth for the priesthood of Ireland. By the present Bill precautions were taken against an indefinite extension of the number, or any extension at all; but with a view to remedy the evils that now prevailed at that institution, it was provided that they should give to each of the 470 students an income adequate to maintain him decently during the period he remained at the College, and supply food, clothing, and books; the matter would be made a subject of strict examination, and the accounts regularly audited, so that instead of having the number of students indefinitely extended, and all of them reduced to a miserable pittance, they would secure to a limited number an adequate income, and that improvement in their condition which was the real object of the present measure. This grant, then, would not lead, as had been represented, to an indefinite extension of the number of priests who might be dispersed through every part of the Empire and the Colonies, 792 but would merely provide the students at Maynooth with the means of decent maintenance there, and of acquiring, by access to books from which they were at present excluded, a degree of knowledge which should elevate their minds, and render them better subjects, better men, and he hoped better Christians. I admit that it is competent for those who have strong religious objections to the establishment of a college for the education of Roman Catholic priests, to say in reply to the arguments, that they were prepared entirely to abolish that establishment. There were some who would say, with the majority of the petitioners, "Withdraw the grant, abolish the establishment, get rid of the sin, and entitle yourselves to the blessing of Heaven for the virtuous act you will thus perform." I do not think, judging from the former conduct of that House, that whatever might be the views of individual Members, the House would concur in that opinion. I do not believe when the country came calmly to consider that they had for fifty years given grants of money to that particular establishment, that they would urge upon their Representatives the propriety of abolishing that grant. But if they were to make an application of that nature, in what House of Commons was it likely that such a proposition would be carried? The grant to Maynooth had been subjected to the consideration of the House of Commons ever since the time of the Union. For fourteen consecutive years it had been passed without observation, without a suggestion that it was an improper grant. It was not till about the year 1829 or 1830 that opposition to it begun. About that period a proposition was made for abolishing it. That proposition met with favour only from a very small minority, which on some occasions certainly was increased a little in number, but had never, after every exertion to raise its numbers, amounted to more than forty-eight. So strong had been the feeling and impression in this House, that to abandon the grant to which they had for so long a period contributed, would be impolitic and dangerous, that notwithstanding the circumstance of the public mind having been excited in the interval on that very subject of Roman Catholic endowment and relief, they could not find fifty Members who would consent to go the length of abolishing the grant. If that were so, was it likely that the House would now refuse the grant proposed, in 793 fulfilment of the object originally intended? It was certainly the intention of Mr. Pitt that the parties educated at Maynooth should have sufficient knowledge in the various branches of literature to enable them respectably to fill the office they were afterwards to be called to. From the circumstances to which I have adverted, the grant has become inefficient; Her Majesty's Government propose to make it efficient; and if they were not prepared to abolish it altogether, they could not plead conscience for their refusal to adopt this proposition. With reference to those who complained of the selection of the present time for making this increased grant, I would observe, that if ever there was a time when it was desirable by some pecuniary sacrifice to gratify the Irish Roman Catholics, the present was the time. They had witnessed recently the prevalence of an agitation in Ireland. Vast assemblages had been collected together in an alarming manner; great apprehensions were entertained of confusion and disaster. The Government had been compelled to proceed against those who had violated the law, and to bring to judgment, if not to punishment, the parties principally engaged in those lawless proceedings. The law had been vindicated; a happier period had now set in; owing to the financial prosperity of the country, capital had begun to flow into Ireland, and the minds of men there were employed in occupations of industry and enterprise, in improving the modes of communication, and were diverted from those religious and political controversies which had unfortunately so long prevailed in that country. At such a moment, then, they could, without any apprehension that concession would be imputed to fear or to the result of disturbance, grant the Roman Catholies of Ireland a boon that they desired, and which in itself it was expedient to grant. I wish not to give that which would endanger any of their institutions—which would prevent the extension of that Church which my noble Friend has called the Missionary Church. That Church depended on its own exertions for the extension of its faith; and whether Roman Catholic priests were educated, or not, the intrinsic value of the doctrines of that Church might be relied on for giving efficacy to the missionary labours of its ministers. The right hon. Gentleman added that there were perhaps some other topics to which he might have referred if the debate had not been so long protracted. He 794 should have been glad to have confined himself exclusively to the subject before the House. He regretted that he was addressing the House at a time when so many hon. Members had absented themselves from the debate, which thus seemed to have diminished in interest; and though among those who were now absent was a right hon. Gentleman who usually sat opposite (Mr. Macaulay), he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) could not close without, in some degree, adverting to the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of the present debate. That right hon. Gentleman had objected strongly to those who arrogated to themselves, in religious matters, exclusively the right to pronounce what was religious truth, and he denominated those parties religious bigots. The right hon. Gentleman might have remembered that there might be bigots in politics as well as in religion; and that he who arrogated to himself the exclusive right of being benevolent to Ireland—who denied that any Administration, except that of which he was a Member, could confer benefits on that country, was as open in his particular line to the charge of bigotry as those to whom he had addressed his objections. The right hon. Gentleman had said, in a pointed manner, that the measure introduced was good, but ought not to have been introduced by the present Ministry—that there was something in the Government which, if they had known their position, should have prohibited them from bringing the present measure before the House. Was that the proof of the friendly spirit which the right hon. Gentleman boasted of entertaining towards Ireland? The right hon. Gentleman's party were in authority for ten years, and at no period during that time had they given intimation of their intention of making an addition to the Maynooth grant. They were associated in that House with a party, which, in the course of the present debate, had been called the voluntary party. On that party they were in a great degree dependent for general support; they knew that if they proposed a grant to be paid out of the funds of the Established Church, they were sure to meet opposition from those who, like himself (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), maintained the principle that the Church property of Ireland was exclusively applicable to the wants of the Church of Ireland, and ought not to be converted to any other purpose. In 795 that predicament they had not ventured to propose a grant which, if made in the manner they (the Government) now proposed, would have exposed them to the opposition of so large a portion of their own supporters. The thing then remained undone, because they dared not face the task. The right hon. Gentleman said that there was one party in the House who had not dared, when in power, to encounter the difficulties of this question; and there was another party who dared to encounter those difficulties, but who ought not. From what quarter, then, were the Irish people to expect assistance in support of the institution of Maynooth? If the right hon. Gentlemen opposite dared not to make the attempt, and if the present Government, who made the attempt, were to be stigmatized as persons who pursued what they ought not to pursue, who was to effect what was admitted to be just? The right hon. Gentleman was pleased also to make some personal remarks on his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government. It was unnecessary for him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) to enter into any defence of his right hon. Friend; he was sufficiently known in that House not to require that his Colleagues or Friends should fight his battles, or repel attacks as unfounded and unjust as those made by the right hon. Gentleman. But he might remind the right hon. Gentleman that if he accused the present Government of inconsistency, he ought to have some little consistency himself. When the right hon. Gentleman endeavoured to hold up the conduct of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government to the obloquy of those who generally supported him, he was bound to show that the statement he made was at least in conformity with what he had said on a former occasion, and not in direct contradiction of it. The right hon. Gentleman had the other night stated that his right hon. Friend professed when in Opposition principles with which he had no sympathy, and sentiments for which he entertained the most profound contempt. He had charged the right hon. Baronet with professing on the Opposition side of the House principles, with respect to measures such as the present, entirely adverse to the course of proceeding which he now pursued. He would not enter into the discussion of that subject. He would rest his right hon. Friend's vindication on a previous speech of the right hon. Gentleman himself. It was not the first time the 796 right hon. Gentleman had made partly an attack on his right hon. Friend upon subjects of this description, mingled with so much of personal eulogium as was necessary to make his hostility more effective. On the 29th January, 1840, when discussing a vote of confidence in the late Government, the right hon. Gentleman made a remarkable speech. It suited his argument then to state that the right hon. Baronet's followers were bigots, but that he himself was a statesman; and the right hon. Gentleman then went on to say of his right hon. Friend, "It has been his misfortune—it has been his fate—to belong to a party with whom he has had less sympathy than any head ever had with any party;"—and yet the right hon. Member who had then stated that his right hon. Friend, on a subject which had a close connexion with the Roman Catholic question, had no sympathy with his party, and acted in opposition to their then feelings, did not scruple to come down to the House in 1845, and charge his right hon. Friend with having professed, in order to please that party, principles and sentiments which he held in the most unbounded contempt. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would only say, that the two statements could not be correct; and if the right hon. Gentleman were present he would ask him to which of the two he adhered. To his right hon. Friend it might be matter of indifference; but if he (Mr. Macaulay) adhered to the former statement, he thought that he was bound to offer some explanation to the House. What did the right hon. Member mean when, after enumerating the various measures in which his right hon. Friend had gone beyond his followers; after stating that his right hon. Friend had chosen a part which was a humiliating one, but at the same time the true one; what did he mean by charging his right hon. Friend's conduct as inconsistent with the course and the professions which he, in the first instance, attributed to him. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would now leave the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, expressing only his entire concurrence in the statement with which he had in 1840 concluded his observations, the truth of which would be acknowledged long after the present attack was forgotten. He said at that period, "The right hon. Baronet is still the same—he is still a statesman—yes, still a statesman; high in intellect, moderate in opinions, calm in temper, and free from fanaticism." He would 797 snow conclude. He trusted the House would concur in taking that course which they believed to be the best to conciliate the good feelings of the people of the sister country, without any sacrifice of principle. He trusted that the House would bear in mind, before they finally disposed of the question, that they now stood in a different situation from that in which they would have stood if that question had never been proposed. The benefit this measure offered to the Roman Catholics of Ireland had been presented to them, he would not say with a liberal hand, because he could not think that a grant of 17,000l. was entitled to such a description; but it had been presented in an honest and conciliatory spirit, and for an object which every man ought to approve. It was a grant which could be made without a departure from principle, or injury to the existing establishments of the country; and if they were now to disappoint the expectations which the agitation of the question had raised in Ireland, he should like to know who would be responsible for the tranquillity of that country? If the House thought that in submitting that measure to their consideration, the Government was guilty of a violation of principle, or departure from duty, they should not visit the offence of the Government on the heads of the Irish people. Let the House deal with the Government as they pleased—let it censure them—let it condemn them—impeach them even, as the hon. Member for Knaresborough proposed; but let it not, by refusing to pass this measure, disappoint so cruelly the hopes which they had raised, and create perhaps a flame in Ireland which they would not be able to subdue, and excite passions which had been often excited before, and were now allayed; but which, if again excited, might end in general confusion, if not in the ruin of the Empire.
§ Sir W. Clay
said: No one could well have stronger personal motives than himself for opposing the Bill. In the large constituency he represented, there was a widely-spread feeling against the measure; and this feeling was participated in by many persons for whose steady support he felt most grateful, and with whom it was most painful to him to differ in opinion on the present occasion. He could not, however, permit himself to be influenced by such considerations. He was, on the maturest consideration, satisfied 798 that the measure before them was in a very high degree conducive to the well-being of the Empire—essential perhaps to its security—and with that conviction, he felt that he had but one path to pursue, and that was to give it his support. He could not but think that the measure had been misapprehended by the public, and that no small portion of the existing excitement was attributable to that misapprehension. By the speakers at public meetings, and in the petitions, it was generally talked of as an endowment of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, or, at least, as preparatory to such an endowment. He denied both those positions. It was in no other or larger sense an endowment of the Roman Catholic Church than the existing grant, which had never been so considered. It should be considered in no other light than as a grant for educational purposes; as a continuation of the grant which, first by the Irish Parliament, and subsequently by the United Parliament, had been continued for the same object for fifty years. There was this only difference—that, as the existing grant had been found insufficient for the purpose for which avowedly it had been first made, they were now about—wisely, as he thought—so to enlarge it as to render it adequate to its object. They were about to substitute a good system of education for a bad one. That was the only change. The principle of both grants was identically the same, nor could one more than the other be considered an endowment of the Roman Catholic Church. If this grant were to be viewed as an ecclesiastical endowment, then he did not see why the grant made of late years in this country for the purposes of education was not liable to the same objection. Of that annual grant, a portion—one half he believed—was allotted to the British and Foreign School Society, to be distributed at their discretion, and was in fact so distributed that large classes of persons, conscientiously dissenting from the doctrines of the Church of England, derived benefit from it. It could scarcely be doubted that many individuals, educated partly through the assistance of the funds so granted, had become and would become Nonconformist Christian Ministers—had it ever been, or could it be reasonably objected to the several denominations of Dissenters deriving assistance for educational 799 purposes from that grant, that they received an endowment from the State? It was true that Maynooth College educated Roman Catholics only, and that, as now conducted, it received only students intended for the Church; but he could not see that either circumstance altered the character of the grant, or invalidated the analogy he had drawn. It made no difference in principle whether one sum was given in common for educational purposes to several denominations, or whether a separate sum was allotted to each; and with regard to restricting the education to young men destined for the Church, it should be borne in mind, that there were obvious reasons why there should be separate and peculiar institutions for the education of the ministers of a Church which enjoined celibacy on its priesthood. But it had been said that this grant was at least preparatory to the endowment by the State of the Roman Catholic Church. He denied that it was necessarily so. There could be no doubt that the question of the Church Establishment in Ireland must inevitably, and ere long, force itself on the attention of the Legislature. The anomaly of maintaining a State Church for one-tenth of a whole people could not much longer be tolerated; but in whatever mode that question was settled—whether, agreeably to the wishes and feelings of those who advocated the voluntary principle, by the abrogation of the present Church Establishment, or by reconciling the people of Ireland to its existence by an endowment of the Church of the majority, or by some compromise between those two principles—in whatever mode that great question was ultimately settled—he repeated that the present measure neither hastened nor affected that settlement. For himself, he should not feel precluded, by his vote on the Bill before the House, from exercising a perfectly free and unbiassed judgment on that most important question; and certainly he should not feel any plan which purported to provide for the spiritual instruction of the people of Ireland, to be either just to the rest of the Empire, or likely to secure permanent peace in that country, which did not provide for the entire remodelling of the present Irish Church Establishment. It was by no means unimportant for the House to observe how widely different were the rea- 800 sons for which the Bill was objected to by different classes of its opponents. On analysing the opposition to the grant, it would be found to be composed not only of heterogeneous, but of absolutely conflicting elements. The Nonconformists concurred in the opposition, because, as they stated,—They entertained the conscientious conviction that the application of the public money to any class of religionists is hurtful to religion, and infringes on the rights of conscience.They object to it, moreover, as having a tendencyTo uphold the existence of the Irish Church Establishment, by inflicting a still greater wrong upon every class of Protestant Dissenters throughout the kingdom.The members of the Established Church, on the other hand, petition against it,—Professing their unfeigned attachment to the doctrine, discipline, and formularies of the United Church of England and Ireland, and their conviction that a blow and discouragement, inflicted upon the Establishments in either country, materially endangers the principles of an Establishment in both.The one party objects to the proposed grant because it will tend to uphold the Irish Church—the other because it will tend to subvert it. They cannot both be right—the same measure cannot by possibility have two tendencies, the one directly opposed to the other. Of the two anticipations, he believed that expressed by the advocates of the voluntary principle to be the better founded. He believed that the tendency of the measure was to uphold the Established Church in Ireland, and that no circumstance could tend to hasten the downfal of that Establishment, or lessen the chances of a peaceful settlement of the question of the Church in that country more than the failure of the present measure. He thought, therefore, the opposition of the members of the Church of England to this grant in the highest degree indiscreet, if they really wished to preserve the Established Church in Ireland; but be also thought, and as a Member of the Established Church he had the less hesitation in expressing that opinion, that opposition coming from such a quarter was alike unbecoming and unreasonable. The objections of the Nonconformists were clear, 801 consistent, and on their own principles perfectly justifiable. They were conscientiously opposed to all State provision for the maintenance of religion; and fearing that the grant to Maynooth College might be but the precursor of a payment to the Roman Catholic Church, they opposed the grant. But what could be said to the opposition to the grant on the part of the Established Church? On what tenable ground of principle, of justice, or expediency, did it rest? Supposing, which he denied—but supposing that the grant were but the forerunner of an endowment of the Roman Catholic Church; the Established Church, the most richly endowed Church in the world, cannot object to an endowment for the religious instruction of the people. As little can it object on the ground of the Romish Church entertaining and disseminating erroneous doctrines. No Protestant Church—no Church which asserts the right of private judgment—can maintain such a claim, as the admission of private judgment on matters of religious belief does of itself imply the possibility that the Church asserting such claim may, in the promulgation of any one doctrine, or set of doctrines, be wrong and itsopponents right. It must, he feared, be conceded that a Protestant Established Church is, to a certain degree, anomalous, not to be defended on strict reasoning or abstract principles, but only (as admitted by Paley) on the ground of expediency, and where it is the Church of the majority. But on such grounds how could the Irish Established Church be defended, or with what decency or propriety could its advocates object to a State provision for the religious instruction of their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen? Neither were the objections of the Nonconformist opponents of the grant such as ought to prevail with the House, nor such as it was quite fair to urge against the claims of the Irish people. The truth was, that Ireland was a peculiar case, and one to which, as was so well stated by his right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, the voluntary principle could scarcely be applied. It was a case—not of dissenters from a State religion—not of a people who had left a Church—but of a people from whom a Church had been taken. But, as he had already said, the question before them was not one of endowment, but of education; and he would implore the House and the 802 people of England—on every ground of justice, of generosity, of prudence—so to consider it. He could not say that he wholly approved of the measure. Certainly, he did not like the source whence the grant was to be derived. He did not think it fair that the money should be drawn from taxes on the people of England; and he should vote, accordingly, for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, that the grant should be charged on the revenues of the Irish Church Establishment. Still, should that Motion fail—seeing that the measure was received with great gratitude in Ireland—looking at the paramount importance of conciliating Ireland, of regaining the alienated affections of her people; feeling that this was, perhaps, the only measure to that end, which, in the present state of parties, and of public opinion in this country it was possible to take—he could not incur the responsibility of opposing it. Were hon. Gentlemen who opposed the grant prepared to let Ireland remain in its present state a state as dangerous as it was disgraceful, occupied by armies as if it were an enemy's country, retained in its allegiance by artillery and the bayonet? If they were not prepared to permit the continuance of the present state of things, what was their proposition? by what measures, what course of policy they were competent to carry out, did they propose to attach the people of Ireland to this country?—for attached they must be, or the people of England must prepare for great calamities. With the people of Ireland hostile, the Empire was not safe for an hour; nor was it only that by the disaffection of Ireland the country was shorn of half its strength—it lost among Foreign States that opinion of its strength which rendered unnecessary its actual exercise. They might feel assured there was not a petition laid on their Table which outraged by its language the feelings of the people of Ireland, which talked of the grant to Maynooth as a vote for the encouragement of idolatry, that would not render more difficult the task of a British negotiator in maintaining the right of Britain on the shores of the Pacific. And hon. Gentlemen opposite deserted the Minister of their choice, because he saw and acted upon a State necessity which no man deserving the name of statesman could longer neglect! It was wonderful that it did not 803 occur to them that it must needs be time to concede, when the right hon. Gentleman talked of concession. They could not suppose, as was so candidly stated last' evening by his hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract, that the Minister who did not concede Catholic Emancipation until the country was on the verge of civil war, would again willingly incur the reproach of desertion of principle and of friends, which he must have been quite conscious he would have to encounter, if he had not clearly seen that the state of Ireland could be tampered with no longer. For himself, though disapproving of the general course of the right hon. Gentleman's policy towards Ireland, though deploring the wretched perversity of fortune which caused us, under the guidance of the right hon. Gentleman, on this as on former occasions, to appear to give to fear what we refused to justice; yet believing this measure to be essential to the well-being of the Empire, he should give it his support. He was well aware at what risk of loss of many of his best and firmest friends he took this step, but he could not hesitate. He could imagine nothing more deeply to be deplored than the vehement opposition which had arisen to this measure—nothing that could be of more ill omen to the fortunes of the Empire than that it should be successful. Did they wish to give a double impulse to the agitation for Repeal, to afford but too good a pretext for declamation against the "Saxon," to squander millions in repressing the discontent of Ireland, rather than some paltry thousands in gaining her affections, to see the British Empire, by right the foremost of the world, paralyzed at home, and powerless abroad; then let them throw out this measure, and proclaim to the people of Ireland, that on the question on which of all others they were the most sensitive, they must expect no concession, whether on the ground of justice or of kindness from the British people, or a British House of Commons. Did hon. Gentlemen think these expressions too strong? Let them see in the accounts from Dublin the use already made by Mr. O'Connell of the feeling manifested by the public against the grant. For himself, he could only say that if the measure before them were now defeated, he should scarcely know how to blame any future agitation for Repeal; he should scarcely venture to hope for any goodwill, affection, or real union between 804 the two great portions of the Empire, and should almost despair of the fortunes of their common country.
§ Viscount Bernard
considered that all party or personal feelings were but as dust in the balance when compared with the momentous question they were called upon to decide; and he must express his deep regret that upon this subject he felt himself compelled to give a vote in direct opposition to those to whom upon all other occasions he had been able to give his most cordial support. He would, with the permission of the House, state the grounds on which he intended to give his vote against the Bill. He had, on former occasions, opposed the annual grant for the support of the College of Maynooth, and he had yet to learn on what grounds he could now be called upon to pursue a contrary course. In considering this measure, he asked himself two questions—first, "Is this nation bound by any compact to continue the grant to Maynooth?" and then, "If we are unfettered by any compact, can I conscientiously assist in supporting a religion I do not believe to be true, and in preventing the extension of one which I believe to be true?" In his opinion this country was not bound by any compact to continue the grant. He would not trouble the House by again calling their attention to the speeches of the various Lords Lieutenant of Ireland—Lords Westmorland, Fitzwilliam, and Camden—on this subject. It was enough to state that the grant was first made in 1795, to prevent the Roman Catholic priests from receiving an education abroad which might imbue their minds with principles dangerous to the peace and safety of the State. He might remind the House that at that time it was notoriously the object of Wolfe Tone and Mr. Emmet to establish a democratic university for the education of the priests. He held in his hand a pamphlet on this subject, published in 1799, which, with reference to the Act of 1795, establishing the Maynooth grant, that—The Secretary represented that it was more the interest of the State to permit Romanists to found a seminary for the education of their youth at home, than, by refusing such permission, to incline them to send them abroad to Romish seminaries; and that it was becoming the liberty of the nation to give them some aid towards the institution. These representations were plausible, and no Member of either House thought it a matter of sufficient import- 805 ance to warrant an opposition, supposing the Romanists were to complete the business at their own costs, and that Parliament would hear no more of it.In another part of this pamphlet it was stated that—In every subsequent Session a regular charge of 8,000l. was made to Parliament for its annual support. The magnitude of this sum for such a purpose startled some of the Members of both Houses, and regular accounts and items of the establishment and expenditure were called for.The writer subsequently said—The Minister was very hard pushed in the year 1798 in carrying the grant of 8,000l. to his monastery through the House; many of his most, attached friends deserted, and left the House during the debate.Much stress had been laid on the circumstance that it was a Protestant House of Lords and a Protestant House of Commons that granted this concession to the Roman Catholics; but he would call the attention of the House to another circumstance, which had been partially overlooked, that the vote was only to be binding for twenty years. The right hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone) had called the attention of the House to a speech of Mr. Perceval in support of this grant; but the right hon. Gentleman omitted to state that that speech was made before the twenty years for which the grant was guaranteed had expired. He (Lord Bernard) found, from the Annual Register, that in 1807 the Whigs, who were then in power, proposed a vote of 13,000l. for the College of Maynooth; but, before the vote could be agreed to, Parliament was dissolved. The new Ministry, it appeared, were anxious to curtail the amount of the vote; but they found that, in anticipation of the grant, the money had already been expended by the trustees of the College. The vote was eventually agreed to; but the Annual Register distinctly stated that it was inconsequence of a compromise made in the House. But, if the House was bound by this compact—if by any unwritten law of national honour they were bound to continue the grant to Maynooth—were they not equally bound by a compact in the case of the chartered schools of Ireland? Yet, instead of the House continuing the grant of 17,000l. a year to those schools, they had thrown into the other scale an annual grant of 75,000l. in opposition to the Protestant 806 Church of Ireland. He had presented to the House a petition of great importance on this subject, to which he might be permitted to call their attention. It was signed, with one exception, he believed, by the whole stall of the grand jury of the county of Cork—one of the most important bodies in Ireland—praying that the House would extend the same support to the education of Protestant children as it afforded to the children of Roman Catholics; and that petition was signed by four Roman Catholic gentlemen. He thought it was evident from the fact, that when the grant was made to Maynooth, visitors of the College were appointed, it was intended that the grant should be withdrawn if it should appear that the money was improperly applied. He (Lord Bernard) would ask the House whether, looking at the position in which that College stood, the withdrawal of the grant would not be justifiable? Was it not notorious that doctrines of the ultra-Montane school were taught there? Was it not notorious that the priests educated in that institution had been the foremost leaders of agitation in Ireland? Was it not notorious that, at all the great political meetings in that country a year ago, the people were led on by the priesthood of the Church of Rome? The priests must have attended those meetings for one or two reasons—either because they approved the objects of the assemblies, and led on the people, or because they had not power to restrain them. If the Roman Catholic priests voluntarily promoted those meetings, then the House by agreeing to the measure now under consideration was holding out to them a bonus to continue this course of agitation. They had been told that if the grant now proposed were not conceded, the result would be an increased Repeal agitation in Ireland. He maintained, on the contrary, that if this Bill were passed, it would only lead to the demand of still further concessions. He believed that the main object of those who countenanced and promoted agitation in Ireland was to destroy the Protestant Established Church in that country; and if they succeeded in that object, it would not be long before the same influence would be used to destroy the Protestant Church in England. But if this measure should be adopted, it would, in his opinion, prevent the spread of Protestant truth in Ireland. Some hon. Gentlemen might not be aware that 807 in the west of Ireland many Roman Catholics had recently begun to entertain doubts as to the truth of their religious opinions, and many of them had already joined the Established Church. Would the House, then, come forward and, by this measure, endeavour to increase the efficiency of the Church of Rome, and to stop the progress of the Protestant re formation in Ireland? The hon. Member for Montrose stated the other evening, that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had large surplus funds in their hands. He begged to inform the hon. Gentleman that the statement was altogether unfounded. Indeed, so inadequate were the funds of the Established Church in Ireland, that at this time—and he spoke from his own personal experience — applications were made almost daily for assistance to repair churches which were in a dilapidated condition, and the Commissioners had no funds to appropriate to such purposes. In the diocess in which he (Lord Bernard) resided, there were no less than fifty places licensed for the performance of public worship in consequence of the dilapidated state of some churches, and the impossibility of obtaining funds to build churches where they were required. He had seen a letter from a clergyman in Ireland who conducted divine service in a school house, and who stated that the building was in so dilapidated a condition, that in the wet weather the rain poured through the roof. Poor as the Roman Catholics in Ireland were said to be, the Roman Catholics were raising magnificent chapels in every direction. Why, then, did they leave the students at Maynooth in the miserable state in which they were represented to be, whilst they could find money to erect extensive monasteries and magnificent chapels in that country? Another statement, utterly destitute of foundation was, that the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland had been wrested from the Church of Rome in that country. Was the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Wyse) ignorant, that in the time of Queen Elizabeth, the whole Irish Church professed the Protestant Faith, and that eleven years afterwards, those, of whom the present Irish Roman Catholics are the successors, were gained over to the Romish Faith? It had been asserted that the Protestant Church in Ireland had not properly performed its functions; but was the property of that 808 Church to be forfeited, because it was alleged that the predecessors of her present ministers had not faithfully discharged their duties? Would such an argument be admitted with reference to the property of a private individual? Was any hon. Member of that House prepared to resign his property because his ancestors had not made the best possible use of it, while it was in their possession? He called upon any hon. Members to prefer charges, if they could, against the Established Church in Ireland, in its present state. The only charge that could now be made against that Church was, that she had too faithfully performed her duty—that the self-denying and zealous exertions of her clergy, and their firm adherence to principle, had made a strong impression upon, their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen. Such a feeling the House would effectually check, by the adoption of the present Bill. Was there no compact, he would ask, by which they were bound to support the Protestant Church in Ireland? Were they not bound by the legislative Union with Scotland to maintain an Established Church in Ireland? Were they not equally bound by the legislative Union with Ireland to maintain the Protestant Established Church in that country? He was convinced that if they destroyed the Established Church in Ireland, or sanctioned any measure which could weaken her efficiency, they would not only inflict a present injury upon that country, but they would peril the security of the legislative Union. They were told that all the Irish Roman Catholics wanted, was equality; but he wished to know what that equality was? In political matters, their equality in Ireland was supremacy; they had supremacy in the representation of the country, and in the municipal corporations, and yet they were not satisfied. But he must remind the House, that the religious equality desired by Romanists in Ireland was the ascendancy of the Church of Rome. If they endowed the Church of Rome in Ireland, how could they maintain the superiority of a Church, the clergy of which were so ill paid as those of the Protestant Establishment in that country? Did any hon. Members imagine that by assenting to the Bill now before the House they would conciliate the Roman Catholics of Ireland? He firmly believed that the effect of that measure would be to disappoint the Protestant community, with- 809 out satisfying the Roman Catholics. Had they ever, be would ask, by conciliation or concession, to Romanism, benefited Ireland; and did they think they could conciliate the Church of Rome in Ireland by granting anything but supremacy in that country? It was in vain that they endeavoured to satisfy the demands of the Church of Rome. With nothing less than complete supremacy could the Church of Rome ever be satisfied. If he might paraphrase the language of the satirist, he should say that while anything remained to be accomplished, the Church of Rome would never consider that anything had been effected. In substance the language which they held was this:—Think nothing gained, they cry, while aught remains;On Dublin's walls till Romish standards fly,And all is ours beneath the Irish sky.Looking, then, at the disposition of the Church of Rome, and looking at the position in which the Protestant Established Church of this country was placed, he could not refrain from calling on the House to pause before they committed themselves to such a measure as that now before them. He knew that in the course of the present debate it had been said there were no petitions from the Protestants of Ireland against the proposed grant; but was it to be supposed that because there were no petitions, that therefore the Protestants of Ireland agreed with the right hon. Baronet in the proposition which he had made to that House? On the contrary, there was the best reason to believe that they wholly and entirely disapproved of it. Truly did the late W. Sadliersay—who had a seat in that House in the year 1829, and who at all times laboured to impress upon Parliament the necessity of making provision for the physical wants of the people of Ireland—"Ireland asks of you a fish, and you give her a serpent; she asks for provision, bread, and you tender her Roman Catholic Emancipation." The Legislature and the Government of England professed to do much for the people of Ireland in the way of conciliation; but had they produced the effect of conciliating the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Ireland? Had any of their measures been a spell which allayed the popular fever? Ireland had had a fair trial—the conciliation system had been practised for a period of twenty years, but the exercise of it had only produced a fresh stock of grievances. The noble Lord the Mem- 810 ber for Arundel, and the hon. Member for Roscommon, had addressed the House with great mildness; but let him read a passage from a pamphlet by a noble Lord:—The penal Statutes of the present day, are the Irish Church, and the whole vicious system of legislation dependent on it.What hope could there be that the Roman Catholic people of Ireland would remain peaceable so long as language was addressed to them such as the following passage which proceeded from the Earl of Shrewsbury?Recollect that the Irish people will give you no provocation, no excuse; so that the time and circumstances will not be of your own choosing; they will bide their time; they may take it when you are engaged in a foreign conflict, and when a fleet of steamers may speedily carry a friendly army to their shores—friendly to them, but hostile to you; they may take it, when they find you occupied with your own internal commotions; when the summer of '42 returns, with a return of your commercial embarrassments.Was that language, he would ask, calculated to conciliate the Protestant people of Ireland, especially those of the north of Ireland? The Protestant portion of his fellow-countrvmen did not desire to oppressor injure that class of Her Majesty's subjects who held the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. If the Roman Catholic people of Ireland were not interfered with, then there would be found among them nothing of that seditious spirit which now unhappily prevails. He would trouble the House with a passage from the works of the late Mr. Alexander Knox, who had been secretary to Lord Castlereagh, and treasurer of the College of Maynooth:—With all my tenderness for the Roman Catholic religion, I still think it a poor religion for the adherents, and a terrible one for Protestant neighbours. A devout practice of it will, I trust, fit men for the next world, but it does not qualify for this world; especially as times have been since the Reformation. I know, and I am glad to think, that a Roman Catholic and a Church of England man may, in ordinary circumstances, go on very comfortably together. * * * Where they have no power all is well. * * * Could they act according to the dictates of their religion, all considerations of a friendly and a social kind must sink before the inexorable feeling which a theological creed, so definite and so exclusive, tends necessarily to inspire.He felt that the confidence of the Protest- 811 ants of Ireland in public men, was daily declining. There was no greater injury to the Protestants of Ireland than the inconsistency of British statesmen. He could even appeal to the hon. Gentlemen opposite, and ask them what must be thought, even by the Roman Catholics themselves, when they saw those who belonged to the same united church differ among themselves? Could they trust their temporal interests to men who were apparently so indifferent to the spiritual interests of their own Church? In the course of the few remarks with which he had troubled the House, he more than once felt it to be his duty earnestly to warn that House against proceeding further in the course which they were pursuing with reference to the Protestant Church of Ireland. The advance in their present course seemed easy; but if, hereafter, they felt disposed to retrace their footsteps, they might find it impossible to repair, by any change of measures, the evils which they had effected:—Facilis descensus Averni:Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,Hoc opus, hic labor est.
§ Sir John Easthope
said that he stood, in common with many of his friends about him, in the position of having presented a very large number of petitions against the measure, and among the rest one emanating from one of the largest meetings which had ever been held among those who had sent him to Parliament. He had presented that petition. One of its allegations was that the present grant was the first step in supplanting Protestantism, to be replaced by Popery. Now he could not conceal from himself that the great exaggeration involved in this statement had had no slight effect on the people at large with reference to the number of petitions which had oppressed their Table. But while he regretted that any misstatement or exaggeration such as this should have gone abroad—to create anxiety for which there was no sound cause, and alarm which he believed to be totally unfounded—he gathered even from this source some comfort, which set his mind at rest on the score of the fears expressed for, and the dangers anticipated to, the Protestant cause and the Protestant Church in this country. From what he saw, he was assured that no Minister, however strong—that no party, however, 812 formidable, would stand a moment, were they to attempt to shake the stability of Protestantism. But that really was not the question which they were to discuss. They had Catholic Ireland to govern; and the plain question was whether she was to be governed in a spirit of justice, of kindness, and of conciliation? It was not a question of whether the great Protestant institutions of this country were to be changed; but it was a question whether eight millions of people were or were not to have that assistance which their opinions gave them an imperative right to demand? And this view of the question had, he conceived, been much overlooked. It was not whether they were to go out of their way to support a religion which they did not profess, but whether as regarded a country which contained within itself the amount of population which he had stated, they were to resist the just demands of that population for the fitting instruction of their priesthood. This instruction, he believed, it was not only wise and safe to give, but those for whom it was proposed had a perfect right to demand it. What could be said of the objections raised to educating these priests in their own country? Who that knew the history of the efforts so often made to allure them abroad, but must consider it the safest and the best mode to make the required instruction attainable and as perfect as possible at home? Who could think, too, of the students within the walls of Maynooth, living in a state of comparative degradation and destitution, embittered and soured by reflecting on their privations, upon being kept down, against reason and justice, while their numbers were increasing—who, he repeated, could reflect upon all this, and not feel that the danger of refusing aid would be infinitely greater than that of according it? It had been again and again urged in this debate that the danger would not be slight of disappointing, by a refusal, the expectations now excited in Ireland. And who, he would ask, would be answerable for the consequences of such a refusal? He could not help feeling that it was indeed worthy of remark that they did not see on these benches, to support this measure, that hon. Member and those in immediate connexion with him, who had been so vehement in agitation for the repeal of the legislative Union. He could not help feeling that some very hopeful expectations might now 813 be entertained that, were justice done, as by this and similar measures it would be, agitation would gradually cease. In what lay Mr. O'Connell's strength? In what but Ireland's wrongs? And what was adequate and fit redress but kindness, conciliation, and justice. These, and such as these, were the opinions by which he was influenced in going against the opinions of those who had sent him to that House. But holding these opinions as he did, he felt that he should be unworthy of the confidence reposed in him if he did not give a cordial support to the Government measure. And he was not afraid to meet the consequences of this act, believing that reflection and calm reasoning would have the effect of leading the people of England to perceive that the aim and object of the measure was to suppress a dangerous agitation, to put an end to complaints, and in Ireland to inspire a generous confidence towards this country. And he confessed that he shared very little in the objections which he heard sometimes made as to the source from whence the measure came. When he received a boon, he was not much disposed to complain of the giver. He would not mix up with the main question complaints as to the inconsistency of its movers. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had so ill defended himself upon that point. It was, perhaps, a matter which the less said about the better upon both sides of the House. The great question was, how best to adopt a line of conduct which should have the effect of tranquillising Ireland without exciting the fears of England. They had begun a system, the commencement of which he was delighted to observe—a system which he for one would never attempt to make more difficult. He gave to those who had embarked in the cause all credit for being actuated by good intentions. Of motives they could only judge by acts. Of the conduct of the introducers of the measure he approved, and he, for one, would not seek to ascribe it to evil motives. There was one other point which he could not pass over in this discussion, and that was, in regard to the absence of those Gentlemen from whom they had so often heard of Ireland's grievances. It was worthy of observation that the hon. Member for Cork, and those who were immediately associated with him, were not on these benches to support this cause. [Loud cries 814 of "Hear, hear!"] He cared not for mere expressions of approbation. He cared much more for action. The duty of the hon. Member of whom he spoke, and of those who agreed with him, was to be in this House, and to support the measures which he affected to approve. For himself, he did believe that the measure would contribute—and he hailed it cordially because he believed so—he believed that it would contribute in a great degree to counteract the agitation still carried on; that good and salutary influences would flow from it; and that it would tend to put the people of Ireland in a better temper with the people of England. And when he spoke of the people of Ireland, he meant the 8,000,000 of Catholics rather than the 800,000 Protestants, although he was not without hope that these 800,000 would ultimately rejoice to see the 8,000,000 more happy than they now were, taken away from the influences of agitation, and more given to improvement, less discontented, and more peacefully industrious, adopting effectively the courses most likely to develope the resources of the country. Thus proceeding, he hoped that the bitter enmities lately subsisting would be abated; and, such being the case, he had no fear that the people of this country, when they saw that such were the genial fruits of a conciliatory system in Ireland, would regard it with satisfaction and delight. The interest of the whole Empire was the good of every reflecting and honest man; and this was one of the cases in which he believed that patriotic men should forget party considerations in their regard for the common good. It was in that spirit he desired to meet this question. If the Motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield were to be brought forward as a distinct proposition, and could be supported in unison with the success of the Government measure, it should have his support; but if he found that, by entertaining it at this time, he should impede the measure before the House—a measure which he felt to be at once both practical in its application and just in its principle—he should then feel that his hon. Friend (Mr. Ward's) proposition was at this time one which he should be justified in opposing.
§ Viscount Jocelyn
said, that his noble Friend who had lately spoken represented the sentiments of a large body of Irish Protestants—of a body of men for whom he 815 had every respect, although he sometimes differed from them. The thought, however, more than once came across his mind, whilst his noble Friend was speaking, that if any stranger had entered the House, unaware of the subject of discussion, he would naturally have imagined that the measure which had been introduced was one for the abolition of the Irish Church; if not for the destruction of the Protestant religion in Ireland. For his own part, he looked upon the measure before them as one of justice and sound policy. He felt some difficulty in addressing the House after a four nights' debate, during which he knew that all the arguments bearing in any way upon the question had been adduced and applied; but he felt, considering his personal position in Ireland—connected, as he was, with those with whom it was most painful for him to differ, he felt himself called upon to state the grounds upon which he would give his warm and cordial support to the proposed grant for the College of Maynooth—a course, too, which he would be permitted to remind the House, was not inconsistent with his former conduct, as almost the first words which he had spoken in that House were in favour of the annual grant formerly made to that College. Now, in reference to the present proposition, Members of the Government were accused of having changed their opinions with their places. But it was extraordinary that, in the whole course of the debate, not an expression of his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, for example, had been brought forward in support of the assertion. His right hon. Friend invariably supported that grant; and during the time he was Chief Secretary for Ireland, that grant was increased. Previously to the right hon. Baronet entering office, he publicly staled that his chief difficulty would be the government of Ireland. He consequently declared that he should administer the affairs of that country justly, but in a spirit of conciliation. In a short period after his accession to office, a degree of excitement prevailed in Ireland which seemed to call for strong measures of repression. Asking for no extraordinary powers, he put down that excitement and restored tranquillity; and now, in the fulfilment of the remainder of his promise, he had laid on the Table this conciliatory measure. If he had not formed his opinion long since on the matter, this 816 debate would have brought him to the conclusion he had originally arrived at, that there was no ground for opposing this measure as a matter of principle. It was, in his opinion, a measure of justice and sound policy. He referred to any one connected with Ireland, indeed, he might appeal to the speech of his noble friend (Lord Bernard) for an illustration of his position, that the political differences and strife which prevailed there were fanned by religious differences and animosities. It was the duty of the Government, if not to assuage, at least to smooth the differences between the two parties in that country. He had always held it a wise and sound policy to endeavour to connect the people with the State by the ties of gratitude. Looking to the people of Ireland—remembering there were seven millions there who professed the Roman Catholic religion; recollecting the feelings of the Roman Catholics towards their priesthood; knowing the power which that clergy might exercise, either for evil or for good—it appeared to him, though of a totally different creed, that it was a wise policy to show our feeling of sympathy, by anxiety for the improvement of those to whom the people looked with respect; and he for one was ready to act towards them with liberality. He now came to the speech of the hon. member for Newcastle. If that hon. Gentleman had not commenced by telling them he should oppose this measure, he should be led to believe from his arguments that he was supporting it. He had brought forward no broad principle on which to base his opposition. He admitted to a certain degree there was a contract, but urged that it should not be understood as justifying an increase of this grant. He admitted that the education of the Irish Roman Catholic clergy was inadequate to their wants, but he opposed the present proposal on some theory of his own. The hon. Gentleman then attempted to draw a comparison between the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood and that of the people of Prussia. From the age of eight to twenty, he said, the people of Prussia were placed under the protection of the State, and were compelled to go through a certain course of study. But there was no analogy between the two cases. The State in this country did not stand in the same relation to the people. The people of England, 817 Ireland, and Scotland would soon resent such an interference with the education of laymen as that referred to. The only comparison that could be justly drawn was between the education of the Roman Catholic clergy in Prussia and the clergy of Maynooth. He had it from the highest authority in this country, that there was no interference whatever with the doctrines or discipline of the Roman Catholic clergy in Prussia. The hon. Gentleman also admitted that there was no new principle involved in this Bill—that the practice adopted towards our Colonies justified its introduction. But at the same time the hon. Gentleman put forward what appeared to him (Lord Jocelyn) a most dangerous statement. He said that, in order to maintain our Colonies, it was necessary to give a State support to a religion which we believe to be erroneous. What was this but saying to the Irish people, "Agitate, agitate: make it necessary to our safety to establish the Roman Catholic religion, and you shall have the grant necessary for that purpose." He should next say a word as to the brilliant speech of the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, from one passage of which he must dissent. The right hon. Gentleman charged his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government with having deluded his followers. He charged him with having worked up the feelings of the country by an appeal to prejudices with which he had no sympathy whatever. But he would ask that right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord the Member for London, whether they would be willing to hold themselves responsible for the opinions of those who generally supported them—whether they could defend every word uttered at the Corn Exchange or the League? He should give his support to the measure of his right hon. Friend, because he found no new principle involved in it, and because he believed the Roman Catholics required that some improvement should take place in the education of their priests. He had had within the last two years an opportunity of visiting the institution of Maynooth, and he could vouch for the accuracy of the statement made by his right hon. Friend. It did occur to him, as he went through the institution, with what feelings must those brought up within these walls look on the State which provides them with such paltry means of education. In this measure he 818 saw no danger to that religion which he believed to be true. He believed so fully in its truth, that he could not apprehend danger to it from the addition of 17,000l. a-year to the College of Maynooth. I shall support heartily (said the noble Viscount) the measure of my right hon. Friend, and though the vote may be a painful one, yet I trust the measure, in whose favour it is given, will have the effect of conducing to the feelings we have all at heart—those of kindness and sympathy between the Protestants and Roman Catholics.
§ Mr. Bright
was anxious to make a few observations on the principle on which he should give his vote; because he believed he should be obliged to pass into the lobby along with a number of Members of the House from whose principles he entirely dissented; and, after the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Bandon, he thought that any one who voted with him had need to explain why he voted on his side, for anything more unlike the principles of the present day, more intolerant, or more insane with respect to the policy to be pursued towards Ireland he had never heard; and he could not have believed that any man coming from that country could have used such language in addressing that House. He did not think that this question was to be looked at in a favourable or unfavourable light because of the party from whom it came. Some hon. Members had charged the right hon. Baronet with inconsistency, and had in some degree thrown the blame of his conduct on the measure which he had introduced. The right hon. Baronet had, from unfortunate circumstances, been connected with a party in Opposition of such a nature, that he could never promote any good measure whilst in power without being charged, and justly, with inconsistent conduct. But he would look at the measure as a measure by itself, and, if it were a good measure he would vote for it as willingly, coming from the present Government as if it came from the Government which had preceded it. But he objected to this measure on the ground, that it proposed to vote some of the public taxes for the purpose of maintaining an institution purely ecclesiastical, and for the rearing and educating of the priests of a particular sect. He was the more strongly against the Bill, because, from all that had been said on 819 both sides of the House, and from all that he could learn from the public papers, and even from the organs of the Government, he was convinced that there was no argument which had been used in defence of this measure, which would not be just as valid for the defence of further measures, not for the payment of Catholic priests of the College of Maynooth only, but for the payment of all the priests in Ireland or in England. He admitted that the principles and the arguments which had justified the original vote were good to some extent to justify this vote. The right hon. Baronet in his opening speech had stated that the principle was conceded, that it was but a matter of a few thousand pounds. But if the principle were conceded now, ten or twenty years hence some Prime Minister might stand up and state that in 1795 the principle was conceded, and in 1845 that concession — or rather, that principle was again sanctioned; and then arguing from the two cases, it would be easy to demonstrate that it was no violation of principle whatever to establish a new church in Ireland, and add thereby to the monstrous evils which now existed there from the establishment of one in connexion with the State. The right hon. Baronet had paid no great compliment to the Irish Catholics in the possession of means and property, when he had said that the 9,000l. now voted was just sufficient to damp the generosity of the people of that country. If 9,000l. were enough in some degree to check their generosity, he should think that a sum of 26,000l. was sufficient to destroy it altogether. When he considered that the gentry of Ireland paid no Income Tax and no Property Tax, and no assessed taxes, he did not think it would be a thing altogether impossible, or to be unlooked for, that they should have supported an establishment for the rearing of priests to teach that religion to which they professed to be so much devoted. But the object of this measure was to him just as objectionable, when he learned that it was intended by this vote to soothe the discontent which existed in Ireland. He would look at the causes whence this discontent arose. Did it arise because the priests of Maynooth were now insufficiently clad or fed? He had always thought that it arose from the fact that one-third of the people were paupers—that almost all of them were not in regular employment at the 820 very lowest rate of wages—and that the state of things amongst the bulk of the population was most disastrous, and to be deplored; but he could not for the life of him conceive how the grant of additional money to Maynooth was to give additional employment, or food, or clothing to the people of Ireland, or make them more satisfied with their condition. He could easily see how, by the granting of this sum, the Legislature might hear far less in future times, of the sufferings and wrongs of the people of Ireland than they had heard heretofore; for they found that one large means of influence, possessed by those who had agitated for the redress of Irish wrongs, was to be found in the support which the Irish Catholic clergy had given to the various associations for carrying on political agitation; and the object of this Bill was to tame down those agitators — it was a sop given to the priests. It was hush-money given, that they might not proclaim to the whole country, to Europe, and to the world the sufferings of the population to whom they administered the rites and the consolations of religion. He took it that the Protestant Church of Ireland was at the root of the evils of that country. The Irish Catholics would thank them infinitely more if they were to wipe out that foul blot, than they would even if Parliament were to establish the Roman Catholic Church alongside of it. They had had everything Protestant—a Protestant clique which had been dominant in the country; a Protestant Viceroy to distribute places and emoluments amongst that Protestant clique; Protestant judges who had polluted the seats of justice. ["No."] Protestant magistrates, before whom the Catholic peasant could not hope for justice. ["No, no."] They had not only Protestant, but exterminating landlords, and more than that, a Protestant soldiery, who at the beck and command of a Protestant priest, had butchered and killed a Catholic peasant, even in the presence of his widowed mother. ["No."] All these things were notorious; he merely stated them. He did not bring the proof of them: they were patent to all the world, and that man must have been unobservant, indeed, who was not perfectly convinced of their truth. The consequence of all this was, the extreme discontent of the Irish people; and because that House was not prepared 821 yet to take those measures which would be really doing justice to Ireland, and to wipe away that Protestant Establishment which was the most disgraceful institution in Christendom; the next thing was, that they should drive off the watch dogs, if it were possible, and take from O'Connell and the Repeal Association that formidable organization which had been established throughout the whole country, through the sympathies of the Catholic priests being bound up with the interests of the people. Their object was to take away the sympathy of the Catholic priests from the people, and to give them more Latin and Greek. The object was to make the priests in Ireland as tame as those of Suffolk and Dorsetshire. The object was that, when the horizon was brightened every night with incendiary fires, no priest of the paid establishment should ever tell of the wrongs of the people amongst whom he was living; and when the population were starving, and pauperized by thousands, as in the southern parts of England, the priests should not unite themselves with any association for the purpose of wresting from an oppressive Government those rights to which the people had a claim. He was altogether against this system for any purpose, under any circumstances, at any time whatever. Nothing could be more disastrous to the best interests of the community, nor more dangerous to religion itself. If the Government wanted to make the priests of Ireland as useless for all practical purposes as the paid priests of their own Establishment, they should not give them 26,000l. merely, but as much as they could persuade that House to agree to. Ireland was suffering, not from the want of another Church, but rather because she already has one Church too many; for with the present Church having a small community, overpaid ministers, a costly Establishment, and little work, it was quite impossible to have peace and content in that country. If you give the Catholic priests a portion of the public funds, as the Government gave the Regium Donum to the Presbyterians of the North, they would unite with the Church as the Presbyterians did against any attempt to overturn the old system of Church and State alliance in that country. The experience of State Churches was not of a character to warrant the House in going further in that direction. In this 822 country there was a State Church, and he did not deny that there were many excellent ministers in it; but from time immemorial it had been characterized by a most deplorable and disastrous spirit of persecution, which, even at this hour still existed; for that Church was persecuting a poor shoemaker at Cambridge for nonpayment of church rates, and pursuing him from court to court. That Church had been upheld as a bulwark against Catholicism, and yet all the errors of Catholicism found a home and a hearty welcome there. In Lancashire and Yorkshire, and other places, that Church was found to be too wieldy a machine, and altogether unfitted to a population growing in numbers and intelligence like that of those neighbourhoods. Even in Scotland, where there was a model of the most perfect Establishment which perhaps could be raised, there were the Secession Church, the Relief Church, and the Free Church; that which the State upheld being called by the complimentary name of the Residuary Church. After the experience of such State Churches, which had done so little good, and so much evil, was this a time for establishing another Church? If he approved of church endowments by the State he would vote for this Bill with all his heart, because it was calculated to create a kinder feeling towards this country amongst the people of Ireland. Two parties opposed to the Bill were represented by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. They stated that the Roman Catholic religion should not be established or helped by the State. But when their Church was absorbing millions of the public money, while millions of their countrymen refused to enter its doors, how could they for a moment object to the passing of a measure which would give some sort of show of assistance to that Church to which millions of the Irish people belonged? The Nonconformist or Dissenting party in this country were opposed to the measure; but by some of them a spirit was mixed up with their agitation of this question which showed that they did not understand, or did not value, the great principles of Nonconformity for which their forefathers struggled and suffered. He alluded more especially to a portion of the Wesleyan body, which, he believed, did not altogether repudiate the principle of endowment. But, with regard to the rest, he 823 was persuaded that their agitation against that principle was honest. If the Dissenters looked back to all that their forefathers had suffered, aye, even within a late period, they would be recreant to their own principles, and merit the contempt of the House and of the world, if they did not come forward manfully to uphold their own principles, and dissent from and oppose the measure under the consideration of the House. For himself he should oppose the measure in every stage, simply on one ground, that he believed the principle of endowment to be most unjust and injurious to the country, and whatever might be the effect on any Government, whether that of the right hon. Baronet or any that had preceded or would succeed him, no strength of attachment to party or Government would induce him to tamper with what he held the greatest and dearest principle which any man or any body of men could take up. When he looked back to the history of this country, and considered its present condition, he must say, that all that the people possessed of liberty, had come, not through the portals of the cathedrals and the parish churches, but from the conventicles, which were despised by hon. Gentlemen opposite. When he knew that if a good measure was to be carried in that House, it must be by men who were sent thither by the Nonconformists of Great Britain; when he read and saw that the past and present State alliance with religion was hostile to religious liberty, preventing all growth, and nearly destroying all vitality in religion itself, then he should hold himself to have read, thought, and lived in vain, if he voted for a measure which in the smallest degree should give any further assistance to the principle of endowment; and, in conclusion, he would only tell the Dissenters of England to act in the same way, and to stand upon their own great pure and unassailable principle; for, if they stood by it manfully, and worked for it vigorously, the time might come, nay, it would come, when that principle would be adopted by the Legislature of the country.
§ Lord J. Manners
Sir, the hon. Member for Durham has applied epithets to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Bandon, which, had they come from any other hon. Member of this House, I should have considered rather strong. That speech was characterized by a knowledge of eccle- 824 siastical and civil history; and as the hon. Member agrees with the noble Lord in the conclusion to which he came, I was at a loss to understand why "insane" should be applied to the reasoning on which that conclusion was founded until I heard the hon. Member appeal to English history himself, and then, Sir, all my surprise was at end. The hon. Gentleman said, it is to the conventicles that we owe whatever we possess of liberty: to which of them, I ask the hon. Gentleman, are we indebted for Magna Charta? I can't, Sir, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford on his new ally. But, Sir, passing away from the hon. Gentleman and his readings in history, I will consider the question now at issue before the House. I was one of those Tory Members who, in the summer of 1843, when the affairs of Ireland were discussed at great length, and under circumstances of no ordinary gravity in this House, expressed a strong opinion that there were remedial measures which a Tory Minister, such as Strafford, or Tyrconnel, or Mr. Pitt, would not have hesitated to propose; and who, when Her Majesty's Ministers declared in reply, that "concession had reached its utmost limits," backed that opinion by a vote hostile to those Ministers. I feel it now, therefore, to be right and just towards the Government, labouring as it is under the odium of proposing a measure which I then approved, and still approve of, to come forward publicly, and not shrink from bearing my share, humble as it may be, in that odium, and vindicating to the best of my power this proposal of Her Majesty's Ministers. In this wreck of parties, this general confusion of men and principles, when you, as you fix your speech-permitting eye on the Member who is fortunate enough to catch it, know not on which side he is about to speak; I know and feel that it is a most difficult matter to shape out a clear, distinct course of action, and to carry it out consistently; but though difficult, it is not impossible, and I will apply myself to elucidating the course which I think Churchmen may take on this subject, and to combating some of the arguments which are used to induce them to oppose the proposition of Her Majesty's Ministers. I say some of the arguments, because, Sir, with that one great assertion which combines the otherwise inharmonious forces of Protestantism, in one compact phalanx of opposition to the measure, I have no concern—the 825 assertion, namely, that the Roman Catholic religion is Anti-Christian, and that consequently any support given by the State to Maynooth is treason against Christianity. All those, Sir, who believe so, are not only right, but are imperatively called upon, to wage the war they are waging against this grant, and as no reasoning could have any effect upon such a belief, so I shall pass at once from this ground of opposition, contenting myself with saying, that the Church of England nowhere imposes so tremendous a belief on her members, and that I come to the consideration of the question totally unmoved by such arguments, unless it be to pity those who are conscientiously compelled to use them. It is said, then, by the noble Lord the Member for Bandon, and by others, that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is in a schismatical position, and that to endow the seminary from which her priests are to come, is consequently to endow and perpetuate schism. But, Sir, admitting that position to be one of schism, I say it is impossible for any one paying respect to history, to lay the blame entirely upon her. It is we, the English people, the Puritans of Elizabeth and Cromwell, we who invented the Penal Code, and gave the Irish peasants an English speaking clergy, and an alliance with Scotch Presbyterianism, who are, at least equally with them, responsible for that schism; and I look in vain through the annals of the Church for a precedent that can justify us now in regarding the Roman Catholic Irish Church as guiltily schismatical: nor when I come to consult the standards of our Church, and the works of her holiest and most learned divines, can I find anything which would lead me to think I am acting disloyally towards her in sanctioning this grant. The English Church acknowledges the validity of Roman Catholic orders, acknowledges that Church as an authorized administrator of the sacraments, and as a true, though not altogether blameless portion of the Church universal:—Speak gently of our sister's fall,Who knows but gentle loveMay win her, at her patient call,The surer way to prove.This, Sir, has ever been the language of the English Church since the Reformation; and as a loyal son of that Church, I do not consider myself bound to withhold my support from this proposition. But then it is argued this endowment of Maynooth is fraught with danger to the Irish Church, and will ultimately occasion her 826 downfall. The cry is raised, "The Church in danger." Yes, Sir, I admit that it is; but it is not from this grant to Maynooth, nor yet from the Vatican, nor yet from the Jesuits, that the Irish Church is in peril. It is from herself, from her own self-willed and disobedient laity, that she suffers and is in danger: they, who would have her discard every note of a church, and, isolating themselves from the rest of Catholic Christendom, fraternize with the Puritan, and denounce priestcraft with the Presbyterian. No, Sir, when I see sons of that Church joining with the Presbyterian ministers to subject, in the words of that venerable Prelate who now so worthily fills the see of Jeremy Taylor, addressed publicly to the Primate of all Ireland, their faithful clergy to slander, insult, and persecution; when I hear the complaints of such among the clergy as endeavour to fulfil their ordination vows; when I see and hear all this, and then listen to the outcry raised of "The Irish Church in Danger," I admit it indeed to be in danger, but am irrisistibly reminded of the dying words of the martyred Laud on the scaffold, "Poor Church of England. It hath flourished and been a shelter to other neighbouring churches, when storms have driven upon them. But, alas! now it is in a storm itself, and God only knows how or when it shall get out. And, which is worse than a storm from without, it is become like an oak cleft to shivers with wedges made out of its own body. And that Church which all the Jesuits' machinations could not ruin, is fallen into danger by her own." These, Sir, are my reasons for thinking that, as a Churchman, I am free in conscience either to support or oppose this grant; and it is as a statesman, therefore, that I must come to a decision upon it. And here again, Sir, as on the church argument, I refused to be concluded by an assertion of the Anti-Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church, so now when we consider the question on grounds of State policy, do I set no store by the declarations and oaths which the political Protestantism of the last 150 years has engrafted upon the English Constitution. They may, who list, trace all the glory, and renown, and magnificence of the old English monarchy to the Dutch conquest of 1688, which subverted it, and see in the Penal Code and Protestant Ascendancy the safeguards of the Empire: but for myself, Sir, I claim a liberty to mount higher, and to act in 1845, as 827 though William the Third had died Stadholder of Holland. Under what aspect, then, is the present position of Roman Catholic education in Ireland presented to us? We find, to begin, six or seven millions of Roman Catholics, whose priests were once educated abroad, but who for the last fifty years, at the express desire of the State, have been educated at Maynooth. I have said at the "desire" of the State; I might have used a stronger word, and said by the compulsion of the State. By the Penal Laws it forbade them to be educated abroad, though to be sure it took equal pains to prevent their being educated at home; and those funds which the piety and charity of English and Irish Roman Catholics had managed to devote to educational purposes in France, it deliberately handed over to confiscation by the French Government, when compensation was awarded to all other English claims: the Returns which have been moved for by the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool will show, unless I am greatly misinformed, that £160,000 was thus sacrificed to the then policy of the State. Such were then the laws of the country, such the policy of the State; and what is the conclusion which I draw from these facts? Why, that they who argue now in favour of Irish priests receiving their education abroad, should have taken care to prevent such monstrous injustice from being perpetrated, and should be able to show that the fury of revolutions and the iniquities of restorations have left funds applicable for that purpose. The Slate, then, by all means, good, bad, and indifferent, has for fifty years settled that the Irish Roman Catholic priests shall be educated in Ireland; and this is the actual position of things. "Now." say they who argue against this grant on grounds of State policy, "we have had experience enough of the Maynooth educated priests to see that this experiment has failed, and we therefore say, give it up!" It is very easy, Sir, to cry out "a failure;" to brand a rural priesthood as ignorant, turbulent bigots; to exclaim against the dirt and disloyalty of Maynooth and to draw a touching comparison between the manners of the old foreign educated priests, and those of the existing race: nothing easier; but I own, to my mind this failure, in the first place, is not so palpable; in the second, if it be such as you describe it to be, I think it probable that the right hon. Gentleman is right in laying the blame of it rather at the door 828 of St. Stephen's than at that of St. Patrick's; and in the third place, I am disposed to agree with him rather than with you in the proposed measures for remedying it. As to this failure, what is it? Why, that this seminary, at which you board and educate 400 young men for £9,000 a year, has not given them the accomplishments of Padua, or the graces of Paris. Very likely not; did you ever imagine that it would? But worse than this; it has not turned out a loyal and an enduring clergy, who should preach passive obedience and Christian non-resistance to their flocks your fathers persecuted; and you, according to your powers, still persecute such of the English clergy as hold those doctrines. But, Sir, after all, is this accusation just? I greatly suspect not. I do believe that loyalty of an exalted kind is taught at Maynooth; that loyalty which dictated those pastoral letters which this winter came from the titular archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and which might be engraved in golden capitals with no bad effect on the conspicuous parts of Conciliation-hall and Covent-garden. But it is the practical lessons of after life; the struggles, and the contumely, the keen sense of undeserved inferiority, and the bitter anomalies to which they are subject, that beat down the theoretical loyalty they had learned in that poverty-stricken cloister, and supplies its place with a passionate and blind anxiety to work out the political regeneration of their country. To this extent then, Sir, I may admit the alleged failure; but on the other hand, can these rustic priests, these uncouth pastors be said to have failed in their most real, most important Christian duties? Has the morality of the people diminished under their tutelage? Are the men less sober, the women less chaste than under the old régime? Do they live idle and careless lives, performing their sacred functions mechanically, and as seldom as they may? or are they still to the Irish people, in the words of my hon. friend the Member for Canterbury—The priests, those gentle priests and good, their fathers loved to hear,Sole type below, midst work and woe, of the God whom they revere;discharging their awful duties with a zeal and a self-denial which the clergy of another communion need not be ashamed to emulate. If, Sir, they be such, in spite of all the circumstances of penury and 829 meanness in which you have educated them; though their manner may be rustic, their address uncouth, their accent provincial, then let me have liberty to entreat Protestant Gentlemen in this House to pause before they in a contemptuous sentence condemn the priesthood of a religion which their language leads me to believe they neither esteem nor understand. But perhaps the strongest argument against an endowment of Maynooth on grounds of State policy, is that urged with great force and vigour in the remarkable pamphlet called "Maynooth, the Crown, and the Country," from which I may be permitted to say many of the arguments in this debate have been drawn. It is there urged that whereas in all other countries, Catholic or Protestant, which acknowledge and patronize the Roman Catholic Church, the most careful safeguards are devised, the most stringent conditions enforced to secure the supremacy of the temporal ruler, as against the Roman power; in this Empire alone no such precautions are taken; here alone is total free trade with Rome. "The British nation," it is said, "pays for Maynooth, and the Pope governs it; and may it not now be justly required that either the nation should cease to support, or the Pope cease to rule it?" I cannot deny there is force in such an argument; the premises are well and clearly drawn up. The priests on their ordination swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff; the bishops at their consecration swear to defend and maintain the papacy and the royalties of St. Peter against; all men the archbishops may not exercise their functions before they receive the pallium from Rome. Priests, bishops, and archbishops are thus all ubjects of Rome, and Maynooth is placed exclusively under their direction. These are the premises: I admit them; but in the conclusion to be derived from them, the learned author and myself differ. He would have us renounce all dealings with such a body: the conclusion to which I, on the other hand, am irresistibly impelled by these premises is—acknowledge frankly and at once that power which you thus admit to be so great, and which hitherto you have, with a childish and fatal obstinacy, pretended to ignore. Accredit a Minister to the Vatican, receive a Nuncio at St. James's! You complain that you have not the securities which Austria and Russia, France and Prussia possess; but it is yourselves you have to thank for that want. Common sense, Christian charity, political 830 necessity all call upon you to take this course; and yet, endowing Maynooth, acknowledging a Roman Catholic hierarchy throughout the whole of your vast Colonial dominions, using even your Post Office to ward off danger from the Papal States, you still refuse to acknowledge the existence of that monarchy which was great before England was a kingdom, and which possesses, according to your own statements, such tremendous power in every part of your Empire. I have thus, Sir, endeavoured to combat the chief objections I have heard made against the Ministerial proposal; permit me now to express my entire agreement in the repudiation of my right hon. Friend and Colleague (Mr. Gladstone), of the great argument in vogue out of doors to reconcile Exeter-hall to the measure: like him, Sir, I do not vote for it because it will Protestantize Ireland. No, Sir, I vote for this grant in that generous, confiding spirit to which the First Lord of the Treasury invited us. I join him heartily in this: but will he permit me, in return, to remind him that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is not the only ecclesiastical body towards which the State may be expected to manifest a generous, confiding spirit? He may believe me, Sir, that the opposition he is now encountering from so large and so respectable a portion of the English Church, is none the less strong, none the less sustained, because they feel that the conduct of the Government has been the reverse of generous and confiding towards that Church, which it is still a pleasant fiction to designate as allied to the State. In Canada and Ireland, in Australia and England, and above all in Wales, does the Church complain of wrong, and insult, and contempt; and while, Sir, I cordially join with the right hon. Gentleman in dealing thus generously towards the Roman Catholic Church, I hope we may augur from this magnanimity to Maynooth, a return to a more generous and confiding bearing on the part of the State towards the Church of England: and I will venture to believe, that this grant to Maynooth will not only prove an olive branch to Ireland, but the pledge of a recurrence to sound Church principles in England. With every feeling, then, of confidence that as a Churchman I am not acting disloyally towards the Church in sanctioning this measure, and as a statesman that I am promoting the best interests of my country, I give my vote for this Bill of permanent endowment to the College 831 of Maynooth. I vote for it because it is an act of kindness and justice towards the Irish people whom we have so long persecuted and oppressed; and because it may, however remotely, hasten the advent of that blessed day when, with mutual confessions of pride and hard-heartedness, and with April tears of contrition and of joy, we and they shall kneel before the common altars of our common faith—a consummation which alone can effectually avail to Christianize the expanded and expanding empire of commerce and manufactures; to give to toil its just reward, and hallow it with a Christian benediction; heal the sores and bind up the wounds of bleeding, distracted Ireland; and render England what she once was, and may be yet again, the queen of the nations, the glory of Christendom, stretching her roots down into the richest soil of antiquity, and spreading her fruitful branches into the measureless expanse of unseen futurity.
§ Mr. Rutherfurd
thought that the arguments in favour of the grant were unanswerable. In what position did they find the question? They found the College of Maynooth established in 1795, when Ireland was under the government of an exclusively Protestant Legislature and Executive—a Legislature and Executive certainly extremely jealous of the rights and interests of Protestantism. They then found this College continued, by Acts of the Imperial Legislature, for fifty years, and made the subject of annual grants by the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Gentleman then argued, with respect to the question of compact, that there was no compact to prevent Parliament from interfering, if Maynooth were an establishment dangerous to the safety of the realm. The question, as it appeared to him, became narrowed into a very small compass, when it was found that no section of the House, nor, as he believed, any individual in it—certainly not any individual of great authority and weight—had ventured to propose that Maynooth should be abolished, or the Parliamentary grant withdrawn. The question, then, he conceived, must be argued upon the admission that the grant must not be withdrawn, but that it must continue to receive that public support which, for fifty years, it had obtained from that House. Next, it was to be considered whether a case had been made out for the grant now proposed. Upon 832 this part of the subject, he was not inclined to concur with the right hon. Member for Perth, in quoting the testimony of a Mr. Grant in regard to the condition of the College of Maynooth; but relied with, the most implicit credit upon the official statement of the right hon. Baronet. The facts which that contained clearly called upon the House to increase the grant, and to rescue the establishment from its ruinous, dilapidated condition, and its straitened accommodation; a state utterly unbecoming any national institution. He could scarcely think that there would be any opposition to an increase of the grant, and to make the College worthy of its founder and its purposes. As regarded the permanency which it was proposed to bestow upon it, he was opinion that they had arrived at the time when it would be of great advantage to get rid of the heartburnings which the annual discussion was sure to create, and to avoid the renewal year after year of the bitterest feelings upon a topic of immense importance. But, above all, he thought it would be advantageous, because he was of opinion it would be an earnest to Ireland that she was at length to reap the fruits of the Union, in its letter and spirit, which was that of her equal adoption in every sense. That he considered was a most important view to take of the question; and he trusted she would take this grant as an earnest not only from the present Government, but from the Legislature, that she was now about to experience the benefits of the Union. What were the purposes for which the Union was carried? Surely not to strengthen the hands of party for any purposes of oppression and degradation, but to protect the people, and to raise them to an equality with their English brethren in all their rights and privileges—to elevate their intellectual character, to secure Protestant interests without injury to Catholic claims—and to use a word so much and frequently abused—by securing Protestant ascendancy, to enable them to govern Ireland without exclusive reference to Protestant or Catholic views. He was convinced that that grant would produce a great change in the feeling of Ireland towards England, and that it would form a consolidation of sentiment throughout the Empire. It was utterly impossible to continue in the same course they had pursued towards that country, and he trusted that it would also 833 be impossible to proceed in the plan which they had now adopted, without cementing the feelings and interests of the two countries, and enabling Government to carry measures which would enlighten the people of Ireland, improve their social condition, and establish a sound system of religious instruction, which would not endanger or injure Protestantism. He knew that, he was delivering an opinion against the sentiments of many of his constituents. He knew that he might be called to account for his vote; but his reply would be, that the question was one with respect to which he must act on his own convictions; and he must not rely on the opinions of the hour or of the day, because he was sure that many years, perhaps that many months might not pass over the heads of his constituents, without their coming to the opinions and according in the sentiments he had that day expressed, and which he must entertain when he knew that the true interests of a great empire were at stake.
§ Mr. Smythe
I remember to have read, Sir, a remark made by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, when he proposed a measure somewhat analogous to this — I mean when he brought forward the Catholic Relief Bill—when be stated, that one of the reasons which induced him to anticipate that the measure must, sooner or later, be carried, was the fact that all the young men of the day who had recently come from the universities, were in favour of Catholic Emancipation. I think it rather strange that in the course of these debates, and in the right hon. Gentleman's own Government, we may remark the same distinctions. We see the right hon. Gentleman, who has upon this occasion pursued a liberal, a wise, and a conciliatory course, followed in that liberal, and wise, and conciliatory course by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War (Mr. S. Herbert), and by my noble Friend who has addressed the House this evening, the Member for Lynn (Lord Jocelyn), whilst at the same time we find the right boa. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer still so true to his ancient reminiscences, that be cannot speak of the Roman Catholic priests, even in bringing in a measure of grace and of concession, with out saying that the education at May- 834 nooth was as disgraceful to the country which affords the means of sustaining this education, as it was degrading to the priests who receive it; and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland speaks of the measure as an act of charity. Now, feeling strongly that the subject is most important, it is on no such grounds that I can bring myself to support it. I remember that, two years ago, as has been stated by my noble Friend, I, in common with him, anticipated the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion. Unfortunately my watch was upon this, as upon other occasions, five minutes too fast. And I need not tell the House that there is a considerable difference between going before or going in company with the right hon. Gentleman. I remember upon that occasion to have incurred much odium and some misconstruction from these who believed, with too fond a credulity, that "concession had reached its utmost limit." And I particularly remember an attack of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Sandon)—and I can assure the noble Lord I do not remember it for its severity—upon the rashness and forwardness of youth! I think I might now retort upon the rashness and forwardness of riper age, on the proverbial extragavance of young conversions, and protest against the principle of restitution, which, if the noble Lord means it, he ought to vote against this grant as an absurdity, and which, if he do not mean it, it is a wanton insult of the Member for Liverpool against and to the Irish Protestant Establishment. But the noble Lord is an hereditary waverer. However, if I was a worse courtier than the noble Lord, I was a better judge. I never doubted that the right hon. Gentleman, who has been characterized by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield as the great doer of his age, as he had done Emancipation so would he do Maynooth. I was not deceived by the extreme Protestantism of the right hon. Gentleman's adolescence.—he was then the Member for the University of Oxford. Nor am I among those who believe that the right hon. Gentleman is the enemy of Ireland; although it is susceptible of some doubt whether Ireland is not the enemy of the right hon. Gentleman. He treats it so considerately, so caressingly—almost as caressingly as if it was an Opposition: he carries all the measures that it wants, and among them none was ever wiser, or 835 juster, or more necessary, than the present Bill. And among the many contrasts which the right hon. Gentleman's long career affords, there is none which history will record more favourably than the contrast between Mr. Secretary Peel and Sir Robert Peel the Prime Minister of England. The young and proscribing partisan has become the clement and beneficent ruler—the young Octavius of intolerance is merged in the Augustus of conciliation and of grace. The right hon. Gentleman may in this matter rely on the sincerity of my congratulations, because I know full well how much they will cost me. I know full well what odium I incurred by my suggestions in a former year among an archiepiscopal constituency, not to be well aware that I shall again be at issue with that same archiepiscopal constituency. But, although I prefer my own convictions to theirs in this matter, I am not surprised that theirs are so strong, considering the pains that have been taken to excite them. The pamphlets, the tracts, the speeches, the itinerant lecturers, trading on their own imaginative crapulence; even a Member of this House has condescended to string together a bead-roll of indecencies—a rosary of abominations. Suppose the Irish were to retaliate; suppose they were to compile a cento from the class books of our own colleges and schools; suppose you take the celebrated line of Euripides,—My tongue has sworn it, but my mind is unsworn.Suppose we take a passage from Terence, an ode of Catullus about Mamurra, a sentiment from the symposium of Plato, or a morality of Paley, it would be quite as easy, I suspect, to alarm the Wesleyans, and affright the Independents. Away, then, with this pharisaical hypocrisy, which objects to books of examination, catechetically distributed, but which flings its Lemprieres broadcast among children; which strains at the calendar, but swallows the mythology! But whilst the means are thus glaringly unfair, I am far from underrating their effects. I believe it would be as easy now to raise the No-Popery cry as it was in 1807, or 1827, or 1829. Would that it might be under the control of such as the noble Lord the Member for the county of Dorset (Lord Ashley), whose speech of this evening was characterized by that great ability, and that grave sense of responsibility, which always mark the 836 speeches of the noble Lord; but this will not be. Would, also, that these No-Popery enthusiasts—and I do not mean there are any enthusiasts in this House—would, in their calmer hour, if they ever have one, look back for the last 200 years, and pass in review all the men they have believed in, from Titus Oates down to Lord George Gordon, and from Lord George Gordon down to our own time; and then I think they would agree with me, that the superstition is not all upon one side. If, at the same time, they should take a retrospective glance at their literature, their architecture, and their taste, I think they will be less satisfied than they now are that they, and they alone, are the providential instruments of England's greatness. They will, at any rate, find out that they have always been, as they always will be, betrayed by their own leaders. The moment a great Protestant champion enters this House, still flushed with the plaudits of Exeter-hall, with the doxology perhaps still ringing in his ears, determined to carry all before him, somehow or other I observe common sense acts upon him as religion acts upon a Dervish; he goes round—he kicks a little—but still he goes round; it is a Parliamentary polka, now practising by the whole of that Bench, from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, down to the hon. Member for the county of Selkirk. And this it is—this going round of the great Protestant champions—which renders this "No-Popery" agitation, notwithstanding all its zeal and all its respectability—to my mind synonymous — despite all its numbers, null and inefficient. But of late years another opposition has arisen to this grant, which, for want of a better name, I will call the "Anglican opposition." This party was weak in the House; but it was strong in dialectitians—strong in the universities—strong among young men; and it was supposed, up to Friday last, to have been represented by the right hon. Gentleman my right hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone); and it also claimed illustration from his retirement from office: "De civitate decedere maluit quam de sententia." He left the Cabinet; but he kept his theory. And now does any hon. Gentleman believe the right hon. Gentleman has really abandoned his theory? Abandoned his theory!—yes, Sir, as a certain, society abandons 837 a country—to return to it on the first convenient opportunity. In that cloud of variegated phraseology in which he, as usual, the other night wrapped and shrouded his mysterious divinity, there was only one phrase which was intelligible to vulgar mortals like myself. He said, that notwithstanding his most cherished convictions, he would vote in favour of this Bill. So, then, it is most clear that his most cherished convictions and his votes are at issue. But about the mere vulgarity of voters, the right hon. Gentleman cares little; for upon this very question he has voted all ways. Re voted first against, then in favour of the grant; he then went out of office because the grant was to be increased; then the measure involving the increased grant came to a first reading—he did not vote at all; we are now at the second reading—he is prepared to vote in favour of it. And is any hon. Gentleman—is the right hon. Gentleman himself—quite sure, that upon the third reading he will not find equally good reasons for voting against the measure? But, with regard to "his most cherished feelings," I must be permitted to say one word; and that is, that these feelings are cherished, not by himself alone, but by many converts whom he has convinced, and by many fanatics, whose reason his eloquence has helped to fascinate. And what is their position? What is the principle laid down by them? It is an old enemy with a new face; it is the worst principle of absolutism, disguised in the worst language of the Jesuits; it is the principle of Alva, and the language of Escobar. It begins in a fiction—that because the State has once placed its affiance to a particular system, it is bound to perpetuate that system, to the exclusion of all others to all time. This, to be true, should be universally true; and if it were to prevail at this moment in this country, we should still have the Ptolemaic system in our observatories, and Sir Isaac Newton might only be known somewhat as the right hon. Gentleman may be known—as a crotchetty theologian, but a capital Master of the Mint. But if this principle begins in fiction, it ends in pains and penalties; if it begins in sophistry, it ends in persecution; it is, in one word, the old, vicious, cruel, effete principle of uniformity. Sir, whether the right hon. Gentleman argued against or in favour of this principle, I think his position is equally 838 untenable. The right hon. Gentleman, as an author, wrote in favour of the principle of uniformity, but the argument made use of by the First Lord of the Treasury, in the introduction of this measure, was unanswerable. That argument, characterized by an hon. Member as "the Colonial argument" was this—that the State has for 150 years endowed Presbyterianism in Scotland, paid Presbyterianism in Ireland, and acted as we heard last night from an hon. Member (Mr. Hume,) throughout the whole of our vast peninsula of India, and elsewhere in our dependencies. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), or rather the right hon. Author, had a vision of his own; he was dazzled by the recollection of eleven years in our history, when, to use his own phraseology, many gentlemen of "the Church had exclusive possession of the precincts of Parliament." And when do you suppose were these eleven years?—In the reign of Queen Elizabeth?—In the reign of Queen Anne?—In the reign of that Consul Plancus King George III., of whom we have heard so much? Not so; but in the reign of Charles II., at that happy period when England was the minion and hireling of France; when Ireland was treated as a conquest, and the Irish as savages; and when a very energetic member of the very energetic family of Grahams was sabring Cameronians, and dragooning Scotland into Episcopacy. These were the anni mirabiles of the right hon. Gentleman; I am sure the right hon. Home Secretary will not wish for their recurrence. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) on Friday last advanced his reasons in favour of this measure; and I must say, if ever a good cause was defended by a had apology, it was upon that occasion, because the right hon. Gentleman again came forward with the old principle of "a compact and a pledge." A pledge! and what was Catholic Emancipation? What was the abolition of ten bishoprics in Ireland? What, the Charitable Bequests Act, the other day? What! you will not hear the trumpet-tongue of the Legislature, year after year, and session after session, proclaiming toleration, but you pretend to be guided by the whisper of a Minister, and the hearsay of an engagement as old as the eighteenth century! But upon these refinements I would fain address the right hon. Gentleman in language made use of by a 839 great trade Minister to a great theologian with a theory. Colbert said to Bossuet—when he was urging some of those arguments which eventually ended in the revocation of the edict of Nantez—"All this belongs to your conscience of the Sorbonne; there is another conscience within you—let that speak." So now I would fain say to the right hon. Gentleman, "All this belongs to your conscience of Oxford; there is another conscience within you—let that speak. It will tell the right hon. Gentleman to put things before him more broadly and to the purpose; it will tell him that an ardent and a susceptible people, whose alliance with their priesthood was solemnized in a time of tribulation and misfortune, is not to be divorced from them in the first dawn of a happier era. Not open violence—not "the vicious perfection" of the law—not arms bills, not coercion bills, not laws of mortmain by which you harrassed them, not cy-pres constructions by which you robbed them — none of these things have been able to "put asunder" those whom persecution "had joined together." And, Sir, this more insidious design will also fail, which is lisping with all the insolent euphonism of an old proprietary, that you will disarm the Irish priest by making him a gentleman. A gentleman! that is, something more of an abbé and something less of a curé—something more of a chaplain, and something less of a priest—one who will look more to the patron, and care less for the poor; in a word, "a man of the world," but not of the next world. This design will also fail; or, if it succeed, I pity your short-sightedness. Elevate the Irish priest from the sphere in which he moves, and acts, and has his useful being, and you destroy his influence. It is because he is of the commons that he leads the commons. I know that upon this matter I am at issue with nearly the whole of the House; but I know that a greater legislator (with all respect be it said) than any in this House—that that Napoleon, of whom it will be said that not the least of his many miracles was that he gave back Christianity to France—has recorded his opinion that a priesthood for the people should be of the people. Besides, Sir, I have myself seen the prelacy of Ireland. It was on the day of a great solemnity at Maynooth. Plain men they were, poor men; the same euphuism might brand them as vulgar men. There 840 was about them none of that splendour and array for which the Church of Rome is so rebuked; no pomp, no representation. But I am wrong; there was representation; but it was not the representation of so many thousands a year, but of so many millions of souls. It is these men that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) makes his friends. They will remember that, notwithstanding a powerful opposition, he brought forward a measure of conciliation without restriction and without conditions; and in that hour of emergency and crisis, which those who look at nations and not at Cabinets know cannot be distant—in that hour of emergency and crisis, when your entente cordiale with France shall fail you (as it surely will fail you), you will have an entente cordiale with Ireland to supply its place. In that day, when the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) shall be called upon to rally round him the energies of this mighty Empire—for he alone, notwithstanding all this temporary clamour, represents its requirements—he will be able to adopt to the enemies of England, be they at Washington, or be they at Paris, the solemn and beautiful language of the noble Lord the Member for London,—"Our Queen reigns over a united people."
§ Mr. Redington
could not, as one of the Representatives of Ireland, give a silent vote on the present question. Maynooth had not had a fair trial, and it was time that some justice was done to that institution. It had been asked in the course of the debate why the Roman Catholics of Ireland did not come forward with the necessary funds, and themselves endow the College of Maynooth, where their clergy were educated and trained? He would tell those who asked this question, that England had banished the priests from their native shores, and compelled them to seek refuge abroad; she had also prohibited the Roman Catholic worship in Ireland, and had enforced heavy penalties against those who professed that faith. Mr. Pitt came and established the College of Maynooth; and let him ask was it to be expected, that with an endowment of 9,000l. a-year bestowed by the State upon that establishment—was it to be expected that the people of Ireland would impose upon themselves the burden of defraying that expense, and of educating the community, in addition to the voluntary payments which they made to their 841 priesthood? Besides, be might remind the House that there were large Roman Catholic seminaries at Team and Wexford, and in other places in Ireland, for the purposes of education, the cost of maintaining which was borne by the Roman Catholics, without any assistance being given to them by the State. It had been objected in the course of the debate, that it was impossible to grant an endowment to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, because there was already an Establishment there supported by the State, and consequently it was inconsistent to endow another. He did not think this argument would hold good with respect to Scotland, where the State recognised and supported a Church at variance with the religion recognised by law in England; and he must say, that the objection appeared to him to afford a sound reason for refusing all endowments whatsoever. The argument as to a State religion was denied to Ireland, for there the religion of the people was different from that recognised by the State. He could not see why the principle should be applied in one part of the kingdom, and be rejected in another. For his own part, he thought there was less danger in paying no religion than in paying only one. What was the case in the Continental States? In Prussia, France, and Belgium, all religions professions were placed upon the same footing of equality. But in Ireland Protestantism was attempted to be forced upon the people, without success, for the vast majority retained the faith which had first struck root in the minds of the community. The endowments of the Church were all of them of Roman Catholic origin; and the people not having departed from their original religion, were compelled to resort to the voluntary principle to support their priesthood. Was the House prepared to adopt that principle? Was the House prepared to say that the tithes levied in that country—which according to all the rules of equity were Roman Catholic endowments—was the House, he repealed, prepared to give up the tithes and the Church property in Ireland, and to apply it to national purposes?—for if so, then they would have the voluntary principle in action to-morrow. He would now turn his attention to the Bill before the House. He thought that the state of the College of Maynooth was a disgrace to any institution bearing the name of 842 college; and he believed that the right hon. Baronet opposite had taken a straightforward and honest view of the subject. By his proposition he had dealt fairly and generously with the College. The right hon. Baronet opposite, when he introduced Roman Catholic Emancipation, confessed that he bowed to a moral necessity which he could not control; and he (Mr. Redington) must now be allowed to say that he saw in the present proposition the triumph of those principles which had been ever consistently supported by the noble Lord the Member for London and his party. He could not forget old friends for those who offered new favours. He would offer the right hon. Baronet opposite this advice—to persevere in the principles he had now entered on. Let him, in legislating for Ireland, bear this fact in mind, that out of its population of 8,000,000, there were 7,000,000 of Roman Catholics, and then his legislation, whether it regarded Church or State in that country, would, ultimately, be successful.
§ Debate again adjourned.
§ House adjourned at a quarter ast twelve o'clock.