§ Mr. Cumming Bruce
had felt it to be his duty, when this measure was first introduced, in compliance with what he knew to be the feelings of his constituents, not less than from his own convictions, to record his protest against it. Not having had the fortune to catch the eye of the Chair till a late period in that debate, and till the House had arrived at those small hours when it was accustomed—not unnaturally—to display what, on such a question, he would venture to call an ignorant impatience of discussion, with which fourteen years' experience had taught him it was useless to contend—he had merely stated the conclusions to which he had come, without attempting to explain the grounds on which he had come to them. His conclusions were against the Bill, both on principle and on expediency. His right hon. Friend the late President of the Board of Trade—and why be should have compelled him to address him as the late President, he was utterly at a loss to imagine—was unable to find any principle on which to rest his opposition to this measure; and on that system—he would not call it principle—of compromise, which he had adopted as a necessity of nations—of man in his collective and social capacity—his right hon. Friend had determined to give his support to the Government on grounds of expediency. For himself, he (Mr. C. Bruce) could never believe that true principle was opposed to sound expediency. As we might always find the principle of a Bill in its details, so, he believed, that you might always discover the expediency of every measure really involved in the correctness of its principle. But his right hon. Friend could find no principle on which to rest his opposition to this Bill in a thing so vague, so inde- 861 finite as Protestantism. And yet, facts sufficiently determinate—things and circumstances sufficiently palpable—seemed to him (Mr. C. Bruce) to rest on this principle of Protestanism. The title to the British Crown rested on it—our rights and liberties, in a great measure, rested on it—they had grown up under its shade. Under its protection our national greatness and prosperity—our pre-eminence in learning and knowledge—in arts and science—in manufactures and commerce—in all that rendered us the first nation in the world—had attained their present glorious proportions. Its roots were deep and living in the free and firm soil of English hearts—in the settled and abiding convictions of Scottish conscience and Scottish integrity. Like the oak of England, the storm of passing events—of domestic turbulence or foreign aggression—might rage among its thousand branches, and scatter its green leaves to the wind; but the storm passes, and it stands in the majesty of its strength, in the glory of its beauty. Like the pine tree of his native glens, the torrent of the mountains may swell against it in its fury; but its roots are entwined round, and anchored on the living rock, and the flood beats against it in vain. Like the meteor flag of England, its banner had braved, for 300 years, the battle and the breeze—because the favour of God—the alone Ruler of the destinies of nations—was upon it; and because greater was He that was for it, than all—and that all at one time comprehended the world in arms—than all who were against it. And in this Protestantism his right hon. Friend could find no principle, nothing save an abstraction. Alas! he feared that his right hon. Friend had sought it in some misty recess of the academic groves of their common alma mater; and in that atmosphere, darkened for the moment by the exhalations of antiquated tradition and exploded error, he wondered not that his right hon. Friend had sought it in vain. The accuracy of his vision had been damaged in the search. Time was—not a very remote time—when he took a juster and a truer view, as it seemed to him, of this grant to Maynooth. From his right hon. Friend, he might once have learnt—if he had not previously learned it from other and higher authority—that, "in its principle, it was wholly vicious, and that it will be a thorn in the side of these countries so long as it is con- 862 tinued." Such was the teaching of his right hon. Friend. His reasoning convinced him—he retained his convictions; but his right hon. Friend had now discovered that the principle was "wholly vicious," only because we had not carried it into more extended and practical operation, and that the thorn might be extracted if we would only drive it farther in—if we would only increase the grant, and follow it to its legitimate consequences, by a permanent endowment to the whole Romanist priesthood of Ireland. His right hon. Friend, he was glad to see, did not hold the Romanist doctrine of venial and mortal sin. In regard to theft, for example, that doctrine taught that a small theft was a venial sin, but a more extended one was mortal—if you stole 9,000l. it was venial, but if 30,000l., it would become mortal—that was the Romanist doctrine; but his right hon. Friend reversed all this. 9,000l. with him was mortal sin; but make it 30,000l., and it became venial; or rather it lost its character of sin altogether, and actually became a virtue. Then his right hon. Friend told them that we had no right to plead against this grant its palpable failure in effecting the objects contemplated by Mr. Pitt, till we had also tried what he declares to have been part and parcel of the plan of Mr. Pitt—the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy universally. To use a homely phrase, his right hon. Friend had fallen back on the principle—not likely in this case to find favour with the people of England—of "in for a penny, in for a pound." He had satisfied himself that in politics, as in some other sciences, two negatives made an affirmative; and that, as a statesman, acting in the spirit of an enlightened wisdom, he was bound not to make two bites of a cherry, but to take the whole at once, and return to office. He regretted that his right hon. Friend had ever thought it necessary to leave office. He regretted that the country, even for a short time, should have been deprived of the services which his ability and habits of business so well qualified him to render. And he regretted his retirement still more for the consideration, that by thus calling especial notice to the change in his opinions and the change in his principles, he had raised up unnecessary difficulties in the way of his future services to the country; for these sudden and unlooked for changes in 863 the opinions of those whose uprightness and integrity were above all question, were, above all things, calculated, if not to shake the confidence, yet to bewilder the public judgment of public men; and the House might depend upon it, that the mind of England—which had manifested itself with sufficient distinctness in that flood of petitions which had poured in, and was still pouring in upon the House—though it might find among the present statesmen of the House no exponents of its sentiments and convictions—and this had been used as an argument in this reformed Parliament for the measure—even if it were so barren of ability as not ere long to find them, is not so inert or inactive as to rest satisfied till they are found. As a strong and attached supporter, from long habit and conviction, of the present Government, he must deeply regret any circumstance which, though it might not at present shake, might weaken the respect, and confidence, and attachment which hitherto they had so fully enjoyed; and his earnest hope was that they would yet see it right to abandon a measure opposed alike to the judgment, the feelings, and the consciences of those whose affairs they had been called on to direct, and which hitherto they had directed with so much ability and success. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, who addressed the House the other night, divided his speech—distinguished, as all his speeches were, by great ability—into two parts; the first in praise and support of the measure before the House; the last dedicated to a bitter party attack on those by whom it had been proposed. Of the last, he should only say that it was just what he should have expected from the right hon. Gentleman; and the conclusion which it succeeded in establishing in his mind was simply this — that the right hon. Gentleman was very tired of being on those Benches; very much bored by the literary leisure to which he has been consigned by the national opinion of the official incapacity of the party to whom he belongs: and very anxious, if possible, again to change seats with his right hon. Friends below him, to whose measures he gives his support, like many others who sit around him, in the belief that it may facilitate that operation. Thinking, however, that for all purposes of the practical conduct of affairs, the present Government 864 has showed itself to be the best, as the last showed itself to be the most inefficient, which this country has for many years seen, he could not think that the nation would be gainers if the right hon. Gentleman's longings were gratified. The other part of his speech was divided into three parts. In the first he had endeavoured to prove, that those who had supported the annual grant to Maynooth could not fairly plead any principle on which to rest their opposition to the measure before us. He thought his right hon. Friend entirely failed in his endeavour; but he was careless of following him in that part of his argument, for he had always opposed the grant in times past; and if he opposed this measure he should not be under the necessity of reconciling his past and present votes regarding it. His right hon. Friend next addressed himself to those who opposed the Motion on grounds of conscience, feeling that it is not permitted to them to promote the teaching, in matters of religion, of what they believe to be error. The ingenious sophistries by which his right hon. Friend supported this part of his argument seemed to him every way worthy of the eloquent panegyrist Ignatius Loyola. In the time and study which the right hon. artist dedicated to his masterly portrait of that remarkable man—that magnificent embodiment of indomitable courage and enthusiastic fanaticism—of indifference as to the means, but devotedness as to the object—it was not to be wondered at if the right hon. Gentleman had imbibed something of the great original. Of that great original, whose spirit rules the Maynooth priesthood from its urn, it may indeed be said that—His was a noble mind in a rude stateOf wild, distorted virtue—'cross the fancyIt stalks a gloomy, dark, majestic shade,Angel or fiend, we know not.He was far from wishing to insinuate that the right hon. Gentleman partook of the nature of the last of those spirits; but the temper and motives of the concluding part of his speech made him hesitate to rank him among the number of the first. Before he sat down, he should have occasion to state in what respects, and to what extent, he differed with his right hon. Friend. The third division of his right hon. Friend's arguments was addressed to gentlemen holding what are called volun- 865 tary principles. With them he should leave the right hon. Gentleman to settle their differences the best way he could. He had with them no sympathy—he asked from them no co-operation. His hon. Friend the Member for Perth took a different view of the matter. He had voted for the annual grant; he voted against the permanent endowment. He thought him wrong then; he thought him right: now. He was glad they were for once in a way to go into the same lobby. This House, like misery and Maynooth, made men acquainted with strange bed-fellows. However, he did not say this with any feeling of disrespect to his hon. Friend. He respected both his character and talents, and was gratified to think that on this question they should vote together. But he could not agree in the attack made by his hon. Friend on the Government in respect to their treatment of the new Secession Church in Scotland. The Government had never sought to interfere with the spiritualities of the Kirk. They merely did what they were bound to do, maintained the law, which a party in the Church sought to overleap, in regard to its temporalities. In acting as they did, the men acted in accordance with the sentiments and judgments of nineteen-twentieths of those best qualified to form an opinion on the subject in Scotland. If the Free Churchmen had had their way, they would have established in Scotland a power above the State, an ecclesiastical tyranny, harsher and more revolting than that of Rome itself. He regretted the secession, because some able and many good men had been carried away by it; and because, in support of a distinction without a difference, a blow had been struck against that unity which, as Christians, they were bound to cherish by every means save by a connivance in error. With regard to the 600 new churches of which his hon. Friend boasted, it was part of the tactics of the party to build a church in every parish, if possible, in the close vicinity of the Established Church, and that, whether it were required or not. He knew that in many of them they preached to not very crowded benches; and the excellent appointments made both by the Government and individual patrons to the churches which had been vacated was, in his part of the country, every day, bringing the people back to their communion. He opposed this Bill 866 on principle and expediency. Although, since the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, it may have been competent to individual Members to have proposed it without a violation of principle, he did not think this applied to the Government as the Ministers of a Protestant Crown, acting in accordance with the principles which should regulate their conduct. He did not think it competent for them, with the whole weight and authority of Government, to recommend a measure which was the first step towards the establishment of a religion essentially hostile to Protestantism. When the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was passed, Parliament, in conceding that measure to those principles of toleration and justice, which pleaded powerfully in its favour—asserted also the claim of Protestant principle and character of the Constitution to be recognised in certain very important particulars. It abolished civil disabilities, but it maintained the Protestant Church as that which alone should be entitled to the support of the State, and be venerated as the Established Church of the United Kingdoms of England and Ireland. These were among the securities retained in deference to the Protestant principle which opposed those concessions. No one will say, that without these the Roman Catholic Relief Act would have obtained the sanction of this House, much less the people of Britain. But a permanent grant of public money expressly limited to the support and encouragement of the priesthood of a religion which holds that Protestantism is not only a great error, but also a great crime, and as such to be discouraged, put down, extirpated, not by reason and argument alone, but by force, where circumstances admit of its employment—of a religion which itself recognises no toleration save at the bidding of an irresistible necessity — the granting of a permanent endowment by the State to educate the priesthood of such a religion, seemed to him not only the height of infatuation, but to involve the adoption of a course at variance with, and throwing discredit on, all their past assertions of a determination to maintain the Protestant Church, and the Protestant character of the Constitution. Nor could he find any justification of this proposal in the fact that the establishment of the College of Maynooth was the act of an exclusively Protestant Parliament. On the contrary, 867 having conceded to the Roman Catholics what you have conceded, it appeared to him doubly incumbent on them not to concede any thing more not called for to carry out in a full and a fair spirit the principle of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. That principle was the removal of civil disabilities. No one would pretend that the permanent endowment of a college for the education of the priests was the removal of a civil disability; and, while he thought that the institution of Maynooth by the Irish Parliament was a violation of principle, he apprehended that the present measure, under the actual and changed circumstances of the Constitution and of the Established Church, was a violation of a still more marked and, practically, of a still more dangerous character. He thought that in 1795 the Irish Parliament had been guilty of a violation of principle. It had borne the fruits which such violations naturally bear; but they at least had had the benefit of that experience, and it might well have deterred them from this exaggeration of their error. But what had been those fruits? Let them look at the expediency of this proposal, as we may gather it from experience of those fruits. Maynooth was instituted to remedy an alleged inconvenience, arising from the war then raging in procuring a foreign education for the priests; but chiefly to conciliate the gratitude which it was assumed would follow this Act of Protestant liberality. Now it was conceded in 1795; the rebellion followed in 1798. No one ever pretended that the priests were not zealous in promoting that rebellion. So much for the first fruits of gratitude. He did not wish unnecessarily to say anything offensive to the feelings of Roman Catholics in that House or out of it; but in coming to an opinion on the measure now proposed, we must take into consideration the past and present character of that priesthood, and the truth, so far as we learn it from history and existing facts, must be spoken. Now, let any one call to mind the professions of gratitude, the promises of tranquillity and loyalty which accompanied the passing of the Relief Bill, and then let him look at, he had almost said, the actual condition of Ireland, and then let him say, whether an illustrious Duke, who, he thanked God, was still spared to the gratitude and admiration of a country to which he had ren- 868 dered services so vast and so inappreciable, if after he had been mainly instrumental to the passing of that Bill, could be accused of using exaggerated statements, if he applied to the subsequent conduct of Dr. M'Hale, and the Roman Catholic priests generally—there might be exceptions—the very language which another Duke, the Duke of Ormond, applied to the conduct of the priests of his time 200 years ago. His words were these, as handed down to us by Walsh, himself a Roman Catholic:—These twenty years I had to do with these Roman Catholic bishops, I never found any of them either to speak the truth or perform his promise to me, laying at the same time his hand on his heart, and adding, 'as I am a Christian'—of which action and asseveration I took indeed the more especial notice there, and now again do here, that I never observed him before or after to have averred or denied anything in that manner.Why, a year had scarce elapsed since Ireland was believed to be on the very verge of rebellion; and he would ask, whether the priests, the priests educated at Maynooth—who, by the way, had had fifty years to form and change the character of the people—and this was actually used as an argument for this measure — had not been the main instigators and fomentors of that? Without them Mr. O'Connell, who was merely their instrument, could not have raised the storm which he did raise, to the great and imminent peril of the State. Lord Castlehaven, himself a Roman Catholic, speaking of the origin and causes of the commotions and atrocities of the period, had said, that—Chiefly the titular bishops, and the superiors of regular orders, took an effectual course, under the specious colour of religion, to add continually new fuel to the burning coals, and prepare them for a flame on the first opportunity.The same thing might be justly said of the priests in 1843. The truth is, that the whole of the pupils of Maynooth were imbued with an inveterate hatred of the Protestant Establishment and Protestant connexion, and endeavoured, on being intrusted with the care of souls, too generally to imbue their flocks with similar sentiments. There was no want of living testimony as to the education taught, and sentiments imbibed at Maynooth. Mr. Crolly, Mr. O'Burrie, Mr. Inglis, and 869 Mr. Noel, sufficiently attested it. He would not cite these and other living authorities in proof of the strange morality—he would not use a harsher word — taught in that College. But this he would say, that it was no wonder, if such books as these class books were taught, and such doctrines inculcated, it was no marvel to him that you in vain looked for those peaceable fruits of righteousness which might secure obedience to the law, or regard for the properties or even lives of their fellow subjects. And you proposed to remedy this state of things by an increased grant of 20,000l. to carry out the same system, without the check of any responsible visitation—that it seems would spoil the grace of the concession. But his right hon. Friend had not always been of that opinion. In 1840, on a Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Kent, that the annual grant should cease, his right hon. Friend thus expressed himself:—He could not, however, concur in an observation of the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth). He did not think there existed such a compact as ought to prevent the interference of the Legislature, if the grant should be perverted to evil purposes. He could not agree in the opinion that the system of instruction pursued at Maynooth ought to be a matter of indifference to the House. He had not heard that observation made by the noble Lord, but he had heard it imputed to him, and he had not seen, on the part of the noble Lord, any energetic denial of it. Now, the system of education was a legitimate matter for the consideration of Parliament; and the House would abandon its duty if it were to avow the doctrine, that, because the grant had continued for thirty years, it was therefore pledged to say to Maynooth, 'you may inculcate what doctrine you please, however injurious to the supremacy of the law, and destructive to the Established Government and Monarchy of the Empire.' If an opinion of that kind were put forward, he for one would never concur in it; and he thought it should be repudiated by every Member of the House. A misappropriation of the grant would form a very proper subject of inquiry, and if it were proved, the question might be submitted to the House, whether on that ground the vote ought not to be discontinued,Now he had inquired, and, referring to the Eighth Report of the Commissioners for Irish Education, he found that by all the authors used as class books at Maynooth, doctrines were inculcated subversive of all moral and social obligation. He believed the educated Roman Catholic laity knew 870 nothing about them, and that if they did, they disavowed them; but, as regarded this grant, the question was, what the priests were taught to hold? He would not say one word of what might be considered purely religious teaching; but, among the class books of Maynooth, were the dogmatic theology of Delahogue, the moral theology of Bailly, and the controversies—the, as Dr. Wiseman called them, magnificent controversies of Bellarmine. They all held the doctrine of venial sin, measuring its character by the offence against man, not by the offence against God, thus destroying the great sanction and restraint on moral conduct. They all taught that heretics, even though they had never been in communion with Rome, ought to be extirpated; that it was charity to put them to death; and that the want of power alone justified the abstaining from using force against them. They all thought that the Church had the power of absolving from oaths whenever its interests called for it; and that, in any question regarding the justness of the cause for such absolution, the Pope alone was the judge. Dr. M'Hale had expressly given evidence to the same effect. But you say these doctrines were exploded. Why then are the books which teach them retained as class books at Maynooth? But you think all this will be remedied by improving the pecuniary circumstances of the College, and rendering the pupils better scholars and finer gentlemen. Why, the Jesuits were the best scholars and the finest gentlemen in Europe; but they were found so mischievous as to be expelled from every country in Europe, and put down by the Pope himself—though in an evil hour they had been resuscitated. Your 20,000l. will fail to change the character of the Maynooth priests. It may whet their appetite for increased grants; but so long as any thing remains to concede—so long as the Protestant Establishment is maintained—so long as duty, and conscience, and consistency, and a regard for the most solemn obligations, and your experience of the effects of the influence of the priests of that religion, on the character and prosperity, on the liberties and happiness of nations, hold you back from making the Romanist the dominant religion in Ireland—so long as they deter you from acceding to the proposal of the hon. Member for 871 Sheffield, which, however, seemed to him, nothing more than a legitimate carrying out of the principle of the measure now proposed—so long that appetite will remain unsatisfied. As he said the other night, you are about to try the method followed by the Roman Empire in the hour of its decay—when the life and energy of that proud imperial queen of nations was spent—when the last accents were upon the wind—when she had but one voice more to utter, and then was heard no more among the nations, of buying off the enemies by whom it was assailed. History has told you with what result. Do not neglect the warning, or follow that example, while other and better means are open to you for overcoming the difficulties which the condition of Ireland presents. Confer on the people, as well as the priests, a sound, moral, and Christian education. Carry out fully and freely the principles of the Relief Bill—maintain the law—punish its violators—show your determination to protect efficiently the peace of the inhabitants of the country, of whatever religious denomination; and above all, to protect them from the intrigues and tyranny of the Romanist priesthood; and you will attain the end you seek. You propose this measure as a concession which may be grateful to the feelings of the Roman Catholic priests and people of Ireland. Is nothing due to the feelings of the Protestant clergy and people which are outraged, and trampled on, by calling on them to contribute to such a grant? The petitions which have flowed in upon the House from all classes and denominations of Protestants sufficiently show what those feelings are; and he should like to know, if this measure be carried, on what grounds they could pretend to withhold a similar assistance from every other sect separated from the Established Church, by differences far less essential. It may be said that the principles of many of the Dissenters would induce them to reject any offer of assistance from the State; but there are in Scotland two religious communions who profess principles not adverse to such assistance. Both of them are at this moment engaged in the endeavour to found colleges of their own, principally to educate young men for their Church. He did not believe that the funds at the disposal of either are so abundant as to make them indifferent to 872 a Parliamentary endowment. Those communions are the old Protestant Episcopal Church, and that recent and large secession from the Established Church of that country, calling itself the Free Church. The first, already recognised by Act of Parliament, as in communion with your own Church, has long been distinguished for every quality which should entitle it to your favour. The second, whatever may be its future course, professes and is guided by those orthodox and scriptural views of Christianity which are entirely in accordance with the genuine Protestant principles of the Constitution. Are you prepared to follow up this measure by a proportionate grant to their colleges? That would give to your proceeding something like consistency; not that he asked for such endowment, or believed that it would purchase their approval in this proposal; but it would be carrying out, and in cases less liable to objection, the principle which you would appear to be borrowing from Napoleon and from France, of endowing all religious persuasions alike. For himself, he rejected that principle; it emanated from a spirit of indifference and latitudinarianism which he disavowed. He thought that nations, as well as individuals, are bound to ascertain what is truth in matters of religion; and, having ascertained it, to confine their public support to the communion which appears most purely to teach and maintain it. But it was said that this House is not a place for discussing what in matters of religion is according to truth. Composed as it now is, he very readily granted that proposition; but they were not called on to discuss it. Our ancestors have done that for us. They have decided on grounds both religious and political, that the Protestant religion and the Established Churches, as now existing, should be part and parcel of the Constitution, the maintenance of which were essential to the existence of the civil as well as religious liberties of all classes of the people; but believing, as he did, that they were right, seeing that the blessing and favour of God, as manifested in the greatness and prosperity of this great and glorious country, have followed their decision, he must oppose a measure which, more than any other yet proposed by any Government since the Reformation, seemed to him calculated to overthrow and subvert it.
wished to offer a brief explanation with regard to a few words which had fallen from him in a speech in this debate, and which appeared to have been misapprehended. Those words referred to the important question of the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy. What he had said on that subject, he believed to have been this, that he felt that the acceptance of this measure would put out of the way and dispose of the religious objection to the further measure of the payment of the clergy. He could not conceal from himself that if he voted for that Bill in the present Session, he could not in a future Session profess, on the ground of a religious scruple, to oppose the payment of the clergy of that Church; and the same, he thought, might probably be the case with others. At the same time he stated, that it appeared to him that other great questions would arise in connexion with the subject of the payment of the Roman Catholic priesthood, and that objections other than religious would be made to it, which might or might not prove insurmountable. Although what he either said or meant was unimportant in itself, he wished to exempt the Government from the supposition that he had revealed some covert intention which they entertained. He ought to say, injustice and in common fairness to them, that he had no knowledge or recollection which led him to suppose that they entertained any intention of this sort. He had no knowledge of their intention other than that which was possessed by every Gentleman who heard him at that moment; and nothing, as he had stated, which he had either recollected or had heard, justified him in supposing that they had any view of the sort which seemed to be suspected.
§ Sir G. Grey
said, that notwithstanding the length to which the debate had been protracted, and notwithstanding the number of Gentlemen who naturally, from the excited state of the public mind, were anxious to address the House upon this question, he was desirous of being allowed an opportunity, before the debate was brought to a close, of stating as briefly as might be the grounds of the vote which it was his intention to give on this occasion. And he was the more desirous of doing so, because that vote would, in common he believed with those of many other hon. Gentlemen, be in opposition to the conscientious opposition and the strong remonstrances of the friends and supporters 874 whose confidence he had enjoyed on public grounds, the loss of whose confidence, from the support of this measure, he should much regret; but from whom, consulting his own conscience, and having regard to his own consistency in considering a measure of so much importance to the good government of Ireland, the general welfare of these dominions, and the security of the British Crown, he was compelled to differ. But before he proceeded to the question itself, he could not forbear saying, with respect to the speech the House had just heard, that he deeply regretted the tone and spirit with which the hon. Gentleman had spoken of the Roman Catholic clergy. He believed the hon. Gentleman's speech was the first which presented a marked contrast to the abstinence during that debate from every topic which could create angry feeling or asperity; and he sincerely hoped that his example, in raking up from past records subjects which tended to exasperate and give pain, would not be imitated by those who might follow him. He had spoken of his consistency as influencing the vote which he was about to give on this question; but he did not say that in reference to the voles he had given on previous occasions in favour of the smaller grant of 9,000l. annually voted for Maynooth. If he thought there was nothing in the measure presented to the House by Her Majesty's Government beyond the mere increase of the grant from 9,000l. to 26,000l., he should feel then that no question of principle could by possibility be raised on the second reading of the Bill which could justify him in refusing to vote for it. The question would then have been one entirely of degree; and the principle of the second reading he should have considered as a matter of course, and should have thought it had been settled by former votes. His votes on former occasions showed that he did not participate in the opinion which was entertained, he believed, by a very small minrity [...]n that House, that we were precluded by our duty to God, and in obedience to Divine will, from contributing to the support of a religion whose tenets we might consider to be erroneous. But he freely admitted to the opponents of this proposition, that there was more in it than the increase of the grant from 9,000l. to 26,000l. He agreed with his noble Friend the Member for Dorsetshire, who spoke 875 last night, that it involved a distinct principle—ay, and a very important principle, too—the principle, namely, of the recognition of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland; the Church to which the great body of the inhabitants of that country were warmly attached, and in whose communion they lived; that it was a recognition of that fact, and of more than that fact, namely, that in matters of this kind it was unjust, impolitic, and unwise to disregard the opinions of the great majority of the people, and exclusively to maintain in a Catholic country a Protestant Church. In former debates which had taken place in that House on Irish ecclesiastical affairs, he had avowed the opinion—and from the repetition of that avowal he did not now shrink—that the exclusive maintenance of a Protestant Church in a Catholic country, which had been tried and acted upon for three centuries in Ireland, was opposed to sound principles of justice, and to the obvious dictates of policy. He had pointed out that it was at variance with the practice and the example of every country in Europe, and that Ireland was the only country where the experiment had been tried, and he was perfectly willing that its wisdom should be judged by its results. He should say the same of an attempt to maintain an exclusive Catholic Church in a Protestant country, or an Episcopalian Church in a Presbyterian country; and on this point he must say that he felt some shame, or at least regret, at finding Scotland raise her voice against the proposition, when he recollected how the illiberal attempt made by this country to impose Episcopacy upon Scotland had been defeated by the stern and independent spirit of our northern countrymen. He might be told, and indeed it had been already argued, that if he admitted the principle that by the religion of the great body of a people he was bound to determine the character of a Church, he might be driven by his principle to the endowment of Hindooism or heathenism. He denied that that was a legitimate inference from the principle he had laid down. That was not the only answer which he had to give to the inference attempted to be drawn from what he conceived to be a just principle. Had they acted with regard to the Roman Catholics in Ireland as they had acted with regard to the Hindoos in our Indian Empire? One province in India 876 after another had been added to the British dominions, and it had never been thought safe, practicable, or politic, to withdraw from any religion which we found to prevail in those countries the revenues which we found connected with it at the period of our conquest. No one could be more desirous than he was himself, in common with the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis), that the Government of this country should be disconnected with the idolatrous rites which were prevalent in India. At this moment, however, in India, they were appropriating to the maintenance of heathen worship, and to the promotion of rites at which the common sense and feeling of civilized men might, in some instances, revolt, the revenues which, at the period when the provinces successively fell under the jurisdiction of the British Crown, they had found appropriated to them. He would ask them, what was the case in Ireland? How had they acted towards the religious practices in that country? How had they dealt with its ecclesiastical resources? At the time of the Reformation in this country—a reformation which was in every sense complete, and which, there was every appearance to believe would be permanent—they had found large and extensive revenues in the possession of the Irish Roman Catholic clergy. What was the course which, under these circumstances, had been pursued? By an act of arbitrary, and, he would call it, of unjustifiable force, they had deprived the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland of the revenues which they had then found in their possession, and transferred them to another faith—a faith in many particulars, perhaps not unessential, differing from that professed by the men whom they had despoiled; and, by a strange misnomer, called that iniquitous proceeding in Ireland, where the people still remained attached to their ancient faith — they called that the Protestant Reformation in Ireland; and, by an equally strange misnomer, and by a gross contradiction in terms, called the clergy of the reformed faith, to whom had been transferred the ecclesiastical revenues of the country, the Church of Ireland! He hailed the present measure proposed by Her Majesty's Government on account of the principle which it involved. He regarded it as virtually the first great legis- 877 lative measure which broke in upon the exclusive principle which had been too long pursued in the ecclesiastical government of Ireland. On this subject he had before expressed his opinions, and the opinions formerly expressed he still entertained; and could not, therefore, hesitate for a moment to give his cordial assent to the second reading of this Bill. He cared not what might be the present intentions of the Government—he cared not what might be the answer of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) with regard to his immediate intentions—he looked only at the Bill before them as it was in itself; he looked only at the obvious principles involved in it. He saw in that measure a most important step taken on the part of the Government—a step which the Irish people looked upon as an earnest that their Church, so dear to their hearts from all the associations which hallowed it, was no longer to be persecuted—was no longer to be stamped with the mark and superscription of degradation and of inferiority; but that their religious feelings were henceforth to be consulted by those administering the government of these kingdoms, however deeply they and he might deplore, as Protestants, the errors in which they believed their Irish Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to be involved—however much they and he might desire that the Irish Roman Catholics should become united with them in one common faith. He would be the last to disregard the blessings which this country had derived from a truly Protestant Reformation. He agreed in many respects, may more, he sympathized to a great extent, with the petitioners who had approached the House on this subject. He sympathized in the zeal which they had, one and all, displayed for the Reformation which they prized, but could not prize more than he did; and he cordially and sincerely joined his wishes to theirs, that nothing should transpire to the injury of that reformed faith which had brought in its train not only political liberty, but intellectual enfranchisement. He must say, however, to them and to the House, that he believed that the way in which to advance the principle of the Reformation, was not by pursuing a system of unworthy and illiberal exclusion—was not by attempting in vain to coerce a whole people into a communion which we might here believe to be the most scriptural in 878 its tenets and practices, and most in accordance, in every way, with the will of God — but by respecting the religious feelings of our fellow-countrymen, while we held fast to our own. He was certain that the petitioners to whom he referred could not, however, dispute with him the principles which he held on this subject. There was one class of petitions to which he must here allude. Many petitions had been presented to the House, signed by parties who did not undertake to say that the Roman Catholics should be excluded from all endowments, but who founded their opposition to this measure on the general principle that all State endowments were objectionable; and if all Slate endowments were objectionable and repugnant to the Word of God, they were prepared to refuse to the Roman Catholics what they were not ready to concede to any other sect or denomination of religion. He might say, with regard to these petitions, that the petitioners would have reason on their side if, within any reasonable time, they had any good grounds for hope that they should be able to carry out their principle of withdrawing all State provisions from all systems of religion; but when they reflected that from the earliest ages, from the period at which the Christian religion had been introduced into this country, and from the remotest periods of the Christian history of Europe, State endowments had been the universal practice and custom; when they saw that State endowments had thus taken root in, and had become gradually interwoven with, the constitution in every country throughout Europe, it was truly chimerical to hope for the speedy carrying out of their favourite principle; and if so, it was unfair, impolitic, and unjust, to invoke that principle now in aid of intolerance—in aid of those who, influenced by a narrowness of views which he could not comprehend, and an illiberality which he felt compelled to despise, would, on Protestant grounds alone, withhold the benefit of a State Endowment from the Roman Catholics only. If, indeed, there was any hope of carrying out their principle, then it might be fair now to invoke it; but thinking, as he did, that it was purely chimerical to indulge at present in any such expectations, he regretted much to hear the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Bright) resting; his opposition to the measure on this abstract prin- 879 ciple, and stating, at the same time, his conviction that the measure itself was one of a salutary tendency, calculated to revive the confidence of an outraged people, and to win back to us the affections of the Catholics of Ireland. Having stated the grounds on which he agreed with the principle involved in the Bill, he would only say that he was not prepared now to maintain, nor did he think it necessary at present to maintain it for his present purposes—that the mode in which the Bill proposed to carry out that principle was the best which could have been prescribed. It was objected to by some—who were not averse to a State provision for the education of the Roman Catholic clergy—that it was proposed to educate them in an exclusive manner. But did they not know—were they not told on the floor of that House, by those well acquainted with the fact—that the Roman Catholic clergy were always educated at exclusive colleges, and, in his estimation, that for the present purpose settled the question. It was unnecessary for him to enforce the maxim in that House, that they must deal with men as they found them, and not as in our opinion they ought to be. It might be said, if we could mould men's minds, and influence their opinions as we pleased, that it would be much better at once to make some State provision for the clergy who ministered to the spiritual wants of the people, than merely to provide for their education, leaving them afterwards without that provision—a provision which it might be desirable to see established. The course which the Government had on this occasion chosen to pursue, it was open for him to say was not the only practicable course. He would not, however, accuse them of having voluntarily overlooked or disregarded those better courses of policy which lay open before them. There might be great difficulties in their way at the present moment. It was not for him to say that such was not the case. He had nothing in common with those who dreaded the effects which might accrue to Protestantism from the improved system of education—from the more enlarged and liberal instruction, which it was now proposed to confer upon the Catholic clergy of Ireland. As a Protestant, he would blush if he thought that Protestantism required that the truth, which it professed to hold, and which it believed to be the truth, re- 880 quired to be placed upon vantage-ground—required to be artificially sustained, in order to wage a successful conflict with that which he believed to be error. He could not believe that Protestantism, founded as it was on truth, and, as he believed it to be, upon that volume from which all Christian sects professed to take their source, could sustain any injury from the meed of justice which they now tardily proposed to dole out to the Irish Catholics. He could not believe that the seminary in Dublin, in which the Protestant youth were instructed, would relax its efforts because the other seminary was put in a state of greater efficiency—would send forth less able men, men less devoted to their cause, and less able to preach the truth with energy, perseverance, and power, than those educated priests who would be sent forth from the classes at Maynooth. The truth had nothing to fear from the spread of general intelligence. He could not forget, looking back upon the history of the past, that the Reformation itself was ushered in by the general diffusion of letters, by the general spread of useful information. He had now stated briefly the chief reasons which induced him to give an unhesitating support to the Bill. But there were other reasons of a more general and comprehensive character, which, if not equally clear as regarded the merits of the Bill proposed, should still make him greatly hesitate before he concurred in its rejection. He could not forget that since the period when he first had the honour of a seat in Parliament, there was no subject on which party debates had been fiercer or more acrimonious than the subject involving the policy of the successively existing Governments in regard to the government of Ireland; nor could he overlook the serious and lamentable consequences which had attended these party ebullitions, or the tone of the language in which they had been carried on. He now, for the first time within his Parliamentary recollection, found the leading men of both the great parties which divided between them the hopes and the fears of this country, instead of being arrayed against each other in a state of uniform and unvarying hostility, concurring cordially with each other, and being of one mind as to the policy which should be pursued, he had almost said as to the only policy which it was now competent for a 881 statesman to pursue, with regard to the government of Ireland. In all this he saw the dawn of a brighter day—the beginning of a more auspicious course for the sister country. He would, on this account, hesitate long before he agreed with those who opposed this Bill, however much he might differ with others as to the details of the measure. He would hesitate long, with such cheering anticipations before them, before he joined with them in their unfortunate opposition; and before he took with them any steps which might tend to overcloud that bright and auspicious day which, he believed, was about to break upon Ireland; and before he would mar the prospect which was opening upon them, of the speedy establishment, of a sounder policy. They might be told that even if they concurred in the principle of the Bill, they on that side of the House might oppose it, on the ground of the inconsistency of those who now brought it forward. They had been told already that because they (the Government) had now adopted a policy contrary to the policy which they had for so long a time pursued—that the Opposition should at once mark their sense of the inconsistency of the right hon. Gentleman opposite by rejecting this measure, without reference to its merits. Such a course would well accord with the illiberally and selfishness which dictated the recommendation. They (the Opposition) could not stoop to such a course. They proposed to themselves, with reference to Ireland, but one object—its conciliation and tranquillity—and would consider it their bounden duty to support any measure which proposed to secure it, without reference to those from whom it emanated; without reference to their present policy, or their past conduct and inconsistencies. In the speech delivered the other night by the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Disraeli), there was much in which he could cordially concur. He agreed with that hon. Member entirely in all that he had said with regard to party and Parliamentary government. He quite agreed with him that a Government should act upon a settled and definite principle. It should be by a clear and distinctive principle that the conduct of a Government should be influenced, on which their measures should be based, and by which their policy should be regulated. It was certainly not desirable that a Government should exist in 882 this country, with regard to the measures of which the most varied speculations should be from day to day afloat, without the slightest knowledge on the part of the speculators of any clear and distinct principle which might serve as a proper index to the nature of their measures. He also agreed with the hon. Gentleman in what he said about a constitutional Opposition, and of its paramount value in Parliamentary government. But he felt that there were other duties which it became such an Opposition to perform, than those of displacing, when it was in their power to do so, and by whatever means were within their grasp, the Government to which they were opposed. He felt that if they were to adopt the advice of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, if they were to respond to his appeal, and unite with the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford, as they might do, in deference to what might be regarded as the popular feeling on this subject, and all this for the purpose of placing the Government in a minority—if they answered his appeal in that respect, they would run counter to their own convictions of what was demanded at their hands in behalf of Ireland, and would disappoint the expectations expressed by his noble Friend near him (Lord John Russell), who would indeed disdain to climb to power by taking advantage of such a juncture as the present for the purpose of driving the right hon. Gentlemen opposite from the benches which they occupied. He could neither overlook nor forget the effects of the feeling which had been excited in Ireland by the tone of the debates which had, in times past, taken place within these walls; and, by the unhappy results of the party contests which had been waged upon that floor. He could not forget the feeling which was entertained in Ireland, and which was so deeply seated in the minds of its sensitive people, with regard to the Irish Corporation Act, and with regard to the Conservative opposition which was then so strenuously offered to that Act. He well remembered the fierce struggles which, year after year, had taken place in reference to that subject. He well remembered how, with a very few honourable exceptions, the combined force of that party which then followed the right hon. Gentleman, now First Lord of the Treasury, as its avowed champion and leader, was but too successfully directed to the de- 883 laying of that measure, in order that they might carry out their policy of ultimately defeating it. Nor could he readily forget how, when their hopes in this respect were happily disappointed, they had succeeded in paring it down to the smallest compass, and reducing it within the very narrowest limits; and how they had afterwards accorded it to Ireland, not in a generous spirit, and as a boon to which the Irish people were entitled—not in the spirit in which he was happy to believe the present measure was tendered to them. He could neither forget that measure, to which hon. Gentlemen opposite could not be surprised if frequent reference were made in that House—he meant the Irish Registration Act. He could not forget the spirit in which that Bill had been proposed to the House by Gentlemen not only connected with the Conservative party, but by some of those who were now in the Government — he could not forget the spirit which was then manifested, and the arguments which were then pressed upon the House, nor could be forget that that measure was carried a stage by the cheers and votes of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. He now heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland sentiments which every one must be persuaded were in accordance with his well-known kindliness of disposition; he was rejoiced to hear from that right hon. Gentleman that the only principles on which Ireland should be governed were the principles of justice and conciliation. He was delighted at so frank an announcement coming from such a quarter. It was also to him a source of unmixed satisfaction that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newark had stated, in a still more marked and emphatic manner, that it was unjust and erroneous to assert that conciliation was futile in winning the affections of men. That right hon. Gentleman recommended that the measures which should be adopted should be measures of conciliation, such as would put a stop to the alienation of the Irish people, and were eminently calculated to win the alienated affections of that country. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had not yet spoken in this debate; but he was sure that the right hon. Gentleman was anxious, before the debate closed, to show his cordial concurrence in the new spirit which had lately come over his Colleagues. 884 The right hon. Gentleman would not stand in the way of the adoption of the liberal policy towards Ireland, which they (his Colleagues) were now prepared to carry out; and he was sure that the right hon. Gentleman would take the opportunity now presented to him of retracting the unfortunate and ominous expression which had formerly fallen from his lips, and which had sunk so deeply into the feelings of the Irish people, "that concession had reached its utmost limits." Which we looked at the new spirit which had come over the minds of the Gentlemen opposite, and when he considered the generous and confiding spirit in which the measure tendered had been accepted by the Roman Catholic Members of that House representing, as he believed them to represent, the feelings and sentiments of their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, and the true spirit of generous forgetfulness which they had manifested in regard to much that was past, he could not help thinking that a better day had at length dawned upon distracted Ireland. Nor could he but believe that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, however much the party opposed to him, and however much the party generally supporting him might be broken down into minute divisions, still possessed the power, if not of moulding the opinions of his fellow Members of Parliament, at least of controlling the votes of the House, and securing the support to any measure which he might see fit to introduce, of a large section of those who followed him. He could not feel himself exercising the high trust reposed in him did he concur in rejecting the measure, and by so doing in risking the perpetuation of a system of government towards Ireland which was unjust to that country, and eminently dangerous to the security and best interests of the Empire.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
hoped he should receive the kind indulgence of the House in trespassing for a very short time on their attention. He felt some difficulty in presenting himself at that moment, as he was in some measure disarmed of those weapons which he hoped to have wielded effectually. If the Motion of the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Colquhoun) should not be carried, and the proposition should take its place for giving the old grant to Maynooth, he would now, as he had done during eighteen years already, give it his most decided, his most deter- 885 mined and most unchangeable opposition. He was reared in Protestant principles, and had never treated any subject relating to the Church with which he was connected, or to any other Church, with that levity in which other hon. Gentlemen saw proper to indulge. It was not a part of the religion in which he had been brought up, to disregard the plainest decencies and proprieties. There was an hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sergeant Murphy) whose powers of mind were great, whose talents and eloquence were also great, but at whom he (Colonel Sib-thorp) felt astonished—nay, more, felt distrusted—when he saw the hon. and learned Gentleman step forth, and, in the early part of his speech, on matters totally foreign to the subject then before the House, introduce a book which he (Colonel Sibthorp) had never read, and more, which he never intended to read. He was astonished and disgusted when he heard the hon. and learned Gentleman introduce his quotations—and they were, no doubt, introduced to please and tickle the fancies of those who could be so tickled—and when he heard him utter his jokes in that House, which were more suitable to other places where he was wont to go, and where he had the reputation of generally setting the table in a roar. His powers of humour were, no doubt, great—he sometimes elicited laughter from the bench, and changed the gravity of the judges into something like levity, for judges have their weaknesses like other men. It would, however, have been more befitting in him to have read his quotations where he understood the learned Member was very entertaining and very agreeable—at the Beefsteak Club; or where, as he was told, he sometimes visited those societies got up for temperance, but from which, as he understood, he sometimes returned a true specimen of what he (Colonel Sibthorp) had often thought these societies to be. His jokes and quotations would have been more in place there than within the walls of that House. He might there, too, find filter subjects on which to crack his jokes than on a matter touching the religion for which the learned Member professed to entertain—as did he for the religion which he professed—the greatest respect. Such quotations were unbecoming so grave a subject, and should not have been uttered in earnest on such a subject. Being a man eminent in his profession, 886 he should not make of himself a merry-andrew. Never would he, on occasions when duty, reverence, and respect—duty to his Sovereign, reverence to his God, and respect for himself—all called on him to do otherwise—act such a part as had been acted by the hon. and Learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman thought proper, in quoting from that book, to touch first upon the person of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. The hon. Gentleman had then fallen on him; but he would not quarrel with the hon. Gentleman for that. He trusted that he could stand up within the walls of that House, and he trusted elsewhere also, regardless of whatever quotations that hon. and learned Gentleman might make, or of the remarks which he might choose to make. He might, from such exhibitions, be led to suppose, nay more, he felt sure, that the hon. and learned Gentleman would be the most proper person in that House, if he had it not already in contemplation, to edit a new edition of that book which, as a boy, he had read in school—he meant Joe Miller. He expressed his deep regret that a Protestant Minister of the Crown, the confidential adviser of a Protestant Sovereign, should have dared to bring forward such a measure as that now before the House, so repugnant to what he should say was the duty of that right hon. Gentleman, professing the Protestant faith, and at the head of a Protestant Government. He had no hesitation in saying that he regarded the measure as a very pernicious one. If anything were wanted to confirm him in that opinion, it was the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—and he and the other right hon. Gentlemen were par nobile frairum — when he stood up and said that he must give his cordial support to such a measure as this, and treated the numerous petitions which had been presented to the House in a manner in which they should not have been treated by any Minister of the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that these petitions demanded the annihilation of the Catholic institution which they were now proposing permanently to endow. No petitions which he had presented indicated any such wish. Numerous petitions, however, had been presented directly against this measure. This was one step, not only towards the 887 establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, but also towards the demolition of the Protestant Church in that country. It was a measure replete with future difficulties. They were told frankly by the right hon. Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil) that the measure now proposed would not give satisfaction to the Irish people. He entertained the same opinion; and he had not a doubt but that the First Lord of the Treasury was only making this attempt in order to effect at a future period a yet greater change. Such, he was sure, was the design of the right hon. Gentleman. If he had not seen the right hon. Gentleman take the oath at the Table, he would have doubted whether he were a Protestant, a Roman Catholic,, or a Mahometan: nor should he be surprised if the time should yet come when they saw him sitting cross-legged as a Mahometan, or embracing the Pope. He must say that he had lost all confidence in that man Sir R. Peel. He well knew the disgust which the country entertained for his hasty and inconsiderate legislation. He was sorry that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House were so much taken in by these measures. Many of these he saw buzzing about and shaking their wings, stretching eagerly out for the honey of place, and almost fancying it already within their grasp. He would repeat it, that he was utterly disgusted with the line of policy which the Ministry had chosen to pursue; however much the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary might smile, and pretend to take the announcement with all the complacency which his countenance seemed so well fitted to evince. It had been his intention to introduce many quotations bearing upon the opinions that he still entertained—that he had long entertained, and that he would continue to entertain, and from which no circumstances could ever change him. With these quotations he should not now trouble them. He would content himself with saying that nothing could shake his opposition to the measure. Seeing the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Sergeant Murphy) still sitting opposite to him, he would tell him that he entertained no malignant feeling towards him. That hon. and learned Gentleman had said that what he had said with respect to him (Colonel Sibthorp) he hoped would be taken in good humour. Probably the hon. and learned Gentleman 888 would also take in good part what he had said with respect to the hon. and learned Gentleman. He did hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman would recollect that, whenever he entered that House, there were men there who felt it to be one of their dearest privileges to maintain their Protestantism. This, Sir, is no time to indulge in ribaldry—which the hon. and learned Gentleman has done. This is not the time, Sir, for any such thing, when the people of England are looking to the House of Commons to defend their rights, to defend their liberties, and to defend their faith. This, Sir, is not a time to turn into ridicule their petitions and their feelings; and I tell the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) I will never support him. I'll never support any man who acts contrary to the duty that he owes to his Sovereign, to the people, and, last of all, and greatest of all, to his God. I never will support any man who does this; and though the hon. and learned Gentleman told me that I would sooner sacrifice my principles than I would be shaved,—I tell that hon. and learned Gentleman that I had rather not only be shaved, but have my head shaved off, than forget I am a Protestant; born a Protestant, bred a Protestant, educated a Protestant—and God grant that I may die with similar feelings, and in that faith!
§ Mr. Blackstone
said it was with considerable pain that he rose to address the House on this question, because he felt that it had become his duty to differ from those with whom he had usually acted, and from some of his dearest friends and most intimate associates. He could assure the House that he was not prompted by any personal feelings or considerations, and that the course he was about to take was a straightforward and an honest one. He made no complaint against Her Majesty's Ministers for having taken the country by surprise; for it was well known that the Speech of Her Majesty on the first day of the Session announced that there was an intention to alter the existing academical institutions of Ireland; and the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had opened the eyes of the public to the fact that this grant must come under consideration. Possibly, however, the Government might have been taken by surprise when they witnessed the 889 strong Protestant spirit that was exhibited in the country. He confessed that he himself was astonished, for he had thought that that Protestant feeling was almost extinct. He had heard with great pain the sentiment uttered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, who, in the course of his speech, stated that no human ingenuity could twist any principle out of the opposition to the measure now under discussion; which opinion was echoed by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War (Mr. S. Herbert), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone). But he thought the people of England must be a most perverse and benighted people, if they could be united in this way, and not upon a principle. Now he thought there was a principle involved; and it was that declared by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice), who stated that Parliament was about to embark in a new course, whilst the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Devonport (Sir G. Grey) said that we were now going for the first time to recognise the Roman Catholic religion. Well, was not that a principle? Before this debate closed, the Government would be obliged to admit that there was a principle, and that that principle was not consonant with the views of a majority of the people. One expression which was used the other night by a noble Lord on his side of the House (Lord Sandon), and which had been re-echoed on the Opposition benches, would not easily be forgotten—he alluded to the word "restitution," Now he asked the statesmen who sat in this House if that word "restitution" did not comprehend some new principle that was embodied in the measure before the House? The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War stated that the opposition had emanated chiefly from the Dissenters. The sentiment, he was sorry to state, had been repeated by his noble Friend the Member for Newark (Lord J. Manners), in language that he did not consider becoming in the present day. Our Dissenting brethren were men of great influence, of energetic spirit, and warmly devoted to their religious duties. He was glad to find that the Protestant Dissenters of the country could meet and co-operate with that Church from which they had been so long estranged. He was glad to find that one common bond of union subsisted be- 890 tween them; and that that bond was the faith which was founded upon a truly scriptural education. That union, unharmonious though it might be, would prevent the revival of measures similar to those of James II. They had been told they were bound to support a grant like this, which had been acceded to for so long a time. He denied that such was the case. Session after Session, when opposition had been offered to that grant, they had been asked to agree to it on the ground that the money they were called on to vote was to cover expenses that had been incurred the year before, and on that ground he had given it his support, though of late he had refused to accede to it. With respect to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sheffield, he could not support it, as he did not understand the plunder of one Church to pay for another; nor could he understand their having two State Churches. He should oppose the measure.
§ Mr. E. R. Rice
said, many of his constituents having expressed their opinions strongly in opposition to this measure, he was anxious to state in a few words the reasons which prevented his acting in accordance with those opinions. He could understand the course adopted by those hon. Members who had always opposed this grant in refusing now to consent to its augmentation; but as to those who had either supported it in former years, or—which he considered the same thing—had suffered it to pass the House without adding their names to the small minorities by which it was opposed, he confessed he was at a loss to understand on what principle they now, for the first time, opposed it, when it was proposed to make it efficient for the purposes for which it was originally intended. But there was another class of opponents whose objections were founded on conscientious religious scruples. He would not now repeat the arguments that had been so frequently urged in this debate to show that no new principle was involved in this measure; but he fully concurred in the opinion expressed on this point by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War. Neither would he argue the question of compact; it was sufficient for him, on this point, that for upwards of fifty years Ministers and statesmen of all parties had not only not opposed, but had recommended the renewal of this grant, on the 891 grounds of an equitable claim to it being established. He would not yield in attachment to the Protestant Church to those who opposed this question on religious grounds; but while he respected the opinions which they conscientiously held, he could not at the same time entirely disregard the feelings and opinions of so large a body of his fellow-subjects and fellow-Christians as the Roman Catholics of Ireland. It was feared that the effect of this measure would be to increase the Roman Catholic religion, and discountenance the extension of Protestantism in Ireland: he totally denied that it would have any such tendency. In the first place, he would ask whom it was proposed to educate? Were they not young men, members of the Roman Catholic Church, so attached to its doctrines, that they were disposed to devote their lives to its ministry; and whose parents, influenced by the same feelings, were anxious to see their sons among the number of its priests? Would this be making converts to Popery? Would it not be rather the means of rendering the character of the priesthood less bigoted, as they became more enlightened? And would not these advantages be extended to the millions that would look to them for guidance and instruction? Then, as to the Protestant Church in Ireland, he believed nothing could be more injurious to its best interests than the course adopted by the noble Lord the Member for Bandon and other hon. Members, who maintained that so small a boon to the Roman Catholics was a grievance to the Protestant Church. He believed nothing could tend more to increase the feeling of hostility of the great body of the Irish population than to find, that when anything was proposed in their favour, it was opposed on the ground that it would be injurious to the Established Church. The hostile feelings thus produced were, he believed, the greatest obstacles to the extension of Protestantism in Ireland. He differed from the noble Lord the Member for Dorchester, who had said that Members on his side of the House, who opposed the grant, approached the consideration of the subject under circumstances of greater die[...]lty[...]that those on this side of the House who supported it; who did so under a painful sense of duty, in opposition to the expressed opinion of many of their constituents. For his own part, he believed that 892 this measure was an act of justice and sound policy towards Ireland, which, by diminishing the feeling of hostility between the two creeds, would afford a fair field for the extension of religious truth in that country. Trusting, also, that when time was given for calmer consideration under less excited feeling, many of its opponents would arrive at the same conclusion, he should, by giving his vote in favour of the second reading of the Bill, take that course which his conscience and his judgment alike told him was the right one.
§ Mr. Plumptre
said the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had stated his determination to vote contrary to the opinions of his constituents on this subject. He (Mr. Plumptre) was sure the hon. Gentleman's determination would give much dissatisfaction to his constituents, and he was sorry any thing should happen to weaken the confidence which they were disposed to place in the hon. Gentleman. He (Mr. Plumptre) had come to the consideration of this subject with much pain and anxiety. He was in the habit of hearing many remarks directed against himself, under the title of the Member for Kent, which certainly were not of the pleasantest description, and which, perhaps, might be intended to act as "a heavy blow and a great discouragement" to him in the humble yet hearty defence he endeavoured to make of Protestant principles. Though those remarks might be unpleasant, they had not yet had the effect of crushing the feeling or diminishing the desire which he still entertained, and should entertain, deeply, yet honestly, to maintain the course which he had ever maintained in that House. The hon. Member for Lambeth the other night had said that, judging from the number of petitions sent to that House on the subject, the movement out of doors must lead to the conclusion that the question was looked on as one of vital importance. That was the view the people of this country took upon the subject. They considered it a subject of vital importance—and why? Because their dearest feelings—their feelings on religion—were bound up with the consideration of the subject. His hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland, speaking of this subject, had said that he proposed to set aside the religious considerations of the subject; and the hon. Member for Montrose had said that religion had nothing to do with the 893 question. Why, that very feeling of religion which those hon. Gentlemen were disposed to set aside was the very last feeling which he (Mr. Plumptre) was disposed so to treat, for he believed that the people of this country would not lay aside any feeling of that description on the question. It was a matter of no moment to him, comparatively speaking, whether he was called on to vote a certain sum of money or not towards a certain college in Ireland. But when he viewed this subject as one with which the religion of this country was intimately connected, he was not astonished at the movement out of doors, and he thought that such a view of it justified that movement. A great number of the petitions laid on the Table against this measure had no doubt emanated from persons who were opposed to any Church endowment; but many had also been presented from persons who supported the connexion of Church and State. They had had but a few days ago a large meeting in the city of London, over which the chief magistrate of this great city presided, surrounded by our principal merchants and bankers, and the heads of our various religious denominations. And what were the resolutions adopted on that occasion? Was religion excluded—or did it not in fact take the chief place in those resolutions? Again, they also had a large meeting in one of our public theatres, which had exhibited the strong feeling of the people on this question. And what, he asked them, was the leading feature in that large assembly? Was any party feeling displayed, or was any question of politics the predominant question? No; the religious aspect of the question was that which seemed mainly to influence that large assembly. If they regarded the tone of the numerous petitions sent to that House, they would find that, generally speaking, they were all of a religious character. He would take the liberty of referring to one or two of those petitions which the Committee to whom this department was intrusted had thought fit to have printed in extenso, and which had, consequently, become Parliamentary papers. Of these he would beg leave to read to the House the following, which was from members of the Free Church in Scotland. The petitioners said,—That whereas Great Britain is, by its constitution essentially and pre-eminently a Protestant country, is bound by many public 894 deeds to recognise the supreme authority of the Word of God, the pure doctrines of the Reformation from Popery embodied in the standards of the Established Churches, and to repudiate the whole system of Romanism as full of deadly error, and directly inimical to the interests of civil and religious liberty; and whereas the rapid progress Popery has made of late years in almost every region of the globe, the degree of countenance and encouragement it has received, and is now receiving, from the Government and Legislature of this country, have excited the liveliest apprehensions of the Christian community; and whereas the proposed endowment of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth will, if carried into effect, involve this nation in the guilt of supporting a false religion, and prove in its issue as disastrous in policy as it is indefensible in principle; therefore your petitioners hope your honourable House will take the premises into your serious consideration, and refuse the proposed measure of endowment of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, or any other measure tending to recognise or perpetuate the principles of Romanism.He could read many other extracts from similar petitions, which had been printed by order of the Committees, varying in terms, but all breathing the same spirit, and testifying, beyond all controversy, that the petitioners regarded this as a religious, and not as a political movement. The hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone), the other night, in talking of the Reformation, used the phrase "that indefinite idea called Protestantism." If he were to admit that it was difficult to define what Protestantism was, he might be supposed to conform to that expression, but he maintained that at the present time Protestantism was not an indefinite but a well-defined idea, and a living, active, and potent agency. Mixed up, as he had been, with this question, and called on, as he so frequently was, not only to present petitions respecting it, but to support their prayer, he had felt it his duty to state thus much, that this question was viewed by the vast majority of the people of this country as a religious., and only as a religious question. But, to pass for a moment to another consideration, he could not understand why, if the Government were determined to carry this measure to endow the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, and thus lay the foundation for ulterior proceedings with regard to the Roman Catholic clergy—proceedings which he did not understand had been formally disclaimed by any Member of the Government who had ad- 895 dressed the House since the idea was propounded—if, in a word, the Government had determined to endow the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, he could not understand why a different course was to be pursued there than in any other country. It was notorious, and no one would venture to deny it, that, wherever elsewhere that religion was endowed, whether in countries Roman Catholic or not, control was invariably exercised by the civil power over the Roman Catholic religion. It was notorious that this was the case in Prussia and Russia, and in the Roman Catholic countries of France, Spain, and Austria. It seemed to him, therefore, that we should stand stultified in the eyes of the world if we undertook to endow the Roman Catholic religion, and yet retained no control over it. He hoped that on this subject he might allude to a work which, although anonymous, he had seen in the hands of many Members, and which contained many statements of great importance on this subject. It was entitled Maynooth, the Crown, and the Country, and contained on this subject the following passages:—We do not deny that the Governments of France, Austria, and Spain, and those likewise of Russia and of Prussia, afford support to ecclesiastical institutions of the Roman Catholic religion. Indeed we might observe, it has not yet been shown what benefits they derive, in their civil character, from the encouragement of Romanism as such. We have heard, for instance, something recently of collisions at Cologne between the temporal and spiritual power, and we have seen in the last year that the same ecclesiastic, who resisted his Sovereign on the banks of the Rhine, was soon after received by the Pope with marked honour and public commendation on those of the Tiber. But we do not pause to inquire further into cases of this description, but proceed to ask why, if Russia and Prussia, two of the Stales enumerated, are satisfied that the system of ecclesiastical polity which we have established, and are still maintaining in unrestrained liberty and in uncontrolled energy at Maynooth, is inoffensive and innoxious to the public weal, have they taken such pains to exclude it? But are not, then, Roman Catholic priests and bishops educated and maintained in Russia and Prussia at the public charge? Doubtless they are; but let us observe under what restrictions they enter upon and exercise their functions. They are bound hand and foot by civil laws; they cannot undertake their office without the approval of the Government, and are generally nominated by the Crown; and when appointed to 896 their ecclesiastical functions, they cannot hold any commerce with Rome except through the medium of the civil Government. These things are all in evidence before Parliament, and it is since the foundation of Maynooth that they have been made public; and whatever may have been the case with our predecessors, we at least cannot be excused if we are ignorant of them.The writer then went on to show the usage of those countries "who loved Rome more and knew her better"—of Spain, Austrian, France, and other Catholic countries; and that in all respects "the measures taken by these Governments against the exercise of the Papal power in their dominion were distinguished by as much caution and vigour as they were even in Prussia and Russia." Now, he could not conceive why, if they were to be endowed, the State should not exercise similar control over this College and the Roman Catholic clergy. The hon. Member for Dublin had referred to the bull Cœnœ Domini, with respect to which Dr. Doyle had alleged, before the Committee of the House of Lords, April 25, 1825, that it was not in force. Dr. Doyle was asked, on that occasion—Is the bull Cœnœ Domini now in force?" He replied, "The bull as a bull is not in force, nor ever was in force, in Ireland, and has been rejected from nearly all the Italian countries of Europe. If that were in force there is scarcely anything could be at lest amongst the Catholic States of Europe; but they have been as solemn and earnest in protesting against it as we have been in any period in England or Ireland." "We have never received it, and surely never will.Now this very bull Cœnæ Domini had since been published; and in 1831 or 1832 was set up among other bulls, canons, and decretals, for the regulation of the Roman Catholics in Ireland. This might, by some, be deemed a matter of no consequence. He hoped, however, that at least Her Majesty's Government would satisfy themselves on this subject; but if it were a matter of consequence, and any evil should arise from this unrestricted endowment, warned as Her Majesty's Ministers had been, and he knew they had been warned from more than one quarter, the responsibility must rest on those who, being made acquainted with these things, had yet disregarded them. The noble Lord the Member for Newark (Lord J. Manners) said last night, that he, for one, did not consider the reli- 897 gion of the Church of Rome as that of Antichrist. Nothing could be further from his (Mr. Plumptre's) wish than to give pain to any individual; and if he did so on this occasion, he hoped it would be considered that he only did so in the discharge of a paramount duty. But he was sorry be could not agree with the noble Lord in that sentiment. He did not mean to say that the religion of Rome was exclusively that of Antichrist; but he believed that it was so completely and prominently. And, entertaining this opinion, he entertained this further opinion grounded upon it, that it was a fearful and national sin to endow, as they now proposed to endow such a religion. The noble Lord appeared to have learned some of the sentiments as well as the poetry of some master of that school of which he was a member. He had called upon them to "speak gently of our sister's fall." But, though he might be deemed harsh and uncharitable, he could not respond to the noble Lord's sentiments; on the contrary, he warmly shared in the religious view which the people of this country took of this question; and it was for this reason that he so much apprehended the result, and so openly expressed his sentiments on the present occasion. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Smythe), who followed the noble Lord in a speech of no less ability, was pleased to refer to him. He supposed, because he was a public man, he was deemed a fit butt for public arrows. That hon. Member represented what he was pleased to call an archiepiscopal constituency. But he (Mr. Plumptre) did not think that on that account he was obliged to resort to the hon. Gentleman for counsel or advice as to the public course he had to follow. He had humbly, but earnestly, endeavoured to ascertain elsewhere what his duties were, knowing that as an immortal being he should have to give an account of the discharge of those duties; and, above all things, he had desired that instead of being turned aside by the dictates of an ever-shifting expediency, he might always be actuated by the principle of doing all he did to the praise and glory of God.
§ Mr. Trelawny
felt bound to explain the grounds of his vote on the question before the House, because he had avowed himself to be a firm supporter (as a general rule) of the voluntary principle as the only legitimate source of ecclesiastical 898 revenue, and an enemy to all Church Establishments, in so far as they depend upon taxing any persons for the support of religious opinions from which they conscientiously dissent. He was, too, well aware that his constituents felt very strongly on this question, and that they would very naturally expect that he should give convincing reasons for his departure from a principle to which they knew him to be strongly attached. He could assure the House that it was only after much reflection that he had made up his mind to support Her Majesty's Government, under the very special circumstances under which the increased grant had been proposed. He was well aware of the strength of the reasoning by which it may be opposed. First, it might be said that the proposed endowment was only creating a new impediment to the ultimate abolition of all establishments, and to the absorption, as State property, of all the property now held unjustly by the Church of England (after payment of existing incumbents, and the lay tithe-owner). It must be admitted that there is much force in the argument; and if the grant were larger, and if the case of Ireland had nothing peculiar in it, it would be conclusive. Secondly, it might be contended that the measure was only preliminary to the provision of regular benefices for the Catholic priesthood. Undoubtedly, much of the argument would be as good for the one purpose as for the other. What was a part of the object of the grant? To elevate the character of the religious instructors of the Irish peasantry. But what, also, would be the end sought by paying the priests? The same. It would be adopted as a mode of raising their character, by rendering them independent of their parishioners, whose prejudices they were now obliged to foster in order to secure the means of existence. To this length, however, he was not prepared to go. He was not prepared to depart further from the rigid principle, that every sect should support its own clergy and its own establishment. There was a third ground of opposition to the grant. It may be called a premium upon disaffection. It would seem to proclaim that thenceforth a sect had only to become troublesome enough to insure itself a Stale endowment. This argument possessed less cogency. There was a vast difference between a sect making itself 899 troublesome with a good case, and a sect becoming troublesome, but having nothing to complain of. Ireland had been shamefully misgoverned (with one or two exceptions) for centuries. The revenues of the Catholics had been confiscated—her priesthood had been treated like felons, with a price fixed upon their heads. Very great distrust of this country still existed, and even much bitter feeling; but though the Dissenters in England were compelled to pay church rates, and had other grievances, yet at least their case, were they to claim State endowment (which is very far from their views), would stand in a very different position from that of Ireland. For his part, he could not forget entirely the special circumstances of that country; the fact that something conciliatory must be done, and that immediately; the consideration, that had an Irish Parliament still existed, there would, probably, have been a splendid provision for the education of the priesthood. Ireland would have ground for saying this country refused to look with a generous eye at her distressed condition; that the Union had placed her in a worse position than she would have had under a native Parliament, if this grant were, in deference to a principle somewhat inflexibly carried out, sternly refused. The grant, moreover, existed. Dare the Government, or any Government, abolish it? Was not the existing grant more mischievous than the proposed one—being merely enough to create a feeling of inferiority in the Irish people? Many good measures might be introduced for Ireland; but what use was there in paper reforms, which, owing to the balance of parties, could not be realized? It was a time when a Liberal Member ought to risk something for peace, to sacrifice popularity, to render government possible; and it would seem most ungracious in a person professing to be guided by measures only, not to come forward and support those who also risk much, from a belief that something must be done for Ireland, that the present measure would tend to conciliation, and that, under all circumstances, no sounder measure would be successful. The reasons of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury for opposing the grant are more candidly admitted than logically sufficient. The hon. Member complains of the right hon. Baronet's inconsistency. I think, on the contrary, 900 he has shown great consistency, in his uniform contempt both for the hon. Member's past adulation and present abuse. The hon. Member complained of the hon. Member for Newark settling so great an account by the small change of circumstances. The complaint was a natural one for a person who has in this discussion so studiously disseminated irrelevant matter, such as, for example, mortified vanity or personal pique. For my part, Sir, I must be excused if I regard the intrinsic merits of public questions as even more significant than the position of the hon. Member; and those merits induce me, in this instance, rather to gratify the wishes of seven millions of fellow subjects, than to soothe the disappointment of a particular individual.
§ Lord Courtenay
would not shrink from the responsibility of giving his support to what he considered to be a just and wise measure. It was from no insensibility to the deep and earnest opposition which the measure before the House encountered—it was from no insensibility to all the great considerations involved in the question, that he with equal sincerity had resolved upon taking an opposite course to those hon. Members who refused to assent to the proposition. He thought hon. Members had been led away by their excited feelings, and by popular clamour, so as entirely to overlook the existing state of things in Ireland. It appeared to him that on the subject before the House he had two questions to ask himself. The first was, had the measure of Her Majesty's Government a tendency to benefit that ill-used and interesting country; and, if so, on what grounds was he precluded, on principles of sound legislation, from giving his support to it? He agreed with other hon. Members who had preceded him in thinking that in the proposal for an increased grant to Maynooth no new principle was asserted. No one who had spoken on the subject had succeeded in convincing the House that any principle different from that which the House annually recognised in our Colonial dependencies had been asserted. If that principle was right in the case of the Colonies, then the principle of the grant, year by year, to Ireland, taking the circumstances of that country into consideration, was equally right. He would simply invite the attention of the House to the religious state of Ireland. Let them look at the fact that 7,000,000 of the population, comprising 901 those classes the most sensible to religious impressions and impulses, were Roman Catholics, and that the relation in which by social circumstances they were placed to their priests, made them dependent on them not only in their spiritual character, but as their advisers and guides under circumstances of temporal want and suffering. Could they reconcile it to a sense of public policy and expediency—not in the low sense of those terms, but in a statesman's acceptation of them—not to do the best in their power to bring within the reach of the great majority the best means of spiritual instruction. He was the last man to defend the abuses of spiritual interference for political purposes; but though this was indefensible, he would ask the House whether there had not been passages in Irish history which might palliate, though they could not justify, such an exercise of priestly influence? He would ask the House to recollect the numberless instances in which Roman Catholic priests exerted themselves for the good of their fellow-creatures, and that, too, in times of pestilence, suffering, and death. He would recall to the remembrance of the House, that in the year after the passing of the Charitable Bequests Act, they had seen Roman Catholic priests and prelates braving popular disapprobation and violence, and sacrificing that which must have been peculiarly trying to them — the attachment of those of their own communion, because they believed it to be their duty to their fellow countrymen and co-religionists to aid in carrying out that measure in the spirit in which it had been proposed by Government and passed by Parliament. He should give his cordial and sincere support to the measure before the House, because he firmly believed it would do good to Ireland by introducing an improved class of priests among the Roman Catholic population, and because he was of opinion it would tend to rivet the bonds of union and amity between the two countries.
§ Mr. Wykeham Martin
Sir, as I am nearly in the same situation with the hon. Member for Dover, I must entreat a similar indulgence at the hands of the House; for, having the misfortune to differ with many of my constituents for whom I entertain the sincerest respect, I feel it my duty to endeavour to explain the reasons of the vote I am about to give in support of the proposition of the Govern- 902 ment. It has been the fashion on the present occasion, both in the House and out of it, for those who are opposed to this measure, to charge its supporters with a willingness, in plain terms, "to do evil that good may come"—those very expressions occurring in many of the petitions—or, in other words, to sacrifice principle to expediency. Now, this is a course which I trust I should never be capable of adopting on this or on any other occasion. And I am acting on principle as clearly, as distinctly, and as sincerely, in supporting the Bill, as any hon. Member can possibly be who feels it his duty to adopt an opposite course. My attention has long been directed to questions involving a similar principle with the present. I have by long reflection worked out a principle for my guidance in such matters; and I will endeavour briefly to explain that principle to the House. I hold it to be one of the ordinary functions of the Government to exercise a general superintendence over the affairs of the community, in matters relating to religion and to education. I consider this to be one of the inherent and inseparable functions of their office, and not only so, but one of the most important of their functions, if not the most important of all. In this country, this principle has been acted on without difficulty or dispute—in fact with no opposition but that of one section of politicians, who are the advocates of the voluntary principle. In Scotland, it has also been acted upon; for there also an Establishment has been formed under the immediate superintendence of the Government, although the doctrines of that Establishment are not in accordance with the views of the Government. And it is not till we get to Ireland, that we find any difficulty in carrying out the principle for which I am contending. And indeed, in a certain sense we do act upon that principle even in Ireland. For there we have an Establishment which is a branch of our own Church—for the Irish Protestant Church is termed by the Act of Union, "The Church of England in Ireland." But this is the precise point at which the views I entertain, begin to diverge from the practice which has been pursued by the Legislature. I maintain that this system does not amount to a carrying out of the principle I am endeavouring to explain. If we look to Ireland, we see a country 903 separated from this country by a natural boundary. We see in that country six millions of Roman Catholics, occupying, for the most part, a tract which is not less than 10,000 square miles. The population, in fact, is essentially a Catholic population. Now I conceive that it is our duty to superintend and to regulate the religious affairs of this population also. I maintain that we are bound to stretch out the right band of fellowship to them, and to tender to them such aid as they are willing to accept, and as it is on other grounds advisable for us to give. The chief difficulty with me in investigating this question for myself has always been, not whether we were bound to discharge these duties towards the Catholic population of Ireland, so long as we retain the office of governors of that country; but whether we were justified in pro conscientiâ in retaining an office which entails upon us such obligations. I will not enter upon a statement of the considerations which satisfied my mind upon this point, although my mind has been fully satisfied with regard to it, for two reasons. First, it would lead me into a purely theological discussion, for which I feel that this is not the proper arena. And secondly, because it would be a waste of the time of the House, since I do not believe that there is a single person present who entertains any doubt on the matter. I will, therefore, content myself with saying, that it is because the measure proposed by the Government is, so far as it extends, a carrying out of the principles I have been endeavouring to describe, that I am disposed to give it my most cordial support. But if, as is most probable, many hon. Members will not feel inclined to go along with me in recognising this principle, there are some other considerations to which, if the House will bear with me for a few sentences, I wish to call its attention. It has long been our practice in legislation to interfere in the way of regulation with the religious affairs of bodies differing with ourselves. We regulate to a certain extent the religious worship of the chapel of the Dissenters, by forbidding worship in unlicensed houses; we further interfere as to the performance of the marriage service; we regulate to a still greater degree the Church of Scotland. And where pecuniary aid is required, we give it in many instances for the religious as well as the 904 moral education of Dissenters, through the British and Foreign School Society; for the religious as well as the moral education of Catholics themselves, through the National System of Education in Ireland; we assist the Unitarian section of the Presbyterians, as well as the other branch of that body in Ireland, through the Regium Donum. In this point of view, therefore, it is only in accordance with our former practice, and with our general system of legislation, if we consider the Roman Catholics of Ireland as the largest and the most needy of the Dissenting bodies in the Empire, and administer assistance to their wants on this fooling. There is one other point to which I wish to call the attention of the House, which I think important, but which I think has not yet been noticed, even in this lengthened discussion. It has been complained of as a hardship that we should be called upon to pay for the education of the Roman Catholic clergy. It has been said that the Protestants of England and Scotland should not be made to defray the expense of such an object, and that the Income Tax ought not to be continued for such a purpose. But I think that, as a mere question of finance and of account, it cannot be fairly said that we do pay for anything of the kind. If separate taxes were raised for the two countries, and their expenditure were kept separate; and if under such circumstances a grant were made from the produce of the English taxes for the College of Maynooth, then we might truly be said to pay for the education of the Irish clergy. But such is not the system that has been adopted. On the contrary, we have made a common fund for the purposes of both countries, to which each contributes in a fair proportion, and from which the expenditure of both countries is defrayed. Now I think that under such circumstances it is fairer to consider the funds which are necessary for Irish local purposes, as coming virtually from the Irish portion of the taxation, and that which is necessary for English local purposes from the English portion; and if there should be reason to suppose that either country got more than its share from this common fund, what would be the proper remedy? Would it be that the country in question should be left with its necessities unsupplied? Would it not rather be that its quota should be 905 re-adjusted? If this view of the case be correct, there is no pretence for saying that we are paying for the grant to Maynooth. But if hon. Gentlemen will not go along with me in this view of the case, I think that in the next step of the argument I can draw them along with me whether they will or no. We make payments from this common fund for a great many Protestant objects. We have parted with a million of money at one time for the building of Protestant churches; we pay for Protestant education, for Protestant colonial bishops, for army and navy chaplains, and for a hundred similar purposes, if it were worth while to analyze our expenditure for the purpose of picking them out. Now, if there is the slightest ground for saying that we pay for the grant to Maynooth, there is the very same ground for saying that we compel the Catholics of Ireland to pay towards all these Protestant objects. Either we do not pay for Maynooth, or we call upon them to pay towards our own institutions. As to the general policy of the measure, I should be most unwarrantably taking up the time of the House if I were to enter upon it. It has been discussed so completely, that I may well be content to leave it where it has been left by abler hands than mine. I will, therefore, only say in conclusion, that, deeply as I regret the necessity of differing on this question with many friends whom I most sincerely respect, and with many upon whose judgment I much rely, from the station they occupy, the education they have received, and the talents they have displayed; it is, nevertheless, a satisfaction to me to feel that I never was called upon, on any occasion, to perform a public or a political act, with the conviction impressed upon my mind so firmly, so clearly, and in so unwavering a manner that I was following the path of duty.
§ Mr. Tuite
assured the House that a very large proportion of the Protestants of Ireland approved of the measure now before them, and were grateful to Government for the liberal part it had taken. In his own opinion the measure would be generally well received in Ireland, and there could be no doubt it would tend to benefit and strengthen the Empire. There were not wanting persons who cavilled at the measure because it was in opposition to the sentiments formerly entertained by its promoters. Men of liberal 906 minds not unfrequently saw reasons to change their minds on important subjects; and it appeared strange to him that this should be selected as a ground of serious objection, after the full and ample notice which they had received from the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government last Session, to bring forward a measure of this kind. He could not see on what ground they could now stand up and say they were taken by surprise. He regretted to see such unfair advantage had been taken of tender consciences and religious scruples by the Ministers of the Church of England upon this occasion. He was aware of an instance at Christ's Chapel, St. John's Wood, where the too zealous clergyman had so far forgot himself as to address his congregation from the pulpit, and bring them down, ladies and gentlemen, to sign a petition, dictated by himself, against this grant to the College of Maynooth. Conduct such as this must for ever close the mouths of those parties against the alleged practice on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, of making their chapels the arena for political excitement, more especially as they were deprived of the advantage of such splendid theatres for the display of their religious zeal as Exeter Hall and other places of that description. It had been said, in the course of the debate, that Ireland bore but a very inadequate proportion of the public burdens—that she was, in fact, lightly taxed. Now, it was well known, from calculations made on this subject, that she remitted in the shape of taxation, most prejudicial to herself, namely, as payment to absentees residing in this country, above 6,000,000l. sterling; a sum far greater than any financial Minister could ever expect to receive from such a country through the medium of assessed taxes. The hon. Gentleman concluded by assuring the Government that he should give the Bill his most cordial support, and he hoped the right hon. Baronet would carry the measure triumphantly.
agreed with the hon. Member for Kent, that this question had been taken up as a religious one, though he by no means was prepared to admit its opponents were justified in that course. We owed a debt of kindness to the people of Ireland; they had been to us, for fifty years, in the nature of tenants at will; a class of tenants 907 who had greater claims upon the kind consideration of their landlords than those who were fortified in their titles by express leases. Unless you were prepared to establish the principle, that because a man is strong he may oppress his weaker neighbour, the House must act liberally towards the Catholics of Ireland in this respect. The hon. Member here, after experiencing some embarrassment, said he was so very nervous that he found great difficulty in staling his sentiments to the House. The hon. Member concluded by expressing his opinion that this grant to the College of Maynooth could, by no possibility, produce any disadvantage to the Protestant Established Church in Ireland.
§ Lord Leveson
would not enter on the question how far the Government deserved the censure so liberally bestowed on it by those hon. Gentlemen behind Ministers. He thought, after the speeches heard during this debate, it was pretty evident the Government must begin to regret a little the line of policy they adopted in Opposition. He did not wish to dwell on that topic; he should support the present measure, because he thought it good in itself, and because it was unaccompanied by any ungracious and insulting restrictions. He must add, too, from what he had seen of the state of the country, and the speeches made in that House, that no other party but that of the right hon. Gentleman could carry such a measure. Allusion had been made to the length of this debate; he did think it a matter of regret that it afforded opportunity of exciting conscientious bodies of men, through speeches which reflected the sentiments of those who guided a large portion of the public. He regretted, too, that an opportunity seemed to be afforded by it, of which Christian ministers availed themselves, to rouse feelings of hostility and ill-will towards their fellow subjects and fellow Christians. But, on the other hand, he thought that such speeches as that of the right hon. Member for Devonport that night must do good, inasmuch as it demonstrated the policy, justice, and necessity of the measure now proposed. When he called to mind, too, the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Dorsetshire, the tone of which was admirable towards the people of Ireland—a speech which, while it opposed the measure now proposed, appeared to him to place in the clearest light the ano- 908 malous mode of instruction adopted towards the Irish people, and to demonstrate in the most logical manner the steps by which the Government would be compelled to settle on an equitable basis the religious instruction of that portion of the kingdom — when he called to mind that such enlightened and broad views were taken on this question, he could not regret that the debate had been prolonged, which afforded an opportunity for their delivery. He could not help thinking that when the people of England reflected on the description of argument by which this question was opposed—when they saw that not the least able of the opponents of this measure stated as aground for rejecting it, the bugbear by which every beneficial measure was attempted to be cried down, namely, that if the course of conciliation were continued, England must be prepared to relinquish the station she now held amongst the nations of Europe. He could not help thinking, he repeated, that when the people of England calmly reflected on such views, their good sense must ultimately cool down the present excited feelings of the community. In his opinion, the chief boast of an Englishman was not the commercial prosperity of his country or her power in war, but his acknowledged superior appreciation of civil liberty. Was it to be said, then, that this step towards religious toleration had any tendency to sink the rank of this nation amongst those of Europe? One could not listen to this debate without being struck by the more kindly feelings evinced by the present generation towards the Roman Catholics. As an illustration of this, he might refer to the speech of the noble Member for Lynn (Viscount Jocelyn). That noble Lord said, that if a stranger were listening to this debate, he might suppose that the present Motion was one for the abolition of the Church altogether. At the very time the noble Lord was speaking, there was in the strangers' gallery a foreign statesman (the Duke de Broglie) of eminent intellect, of high rank in his own country, and with a European reputation—a Catholic, who had lived much with Protestants — one who came over to this country for the purpose of carrying on a negotiation of the most important description, and who could not fail to observe the persevering energy with which all religious denominations here supported any great philanthropic object. He, for one, blushed that such a stranger, who had studied deeply the principles of our government, in order to ameliorate the in- 909 stitutions of his own country, should have found the Imperial Legislature of Great Britain haggling about a few additional thousands to the miserable pittance which for thirty years had been given for the spiritual instruction of our fellow subjects in Ireland.
§ Mr. Spooner
said, had he followed the dictates of his own feelings, he should have given a silent vote on the present occasion; but representing, as he did, a large constituency who felt deeply and had spoken loudly on the question, he should not be doing his duty to those constituents were he to give a silent vote. In answer to the noble Lord who spoke last, he begged to say that he was not haggling about a few miserable pounds; he did not look on it as a money question, nor did any of his hon. Friends around him. The opposition to the measure rested on a far sounder basis—the basis of religious principle. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh divided the opponents of this measure into three classes. First, those who had hitherto voted for the grant of 9,000l., but now resisted the increase. He (Mr. Spooner), had voted against the smaller grant. The right hon. Gentleman said, that he could not understand on what principle those who had voted for the smaller grant now opposed this measure. But it appeared to him there was a great difference between an annual grant and a perpetual endowment. This was the first time the State had endowed the Roman Catholic religion in this kingdom. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had contended otherwise; but he (Mr. Spooner) repeated that all that had hitherto been done was to permit Roman Catholics to endow with their own money. The next class the right hon. Gentleman adverted to, consisted of the supporters of the voluntary principle; and he (Mr. Spooner) could not understand how any of those Gentlemen on the other side of the House, favouring such views, could reconcile it to themselves to vote for this Bill, for it involved not only a church endowment, but a double church endowment. The last class alluded to comprised those who were opposed to the vote on religious principle. To that class he (Mr. Spooner) belonged; and he never would consent to endow a Church which he believed taught doctrines which were dangerous, delusive, and unscriptural. He spoke without any hostility towards his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, but he was bound to say what he believed to be 910 the truth. The right hon. Baronet, in his opening speech, had called upon them to endow a College with a view of affording religious education and spiritual comfort to the ignorant and the poor. Let him beware lest, instead of holding out the comforts of religion to men in their dying moments, he should lead them to trust to an awful delusion. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh had observed in the course of his speech in this debate,—I come now to an objection which I should be very sorry to treat lightly, that is, that the Church of Rome teaches error, and that we are therefore not justified, either as individuals or as a State, in contributing to the propagation of it. I must say that I altogether deny the soundness of that proposition. I say that it is not true that there are no cases in which it may not be justifiable to contribute even to the propagation of religious error.In proof of this position, too, the right hon. Gentleman had alluded to mistakes often made in the translation of the holy Scriptures. But was that the deliberate and wilful teaching of error? What were they called on to do now? They were called on, not by accident or mistake, but deliberately, to vote a sum of money to teach doctrines which they conscientiously protested against. Even were he to regard this measure not as a religious question, but as a political one, he should still think it neither a wise nor a politic measure; but though as a mere political measure he might have been induced to acquiesce in it, yet his religious feelings interposed and prevented him from giving his consent to it. He believed that the right hon. Baronet was actuated by an earnest desire to do his duty. What other motive could he have in bringing forward a measure which had deprived him of the adherence of many men who had hitherto given him an enlightened, honest, and consistent support? They had been told that there was a compact in reference to Maynooth; but in answer to that he would content himself with reading a passage from the speech of a statesman who had been already quoted by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, though not fairly, as the right hon. Baronet had left out the part he was about to read to the House. And here he must be permitted to say he regretted much the slighting way in which the hon. Member for Shrewsbury spoke of Mr. Perceval. There are those in this House (continued Mr. Spooner) who had the honour of that right hon. Gentleman's acquaintance. They 911 would join with him in saying, that if an honest, ardent, and consistent statesman, living for, and dying at the door of this House in his country's service, was entitled to grateful recollection—if a faithful discharge of all the duties of public and social life call for affectionate remembrance—in the late Mr. Perceval those claims were fully substantiated. But what did Mr. Perceval say? The hon. Member then proceeded to read the following portion of a speech of the late Mr. Perceval, on the 5th of May, 1808:—He disclaimed the odious principle of intolerance. The memorial of the Catholics which led to the establishment of Maynooth, claimed no pecuniary aid. The Catholics promised to defray the whole expense themselves; and though the Government and Parliament gave them 8,000l. in aid of this object, that was no reason why the country should be subject to constantly increasing demands for a purpose to which there was no precedent in any age or country—that of educating at the public expense the priesthood of a religion differing widely from the established one.From that statement he (Mr. Spooner) concluded that were Mr. Perceval there present, he would join those who opposed the project of Her Majesty's Government. The next subject to which he should advert was the necessary, the inevitable consequences that would follow the adoption of this Bill. He conceived that the Government had begun at the wrong end in this matter. The purpose of educating the priests was avowed to be the enlightenment of the people. If he (Mr. Spooner) believed that would be the effect of the Bill, much of the sting would be taken out of it, though he should still oppose it on the principle that nothing could justify that doctrine of expediency, "Do evil that good may come." But those who augured such results would be greatly disappointed. If the priests were to be educated they should also be paid, or the education would go for nothing. If they were not paid, they would still have to live upon the most impoverished people on the face of the earth. The only way of their deriving the means of their subsistence would be by operating on the fears and the hopes of the people. The priests would be sure not to enlighten their flocks under these circumstances, because ignorance was the parent of superstition, and through superstition only could their hopes or their fears be worked upon. Several attempts had been made to elicit from Her Majesty's Government whether this was by them proposed as a final mea- 912 sure, or whether they did not contemplate at some future time to propose the payment of the priests; but, while the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the funds of the Protestant Church in Ireland should not be touched, not one word was said about the payment of the Roman Catholic priests. He (Mr. Spooner) therefore deduced from that silence that before long the Ministers would come down to the House, and, telling them that they had broken through the principle in the case of Maynooth, call upon them to pay the priests on the ground that they had abandoned principle for nothing, and that without such payments the present proposed measure would be in vain. Another great objection to the measure was the total absence of all necessity for it. In all the populous towns of Warwickshire, and also in other parts of the country, there were Catholic churches, Catholic schools, monasteries, colleges, and seminaries innumerable. Most of them were planted not for the use of existing congregations, but in search of congregations, for the purpose of attracting by the music and other allurements of the Roman Catholic form of worship. If the Roman Catholics had no other object in view but the education of the people, why did they not spend their money in Ireland, where there were ample congregations? why not themselves endow Maynooth? They did not do so, because proselytism was their object, and ignorance the basis upon which they wrought. The right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government had stated, in 1840, thatHe could not agree in the opinion that the system of instruction pursued at Maynooth ought to be a matter of indifference to the House. The system of education was a legitimate matter for the consideration of Parliament; and the House would abandon its duty, if it were to avow the doctrine that because the grant had been continued for thirty years, it was therefore pledged to say to Maynooth, you may inculcate what doctrine you please, however injurious to the supremacy of the law, and detrimental to the established Government and monarchy of the empire.Now, however, (observed Mr. Spooner,) the right hon. Baronet declined to meddle with the system of education at all. What security had the country, therefore, when all the checks upon that College were removed — even that of the annual character of the grant—that the most obnoxious doctrines would not be inculcated in it? He would next 913 refer to what surprised him extremely, and what he called the attention of the Protestant Members of that House to with all earnestness—namely, the speeches of the noble Lord the Member for Newark, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Canterbury. The noble Lord the Member for Newark had quoted from Dr. Wordsworth in his speech of last night, and he (Mr. Spooner) would read what had proceeded from the noble Lord. [The hon. Member here read a lengthened passage from the speech of Lord J. Manners, to the effect that as it was admitted the whole system of Roman Catholicism depended upon the Pope, it was the duty of the English Government, instead of engaging in a childish struggle with Rome, which existed before England was a monarchy, and which possessed such tremendous power—to send a Representative to the Vatican, and to admit a Nuncio at St. James's.] That was the opinion of the noble Lord. The Pope was strong, and therefore they must submit to him. He told them that necessity urged this course, and that he was prepared to take it. The noble Lord was followed in the same strain of argument by the hon. Member for Canterbury. He would not read his arguments to the House—the sum and substance of them was to recommend a union with Popery—to do that which was absolutely contradictory to their oath as Members of Parliament—to do that which was contradictory to the Coronation Oath—which was subversive of the Constitution of the country, and which, if adopted by Her Majesty's Ministers, would subject them to impeachment; and if sanctioned by the Crown, the moment it was so sanctioned the allegiance to the Crown would be forfeited, for the title to the Crown was preserved by our Protestant Constitution. Such was the language used by the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman. He (Mr. Spooner) solemnly called upon all Protestants, who were prepared to support the measure before the House, to stop while they could, and not to adopt a measure which was so hailed by these highly-talented individuals, and which was received by them as a stepping-stone towards a union with Popery, and which, if adopted, he was sure would set the seal to the destruction of our present happy Empire. An observation had also fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the other Member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone), to which he thought it right to call the attention of the House. The 914 observations of the right hon. Gentleman were, that this measure was founded on a new order of ideas, and involved a totally new Church Establishment. That was the view taken of this measure by the right hon. Gentleman. Were they prepared for this new Church Establishment? Were they prepared to make the right hon. Gentleman the leader of that new Reformation which must be the inevitable consequence of the measure now under consideration? He had said enough to show the feelings he entertained on this question, and nothing that he could say was needed to enforce his view of the question. He had done no more than bring before them, plainly and simply, the arguments and considerations which weighed with his mind. He told the right hon. Gentleman below him, that the House and the country would require of him a full and explicit renunciation of all the doctrines and all the views which had been expressed by the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman. He would tell them more, that the country would not be satisfied if they did not abandon a measure which had been hailed as a new era—as a new Reformation of our Protestant Church; and which had received the support of Gentlemen who were ready to enter into an indissoluble union with the Pope, which would be destructive of that Constitution for which their ancestors bled. He thanked the House for the kind indulgence with which they had heard him. He felt that the subject was not exhausted, but feared that their patience was exhausted. He trusted that the cause would not suffer from any imperfections in his advocacy—that they would receive his observations as the honest expressions of a man whose avocations in life did not allow him to give deep thought to political subjects, or to the expression of those thoughts much preparation. What he said was from the honest feeling of his heart, and he trusted as such it would be received.
§ Sir J. Graham
said: Sir, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport, towards the close of the able speech which he addressed to the House in the early part of this evening, very naturally expressed an opinion that before the close of this protracted debate it would be my duty to offer some observations to the House; and, although I may regret on some grounds that the debate has been so prolonged, yet there are reasons why I think neither the Government nor the country has any reason to regret the prolongation 915 of the discussion. Sir, I am quite satisfied that whatever temporary excitement may exist among the people of this country, yet that at the moment of the greatest excitement an appeal to their reason and understanding never fails to produce the best possible effect; and I may miscalculate the effect of this protracted debate, but, if I mistake not, the appeal to their reason in defence of this measure has been triumphant, and I anticipate from it the best possible results. Sir, I see in his place the hon. Member for Renfrew: the hon. Member stated on a former occasion that he felt almost certain, if the Ministers could have foreseen the storm which their proposition has created, they would not have embarked in this measure, anticipating the result. Sir, I must assure the hon. Member and the House, that this proposition has been made by Her Majesty's Government advisedly, deliberately, and with ample forethought; and although we do most deeply deplore, as the hon. Member for Birmingham felt certain we must deplore, the division on this side of the House with respect to the Bill which we have now under discussion—although it is most painful to us to have forfeited in any degree the confidence, to have lost, if not permanently, at least for a time, the good will of Gentlemen who in times of difficulty and in very peculiar circumstances, have given us a generous and constant support; yet I do say, deploring the religious differences which have for so long a time prevailed in Ireland, anticipating the division that was likely to occur, we have yet come to the conclusion that this is a proposition which, on our responsibility as Ministers, we could not delay, and which it was necessary to submit for the consideration of the House. Sir, I am bound to say, that I do not conceive that this measure by itself is capable of redressing the wrongs of Ireland, or of establishing the pacification of that part of the Empire. But it is also my duty to add, that if I be not much mistaken, this is the measure most practicable, most efficacious as the commencement of a happier state of things in that country. And I also must add still further, that I am confident and persuaded that unless you lay the foundation of a policy of pacification by the adoption of this Bill, any other measure would fail of producing that desirable result. Now, Sir, I must make a few observations on the various arguments that have been urged against the measure; and, first of all, I must congratulate my 916 hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford on the strange ally with whom he made common cause in his course of yesterday evening. I do not see him now in his place. I mean the virtual, if not the actual, Representative of the University of Durham (Mr. Bright), who addressed the House near the close of the evening. Although the hon. Member's vote will be given for my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, I have heard no speech on the whole so conclusive in favour of our measure. The hon. Member entertains peculiar opinions, which he manfully avows. He says that he is the enemy of all Establishments—that he is hostile to all endowments, and upon that principle he is decidedly opposed to this measure. But what were the admissions which he made? If I mistake not, he said, in the first place, that if it were not for the hostility which had been shown to it, he believed this measure was calculated to sustain the Church Establishment in Ireland. He then went on to say, that if he were favourable to the principle of Church endowment he would vote for this measure; and not only did he make that admission, but he made the still more important admission, that he believed that it was calculated to create a kinder feeling on the part of the Irish Catholics towards the people of this country. These are admissions which, it appears to me, are conclusive in favour of this measure. They certainly are somewhat of an answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, who charges me, as a Member of the Government, with inconsistency, in propounding a measure of this description. He says, that the policy which we have advocated, as he alleges, has been to sustain what has been termed Protestant ascendancy—to excite Protestant opposition to the utmost—to pander to Protestant prejudices. Now, observe what is the position of Her Majesty's Government—to what opposite and contradictory charges they are exposed. I feel that we are exposed to this great disadvantage; the fire opens upon us from the front, the flank, and the rear; but, fortunately, these charges most successfully repel each other. The allegation is, that we are not true to the Protestant Church; and that this measure, as now propounded by us, is inconsistent with our pledges of plighted faith to the maintenance of that Church. The hon. Member for Durham says that, in his opinion, this measure is 917 peculiarly well calculated to sustain the Establishment; and, in his deliberate opinion, he charges it as almost an unfair and dishonest means of buying off all opposition to the existence of the Establishment. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, and the noble Lord the Member for Bandon, heaped upon us charges of a directly opposite description. I am sure I do not misrepresent the hon. Member for the University of Dublin. He said that in his opinion the clergy of the Church of Ireland were reduced to the utmost want by measures which I, at least, as one of Her Majesty's present advisers, had counselled and supported. He specified the measures—he mentioned the Church Temporalities Act. Who was the author of the Church Temporalities Act? My noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies. I gave to that measure a consistent and decided support. What was the next measure? The Tithe Composition Act. By whom was the foundation of that measure laid? Also by my noble Friend the present Secretary for the Colonies. By whom was it adopted? It was adopted during the Administration of my right hon. Friend, in 1834; it was subsequently carried by the Government of Lord Melbourne; and then, in opposition to the Government, my right hon. Friend, Lord Stanley, and myself, gave to that measure our strenuous and united support. What was the other measure that the right hon. Gentleman specified as injurious to the Protestant clergy and wounding to their feelings? The national system of education. By whom was that proposition made? Again by my noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, my present Colleague, and then my Colleague when he brought that proposition forward. By whom was it adopted? By my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, by whom, invariably, consistently, and resolutely, in opposition to much clamour and obloquy, it has been strenuously and stoutly maintained, and will not be abandoned. The hon. and learned Gentleman must permit me to say that I very much agree with the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Redington) that the latter portion of his speech would have been received with cheers and acclamations at Conciliation-hall. It is precisely the argument which the hon. Member for the county of Cork, or the hon. Member for the county of Limerick, would have urged in this House, if they had brought forward a measure for the Repeal 918 of the Union. What was the accusation? That the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was a pageant; that the Irish Government was a bauble; that nationality was destroyed, and I think, he said, that strangers—strangers!—occupy all the high places in the administration of Irish affairs. I do not misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw). ["No."] Then let us just come to particulars. Strangers occupy all the high places in Ireland! The Chief Justiceship of Ireland became vacant since we accepted office: who was appointed? Chief Justice Pennefather. The Mastership of the Rolls became vacant: who was appointed? Mr. Blackburne. Two seats on the Bench became vacant: who were appointed? Mr. Serjeant Jackson and Baron Lefroy. The Prime Serjeantship became vacant: who filled it? Mr. Warren. [Mr. Shaw: You have omitted one.] Perhaps there may be found Irishmen of superior reputation to those Gentlemen I have named, but I am not acquainted with them. We may proceed further. Four or five dignities in the Church became vacant: whom have we appointed? Bishop O'Brien, Bishop Daly, Bishop Stopford; and we made a similar appointment in the case of the Deanery of St. Patrick. We gave that preferment to Mr. Pakenham. I want to know where are the strangers who have been appointed by us to high offices in Ireland? This is an accusation which is easily made; but allow me to tell the right hon. Gentleman, that after all, this is not the accusation with irespect to which, perhaps, I might find it most difficult to defend Her Majesty's Government; and if the right hon. Gentleman really believes that the days of Protestant ascendancy, in the old sense, can be maintained, I tell him that those days are passed, and I for one will not be responsible for any attempt to govern Ireland upon those principles. Now, Sir, I think, as far as my personal consistency is concerned, I have stated enough to show that uniformly, whether in Opposition or in Government, I have endeavoured to act steadily upon the principles which I have stated, first in the Temporalities Act; then in the scheme of national education; and, lastly, in the great measure the Tithe Commutation. I have never expressed any opinion, individually, at all opposed to the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. The point was raised repeatedly. I think it was raised when I was in Opposition. I am quite sure that it was raised two or three years 919 ago in a discussion in which the hon. Member for the county of Kildare took part, and stated that the Catholic clergy would not accept endowment. Hon. Members said, I perfectly remember, that with respect to the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy, it was an arrangement to which they would not give their consent. I stated then that it was my firm belief, that whatever might have been the circumstances which at a former period would have rendered such an arrangement practicable, if not desirable, those circumstances no longer existed; and that there was not willingness on the part of the Irish clergy to accept, nor was there willingness on the part of the British public to provide an endowment. But I stated that with respect to my own private feelings and judgment, I had no religious scruples whatever which would prevent me from advocating that measure. The difference between me and the noble Lord and hon. Gentlemen opposite always has been, that if such an arrangement were feasible, and if such an endowment could by common consent be made—the difference between me and them has always been with respect to the propriety—I will not use any stronger term—of drawing that endowment from the property of the Protestant Church established by law. Upon that point I have always differed from them. I have adhered steadily and uniformly, and I still adhere to my opinion. I have an insuperable objection to any such arrangement. From that point I have not swerved; I regret the difference; it still exists, and certainly I do not anticipate that any circumstances will ever alter it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Devonport, in common with many other Gentlemen who have addressed the House in the course of this debate, has referred to particular expressions used by me, not when in Opposition or a candidate for power, but since I was in office, I think in the year 1842, in the discussion on the Arms Bill. I have stated that some time before the discussion arose upon which the expression was used, I had announced to the House that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government, in fulfilment of the pledge which they had given in opposition, to bring forward a measure for the registration of county voters in Ireland, and for an enlargement of the county franchise; I had also announced, on the part of the Government, the intention to introduce a Bill for the 920 better regulation of the municipal franchise; and these two measures were conceived in a spirit which, at least, we had hoped and believed would have been most satisfactory. We redeemed all our pledges which we had given with respect to taking precautions against the fraud and perjury consequent upon the present mode of registration, and also the inconveniences arising from the disputed construction of the beneficial interest which constitutes the right of voting in counties in Ireland. We had taken precautions which, if the House had adopted them, would have greatly enlarged the county franchise in Ireland, and, with the exception of the grant of the 40s. freeholds in fee, would have placed the county franchise in Ireland on a footing identical with the franchise in England; except, indeed, the qualification was of a lower value as contrasted with the franchise in England in every particular. So also with regard to the municipal franchise, the measure we tendered was that which we understood had always been desired, which when the Municipal Act first passed was not possible, but which when we introduced it in 1843 had become possible—viz., a perfect identity of municipal franchise in Ireland with the municipal franchise in England. I only mention these facts historically, and not for the purpose of discussion, which I should wish on the present occasion to avoid. In that year, and almost simultaneously with those propositions, which were certainly not of an illiberal character, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, a demonstration was made of a formidable kind, if not intended, certainly having the effect on the public mind of a demonstration to overbear, by a display of physical force, Her Majesty's Government. When we came to urge the Arms Act, it became my duty to point out the necessity that, together with measures of the description I have mentioned, enlarging both the county and municipal franchise—while we asked for no extraordinary power—no Acts of coercion, going beyond the accustomed law of the land—we should, by the operation of the law, offer an uncompromising and firm resistance to efforts which we considered most dangerous, tending by physical force to the overthrow of the Queen's Government in that country. I certainly, upon that occasion, did make use of the expression "that conciliation had been pushed to its utmost limit." I do not think it altogether fair to fasten on a particular expres- 921 sion, used in the heat of debate, especially when that expression was explained (I hold the explanation here, but I will not weary the House by reading it) within a fortnight of the time it was made. I will do more: I admit the expression, and I avow my regret at having used it. Nay, still further, I say that where the feelings and the interests of a nation are concerned, expressions of inadvertency on the part of a Minister are serious offences. I therefore make this reparation freely. I say that I am sorry for the use of that phrase; it has given offence in Ireland; I deeply regret it; and I can only say, conscientiously and from the bottom of my heart, that my actions towards Ireland have been better than my words. I am bound to say that. I am most unwilling further to advert to those unhappy transactions in the year 1843 but I repeat that the public mind was so soured in Ireland by what had occurred, that even those measures to which I have adverted—which decidedly are beneficent measures—measures going far to meet the wishes, so often repeated of the people of Ireland, with respect both to the county and municipal franchise, failed altogether in their object—were all but rejected with contempt, and had not the effect we desired of pacifying the public mind. Towards the close of last year a suggestion was thrown out by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, that without proposing, on the part of the State, a direct endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy, there was a measure unobjectionable in principle, feasible with an alteration of the law of the land, which by the willing consent and co-operation of wealthy landlords, might progressively and gradually lead to endowment. Her Majesty's Government directed their attention to that particular subject, and introduced the Bequest Act, which fulfilled the purpose to which I have adverted; and that measure certainly produced an effect which exceeded our expectations, and which satisfied us that it was the commencement of a course which, if followed up, might be productive of the happiest effects. Undoubtedly, a portion of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland have been bitterly opposed to that measure; but on the other hand, the heads of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, with firmness, with boldness, in spite of much obloquy and resistance, have co-operated with Her Majesty's Government to give effect to that useful and salutary measure. The Roman Catholic hierarchy 922 in Ireland was divided in opinion with respect to the Bequest Act; but my right hon. Friend, in introducing the Bill which is now under our consideration, read to the House, if I mistake not, the unanimous application, by memorial, of the whole of the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops in Ireland for an increase of the grant to Maynooth. The question, then, presented itself to us thus: here is an opportunity of meeting the wishes of the Roman Catholic clergy, if we avail ourselves of it. If there be nothing wrong in principle—nothing inconsistent with our duty to our Protestant Sovereign, and to the maintenance of the Protestant Church in Ireland, we may gratify the wishes of this powerful body—endowment is out of the question; direct endowment the Roman Catholic clergy say they will not accept—we are not prepared to propose it or to offer it; but here is a particular grant, which the Roman Catholic hierarchy say, if you will tender it, we will accept. Her Majesty's advisers see no objection in principle; we know that it will be acceptable and accepted. We contend that in principle it is not only acceptable, but expedient, and hence the origin of the measure which we are now discussing. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, in commenting upon the speech of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, observed that, though the money question in this matter was not unimportant, yet that it was not, on the part of those who opposed the measure, a mere haggling about money. I must say that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh upon this point was put, if possible, with more than his usual force, and appeared to me perfectly triumphant; but in candour I will admit that on the question which we are now discussing, there is, if not in the letter, at least in the spirit, something more important than the additional sum of money. I will first dispose of what has been termed, in the course of this debate, the religious question. I admit that in the year 1795, when Maynooth was first founded, first recognised by the State, and first established, the religious question did arise. That question, as it appears to me, was this — shall a Protestant State establish and endow a seminary for the exclusive teaching of the Roman Catholic priesthood, foregoing all interference in the quality of the education? I conceive that to have been a grave and serious religious question. It was so considered at the time. My right 923 hon. Friend adverted to the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam by the Government of Mr. Pitt. Lord Fitzwilliam had held out, in a speech as Lord Lieutenant, on the opening of the Session of Parliament, an expectation to the Irish people of larger concessions than the Home Government was prepared to grant. Be it observed that the elective franchise had been given to the Roman Catholics of Ireland two years before; and when we remember the great numerical superiority of the Roman Catholics of that country over their Protestant fellow-subjects, I must say that even at that time it was clear, what experience since has proved—that that fundamental concession must, sooner or later, be the groundwork of the largest extension of civil and religious liberty, and the germ of perfect equality. But to return to the circumstances of 1795. Lord Camden went to Ireland to supersede Lord Fitzwilliam; and, although he was not authorized to go the length which Lord Fitzwilliam had gone, of promising civil equality to the Roman Catholics of that country, yet he was distinctly instructed to propose further indulgences to Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in that country; and within ten days of his arrival, his first measure, after consulting Lord Chancellor Clare, Agar, Archbishop of Cashel, Mr. Foster, then Speaker, and Sir J. Parnell, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was to send to the Home Government the draft of the Act of 1795, which provides endowment from the public Revenue for the College of Maynooth. The Home Government deliberated upon the proposition. My right hon. Friend stated, that the Home Secretary, at that time the Duke of Portland, was also Chancellor of the University of Oxford; and it has been ascertained by me, from Records in the Home Office, that before the measure of 1795 was adopted, the Government draft of the Bill was submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the Duke of Portland. It is impossible that any measure could have received more calm deliberation, or been more thoroughly discussed. The Bill became law; and it provides in distinct terms (which have been already more than once quoted) both for the endowment and for the establishment of the College. But does it do no more? It is said, Sir, that this Bill is the first which recognises the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. I deny it, Sir. The Bill of 1795 recognised the Roman Catholic hierarchy in express 924 terms. It appointed the Roman Catholic bishops trustees of the College of Maynooth — it admitted their statutes — it used their ecclesiastical authority. It distinctly disposes, therefore, of the religious question. That Act shows that there is nothing in the Constitution of this country which makes it impossible, improper, or inexpedient to endow a seminary for the education of Roman Catholic priests, not only recognising the Roman Catholic religion as it exists in Ireland, but also contributing aid from the State in support of it, and mixing the authority of the Lord Lieutenant with the governing body. How do I show this? In the first place, the Act gives to the Lord Lieutenant a veto on all the by-laws passed by the trustees for the government of the College. I should mention also, that by the Act of 1795, the trustees were a mixed body; for it was then thought expedient that there should be a divided trust, composed of certain number of Protestants and of Catholics; and, pro tanto, therefore, there was more interference, owing to the existence of the Protestant trustees, than was ultimately found expedient. But to show the intimate connexion between the State and the College of Maynooth, I must make the House observe, that every by-law must be submitted, and has been for the last fifty years submitted, to the Lord Lieutenant, who has the power of veto, and the by-law is only binding if he has not exercised that power. Nay, more, the president cannot enter upon his functions till he has been approved of by the Lord Lieutenant; and in his oath of office he expressly sets forth that he has been so approved. I hold in my hand a Return which has, I think, been laid on the Table of the other House of Parliament. It is a Return of the By-Laws of the College, and shows the regulations of Maynooth. The number of students being fixed, the by-law distributed the patronage or power of nominating them among the Roman Catholic bishops in the different districts of Ireland, by virtue of their offices. Here is the Return, which sets forth the name of each student, and the name of the diocese; and the patron's name is set forth as the ordinary of that diocese. Thus the by-law, which has been sanctioned by the Lord Lieutenant, and which has been laid on the Table of the other House of Parliament, shows expressly that the Roman Catholic hierarchy have been already recognised by the State. My hon. Friend behind 925 me who spoke last has stated, that all who object to a grant on the ground of their attachment to the voluntary principle, must have their objections increased in proportion to the enlargement of the grant itself. But I cannot say that I think this is very good reasoning; for the same argument would apply to all endowments for religious purposes whatsoever, whether in the Colonies or made in the form of the Regium Donum, and likewise to the Votes of the House of Commons in support of Episcopacy in Scotland, or for the Roman Catholics in the Hebrides, to whom a grant was continued, I believe, down to the year 1810. If, Sir, there be any religious objection—if the practice which has been carried on for so long a period without interruption is erroneous, the objection rests on principle, not on the amount of money to be granted. I will not rely, Sir, upon there having been any compact entered into upon the subject; but I will contend that there has been such a usage as to make it an honorary engagement on the part of Parliament, which we are bound to take into consideration. A sort of contract was made for twenty years at the time of the Union; and at the end of that period Parliament adopted the arrangement on full and further deliberation, and for twenty-five years more carried it out; so that whether there was compact or no compact, express agreement, or prescriptive usage, the right of the College to a grant rests upon the strongest possible grounds. But I will not rest its continuance, much less its increase, upon this consideration. What I urge is the fact, that there are 7,000,000 of your fellow-subjects in Ireland who profess the Roman Catholic religion; and I must here observe that I differ from the hon. Member for Birmingham, whose expressions I heard with sorrow, when he declared that the Roman Catholic religion is an awful delusion. I heard the admirable observations on this part of the subject of the right hon. Member for Devonport with extreme pleasure. I am a sincere Protestant myself; but I cannot tolerate such an expression applied to the millions who profess the Roman Catholic religion, as that they labour under an awful delusion, more especially when I recollect that the great majority of Christians are Roman Catholics; and although there are essential differences between the Protestant and the Roman Catholic religion, still in the main the fundamentals of both are identical; and if the faith of the Roman 926 Catholics be an awful delusion, every religious hope which we entertain is destroyed; and we of all men are the most miserable. The Roman Catholics of Ireland, as I have said, are 7,000,000, and the policy of England towards Ireland has at different times been cruel in the extreme. Cromwell, who was not very scrupulous as to the means which he used, did try to extirpate the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. It was he who introduced the system of pains and penalties, and privations, which were intended to drive the people from their faith; but that system was found unsuccessful after it had been tried for centuries, and one-fourth of the Queen's subjects in the United Kingdom have remained faithful to the Roman Catholic religion. You have not been able to extirpate them, you have failed to convert them; but they are now willing to accept of this grant of 27,000l. a year, for the purpose of providing the means of giving a better education to those who must and will be the spiritual fathers and guides of the people. Now, Sir, let me ask whether, under such circumstances, it would be policy to refuse this grant? Can you refuse it on principle? No; for the principle was settled fifty years ago, and the grant that was then awarded to them has been found, as my right hon. Friend truly stated, insufficient, and degrading to those who receive, and to those who give. The additional sum now proposed is insignificant for this House to give; but to those who are to receive it it is all-important—in the first place, as an indication of the good feeling of the House towards Ireland; and also with the view of raising the character and of improving the social habits of the seminary. My right hon. Friend went at length into the wretched state in which the College is kept; I will therefore say no more than that you keep the professors and the students like beggars, and then you blame them because they are not gentlemen. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Smythe) last night well said that, after all, those students were taken from the people, because they were to be the clergy of the people. But here, Sir, I must deny that those students are taken from the lowest class of the population—they are not drawn from the dregs of the people; but are generally supplied from the middle classes—they are generally the sons of shopkeepers and persons in that station in life. They sympathize with the 927 people—they are trusted by the people—they officiate for the people—and they are believed by the people. In former times this College of Maynooth was visited and narrowly inspected by Protestants; and I have spoken with Mr. Frankland Lewis, who, with Mr. Foster, was one of the visitors. Mr. F. Lewis told me that he was present at an examination which lasted two days, in 1S26; and he said the curriculum of their studies, as far as classical knowledge went, was such as would have commanded a degree in an English University. The same gentleman informed me that there was a facility in the use of the Latin language at Maynooth which he had never before or since known to be surpassed, and that as a literary seminary it was by no means to be despised. But even if the studies and the general results of the College of Maynooth were the reverse of what I have stated, the object which this grant is intended to effect would in part be to render the education there more efficient; and I put it to hon. Members on this side of the House, confident as they are in the truth of their particular form of religion, whether if they, the Protestant landlords of England, had a Roman Catholic tenantry residing on their estates, they would prefer to see that tenantry instructed in their religious and moral duties by an ignorant and a badly educated priesthood, or by a clergy accomplished in the arts and sciences, and imbued with the tastes and refinements of literature. I will not, however, weary the House at this late hour with details. I have the strongest conviction that, if you consent to pass this measure, such is the generosity of the Irish character that the people of that country will forget the injuries of which they have a just right to complain; and if you continue to deal in a confiding spirit with them, this measure will prove a bond of union, a harbinger of peace, and a presage of happier days. If you think it will tend to the overthrow of the Established Church, then reject the measure; but take care while you do that lest you should inflame the disaffection already existing, and stimulate the desire for the Repeal of the Union, which has spread already to an alarming extent. Let me ask, will the rejection of the measure tend to allay agitation in Ireland? will it promote increasing confidence in the Irish people in the justice, and the generosity, and the good feeling of their fellow subjects in this country? In my opinion, 928 the measure is caculated to promote great national objects, and, therefore, it has my warmest support. No doubt the Government will be taunted, whether justly or unjustly, with a departure from their line of policy as indicated in some hasty expressions used in the heat of debate; but after deeply and maturely reflecting upon the subject, I counsel you to pass the measure, being sure that at the present moment nothing could be more dangerous to the peace and well-being of the country than its rejection. I heard with the highest degree of pleasure the speech that was made here on a previous evening by the father of this House, the hon. Member for Middlesex. That venerable person is not only the oldest Member of this House, but he is also a man of great political experience, and of unsullied honour. There is neither a speck nor a flaw upon his character. What was the statement made here by that honourable, that venerable Member? I am sure the noble Lord opposite will admit that there is no man in this House who has been animated by a stronger party feeling, or by warmer personal attachments, than the hon. Member for Middlesex; and what did he say of the Bill before the House? All that hon. Member's feelings, all his sympathies, are with the other side of the House. His antipathies I will not call them, but his political and party objections, are all directed against us who sit on this side of the House. That hon. Member's patriotic sense of duty brought him down to this House to state what his sentiments were with respect to this Bill. And what were those sentiments? He first declared that no two men, from early prepossessions, could more dislike such a measure, or be more opposed to it, than the Duke of Wellington and my right hon. Friend; and he also stated that they had not been influenced by fear in bringing it forward. By what then, said the hon. Member, were they influenced? By a sense of what was due to the safety and best interests of the country. The hon. Member then declared, that however he might be opposed to the Government, he never could give a factious vote on such an occasion, and that he should consequently give his vote for the Bill; and he concluded his remarks by saying that he never gave a vote with greater pleasure or with less hesitation than that which he should give on the question before the House, and that he should continue to come down and to give his support to it as long as was necessary. 929 Now, fully appreciating and honouring the line which the hon. Member whose sentiments I have quoted has taken, I tell the House that I do anticipate the happiest results from carrying this measure; but its rejection will be no trifling matter. The rejection of a measure like this, after its deliberate sanction by the Crown, and its preparation and proposal by Her Majesty's Government, will be regarded throughout Ireland as the triumph of religious antipathy over reason and justice; and this result will be received there with a sentiment of bitter disappointment, and with feelings of dismay approaching to desperation.
§ Mr. Maclean
stated, that the argument adduced by the right hon. Gentleman in support of the Bill was simply, that because the House had violated a principle in 1795, and had continued since to do so, that was a reason for increasing the extent to which this violation of principle was to be carried. Now, he thought before the grant was assented to, the country was entitled to examine into the principles of the education carried on at the College of Maynooth; and he must say that it really did appear to him to be most shocking for the House to be acceding to an increase in the grant, which in its original amount was most objectionable, without instituting the slightest examination into the doctrines taught in that establishment for the support of which it was intended. He could not but consider, also, that there was another objection to the grant, which was the ultimate result to which it evidently tended. In the year 1825, when the noble Lord the Member for South Lancashire (Lord F. Egerton) brought forward his Motion for endowing the Roman Catholic clergy, the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) then stated, that his objections to such a Motion rested chiefly on the ground that if the proposal embodied in it were carried into effect, the whole body of Dissenters in the kingdom would be entitled to claim the same endowment, and thus enormous difficulties in the administration of the public affairs would be created. This grant could only be the first step towards an endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy for it was but fair and reasonable that they should not be sent into the world to live on the eleemosynary donations of their flocks. If these measures were contemplated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newark, there could be no earthly reason for his leaving the Cabinet. Surely the 930 right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government did not mean to say that numbers were to claim an endowment, because, if so, he saw no earthly reason why the Dissenters should not claim it. He did not think that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Durham, whom the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had called the "new ally" of the hon. Baronet near him (Sir R. Inglis), had paid any distinguished compliment to the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland in saying that their silence was to be purchased. Nothing could be more insulting than the taunts with which that hon. Member had stated that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government had thrown the measure out for what he (Mr. Bright) called "a sop," for the purpose of "hush money," as he termed it. What had been the original cause of the foundation of Maynooth? It was notoriously to prevent the increase of democratic principles amongst the priesthood of that country, and to make their education a national one, and to insure their loyalty to the Crown of England. They were now about to increase the grant without any examination whether the same doctrine was still preached, and the old system of education was carried out there, or not. He disclaimed anything like intolerance. Protestant intolerance was quite as bad as Catholic intolerance; but it was not intolerant that Protestants should be jealous of this measure. The Constitution of England made the Church of England and Ireland one Church by the Act of Union; and if they made a stab at the Church of Ireland, they must remember that the blow reached the heart of the Church of England. They must remember that they could not have two existing Establishments, and that if they sanctioned an establishment of the Roman Catholic religion, they must sanction the establishment of a religion which was strongly antagonistic to the Protestant faith. That Catholic would be an indifferent member of his faith who did not try every means in his power to propagate that faith which he believed to be true. This was not only the necessity of their religion, but the practice of it; and they lost no opportunity of extending their faith, and propagating their tenets. The same principle actuated the Church of England. They would find out the danger when too late of not remembering the words of one who was a 931 great man in his time—words which he had once heard repeated by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department, with great energy, depth of feeling, and decision of manner, amidst the cheers of the Conservative party, reechoed by many on the other side—they were the words of Lord William Russell:—"I believe that Popery is making great strides in this kingdom, and that those who wish to forward it will hesitate at no step for its advancement, and I lament that so many Protestants have lent it their helping hand."
§ Debate again adjourned.
§ House adjourned at twelve o'clock.