HC Deb 21 April 1845 vol 79 cc1089-92

On the Order of the Day for going into Committee to vote the Maynooth College Grant out of the Consolidated Fund,

Sir R. Inglis

said: I trust, Sir, I shall be excused for calling, not your attention, but that of Her Majesty's Ministers, to the clock. I ask whether it befitting that the most important stage in this Bill should be commenced at the present hour? The question at issue is whether the Consolidated Fund of England shall be charged in perpetuity with the amount which Her Majesty's Ministers propose for the maintenance of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. I ask this House, and especially I ask Her Majesty's Ministers, whether it be fit to commence such a measure at such an hour as the present? I believe that many Gentlemen—one I know on the opposite side of the House has done so—have expressed an opinion that it is impossible to commence such a discussion at such a time. I, therefore, must resist the pressing forward of this measure at this hour, and I hope it will not be necessary for me to resist it in any other way than by appealing to the right feeling of my right hon. Friend. It is now a quarter past ten o'clock, and I feel that it would be unworthy the magnitude of the subject and of the sense that the people entertain of it, at such a time to commence this discussion. I trust that Her Majesty's Ministers will not rely solely upon their numerical majority, but will yield to what I think is a most reasonable request on my part.

Sir R. Peel

said: I sincerely regret that my hon. Friend makes any objection to the progress of this Bill. I did understand from an hon. Gentleman who has given notice of a Motion on this subject, that he should hardly think it his duty to bring forward his Motion at a later hour than ten o'clock, and I may as well tell my hon. Friend that I do not mean to give him the advantage of the opportunity of saying that I have hurried on this business unnecessarily; but I do at the same time think, considering that the measure is now introduced, and considering the manner in which it has been received, that it is of vital importance that no delay should take place. I may say also that no effort on my part shall be wanting to conduct it to a successful issue. With the exception of business of pressing importance to the Public Service, I will not bring forward any Government measure until it shall have been disposed of. I shall, of course, fulfil the pledge which I gave—not for seeing the extent of the opposition which this measure has met with—to the Members representing Scotland, and on Friday next state to the House the general outline of the measure which it is the intention of the Government to propose with respect to banking in that country, in order that those hon. Members may have an opportunity of considering it. I am sorry I was obliged to give that pledge, but I should be also sorry to break it, and I therefore feel myself compelled to adopt the course I have stated. Trusting that those hon. Members will be satisfied with the announcement of the general principles of the measure, and content to reserve the discussion of it for a future occasion, I therefore propose that we shall enter into a Committee upon this vote on the earliest day I can propose, namely, Wednesday next. At the same time I have no power to compel Gentlemen who have notices for that day in reference to Bills undertaken by individuals, to give me precedence. If they are willing to wave their right in that respect, I shall certainly avail myself of the permission, and bring forward this measure on Wednesday; if unwilling then, I must only bring it forward on Friday immediately after I shall have given an outline of the measure affecting the banks of Ireland and Scotland. But I repeat, that no effort upon my part shall be wanting, to advance the measure now before the House with the utmost expedition.

Mr. Hindley

thanked the right hon. Baronet for giving way on this occasion, and considering the measure to be of a highly injurious character, he should oppose it to the utmost; at the same time he was sure the right hon. Baronet would not injure his own cause by not proceeding with that indecent haste which he had attempted on a former occasion. Those who opposed this measure, had been charged with bigotry; but he had just as much right to make a charge of robbery against those who supported it. If, as a Dissenter, he was obliged to support his own church, to build his own chapels, and to endow his own colleges, he asked what right the Government had to put their hands into his pockets and make him pay for a religion which he did not approve of? He did not wish to speak disrespectfully of his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. Their cause, and the cause of the Irish people, he had at all times promoted by his votes in that House. As far as regarded civil privileges, he should continue to do so; but he thought it extremely uncivil that they should desire to put their hands into his pockets for the support of their religion.

Sir R. Peel

hoped that if the consideration of the measure was to be postponed, hon. Members would not now attempt to raise a discussion on it.

Viscount Howick

regretted that they could not at all events commence the discussion that evening. However, as the right hon. Baronet thought it better to yield, he had nothing more to say upon the point. But he could not help suggesting to the right hon. Gentlemen that the Scotch Representatives would, he thought, be very willing to relieve him from the pledge which he had given to begin the business of Friday by a general statement of his plan respecting Scotch banks, if he would consent to postpone his measure upon the subject to another Session. He was prepared to support the right hon. Baronet in all his measures upon the subject, his opinions being much the same as those upon which the right hon. Baronet founded his measure of last year; but, looking to the mass of business upon the books, and to the certainty that they should soon, perhaps immediately after Whitsuntide, begin the process of lopping off Bills, he would ask, whether they might not consider this Scotch measure as one of those which had better be reserved for another Session? He could not help thinking that the remedy which the right hon. Baronet wished to apply to the evils existing in the currency of Scotland, was not pressingly required at this moment, and that probably a little longer experience of the working of the English measure might facilitate in a future year the passing of a measure with respect to Scotland and Ireland. It was clear that if the right hon. Baronet proceeded with his intended measure, it would be met by a vast amount of opposition. They all knew that when hon. Gentlemen began to talk about paper money it was not easy to foresee when they would stop; and locking to the Maynooth and other momentous questions to be disposed of in the present Session, he strongly recommended the right hon. Baronet to postpone his banking measure, and proceed with that now before the House on Friday.

Sir R. Peel

thought there could be no objection to his stating the nature of the measure, which included Ireland as well as Scotland, on Friday next; particularly as he did not feel it consistent with his duty to comply with the request of the noble Lord.

Order of the Day read and postponed.