§ Sir R. H. Inglis
A few days ago the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government answered a question which had been put to him conjointly by the hon. Member for Louth and the hon. Member for Roscommon, as to the time it was his intention to bring forward his proposed measures upon the subject of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, and other academical institutions in Ireland; but the right hon. Baronet did not state more upon the subject than mentioning the time at which he proposed to call the attention of the House to these subjects. I therefore request permission to ask him in what mode he proposes to deal with those important questions? — whether by an increased grant upon the Estimates for the current year, or by Bill, the effect of such Bill being to place Roman Catholic Institutions on a permanent basis, and withdrawing them altogether from the annual revision of Parliament? If it be by Bill, I wish to ask the right hon. Baronet whether it is or is not his intention to leave the Protestant institutions (for which, although, indeed, the grants were small in amount, yet, being grants, the effect was, to subject them to annual discussions in this House) in a similar condition as they are at present, or to provide for them as in the case of Maynooth, if it be proposed to provide for the Roman Catholic Institutions in Ireland. I have therefore two questions to put to the right hon. Baronets—first, whether he intends to proceed by Bill in the case of Maynooth and the Roman Catholic Institutions in Ireland? And secondly, whether 1149 he proposes to leave the Protestant Institutions of the country to be still subject to the annoyance of annual debates in this House?
§ Sir R. Peel
Sir, I am sorry that my hon. Friend has thought it necessary to ask me questions with respect to the character of those measures which I shall have to propose for the consideration of the House, inasmuch as I think that it is of great advantage in such cases to confine our observations to stating generally what the intentions of Government are; however, I have no objection on the present occasion to reply to the interrogatories which the hon. Member for Oxford has felt it necessary to put to me. I certainly propose to proceed by Bill in case of Maynooth and the new academical institutions in Ireland. And if the House is prepared to accede to the proposition for an increased grant, I cannot help thinking that it would be a very great advantage to remove the subject altogether from the necessity of having annual discussions upon it in this House. Now, in reference to the hon. Member's second question, as to whether it is my intention to leave the Protestant Institutions subject to annual discussions in this House, I must say, I think it would be of very great advantage if we were to have no annual religious discussions whatsoever in this House. With respect then as to whether or not these subjects should be annually brought before the House, I think that they should be all treated upon the same general principle, and ought to be placed upon the same permanent footing. I say this without exactly knowing what the hon. Member refers to. [Sir R. H. Inglis: What about the Regium Donum?] That is a Presbyterian grant. If the hon. Member for Oxford wishes this grant to be placed upon a permanent footing, I am sure that I shall not be disposed to offer any objection. Holding as I do the Presbyterian body in great respect, I shall certainly not be disposed to refuse my consent to any proposition that may be brought forward to place them on an equally permanent footing with the other religious sects in respect to this grant.
§ Sir R. H. Inglis
I have no such intention as that of making such a proposition, and I have no such wish upon the subject; on the contrary, if any such proceeding be attempted, I shall give it my most strenuous opposition.
§ Sir R. Peel
Then, Sir, I think it 1150 was hardly fair of the hon. Member to endeavour to raise a prejudice in this house in respect to Maynooth by implying that the Presbyterians were to be placed upon a different principle from the Roman Catholics; and then when I declare that I shall accede to such a proposition, the hon. Member starts up and says, "No, I will oppose it."