HC Deb 20 May 1845 vol 80 cc612-54
Sir H. W. Barron

, in resuming the adjourned debate, said that he could perfectly well understand the opposition which had been offered to the Bill by the numerous Protestant Dissenters of England, who objected on principle to all grants by the State for religious purposes; but when he saw a large majority of the opponents of the measure in that House composed of Gentlemen who had on various occasions supported the principle of religious endowments by the State, he confessed he was at a loss to understand how it was they had been induced to join in the cry which had been raised against the measure now under consideration. He was surprised that hon. Gentlemen should take advantage of that cry, and found their opposition to the present Bill upon it; he was astonished that hon. Gentlemen should take advantage of that most improper cry, which was abroad in the country, and come down and tell Her Majesty's Ministers, in consequence of it, that they were not acting in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the constituencies, or of the people of this country. A reference to the petitions which had been presented to the House of Commons, against the proposed grant to Maynooth, would show what was the real nature of the prayer contained in those petitions. He would give them a fair sample of those petitions, by just reading a portion from one of them, emanating from a special general meeting of a body of the dissenting ministers of the three denominations, residing in and about the city of Westminster. The principal objection which they had to the present Bill was not that it was an endowment of the College of Maynooth as a Roman Catholic College, or as a school for the education of the clergy of that persuasion; but an objection to the principle of the endowment of any religious institution whatsoever. Were not the grounds of their opposition, then, to this measure apparently dishonest ones? The Dissenters of this country—as was evident from that petition to which he referred, and the very words of which he used—did not object to the present Bill because it was an endowment of the Catholic religion, but because it was an endowment of any religion whatsoever. What, then, became of the opposition to it of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford, or the hon. Member for Kent, those champions of the Established Church in this country? Were not the principles they advocated diametrically opposed to those of the Protestant Dissenters of England, as expressed in that petition? Let, then, the ground of opposition to the present Bill be clearly understood; but let it not be placed, as it was sought to be placed, upon a dishonest footing. He believed that nine out of every ten of these petitioners would be and were equally opposed to the endowment of the Protestant Church Establishment, either in England, Ireland, or Scotland. The words of the petition were these, "because we conscientiously object to the endowment of any religious institution whatsoever." The champions, therefore, of the Protestant Church Establishment in England, Scotland, or Ireland, had no support from the petitions of the Dissenting bodies presented to that House. But he (Sir H. W. Barron) would beg to remark to the Dissenting ministers of this country, that this grant to Maynooth stood upon broad and distinct principles, apart from any grant to any other body whatsoever in the United Kingdom. In the first place, it had been sanctioned by the Irish Parliament, and then by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, for forty-five years; and, moreover, it should be borne in mind, and no one but an unwise man and shortsighted statesman would forget it, that the great body of the Catholics of Ireland are keenly sensible and fully alive to the fact, that it was by English force, English violence, and English bayonets, that they were deprived of the original endowments of their own Church. Restore them these endowments, and they would not come to ask for any grant; but keep those endowments, contrary to the wishes, feelings, and prejudices, if you will, of the people of that country—contrary to the interests of the Catholics of Ireland, and apply them for Protestant purposes, and who could say, but that the Catholics of Ireland had a just right and claim upon the Parliament of England, so long as that property which was granted by Catholics, and for Catholic purposes, was devoted to Protestant purposes exclusively? As long as that continued so, the Catholics of Ireland might very fairly be supposed to expect some sort of restitution. It was true the Catholics of Ireland had not come to that House to ask for the present grant, which, in comparison to the property of which they had been deprived, was a paltry miserable pittance; but nevertheless he thought it would be received by the great majority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy of Ireland as an honest and honourable grant on the part of the British Parliament; he believed it would be received in a spirit of peace and kindness, and thankfulness more than commensurate with its amount. But he would ask, did not the circumstances he mentioned draw a long line of distinction between the grant to the College of Maynooth and any other grant they could give in this country? There was no analogy between the cases of the Dissenting clergy of this country and the Roman Catholic clergy, so far as the application of the voluntary principle to both was concerned; for the Dissenters never had any property of their own, while the Roman Catholics had, of which they had been deprived. It would, therefore, be not only unnatural, but impossible, to suppose that under such a state of things the Catholics of Ireland could feel perfectly satisfied unless such grants as the present were occasionally made to them as the exigencies of the occasion required. How would the people of England act, if similarly circumstanced with the people of Ireland? Suppose, for instance, Napoleon had succeeded by his armament at Boulogne, in conquering this country, and the property of its inhabitants or the Established Church handed over to the Roman Catholics by the invaders, what would the English people think or feel upon such an occasion? How would they act? They would think, and feel, and act like men. They would say to the invaders, "You have done us an injustice, and sooner or later you must make us restitution." The second objection to the Maynooth grant, however, was made upon religious grounds. Now, that objection, he thought, was extremely untenable in a country like this, which was in itself so much divided upon religious points, and where there were people professing so many different religions. But what were the real facts of the case in this Empire? They had established in England the religion of the majority of the people; they had established in Scotland the religion of the majority; but in Ireland alone they had established the religion of the minority. Was not that a state of things that it was impossible for the people of Ireland to submit to with anything like patience? Was it not on the face of it an insult? and unless they could soften down the asperities caused by these things—asperities rankling for 300 years—unless they treated the Irish Roman Catholics in the manner which would be manifested by acts like the present proposed one; how could they hope to remove successfully the animosities entertained towards British rule? The statements made by hon. Members in that House, that the majority of the people of this country were strongly opposed to the present measure, would furnish Mr. O'Connell with the strongest possible arguments in favour of a Repeal of the Union. The hon. Baronet again referred to a document setting forth the reasons alleged by some of the opponents of the present measure, which were founded on their avowed hostility to the Catholic religion. The document went on to say, "We oppose this grant because the doctrines taught at Maynooth are of the most rigid school of Papistry." He would not make any remark on the term "Papistry," which was a kind of insulting phrase; but he confessed he did not well understand what the sentence exactly meant. He presumed it intended to convey that because the pure and distinct doctrines of the Catholic Church were taught at Maynooth, and no other, that that was sufficient ground for opposition. But he supposed the terms "rigid school of Papistry" meant such doctrines as were inculcated by what was called Jesuitism—a word used to frighten children with in the nursery. An hon. Gentleman opposite laughed; but he would ask him had he ever taken the trouble to inquire into the real history of the Jesuits? If he had done so, he would find that they were a body of the most learned men who had ever been united together in any country all over the world—men who had by their piety, learning, and various acts of charity in religion, done more for the spreading of the religion of Christianity all over the universe than the priests of all other religions put together—men who had traversed the deserts of Africa, had penetrated into the heart of China, and carried their labours into lands where it was certain death for them to be discovered. They were men who had devoted themselves most zealously and unshrinkingly to propagate that which they believed to be truth, and would be agreeable to their Divine Master. But the religion of these men, which it was attempted now to cry down and asperse in England, was the religion of their ancestors, in the most glorious days of English history. It was the religion of those who secured its best liberties for this country—the religion of those who obtained Magna Charta. It was a Roman Catholic archbishop who attached the first signature to that great charter of British liberty, and handed it then to the tyrant John to confirm it. It was by Roman Catholics that the battles of Agincourt and Cressy were fought and won. Their own Henrys and Edwards, too, were Catholics, at the most glorious epochs of English history. That history must be forgotten, certainly, by those who at the present day vituperated the Catholic religion. Did they recollect that it was Roman Catholics founded their Universities of Oxford and Cambridge?—that it was Catholics who founded that glorious temple which stood just outside the gates of that House—that it was Roman Catholics who had erected the splendid ecclesiastical edifices, whose ruins were spread all over the country? What had been done like these things by any of those who succeeded them? Who was it that had adorned their towns with churches, convents, and monasteries, from whence the poor had never been sent empty away, and until the destruction of which they never had a poor law in this country, nor had they ever wanted one? Could they forget all these things? But when he heard all the calumnies and false accusations which were heaped upon that religion, he considered he would be unworthy his place in that House if he did not come forward and remind them of those things, and refute all those unfounded and senseless calumnies. He knew that the imputations cast on the Roman Catholics and some of the doctrines attributed to them were scandalously false. He believed that there was not one single doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church which, if fairly and honestly examined, any Protestant in that House might not subscribe to, and that every doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church was supported by one or other of their own divines. He maintained that the man who denied that position was grossly ignorant of the Roman Catholic religion. He had never heard of any doctrines in his Church which were not maintained in their own Book of Common Prayer, and by some at least of their own own eminent divines. They might differ as to matters of detail or as to matters of form, but these things had nothing to do with real religion. It was misapprehension—it was gross and unfounded prejudice that prevented these things being generally known. It was the interest of certain parties to keep them divided; but in his conscience he believed, as an honest man, that in essentials there was less difference between the two Churches than was generally supposed, or than any man would believe who had not inquired into the facts. The Dissenters of this country might talk of the dreadful doctrines of the Church of Rome; but those were gentlemen who in nine cases out of ten had never read Roman Catholic works, who knew the Roman Catholic religion from their nursery maids only, and who took certain things for granted merely because they had been told them. The mischievous, absurd, and dangerous appeals which had of late been made to the people of England upon that subject, had done more to alienate the affections of the Irish people, than all the acts of all the Governments within the last forty years. During the last six weeks there had been more done to widen the breach between the two countries than most men could believe; and the proceedings to which he was referring had made a deep impression on the people of Ireland. He regretted that from the bottom of his heart. The great question which they had then to decide was, whether they would vote with the prejudices of a portion of the English people, or whether they would vote for the great interests of the Empire. The sum was small; but they ought, if possible, to vote it by a large majority. The sum was nothing; but the principle was everything. He believed that if they passed that measure in a kindly spirit, they would be repaid tenfold in the love and gratitude of the Irish people. If they rejected it, they would add to the cup of bitterness in Ireland an ingredient more bitter than any that had ever proceeded from that House; and they could not, he would tell them, ever succeed in governing the people of Ireland by violence and force.

Mr. Lawson

said, that he did not mean to make any reply to the observations of the hon. Baronet who had just sat down with respect to the Roman Catholic religion, because he thought that it would be much better not to enter into religious discussions in that House. He should take care that not a word which could offend the feelings of his Roman Catholic fellow subjects should fall from his lips. But he should, at the same time, feel it his duty to express his unqualified opposition to the measure then under the consideration of the House. He looked upon the Church of Ireland and the Church of England as one; and it was because he believed that if he were to vote in favour of that measure, he should be betraying the interests of the English no less than of the Irish Church, that he was decidedly hostile to the Bill. Since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, he had always voted against any grant to the College of Maynooth; and he did not see that difference between a smaller and a larger grant which some Gentlemen appeared to see, that could in- duce him to support the one, after having uniformly opposed the other. He did not object merely to a larger or to a smaller grant, but he objected to any grant whatever. His wish would be to have Maynooth opened as a collegiate establishment, in connexion with the new academical institutions. He had always supported the grant for education in Ireland; and he should not object to the grant to Maynooth if that establishment were to be thrown open to the laity as well as to the clergy. He did not oppose the grant the more or the less on account of its increase, because whatever they did with what he considered the poisoned cup, the ingredients would still continue the same. He should observe that in that part of the country with which he was connected, the general feeling both of Dissenters and of Churchmen was decidedly opposed to that measure. He did not wish to see the question made a subject of party or sectarian squabbles. He was anxious, on the contrary, that the Roman Catholics should be so educated that they might be able to meet Protestants in fair argument; and then let the truth prevail. As to a compact, he did not think that there had been any, even as regarded the minor grant; and as to a restitution, he should only observe that that was a very dangerous question to raise, for if a restitution were to take place, it might extend to very high quarters. He should conclude by thanking the House for the patience with which it had listened to his observations, and by stating that it would certainly be his duty to oppose the measure then before the House.

Mr. Cholmondeley

said, that he was far from considering that measure as one of unalloyed good, and entirely free from any mixture of evil. He thought that it could not be unattended with some risk; but that risk he was willing to run for the good results which he believed would follow its passing; and he should, therefore, be prepared deliberately to give his vote in favour of the third reading of the Bill. With reference to the feelings of his constituents upon the subject, he should only observe, that he would not pay them the bad compliment of considering himself as their delegate, and not as their representative. It was his honest and conscientious belief, that in voting for the Motion before the House, he should be voting for a measure which would do much more good than harm; and which could not in any way endanger the constitution of the Empire. It was said, that that measure would afford an undue encouragement of the Roman Catholic religion, and an undue discouragement of the Protestant religion; but he confessed that that was not his opinion. He did not close his eyes to what he believed to be the errors of the Roman Catholic religion, or the dangerous tendency of those errors; but he did not think that in supporting the present measure he would be doing anything which would be likely to extend those errors; for that measure had for its whole sole and special object the raising of the condition of the Irish priests; and by voting for it, therefore, he believed he would be so far from doing anything to propagate error, that he would be voting for what was far more calculated to diminish error than to extend it. He did not consider that by voting for that measure, he was binding himself in any way to vote for any ulterior measures which he might think calculated to affect in an injurious manner the interests of the Protestant religion in this country. He felt that very strongly; and he could not, he thought, too much insist upon the point. The measure involved no new principle; and was, in his opinion, purely financial. It had been urged, as an objection to it, that it had not succeeded in contenting the Repeal faction; but it appeared to him one of the greatest advantages of the measure, that it held out a sop to no party, but had been brought forward in a spirit of firmness and justice, at the sacrifice of personal popularity. Arguments might possibly be found against the measure; but he agreed with the right hon. Member for Newark in thinking that they applied chiefly to matters of detail, and therefore could not fairly be brought forward at this stage of the Bill. He did not regard the present as a religious question. There were, as had been observed, three ways of dealing with the subject—to leave the grant in its present state, to place it on a more enlarged footing, or to discontinue it altogether. If there were any prepared to recommend the latter course, he would join issue with them. No one would maintain, he apprehended, that the discontinuance of the grant must necessarily involve the discontinuance of the College, which would still subsist; the difference being, that those educated there would be brought up in hostility to this country. So few, however, were the advocates of this course, that it was unnecessary for him to dwell longer upon it; and the choice remained between allowing the College to remain in its present state, and amending it. He was not prepared to leave it as it was, and could conceive no better scheme for its amendment than that proposed by the Government; nor did he think that in supporting it he was violating any religious principle; for he agreed with the late Dr. Arnold, who said, "I have one great principle, which I never lose sight of—to insist strongly on the difference between Christian and anti-Christian, and to sink into nothing the difference between Christian and Christian." Would that those who declaimed so loudly on the beauty of Christian charity, would allow it to influence their conduct, and extend to others a little of that toleration which they so largely demanded for themselves! They were warned to beware lest they fostered the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland; but he denied that the measure before them would make one Roman Catholic more, or one Protestant less, in Ireland. He could conceive nothing better calculated to improve the Irish people than to raise the standard of the Irish priest. Another strong argument in favour of the Bill was the danger of throwing it out. If they turned out the present Government, what government could replace them? It must be a government pledged to oppose such a measure. The result of a refusal to pass the Bill, would be to stop all improvement in Ireland, in deference to what the practical good sense of the country would soon discover to have been a mere bugbear. He did not look upon it as a panacea for all the evils of Ireland, neither did he support it on the supposition that it would increase the Protestant interest in that country. He was no friend to proselytism; but the history of all reformations proved that the conversion must come from within the Church, and not from without; Luther was a Roman Catholic. Depend on it the great parent of error was ignorance. Let the measure only be received by Ireland in the same spirit as that in which it was conferred by England, and it could not fail of being an equal benefit to the country which bestowed and the country which received it.

Mr. Ffolliott

was opposed to the Bill on principle—not upon the question as to the amount of the grant. He had already voted against the smaller grant, and he held that there was a great difference between a mere annual grant and a premanent endowment secured by an Act of Parliament. The Protestant State of this country held and maintained that the principles of the Roman Catholic religion were erroneous and superstitious; and he could not but think that by passing this Bill they would adopt and endow that erroneous and superstitious religion, and raise it to an equality with that of the Established Church. He denied, in the most unqualified manner, that the Protestants of Ireland were favourable to this measure; and he was fortified in giving that denial by the petitions which had been laid on the Table of the House, and by the correspondence which he had had with the Protestants of that country. He had that night presented a petition against it from a parish in Tyrone, signed by 600 persons, who, he was informed by a letter, declared that they considered the First Lord of the Treasury as the enemy of Protestantism, and requested him to put on public record their utter detestation of the proposed measure. Before this fatal Bill passed, he hoped that at least there would be an inquiry into the system of education pursued at Maynooth. That system was described as antisocial and demoralizing; that the College was under the control and influence of the Jesuits; that the students were taught to hold allegiance to a foreign potentate, and to look to be absolved from the sanctity of any oath binding them to allegiance to the Sovereign of these realms. Those were the opinions believed in the country; let them, therefore, be shown by a public inquiry that they were unfounded. With much reluctance he must declare that he believed the measure would be most destructive to the best interests of the country, and for that reason he should support the Amendment.

Sir D. Norreys

said, that as far as he could judge, he had scarcely ever known a measure more honestly introduced into Parliament, and more honestly supported than the present. On this question nothing could be more honourable than the conduct of those English Representatives who belonged to that party to which he had the honour to be attached. They had refrained from taking any party advantage which the occasion might have offered for the purpose of damaging the Government, and had determined to do that which was right for Ireland, even at the risk of jeopardizing their own seats in that House. The hon. Gentlemen opposite had also acted well towards Ireland. They had proposed a measure which they must have foreseen would not give them any immediate popularity; but they had proposed it, because they thought it right, in spite of all party considerations; and for this they deserved the greatest credit. It had been said, that there was no new principle contained in this measure; but he must say, that he thought the pledging the State in the irrevocable manner in which they were now doing, to supply a sufficient body of Catholic clergy for the Irish people — a clergy belonging to a religion which the majority of that House believed to be a religion of error—was a strong principle for the House to adopt; and he anticipated from this measure a speedy settlement of the Church question in Ireland. They had passed a great gulf. They had undertaken, on the part of the State, to educate a body of men who would maintain what the majority of that House considered to be a religion of error; and to go further, and support the clergy whom they had educated, appeared to him a change of so trifling an extent in principle, that it must follow in a very short time. If he looked upon the present measure as an isolated one, he should think the less highly of it, because he conceived that if they took the Roman Catholic priesthood, as at present, from the lower orders, and refined their minds by education, and then turned them out among the population in a position disgraceful for Christian ministers to be in, they would thereby render that priesthood more hostile to the Establishment, and more dangerous than at present. He had no right to assume what were the intentions of the right hon. Baronet opposite. It was not for him to say whether the right hon. Baronet intended to go further or not; but, when he saw a great foundation laid, he had a right to expect to see a vast edifice raised. In conclusion, he thanked the Government for the present measure, as well as for the measure respecting academical education in Ireland.

Mr. Godson

said, that having presented petitions against this measure, he was anxious to explain why he could not support their prayer. Having, as a Member of Parliament, supported the Established Church in Ireland by always voting against the appropriation principle, it also became his duty to consider what might be fairly done for the benefit of the Roman Catholic population of that country. If the present measure had stood alone, he should have given it his support; but he viewed it in connexion with the Bequests Acts, and the Bill for the establishment of Colleges in Ireland; and he hoped to see Ireland rendered peaceable by having this justice done it, and that then the Colleges might all be bound together in one University. It was said that the present measure was objectionable on account of its endowment of the Roman Catholic religion. But this was no new principle; at least, if it was new in Ireland, it was not new in our Colonies. By a Return to Parliament in 1839 (the last that had been made) it appeared that in the small island of Jamaica, the ecclesiastical establishment cost 36,610l. (of which sum 8,100l. was paid by this country for the bishop, archdeacon, and seven clergymen) for the Church of England. But the Assembly also paid out of the public revenue for the Church of Scotland 683l.; and for the Church of Rome 550l. There was also by the same return 500l. paid to the Wesleyan chapel; to the Baptist chapel, 600l.; and to the Jews' synagogue, 1,000l. Thus, the whole amount paid in one year out of the taxes collected in Jamaica was 31,843l. He found that in the same year (1838) there was expended in the different Colonies the sum of 168,242l., of which 14,763l. was paid to the Roman Catholic clergymen; 14,763l. being nearly one-tenth of the whole amount. Such being the state of the case, how could it be made a point of conscience not to do in Ireland that which they were accustomed to do in the Colonies? He believed that Her Majesty's Ministers, who had wisely brought in the present measure, would find, the more it was inquired into and debated, that the outcry at first raised against it would gradually subside, and that the good sense of the English people would ultimately perceive that, what seemed alarming in the beginning, was not of a nature justly to excite apprehension. He conceived that the measure would place the Roman Catholic priesthood in a proper position, and enable them to attend to the moral welfare of their communities. In this respect it was a wise measure, and calculated to lead to peace; and he told those of his constituents and others who objected to the measure on the ground that it would extend the Roman Catholic Church and depress Protestantism, that it could not have that effect; but that it would lead to religious peace; and the consequence would be that they would see the day when all religious classes would be found living in harmony in Ireland, as they were in the different towns of England; the ministers of religion being solely occupied in attending to the discharge of their sacred functions. The Roman Catholic priest would then be what they must desire all spiritual guides to be — not subject, on account of his poverty, to his flock, whom he ought to guide and instruct, but rendered more independent of them, and therefore more useful to them; and under such circumstances they might then appropriately apply to him the beautiful lines of the poet:— And as a bird each fond endearment tries To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies, He tried each art, reprov'd each dull delay, Allur'd to brighter worlds, and led the way.

Colonel Rawdon

said: So many have been the speakers and so long the speeches, that till now I have had no opportunity of expressing the cordial concurrence of my Roman Catholic constituents and of the Roman Catholic Primate of all Ireland, who is one of them, with the measure now before us. Sir, I take this measure as an evidence of plain good intention—a principle which, Mr. Burke says, is of no mean force in the government of a people. I hail it as an attempt in part to efface the bitter recollection of bygone days, by the substitution of benign influence. And I think the Government is the more entitled to praise for the measure, because if we had urged it, the right hon. Baronet had a ready answer, and a perfect right to make use of it—that "you, the friends of Ireland, did not propose it." It is true we did not propose it—not because the necessity for it was not felt, but because from the state of parties then we could not have realized the proposition. And this reminds me of an expression used last night by the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, which appeared to imply that in our support of the Minister, we somewhat lacked of grateful recollection towards those who had through bad and evil report fought the battle of Ireland. Sir, I beg he will not include me in his list of the ungratefuls. I feel all that is due to the noble Lord and his associates below me; and I am proud to follow them, and they will not find me, at all events, deserting their ranks, unless I perceive the interests of Ireland compel me to do so. Were I then to remain with them, I am sure they would be the first to undervalue such support. Now, Sir, let me briefly call back the recollection of the House from this extraneous matter to the view taken of this measure on its introduction by the Minister. The view he took was the common sense view. He showed you that the grant was inadequate for its purpose—that the principle had been repeatedly sanctioned—that the state of the institution of Maynooth was calculated to engender bitter feelings in the breasts of those who were hereafter to influence the minds of millions, and that it would be a better (and I may add, a safer) policy to withdraw all State connexion with the institution, than to continue such connexion in a manner discreditable to both. Sir, this was a plain unvarnished tale: the colouring of the picture was not heightened by any lines of eloquence. He spoke the words of truth and earnestness. He enunciated a fact — a plain—fact—which many of us here had long been acquainted with, and he proposes his remedy, and asks you to consent to it. Are you still prepared to say no? Are you blind to the state of Ireland? Are you deaf to thr authoritative voice which recommends this Bill? It comes to you supported by all the leading and practical Statesmen of the day. It comes to you in accordance with the opinions of the Prime Ministers of the last twenty years, five of whom are now alive. It is recommended to you by those who have filled the office of Secretary for Ireland for nearly the last half-century, with the exception of him, I believe, who was Secretary in 1805 (Lord Bexley); and there are fifteen of these Secretaries now living. I ask again, will you refuse to profit by their experience—will you not take counsel, but will you rather prefer servilely to do the bidding of those who have not the means of enlightenment which you possess? Will you not remember that you are Irish Legislators as well as English—that this is a question affecting Irishmen only, excepting the money part of it, which is common to both? Will you not remember that if England is Protestant, Ireland is Catholic? If you will not—if your notions of truth so unreasons you—if you are determined to prefer the prejudices of England to Imperial interests, on you, I say, shall rest the reponsibility. I refuse to share it. Sir, the hon. Member for Dorsetshire talked last night of our Protestant Constitution. What does this mean? Is not this House an essential element in that Constitution; and are not Roman Catholic Members here? Sir, the main safety of our Constitution is, that it is not a written one; its vitality comes from its elasticity. Thus you have Catholic institutions in Canada, and Presbyterianism in Scotland; and changes are made according to the spirit of each age, which hitherto have been adopted by the good sense of the people, in time to keep this Empire and its liberties in safety. Sir, that hon. Member made a significant allusion to what would be the spirit of the next Parliament, which I hope will not be lost upon the Prime Minister. He will see, if he wishes to preserve the Union, that he must ere long infuse largely of Irish spirit here, to preserve that Union from the attacks of the hon. Gentleman's Protestant pawns. Sir, the hon. Member for Dorset talks of the battle of the Boyne; and the hon. Member for Oxford talked, I recollect, of nailing his colour to the mast—terms militant, I must say, which apply but badly to a religion whose attribute is peace. The hon. Member for Birmingham says ridicule is not argument; but he must forgive me for saying, that it is hard to refrain from ridicule when he uses the argumentum ad absurdum. When, for instance, he conjures up the musty spirits of a Cavasurius to deter us from a practical and charitable act of legislation—and this, forsooth, he did when telling us that this House was no place for polemical discussion. But, Sir, I will leave him to enjoy that awful delusion under which the hon. Member for Liskeard told him he laboured. Now, Sir, I would wish to allude to the speech of the hon. Member for Honiton last night, a speech to which I listened with great attention and delight. The hon. Member for Honiton assures us that there is an increasing disposition on the part of the people of England to do entire justice to Ireland. I heard the sentiment, and the cheers which accompanied it, with great satisfaction; and I still cling to the hope; but honestly I confess to you that, day by day, this hope is becoming fainter. Sir, I have lately seen the Government of my noble Friend below me become weak and nearly powerless from its friendly disposition towards Ireland; and I have now the spectacle of a hitherto all-powerful Minister struggling amidst the billows of anti-Catholic prejudice, and from which he can only be saved by the generous exertions and self-devotion of his political opponents. I see preparations making for a great struggle at the next general election. The religious sympathies of the English people are to be appealed to. Already the result is confidently predicted by the Member for Dorsetshire, to be a checkmate by the Protestant pawns of England to the liberal game on the Irish side of the board. This is the reason why I say my hope of justice for my country from you is becoming fainter. I say it with great reluctance. I see creeds drawing up in hostile array. I see Imperial legislators, men of great station in the ranks—I see them giving vent to their so-called Protestant, but which I must term antisocial effusions. I see them on their pinnacle of truth, regardless of prudential considerations, (and while they profess the kindest and most amiable motives,) proclaiming to their Roman Catholic fellow subjects that franchises municipal and parliamentary, that ameliorations in ecclesiastical arrangements, must be withheld as long as they continue under an "awful delusion." Now, Sir, in sadness I ask you, how is this to end? If the case were reversed, how would you end it? You would take the course that the spirit of freedom dictates to high spirited men. Is it wise thus to push matters? For God's sake, recollect that you represent Ireland as well as England, and, ere it be too late, I implore of you to learn to legislate on Irish matters with Irish feelings. I am convinced this is your only safe course. You must make up your minds, as we have before told you, and as the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland lately well repeated—you must make up your minds to legislate for Ireland as an Irish Parliament would legislate. Depend upon it, you cannot safely trifle with the state of Ireland. I know the depth of feeling that exists there; and I am here, in a really loyal and conservative spirit, to tell you that the same tone of debate which took place on the Catholic Emancipation Bill is unfitted to the time in which you live. If England is really thus to be arrayed against Ireland—if you are determined to resist this measure—if you are determined to persevere in this unhappy course—I tell you, in the words of Mr. Fox, "you should not presume to legislate for a people with whose wants, interests, opinions, affections, and prejudices you have no sympathy;" and, in the words of a noble Lord on your own side of the House, I shall be reluctantly constrained to tell my countrymen—"Leave England to her Protestant integrity, take your affairs in your own hands, and do the best you can for yourselves."

Mr. Shaw

had so frequently experienced the indulgence of the House on former stages of the Bill, and the question had already been so fully discussed, that he would then trespass but shortly on their attention. He would endeavour to avoid ground which had been before debated, and apply himself principally to the features and circumstances of the measure which had been developed in the course of its progress; more particularly to their bearings and indications as regarded the general policy of the Government towards Ireland. The scheme had been originally put forward by its promoters as little more than an addition to the annual grant to Maynooth, and the execution of a compact entered into by the Irish Parliament in 1795; but that position had been abandoned — in fact, it was no longer tenable. Not to touch upon the arguments of the opponents of the measure, he would take, in proof of his assertion, a leading authority from amongst its advocates on each side of the House. His right hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone) described it as essentially a new measure, involving entirely new principles. The noble Lord the Member for London candidly and justly characterized it as differing both in degree and in kind from the relation which the State had previously borne to the College of Maynooth; and the noble Lord had correctly construed the Act of 1795, as an enabling Act to the Roman Catholics to found their own College, and to endow it from their own lands and money. It now appeared as if, when opportunity had been afforded to the Roman Catholics of Ireland to establish a College for their own priesthood, and that during the war, and while access to foreign education was peculiarly difficult, and even to the present day, Parliament kept propping up the system by annual contributions, so as to make that opportunity as ample and complete as possible; yet, that when the Roman Catholics of Ireland refused to avail themselves of it—not from want of liberality or of means, which never failed for objects which they really desired to promote—the Government stepped in, as if determined to maintain the establishment at any cost, adopted it as their own, and, without regulation or restriction, placed it among the most favoured institutions of the country. He had before said that he doubted much whether, even upon the low ground of expediency taken by the supporters of the Bill, it would produce any real improvement in the College of Maynooth, unsupported, as he believed that institution would still be, by the Roman Catholic gentry of Ireland; while he himself would always rest his opposition on the principle, that by the permanent endowment of a seminary for the sole purpose of teaching the Roman Catholic religion within the limits of the United Kingdom, the Government were violating their solemn duty to the Crown and Constitution, which the fundamental laws under which England had reached its present eminence amongst the nations of the world required to be essentially Protestant. But to go to the policy of the measure as it affected Ireland. It was not its least evil, that it tended to unsettle all men's minds in Ireland. This was caused by the fears excited on one side—the hopes on the other—both possibly exaggerated — but still more, by the undefined promises and mysterious intimations with which the Government had introduced the Bill. He particularly alluded to the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department. That right hon. Gentleman spoke of this being but the commencement of a new system—the laying of the foundation of an entirely altered policy towards Ireland. What, then, was that to be? The right hon. Baronet had ostentatiously apologized for an expression he had used about two years ago, and when he had been for about as many administering the affairs of Ireland, namely, that concession to the Roman Catholics of Ireland had reached its limits. It was at all times manly and right to retract words if they were used in haste, and calculated to convey an erroneous impression; but that should be done at the earliest opportunity, and where there could be no suspicion of a motive having subsequently arisen. Instead of which the right hon. Baronet had immediately after the use of the words fully explained them, and as he (Mr. Shaw) had thought most intelligibly—not that the Govern- ment would refuse to introduce any measure of practical improvement relating to Ireland, but that the Roman Catholics having been already placed on terms of equality in all civil matters with their Protestant fellow subjects, there remained nothing more to do in that direction by way of conciliation. What, then, were they to understand by the tardy and elaborate retraction of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) after the lapse of two years from the time the words had been spoken and explained? There must be something more than met the eye. Was it that the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) desired to repudiate the policy which had been heretofore pursued by his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel)? The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had laboured hard to show that the whole Irish policy of the present Government had been directed by himself, and a noble Lord a Member of the Cabinet, not then in that House, Lord Stanley. Did the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) wish those who had long acted with his (Mr. Shaw's) right hon. Friend the First Minister of the Crown, and well knew that his right hon. Friend's object had been to do equal jusstice, to administer the laws impartially, and to grant the same civil rights to all parties in that country—were they now—to understand that either the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) denied that such had been the policy of his right hon. Colleague (Sir R. Peel), or that something more than that was now to be done? Was it that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were to infer from these statements, that they were no longer to be content with civil, but also to expect a perfect religious equality in point of law with the members of the Established Church in that country? Then, indeed, instead of pouring oil, they would be casting a deadly strife upon the troubled waters of Irish agitation—a new Catholic question—fraught with a bitterer acrimony, a more inflamed animosity, more intensely exciting in the ratio of their relative importance as a religious Catholic question, than was the old political Catholic question by which their country had been so long distracted, and from which it was only then beginning to enjoy repose. God help that unhappy country! They had little cause to put their trust in man. They were beginning to hope that all these irritating questions had been settled. Men of different religious creeds were coming together with a desire to co-operate in matters of national improvement and of common interest. But it would seem they were to be again driven into religious disputations and party contentions, as if it were their doom that peace or rest should never be permitted them; but that disunion and discord were to be their everlasting destiny. He had always deplored the announcement of his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury, that Ireland would be his difficulty. It had been well observed, that to believe anything difficult or impossible was the surest way to make it so. Such predictions, too, had always a tendency to their own fulfilment. They suggested weakness. They invited attack; and he (Mr. Shaw) verily believed that much of the annoyance and evil of the monster meetings and State prosecutions in Ireland was induced by that declaration. He confessed that for his own part, he had never regarded the policy pursued in respect of the monster meetings at first, or the State prosecutions after, a judicious one; but he would not dwell on that point then. There was one thing, however, which he was bold to affirm, and that was, that when his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel) came into office, there was no portion of his party more ready and anxious than the great majority of his Irish supporters to co-operate with him in a truly conciliatory course of Irish policy, tempering firmness, in the administration of the laws, with the utmost moderation; holding a perfectly equal balance between all parties, and preferring no man, in regard to civil office, on account of his religious creed. He was well aware that many, perhaps on his own side of the House even, would be disinclined to agree with him in that assertion. They themselves thought Ireland a great difficulty; they did not know it—they would not learn it—they pushed it from them, and lent too ready an ear to every injurious report affecting it. Still he made the assertion most sincerely and advisedly. There were few, perhaps, who would be so indisposed to admit as the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department. It would be at variance with and upset his whole system of governing Ireland. He should have been very sorry, he should have felt hurt indeed, had his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel) attributed to him that he (Mr. Shaw) would have desired to see Ireland governed on what the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had designated as the old principles of Protestant ascendancy. His right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel) had really known his sentiments; and however it might be his misfortune to differ on any particular point from his right hon. Friend, even though they might be altogether divided on politics, or sit at different sides of the House—still he could never do otherwise than appreciate his right hon. Friend's good opinion, and entertain for him a feeling, his right hon. Friend must allow him to say, of affectionate esteem. He owned that he was comparatively indifferent to the opinion of the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham). His views of Irish policy were, of course, of very little importance to the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet had honoured him (Mr. Shaw) with the appellation of Friend, only sufficiently long to qualify him for, and give zest to the right hon. Baronet's subsequent sarcasm; but still he was at a loss to know upon what grounds the right hon. Baronet had a right to assume that he wished to see the old system of Protestant ascendancy restored. He had always been favourable to the removal of political disabilities from his Roman Catholic countrymen; he had not a seat in the House in 1829, but his father had lost his seat there a short time before for voting in favour of the Roman Catholic claims. He was sorry to trouble the House with matter personal to himself; but after the insinuations of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), he not only desired to stand right with the House, but the whole policy of the government of Ireland was so completely drawn into question in the debates upon the present measure, that he trusted a short reference to it would not be considered out of place. It could scarcely have been from his conduct during the proceedings upon the Irish Corporation Bill—the only measure upon which he had had any great intercourse with the right hon. Baronet—that the right hon. Baronet could have supposed him influenced by the principles of Protestant ascendancy. He took the course he pursued in reference to that measure, because he thought it the right one. Still he was quite aware what would be the consequences—that the settlement of the ques- tion would smooth the way to office for the right hon. Baronet; and that the humble part he took in passing it would risk, as it had done, his own seat in that House, and lose him some of the earliest and dearest friendships of his life. It could scarcely have been during the discussions on the Irish Arms Bill, that the right hon. Baronet had discovered his (Mr. Shaw's) leanings to Protestant ascendancy—when he had warned the right hon. Baronet that much time, and trouble, and temper were expended upon a measure much more likely to be vexatious than useful; and he believed that there were few magistrates or other official persons who had since been engaged in the administration of that law, who would not now characterize that measure in the same manner. He had plainly told the right hon. Baronet what he thought—that under the right hon. Baronet's administration of Irish affairs, the so-called Irish Government was little more than a mockery, having, indeed, much of the responsibility, but none of the power of the Executive; and that the real and unpolitical business of Ireland was not permitted to be done out of the Home Office, and was neglected in it—necessarily it might be from the immense pressure of other business, but still in fact neglected; and he gladly seized the opportunity before his right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland (Sir T. Fremantle) entered upon his duties in that country, and before, therefore, it was possible the objection could assume anything of a character personal to his right hon. Friend, for whom he had the greatest regard, to assure his right hon. Friend (Sir T. Fremantle) that, while he might nominally be the Minister for that country, he would find himself really but a clerk to the Home Office. He might be right or wrong in that opinion; but at all events he could see nothing in it of Protestant ascendancy. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had enumerated several names of persons appointed to offices in Ireland, which could scarcely be held by other than local professional men, and would have that considered as a great compliment and boon to Irishmen; and the right hon. Baronet had selected the names according to his usual fashion, with a view of raising a cheer against his own Friends. When he (Mr. Shaw) had alluded to that subject, his objection was entirely a national, and in no degree a party one. He wished it to be neither personal to individuals, nor peculiar to Governments, whether Whig or Tory. He was a very young man when Mr. Canning was supposed to have nominated Lord Plunket to a second-rate judicial office in this country, and that the appointment was not completed in consequence of a general remonstrance against it from the English bar; and he confessed that from that day to this, he had never heard of the appointment of an English Chancellor to Ireland without blushing as an Irishman, and deploring, as he had stated on a former occasion, that party distractions had suppressed the spirit of a sound professional independence in that country. He, from his peculiar position, could make the observation with less possibility of the suspicion of a personal motive, than perhaps any other individual connected with the profession. If he chose to mention names—but he would rather avoid the invidious task—he could, without the slightest reference to religious or party distinctions, demonstrate to every Irishman on either side of the House, who knew anything of the profession in Ireland, the truth of what he had formerly stated, that professional appointments had been influenced rather by considerations of a spurious liberality, than by a regard to the character of the profession, or the interests of the Irish public. The right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) had mentioned one name in connexion with an inferior office; and that man having remained still in that inferior office was one proof that the principle he (Mr. Shaw) had been deprecating, was acted upon by the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham). That party was still to be played against party in that country, was illustrated in the very speech of the right hon. Baronet to which he was alluding, the right hon. Baronet crying out at one moment "Protestant ascendancy," to gain the cheers of the Roman Catholics; then "Conciliation Hall," as a bugbear wherewith to frighten the Protestants. It was not so easy to frighten or deceive them as the right hon. Baronet seemed to think. He had employed the simple language of truth, and not of threatening, when he declared that if the Government alarmed the Protestants of Ireland for the safety of their Church, they would raise a general spirit of discontent amongst them, without in the smallest degree conciliat- ing the vast bodies which were swayed by the popular leaders in that country; and of the latter branch of the proposition the Government had since then been afforded abundant evidence. But upon that point he might have gone further; and in cautioning those who demanded the subversion of the Established Church in Ireland against adding strength to the cause of the Repealers, used not his own language, but that of authorities no way liable to be suspected either of tendencies to repeal on the one hand, or political partisanship with him (Mr. Shaw) on the other; one, a Roman Catholic of eminence—Mr. Blake, who gave his solemn evidence that the Protestant Church Establishment was the main link in the connexion between Great Britain and Ireland; another, Lord Plunket, the most distinguished advocate of the Roman Catholic claims, who, in his emphatic style, had told them that if ever the day arrived when the Parliament should lay its hands upon the property of the Irish Established Church, or rob it of its rights, that the same moment would seal the doom of the Union, and terminate the connexion between the two countries. On this point the Government would do well to reflect upon one fact, and it was this—the overwhelming majority of those who had voted on that measure, for and against it, whose votes were influenced by the conviction that the measure, as proposed by the Government, was caculated to injure the Established Church in Ireland. Depend upon it, destroy the Irish branch of that Church, and the English would not long survive it. One word more of warning, and he was done. Let the junction of voluntaries and latitudinarians succeed in severing the Protestant Establishments of religion in the United Kingdom from the State, and with the connexion would perish the character, the happiness, and the prosperity of this great country.

Mr. Milnes Gaskell

denied that the present Government, or their supporters, were liable to any charge of inconsistency for the course which they had pursued upon this Bill. He saw that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay) entertained a different opinion; but he (Mr. Gaskell) must venture to dissent from it. For himself, at least, he could most truly say that no vote which he had ever given in that House had been actuated by a spirit of intolerance or unkindness towards his Roman Catholic fellow subjects. It was true, indeed, that he had opposed the Irish policy of the late Administration; but he had done so from no feeling of hostility to the Catholics, but because he had believed—whether rightly or wrongly was not now the question—that the direct tendency of that policy was to increase the power of the democratic leaders in Ireland; and because he had felt persuaded that that power would not be exercised for the real benefit of the people. He had never impugned the motives of those from whom he differed in opinion, and only claimed for himself the credit which he gave to others. He would now shortly state, with the permission of the House, the grounds of his assent to this proposal. In the first place, he avowed at once that that assent was not founded upon any compact, either expressed or implied, which might have been entered into by the Legislature of this country at the period of the Union. He believed that there had been such a compact—he believed that the spirit of that compact was still binding upon the Legislature—but his vote was mainly founded on other considerations; and he should be perfectly ready to support this Bill in the absence of any such engagement. Now, what were the main facts of the case with which the Government and Parliament had to deal? No man disputed that the great majority of the people of Ireland were of the Roman Catholic persuasion: no man, he believed, disputed that they were likely to remain so. Undoubtedly, if the proportion of Protestants and Roman Catholics could be regulated by the mere expression of a wish, the great majority of that House would much prefer that the present numbers should be inverted, and that the religion of the minority should be the prevailing, as well as the established faith. But the question was not what they might desire—not even what they would do—if Ireland were a "tabula rasa" on which they were free to mould and model whatever scheme of ecclesiastical polity they preferred, but what was the actual condition of affairs? and what was it likely to remain for any period of legislation which that House could contemplate? Surely, it was not the part of wise and prudent men to discuss this question as if the Roman Catholics of Ireland were only a small minority of the population—a mere sect dissenting from the Established Church. And if Parliament felt a real desire to im- prove the character and elevate the condition of the people, he (Mr. Gaskell) was at a loss to understand how Gentlemen could hope to effect that object so long as they shut their eyes to that which constituted the main feature of the question—namely, to the fact that the great majority of the people did not belong to the Established Church. He owned he did not see how it was possible to obtain access to that great majority of the people, except through the ministers of their own persuasion; and therefore he would improve Maynooth as the only practicable means of improving the education of the people. Then, no man would dispute that all the weight which attached to the influence of great names was in favour of this measure—that the course of authority ran in one uniform stream upon this subject—that every public man, without exception, who had been a guide or an ornament to the last generation, had expressed opinions that would have carried him still further than this Bill. No man would dispute this, as regarded the most distinguished of those who had sat upon the benches opposite — the great Whig leaders from Mr. Fox downwards; but it was equally true of Mr. Burke, Mr. Windham, and Lord Grenville—of the great Tory Minister, Mr. Pitt, and the most illustrious of his immediate disciples and followers, Mr. Canning. It was just forty years ago, a few months only before his death, that Mr. Pitt had expressed the following opinion. He said— His idea had been not to apply tests to the religious tenets of the Catholics, but tests applicable to what was the source and foundation of the evil; to render the priests, instead of making them the instruments of poisoning the minds of the people, dependent in some sort upon the Government, and thus links, as it were, between the Government and the people. That would have been a wise and a comprehensive system; that would have been the system which he should have felt it to be his wish, and thought it to have been his duty, to have proposed. In a debate upon the Catholic question, two years before his death, Mr. Canning had expressed a similar opinion. On the 21st of April, 1825, in referring to a proposal which had been made some time before by the noble Lord the Member for South Lancashire (Lord F. Egerton), Mr. Canning said— That with respect to the principle of that measure, it was one which had been in contemplation long ago—in the time of Mr. Pitt; that it had, therefore, authority which he highly respected in its favour; and that nothing which he had heard in the course of the debate had altered that favourable impression. The objection that the Protestant part of the community would thus be taxed in order to raise the funds in question, might be met by asking whether the Catholics did not contribute to the taxes out of which the Regium Donum to a portion of the Dissenting Protestant Church in Ireland was yearly paid. He (Mr. Gaskell) would only trouble the House with one more extract. It was a short passage contained in a letter from Mr. Burke to the father of the right hon. and learned Gentleman below him, the Attorney General for Ireland; and no man, he apprehended, even at Exeter Hall, would venture to charge Mr. Burke with having been an insincere Protestant or a latitudinarian. Mr. Burke said— His humble and decided opinion was, that the three religions prevalent more or less in various parts of these islands, ought all, in subordination to the legal establishments, to be countenanced, protected, cherished; and that in Ireland, particularly, the Roman Catholic religion should be upheld in high respect and veneration, and should be provided with the means of making it a blessing to the people who profess it: that it ought to be cherished as a good, not tolerated as an inevitable evil Such had been the doctrine held by Mr. Burke; and in his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, it was most important that the people of this country should be disabused of the impression that this was a contest between rival creeds; and that they should be reminded of the views which had been entertained by those illustrious men to whose authority, in their cooler moments, they were most wont to look with affection and respect. He knew that no argument, whether derived from compact, from authority, or from considerations of general policy, had any force when addressed to those who objected to this measure on religious grounds, and who were represented in that House by his hon. Friend the Member for Kent (Mr. Plumptre), and those who thought with him. He (Mr. Gaskell) had every respect for the motives of those Gentlemen; his only surprise was, not that they should be opposed to this grant, but that they should have consented to retain their seats in that House after the admission of Roman Catholic Gentlemen to seats in Parliament. But he understood their arguments; though he agreed with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. C. Buller) in thinking that they had greater weight when directed against the Act of Union, and the Act of Emancipation, than against the Bill which was now before the House. He confessed, however, that he had never been able to understand upon what principle Gentlemen who had contentedly acquiesced in the former grant, had taken such umbrage at the increase that was now proposed. Surely, if 9,000l. had been the sum voted by an exclusive Protestant Parliament in 1795—if a Parliament constituted with the precise object of excluding three-fourths of the population had been the parties to originate this grant, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which had removed all civil disabilities from the Catholics, could hardly object, upon the score of principle, to make it more commensurate with the altered circumstances of Ireland. The language, indeed, that was used upon this subject out of doors would make men suppose that the people of this country were called upon to abandon their own religion, instead of only to suffer others to be instructed in theirs. This Bill did not seek to violate the conscience of any man—it did not take one shilling from the Established Church—it did not deprive the Established Church of one single privilege or immunity—it only asked the people of England not to grudge the additional expenditure of a few thousand pounds for an object which for fifty years their Representatives had sanctioned—it asked them to remember that they were not the only parties who were called upon to pay taxes—and it asked them to allow the people of Ireland to receive back from a common fund a small portion of what they had themselves contributed. He owned that, for one, he deeply regretted the invectives that were so often uttered against the religion of the Catholics. He was satisfied that if they wished to promote the growth of Protestantism in Ireland, they could not take a course more likely to defeat that object than the one of marking upon all occasions that they entertained feelings of distrust and of hostility towards the religion of the Irish people. He was convinced that so far from weakening its hold upon their affections by such means, they would be taking the surest course to rivet and confirm it. He wished that ministers of religion in this country, whether those who represented what he believed to be a minority of the Established Church, or those who represented what he feared was a great majority of the Dissenting body, would cease to anathematize so large a portion of their fellow Christians; that they would look more to their points of agreement with the Catholics, and less to those of difference—remembering that they were both worshippers of the same God, and ought to perform the duties of fellow countrymen and fellow subjects, without the heart-burnings and the jealousies which had so unhappily been evoked and fostered on this occasion. Carior est Divis homo quam sibi, was a lesson taught by the great heathen satirist; and, in his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, it was one by which many of the petitioners against this Bill would do well to profit. But, above all, he trusted that whatever might be the conduct of other parties, the Members of that House would at least discharge their duty without favour and without fear; that they would labour, with whatever temporary ill success, to "knit together the hearts and minds of all descriptions of men within these realms." He trusted they would recollect that they were not sent to that House to re-echo the fleeting wishes or prejudices of their constituents, much less the angry passions of polemics, but the real and enduring interests of this great Empire. He (Mr. Gaskell) believed that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government was making a great attempt to combine two objects which had hitherto been disunited in the policy of former Governments—a fixed determination to uphold and vindicate the law, together with an equal determination not to withhold measures of just conciliation from the Irish people. In the pursuit of the former object the right hon. Baronet had been supported by a large majority of that House. He (Mr. Gaskell) trusted that in the pursuit of the second, he would be equally successful. He trusted they would not proclaim to the people of Ireland that such was the bitterness of religious discord in this country that the attempt to combine both those objects must prove abortive, and that no minister could hope to retain the confidence of a great party, unless he was prepared to govern Ireland on principles of intolerance and proscription. It was said that this Bill would not satisfy the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell) and others, but only prove the parent of fresh demands. He (Mr. Gaskell) had no expectation, he had not even the wish that it should satisfy those whose undisguised and avowed aim was the dismemberment of the Empire. But such, as he understood it, was not the object of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman sought only to conciliate and to attach the moderate and reflecting portion of the Roman Catholic body, whose co-operation and support were of such immense importance to the cause of peace and good government in Ireland. If he (Sir R. Peel) should be successful in that object, he would be amply compensated for all the obloquy, all the clamour, and all the misrepresentation to which he had been exposed. In conclusion, he (Mr. Gaskell) would remind the House that this was not one of those extorted concessions, whose fruits were so often bitter, and which contained within themselves the seeds of so much future discontent. It was an act of grace and justice brought forward by Her Majesty's Ministers in the spirit and in the hope of peace. He trusted that that House would take advantage of the opportunity which was thus afforded them—that they would make this concession willingly, and make it now—that in the beautiful language of Mr. Canning, they might at least make this glorious moment irrevocably their own:— —"Non tamen irritum Quodcunque retro est efficiet, neque Diffinget infectumque reddet Quod fugiens semel hora vexit.

Mr. Bellew

rose, as a Catholic Member, principally to express his opinion on the Irish Church question. He entertained great respect for that portion of the population of Ireland who were Protestants. Though they constituted numerically a comparatively small proportion of the population, they were generally well educated; they occupied respectable positions in society; and from these circumstances they had attained much greater weight in the country than, in the proper order of things, they were entitled to. But he believed that an act of spoliation with respect to church property in Ireland had been committed in its being originally wrested from the Catholics. He considered also that, if that property were now taken altogether from the Protestants, another act of spoliation would be committed; but he believed it was matter of certainty that before many years elapsed some adjustment of that property must take place. He regarded the Bill now before the House as a most important step in that series of measures which were necessary to conciliate and tranquillize Ireland, and to promote the prosperity of this kingdom. By this measure they would carry to every farmhouse in Ireland a conviction of the care of the State for the clergy of the Catholic Church. Every man in Ireland who had a friend or a relative at Maynooth would feel that his religion was no longer proscribed, but that it held a place in the care and attention of the State. Indeed, he could not conceive any single measure which would be more satisfactory to the whole mass of the Catholic population. In the course of the debate on this Bill, some taunts had been thrown out against the religion of Roman Catholics. He considered that attacks of that kind, in a House where the proportion of Protestant Members as compared with Catholics was twenty to one, were most ungracious; and he would venture to say that those charges were unfounded. The Government, in proposing measures of this nature, would undoubtedly have to encounter much violent opposition; but he could assure them they would carry with them the feelings of a large and most important interest in Ireland, as well as in this country and in Scotland; and they would eventually find that, in pursuing their present policy, they had adopted that course which was most advantageous to the interests of the Empire.

Sir R. H. Inglis

said, that in the whole course of the hundred hours' debate which had taken place upon this subject, there was scarcely one single point which remained undiscussed. Having already experienced the indulgence of the House, he should not ask their attention to-night if he had not felt that when there were calls for a division, it would not perhaps be deemed unbecoming, as he had taken a prominent part in this discussion from the beginning, if he then rose for the purpose of preventing this question from coming to a final division without endeavouring, for the last time, to recall to the attention of the House some of those views to which their attention had indeed been already directed. No man now contended, as it was contended by some hon. Members in an earlier part of this discussion, that there was any compact, direct or implied, entered into in relation to this grant, by which the nation was bound to maintain the College of Maynooth, and still less to increase the grant as it was now proposed. His right hon. Friend at the commencement of the discussion had stated, that there were three courses open to them; one of which was, the abandonment of the College alto- gether; and no person could, therefore, contend that they were bound to maintain that which they were at liberty to abandon. Some hon. Members called such a measure as this policy, others expediency; but by whatever name it might be called—take it even as charity, as it had been characterized by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland—take it as fear, as it was described by the hon. and gallant Member for Marylebone—call it sympathy with the great majority of the people of Ireland, or as a moral obligation, which they were told had induced Her Majesty's Ministers to propose it, and which should induce this House to acquiesce in it—take it in any shape—he could not change that opinion which in the first instance he had expressed upon the subject. He thought that, while this measure would have the effect of alienating the affections of the Protestants of Ireland, it would fatally fail in conciliating the Roman Catholics of that country. He knew he might be told that he had no right to assume that the majority of the Protestants of Ireland, and, still less, of the Empire, was opposed to the measure; and that the opposition to it in England was only that of a few Dissenters, and a small proportion of the members of the the Established Church. He, however, believed that the great mass of the people of England was directly opposed to the measure; and that, so far from its conciliating the Roman Catholics of Ireland, they will consider it as one which ought to be rejected by them as an insult, while it would have the effect of arousing the Protestant feeling of that country. They talked of exciting creed against creed; but whose fault was that? Who had originated the discussion? They would raise a Protestant feeling in Ireland which had slumbered for a time, and which might never have been evoked except by a measure like this; which had enkindled again a flame which was smouldering in its own ashes, but which might now break out to a degree of intensity which no man could pretend to measure the violence of. He was aware that there had not been in the present instance such large assemblies of the clergy of the Church of England, acting in their corporate capacity, as on former occasions, in reference to Roman Catholic Emancipation; but he had himself presented a large number of parochial petitions, out of which, so far as he could recollect, there had been only one in which the name of the minister, the rector, or vicar, was not the first signature inscribed. He had presented a large number from archdeaconries and deaneries in this country; and so far from its being correct that the clergy of the Church of England were lukewarm on this subject, if any one took the trouble to examine the list of Parliamentary Petitions, it would be found that the clergy of the Church of England were always to be found occupied, and assisting their congregations in resisting every measure which they considered contrary to the truth and the maintenance of that religion which was committed to their charge. But they were told that they should not be united with their Dissenting brethren on such a measure as this. He, however, for one, was not ashamed, and never would be ashamed, of that which constituted his common designation with them — Protestantism. On that he relied. He would not suffer it to be said, without a direct contradiction from himself, that Protestantism was something vague and indefinite—something of a negative character. He knew what it was considered in the understandings of the great body of the people. It was held to be the restoration and revival of the truth of the Gospel which took place three centuries ago. On such revival the great body of the people rested their hopes of salvation; and their faith was held sacred to them by the lives, the sufferings, and the deaths of martyrs three centuries ago. And no man who knew the value of this religion, and the comforts of it to his conscience, could fail to recognise the sufficient grounds which they had for that anxiety which was now manifested when these truths were in jeopardy. He had been individually attacked with presumption for the course he had taken. The hon. and learned Member for Bath had attacked him as being guilty of great and grievous presumption, to say that he would not pay any man for preaching anything which he did not believe to be true; as if whatever he believed, and nothing else, were true. The learned Doctor opposite, also, in a tone of exultation, attacked him as if he had assumed a position that was unbecoming him or any man in that House. He, however, would not do that learned Gentleman the injustice of supposing that, if they had understood each other, he would then make it a matter of reproach to him and others, that that religion which he would not teach to his own child he would be willing to have taught to strangers, even in the extreme parts of the world. If he believed this religion to be false, he would not teach it to his child; and if he believed it to be false, he must not encourage the teaching of it to strangers. He had great respect for conscientious persons who differed from him in opinion; but he would not, out of such a respect for the opinions of others, suffer himself to be led into a compromise of the oath which he had taken at the Table of the House for the preservation of the Protestant religion as by law established. As Christianity was part and parcel of the law of England, so the Church of England was a part of the Constitution. It was not one of many sects tolerated; it was the truth, which the State, as such, recognised. If so, the present Bill was a Bill for the teaching of error—of error declared to be such by the State at the Reformation. So much for the conduct of the nation. Then as to the conduct of individuals: he had already replied, in reference to the taunt, that he would never voluntarily be a party to the inculcation of anything which he did not himself believe. In reply to another taunt from another quarter, namely, "how could he, then, ask other members to vote for Church extension, in support of an Establishment to which they might individually be opposed, when he himself refused to grant anything in aid of their teaching?"—he had to this also already adverted. He supported the Church of England, because he believed it to be the truth; but he held all other Englishmen bound to support it by public money, if needful, because it was a national establishment, which, like all other national establishments, must be supported in full efficiency at the national expense. [A cry of "Question."] He was sorry to detain the House, but he had been taken somewhat by surprise tonight. Indeed, a quarter of an hour before, he had not the slightest idea that he should have been called on to take the part which he had to-night taken in this debate. But he was impressed with the idea that, however unworthily he had opposed the measure already by his vote, he was imperatively called upon to re-assert his principles in this last stage of their proceedings, and could not consistently avoid resisting the Bill once more with his voice. He could not conceal from himself a conviction that the position of his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government was one of the most singular responsibility. He had become responsible, by the part which he had taken, for every measure which had emanated from the Legislature for the last quarter of a century, whether it were for good or for evil, with the exception of the Reform Bill and its corollary, the Municipal Reform Act. Everything which had been done by the Legislature for at least the last twenty years, had been effected either by him as a Minister, or through his active interference even when in general opposition; and the merit or demerit of each measure must belong to his right hon. Friend, including the Acts which passed for the great reforms effected in the Common Law, the results of the Ecclesiastical Commission, and the consequent reforms which took place in the Church. The Poor Law—["Hear!"] He replied to that ironical cheer, that he was not there either to praise or to blame those measures, but only to argue from their importance how great and awful was the political responsibility of his right hon. Friend. Alluding to the vast power which his right hon. Friend wielded, he would ask whether it would have been possible for the Whig Government to have carried any of their measures if it had not been for the intervention of his right hon. Friend?—he meant that sort of intervention which rendered him responsible for the success of the particular measure. Recalling to his recollection the memorable protest of the Duke of Wellington, in the other House, against the measure for the annexation and union of the two Legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada, he would ask whether, if his right hon. Friend had acted with his party and the Duke of Wellington, that measure would ever have been carried? The same observation might be applied to the sanction which his right hon. Friend had given to one memorable provision of the Municipal Reform Bill, even against his own party in the House of Lords; he meant, the Lords provision for continuing to aldermen their offices for life, and thus preventing the now annual election. He would still remind them of the awful power his right hon. Friend exercised in those respects—a power never exceeded, perhaps never equalled, by any Minister before him. Who else could ever have expected to carry the measure now before the House? Could his noble Friend the Member for London, who possessed, perhaps, more generally the personal confidence of those around him than any other leading man of the day, have proposed such a measure without a certainty of being defeated? In immediate reference to the religious character of this measure, the great distinction he would observe in the present time as compared with the past was this—that there was a marked encouragement to the Church of Rome displayed by the present Government whenever it had it in its power to bestow it, whether at home or abroad—["at Oxford!"] The opinions of the University of Oxford were only to be taken from the decrees pronounced in Convocation. There had appeared in the Paper of their proceedings a Notice of a Bill which he had thought had passed that House some years ago—a Bill with the title of "Roman Catholic Relief Bill." He had thought that in the year 1829 the Roman Catholic Relief Bill had passed into a law. The object of the present Bill was to repeal the Protective and Conservative portions of the Bill of 1829; and to legalize the introduction of monasteries and monastic orders. The Bill had been brought in without any opposition from the Government, and had now been nearly three months on the Table of the House. He regretted to say that the Roman Catholic Church was receiving the most direct encouragement, both at home and abroad. In the year 1797, a University was established in the province of Canada, for the purpose of maintaining the Protestant Church there established; and, in support of that University, 222,973 acres of land were granted. [A laugh.] He hardly knew whether the laugh of the hon. Member for Kerry were directed against the credulity of those who supposed that such a grant could have been made with a bonâ fide intention of continuing it, or whether it were meant as a mark of contempt for those who believed that the Government would be willing to continue it. But, however, that might be, Her Majesty's Government had taken the advice of the hon. Member, or perhaps the advice of his great namesake in religion and in policy, and they had, through their Governor General in Canada, brought in a Bill for taking from that Protestant University that property which was vested in it by their predecessors for the permanent support of the Church of England in Canada; and by a majority of eleven they had recently decided that the property should be transferred from the Protestant Church University, to a University the distinguish- ing feature of which was that there should be no religious instruction, test, or tenet in that University. Was he not justified in saying that, abroad and in England, and, also, as the present measure indicated, in Ireland, there was a systematic discouragement of the Protestant Church of England, and an encouragement of that rival Church from which the Church of England came forth? Believing that the present measure was only part of a great scheme to carry out that principle, he had opposed it even more than he should have done had he regarded it as a single insulated measure. Other Members of the Government had allowed themselves to say that this was an instalment of the debt already due; but so long as the right hon. Baronet at the head of Her Majesty's Government did not say that it was an instalment, that it was not the commencement of a new system, he should indulge the hope that, however bad the measure might be in itself, it was not necessarily and on principle foreseen to be bad in its consequences. If, indeed, he looked to no other consequences than the excitement which this measure had produced, he felt certain that no Minister would venture in the present generation the introduction of any ulterior measures having for their object the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. It had been said that England was no longer to be regarded as an exclusively Protestant country; but so long as the Declaration, which the Sovereign of England was required to make as the first act of the Reign, remained unaltered and unrepealed, England would not cease to be, in the person of Her Sovereign, the great organ of protesting against the doctrines of the Church of Rome in Europe. He, therefore, heard with regret the remarks which had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department the other night on the subject of this Declaration. No words could fall from the right hon. Baronet on such a subject to which the Protestants of England would not look with deep and anxious attention. They would draw from a slight whisper on his part conclusions unfavourable to the maintenance of this security for the integrity of the Protestantism of the Constitution. He trusted that no encouragement would be given to any qualification of that Declaration; and that they would not compromise in the slightest degree that great security which the people of England had in the Protestant character of its Sovereign; and that nothing would be done calculated to violate the remaining securities of the Protestant Constitution. Believing that this measure was had in itself, he should continue to give it the same full and determined opposition which he gave to it when it was first announced on the part of Her Majesty's Government.

Colonel Verner

moved the adjournment of the debate.

The House divided:—Ayes 106; Noes 180: Majority 74.

List of the AYES.
Acton, Col. Heathcoat, J.
Allix, J. P. Henley, J. W.
Archbold, R. Hindley, C.
Archdall, Capt. M. Hobhouse, Sir J.
Bankes, G. Howard, Sir R.
Bateson, T. Hughes, W. B.
Barnard, Visct. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Jervis, J.
Blewitt, R. J. Johnson, Gen.
Boyd, J. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Bright, J. Kirk, P.
Brocklehurst, J. Labouchere, H.
Brotherton, J. Law, C. E.
Browne W. Layard, Capt.
Bruce, C. L. C. Lefroy, A.
Bruges, W. H. L. Loftus, Visct.
Buckley, E. Lopes, Sir R.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Lowther, Col.
Butler, P. S. Maclean, D.
Chetwode, Sir J. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Cole, H. A. Manners, Lord J.
Colquhoun, J. C. Masterman, J.
Connolly, Col. Matheson, J.
Cowper, W. F. Maxwell, J. P.
Craig, W. G. Milnes, R. M.
Crawford, W. S. Morris, D.
Curteis, H. B. Muntz, G. F.
Darby, G. Murphy, F. S.
Dawson, T. V. Neeld, J.
D'Eyncourt, C. T. Newport, Visct.
Dickinson, F. H. O'Brien, J.
Douglas, J. D. S. Palmer, G.
Duncombe, T. Palmerston, Visct.
Dundas, Adm. Plumptre, J. P.
Ebrington, Visct. Protheroe, E.
Etwall, R. Rashleigh, W.
Feilden, W. Russell, Lord J.
Filmer, Sir E. Ryder, G. D.
Fleetwood, Sir P. H. Seymour, Lord
Forman, T. S. Shaw, H. F.
Fox, S. L. Shelburne, Earl of
Goring, C. Smith, A.
Grey, Sir G. Smyth, Sir H.
Grimsditch, T. Somers, J. P.
Grogan, E. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Hamilton, J. H. Spooner, R.
Hamilton, G. A. Spry, Sir S. T.
Hempden, R. Tancred, H. W.
Hanmer, Sir J. Taylor, E.
Hawes, B. Tollemache, J.
Tyrell Sir J. T. Wyse, T.
Vane, Lord H.
Vyvian, Sir R. R. TELLERS.
Waddington, H. S. Verner, Col.
White, S. Ffolliott, J.
List of the NOES.
Acheson, Visct. Entwisle, W.
Acland, Sir T. D. Escott, B.
Acland, T. D. Esmonde, Sir T.
A'Court, Capt. Farnham, E. B.
Ainsworth, P. Ferguson, Col.
Aldam, W. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Arkwright, G. Fitzroy, H.
Arundel, Earl of Flower, Sir J.
Austen, Col. Forbes, W.
Baillie, Col. Forster, M.
Baine, W. Fremantle, Sir T.
Baird, W. Gardner, J. D.
Bannerman, A. Gaskell, J. M.
Barclay, D. Gibson, T. M.
Barkly, H. Gill, T.
Baring, T. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Baring, W. B. Gordon, Capt.
Beckett, W. Gore, M.
Bell, J. Gore, R.
Bellew, R. M. Graham, Sir J.
Blake, Sir V. Granby, Marq, of
Blakemore, R. Granger, T. C.
Bodkin, W. H. Greene, T.
Boldero, H. G. Hale, R. B.
Bowles, Adm. Halford, Sir H.
Bowring, Dr. Hamilton, W. J.
Brisco, M. Hamilton, Lord C.
Bruce, Lord E. Harris, Capt.
Buller, E. Hastie, A.
Cardwell, E. Hatton, Capt. V.
Carew, W. H. P. Heneage, E.
Cavendish, C. C. Herbert, S.
Chapman, B. Heron, Sir R.
Childers, J. W. Hervey, Lord A.
Clay, Sir W. Hinde, J. H.
Clayton, R. R. Hollond, R.
Clerk, Sir G. Hope, C.
Clive, Visct. Horsman, E.
Clive, R. H. Howard, C. W. G.
Cobden, R. Howard, E. G. G.
Cockburn, Sir G. Hume, J.
Colborne, Sir G. Hutt, W.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Ingestre, Visct.
Collett, J. James, Sir W. C.
Collins, W. Jermyn, Earl
Colvile, C. R. Jocelyn, Visct.
Compton, H. C. Lambton, H.
Corbally, M. E. Lemon, Sir C.
Corry, H. Lennox, Lord A.
Courtenay, Lord Lincoln, Earl of
Cripps, W. Listowel, Earl of
Davies, D. A. S. Mackenzie, W. F.
Deedes, W. Mackinnon, W. A.
Denison, W. J. Macnamara, Major
Dennistoun, J. M'Geachy, F. A.
Douro, Marq. of M'Neill, D.
Drummond, H. H. Mahon, Visct.
Duncan, Visct. Martin, J.
Duncan, G. Martin, C. W.
Du Pre, C. G. Martin, T. B.
Mitcalfe, H. Stanley, E.
Mitchell, T. A. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Morgan, C. Stanton, W. H.
Morison, Gen. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Murray, A. Stewart, J.
Neville, R. Stuart, W. V.
O'Connell, M. J. Stuart, H.
O'Connor Don, The Strutt, E.
Oswald, J. Sutton, H. M.
Parker, J. Thesiger, Sir F.
Peel, Sir R. Townley, J.
Peel, J. Trelawny, J. S.
Pennant, Col. Trench, Sir F. W.
Philips, G. R. Tuite, H. M.
Philips, M. Turner, E.
Pigot, D. Walker, R.
Pigot, Sir R. Wall, C. B.
Polhill, F. Warburton, H.
Power, J. Watson, W. H.
Praed, W. T. Wawn, J. T.
Rawdon, Col. Wemyss, Capt.
Redington, T. N. Westenra, J.
Reid, Sir J. R. Whitmore, T. C.
Repton, G. W. J. Williams, W.
Rice, E. R. Wilshere, W.
Roche, E. B. Worsley, Lord
Russell, C. Wortley, J. S.
Sandon, Visct. Yorke, H. R.
Sheil, R. L.
Sheridan, R. B. TELLERS.
Smith, B. Young, J.
Smith, T. B. C. Baring, H.

On the original Question being again put,

Mr. Wyse

expressed a hope that the hon. and gallant Member who had moved the adjournment would persist in his Motion.

Colonel Verner

said, as several hon. Members, who were under the impression that no division would take place that night, had left the house, he would persevere in his motion for the adjournment. He therefore moved that the House should then adjourn.

Mr. Hume

observed that it might be as well, perhaps, to take the division at once on the main question.

Lord J. Russell

thought it would be unadvisable to come to a division upon the main question upon that occasion; and he therefore hoped such a proposition would not be persevered in, and that they could not divide upon it that night.

Sir R. Peel

was understood to concur in the propriety of this suggestion, although he had before voted against the adjournment, and had been taken rather by surprise by a proceeding which had occurred in the early part of the evening. A very large proportion of the House then present were not aware that about eight o'clock, when only about twenty-five Members were present, a Motion had been made to count the House, and but that a considerable number of hon. Members had come in in time, the business of the night would have been suspended. There was great difficulty often in keeping a House at that hour; those who went away believing that nothing conclusive would be done. But although he was not prepared to go on with frequent adjournments on a question that had been rather fully discussed, considering that there were two Gentlemen of Ireland, of different opinions, who had expressed a wish for the adjournment of a debate in which they desired to take a part, he thought it was most desirable then to have the debate adjourned.

Debate adjourned.

House adjourned at a quarter to one o'clock.