HC Deb 24 June 1846 vol 87 cc916-35

House in Committee on the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. On the question that the Preamble be postponed,


said it was very true that the Bill was so altered from what it was when he had first urged his objections against it, that its parent could hardly recognise his own child. Bad, however, as it originally was, and mutilated as it now was, it still retained sufficient substance to justify him in continuing his opposition to it. The very first clause of it recited the expediency of repealing almost all those provisions which in the Roman Catholic Relief Bill gave security to the Established Church. The general tendency of the Bill was to forward the views of the Roman Catholic Church, which was at the present time seeking its own aggrandizement throughout the whole civilized world, and to remove that security which they had provided in this country for upholding their Protestant Constitution. He had no doubt the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government was fully aware of the attempts which were now making to introduce into this country the question of mixed marriages. That question, which had disturbed the peace of a large portion of the Continent of Europe, was now sought to be introduced into this kingdom. He wished to call the attention of the Government, as well as that of the hon. Gentlemen opposite to this subject. By the documents which he held in his hand, it appeared it was peremptorily enjoined, that no Roman Catholic priest should solemnize a mixed marriage, unless he obtained a written engagement that all the children of such marriage shall be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. He did not blame the Roman Catholics for this—that was not his point—but he felt that this fact was sufficient to fortify him in his determination not to yield to the demands made for the withdrawal of those securities which the Protestant faith at present enjoyed. In France it appeared that this system was now in full vigour, and where marriage was contracted, as a religious ceremony, the Roman Catholic priest was required to obtain a written contract, by which the parents were bound to bring up their children according to the doctrines of the Church of Rome. This, fact was verified by the correspondence which he held in his hand, and was particularly dwelt upon in the letter of Cardinal Bishop of Arras. Whilst the Roman Catholics were seeking to remove disabilities from themselves they were imposing civil disabilities on others. He thought the Bill retained sufficient evil as it now stood to warrant its rejection absolutely and entirely. He therefore moved that the Chairman do now leave the chair.


said, he had no objection to test the Bill by another division. It had already been tested three times, and he was rather desirous to see its principle again tested. He maintained that the Bill was called for, inasmuch as the provisions which it was intended to repeal, were provisions which ought not to be allowed to remain on the Statute-book. He was desirous that the Bill should pass, and therefore he was ready to agree to any alteration in the clauses which could be made consistently with the present form of the Bill, for he was only desirous to see it rendered effectual. The first clause, relating to the assumption by dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church of titles now enjoyed by the dignitaries of the Protestant Church, had been objected to; but it did not involve as important considerations as those which followed, He introduced a clause to the effect that nothing in the Act should be construed to enable any person or persons to exercise the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church in any public street or road; and he did so because it might not be agreeable to many persons to witness the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church in the public streets. The last clause which he proposed to introduce was, however, the most important, affecting as it did the regular clergy of the Catholic Church. When it was recollected that there were in England and Ireland considerable bodies of persons of the Roman Catholic religion, who devoted themselves to the education of youth, and reflected that those persons where they belonged to the regular religious orders of that church, coming into the country after 1829, were subject to banishment, he was sure the House would agree with him that the law which subjected those religious orders to punishment ought not to be allowed to remain on the Statute-book. All the regular clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, who came into the country after the passing of the Act of 1829, were subject to banishment; and that was a state of the law which ought not to be allowed to continue. It had been asserted by those who were in favour of the provisions which he was desirous to see repealed, that some of them were safeguards of the Church; but he could not conceive that any such means were requisite as a safeguard to the Church. But in order to remove objections to the clause permitting the residence of the regular religious orders, he had provided for a registration.


Sir, I, in common with the hon. and learned Gentleman, have laboured under a misapprehension as to the course which would be taken by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford. I had understood that before the Speaker left the Chair, the hon. Member would have made a Motion that this Bill should be committed this day six months; and if the hon. Member had made that Motion it was my intention to have given him my support. The House, however, is now in Committee, and a Motion having been made, which is equivalent to the rejection of the Bill, if that Motion be pressed to a division it will be my duty to divide with the hon. Member for Oxford University. Sir, the present Bill consists of four enactments; and the hon. and learned Gentleman has noticed only three, leaving out one, not the least important. The first clause enables the archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church to assume the titles of the sees of the Protestant Church; and, dealing with a subject of great gravity, the hon. and learned Member attaches so little importance to his own Bill that he says, if there be any great objection to this clause, he will withdraw it. There is, Sir, I confess, something which appears to me like levity in dealing with a matter of such importance, and then in declaring it to be of little importance whether the clause as it stands shall become the law of the realm or not. Sir, I do not regard this as a matter so trivial and so unimportant. I concede frankly and freely to the prelates of the Roman Catholic Church the orders and the titles of archbishops and bishops according to their sacred ordination; that is frankly conceded by the people of this country, the law allows it, and custom has sanctioned it; we have conceded them that rank and station; but the question is, whether we allow them to assume the titles of the provinces and sees of the Protestant Church? And if we are to have an Established Church in the full possession of its rights, titles, and privileges, I do not think that titles coterminous with the rights and privileges of the prelates of the Established Church, and that the same designations, can or ought to be conferred on any prelates who are not of that Established Church. Nor do I see any advantage, so far as the Roman Catholics themselves are concerned, in the use of those titles. In this country the Roman Catholic Church is in possession of its power and privileges, and is in the full performance of its duties; yet I am not aware that any bishop of that church has preferred any such claim. In Ireland the districts are not coterminous, and the particular designation of the locality is not, therefore, necessary to be precisely the same for the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops as for the Protestants. [Mr. Ross: Except that it is so in practice.] The hon. Member says it is so in practice; but this is not done by the prelates themselves, and they would act in contravention of the law of the land if they assumed those titles. It is true that there is no punishment inflicted upon other parties so addressing them, and that the penalty attaches only to the archbishops and bishops themselves if they assume the titles; but I say that it will not be consistent with the maintenance of the Established Church in its rights and privileges, if the law shall sanction the same rank being taken by ecclesiastics of a different persuasion, and the same titles being assumed. Sir, in my judgment, by such a sanction we should be causing dangerous confusion, and should be injuring the prelates of the hierarchy in communion with the State. I think that the provisions of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill are salutary provisions; and I am decidedly attached to the maintenance of those provisions which the State sanctioned when the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was passed. So much for that part of the Bill. With respect to the second clause, the hon. and learned Gentleman has already felt that the appearance of the Roman Catholic prelates and priests in pontificalibus in public places in this country cannot be proper; he sees that some alteration is necessary, and he does not adhere to the clause as it stands; he feels that public feeling would have revolted at the appearance of Roman Catholic processions in the public streets of this country, and he therefore says that this clause of his Bill as it at present stands cannot be reconciled with that public opinion. Upon the whole, Sir, I think the line drawn at the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was wisely and well drawn. It imposes no difficulties in the performance of divine service by the prelates and priests of the Roman Catholic religion. In places of public worship, and in private houses for the celebration of mass, they may appear in their pontifical robes; and I do not think the particular qualification now suggested by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that they may appear in their pontifical attire in any place except the public streets, is sufficiently limited. There is, under the existing law, full power for the performance of solemn and religious rites in public places of worship and in private houses; and I do not think it wise or expedient to pass beyond that limit. I then come to the third clause of the Bill, which the hon. and learned Member has passed over in his speech. I do not know, therefore, whether he means to adhere to it, or to abandon it, as he is willing to do with the first clause, as being wholly unimportant. [Mr. WATSON: I intend to adhere to the clause.] The hon. and learned Gentleman says that he intends to adhere to this clause, which directly infringes the principle which was settled by the Relief Act; and again I say that if we are to have an Established Church amongst the constituted authorities of this realm, we ought not so to make an exception in favour of another religion, whatever it may be. Whether we are to allow a judge, or mayor, or sheriff to go to a place of worship in his scarlet robes or not, is a question which I find regulated by the law, and regulated in a manner which I think right. We are inflicting no great hardship if we require that any mayor or judge going to any place of worship, whether Roman Catholic or a meeting-house, shall lay aside his robes of office; indeed, I am not aware that there would be much harm done if they were not to attend the services of the Established Church itself in the trappings of office. But again I say, that if we are to have any regulations in this matter, I will adhere to the regulations as I find them in the Statute-book, and I am not prepared to sanction the attendance of those high officers upon public service in a Roman Catholic place of worship with the insignia of their office. So much for those clauses. I am decidedly of opinion that the law as it stands is right; and I repeat, as I think the hon. and learned Gentleman wrong, I feel no hesitation in voting against him. I have already referred to three of the clauses of this Bill: I now come to a matter of infinitely greater importance, relating to the regular orders in this country. And, Sir, I certainly do not participate in the expression of that jealousy which has been stated by others with reference to the regular orders. I should be the last man to cast any sweeping censure upon them; I will not ascribe to them any disloyal or treasonable intention, endangering the safety of the State; I entertain no such opinions of them; and even with respect to one of those orders in particular—I allude to the Jesuits—I cannot forget that literature and that the Christian religion are under immense obligations to that order. I believe that they are among the most learned and the best educated members of the Christian faith; but on the other hand, I am bound to state, with respect to that order, and to the regular orders generally, that the members of the Protestant religion have just cause of jealousy—not on account of the political opinions of those orders, but on religious grounds; because it must be admitted that the regular orders are the aggressive force, and that they supply the missionary body most active in the conversion of those who are heretics in their eyes. I therefore say, that the Protestant Establishment has just cause, upon religious grounds, to entertain a jealousy of the regular orders. Still, upholding as we do a spirit of just toleration, and having an immense body of Roman Catholics in this country, we cannot give its full and its proper effect to that tolerant spirit if we exclude the regular orders. The hon. Gentlemen opposite entertain conscientious feelings upon this subject, and I should be sorry to speak one word irreconcileable with my respect for those feelings. But I have reason to believe that in the great sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church—the Confession—the regular orders, so far as the laity are concerned, do administer that sacrament in a manner which is most consistent with the feelings and the sentiments of the laity. I, therefore, feel we are in this position with respect to the regular orders in this country—that we have 8,000,000 of Roman Catholics, and that we can hardly, by any sound argument, maintain any exclusion against them. The question, therefore, resolves itself into a question of regulation. And while I say that although the law as it stands, under the Roman Catholic Relief Act, imposes very stringent regulations upon the regular orders in this country, I must say also that, practically, no real grievance is felt by them. I cannot doubt—the hon. Member opposite cannot doubt—that the monastic vow is still taken constantly in this country. The hon. Member cannot doubt, in the first place, that there are large numbers of the monastic orders not only in Ireland, but in England; and, in the next place, that there is a large number who take the monastic vow, notwithstanding the Roman Catholic Relief Act. In the situation I hold, as presiding over the Home Office, I can say that there is no record of these orders or vows. I do not state this in commendation of the existing law of the land; but I state it as a practical fact, to show that there is no practical grievance existing under the operation of the law as it now stands. I cannot say, however, that the state of the law is satisfactory, when it is admitted by a Member of the Executive Government that it is only by sufferance, and not under the law, that these exist. I come now to what ought to be done. I cannot think it right to deal with a question of this importance lightly, or without ample consideration. And I do not think that, at the present moment and under present circumstances, we ought to deal with this particular subject in the manner which is now proposed. I do not say that the whole state of the law with respect to the monastic orders does not require revision; but, with the feeling which is known to exist in this country, and with a due regard to the interests of the Established Church, I repeat that we ought to deal with this subject with peculiar caution and with the greatest deliberation. Let me remind you that in countries not despotic—in countries in which there is not any feeling of strong religious bigotry—there is yet peculiar jealousy entertained of these particular orders. I need not remind you of what the French Government and the French Legislature have recently felt upon this subject. Whilst, then, upon the one hand, I cannot deny the existence or the merits of the regular orders; on the other hand, I cannot dissent from the statement that these monastic bodies are the aggressive force of the Roman Catholic Church, and certainly are, to a great extent, the means by which that church seeks to convert parties from what they consider the error of their ways, Under such circumstances, it cannot fail to be the opinion of the House that the utmost caution is necessary in dealing with this matter. Nor can I think that, at the present time, the House is in a position to bestow upon it all that dispassionate attention which it requires; at the same time, I cannot say I am satisfied with the law as it stands; but, on the other hand, I am not satisfied with the provisions sought to be introduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman for the amendment of the law. With respect, then, to the first three clauses, I am decidedly opposed to the alteration which they propose to make; and as to the fourth, I have endeavoured to show to the House that there is no pressing necessity to deal with the subject, because there is no practical difficulty sustained by those for whose relief this Bill is intended. It is also such delicate ground upon which we are entitled to tread, that, upon the whole, I have come to the conclusion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford, that it is not expedient now to proceed with this Bill, and that it is wise and prudent to postpone the further progress of the Bill until some future period.


thought, that if every one treated the question in so temperate and dispassionate a tone as the right hon. Baronet opposite, this was a most fitting period for its discussion; and for his part he had scarcely a doubt that there was little difference between the manner in which the right hon. Baronet had spoken on the subject, and that which would be adopted out of doors. Indeed, he had no doubt that the minds of a large portion of the public were made up as to the propriety of repealing those provisions which had been so frequently alluded to. In this country the subject of the descent of the bishoprics had been a subject of much controversy, and Catholic bishops had been appointed bishops in partibus infidelium; but in Ireland the Catholics held that their bishops were the legitimate successors of the early Christian bishops, and when such was the case, he could not see any danger to the Protestant Church from the assumption of the title of the bishopric by the Catholic bishop. In the Charitable Trusts Bill an archbishop and bishop of the Catholic Church of Ireland had been named, and thus recognised by law; and he would ask why the House would consent to give them these anomalous titles? The right hon. Baronet stated as an objection, that Protestant archbishops and bishops in Ireland had the same titles as those which would be assumed by the Catholic archbishops and bishops; but he (Mr. Wyse) would remind the right hon. Baronet that there were some places in Ireland where there would be no such objection; as, for example, the archbishopric of Tuam, in which there was no Protestant archbishop, although there was a Catholic archbishop. The only effect the clause could have would be to produce to a certain degree an equalizing of the titles, and he would never assent to any proposition which would not recognise a perfect equality in Ireland between both the churches. With respect to the attendance of Catholic mayors or judges in their churches, wearing their insignia of office, the proposed alteration would be a great advantage, as promoting union and good feeling, for under the present system those who wore insignia of office only took them off at the door of the church, thus making the state of the law more marked. The objection to the recognition of the regular religious orders of Catholics could only have any force against the Jesuits, provided the prejudices against the Jesuits were well founded; but these prejudices ought not to have any force against the other religious orders. The right hon. Baronet stated, that the regular orders of clergy were particularly devoted to proselytism; but he could assure the House that there were orders which were less so than the secular clergy, and who were devoted solely to the encouragement of education: such, for example, as the Christian Brothers, who educated great numbers of the youth of Ireland. There was on his property in Waterford a school of the Christian Brothers, at which 600 children were gratuitously educated; and in Cork there was a school of the same order, at which 1,000 youths were educated. The Christian Brothers were a great benefit to the community; and, as he before remarked, the objections which had been raised could only be applied to one order—the Jesuits—in case the prejudices against the Jesuits were well founded. That order (the Jesuits) was remarkable for the conservative character of its members. The Jesuits of Stonyhurst in England, and of Clongowes in Ireland, were almost entirely resident within the walls of the colleges, and were scarcely ever seen beyond them. The expulsion of the Jesuits from France was caused solely by their adherence to the interests of Charles the Tenth. He thought it was unwise to permit to remain on the Statute-book penalties which were not enforced. It was not a good system to tell the people that those penalties would be kept on the Statute-book, but that there was no idea of enforcing them; it was telling the people they (the House of Commons) were false teachers, and telling them so from this, which might be called the public chair of morality. He would support the clauses of the hon. and learned Member.


reminded the House that the objectionable part of the first clause had been removed by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Watson), who had charge of the Bill; and as he had also promised to remove, in Committee, that portion of the clause having reference to the Roman Catholic hierarchy assuming the titles of archbishops and bishops of certain sees, those causes of objection had fallen to the ground; he would therefore give the measure his support, as he considered that the Established Church would be relieved from great anxiety if they had no greater danger to apprehend from the legislation of Her Majesty's Government than such as would be created by the removal of the penalties against Roman Catholics that were still to be found on the Statute-book.


considered that the entire question was, should these penalties, or should they not, he allowed to continue on their Statutes? He certainly thought it a most absurd thing to say, that they were not to be put in force, but they should be continued as the law of the land. It was said, that the abolition of these penalties would weaken the securities of the Established Church; but surely such an argumont could not be upheld at this time of day. And if these pains and penalties were not useful in strengthening the Protestant Church, what on earth were they useful for, and why should they be suffered to disgrace the Statute-book? He knew that there was a class which conscientiously maintained these restrictions—with these men it was useless to argue—but their number was comparatively small, and the great mass of public opinion in this country was in favour of their removal. The time was ripe for that which the Legislature was about to effect, and he hoped before long these last remnants of intolerance would be quite swept away.


deprecated the production of acts or words of isolated individuals, either bishops or clergymen, as proofs of general religious belief. If such were to be done he could give instances in abundance of improper conduct on the part of clergymen of the Established Church. He would mention one, of a clergyman who from his pulpit in a country church told his congregation, who, by the way, were chiefly persons of the higher classes, that their salvation would not be safe unless they compelled their Roman Catholie servants to conform to the Protestant faith. And so much did the address disgust his congregation, that a relative of his (Mr. Fitzgerald), who was a colonel in the army, and several other gentlemen connected with the army, who happened to have been quartered in the neighbourhood at the time, rose and retired from the church. Yet so far were the clergyman's superiors from censuring his conduct, that he was shortly afterwards made a rector. He had no objection to name the individual. He was the rector of Macroom, a parish in the county of Cork. He begged to know from the right hon. Baronet, who seemed so opposed to the appearance in public of Catholic clergymen, or persons in religious orders, in the peculiar dress which was appointed for them, in what the difference consisted between them and a highly respected class of religionists who called themselves the Society of Friends, and who were better known by the appellation of "Quakers," whose dress was known to be, and recognised as a distinctive mark of their religion?


said, if this were a question of toleration, he should vote in favour of the Bill, because the character of this country for toleration stood higher than that of any other in Europe. If the regular clergy having peculiar religious opinions confined themselves merely to the inculcation of religion and morality, he should feel no alarm; but he believed them to be a religious body aiming at political objects. England ought not to be the only country in Europe in which the Jesuits were acknowledged. He did not say this as a Protestant; but by almost the whole Roman Catholic world the Jesuits were held to be an intriguing political body, inculcating bad morality. This had been officially declared by almost every country in Europe. The Jesuits had been the objects of thirty-nine edicts; they had been banished from France, Spain, Naples, Bohemia, and from several Italian States; and they had been censured and suppressed by the Pope himself. The opinion of other Governments was, that they were a dangerous body, having dangerous objects, and attempting to attain these objects in a dangerous manner. They were so mysterious a body that it was difficult to know what was the truth respecting them; but when Roman Catholic States, which ought to know more about the Jesuits than that House could pretend do, charged them with corrupting the youth of the country committed to their charge, the House might very well take Roman Catholic Governments as their guide. There were other religious orders against whom these accusations were not made, and who spent their lives in doing good. He wanted to see a distinction drawn between the Jesuits and the other orders that might obtain the sanction of the Government. He should vote with the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, in the belief that provisions had yet to be prepared to meet the difficulties of the case.


said, that the clauses which had been introduced into the Roman Catholic Relief Bill for the regulation of the religious orders of Roman Catholics, had formed part of the compact entered into at the time of the passing of that measure. The Catholics had agreed to accept them, and the Protestants looked upon them as safeguards to themselves. As such they had been introduced, and many Protestants had given their support and countenance to the Relief Bill in consequence of their insertion, who otherwise would certainly not have consented to its enactment. Yet, after the lapse of seventeen years, they were called upon to repeal them. He should support the Amendment.


thought that too much stress had been laid upon the flimsy security which would be afforded to the Protestant Establishment by the continuance of those paltry penalties upon Roman Catholics. He trusted that his faith was grounded upon a more secure foundation, and sustained by some better security. As to the argument which had been so strongly urged against the admission of the Jesuits to public toleration, he could not see the object of restraining and compelling them to privacy. The right hon. Baronet had admitted that there was no possibility of preventing their living in the country at present; and if they could come and live in it, without the knowledge or consent of the authorities, of what use was it to keep up the semblance of prevention, and to preserve those odious clauses on the Statute-book?


said, that hon. Gentleman had called upon the House to follow the example of Catholic States, in persecuting the Jesuits, and driving them forth from their territories; but he would suggest to them rather to follow the example of a Protestant State. He would suggest to them the example of Prussia, the king of which, Frederick the Great, had given an asylum to the Jesuits when they were driven forth by persecution from Catholic countries.


said, that his hon. Friend at the opposite side of the House had alleged that the law, as relating to religious orders in these countries, was not in a satisfactory condition; but what was the account given him (Mr. Colquhoun) by a gentleman who wrote to him from Dublin lately? Why, that there were twenty convents for nuns, and ten for monks, in Dublin. He (Mr. Colquhoun) was as anxious as his hon. Friend to see a register of all persons in religious orders in this country, but he would wish to see it kept in a very different manner from that suggested by his hon. Friend. He would not have it left to the parties to register themselves, but he would suggest an efficient mode by which a correct register could be obtained. The plan had been communicated to him by a Friend, who was a member of the legal profession. He would have the registry managed by the sub-inspector of police for each district. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kerry seemed astonished at the suggestion that the record should be kept by the sub-inspector of police. [Mr. MORGAN JOHN O'CONNELL: Astonished! Oh, not at all.] Certainly there did not seem to him (Mr. Colquhoun) anything extraordinary in the suggestion; for if they wanted accurate statistical information he could not imagine any individuals better able to furnish it than officers who were paid by the Government, who had the superintendence of districts, and who were necessarily intelligent men. The hon. Member for Waterford had referred to the order of Christian Brethren, and had said that if they erroneously suspected the Jesuits of inculcating immoral principles, they ought not to entertain a similar suspicion with reference to the other regular orders of the Roman Catholic clergy. The appendix to the Parliamentary Report of 1827 contained the results of an inquiry into the character of the instruction imparted by these Christian Brethren; and it appeared that they instilled into the susceptible minds of the children of Ireland (600 of whom were educated by the Christian Brethren on the estate of the hon. Member for Waterford, and 1,000 in Cork) the strongest opposition to all connexion with England; that they raked up all those differences between the two countries which had been or ought to have been forgotten; and that they trained them to become future Repealers, and inveterate enemies of English connexion. Yet this was the order referred to by the hon. Member for Waterford as free from all suspicion, and the members of which were described by him as devoting themselves to the work of Christian instruction. With regard to the Jesuits, he would reassert the statement of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Cowper), that the historical records of the conduct of that body proved that, both upon religious and political grounds, they endangered the peace and welfare of any State in which they were admitted. He contended that the Jesuits were equally as dangerous in a free State as they were under a despotic Government; and that, if tolerated in this country, they would use their power to envenom the feelings of all those over whom they possessed any influence against our Constitution and our Protestant Church. He agreed with the hon. Member for Hertford, that this was not a question of pains and penalties. He considered they ought not to persecute men, or subject them to pains and penalties, on account of their religion. But was it a pain and penalty to maintain the Established Church of this country? According to the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. B. Escott), if they granted an endowment to an Established Church, they inflicted pains and penalties upon all those religious bodies whom they did not endow. That was the opinion of many hon. Members of that House, and of the hon. Member for Winchester—[Mr. B. ESCOTT: No, no!]—but it was not yet the opinion of Parliament. If the maintenance of the Established Church, enabling it to hold a position of superiority, and to perform its ceremonies with decency, were to be called a pain and penalty, the argument went to the entire extinction of the Establishment; and he had no doubt the hon. and learned Member for Winchester would go that length. He appealed to the House with confidence not to consent to such a step, even though it might be sanctioned by the learned and most authoritative opinion of the hon. Member for Winchester. He trusted that, without inflicting any pains or penalties on account of religion, they were still prepared to maintain the Established Church of this kingdom.


begged to explain. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme had entirely misrepresented his words. What he had said, he maintained—that penalties of 100l. and upwards against persons professing a particular form of religion were penalties imposed for the purpose of upholding the Established Church.


begged also to be permitted to explain. What he had stated respecting the Christian Brothers he had stated from immediate and accurate personal knowledge and experience. He did not, like the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, speak from recollections of many years past. That hon. Member had spoken of transactions of the year 1827, of which he had exhibited a want of recollection. The books used in the schools of the Christian Brothers were models of propriety. They were the same as those used in Protestant and other Roman Catholic schools in Ireland. The Christian Brothers instilled into the minds of the youth under their care a love for religion and morality. The lessons they uniformly inculcated were those of Christian charity and peace—lessons which he would be glad if the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme would learn and imitate.


said, that the question, in the form which it had assumed, was tantamount to whether or not they should proceed with the Bill at all; and whether or not the matter was one which deserved consideration at the present time. He thought that all parties seomed to admit the affirmative of the latter question. Gentlemen at his side of the House affirmed it boldly; and hon. Members at the other appeared to admit it likewise. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme admitted that the present state of the law as regarded the religious orders of Roman Catholics was most unsatisfactory—that there was a law upon the Statute-book which was daily violated, and the provisions of which no Government would dare to put in execution. On the other hand, it was urged that those laws were framed in a spirit quite inconsistent with the tolerant principle of the present time. He felt sure that such was the extent of that tolerant principle, that if, for example, a distinguished foreign Jesuit or other distinguished person, a member of a religious order, were to come over to England in ignorance of the law, and that law being put in force, were banished from the country, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford would be the very first person to call for its repeal. The whole question undoubtedly deserved mature consideration. It should be considered carefully and calmly. He denied that odious and persecuting enactments had any thing to do with the support of the Church of England: one hon. Member would not persecute any man for his religious opinions; but he had one little exception—he only begged to be allowed to persecute the Jesuits. Let him only persecute the Jesuits, and he would tolerate everybody else. That outcry against the Jesuits was all a delusion. They had heard of their aiming at the acquirement of political power when power was wielded by those who regulated the consciences of princes and potentates. But those times had passed away. The powers which in these days regulated the public mind and directed it were the free exercise of opinion, a free press, and freedom of debate. Such were the engines by which the public mind was now to be wielded. The Jesuits had shown themselves eminently successful as educators of youth, and no ground existed any longer for the ancient prejudices against them. There was but one good and consistent principle to be observed, and that was to give the fullest and freest toleration to all men, so long as they obeyed the law, without inquiring what religion they professed, or observing what sort of dress they were.


trusted the House would allow him to make a few observations upon the present subject. He would first direct their attention to the concluding portion of the speech of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. That hon. Gentleman, in his anxiety to defend every interest of the Anglican Church, told the House that this Bill was in violation of its rights, and likely to deprive that Church of its proper authority. Now, he must be permitted to differ from the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member (Mr. Colquhoun) seemed to think that unless they prevented Roman Catholic ecclesiastics appearing in their dresses, they would endanger the safety of the Anglican Church. But he would refer to one who was a great maintainer of the English Church, Archbishop Laud. There were Jesuits in the kingdom in that day; but instead of pains and penalties, Archbishop Laud did not hesitate to meet them in argument, even in the presence of the King; and the result of those arguments had come down to us with as entire a vindication of the English Church as our English literature possessed. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Graham), in arguing his case, had said that the penalty it was proposed to repeal, was of immense importance to the English Church. Now, he would put this argument to a practical test. Unless he was much mistaken, during the existence of the present Government, an application was made from certain people in Dublin, or some other part of Ireland, calling upon the Ministry to put this clause in the Roman Catholic Bill in force against Archbishop M'Hale. They distinctly refused, however, to put it in operation. He now came to what he might be said to be the main object of the Bill—the removal of penalties on the Jesuits and other religious orders. The hon. Member for Hertford had stated that he would be happy to support the repeal of these penalties on all orders excepting the order of Jesuits; and the hon. Gentleman used very strong language against the Jesuits. But he would assert, without fear of contradiction, that in England any fears arising from the power of the Jesuits were totally groundless. It was notorious that they confined themselves to their religious duties without interfering at all with politics. All the Gentlemen who opposed the Bill admitted that the laws were extremely defective. The hon. Member for Newcastle had proposed some peculiar remedy of his own; but he must say it appeared to him a most extraordinary mode of arguing the case, to admit that, on the principle and the provisions of the Bill, some legislation was necessary, and then for the hon. Gentleman to say that he should vote against all legislation. He knew, if they were to yield to such an argument, every year the stale argument would be adduced with equal justice and truth. He really saw nothing in the circumstances of the House, or in the circumstances of the country, to prevent their going now into the consideration of the provisions of this Bill. If its principle were sound and just, then let them go into Committee, and discuss the various clauses.


said, that the opponents of this Bill were most unjustly accused of intolerance towards the Roman Catholics generally, because they opposed the farther legalization of the order of the Jesuits. He did not oppose the removal of such antiquated statutes as were no longer applicable; but he did oppose the removal of those clauses of the Bill of 1829, restricting the institution of the Jesuits in this country; for all history, aye, that of the present day, proved them a most dangerous society. But the advocates of the Jesuits urged, that the order had divested itself of its quondam dangerous character. If that was true, why did they refuse that inquiry, which must vindicate the order, before asking for legislation in their behalf? But they well knew the Jesuits would not submit to inquiry; and then they, the advocates of the Jesuits, having refused inquiry—the only means of procuring specific information—dilate forsooth upon the ignorance of their opponents. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Taunton had admitted that there were strong proofs of the dangerous interference of the Jesuits in former times with politics and religion, and he did not satisfy him that the interference had ceased. The promoters of this Bill had, indeed, a great advantage, as they were the advocates of a secret society; but, he had heard no argument to prove that the Jesuits, in their constitution, possessed not the same characteristics now as those which had ever marked them. Was it at all probable their machinations would be less dangerous in this country than they were abroad, when it was considered that here they were not under the eye of a detective police, nor the authority of a despotic Government? He thought the connexion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuits to be a great misfortune in every country. Liberty had never prospered where the Jesuits had risen to power. It was, therefore, because he felt sincerely anxious that full tolerance should be extended to all Roman Catholics in this country, that he would, if possible, disunite them from that order—which was the very type and impersonation of that intriguing spirit in domestic and political matters, that had been for years the bane and the stumbling-block of the Roman Catholic Church. He was opposed to the Bill, on account of the countenance it gave to the Order of the Jesuits, and he should support the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxford.


briefly replied.

The Committee divided on the Question that the Chairman do now leave the Chair—Ayes 120; Noes 80: Majority 40.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Chandos, Marq. of
A'Court, Capt. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Alexander, N. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Allix, J. P. Clayton, R. R.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Arkwright G. Colquhoun, J. C.
Bagge, W. Corry, rt. hon. H.
Bailey, J. Courtenay, Lord
Baring, rt. hon. W. B. Cripps, W.
Beckett, W. Davies, D. A. S.
Beresford, Major Deedes, W.
Bernard, Visct. Douglas, Sir H.
Blackburne, J. I. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Boldero, H. G. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Bowles, Adm. Duncombe, hon. O.
Boyd, J. Du Pre, C. G.
Bramston, T. W. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Broadley, H. Farnham, E. B.
Bruges, W. H. L. Feilden, W.
Buck, L. W. Flower, Sir J.
Cardwell, E. Forbes, W.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Fox, S. L.
Frewen, C. H. Morgan, O.
Fuller, A. E. Mundy, E. M.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Neeld, J.
Goring, C. Neville, R.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Newdegate, C. N.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Grogan, E. O'Brien, A. S.
Halsey, T. P. Packe, C. W.
Hamilton, G. A. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hamilton, W. J. Peel, J.
Harris, hon. Capt. Plumptre, J. P.
Henley, J. W. Powell, Col.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Rashleigh, W.
Hervey, Lord A. Reid, Sir J. R.
Hodgson, R. Rolleston, Col.
Holmes, hon. W. A'C. Round, J.
Hornby, J. Seymer, H. K.
Hotham, Lord Sheppard, T.
Hudson, G. Sibthorp, Col.
Hughes, W. B. Smith, A.
Jermyn, Earl Somerset, Lord G.
Johnstone, H. Spooner, R.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Stuart, J.
Jones, Capt. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Kemble, H. Thesiger, Sir F.
Kirk, P. Tollemache, J.
Lawson, A. Tower, C.
Lefroy, A. Trench, Sir F. W.
Legh, G. C. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Lennox, Lord G. H. G. Trotter, J.
Lincoln, Earl of Verner, Col.
Lindsay, hon. Capt. Vesey, hon. T.
Lockhart, W. Vivian, J. E.
Long, W. Walpole, S. H.
Lowther, hon. Col. Wellesley, Lord C.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Wood, Col.
Mackenzie, T. TELLERS.
M'Neill, D. Young, J.
Meynell, Capt. Inglis, Sir R. H.
List of the NOES.
Aldam, W. Evans, W.
Anson, hon. Col. Evans, Sir D. L.
Armstrong, Sir A. Fitzgerald, R. A.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Forster, M.
Hawes, B.
Baine, W. Heathcoat, J.
Bellew, R. M. Hindley, C.
Bentinck, Lord G. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Blake, M. J. Howard, P. H.
Borthwick, P. Hume, J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Jervis, J.
Bowring, Dr. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Bridgeman, H. Langston, J. H.
Brotherton, J. M'Carthy, A.
Browne, hon. W. M'Donnell, J. M.
Callaghan, D. Maitland, T.
Carew, hon. R. S. Manners, Lord J.
Christie, W. D. Marjoribanks, S.
Clive, Visct. Marsland, H.
Collett, J. Mitcalfe, H.
Corbally, M. E. Morpeth, Visct.
Crawford, W. S. Mostyn, hn. E. M. L.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Muntz, G. F.
Dennistoun, J. Napier, Sir C.
Dickinson, F. H. O'Brien, W. S.
Divett, E. O'Connell, M. J.
Dodd, G. Ogle, S. C. H.
Duncan, G. Pechell, Capt.
Dundas, D. Pigot, rt. hon. D.
Elphinstone, Sir H. Powell, C.
Escott, B. Price, Sir R.
Esmonde, Sir T. Redington, T. N.
Rich, H. Strutt, E.
Roebuck, J. A. Thornely, T.
Romilly, J. Trelawny, J. S.
Ross, D. R. Villiers, hon. C.
Scott, R. Wall, C. B.
Seymour, Lord Wawn, J. T.
Sheridan, R. B. Yorke, H. R.
Somerville, Sir W. M.
Stansfield, W. R. C. TELLERS.
Stuart, W. V. Watson, W. H.
Strickland, Sir G. Wyse, T.

[The names and the numbers do not coincide, the names of the Noes amounting to 81, the number to only 80; the names of the Ayes to 119, the number to 120. The discrepancy is in the Votes of the House, of which our report is a transcript. By an erratum Viscount Adare was directed to be omitted from the Ayes, and Mr. Geo. Dodd to be added to the Noes. We have not the means of correcting the error. We presume the Noes should have been 81, the Ayes 119, and the Majority 39.]

The House resumed, and adjourned at Six o'clock.