HC Deb 06 May 1846 vol 86 cc141-66

The Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was read.

On the Question, that the Speaker do leave the Chair,


expressed his regret that he and those who concurred in his view of the measure had not the benefit of those lights of the legal profession whose opinions would be so valuable on a question of this kind. It would have been highly desirable to have the opinion of men learned in the law on a measure involving so serious a change as that proposed by this Bill. This change not only effected a great alteration in the position of the Roman Catholics, but it went on to extend that alteration in the Constitution, and to the Act of Settlement. Before he proceeded to touch on those points of the Bill in which he differed from the hon. Member who had charge of it, he would say a few words on those points on which they agreed; and here let him make an offer to the hon. Member who had brought in this Bill, and he did so in all fairness and candour. Let the hon. Member take away every pain or penalty which attached to a man on account of his faith. Let him remove the penalty which obliged a Roman Catholic to attend the Protestant church, or which did not allow any one to keep a school unless he were a Protestant. These were enactments which ought not to be allowed to remain on our Statute-book for a single day; but while he, and those who thought with him on this subject, would readily join the parties having charge of the Bill in removing such obnoxious clauses and enactments as those to which he had referred, they must protest against being made parties to important changes in the fundamental law of the country, which our ancestors thought necessary to guard against ecclesiastical encroachments. If the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Watson) would allow him, he would, without the slightest disrespect, pass by him for a moment, and address himself to the Government. The hon. and learned Member must well know that he could not hope to carry this Bill without the consent and aid of Government; and if the Government gave it their support, it was perfectly clear that with the Bill they must also take the responsibility. It would not do to say that the Bill was that of the hon. and learned Gentleman. If once supported by the Government, it was to all intents a Government measure; but he must protest against a measure of such importance being shuffled through the House in the way in which it was, as the measure of the hon. and learned Gentleman, while, to all intents and purposes, it was the measure of Government. Who would have thought that a measure of this kind would have been introduced, effecting such important changes in the law of the country? He would again say that Her Majesty's Government must take the whole of this responsibility upon themselves; for by no other party could such important changes in our law and Constitution be effected. Let hon. Members look carefully at this Bill, and examine its enactments. What were the proposed changes? Why, the very first clause in the Bill was a change in the oath of supremacy. He agreed with his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) that it did not repeal that oath. It left, however, the oath on the Statute-book, but took away the penalties for gainsaying what the oath of supremacy required. Now, he would ask his right hon. Friend what was the use of placing penalties on the Statute-book if they were never to be enforced? Why was the oath of supremacy guarded with penalties? Because it was considered that such safeguards were necessary to repress ecclesiastical encroachments; but was the disposition to those encroachments less at the present time than it had been when the wisdom of our ancestors placed those safeguards of penalties round the oath of supremacy? On looking at the Act for relieving the Roman Catholics in 1829, he found that there were certain high offices which no Roman Catholic could hold. The Sovereign of the country would be incapable of holding the sovereign authority if he became a Catholic; a Lord High Commissioner, Lord High Chancellor, Regent, or Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, were all excluded, if Catholics. Suppose, then, a Catholic to take his seat on the Woolsack, what test would they have of ascertaining the fact of his being a Catholic, if they removed that of the oath of supremacy? Let the fact of a Catholic taking his seat as Chancellor excite no surprise. Acts as glaring and as notorious had been committed by Protestant clergymen, who professed themselves members of the Church of England, when it was notorious they had been long separated from it except in name. He could mention the name of one pervert, who not only conformed to the Roman Church, but visited the head of it—the Pope at Rome—and during two years, while so openly professing himself a Roman Catholic, held a living in the Church of England. These were the acts of clergymen; but were laymen less honest than the clergy? Suppose some future Lord Chancellor, or Regent, or Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, were to become a Catholic, where, if those tests were to be done away with, would be the safeguard—where the security against future perverts? Let him answer; and if his fears were not imaginary, how were they to be allayed? Here was this oath of supremacy as one of the clauses of, or, as it might be said, as part and parcel of the law of the land. This was the opinion of the great Lord Somers, and other able and learned men of his day; and how were we wiser that we could afford to throw away this most useful test? Let him come for a moment to the oath of 1829. That was silent as to the spiritual supremacy, and drew no distinction between spiritual and civil supremacy; but here was one matter which related to civil—the other to episcopal supremacy. Where was the line of distinction to be drawn? This was the question which had so long agitated the Courts of Europe; and many went so far as to dictate in the elections of prelates. Lord Beaumont and many of the laity freely took the oath of 1829; but there were many, high in authority, who did not think it went far enough. The Archbishop of Malta found fault with it; and he consulted the Pope, who declared that the oath was inadmissible. This was not the oath framed by Elizabeth, but that included in the Bill of 1829. Now, he believed that many, the most, or perhaps nearly all the lay Catholics, would take that oath; but, as many of the dignitaries of the Catholic Church objected to it, he should like to have some security that the laity of England and Ireland did not take the same view of it. The hon. Member, after again adverting to the support given to the Bill by the Government, repeated that there was a copartnery between the Government and the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale, and that he was acting as one of the firm. He saw the immense extent to which he would gain by this partnership, and the escape he would have from the fate of a noble Lord, who a short time back fell a victim to the determination of the Government that it would not come to his aid. He was aware it was the fashion, in the present day, to say that these were not matters of practical concorn. But he would ask them to consider what might be the result of the exertions of an association of able men, leagued to obtain a particular object, and pressing that object upon the public mind with perseverance and ability, as had been done in the case of the Corn Laws? Could they imagine any association equal in power and influence to a junta of Romish ecclesiastics — the bishops of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland, who, besides influencing 6,000,000 of people, had the absolute control of the priesthood of that church? And was no security to be taken to prevent the exercise of this power in a manner dangerous to the peace of the country, and the stability of the Protestant religion? But it might be said that his opinions were prejudiced on this subject; and he would, therefore, beg to read the opinions of a very able man, the late Lord Castlereagh, whose views coincided with his. [Mr. Colquhoun read a long extract from a speech of Lord Castlereagh, in which that noble Lord expressed his strong conviction that it could be necessary to restrain the power and influence of the see of Rome by wholesome regulations, to prevent their being directed against the temporal interests and security of the State.] He found that this Bill contained a clause to repeal the Statute of Elizabeth, which prohibited the introduction into this country, and the putting into execution, of bulls, writings, and instruments to the See of Rome. Now, he begged to the right hon. Home Secretary, whether he was aware that every law of the See of Rome which might be sent into this country in the shape of a Papal rescript, became binding on the consciences of all Roman Catholics? The right hon. Baronet was probably aware that, in many of these bulls and rescripts, the claim of the Pope to temporal power was set forth in the strongest manner; and that, so long ago as 1816, France, and nearly all the other European States, prohibited the introduction of these rescripts into their dominions. If admission into this country was to be given to Papal bulls, he wished to know whether the Secretary of State was ready to examine them before their publication? He (Mr. Colquhoun) had heard that "bulls" were to be admitted under the new Tariff. Were they, then, to be examined by the Board of Trade? But it was said that this measure would lead to no injurious consequences. Was the preservation of the integrity of the Empire a matter of no importance? Would the severance of the Empire be a matter of slight consideration? He must confess that he could not contemplate this proposal to increase the power of the ecclesiastics of the Church of Rome without very serious alarm; for they were the very parties who had taken the most active part in the movement for the repeal of the Union with Ireland. But this Bill contained another clause, which he thought was open to the strongest objection, by which it was proposed to repeal certain provisions of the Emancipation Act, and to allow the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops to assume the titles of their sees. It was well known that by the law of England there could be only one bishop in a see; and if the Legislature resolved to allow two bishops in the same see, they would sanction a flagrant anomaly, and eventually power must be withdrawn from one or both, unless this measure was intended to prepare for the substitution of the Romish in the place of the Anglican bishops. He might be told that he was contemplating distant consequences; but they appeared to be proceeding, step by step, to such a consummation. The hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell) had, on a former occasion, referred to a statement he (Mr. Colquhoun) had made, that he believed the leading members of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland held the principles of the Jesuits, and were associated with that body. When he (Mr. Colquhoun) expressed that opinion it was received with a shout of contempt by the hon. Member for Cork. But that hon. and learned Gentleman, who was in the confidence of the ecclesiastics of the Church of Rome in Ireland, came down to the House a few nights ago, and passed a glowing eulogy on that very body of Jesuits whom he seemed to treat with scorn and contempt, while he (Mr. Colquhoun) had ventured to connect them with the ecclesiastics of the Church of Rome in Ireland. Now, he (Mr. Colquhoun) would read to the House an opinion on the principles of the Jesuits, which proceeded from no light authority. [Mr. O'CONNELL: Is it from the Wandering Jew?] He hoped the hon. and learned Member's knowledge of the works of Eugene Sue was more accurate than his general historical knowledge; for he well recollected the historical knowledge displayed by the hon. and learned Gentleman some time since with reference to Galileo. He remembered that the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, whose memory, unfortunately for the hon. and learned Member for Cork, was very retentive and accurate, proceeded to the library, took down some historical work, and showed the House in five minutes that the whole of the hon. and learned Gentleman's historical statement was a plausible and playful dream; that the hon. and learned Member was wrong both as to the names of the Pope and the Cardinal he had mentioned; and that he was entirely mistaken on a subject with which he should have been so familiar. He would leave Eugene Sue in the hands of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but he would quote the opinion expressed by the Parliament of France in 1762. [The hon. Member read an extract from an arrêt of the Parliament, ordering that passages extracted from the books of 147 Jesuit authors being verified, a collated copy should be presented to the King, that he might be acquainted with the perversity of the doctrines constantly maintained by the said Jesuits from the origin of the society to that time.] He begged the House to observe that this character of the Jesuits was not given by Eugene Sue, or M. Michelet, or any other writer of the day, but by the Parliament of France, who proceeded to state that the system of the Jesuits authorized falsehood, perjury, licentiousness—indeed, all passions and crimes; and that it taught homicide, parricide, and regicide. This, then, was the character of that body which had been panegyrized by the hon. and learned Member for Cork; and the opinion he had quoted was fully borne out by Bellarmine. He might mention that in 1820 the Jesuits were expelled from Russia by Prince Galitzin, as persons who had endeavoured to pervert the Russian youth from allegiance to the Crown, and whose continuance in the country was incompatible with the peace of the empire. He left these historical facts to the consideration of the hon. and learned Member for Cork, that he might refute them if he could. When he looked at Ireland—when he looked at Newfoundland—when he beheld the power and influence which were daily obtained in the Colonies by Roman Catholic ecclesiastics over the minds and over the consciences of those who were under their direction and guidance—a power which might excite to dangers neither remote nor visionary; he trusted the House would not consent to pass a Bill which would increase those dangers, the tendency of which would be to excite just alarm and apprehension as to the future. It was, no doubt, in the recollection of the House, that he had presented to it a petition which was committed to him by Roman Catholics resident in Lancashire, whose conduct was in every respect unexceptionable; and what was the object of that petition? In it the parties prayed for legislative interference that they might be protected in their temporal rights as Roman Catholic layman and as Roman Catholic priests, against the enactments and against the claims of a bishop of their church. They stated that their chapel was closed at the pleasure of their bishop—that while the bishop declared the character of their priest to be unexceptionable, yet he would not be allowed to officiate. And what did the petitioners require? To have the power to take such a case before the tribunals of this country. What was the answer now about to be given to a claim so just and so reasonable? Why, that you will strenghten the hands of the ecclesiastics of that church—that you will increase their power by removing from the Statute-book those protests which are there recorded against the exercise of ecclesiastical power in spiritual matters. If supremacy were allowed in spiritual matters, the same supremacy would be exercised over every other matter, for there was not a relation of social life over which the Church of Rome did not claim a power and a control absolute and positive. If they would take away from the Statute-book the Act of Supremacy, they would take away one of the greatest safeguards of the Constitution: by doing so they would unquestionably make themselves responsible for all the consequences which would flow from such a step. He would, therefore, appeal to the House to reconsider the whole matter. He would also throw the onus of the responsibility on Her Majesty's Government, if they would give their support to such a Bill—a Bill which proposed to make serious alterations in the Statute-book. He would appeal to the right hon. Baronet who came down to that House to pass a measure which first shattered his party. He would ask, was he prepared to make such alterations in the law of 1829 as would place on the same level the archbishops and bishops of the Church of Rome, and the archbishops and bishops of the Church of England? If the right hon. Baronet intended this change, among all his other changes, it would be well were the House so informed. If the right hon. Baronet said he did not mean to alter the enactment of 1829, but that he merely intended to give his support to the first part of the Bill, and which referred to the repeal of the oath of supremacy, let his views be so stated; but he would ask the House, was it right, or was it consistent in any Minister of the Crown, to take away from the Statute-books those enactments which constituted the best safeguards that could be devised against ecclesiastical power and ecclesiastical encroachments, and to support a measure which would endanger the best interests of the State? Upon those grounds he would move—"That this House resolve itself into the said Committee upon this day six months."


I wish to make an appeal to the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Watson) who has charge of this Bill. That hon. Gentleman was not present when the Bill was read a second time, and when I had the honour of supporting the principle of the measure. I am decidedly favourable to the removal from the Statute-book of pains and penalties affecting our Roman Catholic fellow subjects on account of their religious opinions; and I therefore supported the second reading of the Bill without hesitation. I wish to call the attention of the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale (Mr. Watson), and of the House, to the present position of affairs with respect to a measure of this description. At the close of the last Session of Parliament, Her Majesty's Government undertook to refer the consideration of all statutes affecting our Roman Catholic fellow subjects, and Protestant Dissenters, to the Criminal Law Commission. The subject have been carefully investigated by that Commission. A Report had been made by them; and founded on that Report the Government, on their own responsibility, have introduced a Bill in many respects going on in all fours with the Bill now before this House, and in some respects further; for the Bill in this House is confined to the relief of our Roman Catholic fellow subjects, whereas the Bill recommended by the Criminal Law Commissioners, and introduced by the Government into the House of Lords, goes further, and includes in its provisions Protestant Dissenters as well as Roman Catholics. We know by the Votes of the House of Lords that that Bill has received a second reading, after having undergone an ample discussion in that House; and many suggestions from quarters deserving the utmost attention on the part of the Government, having been offered for the amendment of that Bill, those suggestions are now under the consideration of the servants of the Crown. I have every belief that that Bill will pass the other House, and that in a very short time it will come down to this House; and, having the sanction of the other House, it will be presented to this House by the Ministers of the Crown. Under these circumstances, is it not a reasonable suggestion on my part, having supported the principle of this Bill, and being prepared to defend many of its details also—for many are identical with the measure proposed by the Government—when I ask the hon. and learned Member to postpone the further progress of this Bill until we have time to see and consider the other measure I have adverted to? I think that the course I suggest is most reasonable, and that it will promote the main object which the hon. and learned Gentleman has in view. I venture to offer this suggestion to the hon. and learned Member, not in any spirit of hostility to his Bill, for I am favourable to the relief of the Roman Catholics in respect to pains and penalties imposed on them by obsolete laws; but, as I stated last Session, and also in this, I cannot concur in those clauses of the hon. and learned Member's Bill which, in respect to religious orders in this country, &c., go to repeal the provisions made by the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. I think, after what I have stated, the House might be spared a lengthened discussion now, which I am afraid, from the spirit in which my hon. Friend (Mr. Colquhoun) has opened it, would not be remarkable either for temper or calmness. The House might be spared the necessity of embarking into a polemical debate; and I do hope, for the reasons I have stated, that the hon. and learned Member will be induced to postpone his Motion for proceeding with this Bill at present.


was sorry that he could not accede to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman. This Bill was not a new one. He had originally given notice of it in 1843, and in 1844 it was brought into the House of Lords by Lord Beaumont. It passed the Committee of the House of Lords, where it was altered in several clauses for the purpose of making it a Bill which no bishop on the bench could object to. Last year he again introduced a Bill on the subject; but it was thrown out at the end of the Session, without any opinion being expressed by the Government, either favourable or unfavourable, with respect to it. The Bill now before the House had been introduced this Session; and there had also been introduced into the House of Lords another Bill, drawn by Sir E. Ryan, the late Chief Justice of India. His Bill being fixed to come on in the House of Commons that day, a movement took place in another place last Thursday, and a discussion was had on the Bill there. That Bill, however, was essentially different from his, and there were clauses in his Bill on which the opinion of that House must be taken.


was not present at the last discussion on this subject, and wished, therefore, to say a few words on the present occasion. He admired the skill and talent of the hon. Member for Newcastle, but he would not enter into the discussion in that temper which had been noticed by the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) as characterizing the hon. Member's observations. Whatever might be the accusations against the Jesuits, he believed that they were the most ill-used and injured men on the face of the earth. They were actuated by motives for the good of religion and the good of mankind. There was hardly a Christian charity for which religious bodies were not organized in the Roman Catholic religion, for the purpose of exercising it to the utmost practical extent. Let them go into the hospitals, and they would see the Sisters of Charity, those angels upon earth. Looking, also, to the operations of the Capuchins, the Franciscans, and other orders, he would say that they did not meet with, except in the Roman Catholic faith, such devotion to charity. He would leave to others more able than himself to enter into details respecting the present Bill, and would content himself with offering his thanks to its promoters.


I am sorry that the hon. and learned Gentleman does not see fit to accede to the reasonable and just appeal made to him by my right hon. Friend. When the Executive Government, at the express wish of the House of Commons, has undertaken to legislate on this subject, and has actually produced the result of their deliberations in the shape of a Bill, which has been read a second time in the House of Lords, touching on many of the subjects included in this Bill, it is contrary to all usage for an individual Member of Parliament to insist on proceeding with a Bill like the present in the House of Commons, before the Bill introduced by the Government comes to be discussed in this House. A course like this places the Government in an unusual situation. Various suggestions having been made for the amendment of the Bill in the House of Lords, the hon. and learned Member requires that while those Amendments are under consideration, we should in this House proceed to express our opinion on the clauses of his Bill, and thus enter into a premature discussion of the subject. In any enactment for the purpose of removing from the Statute-book obsolete Acts, which may be put in force to gratify individual pique or revenge, I cordially agree; and I gave a proof of my readiness to admit that principle by recording my vote in favour of the removal of certain penalties injuriously affecting our Roman Catholic fellow subjects in a former Session of Parliament. I took charge of a Bill for that purpose; but when I did so, the hon. Member for Lambeth observed, that this was partial legislation, because there were many obsolete statutes affecting Protestant Dissenters also; and the hon. Member observed that we were going to relieve the Roman Catholics and leave the law as respected Protestant Dissenters untouched. It was suggested then, that it would be better to consider generally the law with respect to those who differ from the Church of England, and to legislate in a comprehensive spirit, providing for all classes, Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters. I acknowledged the justice of that principle, and a Commission was appointed to consider this subject; and the Report of the Commission having been presented, the Government introduced a Bill generally embracing the subject. That Bill has been read a second time in the House of Lords, and we are not willing that any undue delay should interpose in the way of its further progress. Under these circumstances, I would rather discuss the subject when it shall be brought forward by the Government in this House, than be now forced to enter into a premature discussion of it, and I therefore wish that the hon. and learned Member had assented to the proposal of my right hon. Friend, and had postponed his Bill on the present occasion. If he does not think fit to accede to a request so reasonable and so much in conformity with general practice, I must record my dissent to his course of proceeding by voting against the further progress of the Bill.


If the two Bills, that in the House of Lords and the one now before the House of Commons, contemplated in their general scope the same end, I think the appeal made to the hon. and learned Member would be not only reasonable but conclusive; but it appears that the measure of the hon. and learned Gentleman may be described as consisting of two parts. One of these has reference to obsolete penalties against Roman Catholics, which might be revived for a vexatious purpose, and these the Government propose to abolish not only as regards Roman Catholics but also as regards Protestant Dissenters, and have brought a Bill into the House of Lords for that purpose. Now, if the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman went no further than that, I think that he would be disposed to wait for that other Bill, and see how far it effects the same object as he has in view. But there is another class of cases, with respect to which the Criminal Law Commissioners offer no opinion. The Commissioners reported only on what properly came under their consideration, and, consequently, they found out what were the ancient and obsolete statutes affecting Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters; and proposed a mode by which the law should be altered, and such obsolete restrictions abolished. But when they came to other penalties, which are not forgotten or obsolete, but which are living penalties, enacted in 1829, these Commissioners said, what it was incumbent on them to say, that that matter was not the matter submitted to them, that it involved political considerations, and, therefore, on that part of the subject they offered no opinion. It is a question for the Government and for this House to consider whether those penalties should be in any way modified or repealed. The hon. and learned Gentleman brings in his Bill for that purpose. Whether he is right in asking the House to repeal those penalties, there is no occasion on this particular question relative to the postponement of the Bill to say; but it is quite obvious that this is different matter from that included in the Bill of the Government in the other House. Therefore I think that the Government ought to declare whether they are now, or whether they will be, when their Bill comes down from the House of Lords, disposed to consider, modify, or repeal any of these enactments of the law of 1829. If they are not prepared to do so now, but would be prepared when the Bill comes from the other House to add clauses for that purpose, then when that Bill came to be introduced into this House, would be the most convenient time for considering the subject; but if they say that they have made up their minds that the law of 1829 is to be the perpetual law of the land, in that case the hon. and learned Member would be justified in calling upon the House for its decision on the subject.


admitted that the present Bill might be divided into two parts, and suggested, as it would be inconvenient to discuss now that part of the Bill which was identical with the Government measure, that the hon. and learned Gentleman should divide his Bill into two, and raise the discussion on the latter part, which repealed certain provisions of the Emancipation Act of 1829. To that repeal he was opposed; but, as the noble Lord used the term "modify," as well as "repeal," he would not, without seeing what those modifications were, pledge himself absolutely against them.


did not see any particular objection to take the course suggested. The question he wished to discuss with the Government was, whether those penal enactments of the Act of 1829 which had been referred to were to remain the law for ever, however contrary they might be to the feelings of the country at large. On that question he must take the sense of the House. He hoped he might be allowed to go on at once with the contested clauses, or it would be too late in the Session.


If the Bill is to be divided into two parts in Committee, there must be an instruction to that effect; and this cannot be moved unless the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Colquhoun) withdraw his Amendment.


declined to withdraw it.


felt that he had been personally assailed by the hon. Member for Newcastle, whose memory was not very accurate; though he was, no doubt, not disposed to state what he knew to be untrue. That hon. Member had boasted of what he deemed the triumph of the hon. Member for Oxford over him on the subject of Galileo. Now, having spoken upon that subject without the least premeditation, he had mistaken the name of the Pope who was at the expense of publishing an account of the system of Copernicus. That was the extent of his error; but the Court of Rome was never opposed to the doctrine of the motion of the globe. The real difference between him and hon. Members opposite was, that he had asserted that Galileo, instead of being imprisoned for years, as had been repeatedly asserted, and was generally believed in England, was only in gaol for parts of three days. That statement he now repeated, and in the main point he was perfectly right, though he had been inaccurate as to the name of a Pope. However, this was a subject of little consequence; he turned to one of moment—the subject of the Jesuits. The hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Colquhoun) had suggested that we should imitate the example of France in religious matters. He quoted the French, and a French statesman, as an authority, and would have us follow that example. There was some novelty in recommending the example of France on matters of religion; it might not be the less desirable, though it was usually thought so. The hon. Member had referred to M. Thiers, and had called him a great statesman. He could not quite agree in that description of M. Thiers. Had he not endeavoured to stimulate the anti-Anglican feeling in France, in order to raise himself to power? Could he be a good man or a great statesman who for his own purposes condescended to minister to the bad prejudices of his fellow countrymen? The hon. Member was utterly wrong as to the Jesuits; he had before challenged the hon. Member to bring proof of any one crime against them; and what after a long search had he produced? A consultation—not a judicial sentence or determination—in 1762, calumniating the Jesuits. But had the hon. Member acted fairly in not telling the House that all the French bishops, with an archbishop at their head, a member of one of the first families in France, protested against its promulgation, and that the acts of that Parliament showed already that spirit of infidelity which afterwards broke out in the atheistical and sanguinary excesses of the revolution? These were the patrons of the hon. Member's cause; and he wished the hon. Member joy of his new friends. Did the hon. Member forget the eulogium with which a King of France restored the Jesuits? Nothing was more familiar to the scholars of Europe than the vile spirit in which that decree of the French Parliament was framed of which the hon. Member had made so much. But, in fact, the hon. Member had shrunk from proving his allegation. The hon. Member had been singularly unfortunate in his illustrations; M. Thiers was his model of a statesman, and the Emperor of Russia his model of piety. He now repeated his challenge to the hon. Member to bring any proof against the Jesuits. They were the greatest benefactors both of literature and religion that the world ever saw, as well as an example of friendly and kindly fellowship among themselves. The hon. Member seemed to think that he had formerly assailed the Jesuits in that House; but that he utterly denied. He once had to make a distinction between Maynooth and Clongowes; but no word did he ever drop in derogation of the Jesuits. He knew their history and their services, and was proud of this opportunity of defying their enemies to produce anything against them.


wished to correct a mistake into which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cork had fallen, in saying that his hon. Friend (Mr. Colquhoun) wished them to follow the example of France in reference to religious matters. His hon. Friend had not done so, as he had merely quoted the case of France in support of a matter of fact. In reference to the Jesuits, he did not wish to make an observation that would have the effect of throwing odium upon them, as he admitted that they might often have been calumniated; but if they had, he must still bear in mind that on account of their dangerous tenets they had been expelled from almost every State in Europe, and even Pope Clement XIV. had found it necessary to issue a bull for their suppression, the language of which he would not repeat, lest it should be offensive to the feelings of hon. Members opposite.


did not rise to make any observations on the Order of Jesuits, but to notice some expressions that had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman near him, the Member for Cork. That hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) had denied to M. Thiers the character of a statesman, and even of a good man, because he had availed himself of the anti-Anglican prejudices of his countrymen to excite feelings of hostility between this country and his own. He trusted he might, without offence, tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would not forget the accusation he had so justly made against M. Thiers; but that the words he had used would at all times and under all circumstances be indelibly engraven on the memory of the hon. and learned Gentleman himself.


begged to call the attention of the hon. Member who declared that the Jesuits had been banished out of every country in Europe, to the fact that the wisest of European monarchs, Frederick the Great, had given them a refuge in Prussia. As the preservers and restorers of literature, the merits of that Order were recognized throughout the world; and he was sure the liberal people of this country would offer no opposition to the repeal of the stringent clauses against them in the Bill of George IV.


denied that the Jesuits had any right to protection or privileges as a religious Order; they resisted ecclesiastical authority. They were a secret society, evading the provisions of the Relief Act, and entitled to no favour; nor ought the Government to rescind for them the enactments introduced by the present Ministers into that Act. Let no feelings of mistaken benevolence lead the House to part with the safeguard at present on the Statute-book.


observed, that before any hon. Member talked of the Jesuits as if they were here secretly, and did not avow themselves, he should remember that for a great many years the larger part of the Roman Catholic youth of this country had been intrusted to them to be educated; and no one acquainted with that youth could deny that they were honour- able and manly, as well as learned and intelligent. The Jesuits were offensive to the French Parliament because of their learning; and the state of feeling towards them in France must be totally different from what it was here, because of the monopoly of education in a Government department there.


remarked, that as the Amendment was not withdrawn, he must vote for the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Watson), in order that he might have an opportunity of expressing his opinions when the Bill should be divided in Committee on that part which would repeal portions of the Act of 1829; but, in giving that vote, he reserved to himself the power of dealing with this portion of the Bill as he should think best. The advisable course seemed to be, to go into Committee pro formâ, add some clauses, of which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Watson) had given notice, and then divide the Bill, and take the discussion on the part just alluded to on a subsequent day; when hon. Members would come with a full knowledge of the particular subject to be considered. But the original question was, "That the House resolve itself into Committee on this Bill;" and the Amendment proposed to leave out the words subsequent to "that," and insert "the House resolve itself into Committee on this day six months." Now, as the question put would be, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question," the Speaker could only, if it was resolved in the affirmative, put the question, "That I do now leave the chair;" and so the instruction to the Committee to divide the Bill into two could not be moved. The difficulty would be removed if the hon. Member for Newcastle withdrew his Amendment by consent. As to opportunity for discussion, he (Sir R. Peel) should be disposed to give every facility for it; it could take place on recommitting the Bill when thus divided.


thought the proposal of the right hon. Baronet would lead the House into difficulties. They had a Bill before them on the responsibility of an individual Member, and not on the responsibility of the Government. Not only was it not brought forward on the responsibility of the Government, but from one-half of it the Members of Her Majesty's Government dissented. Now, they all understood that a more comprehensive measure had been introduced into another place, which would, in due course, be submitted to that House; and he thought they would be removing difficulties, instead of creating them, if they negatived the present measure, and waited till the other Bill was brought before the House.


saw no difficulty in the hon. and learned Gentleman insisting upon the Motion that the Bill be sent into Committee; nor did he see any substantial difficulty in the course which the right hon. Gentleman had proposed, that in the event of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Newcastle being negatived, and the House going into Committee, the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Watson) should withdraw the first part of the Bill, including all the clauses down to those which had reference to the Statute of 1829, and retaining the last part of the Bill. That was a course which he considered highly satisfactory under the circumstances; and he therefore thought the hon. and learned Gentleman would do well to adopt the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman.


wish was, to take the opinion of the House on the question before them. Suppose the Amendment of the hon. Member for Newcastle was lost, and the House went into Committee, then he meant to move that the clauses to which the right hon. Gentleman referred should be struck out. Then he would propose that other clauses, of which he had given notice, should, when printed, be introduced into the Bill, and they could report progress, and go again into Committee on a future day. As to the principle of the Bill, that had already been settled on the second reading. In reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Newcastle, he would just remark that they tolerated Roman Catholics by law in this country; that Roman Catholics looked to the Pope as the supreme head of their church; and all he asked was, that they should not be liable to punishment for holding opinions which were tolerated by law—in short, all he asked was, that the spirit of the Act of 1829 should be carried out. As to those animals called bulls, he believed they were exceedingly innocent things; but, should they contain treason, surely the law was strong enough to put them down. There was no law in Scotland or Ireland to prevent bulls going into those countries. That was perhaps the reason why bulls were so numerous in the latter country. As to the regular clergy, he trusted the House would deliberately and seriously discuss that part of the measure. Those persons were engaged in the duties of charity and religious teaching; and, if they were improper teachers, and violated the laws of the State, then they would be subject to punishment. All he asked was, that, like other citizens, they should be permitted to practise charity and religion so long as they did so in accordance with their duties as good citizens. Were an attempt made to enforce the law against these parties, he was sure the good sense of the country would rise against it. He hoped the House would allow the Bill to go into Committee.


said, that the hon. Member for Newcastle had stated that he did not wish to impose any penalties on the profession of religion. The supremacy of the Pope either was or was not a doctrine of the Roman Catholic religion. If it were not, then he called upon his hon. Friend to allow this Bill to pass; and if it were, then he called upon him to go with them and enforce the penalties. The fact was, those who professed to be the most sincere friends of civil and religious liberty, very often turned out to be the most bitter of its foes.


would only detain the House a few minutes. The hon. Member who had charge of the Bill had stated, that he intended to expunge all the clauses down to that which related to the Statute of George IV. He thought there was an improper secrecy observed with regard to the Bill; for when he had, on a previous occasion, made some observations with respect to this particular Bill, they were not received with much favour; but a different opinion now appeared to prevail. This only he would say, that if the clauses of the Act of 1829 were repealed, it would be a violation of the contract which was entered into in 1829. The Bill was, in fact, a Bill for an Amendment of the Act of 1829; and if it had been introduced with that avowed object, his right hon. Friend below him (Sir R. Peel) would have met it with his unquestionable opposition. He would suggest that the hon. Member (Mr. Watson) should avail himself of the proposition of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. By doing so, that hon. Member would undoubtedly lose an advantage which he had obtained, unfairly obtained; but he did not doubt, that from the respectability of that Gentleman, he would readily give it up, and not shuffle a measure like this through the House.


said, it seemed to be thought that an unfair advantage had been taken on the second reading of the measure; but this assertion was wholly without foundation. He considered it quite useless for the House to discuss now the principle of the Bill, which had been already settled on the second reading. A full opportunity would be given on the third reading for the most ample discussion of the whole question.


understood the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman, as recommended by the right hon. Baronet, to be to leave out in Committee all the first part of the Bill on which there was an agreement between them, and to retain that part, relating to the Act of 1829, on which they differed. Was it, then, to be understood that the right hon. Baronet, and those who agreed with him, were ready to vote for the Bill as thus altered?


rose amidst cries of "Divide," and expressed his disapproval of the Bill, and contended that it was not competent for the House in that stage to make the proposed division of the Bill. He told the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) that in giving his assent to the measure, he would be violating the pledge he had given at the passing of the Bill of 1829.


must say he had never heard a greater perversion of his meaning. He really could not envy Gentlemen who had such suspicions respecting compacts he had entered into. He might take that opportunity, however, of stating that he could not concur in any proposition tending to the repeal of the Act of 1829. Was the hon. Gentleman aware how the case stood? If the hon. and learned Gentleman had moved to omit the first part of the Bill, the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner) must have agreed with him. What, then, would have remained but a Bill to repeal some of the provisions of the Act of 1829? Now, he was not prepared to give any opinion in favour of that proposal, as he had already stated; nor did his suggestion, that the hon. and learned Gentleman should divide the Bill, lead to any such inference; all he wished was, that the House might know clearly what they had to deal with, so that the opinion of the House might be fairly taken on the latter Bill.

The House divided on the Question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—Ayes 110; Noes 67: Majority 43.

List of the AYES.
A'Court, Capt. James, Sir W. C.
Archbold, R. Johnson, Gen.
Armstrong, Sir A. Kelly, Sir F.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Lambton, H.
Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Baillie, Col. Layard, Capt.
Baring, H. B. Leader, J. T.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Lincoln, Earl of
Baring, rt. hon. W. B. Loch, J.
Barron, Sir H. W. Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B.
Berkeley, hon. C. Macnamara, Major
Bernal, R. M'Carthy, A.
Blake, M. J. M'Geachy, F. A.
Boldero, H. G. Mahon, Visct.
Bowes, J. Maitland, T.
Bowles, Adm. Marsland, H.
Bowring, Dr. Martin, J.
Brotherton, J. Milnes, R. M.
Browne, hon. W. Mitchell, T. A.
Buller, C. Morpeth, Visct.
Busfeild, W. Neville, R.
Butler, P. S. O'Connell, D.
Cardwell, E. O'Conor Don
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Ord, W.
Christie, W. D. Pakington, J. S.
Collett, J. Parker, J.
Coote, Sir C.H. Pechell, Capt.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Craig, W. G. Peel, J.
Crawford, W. S. Philips, G. R.
Cripps, W. Plumridge, Capt.
Denison, J. E. Powell, C.
Dennistoun, J. Pusey, P.
Duncan, Visct. Rawdon, Col.
Duncan, G. Roebuck, J. A.
Dundas, D. Russell, Lord J.
Escott, B. Sheridan, R. B.
Esmonde, Sir T. Smith, J. A.
Ewart, W. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Somerset, Lord G.
Forster, M. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Gore, M. Strutt, E.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Thesiger, Sir F.
Granger, T. C. Thornely, T.
Greene, T. Trelawny, J. S.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Wakley, T.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Walker, R.
Hall, Sir B. Wall, C. B.
Harcourt, G. G. Williams, W.
Hatton, Capt. V. Wodehouse, E.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Wood, C.
Hindley, C. Wyse, T.
Horsman, E. Young, J.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. TELLERS.
Howard, P. H. Watson, W. H.
Hughes, W. B. Manners, Lord J.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Beresford, Major
Allix, J. P. Blackburne, J. I.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Broadley, H.
Arkwright, G. Broadwood, H.
Astell, W. Brooke, Sir A. B.
Bailey, J. jun. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Baillie, W. Christopher, R. A.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Bateson, T. Chute, W. L. W.
Beckett, W. Connolly, Col.
Bell, M. Douglas, Sir H.
Bennett, P. Douglas, J. D. S.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Marton, G.
Finch, G. Maunsell, T. P.
Forbes, W. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Fox, S. L. Meynell, Capt.
Fuller, A. E. Newdegate, C. N.
Grimsditch, T. Palmer, G.
Hamilton, J. H. Plumptre, J. P.
Hamilton, G. A. Rashleigh, W.
Hamilton, Lord C. Round, C. G.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Round, J.
Hope, Sir J. Sheppard, T.
Houldsworth, T. Shirley, E. J.
Hussey, T. Sibthorp, Col.
Jones, Capt. Stuart, J.
Kemble, H. Tollemache, J.
Law, hon. C. E. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Lawson, A, Verner, Col.
Lefroy, A. Waddington, H. S.
Lindsay, hon. Capt. Wyndham, Col. C.
Lockhart, W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Lowther, hon. Col. TELLERS.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Colquhoun, J.
Mackenzie, T. Spooner, R.

House in Committee.


said, he should propose to divide the Bill, and to strike out the first three clauses; then that the Chairman report progress; and that the Bill be recommitted on Wednesday fortnight.

Motion agreed to.

On the Question, that the 1st Clause of the second part stand part of the Bill,


was very suspicious of the conduct of the right hon. Baronet, which he thought it the duty of those hon. Members who were sincerely attached to the Constitution to watch with a close and jealous eye. He had entertained suspicions of the right hon. Baronet ever since 1829. He thought it very questionable whether or no the right hon. Baronet was a Protestant or a Roman Catholic. He should be disposed to think the right hon. Baronet was a Roman Catholic. He held a petition in his hand from the inhabitants of Lincoln city, against the Bill now under consideration; and the reason it was not more numerously signed was, because they felt disgusted at the line of conduct pursued by Sir R. Peel on the question of the Maynooth Grant; for when no less than 10,253 petitions, containing 1,288,742 signatures, were presented against that grant, the right hon. Baronet said, the greater was the number of petititions against the grant, the more resolved he was to interfere. He disclaimed any uncharitable or unkind feeling towards his Roman Catholic fellow subjects; but felt it his duty to oppose the Minister of a Protestant Queen, when he introduced measures which he considered would be subversive of the principles upon which the Church and Constitution of this country had long been defended. He felt entirely with his hon. Friend below him (Mr. Spooner) that great caution should be exercised in acceding to any such concessions, and advised his hon. Friend to he-ware of the spring-guns and man-traps with which the Treasury benches abounded.


moved as an Amendment, that the clause he omitted. His object was to get rid of the Bill altogether. He apprehended his Amendment was a perfectly legitimate one.


must say, that he did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman (the Recorder) acted fairly to his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Watson). The mode of proceeding suggested by his hon. and learned Friend would not prevent the fullest discussion hereafter. It was not at all usual to oppose a Motion such as that proposed. He must say that he did not think the course taken by the hon. and learned Recorder handsome or courteous to his hon. and learned Friend, or just to the House.


, in reply to the noble Lord, wished again to say that his object was to get rid of the Bill altogether. He wished to be understood as being no party to the arrangement proposed by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government. He must dissent from any such arrangement. It was proposed that his hon. and learned Friend should have an opportunity of dividing his Bill, having it reprinted, and bringing it forward in another shape. He was opposed to that for these reasons. The Bill was not brought forward on the responsibility of the Government. There was a measure of similar character on its way to this House, which was sanctioned by the Government; and besides he was at a loss to divine what might be the conduct of Government as regarded either Bill, which would work on with a majority obtained from the other side of the House. He had no confidence whatever in the mode in which this measure was dealt with, nor any trust in the majority which would carry it. He protested against this line of proceeding. He had the greatest personal regard for the hon. and learned Mover, and in any matter of a merely personal character, would be most happy to oblige him; but he must not forget that he had a public duty to perform, and must resist to the uttermost any measure which had a pernicious tendency, even though such measure might be encouraged by the head of the Government. He would neither assist in nor be any party to those arrangements between the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government and the other side of the House—he would acknowledge no such compacts. He must again say, that he had no confidence in any arrangements made by Gentlemen on his side of the House with hon. Gentlemen opposite.


I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman in the performance of his official duties manifests more temperance and acuteness than he has done in the House of Commons to-day. There really must be gross misapprehension of the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite intends to pursue; for the hon. and learned Member can gain no advantage whatever by that course. He is merely asking us to do that which it would be most unjust and most unusual to refuse. He merely seeks to render this Bill more intelligible, by having it reprinted in a divided form. The Bill has been already divided; a portion of it has been withdrawn by the consent of the House; all the first part of the Bill is gone—it is now, I repeat, actually divided. This is the second Bill. I must say, that the opposition to the Motion is most unusual, and I must say, that it is carrying political hostility too far to assert, that because the Government does not oppose a request from which, as far as my knowledge goes, the House has never dissented, that therefore they are to be charged with having entered into a compact with hon. Gentlemen opposite.


After what has fallen from the right hon. Baronet, I hope I may be permitted to say, that I think I have a right to complain of the manner in which he has adverted to the discharge of my official duties in another place. I do not think there is any reason or justice in the suggestion, that these duties are not discharged with the temper and attention due to them. It is not that I complain of the opinions the right hon. Baronet may personally entertain, but when he is talking of courtesy, he has no right to make such un-courteous and uncalled-for observations. If I had understood that the effect of my assenting to the Motion would give no advantage to the other side, and had no tendency to promote the Bill, I should not have opposed it; but I thought otherwise.


thought it would have been more satisfactory if they had had the Government measure before the House previous to the consideration of the one now before them. He was sure, however, that his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Law) would not throw unnecessary opposition in the way of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Watson) who had introduced the Bill; but he (Mr. Newdegate) defied the right hon. Baronet's power of explanation to show that the Government were not virtually given precedence to this over the other measure, for which they were themselves responsible. He could have wished that the right hon. Baronet, in opposing his hon. and learned Friend, had not displayed so much warmth of temper. The right hon. Baronet, it appeared, was for division in everything. He had divided his own party; it was also reported that it was his intention to divide the Bill which was about to reach them from another place; and he had now advised the hon. and learned Member to divide the Bill before them. With respect to the proposition to allow the Bill to pass through Committee pro formâ, and allowing it to be printed in its amended form, he thought that the House should agree to it, in order that they might really see what it was; for it was impossible to know that at present, and it was equally impossible to know the intentions of the right hon. Baronet.


I must say that those who require an unruffled temper from me, should set me an example by avoiding imputations which really rest upon no other foundation than a total ignorance of what are the forms of the House. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) gets up and coolly accuses me of giving precedence to this over other important measures before this House. [Mr. NEWDEGATE: Not before this House.] I give no precedence whatever to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Watson). I don't give him a Government day to bring it forward; it will not take precedence of any measure; and the hon. Member will be in no better situation in regard to its discussion than he would have been if he had brought it forward in its original shape. He will have to take some Wednesday for discussion, and so far from any advantage being gained to the measure by the proposal now before the House, it will be the reverse. The hon. Gentleman also says that I have consented to the division of this Bill. I have no more consented to it than any other Member of the House. There was no instruction to the Committee to divide the Bill. The House went into Committee, and a Motion was made that the whole of the first part of the Bill should be left out; and if the hon. Gentleman had any objection to that proposition he ought to have taken the sense of the House upon it. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Watson) is in exactly the same position as he ever was. I assure the House that I have had no compact with the hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not believe I ever had a word of conversation with him in my life. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Law) has said that he will withdraw his Motion, if I will give him my pledge to oppose the Bill. I will give no such pledge. The hon. and learned Member has no right to attach any such condition to his Motion. I have no hesitation in saying that I cannot consent to repeal any of the provisions of the Bill of 1829, which the country regarded as a settlement; but I will not give any pledge that on the hon. and learned Member consenting to withdraw his opposition to this measure, I shall undertake, whatever may be the provisions of the Bill, which I have not seen, to oppose it in its future stages. I can say nothing more than that I cannot agree to any substantial alteration of the Act of 1829. I again repeat, that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Watson) will gain no advantage by his proposal which he has not a perfect right to get; but, if there be any doubt about it, let the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Law) persevere in his Motion, and withhold the concession which is usually made to hon. Members for the purpose of enabling the House to understand their measures before rejecting them.


said, that the right hon. Baronet had quite misunderstood him. He had never accused him of giving precedence to this Bill over any other measure before the House; his remarks applied entirely to the other measure, which common report informed them was likely to reach them from another place.


withdrew his Motion.

The House resumed. Bill reported, and Report to be taken into consideration that day fortnight.

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