HC Deb 24 February 1847 vol 90 cc451-96

moved the Second Reading of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. He had not, on introducing the Bill, made any statement of its contents, or given any explanation of the principles on which he asked the House to allow it to pass; and it was, therefore, now incumbent on him to detail the provisions of the measure, and to define the reasons why he trusted the second reading would be acceded to. The only circumstance which could have induced him to pause in the course he was taking was, the presenting that day of that very awful petition by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Spooner). It was an imposing document; but it was gratifying to know that the clamour raised by parties in Birmingham, and so expressed, was against one thing which was not in the Bill—that was to say, against the Roman Catholic bishops being permitted to take their titles from the sees of the Protestant bishops; and this fact might be some consolation to the petitioners. The principle on which he called upon the House to pass the Bill was very sound and clear; it was that no man should be subject to penal laws for the exercise of his religion; this was a broad and an intelligible principle; and the only question was, were the enactments he proposed to repeal, properly penal enactments, affecting their fellow-subjects in the exercise of their religion? The history of these penal enactments, of their mitigation, and, in some cases, of their repeal, was very curious; and it would be an instructive inquiry for the historian to elucidate the causes of the introduction of the penal laws against Roman Catholics and Dissenters, and to explain the slight grounds which were considered to justify such legislation. Sometimes it was because a Minister wished to flatter a Sovereign, and at other times it was because the Sovereign had in view some sinister purpose, that these measures were passed. The penal enactments, he sought now to repeal, commenced with the Reformation, and ended with the Revolution. So early as the reign of Edward VI., there existed some of these enactments; but the period most fruitful of such laws, was the reign of Elizabeth. From the death of Queen Mary to the close of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Ministers of that day seemed to have vied with each other who should most distinguish himself in passing vexatious and annoying penal laws against their Roman Catholic subjects. Bad as these laws were, the courts of justice seemed to have carried them out in a spirit well worthy of those by whom they had been introduced. The reign of James I. did not fall far short, in this particular, of that of Elizabeth. In the gloomy times of the Puritans, many others of these laws were passed; and in that most wicked reign, the reign of Charles II., under pretence of the fear of a Popish successor to the throne, further penal laws were again brought forward; and then they came to the Revolution, when another series of enactments were added, which were called the "Relief Acts." One of the Relief Acts was passed in the reign of William III.; another in the reign of George II.; and another in that of George III. These Acts were restricted by such conditions, that they did not effect the object in view; and there were some clauses introduced which, so far from operating as a relief to the Roman Catholics, pressed on them with still greater stringency on account of the exercise of their religion. They all recollected the history of the Catholic Emancipation Act, which ended in the Statute of 10 George IV. That Act had the effect of removing certain disabilities from Roman Catholics. It admitted them into Parliament; but there were several mysterious privisoes accompanying these privileges, which had been called "the safeguards of the Established Church." The penal laws still remained; the Act of 1829 removed disabilities, but it affected the penal laws only on certain conditions. They then came down to the present reign; and to this reign belonged the glory of having got rid of these penal enactments. In 1844, a measure was passed, first in the House of Lords, and then in the House of Commons, introduced to accomplish that object. Prior to that Act in 1843, he had in that House given notice of a measure of the same nature, proposing to repeal the various penal Acts of Parliament affecting persons on account of the exercise of their religion; but the first law by which they had removed some of those enactments, was the Statute 7th & 8th Victoria, passed in the year 1844. In the year 1846, another Act was passed to remove some remaining disabilities against Roman Catholics and Dissenters; and here he must say he should be paying a very bad compliment to the House and to the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), if he did not acknowledge the great assistance given by the right hon. Baronet and his Government in effacing those laws from the Statute-book. He (Mr. Watson) had then been in communication with several Members of the Government on the subject; and he was well aware of the great difficulties with which they had to contend, and the enormous prejudices they had to overcome in carrying out their object. It was with the very greatest pleasure he had heard the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) late Secretary of State for the Home Department state, at the time, his opinions in regard to the principles on which constitutional toleration was established, and declare that, so far as in his power lay, he would seek the repeal of every penal enactment interfering with persons in the exercise of their religion. There were very serious difficulties presented to the proposed legislation there and in the other House; and, plain and simple in principle as was the Bill which he now moved should be read a second time, he had no doubt they would again hear expressed many doubts of the wisdom of passing such a measure. They might judge of the obstacles to their course by the petition presented by the hon. Member for Birmingham. They might be astonished that any great number of persons in this country should, at this time of day, because an Emancipation Act had been passed in 1829, ask that House to go no further, and to permit those penal laws to remain which inflicted death and punishments of the severest character for crimes and offences altogether ideal. The history of the past furnished them a lesson, and showed them how inexpedient it was to pass laws unnecessarily affecting any class of their fellow-subjects, more particularly on the subject of religion. The day would come when all wise persons would be agreed upon repealing such laws; but then there was the greatest difficulty in surmounting the prejudices they had fostered. Without further preface, he would proceed to explain the Bill now before the House. When he pressed this question on the attention of the Legislature, in 1845, the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) submitted it to several gentlemen of the highest eminence in the law—Sir E. Ryan, late Chief Justice in India, the late Mr. V. Richards, Mr. Bellenden Kerr, and Mr. Starkie—all conversant in the statute law of this country—to report on the penal laws affecting religion. The result was one of the most valuable reports on the subject ever submitted to Parliament. These gentlemen investigated the whole subject, examined the clauses of the penal laws, traced the causes in which they had originated, and inquired how far it was wise and discreet to repeal that body of laws. The Commissioners were wholly unconnected with the political part of the question, merely looking at the Statute-book as lawyers, and reporting upon the effect of particular laws; and they strongly recommended that all the penal laws still in existence, and passed prior to the reign of George IV., should be repealed. They made some exceptions as regarded the restrictions of the Act of 1829; they said this measure was of a political nature, and, as it then underwent much consideration, and had only been passed thirteen or fourteen years before, they did not deem it prudent or respectful, on that point, to offer any advice to the Ministry. The first Act of Parliament which he asked to be repealed, was the Statute of the 1st of Elizabeth, c. 1. This Act provided, that if any person should deny, by word, writing, or otherwise, the supremacy of the King, his power, authority, and pre-eminence, in any part of the kingdom, for the first offence, such person should be liable to imprisonment or forfeiture; for the second offence, to the penalty of premunire; and for the third offence, as high treason, to death. They found that Act, shortly after it was passed, carried out in this way: An old doctrinal book of the Roman Catholic church had been said by a person to be a good book; and, in the 10th or 11th year of the reign of Elizabeth, this person was convicted at Winchester before Chief Baron Manwood, under this Act, and imprisoned. He was called up two years afterwards by the same Chief Baron then on his circuit, and, having answered that he was still of the same opinion, he was again found guilty, and sentenced to the penalty of premunire. He was brought up a third time, and for the third offence he was sentenced to death, and, the judges having approved the sentence, he was executed. The Acts of 1844 and of 1846 had repealed that enactment to a certain extent. The penalties introduced into that law, such as forfeiture of goods, the penalty of premunire, and punishment by death, were all repealed; but the offence, as there defined, still existed, and persons guilty of committing the offence, as it was still considered, were liable to be indicted and punished according to the common law, and imprisoned for a misdemeanour. By the common law of England, an offence prohibited by Act of Parliament, and no punishment prescribed by that Act, was indictable and punishable as a misdemeanour. The law was perfectly clear in that respect; and thus, as the Act of Elizabeth now stood, and as affected by the Acts of 1844 and 1846, the party guilty of an offence under the 1st of Elizabeth was still liable to indictment and imprisonment. The hon. Baronet below him (Sir R. Inglis) would argue that the supremacy depended on that Act of Parliament. The matter had been discussed in the other House of Parliament; and on that occasion Lord Lyndhurst, in a most able and conclusive speech, proved beyond all doubt to every man open to conviction, that this Act did not establish the supremacy, and that the supremacy did not depend on that Act. The supremacy of the Crown of England depended on the common law of England. In a case which every lawyer was familiar with (Cowdray's case reported by Lord Coke), the authority of Lord Coke was added to that of the judges, that the supremacy of the Crown was part and parcel of the common law, and that the King of this country was always supreme in matters ecclesiastical. Lord Coke says— By the ancient laws of the realm, this kingdom of England is an absolute empire and monarchy, consisting of one head, which is the King: and of a body consisting of several members, which the law divideth into two parts, the clergy and laity, both of them, next and immediately under God, subject and obedient to the head. There was, in corroboration, the authority of that most excellent lawyer and estimable Christian judge, Sir Matthew Hale, whose name was never to be mentioned, here or elsewhere, without respect. Sir M. Hale, in his history of the common law, declared that— The supremacy of the Crown, in matters ecclesiastical, is a most indubitable right of the Crown, as appeareth by records of unquestionable truth and authority. Sir M. Hale investigated the laws of this country with an accuracy never exceeded before or since. He was pre-eminently a Christian judge, and most careful in questions of a religious nature; and, as Lord Coke before him, laid it down that the supremacy of the Crown was indissolubly dependent on the common law. By the Statute of the 16th of Richard II., c. 5, the supremacy of the Crown was expressly recognized; the supremacy was not then originated or created, but admitted. Two Acts of Parliament, passed in the reign of Henry VIII., c. 21, and c. 24, were declaratory of the supremacy of the Crown, setting forth that, "by sundry and authentic histories and chronicles, it was manifestly declared and expressed the Sovereign was the supreme head of the Church." It was, therefore, doubtless that the supremacy did not rest on the Statute of Elizabeth which he sought to repeal; but that it was dependent pendent on the common law, confirmed and declared by the Acts of Henry VIII. and Richard II. That being so, why was that Act of Elizabeth passed? It was to prevent the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion. Every Roman Catholic, in matters of doctrine, and when considering the rights of the Church, maintained the Pope to be the spiritual head of their Church; but they did not pretend that in matters ecclesiastical, and as regarded the constitution of England, he possessed, or ought to possess, supreme power. The Statute was passed only to create the offence, which consisted in acknowledging the Pope as having authority in spiritual and doctrinal matters. The Commissioners appointed by the late Government suggested the repeal of this Act, and gave very satisfactory reasons why that should be done. They pointed out the inutility and injustice of attaching penalties to persons for the exercise and maintenance of the ritual and doctrine of their own faith; and they submitted an opinion that the provisions to which reference had been made, in the 1st of Elizabeth, c. 1, ought to be repealed. He thought he had now offered very conclusive reasons why this Act of Parliament should no longer remain on the Statute-book. The Commissioners had referred to several other of the penal laws. There was one law forbidding a bull to be sent over to a Roman Catholic bishop; he would ask what danger there was to the Protestant constitution of England, if the Pope should send over a bull or command to every Roman Catholic subject here? Another Act was passed, respecting the form of prayer; and this was suggested to be repealed. The absurdity of continuing such a law as affecting Roman Catholics, had been pointed out repeatedly; the object when it had been passed was to preserve, what was very desirable, uniformity of worship; and the enactment was then justified by the attacks made both by Rome and Geneva on the form of prayers in the Church of England. The 25th of Charles II. was the Recusant Act; and there was another penal law also passed in the reign of the same monarch. There was also the Act of the 8th of William III., c. 24. The last Act had not been noticed by the Commissioners, and he believed that he had omitted to mention it in the Bill submitted to them; but, as purely a penal enactment, he proposed to have it repealed. The 31st of George III., c. 32, was one of the Relief Acts. The purpose was to give relief; but, as the conditions which were imposed, could not be complied with, no relief was given. He proposed to repeal those restrictive conditions, and to give the relief as intended by that Act. He now came to the only debatable part of the Bill—the mode in which he sought to deal with the 10th George IV. He knew that many persons, and, among others, that the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis), looked upon that as a law of the Medes and Persians—one which ought never to be altered. It was passed as a Bill which was to remain to all eternity on the Statute-book, however much the opinions of mankind might change. However the policy of the country might vary, this measure was to remain untouched. It might become necessary to amend or repeal other laws; but they were forbidden, through all time, to meddle with this standing safeguard. He, however, desired to repeal some of the clauses in that Act. Some qualification of the Bill in its present state might be necessary, but that would be for consideration in Committee. One of these clauses had reference to the prohibition of certain ceremonies. No one would deny it was very offensive to the public to see a religious procession, either of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, or Hindoos, passing through the streets of any town in this country; but he did object to the restrictions placed upon the liberty of the Roman Catholics to comply with the ordinances of their religion in funerals, or in proceeding to places of burial. Some limitation, he acknowledged, must be put upon the clause, if it was allowed to stand at all. He did not think any ceremonial in the public streets should be legalized; but he certainly was of opinion that the law might be altered advantageously. He did not believe it was desirable that public processions should be seen here, as on the Continent; but that was a question for the Committee. The principle of the Act was not involved in the alteration he suggested. The last clause of the Bill referred to the regular clergy of the Church of Rome. There was nothing in the Relief Act of 1829 affecting the secular clergy of the Church of Rome; it applied only to the regular clergy. This was supposed to be one of the safeguards. He had taken some trouble to discover the hidden meaning of that word; and he doubted if it were applicable as a definition of some of the superfluous clauses of the measure of 1829. The constitution must stand on a very sandy foundation, and the Protestant Establishment, for which he had the greatest respect, be in great need of protection, if those small safeguards were required. The Bill forbade some of the ministers of the Church of Rome to act as parochial clergy, or to administer to the spiritual wants of their people. How, or in what manner, they could be a safeguard to the constitution, he could not conceive; yet all persons who were bound by monastic vows, and Jesuits and other religious bodies, were subject, by law, to be banished for life for being in this country. The law on that subject, as laid down in the 10th of George IV., was declared to be for "the gradual suppression of Jesuits and other members of monastic orders, bound by religious vows." And it provided that those who were in Great Britain or Ireland at the time of passing the Act might remain, and that those who were abroad under monastic vows, being British-born subjects, would have the liberty to return to this country within a period of six months, and might remain and practise their religious duties; but it was only those of the regular clergy who came into the country within a period of six months that were allowed to be in this country. With regard to all others, the law was, that any person who came from abroad into this country, whether a subject or a foreign regular, or any person bound by monastic vows, after the passing of the Act, was subject to be indicted and punished by banishment for life; and after banishment, if found in this country, they were liable to be transported for life. Now, it was a curious fact that banishment was a punishment unknown either to the common or statute law of this country. It was formerly known to the law of Scotland, where the practice was to banish parties from that kingdom; but it was not a punishment recognized in England. Now, by this enactment many pious men, and men of science and letters too, such, for example, as might be found among the Jesuits, were liable to be banished from this kingdom. He knew what ideas the word "Jesuit" carried along with it to many persons in this country; he knew the alarm which the existence of such a body was calculated to create in many quarters; and how, as on the hustings at Birmingham, it had the effect of frightening old ladies. But the House must not allow itself to be carried away by such fancies as these. Jesuits had, no doubt, done some harm, but they had also done some good in the world. They had ever been the constant source of annoyance to foreign Governments, and absolute Governments had ever exhibited great fear of the Jesuits and other monastic bodies; but he did not know of any free Government where the presence of the Jesuits had been productive of the least harm. In England it was well known that our Catholic fellow-subjects were educated at Jesuit colleges; and yet no one ever entertained the idea of danger from such a circumstance; for every Member of that House knew that they were accustomed to meet Roman Catholics as well informed and as well taught as any persons among their Protestant brethren. There were among the classes excluded by the Act many learned persons who spent their time in literary occupations, in the researches of history, such as the Benedictines; and there were also many who came to this country, who spent their days in works of charity, and in the exercise of their religion. The law said these persons must be sent to foreign countries; but the fact must be known that those persons were in this country, and that they formed a very numerous class. Many of them would be found amongst the parochial clergy in Ireland, and were the spiritual advisers of a large body of our fellow-subjects; and he only asked the repeal of the present enactment to enable them to remain in the country without any breach of law. The hon. Baronet below him (Sir R. Inglis) would say that it acted as a safeguard; but he could not see how. He had studied the Act of 1829, and he had read the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) on that subject; and he trusted that right hon. Gentleman would forgive him for saying—he meant nothing offensive by the remark—that he could not collect from that speech any reason why this banishment clause was retained. It had been remarked at the time by a noble Lord still a Member of that House, that the clause respecting the regular clergy of the Church of Rome was a piece of legislation worthy of Russia. He asked the House to look at the reasons which he had laid before them for the repeal of the various enactments to which he had drawn their attention; and he was satisfied they could come to no other conclusion than that it was high time they were repealed. An argument had been used of this kind—that these enactments had become obsolete, and therefore we should let them alone; but he thought they ought not to expose persons to the danger of violating criminal laws which they might not be aware were in force, and then impose upon them the necessity of coming to that House for protection by means of indemnity; and the House knew that Indemnity Acts had from time to time been passed. It was most unwise to leave criminal laws in force, at the enforcement of which all persons would revolt. If it was the feeling of the age in which we lived to consider these laws obsolete, and such as ought not to be put in force, then they ought at once to be repealed. He did not ask this as a concession to Roman Catholics, but a concession to Protestants. Do not let it attach as a disgrace to Protestants, who professed greater liberality in matters of religion than their Roman Catholic brethren, and who asserted the freedom of every man to the honest expression of his religious sentiments—do not let it attach to them as a disgrace, that they permitted enactments such as these to remain on the Statute-book. He moved the second reading of the Bill.


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman commenced his address to the House with something like an attack upon his (Sir R. H. Inglis's) hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Spooner); a Gentleman who, he was happy to say, was a strenuous supporter of that cause to which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) was most sincerely devoted; and one of the men whom he was glad to see prepared to give their decided opposition to this Bill. The attack upon his hon. Friend was on account of his having presented a petition from his constituents at Birmingham against the Bill now on the Table of the House. Their defence, if it were needful to make one, was a very simple one. They complained of a clause in this Bill, which, it now appeared, was not in such Bill; but which the hon. and learned Gentleman who had brought in the Bill, had by inserting it on former occasions in other Sessions, deemed to be necessary, and the omission of which in the present year he had not announced. The petitioners, therefore, gave him credit for acting this year on his principles of last year. He therefore held that the hon. and learned Gentleman had no grounds for attacking the constituents of the hon. Member for Birmingham. The petition in question had been courteously described by the hon. and learned Gentleman to be an emanation from "the old women of Birmingham;" and he had said that his hon. Friend had been induced to present it because he would have to meet those "old women" on the hustings; but the hustings was not a place where "old women" generally appeared. The hon. and learned Gentleman, great as he was as a lawyer—and he believed all men admitted him to be a man of great eminence at the bar—had yet not been, he would venture to say, quite so successful as an historian; he had been misled by the attractive alliteration of "Reformation" and "Revolution." He said the penal laws arose at the Reformation, and terminated at the Revolution; but he thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman's memory might have been supplied with the cases of statutes of more recent date if he had carefully studied this subject. Some of the most offensive penal statutes which were passed against the Roman Catholics of Ireland, were passed long after the period of the Revolution. Although it had not been admitted by the hon. and learned Gentleman in the course of his speech, yet it was a fact that during the last Session of Parliament many of the laws of which he complained had been abolished totidem verbis by a Bill which had been introduced under the advice of the chief law adviser of the Crown. He alluded to the 1st Elizabeth, cap. 1, and to the 13th of Elizabeth, cap. 2, which were, in his opinion, substantially repealed by the 9th and 10th Victoria. But even admitting that the celebrated Act of the 1st of Elizabeth, cap. 1, had not been repealed by the Act of last Session, he held that the hon. and learned Member was quite inconsistent with himself in those magnificent and magniloquent expressions which he had used when he asked the House to pass this measure, not as a concession to Roman Catholics, but to Protestants. If it were true that in matters ecclesiastical, by the common law of England, the Sovereign of those realms were supreme, he maintained that whatever the force of the Statute of Elizabeth might be, the hon. and learned Gentleman would leave open, by this Bill, the whole of his Protestant fellow-subjects to the consequences of offending against it; whilst the Bill on the Table of the House would protect all Roman Catholics from all manner of penalties. By this Bill it was proposed that, as far only as regarded Roman Catholics, the penalties of the Act of Elizabeth should be repealed. So that whilst the Roman Catholics, whom the hon. and learned Gentleman had taken under his especial care and protection, would be saved from the penalties of that law, Protestants would still be liable to the punishment for an infringement of the common law. The hon. and learned Gentleman bad been compelled to go back to the early period of Queen Elizabeth, for the purpose of showing a single instance in which there had been any punishment inflicted in respect of an infringement of these penal laws on the part of Roman Catholics. And that famous case which had been tried at Winchester, might perhaps have been supplied by the hon. and learned Member for that city (Mr. B. Escott), whose name also appeared upon the back of this Bill. If there could be any doubt as to the infrequency of such cases, surely the research of those two hon. and learned Gentlemen would have enabled them to have produced more recent instances in which the vigour and the rigour and vengeance of the law had been exercised upon Roman Catholics on account of infringements of the laws of Elizabeth. He apprehended that in point of fact there had been no such instance. He did not presume to deny that there had been, because he had not the same means of research as the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale (Mr. Watson), or his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Escott); but he apprehended that there had been no single instance of a penalty inflicted for a violation of the laws in question since the time of the sentence pronounced by Chief Baron Manwood, two hundred and fifty years ago. When the hon. and learned Gentleman then said that he wished to repeal the 1st of Elizabeth, and that such a law ought not to remain any longer upon the Statute-book, he must repeat to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that his own measure proposed to give relief only to a portion of Her Majesty's subjects—the Roman Catholics, whilst the law remained in full force against another—the Protestants. The hon. and learned Gentleman had greatly depreciated the value of those securities to the Established Church, which were connected with the Emancipation Act. He, for one, did not regard those securities as of any great value; but still they were tendered and accepted as valuable by the great body of the people. [Mr. GOULBURN: Hear!] His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) acknowledged, he believed, that in that statement he was not incorrect. On a former occasion he had risen with more disadvantage to oppose the measure, because he was of course unaware of the then future decision. But now he called on the House to confirm the decision which they had come to on this subject in the last Session. He did not ask them merely to act in accordance with the Act of 1829; but he did ask them to act in accordance with their recorded votes of the Session of 1846, in which this Bill was defeated by a majority of 120 to 80. All the Members of Her Majesty's late Government, who at that time were present in the House, and some of whom he then saw before him, voted with the majority upon that occasion. With regard to what had been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman in depreciation of the securities in question, as not being any real securities, he doubted whether there were at this moment in Christian Europe a country in which such securities were not taken and enforced. He would ask the House whether this were a time in which it was fitting that there should be introduced into the country such measures as these, which professed to take under their especial care the practising of religious rites by Jesuits, and other orders of the Church of Rome? He believed that there was no country into which Jesuits were admitted without some notice on the part of the civil Executive of their numbers, residence, and general subjugation to the authority of the time and place. The measure—he would not say the compromise—of 1829, was admitted by the right hon. Baronet, then the leader of the House, who introduced it, to be the result of considerable discussion and reflection; and in the course of a speech which he made in support of it, he used the expression that "he did not moan to fritter away the security which these clauses gave to the institutions of this land." He called upon the House, then, not to "fritter away" such securities, imperfect as they were, but to retain this power in the hands of the Executive, little as it had been acted upon since the period when it was first granted. He said, "little as it had been acted upon," because he knew, that though Sir Frankland Lewis had said, at that time, that there were only two Jesuit institutions in this country, Stonyhurst and Clongowes, the number had greatly increased since then. And when he tried by a Motion at a subsequent period to produce upon the Table of the House an exact return of the number of Jesuits in this country, together with their residences, &c., his noble Friend (Lord Morpeth), now First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, but then Chief Secretary for Ireland, in answer to such Motion, said, that the Government had not provided itself with the means of obtaining the information which he required. He would, therefore, say, that instead of repealing the security which the law at present provided against Jesuits, and the monastic orders of the Church of Rome, they ought rather to strengthen the hands of the Government in enforcing the law against the members of those religious orders whom the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to admit into this country without let or hindrance—without even the small restriction which was imposed by the present law. The Act of 1829 provided, as was said by Sir F. Lewis, "ample security" against the increase of Jesuits in the United Kingdom. Now, he asked, whether the "ample security" which had been provided had been found to be sufficient? He asked the House to make no further concessions, by which a more easy access might be given to Jesuits and members of other religious orders coming into this country and performing their religious rites. He thought that it would be more consistent with the duty of the Legislature, and more consistent certainly with the spirit of that great compact which was entered into at the time of the passing of what was called the "Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill," to render it more difficult, and he wished he could say quite impossible, for the order of Jesuits, to exist in this country. It was certainly understood at that time that no monastic orders should be permitted to be formed or exist in this country without the sanction of the Secretary of State for the time being; and that the Jesuits, as a body, were to be gradually extinguished, and no British subject was to be permitted to enter into their community. He admitted that the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman, as it at present stood, was less objectionable than it was in some respects in the Session of 1846. It was less objectionable, inasmuch as it certainly did not contain that provision for the assumption by Roman Catholics — of the bishop of Armagh, for instance—of the title of the Protestant Primate of all Ireland. It did not permit a Roman Catholic bishop to call himself "Bishop of London," even if the succession had not been interrupted in England, nor did it permit him to call himself "Archbishop of Canterbury." Some concession had, therefore, been made in the present Bill to the public feeling in this country on this subject. But it was obnoxious in other respects. Even its framer must admit that one of the most important provisions in the Bill could be altered advantageously. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that it could be altered in Committee; but he held that it involved a great principle, and that they should not, therefore, leave it to take its chance in Committee. The subject he referred to was this: one of the enactments proposed to be repealed was that which declared— That if any Roman Catholic ecclesiastic, or any member of any of the orders, communities, or societies, hereinafter mentioned, shall, after the commencement of this Act, exercise any of the rites or ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion, or wear the habit of his order, save within the usual places of worship of the Roman Catholic religion, or in private houses, he shall forfeit 50l." This part of the Bill, which, by repealing the enactment he had read, went to legalize processions, the hon. and learned Member said might be altered. He (Sir R. Inglis) considered this a principle, and he objected to it on principle. He said, that if, in Ireland, ecclesiastics and members of the Established Church were prohibited from walking in procession, you ought not to give to the members of a hostile church a privilege which was denied to those of the Established Church; and, although the hon. and learned Member said, he would limit the phraseology of the Bill so that it might apply only to funerals, and to those of even all religions, Hindooism and Mahomedanism—he (Sir R. Inglis) did not know whether those for whose benefit his Bill was intended, would thank him for the comparison — the hon. and learned Gentleman must know, that in these processions the crucifix would be carried; and he would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether he were prepared for such scenes as would certainly arise if such processions were permitted? That very morning he had read an instance in which a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic had addressed a converted Portuguese, and required him to adore the crucifix; and when the man refused to take off his hat, had knocked his hat off. He asked whether such scenes could be tolerated in this country or in any other country enjoying the most liberal legislatures? He knew that the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell), who understood these matters better than any other individual, not excepting the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale himself, had said he could never suppose such acts would occur in any this country; but unless these things were prohibited, they must be left to the individual discretion of the priest himself; and we might have exactly such scenes as he had stated in our own country, arising from the obtrusive production of the sacred Emblem, which might stir up objection and resistance on the part of the great majority of our population, who, he believed, were still uncorrupted, to the Church of Rome, and that they held as the high privilege of this country their connexion with the pure Protestant Church. Such scenes, therefore, he should deprecate. England was almost the only country in which the Jesuits would be admitted without being under the control of the State; if there were any exception, it was that country which no man in England would admit was a proper example for us to follow, he meant Belgium. In France, where there were what the hon. and learned Gentleman would call liberal institutions, no Jesuit would be so admitted; and if a proposition were made for removing this restriction, would not the most liberal, or the least liberal, Member of the Chamber of Deputies speak against the abolition of such a provision? The hon. and learned Member had referred to an Act, the 9th and 10th of Victoria, which he (Sir R. Inglis) regretted had passed, to repeal the laws against the introduction of bulls and rescripts, and other articles of the Church of Rome. He regretted that those laws had been repealed; he happened to be absent from Parliament at that time, and he was not cognizant of the fact that such an Act had passed until he read it in his inquiries respecting the present Bill. He expressed his unfeigned regret that those by whom that Act had been introduced, should have felt themselves at liberty to propose the repeal of the penalties for the introduction of bulls and rescripts from Rome. There was but one country in Europe in which the Pope could issue his bulls without the previous sanction of the Executive Government; in all other States, whether the Government were despotic or of a liberal form, the previous sanction of the Executive was necessary before a bull from Rome could be introduced into a foreign country. The hon. and learned Member had thus already been a party to a measure by which this security was withdrawn. He (Sir R. H. Inglis) should himself have objected to the withdrawal of a security which other countries derived from the prior sanction of their own Government to the introduction of Papal bulls. There were other securities which he recollected the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. B. Escott) had last year called "the securities of the dark ages." Those securities the present Bill proposed to remove. He remembered telling the hon. Member, that when the Act of 1829 was introduced, it was expressly stated that the remaining securities were retained for the protection of the Protestant religion. Whether Parliament would, after so brief an interval, repeal all those securities, the result of the division that day would show. He called upon the House to confirm its decision of last year, and continue those securities to the Protestant Church and the established religion of this country which were left in 1829, tendered as they were by the advocates of that measure as securities, and so accepted by its opponents. With these feelings, he should move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.


said, when a Bill having the same object as that now before the House was introduced last Session, he had asked, as pointedly as he could, his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford to state as distinctly as possible what was the principle on which he opposed the Bill, and whether he opposed it for the sake of conferring additional security on the Church as established in the United Kingdom. His hon. Friend did not then ground his opposition to the Bill on the reason that the penalties sought to be abolished were necessary for the maintenance of the Established Church, nor had he done so now. The hon. Member for Birmingham had presented a petition, and those who signed it undoubtedly said that the maintenance of those penalties was necessary for the maintenance of the Protestant Establishment. But his hon. Friend said no such thing. He said he stood forward in the maintenance of the same great cause of which the hon. Member for Birmingham was the consistent advocate. Now what was that cause? He wanted to know what was the great cause to be supported by the maintenance of pains and penalties on account of religion. He wanted to know what was the practical good which accrued to the country from maintaining them. What did they do? They did not prevent conversions to that which his hon. Friend called, with no very choice phrase, a hostile Church; for these were going on every day; you could not take up a newspaper without reading of them. They did not raise any fund by which new bishoprics could be erected, or the pastoral destitution, of the existence of which they often heard so much, remedied. Did they make a single man wiser, more just, more pious, or a better subject of the Crown? If not, why should they be maintained? He would tell them why. They were retained for nothing else than to gratify a certain bad spirit and malignity of disposition, which existed sometimes in the very best men, and which was never gratified except when they had the opportunity of teasing their fellow-creatures. He read that morning the speech of a very famous man—Cromwell—in which he reproached a Parliament which did not answer his purpose. Amongst the most grievous charges he brought against its leading Members, the one on which he seemed to lay most stress was, that they never could rest quiet in their beds unless they had some opportunity of tormenting their fellow-creatures in matters of religion. His phrase was, that there were some men who never could be peaceful and happy themselves unless they could put their fingers on other men's consciences to pinch them there. At this moment, go where you would among the clergy of the Established Church — Dissenters—Catholics—amongst any single body of the people—he ventured to say you would not find a man in one company who would stand up to defend those penalties. Well, then, why were they to be maintained? His hon. Friend said it was part of the compact entered into in the year 1829 that there should be certain securities for the Established Church provided, which they were bound in 1847 not to touch; but he wanted his hon. Friend to show how these laws were any security at all. If it could be shown that they were really securities, well and good; but let him not be told that a law passed in 1829 could not be altered in 1847. What had they been about? They had been altering laws passed in 1829 for the benefit and with the sanction of the people; and had they not done so, had they told the country that those laws could not be altered because they were passed more recently than 1829, they would have gone back to their constituents in the summer with very different faces than they might now put on. The Act of 1829 was a great act of grace, toleration, and justice. Why should they not endeavour to find out something better in the Act than the remnant of persecution it left behind? He praised the Act of 1829 for the good it did, not for the little evil it left standing. The objects of this Bill were to perfect that good work—to cure the Act of its imperfections. When they listened to the prayers of those who sought relief by this Bill, it did seem very extraordinary that in such a day as this, in such a state of Europe as this, such a Bill should be resisted by any large or respectable portion of the House. It had always seemed to him very astonishing that any able statesman should seek to degrade for one moment in the eyes of his countrymen the professors of the faith of the greater part of Europe. He could not understand on what political grounds, or grounds of justice and expediency, that was a proper course. But still more did it seem to him extraordinary, that those who respected antiquity, who were always talking of the wisdom of our ancestors, and seeking to make men of former times the models of public men at the present moment, should wish to revert to times when bulls and missives were dangerous, though they had long ceased to be so, and were now rather objects of ridicule than fear. He said, that it was extraordinary that they should make that a ground for continuing those penalties on their fellow-subjects. His hon. Friend said these were obsolete provisions never put in practice. Well, but if they were never put in practice, what was the use of them as securities? What was the use of your shields and weapons of defence, if they were to be hung up and never used when the time of danger came; if they were never called into operation; and if that fact were to be made the very ground of retaining them on the Statute-book? He said that was insulting to common sense, and nothing else. This seemed to him a time unfortunately chosen for opposing this Bill. There never was a time at which it became them more—at which it more became those who respected the high station and dignity of persons possessing great power throughout Europe—to be more careful to do nothing to cast any stigma or disgrace on those who merited well at the hands of free Governments, than at this moment. He wished his hon. Friend would not look back at the days of Queen Mary, or the interdicts, or even further—he wished he would look at one who now sat in St. Peter's chair. He wished his hon. Friend would learn from that personage, how a man, whom he was disposed as Pope politically to degrade, was now teaching a lesson to the sovereigns of Europe, and exhibiting maxims of government which distinguished him far above other contemporary potentates. Perhaps from that example his hon. Friend would learn that it was not the profession of any particular creed that made a man a wise or good statesman, or a worthy ruler over a great people. He knew that the final success of the Bill this Session depended upon the conduct of certain Gentlemen in that House, over whom he felt he had no influence, and of whose conduct, except as public men, he had no right to speak. But he did trust that Her Majesty's Ministers would not, upon their own principles, be averse to the passing of such a measure as this. He was sure, after what he had heard from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, having often listened to speeches of his that bore directly or indirectly on questions of this nature, he must be willing to lend his assistance at once to blot out from our code of law enactments which were a disgrace to it. He thought that such men as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorchester, and his right hon. Friend the late Secretary at War, must be anxious to attain the same object. He could not suppose they had any fellow-feeling for anything like religious persecution; and he remembered with gratitude, when he had to perform the duty, now so much better performed by his hon. and learned Friend, of moving the second reading of this Bill, the right hon. Member for Dorchester (Sir J. Graham) immediately rose and said he would support the principle of the Bill, on the ground that it was an extension of the principle of toleration. He could not suppose that the noble Lord the Member for Lynn could have the slightest feeling opposed to any such measure as this. He heard a short time since, some remarks made on previous votes of that noble Lord. He rose then, but he had not an opportunity of speaking; it was his desire to have said that the noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Lord G. Bentinck) was one whom he believed to be entirely in advance of the greater number of his party on this and other questions. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn would soon prove himself the Peel of 1847. The noble Lord had always advocated liberal measures, and the removal of restrictions imposed by penal Acts; the noble Lord had voted for this Bill before, and he doubted not was about to support it again. He was sure ground would not be given for saying that an English House of Commons would maintain invidious distinctions in this country, but that from this moment we should take care to restore, in that respect at least, the old free common law of England, and that no man would be punished by enactment on account of his religious opinions.


said, the hon. and learned Member for Winchester (Mr. B. Escott) had asked what was the cause that the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. H. Inglis) was maintaining? He (Mr. Shaw) would shortly tell the hon. and learned Member, he believed it was the cause of the Protestant faith and of the Protestant Church; and when the hon. Gentleman went on to ask what practical good the present system had done, and when his test seemed to be to ask how much money it brought into the Exchequer, he (Mr. Shaw) would tell the hon. Gentleman, that to have the profession of a purer faith established in this country, was not a thing of no value. The leading characteristic of the Bill was, that it unsettled, after so short an interval, the settlement that had been made in 1829; and he did not think that there was anything in the spirit of the present times that would reconcile those who were attached to the Protestant institutions of this country to the idea that the provisions which were proposed by those who brought in the Bill of 1829, and accepted by many of those who had been opposed to the measure, as securities for the Protestant Establishment in this country, should be abandoned. Upon that ground, and that alone, he objected to the Bill.


I am truly sorry, Sir, that this question should come on when some hon. Members who are eminently qualified to discuss it are necessarily absent; and I regret also that it should be debated on a day when, should a division take place, only an imperfect representation of the general sense of the House can be obtained. I cannot, however, shrink from shortly and temperately stating the opinion I entertain. And, first, I will state that I conceive that whenever a Bill is brought in that contains a great quantity of matter which the House ought to place on the Statute-book, it is not an objection to the second reading of that Bill, that there may be some portion of it which it cannot be possible to admit upon the Statute-book; and I shall therefore think my vote sufficiently vindicated if I can show that many of the provisions of the Bill are provisions to which we ought undoubtedly to give the force of law. Now, Sir, the first provision of the first clause of the Bill, the hon. Baronet who has just spoken has not ventured to pronounce to be improper, nor has the hon. Gentleman who spoke last characterized it as an improper provision. The hon. Member for Oxford himself—the learned Recorder for Dublin—does not condemn the provision. In fact, it is one which I may confidently challenge any Gentleman in the House to pronounce to be an improper provision. For what is that provision? Is it the intention of this House that every Roman Catholic in England shall be subject to fine and imprisonment for being a Roman Catholic? Now, I say, that until you pass this clause of the Bill, which proposes to repeal the 1st of Elizabeth, c. 1, relating to the supremacy, every Roman Catholic in England is liable to fine and imprisonment for being a Roman Catholic. The law to be repealed is to this effect:— That any person whatever affirming, holding, setting forth, maintaining, or defending the doctrine, that any foreign prince, prelate, person, State, or potentate whatever, has any authority, pre-eminence, power, or jurisdiction, spiritual or ecclesiastical, within this realm, shall be liable to fine and imprisonment; and that any person whatever, who advisedly does anything for the extolling, setting forth, maintenance, or defence of such jurisdiction, power, pre-eminence, and authority, shall also be liable to fine and imprisonment. Now, this enactment, though repealed as to the particular penalties and punishments referred to in it, by the Act of last Session, remains in all other respects the same as if the Act of last Session had not been passed; and the holding, maintaining, and enforcing this doctrine still remains, as I understand, a misdemeanour, and therefore punishable by fine and imprisonment. I will ask you, then, does not that enactment include at the present moment every Roman Catholic in England? Does not every Roman Catholic in this country believe and hold that some spiritual jurisdiction resides in the Bishop of Rome? I know that there have been great contests on that matter; I know there were great contests upon it at the Council of Trent; I know that some Jesuits have attributed to the Bishop of Rome a much greater degree of spiritual jurisdiction that the Gallican Church gives him; I know that some writers have placed his spiritual authority far above that of general councils; that some have made him co-ordinate with general councils, and some subordinate to general councils; but take the whole range of Roman Catholic teachers and writers, from Aquinas down to Bossuet, and you will find not one Roman Catholic writer but holds that some spiritual jurisdiction does reside in the Bishop of Rome. There is no Roman Catholic in this country, then, but must consider himself in communion, of some sort or other, with the Bishop of Rome. Therefore I say, that there is no Roman Catholic in this country who, under the law as it stands, is not liable to fine and imprisonment. Now, I wish to know whether there is any Gentleman in this House who thinks that it is right or just that every Roman Catholic who teaches his sons the doctrines of the Roman Catholic faith, and this amongst others, and that every Roman Catholic priest who teaches to his congregation this among other of the fundamental doctrines of his creed, should be liable to fine and imprisonment for doing so? If it is to be asserted this day, that every Roman Catholic, for holding the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion, shall be liable to fine and imprisonment, then just suppose that the Government were to hold it to be their duty to order the Attorney General to proceed against persons to whom any proceedings or conduct contrary to this statute were attributable; and suppose Dr. Wiseman was to preach a sermon on the text, "Thou art Peter," treating it in the sense in which it is understood by the whole Roman Catholic Church, is it seriously meant that the Attorney General should be obliged to prosecute Dr. Wiseman for teaching and enforcing this doctrine? And if Dr. Wiseman was sent to Newgate for preaching that sermon, is there one man in this House who could say that it would be justifiable? I venture to say there is not. Here, then, you have an enactment which this Bill proposes to repeal, and of which, I will venture to say, you cannot put a single hypothetical case in which you can possibly enforce it. But what is the state of our legislation now with reference to this subject generally? There are in this country several religious sects who dissent from the established religion of the country, and what is to be your course with regard to them? You may take that which I think is the true course to take—you may impose on them neither penalties nor disabilities by law; or you may take an extreme course, and may impose on them both penalties and disabilities by law; or you may take a third course, which I have heard advocated in this House, and never more earnestly than by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, and the supporters of which are accustomed to say, "Don't let us punish, don't let us hang—the votaries of these doctrines, but let us keep them from power." But what can be more unreasonable than this? You admit the Roman Catholic to political power in this House, and you dispense him from the oath of supremacy, instead of which he takes another oath on his entrance among us; and yet he remains liable to pains and penalties for infringing this statute for enforcing the supremacy of the Crown which you have not repealed. Is it not unfitting that the House should allow an Act of Parliament to remain on the Statute-book, of which the best defence is that it is never executed? Taking a fair view of the matter of the Bill, as brought forward by the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale, it hardly can be asked that we should not pass this part of the Bill because it goes to repeal an enactment that never will be executed. If so, why not affirm this proposition, that we will never repeal any statute that is never executed? Sir, I think we should disgrace ourselves, and injure the character of this country, by hesitating about our vote as to the provisions contained on the second page of the Bill; and this applies also to the greater part of the provisions on the next page. Now, as to the first of these, for the repeal of the law against the bringing in and putting in execution of bulls, writings, or instruments, and other superstitious things from the see of Rome, my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, was mistaken—he must pardon me for saying so—in what he has said; for he said, that this part of the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale's Bill was unnecessary, because that law against the importation of bulls, writings, or instruments, or other superstitious things, from the see of Rome, was done away with by the Act of last Session. But what was really repealed by the Act of last Session? Why, the Act against the importation of bulls, writings, or instruments, or other superstitious things, was repealed, "so far only as the same imposes the penalties or punishments therein mentioned;" but it was also expressly declared that there was nothing in the Act to "authorize, or render it lawful, for any person or persons to import, bring in, or put in execution within this realm, any such bulls, writings, or instruments; and that in all respects, save as to the said penalties or punishments, the law shall continue the same as if this enactment had not been made." The effect of this is to leave the bringing in a bull, a rescript, or an Agnus Dei into this kingdom, subject to fine and imprisonment, as for a misdemeanour. Now I must say, that it a little weakens the respect which I must feel for the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Spooner), to hear him say to the House, as he did in one of the debates on the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale, of last Session, that he could not reconcile to his conscience the repeal of a law which made those who brought in bulls from Rome liable to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Is it really meant to continue legislating for the Roman Catholics, so as to prevent their importing a crucifix from Rome, without being liable to pains and penalties? Is it really meant to maintain that law? Sir, it seems to me, that as to these provisions, and until we come down to those parts of the Bill which the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale declares that he is willing to modify, we come to nothing which we ought to dispute about. Then, Sir, supposing that those latter parts of the Bill may be objectionable, was it ever heard of that a Bill generally approved of, was ever thrown out on the second reading for a clause which the Member who brought it in declared that he was willing to modify? But, Sir, having said this, I must also say, that I think it would be most inexpedient and unjustifiable to confer on Roman Catholic ecclesiastics the power of making the processions of their church in public in this country. Even James the Second, when he was treating with the Roman Catholics in Scotland, thought it necessary for the public peace that no processions should pass through the streets; and I must say, I think to allow it, would be most objectionable, because I believe that it would lead to violations of decency and disturbances of the public peace. I am convinced that no procession could pass through the streets without something occurring that must be offensive to the feelings of every Roman Catholic. I think few processions could take place without leading to disturbance or breach of the peace. Religious processions are not allowed in India, though, if there be a tolerant Government on the face of the earth, I think it is the Government of India; yet they constantly prohibit the processions of the Mahometans, because such processions would be dangerous to the public peace from the risk of collision with the followers of Ali and Omar; and I must say that I have no objection to any law which prevents the celebration in public of Roman Catholic rites, which when celebrated in public, are likely to be celebrated amidst circumstances of indecency or outrage. Then, with respect to religious societies and orders, I do not think it a just or reasonable thing that an English Roman Catholic subject, for being a member of an order—a Franciscan for instance—should be banished the country, and if he returns should be hanged. It is perfectly clear that such an enactment cannot be enforced. Everybody knows that there are regular clergy of the Church of Rome in this country, but still not a single human being dares, or ever will dare, to put the law against them in execution. But, Sir, while I say that, I have no objection to that which many persons think of importance, I do not see why a system of registration should be objectionable; I cannot think that the religious orders of the Church of Rome could object to that. My objection is to enacting a punishment against a man for being a Franciscan; but it is not to punish a man for being a Franciscan, to oblige him to tell the country that he is one. Sir, with respect to the Jesuits, I am far from giving credit to all the idle scandal that may be wandering over England or France about them; but I say, that if a person, who is a Jesuit, is found mingling in society, and disguising the fact that he is so, such a person would be a just object of suspicion to the heads of families with whom he associates, that he is there for the purposes of conversion. Therefore, I think that it is desirable there should be some system of registration, under which it shall be known who are, and who are not, members of religious orders in this country. That I think is perfectly compatible with religious liberty, and also necessary for the security of society.


said, the right hon. Gentlemen (Mr. Macaulay) had stated very truly that every Roman Catholic in existence did, in some sense or other, admit the spiritual supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. It was equally true that the Sovereign of this country was here supreme in spiritual and temporal things. A religious system like that of the Church of Rome must, therefore, be adverse to the Royal prerogative, and the letter of the English constitution. The right hon. Gentleman had inquired if any one would venture to prosecute Dr. Wiseman; but the case which he had suggested was an extreme one, and would not bear argument. No one ever imagined that the law was to be brought to bear in every case. It had been obsolete for upwards of 200 years; but should the Church of Rome obtain much greater influence—and her ambition was well known—the retention of such a power would be of very considerable importance. He did not mean to say that the penalty might not be too great; and if any hon. Member was desirous of reducing the penalty, he (Mr. Finch) should be happy to second the Motion; but to say that there was to be no penalty at all, was going a little too far. And although hon. Members might denounce any attempt at interference with Dr. Wiseman, or any other Roman Catholic, for merely preaching a sermon in favour of the Pope's prerogative, yet it did not at all follow that if those doctrines were put forth in a more contumelious and offensive form, the power of checking them ought not to exist. But after all, that was one of the least objectionable parts of the Bill; but still on constitutional principles he felt bound to oppose it. He now came to what had been said respecting the public exercise of the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion. From his knowledge of the Protestant population of the country, he was perfectly convinced that such a proceeding would offend their feelings in the highest degree. Nay, their feelings were so strong on the subject, that if such processions should be tolerated, they would expect the Divine judgment to come upon them. The promise of the hon. and learned Gentleman to modify the Bill, was not, in his opinion, a justification for the House to read it a second time. He was altogether incredulous as to the possibility of wording a clause which would altogether prevent such processions from taking place in some degree or other. When the hon. and learned Gentleman introduced the Bill, he ought to have laid it on the Table in the most complete shape; and if he felt confident that he could shape a clause so as to obviate all objections, let him withdraw the Bill, and introduce it again in a more perfect shape. These processions would be attended with the greatest inconvenience, and would be considered an insult to the Protestant feeling of the country. Not less than fifteen-sixteenths of the population of this country were Protestants; and whilst hon. Members talked of consulting the feelings of the Roman Catholics, they ought also to consider the propriety of consulting the feelings of the Protestants; and he considered it not at all inconsistent with the spirit of toleration that the feelings of the great mass of the population should be regarded with some respect. With respect to what had been said on the subject of religious orders, it was well known that they were most intimately bound to the head of the Romish Church. It was said the secular clergy of the Church of Rome derived their orders from the Apostles, but the regular clergy derived their existence from Rome; and the Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, and many others were inclined to preach the prerogative of Rome to the highest pitch. The belief in the superior authority of the Pope was in direct opposition to their allegiance to the Queen, and if brought into play might, in the end, terminate in open insurrection. The Roman Catholics were most zealous in making proselytes, and in the neighbourhood of Stonyhurst thousands were under the influence of the Jesuits. They were employed in a similar manner in the county of Leicester; and whenever they located themselves in a place, they quickly invaded the neighbouring population, and were gradually extending their influence all over the country. In proportion as the monastic orders gained power, in proportion would there be an imperium in imperio—a body of men pretending to uphold the Roman Catholic Church against the Government, who would have as much difficulty in governing England as they had experienced with regard to the sister country. He did not wish to revive the accusations which had been brought against the Jesuits in former times; but if any one wished for information on the subject, he would refer them to the writings of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, and the History of the Reformation, by Rancke. The system laid down by Loyola, he would dismiss from his mind altogether; and, taking the society as it existed at the present day, he considered it a most awful institution, and for this reason, that the principle of obedience was laid down to an extent not known in any other order. They were as much bound to obedience as soldiers were bound to obey their officers; and the thousands who were dispersed about in different countries, were liable to be put in motion by one spring, and directed simultaneously to one common object. Possessed of an immense deal of talent, zeal, and enterprise, their devotion to the Church of Rome was most profound. They were connected with every class—mixed up with the press—entered into every grade of society—possessed great political influence, and, if made to move in one direction, would become a most formidable body of men; and he was quite persuaded that if monastic institutions were to be permitted to extend throughout the country without restriction, the most serious difficulties would arise. His apology for interfering with the Church of Rome was this—he would give the fullest toleration to every Church in existence except the Church of Rome. ["Oh!"] He was not surprised at that exclamation, and admitted that he had taken a somewhat strong position, but trusted to justify himself by sufficient reason. The Church of Rome was, first of all, opposed to the Royal prerogative of this country; she was also opposed to our Protestant constitution; she was opposed to the independence of every Church in existence; and she was opposed in her very essence to liberty of conscience; and that was not the case with respect to any other Church. The right hon. Gentleman said that every Roman Catholic believed some spiritual supremacy to be vested in the Pope; but every Roman Catholic also believed the Church of Rome to be the mistress of all other churches. That was part of the creed of every Roman Catholic in existence. Consequently the Romish Church aspired to universal dominion, and, as far as her power extended, was hostile to the independence of every existing Church. The Church of Rome was distinguished from every other Church, and therefore he could give that full measure of toleration to other Churches which he could not give to the Church of Rome. But if the Roman Catholics should consider this intolerant, let them show a little religious reciprocity. In France and Belgium, liberal Governments had broken down the power of the Church of Rome. But in Spain nothing like religious liberty could be found; and that as little existed in Portugal, might be inferred from the proceedings at Madeira with respect to Dr. Kalley. The Roman Catholic States of Austria were without religious liberty; and no vestige of it could be found throughout the length and breadth of Italy. This country had now been at peace with Rome for thirty-two years, and English residents had spent thousands there; but up to this moment they had never obtained from the Bishop of Rome permission to build one English church within that bishopric. If the Roman Catholics called him intolerant, he would recommend them to endeavour to persuade their clergy and their vicar-apostolic, headed by the Earl of Shrewsbury and the Duke of Norfolk, to present a petition to the Pope praying him to proclaim religious liberty. [An Hon. MEMBER: It is not usual to petition the Pope.] Then (said the hon. Gentleman, in conclusion) "let them go in person, or send a deputation; and when they have established religious liberty throughout the papal dominions, let them accuse us of intolerance and persecution towards the Roman Catholics of this country, because we refuse them the few remaining privileges, which are withheld simply because we believe them to be hostile to the form of the British constitution, to the state of the law, to the Royal prerogative, and to the safety and security of the Protestant community.


thought, in order to have established the analogy the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, should have shown that there was no other country besides this which inflicted the punishment of transportation for life for holding a particular religious opinion. Something, too, had been said about the dark ages; but he could not understand, unless they were in the dark ages now, how any hon. Member could keep the House waiting hours to debate a subject of this nature. It was an invidious distinction to allow the mayor and alderman of a town to join a procession be-because they were Protestants, and not allow any others to go in procession because they might happen to be of a different persuasion. The Bill should go a little further in his opinion, and the Roman Catholics ought not to be contented until they had the full liberty which was allowed to their fellow-countrymen. As the law now stood, the highest and most distinguished member of the bar of Ireland, had been prevented from obtaining the highest honour of his profession because he was a Roman Catholic. Sir M. O'Loghlen, who ought to have been the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, had been deprived of this honour because he was a Roman Catholic. The same applied to the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the duties of which there was no earthly reason to show why they might not be as efficiently performed by a Roman Catholic as by a Protestant. Then as to the oaths. Why, could there be anything more offensive than the difference in the oahts which hon. Members differing in religions opinions were obliged to take on entering that House? But if the object of the Bill was to secure a better feeling among the Roman Catholics, he only hoped the measure now before the House would have that effect.


trusted the House would allow him to say a few words in reply to the personal remark of the right hon. Gentleman the Paymaster of the Forces (Mr. Macaulay). The right hon. Gentleman said, that on the last discussion on this Bill, he (Mr. Spooner) said, that he would not consent to that clause which made legal the introduction of bulls, even although the person introducing them might be liable to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Now he (Mr. Spooner) begged to say that this was a complete misrepresentation of every word which he uttered, of the opinions which he held, and of the arguments which he endeavoured to use on that occasion. The House was in Committee at the time; and although the debate was reported very briefly, sufficient was given to answer the accusation of the right hon. Gentleman; and the remark which afterwards fell from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Recorder for Dublin (Mr. Shaw) completely confirmed what he (Mr. Spooner) now stated. On that occasion he asked the Solicitor General this question:— Before I give my vote, I call upon the law officers of the Crown to answer this question: You are now going to take away all the penalties which by the statute law attach to the introduction of bulls into this country. I wish to be informed upon this point—If a bull is introduced into this country when it is only cognizable by the common law, if the bull itself is an innocent document per se, will the common law prevent its being brought in? The answer given by the hon. and learned Gentleman was, "Certainly not." He (Mr. Spooner) then said on that account he could not admit the insertion of a clause which should make legal the introduction of a bull which upon the very face of it recognised the supremacy of a foreign prince. He guarded himself by saying that he was anxious that the severe penalties which then attached to the introduction of a bull should be repealed; and he suggested to the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) the propriety of withdrawing the clause, in order that it might be better considered, because although he decidedly objected to the penalties, he could not consent to the removal of the statute law. He would now read the words which he used on that occasion:— Mr. Spooner objected to the next clause, on the ground that it would violate the oath of supremacy and the oath taken by Members of that I House, which set forth that no foreign pontiff should be allowed to interfere in any way with the religious opinions of the subjects of this realm; whereas the Pope would have the power by this Bill of issuing bulls for the purpose of influencing the opinions and conduct of the people of this country. He pressed the noble Lord to postpone the clause until next Session, in order that it might be more fully discussed. He moved the omission of the objectionable words, and expressed his intention of dividing the House on the subject, if the explanation of the Government was not satisfactory. Now, what had his right hon. and learned Friend said on that occasion? He said that— He hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. Spooner) would not divide the House on his Amendment. His hon. Friend did not seem to understand the distinction between an offence existing by the common law, and punishable at the common law. If a statute created an offence, or prohibited any act from being done, the common law could punish the offence, if committed, as a misdemeanor. The punishments under the old Act were admittedly too severe. His hon. Friend himself did not desire to retain them. It was perfectly clear from what he had quoted, that he had expressed himself in terms the very contrary to those which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh had thought fit, without the slightest foundation, but on the mere imagination of the moment, to attribute to him. He had certainly last year stated that his great objection to the Bill was, that it was another inroad on the Protestant constitution of this country; and that if they allowed it to pass, they would be inserting a wedge which would be driven home by others without scruple. He was confirmed in that opinion by what had fallen from the hon. Member for Limerick in the present discussion. The hon. Member, though a Protestant, told them that he would not be contented until the restrictions were removed which prevented a Roman Catholic being appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Nor did the hon. Gentleman stop there, but went on to state that even with regard to the office of Lord Lieutenant, the representative of Majesty in the sister kingdom, all such restrictions should be removed. Grant these demands, and they would soon find hon. Gentlemen coming forward with a proposal for the removal of the restriction which compelled the Monarch of this kingdom to be a Protestant. The hon. and learned Member for Winchester had asked why he should impugn the religion of nearly all Europe? The hon. and learned Gentleman had evidently never thoroughly investigated the doctrines of that religion, otherwise he would not have asked the question. He told the hon. and learned Gentleman, that he impugned it, because he believed it to be not only not the religion of the Bible, but a religion contrary to the Bible. That was his belief, and no obloquy would ever prevent him declaring that the Roman Catholic religion was not founded upon the Bible. For years they had in this country been deviating from the Protestant principles of the constitution—they had been daily losing their Protestant character; and he hesitated not to avow that he believed in his conscience that that was one of the many causes why this country had been so afflicted by Divine Providence. He should not have addressed the House, if he had not been so unjustifiably attacked by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh. He could not sit down without stating that he would not shrink from expressing his opinion with regard to any measure like the present, and that he would give a decided vote against the introduction of the Bill.


One word by way of explanation. If I have done the smallest injustice to the hon. Gentleman in what I have said, I will at once retract it and ask his pardon; but I have not stated any arguments which are not clearly to be demonstrated from the very authority to which he has referred. The question under discussion was, "Shall a law pass the Legislature which shall have the effect of reducing the punishment for asserting the papal supremacy, to fine and imprisonment?" On that clause being proposed, the hon. Gentleman, as he has just said, declared that he would oppose it, and would divide the House upon it. Then rose the right hon. Gentleman the Recorder for Dublin, and declared that it was out of all question to retain the extreme penalty, for "the punishments under the old Act were admitted to be too severe." [Mr. SPOONER: Read on.] And then the right hon. Gentleman said, "It was clear that the state of the law was not to be changed in any respect but in the abolition of penalties;" upon which the hon. Member for Birmingham, adhering to his own opinion, said, "Seeing the feeling of the House, he would not divide on the Motion, but would content himself with merely protesting against the Bill."


If the right hon. Gentleman will refer to what the Recorder for Dublin said, he will find he stated that I would not myself defend these punishments.


The right hon. Gentleman the Recorder for Dublin expressed his confidence that the hon. Gentleman himself would not approve of the punishments, and therefore called upon him to vote for the Bill. But when the Recorder sat down, the hon. Gentleman objected to the Bill, and protested against it; but he would not divide, because the sense of the House was against him. What the hon. Gentleman now complains of is, that I do not take his sense from the Recorder of Dublin, but from himself.


trusted they would proceed to remove the penalties, which were confessed to be of no value, but which tended to keep up irritation, and promoted no good end. He did not think the attacks upon the Jesuits, because they were under vows, were merited, for all the orders were under vows; but they were not bound to attend to them if they were contrary to morality. If the vows were against morality, they were bound to disobey and utterly to disregard them. With respect to the clause about processions, he did not wish to retain it, for he thought nothing could be more objectionable than any species of religious processions; and even in Catholic countries, as there were many of other religions existing, he wished they were done away with; and he did not for himself see any objection to a registration of the religious orders, but such a registration should not be confined to one particular sect. With those changes in the Bill, was the hon. Gentleman ready to give his assistance to remove from the legislation of this country those restrictions which were upon the Statute-book, but which it was now morally impossible to enforce, and which, if the Catholic Church should obtain the power which hon. Gentlemen asserted, it would in point of fact be impossible to enforce? It had been said that the proportion of Catholics in this country was small; but they were seven-eighths of the population in Ireland, and nearly one-fourth of the whole kingdom: that was a "great fact," and it was a fact which must be recognized. He did not know that he could add anything to the arguments which had been advanced in favour of the Bill; and that was not the time to go into the history of the benefit derived from the religious orders, without whom the classical authors would have been wholly lost; and he would not then speak of the other admirable services they had at all times rendered. But the hon. Gentleman had referred to the course pursued in countries which he called Catholic. He had spoken of Spain: was that rightly to be styled a Catholic country, where if the religion were not persecuted, it was interfered with in every possible way? In France, the religion only existed on sufferance; it was constantly attacked, and when any Catholic prelate wrote in its defence, he received a reprimand. Austria could scarcely he considered, so far as the Government went, as Catholic at all; there was an interference which was little short of persecution, and the appointments in the Church were made in the same way as would be those of corporals in the army. And, indeed, in all the foreign countries, the religion was not as religion ought to be. He would not enter into the case of Dr. Kalley in Madeira, but he could prove that Dr. Kalley had been guilty of the grossest imprudence. He would rather leave the discussion in the more able hands of those who were not of the Catholic religion, and he had only risen to express his wish for some stringent provision against all processions, and to explain that he felt no objection to a proper registration of the religious orders.


said, he perceived that the promoters of the Bill had determined upon the same course which they had on previous similar occasions pursued, namely, to argue as though the whole question were to be taken for granted. The hon. Member for Kilkenny, for instance, had begged the whole question: his speech had been from the beginning one conclusion. The hon. Member had told them of the restrictions placed upon the Roman Catholic clergy even in Catholic countries, and proposed that this Protestant country should set them a bright example, and exhibit a degree of tolerance which Roman Catholic countries did not find it consistent with their safety to concede to their own Church. He admitted that the existence of the Roman Catholic Church in this country was a great fact; and he thought he was fairly entitled to argue from that circumstance that the Church and the professors of its doctrines suffered no disability that was really injurious, or that tended to impede their progress. He was glad that this was so; and if it could be proved that the professors of that religion were subject to any real grievance, he should be most ready to remove it, for he hated persecution. But what was the measure now before them? They were told that it was to repeal certain enactments, many of which were not so much of a religious as of a constitutional character. Why were they asked to repeal these enactments? They were told, because they were unworthy of the age; They might as well say that the Protestant constitution was unworthy of the age; and, indeed, he often felt there was a difficulty in maintaining their Protestant constitution with that full tolerance to the Roman Catholics which had been already conceded. The whole scope of the present Bill was to knock down every restriction that now existed, and to build up nothing. He denied that the present state of the law, as regarding the acknowledgment of the supremacy of the Pope, was in the state it was represented to be by the right hon. Paymaster of the Forces. It was only when the supremacy of the Pope was "advisedly, maliciously, and directly publicly set forth," that it became a crime; and when the question was debated in another place, that was stated to be the effect of the law by the then highest legal authority in the country. He (Mr. Newdegate) denied, therefore, that there was anything in the words sought to be repealed by the Bill, which could impose penalties on a Roman Catholic for the quiet and orderly observance or profession of his religion. It was not very easy to understand the exact intention of the Bill; it appeared that it did not contemplate the admission of Roman Catholics to the privileges and emoluments of the Universities. But then it did propose that all practitioners of the law, of whatever creed, should be exempted from taking the oaths hitherto prescribed. He should like to know the reason of that. Hitherto it had been deemed advisable that certain oaths should be prescribed to practitioners in courts of law; and he did not see upon what ground they were to be exempted from taking such oaths. This provision had not been considered by the Criminal Commission, and had been introduced into the Bill since it had been before the House last year and defeated, but without any reason having been assigned for its introduction. It was also proposed that Roman Catholics should be relieved from the necessity of taking the oath prescribed to be taken by them as a condition of relief by the Act of 31 George III.; and by the Act of 1829, that oath was required to be taken by Roman Catholics, and no hardship was inflicted on them in consequence, for, in taking it, they only declared that the Pope possessed no civil or temporal power in this country. He begged to toll the promoters of the Bill, that they had done wisely in giving up that portion of the Bill which would permit the wearing of the ecclesiastical habits, and the conducting of the processions of the Church of Rome in the open streets. They knew they dared not thrust these things upon the people of England; their abandonment of these provisions showed that they had a painful consciousness that there was a deep feeling in the people opposed to their propositions. If these processions were permitted, how must they have been conducted? Unguarded, they would not have been safe from interruption; how, then, could they be guarded? By the police, it might be answered. But he told them that no Government of this country dare send the police to guard these processions through the streets, in violation of the feelings and opinions of the people. Then it had been argued that because there was no law against the processions of the Roman Church in the United States, there ought to be none in England. In the United States, it was true, there was no law upon the subject; but they had a code which went under the name of "Lynch law," which would little tolerate any such exhibition, even if it did not militate against the religious opinions of the people; and he would give them an instance how little they tolerated even a trifling departure from their own mode of thinking. There was a celebrated performer, a German lady, staying at New York. Her countrymen wished to serenade her. They did so two nights, and he (Mr. Newdegate) was there; but it roused the jealousy of those republicans so much, that on the third night the majesty of the people, as it was called, forsooth, collected itself into a mob, and broke the instruments of the serenaders about their heads; and no further question was asked about the matter. Did they wish to see such a thing as that happen in this country? Did they wish that a religious procession should be protected by the police, or that any protection should be given to a procession of a particular creed, against the feelings of this country? Well, then, the hon. Member for Kilkenny told them to forget the history of the Roman Church and of the Jesuits; to bury in oblivion all recollection of the troubles and persecutions they had caused. But how in the name of common sense could that be done in legislating for a Church which boasted herself "semper eadem." Were they to forget the history of the Jesuits, and that the Catholic countries could not tolerate them unrestrained, but that it had been found necessary to expel them from almost every country in Europe? From England they were expelled in 1604; from Venice, in 1606; from Savoy, in 1729; from Portugal, in 1759; from France, in 1764; from Spain and Sicily, in 1767; and from Malta and Parma, in 1768; and, finally, they so overbore the Pontiff himself, that Pope Clement XII. contemplated their suppression, but died suddenly; and Pope Clement XIV. did suppress them, and he died very suddenly in the next year. Were they to be blind to the circumstances of their own time? to overlook the bloodshed and misery caused by the interference of the Jesuits in Switzerland? Were they to ignore the fact, that those troubles were caused by the Jesuits, who grasped at the education of the freeborn sons of the Swiss Cantons, and drove the people to resistance by force of arms. He could not consent to this measure; in a constitutional point of view, he was bound not to admit the claim of a foreign prelate to such jurisdiction as was claimed on behalf of the Pope, in this country; for the sake of religion, but not more than upon national grounds, he must refuse his assent to this Bill.


Sir, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, in his speech to-night, has told us that he has been the firm and unflinching defender of Roman Catholic disabilities; and the hon. and learned Member for Winchester has appealed to me, and expressed a hope that I might prove the Peel of 1847. Now it is because I, on the other hand, have ever been the firm and unflinching friend to the removal of Roman Catholic disabilities; and because I feel that I may vote to-night in support of the hon. and learned Member for Kinsale, without trenching upon the privileges of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, who sits beside me, and without at all poaching upon the rights of Drayton Manor, that I mean to support the Bill of the hon. Member for Kinsale.

It has been argued by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, that these laws are obsolete, and therefore no practical evils exist requiring to be remedied by this Bill. Now, f these laws be obsolete —if they cannot be carried into execution—if no Government would now dare to banish or to transport a Jesuit, an Augustinian, a Dominican, a Cistercian, or a Franciscan—that is reason enough why we should repeal these obsolete laws. But I am not one of those who think that these laws can be considered as obsolete; and I think that there is in their maintenance a great practical evil to the Roman Catholics in this land. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford said, that there was no example since the days of Elizabeth, of any Roman Catholic having been hanged for maintaining the supremacy of the Pope. That may be; but yet I believe there are many examples in modern times of serious grievances being suffered on account of those laws. So late as the year 1837 a cause was tried before Lord Langdale, in which the estate of Stonecroft, in Northumberland, which had been subject to a rent-charge for the maintenance of a Roman Catholic priest, and certain other poor persons of that creed, became matter of litigation and question under the penal statutes; when it was decided by Lord Langdale that this rent-charge was contrary to the penal statutes, and that according to law the estate had become, with the rent-charge upon it, forfeited to the Crown. That was surely a practical grievance; and so great was it, that the Government of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth thought it their duty to recommend that a new grant should be made of the rent-charge. And accordingly Her Majesty was advised to renew the grant, and the grant was renewed.

Is it no practical grievance that Roman Catholics cannot be buried in churchyards or in the open air, and have performed over them the rites of Christian burial by the clergyman of their own church, dressed in their clerical habits? Yet such, I believe, is the practical effect and daily operation of the law as it at present stands; the consequence is, that in the case of every Roman Catholic, the funeral service is performed in the chamber where he died, and the form is gone through of the earth being either placed in his coffin or thrown over him; and if a Roman Catholic clergyman attends the funeral, he must do so denuded of his clerical official habits. It must be admitted that this is a great evil, and one which ought not to be permitted in a Christian country. Are there no other grievances? Do we not all recollect that two years ago, when the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell) filled the office of Lord Mayor of Dublin, the scandal was blazed abroad throughout the world, that he, a Roman Catholic, being disabled from appearing in his robes of office in the church where he was accustomed to worship, went through the streets of Dublin in his robes of office, and then at the door of the church, and in the face of thousands, the Roman Catholic was obliged to strip off his robes of office, and to cast them aside? Do you think that it is in favour of civil peace, that it tends to conciliate the Roman Catholics of the empire that these scenes should take place? Now, these are, I think, practical grievances, which ought to be remedied, and which, I think, by this Bill would be remedied. Then, again, I have spoken of the order of St. Francis—of the Christian brotherhood; in which order the schoolmasters of Ireland are chiefly to be found, and to which order, by the way, Father Mathew belongs—a man of whom, perhaps, it might be said, that by his introduction of habits and principles of sobriety, with morality as the sure consequence of sobriety, he has no compeer in Ireland as regards the great services he has done her. And yet Father Mathew, so long as those laws exist, may any day be banished from the kingdom; and should he return from banishment, thereby becomes liable to transportation for life. These, then, are practical grievances which ought to be remedied. But then we are told of a compact having been entered into in 1829. Now I, for one, acknowledge no compact. Indeed, there could be no compact in the case, because the Government of that day surrendered at discretion. They resisted as long as it was in their power; but they were obliged, in 1829, to lay down their arms. The restrictive clauses which the present Bill seeks to remove, were protested against by various parties, and amongst others by the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool, who said, "they were worthy only of the despotism of Russia;" and also by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who spoke of them "as needlessly inflicting a stigma on honourable men in a way wholly unworthy of a Christian people."


This Bill contemplates a double object—it contemplates the repeal of many enactments contained in the Statute of 1829, which Statute relieved the Roman Catholics from the pressure of almost all the political disabilities under which they laboured; and the present also contemplates carrying further into effect the Bills passed during the last Session and during the Session of 1844—Statutes that were enacted for the purpose of abolishing laws that had become practically obsolete, which implied doubts of the loyalty of the Roman Catholics, and which imposed upon them penalties most severe and disproportionate. So far as the latter object goes, I have no hesitation in giving to the Bill my cordial and entire assent. I took an active part in promoting the Bills of 1844 and 1846, because I thought it would be a most unwise course, and not in consonance and agreement with the spirit of the times, to continue the existence of statutes which inflicted penalties that were revolting to the Christian feelings, even of those who did not agree with the Roman Catholics, and which were discreditable to the Statute-book. Of the removal of these enactments I fully approve. I may say I approve of the first part of the Bill, which professes to supply some omissions made by the framers of the Acts of 1844 and 1846. It has been said that one of these Acts clearly falls within the scope and intention of the former Acts; the principle of that Act is, that if any Roman Catholic should advisedly and maliciously maintain the authority of the Pope, he should incur certain penalties. But that enactment is still in force, notwithstanding the Statutes of 1844 and 1846. The spirit, and, I may add, the letter of that enactment is, that if any one should maliciously and advisedly maintain the authority in spiritual and ecclesiastical affairs of any foreign prince, potentate, or prelate, the person so maintaining such doctrine shall forfeit for every such offence the sum of 20l.; if his goods be not worth 20l., he shall forfeit all the goods that he does possess, and be imprisoned for one year.


Those penalties are repealed—the offence is now only a misdemeanour.


It still remains an offence at common law. It is a part of the constitution, that no man shall maintain that in this country any foreign prince, potentate, or prelate, possesses or is entitled to any authority.


resumed: As the law now stands it is in that condition; but, though that law may cease to be in force, yet no one will doubt that under the operation of that law the Roman Catholics were subject to fine and imprisonment. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, that the law which makes this maintenance of foreign authority an offence is a part of the constitution; that if any Roman Catholic maintains the authority of the Pope, he offends against the law. But then hon. Members say, that in order to make such an act illegal, the offender must commit it advisedly and maliciously. Now, I think if he commits it advisedly, the malice will be inferred. I am not prepared to say that Roman Catholics who maintain the ecclesiastical authority of the Pope, ought to be subjected to fine and imprisonment. Notwithstanding what the House has heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman, I doubt very much whether that principle be a part of the constitution of this country. I find that when we admitted Roman Catholics to seats in Parliament, we relieved them from the necessity of declaring that the Pope had no authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, in these realms. The oath Roman Catholics were then required to take was, they did not believe that the Pope possessed in this country any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, or supremacy, direct or indirect. By the Act of 1829, we qualified Roman Catholics for the performance and exercise of the highest constitutional functions, namely, those of Members of Parliament. We relieved Roman Catholics from a disability which excluded them from seats in Parliament, and we no longer required that a denial of the Pope's authority, in matters spiritual and ecclesiastical, should be a necessary qualification for sitting and voting in this and the other House of Parliament. As to the oath of supremacy, it will, of course, be recollected by the House that early after its enactment the Roman Catholics did not object to it. We deny that any foreign prince, prelate, state, or potentate possesses any temporal authority which could be enforced by any jurisdiction existing within these realms. We all know that there is no power to enforce the mandates of such an authority. With respect to those who willingly defer to it, the case is different; for them it may, in a certain sense, be said to exist; but they know as well as we do that there is no power which, by law, can carry that authority into practical effect. To that part of the Bill to which I have thus referred, I am, as I have already stated, not prepared to refuse my assent. With respect to the other portion of the measure, I am bound at once to declare my total dissent. I am not prepared to agree to the repeal of any of the enactments of 1829. I do not say that upon all occasions, and under all circumstances, I shall bind myself to a literal adherence to every portion of that measure; but I will contend to the utmost for a substantial adherence to all its principles. For example, there is one portion of that Statute of 1829 which enacts, that no Roman Catholic prelate shall assume the name, style, or title of bishop of any see within these realms; and by the enactments then passed by the Legislature, it was there provided that no Roman Catholic priest should appear in the streets attired in the insignia of his order: that was a restriction upon the regular orders of the Church of Rome, and I must say that I think that comprehensive principle ought to be maintained. Then, in looking at the Bill now before the House, I find it omits clauses which were contained in the Bill on the same subject which the hon. and learned Gentleman introduced in the course of last Session. I should be glad to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us why he omitted those clauses. Then I find that on the present occasion the hon. Gentleman tells us, he continues the prohibition respecting the appearance of Roman Catholics in public processions arrayed in the dress of their order; and this, he informs us, he does for the purpose of satisfying the public mind. Upon the same ground I contend for the importance of the other provisions of the Act of 1829; they were introduced to satisfy the Protestant mind, and for that reason they ought to be continued. I am justified in saying, that in 1829 there was no compact; but we felt there would be great difficulty in removing disabilities, unless that change were accompanied by provisions which would render it acceptable to the minds of the Protestants. I am further bound to say that I differ altogether from the hon. and learned Gentleman as to permitting municipal officers to wear the insignia of their offices at Roman Catholic places of worship. The prohibition of that is nothing more than a distinct recognition of that moderate supremacy which has been secured to the Established Church; and on the same ground I ask, why we should not be permitted to continue all the enactments which were agreed to when the Roman Catholic disabilities were removed? With respect to the religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church, I willingly admit that they might be better regulated; but I am not prepared to take the course of consenting absolutely to repeal all the existing enactments upon that subject, unless the hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us what regulations he proposes to substitute. I am not prepared to say that unlimited power should be given to any religious community to establish itself in this country; at the same time that I am prepared to assent to the first part of this measure, as well as to whatever portion of the Bill may be found in accordance with the enactments of 1844 and 1846, whether they go merely to the removal of penalties, or to a modification of the law which may not be inconsistent with the enactments of 1829; but I see no reason why we should part with securities, or those provisions which were thought to be securities, at the time that Roman Catholic disabilities were removed in 1829. I will not consent to that portion of the Bill unless the hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us what regulations he proposes to substitute in lieu of those securities, and in what manner he proposes that the regular orders should be controlled. There are parts of the Bill which I am perfectly willing to consider. I will not refuse to consider the whole of the measure, merely because there happens to be some portion of it respecting which I am bound to pronounce my unqualified dissent.


assured the House, that whatever might be the opinion of the right hon. Baronet who had just sat down upon the point, it could not be questioned that it was an offence at common law to acknowledge the authority of the Pope. He had the warranty of the late Lord Chancellor for saying so; and he begged to refer any hon. Gentleman who was sceptical on the point to Lord Lyndhurst's speech in the House of Lords last Session. The Act 9 Victoria, c 10, expressly provided that the penalty at common law should still attach to the offence, even though the particular penalty imposed by express statute was repealed. He would oppose the second reading of the Bill, because he was satisfied that it would be found very difficult, if not wholly impossible, to carry out in Committee the modifications for which many of its advocates were themselves desirous.


approved most cordially of the Bill, and intimated his intention of voting for the second reading. As an English Catholic, he vindicated the much maligned order of the Jesuits, whose expulsion from foreign countries had been the result of atheistical rather than religious feelings. He strongly deprecated the idea of subjecting to restrictions the regular orders of clergy in a country where it was notorious that the number of priests was not anything like adequate to the spiritual requirements of the Catholic portion of the community. As a Catholic layman of this country, he felt this deficiency very severely. There were not in this country enough of priests by half; and in this season of Lent, when their duties were so very severe, they were so much overworked that they were ready to faint at the altar.


said, to that portion of the Bill which referred to the recognition of the Pope's ecclesiastical authority by Roman Catholics, he was not disposed to object; but he was decidedly and irreconcilably hostile to that which was the most important element, and in fact the essence of the Bill, namely, the repeal of those enactments which accompanied the Emancipation Act of 1829, and which he, as a man of honour, felt himself bound to uphold, he having been one of those who was instrumental in bringing in the measure in question. He was not prepared to support the second reading of the Bill, because, in connexion with an important alteration of which he could not in any respect approve, there were superadded provisions for the repeal of certain obsolete statutes which nobody could think of defending. He would vote against the measure.


expressed a confident expectation that he would be able, in Committee, to meet the views of the right hon. Baronet opposite, and of the right hon. Gentleman the Paymaster of the Forces.

The House divided:—Ayes, 102; Noes, 99. Majority, 3.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Christie, W. D.
Aldam, W. Collett, J.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Craig, W. G.
Crawford, W. S.
Baine, W. Dalmeny, Lord
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Dennistoun, J.
Bentinck, Lord G. Duncan, G.
Blake, M. J. Ebrington, Visct.
Bodkin, J. J. Ellis, W.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Evans, W.
Bowring, Dr. Evans, Sir D. L.
Bright, J. Fielden, J.
Brotherton, J. Fitzgerald, R. A.
Brown, W. Forster, M.
Browne, hon. W. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Buller, E. Gisborne, T.
Butler, P. S. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cayley, E. S. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Hall, Sir B. Ord, W.
Hatton, Capt. V. Parker, J.
Hawes, B. Pattison, J.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Pechell, Capt.
Hervey, Lord A. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hindley, C. Philips, M.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Plumridge, Capt.
Howard, P. H. Price, Sir R.
Hume, J. Pusey, P.
James, W. Ricardo, J. L.
James, Sir W. C. Rich, H.
Johnstone, Sir J. Roebuck, J. A.
Kelly, J. Romilly, J.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Russell, Lord J.
Lambton, H. Scott, R.
Leader, J. T. Scrope, G. P.
Lincoln, Earl of Somerville, Sir W. M.
Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B. Stanley, hon. W. O.
M'Donnell, J. M. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Mangles, R. D. Stuart, Lord J.
Manners, Lord J. Stuart, W. V.
Marshall, W. Thornely, T.
Marsland, H. Tufnell, H.
Milnes, R. M. Vane, Lord H.
Mitcalfe, H. Walker, R.
Moffatt, G. Wall, C. B.
Molesworth, Sir W. Warburton, H.
Morpeth, Visct. Ward, H. G.
Napier, Sir C. Wawn, J. T.
O'Brien, C. Winnington, Sir T. E.
O'Brien, W. S. Wyse, T.
O'Connell, D. junr. Yorke, H. R.
O'Connell, M. J. TELLERS.
O'Connell, J. Watson, W. H.
O'Conor Don Escott, B.
List of the NOES.
Ackers, J. Finch, G.
Acton, Col. Forbes, W.
Antrobus, E. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Arkwright, G. Fox, S. L.
Austen, Col. Frewen, C. H.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Fuller, A. E.
Beckett, W. Gladstone, Capt.
Bennet, P. Godson, R.
Beresford, Major Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Blackburne, J. I. Grogan, E.
Boldero, H. G. Hall, Col.
Bowles, Adm. Hamilton, G. A.
Broadley, H. Hamilton, W. J.
Brooke, Lord Hamilton, Lord C.
Bruen, Col. Harris, hon. Capt
Bunbury, W. M. Henley, J. W.
Carew, W. H. P. Hodgson, R.
Chandos, Marq. of Hope, Sir J.
Chapman, A. Hornby, J.
Chelsea, Visct. Houldsworth, T.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hughes, W. B.
Clayton, R. R. Hussey, T.
Cole, hon. H. A. Jones, Capt.
Conolly, Col. Kemble, H.
Cripps, W. Kirk, P.
Deedes, W. Law, hon. C. E.
Dick, Q. Lawson, A.
Douglas, Sir H. Lefroy, A.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Lindsay, hon. Capt.
Duncombe, hon. A. Lockhart, W.
Duncombe, hon. O. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Egerton, W. T. Mackenzie, T.
Egerton, Sir P. Mackenzie, W. F.
Entwisle, W. Manners, Lord C. S.
Estcourt, T. G. B. March, Earl of
Farnham, E. B. Masterman, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Sibthorp, Col.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Smith, A.
Meynell, Capt. Spooner, R.
Newdegate, C. N. Stanley, E.
Northland, Visct. Stuart, H.
O'Brien, A. S. Stuart, J.
Packe, C. W. Tollemache, J.
Palmer, G. Verner, Sir W.
Plumptre, J. P. Vesey, hon. T.
Rendlesham, Lord Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Repton, G. W. J. Walpole, S. H.
Richards, R. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Rushout, Capt. TELLERS.
Shirley, E. J. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Shirley, E. P. Shaw, rt. hon. F.

Bill read a second time, and ordered to be committed.

House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock.