§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said: Sir, in rising to move the Second Reading of this Bill, it is not my intention to go into any historical details, or to trespass for any length of time on the attention of the House. In point of fact, the grounds upon which it appears to me that this change or declaration of the law is necessary, are so plain and so simple, and he so entirely on the surface of the thing, that it cannot be requisite to have recourse to any abstract or refined arguments for the purpose of showing the expediency of the measure I am about to introduce to the House. Doubts, and doubts only, have existed, whether, upon the interpretation to be put upon words in ancient Acts of Parliament, it is or is not lawful for the Sovereign of this country to hold diplomatic intercourse with the Court of Rome. I believe that the chief doubt has arisen on the construction of the word "communion;" upon the plain interpretation of that section of the law 202 which prohibits the Sovereign of these realms from holding communion with the Court of Rome. In my view, the only meaning of such law must have been to support that principle which, I admit, is the fundamental principle of our constitution—that the Sovereign must be of the Protestant religion; and the communion contemplated by that Act I hold to be a spiritual communion, and not that which is meant in common and vulgar parlance, namely, an intercourse and exchange of communications. But, be that as it may, doubts having arisen, it has been deemed expedient to propose to Parliament this measure to remove those doubts, by declaring diplomatic intercourse and relations between the Sovereign of this country and the Sovereign of the Roman States to be lawful. There can arise, as I conceive, only two questions on this measure. The first is, what objections can be urged against it?—the next is, what advantage would accrue from it? Now, the only objections that present themselves to my mind as capable of being urged against it would be objections founded upon the principle to which I have adverted—objections founded on the assumption that a Bill legalising the exercise of diplomatic intercourse between the Crown and the Sovereign of the Roman States, would tend to endanger the observance of the principle that the British Sovereign must be of the Protestant religion. I confess I am at a loss to imagine how any rational person can suppose that there can be anything in the presence of a British Minister at Rome, or in the presence of a Roman Minister in London, that would tend to shake the religious belief of the Sovereign of this country. It is, in my opinion, too absurd and ridiculous a supposition to require the slightest argument to refute it. Diplomatic relations are not considered to have any connexion with the religious faith of the Sovereign of this country. We have diplomatic relations with Mahometan Courts, with both Sennaar and Shoa; we have diplomatic relations with Courts of every form of belief except the Catholic modification of the Christian religion; but no one ever supposed there was any danger of the Sovereign of these realms becoming a Mussulman in consequence of the interchange of diplomatic relations with Mahometan Courts; and I cannot conceive any rational person founding an objection to this measure upon such a supposition. Well, then, the question, in my opinion, is whether there is 203 any need of diplomatic relations with the Roman State, and whether any advantage could arise to this country from authorising their establishment? The onus probandi must lie, I think, on those who deny it, because there seems, primâ facie, no reason why the Roman State should form the exception to the general rule; and if this House is not of the opinion of the hon. Member for Stafford, that all diplomatic relations should cease with all foreign countries, there seems to be no reason why, if that is not the opinion of Parliament and the country, the Roman State should form the exception to the general rule. It is an exception that must naturally be offensive to that State, and unless it be founded on any real and substantial ground it must be injurious to our interests as far as we have any interests to which it applies. Now, the Roman State is not one of the large Powers of Europe. It does not rank among the first class of foreign States; but nevertheless it is a State of a certain extent, and, as compared with the other States of Italy, it is by no means to be deemed inconsiderable. It is a State with which we may in various circumstances have political interests to connect us. It is a State with which at all times we have commercial interests to connect us. Our commercial intercourse with the State of Rome is certainly not very great as compared with our commercial intercourse with many other countries; but nevertheless it is of growing and annually increasing importance. At present the Sovereign of this land can make no commercial engagement—no commercial treaty with the State of Rome, for the purpose of applying to our commerce with that State those securities which commercial treaties afford to our commerce with almost every other country in the world. We have a great interest in rapid communication with our East Indian possessions. That communication is daily becoming abridged by the introduction of railways in different parts of the continent of Europe. We cannot make use of a railway passing through the territory of another State without having with that State some arrangement by treaty with regard to the transit of our mails through that country. There is at present no railway communication for that purpose in Italy; but there is no reason, I think, to doubt that sooner or later there will be railway communication from every extremity of Italy up to connecting itself with the railway communications of the Rhine, Germany, and France. 204 In that case the probability is that our Indian communications would pass through the Roman States; but in the present state of the law that could not be done. We could not conclude with the Government of Rome any convention for the means of regulating and legalising the transit of our Indian mails through the Roman States. For these reasons, then, shortly, that I am at a loss to see any ground upon which, in the present state of opinion in Europe, it is possible to contend there is any constitutional objection, or any danger likely to arise, from the measure I am proposing, and because, on the other hand, I hold that the impossibility of contracting political connexions with the Roman Government is attended with daily injury to the commercial and other interests of this country, I now move the second reading of this Bill.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
rose to move as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day three months. He said the speech of the noble Lord who had just sat down had occasioned him considerable disappointment, for he had expected to find in it a full and temperate exposition of the objects and intentions of the measure, and some attempt to combat the grave and conscientious objections entertained, not by Protestants merely, but by Roman Catholics also, to the Bill now before the House; but upon these several points the noble Lord had either left the House entirely in the dark, or chosen but slightly to pass over them. He must look to the speeches which were delivered upon the subject when it came before the other branch of the Legislature, in order to get these omissions of the noble Lord supplied. The measure was not to be taken as one declaratory of an already existing law, but as one enacting an altogether new law: its very title proved it to contemplate not merely the removal of doubts—a "Bill for 'enabling' Her Majesty to establish and maintain diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome," must manifestly aim to effect a change in the law of much greater magnitude than the noble Lord was either willing, or found it convenient, to admit. What was the meaning of the term "Court of Rome" in the Bill? There were two Courts of Rome—an ecclesiastical and a political Court; and with which of these was it intended to enable Her Majesty to hold intercourse? This difficulty the noble Lord had altogether blinked. If Ministers had no higher or profounder motive in bringing forward the Bill than had that night been avowed, then he could tell them that their measure was 205 totally unnecessary; for in the present state of the law no obstacle would he found in the way of any portion of the people of this country who desired to contract for the establishment of railroads in Italy, to obtain in Rome the necessary powers for that purpose, without the passing of any such Bill as that now before the House. But even admitting that Ministers might possibly be desirous of establishing, by the aid of this Bill, relations with Rome of a very limited and restricted character, and having little sensible effect, either for good or evil, upon the interests of this country; still he believed their real object to be that stated by Lord Lansdowne, namely, to place the British Government in such a position as would enable it to explain to the Pope the nature of its own transactions in Great Britain and Ireland, and in the rest of its dominions; and also to enable it, on the other hand, to lay open to itself and procure an insight into the particular species of influence which the Holy See possesses and exerts over its own dominions. Now, he trusted neither that House nor the country would allow the Court of St. James's and the Court of Rome to be placed in any such delicate or difficult position. If, as he conjectured, the object of the promoters of this Bill was to bring about such a state of things, certainly the introduction of an entirely new sort of legislation was indispensable before such a dangerous innovation could be accomplished. Now, the Bill proceeded to enact—That notwithstanding any thing contained in any Act or Acts now in force, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, to establish and maintain diplomatic relations with the Pope of Rome, and to hold diplomatic intercourse with the Sovereign of the Roman States.He could not understand why on that occasion the usual courtesies of speech had been departed from—why the illustrious personage who was the chief bishop of the Roman Catholic world, had not received the title, as it had been the custom of all civilised States, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, to accord to him—which the present as well as former Administrations had conceded to him, and which had lately received the sanction of the illustrious University of Oxford itself; for, on the occasion when the Chevalier Bunsen received his degree, the public orator complimented him in his (Mr. Anstey's) hearing, for the ability and zeal which had distinguished his mission on behalf of his master when he was sent ad Summum Pontificem, ut 206 discordias componeret. It would be a happy result if the Roman Sovereign should, on account of that discourtesy alone, refuse to receive an ambassador. It should be observed that this clause referred to certain Acts of Parliament as being in force. What were they? There was not a single Act on the Statute-book which so much as touched the Royal prerogative in matters of war and peace; there was nothing to prevent Her Majesty from sending whomsoever she pleased to that or any other sovereign on a message of a temporal character. But there were Acts of Parliament in force which related to communications of another description; and if this Bill passed, those Acts would be repealed. With the single exception of Lord Castlemaine's agency, in 1687, diplomatic intercourse of an open character had ceased from a period long prior to that date. Diplomatic intercourse of a less formal character, had, however, been continued; and of such intercourse the letter of Lord Clarendon the other day, in which he placed the statutes of the new Irish colleges at the feet of his Holiness, afforded an illustration. Another instance was to be found in the negotiation opened by George III., not only with the Pope, but also with the Pretender, which ended in a large sum being settled on Henry IX.—that is, the Duke of York—the late Cardinal York. Continuous intercourse with the Court of Rome had, however, ceased before the Revolution of 1688; and that event was caused by the attempt of James to re-open such intercourse for ecclesiastical purposes. With respect to diplomatic intercourse, the law at the present moment stood thus:—Under the 5th of Elizabeth, bulls, or writings, or teachings, or preachings, in defence of the power or authority of the Bishop of Rome within this realm, or its dominions, were forbidden. By the 13th of Elizabeth, the enforcing within this realm, or any of its dominions, the orders and decrees of the Sovereign Pontiif was also prohibited. The 24th of Henry VIII. forbade suits to the Court of Rome. With respect to any determination of any of the courts of this realm, the 25th Henry VIII., c. 19, forbade appeals to the See of Rome in cases in contention, which had been commenced in any of the courts of this realm; and, lastly, the 25th Henry VIII., c. 21, prohibited suings for writings or licenses to the See of Rome with respect to anything which concerned the actual dominions of 207 the sovereign. These were the Acts referred to in the enacting clause of this Bill; and if the Bill passed, the conclusion which would he drawn by the Judges was, that Parliament had intended to continue the law now in force with respect to all the subjects of the Crown, but to unfetter the Royal prerogative for the benefit of the Minister. It appeared to be the wish of the Government to get into their own hands the papal, as they had gotten already the monarchical prerogative, and to use that peculiar influence as they pleased in Ireland. How would this new law operate? The Sovereign Pontiff possessed absolute power over all Roman Catholic priests in England and Scotland. As regarded the Irish priests; he had parted with a large portion of his prerogative; his power was in Ireland restrained by the canon law. The Government might, however, consider it desirable, at the next general election, or on some other occasion, to use the peculiar influence of the Pope. In carrying out their object they might find assistance or resistance; and if a priest resisted, they would, under this Bill, have secret access to the person and councils of his Holiness, by means of which the canon law might be modified, and whatever impeded their action might be removed. Such, he believed, would be the working of the Bill. The Bill would thus serve as a base handle for Her Majesty's Ministers in dealing with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Let the House also observe the difficulty in which this Bill would place the Pope himself. At present the Pope was free before the British law; he was not restrained by a concordat from carrying out his own will in the administration of the affairs of his Church. By this Bill, however, all that was onerous in every concordat would be imposed upon the Pope, from the moment that he elected to receive a representative of the British Crown in the manner laid down by the Act. Thus, it was in the strictest sense a religious question which was to be decided; and, though he could understand the hesitation which had kept Ministers trembling for three months before they proceeded with the Bill, he could not understand their boldness in asking Parliament to adopt it. Another difficulty was this. From the moment that diplomatic relations were established between Rome and England, the Government would have to discharge the duty of making complaint through their representative at Rome of every infraction, or apparent infraction, of English law, in 208 which the Pope had a part. Now it was well known that there were still existing laws which imposed the brand of illegality and outlawry on a large and perhaps the most respectable and pious branch of the body of which the Pope was the head—he meant the religious orders. The whole of these religious orders still remained outlaws; and if the Pope continued in communication with them, as he would do, there would be at once a case for a protest. Supposing the Pope refused to receive the protest, were the Government in that case to recall their ambassador? If they acted on that principle, they might recall their representative on almost every day in the year. Again, it was a branch of the prerogative appertaining to the Throne of this kingdom, that the Sovereign should receive whom she would as the representative of a foreign Court. Now, by this Bill that prerogative was interfered with, and Her Majesty was prevented from doing that which the law now enabled her to do. But, assuming that it was right so to restrict the prerogatives of the Throne, how was it possible for the Queen to ascertain the fact, that the ambassador of the Court of Rome to this country was not a person in holy orders, a Jesuit, or a member of some one of the religious orders of the Court of Rome? Was it to be by rumour? He asked the question from a personal interest, because there was a rumour that he laboured under the imputation—or rather had merited the meritorious distinction—of being a Jesuit. In case any such deception were practised, however, was Her Majesty to forfeit the Crown, or were her Ministers to be held responsible? The imputation contained in the clause introduced in the Bill by a distinguished nobleman in another place, although he (Mr. Anstey) could say that his noble Friend was very far indeed from so intending it), was a stigma upon the Church of Rome, of which the Pope was the head. He should like to know whether that was one of the objects of Her Majesty's Ministers? Was it a mode likely to conciliate the Roman Pontiff, and to induce him to receive an ambassador from this country? In the time of James H. Lord Castlemaine was impeached before the House of Commons for seeking to reconcile this country and its dominions with the See of Rome; and no lawyer ventured to assert, in the course of that impeachment, that he was impeachable for merely going to Rome charged with a message of amity from the King of Great Britain. It was 209 still an offence at law to endeavour to promote a reconciliation between the Church, at the head of which was the Sovereign of this country, and the See of Rome; but there was no law to prevent private per-sons from going to Rome, or the Crown from holding temporal relations with that Court. The Crown was not bound by the general laws of the country when any restraint upon the exercise of its prerogative interfered with the public welfare.Salus populi suprema lex.And it would be found that it was a breach of the law of nations, and of the law of England, too, to refuse to receive any envoy charged with a message of amity, whether from Rome or elsewhere, if the message did not relate to ecclesiastical matters. For these reasons he was of opinion that the measure was needless in one sense, and mischievous in another; and he therefore begged to move that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.
§ MR. URQUHART
, in seconding the Amendment, observed that, after the speech they had just heard, and the able analysis of this Bill by his hon. and learned Friend, the issue of the debate ought scarcely to be doubtful. This Bill was introduced at an early period of the Session into the other House of Parliament; and though it long ago came down to the House of Commons with the full blush of its terrors, yet day after day was allowed to pass away, and no further progress was made with it, and then, at the close of the Session, when Members had gone away, it was proposed to proceed with the measure. Those that were loft were sitting there morning and night; they were quite worn out; and the Government, with its packed majority, thus endeavoured to set through the House such measures as it had the hardihood to attempt to pass. This was a Bill which was sure to arouse political animosities and religious suspicions, and to meet with objections both from Protestants and from Roman Catholics; and there must be some extraordinary reason for proceeding with a measure of such a character. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Anstey) had afforded that reason, which was nothing less than the making use of the spiritual prerogative at Rome to further the purposes of the Government of Ireland. He must say, that this was an occasion worthy of the noble Lord, and which did justify this long-delay, and this indecent haste. The noble Lord, in introducing this measure, had 210 said, in allusion to himself (Mr. Urquhart) that the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome must be so self-evident and enticing, that he had no objections to meet except some scarecrow of his own, and that no man could scarcely have objections against a measure of this sort except himself (Mr. Urquhart), and those who shared his opinions. But he would tell the noble Lord that they had obtained from the Court of Rome, without diplomatic relations with that State, more confidence and more trusty reliance, and more self-sacrifice and devotion, than they had obtained from any other Court of Europe within their own time. Let him remind the noble Lord, when he spoke of the Bill being requisite with a view to commercial treaties, that at the time of the Berlin and Milan decrees, the means by which England was enabled to meet those decrees, and to carry her commerce, notwithstanding those decrees, into the interior of Europe, were afforded by two Governments with neither of which she had commercial relations, namely, that of Turkey and that of the Pope. Of the Pope, Mr. Koch said—Having thus established the continental system, Buonaparte used every endeavour to make all the continental Powers accede to it. Prussia and Russia adhered to it after the peace of Tilsit. Denmark soon entered into this French system. Spain acceded to it (January 8th), Austria (February 18th, 1808), and Sweden (January 6th, 1810); so that for some years the continent of Europe had no other medium of communication with England than by way of Constantinople. There was one prince in Christendom who refused his accession to the continental system, and that was Pius VII, This Sovereign Pontiff declared that all alliances which prohibited intercourse with a nation from whom they had suffered no grievance, was contrary to religion. In order to punish his Holiness for this resistance, General Mollis had orders to occupy Rome (February 3, 1808). This was the commencement of a series of aggressions and attacks by which Buonaparte vainly hoped to bend that great personage. To gratify his resentment, he stript the States of the Church by a decree issued at St. Cloud (April 2nd), of the provinces of Urbino, Ancona, Mace-rata and Camerino, which were annexed to the kingdom of Italy.*What could they have more than that if they had a thousand ambassadors? What, again, was it that gained them their position of warfare in Europe in the great struggle against Napoleon? Was it not afforded to them by undiplomatic Spain? These points alone were a sufficient answer to the noble Lord; for all that he had told them was, that these diplomatic* Koch's Revolutions of Europe.211 relations were necessary in order to establish railroads and commercial treaties. After some further remarks, in which the hon. Gentleman urged as other objections to the Bill, that there was an interest which affected this country in the Court of Rome, as a Protestant State, which was not to be found in Catholic communities, and that by the establishment of these diplomatic relations they would be connecting the Pope with the general system of European diplomacy, the effect of which was to take away the independence of the separate States of Europe; the hon. Gentleman concluded by seconding the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, that while he cordially concurred in the conclusion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Youghal, seconded by the hon. Member for Stafford, in rejecting this Bill, he differed so entirely—at all events, to so great a degree—from the opinions and grounds on which those hon. Members had rested their opposition to it, that he could not content himself with giving a silent support to their proposition, and must request the indulgence of the House while he stated the grounds on which, individually, he felt it to be his duty to oppose this measure. In the first place, he must observe, that the noble Lord who introduced it appeared not merely to take a very insufficient view of the importance of this measure—speaking, as he had done, only nine minutes "by Shrewsbury clock"—on a measure that changed the constitutional character of England in regard to foreign Powers; but the grounds on which the noble Lord introduced it, were, as it appeared to him, altogether so utterly insufficient as to fill everybody who heard him with surprise and astonishment. The noble Lord rested his defence of his measure not on any large statesmanlike views, or on any considerations relating to the particular position of the Papal States to other States of Europe in the great crisis which had shaken the Continental Powers; but he contented himself with defending this Bill on these two grounds, namely, the importance of consulting the commercial interests of England, and of facilitating the means for railway communication in the south of Europe. Now, he really must say that this was almost too grave a subject on which to pursue the noble Lord through such a flimsy defence as this. Why, so far as commercial interests were concerned, he had always understood that it was the consuls of Great 212 Britain who were generally selected to protect her commercial transactions abroad. But, let him ask, did the amount of trade between England and the whole of the Italian States—did the aggregate amount of all the commerce between England and those States—extend to as much as a twenty-fifth part of the commerce of Great Britain? That ground, then, was utterly inadmissible—no Minister had ever before alleged such a ground; nor had it ever formed part of any petition on the subject, or been advanced as an argument in favour of this Bill by any of its advocates either there or out of doors. He almost pitied the noble Lord when he found him reduced to the necessity of defending this Bill on the ground of the importance of getting a railroad over the Pontine marshes, or through Mount Vesuvius, and he knew not where. He, however, maintained that this Bill was a great fundamental change—and he regarded it as the beginning of reconciliation of England with Rome—and so he could tell the House was it looked on out of doors. But the noble Lord said that the law at this moment permitted what this Bill provided for. But was that so? Did the law permit it? Was this a declaratory Bill? Did the noble Lord state it as a declaratory Bill? It was a Bill not declaratory but enabling. It might be difficult, perhaps, to find a direct Act of Parliament which, totidem verbis, prevented the Queen from sending to Rome or to Constantinople any Minister she pleased; but the words "communion with Rome" had been so coustrued and understood for more than the last hundred years, at all events. When, therefore, the noble Lord concluded that this question had been settled by law already, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) must, on the contrary, maintain that the general opinion of England had been that that which this Bill sought to make law had not hitherto been law. Even the late Pope himself, Gregory XVI.—as high an authority, perhaps, for general history as any Sovereign reigning at the time, had said, when Bishop Wiseman—[An Hon. MEMBER: Doctor Wiseman]—he (Sir R. Inglis) had no objection to call him Bishop Wiseman—his objection was to calling him "Archbishop of Westminster." He did not deny that there were bishops in the Church of Rome—he only objected to their claiming to be bishops of places in his Queen's dominions, and against his Queen's permission and authority. But this was an episode; and he would now revert to the point on which he 213 was engaged when interrupted by the hon. Member. There was, then, an intercourse at Rome between Bishop Wiseman and the late Pope, in the course of which the Pope—referring to the subject of that intercourse, namely, that it might be advisable to open these relations with England—said, "It is for England to begin; England has a law disgraceful to herself, and insulting to the Church; let her repeal that law." He had quoted these words only to show that the noble Lord could not rely on his statement that the present state of the law allowed such intercourse as this Bill provided; for, in addition to the voice of the historian Hume, they had the voice of the Pope himself against it, who had been shown to contend that there was a law in England which prevented that intercourse with the Court of Rome. But the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Anstey) had observed that he objected to the words "Sovereign of Rome "in this Bill. He believed, however, that in the Bill as at first brought forward—and even as at first printed—the words used were, "Sovereign Pontiff," and that to those words some objection was taken; and possibly a translation of the words Pontifex Maximus, or Summus Pontifex, would have better pleased the hon. and learned Gentleman. But such was not the legal construction of the law of England—for here they took him as "Bishop of Rome"—and though in an Act of the 25th of Henry VIII., he may be called "the Pope," yet everywhere else his description is "the Bishop of Rome." Could it be possible, then, that the Pope would refuse to receive an ambassador from England, because he (the Pope) was called "Sovereign of Rome?" But now, let him ask, at what time was this Bill brought in? And where was the Pope, and who was he, and what was the Court of Rome? His objection was not against entering into negotiations with a temporal prince, whatever his religion; but the question here was, should they take this first step for establishing relations with the Court of Rome? They did not object to the civil governor of Rome; and if in the course of the next year there should even be another Tribune of Rome—another Rienzi—his objection would not extend to him. The question was, were they prepared to recognise the Sovereign of Rome in that character in which he had most influence in this country, and over the minds of so great a portion of his subjects in these realms—for the Pope had millions of sub- 214 jects in these realms as well as elsewhere. He wished he could say he had not—he wished he could contradict this; but he could not, and if he could not prevent the issuing of all the edicts from the Pope which were addressed to them, let him, at all events, not do anything that would legalise them. Would any State in Europe, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, have permitted the Pope of Rome to carve out a portion of the native dominions of that State, and to divide it into archbishoprics and bishoprics, without communication with its own Sovereign? He trusted that his noble Friend at the head of the Government would state distinctly—as he believed he could have done a few months ago—that a delicate intimation had been made to the Pope that he could not be permitted to create a bishopric in the Queen's dominions without the Queen's consent. He did trust that the noble Lord would state this: although the statement had, he believed, appeared in the Tablet in England, and in the Freeman's Journal in Ireland, that bulls were introduced into this country at this moment, and without the sanction of the Queen, dividing the Queen's dominions into archbishoprics and bishoprics, and filling them with persons not appointed, or recognised, or acknowledged by the Queen. This, he contended, no Protestant Sovereign in Europe but the Queen of England would have permitted for a moment; and he did hope that the Sovereign of these realms had advisers about her throne strong enough to reject any such proposition—at all events, he had reason to know that at least a few months ago a stop was put to such proceedings. The hon. Baronet then said, that there had been ever since 1829—he feared he must say since 1793—an unceasing effort to use the power of Rome for the advance of its religion. He did not complain of Roman Catholics for advancing their own religion; but he did complain that those who believed that the Protestant religion was the perfect form, and alone contained the great truths, and nothing but the truths, of Christianity, should give such encouragement to others. Let them not give to them any more of the vantage ground which, for the last fifty years, had been so largely yielded to them; and if they could not retrace the steps they had taken, let them beware that they did not aggravate the evil from which they had reaped such grievous results. He had already asked where the Pope was, and what he was? Was the Court 215 of Rome represented by those who in Rome itself insulted the Austrian Embassy a few months ago? Was the sovereign power of Rome represented by the Pope and the Cardinals, who could now be scarcely said to be in a state of free agency? Did the Pope act as a free agent when he gave his blessing to his troops engaged in the unholy war against the Austrians, and called them a "sacred" army? If he did, what claim had he for any consideration? If he did not, what claim had he for any confidence? Had the Pope any claim for further recognition from this country in consequence of conduct thus pursued by him? At a time when the Pope had violated all his treaties with Austria—with Austria, the chief benefactor of the Papacy—when he had violated his treaties and personal engagements with Austria, and shown himself unable to protect the Austrian Ambassador—at a time when he had sent forth his troops to attack Austria—it was at such a time that they (the House of Commons) were asked to reverse the constitution of England. No fewer than 3,500 of the parochial clergy of England, in every diocese, had expressed their strong objections to this measure, and earnestly implored this House to give no further encouragement to that of which the individual now at the head of the See of Rome was the great representative. They had seen by this debate—so far as it had gone—that, however much this Bill might alienate the affections of Protestants, it did not conciliate the undivided affections of the Roman Catholics themselves. In the course of the month of March last, there was a meeting of the Roman Catholics of London, who presented a memorial to the Pope denouncing this Bill. If, then, they satisfied neither of these parties, why bring forward this Bill on the 17th of August? In the House of Lords, it was considered a matter of such vital importance, that it was there advanced with breathless haste; and it was sent down to the House of Commons so far back as the 20th of February last. What could explain the haste of that period, and the apathy and indifference with which they had since regarded this Bill, except the fact that they had, in February, an unauthorised Minister in Rome; and they wished to give effect to his proceedings by an ex post facto law. But they were too late for that; and Lord Minto had returned without Her Majesty having been authorised to open any diplomatic relations with 216 Rome. He had stated to his noble Friend at the head of the Government, that he should feel it to be his duty to ask him two or three questions with respect to certain letters, and also with regard to the appointment of archbishops and bishops in this country, without the consent of its Sovereign. He now begged to ask his noble Friend, whether he would have any objection to lay upon the table of the House any communications that were addressed by the Earl of Clarendon to Earl Grey, in consequence of which that noble Earl addressed his celebrated circular, giving Roman Catholic bishops a title which no Act of Parliament had ever given them? and whether he would object to lay on the table a copy of the letter of the Earl of Clarendon to Archbishop Murray, in March last, in which letter, without the passing of this Bill, Lord Clarendon—whom he (Sir R. Inglis) would not name without honour and without gratitude to him for his late conduct—did directly communicate diplomatically with the Pope, through the Archbishop, on the subject of the statutes of the new colleges in Ireland? He should record his vote against the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. MOORE
would only remark that if he had entertained any doubt respecting the Bill, that doubt would have been entirely removed by the speech of the hon. Baronet, inasmuch as the hon. Baronet appeared to give his assent to the substance of the Bill under consideration, and only objected to the manner in which the diplomatic relations should be conducted. As long as those relations were conducted by consuls, the hon. Baronet was perfectly satisfied; that was to say, as long as they were conducted in a surreptitious, clandestine, un-English, and, as he (Mr. Moore) thought, an unworthy way; but the hon. Baronet's religious scruples were aroused when the same thing was proposed to be done in an open and honourable manner, as the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) proposed. This was exactly the whole gist of the question; and because he (Mr. Moore) preferred the open to the clandestine manner—the English mode to the Italian mode—straightforward dealing to underhand dealing—that he was prepared to give his entire assent to the proposal of the noble Lord, and to express his entire dissent from the proposition of the hon. Baronet.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
I think that the hon. Gentleman who has last spoken, has, in a few words, completely answered the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member 217 for the University of Oxford; still, as the hon. Baronet applied to me in reference to some questions he put, and some objections to the Bill under consideration, I will venture to trouble the House with a few remarks. The hon. Baronet is not satisfied either with the reasons given for the Bill by my noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston), or with the reasons urged against it by the two hon. Gentlemen who have opposed it. He therefore proceeds to state other reasons of his own for objecting to the measure; and I think, with respect to the legal part, as well as with respect to the political part of the question, he has fallen into an error which perhaps is natural, from the course of our history, but which appears to me to be decisive of this whole question. According to the law of this country, the Queen, as head of the State, cannot enter into communion with Rome. The hon. Baronet says that it is quite clear from that that there can be no diplomatic relations with Rome, for that such would he contrary to law. Now, my noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) stated that there is some doubt with respect to the meaning of that statute, but that the more probable meaning of it was, that there should not be a religious communion of the head of the State of England with the Court of Rome. But, however, it is obvious that, whatever was the danger to be guarded against, there is sufficient ambiguity in the wording of the law to make it fitting that no diplomatic relations should be formally established between this country and Rome by any credentials authorised by the Queen, unless with the consent of Parliament. I do not think that, so long as there is any doubt remaining (and persons of the highest authority we could consult did think that there was a doubt), it would be right in the Executive to take any step in this matter without the formal assent of Parliament. It is for this reason, therefore, that we propose a Bill on the subject. The hon. Baronet says that this is the first step to a reconciliation with Rome. Now, these two words, "reconciliation" and "communion, "are liable to a like interpretation. "Communion "may bear the meaning of that sort of relation which was established by Queen Mary with Rome after the reign of Edward VI, and which James II. intended ultimately to establish; and the word "reconciliation" is one of similar import, meaning likewise the establishment of religious relations with Rome. That relation is one which, though actually effected by Queen 218 Mary, and in contemplation by James II., is at present, I think, entirely out of the question. It is not a danger at all likely to arise. It is not one which Parliament would take any care to provide against, because it is, I think, as impossible as any event that can be conceived. It is, therefore, upon an advantage taken of this ambiguity that the hon. Baronet founds his whole argument; and he says, you must have no diplomatic relations with Rome, because they imply reconciliation; and the words reconciliation and communion imply the religious communion of this Protestant State with Roman Catholicism. The real question, then, before the House is this—whether, there being no longer such a danger as our ancestors thought fit to provide against in the Act of William and Mary, it is now advisable or not to keep up that barrier which exists to prevent political relations with Rome? As the hon. Gentleman who last spoke says truly enough, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford has now no objection to these relations being established; in fact, he has no objection to consuls carrying on commercial relations, or to an English attaché from Florence going to Rome and carrying on political relations; but he cannot agree to those relations being carried on under statute, or by the Queen's credentials. It is, therefore, to the appearance and not to the fact that the hon. Baronet objects; and with respect to the possibility of making this alteration, I put it on this ground, that, in my view of this matter, it is far better that these relations should be placed on an open and intelligible footing, and that the mission sent to Rome should be avowed there as the representative of the Queen of England, than that it should be carried on by these un-avowed and underhand, and at the same time well known, relations. The hon. Gentleman opposite alluded to Chevalier Bunsen. He was a most decided Protestant, and a representative of a Protestant State at the Court of Rome; and he is supposed to have drawn up in 1831 or 1832 certain proposals with respect to the government of the Roman States, and with respect to the reform of certain temporal abuses which existed in those States. He, a Protestant Minister, drew up these regulations; and among the persons called on to assent to them was the individual who was well known to represent and have his authority from England, and whose support and influence were required; but, although representing England, he was 219 unable, in consequence of this ambiguity in the law, to confess that he possessed that character on that occasion. Which, then, was the better position—that of a Protestant Minister of a Protestant country openly avowing his character, or that of a Minister for England afraid and unable to avow that he stood there in the character of the representative of that country? I do not see what is gained by this hide-and-seek mode of proceeding. The hon. Baronet has stated that he has no objection to any relations with the sovereign power of Rome, if dictators or consuls existed there. I do not know exactly what the hon. Baronet means; for it is rather alarming to hear him make such declarations. He certainly does not expect that the ancient dictators and consuls should revive again; and if he means such characters as Rienzi, and persons of that kind, it would rather seem as if the hon. Baronet were engaged in some Carbonari conspiracy both to overturn the Pope, and set up some tribune of the people in his place. But the hon. Baronet, in making objections to that which it appeared he could not see any solid objections to, thinks that it will give some advantage to the Roman Catholic Church, and that it will look as if we were altering the Protestant character of this State; and, therefore, he thinks that it is not advisable to enter into these diplomatic relations. Now, I think it better that in all these matters we should not stand on the adventitious and artificial and we derive from saying that we will not have any communications with the Court of Rome. The Roman Catholics may assume that there is an ad-vantage to them in having a diplomatic intercourse between this country and the Court of Rome. Then, with regard to those who do not think so, the hon. Baronet's fears must be allayed. But I think that, if the matter is in itself right, if there is no actual disadvantage in it, it is far better to do away with this sort of fiction that now exists, that we cannot hold diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome, and let the Roman Catholics derive any benefit which they may fancy they can derive from the change. I do not think Protestantism rests upon so frail a basis. I should be much more afraid of the Roman Catholic religion if I thought that these foolish and obsolete restrictions were really the securities upon which Protestantism depended. An hon. Gentleman has asked me some questions with regard to certain proceedings that have taken 220 place. I do not know whether he wishes to ask me now with respect to the creation of Roman Catholic archbishoprics in England. I do not know that the Pope has authorised in any way, by any authority he may have, the creation of any archbishopric or bishopric with diocesses in England; but certainly I have not given my consent—nor should I give my consent if I were asked to do so—to any such formation of diocesses. With regard to spiritual authority, the hon. Gentleman must see, when he alludes to other States in Europe, that whatever control is to be obtained over the spiritual authority of the Pope, can only be obtained by agreement for that end. You must either give certain advantages to the Roman Catholic religion, and obtain from the Pope certain other advantages in return, among which you must stipulate that the Pope shall not create any diocesses in England without the consent of the Queen; or, on the other hand, you must say that you will have nothing to do with arrangements of that kind—that you will not consent, in any way, to give any authority to the Roman Catholic religion in England. But, then, you must leave the spiritual authority of the Pope entirely unfettered. You cannot bind the Pope's spiritual influence unless you have some agreement. For my own part, I am not disposed to think that it would be for the advantage of this country, or that it would be agreeable to the Roman Catholics, that we should have an agreement with the Pope, by which their religious arrangements should be regulated. But, although you may prevent any spiritual authority from being exercised by the Pope by law, yet there is no provision—no law—my hon. Friend could frame that would deprive the Pope of that influence which is merely exercised over the mind, or that would preclude him from giving advice to those who choose to attend to such advice. It is quite obvious that you cannot by any means and authority whatever prevent the Pope from communicating with the Catholics of this country. You may try to prevent such communication from being open; but I think it would be very foolish if you took any means of great vigour and energy for that purpose. If, however, such communication is not open, it will be secret. So long as there are Roman Catholics in the country, and so long as they acknowledge the Pope as the head of their Church, you cannot prevent his having spiritual influence over those who belong to that communion. My 221 hon. Friend put a question to me with respect to a letter of Lord Clarendon to Earl Grey, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I do not think there is any official letter on the subject to which the hon. Gentleman referred. I think it was merely a private letter of Lord Clarendon, communicating to Lord Grey what had been done in Ireland, and that Lord Grey issued his circular in consequence. The hon. Baronet also put a question to me with respect to a letter to Archbishop Murray. That, likewise, was a private letter, and I do not think that it could in any form he produced; but I have no hesitation in acknowledging the substance and object of that letter. Its substance was to inform Archbishop Murray that Lord Clarendon had been considering the amendments in the proposed statutes of the colleges which are not yet formed in Ireland, and that he hoped those amendments would have the effect of removing the suspicion of many of the Roman Catholic clergy and laity that these colleges would be of an irreligious character, and would tend to promote infidelity. The object of that letter, no doubt was, that the Pope, who had written to Ireland, advising the Roman Catholics not to have anything to do with those colleges, should consider those amendments, which might probably lead him to withdraw his censure. I should not have supposed, had I not heard the statement of my hon. Friend, that he could have seen anything so very wrong or alarming in this letter of Lord Clarendon, or in the purpose he had in view. I remember, when that plan was first proposed, my hon. Friend lifted up his hands and said, "Here is a gigantic scheme of godless education!" That was his feeling as a Protestant. Some of the Roman Catholic bishops entertained the same objection. They apprehended—I think groundlessly—that these colleges would tend to promote infidelity. I ask, then, whether Lord Clarendon was to blame, considering the objections made by my hon. Friend, and by the Roman Catholic bishops—considering that the population of Ireland is composed in great part of Roman Catholics, and of persons who belong to the Protestant Established Church—I ask whether, after Parliament had designed a sum of money for the erection of these colleges, Lord Clarendon was wrong in endeavouring to allay the fears which existed, and to render the colleges useful to persons of all communities? Really I do not know what my hon. Friend's feeling is with 222 regard to the Roman Catholics. When we had under discussion in this House the admission of Jews into Parliament, then we were all Christians together; Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and members of the Church of England, were all closely united. Nothing but minute differences then separated us. There were none but the Jews who were to be excluded—who were unfit to be admitted into our brotherhood. But the Bill relating to the Jews having been got rid of, it appears that the distinction is to be as wide as ever, and our dear and beloved brethren, the Roman Catholics, have gone back as far as ever from our communion, and we are no longer to treat them with that great kindness which was used towards them when the Jews were to be the objects of proscription and exclusion. Seeing, then, that this Bill only proposes to make the law agree with the fact—seeing that Parliament must be aware of the fact that we have relations with the Court of Rome, and that occasions may arise—whether they relate to commerce, to the state of Italy, or to more general questions—which may make it advisable that we should have diplomatic intercourse with Rome, I hope the House will have no objection to sanction a Bill of this kind, which unites the law with the fact. The measure has already, under other circumstances, been agreed to by the House of Lords. It was adopted by them some months ago; but since that time certain events have occurred which have undoubtedly contributed to some extent to shake the temporal authority of the Pope. I trust, however, this House will not consider that, because that temporal authority has been weakened, now is the time for us to say to the Pope—" We should have been glad to have had diplomatic relations with you when you were strong; but now you are weak, we must decline to have any intercourse with you." I hope the House will assent to this Bill.
§ MR. LAW
could not concur with the noble Lord in his construction of the existing law; nor could he admit that the duty of the Sovereign with respect to carrying on relations with the Court of Rome was at all a matter of doubt. He thought it was not candid to state in the preamble of the Bill that it was doubtful whether diplomatic relations could be established with the Sovereign of the Roman States, when a proper interpretation was given of the words" Sovereign of the Roman States." The Pope of Rome was Sovereign because he was Pope. He was not Pope because 223 he was Sovereign. The Pope created the sovereignty, the sovereignty did not create the Pope; and therefore he thought it was insincere and legally untrue to say that any doubt existed as to whether, by the existing law, it was competent for Her Majesty to hold diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome. He regretted that a nobleman of great consideration should have been allowed, in an equivocal character, to hold those relations which were forbidden by the law. The present condition of the Pope of Rome rendered it peculiarly inconvenient at this time, even if he were otherwise qualified, to open those relations with him. What had he done to entitle himself to the confidence of this country or of Europe, that he should be enabled to exercise that meddling and mischievous policy which, wielding a double sceptre, he had such facilities for doing? He had already disturbed the foundations of the Italian States. We had had an instance of the most atrocious aggression on his part against the Austrian empire. And now we were called upon to adjust those differences, when Austria, by her courage and her arms, vindicated her just rights; we were called upon to restrain that Power which had so valiantly stood alone, and maintained its own against all comers, by stepping forward to commence relations with the sovereign authority of Rome, who had been the fomenter of those disturbances. When he who had been the author of the mischief had received a check, we were asked to step in and destroy the fruits of legitimate conquests belonging to Austria, and to uphold that Power which had shaken to its foundation the Government of the Italian States. The Bill was altogether a subterfuge to legalise that which was against the constitution and the law, and the title by which Her Majesty held her Crown, and he should feel it his duty to oppose the further progress of the measure.
MR. HENRY DRUMMOND
said, that an hon. and learned Member had raised an objection to the Bill, which was of grave importance; and if he could think that it were possible, as that learned Gentleman had distinctly charged, that Her Majesty's Government were intending to make it a machinery and a means by which, directly or indirectly, the Queen should make use of the Pope or the Roman Catholic clergy to rule her subjects, he would decidedly oppose the measure, as a thing derogatory to the Crown of these realms. Her Majesty's duty was to rule Her subjects Herself, 224 without reference to any foreign Sovereign; but he did not believe that the Ministry had any such intention as that learned Gentleman had stated. It had been alleged that this Bill was to make a great change; and the change was called a reconciliation with the Church of Rome. He would not quibble upon words; but this he would say, that anything which was to be the means of producing reconciliation among all the sects of Christendom should receive his warmest approbation. Much too long had men tried to distinguish themselves by fomenting acrimonious feelings among religious communities; and when he heard so much cheering at the sentiment that there should be peace among the nations, and war should be heard of no more, he conceived it but a vain delusion to suppose such a consummation possible while men continued to regard it as a part of their religious duty to continue their sectarian animosity. He had passed many a Wednesday with worthy, respectable, and grown-up gentlemen, who were positively in a state of panic lest bulls should come into Ireland. Now, after all, what was a bull coming into Ireland? An old gentleman in Rome put a letter in the post directed to another old gentleman in Dublin. If Gentlemen would only look hard at it, they would not be so much frightened, after all. He perceived there was a clause in the Bill to prevent the Pope from appointing an ecclesiastical person his representative. Hon. Gentlemen were alarmed lest a cardinal should find his way here; but did they suppose that by any machinery in the world they could really prevent a cardinal from coming in? They were only showing a peevish jealousy, and insulting the Court with which they sought to establish relations. A petition against the Bill had been presented from the Dean of Westminster; and the fear expressed was, that the Pope would appoint archbishops and bishops in this country. If the Church of Scotland chose to establish another presbytery in London, we could not stop it; it was no concern of ours; and, as to Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops, we were bound to acknowledge them; the Church of England recognised the orders of the Church of Rome. It was easy to talk against their titles of "archbishops" and "bishops;" but they were not mere sound—they were facts—realities—persons holding high offices, and the Roman Catholics alone were the fit judges how many there should be, and where they should be 225 placed. Hon. Gentlemen seemed to have a great dislike to the Pope; perhaps some of them had the same feeling as was entertained in Scotland, where there was a great horror of him; first, because he was Antichrist; next, because he was identified with the "scarlet lady;" and, thirdly—which was the great offence of all—because he was a bishop. He (Mr. Drummond) looked upon this Bill as just enabling the Government to do openly and honestly what they had long been obliged to do clandestinely.
§ MR. NAPIER
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down had stated clearly, in his opening, the reasons on which he (Mr. Napier) founded his objections to the Bill. The hon. Gentleman stated that if it was the intention of her Majesty's Government to make use of the power of the Pope to govern her subjects in the united kingdom, he would oppose the Bill. The great question was whether the genuine—he would not say the ostensible—object of the Bill was to make use of the Pope for that purpose indirectly. This Bill went to recognise an authority not recognised by this country; and the result might be that that authority would come into conflict with that of the Queen, and divide the allegiance of Her Majesty's subjects. The British constitution protested against the jurisdiction of the Pope in these realms. The great Lord Somers, who took so prominent a part in the last Act of Settlement, said that those who simply adhered to the Catholic Church were good Catholics,—those who dealt with the Court of Rome were Papists, and enemies and traitors to the realms of England, and utterly unfit for any trust in any Protestant country. Lord Somers, by that distinction, evidently meant that those who recognised the power and authority of the Pope of Rome to be superior to that of the Sovereign of England, professed themselves not amenable to the laws of England, and they ought not to partake of the benefits of the English constitution. If the object of this Bill was to enable the Government to have negotiations with the Court of Home, and to acknowledge the Pope, as the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, to control any portion of Her Majesty's subjects, he would join with the hon. and learned Recorder of London in opposing its further progress. If it could be shown that a wholesome policy required any acts to be performed by the Government, such as this Bill would sanction, he would not oppose it; but was it right that 226 a Government that had done wrong stealthily should now come forward and say, "These things ought to be done openly; we have violated the law; let us have a Bill which will sanction that violation." The bulk of the Protestants of the empire said that Her Majesty's Government had introduced a Bill opposed to the constitution and public feeling of this country, which would inflame discord, excite suspicion, and promote intrigue. If, as had been asserted—and the assertion had not been denied—the main object of this Bill was to govern Ireland, and if the British constitution were not strong enough to effect that object without the and of the interference of Rome, then he would say, advisedly, they had no right to hold Ireland one single hour in connexion with England. The Bill was first introduced on the 14th of December, 1847. It was stated in another place, by one of Her Majesty's Ministers, that Lord Minto left this country accredited to all the States of Italy, except one, to which, no doubt, by the law of this country, as that law was generally understood, he could not be accredited. In introducing this Bill, the Marquess of Lansdowne said—There is not a Court in the world in which it would be more useful for this Government to he enabled to explain the nature and object of its own transactions, and to lay them open to the head of that Court, with the peculiar influence he possesses in every part of Her Majesty's dominions.Afterwards, on the third reading of the Bill, a noble Lord, formerly the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, stated that if the Bill was not intended to facilitate the dealings of this country with Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects, it would be useless and objectionable. It was stated again in the presence of the noble Lord who introduced this measure, that it was to make the Pope ancillary to the Government of Ireland, which he did not deny. It had been stated that evening in the presence of Her Majesty's Ministers that that was its object, and he had not yet heard any denial from the Government, although he had waited to hear from them a manly and explicit avowal that such was not its object. Was that an English course? If the Bill merely related to the affairs of Italy, he wished to know what necessity there was for our interfering with Italian affairs at all? Why should England interfere with the Pope, and embroil herself with Italian troubles? If this Bill were passed, the Government must recognise the Pope's supremacy, and 227 enter into negotiations, which the Protestant Act of Settlement forbad. If the relations with the Pope contemplated by this Bill were sanctioned, there could be no doubt that the Pope, as in duty bound, would contrive by every means to extend his religion throughout these realms. From the earliest periods of our history, the supremacy of the Church of England had been jealously upheld by the Legislature; but we were now about to throw aside all former safeguards. The Bill said, in a shuffling way, "the Sovereign of the Roman States." Why not say the Pope at once? The real object of this measure was to govern Ireland through the Pope, and it was not therefore unreasonable in the Protestants of Ireland to view it with alarm. The Irish Protestants had been loyal and faithful, and ought not to be lightly treated. Sedition never came from their lips; but they were unnoticed and disregarded. They found in one part of Ireland disloyalty and sedition, and in another (in the north) peace and loyalty; and was it wise to depart from a system which had at least caused peace and loyalty to one portion of the population of Ireland?
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
felt that they would be greatly deceiving themselves and misleading the country if they were to deal with this question otherwise than as with a question deserving much greater discussion in a much fuller House than at this period of the Session it could possibly obtain. If the measure were to be vindicated on the grounds stated by the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, with respect to commercial relations, and also by the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, in his able and, in that point of view, satisfactory speech, he could not differ from its principle. But in that point of view alone the measure was not and could not be of such pressing importance that it should be urged on the acceptance of the House at this period of the Session, and in the present state of public business; as it was obvious that no time could be devoted to the full and fair consideration of its import and effect, so as to determine whether it did not involve more important principles and consequences than those to which the noble Lord had adverted. The noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had stated that this measure rested on the ground that this country had commercial relations of some, but not of great, though it might be of growing importance 228 with the Roman States. If sufficient provision had not been made for the maintenance of commercial relations with the Roman States, the subject was a proper one for consideration; but that the House should for that reason hurry through a measure involving such collateral consequences as the present Bill, was a conclusion in which he could not coincide. The commercial interests of the Roman States had been in the same position as now since the noble Lord succeeded to office, and under his predecessors; and with respect to the railways which had not been begun in the Roman States, or even in Italy, so as to be available for the carriage of mails, he was surprised to hear that consideration stated as an argument for opening new diplomatic relations with the Roman States. He would be ready to concur in any measure for putting those relations on a proper footing, and to provide the means for carrying out such a measure, so that while its objects were open and avowed, it should be incapable of being used for other purposes than those which were avowed. But when it was proposed to establish diplomatic relations with the Sovereign of the Roman States, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, it ought to be borne in mind, that they were not only filling up a blank in their diplomatic relations with foreign Powers, but adopting a measure which might establish relations to which no other diplomatic relations had any analogy whatever. This country had no Minister accredited to any other spiritual potentate on the face of the earth. The practical question, after all, was, whether the measure was likely to be used for other than diplomatic purposes connected with the commerce of the country? If he thought it could not be used for other than such diplomatic purposes, he should not oppose the Bill; but therein lay the difficulty. The noble Lord said there were two systems open for adoption: one, as in Prussia, which authorised the Government of the State to interfere with the spiritual arrangements; "but," said the noble Lord, "we go on a different system; we have not those political relations with the Roman Catholic Church;" and the noble Lord added that he did not think it desirable they should have such relations. The proposition had been made to introduce, coordinately with the present Established Church of Ireland, another establishment of a Roman Catholic Church. It was impossible to doubt that if we established diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome, 229 arrangements might be made for stopping the mouths of the opponents of a proposition for altering the relations of the State with the Catholic Church in Ireland, and for giving an advantage to those who might hereafter introduce such a measure. Under these circumstances, he could not make up his mind to vote for the second reading of the Bill at this late period of the Session, when it was impossible that it could receive the consideration which the important collateral subjects connected with it demanded.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, he felt it impossible to give a silent vote upon this question; but he would endeavour to compress what he had to say within a brief space. There were, he must confess, several circumstances connected with the question, particularly as regarded the time at which the Bill had been proposed, which made it difficult for him to give the vote which he felt compelled to give in assertion of the principle of the measure. It was an unfortunate incident, as had been observed by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth, that the House should be called upon, at so late a period of the Session, when the minds of Members were exhausted by the labours which they had gone through, to give judgment upon a question like this, touching upon some of the highest and most delicate matters which could come under the consideration of Parliament. It was also unfortunate, as his hon. Friend and Colleague had urged, that the House should be invited to debate the question at a moment when—looking to the state of affairs in Italy—it was not improbable that in a few months the whole of the subject-matter in dispute would have passed away. It was further unfortunate, as his hon. Friend and Colleague had pointed out, that the House should be called upon to consider the question at a time when the Pope proposed to divide the English territory intoarch bishoprics and bishoprics. He concurred with those who thought that we must stand upon one of two grounds. If we declined political communication with the See of Rome, we had no right to complain of any steps which the Pope might take with respect to the administration of his own ecclesiastical affairs; but an act so directly in contravention of the laws of the land as the partitioning of the country into archbishoprics and bishoprics was a most unfortunate proceeding, not only because it was generally and justly offensive to the feelings of 230 the people of England, and totally unnecessary, as he believed, for Roman Catholic purposes, but also because it ill assorted with the grounds on which the Parliament was invited by the present Bill to establish definite relations with the See of Rome. Having thus briefly adverted to the reasons which he thought ought to induce the Government to postpone the measure until next Session, he would now state the course which he must take upon the present occasion. It would not be consistent with his duty to evade the difficulty in which he felt himself placed by declining to give a vote for the second reading. He was determined not to blink the principle involved in the Bill. What were the grounds of the policy which this country had hitherto observed towards the See of Rome? For 100 years after the Reformation, the Pope was actually in arms for the purpose of recovering by force his lost dominion in this country. That was an historical fact. It was not referred to by him for the purpose of blame; the proceeding was conformable to the practice of the time. It was only natural that we should have prohibited relations with the See of Rome when it attacked the title of the Sovereign of these realms; but there was no reason for continuing the prohibition at the present moment, when all danger from such a cause was universally admitted to have ceased. He now came to the second ground. He felt, with his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin, that there was something most unsatisfactory and unbecoming to the character of Englishmen in the present state of our relations with the See of Rome. It might he alleged that, under the existing system, we did substantially maintain diplomatic relations with Rome. He did not here allude to mere consular appointments, for they would not raise the question of diplomatic relations. But we had had agents acting in Rome on matters of great and paramount importance; and no one had ever said a stop ought to be put to that system. A necessity, that was felt to be stronger than the letter of the law, had brought about this state of things; a feeling of necessity stronger than national or party prepossessions had driven us into a practice not altogether compatible with the frankness and ingenuousness of the English character. He thought, however, that this state of matters should not exist—that the pretence ought to be made conformable to the reality, and the pro- 231 fession to what was the practice. He thought the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin had placed this part of the question on its true ground. It was not merely the relations which this country bore to Italian affairs that were to be considered in dealing with this measure. They would not be dealing honestly nor fairly with the case if they shut their eyes to the fact; and they would be chargeable with legislating on this question on false and erroneous pretences. It had been admitted in the House of Lords in the most distinct and emphatic language, that the demands upon Parliament to pass this Bill had reference mainly to the occasional necessity that existed for the intervention of the See of Rome in affairs of an internal and domestic character. Now, he did not think it necessarily followed that this Bill made any alteration in the position of Parliament with reference to the Church of Rome in Ireland. He was satisfied, that if a time should come when some general arrangement with the Church of Rome in Ireland should be considered desirable, there would not be the slightest pretence for saying that Parliament was betrayed into a measure of that nature, or adopted it unprepared and unawares. There would be ample evidence before that time arrived, that the establishment of these diplomatic relations bad done nothing whatever to fetter the perfect liberty with which they should approach the discussion of such a subject. It was admitted that we had occasionally been subjected to the necessity of holding communication with the Roman Catholic authorities. Indeed, it could not be denied; and surely to that admission, followed another admission of the inevitable necessity for a measure of this description. He would take the instance of the Bill for erecting academical institutions in Ireland. Was it not obvious as a measure of good sense, that the passing of that Bill necessitated communications with the See of Rome? Would it have been right to institute these colleges without ascertaining what were to be the arrangements of the Church of Rome regarding them? Reference had been made to a letter addressed on this subject by Lord Clarendon to Archbishop Murray; but he could see nothing that was not perfectly fair and reasonable in that letter. He could sec in it nothing offensive to any other church or denomination; because he held there was fair ground for the pre- 232 sumption, that if the measure had not the concurrence of the Protestant people of Ireland, they would have made their views known through their representatives. The Lord Lieutenant had held communication with the See of Rome through Archbishop Murray; and he would only say that, in his view, it would be acting wrong to establish educational institutions in Ireland and not communicate with the Roman Catholic authorities as to the manner in which those institutions were to be framed. If they granted this, then he asked if it was right that the Lord Lieutenant should be driven to an indirect and clandestine communication with the See of Rome? If they merely went to a bishop or an archbishop, who were inferior to the Pope of Rome in authority, no satisfactory arrangements could be made; they would be making covenants with persons who were irresponsible to them; and, therefore, if they wished it to be known that they made valid arrangements with the Church of Rome, they had no choice but to go to the head-quarters where such arrangements alone could be made. They might as well treat with sergeants and corporals instead of the general of an army, as with persons of secondary rank in the Church of Rome; and, therefore, as a matter of business and common sense, it had become an inevitable necessity that on those particular and limited occasions, when the House thought it necessary to legislate on Roman Catholic affairs, there should be communication with the Roman Catholic authorities. That involved communication with the Pope; and if so, it was perfectly right and proper that it should be direct and avowed, instead of being clandestine. But it was said that this would go to substitute the influence of the Pope for the authority of the Crown. He saw the force of this remark, and he was ready to admit that they ought ever to look to the authority of the Crown and the law, instead of foreign intervention, in the government of the country. But he could not look to the state of Ireland, and recollect that there were men in that House charged with the maintenance of peace and order in Ireland, and refuse to give them any and not illegitimate which they might wish to make available for this great purpose. He would not, from any fear of being misapprehended, and of being thought to entertain views regarding future schemes—which he would leave to be dealt with when their time of ripeness 233 came—he would not, from any such considerations, withhold his support from this measure. If it was true that, on certain occasions, when a spirit of disaffection, or something like disaffection, was manifested in Ireland, the influence of the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church had been beneficially used for the maintenance of peace and order, he would not shrink from saying that he regarded favourably the use of that influence, though he regretted the necessity which had arisen for its exercise; and he would conclude by stating that, on the present occasion, nothing would be done on his part to prevent that influence being openly and directly accepted whenever necessity demanded it.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had distinctly and avowedly, and he would say manfully, acknowledged that he considered Her Majesty incapable of governing Ireland. Such was the conclusion to be drawn from what he had stated to the House. He had always looked on this measure with extreme dislike, and that feeling had been heightened by what had occurred during the debate. It was an attempt to obtain for Her Majesty the cooperation of a Power that never would cooperate, but which would endeavour to supersede the authority of the Government. He would give the Bill the most determined opposition.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, that if he voted against the second reading, it arose from the period at which the noble Lord opposite had brought the question forward. In the other House it had been urged on as a pressing matter; but in that House the noble Lord himself had postponed it nineteen several times during this Session. He thought that the House was justified, at this very late period of the Session, in declining to enter into the consideration of a measure of this sort, deeply affecting the feelings of a large portion of the community, who were necessarily embarrassed to ascertain the grounds upon which it was specifically brought forward. After what they had heard, and the grounds upon which the noble Lord proposed this measure, and especially after the speech of his right hon. Friend near him, without expressing any opinion whether it might not be right to place upon a sounder footing our diplomatic relations with Rome, and considering, also, the conflicting arguments by which the Government supported 234 the measure, he should give his vote against the second reading.
§ The House divided on the question that the word "now" stand part of the question:—Ayes 125; Noes 46; Majority 79.
|List of the AYES.|
|Abdy, T. N.||Lushington, C.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||M'Gregor, J.|
|Adair, H. E.||Maher, N. V.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Martin, J.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Martin, C. W.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Matheson, Col.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Milner, W. M. E.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Monsell, W.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Moore, G. H.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Morpeth, Visct.|
|Berkeley, hon. C. F.||Norreys, Lord|
|Bernal, R.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||O'Brien, T.|
|Blackall, S. W.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Osborne, R.|
|Bright, J.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Brotherton, J.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Brown, W.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Buller, C.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Parker, J.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Childers, J. W.||Perfect, R.|
|Clay, J.||Pinney, W.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Power, Dr.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Pusey, P.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Raphael, A.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Reynolds, J.|
|Craig, W. G.||Rich, H.|
|Denison, W. J.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Divett, E.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Dodd, G.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Douro, Marq. of||Salwey, Col.|
|Drummond, H.||Soholefield, W.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Seymour, Lord|
|Dunne, F. P.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Simeon, J.|
|Foley, J. H. H.||Smith, J. A.|
|Forster, M.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Fox, W. J.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.||Talfourd, Serj.|
|Greene, J.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Thompson, Col.|
|Grey, R. W.||Thornely, T.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Grosvenor, Earl||Townshend, Capt.|
|Harcourt, G. G.||Turner, E.|
|Hawes, B.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Hayter, W. G.||Watkins, Col.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.||Williams, J.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Wilson, J.|
|Howard, P. H.||Wilson, M.|
|Howard, Sir R.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Keogh, W.||Wood, W. P.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Lennard, T. B.||TELLERS.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Tufnell, H.|
|Locke, J.||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Archdall, Capt.||Henley, J. W.|
|Bankes, G.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Hood, Sir A.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Hotham, Lord|
|Broadley, H.||Hudson, G.|
|Bruen, Col.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Napier, J.|
|Christy, S.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Coles, H. B.||Palmer, R.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Pearson, C.|
|Dick, Q.||Plowden, W. H. C.|
|Duncan, G.||Robinson, G. R.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Spooner, R.|
|Fagan, W.||Tollemache, J.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Turner, G. J.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Gooch, E. S.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Goring, C.||Wyld, J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Gwyn, H.||Urquhart, D.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Anstey, T. C.|
§ Bill read a second time. To be committed.
§ House adjourned at half-past One o'clock.