HC Deb 25 August 1848 vol 101 cc518-23

On the question that the House resolve itself into Committee,


said, he should oppose the Motion, for he objected to the passing of any such measure, especially at a period of the Session when so many Members were out of town that not above one hundred remained. He objected to the Bill also as a direct and injurious interference with the Bill of Eights and with the Act of Settlement; and he further objected to it because it was a matter within his own knowledge that amongst the most enlightened portion of the people of this country, an opinion was gaining ground that there was some mystery behind this Bill, and he was bound to assure the House that it was a measure looked upon with great suspicion. It was apprehended that secret negotiations were to be carried on with the Pope, for the purpose of inducing that personage to consent to those clauses which at present were opposed by every Roman Catholic Member of that House. It was also apprehended that an intention was entertained of forming an alliance between this country and the Pope, for his better security, both as a secular and an ecclesi- astical prince; and to such an alliance he should be strongly opposed, the more especially if it had any tendency to entangle us in an European war. To any result of that kind he felt strongly persuaded that the people of England were strenuously opposed. He objected also strongly to this Bill as being a further abandonment of Protestant principle. He was well aware that what he was about to say would subject him to the charge of bigotry, and bring down upon him the animadversions of many within or without those walls; but that should not deter him from doing what he conceived to be an imperative duty. He felt himself obliged to declare that he believed the blessing of the Almighty had been most mercifully vouchsafed to this nation so long as she adhered to the true Christian faith, and steadily opposed what he believed to be the delusions of Rome. For many years past we had been by degrees departing from those pure principles, and giving our countenance to Popish errors. He attributed much of our present distress and perplexity to this fatal conduct. He wished now, once for all, to protest against Parliament being thus coerced by a tyrant majority to accept a Bill which he did not hesitate to describe as forming a further and most dangerous step in dereliction of the Protestant religion. Entertaining, then, these strong opinions with reference to the present Bill, and with respect also to the time at which it was brought forward, he claimed a full right to use those forms which would enable him to delay the passing of the measure; and he conceived that if he did so use them, such a proceeding could not be considered factious.


replied, that though it might be consistent with the forms of the House to take the course which the hon. Member intimated his intention of pursuing, yet certainly such a mode of meeting the present question would not be consistent with the ancient usage of Parliament. It was by no means the practice of that House to have one, two, or three discussions upon the principle of a Bill after that Bill had been read a second time. Generally speaking, the rules and forms of that House had a tendency to promote freedom of debate, and to prevent also the extreme use of Ministerial majorities. If, however, those forms came to be abused, the House must of necessity reconsider them, and would probably substitute new rules and forms of proceeding in lieu of those which were at present in force, and this change might possibly be effected without seriously injuring any constitutional right whatever. As to what the hon. Gentleman had said with regard to the Members now out of town, he should only observe that when, upon former occasions, divisions took place respecting this Bill, the numbers were three to one in its favour; and if the House were now full, he had no doubt that the numbers on either side would continue to be in that proportion. He conceived that the Members now present did fairly represent the opinion of the House, and he must add that if every Bill were to be thus treated, no progress in public business could be made. If towards the close of every Session they were to be told that any Bill which had taken a long time must be abandoned, and that if Ministers refused to give up the measures they had introduced, that then the forms of the House were to be employed against them—if such were to be the practice of Parliament, he did not see how legislation could be proceeded with. There was nothing extraordinary in a proposition to establish diplomatic relations with the only Sovereign in Europe between whom and this country no such relations at present subsisted. If he were now to waste the time of the House in explaining the two or three mysteries which were supposed to lurk behind this measure, he doubted not that before to-morrow two or three other mysteries would spring up equally entitled to explanation.


said, that the noble Lord was mistaken if he supposed that the small amount of the opponents to the measure now in the House represented only a small number of opponents out of doors; and vindicated his friends about him from any imputations of factiousness.

On the proposition of the 2nd Clause (not lawful for the Queen to receive as Ambassador, &c., from the Court of Rome any person in holy orders),


moved the omission of the word "not," contending that the enactment of such a disqualifying clause as the one proposed would render the Bill inoperative.


said, that the hon. Baronet the Member for North Essex, having yesterday charged him with being in the habit of reading a disgusting book, he desired to explain, in order to prevent all misconception out of doors, that the book alluded to, called the Garden of the Soul, was a book of religious exercise, intended to and individuals in the private examination of the conscience; and, he might observe, in reference to most books, even the Holy Scriptures, that if isolated passages were taken without regard to their context or purpose, specious but unwarrantable objections might be urged against them. With respect to the clause under consideration, he thought they must have diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome fully and entirely, or not at all.


thought the hon. and learned Member for Youghal was almost bound to vote against his own Amendment. The hon. and learned Member had opposed the Bill, apprehending great danger from it; and now he said, that if the present clause were retained in its existing shape, it would entirely defeat the operation of the Bill. The hon. and learned Member would, therefore, accomplish all he had sought to effect in opposing the Bill, if he allowed the clause to stand unaltered. He was opposed to the removal of the disqualification inserted in the Bill in another place, because he thought its retention only a proper deference to the feelings of a large class of the population. It must be recollected, too, that the Government of Rome was now constitutional and secularised. He believed an ecclesiastic had now been appointed to the office of Foreign Affairs, who was, however, the only ecclesiastic in the Administration. The Government of Rome was now lay, responsible, and constitutional; and the probability was, that the lay advisers of the Pope would be desirous that some opportunity should be afforded of employing in diplomatic relations the nobles of the Roman States. This clause would only make that the law of this country which was now the practice of other non-Catholic Governments—Russia and Prussia for instance. Both those countries had diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome; but they refused to receive an ecclesiastic as the representative of Rome; and the consequence was, that while there had been Prussian and Russian Ministers at Rome, there had not been a Roman representative either at Berlin or St. Petersburgh. Supposing, then, that in the case of this country a similar result should follow the maintenance of this clause, our diplomatic relations with the Roman States would not be put upon a singular footing. He considered, therefore, that it would be inexpedient to disturb the clause.


said, with reference to the statement he had made on a former occasion, and which had been alluded to by the noble Lord (Lord Arundel), he begged to say that, although he made that statement under some warmth of feeling, he would not withdraw an iota of it. The noble Lord had acknowledged that he was in the habit of reading a Roman Catholic book, which, from a regard to decency, he (Sir J. Tyrell) had said he would not further refer to unless he were challenged to do so. If it was the wish of the House, he was quite ready to read some passages from the work in question. ["No, no!"]


observed, that the hon. Baronet had, on a former occasion, referred to a book which he said contained very objectionable passages, and which he stated, if he was challenged to do so, he was ready to read to the House. The noble Lord (Lord Arundel) had not challenged the hon. Baronet to read those passages; and he thought, therefore, that the hon. Baronet was quite right in not having read them. This was not at all a question of politics; it was not a question with regard to diplomatic intercourse. It was in fact a question relating to the religious faith of churches to which various Members of that House belonged. Every one knew that certain objections were made by all Protestants to the Roman Catholic religion, and certain answers were given by Roman Catholics to those objections; but, whether those objections were good and sufficient objections, and whether the answers were good and sufficient answers, were questions of religious feeling, which he thought it most unfitting that that House should be called upon to decide. He (Lord J. Russell) would especially regret that any question of religious faith should be introduced in a manner which might be offensive to the feelings of any hon. Member of that House; and he therefore hoped, that not only the hon. Baronet, but every other hon. Member, would refrain from discussions which were irrelevant, and which might be offensive to many Gentlemen.


said, they had had some little proof of the incompetency of those who attacked the Roman Catholic religion to form a very accurate judgment on the subject; for the most common and ordinary book of Roman Catholic practice was so new to these persons that it absolutely scared them from their propriety. As these objectors appeared to know nothing of the difference between opiniones doctrinœ et disciplinœ, he did not wonder that they had shown themselves incapable of doing anything beyond expressing a rancorous and blind hostility on a subject they did not understand. When these hon. Gentlemen claimed credit to themselves for being the representatives of all the Protestant feeling of the country, they appeared to have left out of the question most unceremoniously two Gentlemen of their own party whose reputation stood as high as that of any Member of that House—the hon. Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and the right hon. Member for Stamford (Mr. Herries), who had expressed their approbation of this Bill, and their intention to support it. He (Mr. Drummond) regarded this clause as an insult to the Roman Catholics and the Court of Rome; and, as he believed it would tend to embarrass the working of the measure, he would oppose it. The hon. Gentlemen near him must be in utter ignorance of Romish tricks, if they thought an Act of Parliament could prevent the Pope from being represented in this country by an ecclesiastic. Surely these simple Gentlemen—these canny Scots—did not think they were a match for Jesuits? The fact was, that this clause had been introduced into the Bill as a sop to bigotry.


believed that the clause contained much that was frivolous, unreasonable, and impolitic; but on reading the words in print on the back of the Bill, he would recommend those interested in its passing, to consider the propriety of accepting it as it stood.

After a short discussion, chiefly on the Catholic religion, the Amendment was negatived.

The Committee divided on the question that the clause stand part of the Bill:—Ayes 79; Noes 22: Majority 57.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Evans, Sir D. L.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. FitzGerald, W. R. S.
Birch, Sir T. B. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Boyle, hon. Col. Frewen, C. H.
Broadley, H. Goring, C.
Brockman, E. D. Grenfell, C. W.
Brotherton, J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bruen, Col. Grogan, E.
Buller, C. Grosvenor, Earl
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hamilton, G. A.
Clay, J. Hawes, B.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hay, Lord J.
Craig, W. G. Hayter, W. G.
Dick, Q. Henley, J. W.
Dodd, G. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Dundas, Adm. Hodges, T. L.
Ebrington, Visct. Hood, Sir A.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Houldsworth, T.
Jones, Capt. Romilly, Sir J.
Knox, Col. Russell, Lord J.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Sandars, J.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Scrope, G. P.
Lennard, T. B. Shell, rt. hon. R. L.
Lewis, G. C. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
M'Gregor, J. Spooner, R.
Mandeville, Visct. Talfourd, Serj.
Masterman, J. Tancred, H. W.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Thompson, Col.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Thompson, G.
Napier, J. Turner, E.
Newdegate, C. N. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Ogle, S. C. H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Packe, G. W. Ward, H. G.
Palmerston, Visct. Watkins, Col.
Parker, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Pearson, C. Williams, J.
Pigott, F. Willoughby, Sir H.
Pinney, W. Wilson, M.
Reid, Col. TELLERS.
Rich, H. Bellew, R. M.
Robinson, G. R. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Anstey, T. C. O'Connell, J.
Barron, Sir H. W. O'Connell, M. J.
Brown, W. Power, Dr.
Clements, hon. C. S. Reynolds, J.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Thornely, T.
Drummond, H. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Duncan, G. Urquhart, D.
Fagan, J. Vane, Lord H.
Fox, W. J. Villiers, hon. C.
Greene, J. TELLERS.
Keogh, W. Arundel and Surrey, Earl of
Mackinnon, W. A.
Moore, G. H. Howard, P. H.

On Clause 3,


moved that after the words "That nothing herein contained," the following words he inserted," shall authorise any intercourse or communion with the See or Church of Rome upon ecclesiastical and spiritual matters now forbidden by law."

The Committee divided on the question that the words be inserted:—Ayes 30; Noes 65: Majority 35.

List of the AYES.
Anstey, T. C. Napier, J.
Bruen, Col. O'Connell, J.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Pigott, F.
Clements, hon. C. S. Robinson, G. R.
Duncan, G. Spooner, R.
Dunne, F. P. Talfourd, Serj.
Fagan, J. Thompson, G.
FitzGerald, W. R. S. Turner, E.
Forbes, W. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Urquhart, D.
Frewen, C. H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Goring, C. Williams, J.
Grogan, E. Willoughby, Sir H.
Hamilton, G. A.
Hood, Sir A. TELLERS.
Knox, Col. Pearson, C.
Mandeville, Visct. Newdegate, C. N.
List of the NOES.
Adair, H. E. Lewis, G. C.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Mackinnon, W. A.
M'Gregor, T.
Barron, Sir H. W. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Birch, Sir T. B. Moore, G. H.
Boyle, hon. Col. O'Connell, M. J.
Brockman, E. D. Ogle, S. C. H.
Brotherton, J. Palmerston, Visct.
Brown, W. Parker, J.
Buller, C. Pinney, W.
Clay, J. Power, Dr.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Reynolds, J.
Dick, Q. Rich, H.
Dodd, G. Romilly, Sir J.
Drummond, H. Russell, Lord J.
Dundas, Adm. Sandars, J.
Ebrington, Visct. Scrope, G. P.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Fox, W. J. Tancred, H. W.
Greene, J. Tenison, E. K.
Grenfell, C. W. Thompson, Col.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Thornely, T.
Grosvenor, Earl Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Hawes, B. Vane, Lord H.
Hay, Lord J. Villiers, hon. C.
Hayter, W. G. Ward, H. G.
Henley, J. W. Watkins, Col.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Hobhouse, T. B. Wilson, M.
Hodges, T. L.
Jones, Capt. TELLERS.
Keogh, W. Bellow, R. M.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Hill, Lord M.

The Committee again divided on the question that the clause stand part of the Bill:—Ayes 77; Noes 4: Majority 73.

List of the NOES.
Greene, J. Power, Dr.
O'Connell, J. Reynolds, J.
Anstey, T. C. Urquhart, D.

House resumed.

Report to be received.

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