§ Upon the Order of the Day being read, Debate resumed.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
rose, for the purpose of explaining the reasons which induced him to oppose the Motion of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. In doing 280 so, he felt that he had considerable difficulties to contend with. He might say, that those difficulties were so numerous and so serious that he might call them by the name of "Legion." He would beg to remind the House that he had to contend with a gigantic and powerful opponent—he meant the temporalities of the Established Church. And when he referred to the Established Church, he begged specifically to be understood that he was not referring to that establishment in its spiritual capacity, that with its spiritualities he had nothing to do—that he conceded to its members what he claimed as a right for himself—perfect freedom of conscience, complete liberty in religious belief. But that which he had to do with was its temporalities; because it was to the possession of those temporalities he might attribute all the insults to which his creed had been exposed, and all those disturbances which had disgraced the character of certain persons in this country. He hoped, therefore, that the House would indulge him with a patient hearing on this occasion for these reasons—because he differed from the majority, and because he was an Irishman and a Roman Catholic. The latter ground gave him an additional claim to their attention. What, then, did he find arrayed against him? This gigantic Church Establishment, which had its head at Canterbury, the leviathan body of which was spread over England and Wales, with one hand resting on the Land's End, and the other grasping John o' Groat's house—because he found that even in Scotland, notwithstanding the efforts of John Knox and his sturdy followers to abolish Episcopacy, there were six bishops of the English Establishment, who assumed territorial titles; and then he found the gigantic limbs of this establishment extending across St. George's Channel, enveloped in military hoots, with one spurred heel resting on the Giant's Causeway, and the other on Cape Clear. He found that establishment, according to the calculations of the hon. Member for Cockermouth—calculations on which he placed the most implicit reliance—he found it possessing an income of 5,000,000l. a year in England, with 12,000 benefices; and he found it in Ireland, with an income of 500,000l. yearly, and with 1,500 benefices. He found that it had 15,000 ecclesiastics here, and 2,500 in Ireland, and these having an income exceeding 6,000,000l. a year. Even that was not the only formidable adversary on 281 which they could count. There was the press roaring at the top of its voice. And yet he was told that this was a political quarrel. It was no such thing; it was a pecuniary quarrel. There was, then, the press—the continued action of the press against them; not of all the press, but the majority of the press. They found, then, that press calling upon the people, but the people were not to be aroused by it. Those who stirred were the clergy and some of the vestrymen, the parish authorities, who shouted at the top of their voices; but the great body of Englishmen—the honest men who earned their bread by the sweat of their brow—the labourers, the mechanics, the artisans, they took no part in these unchristian shouts. He gave his fellow-countrymen in England credit for the forbearance they had manifested during all this excitement; for, in the whole history of modern times, never had there been such strong appeals made to the passions of the multitude, and never had such appeals been so miserably responded to as they had been during the past three months in England. The honest, hardworking people saw all this, they comprehended it; for they folded their arms, and they said, "This is a Church quarrel, and we will have nothing to do with it." He might be asked what were his weapons of defence on this occasion? The first, he said, was "truth"—truth which would prevail in the end; the second was "justice"—a spirit of justice which he trusted to see prevailing in a majority of that House, and that would influence it in rejecting this Bill. They were told that an aggression had been committed by the Pope, and he had looked to the dictionary for an explanation of the word. From the explanation of Johnson and Walker, it appeared that the meaning of aggression is, "the beginning of a quarrel." He was told, his Holiness the Pope had begun the quarrel, and he totally denied that. It was the Established Church that began the quarrel. The Pope did no more than he was entitled to do when he metamorphosed (if he might use the phrase) the vicars-apostolic into bishops. But the noble Lord had said that the Pope had given those bishops "territorial power." A Pope to give territorial power in England! Why, they might as well say that "the man in the moon" had given them territorial power. The pettiest of all living princes, as he was called—a prince supported solely by French bayonets, was said to have given to Dr. Wiseman territorial 282 power in England! Why, the thing was so absurd that even those who gave expression to it could not believe it. Aggression, no doubt, had been committed, and he would tell them upon whom. It was committed upon the Catholics of Ireland and of England, and by this Bill; and he would prove it. He was old enough to recollect the period when those of his creed were struggling for Catholic emancipation. He had spent twenty years of his life in the endeavour to break the chains which bigotry had imposed upon those who professed the same creed with himself. In 1829 emancipation had been gained. A compact was then entered into. The Bill before the House deprived the Roman Catholics of the benefit of that compact. The Catholic 40s. freeholders of Ireland had been disfranchised, and the qualification raised to a beneficial interest of 10l. per annum, as one of the conditions of the Emancipation Bill. The Bill of Sir Robert Peel provided that no Catholic bishop should assume the title of a Protestant bishop under a penalty of 100l., and no Catholic bishop had violated that Act; but the noble Lord proposed that, after the passing of this Act, it should be penal for a Catholic bishop to call himself bishop of any place in Great Britain and Ireland. He called this new penalty a flagrant violation of the compact. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had said that it would be well if the Catholic bishops, Drs. M'Hale and Cullen, imitated the spirit manifested by the Catholic bishops in 1829. Why, in 1829, the Catholic bishops received privileges; and now, he asked the noble Lord and Her Majesty's Government, did they expect the Catholic bishops to be thankful when they received, not privileges, but penalties? The noble Lord next said that what he proposed was not merely for the benefit of the Protestants of the united kingdom, but particularly for the benefit and as an especial compliment to the Catholics themselves. As a Catholic he begged to decline the compliment. The hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Peto) said they had several Catholics of distinction with them, and referred to the opinions of the Duke of Norfolk, of Lord Camoys, and of Lord Beaumont. Now, no man respected rank and station more than he did; but in matters of religion it was not an opinion that would influence his judgment. He quite respected the Duke of Norfolk in the exercise of his judgment on political questions. He found 283 no fault with it, but he would not be guided by it; as he would not be governed by the opinions of Lord Camoys; whilst there was no one of the Catholic Peers from whose sentiments on spiritual questions he was more disposed at all times to dissent than those of Lord Beaumont. But then there was another and a high authority—the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, who had told the House that there were two descriptions of Catholics—a Catholic of the Church of Rome, and a Catholic of the Court of Rome. Now, he (Mr. Reynolds) had been educated from his infancy as a Catholic—he was not, like the hon. and learned Gentleman, a convert; but this he must say that until he was informed by his hon. and learned Friend, he did not know that the word "Catholic" could be split up in the manner he had divided it. This, however, he must say, that if there were, as his hon. and learned Friend said, two sections of Catholics, the hon. and learned Member was the only man he knew who belonged to both. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he was "a Catholic of the Church of Rome;" and he could not deny that he was "a Catholic of the Court of Rome," for the late Pope Gregory, as a temporal Prince, had conferred upon him the order of St. Gregory, and therefore his hon. and learned Friend was by his right style and title, "Sir Chisholm Anstey, Member for Youghal." The only man in that House, then, who belonged to the two sections, was the hon. and learned Member himself, who in drawing a distinction gave a definition of his own greatness. His hon. and learned Friend was a black-letter lawyer. He had quoted bad law and was praised for it; he had said that if they allowed the hierarchy to be established, they would administer the old canon law; now, he (Mr. Reynolds) was no lawyer, but he challenged his hon. and learned Friend to prove his assertion. He totally denied that the Catholic bishops could have more power over the Catholic charities than they had as vicars-apostolic. But as his hon. and learned Friend had been made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory, he would ask him what services he had performed for the Pope to obtain that honour? He (Mr. Reynolds) had been asked to state what those services were. He declined doing so for the present, as he thought the explanation as to the facts would come much better from the hon. and learned 284 Gentleman himself. No one—especially no Irishman—could refer to the question, without referring to the memorable letter of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government to the Bishop of Durham. He had a double reason for referring to that letter—first, because it had caused him some astonishment when he read the terms, certainly not very complimentary, in which the noble noble Lord referred to his (Mr. Reynolds') creed. The second, why he referred to the letter was, because it had occasioned him (Mr. Reynolds) some pecuniary loss. Ever since he had been a Member of the House of Commons he had given his invariable and steady support to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, at least so far as the doing so was consistent with the exercise of his judgment. Shortly after the publication of that celebrated letter he had met with one of his constituents, who was in the habit of doing that which he (Mr. Reynolds) was not in the habit of doing—that of "betting." His friend said to him, "Well, Mr. Reynolds, did you see the letter of your champion, Lord John Russell?" He (Mr. Reynolds) said he had seen a letter with the noble Lord's name to it, but that it was a hoax, and not genuine; he said he never could have written a letter like that, and his friend said he would bet him a sovereign that he had written it. "Done," said he (Mr. Reynolds). It was not necessary for him to tell the House that he was done. The hon. and learned Gentleman (the Member for the city of Limerick) had stated his belief that the Bill proposed to be brought in reminded him of the "mountain in labour," that it was a paltry and inefficient measure. Now, he (Mr. Reynolds) totally differed with the hon. Gentleman (Mr. John O'Connell), and he believed the measure proposed by the First Minister was most insulting and ungenerously oppressive to the Catholics of the united kingdom. There was not throughout all England a more zealous Catholic than himself, and he would therefore suppose that the noble Lord's letter, and still more his speech, had warned them against any increase of the Pope's power. In that speech the noble Lord had asserted that it was the custom of all ecclesiastical communities to encroach upon the temporal authorities. If it was the case with most ecclesiastical communities, it was, as the noble Lord had stated, peculiarly the case with the Church of Rome to which he (Mr. 285 Reynolds) belonged. There was not a Protestant inside that House, or outside of it, who was more opposed to that encroachment than himself. In his opinion there was nothing that damaged religion more than its connexion with the State. He might say there was nothing that he regretted more, and he could assert that he wished from his heart that the Pope was not a temporal Prince. It was the connexion of his own creed with the State which had damaged it through all time. When they came across the Channel, the case was very different. In England the Roman Catholic population did not constitute more than 7 per cent of the whole number of the inhabitants. In Ireland the Catholics were 90 per cent of the population. In England, for more than 300 years—ever since the reign of Henry VIII., the Roman Catholic hierarchy had been all but dissolved. In Ireland the chain of the Apostolical descent had remained unbroken from the time of St. Patrick to the present time. That Apostolical succession, or successions it might be called, was one of the tests by which a true religion was to be ascertained. In Ireland the Protestant Church was in a wealthy state, and its supporters were few. In England they had 6,000,000l. a year, to support the Establishment, and 16,000 clergymen to fulfil its offices. Was it any wonder that there should be such a discrepancy between the two Churches? The noble Lord in the course of his speech had said, that he desired that the title of bishops should not have been assumed from dioceses in England in place of that of vicars apostolic; and the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) had expressed a strong desire that the measure should be extended to Ireland. He, for his own part, desired no such thing. The noble Lord had told them that calling the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin "his Grace" was a mistake of the Chamberlain; but he (Mr. Reynolds) could tell them a very different story. They all recollected the period of 1821, when George IV. visited Dublin. At that time the Earl of Liverpool was Prime Minister, and George IV. was accompanied by his Lordship and the great officers of State, amongst whom was Viscount Sidmouth, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who wrote a letter under the authority of the King to the Catholic bishops and archbishops of Ireland, addressing them by their titles; and they were 286 received at Court in the capacity of bishops and archbishops. They were addressed as "my Lords," and they received the position which their rank entitled them to. Now, that was eight years before emancipation; and yet they were told, because the same thing had been done in 1850, that it was a mistake of the Chamberlain. Within the last week he had the honour of attending the levee of the Earl of Clarendon, and he found that the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin attended the levee. He was received in his official capacity, and he got his position, which was higher than some Protestant bishops, and superior to that of the Duke of Leinster. Last Saturday week he (Mr. Reynolds) had the honour of partaking of the hospitality of the Earl of Clarendon, and amongst the company whom he met at the Viceregal table were the Protestant Archbishop and the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. Perhaps that would be called a Papal aggression. If a stranger had come in at the time, he would not have been able to discover from the manner of the two dignitaries that there was the least jealousy between them, so much was it "your Grace" here, and "your Grace" there. All was courtesy and apparent equality with the Viceroy; and no one was more remarkable for courtesy than his Lordship, and he treated the two dignitaries just as if there was no such thing as a Papal aggression. Now if such scenes as that were to be seen in the Queen's Court in England, it would be said that the whole Court was about to turn Catholic. But the noble Lord at the head of the Government had stated that this measure was to give satisfaction to the Catholics. Now let him take the whole of the Catholics of England, deducting from them those who were presentable, such as the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Camoys, Lord Beaumont, and some few others to whom the noble Lord referred the other night, and he would venture to say that the whole of them in opinion were hostile and in oppostion to this Act. He called it an Algerine Act, but others seemed to have formed very various notions of it. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford said it was not severe enough; while the hon. Member for East Kent, referring to the noble Lord's letter, said he hoped the noble Lord would follow it up in his Bill. The hon. Member for the city of Limerick (Mr. John O'Connell) considered the measure was not only inefficient, but absolutely contemptible. But he (Mr. Rey- 287 nolds) believed it was neither inefficient nor contemptible. He believed the Bill was a Bill of pains and penalties, and that it would inflict a deep wound upon the great principles of civil and religious liberty. He believed, with the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, to whom, as an Irish Catholic Member, he felt thankful, that it was a step backwards, and that it had been forced upon the House by a cabal which should not have been noticed. With regard to this measure, the people had been so blindfolded, misled, and deceived by the agitators of the press, and by the agitators outside of the press, that many independent Members of that House would be compelled to vote for this Bill, because they would run the risk of losing their seats if they voted against it. He knew that that, was the fact, and that the noble Lord was not to estimate the opinions of the House by the number of votes he might receive. He had hoped that the time had arrived when Protestants and Catholics, Presbyterians, and all sects of Dissenters, would be allowed to live together in the enjoyment of peace and Christian charity; and he feared that the recent agitation was calculated to diminish the hopes of so favourable a result. In Ireland he saw nothing in prospect but discord and disunion; and he feared it would take many years to restore society to its former happy state. When he had come to that House he expected that his duties would be of a different nature—that he would be called upon to consider the question of the window duties, the repeal of a portion of the malt tax, which would relieve the people from a heavy burden, and that he would be called upon by the Ministers to record his vote in favour of a repeal of the duty on knowledge—the tax upon paper. He hoped he would have heard the noble Lord announcing some measure which would guarantee to the people of Ireland a tenant right. On the contrary, he had found the House now sitting five days engaged in the mischievous, absurd, and puerile task of discussing what was called the Popish aggression and Protestant ascendancy in Church and State. They appeared to have no room for any other question. He, for one, was determined to offer the Bill every opposition in his power in all its stages. If it passed—and he would venture to prophecy that it would pass in some shape—it would be a dead letter. He defied any Government to enforce its provisions; and if the hon. Gentlemen over 288 the way assumed seats upon the Treasury benches, he would defy them to carry out any law containing penal enactments against the religion he professed, which was above and before all their powers of petty bigoted legislation in his country. Ireland was always a Catholic country. What did she care about their Acts of Parliament? The safeguard of Ireland was in the purity of her doctrines and her poverty. The Catholic religion in Ireland was not "clothed in purple and fine linen," and did not "fare sumptuously every day." It was clothed in sackcloth and ashes, and he hoped it would continue so. [Laughter.] He saw that exacted a smile from the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Napier), and, among others, from his hon. Friend the hon. and learned Member for the University of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. But he must know that there were in Ireland 7,000,000 of Catholics supporting, by voluntary contributions, 3,500 clergy of the secular and regular orders, that cost the State nothing: and he might add, that many of the dignitaries of that Church during the last four years were often in want of the common necessaries of life. Rather than ask or receive any money from the State, those men would be content to remain in their present state of apostolic poverty. Why, it is not long since the Protestant rector of a parish in Dublin (S.S. Michael and John), seized the furniture of a Catholic priest for ministers' money; and that in a city of which four-fifths of the inhabitants were Catholics, and who paid 13,000l. or 14,000l. per annum ministers' money, besides supporting their own priests. When he had spoken of the enormous temporalities of the Established Church, he was laughed at. They told him the Irish Church was linked with the English Church, that they had attached their little cock-boat to the English man-of-war, and would sink or swim with them. He complained of the uses to which these revenues were sometimes applied—there were effigies of the Pope and the Cardinal carried through the streets. He was surprised they did not burn the Cardinal, but they did not do the thing con amore, they were well paid for it; for he might mention to the House, in strict confidence, that a considerable sum from the ecclesiastical revenues was furnished to purchase the combustible materials. He would seriously address a word to the thinking and educated people—the bone 289 and sinew of the country. He said that they paid taxes to support the bishops—that a portion of them rallied round the clergy on this late occasion; but he would ask them, what had that Church done for them? Had they enlarged their civil rights, or were they the advocates for taking off the malt tax, or the window duty, or the taxes on knowledge? Had they joined the hon. Member for Manchester in carrying out his plan of financial reform? He ventured to say, if the question was put to the greater portion of those who had set the brutal and unchristian howl a going, that the answer would be in the negative—that they would vote against every one of them. He was told that some Catholics and Irish Liberals who represented Catholic constituencies would vote for this Bill. He could very well understand a Catholic in office voting for the measure; for he must either do that or resign. The men were silent that ought to speak. The disease that often afflicted Members on the Treasury bench prevailed still—he meant lucrative taciturnity. But he would remind some hon. Members, both Catholic and Protestant, that a day of reckoning was coming. The people would one day ask them, "Did we send you into the House of Commons to vote for the enactment of penal laws against Roman Catholics? Did we send you there to pass a law by which the gift of property by a dying man, if made to the Most Reverend Daniel Murray, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, would be frustrated?" He (Mr. Reynolds) trusted that this Bill would not pass; and he had to express his deep regret that the noble Lord had taken charge of such a measure; and, giving the noble Lord credit for a sincere anxiety to maintain unimpaired the great principles of civil and religious liberty, he (Mr. Reynolds) believed and declared that the Bill, if passed into a law, would be perfectly inconsistent and irreconcilable with existing Acts of Parliament, and render it impossible for a Catholic bishop to discharge his ecclesiastical functions without violating the law. Suppose the hon. Member for; Buckinghamshire helped to form an Administration—and more unlikely things had come to pass; and he (Mr. Reynolds) I would say, that he had found the hon. Member liberal on many points, which was not to be wondered at, as his antecedents were liberal—might not the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire say, that it would be I better to have the Gospel preached among 290 the benighted Irish, and appropriate money left for Catholic or charitable purposes to that object? The noble Lord had referred to the appointment of Roman Catholics to office; but he (Mr. Reynolds) would remind him and the House that it was the exception, and not the rule, that Roman Catholics were promoted to places. He would refer the noble Lord to the law courts in the city of Dublin. What did he find there? The number of Protestant officers employed in the Court of Chancery in Ireland was 57, and the aggregate amount of their salaries was 56,000l. a year. The number of Roman Catholics employed was only 16, and the amount of their salaries 4,000l. per annum. In the law courts there were 56 Protestant officers and 9 Protestant judges, whose aggregate salaries were 54,719l. 15s. 10d.; there were three Catholic judges and 17 Catholic officers, whoso salaries amounted to 16,757l. 3s. 8d. What, then, came of the fine promises of the promotion of Catholics, when such was the state of things twenty years after the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act? In the household of the Lord Lieutenant he found the proportion was the same; and the principle was carried out to the same, or even to a greater, extent, in the Excise, Customs, Post Office, and other public institutions. Nine-tenths of all places of honour and emolument were given to the dominant party. They were now told that the Irish bishops were not to have titles of Irish sees—they might take their titles from the moon, or any other place they liked, but none belonging to the land of their birth, whose spiritual concerns they ministered to. Dr. Cullen had been branded the other night, as an alien, and with having small sympathy with Irish feelings and habits; but he could tell the noble Lord that Archbishop Cullen was born, reared, and educated in Ireland, and was extensively connected with the wealthy middle classes of that country. No man was more intimately acquainted with, or more identified with, the people of Ireland than Dr. Cullen. In the same way, Dr. Wiseman—Cardinal Wiseman—was, to all intents and purposes, a British subject: he was born of Irish parents in the city of Seville in Spain. When he was seven years old he visited Waterford, the native county of his parents. He afterwards went to a Catholic college in the county of Durham, and had been for the last twelve or fourteen years in London; and still 291 it suits the taste of some persons to call Dr. Wiseman an alien. He thanked the House for its indulgence; he assured those from whom he differed that, in expressing his determination to oppose the Bill, he was not actuated by any sectarian or bigoted feelings towards the members of the Protestant Church; many of his steadiest and sincerest friends were members of that Church, and he felt much pleasure in stating that, had it not been for the liberality of his Protestant fellow-citizens, he would not have the honour of representing the city of Dublin in that House. He was opposed, not to them, but to the leviathan temporalities of the Church, which, he believed in his conscience, were detrimental to its spiritual progress. He cautioned the House and the First Minister against attempting to interfere directly or indirectly with the free action of the Catholic Church of the united kingdom.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, if the House had taken the usual and ordinary course of allowing the Bill to be brought in so that the House might have seen what its provisions were, he should not have thought it his duty to trouble them with any observations on the present occasion. But as the House had been occupied one long night, and probably might continue some time longer, discussing the provisions of a Bill about to be introduced, in the absence of all knowledge of its details—a species of ignorance they must necessarily labour under—and as it appeared to him that the observations made by the noble Lord in introducing the Bill with respect to its purport and effect were not fully understood by the House, he was desirous, with its permission, of explaining what was the main scope and effect of the measure, as described by his noble Friend, in asking for leave to introduce it. Before he did so, he hoped the House would permit him to call its attention to what the offences were which it was intended by the Bill to meet. In the course of the last year the offence against which the measure was aimed occurred in the introduction of a bull, by which certain persons were entitled by the Court of Rome, or the Pope at Rome, to assume for themselves certain ecclesiastical titles, as being the archbishop and bishops of certain territorial sees and dioceses, defined by certain territorial limits throughout England and Wales. That was the whole extent of the offence; the consequences of it would have to be regarded and dealt with by the House; but they derived solely 292 from the circumstance that those titles were to be assumed, or authorised to be assumed, as of certain territorially partitioned sees and dioceses existing in this country. It was held to be a sound and safe maxim in politics, and it was one in which he agreed, that they should not introduce or attempt to introduce a remedy more extensive than was sufficient to meet the evil which was complained of; and he thought, therefore, if they could introduce a measure which should effectually prevent persons holding those sees, and from using the titles of bishops and archbishops duly appointed to these pretended dioceses in England, then the real object sought would de accomplished, and they need not legislate beyond the occasion, or seek to provide against possible evils that had not yet arisen. Now, he believed the proposed Bill would, in fact, effectually prevent the evils which had been complained of. That such was the object of the Bill there was no question, and that it had been framed with considerable care to meet that object he was well assured—it would be for the House to consider with what success. Before he proceeded further, would they allow him to observe how important it was to draw a distinction between the two different branches of offences committed by the introduction of the bull. One portion of it—a very large portion of it—was what he conceived, and justly conceived, to be the insult inflicted on the country—another was the injury inflicted on a certain class of the inhabitants of that country. But these two things were in themselves perfectly distinct. They had this fact, that the insult offered to the country by a foreign Power by the introduction of a bull in which it professed to govern the country by its own immediate dependants, had produced, he believed, undue ideas as to the extent of the injury arising from the introduction of the bull. These two things, could, with difficulty, be separated in the public mind, and great desire for legislation had arisen not merely from the injury that was suspected to have been produced by the introduction of the bull, but also in a great measure from the insult that was believed to have been offered to the Queen and the country. With regard to the insult that had been offered to the country, it would be useless for him to say anything. The expression of opinion and feeling by the country and by the House, were in themselves amply sufficient to repel, in the most proper and defined manner, any insult offered by a foreign 293 Power. With respect to the injury, it affected, undoubtedly, the Roman Catholic branch of the community, but that injury was of a twofold character—one of which was spiritual, and the other temporal. He apprehended that they had nothing what ever to do with the spiritual effects of the introduction of the bull; and if it was possible to separate them completely, there was no question whatever that with respect to the spiritual and temporal consequences of the introduction of the bull, and the assumption of these titles thereupon, it would be fitting for them to do so, apart from the question of the insult that had been offered to the honour and dignity of the country. It was said that the effect of the bull in temporal matters would be to this extent—that it would give to the persons assuming the titles of archbishops or bishops particular ecclesiastical dioceses, a power of dealing with, and apportioning, and appointing in matters relating to religious endowments made in behalf of the Roman Catholic religion; that it enabled them to deal with property given for the purpose of supporting various classes of persons connected with the Roman Catholic religion in a different and more extensive manner than they could before; and that the effect would be to give to those prelates a power which was not intended to be given to them by the persons who endowed or founded those institutions. With respect to the spiritual power, he had not heard or seen it suggested in any publication that there was any specific spiritual power that might be enforced or directed by the bishops of these dioceses distinct or different from that which might be enforced by bishops acting merely as vicars-apostolic, or as bishops in partibus, or anything to show their spiritual power was not as great in one case as the other:—but, with respect to temporal power it was not so. He apprehended that it was of importance that they should stop any assumption of authority on the part of persons professing, as the bishops must under the canon law, to be entirely dependent on the Pope of Rome, in dealing with the rights and interests of British subjects in a manner different and inconsistent with that which had hitherto obtained; and he apprehended that if it was not dealt with now, the difficulty undoubtedly would arise when the question originating from these appointments came to be adjudicated upon by the courts of law; because the courts of law, taking cognisance of any species of 294 endowments, Roman Catholic as well as others, would treat the right of appointment of those persons connected with the trusts and endowments as mere facts to be ascertained, and refer to the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church to know under what rights these persons had been, or ought to be appointed. Now the Bill, as stated by his noble Friend the First Lord or the Treasury, did in the first instance propose to extend the provisions of the Roman Catholic Relief Act, 10 Geo. IV., which imposed a penalty of 100l. for any offence in case of any prelate assuming the tites of any existing see throughout the United Kingdom—that penalty of 100l. to be enforced for every offence, but only to be sued for by the Attorney General. These were the provisions of the Roman Catholic Relief Act. The Bill now sought to be introduced by the First Minister, extended the clause to cases of the assumption of any titles whatever, from any city, place, territory, or district whatever within the United Kingdom. If that had been found to be effectual—a matter upon which he did not wish to express an opinion—under the Catholic Relief Act, in preventing the assumption of titles of existing sees, it might equally be expected that a clause of a similar description would be found to be similarly effectual for preventing the assumption of titles from all places within the United Kingdom. But it did not stop there; because, undoubtedly, it had been asserted in speeches that had been made with reference to this question, that in several instances, in various instances which were cited, Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland had assumed the titles of existing sees. It was, therefore, thought desirable not to stop there, but to go still further, and endeavour to carry into effect the prohibition of the assumption of titles of that description, by making any act done by any persons holding sees with titles of that description, and done in the character of such bishop or archbishop, absolutely null and void; and also to prevent any other person from giving them that character or title. If they effectually met these objects, and introduced clauses that would produce these results, they would, he apprehended, do that which was solely what the House intended—namely, put a stop to the particular thing of which it complained. It appeared to him that any clause providing that any act done, or any deed or instrument or writing made, by persons 295 assuming such titles, should be null and void—would have the effect of completely paralysing, with respect to all temporal matters, the power of the persons taking or assuming these particular titles—that it would not be possible for them to do anything which would be effectual in a court of justice for the enforcement of any religious or charitable trusts or uses; be cause, as the Act of Parliament declared any act done or deed made by such persons void—those acts or proceedings could not be given in evidence, or proved for the purpose of enabling parties in the quality of bishops or archbishops to do that, which, being done in any other character, might be a perfectly valid and legal act. In addition to that, they proposed to en deavour to prevent other persons giving these bishops of pretended sees titles from any place in the United Kingdom; and they proposed to enact by other clauses, that it should not be lawful for any person to endow, or to give any sum of money for the maintenance or support of such dioceses or sees, or for the support or endowment or maintenance of any persons per forming ecclesiastical functions in respect to such sees, with words sufficiently large to provide against any evasion of these provisions. In addition to that, the Bill would say that every gift, bequest, or pre ferment of real or personal property, given by any person to any of these bishops by the title of any of the sees or dioceses over which it was assumed they presided, should be forfeited to the Crown, and that the Crown shall be enabled to dispose of it in such manner as it might think fit. The effect of that would be, as the House would observe, to render it impossible for any person intending to leave property for any charitable purposes, of which the bishop or archbishop of the pretended diocese was to be the administrator, to give it to him by the name, or with reference to the name of his diocese. Undoubtedly it would not have the effect of preventing any bequests being made by Roman Catholics for charitable purposes. The only thing they must do is to give it, suppose to Dr. Wiseman, by that name by which he was obviously known, and not by that of Archbishop of Westminster. If the property were bequeathed to him by the latter name, the act was simply and absolutely void, and the money might be disposed of by the Crown. The House would see the distinction thus intended to be laid down. If the property be of the character of a 296 beneficial interest, it might be properly and usefully given by the name of the person who was intended to receive it; but if it be given for charitable objects, or for the support of the particular diocese, it could not be given successfully to him except in some such name as supposes succession in a certain corporate character. If the property be given, as several bequests had been made, to the vicars-apostolic for the time being, the gifts might then be good for charitable purposes, and the courts of law might enforce them. The framers of the Bill had also endeavoured to prevent in any way all evasions of the Bill from the bequest being given to any person in connexion with the bishop, or by reference to any particular see, or to the person who held it, or any person appointing to an office within it; and, if any such bequest was made, it would have to be disposed of by the Crown, it not being possible for the person himself to dispose of it consistently with the law. He would explain to the House how it was thought more desirable to declare that such property should be forfeited to the Crown rather than to make the bequest absolutely void. It might so happen that a person, not wishing to evade the law, had yet in ignorance of it given property to a certain bishop or archbishop, in trust for some relations. The Government in such a case wished to reserve a power to the Crown to grant such property to the persons intended. Finally, it was proposed that no evidence given by any persons whatever to carry out the provisions of the Bill, shall be admissible to be used against them for the enforcement of any penalties. The circumstance of being protected by the Act shall not prevent parties from applying to the courts of equity for the recovery of any claims. That was the general scope and object of the Bill. It would effectually prevent persons assuming those titles of which they complained. It would effectually, he thought, prevent the existence of those dioceses or sees; for those dioceses could not exist, as was stated by Dr. Wiseman himself, except reference was made to some territorial limits within the county in which those dioceses or sees were established. That was an essential condition to the existence of those dioceses. If it were otherwise, they would be nothing more than bishops in partibus—Bishop of Heliopolis, or any other foreign title, exercising episcopal functions in this country. The consequences would follow, that, according to canon law, the 297 property bequeathed to the bishop of a diocese would not pass to his successor unless some reference was made in the bequest to the territorial jurisdiction over which he assumed a power. It would not, he apprehended, be such a case as had been alluded to by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield—namely, that of Cardinal Wiseman calling himself Archbishop in Westminster, or near Westminster; for that title would come as much within the meaning of the Act as the title Archbishop of Westminster, as proved by the context. No doubt, when Archbishop Musgrave sits in the House of Peers, he might still be considered as Archbishop in Westminster; so also might there be many Marquesses in Westminster sitting in the House of Peers; but still only one Marquess of Westminster. If that which was expressed by the form of the words conveying the bequest gave him no authority, but was evidently a mere colourable evasion in recognising his title, then in that case the matter would come within the provisions of the Act, and the result would be as he had already stated. He was of opinion that the Bill would effectually prevent the particular mischief or evil complained of. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire said he considered that the Bill would not interfere with the synodal action of the Roman Catholic Prelates. He differed from the hon. Member; he thought it would be the necessary consequence of the Bill that it would interfere with this synodical action. It was, no doubt, desirable, if possible, to effect these objects in the most quiet manner in which it could be done; but if it could be done effectually, that was all that the House should seek to do; and they should be contented if they made provisions suitable to the occasion that had given rise to them. It was true that the Bill did not deal with every particular case. It did not deal with the case of a prelate or priest of the Roman Catholic Church, by means of threatening the terrors of eternal punishment, inducing a person to take any steps that he was otherwise unwilling to accede to, or thus preventing the individual performing his civil duties or rights. For instance—to illustrate the matter—it would be impossible to provide for the case of a Roman Catholic prelate who, by the threats of eternal punishment, or the denial of the sacraments, sought to influence a man from enlisting in the army, or from giving evidence in a court of justice. It would not 298 be proper to introduce any provision into the Bill that would probably meet such a case. In the first place, no such questions as that had arisen, nor was at all likely to arise; and if it did, he had no hesitation in saying, that according to the existing laws, that would be considered an offence at common law, and the Courts would be sufficiently strong to meet that difficulty. It was therefore desirable that they should not attempt to meet any such cases. Those cases in which persons were terrified by their spiritual instructors into doing something, or into abstaining from doing an act which otherwise they would conceive it to be their duty to perform, were not those which legislation could touch, because, unless they came before the Courts they could not be known; they were cases of secrecy between the victim himself and the spiritual instructor. To illustrate the fact by the instance quoted by the noble Lord in the case of the Minister of Sardinia, having been recently refused the sacraments, it was obvious if the gentleman had been terrified into repentance, and consented to do that which, in his conscience, he did not think was right, he would have obtained the sacraments of the Church, and no one would have heard anything about the matter. But the fact of his not obtaining the sacraments had made the thing notorious from the feeling that was produced thereby amongst his relatives. This was a subject that could not be met by legislation, nor would it be expedient to attempt to meet it even if they thought they could succeed. In all these cases it was much better to leave the matter to the good sense and judgment of the Roman Catholic body, who would themselves, he believed, resist oppressions of that description, even if the Roman Catholic clergy of this country were disposed to have recourse to it. He appealed with very great confidence to the Roman Catholic laity of this country; and he felt that in legislating upon a question of this character, they were bound to consider that the Roman Catholics were in all respects, with the one exception of spiritual matters, to all intents and purposes like ourselves, animated with a sincere desire for the welfare of the State, and anxious to maintain the well-established order and institutions of the country. He himself had no doubt whatever upon that point; and when we think it necessary to introduce such a measure as this, we consider it called for not as essential for the protection of the Pro- 299 testant inhabitants of the kingdom only, but in his conscience he believed it was no less essential for the protection of the Roman Catholic laity of this country. He believed that a large body of them felt in the same way, but he believed they were so much bound by honour, party feeling, and spiritual reverence, that they were not able to express their sense of the advantages likely to arise from the measure. He only spoke his sincere opinion upon the subject, and from the information which he had obtained from various sources. For his own part, he could only say that he would be exceedingly glad if the question itself had never arisen. He must say that there could be very little question as to whom a measure of this description should satisfy. It did appear to him to be obvious that it could not satisfy the whole of those gentlemen, who said, no doubt perfectly conscientiously, that there was no injury whatsoever committed by the introduction of the bull; and though many of them might think that the Pope would have acted more properly if he had communicated to this country his desire, and what his intentions were in respect to his late proceeding, they will nevertheless he indisposed to support such a Bill as this. There was also a class of gentlemen who looked at the thing as a question of party politics, and who would be induced to make a handle of anything that would embarrass the present Government; some of whom will think the Bill too strong, and others not strong enough; but the very larger portion of the House, he believed, was composed of gentlemen who thought that something had been done which ought to be redressed, and who would no doubt feel that their object will be fully attained by carrying into law the measure that he had described. The Roman Catholics had always professed their desire to obey the laws of the country, and that they were actuated by the same feelings of loyalty as others of Her Majesty's subjects. Was it not fit and proper to pass a measure of this description, by which they would have an opportunity of seeing whether they were disposed to obey a law which made it an offence by statute law for their bishops to take those titles from any place in the united kingdom, or to administer any property by means or reference to titles of this kind? He believed that the House would find that the Roman Catholics would not resist it. He admitted the great danger of making anything like an approach to a 300 prophecy of this kind, but he thought he was safe in saying this. He thought it was but fair to give them an opportunity of saying whether they would not conform to the law that was now proposed, or whether they would act in utter contempt of it; and he felt satisfied that if it should be necessary to take some further steps in the introduction of more stringent measures, the power of Parliament to do so was of the most simple and easy kind, so that another measure might be introduced that would meet any resistance on the part of this people. He admitted he did not see the necessity for such an enactment as he referred to, for he did not expect that the necessity would arise for another measure upon this subject. He repeated the great regret he felt, in common with all those distinguished individuals with whom he was associated, that the Pope should have introduced so rash and ill-advised a measure as to render the Bill of his noble Friend necessary. He believed in his conscience that the Catholic laity themselves would deem this a measure essential to the due administration of the law, to the protection of themselves, as well as their Protestant brethren, from the undue interference in, and assumption of, temporal rights and powers over them by the Catholic hierarchy. The Bill discharged itself entirely from any thing relating to the spiritual matters of the Roman Catholic Church. We have nothing to do with that, and it was most desirable to maintain the distinction between the spiritual and temporal character of the question. He thought it was essential to deal with the temporal rights and powers imposed upon persons by the late act of the Pope, bearing in mind that by the effect of the canon law the Roman Catholics considered themselves solely dependent upon the See of Rome, and not entirely subject to the laws of the particular country in which they existed.
§ LORD ASHLEY
* Sir, however desirable, nay necessary, it may be to approach this question with coolness and deliberation, we must nevertheless, we, at least, who entertain a deep and sincere conviction of its importance, approach it with a decision and resolution equal to the emergency. Let us, at any rate, consider the issue; it is simply this, whether we shall allow the ecclesiastics of the Church of Rome to seize and to retain a position within these realms which they have never occupied in the most palmy days of Romanism in this country, and which they do not now oc- 301 cupy, and which they will not be permitted to occupy, in any continental State that acknowledges the authority of the Vatican.
Now I must commence by asserting that this is not a question merely affecting the Church of England—it is no Bill to secure her Establishment, protect her honour, or extend her influence; it is regarded as a question involving the civil and religious liberties of the whole realm, of the Church of England, of the Wesleyans, of the Independents, of every Nonconformist body; nay, I can show, even of the Roman Catholics themselves, and, undoubtedly, of the inferior orders of the Roman Catholic clergy.
And here I may, perhaps, be allowed to express my admiration of the language and conduct of the great majority of the Nonconformists, who have agreed to lay aside their various differences and suspend their assaults on the State Church, as they term it, and make common cause against the common enemy. Certainly I was much astonished to hear the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) assert that no Dissenting congregations north of the metropolis, had taken part in this movement; I recollected instantly a most remarkable document called The Declaration of the Ministers of the Congregational Denominations in the County of Lancaster, written I should think, by that great master of the English language, Dr. Vaughan, of Moss-side. The whole will repay perusal, for though there are some things in which I cannot concur, it is one of the clearest and most able statements of the Protestant and Roman Catholic question I have ever read. I will give one extract:—In all this we see Romanism in a form the most despotic, arrogant, and offensive, strikingly in contrast to the more liberal interpretations of it so common among English Catholics before the passing of the Emancipation Act—in a form, indeed, which is so much after the pattern of the worst times in the history of the Papacy, as to furnish precedent enough, if allowed silently to take its course, for aggressions dangerous alike to the British Crown and to those liberties, civil and religious, which our Protestant fathers have bequeathed to us.Is not this an emphatic declaration from Dissenters living north of the metropolis? Does not this prove unmistakeably that many of the Nonconformists of the present day, inherit the spirit of their forefathers in 1688? And that they are no more open to be wheedled by the soft blandishments of Dr. Wiseman, than they were by the smooth words of James II., when he 302 meditated a deadly blow against the civil and religious liberties of the country?
Now, so far as I have been able to follow the arguments against the measure of Government, they may be reduced at the most into two or three propositions. First, we are told of the extreme weakness of the Power we are combating; but, I reply, is not "weakness" to be regarded as a relative term?—may not the Pope be weak himself in material force, and yet be able, by spiritual influence, to surpass all other potentates? Is it not frequent matter of history, that while the Pope at home was so insecure as to be trembling for his very existence, he could shake remote kingdoms, and dethrone their monarchs? He may not have a soldier or a gun-boat, and yet he can set in motion half the forces of Christendom! When he was in his lowest condition and fleeing for his life, could he not, the other day, rouse for his defence the armies of France, and Naples, and Austria, and Spain?
But this is not the point; our conduct is not dictated by fear—England has not moved in this matter because she entertains the slightest apprehension of all the physical, political, or spiritual forces there can be leagued against her—it is because we have received a great and intolerable insult which must be repressed. Had this arrogance been contained in a mere edict or manifesto, it might have been passed over without any notice; but it is an insult reduced to practice, one consolidated and embodied in the presence of an archbishop and twelve bishops, who, by the parade of their titles, will daily inform the Queen that She is not the sole fountain of honour; and by their distribution of provinces and dioceses, give Her to understand that She is not the sole governor in these Her dominions.
Next, it is urged that a man may assume any name he pleases. I should like to hear the Attorney General on that point. I do not believe that a man may take any name he fancies, and make regulations in that name to bind others.
But the main objection is, that a Bill will be a restriction on religious liberty, and that it will intrench on the concessions made by the Act of 1829. Now, I am prepared to say for myself, I am sure I may say for a vast body without this House—of course I cannot answer for any within—I speak from experience of meetings, correspondence, and private intercourse, that there is no desire whatever to 303 abate in the least the privileges accorded to the Roman Catholics; but the question is not whether we shall take anything from the Roman Catholics, but whether they shall be allowed to take anything from us; whether the late Papal movement is not inconsistent with the rights of the Crown, and the civil and religious liberties of the subjects of this realm.
We did not begin the movement, we are not the aggressors. A foreign potentate and priest, by a certain document—whether legal or illegal I will not now pause to inquire—has, without permission of our Sovereign, without any communication whatever with the Government of this country, divided the realm into provinces and dioceses, appointed to them his own nominees, and invested them with territorial titles. Now the advocates of this proceeding say, that it is altogether in keeping with the spirit of the Act of 1829, and that it is necessary for the free development of the Roman Catholic religion. Surely, then, upon this statement there arise two questions: first, is this proceeding necessary to the development of the Roman Catholic religion? and, secondly, is it consistent with the rights of the Crown and the civil and religious liberties of all the people of this country? I will not stop to discuss the tone and temper of the apostolic brief; for brief it is, if the Attorney General, who called it a bull, would allow himself to be corrected on that point. With respect to the first proposition, that the recent act of the Pope is necessary for the development of the Roman Catholic religion, I must observe that, looking to the Act of 1829, it is perfectly clear that the Roman Catholics have full right and privilege to develop their religion, to diffuse, extend, and promote it by all legitimate means in their power. I will even go further, and say that, although their Church has been governed in these realms for nearly 300 years by vicars-apostolic, yet, episcopal functions being necessary to the government of the Roman Catholic Church, I believe, as at present advised, that they have full right to convert their vicars-apostolic into bishops. I know perfectly well the detriment we shall receive from the constitution of such a hierarchy; but, nevertheless, it appears to be in conformity with the concessions made in 1829. But no one has proved, or attempted to prove, and it is my firm belief that no one will be able to prove, that territorial titles are in 304 any degree necessary to the exercise of episcopal functions. A territorial title is a worldly and material affair. The office of bishop is a spiritual concern altogether. Will any one venture to assert that Archbishop Wiseman cannot exercise, within the jurisdiction assigned to him, archiepiscopal functions, unless he is called Archbishop of Westminster? It is, I know, said, that the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church must have a local habitation and a name. Granted. Then, why will not Dr. Wiseman call himself Archbishop of the Roman Catholics in Westminster? [Some laughter.] Let not hon. Members who laugh be in such a hurry. If they will be patient and good enough to give me their attention, I will show them—I will not promise to their satisfaction, but to that of a good many—that the difference adverted to, however minute in appearance, is mighty in operation. Why did not Dr. Wiseman call himself Archbishop "of the Roman Catholics in Westminster," a title which would leave him at liberty to discharge his functions, and yet assign his true distinction, and impose on him a just limitation? Now, many persons exclaim, "Why be so particular about names—why fight with a mere shadow? What can it signify whether a man be called Archbishop in or of a particular place? Is a monosyllable to throw the whole empire into confusion?" Yes it is, and it ought to do so. In the first place, the title of Archbishop of Westminster claims universal jurisdiction, whilst the title of Archbishop of the Roman Catholics in Westminster, shows clearly that it is a restricted office. Let me, in the first place, bring forward, by the way of testimony and illustration, what we did in our own case when we thought it desirable to send a Protestant bishop of the English Church to the holy city of Jerusalem. We did not, as Dr. Wiseman stated in his pamphlet, erect a bishopric there; we merely sent a bishop from this country to be resident in Jerusalem for Protestant purposes; but so careful were we to observe the rule laid down, that persons should not assume territorial titles and jurisdiction where they had no right to do so, that, in the first place, Her Majesty's Government obtained from the Sovereign of the country a firman allowing the bishop to reside there; and, in the second place, we took care, in the deed of consecration, to give him the title of "Alexander, Bishop of the United Church of England and Ireland, resident in Jeru- 305 salem." Such was the caution observed by us when we sent a bishop to Jerusalem. But as to the force of names and titles we have the testimony of whole nations, and this is a matter not to be lightly thrown aside. It will be in the recollection of the House, that when, in 1830, a revolution took place in the affairs of France, Louis Philippe was raised to the throne; but he was raised to it on this condition, imposed by the whole French people—that he should not be called King of France, but simply King of the French. Have we not then the testimony of the whole French nation, that a great distinction may be involved in what may at first sight appear to be a simple difference in the form of expression? They saw that the name implied feudal and territorial power. A similar course was pursued when Prince Leopold was raised to the throne of Belgium. The same condition was imposed in that case, and he was called the King of the Belgians, not the King of the Belgian territory. But the strongest argument of all is to be found in the estimate which the Roman Catholics themselves put on the title. Do you suppose that if in their apprehension there were nothing real and solid in the difference of the style of Archbishop of Westminster and Archbishop of the Roman Catholics in Westminster, they would expose themselves to the indignation and resentment of a whole country, and to the introduction of legislative measures to prevent the assumption of the chosen title? No, no! It is because they know that the name is of real value, that they insist on the title with unprecedented pertinacity.
But here is the motive—Cardinal Wiseman—for a Cardinal he certainly is—it being a foreign title, and giving no rank or precedence in these realms—in his famous Appeal, when defending himself against the charge of ambition for having assumed territorial honours, assigned the true reason, and so important is the reason he assigned, that one is almost inclined to believe he has heard our prayer, "Oh that my enemy would write a book!" Cardinal Wiseman states, then, that the Roman Catholic bishops do not take restrictive titles because the Church of Rome does not, and never will, allow any limitation to her jurisdiction. And why will she not? Mark! for this reason:—It is a well-known tenet of the Church of Rome, as nobody will deny, that every baptized soul, whether baptized by a layman or an 306 ecclesiastic; whether in the Roman Catholic Church or out of it, in whatever way baptized, is spiritually subject to the Pope of Rome. To state, therefore, that Dr. Wiseman is Archbishop only of the Roman Catholics in Westminster, would be to restrict his name and jurisdiction, while to designate him Archbishop of Westminster, preserves to him the full demand of his Church to inalienable sovereignty. But it is this very demand which renders it a duty on Protestants to offer an uncompromising and undying resistance. Because it is the well-known policy of the Church of Rome, that everything which is not resisted, she converts into a right, and makes it the starting point for fresh aggrandisement, and a fresh exercise of her unwarrantable ambition.
Now, with respect to the second question:—Is the Pope's proceeding consistent with the rights of the Crown, and the civil and religious liberties of the people of England, Dr. Wiseman again shall answer, and by his own showing it shall appear that it is not compatible with the liberties of this realm. Now, observe, Dr. Wiseman admits that the introduction of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is not simply for diocesan purposes, but with the view of obtaining synodical action. I will not pause to show what may be the effect of synodical action. That has been sketched in a graphic and forcible manner, by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when he described the serious and alarming procedure of the Synod of Thurles. Now, what has been done at Thurles will be repeated in Westminster, and we shall have an ecclesiastical empire sitting here and issuing decrees in the very heart of the metropolis of the British dominions. Stiil that is not all. The institution of the hierarchy is required for synodical action, but synodical action is required for the introduction of the canon law. Those are the words of Dr. Wiseman himself. Have, then, the House considered the nature and character of the canon law? Have you reflected on what you have heard on this subject from the lips of members of the Roman Catholic body? Have they not told you that it lays upon them burdens difficult to be borne? The House has already heard what has fallen from one of its Roman Catholic Members. They know the Duke of Norfolk has declared that the Ultramontane system which the Pope is labouring to establish in England, is inconsistent with the consti- 307 tution, and that Lord Beaumont has avowed that—The Pope, by his ill-advised measures, has placed the Roman Catholics in this country in a position where they must either break with Rome, or violate their allegiance to the constitution of these realms.This, ponder it well, is the condition in which many Roman Catholics, nay, in which all the country will be placed by the introduction of this territorial hierarchy. Talk of synodical action, indeed; why, we do not allow it even in our own Church; and shall we then be summoned to allow it in a rival and a hostile Church? The Roman Catholic priesthood desire equality; now then they have it; but they seek also a supremacy, and that they shall not have. But to revert to the canon law. Now I would not have called the attention of the House to the provisions of the canon law had it not been avowed that the Roman Catholic hierarchy is established mainly for the purpose of introducing that code which will be binding on the consciences of a large portion of the community. Again, I ask, will the House consider whether the canon law is compatible with the civil law of this country—whether it will not be the fate of those who obey it to find themselves frequently in opposition to the civil law of the realm?
To show the character of the canon law, I cannot do better than quote the language of a great and impartial authority—one of the first historians of modern times—Mr. Hallam. In the Middle Ages of that distinguished writer, the following passage occurs:—The superiority of the ecclesiastical over the temporal power may be considered as a sort of key-note which regulates every passage in the canon law. It is expressly declared that subjects owe no allegiance to an excommunicated Sovereign.I will not stop to point out the terrible expressions which are to be found in the canon law with reference to spiritual matters, because with them the House has nothing to do; but perhaps I may be permitted to read two or three citations from that law, which Mr. Hallam had appended to the chapter of his book. Here to begin with, is matter for reflection. "The laws of Kings have not pre-eminence over ecclesiastical laws, but are subordinate to them." I pray the House to give me its attention; but I must request to the succeeding passage the attention of the Attorney- 308 General:—The statute law of laymen," says the code, "does not extend to churches, or to ecclesiastical persons, or to their goods, to their prejudice." Is this a rule to be lightly passed over? That this is no idle declaration is proved by the present conflict between Sardinia and the Pope. What has caused the discussion but the determination of the Sardinian Government to set aside the church law, and make all ecclesiastical persons subject to the civil law of the realm? The statute law of laymen, why this is the law of the land by Queen, Lords, and Commons, and because the Sardinian Minister, Santa Rosa, wished merely to put the law of his country on the same footing as that of France and that of Austria, he was deprived by the Archbishop of the last sacrament; and, had it not been for the indignation of the people, he would have been altogether deprived of Christial burial. But to proceed with Mr. Hallam's citations from the canon law:—"Whatever decrees of princes are found injurious to the interests of the church, are declared to be of no authority whatever." "While a Sovereign remains excommunicated, his subjects owe him no allegiance; and, if he do not submit himself to the church, his subjects are absolved from all fealty to him." Now comes a part of the canon law which applies to all matters between man and man, of which a court of justice can take cognisance. The decretal of Gregory states, "Oaths that are disadvantageous to the interests of the church are not to be considered as oaths, but rather as perjuries." And here I say, let me not be misunderstood: I quote these things, not as against the Roman Catholic body, but as against the power and action of the contemplated hierarchy; and I would not have quoted them at all had I not been told that the canon law was about to be introduced under cover of this hierarchy, for the first time into England. In these circumstances it behoves us to know what that code is, and to ascertain, and speedily determine, whether it is compatible with our civil and religious liberties.
Now we must not be answered by phrases about "the nineteenth century," and the "march of intellect." Is it not remarkable that in this nineteenth century, during the march of intellect, and in the course of the last few years, when the greatest stimulus has been given to the human mind, a larger number of persons have gone over to the Church of Rome than 309 during the preceding 300 years? So little had the march of intellect availed to stem the advance of Popery and error.
Let us now reverse the picture and make the case our own. Suppose Her Majesty, in compliance with the wishes of Her Protestant subjects residing in the Italian States, had appointed bishops of Civita Vecchia and Ancona, or, to make the case more in point, had divided Rome into districts, and appointed a bishop of Trastevere. What would have happened? In such a case it is easy to imagine how the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs would have been besieged by protocols and conferences and harassed by remonstrances from the Ministers of France, of Austria, and Spain. And yet, if Her Majesty had done that, she would have done no more than has been done in this country by the intolerable ambition of the Pope of Rome.
The hon. Member for Sheffield has referred to America as a model for our institutions, and said that there the Pope's proceedings would have been viewed with indifference; but the cases of the two countries are not analogous. America is a confederation of States. In America, Romanism has never been established—it has nothing to recover—no antecedents of history on which to rely—nor is there in that country the possibility of an establishment. The Romanists in America set to work very differently. They do not put themselves forward prominently in New York and Philadelphia, they devote their energies to colonies in the far west, converting and absorbing new settlers as they arrive. This is not said in disparagement of the zeal of the Roman Church; on the contrary, I regard its zeal as worthy of commendation, and I assert, that if the Protestant churches of Christendom would exhibit the same amount of zeal for the advancement of truth, that the Romanists display for the propogation of their empire, the Protestant faith would soon spread over the whole earth.
Next, the hon. Gentleman quoted the instance of the Wesleyans. How is this in point? Do the Wesleyans owe a divided allegiance? Have they joined any foreign connexion? Do they issue spiritual censures? It is perfectly true that they divide and subdivide the country into districts for their own purposes and convenience; but if the President of the Conference, having subdivided the country for the convenience of the Wesleyan ministers, 310 were to make known what he had done in "pastoral" such as hon. Members had lately read, and were to say that he "governed" the counties of Lancaster, York, and Cumberland, and would continue to "govern" them as President of the Conference, I really think that the next thing we should hear of him would be that he had been under the hands of a medical man, and had been declared to be a person of unsound mind under the terms of the Lunatic Act, and a fit and proper subject for confinement.
There is another aspect in which this question may be viewed; a very painful one it is true; but one of such vital importance that I cannot in my conscience discuss a measure for the purpose of resisting the Papal aggression without bringing my views of it before the House, because I know that these are not only mine, but the views of a very large mass of the laity of these realms. Is there nothing that had invited aggression in the state of our own unhappy divisions? Is there nothing within ourselves that had invited the attack from without? When we are proceeding to discuss measures that shall repel external aggression, ought we not to examine carefully and see whether there does not exist among ourselves something that has invited the aggression, and which will continue to invite similar aggressions in an increased and an increasing-degree? I request leave to read to the House an extract which I am sure they will find worthy of their utmost attention. It contains the words of a person of great authority upon this question—the words not of some Low Churchman attacking the Tractariaus—the words, not of some man attached to the Genevan platform writing in bitterness against the episcopate—but the words of a person of great experience and acuteness, who, from his eagle station, on the mountain top, having abided his time, now descends to seize his prey. Speaking of the Church of England he says—It may seem necessary to state my reason for imagining that I see an approximation, not merely towards individual Catholic practices or doctrines, but towards Catholic union. … It seems to me impossible to read the works of the Oxford divines, and especially to follow them chronologically, without discovering a daily approach towards our holy Church, both in doctrine and affectionate feeling. Our saints, our Popes, have become dear to them by little and little; our rites and ceremonies, our offices, nay, our very rubrics, are precious in their eyes; far, alas! beyond what many of us consider them; our monastic institutions, our charitable and educational 311 provisions, have become more and more objects with them of earnest study. … Their admiration of our institutions and practices, and their regret at having lost them, manifestly spring from the value which they set on everything Catholic.A little further on he adds—That the feelings which have been expressed in favour of a return to unity by the Anglican Church are every day widely spreading, and deeply sinking, no one can doubt. Those sentiments have a silent echo in hundreds of sympathising bosoms.…There are many evidences which it would be hardly proper to detail [mark that], that Catholic feelings have penetrated deeper into society than at first one would suspect. Whole parishes have received the leaven, and it is fermenting; and places where it might least be expected seem to have received it in more secret and mysterious ways.Is there no temptation here? Is there nothing to stimulate hope that these parties at least, were friends? The writer has received impressions too rapidly, but, nevertheless, it is certain that external appearances warranted his conclusion. [An observation, which the reporters did not catch, was here made by an hon. Member under the opposite gallery.] If the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to attend to the words of the extract, I am sure that he will bow his head in reverence when he learns the name of the writer. The author concludes thus:—By two ways the population of this country would be worked upon (through its Established Church) for its moral improvement—the rural districts through parochial influence; the denser population of towns or manufacturing districts through monastic institutions. Experience has now shown that the country population are ready to receive without murmuring, indeed, with pleasure the Catholic views propounded from Oxford; and, indeed, even more, when taught through regular parochial instruction.This was written in 1841, and is signed, "NICOLAS WISEMAN, Bishop of Melipotamus."
Now I will at once demand, is there nothing stated here to invite aggression? Is there nothing here to beget a hope, nay, a conviction, that, if the Romish Church would only put on a bold front, and make a vigorous effort, a large proportion of the people of these realms would be ready to embrace the Roman Communion?
But this is not all: I wish to speak with entire respect of the clerical gentleman who signed the important document to which I shall refer; but I must ask again whether such an act as this is not enough to lead the Court of Rome to the belief that it 312 would find among the very ministers of our own Church, admirers, if not positively adherents? Last year 1,800 clergymen of the Church of England, most of them holding benefices, signed a declaration against the Royal supremacy. I doubt not that they acted in full accordance with the dictates of conscience; but nevertheless, the fact remains, without abatement or contradiction, that the supremacy of the Crown, which has been recognised and obeyed for 300 years, has at last been called in question by 1,800 clergymen who preside over congregations on whom they can inculcate their opinions. I must consider this as a reason sufficient to lead the authorities of the Vatican to the belief, that there exists in the Church of England, the warmest sympathy with the doctrines, tenets, and discipline of the See of Rome. Add to this the various practices which have been introduced by many of the clergy; add the processions, the auricular confessions, and ten thousand other things that approximate so closely to the doctrines and discipline of the Church of Rome; add also the fact that the Bishop of London thought it his duty to condemn "the histrionic" ceremonies which are practised in his diocese—ceremonies which, while they indicate a panting after those of Rome, are, after all, such is his language, but a miserable imitation of them—sum up all then, and can we avoid the conclusion that there is something within our own borders which has invited, and which will continue to invite, the aggressions of the Roman Pontiff?
Sir, I must declare my belief that if these things are allowed to continue, there will arise, and at no distant time, a collision between the ecclesiastics and the laity, and should so fearful an event take place, the issue cannot be doubtful to any reflecting mind. I assert, nevertheless, that the laity love their Church, its doctrines, its discipline, its parochial system; that they desire to maintain its orders of bishop, presbyter, and deacon, in all their efficiency and all their dignity; but they will maintain it in purity and not in corruption. To obtain this end, they will, under God's blessing, incur every hazard, try every alternative, and shrink from no consequences whatever, in their righteous endeavours to bring back the church that they love, still nearer and nearer, day by day, to the standard of the glorious Reformation.
§ MR. GRATTAN
would remind the House of the injustice of extending the 313 measure to Ireland, inasmuch as the Pope had never, as it was ironically called, committed any "Papal aggression" in that country. The penal Act of the 28th of Henry the Eighth, and the subsequent Act of Elizabeth, had never been extended to Ireland, where the hierarchy had been left undisturbed. He did not understand why they should punish Ireland for an offence which she had not committed. When the Pope sent over to England four vicars-apostolic—a number which he subsequently increased to eight—there was no outcry made, and yet they were armed with the same authorities and the same powers; their names were only different. How the Papal brief could possibly be construed into an insult against Her Majesty, he was at a loss to conceive. Did She not know that a great portion of Her subjects were Roman Catholics—that they were not governed by Her as far as their spiritual concerns? It was an error to suppose that the apostolic letter of Cardinal Wiseman had ordered the subdivision of the country; for if they would refer to the letter of the Pope appointing additional vicars-apostolic, they would find the districts laid down in the same manner, districts formerly, dioceses now—eight created in 1840—thirteen at present. He regarded the whole of the present movement as an idle argument about a name. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had himself admitted that he saw no reason why vicars-apostolic might not take the names of bishops, and derive their titles from Protestant sees. He said so in 1844, when he called it "a most foolish prohibition" to prevent Catholics styling themselves by the name of their dioceses; he repeated nearly the same in 1845; he did so again in 1846, when he termed the distinction "puerile" and "absurd." In addition, we had the Charitable Bequests Act in one year, the Irish Cemeteries Act in another, then followed Lord Grey's letter to the Governors of the Colonies, directing them to conform to the rule laid down at home, and address the Roman Catholic prelates by their titles; next came the letter of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, using the very term archbishop; next came the order from the office of Her Majesty's Chamberlain giving rank as well as title. Thus in 1844, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49, we find in all quarters—not only at home but abroad—we find this respect shown, this rank given, and these titles allowed. What, then, are we to think, or they to think, when all this is 314 reversed? Her Majesty's Ministers did not surely think that the people would consider the country ruined because Cardinal Wiseman had taken the title of Archbishop of Westminster; the army is not disbanded,—the navy remains—the taxes are still collected—and our revenue is augmented. The course which Government would adopt would make us an object of contempt, not only to Europe, but to all mankind. He must now refer to the extraordinary speech made the other night by the hon. Member for West Surrey. Of what religious denomination the hon. Member was, he did not know. He knew only that he was his (Mr. Grattan's) representative; but he certainly would never vote for him unless he improved his manners and changed his language. The hon. Member's ecclesiastical learning was profound, his Christianity was great, and his love for religion so overflowing, that he attacked not only the present generation but the past; he struck at friends or foes indiscriminately. He had dealt his blows with unsparing arm all around him; and if he (Mr. Grattan) was a lawyer, he would say that in calling Dr. Cullen a spy, he had involved himself in an action at law, from which it would not be easy for him to extricate himself. Dr. Cullen, he believed, was a county of Kildare man, and he (Mr. Grattan) had met him at various places both at home and abroad, and through him he had had various communications with the late Pope Gregory, who so far from being hostile to England, had only this fault, that he seemed almost too loyal to the Ministers, and too much attached to the British Government. But he knew how his hon. representative had been deceived in this matter: it was through the speech made at the late county meeting in Surrey by that distinguished ornament of the law, Sir Edward Sugden, who, coming forth from his retirement and his studies, told the meeting that the assumption of territorial titles by the Roman Catholic bishops was illegal. Now he had a high respect for that learned gentleman; he had recently been Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and on that occasion, in 1844, a question was brought before him as Chancellor relating to some Catholic charity, when he issued an instrument that run thus:—"We nominate and appoint the Right Rev. Dr. Crolly, Roman Catholic Archbishop and Primate of all Ireland." Here we find Sir Edward Sugden's judicial Act replying to 315 his speech. So another Irish Chancelcellor, Lord Campbell, in the second volume of his Lives of Lord Chief Justices, spoke of Oliver Plunkett, as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland. He wished to know if the Bill would provide for such cases as these? Were they to punish officers in a court of law for giving such titles to parties when they came before them; or would they punish booksellers for publishing books that contained such titles? Passages in this transaction are so applicable to the system long adopted in Ireland, that I may be pardoned for urging them; the measure before us may involve the country in law, and other bishops be put on trial. Hear then, how Oliver Plunkett was tried—Judge Pemberton was the man who thus disgraced himself and the Bench by thus addressing him—"You have done as much as you could to dishonour God, for the bottom of your treason was setting up your 'false religion,'"—(the identical charge and words used by the Protestant clergy now). "There is not anything more displeasing to God, or pernicious to man;—a religion ten times worse than all the 'heathenish' superstition"—(this very word, heathen, too, is in the noble Lord Russell's letter);—"the most dishonourable and derogatory to God and his glory of all religions or pretended religions whatever." What was the noble reply of Plunkett?—If I were such a man as your Lordship considers me to be, not thinking of God Almighty, or heaven or hell, I might have saved my life; for it has been often offered to me if I would confess my guilt and accuse others; but, my Lord, I would sooner die ten thousand deaths!Now listen to the memorable remarks of your Chief Justice Lord Campbell. After censuring this impious Judge for so disgracing himself, he adds—This most Rev. Dr. Oliver Plunkett, titular Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, was a man of splendid abilities, profound learning, unblemished life, and genuine piety"—(observe, not a heathen—not a mummer)—but genuine piety, and what is more to the purpose, "of unquestionable loyalty." Lord Campbell proceeds further in his praise, but this suffices; and I read the entire of the transaction, lest other Irish prelates may be calumniated and put on their trial; and I now put Government on their guard. For centuries the territorial designations of Catholic bishops in Ireland had been either expressly or impliedly recog- 316 nised by lawyers, by judges, by Government officials, and by Acts of Parliament; and with what front could the Prime Minister rise up, in this age of toleration, and with professions of liberty on his lips, require that they should now be ignored, and made the subject of penal enactments? He had a distinct recollection that, during the sittings of the Committees which were appointed by the Lords and Commons on the Catholic question in the year 1825, the first question which was proposed by the Members of those Committees to the various Catholic prelates who were summoned to give evidence was, "Are you the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh?" or, "Are you the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin?" as the case might be. Those questions thus worded were taken down in shorthand. They were stereotyped on the historic records of the Legislature, and yet they were now to be told that there were no such persons in existence as Catholic bishops or Catholic archbishops, either of Dublin or of Armagh, or of any other places within the Queen's dominions. It was a hard thing to ask the House to stultify itself by so absurd a proceeding. If the House were accessible to the appeals of common sense—if, prejudice and intolerance being alike discarded, it were possible to test this question, not by the lurid glare of passion, but by the calm clear light of reason, the Bill now under discussion would be rejected ignominiously and peremptorily. It would not endure five minutes' discussion. He really thought this ought to settle the whole question; the Speaker might retire from the chair, and he might say,Solventur risu tabulæ: tu missus abibis.What had the Pope done but that which was done under the 5th of Victoria, which was an Act to amend the 26th of George III., enabling the Archbishop of Canterbury to send out Protestant clergymen to foreign countries, to exercise within such limits as may from time to time be assigned for that purpose, in such foreign countries of Her Majesty, spiritual jurisdiction over the ministers of British congregations, and over such Protestant congregations desirous of placing themselves under his or their authority? After this, how can the Minister presume to address us? Mark, there are countries in which the Sovereign of England had no power or any claim of authority? Surely they would not be told that a thing was right when done by the Queen 317 abroad, and wrong when done by the Pope at home. The case of America had frequently been referred to in the course of the present discussion, and the opinions of the Americans on the subject of toleration were well known; but he could not help reminding them of what took place at the celebration of the late anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers on that continent, a celebration at which the British Ambassador was present, and at which he and Mr. Webster delivered the noblest sentiments and most eloquent orations. Let me tell you who these pilgrims were—men who were driven from this country by religious persecution. Junius, whose style and writings I beg to recommend to the young men of this House, describes them beautifully:—They left their native land in search of freedom, they found it in a desert;—divided, as they are, into a thousand forms of policy and religion, there is one point in which they all agree, they equally detest the pageantry of a king, and the supercilious hypocrisy of a bishop.Mr. Webster's speech contrasted nobly with the rabid spoutings by which the civic entertainments of the Lord Mayor of London had been disgraced a few months ago, when bigotry and bacchanalianism went hand in hand, and a grave Judge, robed in ermine, did not scruple to declare his intention to walk upon the hat of a fellow, subject, Cardinal Wiseman. Mr. Webster, in the course of his eloquent harangue, took occasion to allude, with excusable pride and gratification, to the amount of religious freedom which men were permitted to enjoy in the United States. He called attention to this fact, that the head of the supreme court of judicature in the United States was an ardent adherent of the Catholic religion; and, he very justly added, that no man, of sane and candid mind, would say that, in consequence of that fact, the administration of justice in America has been less secure, or less respected, than it would have been had the chief justice been a member of any other branch of the Christian church, He continues thus:—We see in our day a more enlarged and comprehensive Christian philanthropy—it seems to be the mission which God has entrusted to us on the western shores of the Atlantic—that all sects and denominations who love His will may be safely tolerated without prejudice to religion. Gentlemen, we are all Protestants; but you know there presides at the head of the supreme judicature a Roman Catholic; and no man imagines that the judicature of the country is less safe, or that the 318 administration of justice is less respected, or less secure, because the Chief Justice has been, or is, an ardent adherent to the Catholic religion. We go on the idea that a man's religion is above human law—that it is a question to be settled between him and his Maker, to whom alone he is responsible.These sentiments of Mr. Webster I recommend to Lord Truro: they are more valuable than the vehement orations delivered at Guildhall. He (Mr. Grattan) was not a Roman Catholic, although he had been twice mistaken for one in that House, by Members who, hearing the Catholic Church so slanderously maligned, had called upon him to stand up in defence of his religion. He was a Protestant by education and by conviction, but he did not presume to deal damnation round the land on his fellow-creatures and fellow-countrymen of a different religion from himself. He would not presume to anathematise the adherents of the Catholic Church, for he did not believe that an all-merciful God would have created so many human beings to be members of a false religion, and to be heirs, as such, of eternal damnation. He would give fearless utterance to the honest convictions of his heart, and he would endeavour to bring to the cheeks of the bigots that blush of which he grieved to say he as yet saw no indication. Why should the Catholic prelates be robbed of their titles? It was idle to retort by asking "what is in a name?" Everything was in a name when honour was wound up with it. What was a garter or a star but a bauble; yet what nobleman was there who would willingly permit himself to be deprived of either? Take his garter from the Duke of Devonshire,—you could not destroy his kindness, his benevolence, or his urbanity—but you would blemish his fair fame, tarnish his honour, and put such an indignity upon him, that he had rather forfeit life than submit to it. And so, too, was it with the Catholic bishops. They believed themselves entitled to a certain honourable designation, which had been theirs for centuries; and why should they be now deprived of it? Hon. Gentlemen would recollect, that in 1689 there was a contest about a name, when the House of Lords insisted upon one word, and their own predecessors insisted upon another; the one House said that the Sovereign had forfeited his throne, and the other said abdicated. But that con- 319 test was a contest about principle—it was very different from the present petty affair. Let not the Ministers suppose that they could with impunity defy public opinion in Ireland, and outrage the feelings of a nation. Behind the Treasury bench there was a power stronger than the bench itself. He was not disposed to offer a factious or vexatious opposition to the present Ministry; but if they trampled on religious freedom—if they systematically outraged the feelings of the Irish people, not on this question only, but likewise on the Spirit question, and on the question of the Abolition of the Vice-Royalty, he would exclaim, "Down with the Government of Lord John Russell, and up with the name, and fame, and character of my country!" It was all very well to say that Victoria was Queen by the grace of God. Why, so she was, but she was also Queen by virtue of another title equally pleasing in the sight of God—the unbought love of her people. Of what avail was the grace of God to Charles at the block, or to James, a heartbroken wanderer in a foreign land? They were both ruined because their thrones were not in the hearts of their people. In Ireland there was a Church without a religion, and a religion without a Church. Can things go on as they are at present? The late census gave eight millions of people to Ireland, six millions and a half Catholics, 650,000 Presbyterians, and 852,000 Established Church, the most of them in one of the four ecclesiastical provinces—in Armagh, 500,000, in Deny, 156,000—while the Catholics are 3,400,000. In the diocese of Cashel, 95 of the population are Catholics; in Tuam, 96; in Derry, the Protestants are only 1¼ per cent; 41 benefices have not a single Protestant—99 have from 1 to 20, and all these are endowed benefices; in 3 parts out of 4, the Established Church is in a very small minority; the upper grades are paid; the lower, who do the labour, are left a very slender portion, the curates and working men are nearly starved. I alluded to them before, and the House would scarcely listen to their wretched condition. I ask, can a Church thus situated go on? Will these revenues be thus maladministered, and will not this very Bill endanger the future, and raise another war against the tithes? In fact, the true pastors of the people who lived in these benefices, were the Ca- 320 tholic clergy, and yet they were to be insulted and disparaged, and to be denied those titles which were conceded in all other countries to persons in their position. The Irish Members had given to the present Ministry their cordial and effective support; and the way the noble Lord at the head of the Government evinced his gratitude was, by writing an after-dinner letter, in which he insulted them and their countrymen. They supported him in his prosperity—they cheered him in his adversity; and he turned round upon them and deliberately insulted them. In his letter, he sneers at their poverty as Irish "immigrants;" at their condition, as Irish "heathens;" and at their religion, as "mummery, and superstition." He disgraced them in the face of the world—tore the epaulettes off their shoulders, and drummed them out of his regiment. [Laughter.] I ask, why should the noble Lord insult the religion of the masses of the Irish people? Why should be prevent them from giving to Catholic bishops such designations of honour as they believed to be due to their piety, their learning, and to their historic descent from an apostolic age? It was in the year 1813 Mr. Grattan brought in a Bill, in the preparation and advocacy of which he was assisted by Mr. Canning, Mr. Wilberforce, Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Plunket, Mr. Bushe, and other eminent men. He had the right to reproach the British Government and their predecessors for throwing out that Bill, for it guarded against the danger which the noble Lord apprehended. Mr. Canning introduced clauses which provided that a Roman Catholic bishop should make known his nomination to the commissioners proposed to be appointed under the Bill, who were to report the same to His Majesty; and the Bill also provided that any Papal bulls should be reported to the commissioners, so as to enable them to certify that the ecclesiastics appointed under them were loyal men. Why had the House of Commons rejected that Bill? If it had been passed, the present altercations and heartburnings would have been avoided. In conclusion, he would say to the people of this country that they might be a great and powerful people, but a nation might be raised to a great height in order that her fall might supply a more impressive lesson to mankind. Death might come to a nation, as to an individual, by some trivial accident which passion occasioned, 321 and which judgment might have warded off. Let them not forget the allegory of Achilles' heel and Hannibal's ring—Ille Cannarum vindex et tanti sanguinis ultor Annulusproved the destruction of one whose ambition was once the scourge of the universe. He did not desire so sad a fate to England; but he hoped that, warned by the crimes and follies of other nations, she would pursue a course which would promote her own happiness, and tend to shed perennial splendour on her reputation. It was only by pursuing a highminded and generous policy that England could hope to secure the favour of her friends, and to make her way good against her enemies.Macte novâ virtute, puer: sic itur ad astra,Diis genite, et geniture Deos: jure omnia bellaGente sub Assaraci fato ventura resident:Nee te Troja capit.
begged to explain. What he had stated was, that after the Court of Rome had received intelligence that the Earl of Clarendon had been consulted on the matter of the Queen's Colleges, the Pope, before he took any steps, had sent over Dr. Cullen to spy out what was going on. It was, obvious, then, that there was no room, in the application of the word which had been chosen, to take offence. He had not said that there was any harm in what the Pope had done, or in what Dr. Cullen had done.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, that in dealing with this important subject, he should not forget what was due to the feelings of Roman Catholics in reference to their religious opinions. The response given by England to the claims of the Pope was similar to that given by Spain—the most Roman; Catholic country—by Austria, Belgium, Prance, Holland, and Russia; they one and all had asserted that the powers of the Pope of Rome must be restricted within certain bounds. Those nations had not all taken the same course or applied the same restrictions, but they had all proclaimed I with one voice that the powers claimed by the Pope were incompatible with the government and independence of a free State. And should England alone, of all the countries of Europe, suffer such a power to grow up unrestricted within her territories? He did not mean to say that penal laws ought to be enacted, or any such thing, but he contended that that power ought to be restrained. He thought history would bear him out in asserting that those coun- 322 tries which enjoyed the greatest comparative amount of freedom were those in which the powers of the Pope had been the most restricted. This was remarkably true of Holland, and still more especially so with regard to England. A charge of intolerance had been made against those who opposed the pretensions of the Pope to govern in this country, but he denied that there was the slightest attempt made to prevent any Roman Catholic within the realm of England from freely exercising his religion. He was desirous of preserving to his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen the most perfect religious freedom, but he also claimed on behalf of Protestants some guarantee against the temporal encroachment of the Bishop of Rome, and for the preservation of that liberty which always was considered as the birthright of Englishmen.
§ MR. W. P. WOOD
thought it rather inconvenient to discuss the subject at such great length upon the Motion for leave to bring in a Bill. He would much rather have seen the Bill laid before the House before he entered further on the discussion of it. At the same time, principles had been advanced, more particularly by hon. Members on his own side of the House, so perfectly at variance with the views that ought to lead to a right conclusion on the subject, that he felt it impossible to remain silent. He heard it asserted, first, by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, and, with great surprise, afterwards by his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, with whom he thought there was an accordance at least on one point of their political creeds, that the opinions expressed throughout the country in so plain and unequivocal a manner—in a manner more decided than anything he could recollect since the agitation for the Reform Bill, were to weigh for nothing; nay, more, that those who so expressed their opinions were to be stigmatised with bigotry. He wished, as he had always wished, that the opinions of the large masses of the people of England should have yet more weight and effect than they now had in that House. He had always wished, and still wished, that the suffrage should be extended, and the effect of that extension must be, in a great measure, no doubt, to bring public opinion more strongly to bear upon questions that were discussed in that House. Were they to be told by the hon. Member for Manchester that the public opinion of the coun- 323 try, whenever it differed from his own views, was to be set at nought? He (Mr. Wood) trusted he should be able to show that there had been no feeling of bigotry in this matter whatsoever. It was true there had been great earnestness, but nothing of bigotry. He did not, of course, speak of individual speeches, some of which might have been replete with bigotry, but of the resolutions that had been passed, and he would say, that they had in the main been characterised by the high honour and good sense of our fellow-countrymen. They had each and all repudiated the notion of returning to the penal laws; and whatever bigotry there might have been in individual speeches, no man had been bold enough to propound a bigoted resolution at any one of the meetings that had taken place. It was satisfactory to his mind that those meetings had taken place in a constitutional mode, and that they had not been the result of any agitation whatever. They were spontaneous meetings of counties, municipal corporations, and vestries, to express their opinion in a constitutional and legitimate manner. Besides that they had other bodies who were not generally actuated by rash and hasty motives, and certainly not in general with any great unanimity of sentiment, yet who had spoken out most unequivocally on this subject, as the College of Physicians, and other scientific bodies; and he might also allude to a meeting of the members of his own profession, who were not accustomed to take a very active part in political matters, and who were not in the habit of attaching their signatures unadvisedly to any document. There was an address signed by 756 barristers residing in London; and, so far from its being called forth by the letter of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he knew that it had received the signatures of many, and among others his own, before that letter appeared. But to talk of the letter of the noble Lord producing this extent of public feeling, he must say, with all respect for the noble Lord, was to attribute to him a power he did not possess. The feeling was called forth by the act of aggression on the part of the Pope, which the people regarded as an insult towards their Sovereign, and the revival of a power long dormant in this country, but which they knew would resuscitate the old and antiquated claims that our ancestors resisted before the Reformation, and which their successors were determined also to 324 resist. But earnestness was not bigotry any more than indifference was liberality. Bigotry consisted in that narrowness of mind which could not always perceive that the same truth was still the truth, under whatever aspect it presented itself. Again, it consisted of a narrowness of heart, a want of being able to sympathise with the errors of others, if even they were errors, and of imputing to others wrong motives. But there was an earnestness and devotedness of opinion which might well consist with the utmost liberality and enlarged conduct towards those who differed from us. He hoped he should not fall into the error of bigotry; and all he should say was, that he would abstain from saying one word or expressing one sentiment that was calculated to wound the religious feelings of those who heard him. The document which had proceeded from the bar had been signed on the ground that there had been an aggressive assumption of power on the part of a foreign potentate, which was an insult to our Sovereign; that there had been a parcelling of this country into local districts and dioceses which it was impossible to permit any foreign Power to attempt. That opinion, he was happy to perceive, had been affirmed by several able addresses delivered in that House. It was very easy for Cardinal Wiseman, and those who advised him, and published pamphlets and other documents in his defence, to tell one thing to us, whilst there was another perfectly well understood by the whole of the Roman Catholic community to which they belonged. They were told there was nothing but a change of name, and that was echoed by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield; and they said "What is there in a name?" He was Vicar-Apostolic and Bishop of Melipotamus. Now he is Archbishop of Westminster. He held also the dignity of Cardinal, but that had nothing to do with this particular act; but the difference of his being Bishop of Melipotamus and Vicar-General, and of his being Archbishop of Westminster, was just this—that as Vicar-General he had no jurisdiction whatever; he had spiritual influence, he had spiritual power, the power of ordination and every other exercised in foro conscientiœ, but no power in foro externo; while as Archbishop of Westminster he claims a power in foro externo. That distinction was perfectly well understood by all who knew anything of this subject. There might be jurisdiction as regarded 325 spiritual matters, totally distinct from jurisdiction as regarded ecclesiastical matters. The spiritual power, as opposed to temporal power, was one thing; and ecclesiastical power, opposed to spiritual power, was another. Every bishop of a diocese exercised jurisdiction, not over 100, or 200, or 300 individuals in his diocese; but claimed, though Roman Catholic bishops could not enforce it as the law stood, to exercise a jurisdiction distinct and direct an ecclesiastical jurisdiction—over every inhabitant residing in his diocese. Dr. Wiseman perfectly understood that, and those who advised him understood it also. He would illustrate this distinction by reference to temporal jurisdiction. Now, by treaties with Turkey, the Levant Company—and by subsequent treaties, the Consuls-General—had entire plenary jurisdiction over all British residents in certain districts of Turkey; but did they suppose that the Sultan would allow any of our Consuls-General to say they governed the districts of Beyrout or Lebanon? Certainly not. These parties governed the English subjects by treaty in those particular districts; but had no power or authority over the districts themselves. But if they were to say they were governors of Beyrout or Lebanon, the natural inference would be that they governed as pashas. The very term "diocese" was a well-understood term; it was not new—it was of old classic Latinity; they would find it in Cicero, he believed in one of his Letters, where he spoke of a diocese cis Taurum as being part of his province of Cilicia; and the Church had introduced that term, as it had many others of the Roman Empire, into its vocabulary. It always meant a local district, including every inhabitant in it; and, in that respect, differed from a mere episcopacy exercising a vicarious jurisdiction, as, for instance, a Bishop of Melipotamus. It had, also, always been accompanied by the appointment of a sedes, or principal town in the diocese, translated by us the bishop's see. If that were so, was the House to be told that they were talking of mere names when they attempted to draw a distinction between a Bishop of Westminster and a Bishop of the Roman Catholics in Westminster? The late Bishop Coleridge, when he retired from his bishopric of Jamaica, and lived among us, was a bishop in Westminster, but not Bishop of Westminster or London; and so it would be with any other bishop residing in, but not holding, any see in this country; 326 a bishop of a diocese there could not be in this country except with the authority of the Crown. There could be no see erected—and Roman Catholic jurists agreed that the Pope could not erect any new see or diocese—against the consent of the country in which it was proposed to be established; and, more than that, some of the authorities said it could not be done without the express consent of the Sovereign. Such were the opinions of Van Espen, Thomas-sinus, and Schramm. If so, what consent had been obtained to this act by which the Pope had taken upon himself to create new dioceses in our country, and to erect new sees therein? The Roman Catholics themselves well understood these things: owing to the strong regulations lately made in Prance with respect to public newspapers, they had the names of the authors of the different articles, and in this case he found a recent article in the Univers with the well-known name of Gondon, a Roman Catholic gentleman well skilled in canonical learning. After quoting the Bishop of London's words, that the brief was a denial of the Queen's authority, of the English episcopacy, of the validity of our orders, and a claim of spiritual jurisdiction over our whole Christian population, M. Gondon continued:—The brief of Pius IX. is, in fact, nothing less than that. The Bishop of London exactly appreciates its bearing. Just as St. Gregory transferred the primacy from London to Canterbury; as Popes Boniface and Honorius confirmed this change, so Pius IX. transfers to-day the primacy of Canterbury to the new archiepiscopal see of Westminster. It is by virtue of the authority bequeathed to him by his predecessors that the Pope substitutes for the see of London that of Southwark, and abolishes all the ancient sees erected in England by the Popes who have preceded him in the chair of St. Peter. Consequently, from the promulgation of the brief, there exists neither see of Canterbury, nor of York, nor London, nor any of the sees established anterior to the Reformation. The personages who shall for the future assume the titles of Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London will be mere intruders, schismatic prelates, without any spiritual authority.Was this, then, no insult? The hon. Member for Mayo says "Hear, hear!" He thought, if any person in Ireland, not in a state of intoxication, happened to enter the house of his hon. Friend, and said—"I am master of the house, and claim to possess it by virtue of a title far anterior to yours," and suppose he produced some document anterior to Cromwell's time and entered the house, his hon. 327 Friend would surely consider it an aggression as well as an insult. That being the state of international law, let them see how we in England had always looked upon this matter. England, from the first, had acknowledged the right of the Sovereign in this particular. The Church of England had never attempted to create or erect a see otherwise than by Royal authority. An hon. Friend said the Crown had no power to erect a see; but the Crown had the power to grant colonial sees, and why not sees in England? Simply for this reason—that they existed, and that they could not alter them. He was told that the See of Manchester was created; but in that case part was taken from the See of Chester, and part from that of York. The Crown had not the power of destroying sees—it could not destroy one tittle of the See of Chester, or one tittle of the See of York—therefore an Act of Parliament was necessary to erect a new one out of them. But where there was no such see, as, for instance, the Cape of Good Hope, the Crown did erect a see of its own power. An hon. Member says, "So may the Pope." So might the Pope in countries under his own jurisdiction. He (Mr. Wood) cared not how many sees the Pope created in Romagna; but he could not erect another see on the whole continent of Europe. He had never been allowed to do so. We never allowed him to do so in England, and he (Mr. Wood) hoped we never should. The right to create a see being a sovereign right, an attempt on the part of any other person to do so was illegal at common law. Every lawyer would tell them that the assumption of any portion of that power which could be exercised only by the Sovereign, for the purpose of creating a title or dignity, still more a jurisdiction, which could only be conferred by the Crown, was illegal in common law. The man who merely held a court leet (the lowest jurisdiction that could be exercised) without authority, was liable to an indictment. But the matter did not stop there. Cardinal Wiseman—he did not speak of the Pope, who had merely offended, though most grievously, against the law of nations—Cardinal Wiseman, and the others who acted under the Pope's assumed authority, clearly infringed the 16th of Richard II., and as clearly the 13th of Elizabeth. To talk, as some Gentlemen talked, of the House being about to legislate ex post facto in this matter, was to talk altogether without in- 328 formation. This confusion had arisen in some people's minds because there was a clause in the Act of 1829 (the Emancipation Act) which fixed a certain statutory penalty on the offence of assuming the title of an existing bishopric; therefore, to use the words of Mr. Bowyer—expressio unius exclusio alterius—the section affixes a penalty on the assumption of particular titles of particular existing sees; therefore there can be no offence in taking a title which does not exist—the prohibition in the Act of 1829 repeals the 13th Elizabeth. Surely this was defective reasoning. A new penalty was created by the Act of 1829, and that new penalty could not be extended beyond what was expressed; but the affixing of a new penalty did not repeal the old statutes. There was the statute of Richard II., which, after reciting a much less offence, namely, that the Pope had attempted to translate bishops in England from one see to another, uses this singular preamble:—The Commons aforesaid said, that the said things so attempted be clearly against the King's Crown and regality used and approved in the time of his progenitors—wherefore the Commons will stand with their said Lord and King and his Crown and regality, and in all other cases attempted against him. The Commons also recommend, that the Lords spiritual and temporal should be asked what they thought of the Pope's conduct; and this having been done, the Lords temporal declared that they would support the King's Crown and regality;"—and the Lords spiritual, with some trifling savings and reservations, did the same.It was then enacted, by the common consent of Parliament, that whoever introduced any bulls to effect such translations, or in any way to touch the King's prerogative, should incur the penalty of prœmunire."There could be no question that the offence here committed fell precisely within that statute, and still more clearly, if possible, did it fall within the statute of the 13th of Elizabeth. To say, therefore, because one of the sections of the Emancipation Act inflicted a particular penalty for a particular offence, the statutes of Richard and of Elizabeth were repealed, and that we were now making an ex post facto law, exhibited an entire confusion of ideas as to the objects of the several statutes, which were perfectly distinct. The object of the section in the Emancipation Act was to prevent the assumption by any person of the titles of already existent sees, an assumption obviously insulting to the actual holders; but the object in hand here 329 was to consider, not how they were to deal with persons irregularly assuming titles which did not "belong to them—in itself, no doubt, a thing to be deprecated—but the much graver and wider question, whether we were to allow any person to set up in this kingdom that power which once disturbed all Europe, and which, for anything we saw, might, amid the strange and inscrutable circumstances passing around us, once again be made the instrument of confusion and disturbance. Of all the monstrous misrepresentations—and there were many of them—put forward by Cardinal Wiseman, there was scarcely one more monstrous than the pretence that the case of the Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem was a parallel case with his own. With reference to this statement, he had carefully compared the patent of the Bishop in Jerusalem with the patent of the Bishop in Gibraltar. The former merely appointed a bishop as bishop in Jerusalem, residing in a foreign country, to be a bishop of the United Church of England and Wales, having spiritual jurisdiction over such Protestant communities around him as thought fit to unite themselves with him; but it gave him no district or diocese—nothing more, in its way, than was given to the consuls of the Levant in theirs. When, however, he came to the patent of the Bishop of Gibraltar, he found that, applying to a portion of the Queen's own dominions, it gave to the Bishop of Gibraltar a diocese of Gibraltar, with; the same authority and jurisdiction therein that a bishop of the Church in England enjoyed in his diocese. In the case of the Bishop of Jerusalem, then, the Queen of England had not broken the law of nations, as the Pope bad been persuaded to do in the case of Cardinal Wiseman. The Pope, no doubt, had been misled throughout the whole business, and, probably, among others, by the same councillors who, in February, 1848, urged him to despatch a similar incendiary letter to that be had sent to England to the bishops throughout the East, redistributing their patriarchates, as he proposed to redistribute the episcopal sees of this country. He had read with great pleasure extracts from the encyclical letter, in which the four chief patriarchs of the East, those of Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, had repudiated with astonished indignation the insulting aggression of the Pope of Rome. It was contended, however, that the present was no new claim 330 on the part of the Pope; that the brief of Pius IX. had a recent precedent in the brief of Gregory XVI., with reference to the enlargement of vicariates; and that both the one and the other were mere matter of form, nothing more. The annihilation of the whole existing state of things in Protestant England was a mere form, nothing more. But, on carefully going over the brief of Gregory XVI., he found that it was essentially different from the brief of Pius IX. The brief of Gregory XVI. spoke throughout, not of a Roman Catholic Church in England, but merely of the members of the Roman Catholic faith in England, and of the expediency of providing their increased numbers with increased vicarial superintendence; whereas the brief of Pius IX. set forth nothing less than this—that the Church of Rome, which had been extinguished for 300 years in England, must be revived, and that he (the Pope), in the plenitude of his apostolic power, ordered and decreed that, throughout, the kingdom of England, that Church should once more flourish by the medium of a hierarchy of bishops of her own, and by the reintroduction of the canon law. Since the Reformation, no such attempt had been made in the realm of England by any Pope of Rome, even the most daring. In the whole of the bull of Gregory XVI., published in 1840, you would never find him speaking of the Church in England, or of setting up a hierarchy in this country, but of the Catholics, and the persons over whom he had appointed vicariates. It was said, by the Member for Sheffield, "Oh! the Cardinal is but a poor simple humble priest, claiming only to rule by reason over the Roman Catholics committed to his charge." He (Mr. Wood) thought they went rather upon authority than reason. It was said again that Cardinal Wiseman was merely to exercise that sort of spiritual jurisdiction which it was right that the members of all churches should have the benefit of. But what did he (Mr. Wood) find in the somewhat strange document of the Cardinal—something calculated for the meridian of Italy or China, rather than England, and which he could hardly have expected the Cardinal would have had the boldness to publish? This, amongst other passages of a somewhat similar character:—Your beloved country has received a place among the fair Churches which, normally constituted, form the splendid aggregate of Catholic 331 communion. Catholic England has been restored to its orbit in the ecclesiastical firmament, from which its light had long vanished, and begins now anew its course of regularly adjusted action round the centre of unity, the source of jurisdiction, of light, and of vigour.That was his claim. The Cardinal admitted that it was a new affair for England to revolve round the Pope as the source of jurisdiction. Now, he (Mr. Wood) maintained that with regard to all matters ecclesiastical as distinguished from spiritual, the Queen, and the Queen alone, was the source of jurisdiction. The Cardinal in his Appeal had presumed on the ignorance of those whom he addressed, and had stated that the Queen created our bishops. She appoints them to sees, but he well knew that neither King nor Queen of England ever pretended to exercise spiritual functions. They never pretended to consecrate a bishop, or ordain a priest. The House of Commons was told not to revive obsolete statutes; the most pertinent instruction to Cardinal Wiseman and those who acted with him was not to revive obsolete claims. He approved of the advice of the Attorney General which was read by the noble Lord who opened the debate, to the effect that it was not desirable to have a prosecution on obsolete statutes; but he (Mr. Wood) thought a most unjust advantage was taken of that by his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin, when he represented the Attorney General to have stated, through the medium of that opinion, that nothing had been done contrary to the law. That opinion was explicit that the law had been violated. The Cardinal, and his friend, Mr. Bowyer, who advised him, very confidently asserted that they had done nothing contrary to the law, and they were quite prepared to try the question. They said to the Government, "Prosecute us." They relied, he did not doubt, upon the good sense of the Government, who were averse to instituting a prosecution upon old statutes—never very popular in this country. But when parties did present themselves prepared to bring the question before a legal tribunal—when they said to the Cardinal, "Be kind enough to admit the facts, and we will prosecute you," the Cardinal thought twice of the matter. The Cardinal had been praised for his discretion, and he (Mr. Wood), too, praised him for the possession of that virtue, but at the same time he must say that he did not appear very anxious, after all, to have the question legally debated and settled. He 332 (Mr. Wood) might say, Habemus confitentem reum—the Cardinal had admitted that he had transgressed the law, but he was not anxious to try the question. There was a general sympathy for all persons brought to trial, a wish throughout the country that even our murderers should escape, and many called punishment tyranny; and the Cardinal, therefore, would have the advantage of that feeling, and the growing cry against severity of punishment. If, then, he were so confident that he had not transgressed the law, and if he were anxious to have the legality of his conduct settled, why did he not admit the necessary facts? Until the question were tried, the Cardinal could not say that he had not transgressed the law; and he (Mr. Wood) should remain of opinion he had transgressed it. The Act now proposed to be passed was simply a declaratory Act; it was called for by the occasion, by the proceeding, to which he hoped the people of England would never submit. It was no such trivial thing whether the Cardinal was Bishop of Westminster or in Westminster. The Pope's bull made England one province; and the Cardinal, as archbishop, was to rule over his suffragans. Unless this was done, the Roman Catholics themselves said, there could be no synodical action; they could not meet in synod. That was what the bishop wanted. Without that synodical action the canon law could not be introduced, and that was what the Cardinal wanted to introduce. The noble Lord the Member for Bath had read a passage from the canon law; he (Mr. Wood) had brought extracts of that law with him in Latin; but as the noble Lord had already read a portion of it to them in English, he (Mr. Wood) would content himself by quoting one of the fundamental maxims of that law, namely, Constitutiones principum ecclesiasticis constitutionibus non prœminent sed obsequuntur. The laws of a State, therefore, had no effect whatever against the canon law, and thence came the question of a double allegiance. No wonder that the distinguished loyal Roman Catholics of the country felt alarm at the proposed introduction of the canon law into this country. If the introduction of that law into England was one of the objects of the new hierarchical appointments, surely we had to deal with a far graver question than whether the Cardinal should be styled Archbishop in Westminster or Archbishop of Westminster. At certain epochs of our history it might have been excessively in- 333 convenient for us to have the canon law in operation in England. During the Pretender's time, for instance, it was customary, and probably courteous, to call James the Second King, but it would have been quite another matter to have called him King of England, and to have applied the maxims of the canon law which relate to the question of allegiance. Having said thus much upon the general illegality of the matter, he had only one or two words to say in reference to some observations that fell from his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, with regard to the Church of England. That hon. Gentleman seemed to think that this was the moment for making an onslaught on the Church of England. Well, his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford said he thought it a very ill-chosen time. He (Mr. Wood) was not so sure of that. The Pope's attack was upon the Church, and it was not the first time that the Society of Friends had united with Papists for her destruction. He (Mr. Wood) was a devoted member of the Church of England; but he had reasoned upon the matter as a question of State policy: he must nevertheless take leave to say, that when the hon. Member for Manchester talked of Fox and other leaders of his co-religionists who had undergone imprisonment for their faith's sake, he (Mr. Wood) would beg to remind him that there was another member of his society as celebrated as George Fox—William Penn—who was basking in the favour of one of the most bigoted monarchs who ever reigned in England at the very time when the seven Bishops of the Protestant Church were confined in the Tower for vindicating their religion and the liberties of the people from the monarch who was seeking to overturn both. He (Mr. Wood) could not help recollecting that the Church of England was a portion of our history, and was one of our institutions; and when the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield reproached the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government for bringing in this measure, and alleged that it was very clear that the noble Lord could not have read history, he (Mr. Wood) felt that the state of the case was exactly the reverse, and that it was because the noble Lord had read history that he had brought in the measure. It was because the noble Lord had read of the influence of the Court of Rome, and the manner in which it used that influence; it was because of the proud position which the Church of 334 England now occupied, and the condition to which other Churches had been reduced that had submitted to the See of Rome, that the noble Lord had introduced this Bill. We all know that for two centuries and a half before Romish priest ever set foot in this country a Christian Church existed here. Our bishops attended Councils before the Papal influence was known or existed. We know that the same Anglican Church has continued to the present time; and one of its most important features, in his opinion, was its historical continuance. He believed that the great blessing and happiness of our country was this, that the constitution had an historical growth, that we had grown step by step, and that you could not put your finger upon any part of English history and say, "Here it was that a new constitution sprung up." We did not see mushroom constitutions among us, as was the case with our neighbours, because we had a firm hold on the past; we were a living people, a people who had lived from century to century in our corporate capacity, with all our institutions growing as from a living root. Now, he maintained that the Church of England was also one of these great living institutions. She had proceeded hour by hour, day by day, and year by year, in her growth, and you could not tell of any period when the Church of England became a new Church. She reformed herself with her own intrinsic vigour; from that reformation had sprung a source of blessings to the country both in Church and State. And he remembered that when there was, for a short time, a gap in our constitutional history—when despotism was established in this country under the name of the Protectorate, he remembered that at that same time the Church was extinguished. He said this because he agreed with the noble Lord the Member for Bath entirely in deprecating—none could feel it more earnestly or seriously than himself—the spectacle of those who, holding preferments in the Church of England, had found it consistent with their duty, when their hearts were already weaned to Rome, when they had looked upon her, and had lusted after her, still to continue to officiate in our churches—he talked not of receiving the emolument, that was but a poor and wretched consideration, but who had continued to use the influence which they obtained by being placed in that position in order to pervert the hearts of the people. He was not speaking in the presence of Roman 335 Catholic priests, but he was speaking in the presence of Roman Catholic Gentlemen, and he felt most perfectly convinced that there was not one Gentleman who heard him who must not be disgusted with the conduct of those individuals who, whilst performing the offices of one Church, were preparing to pass over to another. He knew the case of one unhappy man, who remained officiating in the Church of England, and who carried away with him the two children of the organist when he went over to the Church of Rome; and he knew another instance in which a young man of 17 or 18 years of age, who, when at college, when his father was absolutely in a foreign clime, had been led away by one of those new bishops, who now affected to hold sees in this country, and he knew parties who had letters from that bishop requesting them to keep it perfectly concealed from his mother and the whole of his family. Proceedings of this sort were most degrading and had excited just indignation, and he went so far with the noble Lord; but when the noble Lord told them that there were parties in the Church who were prepared to go "all lengths," in order, as the noble Lord had termed it, to "purify the Church," he would say that while he would go all lengths to prevent such abominations as he had referred to, yet on the other hand, they must be very careful how they judged the conduct of others. They knew that in all churches there were parties who took different views, and that those who took a strong view with one party were apt to look upon those who at all differed from them as having just gone to the contrary extreme; while those who remained in the middle were supposed by each to belong to the other party. He rejoiced to say that there were many now who held that high middle position, and who knew exactly the claims of our Catholic Church holding Catholic truth, and her claims as a Protestant Church, protesting against what she conceived to be the grossest corruption of the Church of Rome. He trusted that that same earnest zeal which had hitherto been shown would continue to be manifested throughout England, directing itself to repel every aggression of this description, saying, "We will not allow our Sovereign's rights to be trampled on; we will not allow any foreign potentate to exercise control over us; we will not allow his bishops to act in synodical convention under his authority; and we will exert 336 ourselves, not by violent agitation, but by the plain discharge of all our own duties in our several positions, by an earnest zeal in the erection of new churches and the appointment of additional clergymen, to preserve our Church in all the purity of the Reformation." He did not believe that the defection from our Church had been so great as it had been represented. He had carefully examined a Roman Catholic Calendar, and he found that in a space of nine years they were able to state that about 70 clergymen of the Established Church had gone over. Now 70 was no doubt a great number, but still 70 out of 15,000 was not so fearfully alarming that we should therefore despair of the Church, or should think of going to all lengths, or any length, in order to do that which might lead to that fatal result—the disruption of that Church. In conclusion, he denied that anything he had said was of a retrogressive character. Why, their course was simply defensive; and when the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) said, that everything was so calm and so smooth until the noble Lord's letter, he thought it strange that the hon. and learned Gentleman should have forgotten the intervening letters of his Holiness the Pope. He (Mr. Wood) trusted that they should have no more of those letters, and for that reason he supported this measure. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had declared the measure to be paltry, mean, and useless; he suggested no other, however; but he (Mr. Wood) thought that the people of England would not be satisfied with the mere bare denial of the utility of the measure, without being provided with some standard to compare it with. For himself he believed, if the Bill should contain a simple solemn recital of the position of the Sovereign with regard to these matters, and of the illegality of creating these sees without Her consent, that it would do what was expected by the country, and what would be sufficient for the present emergency. It became them to embody in the great corporate voice of the nation the voices of those several meetings and assemblies which had resounded from one end of the kingdom to the other, requiring that a stop should be put to this insolent aggression—insolent, he believed it to be; aggression unquestionably it was; and if they answered the people of England by putting that solemn protest upon record, and by preventing the Pope saying that there was 337 the least assent to his procedure upon the part of the people of England, they should have vindicated their consistency as protesting against the acknowledgment of that Church on the one hand, and against his interference with our Government on the other; whilst at the same time they should free themselves from any charge of bigotry or intolerance, and should set an example in the face of the world which was worthy of a great nation. One word with reference to America. They might talk of America not having felt itself aggrieved by the recent appointment of a Papal hierarchy; but America had none of those ancient claims to resist which so much distinguished the Papal attacks on the Church of England. America had not adjacent to it the continent of Europe, where, as the noble Lord had said, the Pope could summon the aid of three armies. We have historical recollections which America has not; we have a constitutional history which she has not; and the whole thread and tenor of our constitutional history is this, that there is no Power on earth who has power and jurisdiction, temporal or ecclesiastical, within these realms other than the Queen of England.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, that while he listened attentively to the speech of his hon. and learned Friend who had just sat down, he was unable to detect in the greater part of that speech any logical attempt to reason in favour of the first reading of this Bill. His hon. and learned Friend would forgive him, he trusted, for saying, that though the first part might have been a very plausible speech to evidence, had a prosecution been instituted on the part of the Crown, and though the latter part might be very well suited to a Church of England meeting, neither the one nor the other furnished a justification for the Act proposed to be done by a Parliament of all the subjects of the Queen, without regard to creed, assembled from every portion of a widely-extended empire, and supposed to represent impartially and to respect equally all the conscientious feelings which men could entertain with reference to that greatest of all relations, the individual relation of man to his God. His hon. and learned Friend must excuse him, therefore, if he (Mr. M'Cullagh) did not stop on the threshold of what he had to say to debate with him matters of special pleading as to the construction of statutes condemned by the highest authority as obsolete. For, be 338 it remembered, that the greatest authority of the party opposite—from whose principles he had differed since he was capable of political thought—the greatest authority of the party opposite, not five years ago, sitting as chief magistrate of this empire in the other House of Parliament, did himself, and the party to which he belonged, the honour of repudiating the policy of these antiquated remains of persecution, and of expunging their barbarous penalties from the Statute-book. Five years had not elapsed, and the party in Parliament and the country who urged Lord Lyndhurst to undertake this great act of tardy justice to an insulted minority of the Queen's subjects, that party now came forward with special pleas, as to whether these wretched laws of a bigoted time were not yet in sufficient force for a prosecution. The hon. and learned Attorney General had talked of this affair of Cardinal Wiseman's as "an offence;" but if it were an offence, it must have been explicitly either against the Crown or against some portion of the subjects of the Crown; and if against the Crown, it was clearly the duty of the law officers to have instituted proceedings, no matter what the issue, and to have vindicated the insulted rights of the Crown. He did not think, however, that they had erred in judgment in abstaining from a prosecution: such a proceeding would have been a disgrace to the age; but then it was too bad to come down to that House when the passions of the dominant creed and nation had been lashed to fury, and to prejudge the question, whether the law had been broken or not, by using the phrase "offence" deliberately as they had heard it used that night. It was a very unusual course to object when the First Minister of the Crown asked leave to bring in a Bill. The convenience and the courtesy of the House concurred on almost every occasion in granting that permission. But this was no ordinary occasion; and he would venture to say, when the division was called, that men who had never before voted against leave being given to the head of the Government to bring in a Bill, would be found to vote against that Motion now. The very form in which the question was put, reminded them of their duty and their privilege—the privilege and the duty of gravely considering was the subject a fit one for legislation. The question must mainly turn upon this, were they justified as a Parliament not exclusively Protestant, not exclusively Anglican, not 339 exclusively of any denomination—were they justified, on public policy, and the high responsibility they owed for the welfare of the nation at large—were they justified in opening the gate again to sectarian legislation, and that avowedly with the view of recommencing the policy of ascendancy? He listened to the speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in bringing forward this Motion, with anxious attention; but he must say, that the conclusion he came to was—not that great ability had not been displayed—that the noble Lord had made out no case for the interposition of Parliament in the internal discipline of the Catholic Church; because, to ignore by Act of Parliament the hierarchy of that Church, admitting, as they did, that its entire ecclesiastical discipline rested upon a due subordination to the episcopate, was to ignore and to overthrow the discipline of that Church. He confessed that he observed, with no little amazement, the intellectual intrepidity with which the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had asked them to do that which their Catholic ancestors had done before. Why, there never was a case since history was written less to the purpose. Our Catholic ancestors had to deal with a Power which was one of the greatest political Powers of the middle ages, and which leagued itself with the great Powers of the Continent; and the Acts of Catholic Parliaments passed, notoriously and confessedly, with a view to resist what they conceived to be encroachments on the political independence of the realm. Yet the very persons who cited these Acts of our Catholic ancestors, told them in the same breath—as the hon. Member for West Surrey had done the other night—that the Catholic laity were such slaves that it was necessary to screen them by Act of Parliament against the despotism of their clergy. It was said that the Statute of Elizabeth, which had been unrepealed by Lord Lyndhurst's Act, furnished another precedent, which they should follow. But Elizabeth came to the throne at a time when her right was held to be invalid by the Kings of France and Spain, when her crown was in jeopardy, when her rival was upon the throne of Scotland, and when a great portion of her subjects were well inclined to recognise the Queen of Scots, as their legitimate Sovereign. No plea of political necessity could, in his opinion, justify laws against the liberty of conscience; but 340 even that plea was utterly wanting here. So in the case of the Stuarts, who were suspected themselves of being members of the Church of Rome, and whose political purposes and intentions the nation could not trust. In the case of William and Anne there was the Pretender, who, owing to his religion and his legitimacy, had a large portion of this and the other kingdom in this empire on his side. But how could references to such times warrant their adoption of a similar policy now? Neither the State as the State, nor the Queen as queen, nor the Queen's prerogative, nor the law of the land, could be in any way put in jeopardy by the use in exclusively ecclesiastical matters amongst the Catholics themselves, of the canon law in the dioceses which had been created by the Apostolic letter. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford seemed to have forgot himself in his allusion to the see of Galway, and had not attempted to make out a justification for extending the Bill to Ireland. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had brought a long bill of indictment against the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. He (Mr. M'Cullagh) had never listened to a statement with more pain than to that of the First Minister of the Crown. The first item of accusation against the Roman Catholic Primate (Archbishop Cullen) was this, that he was not appointed in the usual way, and that he was chosen for some other purpose than for the good of the people over whom he was to be placed. The noble Lord told us that he was a stranger to the state of Ireland. The facts he (Mr. M'Cullagh) believed to be these: —Archbishop Cullen was by birth, family, and education an Irishman; and by many visits paid to Ireland during his sojourn at Rome, had had means of making himself acquainted with the condition of that country. The position which he had held at Rome must necessarily have made him acquainted with the state of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland; for he was head of the Irish college there, and the medium of communication on many important matters between the Irish clergy and the Holy See. But it was said that Archbishop Cullen had not been appointed in the usual way—that he had not been elected by the parish priests of the arch-diocese. Now, the fact was, that the parish priests having elected a person to fill the vacant archbishopric of Armagh, the bishops of the provinces (which was a very unusual thing) had not concurred in 341 that election. Under these circumstances, for the Pope to have confirmed either nomination would have been to have given a triumph to the one party or the other. The Pope had, therefore, adopted the wiser and more conciliatory course of choosing a third person; and in selecting Dr. Cullen, he had chosen one who, from his position at Rome, was fully acquainted with the state of Ireland; and who was able, moreover, materially to serve the Catholic Church of that country. The noble Lord, in the next place, complained that the new Primate had not put himself in communication with the Government of Ireland. That reproach, he must say, came ill from one who, as head of the Administration in both countries, must be considered responsible for every act of importance done by either; that, before Archbishop Cullen had been three months in Ireland, the Government had consulted whether a prosecution should not be commenced against him. And for what? For using the title and designation which had been publicly conceded to his predecessor by the Government itself. He held in his hand a document which was a complete justification of Dr. Cullen. They would remember, that when the Queen was graciously pleased to visit her ancient realm of Ireland, and to spend there a few brief, but to them happy, days, the Royal Gazette of August 7, contained a formal notification of the order in which Her Majesty's subjects were to be admitted according to their various degrees of precedence to the Royal presence. The third person was the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, and the fourth the Roman Catholic Primate. Now, let them tell him, would they prosecute Dr. Cullen for assuming a title by which he had been invited to present himself before the Queen? The next person invited to the Royal presence, and who he supposed was also to be prosecuted, was that venerable man, whose support had been rendered to the Government of this country, with a fidelity of which there could not be two opinions, he meant Dr. Murray, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. The noble Lord had complained of the synodical functions of the Catholic Church, and had informed the House that the Synod of Thurles had proved its intention of assuming temporal jurisdiction in Ireland, by expressing in their address to the people their strong sense of the sufferings endured by the evicted occupiers of the soil, and expressing the grounds of their objection to the Queen's Colleges. With 342 respect to the latter, he (Mr. M'Cullagh) would say nothing except this, namely, that if an assembly of bishops were not warranted in giving their opinion on the question of education, he was wholly at a loss to imagine what subjects they were justified in discussing. With respect to the other topic, he would tell them this simple fact, that in the whole of the twenty-six closely-printed pages of the synodical address to the people of Ireland, the whole that bore any reference at all to the relations of landlord and tenant were sixteen lines, which had no reference to any political question, but which regretted the lamentable state of misery to which particular parts of Ireland had been reduced, by the wholesale system of eviction which had been pursued. He asked the noble Lord in the presence of this House, and of the country, to remember the words of the only one in that House who had ever been regarded as his equal, who unhappily had been removed from them, and to say whether the terms in which Sir R. Peel had denounced the system of depopulation in the south and west of Ireland, were a whit less severe than those of these bishops, whose strongest expression was, that the track of the exterminator might be traced in the roofless hovels of the peasantry. Sir Robert Peel, speaking of western Ireland, in 1848, said that the state of the country was more terrible than if it had been invaded by a foreign enemy. He protested, then, against the unfairness of assailing these prelates, where they were unrepresented and unpopular, for saying no more than Sir Robert Peel had said in the presence of the noble Lord, without one word of objection or rebuke. There was a time in the history of this country, after and during the progress of the Reformation, when in the changes which society was undergoing a similar circumstance took place. There was a time when large districts of England were depopulated in the same ruthless and cruel manner. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, in his first speech on the Irish famine, alluded to that condition of the country at the period to which he was referring, and expressed a hope that as England had recovered from that depression, the calamities of the sister country would also pass I away, and give place to a sounder and healthier state. That distress in England had been greatly aggravated, as every annalist of the times declares, by the same I system of eviction, of which the recent 343 synod complained; and it arose to such a pitch, that the clergy deemed it their duty to offer that species of admonition which no other class could be expected to give—charging the rich to be lenient to the poor, and the poor to be obedient and patient, that they might inherit the blessing promised to them. Amongst others was Latimer, from one of whose sermons, preached before King Edward VI., he would read one or two extracts. Latimer inveighs against the landlords of that day as "rent-raisers," "step Lords," and "unnatural Lords." "Of this cometh the monstrous and portentous dearth made by man;" and, speaking of places where "once men inhabited, but where there were only then to be seen the shepherd and his dog," he scrupled not to denounce many rich owners of the soil as having "too much," for the safety of their own souls, and the temporal weal of the community. Other extracts the hon. Gentleman said he could also have read, but they would have provoked a smile by their vehemence and earnestness. The exposition of the Bill given by the hon. and learned Attorney General had greatly increased his (Mr. M'Cullagh's) apprehensions. He had stated that every act of a Catholic diocesan, done as such, would be null and void. He asked them to consider what this meant, in a Catholic country like Ireland? The appointment of every parish priest in Ireland would, by these nullifying clauses, be rendered void. Was this, then, the realisation of Mr. Pitt's dream of a united empire? Was this the equality of which they heard so much, and enjoyed so little? Never did a Minister come into office so pledged to the principles of civil and religious liberty as the noble Lord, and was this the way in which he carried it out? The noble Lord threatened if the Catholics did not receive the measure in a spirit of passive obedience, that he was prepared to enter into a struggle. The Catholic body, then, might know what they had to expect; for this was only the first rattling of the sword of persecution in the scabbard. But they were told that the principle of toleration was to be held sacred. For his part, he hated that insolent word. It was nothing but the old word "intolerance" with a padlock on its lips. What he desired was, equal religious rights for all sects and orders; and he warned the House that every retrograde step they might now be induced to take they would assuredly have to retrace, and well 344 would it be if their penitence did not come too late.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
Sir, after the ample discussion which the question under the consideration of the House has already undergone, I should scarcely have felt it necessary on an occasion like this, when my noble Friend has merely asked leave to lay a Bill on the table of the House, to offer myself to the attention of the House even for a short time, were it not that some observations have been made in the course of this rather discursive debate, which I feel it my duty not to pass over in silence. Sir, it is impossible, in reference to the specific Motion now before the House, not to feel the inconvenience of a protracted discussion which must necessarily involve to a certain extent the provisions and minute details of a Bill which is not yet in possession of the House. I cannot, however, lament the length to which this debate has extended; I am rather disposed to congratulate the House on the fact, because the ground has been thereby much cleared for future discussion, by the admission of certain propositions which I think have been established by the most conclusive arguments, and proved by the most convincing evidence. Some of those propositions are the following. I think it has been proved beyond a question that in adopting the measure now under the consideration of the House, we are acting merely on the defensive, and in accordance with the demand which has been made from one end of Great Britain to the other, on the Crown, the Government or Parliament of this country, that some steps, of a purely defensive nature, should be taken to resist the recent act of aggression of the Court of Rome. The hon. Member for Dublin, followed by the hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House, complains of the bigotry of the people of England, and he has drawn a gratifying and pleasing picture of the harmony which has existed between all classes of the people and the professors of different creeds up to a late period. He stated, and stated truly, that Protestants and Roman Catholics were living together in kindness and mutual good feeling; and then he says that we have disturbed these friendly feelings, that we have sowed the seeds of dissension, and that a war of religious rancour and discord has been raised, which we have gratuitously provoked. That position I entirely deny. It is now proved, I think, beyond a doubt, that we were not the aggressors 345 —that we are acting merely on the defensive.
Another point is, that the act of which complaint has been made—not, indeed, by the Government alone, but by the nation, and which has occasioned the Bill now under the consideration of the House, is an illegal act. Illegal I think it has been demonstrated to be: the convincing speech of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford has proved that it was one contrary to the universal law of nations—of European nations at least—and contrary to the statute law of this realm. This conclusion was attempted to be controverted by my hon. Friend who spoke last, but not so much by argument as by bare assertion. He omitted all reference to the argument of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford with respect to the law of nations; and with regard to the statute law, be alluded to the well-known circumstance of Lord Lyndhurst having, as Lord Chancellor, introduced a Bill for the repeal of the statute of Elizabeth; but he omitted to mention the fact that, at Lord Lyndhurst's own suggestion, an amendment was introduced into the Bill, declaring that nothing contained in the Bill should render lawful the act of which complaint is now made, and which has been committed by those acting under the authority of the Court of Rome. My hon. and learned Friend says that if the act was illegal, it was the duty of the Crown to prosecute it. But let me tell him, and those who are of a similar opinion, that there are many acts committed against the statute law of the realm with regard to which the Government does not feel itself bound, in the exercise of its discretion, to institute a prosecution. There are many, I am aware, prepared to condemn us for not having made this act the subject of a public prosecution; but I am prepared, if our conduct in this matter is seriously attacked, to defend that conduct, and to maintain that it was governed by a wise and prudent discretion.
Another point established and demonstrated is, that the act of which complaint has been made, is not a spiritual act of a merely spiritual authority designed for the benefit of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, of which that authority is the head, but is an act of ecclesiastical authority by persons exercising a mixed temporal and spiritual jurisdiction, and involving a claim of undivided ecclesiastical dominion over the whole realm of England. 346 I will net waste the time of the House by repeating proofs of this assertion; but if any were wanting, the best argument I could use to show its true nature would be found in the language of those documents by which the act referred to was promulgated; language utterly disregarding the existence of the authority of Her Majesty within the realm of England—ignoring—to use a modern phrase—not the rights only, but even the existence, of any other Church or denomination, whether established or not in this realm, other than that presided over by the pope of Rome, and those who claim to exercise authority under him. The very language, I repeat, of the brief, combined with that used in the pastoral which has been issued, is a sufficient demonstration that it was not a spiritual act whose operation was intended to be confined to the members of that Church of which the pope is the bead, but that it asserted, in fact, an ecclesiastical power over the realm of England, and advanced claims alsolutely inconsistent with the Queen's supremacy and the rights and privileges of all the inhabitants of this kingdom, be they Roman Catholics or members of the Church of England, or of Protestant Dissenting denominations. These points have been, I think, clearly established in the course of the debate, and it; only remains for the House to determine whether the measure which will now he laid before it, is adequate to meet the circumstances of the case.
I will now proceed to notice some observations which have been made, tending to cast censure on my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland with regard to the conduct which he has adopted, and by which it is said he encouraged the recent act of aggression on the part of the Pope, or involving a charge against other Members of Her Majesty's Government. These charges I am prepared to meet, or to explain the conduct to which they refer. They resolve themselves into three heads. The first relates to the alleged encouragement of the Roman Catholic religion and hierarchy, by giving titles of honour and respect to the bishops and dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland not prohibited bylaw. The second is one distinctly made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, and repeated by other speakers, to the effect that the Government has habitually addressed the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church by titles prohibited by law. The third is a charge against 347 Members of the Government—with a previous knowledge of the intention of the Court of Rome to promulgate that document by which Roman Catholic bishops have been appointed to sees in this country, and with having given either an express or tacit acquiescence to the scheme promulgated in the letters-apostolical.
I hope the House will keep in mind the distinction between the two first charges—between that of conferring titles of respect and honour on the bishops and dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church not forbidden by the law, and that of giving them titles actually prohibited by law. With regard to the first, I am not going to offer any excuse or apology. I do not think an apology or excuse is necessary for bestowing lawful marks of respect and consideration on the Roman Catholic bishops in a country like Ireland—where the great majority of the people are Roman Catholics—so long as those persons conform to the law under the protection of which they live. But what are the facts of the case? These charges have been made by various individuals. I will refer first to those advanced by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, because he has made his allegations in a distinct form, not so much in his speech as in a letter which he has addressed to the Lord Lieutenant of the county of Buckingham, though in his speech he appeared by implication to reiterate these charges. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was very severe upon my noble Friend at the head of the Government for the letter which he has written; but he seemed to forget that he himself was guilty of what he seems to consider the indiscretion of writing a public letter on the subject in question. I will not call the letter of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire "a blunder of the sudden," since he objects to the phrase, but I will say that I never saw more blunders comprised in a single letter than are contained in that of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. It was in fact a multum in parvo of blunders. I cannot sufficiently express my surprise that the hon. Gentleman, knowing, as he might have done, that all the charges he made were incorrect, should have ventured on the statements contained in this letter. The hon. Member said, that "When the present Lord Lieutenant arrived in his vice-royalty, he gathered together the Romish bishops of Ire- 348 land, addressed them as nobles, sought their counsel, and courted their favour." That charge was also made by a Roman Catholic Gentleman opposite, who now repeats it by his cheers. That charge I completely deny, and I am sure the statement I am now about to make will be perfectly satisfactory to the House. Shortly after the arrival of Lord Clarendon in Ireland, when the state of that country was one occupying the daily attention of the Government, owing to the scourge of the famine by which Providence had visited the land, he did not gather around him the Roman Catholic Prelates, as had been represented, but he received, at their own request, a deputation consisting of five of the prelates of that Church appearing on the part of themselves and their brethren to present an address representing to him the lamentable condition of a great portion of the population, and suggesting remedial measures. They were of course received by the Lord Lieutenant with that attention which their character and the subject of their address entitled them to; and considering the influence which they must possess in a country like Ireland, he did not refuse to listen to their counsel, and he did say that he should be happy to receive any suggestions they might have to offer respecting practical measures of relief. I ask whether under such circumstances, when the lives of thousands were at stake, the Lord Lieutenant would not have justly incurred censure if he had adopted a different course? Sir, the hon. Gentleman then proceeds, that "on the visit of Her Majesty to that kingdom, the same prelates were presented to the Queen as if they were nobles, and precedence was given them over the nobility and dignitaries of the National Church." Now, the fact was, that on the occasion referred to, the prelates of the Roman Catholic Church were presented to Her Majesty, and presented an address, and received an answer from Her Majesty; but they did not take precedence of any dignitary of the Protestant Church in Ireland: they took the same place with reference to the Established Church, the University and the Corporation of Dublin which they had when presented and received on the visit of George IV. to Ireland. He defied the hon. Gentleman to justify the assertion that the Roman Catholic bishops were on that occasion received as nobles, and had precedence granted to them over the dignitaries of the National Church. They were received, it is 349 true, by Her Majesty on the Throne, immediately before the levee, together with the Presbyterians and a deputation of the Society of Friends. But I presume the hon. Gentleman has in his mind that celebrated entrée list to which reference has been made. I am unwilling to waste the time of the House, but I feel it right that the facts of this case should appear in their proper light. It has been said that this list proceeded from my office. This is not correct. The officer whose duty it is to regulate such proceedings is the Lord Chamberlain, who is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, and is not, therefore, a very likely person unduly to favour the prelates of the Roman Catholic Church. The act was, however, done by an officer of the Lord Chamberlain's office, who was sent to Dublin to arrange matters connected with the levee and drawing room to be held by Her Majesty; he was put in communication with Mr. Willis, a gentleman of the Lord Lieutenant's household, and this is the statement which he has made:—The Castle of Dublin, Jan. 2, 1851.My Lord—In reply to your Excellency's inquiry, relative to the private entrée list published in the Dublin Gazette of the 7th of August, 1849, wherein 'The Most Rev. Dr. Murray' is described as 'Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin,' I have to state that I submitted for approval a list of the private entrée, and from recollection, and to the best of my belief, in order to designate more fully the Most Rev. Dr. Crolly, and the Most Rev. Dr. Murray, their names were written by me in that list as 'Roman Catholic Primate,' and 'Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin.' In transcribing this list for the Gazette (owing to the extreme pressure of business, there having been in three days nearly 5,000 persons signifying their intention of coming to Court, and requiring immediate attention), I must have inadvertently, and contrary to custom, copied the names of the Roman Catholic prelates as designated in the submitted list, and published in the Gazette,—I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Excellency's obedient humble servant,FREDERIC WILLIS, Gentleman Usher.His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, &c.Lord Clarendon knew nothing whatever of the titles employed on that occasion. Lord Breadalbane knew nothing of them. I knew nothing of them. Let the House understand that the entrée was not given on that occasion; it was given years before. The Roman Catholic Archbishop exercising jurisdiction in the diocese of Armagh, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop exercising jurisdiction in the diocese of Dublin, were habitually admitted at the entrée. I admit that this designation of the Roman Catholic Primate and Archbishop on that occasion 350 was most improper; and if any share of the responsibility rests upon me for not having read this list at the time, I am willing to bear any censure which the House may impose upon me. But is it upon this miserable shred of evidence that the assertion is supported, that it has been the habitual practice of the Irish Government to violate the law and to designate the Roman Catholic prelates by titles to which they have no right? The hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House goes farther—he improves upon the statement, says that the Roman Catholic prelates were received by Her Majesty by those titles which are complained of. I know not whether the hon. Gentleman, being an Irish Member, was there, or whether he speaks from hearsay. He says that I had the honour of being near Her Majesty at that time. It is true that I had that honour, and that I witnessed the impartial grace and condescension of manner with which She received all classes of Her subjects, without reference to the distinction of their creed—and I will say also, the universal loyalty which pervaded all classes of the people—and I saw with satisfaction the venerable prelates of the Roman Catholic Church addressing Her Majesty, not under titles prohibited by law, but assuming titles in strict conformity with the letter of the law; namely, "We, the undersigned archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland." But the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was not satisfied with two errors; in his eagerness to condemn the Government, he goes on to state, "It was only the I other day the Government offered the office of visitor to the Queen's Colleges to Dr. Cullen, the Pope's delegate, and pseudo Archbishop of Armagh; and to Dr. M'Hale, the pseudo Archbishop of Tuam." That charge has not been repeated now, but it has been made in most distinct terms, as if in justification of the act of the Pope, in Mr. Bowyer's pamphlet, published "by authority," Now, if the hon. Member merely meant that the office of visitor to the Colleges was offered to these two dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church, he was quite right; and here I say again I have no excuse to make for the offer of the office of visitor to these two archbishops. In offering the office of visitor to those two Prelates, Lord Clarendon only acted in the spirit of the Government by whom the establishment of those colleges was proposed, and of Parliament 351 in passing the measure for establishing those colleges; but if he means to say that the appointment was actually made, as has been stated by Mr. Bowyer under the titles of "Archbishop of Armagh," and "Archbishop of Tuam," he states what is not the fact, and the slightest reference to official documents would have shown it to be so. The statement was made recklessly, presuming upon its accuracy; but with whomsoever it originated it is entirely destitute of any shadow of truth. The hon. Gentleman proceeds to say—there is not a paragraph in his letter which does not contain some blunder—that "the whole question has been surrendered and resigned in favour of the Pope by the present Government; and the Ministers who recognised the pseudo Archbishop of Tuam as a Peer and a Prelate cannot object to the appointment of a pseudo Archbishop of Westminster, even though he be Cardinal. On the contrary, the loftier dignity should, according to their table of precedence, rather invest his Eminence with a still higher patent of nobility, and permit him to take the wall of his Grace of Canterbury and the highest nobles of the land." Now really this charge of the recognition as a Peer of the pseudo Archbishop of Tuam is one which I could hardly have supposed to originate with a gentleman so well informed as the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. It is the vulgar error that if you address a man as "my Lord" you make him also a Peer. But here again, in point of fact and history, the hon. Member is wrong, for these titles were given long before Lord Clarendon had anything to do with the Government of Ireland. It is not correct that the Bequests Act, or the Order in Council, conferred any such titles; but in the reports of the meetings of the Commissioners under the Act presented to Parliament, before Lord Clarendon had anything to do with Ireland, or the present Government was in office, beginning with the 9th of January, 1845, it appears that among the Commissioners who attended are to be found there described "His Grace the Lord Archbishop William Crolly," "his Grace the Lord Archbishop Daniel Murray," and the "Right Rev. Lord Bishop Cornelius Denvir." I am not finding fault with this description, or imputing any blame to those who gave these titles of honour to the Roman Catholic prelates, while they conformed, to the laws under which they lived, and while they trenched on no privilege of the 352 Established Church. But if there be censure, let it not fall entirely upon the present Lord Lieutenant or Government, who have acted in the same spirit of conciliation as the preceding Government had adopted towards their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in Ireland. It is upon such acts of courtesy shown by the Government that the whole fabric of the supposed acquiescence in the recent measure of the Court of Rome has been built. With respect to the title of Cardinal, to which the hon. Gentleman refers as one that is to justify Cardinal Wiseman in taking precedence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, I may remind him that the title of Cardinal is not necessarily an ecclesiastical title—it may be conferred on a layman. It is a title conferred by a foreign Court; and no such title, whether conferred by the Pope or any other foreign Sovereign, can be legally assumed by a British subject, without the licence of the Crown first given. Cardinal Wiseman has not applied to the Crown for a licence to bear the title of Cardinal, and therefore he cannot enjoy in this country, by such title, and without such a licence, any right to precedence. I will take this opportunity of correcting a mistake to which currency has been lately given by a pamphlet published by the Earl of St. Germans with regard to the alleged reception by this House of a petition from Dr. M'Hale, under the title of Archbishop of Tuam. He asserts, and the error has been adopted by Dr. Twiss in a most learned and able work, that the House did assent to the reception of this petition, on the ground that the assumption of such a title by Archbishop M'Hale was not illegal. The fact is, that a division took place upon the question whether the petition so signed should be received or not, that a majority of this House decided that the petition should not be received, and that my noble Friend (Lord John Russell) expressly stated his concurrence with the majority with whom he voted, in refusing to accept the petition, because it was infraction of the spirit, if not of the letter, of the law, and Dr. M'Hale had no right to assume the title of Archbishop of Tuam. But, Sir, notice has also been taken of the confidential communication which Lord Clarendon carried on with the Pope in 1848. I have received from Lord Clarendon the fullest information on that subject, in a letter which I could read to the House if it were necessary. [Loud cries of "Read!"] With regard to one part of the charge 353 which has been founded on that letter, that it was addressed to "Archbishop Murray of Dublin," I believe that that has been completely abandoned. I need only say, that the address of the letter, as published, "to His Grace Archbishop Murray of Dublin," was not the address of the letter written by Lord Clarendon, but that these words are a fabrication, having been added by those who published it, I believe, at Rome, where it appeared with that superscription. The letter was not addressed to Archbishop Murray at all, but to Dr. Nicholson, Coadjutor-Archbishop of Corfu. I will now read the following extracts from the letter which I have received from Lord Clarendon:—… In the autumn of 1847 the Board of Presidents sitting in Dublin were occupied in framing the statutes for the colleges. I was in constant communication with them, and I also sought the advice of different persons whose knowledge and experience might aid in rendering the statutes complete, and thereby fulfilling the intentions of the Government which had founded the colleges, and the Legislature which had sanctioned them. I was also most anxious to remove the charge of 'godlessness' which had been brought against the colleges in England, and eagerly adopted by the enemies of those institutions in Ireland; and I moreover thought it a solemn obligation that the moral training and religious instruction of the students frequenting the colleges should be guarded with the most scrupulous care. I accordingly consulted several clergymen of different denominations, and, among others, Dr. Nicholson, the Coadjutor-Archbishop of Corfu, who had just arrived in Ireland, and having passed some time at Rome on his way, was cognisant of all the unfounded rumours current there respecting the colleges, which had led to the condemnation of them by the Pope; and, as he was shortly about to return to Rome, I was glad of the opportunity to show him how the interests of religion and morality were guaranteed for all denominations alike (by the appointment of deans of residence, and the establishment of licensed boarding-houses, &c), and consequently the utter falsehood of the report that the colleges had been established for the purpose of undermining the Roman Catholic religion. … When the statutes were completed and agreed to, Dr. Nicholson was about to return to Corfu by the way of Rome, and I willingly gave him an extract from them which related to moral discipline and religious instruction, in the belief that it was the best mode of communicating the truth to the Pope, and of confuting the unjustifiable misrepresentations made to him; and I have no hesitation in saying, that I was desirous to effect this, because the condemnation of the colleges by the Pope was likely to deprive many of the Roman Catholic youth of Ireland of the advantages offered to them by the Legislature. I wished, therefore, that he should know and consider the precautions taken, in order that he might become aware of the errors upon which his condemnation had been founded. If I had been capable of seeking any foreign sanction to a matter of domestic 354 arrangement, I should have employed different means for the purpose, and have referred the statutes to the Pope while they were being framed; but in March, 184S, they were completed, and copies of the same 'extract' that was given to Dr. Nicholson were likewise placed in the hands of several spiritual authorities of the Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian denominations. … Previously to the departure of Dr. Nicholson, I consented, at his request, to write him a private letter, which should serve, if necessary, as a guarantee that the 'extract' he took with him was genuine; and that when the list of visitors was framed, Roman Catholic ecclesiastics of the same rank as Protestants should be selected. I have been blamed for the terms in which I expressed myself with respect to the character and judgment of the Pope; but I sincerely thought what I then said, and similar opinions were then entertained of him not only in England but throughout Europe; for at the beginning of 1848 he was universally regarded as an enlightened reformer who, with great boldness, and in the face of many foreign and domestic difficulties, was determined to act upon his own conviction of what was just and right. And with respect to the care taken to preserve the faith and morals of Roman Catholic students, I said nothing in my letter to Dr. Nicholson which, mutatis mutandis, I did not also say to the spiritual authorities of different denominations in Ireland, to whom it was quite satisfactory.This letter got into other hands without the knowledge and sanction of Lord Clarendon; the alteration made in the superscription was not made by Archbishop Nicholson, and I need not say that it was not made by the consent of Lord Clarendon.
I come next to what passed between Lord Minto and the Pope. I mention this charge, because it has been distinctly reiterated by the hon. Member for Sheffield, who, notwithstanding the denial which has been given elsewhere, has charged Lord Minto with having had a direct communication with the Pope with respect to the intended promulgation of the document. The evidence on which he relies, if I understand him rightly, is a letter which he said that he had seen from a gentleman well known in England—a gentleman formerly a member of the Church of England, who had become a convert to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church—the Abbate Hamilton, who said that he met Lord Minto coming out from his reception by the Pope, in the antechamber, and that Lord Minto there volunteered the statement that the Pope had given him a full account of the intended establishment of the hierarchy in England, and said, "I have told him that that concerns exclusively the Roman Catholic 355 Church, and is a matter with which the English Government could not have any concern." I am rather surprised at the existence of a letter of that kind, and that it should have been seen by the hon. Member for Sheffield—for no doubt a correspondence has taken place between Lord Minto and the Abbate Hamilton. The Abbate Hamilton wrote to Lord Minto, when information reached Rome of the feeling excited in this country by the publication of the Pope's brief, to attempt to recall to the recollection of Lord Minto a conversation which he had with him at Rome, not of the description given by the hon. Member for Sheffield, but in which the Abbate says that he endeavoured to induce Lord Minto to use his influence with the Pope to counteract the influence of those who were then endeavouring to get this letter-apostolic issued, the Abbate believing that Lord Minto had been informed of the intention to promulgate this letter. Lord Minto wrote, in reply to this letter of the Abbate Hamilton, that he had no recollection of any such conversation having occurred, though he was not unaware of some intention to confer archiepiscopal rank on Dr. Wiseman, he being already of episcopal rank in the Roman Catholic Church, and having been residing in this country as a bishop, though a vicar-apostolic. That information was derived from a private source; but not from the Pope himself. But Lord Minto added that he had not, during his residence in Rome, nor down to the publication of the bull, any knowledge, or the slightest suspicion, of the intended organisation of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England; and that the publication of the Papal bull took no one more by surprise than himself. The Abbate Hamilton replied, saying, that he saw the mistake which he had made, and of which Lord Minto's letter was the explanation; and he certainly made no such statement in his reply to Lord Minto as that on which the hon. Member for Sheffield relies.
A great deal has been said by several hon. Members about former speeches of my noble Friend the First Lord of the Treasury. But these speeches, when they were made, had no reference to the state of things that now exists; and my noble Friend did not then anticipate that the Court of Rome, being on the friendly terms which it appeared to be upon with this country, would have taken advantage of acts done or language held, long ago, 356 perhaps, in too generous and confiding a spirit, building up piecemeal a fabric on which to rest a charge of acquiescence on the part of the Government in the recent proceeding of the Court of Rome. But with reference to the specific subject of the present debate a question, was asked my noble Friend by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, and in clear and unambiguous terms my noble Friend stated that no such proposition had been made to him; and he stated, moreover, that if such a proposition were made to him, that it would not receive the consent of the Government. I say, that a distinct statement was made, that such a measure as has emanated from the Pope would not he acceptable to the Government of this country; and that, after such a declaration, express, clear, and distinct, those who have been acting as advisers to the Pope did not act the part of honest men, in setting up a plea of complicity on the part of the Government, for which no pretext whatever really existed. I will now say one or two words with respect to the charge which has been made as to the inefficiency of the Bill, though it is hardly necessary to do so after the speeches of my honourable Friends the Attorney General and the Member for Oxford. The Bill is founded on the principle of not interfering in the slightest degree with the freest exercise of the Roman Catholic religion in this country. It is framed in perfect good faith with regard to those statutes and that policy which have guaranteed the free exercise of that religion, without hindrance or molestation, in this country. But, at the same time, the Bill does meet, as my hon. Friend has shown, the case which has arisen, and the act which has been committed by the Pope; and I think it places an effectual check on that which has given just offence, and has been rightly complained of as an insult and an injury by the people of this country. The Pope's apostolic brief constituted Dr. Wiseman Archbishop of Westminster, giving him, in that capacity, jurisdiction over a certain number of suffragan bishops, deriving their titles either from ancient sees or other cities or towns in this part of the united kingdom. The Bill says, and if passed into law the Act of Parliament will say, that there shall be no Archbishop of Westminster, and no such bishops as the Pope has attempted to constitute, unless by law—not by a bull or decree of the Pope, but by a law passed in the United Parliament of this 357 kingdom, by Queen, Lords, and Commons. The Pope assuming the widest sovereignty over the country, proceeds to give jurisdiction to the bishops so constituted over the people of this country. The Bill says, that any act done by these bishops in the exercise of that authority so conferred by the Pope shall be null and void. The Pope says, that any act done by any one, not even excluding the authority of Parliament, who shall attempt to interfere with that edict, shall be null and void. The Bill says, that whatever act is done by those bishops under these titles, and in pursuance of this prohibited authority, shall be null and void. The Pope invites the wealthy to contribute to the endowment of these sees; the Bill enacts that if these sees are endowed under the title and description conferred upon them by the Pope, that the endowment shall not enure in their favour, but in that of the Crown. The Member for Buckinghamshire says that the Bill does not go far enough; because it ought to settle, once for all, the relations between the Roman Catholic subjects of the Crown of England and the Pope. It may be very desirable that such a settlement should take place; but let me caution those who support the hon. Gentleman, and who are anxious to see a check placed on the ambition of the Court of Rome, and the exercise of its undue and illegal authority within this realm, let me caution them not to reject practical measures in the pursuit of some others undefined, and perhaps unattainable. I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman that this is the most fitting and suitable time or opportunity for attempting to accomplish the object to which he refers. Let me caution the hon. Gentleman against running away with the notion that it is so easy to accomplish his object, without knowing distinctly the mode in which he and those who agree with him think that it should be accomplished. There are two ways by which we may proceed. One is, the re-enactment of the penal laws against Roman Catholics; but that is a course which not only the Parliament, but the country, would repudiate. There is another, which, bearing in mind the peculiar circumstances of Ireland, it may be desirable, it may be politic, to enter on; but let me ask hon. Gentlemen who sit behind the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, whether they are disposed to reject this measure in pursuit of another which 358 may lead them further into the reconsideration of the ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland than they are disposed to go? But, after all, I admit that an Act of Parliament is not the only, nor the best, security for the Protestant religion in this country. I should deeply regret, indeed, if I felt that an Act of Parliament was the only security for the maintenance of those principles which I believe are justly dear to the great majority of the people of this country. I have no doubt that it may be difficult to draw up any Act of Parliament, which to a certain extent may not be evaded; and though I have no doubt that if this Bill passes, the loyalty of the Roman Catholics will lead them to obey it, yet the history of past times, and of this country particularly, shows the ingenuity with which, especially by ecclesiastics, the provisions of the law-may be evaded. I will not therefore rely exclusively or mainly on any law for meeting the ambitious schemes of the Court of Rome. But my real feeling of security for the religion of this country, my reliance on its safety against encroachment and aggression on the part of Rome, consists in that national demonstration of feeling which, during the last three months, has been exhibited with noble zeal from one end of the kingdom to the other. The hon. Member for Sheffield called it a burst of Puritanical hatred against the Pope. I deny that the feelings manifested and expressed can be justly in any degree characterised by the terms he has employed. That national demonstration of sentiment has had a deeper and a holier source. It has been a national protest—for it cannot be called anything else—concurred in by men of various religious denominations, by many wholly unconnected with the Established Church, against what they believe to be the first attempt made since the Reformation to reimpose upon this country the yoke struggled against so nobly by our Catholic forefathers before the Reformation, and which, at the Reformation, the wisdom and the vigour of our ancestors cast off for ever. They have declared, as with one voice, that they are not prepared to return again into the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church. I believe that this feeling is founded upon a grateful appreciation of those blessings which, since the time of the Reformation, have been enjoyed in this country. I have no fear of the issue between the ambition of Rome 359 and the Protestant feeling of England. I do not speak of Protestant ascendancy, but of the deep feeling of attachment to the Protestant faith. I must say, in reference to the charges brought against the Protestants of this empire, that having seen the large number of addresses presented to Her Majesty complaining of the Papal aggression, and entreating that it may be resisted, there has, with some few exceptions, been a full and fair recognition of the right of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, equally with any other denominations in the country, to the fullest and most unrestricted exercise of their religion. I think that the language in which the national feeling has been expressed, and the remonstrances uttered, cannot have failed to have penetrated into the recesses of the Vatican. I entertain the fullest confidence that it will there have dispelled the vain delusion, founded on the unhappy secession of a number, too large, no doubt, but still comparatively a small number, of the clergy of the Established Church, and the still more insignificant number of lay members of that Church, to Rome, that this country is willing to submit to the Court of Rome, and to return to subjection to that Power which claims universal domination over the whole of Christendom. I will not utter a word of censure or reproach towards those who have thus seceded. I think that on taking that step, after having formed their convictions, they have only taken a straightforward and a manly course, in refusing, after they had adopted the principles of Rome, to continue to wear the garb or to profess themselves members of a Church which it then became their duty to undermine. I rejoice, however, that they now appear in their proper light and true proportion, not as the earnest of a coming change, as the first fruits of a national apostacy, but that they have gone from us because they had adopted principles at variance with the deep-rooted convictions of the great body of the people of this country. Whatever may be the effect of this measure, if passed into a law, this I believe, that the people of this country are determined now more than ever to hold fast by those blessings which were guaranteed to them at the Reformation, which have been handed down to us through successive generations, and through various vicissitudes—blessings of which we, the present generation, are the responsible depositaries, and which we, with God's 360 blessing, are determined to transmit unimpaired to our posterity.
§ MR. P. HOWARD moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
opposed the Motion. On Friday night he was asked to state the details of the Bill; but now, if the Motion for adjournment were carried, it must be a considerable time before the House saw the Bill. If the whole principle was to be discussed on the second reading, and the Bill was to be again discussed in Committee, he did hope that the House would not agree to the Motion of the hon. Member for Carlisle.
§ MR. ROCHE
supported the Motion for an adjournment. There could be no desire on his part, and that of the hon. Members near him, to see the Bill, after hearing the statement of its provisions by the hon. and learned Attorney General. Many Irish Members were anxious to express their opinions upon this question, and he therefore trusted that the House would accede to the Motion of the hon. Member for the adjournment of the debate, and that there might be at least one other night for the discussion of this question.
§ MR. M. GIBSON
thought that a measure of this kind, which, to a certain degree, was an attack on the religious feelings of a large proportion of Her Majesty's subjects—["Oh, oh!"] At any rate, it was understood to be an attack on the religious feeling of the Roman Catholics. In common fairness, and with a view to the more easy management of the measure in its future stages, it was wise to give it a full and fair hearing now; and, more especially, as it was a minority which demanded an adjournment, so that there might be no complaints hereafter. He was not in a hurry on the question. This subject was one they could best take when they had nothing else to do. It was an interminable question, and he had heard it discussed year after year in much the same fashion. He trusted, too, that the debate would not only be adjourned, but postponed, in order that they might go on with the budget and the practical business of the country, and the other measures of the Government, which had far more interest for him. When they had nothing else to do, they could have a debate on the great, difficult, and interminable subject of keeping down the influence of the Roman Catholic religion by penal legislation.
§ MR. KEOGH
said, that a reason occur- 361 red to him why it was only fair and desirable that there should be an adjournment. The Bill extended to Ireland, and its important provisions were opened that evening by Her Majesty's Attorney General, but they had not the advantage of the presence of the Attorney General for Ireland to give them his opinion. He (Mr. Keogh) confessed he had seen a great deal too much to please him in the last Session of Parliament of the Attorney General for England doing the business of the Attorney General for Ireland, and he was anxious the Attorney General for Ireland should do his own business, and that they should have the guarantee of his opinion on a subject of so much importance as that now before the House. He would vote, if the matter were pressed to a division, for the adjournment.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
supported the Motion for adjournment. He was not disposed to offer anything like a factious opposition to the measure, but he thought the Bill would have a better chance of being successful if it were fairly discussed at this stage, before the Ministers were committed to all the details of it. There was another reason why he thought it was convenient they should now adjourn the debate. Several Gentlemen wished to speak, and he (Mr. Anstey) wished to explain why it was that, being disposed to go a greater length with respect to the Roman Catholic Church in England than the Bill went, he was indisposed to change in the slightest degree the status of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. He certainly intended to ask the House, when this question was disposed of, to divide on a Motion he would put to them, which would test the professions they had heard on that side of the House, particularly from the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, relative to their attachment to the principles of civil and religious liberty.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the debate be now adjourned."
§ House divided:—Ayes 59; Noes 364: Majority 305.
§ Question again proposed.
§ MR. ROCHE moved the adjournment of the House. He put it to the noble Lord to allow another night for the discussion of this proposition.
§ Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
The hon. Member has moved that the House do adjourn. With respect to the suggestion he has 362 made as to the adjournment of the debate, I cannot but take notice of what was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester. He—assuming that the House do not care about this question, as if it was one that could not be of importance to any one else—recommended that the Government should go on with other measures, bring forward the budget, and have this question agitated at some other time. Now, I think it necessary to say at once, that is a proposition to which I cannot agree. Since it has now been shown very clearly what is the opinion of the House, the course I propose is, that if this Motion is withdrawn, we should agree to the adjournment of the debate, and that it should be fixed for the first Order Day. We cannot fix it for to-morrow, as the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire has a Motion of great importance for to-morrow; but I will take Wednesday, the first Order Day, as I do not mean to go on with any Government business until the decision on this subject has been obtained.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Debate further adjourned till Wednesday.