§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate [7th February].
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. PHILIP HOWARD
said, he was anxious to address the House before the close of this debate, because he was unwilling to appear to shrink from the defence of his faith in the hour of peril—a faith which his forefathers, and the ancestors of many of those around him, had upheld in times of much greater peril. But that cause was now bound up and engrafted on the great cause of religious liberty; for he felt sure that if one retrograde step was taken, there was no knowing where it would stop. There was no instance of a nation or a legislature taking a retrograde step of this kind which was not followed up by still harsher consequences. The spirit of persecution, like every other passion, was only strengthened by gratification. At the same time, while he manfully defended his creed, he trusted he would be able to do so, in the words of the late Mr. Whitbread, with modest intrepidity; and he would not desecrate his cause by any virulent expressions. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northumberland adverted, in the beginning of his speech, to what he called the unanimous expression of opinion in the country on this subject, But no one knew better than the right hon. Gentleman, that in the great and enlightened county which he represented, strong attempts had been made to get up an anti-Catholic demonstration, and that these had completely failed. No one knew better than the right hon. Gentleman, that in Northumberland the cause of intolerance had received a stern and severe rebuke, while in the neighbouring county of Durham also there had been no county meeting. If there was one county more important than another as regarded all the attributes of wealth—whether as regarded agriculture or commerce—it was the county of Lancaster. But in Lancashire no meeting had been held upon the subject. Then, what was the case in one of the largest towns in England—the town of Leeds? Had not the town council of Leeds come forward with a petition to the House, praying that the House would guard against any 452 attempt at interfering with religious freedom? And what was the case of Birmingham? A large and public meeting of that important town refused to address Her Majesty upon the question. In the town which he had the honour to represent, the city of Carlisle, the town council there did not conceive it to be any part of their municipal duty to thank the Prime Minister for the letter he had addressed to the Bishop of Durham. In that course he thought every hon. Member would concur with them; for the more closely those municipal bodies adhered to the purposes for which they were instituted, the better they would please the country. It was with pleasure that he recalled, in connexion with this subject, the words of one who was at one time an ornament of their house—the late Lord Jeffrey, then Lord Advocate for Scotland—that those corporations had been, during the Middle Ages, the bulwarks of civil freedom; and now he was glad to find that the same institutions were likely to prove equal bulwarks of religious freedom. The Prime Minister of England, who had made very strong charges against the religion to which he (Mr. Howard) belonged, had very properly expressed attachment to his own creed. But when he passed the eulogium upon it of saying that it was a highly tolerant Church, he (Mr. Howard) would take the liberty of citing a few passages which he trusted would rather shake public opinion on that subject; and he would remind the noble Lord that praise, ill bestowed, degenerated into satire. What was to be said of the tolerance of twenty-six Bishops of the Establishment, who did not hesitate to designate the spiritual guides of a great number of the inhabitants of the united kingdom, and a large portion of the colonies—the functionaries from whom they themselves had drawn their orders—they designated them as inculcators of blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits. And this was addressed to Her Majesty, many of whose nearest relations professed the Catholic religion. Among others, there was Prince Ferdinand of Coburg, Prince Consort of Portugal, who was first cousin to the Queen; his brother, Prince Augustus of Coburg, who stood in the same affinity; the Princess Victoria of Coburg, the Duchess of Nemours, who was equally allied to the Crown of England; and though last, not least, there was that good and great personage the Queen of the Belgians, who was lately borne to the grave, followed by her weep- 453 ing subjects; she was the aunt by marriage of the Lady who now sways the sceptre of these realms. And what was it that another prelate had said with respect to their creed? The Bishop of Oxford, in addressing his clergy, declared that the Romish system sapped the honesty of men's minds, so that there was nothing dishonest in morals which would not he patronised by them—there was nothing-subjected to them which was not therein-defiled. Now, were those words which the Prime Minister deemed to be tolerant? If those words were tolerant, he was at a loss to know what was intolerance. And yet those words were used not in the heat of passion, but when solemnly addressing clergymen in the hall of Merton College—a college which boasted of a Wykeham and a Chichely. But the persecution was not confined to words. The Bishop of Durham, in a recent letter to his clergy, counselled the suppression and the expulsion of all monastic orders, and he stated that the very existence of Jesuits in England and in Scotland was unpalatable to him. That was nothing but positive and downright persecution; and it was scarcely mitigated by the fact that, as the Morning Chronicle observed, he would allow the confraternity to have the run of the sister country. He would now come to the long oration with which the First Minister of the Crown proposed the introduction of the measure; and here he would say that, as to the direct question of an aggression, his words were very few. He could not prove that the Catholic bishops had violated the law; and if they had not, where was the aggression? Law was not a matter of sentiment or of poetry—it was a course of action and conduct resting on precise and definite enactments. If the noble Lord conceived that the law was violated, why did he not prosecute the violators of the law? Why did he not throw upon past Parliaments and his predecessors in office the odium of the statutes that already existed? Why did he enforce upon high-minded men, as he hoped he might call them, the disgusting occupation of ransacking the neglected statutes of restriction? And why did he, in the nineteenth century, enter upon this retrograde course? he concluded that there was no aggression, because the law officers of the Crown were unable to prove it. But though the noble Lord was silent upon the subject of aggression, he went far to seek for precedents for attacking them. He had arraigned the 454 policy of a distant potentate (the Emperor of Austria), who had removed those statutes which trammelled the liberties of the Church. He believed that that Sovereign had done wisely in doing so; that he had given up regulations by which no real power was attained, while opposition was frequently engendered; and he might add that the Emperor Joseph, who enacted these statutes, lost the brightest gem in the imperial Crown—the Austrian Netherlands—by interfering with the religious privileges of his subjects. He would now come to the accusations that had been directed against the Synod of Thurles—accusations that they had interfered with political questions. It would be in the recollection of the country that when a right hon. Gentleman opposite, then Home Secretary, brought forward a measure for the education of factory children, he was strongly opposed by the Wesleyan body, and by other religious denominations, and that opposition was mainly instrumental in throwing out the measure. He did not say that the measure deserved this opposition. What he said was, that this was a proof that religious bodies did give decided expression to their opinions as regarded the general education of the country. But it might be said that that referred to a measure which had not passed the Legislature. He would therefore come to a measure—the question of national education in Ireland—where the measure, after it had been passed by the Legislature, was opposed by a largo, if not by the greater number of the Protestant clergymen of the Established Church. Now, if they had a right to interfere, why should not the Roman Catholic bishops be allowed to interfere in the question of the colleges, which were also opposed, if he was not mistaken, by other religious denominations. Against the opinion of the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, that there was a violation of the law in the present case, he said he could get the opinion of one who had filled the high and responsible position of Secretary for Ireland, a nobleman who was not more elevated by his rank than he was endeared by the high attainments of his mind—who had earned for himself a European reputation by the noble treaty which bore, and would ever bear, the name of the Eliot Convention; by which he interfered between two hostile parties, and limited the sad havoc of intestine discord to bounds more conformable to the principles of civilisation and humanity. He begged to 455 quote the opinions of that enlightened nobleman, as sent forth in his pamphlet on this subject, and he thought they migh well weigh against and counterbalance the expressions which had met with some applause in that House and in the country. He would next take the liberty of referring to the opinion of a departed statesman (Lord Castlereagh), and the words he was about to quote then applied to Ireland. There was this advantage in the grandeur and dignity of their cause and of the subject which they were debating, that it was not confined to narrow limits of space, but dealt with principles which were eternal. The expression he was about to quote was to be found in Charles Butler's Historical Memoirs, vol. ii., p. 170. Lord Castlereagh further argued against the idea that any additional evil or difficulty arose from the existence of the Roman Catholic church in an episcopal form in Ireland; on the contrary, he was of opinion that the power or authority incident to bishops was in itself pro tanto a salutary reduction of the external authority of the See of Rome. He also said—He much preferred the ministry of bishops to that of apostolic vicars, who were mere missionaries, removable at the pleasure of the Pope, and bound implicitly to obey all orders from Rome.If these words were applied in the present debate, they could not be more apposite, though they were spoken many years ago. He now begged to make a quotation from a very able dissertation which had also been quoted by the Prime Minister of the Crown; it referred to the office of bishop; and it was stated in it that the bare office of diocesan bishop, such as the Bishop of Birmingham, was not a dignity of which the Crown was the fountain. The office was not, and never was, a dignity at common law, and the writers on "dignity" consequently passed it over; and though illegal privileges were sometimes annexed to bishoprics, such as those belonging to the bishops of the Established Church, they were merely incidental, not pertaining to the office of diocesan bishop, which was purely a ministerial office with the cure of souls; and whereas all dignities are creations of the Royal prerogative, the Crown cannot create a bishopric even in the Established Church, and still less can the Crown or Legislature make a bishopric in the Roman Catholic church. Where, then, was the aggression upon, or the usurpation of, Her Majesty's prerogative? The Pope 456 had only done what no other authority on earth could do; and it necessarily followed that he had neither usurped nor encroached upon the rights of the Crown, or of the nation. Those and other arguments in Cardinal Wiseman's able appeal remained to that day unrefuted. The hon. Member for Oxford had said it was impossible for a bishop to be created without the sanction of the Crown and of the Government of the country; but he must have forgotten that during 300 years of the first five centuries of the Church, which many Protestant divines were so fond of appealing to, the Christian religion and the episcopal form of government were maintained in direct defiance, at least in direct opposition to the Government of the country. They must recollect that the Emperors during those three first centuries claimed the title of Pontifex Maximus, and persecuted the Christians, who, without violating the civil rights of the empire, asserted their religious opinions in defiance of the strong arm of secular power. St. Augustine was a bishop in this country some time before the conversion of Ethelbert had conciliated the Government of the country to the Christian religion. These were well-known facts, which it would be useless to say more in support of. He would next advert to the apostolic letter of his Holiness, by which he constituted the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the first part of which was confined to a history of the ecclesiastical government, and to the sufferings of the Catholics of England during the times of persecution. That document was addressed to the Catholics, and to the Catholics alone. The Supreme Pontiff did not speak of England as if England were allied to his spiritual government. He called the attention of the House to the words used in the document, and he asked if the words used in it spoke of England as being allied in faith to the doctrines of the Holy See? Did it not rather, in a manner certainly not aggressive, speak only of the Catholics of this country and of their increasing numbers, and of the necessity that they should be under the usual government of bishops, deriving their titles and their pastoral cares and duties from sees connected with kindred and home names? Then it was said that they were trying to supersede the government of the bishops of the Established Church; and though that was amply refuted by the statements of Gentlemen not belonging to his creed, he would say, that the very same course of action had 457 been followed up in the colonies of this country. Under an express treaty the Catholic religion was recognised in Canada, and was as much an established religion throughout Canada as the Protestant religion was the established religion by the law of this country. There was a Catholic bishop of Quebec, and there was also a bishop of the Established Church, with coterminous jurisdiction. He might also mention that there was a Latin Patriarch in Constantinople without giving any offence to the Government of the Ottoman Porte; and at Antioch there were not only bishops unconnected with the See of Rome, but there were three Patriarchs belonging to different rites—the Syriac, the Greek, and Latin rites. To whom, he asked, was this pastoral addressed? It was addressed to the clergy, secular and regular, and to the laity and faithful of the archdiocese. Was that an address which applied to the Protestants of this country? Did they address their clergy and laity under these terms, "dearly beloved in Christ, the clergy secular and regular, and the faithful of the diocese?" That certainly was an address that applied peculiarly and exclusively to the Catholics; and it would be acknowledged as an axiom that a document could affect those only to whom it was addressed. The highest and greatest authority (if he might quote it without impiety) had said, "Whose superscription is this?"—the Saviour of mankind had defined that to be the manner in which the definition of a document could he rightly interpreted. He (Mr. Howard) and the Catholics of that land, therefore, justly and decidedly said that that renowned and much-abused pastoral was addressed to the members of the Roman Catholic faith; and if there was any further corroborative testimony required, it would be the mention of those Latin prayers which were directed to be recited after the sacrifice of the mass, and which certainly the Prime Minister of the Crown could not apply to those of his own belief. Having vindicated the pastoral from the imputation of endeavouring by any overweening and arrogant assumption to include the whole realm of England, he begged to refer to the measure that had been introduced—a measure interfering with all the charities and trusts of the country, and which had not been, in that sense, called for by the hottest and most eloquent opponent of his faith. Where did they find that there had been a call thus to interfere between a man and 458 his pastor—between the shepherd and his flock? He would say that a more wanton and arrogant aggression and interference with the private rights of property had not been attempted since he had had the honour of a seat in that House—a period extending over twenty years. The Government might depend upon it that not only their legal ingenuity but their physical endurance would be highly taxed to follow up this persecuting code. He would say that protection, as between their bishops and themselves, they needed none; and further, if the Prime Minister of the Crown had been led to suppose that they did so, the address which had been presented to Cardinal Wiseman, and the authority of their bishops and of a great body of their most talented and distinguished laymen, most decidedly contravened that fact. Protection they I required none; they only asked to be left alone to enjoy their religious liberty in an unendowed Church, which claimed nothing from this country but toleration, which maintained its own creed, and would defend the creed of others when attacked. I He claimed on behalf of his poorer fellow-religionists that meed of fair play and toleration which he was sure they were willing to concede to all; and if he had said aught to hurt the religious feelings of any one, it was most alien to his thoughts. He had vindicated his own creed, and he trusted he had said nothing to violate the sanctity of the temple of religious freedom.
§ MR. NAPIER
said, the only question, as he understood it, now before the House, was whether Her Majesty's Ministers should get leave from the House to introduce a Bill on this question of Papal aggression. In the absence of the particular measure I which was proposed to be submitted to their consideration, he thought it would be unwise and unjust to the Government and to the country to enter by anticipation on a discussion of the enactments which might be found in the measure when submitted to them; but he thought it was somewhat strange, after Parliament had assured Her Majesty that they would devote their best considerations to the measure to be laid before them on the subject of this aggression of the Bishop of Rome, they should now be discussing, for the third time, at a third meeting of the House, whether any measure should be introduced, or whether they should legislate at all on the subject? Though he had heard this aggression of the Bishop of Rome palliated, 459 excused, explained—he had not heard it defended—he had not heard it justified. It was no question of theological controversy. Let them strip it of all the verbiage and all the excitement that had been thrown around it, and what had they? They had at one side the claim of a foreign prelate to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the territory of their Sovereign, and they opposed to that the fixed principles of the British constitution and they said the claim was incompatible with their constitution. On that issue was joined, and the Government asked to bring in a Bill, not to infringe religious liberty, but to raise a harrier against future aggression. In making that proposition they were backed by the feeling of the entire people of the country—the strength, the bone and sinew of the country—they were backed by the Universities, by the Church, and by the bar of England, and also by an authority of great consideration, he meant Sir Edward Sugden, who, in a speech of unparalleled clearness, stated his calm and deliberate opinion to be that the aggression of the Bishop of Rome was incompatible with the constitution of the country, and in direct collision with, and in antagonism to, the existing laws of the realm. If that be so—if the people of this country, and the United Church of this country—if the Church in Scotland, and the different Nonconformist bodies, with one voice and heart denounced this aggression—if the bar of England said it was opposed to the constitution—and if Sir Edward Sugden, coming calmly from the retirement of his closet, was of the same opinion—was it not right that they should pass such an enactment as was deemed necessary on the subject? Sir Edward Sugden, in his expressive words, said—The law on this point is in an anomalous state, and reflects little credit on the Legislature; notwithstanding I am of opinion that the law has been infringed by the Bishop of Rome and Cardinal Wiseman.Though he (Mr. Napier) admitted the truth of the observation that the law was anomalous, and, he would add, that the invasion of this law by the Bishop of Rome might justify the Government in not going on with the prosecution under the existing law, it established a claim on the House to make the law explicit by passing such an enactment as would embody the mind of the country and the Legislature, and raise a barrier against future aggression. Let those who were opposed to that mode of 460 proceeding meet them with arguments addressed to their judgment and reason; and let them not say they would wear out their physical endurance if they attempted to pass a law on this subject. Were not the Government to be at liberty to introduce a measure embodying the principles to which he had referred; and was the House to be bullied in this way—was the country to be bullied when it demanded a legislative enactment to suppress a proceeding which was against the reasonable, the religious, and the constitutional feelings of the country—against the voice of Her Majesty herself, and against the greatest body of testimony that was ever afforded by a nation blessed with the light and the privileges of the Reformation upon a subject so dear to their hearts, and which was so bound up with not only the happiness of this country, but, he would add, with the hopes of the civilised world? He could frankly and candidly say, whatever might have been his opinion on the subject of Roman Catholic emancipation (and that opinion still remained unchanged), that he was prepared to take his stand upon the Act of 1829; and he would say to those who were opposed to the present measure, "Convince me that this proposed measure of legislation is adverse to the Act of 1829, and I will give my vote against it." The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield and the hon. Member for Manchester had said that the proposed legislation was in violation of the principles of what they called civil and religious liberty. Now what did they mean by civil and religious liberty? If they meant by religious liberty unrestrained intolerance, then he could understand their argument; but the liberty of a community, whether civil or religious, was of necessity restrained. He would say, in answer to the argument about civil and religious liberty, that it was merely a begging of the question; because if this be an invasion of the constitution of this country, the best guarantee for the civil and religious liberty of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects was to preserve unbroken that constitution, and to throw its shelter over the laity of every denomination. How were the laity to be protected—how were the Roman Catholic laity, who could only be sheltered by the constitution from this grinding tyranny? They were required to obey the laws; then they should be protected by the constitution from all assumption of authority above the laws, be it ecclesiastical, popular, or Papal. 461 On this ground he apprehended some legislation was necessary, for he thought there was an attempt to introduce a foreign authority into this land, and to raise it above the constitution and law, and bring its power to bear, not only over the territory of the Sovereign, but over the consciences of Her Majesty's subjects. If there was one class more than another that was interested in having this protection, it was the Roman Catholic laity of this kingdom, for if the law and constitution did not protect them, who would protect them? He had lately read a letter from a Roman Catholic gentleman in Ireland, stating that the decree of the Synod of Thurles was an indirect persecution of the Catholics of Ireland; and some of his (Mr. Napier's) constituents, who were Roman Catholics, told him it was a tyranny over them, though they were not in a condition to resist it. The hon. Member who spoke last said that this synod had done nothing more than the bishops and clergy of the Established Church had done with respect to education; but when did they say to their people, "If you don't subscribe to our opinions you will lose all the sacraments, and be cut off from all communion with the church." He (Mr. Napier) did not object to any Roman Catholic ecclesiastic saying, "My opinion is so and so, and I so advise you;" but here was a command to act in a particular way; and under what circumstances was it passed? It was stated that nearly one-half of the body composing the synod were of another way of thinking; and yet so much were they all the vassals of a foreign Power that the synodical address was professed to be carried by the unanimous acclamation of the assembly. Even the bishops were obliged to surrender their opinions; and let them make what enactments they liked, or propound what policy they liked for Ireland, the whole sanction for it must thus be derived from the Papal authority. If, then, bishops were thus to register the decrees of the Bishop of Rome, and if the laity wore bound to obey, how could they talk of their being a free people; was it not a solemn mockery? The bishops were merely the servants of the Papal power, and the people were ground down under its tyranny, and yet it was said these people were enjoying the benefits of the British constitution. Any measure that would prevent this was not only a wise and just measure, but a merciful measure. Many of the Roman Catholics, through different parts of the country, were anxious in their hearts 462 that some measure of this kind should be passed. One or two of his Roman Catholic constituents (for he happened to have amongst his constituents several Roman Catholic gentlemen) had told him in earnest terms, "Let not us prevent you from doing whatever you think right to prevent this tyranny coming upon us and interfering with our just liberties and private judgment. The hon. Member for Manchester had argued that England was alarmed lest Popery might inundate this I country, and he said that would be a great calamity; but that it was caused by the influx of Roman Catholic labourers from Ireland, and that the policy of Government had caused the Popery of Ireland. In this he (Mr. Napier) agreed. The hon. Member said that Lancashire suffered most, and added that lie wished to see a chapter on retributive justice. Let the writer not forget that Lancashire has suffered for its sins. He agreed that the policy should be changed. He agreed that England must suffer by any policy which favours Popery in Ireland—but what has that to do with legislating against aggression? It came to this—legislation must be firm, and policy must be in harmony with it, otherwise the contradiction of strong Protestant enactment and strong Popish policy will leave matters worse than they have been already; for their policy and legislation, instead of being in harmony, would be brought into more direct collision. The hon. Member for the city of Dublin had said that the policy in Ireland had not been in favour of Popery, that all the patronage was given to the Protestants, and he gave a list of the patronage in the courts, and the names of the clerks, and the salaries given, and he said, what was new to him (Mr. Napier), that all the patronage was given to Protestants. That hon. Gentleman had also given a statement with regard to certain sums loft by prelates of the Established Church, and said it was obtained from a return from the Stamp Office. On inquiry, it appeared there was no such return at the Stamp Office, but the return was to be found in the Prerogative Office. The hon. Gentleman gave the names of eight Prelates, but the names of five only were mentioned in the return, and with respect to those five Prelates, the difference between his statement and the statement in the public office was more than 768,808l. He (Mr. Napier) would say that in Ireland it was now a 463 disqualification for a man looking for a situation to be a Protestant. Let them take the bar in Ireland. Within a few-months two of its most distinguished members had retired from the Munster circuit. They were Protestants and the leaders of the circuit for years, but they had never been promoted. One of them was a most accomplished gentleman and able lawyer, he meant Mr. Henn. He asked to be shown an instance since the Act of 1829, where a single Roman Catholic had been passed unjustly over. He admitted they should not be disqualified on account of their religious opinions, but the patronage of the Government should not be exercised by putting men, because they were Roman Catholics, over the heads of their Protestant seniors, and their superiors in point of professional eminence. During the last twenty years almost all the men in the largest business in Dublin belonged to the Protestant faith, and very few of them had been promoted. That was not the way in which the patronage of the Government ought to be administered. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had endeavoured to make an elaborate defence with regard to the policy in Ireland, and with regard to certain communications held with the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Whether rightly or wrongly, it was unquestionably the opinion that the policy pursued in that country had latterly been to encourage the demands of the Papacy; and when he heard the charge made that what the Pope was doing was insolent and insidious, he thought that, however wrong or unconstitutional his act was, he had been well encouraged to take that step by the policy pursued since 1847, both in Ireland and in the colonies. On this subject he wished only to advert to the documents; he did not wish to make any severe observations, but to leave the facts to speak for themselves. There was the letter of Earl Grey in 1847, directed to the colonies, in which he said that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had called his attention to the fact, that the Bequests Act had given rank to the Catholic bishops. In 1847 Dr. Wiseman told them that vicars-apostolic met in London to arrange this hierarchy in England; and it appeared I that all these matters had been treasured up and remembered, and formed the excuse put forward by Cardinal Wiseman for the measure the Pope had attempted in this country. Now, in that year they had Earl Grey 464 and the Earl of Clarendon giving a wrong construction to the Bequests Act, and giving titles to the Roman Catholics both in Ireland and in the colonies, calling the dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church "your Grace," and "your Lordship." Now he (Mr. Napier) was desirous always of treating those dignitaries with that proper respect I which belonged to their social position in the community; but he did not think it was a right or a wise thing to depart from the law of the land, or from the usages of society with regard to them, and to give them a false position. Could the House I have a right to say that the religion of I those dignitaries was wholly founded in error if they went on at the same time putting them above Peers of the realm, and conferring on them a rank which Her Majesty herself did not confer on them? If the House or the Government addressed them in that way, they induced the belief that they were not in earnest in objecting I to their religious doctrines, or that they I were politically afraid of them; and if the House taught the Roman Catholics that they were afraid of them, the House would encourage them to set up a clerical organisation in the country which would destroy religion, and peril every interest that Englishmen hold dear. The right hon. Baronet had also read a letter of a subordinate about the marshalling of the persons presented at the levee in Dublin, and this informed them that, in a hurry, he miscalled Archbishop Crolly the Roman Catholic Primate. Why, Dr. Crolly was then in his grave, and sorry he was for this, for he (Mr. Napier) knew that respectable man, who, if he had lived, would scarcely have sanctioned the foreign yoke of the Thurles Synod. But the right hon. Baronet said, the University of Dublin had precedence of the Prelates of the Church of Rome. No thanks to the subordinate; he had placed these Prelates before the University. The right hon. Baronet seems to doubt, but he (Mr. Napier) was present when the vice-provost, an honest sterling man, resisted the attempt, and informed the subordinate that he would not submit to it, and that, if persevered in, he would withdraw the body. "Sir," said the subordinate, "this is not the time to raise the question." "Yes," said the vice-provest, "it is the very time for, if now allowed, it will be a precedent for future insult." Conscious of what was due to the University, with dignified self-respect he resisted the encroachment, and carried his point sue- 465 cessfully. The subordinate retired, conferred with his superior, returned, allowed the claim, and thus was the University saved from insult. The lesson is a good one. Be firm; he fair; but suffer none to invade your just privileges. It was with great pain that he read the letter addressed by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to the Roman Catholic Archbishop Murray in 1848. Was this great country to be put in so humiliating a position that the Queen's representative in Ireland should send to Rome the statutes for regulating the colleges established for the education of the middle classes in Ireland, in order to obtain the Pope's confirmation of the acts of the English Parliament? That letter was taken to Rome by a priest called Ennis, who was sent there by Dr. Murray; and it was very curious that in this letter, published at Rome in 1848, of which he (Mr. Napier) had a translation from the Italian original, Mr. Ennis was very anxious to induce the Court of Rome to accede to the proposition of the English Government. In that letter Mr. Ennis took a general view of the policy of the Government of England towards the Roman Catholics for the last thirty years, to show how favourable was that policy to the Church of Rome. In every succeeding Session, be says, laws were introduced favourable to the interests and views of the Catholics. The writer enumerated the various measures that had been passed, such as the striking off of ten bishops from the Protestant Church in Ireland; the withholding from Protestants any share in the public grant for the purposes of education; and the giving to Maynooth 30,000l. a year for the ecclesiastical education of the Roman Catholics. This would give an idea of what those people themselves thought with regard to the policy of this country. He (Mr. Napier) said then, that if they were to assume the attitude of an independent Government, and if they were to repel this aggression, and to maintain the integrity, the independence, and the constitution of this country, let them, in God's name, take up an independent position, and say that the British House of Commons were fit to manage their own affairs, and not to ask the Pope to assist them. In October, 1848, came the rescript from Rome, authorising sacerdotal meetings to beheld in future. The Synod of Thurles was an answer to the letter of Lord Clarendon. He would say one word with respect to Dr. Wiseman before he (Mr. Napier) sat down. 466 Dr. Wiseman had adverted to the policy in Ireland; he said, among other reasons which led him and others to believe that no reasonable objection could exist to their obtaining their hierarchy, was the fact that in Ireland the Roman Catholic hierarchy had been recognised and honoured, and that the same form of ecclesiastical government had been extended to Roman Catholics in the colonies. Now, the people of England were, after all, a rational and intelligent nation; and if their opinion was that the policy in Ireland had certainly put the Roman Catholics there in a very false position, and if a corrective was about to be administered to their own Protestant Church in reference to this aggression, and they were to be told to come back to the simplicity of their own liturgy and the religious doctrine of Scripture—however that might be, he thought, and they would think, it fit and right that the Government of this country should also come back to the constitution of this country. He understood that the hon. and learned Member for Youghal intended to move that Ireland should be excluded from this Bill. If that were so, he (Mr. Napier) would be fully prepared to take the case of Ireland in hand, and join issue with the hon. and learned Gentleman on that question, whenever he raised it. Under all these circumstances of the case, he could see no reason why this Bill should not he submitted to the House.
§ MR. KEOGH
said, the measure now submitted to the consideration of the House was alleged to be no infringement or interference with the principles of civil and religious liberty. Certainly, if any doubt existed in the minds of hon. Members of that House that the Bill was perfectly consistent with the principles of religious toleration, those doubts must be removed when they saw the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, one of the most undeviating advocates of the cause of civil and religious liberty, giving it his unqualified support. The Christian forbearance the hon. and learned Gentleman had always shown to his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen—the peaceful attitude he had always exhibited to the House and country, when desirous of granting religious liberty to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, must assure the mind of the greatest sceptic. He could not help calling to mind that he had read the name of one Joseph Napier as being secretary to the Brunswick Clubs some years since in Ireland, and it would 467 probably be in the recollection of the House for what purpose those clubs were organised. The merest tyro in the political history of the country knew that they were organised in all their laws and constitution with the avowed object of setting the acts of the Legislature at defiance, if these acts went in the direction of the emancipation of the Roman Catholics. And yet his hon. and learned Friend came to that House, and with the most wonderful condescension and Christian resignation, told them that he had not altered or changed his opinions with regard to the Emancipation Act. Why, the hon. and learned Gentleman well knew that if he had dared to say that he had changed these opinions, the orthodox University he represented would soon teach him to alter his notes. The hon. and learned Gentleman's statement, therefore, that whatever might be his own private views, he was not prepared to disturb that great settlement, was undoubtedly an act of great condescension; and he thought the Roman Catholics of Ireland must feel greatly obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman. He did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman had any right, under these circumstances, to come and read the Roman Catholic Members of that House lectures upon independence—he hoped no Roman Catholic Member in that House was afraid to speak his opinions independently; and before he (Mr. Keogh) sat down, he hoped to convince the hon. Gentleman that he was not afraid of any ecclesiastical body in giving utterance to his honest sentiments and convictions. When the hon. and learned Gentleman chose to read that lesson of the freedom from ecclesiastical interference, and the independence of Irish Members, he could not have forgotten that he had come into that House the pledged opponent of the system of mixed education in Ireland, which had been marred and opposed from first to last by the very body who had sent the hon. Gentleman into that House—a body not consisting of the Protestant laity of Ireland, but consisting solely and exclusively of Protestant ecclesiastics. Was there no other measure to which that tolerant Member stood pledged? They all knew the Maynooth grant, and the reasons that had induced the Legislature and the country to accede to it—thanks to a Protestant Parliament, and thanks to a great statesman, the predecessor of the present Government—whose loss the House must regret, and to whose loss they were, he 468 believed, mainly indebted for the extent and violence of the present outbreak of religious intolerance. Well, the hon. and learned Gentleman had come into Parliament pledged to oppose that grant. The hon. and learned Gentleman had further said that he knew that the profession of Protestantism was a ground of exclusion to preferment in Ireland. If the hon. Gentleman believed the statement he had made—and he presumed that was so—he must be profoundly ignorant of all the facts and circumstances connected with the administration of patronage in that country. He had, on a former occasion, stated that to his own knowledge it was a complete fiction to say that the Roman Catholics were excluded from the honours and emoluments of the University of Dublin. He (Mr. Keogh) had been petrified at that statement. He was a member of that University as well as the hon. and learned Gentleman, and he was prepared to show the utter hypocrisy of that statement. He could assure the House that there were no honours or emoluments to which he, a Roman Catholic, could hope to attain in that University, but that of a sizarship, which imposed services and duties generally felt to be of a servile character. There were Fellows and Scholars in the University, and no Roman Catholic could be a Fellow. The Fellows had enormous revenues, of which no accurate account could be obtained. The junior Fellows also had enormous revenues; but no Roman Catholic could be a junior Fellow. The Scholarships were numerous, and they had some small revenues; but no Roman Catholic could be a Scholar. What, then, was the meaning of the hon. and learned Gentleman's allegation, when the Roman Catholics could be admitted to no honours but those of sizarships? The hon. Gentleman bad referred to the patronage in his own profession. Now, he found that in the Courts of Dublin there were twelve Judges, of these, nine were Protestants. The Lord Chancellor was a Protestant—he could not by law be a Roman Catholic. Why? He had no Church patronage, and no ecclesiastical functions to discharge. The Master of the Rolls was a Protestant; there were five Masters in Chancery; of these four were Protestants. There were two Judges in the Bankruptcy Court, both Protestants. There were thirty-three assistant barristers, and of these twenty-five were Protestants. He did not know how many stipendiary magistrates there were, 469 but he ventured to pledge himself that the proportion of Protestants would be found three to one as compared with the Catholics. In the teeth of these facts, the hon. Member had ventured to assure the House that the profession of Protestantism was a positive disqualification for office. Was not the Attorney General a Protestant? And of the three law officers of the Court were not two Protestants—one of them the son-in-law of the Attorney General, the law adviser of the Castle? The hon. and learned Gentleman had forgotten Mr. Christian, the counsel for the Castle, although Mr. Christian's resignation had only taken place a short time since; he also was a Protestant. With all these facts, the House was to believe that the profession of a Protestant was a positive disqualification for office. He would now proceed to the consideration of the question more immediately before the House. The noble Lord had, in the course of his address a law nights since, referred to the case of a Minister in the kingdom of Sardinia, who had been refused the sacraments on his death-bed for political reasons. He must say that he was not in a position to assert whether that was true or not, but he assumed that the noble Lord was perfectly convinced of its truth before lie made the statement to the House If it were so, he had no hesitation in saying, in the presence of the Roman Catholic Members, and in the face of all the ecclesiastical authorities of the country, that nothing could be more atrocious, or deserving of reprobation of all good men, than such a circumstance. He did not believe in the possibility of such a circumstance occurring in this country—he was convinced, with the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, that the good, and bold, and brave spirit which the Roman Catholics of this country had shown in former periods of their history would manifest itself in such a case, and have its just reward. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin inferred that the Roman Catholic Members were subject to the control of the Roman Catholic priesthood. Now, he would say for himself that in the private affairs of his life the idea of any interference of any curate, priest, prelate, or cardinal, was perfectly absurd—he repudiated all idea of any such interference, either in his private affairs, or any tampering with his allegiance or obedience to the laws and constitution 470 of the country. And he would tell the noble Lord, that if he believed there were any grounds for the allegation on which this measure was based, namely, that it was an interference with the Queen's prerogative, and an interference with the constitution of the country—if he believed that there was any assumption of territorial authority, or any insult to the Sovereign or the Protestant subjects of the country—he would concur with the noble Lord in bringing in this measure. It was because he did not believe in any of those assertions that he was induced to give it his opposition. One of the points urged by the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last had been answered by himself. He began, as was usually his course, mildly, and ended his address rancorously. Now, intention was the essence of an insult, and if no intention of insulting existed, there could be no insult. The noble Lord's letter, when it came to Ireland, had produced much irritation; but he admitted that the explanation of the noble Lord was frank, bold, and manly; and he accepted his denial that there was any intention to insult the Roman Catholics. But why did not the noble Lord concede to others that they did not intend to offer any insult, when they so solemnly assured him of it? But how did he meet this statement of the noble Lord? By referring to his conduct in 1845–6, when the noble Lord actually treated with ridicule the very proposition lie was now seeking to obtain the sanction of the House to. According to the hon. and learned Gentleman, the course of policy the Government was pursuing must have led the Court of Rome to believe that the appointment of bishops and archbishops would not have been unacceptable; and how then could the Court of Rome have meant to insult that country, when, according to the hon. and learned Gentleman's statement, they had every reason to believe that it would have been acceptable to this country? The hon. and learned Member for Oxford had stated that both the statute and common law had been violated by the assumption of these titles. Now, what was the statement of the noble Lord in his opening speech, when he was anxious to give the House the satisfaction they had been looking for ever since the publication of his letter? He said lie had consulted the law officers of the Crown, the Attorney and Solicitor Generals, and both these Gentlemen were of opinion, that by the 471 assumption of these titles the statute law was not violated. They said, that it was no invasion of any privilege exclusively vested in the Sovereign, and therefore no transgression of the common law. In that he perfectly agreed. He admitted that an invasion of these privileges would be an offence at common law; but who would venture to assert that the creation of a bishopric of the Established Church, of which the Queen was the head—although some of the most distinguished lawyers and ecclesiastics had ventured to contest that proposition—who would venture to assert that that was an offence at common law? He (Mr. Keogh) would assert that it was not. In the reign of Henry VIII. the privilege rested exclusively with the Sovereign; but that Act was repealed. The 5th of Victoria gave power to the Queen to establish bishoprics in the colonies; which, if the power was vested in her, would be altogether an unnecessary piece of legislation. That was the common law. He reminded the House that when the Emancipation Act was being passed, the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) proposed a clause, that the Roman Catholic bishops should be prohibited from taking the titles of the sees of the Protestant bishops; and a clause was also proposed in the House with reference to the Roman Catholic bishops being excluded from seats in the House of Lords. Both these propositions were rejected. But then it was said that there was an assumption of territorial power: that assertion had been bandied about at every public meeting throughout the country. What territorial power did the titles to these sees confer on them? Did it give them any jurisdiction? Did it give them a single farthing of revenue? Or did it entitle them to compel even a Roman Catholic to do anything contrary to his own will? He remembered readingin Sir James Macintosh's History of the Reformation in England, in reference to the power of the clergy, that it was nothing but a spiritual ascendancy over the minds of those who volutarily submitted to it. Was it anything that could be denned or enforced? No; and where, then, was the assumption of territorial power? The hon. and learned Member for Oxford had referred to the briefs appointing the vicars-apostolic, and had admitted that he found them word for word the same as those appointing the bishops. What mystery, then, was there in the word diocese, that did not exist in the word district? 472 Where was the territorial assumption in the one any more than in the other? In the noble Lord's celebrated letter, which he believed the noble Lord's best friends would wish he had not written, he said that it was impossible to confound the recent measures of the Pope with the division of Scotland into dioceses by the Episcopal Church. The noble Lord must recollect that the first anti-episcopal Act was passed in 1669—that it was put in force shortly afterwards; but the crowning Act was passed in 1707, when it was enacted that not only was Episcopacy abolished, but Presbyterianism established as the governing religion. Her Majesty, at her coronation, had sworn to respect the statutes of the kingdom of Scotland; and it was singular that since the late terrible Papal aggression, the Scotch Episcopal bishops had addressed the Crown, and that address had been most graciously received—received, he supposed, as graciously as that other address of twenty-eight bishops of the Established Church, who, appealing not alone to the Protestant population or the Presbyterian population, but to the Sovereign of the population of the kingdom, containing inhabitants of all sects and denominations—in which appeal these meek prelates, standing up for religious toleration, had described the religion of 10,000,000 of their fellow-subjects, and 200,000,000 of the human race, as a tissue of blasphemous fables.
§ MR. KEOGH
informed the House that it was an Address to the Queen from the Christian Knowledge Society. He was surprised there could be any doubt of the fact in the mind of the right hon. Baronet, whose peculiar province it was to receive those addresses. The right hon. Baronet, however, could not escape from that. But he reminded the House, further, that the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet, at a former period of their history, when their ideas on this subject were not so confirmed, had declined to receive an Address signed "John, Archbishop of Tuam." Why? Because it was contrary to the provisions of the Emancipation Act. But he 473 received an Address signed by the Bishop of Aberdeen, the Bishop of Glasgow, the Bishop of Argyle and the Islands, although that was contrary to the statutes and constitution of the realm of Scotland, and was in direct contravention of the oath taken by Her Majesty at the coronation, to respect the statutes of the realm of Scotland. He was not there to complain of that—he did not complain of the conduct of Lord Clarendon—he did not complain of the conduct of the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Department, because he thought the noble Lord would be unfit for his high position if he did not hold communication with the heads of the Roman Catholic communion. But he complained of this, that after those speeches and those letters to Roman Catholic bishops and Colonial Governors, which had led all parties at home and abroad to believe that the appointment of bishops would be acceptable, they now turned round and said they would enact a penalty for assuming those titles. He would say nothing about the letter of Lord Clarendon to Archbishop Nicholson. He did not think that was a letter which should have been brought forward. It was manifestly an evasion of the courtesy which was due from one gentleman to another, because it was marked private, and it was the duty of the person into whose hands it fell, under these circumstances, to return it to the writer. He would make no comment on that letter, but he felt bound to comment on the acts of the Government, which for a series of years had led the Catholics and the See of Rome to believe that the measure would not be unacceptable to the English Government. The noble Lord had told the House on a former occasion the story which had been often referred to, that it was not every man that could be intrusted with a memory; but there was another noble Lord who was afflicted with an unhappy memory. The noble Lord had told the House that he had not given his consent to this measure, and that it had not been even asked. In the years 1844, 1845, and 1846, when the noble Lord was sitting on the opposition benches, he had stated that he thought the prohibition to use the titles of those sees was a most foolish prohibition. That was in the year 1844. In the year 1845, when the heat of battle was stronger, and party animosity greater—when the Irish Members were to be conciliated, and Catholic Ireland was to be brought to "the scratch;" in that year, 474 when the statesman whose loss universal Europe deplored was to be driven from office, the noble Lord said he could not see any good grounds for such a restriction. What those very restrictions which he now, in 1851, seeks to re impose and make more stringent. He then came to 1846, when he made the pithy observation which might be said to conclude the question: "As to preventing persons assuming particular titles, nothing can be more absurd and puerile than to keep up such a distinction." Now he asked the noble Lord, when he was thanked for what he had recently done, what compunction must he not have felt when receiving the grateful thanks of the Member for the University of Oxford? The noble Lord had passed thirty or forty years of public life in distinguished statesmanship, and an honourable career in the vindication of the religious liberties of the country; while the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, from the first hour of his entrance into public life down to the present moment, had been, as he was often described, the consistent, unswerving, unchangeable supporter of intolerance and—he spoke without meaning any offence—of consistent bigotry. Was not this an extraordinary conjuncture? He would say nothing about the approval of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, because everybody knew that he was the consistent friend of civil and religious liberty Now, with regard to the Synod of Thurles that had been held many months ago, was there one word about it in the letter of the noble Lord? There was a great deal about Puseyites, and the mummeries of superstition and auricular confession; but although the noble Lord took a very wide circuit, he had said nothing whatever about the Synod of Thurles. So gross an invasion of the privileges of the constitution and of the law of the land, must have been as fresh then as it was now. But now he would tell the noble Lord, that, so far from the educated Roman Catholics of the country being disposed to submit unless they obtained the protection of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, who said that they had consulted him on the subject—that, so far from these Catholics being prepared to submit quietly to everything that had been done at the Synod of Thurles, so far as it had trenched upon civil rights and opinions, he could tell the noble Lord, for he had it from the lips of some of them, there was a movement 475 on foot to declare their opinions on the subject—he would not say what those opinions were—when they were stopped in carrying out their intentions by the extraordinary course of the noble Lord himself. Now let him appeal to the noble Lord in regard to some of the details of the measure. Has he maturely considered what the effect of his proposition will he in respect to Ireland? He was not going to ask the noble Lord whether he had considered its effect as regarded public opinion, although there was a time when public opinion was courted by him, though he might now be disposed to disregard it. Had the noble Lord considered what would be the effect of such a measure upon the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland? Now he (Mr. Keogh) believed—and he mentioned his apprehensions to hon. Members around him, who said that they had not taken that view of the Bill into their consideration before—he believed that if the noble Lord carried his Bill into law—a Bill which he thought was prepared without one single Roman Catholic being consulted that as far as it regarded Ireland the effect would be, to put a stop to ecclesiastical functions in that country. There was an eminent Irish prelate, recently in London, who was present during some of the debates that had taken place upon this subject. This distinguished dignitary had never taken any part in the political agitation of his country, nor had he ever assumed the episcopal title against which the noble Lord directed his enactment. This right rev. gentleman had carefully listened to all the details of the proposition, and he has declared, first, that he will not violate the law, and, secondly, that, without violating the law, he cannot exercise his episcopal functions if the act of the Government be carried out. Has the noble Lord weighed well this fact? He has, no doubt, consulted the Protestant and Presbyterian party, while he dealt a heavy blow and great discouragement to the Puseyites. But has he maturely considered the effect that his measure would produce in Ireland? Was he prepared to raise the fell spirit of religious hatred which had almost subsided in Ireland? Has he taken counsel with Her Majesty's Attorney General for that part of the united kingdom? He (Mr. Keogh) hoped that no prelate would be induced to disobey the law. But if one dared to do so—has the noble Lord consulted the Attorney General upon the step of framing a hill of indictment against the 476 ecclesiastics of 6,000,000 of Her Majesty's subjects? Will he be prepared to send a Protestant attorney general and a Roman Catholic solicitor general to conduct such a prosecution against the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam? We have had quite enough of laws upon the Statute-book which have not only never been enforced, but which were never intended to be enforced. He did not, of course, wish to incite the Government to criminal prosecutions. On the contrary, he thought that it would be much wiser for them to refrain from such proceedings. Of the obsolete laws in the Statute-book he was not asking the Government to revive any of them. But he asked them not to encumber the Statute-book with any further laws, however matnrely and advisedly considered, which were not intended to be put in execution. Was the noble Lord prepared to place the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland in the common dock as felons? He wished, in conclusion, to say to the noble Lord, while at the same time he reminded him of the words addressed by himself to his predecessor in office, in the way not of intimidation but of advice, "That just retribution would overtake a man who, not appealing to sound and enlightened public opinion, laid hold of some popular prejudices or mistaken notion in order to ground his power upon for deluding and misleading the people."
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
considered the case which the hon. and learned Gentleman had made for excluding Ireland altogether from the Bill was unanswerable. The Irish Church was able to protect itself. The hon. Member for Meath, when speaking I on this question the other evening, expressed his regret that the Emancipation Bill of 1813—which contained the veto—did not receive the Royal assent. By whom was that Bill recommended? By the Pope. He held in his hand an extract from the current history of the period, from which it appeared, that although there was great reason to apprehend that the Catholic bishops of Ireland were in favour of the view expressed by the Court of Rome, first the laity, and then the clergy, unanimously passed resolutions declaring that the document from Rome was non-mandatory, and not entitled to their obedience and respect. So strong was the pressure of public opinion on the subject, that the bishops also met and unanimously voted that the Papal rescript was not mandatory nor obligatory on their obedience. 477 What was the consequence? No sooner did the Court of Rome receive the intelligence of the unanimous and patriotic disobedience of the clergy and laity of Ireland, than the Cardinals met too, and unanimously came to the resolution that in no way would they for a temporal advantage insist upon the measure. That was the way the Court of Rome was met when it attempted to dictate to the Roman Catholics of Ireland in 1813. Since that period no similar attempt had been made by that Court to dictate to the people of Ireland. The object of the present Bill being to redress a grievance which had occurred in England, he could not understand upon what principle clauses had been introduced applying to Ireland. He had now only repeated what he had said on a former occasion, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were enabled by canon law to resist any attempt of the character of the late letters-apostolic by which a self-elective hierarchy was created in England. The Irish clergy were empowered by their present constitution to do everything at home for themselves, and they had no occasion to go to Rome, except in the last resort. The titles which it was proposed to prohibit by this Bill as regarded Ireland were titles not imposed by a foreign Prince, but assumed by British subjects. Why should not British subjects in Ireland be allowed to assume titles of the same character which were allowed to be assumed with impunity by British subjects in Scotland? The bishops of the Episcopal Church in Scotland would still be allowed to style themselves bishops of their respective sees, without permission of the Crown; and why? Because the titles were not imposed by a foreign Prince. The titles which the Irish Prelates bore, and which they meant to bear, whether this Bill passed into a law or not, were titles which they assumed, and were not imposed by the Pope. These titles they enjoyed in unbroken succession from the time of St. Patrick. It was by prescription that these titles were obtained. But that was not the case with the new English hierarchy. Now this obvious distinction was entirely lost sight of in the proposed Bill. In England, not only sees were created, but titles were imposed, and it was impossible for those who wished to obey the Pope to decline the assumption of them. If the Bill was to deal with titles at all, it should be confined to England. But, in the first place, he thought it was foolish to deal with titles at all; and yet, in the second 478 place, if they dealt with them they should confine the Bill to England alone, because the letters-apostolic related to England exclusively. It was, nevertheless, but on quite other grounds, his deliberate opinion, from the nature and character of those letters, that the act was one of foreign aggression; although he did not consider that the Bill in its present form was a legitimate consequence of their Address in answer to the Royal Speech. He maintained that they ought not to interfere with the liberty of every man in this country—subject, of course, to the courts of justice and the departments of State refusing their recognition—to assume what titles he pleased. Suppose some one were to assume a pseudo title of nobility, would he be prosecuted for it? Not if he alleged he had any right whatever to it, because no court of justice would preclude the possibility of his establishing his title before the House of Lords by entertaining a prosecution. He might mention the eases of the Earls of Newburgh and Stilling, which were decidedly in point. To attempt to interfere with titles assumed by Romish bishops in England, would, he contended, be useless to repress the real evil—to do so in Ireland would be mischievous and oppressive. The Government were mistaken in supposing that territorial titles were essential to hierarchical and synodal action. To forbid the assumption of territorial titles, would not prevent the bishops from dealing with the temporalities of the Church. By a clause in the Pope's brief, which seemed to have escaped notice, the powers of vicars-apostolic were continued to the new bishops, and, as vicars-apostolic, they would be able to enjoy that power and liberty of action which it was the intention of the new constitution to confer upon them. The Bill was therefore defective in this respect. It was defective in another point, because it dealt only with the case of future temporalities. It no way touched the actual difficulty which he had suggested on a former occasion, namely, that it is now impossible for any court of law or equity, according to the provisions of the Relief Acts, to refuse the assistance of the Queen's writs for the purpose of enforcing the letters-apostolic of the Pope, to the prejudice of existing trusts? For the sake of the illustration, he would mention the case of the Scotch Church in England—as foreign a Church as that of Rome. Now the 479 property of the Scotch Church was governed by the temporal law of the land acting in aid of the private law of that Church, as altered or amended from time to time by its General Assembly. At one time the General Assembly passed a law recognising the independence of the branch of the Scotch Church existing in England. Now, it happened that when the disruption of the Church of Scotland took place a few years ago, the synod and a vast majority of the Scotch Presbyterians in. England adopted resolutions expressive of sympathy with the Free Church party. The Church of Scotland consequently excommunicated them, and rescinded the Act by which the independence of the English Presbyterian body was guaranteed. The consequence had been that the English Court of Chancery, in three recent cases, apparently against the private opinion of the Judges, had been obliged, such was the infirmity of our legislation on such subjects, to give effect to the excommunication, and to eject every minister and trustee who happened to entertain those speculative opinions in favour of the Free Church of Scotland. How much stronger, then, would be the case of the Church of Rome, the mother and mistress of its English branch? In a case like the present it was not unimportant to bear in mind that the new Roman Catholic hierarchy was, as yet, only a contemplated hierarchy. No hierarchy was established in this country, because none could be established without the previous establishment of the canon law, and, as the canon law did not exist in England, therefore the priests of Beverley who had remonstrated with the Cardinal were justified in supposing that no hierarchy had as yet been established. The thing which they apprehended was the establishment in this country by the Court of Rome of what might fairly enough be called an autocracy; and in noticing this part of the subject he might observe, that there was a clause in the brief enabling the bishops to prevent the priests from having the benefits of the canon law. [The hon. and learned Member here read the petition of the clergy of Beverley.] That the general clause of abrogation contained in the brief was a matter of form, he begged leave altogether to deny. Perhaps it might be in a certain sense a matter of form, but it was also a matter of substance, in its nature very material and important. [Mr. ANSTEY here read a brief of Gregory XVI. to the Indian 480 Catholics, in illustration.] He must say that, if it had devolved on him to prepare a measure on this subject, or if he were then to say what sort of Bill he should be prepared to support, he could have no hesitation in declaring it to be not such as this, but rather one which would not be penal, or interfere with any class of Her Majesty's subjects. But because there was danger to the temporal rights of the Catholics of this country from the proceedings of the Court of Rome—because there did not appear to him the least ground for apprehending that that danger was imaginary—he should certainly be prepared, although opposed to this Bill, to support such restrictions as would go far to render that danger a remote one. He should likewise be disposed to support 'measures for vesting in lay persons alone the management of all our charities, with a view to prevent its being possible for the Court of Rome to exercise any influence over the administration of those temporalities in this country. But his chief objection to the present Bill was, that it, for the first time, treated the Irish and English Roman Catholic Churches as though in their condition they were not as dissimilar as it was possible for two Churches to be. The Irish titles are not illegal, unless by the Emancipation Act of 1829. But the English titles, as Dr. Twiss has given good reasons for supposing, are otherwise illegal; the prohibition contained in the Emancipation Act being not the only portion of English law which rendered them illegal. Before the first Relief Acts, the existence itself of Roman Catholic bishops, or archbishops, whether in England or Ireland, was illegal, and it was not the mere assumption of titles that constituted the illegality. The Relief Acts of 1791 took the then existing hierarchies, with their titles—that is to say, the archbishops and bishops of Ireland, and the vicars-apostolic of England—and legalised both, and secured both against foreign or domestic encroachment. In some respects, the Act of 1829 had impaired the value of that concession; but still the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, for example, had a perfect right to the title which he bore. With regard to the English Roman Catholics, he thought himself justified in saying that they desired to see Parliament legislating, not, certainly, in the spirit of the Bill of the noble Lord, but, in one sense, in a stronger, though in a different way. As respected himself, he could not 481 conclude without noticing the circumstance, that he had been blamed for the distinction which he had taken between the Court of Rome and the Church of Rome—a distinction which he conceived to be real, and which he thought was sufficiently intelligible to all. He had been I taunted, too, with having accepted a decoration from that Court. He could only say, that it was conferred upon him in 1847, when Pius IX. was zealously working out his reforms in Church and State; and the immediate object of the distinction was, to signify the Papal approbation of his (Mr. Anstey's) endeavours to put an end to the maladministration of the Catholic endowments of this country, by a Charitable Trusts' Bill. And now he should state in a few words the course which, practically, he meant to pursue. He should move the omission of every clause in the Bill relating to Ireland, but he should also use his utmost endeavours to amend the Bill in another sense, and for the benefit of the English Roman Catholics, their liberties, properties, and rights. In conclusion, he felt bound also to say, that, though he opposed the Bill, he did not participate in the denunciations which had been levelled against the noble Lord for deserting those principles of civil and religious liberty which I he had always maintained, and to which he had heard no reason for doubting the sincerity of his attachment.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he had no intention of following the last speaker through the course of observations which he had addressed to the House, and he should perhaps not that day have addressed the House if it had not been for the challenge which was put forth by the hon. Member for Carlisle. The accuracy of the charge he denied, and would again refer to it; but, for the present, he wished to remind hon. Members that they must have foreseen that such a measure as this would be brought under their consideration when they themselves had addressed Her Majesty on the subject, and had promised that they would devote to it their attention. The question was, should they, or should they not, then proceed to consider as a question for decision, whether they would adopt a measure which they had already pledged themselves to carry out? Surely it was not the way for them to carry out that promise thus to enter into the mere details of the Bill, and that, too, of a Bill not yet before them. On the whole, then, he thought that it would be better as 482 speedily as possible to close the debate for the present, and without further delay to let the noble Lord lay his Bill upon the table of the House. He had not any fear of the charge of "bigotry," which had been preferred by the hon. and learned Member for Athlone against the other Members of that House; and he would avail himself of that opportunity to thank the noble Lord "for the frank and straightforward letter that he had written, as well as for the bold and manly tone of that speech with which he had introduced the measure to the notice of the House. If the noble Lord found himself in any difficulties out of the House, he (Mr. Spooner) should still call on him to stand by the speech he had made, and the letter he had written. Finally, if the noble Lord were unfairly pressed, he should recommend him to throw himself on the Protestant feeling of the people of this great country, who would not allow their Queen to be insulted, and their own principles to be outraged. In the course of the present discussion some fault had been found with the language of one of the Addresses presented to the Queen; but he must be allowed to remind the House that that language was derived from the Articles of the Church. And now, as to the challenge he had received from the hon. Member for Carlisle, who had stated that the great meeting at Birmingham against the Papal aggression was a failure, the hon. Member had come to an erroneous conclusion when he supposed that the large and populous town of Birmingham was not in favour of soma measure to put down the Papal aggression. That meeting was not a failure. There was great difference of opinion—there was great confusion at it. He would make no further remark about it than that. An amendment, to the effect that no legislation was necessary, had been moved, and it had been negatived by a very large majority; and, that having been done, a great many persons supposing the business of the day thus Concluded left the meeting, so that, when the original resolution was proposed, the mayor declared that it had not been carried; but many doubted that the mayor had come to a right conclusion on the point. Never was there a question on which there was so much of what might be called all-but-unanimity as against the Papal aggression, and the determination to meet it and put it down. The noble Lord had well begun the work which he had undertaken, and it was to be hoped that 483 he would go on in the same path. If he did so he might rely on the support of the people at large, as well as of the House of Commons. He trusted that the noble Lord would excuse him, if he said that the explanation which he gave of the Bill, and the second explanation given by the hon. and learned Attorney General, had fallen considerably short of the expectations entertained by the public. He trusted, however, that when the Bill came before the House it would exceed such explanations as far as they fell short of the noble Lord's letter and speech. Again, he would advise the noble Lord, if he encountered any difficulty, to throw himself on the country. In conclusion, the hon. Member called upon the noble Lord to maintain the constitution in all the fulness of its Protestant character; that constitution which was the best security for the maintenance of civil and religious liberty, the abandonment of which might justly make us fear the withdrawal of those blessings which, through the mercy of Almighty God, the nation has so long enjoyed.
MR. A. J. B. HOPE
said, that the views which he had expressed a few nights since upon this subject had not been altered. He did not wonder, under the very trying circumstances in which the Government were placed, that they should have brought forward a measure which they believed adapted to meet the emergency of the time; but he was surprised at the worrying, vexatious, yet totally inoperative details which had been laid down by the Attorney General in his exposition of the Bill. That astonishment was not diminished when he saw his honourable and learned Friend the Member for the City of Oxford, the champion of civil and religious liberty, supporting that measure. Had he been a visitor to that House, one of those persons for whose accommodation the galleries were provided—had he been one of those individuals who were not recognised, and yet were accommodated, like the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland, and had he listened to that speech, and asked any one who it was that had just spoken, and that person had told him that it was the hon. Member for the city of Oxford, he (Mr. Hope) should not have believed him, and he should have said, "You mean the hon. Member for the University of Oxford;" and no assurance on his part would have satisfied him that he had made this slight mistake in the persons of the Members. He had listened attentively to the 484 debate, and had heard many reasons alleged with clearness, ability, and sincerity by the hon. Member for the University of Dublin for repressive legislation against the Roman Catholics, but not one argument in favour of the Bill before the House. Indeed, every argument seemed to him to lay down that the evils to be apprehended from Roman Catholics were evils to be apprehended from their system. They had heard of the great spiritual power ecclesiastics maintained over the laity, and there was a necessity, it was said, of putting the laity in their just position—a necessity, in short, of guarding against priestly tyranny. How was it intended, then, to put the laity in their just position, and to give the laity the protection which they demanded as citizens? Was it the legislation which would compel clergymen to act in the dark?—compel the synodical action to be clandestine?—compel bulls and edicts to be smuggled in, instead of being published and subjected to the scrutiny of the public press? Nothing would so much tend to produce such tyranny. If anything would tend to perpetuate such tyranny, it would be legislation such as this. Does any man who has studied the history of the Roman Catholic Church, in its energy and perseverance, for one instant suppose that this, or any other measure, would at all tend to check its career? The synod might not be held in Westminster, under the Gothic roof of one of the churches which the Roman Catholics have built; but would it not be held in some private room adjacent to the church? The edicts would not go forth signed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. But they could not violate the penny post. They could not prevent printed or lithographed copies being sent round, either by the penny post, or any other means, and being received by those for whom they were intended, nor could they prevent them taking effect with those with whom they were destined to take effect. The arguments of the Member for Oxford and the Member for the University of Dublin might be very germane to a Bill to compel Roman Catholics to disbelieve the infallibility of the Pope; but for any other object they were simply inoperative. They did not meet the evil which they alleged to exist, but they did tend to aggravate the risks and dangers which the Roman Catholic laity might run from this assumption of authority on the part of the Pope, and which it was convenient for the 485 noble Lord to bring forward as his alleged I reason for his Bill. The noble Lord had claimed to mediate, as Minister of the Crown, in the Imperial Parliament, between the different members of a religious denomination not established. This was surely a new function of Government. The noble Lord was not now his own master. Liter a scripta manet. The cacoethes scribendi had been his bane. The noble Lord had written a letter to the Bishop of Durham. Like the man in the novel by an eminent authoress whose death he saw recorded in the papers a few days ago, he could no longer control his own creation. Like the foolish necromancer, he raised a spirit, but knew no charm wherewith to lay it. He must do something. The law officers of the Crown had reported, with reference to the new hierarchy, that the law did not touch them. Had he not upon that unhappy day written that letter, he would not now be compelled to take his present step. But the mistake placed the Minister in the position in which he now was. The thing which the Catholic hierarchy wanted in England was, position. That position they would, under the ordinary course of things, have to make for themselves. But the noble Lord had, with an unwilling generosity, made it for them. He might have ignored their existence, and let them wear away with neglect; but by this tedious, vexatious, and inoperative persecution, he had, with very little damage and detriment to themselves, put them on the enviable pedestal of easy martyrs and quiet heroes. The noble Lord was very eloquent about the insult to himself and the Government which had been heaped upon him by this aggression, and that complaint was forced upon him by the course which the agitation took. However, there was one view of the question which he (Mr. Hope) was very much astonished had not been more taken, to which he would call the attention of the House. A few years ago a Bill was brought into the House by the present Government to restore diplomatic intercourse with the Court of Rome. That Bill originally styled the Pope under his highest spiritual designation. It called him Sovereign Pontiff, and on the part of our Government recognised him by a purely spiritual title. Subsequently that title was struck out of the Bill, and it passed merely as a measure to restore diplomatic intercourse with the temporal Sovereign of the Roman States; in which 486 position, as temporal Sovereign of the Roman States, he had no more to with the establishment of the hierarchy than had the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Bill was then to restore diplomatic intercourse with the temporal Sovereign. Would not, then, a man of common sense—whether a member of the Church of England, a Presbyterian, or a member of any other religious denomination—suppose that the Bill was then impliedly without reference to spiritual matters, and that in matters attaching to his position as Sovereign Pontiff, and not as a temporal Sovereign of the Roman States, the British Government neither inquired with respect to him, nor desired to have any official communication with that Pontiff? The Pope very naturally acted up to the character accorded to him. He unofficially showed to Lord Minto, the unofficial diplomatist, a paper lying on the table, which he said concerned England. The interview with the Pope was unofficial—the display of the document was unofficial; and very unofficial indeed was the manner in which that noble Lord received it. The noble Lord informed the House that the Bill was merely the retrograde step of a man who stepped back in order to assume a defensive position against a blow struck at him; but he contended that it was the retrograde step of a man who intended to return the blow, while the party whom he intended to hit slipped away from under him, and laughed at the clumsy manæuvre. The hon. Member for Sheffield had said, that the Government was like one of those establishments which were formed without capital. Every thing went on smoothly and fairly for a time—there was a brilliant plate glass front to the shop, for the purpose of showing the goods; there were genteel young men attending behind the counter, and the master shopman was as brisk and pert as possible. But such a state of things could not go on. From where is the money to be supplied? Money must be had. Money is borrowed—money is borrowed at 40 per cent. The noble Lord has borrowed money at 40 per cent from the Jews. Had they not seen the noble Lord, year after year, rise up, and heard him denounce the atrocious bigotry which has heaped privileges on the Roman Catholics in Ireland because they were many, and imposed restrictive impositions on the Jews because they were few? Money has been borrowed at 40 per cent—it has afterwards been borrowed at 80 and 100 487 per cent; and then it is borrowed at any sum or rate of interest for which it can be obtained. At last comes selling off at cost price at a ruinous sacrifice; the large placards are up; then the shop windows are closed; then the sponging-house, and Mr. Commissioner Phillips' lecture. At the same time he did not mean to blame the Government for the inoperative character of the measure. He was satisfied that the noble Lord had sunk his own consistency to pay importunate creditors. Good money could not be procured without toil or bloodshed; and so the noble Lord, having his coffers filled with fairy money that would vanish away before the touch, paid his creditors with it, not caring that it would turn to withered leaves before it was put into their pockets, and not caring under the present emergency for their just indignation. He (Mr. Hope), as a lover of social order, did not mind this; all he cared for was that bloodshed was avoided. He pitied the noble Lord as little as he respected him; and he left him to settle the account, which would be a very long and difficult one, between the numerous classes of creditors who were about him—between his old friends and his new friends—between his old enemies and his new enemies—between the ancient principles of liberalism which he had for so many years supported, solemnly renounced, and those assumed to meet the temporary emergency of a letter written with all the haste of an angry temper.
would never be party to any quarrel with either English or Irish Catholics; but he must maintain there had been an aggression from a foreign quarter. The way not to see an aggression, was to look for it in the wrong place; but if looked for in the right, there was plenty of it here. When the French General had brought back the Pope to Rome over the bodies of his subjects, a message was sent to this country, in which might be traced the memory of Waterloo, and which, with an amiable consistency and in strict accordance with the custom of States between whom friendly relations existed, began with an allusion to the sovereign who was exiled in the very year alluded to in the Letter-Apostolic. He did not know whether hon. Members were aware that a representative of that family was at present living in America. He very often corresponds with me. [Loud laughter.] I have a notion he corresponds with most Members of this House, 488 and he holds out the abolition of the national debt as the inducement to join him. He (Colonel Thompson) had, during last Session, given his communications to two Members of Her Majesty's Government; so he hoped he should not be charged with misprision of treason. About the time of the Three Days of July in Paris, the individual in question wanted to challenge a respected Member of that House (Dr. Bowring), and he believed was making friendly inquiries after himself, for having printed the words "the obsolete tyranny of the Stuarts." He consequently believed in the existence of such an individual; and there could he no doubt the French General would have sent him to our shores instead of a Cardinal, if he had thought there was any use in it. Then again, if the Pope had chosen for the dignity of Cardinal a member of some aristocratic English family, such as those of which they saw with so much pleasure, the representatives upon these benches, the case would have been different; but instead of that, he had selected an individual Spanish-born, or at all events Spanish-bred, as if on purpose to terrify timid Protestants with the idea that he had the programme of the last Auto-da-Fé in his pocket. Such things were nothing if they were not aggressive. He believed, too, he could improve the reading of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell); for, from what he had been able to collect, though he had not been able with his eyes to see the original print, the language of the organ of the French Legitimists, the Univers, had been, not that the time had come for restoring Catholicity in England, but that the time had come for putting down Protestantism by force of arms. He had heard during this debate eight distinct allusions to a body with whom he had hereditary connexions which he was never desirous to conceal. The House was told that the Wesleyan Methodists divided the country into districts. No doubt they did; and there was more than that, which he could only suppose was left unmentioned, on account of the inference which it was felt would be derived. They had societies, and districts, and doubtless superintendents too, in France; and when he was at Boulogne, he asked the English Consul how the Methodists conducted themselves. The Consul replied, "The Methodists are the best subjects I have"—hon. Members knew how Consuls were in the habit of talking about their subjects; 489 —"the other sects are always quarrelling with somebody, and the Methodists never quarrel with anybody." If the Catholics had conducted themselves in the same way, they might have done anything they could reasonably have desired, without anybody crossing the street to hinder them. But suppose the Methodists had sent a Superintendent and a Circular to France, and had begun by declaring, that within the memory of man the king of England used the title of King of France, and had further referred to the days of Agincourt and Cressy for confirmation that France had been, and therefore always would be, a dependency of England—would not they have done precisely what the Pope had been moved to do now, and with a like result? He confessed he should have been glad if the noble Lord at the head of the Government had gone further than he had by this Bill. What were we to do if the French General at Rome, or the Austrian General at Hamburgh, should move the Pontiff to issue a bull forbidding Roman Catholics to enlist in the army, or directing them to leave their colours? How was such a bull to be met? Was there any provision in the present Bill for such a contingency? He should have recognised more foresight, in supplying the Acts of the 5th and 13th of Elizabeth with reasonable penalties, such as he had no doubt the penalties in the present Bill would be. In saying this, he protested against such terms as "detestable bigotry" and "wretched fanaticism" being applied to himself; for any who knew him at all, knew that any title he ever had to being considered as a man fit to sit in that House, commenced with his giving his best assistance to obtaining political equality for our Catholic fellow-citizens.
§ MR. HUME
deeply deplored, that sentiments such as those which had just been addressed to the House should have fallen from the lips of a man who had been so long distinguished for his staunch advocacy of civil and religious liberty as his gallant Friend the hon. Member for Bradford. His hon. and gallant Friend had declared that an aggression had been attempted on the dignity of Her Majesty's Crown; but he had not attempted to explain in what that aggression consisted. This was a fatal defect in his speech. He had not, nor had any Member who had preceded him on the same side, attempted to make out a case which would warrant that House in applying a system of penal 490 legislation to the Catholics of this country, and yet he had recommended them to carry out certain penalties contained in old statutes, because some foreigners had done something which was supposed to be hostile to the interests of England. Why should the Catholic subjects of Her Majesty, who constituted one-fourth of the population of the united kingdom, be subjected to Bills of pains and penalties because some few individuals had been foolish or wicked enough to assure the Pope that England was ready and willing to become a Catholic country? Disguise it as they might—deny it as they might—the Bill under discussion was the initiative of persecution. He had hoped to see the day when the advancing civilisation of the age would tear from the Statute-book the penal enactments against Catholics which still lingered there, and which were a disgrace to the age and to the country. But instead of witnessing that gratifying spectacle, it was his cruel fortune to see new measures of coercion introduced by men whose best claim to distinction was, the opposition they had given in bygone years to similar enactments. For his own part, he did not at all share in the opinion, that a deliberate indignity had been intended by the Court of Rome against Her Majesty's Crown; but he thought it not at all unlikely that his Holiness might have been misled by the over-zealous representations of some of those distinguished individuals—some of them scions of noble families—others of them members of learned universities—who had recently forsaken the Protestant principles in which they had been bred, and betaken themselves to the Pope and Catholicism. He had no doubt that these representations had exercised great influence; and, looking to the character of the Roman Pontiff, he could easily believe that it was by the enthusiastic representations of some such individuals as these, that his Holiness had been induced to issue his apostolic letter. There were plenty of such men who had been brought up at the public expense, and who betrayed instead of leading the flocks committed to their spiritual charge. An hon. Member had very properly pointed out what was necessary to be done before the Government embarked in the course they proposed—that the law, as affecting Catholics in England, Ireland, Scotland, and the colonies, should be made intelligible to them. He lamented—deeply lamented—the injudicious and unstatesmanlike conduct of the Ministry upon this 491 question; but he, nevertheless, would have been better pleased if the House had permitted them to lay their Bill at once upon the table, for then it would be seen what the provisions of the measure really were, and its opponents would not have to argue in the dark, as they were now arguing, having nothing to guide them except their general aversion to an oppressive policy. The speech of the noble Lord shadowed forth very imperfectly the cause of this aggression. The noble Lord called upon them to put down aggression, but had not told them what that aggression was; and the Bill ought to be upon the table in order that they might be better able to form an opinion of what the Government intended to do; for the speech of the Attorney General was different from that of the noble Lord, and he could not reconcile the two, or infer otherwise from the latter than that the Bill when laid upon the table would now prove different from the measure which the noble Lord would have in the first instance proposed, had he brought in his Bill on Friday night; and there was no knowing what still more objectionable alterations might be introduced, if, by the further protraction of the debate, the Government were to be allowed further time to brood over their measure. On principle, he had all his life resisted religious persecution. He would resist it till his death; but he could wish that the Bill were placed at once on the table, that they might know what it was like, and that they might no longer be kept in this extraordinary mess. Another objection to the intolerant legislation which the Ministry were now attempting was, that it would outrage the feelings of the Irish people; for, in Ireland, it should be remembered, that the prejudice against such legislation was at least as strong as the prejudice in its favour in this country. Surely it would not be contended by any man of candour and intelligence, that the Government were pursuing a judicious course in following the mandates of a bigoted faction in this country, and thus offering a wanton insult to the people of Ireland. He had hoped to live to see the day, when the last remnant of intolerance would have been consigned to ignominious rejection, and when the spirit of rational freedom would pervade all classes of the community; but the sorrow and humiliation were reserved to him of seeing new restrictions contrived, even by those who had distinguished themselves as the champions of liberty. The anxiety for 492 the reduction of taxation was of general prevalence throughout the country; but the opponents of excessive taxation ought in consistency to oppose the present measure, because it would throw a firebrand into Ireland, and render it necessary that there should be a large military expenditure in that country. He remembered the time when 8,000 troops were sufficient for all Ireland; but there were now 45,000, and 45,000 more would be required if the present Bill were passed. Why was it that Ireland was the most wretched country in the world? Simply because of the religious rancour which had existed there for centuries, and because the people had been victimised by penal statutes on doctrinal matters. The Protestant Church Establishment had been for years the great bone of contention there; but instead of remedying that great grievance, the Ministry were engaged in a new effort to spread dissension through the land. The noble Lord now at the head of the Government went out of office with Earl Grey in 1807 on the "No-Popery" cry; and now he had engaged in setting the country by the ears through the means of that same infamous cry. The noble Lord talked about the Pope's aggression, but why did he not busy himself to put his own Church in order? It would have better suited his office and his reputation instead of persecuting the Queen's Catholic subjects, to have appointed a commission to inquire into the abuses of his own Church, and to ascertain who those ministers of the Establishment were who lured on their flocks to the verge of Catholicism, and then left them. It was his conviction that the strange events which they had recently witnessed, would never have occurred if the monstrous abuses in the temporalities of the Church Establishment had been corrected as they ought to have been, if sinecures had been abolished, and if measures had been taken to make the clergy do their duty to their flocks. When they allowed the principles of Popery to be taught in our Universities, without any attempt to put them down, would it be right for the noble Lord now to introduce this measure? The fact was, that the noble Lord distrusted his own principles. Could any man have any fear for Protestantism, when we had such an establishment of bishops, deans, and other functionaries, who were paid to instruct the people of this country in their religious duties? He (Mr. Hume) 493 had no fear of the Catholic priesthood. If they excited any fear it was because they were assiduous in their duty; but the clergy of the Church of England, like all other monopolists, were careless, and they had let the wolf get into their flocks. It was impossible for him, as an honest man, to say that he had any fear of the Catholic priesthood when we had so many bishops and clergy of the Established Church, and all the Dissenters, who are aiding the Established Church against the unpaid Catholic priesthood. He was astonished at the course which the noble Lord had taken. He (Mr. Hume) wanted free trade in religion. He said that the noble Lord and the speakers at public meetings were fearful of their own tenets. He said that the only way to keep the Church of England in order, would be to enact some such law as he proposed in 1837, putting an end to all sinecures in the Church. It gave him great pain to see a measure countenanced which was contrary to the whole spirit of our legislation for the last twenty-three years, and he was still more surprised to see it introduced by the noble Lord—who, of all the 658 Members of the House, he should have thought would be the last man to propose such a measure. But so determined was the noble Lord in carrying this Bill against the feelings of the Catholics, that he said he would not proceed with his financial statement, or with the general business of the country, until this measure was passed. This almost amounted to an act of insanity on the part of the noble Lord.
§ MR. HUME
He now understood that the noble Lord only wished this debate to close before he proceeded with other business, and, therefore, he should not further oppose the introduction of the Bill. He wished to see it on the table of the House. He must, however, tell the noble Lord that he ought to take measures to prevent such men as Mr. Bennett, who had led their followers to the very brink of Romanism, to remain in the Church. They said that they were justified in what they were doing by the rubric; but let the noble Lord reform the rubric, and take from Mr. Bennett, and those who agreed with him, that plea. If the noble Lord would do so, that measure should have his (Mr. Hume's) support. It was not the Pope who was to be blamed, but 494 those persons who having left the Church of England, had misrepresented the state of feeling in this country to the Pope. Entertaining these opinions, and as the measure of the noble Lord did not point out any remedy for the evils which he had mentioned in reference to the Established Church, he regretted that it had been introduced. He must call upon the noble Lord to "cry back," for they were now in a sad state, and if he proceeded in his present course, the only result would be, that they would find themselves involved in further difficulties.
§ MR. OSWALD,
on first rising, was met by calls for "division," but spoke as follows: Sir, I do not often rise in this House to express my opinions, and I trust the House will bear with me in doing so now. I will compress as much as possible what I have to say. It has been stated that there is an unanimous feeling throughout Great Britain with respect to this measure of the Pope's. Now, I represent the county of Ayr, the largest agricultural constituency in Scotland, and once the stronghold of the Covenanters, and yet there has not been any meeting of that county on this subject, nor has there been, so far as I know, a syllable uttered to encourage the noble Lord in this crusade against the religious liberties of one-third of the people of this country. There is no country in Europe so much opposed to the claims of the Papacy; but the noble Lord will, I believe, look in vain to Scotland for support. The people of Scotland are opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, but they believe that they have other weapons than Acts of Parliament to combat that Church. Three Monarchs of the House of Stuart tried to force on Scotland, by the temporal sword, their religious opinions. One sword there was—it is hacked and rusty now—that sword, I grieve to say (for I am an Episcopalian), was Episcopacy; but it broke in the kingly hands that wielded it. Spiritual powers must be met by spiritual weapons; and my belief is, that the act of the Pope is a purely spiritual act. For how can you say that an act, clothed with no legal sanction, deriving its authority from nothing, saving the willing consent of those who bow before the Papal throne, is anything but a spiritual act? I have heard distinctions made by able lawyers between what is ecclesiastical and what is spiritual; but to lawyers, and to special pleaders, will I leave those nice logical distinctions. I, Sir, am a Scotchman, and 495 I have not forgotten, if other persons have, what took place in 1843, in that country: One morning the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland had met; a letter from the Throne in answer to a humble address was read, and one by one, 150 members of that Assembly withdrew; and a nobler spectacle Christendom never saw. 300 other ministers of parishes joined them; and, on the instant, they constituted themselves into the Free Church of Scotland. They did not divide Scotland into new ecclesiastical districts, but they took the districts of Scotland as they then existed—they took the synods—they took the presbyteries—they took the parishes—and in 600 out of 900 parishes in Scotland they built a church and a manse, they placed a minister, and instituted a kirk-session. English Members may not know what that means, but it is a court having full spiritual jurisdiction over every individual in the parish. They said to those whom they had left, you may keep your miserable manses and your wretched stipends, but you are no longer a Church of Christ, traitors as you are to Christ's kingdom and his crown. These words are not mine; they are those of the Free Church—this Church met in General Assembly. It has presented many times addresses to the Throne. I myself saw their moderator and their most distinguished ministers, in full Geneva canonicals, when I was in attendance on Her Majesty at Her Palace of Dalkeith, pass into the presence of Royalty. I have myself presented to this House innumerable addresses from moderators of presbyteries, from kirk-sessions, from ministers and members of this Free Church; and now, will any one say that the Pope has exercised one with more spiritual power than the Free Church has done—will any Scotch Member rise in his place and say so? If there be difference or distinction, I doubt not my right hon. Friend the Secretary at War will clear up the matter; but, for my life, I cannot see any difference. You may tell me that the Pope is a foreign Prince. I answer, that is an accident. It is not as a foreign Prince, it is as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, that he has done this. The Pope may be, some day, a British subject residing in a small house in Golden-square. I pass now to another matter; the Bill which is to be brought in will either prevent the synodical action with the Roman Catholic Church, or it will not. The noble 496 Lord has said nothing on this subject; but the Attorney General has said that it will; and I presume he knows the provisions of the Bill which he has drawn. Are you going to prevent the synodical action of the Free Church? Is there one tittle of fairness in doing the one, while you refrain from doing the other? But suppose that it does not prevent this synodical action, your Bill, then, is one about empty names. Is it possible, Sir, that the noble Lord the Member for London has roused, not Great Britain, but England, from one end to the other, to prevent Cardinal Wiseman from signing himself Archbishop of Westminster? Are you going, with a meanness totally unparalleled, to prevent the assumption of these empty titles, by cutting off, in their charitable course, the bequests of the dying and the dead? If this, indeed, is all you are going to do, the Cardinal Archbishop will snap his fingers in your face. Is it for this that the noble Lord the Member for London has abandoned, I doubt not from the purest motives, every principle with regard to religious liberty which he ever professed? If that be so, I think that the noble Lord, having received, for his tergiversation, and the complete abandonment of his early principles, the thanks which I have heard tendered to him by my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, which thanks have been endorsed by the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), had better take the advice he so naively gave the Cardinal, and walk away. There are plenty of Members on this side of the House quite able to fill the places of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and more than one, fully able to discharge the functions of the noble Lord better than he. I was glad, last night, to hear the speech of my hon. Friend, Mr. Disraeli—that able and consummate speech. I take that speech as an indication that the divisions on this side of the House are not to last for ever; and I believe that the noble Lord would never have taken the steps he has done, had he not thought that Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House were irretrievably divided. But, to return to the question, there is one topic which has been much invoked on this question—the supremacy of the Crown. We in this House have all sworn to the supremacy of the Crown; and, no doubt, we know what we meant when we took that oath. But, in Scotland, the supremacy of the Crown, as interpreted by the noble Lord, is highly 497 unpopular. The remembrance of it is connected with 200 years of civil strife and intestine revolution. James I., Charles I., and Charles II., held the doctrine of the supremacy of the Crown as the noble Lord understands it, and they put it in force with no sparing hand. The Free Church and the Dissenters do not acknowledge the supremacy of the Crown, save in things temporal. They left their manses, their glebes, and their stipends, because they would not submit to what they conceived an arbitrary assumption of the supremacy of the civil power, and because they claimed for themselves the exercise of their religion independent of it. I, for my part, shall be excessively surprised, if one of the noble Lord's colleagues, whom I see opposite, my right hon. Friend the Secretary at War, is prepared, after having received the fullest liberty for the free exercise of his own religion, to put a single fetter on that of others. If, as I trust, this be not the case, he must oppose the supremacy of the Crown as interpreted by the noble Lord—a supremacy which, so interpreted, enslaves his own Church, and seems to be prepared to persecute every other. I shall certainly be excessively surprised should I find him join in the ridiculous attempt to put down this aggression, as it has been called, by persecution.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
Mr. Speaker, I so far agree with the hon. Member for Montrose, that if the House are disposed to close this debate, and to allow this Bill to be brought in, I will address a few words to the House with respect to what has passed during the debate. With respect to the question which the hon. Member for Montrose asked me, I can only repeat to him again, that according to the public law of Europe, it is not usual to erect ecclesiastical sees in any territory without the consent of the Sovereign. That has been repeatedly stated, and I have not heard it contradicted by any person who has opposed this Bill; but, secondly, it was quite clear, from all the inquiries we made, that there is no Sovereign in Europe who would submit to the creation of bishoprics in his territory unless his consent had been previously taken. And then, I say, that what has been done by the Pope in this respect is contrary to the well-known public law of Europe, and that it could not have been done with regard to any other country. So with respect to the arguments that have been used 498 against any measure whatever upon this subject, after what has been said by other speakers; after the able arguments which have been addressed to the House, I should not think it necessary to enter further into the question; but there has been an argument raised, particularly by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and enforced by the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, with respect to the former conduct of the Government on this subject. Now, that argument was directed to two points. The one is to the excuse of the conduct of the Government of Rome; because it is said that it had reason to suppose that this measure would be consented to. The other is, as an argument against the consistency of the Government, and especially my own consistency, on this subject. Now, Sir, with regard to the first point, I beg to recall to the recollection of the House, that after all I have said in 1844 and 1845—that after anything that may have passed at Rome during the Earl of Minto's mission 'there, that some three months after I the Earl of Minto had left Rome, I declared in this House that I had not given my consent, nor should I give my consent, to the erection of sees or dioceses in this country. Therefore, whatever misapprehension may have been entertained at any previous time, this declaration, which must have been well known to the Roman Catholics in this country, and which must have been I well known soon afterwards to the authorities at Rome, who were advised from this country—that declaration must have precluded any belief on their part that the English Government would be a consenting party, or had been a consenting party, to this arrangement. Therefore, I think all that has been originally said has been confirmed, and that this measure was done in opposition to the Government of this country; that it was done in opposition to the Crown of this country; and that its effect would be, and that it is intended to be, to erect sees with powers of government, not certainly in Edinburgh or in Ayrshire, but in Westminster and Middlesex. The people of I Westminster and Middlesex, therefore, naturally thought that nobody ought to govern these English territories but the person who was the lawful Sovereign of these realms. And besides, it has been stated, I and the hon. Member for Mayo, who is a great opponent of this measure, admitted, that the effect of it was not only to erect those bishoprics and archbishoprics, but to 499 put an end to and abolish the Archbishopric of Canterbury and the Bishopric of London, as they have heretofore existed. If that were the case and that were the pretension and assumption, I am at a loss to conceive how, in what has been done, there can be nothing in the case—nothing insulting, nothing interfering with the dignity of the Crown, and the independence of the nation. But the next point is, that the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, who took a similar line in this respect, say that it is totally inconsistent on my part to propose this measure after the declarations I had made in former years. Now, Sir, I am not about to say that those declarations, amounting to this, that I thought it was puerile and childish to prevent the assumption of titles held by bishops of the Church of England, by Roman Catholic bishops, are consistent with those opinions that I am now advocating. But, Sir, I think I am justified in saying this, that whatever night have been my confidence with respect to the conduct of the Roman Catholic ecclesiastics; whatever might have been my confidence with respect to the conduct of the Pope, that I have found, since that time, that that confidence was misplaced, and that I have thought it better clearly and plainly to avow that I was mistaken in my opinions. Circumstances have convinced me that I trusted too much to the forbearance and to the respect due to the Sovereign of this country, and that, therefore, seeing that confidence was misplaced, I must take measures in accordance with the events that have since occurred. Well, Sir, then the hon. and learned Member for Athlone says, that the reason of this inconsistency is, that these opinions were given out of office, and that in office in 1848, having no wish further to consult and conciliate public opinion in Ireland, I came to a different conclusion. Sir, it does so happen that in 1846, after I came into office, in moving the Religious Opinions Bill, I stated then, what I should not certainly be prepared to state now, that I thought the admission of any bulls into this country might be permitted; for I did not think that any bulls could be introduced which would be at variance with the rights of the English Crown, or that Roman Catholics would obey them if introduced. But I did think, that from any hon. Gentleman who sits in this House as a Roman Catholic, and takes the Roman Catholic oath, I am entitled to a little more 500 indulgence, and a little more credit, as to the motives by which I have been actuated with respect to the privileges of Roman Catholics. For it did so happen, that for the fourteen years that I sat in this House, that whenever I did give a vote, it was given for the admission of Roman Catholics to seats in this House; and I have felt that I did so at the expense of confidence and popularity that I might have obtained. I did so against the opinions of the Prince then on the Throne. I did so against the opinions, as I believe, of the great majority of the people of this country. I did so, following a man worthy of immortal honour, following Henry Grattan, when the name of Henry Grattan betokened great eloquence and great public services. In that course of conduct I went on until, in 1829, Sir Robert Peel introduced into the House a Bill for the admission of Roman Catholics to this House; and on the second reading of that Bill he said, with a candour and manliness which did him the highest honour, that the measure was due to the exertions of Mr. Fox, to the exertions of Mr. Grattan, to the exertions of Mr. Plunkett, and to the exertions of those who then sat opposite to him, by whom that measure had been carried, and by whom his opposition had been defeated. Sir, I was one of those who then sat opposite to him, and who have been constantly in favour of these Roman Catholics. But, Sir, at a subsequent period, when Sir Robert Peel introduced an Act for the endowment of Maynooth, I well recollect that there was a great popular feeling in this country, and there were hardly any of us who then sat upon the Opposition benches who did not receive many letters from our constituents, saying that our seats would be imperilled, and that we never should be reelected by our constituents if we voted in favour of that Bill. Sir, the greater part of us, with very few exceptions, supported that Bill, and were in a great measure the means of carrying that Bill through this House. I will not go on at this time with other instances; but I think my conduct during the course of my public life has been such that it is not becoming a Roman Catholic to rise in this House, and to say that what was said in 1844 and in 1845 was merely done to conciliate popular opinion. I wish as much as possible that the Roman Catholics should have the fullest enjoyment of religious liberty and of political and of civil liberty. I do not think I should ever be induced to introduce a mea- 501 sure by which they would be prohibited I from having entirely their own mode of I worshipping according to their own belief, or by which they would be prevented, in consequence of that belief, from obtaining any of the honours of the State. But when this is done, I will not be frightened by the word persecution, from asserting the due authority of the Crown and the independence of the Sovereign. I do not think that we ought to submit to this, which, I must again repeat, is an insult to this country. I think, at all events, we should have a Parliamentary declaration, which shall free us from the stigma and the shame of having submitted to have our country so parcelled out, as if it was a conquered or a submissive country. I believe that we may do so without infringing in the least degree upon the religious liberty of the Roman Catholics. I am sure, that if in the discussion of this Bill it can be shown in any way that that religious liberty is infringed upon, I shall be ready to discuss these objections, and to remove any words by which the worship of the Roman Catholics shall be interfered with. But as has been said by a noble Lord—if the Holy See—as I am desired to call it—had been pleased to propose to erect bishoprics, and to make bishops over the Catholics in communion with the Church of Rome; if the spiritual authority had been confined to the Roman Catholics, as the authority of the Free Church has been to those belonging to that Church; if such had been the case, I do not think that we should have had reason to complain. But we do complain when, according to the letter of the documents, and according to the known laws of the Roman Catholic Church, a pretension is asserted that all baptised persons should submit to the foreign dominion of Rome. I will not intrude further on the time of the House. I do trust we shall be allowed to introduce this Bill; in the further stages of it I shall be prepared to defend it, and if I cannot pretend that my course is entirely consistent with the declarations I made in 1844 and 1844, I have this strong ground, that new and unexpected circumstances have arisen; and that in order to meet new aggression new means of defence are called for.
§ MR. LAWLESS
seconded the Motion, and continued speaking for a few minutes, amid loud cries for a division—
§ When it being Six of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till Tomorrow, without putting the Question.