HC Deb 04 July 1851 vol 118 cc210-71

Order for the Third Reading read.


said, with reference to the notice which he had on the paper, to the effect that the third reading be postponed to that day six months, as he believed, from what had been stated the evening previous, that it would be more for the convenience of the House to have the debate taken on the question "that the Bill do pass," he would defer his Motion, and more especially as the suggestion had come from that section of the House no less distinguished for statesmanlike ability than religious toleration, which was represented by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University.


said, he could not consent to the third reading of this Bill of pains and penalties. His opposition to it remained unabated. No one knew what this Bill was ultimately to be. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, who was the author of the Bill, even after the lapse of five months, could not tell what shape it was to assume within the next twenty-four hours. Under these circumstances wiser men than he, and men of more experience, had advised that there should be a division on the third reading, inasmuch as by the forms of the House, if the noble Lord was to move that the Amendments, as they were called, of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon be expunged, he could not move that till after the third reading. They therefore gave their consent to the third reading; but it was the kind of consent that an oyster gave to be opened—and on the understanding that the debate upon the main or general question was to be taken as soon as the Bill should have assumed its new shape—and he must say that it was a politico-religious cameleon that had changed its hues in every stage, and what its next hue would be, whether green, or black, or drab, entirely depended on the collective wisdom of the nation. He therefore, begged to be distinctly understood as reserving to himself the right of stating his views on this Bill of pains and penalties on his creed and his country, on the question that the Bill do pass.

Bill read 3°.


said, the first Amendment he had to propose was in the second clause, fie had stated previously it was not his intention to propose any Amendment in the preamble as it now stood, or in the first clause as it now stood. In the second clause there was an Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger) introduced without a division, and that Amendment was almost, if not quite, the same in terms with an Amendment proposed on a previous day, when they were going into Committee on the 6th of June, by an hon. Baronet, with regard to procuring any bull from Rome, which was rejected by 133 to 129. The objection to the clause introduced was stated by his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, who said if they made it subject of penalty to obtain a bull, and again imposed another penalty for assuming the title, that was, in effect, making two penalties for the same offence; and that he (Lord John Russell) believed to be perfectly true as regarded that part of the Bill. But there was another part of this Amendment which related to the publication of any bull, making the receipt or publication of a bull or rescript a penal offence. Now he thought that the effect of this proviso would be, that if any newspaper proprietor or editor should publish such a document, he would be liable to the penalty; and that surely was not an offence which they ought by law to proscribe. If after prohibiting the assumption of the title, and if after forbidding the obtaining a rescript to use this title, they should merely have a prosecution against an editor of a newspaper who had sought that prosecution in order to make himself notorious, it would be rendering the legislation of that House and the action of Government applicable to small purposes. It would not be advisable for the Attorney General to prosecute under such circumstances, and that being so, it was not advisable to impose any penalty. With regard to the said offence of procuring a rescript or rescripts from Rome, it would be very unlikely that evidence would be obtained that any person had procured a rescript. It was therefore that he judged it better to leave out these words. The noble Lord concluded by moving to leave out in the second clause, after the words "any person" in the 27th line, all the words down to the words "any person" in the 32nd line.

Clause 2, page 2, line 27.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the words 'shall obtain, or cause to be procured from the Bishop or See of Rome, or shall publish or put in use within any part of the United Kingdom any such Bull, Brief, Rescript, or Letters Apostolical, or any other Instrument or Writing for the purpose of constituting such Archbishops or Bishops of such pretended Provinces, Sees, or Dioceses within the United Kingdom, or if any person—'


said, that the noble Lord had certainly dealt with his Amendments with his usual skill and dexterity. A division having been taken on one of those Amendments, and there being a considerable majority in its favour, the noble Lord had taken a second division, and had been defeated by a still larger majority. The noble Lord then anticipated that, if he continued the contest, he would probably meet with a more signal defeat, and he accordingly drew off his forces under promise that he would renew the engagement at this stage. He had certainly not extricated himself from the very considerable embarrassment in which he was placed, and he appeared to him (Sir F. Thesiger) to have plunged himself in hopeless inconsistency. For what was it that the noble Lord had agreed to? He had agreed to this, that it should be declared by the Legislature that "all briefs and rescripts which have been heretofore issued by the See of Home for the purpose of creating archbishops or bishops to pretended provinces and sees, shall be, and are, deemed unlawful and void." Now, what was it that the noble Lord resisted? He attempted to resist the provision that he (Sir F. Thesiger) proposed to introduce into the Bill, that all future briefs and rescripts of a similar description should be prohibited under penalty. He confessed that if he had to choose between the adoption of one or other of these clauses, he thought he would rather be in favour of prospective than of retrospective legislation. The noble Lord, however, had a choice in the matter, and he had chosen to admit that which was undoubtedly of very great importance, but which would only constitute a half measure, providing for the past without making any provision for the future. Now on what grounds did the noble Lord offer this opposition to his (Sir F. Thesiger's) Amendments? On a former occasion the noble Lord had expressed the opinion that these Amendments introduced very little, if any, alteration in the scope of the Bill, and he said that he was surprised that he (Sir F. Thesiger) should have attributed so much effect to his Amendments. He then added that, so far as these proposals went, they came within the general scope of the Bill, and that he should certainly abide by the decision of the House. [See Hansard, cxvii. 1338 and 1346.] He (Sir F. Thesiger) had been curious to ascertain the grounds of the noble Lord's present opposition to the introduction of this provision, and he would advert to them presently; but he thought it necessary first to refer to a discussion on this subject with reference to the effect of the first clause of the Bill. His learned Friend the Attorney General, in answer to questions which were put to him on this clause, as far as he (Sir F. Thesiger) understood him, expressed the opinion that there was a prohibition con- tained in the clause which would create a misdemeanour with reference to these briefs and rescripts: at all events, if there was a prohibition which created an offence in the first clause with regard to briefs and rescripts, it was an offence wholly with reference to past briefs and rescripts. He asked the House to consider, then, whether his hon. and learned Friend had not conceded, by his admission, all that he (Sir F. Thesiger) desired on the present occasion, namely, the necessity of making a provision for any future bulls and rescripts of a similar character to that which led to the introduction of the Bill? For what was the nature of the offence, if any, which was involved in this first clause? He apprehended it was an offence which might be said to be contemplated either by the 16th Richard II., or by the 13th of Elizabeth. It must either he the bringing of these bulls, briefs, or rescripts into the realm, or it must he, under the statute of Elizabeth, the using or putting in use any such bull, writing, or instrument, obtained or gotten from the Bishop of Rome. He apprehended, therefore, that it was perfectly clear that any prohibition contained in the first clause, would not operate against the assumption of ecclesiastical titles. The House was informed at a very early period that the object of their legislation should be to repel the assumption of power in the documents which have come from Rome, a pretension to supremacy over the realm of England, a claim which was inconsistent with the sole and undivided sway of the Queen, and the supremacy of the Crown. In other words, the noble Lord told the House that they ought to direct their legislation against the assumption of power and authority contained in these briefs and rescripts, and all briefs and rescripts of a similar character. Now, how was this object to be attained? Clearly not by the mode which the noble Lord originally proposed; because against the assumption of titles the clause would have no effect whatever. A bull, or other similar instrument, had no operation, according to the usages of the Roman Catholic Church, until it was received and published, and it was against publication that the legislation of the House ought to be directed; for, without that, it would be impossible to reach the root of the evil. That a brief, or bull, was of no authority until it was received and published, he apprehended would be admitted by the noble Lord, and by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General; and if there was any doubt on that subject, he would refer hon. Members to the evidence given by Dr. M'Hale, before the Education Committee, and to the statement of one of the professors at Maynooth. The modes of publication were, he believed, threefold—by affixing the bull on the church doors, by reading it in the different churches of a diocese, or by delivering it to the priest of a parish to communicate to each individual of his flock its contents. Now it was rather important, with reference to the objection which the noble Lord had taken, to ascertain what was the meaning of "publication" in the clause which he (Sir F. Thesiger) had proposed to introduce. The Bull or Brief being of no authority until it was published, he was anxious to know from the noble Lord whether he meant to say that the statute of Richard II. was in force at the present moment, and if it was to be made available against aggressions of this kind? He had over and over again asked that question of the noble Lord, but he could get no answer to it. He had also asked his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General whether it was meant to punish the introduction of Bulls and Rescripts under the statute of Richard II., and he thought he was entitled to a distinct answer. The statute of Elizabeth, according to his (Sir F. Thesiger's) view, now that it was deprived of penalties, had no operation, and the law could only be made operative, under the statute of Richard II., for publishing. Did the noble Lord mean that that law should be in force or not? The noble Lord admitted the law to be in existence, but he inclined to consider it inoperative, and he chose to leave it in that state, or rather in a worse state than he found it; for, by refusing to legislate upon the basis of that law, he left it, so to speak, more of a dead letter than it was before. If, then, the noble Lord did not intend that the statute of Richard II. should have an effective operation, some provisions would be wanted to meet the very case which the noble Lord had told the House they ought to be prepared to meet. They ought not to proceed so much against the assumption of titles as against the publication of Bulls, and if their legislation was not directed to that quarter, the law, he could assure them, would be inefficient and inoperative. He maintained, then, that the noble Lord could not fairly and properly object to the clause which he (Sir F. Thesiger) had proposed to introduce, because it was framed in accordance with the principle of the statute of Richard II., while it mitigated the severity of that law. No one would think of applying the penalties of prœmunire to the offence prohibited by that Act, those penalties being, in fact, uncertain and unknown at the present day. His (Sir F. Thesiger's) clause would have this effect, that it would give the law a modern shape, and would be operative in that direction where the noble Lord had told the House they ought to be on their guard. What, then, were the objections which the noble Lord had made to the particular clause which he had proposed? He said, in the first place, that an objection had been made by the Attorney General to this clause, because it applied a double penalty to the same offence. It was true that his hon. and learned Friend did say that it would impose a cumulative penalty; but he was answered at the time, and successfully answered, that the offences of procuring a Brief from Rome, and of publishing a Brief, were distinct from the offence of an assumption of a title under that Brief; and that, therefore, there was no reason why there should not be a penalty for each offence. But a cumulative penalty was an additional penalty for the same offence. He had disposed, therefore, of that objection. With regard to the next objection, the noble Lord said that the words "publishing or putting in use in any part of the United Kingdom any such Bull, Brief, or Rescript," might possibly apply to the publishing of the Bull, Brief, or Rescript in the newspapers; and the noble Lord said that this would be too paltry an offence for the Attorney General to prosecute. He apprehended that the noble Lord was entirely mistaken, and nobody who looked at the clause could fail to perceive that this was not such a publication as he (Sir F. Thesiger) had described to the House. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL expressed his dissent.] His hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General shook his head, but probably he had better hear him to the end, and then answer him. In newspapers, there could not be a publication of a Bull or Rescript, but a publication of a copy of a Bull or Rescript; and, therefore, he contended that it would be absurd to say that this provision would reach editors or proprietors of newspapers. The noble Lord said that there was an objection to a provision which imposed a penalty on persons procuring these Bulls from Rome, because there would be a difficulty in obtaining evidence of the fact. But this had been an offence from the time of Richard II., and nobody before ever made it an objection to the law that it was difficult to prove an offence under it. The difficulty of proof might be an unfortunate circumstance, but it was no reason why the law should not exist. These were the whole of the objections which the noble Lord had to make to the clause, and he appealed to the House whether he had not given a satisfactory answer to each of them. Well, then, it had been supposed, at least the noble Lord rather suggested it the other evening, that this clause and the additions to his Bill had been introduced by him (Sir F. Thesiger) in a spirit of persecution. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL here made an observation.] The noble Lord said he would not say that it was in the spirit of a persecutor; but he (Sir F. Thesiger) certainly understood those words so convey what they did not express. He was obliged to the noble Lord for acquitting him now of that intention, for his object was to carry out the views and intentions of the noble Lord, and he thought he had succeeded in that object. He was sure that the House would agree that the clause which he had proposed would not interfere with liberty of conscience or the religious feelings of the people. This was not a battle of Churches, but a contest for supremacy; it was a question, as the noble Lord had truly expressed it, whether Her Majesty was to be the undoubted Sovereign of Her realms. They certainly were suffering from the weakness and vacillation of their legislation. He found that, very recently, this country had become the subject of the special care and attention of his Holiness the Pope. He observed that there had been published an appeal to the piety and charity of the Italians, which had issued from Rome, and which had been published in one of our journals last Tuesday. This document began by saying that— Amongst all the foreign missions, that of London presents the greatest hopes and demands." And that, therefore, "the project has been approved by ecclesiastical authority of building a spacious church in the centre of London, in a fine position, in one of the most majestic streets in the city, principally for the use of the Italians, and thence of other foreigners, as well as of the natives. In this way there will be in the capital of the British empire a church, Roman not only in its faith and principle, but also in its rites, in its ceremonies, and in the practices of sound devotion; a church similar in its material construc- tion to the ancient Christian temples—a church which, at the express wish of the Holy Father will be dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter—a church which will be always governed by a congregation of Italian secular priests founded at Rome, that the Roman spirit may always influence the same. The holiness of our Lord Pope Pius IX. has, in his provident zeal, for the good of religion and souls, by means of the holy Congregation for Propagating the Faith, and of that of the bishops and religious orders, caused this great work to be most urgently recommended to the charity of Italian believers, and to the zeal of the bishops of Italy. Moreover, the most eminent and most rev. Cardinal Wiseman, Archbishop of Westminster, Ordinary of London, has equally recommended this most interesting work. And the most eminent and most rev. the Cardinal Vicar has published a second notification, dated March 26, 1851, in which he repeats his recommendation to the Roman charity of this most pious object. Finally, his Holiness himself, by his rescript to the holy Congregation of Propagating the Faith, dated March 9, 1851, has granted an indulgence of 100 days to whomsoever shall contribute any alms to this end. This was followed by a notification from the Archbishop of Florence, in which, appealing also to the piety and charity of the Italian people, he had intimated that His Holiness Pius IX., at the request of certain English Catholics, has deigned lately to grant an indulgence of 100 days to whosoever may recite three Ave Marias, with, after each, the invocation Auxilium Christinorum ova pro nobis, and plenary indulgence for one day at their own choice to whosoever shall have recited them for one entire month, provided that, having confessed and communicated, he shall pray particularly for the Catholic Church of England. Now, he appealed to the hon. Members whether, a few years ago, before they had deprived themselves of the securities which existed by law, they would have been exposed to these repeated aggressions and insults? But after they had disarmed themselves, they were constantly subjected to attacks of this description. It appeared that the Pope now believed in their weakness, trusted to their unfortunate divisions, and put forward his pretensions; and he called on hon. Members, before it was too late, to be warned by the conduct of the Holy See as to what they were to expect in future, and to endeavour, if possible, to legislate in such a manner as would afford an efficient defence against the dangers by which they were threatened. He confessed it appeared to him, that if they failed at this last moment, it could only be from this circumstance—that the guardians of our Protestant constitution having neglected their trust, and having invited the advances of the Roman Catholics, now at the last moment feeling the difficulty of their position, and the necessity of providing some protection, had presented barriers, which, if adopted, would afford no security against future aggression.


said, that his hon. and learned Friend had certainly shown at the conclusion of his speech that in submitting his proposition to the House, he was animated by a very different spirit from that in which the Bill had been brought forward by Her Majesty's Government. He did not say this because he believed that the proposals of his hon. and learned Friend would materially alter the character of the Bill; but it was evident, from the latter part of the speech of his hon. and learned Friend, that, in his opinion, Parliament had gone too far in assenting to the Relief Bill of 1829. [Cheers.] Those cheers of hon. Gentlemen opposite made their sentiments upon that point perfectly intelligible. Those hon. Gentlemen who disapproved of the measure of 1829, were, he thought, mistaken if they supposed that the clause introduced by way of amendment had really any great effect in that direction; but their intention was sufficiently manifest. The Bill introduced upon the present occasion by Her Majesty's Government went on the directly opposite principle. The object of the Government was to adhere to the arrangement—he would not call it compact, for there had been no compact—of 1829. The Bill recited in the preamble, and afterwards at the suggestion of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Walpole), it was declared in the measure itself, that the act which had given such offence throughout this country was an infraction of the existing law; and, having made that declaration, it proceeded to provide that the restriction which had existed in the Act of 1829 with respect to all existing sees of the Established Church, should be extended to any sees named from cities or towns in the United Kingdom. The Bill entirely abided by the spirit of the clause in the Act of 1829, which had clearly for its object the prevention of conflicting titles by the assumption of a right to sees on the part of Roman Catholic bishops. By that arrangement they attained the two great objects which it was desired to achieve—namely, an assertion of the supremacy of the Crown by a strong declaration of the Legislature, and a security against any future infraction of the principle of the Act of 1829. Now, what would the Amendments of his hon. and learned Friend effect? Why, those Amendments would in no degree add to the strength of the Bill, while they would create very considerable irritation among the Roman Catholic body. His hon. and learned Friend had asked whether Her Majesty's Government thought that it would be advisable to prosecute under the Act of Richard II.? Now, he (the Solicitor General) had no hesitation in saying that it would not be advisable. No one could think at the present day of instituting a prosecution in order to enforce the penalties of prœmunire. With regard to the Act of Elizabeth, it was well known that though nothing of the penalties of that Act remained, yet the prohibition remained, and the proceeding against which it was directed continued to be a misdemeanour. The Bill, as proposed by Her Majesty's Government, would punish the assumption of titles; but the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend would punish the publication of Bulls. Now, that latter arrangement would be an infraction of the Act of 1829. It would be an alteration in itself vexatious, while it would be productive of no special advantage whatever. He ventured to say that the offences which his hon. and learned Friend would create, could never be established against any body. His hon. and learned Friend would punish with a penalty of 100l. the offence of procuring a bull from Rome; but was it probable that any person could ever be convicted of that offence upon any evidence on which a jury could rely? His hon. and learned Friend had said that the noble Lord was entirely mistaken as to the meaning of the word "publishing." According to his hon. and learned Friend, "publishing" did not mean publishing in newspapers, but a publication by order of the bishop, or the act of affixing the Bull to the church doors; so that they were not to have a conviction under the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend until some person should prove that he had seen a Bull, with its seal attached, hanging from some church door. This would indeed be an extraordinary addition to those bulwarks of the Protestant faith of which his hon. and learned Friend had spoken. Now, he believed his hon. and learned Friend was much mistaken if he supposed that such an offence could ever be established against anybody. He should further say that he believed the Judges of this country would not attribute to the word "publishing" the meaning which had been attached to it by his hon. and learned Friend; and that the publisher of a newspaper, who should be so ill-advised as to insert a Bull in its columns, would ill escape from the penalties which his hon. and learned Friend would impose, under the plea that he had merely inserted a copy of the document. His hon. and learned Friend seemed to suppose—though he was confident the expectation was erroneous—that if he should persuade the House to agree to his Amendments in that instance, he might hereafter persuade them to legislate in the spirit to which he had referred towards the conclusion of his observations, in a spirit which would lead them to repeal the Act of 1829, by which they had effaced from our Statute-book the last remnants of anything in the shape of persecution. The Amendments of his hon. and learned Friend were not framed in the spirit of the Act of 1829, which the Roman Catholics of England and Ireland considered the charter of their liberties; and it was on that account, and not because he thought there was any real stringency in those Amendments, that he hoped the House would reject the clause.


said, he was sure that however impatient the House might be, they would not wish to hurry the question to a division, even though dinner should wait. He came before them with great diffidence, for he knew that, as regarded the feelings with which he looked upon the peculiar faith involved, he coincided more with the great majority against whom he should vote, than he did with those with whom he should act with respect to the mode in which that faith should be treated. He did not think that the House knew what it was about—nor did he believe that the hon. and learned Member who had last spoken knew the consequences—he would not say of his own Bill, for it was now nobody's Bill—but of the measure he defended. He did not regard the question as a mere religious one, but looking at the clause as a legislator, he did not scruple to say that one more mischievous never was submitted to the House. He regretted to hear the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon address himself to stale and exploded prejudices, and endeavour to drag back the public mind to that thraldom from which it had so long been emancipated. He had talked about the insults offered to this country by the Pope and the Archbishop of Florence. Now all the poor Archbishop had done, was to ask his people to pray for the Roman Catholics of this country; and the Pope had only endeavoured to raise money to build a cathedral. He was not going to subscribe towards the building of the church projected by the Pope; but he would ask, was this any more than was done every day by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts? We were in alliance with the Sultan of Turkey, and he appealed to the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir R. H. Inglis), whether he would not consider a mission to that country a laudable object? If the missionaries endeavoured to force their religion on the Turks by force of arms, they would, of course, be wrong; but they appealed to their intellect. They had no power over them except over their minds; and he would ask what other was the power of Rome in England? As far as he regarded his own mind, the Pope had no power at all; but he had no religious prejudices. These were little points which, however powerful, did little benefit either to their morality or their religion. The Solicitor General said that the clause did not alter the Bill; but the hon. Member for Abingdon did not agree with him, and the latter hon. Member was right as to the matter of fact. It would make the Bill much more stringent and mischievous. They had talked of the Act of 1829; but he proposed to go back as far as the times of the Conqueror, and coming down step by step they would find that in the days of Richard II. the Pope had acquired a power which had increased hour by hour, by invasion of the king's prerogative, by interfering with the appointment of our bishops, and the like, until at last the Pope had actually excommunicated the whole kingdom, and brought it under subjection to himself. Then the statute of Richard was enacted, declaring that whoever brought into the kingdom a Bull from Rome touching the king's regality, or the power of the Crown, should he deemed guilty of treason. So it would be now, without any new Act. It was an infringement of the power of the Crown, of the regality, which the Act of Richard II. touched. Any person who, by authority from abroad, no matter whether from the Pope of Rome, the King of France, or the Emperor of Germany, attempted to do this in this kingdom, would be guilty of treason. The Act of Richard II. was a mere affirmation of the common law. The 13th Elizabeth went much further. It did not regard simply that class of Bulls which affected the regality of the Crown; but it made the person who brought in any kind of Bull guilty of treason. A religion might be considered in three points of view by the State: it might be cherished and made a State institution like the Church of England; it might be repudiated, and the powers of the State directed to root it out; or it might be considered with perfect indifference. The Roman Catholic religion had gone through all these phases in this country. First, it was the religion of the State; then it was one which the State attempted to root out; the 13th Elizabeth had done that; for it was impossible, according to the law of England at that time, for a Roman Catholic priest either to be made or to remain in England; and to bring in a Bull of any description from the Pope was treason. That was done for the purpose of rooting out the Catholic religion; but the intention had signally failed—for you could not have the Roman Catholic religion in any country without having communication with the Pope of Rome. Increasing enlightenment had shown that it was totally impossible to govern Ireland with those laws existing. He had always thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir F. Thesiger) was a follower of the late eminent and lamented statesman, Sir Robert Peel; and if ever there was a Government which marked its sense of the total impossibility of governing this country on the old principle of exclusion of the Catholic religion, it was that of the Duke of Wellington, in which Lord Lyndhurst was Chancellor, and Sir Robert Peel led the House of Commons. No three men were more strongly pledged against Catholic emancipation; nevertheless, they came down and told Parliament that the time had come when there must be a total change of policy with regard to the Catholic religion. He (Mr. Roebuck) quarrelled not with the opposition of the hon. Baronet (Sir R. H. Inglis) to this Amendment, for the hon. Baronet had always adhered to the bigoted view of the subject. But how the hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir F. Thesiger) could propose to return to it, he could not understand. Parliament had taken the step with their eyes open. No one saw the consequences better than the Lord Chancellor of that day, who, in 1828, made the most powerful speech ever made against Roman Catholic Emancipation. The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel wore almost pledged by their personal honour to resist it; and yet those three told the Parliament that they would no longer govern the country on the principle of exclusion—that they must admit the Catholic religion and those who professed it to all the privileges which others enjoyed, with certain marked exceptions stated in the Bill. It was impossible for any one who regarded this question with the eye of a statesman, not to see that at that time there was drawn a broad line of demarcation between past and coming legislation. We had admitted the Roman Catholics to be our fellow-citizens in fact as well as in name; we had in so many words admitted their religion to be publicly professed here. It was acknowledged every time a Roman Catholic Member came to that table to take the oath. Now no man could be a Roman Catholic unless he acknowledged the Pope of Rome to be the head of that religion. But this Bill said that every Bull such as was described in its preamble should be null and void. The words of the first clause were remarkable: "All such Briefs, Rescripts, or Letters Apostolic; and all and every the jurisdiction, authority, pre-eminence, or title, conferred, or intended to be conferred thereby, are and shall be deemed unlawful and void." If this Bill became law, let not the Government suppose they could control its application; he would show them they could not. Suppose that he, a Protestant, had a Catholic cousin, the result of a Catholic marriage; and that the law said if that cousin were a bastard, he was entitled to the estate. He brought an action of ejectment against his cousin, and then went about to prove that he was not born in wedlock: he proved that his parents were married by a Catholic priest; and there was no registration in Ireland, or in England, to come in aid of that evidence: he proved that the priest was ordained by the Archbishop of Armagh, and that the person so styling himself, had been appointed by a Papal Rescript, such as was here described. Now, mark the operation of this Bull. This Rescript, Bull, or Brief, being totally unlawful and void, it followed that the archbishop was no archbishop at all; that the person he had ordained was no priest at all; and that a marriage solemnised by such a person was not a marriage: hence his Catholic cousin was a bastard, and therefore the verdict must be for the plaintiff. He was astounded at the degree of ignorance which had been displayed in these provisions. Could any man suppose that such an Act would not be enforced in Ireland, or that a man who thirsted for an estate, and saw such a means of obtaining it, would not try the chances of the law? Yes, he would try a jury first; and if they decided against him, he would go to the Queen's Bench; and if that Court were against him, he would then try the House of Lords. And would the House of Lords say that the Act they had passed was a nonentity—would they say that a priest was a priest, that a bishop was a bishop, who had been made by a Rescript which they had declared to be null and void? It might be said that the bishops who assumed titles in Ireland now did it illegally, that it was contrary to the Act of 1829; but that Act contained nothing to make the Rescripts under which they were appointed null and void; and therefore, as the law stood at present, a marriage by a Catholic priest was good in law. But the Bill before the House was not only enacting, but declaratory of the law; it overrode the Act of 1829, and made the law for ages past; and it would render doubtful every title dependent upon a marriage by a Roman Catholic priest in Ireland. It had been suggested that it was not necessary for a person to be in holy orders to make a good marriage. But though in both England and Ireland the marriages of Dissenting ministers were good, it was necessary that they should be such ministers; and if a man professed to be a Catholic priest, and was not so, the marriage he solemnised was no marriage at all. On these grounds he appealed to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), not only against the Amendments of Sir F. Thesiger, but against the Bill altogether. It proposed things which must of necessity be the groundwork of dissension, litigation, and misery. If it were put into execution, it would be the brand of discord in Ireland; if not, it would be the shame of that House and the Parliament that passed it. He would not criticise the wording of the preamble, but it was in reality not English. Its "whereases" were placed as if they had been there by accident. From beginning to end it was hardly intelligible; but if it had an intelligible meaning it was such as he had described.


rose to speak, but the impatience of the House for a division was so great, that the hon. and learned Member resumed his seat.

[The Irish Members, as on a previous occasion, left the House in a body.]

Question put, "That the words proposed to he left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes 208; Noes 129: Majority 79.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Fellowes, E.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Archdall, Capt. M. Floyer, J.
Arkwright, G. Forbes, W.
Bailey, J. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Baillie, H. J. Fox, S. W. L.
Baird, J. Freshfield, J. W.
Baldock, E. H. Frewen, C. H.
Bankes, G. Fuller, A. E.
Baring, T. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Barrow, W. H. Galway, Visct.
Bateson, T. Gaskell, J. M.
Beckett, W. Goddard, A. L.
Benbow, J. Gooch, E. S.
Bennet, P. Gordon, Adm.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Best, J. Granby, Marq. of
Blair, S. Greenall, G.
Blandford, Marq. of Greene, T.
Booker, T. W. Grogan, E.
Bowles, Adm. Guernsey, Lord
Bramston, T. W. Hale, R. B.
Bremridge, R. Halford, Sir H.
Brisco, M. Hall, Sir B.
Broadley, H. Hall, Col.
Broadwood, H. Hallewell, E. G.
Brooke, Lord Halsey, T. P.
Brown, H. Hamilton, G. A.
Bruce, C. L. C. Hamilton, J. H.
Buck, L. W. Hamilton, Lord C.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Harris, hon. Capt.
Bunbury, W. M. Hastie, A.
Bnrrell, Sir C. M. Heald, J.
Burroughes, H. N. Henley, J. W.
Cabbell, B. B. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Carew, W. H. P. Hervey, Lord A.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Child, S. Hill, Lord E.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Hindley, C.
Christopher, R. A. Hodgson, W. N.
Christy, S. Hope, Sir J.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hornby, J.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hotham, Lord
Olive, H. B. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Cocks, T. S. Jones, Capt.
Codrington, Sir W. Kerrison, Sir E.
Coles, H. B. Knight, F. W.
Compton, H. C. Knox, Col.
Copeland, Ald. Knox, hon. W. S.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Lacy, H. C.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Cubitt, W. Lawley, hon. B. R.
Damer, hon. Col. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Davies, D. A. S. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Deedes, W. Leslie, C. P.
Denison, E. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Disraeli, B. Lockhart, W.
Dod, J. W. Long, W.
Drummond, H. Lopes, Sir R.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Lowther, hon. Col.
Duke, Sir J. Lowther, H.
Duncombe, hon. A. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Duncombe, hon. O. Mackenzie, W. F.
Duncuft, J. Mackie, J.
Dundas, G. Mandeville, Visct.
Du Pre, C. G. Manners, Lord G.
Egerton, W. T. Manners, Lord J.
Evelyn, W. J. March, Earl of
Farrer, J. Masterman, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Seaham, Visct.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Smyth, J. G.
Meux, Sir H. Smollett, A.
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Milner, W. M. E. Stafford, A.
Mitchell, T. A. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Moody, C. A. Stuart, H.
Morris, D. Stuart, J.
Mullings, J. R. Taylor, T. E.
Mundy, W. Thompson, Col.
Napier, J. Thornhill, G.
Neeld, J. Tollemache, J.
Newdegate, C. N. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Newport, Visct. Tyler, Sir G.
Noel, hon. G. J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Ossulston, Lord Verner, Sir W.
Packe, C. W. Vesey, hon. T.
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Palmer, R. Vivian, J. E.
Peel, Col. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Pennant, hon. Col. Waddington, H. S.
Perfect, R. Walpole, S. H.
Pigot, F. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Plowden, W. H. C. Welby, G. E.
Plumptre, J. P. Wellesley, Lord C.
Powell, Col. Whiteside, J.
Powlett, Lord W. Wigram, L. T.
Prime, R. Williams, T. P.
Pugh, D. Willoughby, Sir H.
Reid, Col. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Repton, G. W. J. Wynn, H. W.
Richards, R. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Sandars, G.
Sandars, J. TELLERS.
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Scott, hon. F. Beresford, W.
List of the NOES.
Adair, R. A. S. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Aglionby, H. E. Evans, W.
Anstey, T. C. Ewart, W.
Armstrong, Sir A. Fergus, J.
Armstrong, R. B. Ferguson, Col.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Fitz Patrick, rt. hon. J. W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Foley, J. H. H.
Bass, M. T. Fortescue, C.
Bell, J. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Berkeley, Adm. Freestun, Col.
Bernal, R. French, F.
Birch, Sir T. B. Geach, C.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Glyn, G. C.
Brotherton, J. Goold, W.
Brown, W. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Bunbury, E. H. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Butler, P. S. Grey, R. W.
Cayley, E. S. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Chaplin, W. J. Grosvenor, Earl
Clay, J. Harris, R.
Clay, Sir W. Hastie, A.
Clements, hon. C. S. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Hawes, B.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Headlam, T. E.
Collins, W. Heneage, E.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Herbert, H. A.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Heywood, J.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Hobhouse, T. B.
Denison, J. E. Humphery, Ald.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Hutt, W.
Dundas, Adm. Jermyn, Earl
Ebringtou, Visct. Johnstone, J.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Ellice, E. Lewis, G. C.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Russell, F. C. H.
Locke, J. Scholefleld, W.
Mackinnon, W. A. Seymour, H. D.
M 'Taggart, Sir J. Shafto, R.
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Martin, C. Somers, J. P.
Melgund, Visct. Somerville. rt. hn. Sir W.
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Murphy, F. S. Sutton, J. H.
Norreys, Lord Tennent, R. J.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Thicknesse, R. A.
O'Connor, F. Thornely, T.
Ogle, S. C. H. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Osborne, R. Towneley, J.
Paget, Lord C. Trevor, hon. T.
Palmerston, Visct. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Parker, J. Verney, Sir H.
Patten, J. W. Villiers, hon. C.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Vivian, J. H.
Peel, F. Wakley, T.
Pilkington, J. Wall, C. B.
Ponsonby, hon. C. F. A. Watkins, Col. L.
Pusey, P. Williams, J.
Rawdon, Col. Willyams, H.
Rice, E. R. Williamson, Sir H.
Rich, H. Wilson, J.
Robartes, T. J. A. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Roebuck, J. A. Wood, Sir W. P.
Romilly, Col. TELLERS.
Rumbold, C. E. Hayter, W. G.
Russell, Lord J. Hill, Lord M.

rose to move the following Amendment to the 2nd Clause:— Every such person shall be deemed to be an offender under this Act, and, being lawfully convicted of any of the offences hereinbefore mentioned upon indictment or information, he shall be adjudged to depart out of this Realm within a time to be limited in such judgment, not exceeding three calendar months from such conviction, and a certificate of such judgment, under the seal of the Court pronouncing such judgment, or the signature of the proper officer of the said Court, shall be forthwith deposited by the prosecutor of such indictment or information at the Office of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department; and if the person so convicted shall be found within this Realm after such time in such judgment limited, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty's said Secretary of State, and he is hereby required, by warrant under his hand and seal, to give such person in charge of one of Her Majesty's Messengers, or of such person to whom he shall think fit to direct such warrant, in order to his being conducted out of the kingdom in such manner as shall be suitable to his character and station; and if he shall return to this kingdom after he shall have been adjudged to depart, and shall have departed or been removed as aforesaid, he shall be liable to be sent beyond seas, as is provided by an Act passed in the tenth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Fourth, c. 7, in the case of Jesuits and members of religious orders. And said: Sir, with the strong inclination on the part of many hon. Members to divide upon the remaining Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon, I would readily have submitted my Amendment without explanation to a division, but that in doing so I should incur a risk of misconception and of failure inconsistent with my duty. I attach much importance to the principle of my Amendment and to the consequences of its adoption or rejection, inasmuch as it would really and indeed decide the character of the measure to be sent to the other branch of the Legislature, whether it is to be preventive and effectual, or a failure which might facilitate the offensive proceedings of the Papal See. The crime contemplated is the acquisition by Rome of the power to interfere in temporal matters, and to destroy that supremacy of our lawful Sovereign which is essential to the independence of the kingdom. The nation deems it a point of paramount importance that the Queen should "have, under God, the sovereignty and rule over all manner of persons born within these Her realms and dominions, so as no other Power shall or ought to have any superiority over them;" and even aliens coming to reside under the protection of English laws are bound to conform to their injunctions. That the recent interference of the Roman Pontiff, under the pretext of spiritual service, is wholly unnecessary to the most full exercise of religious freedom, has been abundantly demonstrated. That its object is simply to connect him and his Court with the internal affairs of England, admits of as little question. Of that proposition the learned Solicitor General has been the eloquent and accurate exponent—it was also well supported by Her Majesty's learned Attorney General, and by the First Lord of the Treasury, and the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department; and it might to many afford additional satisfaction to know that it was the deliberate conviction of Sir Robert Peel at the time he was advocating the Act of 1829. In a speech delivered by him (then Mr. Secretary Peel) on the 5th of March, 1829, he thus expressed himself:— A practice has occasionally of late prevailed in Ireland which is calculated to afford great and, I may add, just offence to Protestants—I allude to the practice of claiming and assuming, on the part of the Roman Catholic prelates, the names and titles of dignities belonging to the Church of England. I propose that the episcopal names and titles made use of in the Church of England shall not be assumed by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church—Bishops, I call them, for bishops they are, and have, among other privileges, a right to exercise the power of ordination, which is perfectly valid, and is even recognised by our own Church—much less publicly and ostentatiously to assume them as of late. This will be prevented in future." [2 Hansard, xx. 776.] If the Roman Catholics have, as it is demonstrated they have, in the full toleration accorded to them, all which for ecclesiastical action, for the unfettered exercise of their religious duties they can possibly require, it is obvious that the struggle now making, and which is but the repetition of the struggle of ages, is to supplant the established religion of Protestants, and in its room to establish the Roman Catholic faith; and that, not merely as matter of religious belief, but in connexion with the See of Rome. It is the struggle of the Priesthood opposed to our Establishment, and opposed to the true interest of the Roman Catholic laity; and it is that which a Protestant Legislature is bound to defeat. It is not my intention to introduce theological points as matters for discussion; but I must refer to some matters of that class, in order to show the sort of persons against whom our measures are to be directed'—I especially allude to Dr. Wiseman and his conduct. As early as 1836, in his Lectures on the Principal Doctrines and Practices of the Roman Catholic Church, vol. ii., he quotes Origen in support of "Invocation of Saints," as thus writing:— I will fall down on my knees, and, not presuming, on account of my crimes, to present my prayer to God, I will invoke all the saints to my assistance. O ye saints of heaven, I beseech you, with a sorrow full of sighs and tears, fall at the feet of the Lord of Mercies for me, a miserable sinner. Dr. Wiseman must have known that the authority quoted by him, had been disclaimed by the scholars and critics of his own communion, and that the treatise in which the words occur, was admitted to be spurious. In like manner, in the same lecture, Dr. Wiseman quoted as from St. Athanasius, who is described as "enthusiastically" addressing the ever blessed Mother of our Lord, thus— Hear now, O daughter of David, incline thine ear to our prayers. We raise our cry to thee. Remember us, O most Holy Virgin, and for the feeble eulogiums we give thee, grant us great gifts from the treasures of thy grace; thou who artfull of grace. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Queen and Mother of God, intercede for us. For his authority, he referred to a sermon on the Annunciation, in a collection of the sermons of St. Athanasius; but independently of the words not occurring in the form and order in which Dr. Wiseman quotes them, the authority had been shown by Cardinal Baronius, in 1592, to be a vulgar error; and by a later writer it is shown to have been written subsequently to the rise of the Monothelite heresy, nearly 300 years after the death of Athanasius. My inference is, that any amount of Jesuitical manœuvre, any daring, may be expected from a person capable of tampering with the obligation of faithfulness, owing by him to that evidence of tradition, which in the view of those whom he was addressing, and according to the rule of faith established by the Church of Rome, is entitled to a degree of veneration, scarcely, if at all, inferior to that which may be claimed by the Holy Scripture itself. The same ecclesiastic ventured, in a public discourse, to question the status of a bishop of the Established Church, because of the part usually taken by the Sovereign in connexion with the consecration of a bishop, involving in his argument, the question of supremacy; a course which atone period of our history would have rendered him subject to the law against high treason; and in these more liberal times, it must be regarded as audacious in a high degree, especially proceeding from a person aiming to establish that foreign supremacy from which this nation had been long and happily delivered. I adduce this as evidence of the offensive effrontery with which Papal aggression is sustained by the Romish priesthood. To do justice to the subject, would require that I should detail the proceedings of Dr. Wiseman before his journey to Rome, and subsequently, on his return to England with his new authority, the manner in which he forced himself upon the notice of the public. Of the taste of Dr. Wiseman, in exhibiting on the walls of the Royal Academy, at such a - moment, in the full blow of double-dyed vulgarity, the portrait of himself, which at once provokes the anger and derision of the spectator, I forbear to say anything. It is, however, not without significance, that on the opposite side of the room, and immediately in front of Dr. Wiseman, is placed a picture representing various scenes in the tragedy of Mr. Sandars, the second martyr in the reign of Queen Mary, from the melancholy act of a devoted wife causing her babe to be conveyed by a gaoler, to receive the last kiss of a fated father, and in the next compartment representing the unhappy man following his executioner to the consummation of the murder; whilst, as if to enable us to put a.charitable construction upon Dr. Wiseman's intrusion, there hangs on his immediate left, the portrait of Dr. Conolly, the eminent physician of the Hanwell Lunatic Asylum. If the convenience of the House had permitted it, I would adduce the strong, offensive, and daring language of Roman Catholic publications upon the matter now under the consideration of Parliament. It seems to be the hope of the Roman Catholic party, that by unmeasured boldness and perseverance, and by loud pretence of grievance, Protestants will be induced to abandon the just protection of the Protestant interest; and, as a part of the system, I might refer to what had occurred in this House during the progress of the present inquiry, which has been protracted, without any appearance of justification, and in a manner very unusual. Not only has the same principle and the same proposition, slightly varied in form, been forced into separate discussions and divisions, but the law officers of the Crown have been catechised by the few Roman Catholic speakers, and their answers constantly made new matter for debate; in short, I have seen the law officers of the Crown treated in a manner which, in general, such officials would not submit to, and Ministers would not sanction; and while I give credit to the zeal and motives of hon. Members connected with the Roman Catholic interest, I must regard the course adopted as deferential, on their part, to the avowed opinions and controlling influence of the priesthood, and not such as, in their unfettered discretion, would have been adopted; and as one conspicuous proof of that influence I would refer to the declaration of the noble Lord the Member for Arundel, who upon one occasion, when the Roman Catholic Relief Bill of 1847 was under discussion, admitting the truth of a statement made as to the character of the Roman Catholic Church, said— It had been alleged that the Church was aggressive; why, all churches were so: he would not give twopence for the Church which was not so. If it believed that it was in possession of the truth, why should it not make aggression on error? Why should it not evince an anxiety that others should embrace the true faith as well as itself? He looked upon the aggressions of a Church as a mark of its sincerity. Allusion had been made to the circumstance of this country having been divided into districts by the Catholic Church for ecclesiastical purposes; but he was at a loss to understand on what plea that fact could be interpreted into a cause of offence."—[3 Hansard, xcv. 825.] Again, upon another occasion the same noble Lord said— I am one of those who acknowledge the spiri- tual authority of the Church of Rome." [3 Hansard, xci. 763.] He admitted that many members of that Church had been guilty of persecution, but observed that each of those acts of persecution should be estimated according to the spirit and temper of the times in which they occurred; and pointed to the Old Testament as containing much that might appear to authorise "the persecution and extermination of those belonging to unhallowed creeds;" and the noble Lord proceeded—"My hon. Friend who has just sat down, says that the Church of Rome is antagonistic to Protestantism. I quite agree with him; it is antagonistic, and will be while the world lasts;" and the noble Lord concluded his speech with this distinct statement of his governing principle: "I will never relinquish one iota as to the superiority of my Church, for I am persuaded that our descendants will see the Catholic faith triumphant after England itself has passed away and been forgotten." The House cannot fail to see what the country has to expect, and what it is the duty of the Legislature to guard against. It is to meet, by an effective measure, consummate cunning and incurable effrontery on the part of the priesthood, and prostrate obedience from the laity. The Bill as it now stands will not, in my opinion, be equal to the purpose required: my Amendment, if not all that might be required, is far more likely to be effectual. One, and only one, objection, so far as I can learn, is to be opposed to my Amendment, namely, that it would render the Act of 1829 more stringent than it was intended to be, and that the Parliamentary measure ought to be restricted to the single object of restraining that aggression which is directly contrary to the provisions of that Act; in other words, that as the Act of 1829 intended that the Romish clergy should not assume titles, though it had, from want of caution in the framers, confined the prohibition to titles in reference to actual sees, the intentions in that respect should be carried out by prohibiting the assumption to parts of sees; but that the penalty should remain as if no such evasion and aggression had taken place to require the present Bill. I am prepared to controvert that ground of opposition to my Amendment: the whole history of the Act of 1829 is consistent with my proposition, and contrary to the notion that the Roman Catholics have any just ground of complaint—that in rendering that Act more stringent, any injustice is done to them. The great object of the Act of 1829 was to remove Catholic disabilities in civil matters, but with the fixed principle, as stated in His Majesty's Speech, —"of the full and permanent security of our establishments in Church and State, with the maintenance of the Reformed religion established by law, and of the rights and privileges of the bishops and of the clergy of this realm, and of the churches committed to their charge. These are institutions which must ever be held sacred in this Protestant kingdom, and which it is the duty and the determination of His Majesty to preserve inviolate." [King's Speech—2 Hansard, xx. 4.] In accordance with the principles enunciated by the Government in the King's Speech, an Act was passed for suppressing the Catholic Association, and that prior to any step for removing civil disabilities; and then, subsequently, the late Sir Robert Peel (then Mr. Secretary Peel) proposed the Catholic Relief Bill of 1829, which he stated was a plan for adjusting the Catholic question, and of improving the condition of Ireland, to which the King's Government agreed after mature deliberation before the Session of Parliament was opened. It is (said Mr. Secretary Peel) proposed on the responsibility of the Government—it is the result of no compact with any party, or any individuals. The Roman Catholics have not been committed in respect to it, for two reasons—first, because it is better suited to the dignity of legislation, that it should be independent of previous understandings and compacts with the parties whom it is to affect; and, secondly, because it is not fair to the Roman Catholics to require them to give their previous assent to the conditions, or securities, or restrictions with which it may be necessary to accompany measures of relief. There is also another reason. If we make a compact, we seem to relinquish the right of future legislation in respect to the Roman Catholic religion. Now, one great advantage of the measure will be, that it will enable us to assume our proper position with respect to every interest in Ireland, and to guard against new dangers, if new dangers should occur, by any precautions or securities that the public interests may require. The measures which I propose for granting relief to the Roman Catholics are founded upon two great principles: the abolition of civil distinction on account of the religious creed of the Roman Catholics, and the maintenance in tact and inviolate of the integrity of the Protestant Church—its worship, its discipline, and its government. These measures will restore the equality of civil rights, but they will give no favour or encouragement to any form of religious worship, excepting that which is incorporated by fundamental laws with the constitution of the State, and which claims the respect, veneration, and affection of a Protestant people." [2 Hansard, xx. 755.] Pursuing his statement, the right hon. Gentleman said— In undertaking the adjustment of this great question we cannot consent to admit any foreign Power to be a party to our domestic legislation. We can enter into no negotiation with the Court of Rome, in respect to the condition in which we are willing to give to the Roman Catholic the benefit of the constitution. We cannot decide that question for ourselves, determined to claim nothing by way of restriction or security save that which is reasonable and just, but prepared to insist upon that which we do claim." [2 Hansard, xx. 773.] I appeal to the House whether, upon a statement so explicit on the part of the founder of the measure, that he intended, and would insist on, effectual security, it could be fairly argued that the restrictions of the Act of 1829, and the penalties by which they were to be enforced, were not justly susceptible of change. With what consistency can hon. Members so contend who had voted for the last Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon, which made an offender submit to actions by common informers, although the Act of 1829 confined the proceedings to the Attorney General of the Crown. But, assume the change proposed by my Amendment to render the Act of 1829 more stringent, is it not necessary? Has not the security provided been evaded in England, and again and again violated in Ireland? Is there any doubt of the intentions of Mr. Secretary Peel, or as to the course he would adopt if now at the head of the Government? Pursue the reasoning of Sir Robert Peel: he said— —"Being acquainted with the fact that an intercourse in spiritual matters does exist between the Irish Roman Catholic Church and the See of Rome, so far am I from thinking that a power of inspecting it would be satisfactory to the people of this country, that I imagine it would have a contrary effect. If the time shall ever arrive when, from a change of circumstances danger shall arise from the intercourse in question, I, for one, after the abolition of the civil disabilities of the Roman Catholics, should have no hesitation in coming down to this House, and asking for a law to regulate or interdict any such intercourse, or to require all the correspondence that might be passing—every document, lay or spiritual, to be submitted to the inspection of Her Majesty's Government." [2 Hansard, xx. 774.] These declarations of Sir Robert Peel show not only what he deemed necessary, and was resolved to maintain, for the security of the Protestant religion, but they dispose of the attempt made to distinguish between the law which is to prevail upon those ecclesiastical questions in Ireland, and that which we might be allowed to enforce in England; because it is obvious that Ireland was the great subject of his attention and of his legislation; and it was in Ireland, he distinctly stated, that the "practice had of late occasionally prevailed" of assuming titles of dignities belonging to the Church of England, which he described as "calculated to afford great, and he might say just, offence to Protestants"—adding—"this will in future be prevented." If I have succeeded in showing that there is nothing substantial in the objection that my Amendment would alter the Act of 1829, and also in showing that it is a duty we owe to the country to render the present Bill effectual for its purpose, I will now proceed to explain my objections to the plan of pecuniary penalties, and the advantage of the proposed substituted penalty. The pecuniary penalty appears to me inappropriate to the occasion; it is directed against an offence of a public character, committed against the prerogative of the Crown, and in offensive hostility to the Protestant feelings of the country; and after a diligent search into the definitions of crime and its various punishments, I cannot find anything to sanction the penalty provided by the Act of 1829, and so readily adopted in the present Bill. Pecuniary penalties are generally imposed upon those who have by fraud endeavoured to avoid some pecuniary liability, and illegally to obtain some pecuniary advantage—I mean pecuniary penalties to be enforced, as in the present case, in the shape of debt; of course, in the Way of fine, a man would be properly made to pay the amount of punishment—so upon summary convictions before magistrates; but those are criminal proceedings. Here, however, as the Bill now stands, Her Majesty is to sue for some injury, to be compensated by the payment of 100l.—a sort of sale of an indulgence, which might be acted upon whenever the party (for it would be inappropriate to call him an offender) was prepared to pay 100l. It is not certain that he might not stay the proceedings, by order of a Judge, upon offering to pay that sum, because no other consequence could flow from a trial; and he might, of right, object to any further steps being taken. But suppose he chose not to pay. Suppose a Jesuitical offender, of a high class, chose to become a martyr, and to lie in prison to agitate those of his own communion, and endeavour to excite sympathy on the part of good-natured and not very staunch Protestants—suppose the imprisoned offender to repeat his offence again and again—or, even if those contingencies should not occur, is it not obvious that, having introduced what appears to me a very questionable power, for a common informer to interpose, many claims might be made for leave to enforce many penalties until the measure was defeated by its own machinery. But can that part of the Bill be acted upon? It is limited by the necessity of obtaining the consent of the Attorney General; but if the Government had decided not to sue for the penalty, could it be expected that the Attorney General would be allowed to sanction a common informer to enforce it? Does not the supposition involve an obvious contradiction? Put, however, this objection to the common-informer plan out of the question, is it certain that the Members of a Government might not be so divided as to render the Act a dead letter, so far as related to the pecuniary penalty? This is not an imaginary case; on the contrary, when Sir Robert Peel was arguing in support of his Bill for the suppression of the Catholic Association, he was taunted for not having enforced the law of 1825 against that body; and he readily and candidly answered, that whilst the Catholic question was unsettled, they had divided counsels. He said— My answer to the question why we did not suppress the Catholic Association, is, that our forbearance arose in a great measure from the peculiar state of disunion and division which had prevailed in the Government upon this question, and which, in fact, had so placed us, that it would have been impossible to have effectually suppressed such an association while the Cabinet maintained neutrality upon the Catholic claims, and refrained from a determination to take the subject into consideration. Again, Sir Robert Peel, returning to the same point, said— If I were to state why we did not enforce the Act of 1825, I should necessarily have to go into the whole detail of public events in Ireland during the last four years; and, after all, my answer would resolve itself into this—that the continued division and disunion in the King's Counsels was the real cause why the Act was not carried into vigorous execution." [2 Hansard, xx. 238–9.] Is it unreasonable to ask whether that which happened in and subsequent to 1825, may not happen again? I will not ask whether the present Government contains any discordant elements; it is not necessary that I should; but it is not unnatural to believe that differences might arise upon the mode of carrying this Act into opera- tion; and in such a case, with divided counsels, either the Government must separate, or the just demands of the people would be denied, and the Act become a dead letter; for I repeat I would not condescend to treat seriously the last Amendment, seeming to introduce the common informer. That view of the subject strongly recommends the substituted punishment: it is, in the first place, a preventive measure; the offender who might rely upon his penalty being paid by some wealthy member of his own communion, or who might desire the eclat and the possible benefit of being a martyr within this country, by daily appealing to the cry of religious persecution, would hesitate before he committed an offence which was to compel him to quit the scenes of his manœuvring; it is also an effectual measure, as it would abate an existing active nuisance; it has this further advantage, that it does not depend upon the will of Government, and yet leaves with the Crown the power of interposing to avoid injustice. Any man might prefer an indictment, not as in the case of the common informer's action, with the consent of the law officers of the Crown, but of right; and yet, if that proceeding was resorted to improperly, the Crown had always the power of staying the proceedings; and even if it could be supposed that a conviction had been improperly obtained, the Crown might pardon; either interference, however, would be open to public inquiry, and would not be lightly resorted to, and the proceeding by information or indictment would consist with the seriousness of the occasion, while the punishment could not fairly be complained of as severe, since it merely forbids the continued residence of a person who should wilfully refuse to obey the law, and to whom permission was given to return to that foreign Power to whom he acknowledged allegiance. Protestant England urgently demands some such measure, and it is not less the interest of the Roman Catholic laity; while Government is also interested in having the question settled; but without an effective measure it will remain unsettled; because, exclusive of the hundreds of thousands who have petitioned generally against Papal aggression, nearly 800,000 persons have petitioned specifically for "more stringent measures;" they have in effect protested against the present weak and inefficient Bill; can it be expected, then, that they will be satisfied with no better answer than the measure to which they have objected? and it seems to me to follow, that to pass this Bill in its present shape, is but to postpone the question to the general election, where, as the consequence of previous want of firmness on the part of those who have the conduct of the measure, it will become a prominent consideration. Upon the whole I feel that I have a right to expect the support of those Members who have voted for the less perfect measure of the Member for Somersetshire—of those who voted for the useless introduction of the common informer—also of the Irish Roman Catholic Gentlemen, whose true interest was to be free from the domination of Rome; and of Her Majesty's Government, who, having consented to many alterations, and failed in approving others, cannot now feel that they have to maintain the integrity of their own Bill; and surely, then, under all the circumstances it must be their wish, paramount to every personal feeling, that the measure should be made as effective as possible. Before I conclude I may be permitted to disclaim any feeling of personal hostility to Roman Catholics, much as I am opposed to their religion and practices; and it would be extraordinary if to them individually I did not extend the most charitable considerations, seeing that I have been honoured with the entire confidence and intimate friendship of the late Cardinal Aston, and am his sole executor, so far as concerned his English affairs, and of whom I may say, that he was "an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile;" who was the very contrast of the ecclesiastic who had so much, to the detriment of his own religion, and so much to the annoyance of Protestants, agitated this country for the last nine months. My hope is, that since English Protestants have been roused from their false security, they will not relax until that security is placed upon a firmer base than of late years—so based as to warrant them in hoping for the blessing of Providence, without which all their efforts would be in vain. We have to deal with, or rather against, Jesuits in profession, and, if possible, more than Jesuits in practice; and it would be weak and wicked if we did not adapt our measures to the necessity of the case; if we hesitated, we might, to use the language of an eloquent writer— Repel the willing bounty of Providence from this great country by the paramount national guilt of suffering the basest portion of Popery to pollute the borders of the chosen realm of Protestantism. This may be called bigotry; but we have been well reminded, when the inroad upon the constitution was made by the Act of 1829, that there is a bigotry in laxity and indifference, as well as in religion. I shall now move the adoption of my Amendment.

The Motion not being seconded, was lost.


said, he had only a very few words to say with respect to the second Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger). The subject had already been fully discussed, and he would not therefore occupy the time of the House with any observations upon it. He opposed the Amendment, and objected to any sanction being given by the law officers of the Crown to any prosecutions instituted under the Act by common informers.

Clause 2, page 3, line 3, Amendment proposed— To leave out the words 'or by action of debt at the suit of any person in one of Her Majesty's Superior Courts of Law, with the consent of Her Majesty's Attorney General in England and Ireland, or Her Majesty's Advocate in Scotland, as the case may be.'

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes 175; Noes 124: Majority 51.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill do pass."

The House divided:—Ayes 263; Noes 46: Majority 217.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Bernal, R.
Acland, Sir T. D. Best, J.
Adair, R. A. S. Blair, S.
Aglionby, H. A. Boldero, H. G.
Anson, hon. Col. Booker, T. W.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bouverie, hon. E. P.
Archdall, Capt. M. Bowles, Adm.
Arkwright, G. Bramston, T. W.
Baillie, H. J. Bremridge, R.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Brisco, M.
Baird, J. Broadley, H.
Baldock, E. H. Brown, H.
Bankes, G. Bruce, C. L. C.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Barrow, W. H. Bunbury, W. M.
Bass, M. T. Bunbury, E. H.
Bateson, T. Burroughs, H. N.
Beckett, W. Cabbell, B. B.
Bell, J. Carew, W. H. P.
Benbow, J. Carter, J. B.
Bennet, P. Chaplin, W. J.
Bentinck, Lord H. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Beresford, W. Child, S.
Berkeley, Adm. Childers, J. W.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Harris, hon. Capt.
Christopher, R. A. Harris, R.
Christy, S. Hastie, A.
Clay, J. Hastie, A.
Clay, Sir W. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hawes, B.
Clive, H. B. Hayes, Sir E.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Headlam, T. E.
Cocks, T. S. Heald, J.
Codrington, Sir W. Heneage, E.
Coles, H. B. Henley, J. W.
Collins, W. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Compton, H. C. Hervey, Lord A.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Heywood, J.
Craig, Sir W. G. Hildyard, R. C.
Cubitt, W. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Davies, D. A. S. Hindley, C.
Dawes, E. Hodgson, W. N.
Deedes, W. Hope, Sir J.
Disraeli, B. Hornby, J.
Dod, J. W. Hotham, Lord
Drummond, H. Humphery, Ald.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Duke, Sir J. Jermyn, Earl
Duncombe, hon. A. Jocelyn, Visct.
Duncombe, hon. O. Johnstone, Sir J.
Duncuft, J. Jones, Capt.
Dundas, Adm. Kerrison, Sir E.
Dundas, G. Knightley, Sir C.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Knox, Col.
Dunne, Col. Knox, hon. W. S.
Du Pre, C. G. Labouehere, rt. hon. H.
Egerton, W. T. Lacy, H. C.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Evans, W. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Evelyn, W. J. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Fellowes, E. Leslie, C. P.
Fergus, J. Lewis, G. C.
Ferguson, Col. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Locke, J.
Fitz Patrick. rt. hon. J. W. Lockhart, A. E.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Lockhart, W.
Floyer, J. Long, W.
Foley, J. H. H. Lopes, Sir R.
Forbes, W. Lowther, hon. Col.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Fox, S. W. L. Mackenzie, W. F.
Freestun, Col. Mackie, J.
Freshfield, J. W. McTaggart, Sir J.
Frewen, C. H. Mangles, R. D.
Fuller, A. E. Manners, Lord G.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. March, Earl of
Galway, Visct. Marshall, W.
Gaskell, J. M. Martin, C. W.
Glyn, G. C. Masterman, J.
Goddard, A. L. Maunsell, T. P.
Gooch, E. S. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Meux, Sir H.
Granby, Marq. of Miles, W.
Greenall, G. Milner, W. M. E.
Greene, T. Moncreiff, J.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Moody, C. A.
Grey, R. W. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Grogan, E. Mullings, J. R.
Guernsey, Lord Mundy, W.
Gwyn, H. Napier, J.
Halford, Sir H. Neeld, J.
Hall, Sir B. Neeld, J.
Hall, Col. Newdegate, C. N.
Hallewell, E. G. Newport, Visct.
Halsey, T. P. Noel, hon. G. J.
Hamilton, G. A. Ogle, S. C. H.
Hamilton, J. H. Ossulston, Lord
Owen, Sir J. Thicknesse, R. A.
Packe, C. W. Thompson, Col.
Pakington, Sir J. Thornhill, G.
Palmer, R. Tollemache, J.
Palmerston, Visct. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Parker, J. Tyler, Sir G.
Plowden, W. H. C. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Plumptre, J. P. Verner, Sir W.
Powell, Col. Verney, Sir H.
Prime, R. Vesey, hon. T.
Pugh, D. Vivian, J. E.
Reid, Col. Vivian, J. H.
Renton, J. C. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Rice, E. R. Waddington, H. S.
Rich, H. Wakley, T.
Richards, R. Walpole, S. H.
Romilly, Col. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Russell, Lord J. Watkins, Col. L.
Russell, F. C. H. Wawn, J. T.
Sandars, G. Welby, G. E.
Sandars, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Scobell, Capt. Westhead, J. P. B.
Scott, hon. F. Whiteside, J.
Scrope, G. P. Wigram, L. T.
Seymour, Lord Williams, J.
Somerset, Capt. Williams, T. P.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir. W. Williamson, Sir H.
Spooner, R. Willoughby, Sir H.
Stafford, A. Wilson, J.
Stanley, E. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wood, Sir W. P.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Stuart, H. Wynn, H. W. W.
Stuart, J. TELLERS.
Taylor, T. E. Hayter, W. G.
Thesiger, Sir F. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Anstey, T. C. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Armstrong, Sir A. Nugent, Sir P.
Arundel and Surrey, O'Brien, J.
Earl of O'Brien, Sir T.
Blake, M. J. O'Connor, F.
Butler, P. S. Peel, F.
Clements, hon. C. S. Ponsonby, hon. C. F.
Colcbrooke, Sir T. E. Power, Dr.
Corbally, M. E. Pusey, P.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Rawdon, Col.
Denison, J. E. Reynolds, J.
Devereux, J. T. Scholefleld, W.
Fortescue, C. Scully, F.
Fox, W. J. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
French, F. Somers, J. P.
Geach, C. Stuart, Lord D.
Goold, W. Sullivan, M.
Grace, O. D. J. Talbot, J. H.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Tennent, R. J.
Grattan, H. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Higgins, G. G. O. Towneley, J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Trelawny, J. S.
Hutchins, E. J. TELLERS.
Keating, R. Murphy, J. S.
Norreys, Lord M'Cullagh, W. T.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That the Title be 'An Act to prevent the Assumption of certain Ecclesiastical Titles in respect of places in the United Kingdom.'


said, that, when the last division took place he was in the library, and was unable to reach the House in time to record his vote. He was informed, however, that the question had been fairly put, and he did not think the Irish Members need be in the least afraid of accounting to their constituents for the performance of their duty—he considered that the Irish Members had discharged their duty. The question now was, whether the title which had been proposed should be given to the Bill. He regarded that title as a most improper one, because, as the measure would affect the marriages and the civil rights of the people of Ireland, he thought it ought to be termed "A Bill to invalidate Catholic Marriages, and to discourage the Roman Catholic Religion in Ireland." This was, as had been frequently said, a Bill of pains and penalties. The Attorney General seemed to think that the Irish Members attached no importance to the Amendments which had been carried, but he considered that those Amendments were of great importance to the Irish people. It did not rest with the Irish Members to prevent the carrying of the Amendments, because they could not have turned the division. The Irish Members did not number more than thirty-five or forty, while the majority by which an Amendment had been carried against the Government was eighty: and as forty Irish Members could not have outnumbered that majority, he did not think that it could be termed an "ostentatious defection," if they had abstained from voting. It was not the duty of the Irish Members to come forward and support Her Majesty's Ministers in this instance, and it was the fault of the Government that they had no claim on the people of Ireland. He would ask whether the Government believed that if they withdrew their 27,000 soldiers and their policemen from Ireland, this Bill would be in force there for a year? Ireland, be it remembered, was a Catholic country, and the House dared not deal in this way with England. It was making war against the religious feelings and habits of the people—their religious prejudices, if we chose so to say; it was making war against human nature. The Members for that country might be called "the Irish Brigade," or "the Pope's Brass Band;" but they knew their duty. Let their situation be considered—that the minority always triumphed. For instance, thirty-one Irish Members voted one way, and nine the other—the nine succeeded; so when the numbers were thirty-five on one side, and twenty-nine on the other, the minority succeeded; and so again when the numbers were twenty-eight and twenty; he could go through a list of several divisions, and show the same thing. Members who were sent to Parliament by the majority of the Irish people were always in a minority. Was it to be supposed that the people of Ireland did not notice these things? In the recent excitement the Irish had been quiet. The plan, if it was one, to excite sedition and discord in Ireland, had failed. But it was right to ask in what way it was proposed now to govern Ireland. What were some repealers told from high authority? A person very high in Dublin Castle said to a Member of the House of Commons, "Take care what the Catholics and you Repealers do, for if you go on you will be handed over to the Orangemen." The system of the Government had amounted as nearly as possible to that of 1688; it was not worth while to discuss whether the word should be "abdicated," "forfeited," or "deserted;" but Ministers had abandoned the government of Ireland, and in the way in which they were conducting affairs, had no right to govern Ireland. She was being governed by force, against the expressed wishes of the great mass of the people. The Minister, in good old times, would not have been smiling on the Treasury bench, but kneeling at the bar, charged, it might be, with grave misdemeanours; and there were men in Ireland who would ask, why the Ministers of the Queen had become the murderers of the people? Property sold for nothing. The landlord and tenant question was unsettled. The country was as a volcano. Why not make trial of a real union, a union of hearts? A man's religion should be let alone. Let him be a Turk if he liked. There yet remained the golden link in the hands of that Illustrious Lady who ruled these realms, nor could it be in better hands, if that Personage were well advised, and not misled—advised by individuals, he would not say noble in stature, but noble in mind; and he would trust that, notwithstanding this Bill, the two countries would go on together, and would still be united. The hon. Member concluded with moving, as an Amendment, that the title of the Bill be—"A Bill to Prevent the Free Exercise of the Roman Catholic religion in the United Kingdom."

Amendment proposed— To leave out from the word 'prevent' to the end of the Title, in order to add the words 'the free exercise of the Roman Catholic Religion in the United Kingdom' instead thereof.


seconded the Amendment.


said: Sir, I most cordially unite in the sentiment expressed by my hon. Friend who has just sat down. From my heart it is my wish that no circumstances may ever occur which may shake the union between England and Ireland. Though I am of opinion that the commencement of this affair was unfortunate, yet I do think that, if possible, its termination this evening appears to me more unfortunate still. I have taken part in two divisions, acting with my noble Friend opposite, in endeavouring to resist certain alterations, which had been termed Amendments, giving more stringency to the measure of Her Majesty's Government than I thought was either safe or desirable. Certainly, under the arrangement which had been made, I did expect that a full and ample opportunity would have been given for one more discussion on the principle of this Bill before it was sent up to the other House of Parliament. I must say, Sir, you gave to every Member of this House the fullest opportunity of originating such a discussion; and I take blame on myself that, under the peculiar circumstances, I did not propose the adjournment of the debate, in order that a still further opportunity might have been given to those who were perhaps surprised—not that you, Sir, used undue speed in putting the question—but being absent, and not being able to return in time to take part in that discussion. I think the circumstances are altogether unfortunate. But still I would suggest to my hon. Friend (Mr. H. Grattan), with whom I cordially agree in resisting this Bill, that there would be more propriety in not taking a division on the principle under the form of a discussion on the title of it. I would wish him and those hon. Members with whom he acts to recollect that the further progress of this Bill in its altered shape is really under the guidance and subject to the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government. That is a grave responsibility, and I am sure they will feel it an such. They ought also to recollect that this country owes much of the defence of its civil and religious liberty to the exertions of the noble Lord now at the head of the Government; and after all that has passed with respect to this Bill, that recollection ought to inspire not only England but Ireland still with the hope that in the last resort its religious liberty may still be safe under the protection of the noble Lord who is now the first adviser of the Crown; and certainly, under all the circumstances, if my hon. Friend (Mr. H, Grattan) will take my advice, he will not press this Amendment to a division, and will acquiesce in this Bill now going up to the House of Lords without further discussion.


said, during the whole of the discussion on this Bill, though he had taken no part in the discussion itself, he had invariably been present at every division to record his vote against the measure. He had felt that the Bill, with the many Amendments that were proposed to be introduced into it, was so fluctuating in its character that it was impossible for him, until the third reading, to offer an opinion on the Bill in its integrity, and to form any comprehensive view of what its provisions would be when sent up to the other House of Parliament. But he was not the less an attentive observer of its progress; and the House would believe that he was a sincere opponent of the measure, and that for some time he had devoted all his energies with a view to understand what he might call its legality as well as its expediency. He had no opportunity of addressing the House on the second reading, and he did not think that the Committee would be a convenient time for interposing his objections to the whole principle of the Bill. He had come down to the House that evening prepared to give his views on the third reading of the Bill, and he certainly did believe an opportunity would have been given him to speak. He certainly had not heard from the Chair the words "that the Bill do pass," and when he rose he was told he was too late. But his hon. Friend the Member for Meath (Mr. H. Grattan) had charged him with seceding from that intention. That was a very ungenerous thing on the part of the hon. Member for Meath under the circumstances. The hon. Member for Meath and his party knew that he (Mr. Serjeant Murphy), for abstaining from taking any part in the discussion on this Bill, had been maligned in certain newspapers in a manner that, if he were to bring the matter before the Court of Queen's Bench, he might have the parties who had so maligned him condemned to two years' imprisonment. His silence had been characterised as that of a man who, for gold, would sell his fellow-men. That was the style of vituperation with which he had been attacked for a silence which was well intended. He said it was a most ungenerous thing for the hon. Member for Meath to have made that charge against him. Because hon. Gentlemen opposite had the unspeakable folly to leave the House, and because they wished to throw the responsibility from their own shoulders—and he said this as an Irish Roman Catholic Member—the people of Ireland were now to be told that he (Mr. Serjeant Murphy) was the traitor. It was part and parcel of the whole conduct of that party who in that House had damaged the respect that would have been otherwise due to their position, and had frittered away opportunities which, if they had conducted themselves in another spirit, would have been noble in their results.


said, he had never seen in the newspapers the calumnies to which the hon. and learned Member for Cork referred, and disclaimed any intention of reflecting on the character of the hon. and learned Gentleman.


was quite prepared to say that he was not one of those who had at any time censured the hon. and learned Member for Cork, either publicly or privately, for the part he had taken with respect to this Bill. There was, however, no mistake with regard to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman on the hustings at Cork, on the subject of this Bill. He told his constituents what he would do, and, to use a legal phrase, "they were purchasers with notice." He (Mr. Reynolds) recollected to have read a speech made by the hon. and learned Gentleman at Cork, in which he characterised this Bill as a brutum fulmen. On referring to the absence of him (Mr. Reynolds), and that of others, when the Speaker put the question that the Bill do pass, the hon. and learned Gentleman had designated their conduct as unspeakable folly. He (Mr. Reynolds) had a right to protest, and he did protest, against the lecturing language of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to the course which he (Mr. Reynolds) and upwards of thirty Irish Roman Catholic Members, and some Protestant Irish representatives also, deemed it advisable to pursue on a recent occasion, when certain Amendments were proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon. He might refer to a clause proposed by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Athlone, which caused considerable discussion in that House between his hon. and learned Friend and the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Lords of the Treasury. It was in the recollection of the House that the noble Lord at the head of the Government did that which every one knew he had a right to do, namely, overruled the consent given by his subordinates in office, and did something that nearly amounted to a breach of faith from the Ministerial benches. He (Mr. Reynolds) and his hon. Friends made up their minds that the Bill could not be made more severe in its provisions, even by the clause proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon. Feeling a good deal of disgust and considerable indignation at the breach of faith that was then committed with them, they made up their minds to pursue a particular course. They determined that they would be no parties to any modification of a Bill so penal in its character. The House had affirmed the principle that any man in the United Kingdom might send up an indictment against a Roman Catholic archbishop or bishop for what was called a misdemeanour; and when they found that they said, "Let the Government take all the responsibility upon themselves." That was what the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cork called blind folly. That was matter of opinion. They would see what the liberal electors of Cork would call it. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he did not care anything what they thought. He (Mr. Reynolds) wished him joy of his indifference. The hon. and learned Gentleman probably did not say that before he was elected. Whilst, however, acting independently for himself, as the hon. and learned Gentleman had a right to act, he (Mr. Reynolds) protested in the strongest language which Parliamentary usage would allow him to employ, against the hon. and learned Gentleman presuming to dictate to him (Mr. Reynolds) and his hon. Friends the course which they ought to pursue. He did think the hon. and learned Gentleman owed him (Mr. Reynolds), and those with whom he acted, an apology for the language he had used in describing their conduct. Now, with regard to the observations that had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham), a request from him, under circumstances of this kind, was almost a command with him (Mr. Reynolds). He and those with whom he acted felt that they owed the right hon. Gentleman a deep debt of gratitude for his conduct with reference to this Bill; and he (Mr. Reynolds) was disposed, as far as he was concerned, to adopt his advice, and to throw the responsibility on those who occupied the Treasury benches. But he wished to remind the right hon. Gentleman that there was a specific understanding to allow the Bill to be read a third time, they (the Irish Members) reserving to themselves the right of discussion on the question that the Bill do pass. He had heard that the conduct of the Speaker was above all blame. He did not require any assurance of that kind; but he might say on his own part, and that of others, that, on returning to the House after the division, they found the passage so hemmed in, that whilst the Speaker was putting the Motion that the Bill do pass, they were endeavouring to force their way into the body of the House. On reaching his seat, he was informed that the question had been finally settled. With respect to throwing the responsibility of this Bill of pains and penalties on the Government, he was afraid that the millions who professed the Roman Catholic religion in England and Ireland would scarcely accept the letter of credit which the right hon. Baronet had drawn in the noble Lord's favour that their religious liberty was safe in the hands of the functionary who had been mainly instrumental in framing the Bill. He had only to say, with regard to the people of Ireland, that he believed they had made up their minds to their course. He (Mr. Reynolds), and those with whom he acted, would return to their own country, and he for one would on every public occasion declare to the Catholic people of Ireland that they had nothing to rely on for the preservation of religious liberty, and even of what was called toleration for their creed, for the remainder of their lives, and for the lives of their descendants, but their own exertions; that they must combine against the common enemy, and, if they did not combine, aggression would be committed against them from day to day, the Act of 1829 would be frittered away, and they would be in a worse position than they were prior to that Act of emancipation.


said, he also must protest against the language used by the hon. and learned Member for Cork. The conduct of the noble Lord at that stage of the Bill corresponded with the spirit in which the Bill was proposed and pressed forward. It was well understood that the Bill was to be discussed on the question that the Bill do pass; and the conduct of the noble Lord on this occasion was so unlike all his previous conduct, that he almost doubted whether he was the same noble Lord. If there had not been a single Irish Member present, the noble Lord should not have allowed the question to have been put. Such conduct was unhandsome and unworthy of the noble Lord's former self. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) had declared that in his opinion the noble Lord's conduct was unhandsome.


wished to correct a misapprehension which seemed to have arisen. He had said most pointedly that the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair had given every Member the fullest possible opportunity of discussing the subject and of moving Amendments on the psssing of the Bill; but he made no imputation on the noble Lord at the head of the Government. Observing his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cork in his place, he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman would, as he understood, take a leading part in the discussion that evening. His hon. and learned Friend, he was certain, was not aware of the precise stage at which the proceedings had arrived. He took blame to himself for not moving that the discussion on the passing of the Bill should be postponed. He believed the noble Lord regretted the loss of the opportunity of debating the Bill on this occasion as much as any one in the House.


(addressing the Speaker) said he had not presumed to criticise his conduct: he was quite sure it was on that occasion, as on all others, most impartial.


did not rise to detain the House for more than a single moment. He thought it was unfortunate that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cork did not hear the question put by Mr. Speaker. He felt perfectly certain that his hon. and learned Friend did not hear it. He did not, however, rise for the purpose of discussing that question, but for the purpose of asking his hon. Friends whom he saw around him to assent to the proposition made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon. The elevated position which the right hon. Baronet occupied in that House, the high authority which attached to his name, and the eminent services he had rendered at all times to the cause of civil and religious liberty, demanded from him (Mr. Keogh) and his friends around him whose religious liberties were assailed, the greatest confidence in his judgment, and acquiescence in his recommendations; and except that the House had not had the advantage of hearing the right hon. Baronet deliver his opinions again on this question, he (Mr. Keogh) had no regret that the discussion had taken the turn it had done, because he thought it fortunate for the cause they were then advocating that the whole responsibility of this Bill should rest on the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown; and let him make this one observation—let the House and the country remark that the responsibility of this Bill did not rest in an ordinary manner on the noble Lord; but that, having proposed one Bill to that House, he retreated from that Bill before a month had elapsed, and then he adopted the suggestions of one of the leading Members of the Opposition; then succeeded in defeating the proposition of another leading Member on the Opposition side; then he declared his conviction that no one but the Attorney General should have the power of prosecuting under this Bill; but when he (Mr. Keogh), a humble Member of that House, acting on the noble Lord's opinion, proposed to put into the form, adopted and assented to by the noble Lord's own law officer, a clause for that purpose, the noble Lord opposed that clause; and then the noble Lord complained that the Irish Members did not follow him into the lobby to vote with him for a proposition which was the direct negative of that clause. This Bill would find its way to the other House of Parliament with this remark on the back of it, that it was the first Bill restricting the religious liberties of a great portion of the population of this country which ever reached that House, and that the First Minister of the Crown who proposed it received no less than four ignominious defeats; and, after speaking to his utmost against propositions which had since been embodied in the Bill, the noble Lord yet said that was his Bill, and took upon himself all the responsibility it involved. That was a position which he (Mr. Keogh) would not attempt to enfeeble or weaken—with the noble Lord let the responsibility rest. He (Mr. Keogh) believed, in his conscience, that responsibility was what the noble Lord's strength was not able to bear.


said, that as an independent Member of that House, he could not refrain from expressing his surprise at the extraordinary attacks made upon the noble Lord at the head of the Government. The noble Lord was no party to preventing a discussion on the third reading of the Bill, and to say he was, conveyed one of the most unwarrantable charges ever made. [Mr. KEOGH: No one said so.] He certainly understood an hon. Gentleman opposite to make that statement, though probably it was to be imputed to the heat of debate. Nothing was ever less warranted than such a charge. The hon. and learned Member for Cork stated to him early in the evening that he intended to speak on the Bill, and at the same time expressed his belief that the debate would not finish that night, and perhaps not even on Monday. He expected, therefore, when Mr. Speaker put the question that the Bill do pass, to see some Irish Gentleman rise. Mr. Speaker put the qnestion slowly and deliberately, as if he expected some one to rise, and turned his eyes towards that side of the House from which he seemed to think opposition likely to come; and he must say he thought the right hon. Gentleman appeared to be as much surprised as he was when no Member laid hold of the opportunity to speak. Mr. Speaker indeed paused twice, to give ample time to any one who chose to address the House, and he was therefore not to blame for what had occurred. Now, was the noble Lord to answer for the Irish Members in such circumstances? How was he to know their tactics? Or was Mr. Speaker to call upon some imaginary person to get up and speak? He denied that the whole responsibility of the Bill, as it now stood, rested with the Government alone. There were many other Members in the House, himself among the number, who were opposed to the too stringent clauses which had been introduced; and he must say he deeply regretted that those who opposed the Bill should have deserted the noble Lord on that occasion. The noble Lord had done what he could to prevent the obnoxious clauses being passed; and those who wilfully absented themselves when the vote was taken on that clause, were parties to its passing as much as those who voted in its favour.


maintained that the responsibility of the Bill, let it be what it might, still rested with the Prime Minister. He had taken charge of a Bill that contained provisions opposed not only to the policy of his whole life, but diametrically opposed to his own declared intentions and frequently expressed sentiments during the progress of the Bill itself. The clause relating to Bulls introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon rendered penal that which the noble Lord in 1846 declared to be essentially necessary for the administration of the affairs of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland; and there arose, therefore, this dilemma, either the Catholic religion must be put down in Ireland, or that religion must be continued, in direct violation of the law. The noble Lord tried to escape by saying the Roman Catholic Members were responsible for the passing of the clause; but could the Prime Minister of England shift the responsibility from his shoulders in that way? If the noble Lord allowed himself to be made the instrument of passing a clause to prevent that which he declared to be necessary for the administration of the Roman Catholic religion, namely, the introduction of Bulls into this country, it was no answer to say that the Catholic Members failed to assist him in resisting that clause. The noble Lord was responsible for the peace of the country; and if the Irish Members had neglected their duty, that was no reason why the noble Lord should have neglected his. But the Irish Members had not neglected their duty in this matter. They were delighted to see the Bill as it was. The wished to see the Bill as disgraceful, as discreditable, as tyrannical, and unpalatable as it could be made. They were pleased to find that the same penalty was attached to the introduction of Bulls as to the taking of titles. They would all be able more or less to violate the provisions of the Bill, and by the blessing of God they would violate it as often as possible. If the noble Lord, on the one hand, passed this measure, and so violated the liberty of the subject; or if, on the other hand, he allowed the law to be derided and despised, then the noble Lord might keep his party floating a little longer—he might a little longer maintain his position as a dexterous placeman, but he would hold his position as the hack of the Opposition, and not as the Prime Minister of England.


had been surprised to hear that a considerable discussion had taken place on that stage of the Bill. He had not expected it, and that would, he hoped, account for his absence. He could not look upon the present measure as other than an act of great political cowardice on the part of the Government. He believed the noble Lord did what he intended to do, namely, deceive the Irish Members, and did very little to maintain the religion of his country or the dignity of the Throne.


Sir, I do not rise to notice anything that has fallen from the hon. and gallant Colonel. But there are circumstances connected with what has occurred within the last few days, and especially what has occurred to-night, that certainly may be liable to misconception, of which, indeed, we have had evident proof during the last half-hour. Yesterday the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr-Gladstone), stated, that as there were certain Amendments which were to be submitted to the House for final adoption or rejection, and the shape of the Bill might be changed by the adoption of them; it would be desirable that those Amendments should be disposed of on the third reading, and that a debate on the general merits of the Bill should take place on the question that the Bill do pass. The House will recollect that I then said I thought it would be more convenient that we should discuss the Bill in the shape it would ultimately take after the division on the Amendments; but though I thought that course the most convenient, it was entirely for the opponents of the Bill to decide whether it should be followed or not. I consider, therefore, that I had nothing to do but to move the third reading, and the passing of the Bill—it was for them to decide when and in what manner they would take the debate. The opponents of the measure, however, chose to absent themselves from the discussion of those Amendments to which I have alluded—a matter on which I shall presently speak; but, having absented themselves, immediately after the division on those Amendments, you, Sir, most fairly and most particularly stated to the House that the question was whether the Bill should pass? I certainly was surprised that no one rose; and for the moment I was disposed to rise myself, in order to introduce the debate; but it just occurred to me that if I spoke, then some of the Gentlemen who have oppened the Bill, and who might rise to speak afterwards, would not fail to bring charges against me of one kind or another, and then I should he precluded from answering them. Besides, it was obviously the business of those who opposed the Bill to raise the question before the House, and to say whether or no they had any objection that the Bill do pass. Nevertheless, the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. Lawless) lays the entire blame to my charge that he and his Friends were all absent from the House, and that those Members opposed to the Bill, and who were present, did not rise to take the opportunity of objecting to it. Now, without throwing any blame on them—admitting that they were perfectly right in being absent from the House—admitting that those who were present did not hear the question put—surely the blame cannot fall upon me. I am the last person who was hound to undertake that there should be a long discussion on the passing of the Bill. Then the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) was exceedingly angry that a certain proposition of his was not received, and he triumphed very much at our being defeated on an Amendment that went in effect to make the Bill the very reverse of what he himself proposed to make it. The hon. and learned Gentleman's proposal was that no one but the Attorney General should take any proceedings under this Act. The Bill, as we stated after some consultation—and we were all agreed upon that point—the Bill was then in that shape that no one but the Attorney General could take these proceedings; therefore I said I thought the clause was unnecessary—that I did not think it fair to the House to support such a clause without giving notice that I would do so, especially as the Bill in its then state was such as the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to make it; and accordingly I refused my support to his clause. Then, when another hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to make the Bill different from what the hon. and learned Member for Athlone wishes it—when he proposed that any common informer, with the consent of the Attorney General, may take proceedings under the Act, the hon. and learned Gentleman is absent, and refuses his concurrence in opposing this Amendment that completely overthrows his own views of the subject. What consistency there is in this I cannot comprehend. I can understand the hon. and learned Gentleman saying, as the hon. Member for Mayo has said, that he wished the Bill to be as bad as possible—that he wished to make it dis- creditable to the House; but that was not the view of the hon. and learned Member for Athlone. He proposed various Amendments, and tried to carry them. One of those Amendments I assented to, and the House adopted it without a division. Then he proposed the Amendment to which I have already referred, and, because it was rejected, he admitted by his absence and that of his Friends, an Amendment the very opposite of his own. Such a course of conduct was not very intelligible: but it was not still more unintelligible that, having by their absence enabled the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon to introduce his Amendments into the Bill, they should then lay upon us who had charge of the Bill, the responsibility of those Amendments. I am not disposed to shrink from any responsibility I have justly incurred. The responsibility I do incur is this—and it is a grave and serious, responsibility—considering the Amendments that have been introduced into the Bill against my consent, and in opposition to my judgment, can I still take charge of the Bill, and recommend to the House to pass it in the shape in which it now stands? That is my responsibility. My responsibility is not that of having introduced these Amendments, or of having carried them, but of considering whether I should he justified in still adhering to the Bill with the Amendments that have been introduced into it. On that question, those who hold the same opinion with myself, and think that the introduction into this country, last autumn, of the Papal Rescript was a very serious aggression against the rights of the Crown and the independence of the nation, will feel with me that it would have been a great misfortune, if, after we had from the commencement of the Session, been debating a Bill with the view of its becoming a legislative Act, and as a legislative Act calculated to repel that aggression, and assert the supremacy of the Crown and the rights of the nation, we had at the last hour altogether deserted and thrown up that Bill; and left the aggression unchecked—and left those who had invaded the rights of the nation to triumph over the people, whose wishes, sentiments, and general expectations, so unequivocally expressed, would thus be baulked by the failure of the only measure before Parliament to resent the insult put on the country. I felt that to be so serious a responsibility that weigh- ing the one circumstance against the other—having maturely considered the purport and probable alteration of the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon, and, having stated my objections to them, I yet felt that there was no part of those Amendments, altered as they have been from the Amendments originally proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, and made more temperate in their operation, which would justify me in incurring the serious responsibility of throwing up the Bill. That, Sir, is the responsibility which I have fairly incurred, and from that responsibility I am in no way prepared to shrink. I do not believe that there is anything in this Bill, even in its present shape, which militates against religious freedom. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon has said, in terms which I certainly cannot say that I deserve, that he believes that the execution of this Bill after it had passed into an Act of Parliament, would be safe in my hands, and that he had no apprehension that religious freedom would be violated. I thought, Sir, that I had a far more extensive question than that to consider with respect to the passing of this Bill. I do not think it would be enough for me to say that the Members of the present Government, whether in this country or in Ireland, would take care that this Bill would not be put into operation in such a manner as to violate religious freedom. I think that we should be bound not to move the passing of the Bill—not to be parties to its passing—if we considered that any Government which might hereafter succeed us would be able to use the powers confided to them by this measure in violation of religious liberty. I think our responsibility goes as far as that, and that we should fall short of our duty if we said we will take charge of this Bill, and put it in force in such a manner that no oppression shall be exercised under it: but that those who come after us may use it for that purpose. Now, I do not believe that this Bill will be used for such purpose. I do not mean to say that an Attorney General might not by a flagrant violation of his duty, as I should conceive it would be, give a loose to the common informer in cases which ought not to receive his sanction. That I conceive to be possible; but in such cases as that, as in the case of many other Acts of Parliament by which powers are confided to the Government to be exercised with proper judgment and discretion, Par- liament would be always ready to check any undue and wanton exercise of the powers it has itself conferred. That is an observation which applies not to this Bill, but also to many Acts on the Statute-book, and to the whole powers and prerogatives of the Crown. There may be abuses of the prerogatives of the Crown within the law, which might be committed at any moment with serious public mischief, but which are prevented by the nature of the institutions of this country, and by the responsibility which rests upon the Ministers of the Crown. But that which I have always confided in—that which I stated I confided in from the first moment of hearing of this aggression on the part of the Pope—was in the fact that this country had been long in the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; and that I do not believe that it would be possible in this country to interrupt that long usage, and to violate the sanctity of conscience, or to prevent the public worship and exercise of all the rites of religion according to the opinions and faith of various classes of Christians who may be established among us. [Ironical cheers.] Yes; happily for us we do not live in a country where it is usual to bring persons before a tribunal for the offence of reading the Holy Scriptures, and to send them to an unwholesome gaol for an offence of that kind. Hon. Gentlemen who have spoken with such severity of my conduct, who have represented us as persecutors and enemies of religious liberty, may depend on it that no proceedings such as are countenanced and applauded in some other countries, where the influence of the Roman Catholic religion is greater than in ours, would be countenanced by any Minister of England who may sit on these benches. Well, after all, is there anything hostile to religious liberty in preventing, not Roman Catholic bishops either in England or in Ireland exercising their functions, and, to use the expression of the Bequests Act, "officiating" in various parts of the country; but in preventing their officiating under certain territorial titles, and using certain instruments in this country granted by a foreign Power, conferring on them those territorial titles? It appears to me that there is no infringement of religious liberty in that prohibition; and it likewise appears to me that there is a change, which is in my opinion perfectly practicable, and which, if the See of Rome would but condescend to consider the present state of the world, that see might at once adopt, and thus relieve itself from all those apprehensions which it may contemplate from the enactments of the measure of 1829, and of the measure we are now considering. The fact is, the Roman Catholic Church is not the only Christian Church in Europe. The fact is—though it may sound as a novelty at Rome—that this country, not, as I think, by "a deplorable schism," but by a division from the Church of Rome, became another body of the great Christian community, separated from Rome, and maintaining its own national Church and its own system as a religious and Christian nation. There are others, Protestants, dissenting from the Established Church, but likewise forming part of the great Christian community. Now, if the Church of Rome would but acknowledge these facts—if it would but acknowledge that there are Christians in this land besides the Roman Catholics—if it would but say that its bishops and archbishops were not Archbishops and Bishops of Westminster, Birmingham, Armagh, and Dublin, but bishops of the Roman Catholic Church officiating in certain districts—and if it would confine their ministrations to those of the Roman Catholic faith, I do not believe there would be any dispute either in Parliament or in the country with reference to the Roman Catholics having not only the number of bishops they have now in this country, but even of increasing the number as they might think fit. The real aggression consists in this, that they pretend not to recognise any Christians except themselves—that they assume the government of the whole territory of this Protestant country; and, by their theories, which are totally different from the fact, assume also that all baptised persons are subject to their own bishops and priests, and that there are not persons belonging to the religion of this country and professing its faith. As long as these pretensions are kept up, we cannot allow of them, and we shall not allow to be erased from our Statute-book certain provisions against such pretensions. I own that it appears to me that if the See of Rome were guided by the commonest prudence and by ordinary common sense, nothing would be easier for it than to appoint its bishops with names and designations which would not give offence to any one, which would not interfere with the title and supremacy of the Queen, and, being entirely religious designations, would be innocent and harmless. These, therefore, are my reasons for not considering that there is anything that can be called persecution in the present Bill, even with the addition of the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon. We are bound, I think, in duty and allegiance, while we admit all persons to profess and practise their own religion, not to allow any foreign Sovereign to presume to have a sway and government in this country inconsistent with the sway and government which lawfully belongs to the Queen of this kingdom, whose supremacy will, I think, he asserted by this Bill. And I trust that, after this is passed, the Roman Catholic portion of the people of this kingdom will see that they will have the perfect right to exercise their own religion, but, at the same time, will understand that they have no right at all to say that they are to override the powers of the Parliament of this country, and to decide as they please as to its Government.


Sir, I believe I speak the general sentiments of the House, and I am sure I speak those of the noble Lord, when I express my own unfeigned regret for the position in which we have accidentally been placed. In a case where we are passing a law of a restrictive and penal nature, however that law may be justified—which, of course, I do not admit—but, however that law might be justified by supposable circumstances, it is, in my judgment, a matter of the first importance that at every stage of the progress of such a measure there should be demonstrative evidence of the claim to deliberate and respectful attention of Parliament, not only of the arguments but the feelings of those with whom they have immediately to deal. The Parliamentary history of this measure is so remarkable, the variations it has undergone have been so numerous and so important, its legal bearings are so complicated and confused, there is a diversity in the opinion of gentlemen belonging to the profession of the law with respect to its effects so far exceeding what I can recollect on any former occasion of a Bill of this first-rate importance, that it was greatly to be desired we should have had the opportunity of reviewing fully the course of the argument, and of such discussion as would have tended to elicit something like a collective result, something like an authoritative description of the character and effects of the mea- sure which we are about to send up to the House of Lords. The opportunity has passed, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon has given advice from which I do not dissent, that as the opportunity has passed, it is better to refrain from making any forced or factitious attempt to regain it by discussing the general merits of the Bill upon a question which does not warrant such a debate. I shall, therefore, content myself with saying, in the first place, how deeply I regret, and how sincerely I apologise to the House, if in consequence of the suggestion which I presumed to make yesterday, with no other view than the general convenience, I have been, however indirectly, the cause or occasion of what has occurred. And I am bound to express in the strongest manner my conviction that the noble Lord is not chargeable in any manner with what has occurred. The noble Lord has referred to one subject of great delicacy and importance, the responsibility of the Government in regard to the passing of this Bill. He has stated with perfect fairness that he is responsible for the measure as a whole, with reference to all the circumstances under which he assumes that responsibility, while he is not, of course, responsible for the introduction of the particular Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon. Assenting to the definition which the noble Lord has given of the measure of his responsibility in principle, I cannot but differ from him as to the application which he has made of the principle; because it seems to me that the measure, as he himself introduced it, or at all events as he himself ultimately modified it, was the authoritative interpretation which the Queen's Government had put upon this most solemn assurance which Her Majesty addressed to Parliament at the commencement of the Session. What were the terms in which Her Majesty then addressed the two Houses of Parliament? Her Majesty said— The recent assumption of certain ecclesiastical titles conferred by a Foreign Power has excited strong feelings in this country, and large bodies of my subjects have presented addresses to me, expressing attachment to the Throne, and praying that such assumptions should be resisted. I have assured them of my resolution to maintain the rights of my crown, and the independence of the nation, against all encroachment, from whatever quarter it may proceed. I have, at the same time, expressed my earnest desire and firm determination, under God's blessing, to maintain unimpaired the religious liberty which is so justly prized by the people of this country. Now, Sir, I ask, were enactments such as those propounded and carried by the lion, and learned Member for Abingdon with a manliness and firmness which do him honour, within the view and definition of the noble Lord, when, at the commencement of the Session, he advised the Queen to declare Her determination to maintain religious liberty unimpaired? I hold that the provisions of the Bill, as introduced, were the authentic and unchangeable construction placed by the noble Lord upon the words of the Queen's Speech. There are those who put very different senses upon the effect of the Amendments. The Solicitor General said there was no persecution in these Amendments, but there certainly was vexation. Now, Sir, it appears to me to be a very nice matter, when dealing with conscience, with feeling, with those most tender and delicate of all subjects interwoven with great political struggles of the country for the last half century, to draw those fine distinctions between persecution and vexation, and say, "I admit there is vexation, but I assure you there is no persecution." The personal assertion of the hon. and learned Gentleman will go as far in matters of truth and honour as that of any man alive; but this is no question of personal honour—it is a question partly of political argument, and partly of legal construction. I am afraid few will be inclined to assent to the minute distinction which he drew; and if you find one legal authority who states that the character of the measure has been but slightly modified by the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon, there are other Gentlemen who believe, and with great show of reason, that those Amendments have essentially changed the character of the Bill, and have altered it from a Bill professing to suppress ecclesiastical titles, but composed of enactments wholly unequal to that object, into a Bill which is perfectly adequate to fulfil the promise it gives, and actually suppress the titles against which its nominal prohibitions are directed. Still deploring the insufficiency of that legal guidance to which we are so much accustomed to look on these great questions, I do not understand how it can be contended that the character of the Bill has not been essentially modified and most materially changed by the introduction of these Amendments. Before these Amendments were introduced, you legislated simply against the assumption of titles—against the act of the indi- vidual bearing the title. What might have happened under that clause? You might have had a most solemn meeting in some Roman Catholic building in Westminster or Lambeth—you might have invited the whole world to attend—you might have had three or more prelates of the Roman Catholic Church conferring, in the face of day, and in the face of the public, the office of bishop, and the title which the man was to hear; and that circumstance so solemn, and done with every circumstance of notoriety, would not have been punishable in the person of any one of the parties concerned. But how stands the case in consequence of these Amendments? You legislate, as I said before, against the offence of assuming the title which can hardly ever be proved. My learned Friend is not satisfied with going against an offence you cannot get at. He has indicated an offence which must be constantly committed; and every man who gives effect to a Bull, who obeys a Bull by conferring a title, is liable to the operation of the law. Well, then, if that is so, surely you have got now a very drastic, pungent, and sweeping measure indeed. The noble Lord then, it appears to me, is responsible for sending up to the House of Lords, with the weight and authority of his recommendation, a measure which does not correspond with that sense of the great principle and important phrase of religious freedom which he advised Her Majesty to use in the most solemn manner at the commencement of the Session of Parliament. Well, what does the noble Lord say? He says that religious liberty will not be violated under this Bill, and he says that we shall have no such proceedings in this country as have unhappily taken place in Tuscany recently, where some gentleman has been most unwisely and unwarrantably punished for no other offence, I believe, than that of reading the Word of God for the edification of his own soul. But ought the Prime Minister of England to stand up and point to a country that is two centuries behind you in the experience of freedom, and in the establishment of all the great principles of social liberty, and to tell us that we ought not to be afraid that we are going hack into the abyss from which it has taken us the last two centuries to emerge. Sir, I distrust the first steps backwards towards that abyss; and let me tell the noble Lord that it is no consolation to us to say that our whole fabric of religious freedom, raised by the fervour, and the skill, and the pains, and the sufferings of so many generations, is not to be swept away by a single Act of Parliament. Does he touch religious liberty by this Bill, or does he not? I was deeply struck by the words of the noble Lord which the House has just heard. He has said, "I think the real aggression is, that the Roman Catholics pretend not to recognise any Christians except themselves, and pretend that all baptised persons are of right subject to the priests." The noble Lord says that this is the real aggression; and he says that, so long as that is the case, the Parliament of this country cannot consent to erase from the Statute-book certain enactments penal in principle, which are directed against it. A more important declaration, one more pregnant in vital meaning, I never heard from a Minister of the Crown. Because, what is this aggression? Is it a new assumption? Why, it is an essential principle of the religion which you profess to tolerate. When in 1829 you removed the Roman Catholic disabilities, was the case different from what it is now? Did they not then, as now, and as much as now, and in precisely the same manner, refuse to recognise any Christians except themselves, and pretend that all baptised persons were of right subject to their Church? Most certainly they did. And now the noble Lord, in assigning a justification of a penal measure, founds it, not upon the act of the Pope—which I regret as deeply as he does—not upon any single or recent act of the Pope, but upon that exclusive principle of the Roman Catholic Church, that claim to the exclusive allegiance of all Christians, which has been all along a principle—not a secret and clandestine, but an open, and avowed, and notorious principle—of the Roman Catholic Church. But this is a strictly religious principle; it is a principle capable of being confined by wise laws to acts of spiritual dominion, and yet until that principle is abandoned, says the noble Lord, these penal measures cannot he erased from the Statute-book. This shows the fatal confusion of mind and ideas under which we have been legislating. You have been irritated by the language of certain documents, and, in the anger which that language has produced, you have legislated against acts which, whether right or wrong, were apart from that language, and were acts done in a spiritual sphere, and which, therefore, it would have been your wisdom, as it was your duty, in no manner to interfere with. You have not succeeded in proving the temporal character of these acts. The noble Lord says that nothing would have been easier than to have appointed the Roman Catholic bishops with titles that would have been inoffensive to any one. Now it is not always easy for the members of a religious persuasion so to regulate their laws or their discipline as to make them palatable to persons who do not belong to them; and I thought that it had been the wisdom of Parliament to have found a solution of a problem which other countries have declared to be insoluble, that we had at least learned how to deal with these questions, and to say, "We shall pass them by, and shall leave religionists to settle them themselves, so long as they do not interfere with civil and social freedom." Now what are you doing? I am not pleading for respect to be paid to the Pope by the British Legislature—I am not objecting to any proposition against the recognition of Papal Bulls—that for which I am pleading is the equal religious freedom of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects. I only look at the outside in the present instance—I look only at the exterior of the different religious communities of which this kingdom is composed, and I cherish an ardent desire to pursue such a course of legislation as, if we are tied to the great calamity of religious divisions, yet shall tend to bind us together in social and civil concord. Now, can you show me that the appointment of bishops is an act of temporal prerogative? You cannot show it; but I convict you out of your own mouths, because I show that in Scotland, where territorial titles of bishops of the Church of England exists, you have saved them by exemption from the Bill.


The titles do not exist in Scotland.


The right hon. Gentleman says that these titles do not exist. He means that they do not exist in the eye of the law—then only leave just so much existence to the titles of the Roman Catholic Bishops. That will content all the Gentlemen who sit below the gangway; nay, the Pope himself will be content with that. It is not for the sake of making a point in argument—it is from an earnest desire to get at the reality of the case—that I say you yourselves have professed that a territorial title is not a legal object of penal enactment, because you have saved it in the case of the Protestant bishops of Scotland. It is, therefore, with the deepest lamentation that I see this Bill passing. I know how useless it is to reiterate entreaty on the subject, more especially as we have not had the opportunity of re-examining once more, before the departure of the Bill, the whole historical and legal bearings of the case. For my own part, having satisfied my sense of the deep responsibility under which the noble Lord has placed himself—a responsibility which cannot be extenuated by any argument—I must be content, under the circumstances, with once more solemnly renewing my protestation against the Bill—as a Bill, in the first place, hostile to the institutions of this country, and especially to the Established religion, because it teaches that religion to rely upon supports other than those of its spiritual strength and vitality, which can alone give it vigour; as tending also to undermine and weaken the authority of the law in Ireland; as disparaging, moreover, to the great principle of religious freedom, under which this wise and understanding people has permanently built its legislation of late years; and as tending to relax and to destroy the bonds of concord and goodwill which ought to unite all classes and persuasions of the subjects of Her Majesty.


wished to explain. The right hon. Gentleman had correctly repeated his words, that one cause of the offence was the exclusive character of the See of Rome; but the right hon. Gentleman had stopped there. He (Lord John Russell) also said, that in consequence of those assumptions the Church of Rome had pretended to govern the whole of the people of this country, and that in taking those territorial titles they did interfere with the due prerogatives and rights of the Sovereign.


I was anxious, Sir, to have had an opportunity this evening of offering my sentiments to the House on this question, and of giving the reasons why I have, in the main, supported the Bill of Her Majesty's Government, though, in some points, I have felt myself under the necessity of dissenting from them. I regret I have been disappointed of that opportunity by what has occurred; though I am sure that I ought not to attribute to the noble Lord any desire to bring this discussion to an abrupt conclusion. I may, however, perhaps be permitted to refer very briefly to some of the remarks that have fallen from my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford. My right hon. Friend says that the question we have to decide is, whether in this Bill we interfere with the religious liberty of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. Now, Sir, I altogether dissent from the very able speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and I must say that I have heard no argument, either in this House or out of doors, to show that the introduction of this Papal Brief was at all necessary to the due exercise of the Roman Catholic religion. Nay, I will ask any Roman Catholic to show me any exercise of the religious functions of his Church that is interfered with, or to point out to me any penal laws under which he suffers, or, indeed, any necessity whatever for the introduction into this country of this Brief from Rome. The Pope said, in that Brief, that the Roman Catholics in this country had been hitherto governed by vicars-apostolic, and that under that system the Roman Catholic religion had greatly increased in England. No cause was shown that any impediment was offered to the free exercise of their religion; and if, indeed, such had been the case, I should have been most willing, and I am sure the country would, to have done anything to remove such impediment. I ventured the other night to ask the Irish Members to give some answer to the language of the Papal Brief, which says that the ancient sees of England are to be rendered void? No answer to that question did I receive from any one of those Gentlemen; but, a few days afterwards I received a paper in which a passage was marked, addressed to the editor of the Northern Whig, to the effect that those ancient sees were constituted by Papal authority, and that it was only common sense for the Pope, in making a new law, to declare former laws on the same subject abolished. Are we, then, to be told that the sees of Canterbury and York are to be assumed by a foreign Power? And are we to stand quiet and hear it said that the Pope created these sees, and that, consequently, the Pope has the right to destroy them? It is to this usurpation—this encroachment on the laws of this country—that we object, and not to the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty by our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. It is, I repeat, against this encroachment on the rights and prerogatives of the British Sovereign and nation that we feel ourselves called on to protest. We have been told that we are taking a step backward; but we have the consolation of knowing that in adopting the Amendments of my hon. and learn- ed Friend the Member for Abingdon we have the authority of the Government that we have not made the Bill more penal, while we have the assurance of the right hon. Member for Oxford University that we have made it more efficient. I will only add that I rejoice the Amendments are carried, and that at length we have a Bill that will be effective, and that will meet the joint wishes of the people of this country, while it will not interfere with the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion.


admitted the inexpediency of reviving the discussion upon the Bill. He agreed with the right hon. Member for Ripon, that while the Government was in the hands of the noble Lord, there was no danger the measure would be misapplied; but upon him would fall the responsibility should his Successors in the Administration of the country abuse its powers; but the confidence he felt was inspired by the belief that such was the feeling of the country and the spirit of the age, so firmly and deeply were rooted the principles of religious liberty, that the Bill itself would be totally inoperative. He believed that the character of the Bill would not be materially changed by the alterations which had been made in it, and that no Ministry would be found to put it in operation. He spoke as a staunch Protestant, and as one firmly attached to the Established religion; and his opinion of religious liberty was that the fullest development of every religious faith ought to be allowed, and that any measure which tended to interfere with that liberty ought to be repelled by the House. The noble Lord said the test of the measure was whether it interfered with the religious liberty of the Roman Catholics or not, and that he believed it did not; but when he (Lord H. Vane) found a large body of Roman Catholics entertaining a contrary opinion, he thought there was some degree of presumption in their favour. He had confidence, however, that this country would soon return to a more reasonable state of feeling than had existed for some time past; and the good sense of the people would prevent this measure being carried into operation in a manner injurious to the liberty of the Roman Catholics.


said, he also trusted that this Bill might be virtually inoperative, and that there would be no necessity for calling it in operation. The hon. Member for Mayo said the measure was impertinent and impracticable. He thought the measure was, at all events, pertinent, and with respect to its impracticability, he had only to hope that the good sense of the Roman Catholics would lead them not to test it. He expressed his humble thanks to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who had introduced a measure which, although it might fall short of some points that might be desirable by warmhearted Protestants, would yet, he thought, be effectual in repressing the measures which had created so much alarm.


did not rise to protest against the measure being disposed of; but, after having listened to the discussions in Committee, having heard so many and such various statements from authorities upon both sides of the House, he Was unable to form a clear conception of what the measure really was. Two Amendments had been passed that evening, which had, no doubt, materially altered the character and complexion of the Bill; and he lamented the difficulty under which the learned Solicitor General felt himself placed when he had first to argue that the Amendments were so dangerous that they ought to be resisted, and afterwards that they were of slight importance, and that the Government might retain the Bill with them. In the discussions on this subject, objection was made on the ground of the precipitation with which the measure was introduced by the Government, and without their being aware of the extent to which they were legislating. It might be recollected that early in the Session, when the Bill was first reading, a speech had been delivered by Lord Stanley in Merchant Tailors'-hall, and upon that occasion the noble Lord used the following words:— I would have proceeded, in the first instance, either by resolution or by address, or by a declaratory Act directed against that particular instance of aggression on the part of the Pope which was felt to be at once an aggression and an insult to this country. But I added further, that the course of policy which was indicated in the Papal Rescript might require that the subject should be deeper looked into, might require that the relations of Roman Catholic subjects of this country, to this country, and to the Papal see, should be carefully and diligently investigated, and that on so large a branch of the subject, involving so many delicate and difficult questions, it was not desirable to proceed hastily and rashly, to hold out threats which We were not able to execute, and to show resentment which we were not able to carry into effect. On that large question I desire that there should be no hasty legislation—that there should be an immediate reply by Parliament to the insult which had been offered to us, but that subsequently a full inquiry should be made upon the subject, which would place our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in a position that would not only secure and extend their civil rights, but that would secure to this country, be it Protestant or be it Roman Catholic, the independence of its temperal concerns from the control of any ecclesiastical hierarchy, or from subjection to any foreign Pontiff. Some have supposed that I proposed that the question should be waived for two years. What I said was, that such an inquiry, even if it was to occupy the whole of one Session, or of two Sessions, would be less dangerous and hasty, and passionate and rash, and a more effective mode of legislation. I know not the course Her Majesty's Government now intends to pursue; but I know that, in introducing this measure, Lord John Russell laid a basis broad enough for an Egyptian pyramid, wide enough to repeal not only the Act of 1829, but to renew the penal code, and that upon this mighty foundation a superstructure was reared of microscopic dimensions, a superstructure which has excited contempt not unmingled with irritation; and, microscopic as the measure was at first, it is now to be more microscopic still. He entirely concurred in those opinions of the noble Lord as to the measure introduced by the Government, for they were sound and statesmanlike opinions; they were those of a man who, having been himself a Minister, knew the difficulty of governing a country. He (Mr. S. Herbert) was glad to have that opportunity of assenting to these opinions, because of their intrinsic worth, and because also the station and position of the noble Lord made every word that fell from his lips of the utmost importance. A noble Lord had said that the Bill was a persecution or a nullity, and the Solicitor General had said that this was not a persecuting, though it might be a vexatious measure. It could not be more correctly described. He could not say he thought it a wise or statesmanlike course, first to give to a great body of their countrymen full political power, and then to pass a measure which would not.suppress them nor diminish their power, but would annoy, irritate, and vex them. He regretted to see this done all the more, because during the whole of this Session the country had looked for something that should enable us to resist the strength of those religious opinions. The time of the House in so doing had been occupied to the exclusion of other far more important matters. He should have preferred, for instance, to see measures introduced calculated rather to prevent the spread of their religions opinions than to coerce the Roman Catholics. What, however, had happened? Last year a measure was proposed as to the abuses denounced by the hon. Member for Cockermouth. A Bill had been brought into the House of Lords, but he understood there was no chance of its coming down to this House in time to pass this Session. The question of Church-rates, one of the sore difficulties of the Church of England, had been shelved. The other night the noble Lord the Member for Worcester brought forward a proposal for spreading the Protestant faith, and the Government oscillated between it and the previous question, because there was no specific proposal, and ultimately assented to the Motion on the condition that no specific proposal should be made; and thus this Bill, useless for its purpose, had stood in the way of real measures for repressing those opinions which were contrary to the faith they held, and which many thought were injurious to the civil interests of the country. It had occupied that ground, and at the same time had deprived the Church of England of that which had been her boast since 1829, that she had stood upon the foundation of her faith, and had not required any system of penal legislation to assist her against those who differed from it.

Question "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Title" put, and agreed to.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

The House adjourned at half-after Eleven o'clock till Monday next.