§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee; Mr. Bernal in the Chair.
§ Clause 2.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
rose to move that the words, "Under any designation whatsoever," be omitted from the clause. His object in this was to carry out, as far as he had power, the declaration made by the Prime Minister, and by the law authorities of the Crown, that the intention of this Bill was that persons of the Roman Catholic religion should be left in the same position as they were left as regarded religious rights by the Act of 1829. He could not find the words he proposed to omit in that Act, and he asked the noble Lord how he could justify the retention of them in this Bill consistently with the declarations he had made over and over again; for it was clear, if those words were retained, that the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops, and the Roman Catholic people in Ireland, would not he in the same position as they were at the passing of the Act of 1829. When he first addressed the House on this subject, in the month of February, he declared his opinion that this measure was a violation of the solemn compact of 1829, and that, if it passed, the Roman Catholic religion would be reduced to a state bordering upon, if not actually, an enslaved state. He was fortified by the opinions of the first statesmen and the first lawyers in that House and out of it in saying that there would be an end of the free and legal exercise of the Roman Catholic religion in England, Ireland, and Scotland, at the will of the Attorney General for the time being. He would ask Government, recollecting their old and new promises, whether they were prepared to 575 carry out this declaration of war against the Roman Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland? The grounds laid down by the Government for this violation of the principle of religious liberty were, that the Pope had—but not by temporal authority—appointed certain vicars-apostolic to be bishops in certain districts in England; and it was considered an aggravation of the offence that a cardinal had been introduced into England. He (Mr. Reynolds) considered the Pope had a decided right to appoint as many cardinals as he pleased. He only found fault with his Holiness, considering that Ireland had for 1,400 years been a Catholic country, for not having appointed one or two of the Catholic archbishops in Ireland to be cardinals. He trusted the next act of the Pope would be to appoint the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. M'Hale, a cardinal, and that he would transmit by the same post a cardinal's hat to the most reverend Dr. Cullen, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland. He could quote the highest legal authority in support of this opinion as to the effect of this Bill—that of the hon. and learned Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Bethell), of Mr. FitzRoy Kelly, Mr. Brodie, Mr. Peacock, Mr. Baddely, &c.; but when those authorities were quoted, the hon and learned Solicitor General, who seemed to consider himself both the law and the prophets, said, "No mischief will occur to you at all; you will be as safe as a diamond in cotton after this passes." When the right hon. Member for Ripon stated his opinions upon this subject, the only answer he got was one which he thought no man believed in except the man who uttered it, "You may depend upon it that this leaves you as you were in 1829." They were now inventing a patent mode of manacling that "raw head and bloody bones"—the Popish Church in Ireland. If he were not constitutionally opposed to oppression, and particularly to religious oppression, he would snap his fingers at the promoters of the Bill, and say, "The Catholic Church is above the power of legislation—it existed before the House of Commons was heard of—it has existed under the most active persecution ever practised against an establishment. and, so far from weakening the Catholic Church by restrictive laws, you will add to its strength." No matter what laws they passed, they might rest assured that they could not detract from its strength. They had persecuted the Protestant Dissenters 576 as they had persecuted the Roman Catholics, and what had been the result? The Protestants in communion with the Church of England did not exceed 10,000,000, and the Dissenters boasted that they had a majority over that number. What, too, was the state of matters in regard to Ireland? In the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James I. the Protestants of that country had been declared to be a majority; whilst in the year 1841 the proportion had been 7,000,000 of Catholics to 750,000 Protestants. This diminution had taken place, although they had nurtured the Protestants in Ireland, as they did their exotics in a hotbed. They had lulled them with kindness. Every interest in Ireland had been sacrificed to that of the Protestant Church, and yet, to use a remarkable phrase, they had "grown smaller by degrees, and beautifully less." He saw the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger) in his place. That hon. and learned Gentleman might yet be an official legal dignitary. More unlikely things had come to pass. Well, he would ask that hon. and learned Gentleman, who was the watchdog of the Protestant Church in England and Ireland, what he would do with an Act of this kind? Would he put it in force? Would he be prepared to dignify his official reign (if he might so speak), by sounding the tocsin of religious discord in England and Ireland? Was he prepared to lot loose the dogs of war on men who exercised the religion which they conscientiously professed? The hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside) might also some day fill an official position. What would he do? He (Mr. Whiteside) had had some experience in State prosecutions; and the late Daniel O'Connell had declared to him (Mr. Reynolds) that no language was sufficiently strong for him to express his admiration of the advocacy of the learned Gentleman. Well, would he (Mr. Whiteside) adopt the course of persecuting the Roman Catholics? When he defended the great Irish chieftain, the whole power of the Government was stretched to the utmost, and the parties, were convicted, but were ultimately set at liberty by the almost unanimous decision of the law Lords. What did the Government gain by that prosecution? The hatred of the Irish people. And while they put their hands into the public purse to the extent of 75,000l. to carry on that prosecution, they robbed the men who were on their defence of 50,000l. They 577 shortened the existence of a man whose life was considered of inestimable value in Ireland. They broke his heart. They almost drove him out of the land of his birth, and he breathed his last upon a foreign and a strange soil. They sacrificed his life by the bigoted and intolerant feelings which are always brought to operate against men, who, in Ireland, honestly and conscientiously express their opinion. They arrested a great layman. Were they prepared, should this Bill pass, to arrest a Catholic archbishop, a Catholic bishop, or a Catholic dean? His conscientious belief was, that they would not venture to lay their hands upon one of the Lord's anointed priests in Ireland. The hon. and gallant Member for Armagh had charged him with saying that the Government dared not to pass this Bill. He never said any such thing. What he said was, that if they did pass it, it would be a nullity—a dead letter. No man in Ireland would obey it; and if his countrymen were to be legislated for in this sense, he believed that resistance to such a law as this would be a virtue, and he never should call upon them to obey it. If the Bill was to be without any result, what was the use of passing it? The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) might say, "There is a great deal of strong prejudice in England and Scotland against the Pope, and I am compelled to legislate." But who had created a great part of that feeling? Why, the noble Lord himself. He (Mr. Reynolds) was not there to justify all the phrases which the Pope or the Cardinal Archbishop might have used. Suppose it should be said that legislation was rendered necessary by what was called the inflated letter of Cardinal Wiseman; he asked could any phraseology justify the Government in turning round on the Catholics of England, and especially of Ireland, and in repealing the Emancipation Act? There was a certain description of dog—the cur—which, it was said, if it got a kick from one person, would bite the next person it met. He did not wish to say that the disposition of the English people was similar, and that because they got a kick from Cardinal Wiseman, they were therefore determined to persecute the people of Ireland. Supposing, however, that they passed this law, and supposing that the four Roman Catholic archbishops and the twenty-four bishops in Ireland disobeyed it by assuming their titles, then would commence twenty-four State trials; then if they had 578 not the raw material of discord and disunion, he did not know how it could possibly be furnished. Suppose the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops to call a meeting in Dublin to memoralise the Queen, calling upon Her to protect them against the provisions of this Algerine Bill, and to place their sees opposite their names, what course would the Government take? The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) might perhaps say, they would not adopt such a course. But let him caution the noble Lord against entertaining any such hope. At no period of the persecuting history of this country were the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops more desirous to resist any encroachments made upon them than at the present moment. If they were to sign in the manner described, there was not a town, hamlet, or village, that would not back them up and support them. The noble Lord might think that the Earl of Clarendon could effect a great deal. But that illustrious Viceroy was now at a discount with the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops of Ireland; and when he invited Dr. Murray to dine at the viceregal court on the Queen's birth-day, that illustrious prelate of the Roman Catholic Church declined to accept the invitation. No man entertained a stronger feeling of affectionate and unconditional loyalty to the Queen than Dr. Murray; but he drew a line of distinction between the Sovereign and the Earl of Clarendon. He separated Her Majesty from Lord John Russell and his Colleagues, and refused to accept any compliment from a man who could deal so insultingly towards his creed and country. The House knew also that an action for libel had been commenced against the Earl of Clarendon by Mr. Burke, on account of the noble Earl's letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury. That letter, if genuine—and its authenticity had not been denied—contained a passage in which the noble Lord referred to the illustrious Archbishop of Tuam; and how, he would ask, could the Irish people have any confidence in the English or Irish Administration as long as that patent insult remained unrepudiated by the Lord Lieutenant? He (Mr. Reynolds) was informed that they were to have an interregnum with regard to the future stages of this Bill. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had that night announced that he would not proceed further with it for a fortnight, possibly thinking, that by allowing that time to elape, it would reconcile 579 the Roman Catholics to their doom. But he would tell the noble Lord what was likely to occur. During the last recess, he (Mr. Reynolds) had gone over to Dublin, where he found Catholic arguing with Protestant, and public feeling at a high state of excitement upon this subject. And what had caused this? The Durham letter and the Papal Aggression Bill. An aggregate meeting of the Roman Catholics of Ireland had been held, where they had been unanimous in passing an unmitigated vote of censure on the Government and on this Bill. They had also been unanimous in another matter—in calling on all their representatives to vote against the Bill and to vote against the Government on every occasion on which their existence as a Ministry was at stake. He and some other Irish representatives had obeyed these orders, although a few of his countrymen had not. Now they were to have another recess. And what would be done during it? He would tell the noble Lord. A requisition was in course of signature for another aggregate meeting in Dublin. That requisition would be signed by all the Roman Catholic Peers, Archbishops, Bishops, and other influential persons. At that meeting this Bill and its authors would be arraigned, and a Catholic Defence Association would be formed, which, without encroaching on the religious rights of others, would adopt every possible means to defend and enlarge its own. He had been told that proceedings of this kind were an evil—that agitation was an evil. The Irish people had been quiet of late. [Laughter.] Yes, they had been quiet, as silent as the grave upon the eve of the resurrection. And when they had found Ireland slumbering and depending on the integrity of the Government, they had come like a parcel of thieves in the night, and betrayed the confidence which the Irish people had reposed in them. They despised the Irish Members opposed to this measure because they were few. They had no doubt had a few deserters, but the recruits had more than compensated for them. He thought the deserters might be called noxious weeds, which they had plucked from the soil and thrown across the wall into their neighbour's garden. He hoped he would take good care of them. Some of them had deceived them once: that had been their fault; but if they were deceived again, that would be their own fault. Well, this Catholic Defence Association would not be one of their squeaking penny whistle 580 associations whose voice was not to be respected—it would be the aggregate voice of the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom. They would form one great combination against the encroachments which were attempted on their religious freedom—they would not consent to the enslavement of their religion in the land of their birth. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) had lately told them that there were cells under the convent at Birmingham. He had inquired, and what had he found? He had found that there were a coal-hole, a wine-cellar, and a lumber-room. These might be converted into prisons, and he wished the hon. Gentleman might be six months imprisoned in one of these cells. It appeared to him that it might do him good; and if he (Mr. Reynolds) had the selection of the cells, he should say that it ought to be the wine cellar. The noble Lord at the head of the Government might rest assured that the Roman Catholics would never cease agitating until this law were abrogated, if it should ever be passed. A general election, too, was not far distant, and then an appeal would be made to the country. He felt certain that there was not a single man in Ireland friendly to religious liberty who would not use his utmost influence in preventing the return of those Members who had deserted the people's cause, by supporting Ministers in carrying through this tyrannical Bill. The votes of hon. Members would be taken to the hustings, and the people would know how to act. Men would be returned who would not only vote for the repeal of the Bill, but vote always against its authors. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) had thought the Bill went too far, and considered that it should not extend to Ireland. When he had promulgated that liberal opinion, he had heard some of the hon. and learned Gentleman's body guard grumble. It would not please the bigots outside the walls of Parliament. He said outside, for he would not for one moment insinuate that there were any bigots inside. He had been gratified when he heard the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. M. O'Ferrall) declare that the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had lost his confidence by the introduction of this Bill, and his proceedings in connexion with the matter. That declaration, however, lost much of its value afterwards, when he found the hon. Member had recorded his vote in favour of the Government on the Ceylon question. 581 The Motion on that question had been declared by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. W. Gladstone) to be one of censure on the Government; and he (Mr. Reynolds) was, therefore, right in stating that the hon. Member had not practically carried out his declaration by voting against the Ministry. He might be told that the hon. Member could not vote conscientiously against the Government on that subject. He had nothing to do with any man's conscience but his own, and he did not think that the vote he had recorded had violated it in the least. He had commenced by moving, that certain words be omitted from this clause. These words occurred in the thirtieth line; and he would conclude by repeating what he said at the commencement, that these words were not to be found in the twenty-fourth section of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, and that if they passed the clause as it was, they placed the people of Ireland in a worse position than the Act of 1829 placed them in.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "under any designation or description whatever."
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Mr. Bernal, I have seen very lately in the newspapers an address to the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin, and those who join with him in opposing this Bill, and who are complimented for so doing, and for exhibiting a "Spartan courage." These gentlemen may be entitled to the designation of "Spartan courage," but there is another quality of the Spartans in which one could wish they also excelled, and that is Spartan brevity. And the inhabitants of Youghal may have kindly meant to suggest this to the hon. Gentlemen, knowing that the laconic style was that for which the Spartans were famous, and may have intended to hold this up for imitation to the band of heroes who oppose this Bill. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Reynolds) has taken another opportunity of going into the whole of the Bill, into the subject of the State Trials, and every other subject that he could bring to bear upon it. It does not seem to me that I need follow the hon. Gentleman into all the topics of his speech. But there was one which I was surprised to hear in this House, although I hope I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. I cannot very well understand why my right hon. Friend (Mr. M. O'Ferrall), who was lately Governor of Malta, and who has stated that his confidence in the Government was 582 lost in consequence of the introduction of this Bill—I cannot understand, though I have heard it asserted more than once, why he should be called upon by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin to come down to this House, and—in a question involving the character of an individual, in which the charge is that he has been guilty of cruelty, and, instead of endeavouring to preserve the peace, has been guilty of judicial murder—give his vote upon such a question, condemning and blasting the character of the accused person, although he is convinced that the charge is not true, but merely in order to show his want of confidence in the Government. I have heard of letters desiring Irish Members to vote upon this Motion as upon a Motion of want of confidence in the Government; but until the hon. Member asserted it, I did not think that any Member of this House would avow that he had done so without being persuaded that Lord Torrington was guilty, and, without even taking the pains to make himself master of the facts, have voted, not upon the question of Papal aggression, but upon the affairs of Ceylon. With regard to the present question, which merely relates to a clause, or part of a clause, under discussion, the Committee will recollect that this is a clause which is intended to prevent the assumption of titles by Roman Catholic prelates, such as those of Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop of Clifton, and others. So far it goes beyond the words of the clause of the Roman Catholic Relief Act; but we have thought that although in the letter it may seem to go beyond that Act, yet that it is in conformity with the spirit of that Act, and that by the law, and as a matter of national policy, no foreign Power ought to be entitled to give territorial titles to prelates, whether such titles were in exact identity with the titles of existing bishops of the Established Church or not. That is the simple question that we bring before the consideration of the Committee; and the hon. Gentleman, as I have said over and over again, is mistaken in supposing that in endeavouring to defend ourselves against this aggression, we are doing any thing that very much changes the state of matters in Ireland, because the Roman Catholic bishops there are named from sees that now exist. And if it is not lawful for Roman Catholic prelates to take the titles of Archbishop of Armagh, and Archbishop of Dublin, I do not see why it 583 should not be unlawful for them to assume the title of Archbishop of Tuam. I do not see any sense or justice in making that distinction. The hon. Gentleman says the Irish bishops may disregard the law. But although there is no position more agreeable or more lucrative than that of a modern martyr, yet if Dr. M'Hale thinks fit to incur the penalties of this Bill, he must be allowed to do so. The words "under any designation or description whatever," are not, I allow, in the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act; but then that Act pointed to a direct offence, which was that of assuming a particular title, like that of Archbishop of Dublin or Armagh. What we propose to guard against is, not the same offence, but the offence of taking territorial titles by some indirect evasion—not the same titles as those of Protestant archbishops and bishops, but which are in spirit territorial titles. These words, which the hon. Member proposes to omit, maybe useful, and it is desirable that there should be no evasion of this clause, and that, under whatever designation, no territorial title should be assumed. I do not know that these words add much to the force of the clause, but they add something to its meaning, and therefore I am not prepared to agree to their omission.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
begged to explain, that in referring to the vote on the Ceylon debate, he had not alluded to it in the sense which the noble Lord understood him. He had not given his vote simply out of hostility to the Government, but he had read the evidence on the affairs of Ceylon, and he had satisfied his own mind upon the merits of the case, and that Lord Torrington deserved unmitigated censure.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
What I alluded to was the hon. Gentleman's attack upon the right hon Gentleman (Mr. M. O'Ferrall) for not joining in that vote. If the hon. Gentleman was satisfied, let him vote against the Government; but why should he blame and censure any other Member of this House who, after conscientiously reading the evidence, came to the conclusion that Lord Torrington was not guilty of the charges brought against him?
§ MR. ROCHE
dissented from the view taken by the hon. Member for the city of Dublin with regard to the conduct of the right hon. Member for Longford (Mr. M. O'Ferrall). He (Mr. Roche) voted on the Ceylon question with the hon. Member for 584 the city of Dublin, but he did so with regard to the merits of the case. He had as little confidence in the Government, with regard to this measure, as they (the Irish Roman Catholic Members) had; but let them not read him a lecture, and say that he was an invariable friend or follower of the Government. With regard to the question now before the Committee, he thought the noble Lord should accede to the proposal. They did not ask that the Roman Catholic bishops should have the power of styling themselves bishops or archbishops of such and such places, but that they should have the power of styling themselves superintendents of a district, as the Wesleyans did, or moderators, as the Presbyterians did. That proposition was so moderate, that he could not understand how the Government could refuse it. This refusal showed a determination to go on in the old persecuting spirit, and so long as they did persist in that course, it was impossible that he could give such a Government his confidence, or that it could have the confidence of the people of Ireland.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, that it was impossible for any Irish Member, feeling as he did, to listen in silence to the speech of the hon. Member for Dublin. The hon. Member had asked him whether he would be willing to be a party to measures of injustice, intolerance, or cruelty, against any portion of his fellow-countrymen. He had no hesitation in replying that he would not. The line of argument adopted by the hon. Member was certainly a very peculiar one. He proceeded altogether upon the assumption that the principle upon which the present Bill, or any measure similar to it, must be founded, must be one of bigotry, tyranny, and intolerance, towards Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. Now, he would take leave to say that he (Mr. Whiteside) entirely dissented from the assumption of the hon. Member. He did not believe that there was any injustice or persecution intended by the present measure; nor did he believe that it would be oppressive in its operation, as the hon. Member seemed to apprehend. The hon. Gentleman had, on a previous occasion, when alluding to a celebrated State trial in which he (Mr. Whiteside) had borne a humble part, pronounced a glowing eulogium on the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham), for his manly vindication of what the hon. Member was pleased to call the rights and liberties of the Catholic people of Ireland. But he must take leave 585 to remind the hon. Member that in that prosecution of the late Mr. O'Connell, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon was the prosecutor. The bill of indictment against the traversers in that case, was said at the time to be a bill of indictment against a nation; but lie distinctly remembered that the grounds upon which the defence of the Ministry against that charge was rested, were these, that when a breach of the law was committed, the greater the number of those who took part in it, the more urgent was the necessity that the Government should vindicate the authority of the law, and the sovereignty of the Crown. The hon. Member would have the House believe that the effect of this Bill would be to deprive the people of Ireland of certain rights, liberties, and privileges, which they at present lawfully possessed. If that assertion could be proved, he would pledge himself at once to record his vote on the same side of the question with the hon. Gentleman. But he did not believe that the proposition advanced by the hon. Member was capable of demonstration. He denied that there was anything in this Bill at all antagonistic to the spirit of the Emancipation Act. He would rather say that the party of the hon. Gentleman himself was the first to violate the spirit of that Act, by not observing its provisions and stipulations. Whatever else might be said of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, there could be no question that in the distribution of the patronage of the Crown, he had fairly and honourably carried out the principle of the Emancipation Act. There could be no greater mistake than to assert that as the law at present stood under that Act, the bishops, archbishops, and other dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, had any legal right whatsoever to territorial titles. If it could be shown that they had such a right either by the statute law or by the common law, he would undertake to vote against the Bill. But he denied that this was so; if ever the law was clear and intelligible, the statute law was clear and simple on this matter. The statute of præmunire passed in the time of Richard II., and the Act passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, were at this moment in full force in Ireland; and by those statutes it was expressly enacted, that advisedly to maintain the spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope in those realms, was a breach of the law, and that to accept a commission from the Pope, and to act 586 upon it in these realms, was a statutable offence. It was under these statutes that the counsel for the Crown had proceeded in the celebrated case of the King against Lalor, to which such frequent allusion had been made in these debates—a prosecution which had been conducted by a lawyer who was worthy to have lived in the age of Bacon, and of Coke. Nothing could he more absurd than to maintain that the statute of Richard II., passed in Roman Catholic times for the protection of the national independence of the country, was inapplicable to the preservation of that independence in modern times. The hon. Member for Dublin would do well to bear in mind the oath which he (Mr. Whiteside) had taken at the table of that House. He had sworn that the Pope of Rome had not, and ought not to have, spiritual jurisdiction within these realms. That oath he believed to be true, and he would religiously keep it.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
That might be a reason why the hon. Gentleman should be free to propound his own opinions, for which he alone was responsible; but this was a Protestant country. [Cries of "No, no!" from Roman Catholic Members.] The constitution of the country was essentially Protestant, and Members who took the oath which he (Mr. Whiteside) had taken were bound in honour and in conscience to preserve inviolate, so far as in them lay, the Protestant institutions of the realm. Again, he repeated, it was a monstrous fallacy to represent that this Bill would deprive the Roman Catholic hierarchy of any right or privilege which they were now legally entitled to. During the reign of James I., there were no such persons as bishops or archbishops of the Roman Catholic Church supposed to be in existence in Ireland; and by the Acts of William and Anne, their existence was ignored in Ireland. The first measure that was introduced for the relief of the Roman Catholics was the 21 & 22 of Geo. III., and by the 8th sec. of that Act it was expressly provided that no Roman Catholic bishop should assume a territorial title. In the Act by which the College of Maynooth was established, the 35 Geo. III., the Roman Catholic bishops who were appointed to act as trustees of that institution were not described by territorial titles, but were simply designated as O'Reilly, of Drogheda, Doctor in Di- 587 vinity, and Troy, of Dublin, Doctor in Divinity. The prelates in question did not, nor did any other prelates of the Roman Catholic Church, quarrel with these designations. No dissatisfaction whatsoever was expressed on the part of the Roman Catholic body in Ireland with that enactment, except in the ease of one remarkable petition presented by Mr. Grattan from a large number of Irish Roman Catholics, who called upon the Irish Parliament to throw open the College of Maynooth not merely to clerical students of the Roman Catholic persuasion, but also to those of the Protestant faith, on the grounds that the separate education of the Roman Catholic and Protestant youth would be injurious to the happiness and prosperity of the country. It would be very difficult to discover from the 10th George IV. how it gave oven by implication territorial titles to Romish ecclesiastics; because it created a penalty for the encroachment of assuming such titles, and that was no proof that the encroachment was legal before that statute passed. The common law, whenever it had been appealed to on this question in Ireland, which had not unfrequently happened, had invariably ruled against the right of a Roman Catholic bishop to assume territorial designation, or to exercise legal episcopal jurisdiction. On more than one occasion Roman Catholic laymen, who had been excommunicated, or threatened with excommunication, by Roman Catholic bishops, had appealed for protection to the common law of their country; and it had, in every instance, been ruled that the plea which the Roman Catholic bishops insisted on, of a right to exercise a territorial and episcopal jurisdiction, could not be sustained. In one case, a Roman Catholic layman brought an action of defamation against his bishop, who was titularly described as the Right Rev. Peter MacLoughlin, Bishop of Raphoe. The counsel who conducted the cause for the plaintiff stated the law with accuracy and precision; and the learned Judge, in his charge to the jury, laid it down, inmost express terms, that a Roman Catholic bishop was incompetent to exercise a territorial episcopal jurisdiction, and that his assumption of a right to punish his parishioners by excommunication was a violation of the law, and a usurpation upon the rights of the bishops of the Church of England. It was also worthy of remark, that in another case, where a Roman Catholic priest named Crotty had brought an 588 action of defamation against his bishop, the Right Rev. Dr. O'Shaughnessy, the learned counsel who prepared the plea of the bishop in that case (Sir Michael O'Loughlin), himself a distinguished Roman Catholic, had been most particular in the selection of language in his pleading which did not recognise the prelate in question as the bishop of the diocese, and this he did in conformity with legal principle. In that case the defence of the Roman Catholic bishop was, that what he had done was sanctioned by the rights, the usages, and the canon law of the Church of Rome; but the successful rejoinder of the plaintiff was, that the rights, the usages, and the canon law of the Church of Rome, were unknown to the constitution of England, and the decision of the court rested upon that settled principle. He would take leave to assure the Roman Catholic Members who opposed this Bill, that they were more deeply interested in maintaining the law in its present position than Protestants could possibly be. If the canon law of the Church of Rome were to be carried out in Ireland, in the same spirit in which he had seen it carried out at Rome, the liberties of Her Majesty's Catholic subjects would indeed be endangered. But, happily for them, the law of England guaranteed to them liberty of action, of thought, of speech, and of study, and only required that no insidious aggression should be attempted upon that Protestantism which was the vital and fundamental principle of the constitution. For his own part he could declare, with unaffected sincerity, that it was not for Ireland only that he desired liberty of action and of conscience; he would have it extended to Rome. He hoped he was not so selfish as to wish to limit the operation of freedom to the narrow circle within which it was his destiny to move. He appreciated the blessing too highly not to desire that it should be permanent and universal.
§ MR. MONSELL
hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, would pardon him if he said that a manifest fallacy ran through the whole of his argument. The Roman Catholics did not ask that House to recognise their bishops or archbishops—all they asked was that that House would not prevent them from recognising their authority and titles. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to the Act of Parliament establishing the College of Maynooth, and 589 said that the bishops were described simply as Doctors of Divinity of such a place; but he must be aware that to have described them as bishops of sees would have been a distinct recognition on the part of the Government of those sees by the law, which was more than they demanded. He would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman also as to the policy of Mr. Pitt, that so far from its being such as the hon. and learned Gentleman would recommend, in 1792, on a most remarkable occasion, there was a large Catholic meeting in Dublin, and two Roman Catholic bishops then signed their names to the address to the Throne—one as Dr. Troy, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the other as Dr. Moylan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork; and that address was presented to the King on his throne in the most solemn manner by Mr. Dundas, who also introduced those Roman Catholic bishops at the same time to the King. The hon. and learned Gentleman was also in error as to the Act of Richard II. and Lalor's Case. That case was the only illustration afforded by the legal talent of that House, and if it broke down, it was an important point against the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument. Now, was the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that one of the counts of the indictment against Lalor was that there was a letter found in his pocket signed "Richard Lalor, vicar-apostolic of the sees of Dublin, Meath (he believed), and Kildare?" So that Lalor was proceeded against, not as a territorial bishop, but as a vicar-apostolic; and if his case were relied on, it would be a good ground for proceeding against a vicar-apostolic—though hon. Gentlemen said to that title they did not object. And now as to the statute of Richard II., Lord Lyndhurst, in introducing into the House of Lords the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, had spoken of it thus:—By the statute of Richard II. the introduction and publication of any Bull directed against the Sovereign or Government for any political purposes, subjected parties to the penalties of prœmunire;and Hallam, the historian, in his Constitutional History, said—The statute of prœmunire, which subjects all persons bringing Papal bulls for translation of bishops, and other enumerated purposes, into the kingdom, to the penalties of forfeiture and imprisonment;—this act received, and was probably designed to receive, a larger interpretation than its language appears to warrant. 590 Combined with the Statute of Provisions, it put a stop to the Pope's usurpation of patronage, which had impoverished the Church and kingdom of England for nearly two centuries.And it must be notorious to the hon. and learned Gentleman that the only things prohibited by that statute were the introduction of Bulls for translating bishops against their will from one see to another, and of Bulls for the excommunication of persons who did not follow the mandates of the Pope. He could not conceive how anybody could rely on the statute of Richard II., and Lalor's case as a ground for preventing the Roman Catholic subjects of this kingdom from being governed by bishops, who did not take a shilling out of the pocket of anybody except of those who chose to give it to them. With regard to the Motion made by the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, he thought it very strange that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) should offer any objection to it. The hon. Member for the city of Dublin wished to make the clause similar in its operation to the Act of 1829; and the hon. and learned Member, who insisted that the Act of 1829 ought not to be altered, thought himself consistent in opposing the Motion. As to the refusal to adopt this most moderate request, it was only an additional confirmation of the determination of the present majority of that House not to listen to reason or argument on this subject—a determination that must inevitably deprive them of the affection and confidence of one-third of Her Majesty's subjects in the United Kingdom; and after long years of struggling Parliament would be obliged eventually to retrace its steps with ignominy,
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
repudiated the idea of the Roman Catholic Members taking counsel of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Whiteside) as to what would be best for them. The hon. and learned Member had spoken of what he had seen at Rome; but a great deal of his work had been compiled from handbooks got up by persons entirely ignorant on the subject, and strongly bigoted against the Roman Catholic religion. The Roman Catholics of Ireland had certainly not, as the hon. Member had charged them with doing, broken any of the conditions of the Emancipation Act. There had, at all events, been no cardinal appointed in Ireland, and why, then, should that country be included in the Bill? At the same time he was not to be understood as admitting that 591 those conditions were broken by anything that had occurred in England; nor did he wish in any way to disassociate the case of Ireland from that of the Catholics of England in the present juncture. With regard to the often quoted and much talked about statutes of præmunire, the hon. and learned Member, great as was his legal knowledge, would surely not attempt to set it against that of Lord Lynd-hurst, as just quoted by his hon. Friend behind him. He (Mr. J. O'Connell) had, of course, no pretension to have his own opinion in so important a question of law paid much attention to; yet he should say that on as careful a perusal as he could give to what were called the statutes of præmunire and provisors, he could not sec how the judgment of the noble and learned Lord just alluded to, to the effect that those statutes had merely a political application, would be questioned. The first of these statutes was, he believed, the 35th Edward I., the title and purport of which is set out to be that "religious persons shall send nothing beyond sea;" meaning that they should not send monies to Rome, or ecclesiastical establishments abroad. Then came statutes of Edward the Third, to the same effect, one of which, statute 6 of the 25th year of his reign, is considered the leading statute as to præmunire, and its heading is as follows:—"The King and other Lords shall present unto benefices of their own or their ancestors' foundation, and not the Bishop of Rome." Here, then, it was distinct that temporalities were the object aimed at. The 3rd of Richard II., ch. 2, enacted—That none shall take procuracy, letters of attorney, nor farm, nor other administration of any benefice within the realm; but only of the king's people of this realm.And then followed the 7th Richard II., chap. 12, and the 12th of the same king, chap. 15, the one forbidding an alien to purchase benefices, and the other forbidding the lieges from going over sea to provide or purchase them. And, finally, with regard to the 16th Richard H., the particular statute most urged by hon. Members opposite, it was introduced with the following declaration, viz., that—It was demanded of the Lords spiritual their advice and will, they being severally examined, making protestations that it is not their intention to say nor affirm that their Holy Father, the Pope, cannot excommunicate bishops, nor that he may not make translation of prelates after the law of the holy Church—answered and said 'that trans- 592 lation of prelates, which prelates be very profitable to the King, or any other of his lieges, whereby the treasure of the Realm is consumed, &c., were unlawful,' and so forth.And the words of the preamble of the same statute which, the hon. Member for Midhurst had omitted as of no consequence, also referred specially to the money-loss by such translations of bishops, and showed in the same way that temporalities, and not spiritualities, were the main object of those statutes. He (Mr. J. O'Connell) much regretted that the hon. Member for Youghal, instead of lending the aid of his legal knowledge to the Government to enable them to put fetters round the Catholic bishops in matters of charitable and religious trusts, had not repeated in that House the able argument in his last legal pamphlet, where he showed that there was really no high law authority for the assertion that the Crown of England had before the Reformation controlled the Church in spirituals. In his pamphlet the hon. Member had shown that in Comyn's Digest the assertion to that effect was totally unsupported; and, indeed, the very references in the margin of Comyn's work would be found to be cases where the civil power had interfered merely as to the temporalities of certain parishes in dispute. He would not delay the House longer on this point than to say that, without presuming to put forward his own opinion in any comparison with those of Gentlemen learned and practised in the law, he did not think some learned Gentlemen could have looked as closely into the Statute-book on these points as was to be desired, or they could not have attempted to deny the entire spiritual supremacy of the Pope before the Reformation, and the spiritual independence of the Church in England as elsewhere. Returning to the Motion actually in debate, he would say, that the noble Lord had talked of Spartan courage, and Spartan brevity, but there was another Lacedemonian quality, of which he had made no mention. The Spartan youth were encouraged to steal, if they could only do it without being discovered; and he looked upon the noble Lord as having tried to let the words complained of by the right hon. Member for Dublin steal into the Bill without detection. The effect of these words would be to make the Bill reach much further than he professed it to be his intention. These words would, in point of fact, render the Bequests Act an entire nullity. The introduction also of 593 the word "district" would render the appointment of even vicars-apostolic impossible. Surely the phrase "territory, city, town, or province" was sufficiently extensive. That part of the sentence which the Amendment proposed to leave, viz., the words "any other designation or description whatsoever," would, he thought, inevitably reach and render null the construction of the 15th section of the Bequests Act, under which at present the succession of Catholic bishops in their sees had received a quasi recognition for purposes of trusts. If the Government were sincere in their often-repeated declaration that they did not want to touch purely spiritual acts and authority, why did they not themselves propose some special form of words to guarantee the Catholics from the effect of the general construction and tendency of the clauses of this Bill? He implored of the noble Lord to consider the matter during the approaching recess; and, if he could not agree to the present most reasonable Amendment, to let it at any rate stand over till the Bill came on again after Whitsuntide, that the reasonable doubts and fears of the Catholics might be shown to have received due consideration. But how much better if now, even now, at the eleventh hour, the excellent and statesmanlike counsel of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Ripon, were adopted, and this wantonly insulting measure were altogether postponed. The part that the right hon. Member had had in the State trials of 1844 was thrown in the teeth of the Irish Members by the hon. Member for Enniskillen; but he (Mr. J. O'Connell) declared, as one of the persons imprisoned—and he believed he spoke also the sentiments of all the rest who still survived and knew that he did so, the sentiments of those who had departed—that they had long since dismissed from their breast every feeling of bitterness whatever towards the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Graham), or towards the memory of that right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), whose loss the three kingdoms had so greatly deplored. Had that right hon. Gentleman survived, he was convinced that no statesman could have ventured upon the false and injurious policy which had been adopted by the Ministry. He hoped the other right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Graham), who had had the manliness to protest against this miserable attempt to renew religious persecution, would go on in the noble course he had 594 begun, and he would obtain at last the applause of even bigoted England. The hon. Member for Dublin had been taunted for uttering threats; but he had not done so further than to remind them that, strong as the oppressors may be, and weak and powerless as the oppressed may seem, Providence in its own good time will often make the weak and the lowly the instrument of chastisement to the haughty and the proud. Let them not forget that New Ireland that was rising on the shores of America, and endanger our friendly relations with the vast country across the Atlantic by their oppression of the sister isle. Above all, let not England, when she had summoned a world to admire her boundless resources, her almost fabulous magnificence, and the gigantic progress which she had made in the arts, in the sciences, and in the attributes of civilised life—let her not, he said, hold up to its astonished indignation one of the worst precedents of the darkest, most persecuting, and the most barbarous ages.
§ Question put "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 107; Noes 38: Majority 69.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
Sir, the main and the chief aggressive act is the Rescript, and not the assumption of the title. The mass of those who have petitioned this House regard the Rescript as the source of offence—the chief cause of the turmoil that has been excited in this kingdom. Why? Because the Rescript strikes at the prerogative of the Crown by pretending to confer territorial titles within the kingdom, and invades the supremacy of the Legislature by attempting to establish jurisdictions within the realm. Who can deny that, by the constitution of this empire, the Crown alone is the source of honours and of titles? Who can assert that the power of binding by law the subjects of the Queen does not belong exclusively to the Crown, Lords, and Commons—the Parliament of the United Kingdom? I state in my Amendment "within the United Kingdom." I do not deny that the position of Ireland is peculiar: though the question is a difficult and a delicate one, the bearing of the Amendment on the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland must be considered. The existence of such Church cannot he ignored—it is an Episcopal Church; it has bishops and priests—an hierarchy which has 595 the power of order, through which the spiritual functions are derived; but it has not the power of jurisdiction—an obvious distinction, strongly pointed out in 1808, when Lord Grenville introduced the question of Catholic Emancipation in the House of Lords; and by not keeping in view this distinction, much confusion occurs in debate. I deny that my Amendment touches the existing status of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland; it leaves intact the rights and privileges, the usages and customs, of that Church; but the prerogative of the Crown and the supremacy of the Legislature necessarily extend over the United Kingdom: it must be so, and I deny the power of the Roman Catholic Church to invade the prerogative of the Crown by creating territorial titles—I deny the power of jurisdiction in that Church, "licere Jura," or to establish jurisdictions within this realm without the authority of Parliament. Who desires to invade the rights of the Roman Catholic Church, so far as such rights are derived through the power of orders which an hierarchy can alone create, and a Legislature cannot destroy? Who wishes to meddle with Bishop Wiseman peaceably discharging his spiritual functions as Bishop of Roman Catholics in and about London? No one. But when a great officer of state of a foreign Power, a Cardinal, appears in the realm, armed with a Rescript from the See of Rome conferring territorial titles, and carving out the realm into jurisdictions, it is right to repress such acts by legislation. These acts may have emanated from a foreign influence, or, as the Earl of Shrewsbury states in the Appendix to his pamphlet, there may be an hostile influence at Rome emanating from this country, which means no good to the empire; but it has ever been the policy of the Imperial Legislature to meet such attempts by suitable enactments. In the time of Elizabeth the penalties of high treason and præmunire were enacted or in force; indeed, only previous to 1846 it was treason to have procured or put in use the Rescript of September 1850. The 9 & 10 Vic. c. 59, it is true, has repealed the penalties of the 13 Elizabeth; but the repealing Act expressly declares that nothing in that Act shall make it lawful to procure or publish bulls, briefs, &c. I contend, however, there should be no ambiguity in the law: if you mean the law to be a rule of action to guide the subjects of the Queen, the offence should be clearly 596 and distinctly declared, and a certain and a moderate penalty should be applied. Why seek out an offence in the preambles of ancient statutes? Why find the penalty in statutable misdemeanors, punishable by fines and imprisonment? What amount of fine—what sort of imprisonment? Discretion, so admirable in a legislator, is a crooked cord for a magistrate, according to a high authority. My Amendment is prospective: it states the offence—a moderate penalty is applied; it anticipates the necessity of future legislation; it prevents the recurrence of acts which have caused confusion in the kingdom, and has arrested the progress of public business; it vindicates the authority of the Crown; it asserts the supremacy of the Legislature, and the independence of the nation.
After the words 'United Church,' to insert, 'or if any person after the passing of this Act shall obtain or cause to he procured from the said Bishop or See of Rome, or shall publish or put in use within any part of the United Kingdom, any Bull, Brief, Rescript, Letters Apostolical, or any other instrument or writing for the purpose of creating any Archbishop or Bishop named from any Province or Sec, or with Titles derived from places within the United Kingdom.'
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
wished to remind the Committee of what had already occurred on this subject. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), after much consideration, gave notice before Easter of a Motion similarly worded to that which the hon. and learned Member for Evesham (Sir H. Willoughby) had just proposed. Nobody doubted either the learning or the ability of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst; and if any such clause as this was to be proposed, it would be fitly placed in his hand, and would come from him with all the weight which his abilities would impart to it. But the hon. and learned Gentleman himself perceived there were such difficulties in applying the clause to Ireland, that he wished to confine it to this part of the United Kingdom. In the first place, the hon. and learned Attorney General objected to the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst's clause, as creating a new offence with a specific penalty, and that if the House adopted it they would create two offences instead of one. He (Lord John Russell) had also stated that he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman's clause carried the Act beyond its original intention, and that 597 it went beyond the 10th of George IV., on which Government proposed to base the present Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), and other hon. Members likewise, objected to any distinction being made in the law between England and Ireland; and the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, not liking to adhere to his original words, and seeing the force of all these objections, consented to give up the words which he had intended to propose. Such being the state of the case, he (Lord John Russell) must confess that he thought it would have been much better if the Committee had not been again asked to agree to these words by the hon. Member for Evesham. He owned he had felt very strongly the objections urged by his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, that by adopting the clause proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst they would create an additional offence, and one which it might be found there would be some difficulty in prosecuting. It would probably be very difficult to discover who had procured a Bull or Rescript, and who were the parties who had put it in force. They might not be able to procure any evidence that would enable them to say who originally put in use such Bull or Rescript. No doubt they might find that such Rescript, Brief, or Letters Apostolic were printed, probably in a newspaper, but it would hardly be desirable that the Government should, under such circumstances, institute a prosecution against a newspaper, which might have obtained the document from some source or other with a desire to circulate news in the country, and might also, perhaps, insert it with a very hostile purpose. Seeing, therefore, these objections, and wishing to confine and to limit as much as possible any punishment under this Bill, and not wishing in fact to create any now offences and new punishments beyond those of the present law, or beyond the spirit of the 10th of George IV., he certainly should oppose the introduction of this Amendment.
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
said, he wished to explain the course which he intended to pursue on the proposed Amendment. The Committee would remember that he had himself proposed to introduce certain Amendments into the preamble and into the first clause of the Bill, which were directed to extending it beyond the more declaration against the particular Rescript which had been introduced into England, 598 and to make it applicable to all similar Rescripts which might have been introduced into any part of the United Kingdom. He had been pressed very much from several quarters not to persevere with his Amendments, because they would interfere with the Amendment to be proposed by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole); and he yielded to the application made to him, stating at the same time that if the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend should not be carried, it was his determination to bring up on the Report the Amendments which he had himself originally proposed. Although very much indebted to his hon. and learned Friend for the pains which he had taken with this Bill, and for the first clause, which now constituted part of the Bill, but which never would have been included but for his hon. and learned Friend's suggestion, yet he certainly had felt some disappointment when he found that his learned Friend had changed the character of his Amendment by altering the words "the United Kingdom" to "the kingdom of England," or making it apply to that part of the kingdom only. He (Sir F. Thesiger) pointed out the objection he felt to the course then pursued, and his hon. and learned Friend was induced not to persevere in his Amendment. His hon. Friend the Member for Evesham (Sir H. Willoughby), had now brought forward a similar Amendment, and undoubtedly that Amendment followed out to a considerable extent the view which he (Sir F. Thesiger) had always taken, because, if this Amendment was carried, it certainly would go far to assist him to carry, on the Report being brought up, the Amendments which he proposed to introduce in the declaratory (the first) clause of the Bill, and in the preamble. Therefore, although he could have wished his hon. Friend had waited till the Report had been brought up, to ascertain whether his (Sir F. Thesiger's) Amendments were carried or not before he brought forward his Amendment, which would then be very well introduced by his (Sir F. Thesiger's) Amendments, if they were agreed to—yet, inasmuch as his hon. Friend had thought it his duty to offer his Amendment to the Committee at the present time, he felt that he could not, consistently with the course which he had hitherto adopted, refuse to support his hon. Friend. Now, the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had all along pointed out to them what the course of their legislation 599 ought to be with regard to what was called "the Papal aggression;" and in his memorable letter, which had been so often referred to, he had told them what it was they should direct their attention to. The noble Lord said—There is an assumption of power in all the documents which come from Rome—a pretension of supremacy over the realm of England—a claim of sole and undivided sway, which is inconsistent with the Queen's supremacy, with the rights of our bishops and clergy, and with the spiritual independence of the nation as asserted even in Roman Catholic times.That passage indicated the course of legislation originally contemplated by the noble Lord; and certainly nothing could exceed the disappointment which the hopes raised by that letter sustained when this Bill was seen as it was originally introduced into Parliament. The Bill had to a certain extent been amended and strengthened in the way he had stated by the adoption of the suggestions of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst; but by adopting these suggestions and leaving the Bill in its present shape, it was now in the most inconsistent condition that could possibly be imagined; because the noble Lord, having all along told them that his intention was that his legislation should be consistent and uniform in every part of the kingdom, and that he meant to apply the same law to Ireland as he applied to the rest of the United Kingdom, the mode in which he has shaped his Bill was this—that the preamble referred only to the particular Rescript which was applicable to England, the declaratory enactment applied only to the same part of the United Kingdom, and to the Rescript which had been introduced here. And now the noble Lord opposed an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Evesham, the effect of which was to declare illegal, and subject to a penalty, all similar Bulls, Briefs, Rescripts, and Letters Apostolical which might be introduced into any part of the United Kingdom. Now, if the noble Lord meant to be consistent in his legislation, and that it should be efficient for the purpose for which he professed to intend it, it was perfectly clear that it would never do to leave the law in the uncertain and unsatisfactory state in which it would be left if this Bill passed in the form in which it was now before the Committee. Because it must be obvious to everybody that, inasmuch as 600 it had been stated over and over again, that the only reason why the law was not put in force against this aggression, and why the parties who were instrumental in forwarding it were not punished by the existing law was, that the law was in an obsolete state, and it would not be right to awaken it from its slumbers in the Statute-book, and bring it suddenly into operation against the parties who had offended against it. Now, what did the noble Lord do by leaving the Bill in its present condition? Did he in the slightest degree remove the objection of the obsoleteness of the law? The statutes of Richard II. and of Elizabeth, they were told, were existing laws, but could not be put into force in the present instance, because of the supposed hardship of reviving dormant statutes. Well, then, were they to be brought into use at any future day, or were they to remain as previously dead letters upon the Statute-book, and only to be applicable in case of any encroachment of a similar character which might hereafter be attempted against this country? Surely the better course to take, if the intention of the noble Lord was that any similar Rescripts introduced into this country in future should be subject to the penal provisions of this Bill, would be to state it on the face of the Bill itself, and to declare and provide expressly against any possibility of supposing that there was no law which could be applied to these particular encroachments; and, by adopting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Evesham, to declare that the introduction of any similar Rescript into the United Kingdom should be subject to the penalties provided for them by the law. His object was to make the Bill uniform and consistent: therefore every vote he gave, and every effort he made, would be directed to that object; and he had hopes that, by perseverance, he should attain his end, and at least be enabled to have a Bill which would meet all the objects he had in view with regard to this particular aggression, or to any future aggression. On these grounds he should support the present Amendment, because it was clear they were pursuing an inconsistent, uncertain, and unsatisfactory course, if they left the Bill in its present shape, as it was the obvious intention of the Government to leave it. Considering the Amendment of his hon. Friend a step in the right direction for attaining that object, he should give it his most cordial support.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he 601 would not quarrel with the intentions of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon to maintain his own consistency; but he must say that he could not for the life of him see any substantial distinction between this Amendment and that which had been proposed by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole); and therefore he could only repeat the objections which he had urged against the proposition in the first instance. He maintained, in opposition to his hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger), that the Bill would be a perfectly consistent and uniform Bill without this Amendment. The professed object and scope of the Bill was to prevent the assumption of ecclesiastical titles; and the clause as it stood struck at the assumption of these titles. It would be idle to legislate to create a new offence subject to new penalties, unless they could carry the law into effect. It would be impossible to obtain evidence to convict persons procuring and causing the circulation of Papal Rescripts; for it was not likely the agents of the Holy See would conduct their proceedings in the open and avowed manner which would enable the proposed penalties to be put in force against them. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had alluded to the form in which the publication would probably take place, namely, in the newspapers; but surely they would not prosecute a newspaper on such a ground. The "putting in use" of the Rescript was merely subordinate and ancillary to the assumption of the titles, and it was inseparably combined with their assumption. Then why should they constitute two separate offences, liable to two separate penalties? The putting in use of the Rescript, and the assumption of the titles under it, were really and substantially but one offence; because the Rescript was mere waste paper without the assumption of the titles; and, therefore, what their legislation ought to do was to strike at the titles. The document could only be put in use in one way, and that was for the purpose of assuming the title. Why, then, punish for the assuming the title, and also for putting the Bull in use? They might as well make the penalty 200l. instead of 100l., at once, because they would be splitting one offence into two, and visiting it with a twofold penalty. The Bill, as it stood at present, placed the assumption of new titles on the same footing as the assumption of former titles 602 were placed by the 10th George IV.; but if the proposed Amendment were adopted, the new assumed titles would be different from the old, and the Bill would go beyond the 10th George IV., upon which it was based. For these reasons he called upon the Committee to reject this Amendment.
§ MR. FRESHFIELD
said, there might be two offences—the one the assumption of the title, and the other the obtaining the Bull; and the Bull might or might not be put in use by the same individual. They were two distinct offences, and were properly punishable by two separate penalties. If the hon. and learned Attorney General's argument was good, what became of the case of Lalor, which was a case of assuming a title, and also of obtaining and using a Papal Bull? It might happen that a person negotiated to obtain a Bull, and yet might not succeed in putting it in force; yet the obtaining it ought to be punished. He should cordially support the Amendment.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, the present Amendment was essentially different from that of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst. The hon. and learned Attorney General argued as if the whole of the Bill consisted of the second clause, and seemed to forget that the new offence, if not created, was at least an act forbidden by the preamble and the first clause, which the hon. and learned Gentleman had himself contended was general and declaratory, and consequently applicable to the United Kingdom. The Amendment, therefore, was nothing but the carrying out of the preamble and the first clause, which the Government had already adopted. It had been said that it might be difficult to prove the procuring or publication of Bulls or Rescripts; but he would also remind the Committee that it might not be a very easy thing to prove the assumption of titles. But the value of the Amendment was that it was entirely prospective, and not retrospective, and left the state of things in Ireland untouched. These were the reasons which induced him to support the Amendment.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
thought that hon. Gentlemen who said the Bill was inconsistent, did not understand the principle upon which it was framed; that they were keeping in mind some other principle upon which they had wished to see it framed. What was the object of the Bill? Whether the letter of the arrange- 603 ment made in 1829 of the relations between the Roman Catholic community and the Protestant had been violated or not (which was a matter of doubt) by Roman Catholic bishops taking English territorial titles, not from existing sees of bishops of the Established Church. Now the spirit, if not the letter, of that agreement was violated by the late Bull of the Pope. But the Rescript was not only an evasion of the compact of 1829, it was also offensive in its frame and manner, claiming (as it did) authority and jurisdiction over the kingdom which had not been known or recognised for three centuries previously; and these two things were intended to be dealt with by the Bill. The present Bill recited that the act done was illegal and void, and no one seemed to dispute that. But then it had to deal with the breach of the compact, and that was done by the second clause; but it was thought better not to proceed beyond the compact of 1829, but to impose the same penalty as in the Act of 1829. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) preferred a declaratory clause to a recital, and to that the Government consented. But then, said a right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), there was an inconsistency, inasmuch as this was either rendering or leaving the Ross Rescript valid. There would rather be inconsistency in adopting the words now proposed; they would impose a new penalty instead of resting on the law of 1829, which left the Acts of Richard II. and Elizabeth intact. And as he had argued before, so he contended now, that if they distinctly declared one instrument in particular to be illegal and void, they most strongly declared invalid all similar instruments. Accept, however, the Amendment, and the House would introduce a new principle and a new penalty, and would thus go beyond the 10th of George IV. He put it to the Committee, whether, if it were made unlawful for Cardinal Wiseman to sign his name as such in any instrument or document, he would not lose all his authority, if by procuring others to address him as such, or in any other equivocal mode, he attempted to evade the law. Therefore, something was attained by preventing his using or assuming in any way the title or dignity. He believed all this was fully secured by the clause. He would call to the attention of Members, before he sat down, the effect which a division amongst those Members who conscientiously supported the Bill, would have 604 abroad, and if the large majorities in favour of the measure, of six or seven to one, which had been hitherto obtained, were now to sink to a small one.
§ MR. JOHN STUART
deeply regretted the discussion and the singular views of the Amendment taken by the hon. and learned Attorney and Solicitor General. Both were agreed that it referred to prospective acts. The first clause of the Bill referred to a Bull or Rescript already issued. The Amendment referred to Bulls, &c., hereafter to be issued. There was no good reason for putting the two offences on a different footing. It was in vain, and indeed hardly respectful, for the hon. and learned Solicitor General to say they did not understand the Bill. He wished to make the Bill prospective as well as retrospective. The second clause, as now framed, only punished the assumption of titles, but did not touch the authority which procured the importation of these Bulls.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the Amendment proposed to attach a specific penalty to the procuring of a certain class of Bulls, and bringing them into this country. Now this was an act which was already a misdemeanour under an Act of Parliament which could not be termed obsolete, for Parliament, in 1846, when it repealed the penalties, declared those Acts still in force. If the hon. and learned Gentleman thought those penalties improperly repealed, it was open to him to propose that the House should reverse the decision which it had already come to.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, the Bill, in his opinion, as it at present stood, was retrospective only, while the Amendment would make its operation co-extensive with the aggression whenever it might be made. The House ought to adopt it, unless it was prepared to legislate toties quoties, as the occasion might happen.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the Bill was prospective; penalties would attach to parties assuming these titles whenever they might attempt it.
§ Question put, "That those words be inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 129; Noes 133: Majority 4.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Arkwright, G.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Baillie, H. J.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Baldock, E. H.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Benbow, J.||Hope, H. T.|
|Bennet, P.||Hotham, Lord|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Beresford, W.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Best, J.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Jones, Capt.|
|Blakemore, R.||Kerrison, Sir E.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Knox, Col.|
|Booker, T. W.||Knox, hon. W. S.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Langton, W. H. P. G.|
|Boyd, J.||Legh, G. C.|
|Bremridge, R.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Brisco, M.||Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.|
|Broadley, H.||Lewisham, Visct.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Lockhart, W.|
|Buck, L. W.||Long, W.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Lopes, Sir R.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Child, S.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Clive, H. B.||Macnaghten, Sir E.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Colville, C. R.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Conolly, T.||Maunsell, T. P.|
|Cowan, C.||Miles, W.|
|Cubitt, W.||Moody, C. A.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Morgan, O.|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Mundy, W.|
|Disraeli, B.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Dod, J. W.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Duncuft, J.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Dundas, G.||Palmer, R.|
|Edwards, H.||Peel, Col.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Pennant, hon. Col.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Sandars, G.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Somers, J. P.|
|Freshfield, J. W.||Somerset, Capt.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Spooner, R.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Galway, Visct.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Gilpin, Col.||Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Stephenson, R.|
|Goddard, A. L.||Stuart, H.|
|Gore, W. O.||Stuart, J.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Granby, Marq. of||Tollemache, J.|
|Greenall, G.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Grogan, E.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Guernsey, Lord||Verner, Sir W.|
|Gwyn, H.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Hale, R. B.||West, F. R.|
|Halsey, T. P.||Whiteside, J.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Wigram, L. T.|
|Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Henley, J. W.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Thesiger, Sir. F.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Barron, Sir H. W.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Bass, M. T.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Bell, J.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Berkeley, Adm.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Bethell, R.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Boyle, hon. Col.|
|Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.||Brockman, E. D.|
|Brotherton, J.||M'Taggart, Sir J.|
|Brown, W.||Magan, W. H.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||Maher, N. V.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Meagher, T.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Milton, Visct.|
|Cavendish, W. G.||Monsell, W.|
|Clay, J.||Moore, G. H.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Morgan, H. K. G.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Morris, D.|
|Cockburn, Sir A, J. E.||Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Corbally, M. E.||Murphy, F. S.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Norreys, Lord|
|Crawford, W. S.||Nugent, Sir P.|
|Crawford, R. W.||O'Brien, J.|
|Dashwood, Sir G. H.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||O'Connell, J.|
|Dawes, E.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Devereux, J. T.||O'Ferrall, rt. hon. R. M.|
|Duncan, Visct.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Duncan, G.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Osborne, R.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Ellis, J.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Elliott, hon. J. E.||Parker, J.|
|Evans, J.||Power, Dr.|
|Evans, W.||Reynolds, J.|
|Fagan, J.||Ricardo, O.|
|Fergus, J.||Roche, E. B.|
|Foley, J. H. H.||Romilly, Col.|
|Forster, M.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Fox, R. M.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Freestun, Col.||Russell, F. C. H.|
|French, F.||Sadleir, J.|
|Goold, W.||Scholefield, W.|
|Grace, O. D. J.||Scully, F.|
|Greene, J.||Seymour, Lord|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Grey, R. W.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Sullivan, M.|
|Guest, Sir J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Hatchell, rt. hon. J.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Hawes, B.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Henry, A.||Thompson, Col.|
|Heyworth, L.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Hollond, R.||Trevor, hon. T.|
|Howard, Sir R.||Wakley, T.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Jackson, W.||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|Keating, R.||Williams, W.|
|Keogh, W.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Wilson, J.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Littleton, hon. E. R.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|M'Cullagh, W. T.||Hayter, W. T.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ COLONEL SIBTHORP
rose to move, by way of Amendment, that the penalty be 500l. A hundred pounds was a mere drop of water in the ocean. His Holiness the Pope would find no difficulty in sending over any sum of money that might be imposed upon the parties who violated the law, and he had no doubt the Pope would do so, for he had a better opinion of his Holiness than he had of the noble Lord at 607 the head of the Government. The Pope was not so much to blame as the noble Lord, for the measures of the Government had actually invited the Pope to commit this act of aggression. If he (Colonel Sibthorp) had been the Pope, he should have done exactly the same thing; but the last thing he should have done was to have gone to Downing-street and associated himself with the noble Lord. He did not approve of half-measures, and therefore be proposed to increase the penalty from 100l. to 500l. It would mark their sense of the grave nature of the offence the persons had committed, and would at the same time evince their veneration for the Protestant religion, and their desire to maintain the dignity of the Throne. Should his proposition be adopted, he should then propose that the offending person should he imprisoned until the penalty should have been paid, and that after payment thereof he should be banished from the United Kingdom during the period of his natural life. He would tell Cardinal Wiseman to walk out of the country. After the letter of the noble Lord at the head of the Government to the Bishop of Durham—after the vaunting speeches of the Lord Chancellor and the law officers of the Crown—after the denunciation of aggression by the noble Lord in that House, he expected something better than this most "lame and impotent conclusion." An act which entrenched upon the Royal prerogative ought not to be met in so paltry a manner. They talked about Bulls: they ought to have seized the bull by the horns—and instead of speech-making, they ought to have seized the man himself, and punished him for his audacious disloyalty. Should the Attorney General refuse to enforce the law against all offending parties, he (Colonel Sibthorp), saw no reason why any Member of that House might not move an address to the Sovereign, humbly calling upon Her to direct the law officer of the Crown to carry the law into effect for the protection of Protestantism, and for the safety and security of the Throne. It was with that feeling that he ventured to introduce the present Amendment.
To leave out 'one hundred pounds,' and to insert 'five hundred pounds.
§ Question put, "That 'one hundred pounds' stand part of the clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 199; Noes 63: Majority 136.
|List of the NOES.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Gore, W. O.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Arkwright, G.||Grogan, E.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Guernsey, Lord|
|Barrow, W. H.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Bateson, T.||Hastie, A.|
|Bennet, P.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Beresford, W.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Kerrison, Sir E.|
|Blakemore, R.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Booker, T. W.||Knox, hon. W. S.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Langton, W. H. P. G.|
|Boyd, J.||Long, W.|
|Bremridge, R.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Brisco, M.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Broadwood, H.||Maunsell, T. P.|
|Buck, L. W.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Burghley, Lord||Sandars, G.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Somerset, Capt.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Spooner, R.|
|Compton, H. C.||Stephenson, R.|
|Dod, J. W.||Stuart, J.|
|Dundas, G.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Edwards, H.||Tollemache, J.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Freshfield, J. W.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Welby, G. E.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||TELLERS.|
|Galway, Visct.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Goddard, A. L.||Gwyn, H.|
§ MR. O'FLAHERTY
said, he must request the House to listen to him on a question of privilege. As they were going out on the last division, he had gone up to ask the Chairman a question, in reply to which he (the Chairman) gave him, as he always gave hon. Members, every information in his power; but on that occasion a noble Lord, a Member of the House, interfered in such a manner as did not become him, and as interfered with the privileges and rights of a Member in asking a question which he was entitled to ask. He thought that interference was uncalled for, and was an interference with his privileges. He did not attribute discourtesy to the noble Lord, but he wished to know if he had a right to ask the question, and if it was one which ought to be answered by the Chairman. The question he put was whether, in voting on the Amendment of 500l., in the last division, he would he entitled to a second vote on the question of 100l.?
§ LORD MARCUS HILL
said, he had no hesitation in explaining the course he had taken on the occasion to which the hon. Member referred. Before the last division there had been some difficulty in clearing the House, and the Chairman had called to hon. Members to leave it and go into the lobby. Seeing a crowd of Gentlemen 609 about the table, he (Lord M. Hill) went up, and said to one of them, "Will you be good enough to go into the lobby?" Upon which the hon. Gentleman who had just made the complaint said he was asking for some information at the hands of the Chairman. He (Lord M. Hill) said, "I have nothing to do with that. I have only the orders of the Chairman to clear the House." He really did not know what they were talking about at the time. That was the whole of the circumstance.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, there was not the slightest doubt but that the noble Lord had only complied with the forms of the House; and he was quite sure those who knew the noble Lord were satisfied he had done no more. If the hon. Member was not acquainted with the forms of the House, which were not familiar to all, he would surely feel there had been some misconception in the case.
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
said, he would now move the Amendments which stood upon the paper. It was not his intention to trespass long on the time of the House in submitting to their consideration the Amendments he had to propose,—the purpose of them was so plain and intelligible, and, as it appeared to him, so fair and reasonable, that he could hardly anticipate—
§ MR. REYNOLDS
I beg to ask, Sir—["Order, order!" "Chair! chair!"]—I rise to order, Sir—I beg to ask you if it is competent for the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon to move his Amendment now, and to move an addition to the words of the second clause, we not having arrived at the end of it?
I beg to answer the hon. Member for the City of Dublin, that I have already read through the words of the clause, and, no hon. Member having risen, the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon rose in his place to move the Amendments of which notice was given.
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
believed he was in possession of the Chair, and that no hon. Gentleman was entitled to interfere with his right to address the Committee. He should, therefore, proceed to state his proposition, which was so clear and intelligible—and he believed so fair and reasonable—that he did not anticipate there would be any objection to it on the part of those hon. Gentlemen who wished to see an efficient measure passed on this subject. The clause of the Bill, as it now stood, left the recovery of these penalties 610 to be recovered as the penalties were to be recovered, by "the said recited Act," namely, the 10th of George IV., that was, by a suit to be instituted by the Attorney General. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), in proposing his Amendment, intimated his intention to allow the penalties to be recovered by an informer, and that had given rise to a great difference of opinion with respect to the two proposed systems. He (Sir F. Thesiger) had communicated with hon. Members on the subject, and found very different opinions were entertained as to the best mode of recovering the penalties. Some hon. Members were of opinion that restricting the right to institute the suit for recovery to the Attorney General would be, in effect, completely illusory, and that no Government would like to embarrass itself by instituting any suit for the recovery of penalties of this description; and that therefore the provision would in practice become a dead letter. Other hon. Gentlemen thought that if they were to leave it entirely to the informer it might give rise to extremely vexatious proceedings, and that persons from mercenary motives, or religious intolerance, might be disposed to institute prosecutions, so as to leave a great opening for fraud and collusion. In both of those objections he thought there was considerable weight. It had occurred to him to reconcile the difference of opinion prevailing on the point by suggesting a middle course, namely, to leave to the Attorney General himself the right of prosecuting which he now possessed under the 10th of George IV., known as the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, and, at the same time, to give an informer the right of instituting a suit for the recovery of penalties, under the check and control of the Attorney General. The Committee would at once perceive the importance of this Amendment. It was one thing for the Attorney General to say he would not institute a prosecution himself, and another to refuse his fiat to a respectable person who might be desirous of proceeding against an offence under this Bill. The Attorney General and the informer would be a mutual check on each other. If, in the event of the Crown neglecting to prosecute, a person of respectability, and whose motives were unquestionable, should wish to institute a suit, it would, he thought, be impossible for the Attorney General to refuse his sanction to the proceeding. The advantage of the 611 course suggested by the Amendment was, that it left the decision of the point to the Government on its responsibility. The experience derived from the working of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act showed that the provision he proposed must be introduced into the present Bill, if the Government intended it to be an efficient measure. It might be asked, certainly, why did he attempt to alter the system which existed under the 10th George IV.? It was because the power conferred by that Act on the Attorney General had never been used. The Committee would recollect a very remarkable statement made by the right hon. Member for Longford (Mr. M. O'Ferrall) on Friday. Referring to the prohibitory clause in the Emancipation Act, he said it was distinctly stated at the time to a deputation of which he was one, that the clause was inserted to meet the views of the King (George IV.) and other persons; but that it was not intended by the proposers of the Bill to carry-it into effect. It bad been clearly explained by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) that the law in Ireland, after the passing of the Act of 1829, was precisely the same as the law in England; and that it was illegal for any person to assume the titles of sees in that part of the United Kingdom. What use had been made of the power of prosecuting which the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act vested in the Attorney General? Persons had been allowed to assume the titles of sees with impunity. No attempt had been made to check them. The consequence of not putting the law in force had been the cause of all the embarrassments and confusion which had recently arisen; and the proceedings of the House with respect to this measure had been involved in inextricable difficulties by reason of the toleration which the Attorney General had extended to breaches of the law in Ireland. Having seen the consequence of leaving suits of this nature to be instituted by the Attorney General alone, no Member of the Committee who desired to make the present Bill efficient could hesitate to support the Amendment he proposed, if satisfied of its efficacy. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had truly remarked that nothing could be worse than to pass penal laws, and not to enforce them when the occasion arose. His Amendment would test the sincerity of the Government, and by the course they might pursue with re- 612 spect to it all men would know whether the penal provision contained in the Bill was intended to be efficient or nugatory. The justice and necessity of the Amendment were so apparent that be should be ashamed to occupy the attention of the Committee longer in recommending it.
After the word 'thereof,' to add 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 of Her Majesty's Advocate in Scotland, as the case may be."'
The MASTER OF THE ROLLS
said, he must oppose the Amendment. The Committee might not perhaps be aware that there were already many statutes on which actions might be brought by private individuals, to recover penalties under the sanction of the Attorney General; and there were no cases which required greater care and attention on the part of the Attorney General. He (the Master of the Rolls) ventured to say, that from the various applications made to him under those statutes during the short time he had held the office of Attorney General, that if the Committee adopted this Amendment, it would be far from having the effect which his hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger) supposed it would have. It would rather have the opposite effect, of making the Attorney General shift from himself to other persons those duties which properly devolved on him in the discharge of his official functions. He (the Master of the Rolls) believed the invariable course of all Attorney Generals was, that they would never allow actions of that sort to be brought, without having, in the first instance, primâ facie evidence that there was a foundation for instituting them. The Attorney General, in the first place, required to be convinced that there was a proper cause of action; and, in the next, that the person about to bring it should enter into a bond to pay costs in the event of its going against him. Many persons would be willing to bring these actions if they were not responsible for the costs. But the effect of the proposed restriction would be, in almost every case, to render the discretion and sanction confided to the Attorney General in such matters as a dead letter. Private individuals might bring those actions, and might bring them at their own risk and penalty, without the Attorney General stirring at all in the 613 matter. In the very ordinary case of the adulteration of coffee, such an action might he brought in the name of the Attorney General, by a private individual, with the sanction of the Attorney General; but he believed that had never been done. If the action could be brought by any private individual, the Attorney General would see it was not necessary for him to institute it, unless he was moved thereunto by some other person, and he might be tempted thus to shift the responsibility from himself to others, a state of things which he (the Master of the Rolls) believed would afford no certain security that steps would be taken for the recovery of penalties for infringements of the provisions of the Bill.
§ MR. WALPOLE
found in the statement of the right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls most convincing evidence of the necessity of adopting the Amendment. Instead of rendering the Act a dead letter, it would be the means of vivifying it. The right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls, in referring to what he supposed to be analogous cases, forgot that in them the offence did not necessarily come under the Attorney General's notice until some one suggested it to him. But the offence to which this clause referred was a public one, and, as soon as it became known, the Attorney General ought to prosecute; and, if he failed to do so, some other person should. The right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls had really urged no objection to the Amendment, except the possibility, as he imagined, of its rendering the Act a dead letter. How could it do so? The offence being a notorious one, the Crown, which was bound to protect the nation from every wrong done to it, ought to sec that no wrong was done; but if the Crown neglected that duty, then it was necessary that it should he taken up by a private individual. If the Crowa should neglect to prosecute, as had been the case under the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, the law would, indeed, become a dead letter. It was his firm belief, that if some such provision as that now proposed should not be inserted, the present Bill would become as dead a letter as the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. These reasons were sufficient to induce him to vote for the Amendment. But there was another reason which would induce him to take that course. By the law of the country there was nothing to prevent a Roman Catholic from being Attorney General or Prime Mi- 614 nister; and, without intending to say that a Roman Catholic holding either office would not act loyally, it was his opinion that the Legislature ought not to place a man in a position where his feelings would come into conflict with his duty. By giving a private individual power to prosecute, a Roman Catholic Attorney General would be rescued from what all must admit to he a painful position. He had abandoned some of his proposed Amendments, and displeased his friends by doing so; but on this point he would stand firmly. If Government should not adopt the Amendment, an impression would immediately be made throughout the country that the Government did not intend to enforce the provisions of the Bill, and that, therefore, they did not intend to support the dignity of the Crown, or to resent the insult offered to the sovereignty of the realm.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he considered this a most objectionable proposal. The Committee should remember that they were not dealing with one of those petty offences to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Master of the Rolls had referred. The reason why private informers were allowed in the case of certain petty offences, was that they could not ascertain the fact of those offences being committed, unless they permitted persons interested in their detection to prosecute. But, in the case of a great public offence, with which they were now dealing, public notoriety was necessarily involved; and he maintained that when there was an offence committed against the Sovereign and the State, the prosecution ought not to be taken up by a private individual. In such a case prosecutions by an individual must degrade the whole transaction, because he would only be actuated by sordid and unworthy motives. An offence committed against the Sovereign and the State should be prosecuted by the first law officer of the Crown only, and at the instance of the Government. He could not help thinking-it would also degrade the office of Attorney General, by bringing him into contact with common informers. As the right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls had pointed out, the Attorney General would never allow a suit to be instituted unless there was good cause for proceeding. If the Attorney General was satisfied there was good cause for proceeding, it was his bounden duty to proceed with the prosecution himself. On the other hand, what right would 615 the Attorney General have to avail himself of the information of a common informer, and thereby deprive the common informer of the fruits of his industry? It was pointed out by the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln (Colonel Sibthorp), that if the Attorney General did not do his duty, this House would adopt measures, by addressing the Crown, to compel him to discharge that duty. Every one who filled that high and important office must feel that he was acting under a sense of responsibility, and subject to being visited with the displeasure of the House, if he failed in discharging his duty. It was, therefore, a very strong assumption to say that it was necessary to allow an informer to bring an action, because the Attorney General would not perform his duty. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst had suggested that there might be a Roman Catholic Attorney General. But if a Roman Catholic Attorney General would so far forget his duty as to neglect to prosecute when there were good grounds for prosecution, he would equally be capable of neglecting his duty and preventing the informer instituting a suit; and, under either case, lie would be equally responsible to that House. If the House thought the Attorney General could not be safely entrusted with the power of prosecution, in Heaven's name vest that power in the hands of some one else. If a Roman Catholic were competent for the office of Attorney General, he would not forget that trust because he was a Roman Catholic. He thought they would lower the importance of the offences, and the dignity of the office of Attorney General, by connecting them with the prompting of a common informer.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, I cordially agree with the hon. and learned Attorney General, that this is no potty circumstance, but one of national notoriety and national interest; and I think it desirable that the majesty of the law should be vindicated by the Attorney General, and by the Attorney General alone. But how stand the facts? Has that high functionary been entrusted with that great duty, and has he done that which the country expected? Unfortunately, it is now not a matter of national notoriety only, but we may say, of historical record, that, placed under those circumstances, and subject to that responsibility, the Attorney General has not accomplished what the Legislature of this country anticipated of him. With that bitter experience we are 616 called on to deal with the circumstances before us; and how have we dealt with them? The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) has already made a proposition on this subject; and I felt it my duty, after great consideration, and with great respect to my hon. and learned Friend, to state my objections to the course he recommended the House to adopt. I thought it a hazardous step to throw the whole administration of such a law as this into the hands of the community. Circumstances show that it is open to great abuses, that might defeat the law itself by encouraging actions on insufficient data, and so cheapen and discredit the administration of the law. But whilst alive to this I objection, I cannot be blind to the fact that the hon. and learned Attorney General has been entrusted with the accomplishment of this duty, and has failed, and signally failed, in fulfilling it. What is the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger)? It is one which seeks to do away with the objections to both of the courses either tried or proposed. The objection to this proposition by the right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls, and the hon. and learned Attorney General, is, that this course will be signally inefficient, because we are making a proposition which will exercise control over the Attorney General. Why, Sir, that is our object. The one thing to be desired is, that the Attorney General shall not be controlled. But, practically, we know that the Attorney General slumbers at his post; and our business is to take care that the Attorney General does his duty, and to secure that by means which will not produce any public odium and disadvantage. I think the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon fully, prudently, and safely realises that object. But the hon. and learned Attorney General says the great objection is, that the Attorney General is called on to prosecute by some obscure informer, on subjects of which he knows nothing, and must act, therefore, on the representation of this informer. The Attorney General commenced his observations by saying, and that is true, that all the circumstances connected with the fulfilling his duty are of national notoriety—they are not obscure—there is no danger of misrepresentation. Under these circumstances, I must say I feel it my duty warmly to support the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon. I have expressed, be- 617 fore, my objection to the main construction of this Bill. I think we made a great mistake in the basis of legislation in making the Act penal; but the House having resolved by a great majority that they would meet this imminent danger and great aggression, by penal legislation, it becomes our duty to make that legislation efficient, and as far as possible conducive to our national honour. I have not in any way changed my original opinion of the Bill; but I do not presume to introduce it at the present moment—I only recur to what I have before expressed.
§ MR. BETHELL
said, I have not hitherto taken any part in the debate, but some observations I have heard within the last few minutes render it compulsory upon me to endeavour to offer a few suggestions to the Committee. I agree very much with the hon. Member who has just sat down that we ought not to encourage any petty penal legislation, and in that spirit I shall speak; for anything more petty, and anything more at variance with the principles of our law, than to commit the punishment of a great public offence, such as that against which this Bill is directed, to be prosecuted at the instance of an individual private informer, I cannot conceive. I defy any lawyer in this House to produce any instance in which a great national offence has been visited with a penalty of this sort, and the prosecution of that penalty committed to a common informer. Now, observe, the offence we have to punish is one of great notoriety—of great publicity—is one which must attract the attention of the community before it can be called an offence at all. What is this House? Is it not the grand inquisition of the nation? Is not this House armed with authority to see that every public magistrate, every person entrusted with the administration of justice in the law, performs his duty? And when we are told by hon. Gentlemen that we must resort to this species of legislation, because the great public prosecutor, the first law officer of the Crown, the Attorney General, has been sleeping at his post, where, let me ask, has been the House of Commons—where has been the vigilance of this House during that slumber? Have you not all participated in it, and do you not participate in it if, when the greatest indignity is offered, you yourselves are a party to proceedings of this kind? But I have another and a great objection to the proceeding now suggested 618 to the Committee. It is assumed by many hon. and learned Members who have addressed the House, that when this action is once instituted at the suit of an informer, it is thenceforth subject to the control, supervision, and, if necessary, to the check of the Attorney General. But, according to the language in which this clause is framed, that is not the consequence. Observe the language of the clause. It is not an information—it is not a public action; it is in the nature of a private action. What legislation can be more petty than to allow a private informer to sue by action to recover the sum of 100l. as a debt duo to the plaintiff in the action for a great national offence? This act is for the vindication of the national independence—a retaliation for a public affront put upon us in the presence of all Europe—and the penalty is to be dwindled down to this sum of 100l., which a private individual, having the consent of the Attorney General, may put in his pocket. And that is the course we have heard recommended to the House, because, forsooth, we are not to have any petty penal legislation. Observe, again, the danger of collusion by this proceeding. For, if your Attorney General is somnolent—which is the case supposed—and accordingly a private individual comes forward to discharge his duty and perform his part—the moment he obtains the consent of the Attorney General, he may in truth not desire really to vindicate the law—he may not be sincere, but may have intended collusion from the beginning—he may collude with the defendant, and then the whole of the clause, and the whole of the proceedings are utterly baffled—the Attorney General has no control over the action, and the action may be converted into a shield, a protection, and a means of evasion, by which the offender might escape with perfect impunity. Such may be the blunder resulting from this proposition; but it is a blunder which I earnestly deprecate the possibility of committing. Is there not something further to be considered—the feeling with which the Bill will be regarded—the religious feeling of excitement which will be produced? Is it wise, is it fitting, is it charitable, to put the liberties of the Roman Catholics—their happiness, their comfort—into the hands of those who are around them—to make them subject to the inquisition of spies—to put them at the mercy of every informer? Do you think that such a state of things 619 will conduce to the happiness of the community or the peace of society? I humbly trust we are met here to legislate on these matters, not in the spirit of religious animosity, not in a spirit of intolerance, but in the spirit in which the Bill has, I hope and trust, been introduced by its promoters, and always supported by hon. Members on both sides of the House, namely, in the spirit of a great national vindication of our independence, our freedom, and our entire exemption, at all periods of history, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, from anything like this pre-eminence and authority which is now claimed on behalf of the Bishop of Rome. In that sense, and in that spirit, I would have every word of the Bill weighed and carried into effect; and therefore I entreat you not to introduce this anomaly—which is a perfect exception to the whole spirit of our jurisprudence on analogous subjects—not to permit a public offence to be taken out of the hands of the public prosecutor, and put under the control and under the superintendence of a private individual, not for the purpose of inflicting public punishment by imposing a penalty to revert to the community, but as a means of exacting 100l. from some unfortunate individual, through the Attorney General, driven to give his consent through the fear of being held up to censure as a slumberer at his post, and neglectful of his duty.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, that the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, seemed to him to apply not to the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger), but rather to the Amendment which had been put upon the paper by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole). The hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down had asked them whether they were prepared to place the comfort and happiness of the Roman Catholics at the mercy of a common informer? The Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon proposed to do nothing of the kind. He could not conceive that any thing could be more guarded in that respect than that Amendment. And when the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Bethell) said, that if the hon. and learned Attorney General had hitherto failed to discharge his duty, it was as much the fault of that House as the hon. and learned Attorney General, it seemed to him (Lord J. Manners) that he strengthened instead of 620 weakened the argument in favour of the Amendment, because it showed that it was necessary to take measures to guard not only against the effects of the inertness and soporific qualities, as the hon. and learned Gentleman called them, of the hon. and learned Attorney General, but against the inertness and carelessness of the House of Commons itself. It seemed to him that the question which the Committee was then called upon to decide was, in so many words—were they to have an effective or an ineffective Bill? Having hitherto supported generally the measure of Her Majesty's Government, he was not now about to give his vote to enable them to pass a Bill which might seem to do something, but which in reality effected nothing. He believed that the Amendment proposed by his hon. and learned Friend would render the Bill of the Government effective—not for the purpose of persecution, but for the purpose of maintaining the privileges of the Crown, and vindicating the independence of the nation. If he thought otherwise, he would be then among the earliest to come forward and vote against the measure; but, believing as he did that it would place a most efficient check upon all unwise persecutions, pettifogging and miserable prosecutions, and at the same time would effectually prevent the Attorney General from failing to fulfil his duty, he would give the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend his cordial support.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
I think, Sir, according to all analogous circumstances, the prosecution for this offence ought to be left with the Attorney General. The offence is one against the State—it is one against the Crown—and the Attorney General, representing the State and representing the Crown, is the officer who ought to prosecute if any prosecution shall be instituted. I would say it was as unreasonable to admit, in a case of libel against the Sovereign, that there should be a prosecution by a common informer coming in for penalties, as to enact that in a case of this kind the Attorney General was not to prosecute, but that it was to be left to an informer to ask the consent of the Attorney General to do so. The only reason that appears to me to weigh with the Committee against this analogy, and without which the Committee could not hesitate for a moment, is, that it is supposed the direction in the Act of 1829 has been constantly violated, and that the Attorney General for the time 621 being has connived at that violation. I believe that assumption to be totally at variance with the fact. I certainly would be disposed to answer for those with whom I have been connected, and who held the office of Attorney General for Ireland—I would answer even for a Catholic Attorney General—I would answer for Sir Michael O'Loghlen. When he held the office of Attorney General I remember stating to him, not my own opinion, but some opinions that were brought before me, that in some cases of patronage he was suspected of favouring Roman Catholics; and he answered, much to his honour, "If you give the slightest belief to the assertion that I am in favour of Roman Catholics against Protestants, I am unfit to hold this office, and beg I may be permitted to resign it at once." There are other men who held the office, that I cannot suspect; there is the present Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench in Ireland—Chief Justice Blackburne, a man of high legal ability, who is well acquainted with the law, and he is a man who is not liable to give way to any assumption of the kind. There is the present Master of the Rolls; and did he not perform his duty when he was Attorney General for Ireland? and yet that is the assumption which it is said is to weigh with us in this case. It appears to me that an Attorney General would be unworthy of his office who would have to give his consent to an informer to bring one of those qui tam actions, for if it were a case for a prosecution, why should not the Attorney General himself prosecute it? I think, indeed, it would be a bad example if an Attorney General, having some doubt of a case, and being uncertain whether the evidence was sufficient to bear out a prosecution, should say to any common informer, "Although this is a case in which I will not prosecute, you may try your chance of getting the 100l. penalty out of this action. I will merely give my formal assent to it; and let it be at your risk to get this sum of money by the prosecution." This would really be petty penal legislation, as we have heard it termed during this debate. There cannot be a more proper description for that which an hon. Gentleman calls petty penal legislation than that. I own such an Attorney General would be unworthy of his office; and believing that neither Chief Justice Blackburne, nor the present Master of the Rolls, if Roman Catholics—nor Sir Michael O'Loghlen, nor many other that were At- 622 torney Generals for Ireland, would neglect or betray the duties of their office, I must oppose this Amendment.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
trusted the lateness of the hour, half-past twelve o'clock, coupled with the very strong difference of opinion that had been expressed by the lawyers on this most important subject, would plead his excuse for moving that the Chairman should report progress.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
I must say I think there is no ground whatever for this proposition. The House, just before the Motion was brought on, became more than usually full—more full than at any time during the whole of the evening; the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Sir P. Thesiger) made his proposition, and the whole of his speech was respectfully and attentively listened to by the House; the discussion was continued by my right hon. and learned Friend the Master of the Rolls, and the whole of the case has been gone through; I do not think that anything can he added to the arguments on either side, and I think we are more likely in this full House to represent the House of Commons, than we are likely to do if there is any adjournment of the question. I therefore think that we should now dispose of the Amendment.
§ MR. KEOGH
did not think the proposition for reporting progress was so unreasonable as the noble Lord considered it. Not more than an hour ago the noble Lord was anxious the debate should be discontinued, because there was a possibility that the Government would he in a minority, as they very nearly were, having only had a majority of four. Now, this was a new question, which had been brought before the Committee at half-past eleven o'clock, and discussed until half-past twelve o'clock, and no Gentleman representing an Irish constituency had yet taken part in the debate. ["Oh, oh!" and cries of "Go on!"] It was very easy for hon. Gentlemen who had not been in the House more than half an hour or three-quarters of an hour to say "go on;" but it was not so agreeable to those who had been sitting in Committee from twelve o'clock until four o'clock, and had been since attending in the House. The noble Lord had himself recognised the principle of not proceeding with important business after twelve o'clock, and therefore this question should now be postponed.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
I entered this House at twelve o'clock, and have re- 623 mained here ever since, and had not time even to proceed to dinner. I make no complaint—it is part of the penalty a man pays for his Parliamentary honours. There are seventeen Orders of the Day, all of great importance, and some of which will probably be decided to-night, and I do not think it is unreasonable on my part to ask you to report progress.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, Her Majesty's Ministers had quite as much claim, if it were a question of indulgence, as any hon. Members could have. After he had gone through the business of the morning, he (Lord John Russell) had attended a Cabinet Council from two till four o'clock, and he had been in the House nearly all the time since. He, however, preferred the progress of the public business to his own convenience, and thought that the Committee ought to dispose of the Amendment that night.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 41; Noes 306: Majority 265.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that having thus ascertained the opinion of the Committee, and as he was desirous that the hon. Member (Mr. Reynolds), and those who acted with him, should stand well with the Committee, though, perhaps, this conduct might produce a contrary impression, he thought the hon. Member should not proceed with this Motion. Having been appealed to some evenings ago by the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) not to bring on the Bill that evening, he said he could not—the public business having been previously arranged—comply with that request; yet he had endeavoured to comply as far as possible with the wishes of the hon. Gentleman, and had proposed that this question, instead of being taken on the day which he originally mentioned, should be postponed to that day fortnight, in order to give time to those Gentlemen who might wish to stay away for a longer period during the recess. After having done that, he must say that the return he had met with was not what lie should have expected. He had been met by taunts and sarcasms from the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, who seemed to have taken advantage of the concessions which he (Lord John Russell) had made. He would say—and he really 624 could not avoid saying it—that a more unfair return could not have been expected.
§ MR. BUTLER
, although a sincere Protestant, was as much opposed as any man could be to this Bill. Recollecting that he represented a constituency of whom nineteen out of twenty were Roman Catholics, he went into the lobby with the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, although he knew he should have a majority of ten to one against him, but he was not prepared to go further. He thought he had done all that was consistent with gentlemanly feeling, and at the same time with a proper regard for the constituency which he had the honour to represent. If there were another division, he should not vote against the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, but he should leave the House.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
wished the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) would reconsider the announcement he had just made. He would respectfully submit to the noble Lord, that in justice to the people of England, and the Members of that House, he should, notwithstanding the opinion of the forty-one Members who composed the minority in the late division, proceed, on Thursday next, and de die in diem with this question, in order to show that the business of the House was interrupted by a tenth part almost of the Members sitting there; and in order that the Bill, after having been more days under discussion than any measure for the last twenty years at least, might at length be brought to a close—though probably not in as satisfactory a manner as he (Shit. Inglis) could desire—and that the time of the House might no further be wasted.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, he believed he was not justly open to the charge brought against him by the noble Lord. He was not there for the purpose of acknowledging—[Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Since hon. Gentlemen appeared to think that he ought not to be allowed to explain, he would sit down and content himself by proposing his Motion.
said, that he had heard of tyrant majorities and factious minorities; but in the course of a long experience he had never seen a more patient and forbearing majority than the present, nor a more factious minority; he would not use any other term than that used by the hon. Member for the city of Dublin. He could tell that hon. Gentleman that the rules of that House wore made by 625 Gentlemen for the guidance of Gentlemen; and if there came amongst them those who could not be guided by these feelings, it was high time that the House should alter its rules, and place itself in a different position.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, that he thought there had been some unnecessary warmth displayed that evening, arising from a want of appreciation of the observations of the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell). The noble Lord's appeal seemed couched in such temper, actuated by such a good spirit, that he (Mr. Disraeli) was quite sure that if it had been allowed to have worked its due effect, the Committee would then have been discussing, and perhaps dividing upon, the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger). That Amendment was undoubtedly a very important one, and perhaps required more discussion than it had received; but although it was their general habit to finish a debate at midnight, the hon. Member for the city of Dublin should remember that they were then on the eve of an adjournment, and that when a Committee was engaged upon an addition to a clause, it was not an unusual exertion for them to sit an hour or two longer; and supposing they had sat till two o'clock, he thought they might have fairly discussed and disposed of this Amendment. And he thought that even then, although they had lost much time, there was still time enough left to do all that was necessary. He thought that when the hon. Member for the city of Dublin reflected on the considerate manner in which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had arranged the business of the House so as to suit the convenience of hon. Members of the sister kingdom, the temperate and even kind tone in which he had addressed himself to the question before the House—a different tone from that exhibited by some other Members—that the hon. Member for the city of Dublin would agree to go on with the discussion upon the Amendment of his (Mr. Disraeli's) hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon. He not only agreed with the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Admiral Berkeley) that the rules of the House were made by gentlemen, but he believed that every Member of that House was actuated by gentlemanly feelings; and although they had wasted some time, he thought that if the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, and those who acted with 626 him, would reconsider the course they had taken, they would, from a consideration of the spirit in which they had been met by the noble Leader of the House, allow the business to be proceeded with, so far at least as to dispose of this clause.
§ MR. KEOGH
agreed with the observations of the hon. Member who had just resumed his seat, with respect to the kindly tone of the observations of the noble Lord at the head of the Government; but he regretted that he had not more explicitly called the attention of the Committee to the tone and feeling exhibited by another hon. Member. The noble Lord had addressed the House, as he always did, upon the supposition that he was dealing with gentlemen; nor was he (Mr. Keogh) aware that he had had any reason during that discussion, or during any in which he had been engaged in the present Session, to feel that he had been treated in any way but as one gentleman should be by another. But it was new to him in that House, and it was certainly perfectly unknown to him out of it, that any person, no matter what might be his position or station, whether he was the tame submissive follower of the Government or not, should rise in his place, either in or out of that House, and address gentlemen to whom he happened to be politically opposed with the insinuation that they were not gentlemen. The hon. and gallant Member opposite (Admiral Berkeley) had said that he had seen tyrant majorities and factious minorities; and he was a member of a party that never was very scrupulous, either as a majority or a minority, in the opposition that they gave to measures with which they were dissatisfied. But he never knew, even on occasions with which the noble Lord was familiar, when he took part in an opposition as obstinate (he would not say as intemperate) as any of which he had now the slightest reason to complain, that any Member of the Government to which he was opposed rose to make use of the intemperate and uncalled-for language used by the hon. and gallant Member for Gloucester. If the noble Lord allowed his subordinates to adopt a tone so very different indeed from his own, it would be vain to appeal to the manner natural to him when he sanctioned such departures from the language usually held by hon. Members towards each other.
had voted in the mino- 627 rity. Every one knew on what principle he had voted, consequently he did not consider that he should have been designated in the terms used by the gallant Admiral. That language—those aspersions—were very much beneath the hon. and gallant Officer, and the position he held in that House and the country. The hon. and gallant Officer much mistook the composition of the Gentlemen of that House.
could assure the hon. and gallant Colonel, that he was not in the least aware that the hon. and gallant Colonel had voted in the minority. He had been kept there that afternoon listening to what he should not consider argument, and, coming from one particular quarter, he thought he had a right to complain. He did think he had heard language a great deal stronger used in that House than the language he had used; and he honestly and conscientiously assured the hon. and gallant Colonel that, however strong his language might have been, he had never meant to insult any man.
§ MR. BUTLER
thought the speech just made perfectly satisfactory; but he would remark that, only a few days ago, he and other Irish Members had been obliged at half-past one o'clock in the morning to divide no fewer than six times on an English question. He could not help saying that, after that, it was very inconsistent for English Members to tax Irish Members with factious opposition.
§ Amendment again proposed: Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 29; Noes 230; Majority 201.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, that having moved that the Chairman leave the Chair, and having been appealed to in the mild and moderate language used by the Prime Minister, it was his determination to have complied with the request of the noble Lord; but when he stood up to address a few words to the Committee, he was met by shouts that drowned his voice, and he was compelled to sit down. Immediately afterwards the hon. and gallant Member for Gloucester (Admiral Berkeley) addressed the Committee in a voice most scolding in its tone, and in language most violent and intemperate. The hon. and gallant Member was not only listened to patiently, but when he used the phrase, that the rules of the House were made for Gentlemen, he was cheered to the echo. The hon. and gallant Admiral had received at the hands 628 of the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh), and the hon. and gallant Member who followed him (Colonel Knox), a castigation he would not easily forget. The hon. and gallant Admiral had, however, stood up and declared on his honour that he did not mean to insult or offend any person, and had so far made some atonement for the violence and intemperance of his language, so that perhaps he (Mr. Reynolds) ought not to refer to it except to give the hon. and gallant Member absolution, yet he must remind him that, although on the first division they were in a minority of forty-one, and on the second of twenty-nine, while hon. Gentlemen on the other side were 306 on the first division, and on the other 230, yet, small as the number of those minorities were, the hon. Members composing them represented the opinions of 10,000,000 of people. He would further remind the hon. and gallant Member, that, no matter how violently he might address the House, or how excited he might feel as a subordinate Member of the Government, they who were in a different position from him were defending their creed against aggression, although that opposition might render the hon. and gallant Member's official position unsafe, and therefore might make him exceedingly sensitive: he should not of course say anything of the hon. and gallant Members next quarter's salary, though perhaps that might be the literal translation of his meaning. Having taken the sense of the Committee on the matter, he (Mr. Reynolds) had determined not to put the Committee to the trouble of dividing again. It was owing to the impatience of the Committee on the one hand, and the unwarrantable and violent language of a subordinate Member of the Government on the other, that he had on the previous occasion given the Committee the trouble of dividing. He would only say that although it might be possible to prevent a vote from being recorded on the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger), it was not his intention to do so. He had only done what he considered to be his duty, and he trusted that, having made that concession—for concession it was—no further progress would he made with the Bill that night.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he had not understood the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, after he (Lord John Russell) had spoken, as intimating any intention to 629 withdraw his Amendment. As to any observations of his hon. and gallant Friend (Admiral Berkeley), it was perfectly obvious that they had been made without any concert with him (Lord John Russell), and were altogether the result of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's feelings at the moment. He was only responsible for his own conduct. As the matter now stood, he did not think it desirable to proceed that evening with the consideration of the clause beyond the proviso of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon; and therefore, after taking a division on that proviso, he did not then propose to proceed further with the clause.
§ Amendment again proposed.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 130; Noes 166: Majority 36.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Dundas, G.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Edwards, H.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Arkwright, G.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Evelyn, W. J.|
|Baldwin, C. B.||Farrer, J.|
|Bankes, G.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Bateson, T.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Beckett, W.||Galway, Visct.|
|Bennet, P.||Gilpin, Col.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Gordon, Adm.|
|Beresford, W.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Greenall, G.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Grogan, E.|
|Booker, T. W.||Gwyn, H.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Hale, R. B.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Boyd, J.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Bremridge, R.||Henley, J. W.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hope, Sir J.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Hudson, G.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Child, S.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Jones, Capt.|
|Clive, H. B.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Knox, hon. W. S.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Langton, W. H. P. G.|
|Compton, H. C.||Lawley, hon. B. R.|
|Conolly, T.||Legh, G. C.|
|Cowan, C.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Cubitt, W.||Lockhart, W.|
|Deedes, W.||Long, W.|
|Disraeli, B.||Mandeville, Visct.|
|Dod, J. W.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B||Manners, Lord J.|
|Duncuft, J.||March, Earl of|
|Masterman, J.||Stafford, A.|
|Maunsell, T. P.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Maxwell, hon. J. P.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Meux, Sir H.||Stephenson, R.|
|Miles, W.||Stuart, H.|
|Milner, W. M. E.||Stuart, J.|
|Morgan, O.||Tollemache, J.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Nicholl, rt. hon. J.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Ossulston, Lord||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Paget, Lord G.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Pigott, F.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||West, F. R.|
|Plumptre, J. P.||Whiteside, J.|
|Reid, Col.||Wigram, L. T.|
|Sandars, G.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Scott, hon. F.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Seymer, H. K.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Smythe, J. G.||TELLERS.|
|Somerset, Capt.||Thesiger, Sir E.|
|Spooner, R.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Fagan, J.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Fergus, J.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Forster, M.|
|Fortescue, hon. J. W.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Fox, R. M.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Freestun, Col.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Geach, C.|
|Barron, Sir H. W.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Bell, J.||Goold, W.|
|Berkeley, Adm.||Grace, O. D. J.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Greene, J.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Bethell, R.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Grey, R. W.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Hatchell, rt. hon. J.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Hawes, B.|
|Brotherton, J.||Headlam, T. E.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Butler, P. S.||Heneage, E.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Heywood, J.|
|Childers, J. W.||Heyworth, L.|
|Clay, J.||Higgins, G. G. O.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Hindley, C.|
|Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Hollond, R.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Hope, A.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Crawford, R. W.||Hutchins, E. J.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Jackson, W.|
|Currie, H.||Keating, R.|
|Dashwood, Sir G. H.||Keogh, W.|
|Dawes, E.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Lawless, hon. C.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Lewis, rt. hn. Sir T. F.|
|Duncan, G.||Lewis, G. C.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Littleton, hon. E. R.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Locke, J.|
|Ellice, E.||Mackie, J.|
|Ellis, J.||M'Cullagh, W. T.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||M'Gregor, J.|
|Euston, Earl of||Magan, W. H.|
|Evans, J.||Maher, N. V.|
|Evans, W.||Meagher, T.|
|Marshall, W.||Seymour, H. D.|
|Matheson, Col.||Seymour, Lord|
|Melgund, Visct.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Smith, J. A.|
|Moffatt, G.||Smith, M. T.|
|Molesworth, Sir W.||Somers, J. P.|
|Monsell, W.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Moore, G. H.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Morgan, H. K. G.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.||Sullivan, M.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Tancred, H. W.|
|Nugent, Sir P.||Tenison, E. K.|
|O'Brien, J.||Tennent, R. J.|
|O'Brien, Sir T.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|O'Connell, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|O'Connoll, M. J.||Tollemache, hon. F. J|
|O'Ferrall, rt. hon. R. M.||Townley, R. G.|
|O'Flaherty, A.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Trevor, hon. T.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Tufnell, rt. hon. H.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Tynte, Col. C. J. K.|
|Parker, J.||Wakley, T.|
|Peel, F.||Walter, J.|
|Power, Dr.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Pusey, P.||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Reynolds, J.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Ricardo, O.||Williams, W.|
|Rich, H.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Roche, E. B.||Wilson, J.|
|Romilly, Col.||Wilson, M.|
|Romilly, Sir J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|Russell, F. C. H.||Wyvill, M.|
|Scholefield, W.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Scully, F.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again on Friday 20th June.