§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
begged to present several petitions from British colonies, praying that the provisions of the Bill be extended to wherever Her Majesty's prerogative extends; also a petition of a different kind from a Gentleman formerly a Member of that House, the Hon. Craven Fitzhardinge Berkeley, which recited certain circumstances to which he would respectfully ask the attention of the House. It stated that Augusta Talbot resided until lately in her mother's house, and subsequently with the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury; that she was a ward in Chancery, but, notwithstanding the fact of her being such ward, she had been placed, last September, in a convent at Taunton, not as a pupil, but as a postulant, with the avowed object of becoming a nun; that by September, 1851, the year of probation would expire, and that she would be still under age; that she would still be a ward of Chancery; that her fortune of 80,000l., on the 6th of June, 1852, when she attained her majority, would, according to the laws and usages of the Church of Rome, cease to be hers; she would have no control over it; that her fortune would become confiscated to the use of the convent, or other uses connected with the worship of the Church of Rome; that not only the petitioner, the stepfather of the young lady so being under age and a ward of 1324 Chancery, was deprived of all communication with her, but her half-sister, a child by a second marriage, was equally prevented from having any communication with her. She was her nearest female relative, and was thus prevented from cultivating those natural feelings and affections which ought to grow up between sisters so situated, and would grow up under other circumstances. The prayer of the petitioner was—That this House would introduce into the Bill a clause enacting that no infant, whether a ward of Chancery or not, should be permitted to be placed by parents or guardians, or any other person whomsoever, in any convent, seminary, or place of education, as postulant during the minority of such infant; and that any property of such infant, so having been placed, whether absolute or contingent, should vest in and enure to Her Majesty, and be disposed of as Her Majesty might be pleased to direct by warrant of her sign manual, provided that such property should not go to the Church of Rome, as by the laws of the Church of Rome it otherwise would.
§ Motion "made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
The EARL of ARUNDEL and SURREY
said, he should propose that the Ecclesiastical Titles Assumption Bill be read a second time that day six months. He should treat the Bill not in the form in which it at present stood before the House, but in the form in which the Prime Minister had given notice of his intention to press it. That would be the simplest way, and it would produce no inconvenience, inasmuch as if certain clauses were to disappear altogether, they had no occasion to allude to them; and if they were proposed, an opportunity would subsequently be given for their discussion. This Bill had been prepared during a period of great excitement caused by the Pope's creation of a Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country; caused by the change of the spiritual organisation under which Roman Catholics had hitherto lived, by the change of vicars-apostolic into bishops in ordinary, and a regularly constituted hierarchy. This was said by the people of this country to be an insult to the nation, an infringement of the prerogative of the Crown, and an infraction of international law. Now he would ask permission to glance at what had been the condition of the spiritual affairs of the Roman Catholic Church in this country since the Reformation. In 1598, under the reign of Elizabeth, the last Roman Catholic bishop—the last bishop of their ancient faith—the Bishop of Lin- 1325 coln had died, and the Roman Catholics became deprived of any ecclesiastical head in this country. At that time, under all the difficulties of the case, the anomalous office of arch-priest was created in England with episcopal jurisdiction. But even at that time many of the principal secular clergy in the country remonstrated against that appointment, and demanded the constitution of a regular hierarchy. The arch-priest, however, was appointed, and the Roman Catholics were governed by him and his successors from 1598 to 1623. In 1623 the demand of the Roman Catholics for some episcopal jurisdiction became more urgent, and in that year a vicar-apostolic was appointed to govern them. From 1623 to 1688 they were governed by a vicar-apostolic. In 1688 four vicars-apostolic were appointed by the Pope, who, to use the fashionable modern phrase, parcelled out the country into four districts. From that period these vicars-apostolic governed the country till 1840. Then the country was divided into eight districts, and eight vicars-apostolic were appointed. In 1850 the hierarchy which had caused so much commotion in this country was appointed. Why did the Pope establish a hierarchy? They all knew the irregularity which any body, and particularly a religious body, got into when regular discipline and organisation was not in use amongst them. That was the case amongst the Roman Catholics. They felt all the inconveniences of an unestablished Church—of a Church not ruled in the ordinary manner—therefore many irregularities prevailed for want of that discipline. Therefore the Roman Catholics of England—laity and clergy—petitioned the Pope of late years to grant them a regular hierarchy. He (the Earl of Arundel) signed one of those petitions; and if any man had told him at that time that he was infringing the Queen's prerogative, he should have deemed him mad. That was not their intention in the least. After a time the thing was arranged. Now they were told that a great part of the insult—the noble Lord the Prime Minister and his Friends had urged it strongly in and out of the House—was that the Prime Minister and the Government of the country were not informed of the Pope's intention. He was surprised that the noble Lord should have complained of that. He did not wish to quote extracts to show the inconsistencies of the noble Lord, but in the present instance it was part of his ease; and he 1326 would ask the permission of the House to read extracts from speeches of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, and of the noble Lord himself, which would prove that so early as February, 1848, the hon. Member for the University of Oxford drew the attention of the Prime Minister to the asserted intention of the Pope to create bishops and dioceses. No intimation was given at Rome or elsewhere that that would be contrary to the wishes of Her Majesty's Government. On the 17th of August, 1848, that hon. Member thought it his duty again to recur to the subject, and bring still more distinctly before the House the statement which he had made. Upon that occasion, the question under discussion was the Bill for diplomatic relations with Rome. The noble Lord had had his attention for months directed to the circumstance; he had, no doubt, maturely and well considered what should be the policy of this country with respect to Rome, and he proceeded to lay down what he thought would be the right course to pursue, not with respect to Pope Pius IX. alone, but with reference to the Pope, whoever he might be. To prove the truth of what he had stated, he would ask permission to read extracts from their speeches upon the occasions alluded to. On the 16th of February, 1848, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, said—It appeared then, as his statement had not been contradicted, that it was the intention of the Court of Rome to subdivide Her Majesty's European dominions, as well as those beyond sea, into bishopries, without the consent of the Crown of England; and he contended, in the language of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, whose petition he had the honour of presenting in the course of the present Session, that it was high time that England should,"&c. [3 Hansard, xcvi. 107.]So that the intention of the Pope was distinctly stated. On the 17th August the hon. Member, again adverted to the subject. He said—He had no objection to call him Bishop Wiseman—his objection was to calling him 'Archbishop of Westminster.' He did not deny that there were bishops in the Church of Rome—he only objected to their claiming to be bishops of places in his Queen's dominions, and against his Queen's permission and authority." [3 Hansard, ci., 212.] "Would any State in Europe, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, have permitted the Pope of Rome to carve out a portion of the native dominions of that State, and to divide it into archbishoprics and bishoprics, without communication with its own Sovereign? He trotted that his noble Friend at 1327 the head of the Government would state distinctly, as he believed he could have done a few months ago, that a delicate intimation had been made to the Pope that he could not be permitted to create a bishopric in the Queen's dominions without the Queen's consent. He did trust that the noble Lord would state this; although the statement had, he believed, appeared in the Tablet in England, and in the Freeman's Journal in Ireland, that bulls were introduced into this country at this moment, and without the sanction of the Queen, dividing the Queen's dominions into archbishoprics and bishoprics, and filling them with persons not appointed or recognised, or acknowledged by the Queen." [3 Hansard, ci., 214.] He had stated to his noble Friend at the head of the Government that he should feel it to be his duty to ask him two or three questions with respect to certain letters, and also with regard to the appointment of archbishops and bishops in this country without the consent of its Sovereign." [Ibid., p. 216.]In the same debate the noble Lord at the head of the Government said—An hon. Gentleman has asked me some questions with regard to certain proceedings that have taken place. I do not know whether he wishes to ask me now with respect to the creation of Roman Catholic archbishops in England. I do not know that the Pope has authorised in any way, by any authority he may have, the creation of any archbishopric or bishopric with dioceses in England; but certainly I have not given my consent—nor should I give my consent if I were asked to do so—to any such formation of dioceses. With regard to spiritual authority, the hon. Gentleman must see, when he alludes to other States in Europe, that whatever control is to be obtained over the spiritual authority of the Pope, can only be obtained by agreement for that end. You must either give certain advantages to the Roman Catholic religion, and obtain from the Pope certain other advantages in return, among which you must stipulate that the Pope shall not create any dioceses in England without the consent of the Queen; or, on the other hand, you must say that you will have nothing to do with arrangements of that kind—that you will not consent, in any way, to give any authority to the Roman Catholic religion in England. But then you must leave the spiritual authority of the Pope entirely unfettered. You cannot bind the Pope's spiritual influence unless you have some agreement. For my own part, I am not disposed to think that it would be for the advantage of this country, or that it would be agreeable to the Roman Catholics, that we should have an agreement with the Pope, by which their religious arrangements should be regulated." [3 Hansard, ci., 219, 220.]That was the noble Lord's deliberate opinion upon that occasion, the matter having been fully considered, and his attention having been called to it for months before. After that statement, had not the Pope and his advisers a right to believe that, though the noble Lord would not give his consent, if asked, he would not oppose the thing if done? Was it not giving an invitation to The Earl of Arundel and Surrey 1328 the Pope to use the natural spiritual authority which the noble Lord said the people of this country left in his hands? And, taking into consideration that it was quite in accordance with much that the noble Lord had said, the Roman Catholics had no reason to conclude that the Prime Minister or Government did object to the creation of these dioceses. Then, with respect to the infringement of the Queen's prerogative: this establishment of a hierarchy did nothing that the Queen could do. It prevented the Queen from doing nothing; it touched nothing; it changed nothing; it only affected those whose conscientious submission to the spiritual authority of the Pope was by the law admitted. The noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown had told us that the law officers of the Crown declared that the assumption of titles in this country was not illegal at common or statute law, but that the bulls making those titles were doubtful at common law, and that at statute law they were illegal. Now it would not be difficult to prove that at common law they were not illegal. But this Act did not affect the bulls at all. It only affected the titles, and made unlawful that which was lawful by the Act of 1829, and inflicted penalties. He admitted the justice of the noble Lord's reasons for not legislating upon bulls on account of the difficulty of distinguishing between one sort and another; he admitted that he was right in not legislating upon that subject, but it was a subject which this Bill did not interfere with. With respect to—and upon which therefore he was not called upon to enter—the infringement of international law, it was difficult to treat of that in spiritual matters. But the way to deal with such an infringement was by negotiation, not by proposing a Bill in this country which affected in no degree the party infringing the international law. A great deal had been said with regard to Cardinal Wiseman's pastoral. Now, that pastoral, whatever hon. Members might think of its style, was addressed to Roman Catholics only. It was natural to address them in a strain of congratulation. It was addressed to Catholics alone; and, although they might hope Protestants would not envy their joy, at the same time they could not expect their sympathy. Some of its expressions had been objected to, not by common people from whom it might have been expected, but the noble Lord himself considers, with respect to some sentences of the pastoral, that the terms of govern- 1329 ing assumed supreme authority. He would cite the observations of the noble Lord:—'We govern, and shall continue to govern, the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, and Essex;' and in the case of five other counties the same pretensions were set forth. Now, Sir, I cannot see in these words anything but an assumption of territorial sovereignty.Now, he was really astonished that the noble Lord could have quoted that passage without giving them the conclusion of it, which made a most material difference in the meaning. The pastoral said—So that at present, and till such time as the Holy See shall think fit otherwise to provide, we govern, and shall continue to govern, the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, and Essex, as Ordinary thereof, and those of Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Berkshire, and Hampshire, with the islands annexed, as Administrator with ordinary jurisdiction.He governed, therefore, not as sovereign, but as "ordinary thereof;" that is, bishop; and if he had been writing vicar-apostolic, he would have said he governed as "vicar-apostolic." The expression "continue to govern" was no defiance to the ruling power of this country. It was merely saying, that until another bishop should be appointed, he should continue to govern those other counties as administrator until a bishop should be appointed to them. With respect to the use of the word "govern," it was a constant expression not only in Roman Catholic bulls, but in writings of the Church of England. It was used throughout the apostolic letter of the Pope, so as to show in what way the Church government should be conducted. For example, he said, quoting a former apostolic letter, "committing the government of the whole of England in spirituals to the vicars-apostolic of the London, Eastern, Western," and various other districts: so that it was merely a spiritual government. Again, he said in his own words, "But in the sacred government of clergy and laity, and in all other things appertaining unto the pastoral office, the archbishop and bishops of England will henceforth enjoy certain rights and privileges." Then, again, the Bishop of Apollonia, who, in 1840, was vicar-apostolic of Wales, after describing what vicars-apostolic are, said, "By these the Catholics of this country have been governed, in ecclesiastical matters, for nearly two centuries." And in the Wesleyan Centenary you find this:—The power of government which Mr. Wesley possessed during his life, by his appointment de- 1330 volved upon the Conference after his decease; he having nominated its members, provided for its perpetuity, and defined its powers by the 'deed of declaration,' of which an account will be given in a subsequent part of this narrative.Now, what is the difference in the position of Roman Catholics under bishops, as compared with what it was under vicars-apostolic, so far as the people out of that religion was concerned? Not any. But for the disturbances which had been created, the people of this country would never have known any difference, the Roman Catholics would have gone on under their bishops, and the change would have affected no one. It gave them no legal power, no money, no temporalities—nothing. It had been said by the noble Lord the Member for Bath, that the Church claimed every baptised person. So she did. But had she the power to enforce that theological deduction? Did this change give her any power of enforcing it? Did not the vicars-apostolic do it? Did not every priest claim every baptised soul, just as much as the Pope? Of course he did. The wish of Catholics for legislation in this matter had been made a great deal of. Now, a letter written by Mr. Lang-dale to the noble Lord—and he would say here that Mr. Langdale's name ought never to be mentioned by an English Catholic without reverence and honour—proved that nearly all the Catholic Peers, a great many baronets, and some 600 or 700 gentlemen, had signed an address of thanks to the Cardinal for obtaining the hierarchy; and he (the Earl of Arundel) presented the other day a petition, signed by 461 of the secular clergy of this country (being more than 9–10ths of the whole number), from which he would read a paragraph:—That your petitioners firmly and respectfully declare to your honourable House, that so far from being indifferent or averse to the late normal reconstruction of the Roman Catholic Church in England, it has been to them and to their predecessors an object of their most earnest desires and frequent petitions.What would be the result of the legislation upon which they were now engaged? One result might be evasion. Was it a statesmanlike act to pass a law which might be evaded? They had seen in Ireland the evils of a conscientious evasion of the law. When you were conscientiously obliged to disobey or to evade the law, it was but one step further to treat with less reverence those laws which you ought conscientiously to obey. Another result of this Bill would 1331 be fine or imprisonment. Now, every 100l. they took from one of those bishops would be 100l. taken from the poor Roman Catholics of England and Ireland. When they had got all their money, and that would not take long, they would then be obliged to imprison them. But the staunchest Protestants of this country would not, he thought, allow bishops to be long imprisoned for conscientious convictions. Another result was exile. When a bishop was too much persecuted in his diocese to remain there, he must go out of the country; and he did not think it would meet the views of statesmen, then, that the Roman Catholic bishops should be scattered along the coasts of Holland, Belgium, and France, feeling justly indignant at the law by which they had been exiled, and surrounded by foreigners, who denounced in their ears the injustice of that banishment, contrasting their state with that of the Protestant inhabitants of Belgium and France, and with the Catholic inhabitants of Holland. It would be a most vexatious persecution, and one which could not be expected from this country, which boasted to be at the head of all other countries in liberty and progress. This was not the manner in which the thing had been done in other countries. In despotic countries it might be so. But look at constitutional countries. Look at Belgium, where the Count de Theux, himself a most earnest Catholic, at that time at the head of a large Catholic majority, proposed and carried a measure for the payment of Protestant clergy from the State, not for their own subjects—for they had no Protestant subjects—but for foreigners residing in the country; and this proposal met with neither remonstrance nor opposition, public or private, from any of the bishops or clergy of Belgium. Again, in Holland, a Protestant country, a conversation had recently taken place in Parliament upon this subject, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs declared his wish that every sect in the land should carry out the complete organisation of their government as to their faith, in any manner which they judged proper. Not only was that Bill laid before the Roman Catholics (which they should do their best constitutionally to defeat), but they were threatened on all sides with ulterior measures. This was but the beginning of a persecution. Now, he knew that they were few in numbers—he spoke of England, for Ireland had many representatives, eloquent, and able to take the 1332 part of the Catholics there. Here they were few; they were defenceless, physically; but whatever measures Parliament might succeed in passing, they should put their trust in God, and if it was His will they should suffer, they would do so with loyal patience and with Christian firmness.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. REYNOLDS
had the honour of seconding the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Arundel. He was well aware that the Motion, if carried, would lead to the virtual defeat of the Bill, and he was candid enough to acknowledge that such was his object. The noble Lord, who just sat down, had spoken so well on the English part of the question, that it was almost unnecessary for him (Mr. Reynolds) to occupy any portion of the time of the House upon that branch of the subject. He would therefore devote the observations he should address to the House principally to the Irish portion of the question. He might say in parenthesis that he could not express his surprise and astonishment that Ireland should be at all introduced into the measure. Let him not, however, be misunderstood, for inasmuch as the Bill was calculated to oppress the creed of Catholics in the united kingdom, he rejoiced that it also included Ireland; and his feelings of pleasure on this point were derived from the reflection that in Ireland the Catholics were strong, and were able to offer constitutional resistance to the Bill. By her efforts, through her representatives in that House, and by her influence through the meetings of her people assembled in her counties and her parishes, she was able to speak in such a manner as must entitle her to respect and attention in that House. He was well aware that those who in that House wished the Bill rejected altogether, had a most difficult part to play, for the public mind in Great Britain had been much inflamed by a variety of machinery. He was not unmindful of the fact that the people of England had been led astray by violent letters and by violent speeches. He could not close his eyes to the fact that the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown had issued a most violent letter dated Downing-street, 5th November, and addressed to the Bishop of Durham, and of 1333 referring to the day—[Lord J. RUSSELL: The 4th November.] He thanked the noble Lord for the correction, for it brought it nearer to a date to which he was about to refer—the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. It seemed to him that the letter had been prepared at what was conceived a most opportune time—when the tar, the feathers and straw, and all the paraphernalia of the Guy Fawkes party wore abroad. He was not unmindful that the Bishop of London, in October preceding, addressed a pastoral to those under his spiritual jurisdiction, in which he used most violent, and, without meaning personal offence, he (Mr. Reynolds) would say most unchristian, observations regarding the Roman Catholic creed, although the right rev. Prelate preached to the lay portion of his subjects to be temperate and moderate in their language. While, however, he (Mr. Reynolds) was speaking of letters, he might say that there had been another letter, also written in November—he meant the letter of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon to Mr. Howard. The two letters, that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and that of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, were now before the public, and to the public he (Mr. Reynolds) said, "Look on this picture and on this"—"Look to the Russell to Durham letter, and the Graham and Howard letter." He wished to express his sincere thanks to the eminent and constitutional statesman who had written the letter to Mr. Howard, and at the same time to express his deep sorrow and regret that the noble Lord should have been induced to pen his intemperate letter to the Bishop of Durham. But the aspect of the House had considerably improved since he last addressed them upon the subject of this unfortunate Bill—a Bill which was as bad as any that had ever been protested for non-payment. He had heard with satisfaction the able, eloquent, and liberal speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, and he was gratified to find that the same noble sentiments had been expressed in another place. He alluded to the speech of the Earl of Aberdeen. The noble Earl agreed with the right Member for Ripon. And what did the right hon. Member for Ripon and the Earl of Aberdeen say? They said to the Protestant people of England, "You have been misled; you have been told that the Church is in danger; now we, who are orthodox Protestants, we, who are sincere 1334 Protestants, and not Protestant Dissenters, tell you that the Protestant Church is not in danger. That one stone of that edifice is not likely to be removed by the Papal bull, or by Cardinal Wiseman. We require no Bill at all. Neither the Bill in its present shape, nor the Bill in a modified shape." He believed that the people of England had read and digested these speeches; that they had compared the Durham, with the Graham letter. The people of England were not to be gulled at all times; though they had often been gulled, they would not be gulled now. The people of England would say this—"The right hon. Member for Ripon, and the Earl of Aberdeen, are as good Protestants as the Prime Minister at all events. And while we have such watch-dogs to guard the citadel of Protestantism, there is no danger of its being assailed by the Pope, or taken possession of by Cardinal Wiseman." But the noble Lord, at the head of the Government had said, that the whole matter in dispute was an insult. An insult! Why, what was the meaning of an insult. Intention was an essential ingredient in an act which was said to be an insult. He was quite certain that the noble Lord did not believe it; that no one on the Treasury bench believed it; and, if he might say so without meaning the least offence, he (Mr. Reynolds) did not believe it. In Ireland, the usual course when an insult was offered was, that it was followed by personal chastisement; and formerly an insult was settled in a part of Phœnixpark called the Fifteen Acres, and there was no more of it. But this insult was to be settled by an Act of Parliament. This Bill was a virtual repeal of the Act of 1829, and it appeared that very high authority endorsed that declaration. He spent ten years of his life in assisting a great and illustrious Irishman, who was now in his grave, in endeavouring to carry that Act, and they were assisted by great numbers of his fellow-countrymen in Ireland and England; and they were not exclusively Catholic, for there was scarcely a name that adorned the list of Protestant statesmen that was not with them. He recollected it was once proposed as a condition of emancipation that the Catholics of Ireland should give to the Sovereign a veto in the appointment of bishops. They rejected that proposal with disdain, and remained twenty years unemancipated rather than accept such disgraceful conditions. They were emancipated without these condi- 1335 tions, and now they were told, twenty-two years afterwards, that they must bow their necks and submit. The complaint was, that Cardinal Wiseman, in his published letter, said, "I govern, and shall continue to govern, the counties of Essex and Middlesex,"&c. That was the insult, and a Minister of State said the transformation of vicars-apostolic into bishops was an invasion of the Queen's prerogative. Now that betrayed great ignorance. The title of bishop was not a territorial title at all. Her Majesty possessed no power to make a bishop. According to the form, at all events, the deans and chapters were called upon to elect bishops, and Her Majesty conferred the barony. The diocese was the barony, which was the territorial power, and the barony gave the seat in the House of Lords, and converted the spiritual peer into a legislator. Now let any one ask this question in sober seriousness—had the Pope given Cardinal Wiseman as Archbishop of Westminster one acre of land? The bull of his Holiness has not conferred on the Cardinal as much land, to use an Irish phrase, as would sod a lark. Nor had he a right by law to claim any ecclesiastical due, not a farthing. He lived now, as he (Mr. Reynolds) hoped he and the Catholic hierarchy would always live, on the voluntary contributions of Catholics. If the bull had run thus—and he should be glad to know if there was really a bull; no one had seen it, and there was no evidence of it—if the bull had said "I appoint A. B. to be Catholic bishop, exercising spiritual jurisdiction over the Catholics inhabiting the county of Middlesex," would there then he any objection to it? Not the least. There ought to be as little objection to this, because it meant the same thing. The hon. Baronet who sat near him who represented the Protestantism of the University of Oxford, did not object to their styling themselves Catholic bishops in England; but he objected to their calling themselves bishops of England, and he said that he accepted this Bill as an instalment of ninepence in the pound. It was not clear to him that the hon. Baronet would not take threepence in the pound, and give a receipt in full; but he believed this Bill was to give twenty shillings in the pound. It had been said this was an insolent aggression. Permit him to ask, had there been no Protestant insolence and aggression? Now he ventured to say, that if the whole English vocabulary were examined, and 1336 there were extracted from it all the offensive phrases it contained, they would not find more offensive epithets than those used by the Protestant archbishops and bishops against the clergy of the Catholic Church. He held in his hand a small publication which had been out only a few days, and in which some ingenious person, a friend of civil and religious liberty, put the question, which party scolded worst—the Catholics or the Protestants? and he gave extracts from the speeches of English bishops, as they appeared in the Times newspaper, and here were a few of them:—'Popery offends and disgusts the understanding.—Bishop of London. 'Audacity of the pretensions of the Church of Rome.'—Bishop of London. Base ingratitude of the Church of Rome.'—Bishop of London.Now, he asked, what had the Church of Rome to be grateful for? Was it for having had taken from it in the remarkable reign of that virtuous monarch, Henry VIII., all its temporalities, which appeared now to amount to 10,400,000l. per annum? These bishops went on to say—The Romish system is unchangeable in its character. We are not so degenerated as to be beguiled into the snares which her ever-watchful rulers have laid for our ruin.'—Archbishop of York.' Foreign bondage'—Salisbury. 'Papal assumptions are all but blasphemous.'—Gloucester. 'An unholy thing.'—Gloucester. 'The Church of Rome roars when necessary, but has the meekest and mildest blandishments when it suits her purpose'—Oxford. 'A subtle and tyrannical enemy'—Oxford. 'Tyranny of the Church of Rome'—Llandaff. 'Subtle and unclean '—Oxford. 'England defiled by her pollutions '—Oxford. 'The Church of intolerance'—Chichester. 'Her arrogant and vain assumptions—Chichester. 'That apostate from the truth'—Chichester. 'That corrupt and domineering Church'—Oxford. 'That wilfully blind and intolerant '—St. David's. It poisons the minds of the people by false and insidious arguments'—Chichester. Her claims are blasphemous and unchristian'—Carlisle. 'Her self aggrandisement '—Hereford. 'Great apostacy of the Church of Rome '—Hereford. 'The dogmas of the Church of Rome opposed alike to Scripture and common sense'—London. 'Superstition long ago exploded '—London.He (Mr. Reynolds) doubted that; two hundred millions of people contradicted it. But he would give them some more elegant extracts:—'The slough of Romish corruption'—London. "A horror of the doctrines of Rome '—Oxford.He (Mr. Reynolds) queried that——"'Corrupt doctrines and practices of the Church of Rome'—Lichfield. 'Pestilential errors'—Bath and Wells. 'Delusions of dreamers'—Ripon. 'The subtlety of Romanism'—Man- 1337 chester. 'Empty and dangerous delusions'—Manchester. 'Popish superstition'—London. 'Errors and superstitions of the corrupt Church of Rome'—Salisbury. 'Revolting system of auricular confession'—Gloucester. 'Romish doctrines have their origin in Pagan superstition'—Gloucester. 'Corrupt in doctrine and idolatrous in practice'—Oxford.So much for the sayings of the Protestant bishops as to the doctrines and discipline of the Church of Rome, and now he would quote a few of their sayings as to the 'aggression,' as it was called:—'Insult to the Sovereign'—London. 'Daring aggression'—Salishury. 'Insolent aggression'—Oxford. 'Presumptuous aggression'—Hereford. Unparalleled aggression'—York. 'Most monstrous and insolent aggression'—London. 'Aggression as dishonest as it is insulting'—Worcester.He should be glad to know where the dishonesty was? There were about fifty other extracts, which he would not trouble the House with reading; but he had read these in order to ask the question, Which side had the balance of scolding? Why, if they were to go to Billingsgate, or to the pocket edition of Billingsgate, Pill-lane, in his city—Dublin—the most abusive person in the market, even the queen of the market herself, could scarcely equal the language of these most reverend and right reverend prelates, when speaking of their brother Christians. Let them compare the mild and truly Christian language of the Catholic bishops with this clerical Billingsgate. Let the House remember that this was not the language used by laymen. This was the language used by the heads of the Church—by men who are commanded not to bear false witness against their neighbour—by men who are ministers of the Gospel, which instructs them that the old retaliative principle of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, is abolished, and that they are commanded, if their brethren smite them on the one cheek, to turn them the other. These men belonged to a religion which commanded them, in a trumpet-tongue, to do good to those that hate them, and to pray for those who might persecute and calumniate them. Had they obeyed that mandate? They had not; but they had scolded, in all moods and tenses, a body of men who had done them not one particle of mischief; and God forbid they should! And now, that he might contribute his small mite towards the dissipation of the errors under which the people were labouring, he begged to say again, that the whole matter in dispute was this—that Dr. 1338 Wiseman had said he governed, and would continue to govern, certain counties. That had been construed to mean a territorial title. It was useless for him or any one to deny it. The noble Lord the Member for Arundel had denied it, and his Eminence Cardinal Wiseman had denied it. It had been denied ten thousand times over and over again. But some fools repeated it, and some rogues repeated it. But it has been said, that the Bill was emasculated. The second and third clauses were omitted. The first clause stated, that no Roman ecclesiastic should assume the title of any diocese or place in the united kingdom. Now, what did the Act of 1829 say? The 24th section said, it should not be lawful for any Roman ecclesiastic to assume the title of any existing diocese under a penalty of 100l. This Bill went further; because it said, "of any place." Now, there was no necessity to extend that to Ireland; because the bishops there had never violated that clause. He should be sorry that any one should charge him truly with using intemperate language, or with making a threat; but, bearing in mind that he was an Irish Catholic, that he professed the creed of seven-eighths of the Irish people, and knowing their strong feelings, he defied that House, if they should carry the Bill in its present shape, to carry it out in Ireland. They might carry it out in England; but the Irish Catholics made common cause with the English Catholics. In Ireland they were 85 per cent of the population, in England only 5. They did not omit Ireland from the Bill, though it was understood there was an under-current that they should. If they had, he would have charged the Government with cowardice, and told them they were acting the part of bullies in attacking the weak and letting the strong alone. But they were attacking both, and they would sink or swim together; and he thought they should swim. He had great confidence in the right hon. Member for Ripon, in the Earl of Aberdeen, and in the illustrious Duke who was at the head of the Government when the Emancipation Bill passed in 1829. He believed that he would not allow that great religious compact to be violated. And he had great confidence in the declaration of Lord Stanley, who said, they ought to inquire before they legislated. Until the 4th of November last, Lord Stanley was the most unpopular Peer in Ireland. His name, and every thing that was oppressive 1339 and tyrannical towards them, were synonimous terms. But the noble Lord at the head of the Government had changed places with him And, when he stated that, he stated it in sober sadness, because he deeply regretted it. He regretted it, because, for twenty years of his life, he had recognised the noble Lord as the legitimate and accredited head of the great movement party in this country; he had always considered him as the talented and consistent head of the Whigs. When he entered the House he enlisted under the noble Lord's banners; he voted for him when he thought he was right; he gave him the benefit of the doubt when he had not made up his mind whether he was right or wrong; and he only voted against him when he thought he was wrong. He had now changed his position. [Laughter.] Allow him to correct himself. The noble Lord had changed his position. The noble Lord was now at the head of the bigots of the empire. There was not a narrow-minded, vulgar, uneducated bigot in the land that did not glory in his name, and say the noble Lord was the Prime Minister for their money. The noble Lord, they exclaimed, "would teach the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman that they were not to say anything; they were not to say black is the white of my eye" in this country. The noble Lord, on many occasions, gave us to understand that he would curtail and diminish the temporalities of the Protestant Church in Ireland. They understood him to say he was for the Appropriation Clause. He (Mr. Reynolds) should be glad to know where the Appropriation Clause was now. The noble Lord now came forward to tell that meek and apostolic prelate of the Catholic Church in the archdiocese of Dublin, "If you assume, or anybody assumes, that you are Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the money that is willed to you for charitable purposes shall be devoted as the Prime Minister, or as Government, may determine—perhaps to the conversion of the Jews, or perhaps to the conversion of the people from the errors of Popery, and you shall be fined 100l., and in default of payment imprisoned in the common jail." They understood they had a guarantee, while the noble Lord was sitting on the Treasury bench, that their liberties would not be curtailed, and that some time or other, when noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen sitting on that (the Opposition) side of the House had sown their wild oats, 1340 that they would have become converts to a little practical sound legislation; that when the noble Lord got rid of the parties who were attacking him on the flank and on the rear, that he would have relapsed into his old doctrines of liberalism, and said to the Catholics of Ireland, "Well, you are 7,000,000, it is not right that you should be made to contribute one million sterling per annum to a Church of 700,000 Protestants." But so far from his entertaining that noble and liberal view, the noble Lord came down upon them now, not only in the hour of their weakness, but in the hour of their division, and told them he would manacle their bishops, that he would violate the provisions of the Catholic Emancipation Act, that he would enact another penal law, and that this was the reward for their loyalty and fidelity and firm and unalterable attachment to British connexion. The noble Lord told them in 1851 that they must submit to this additional insult. He (Mr. Reynolds) said they would not. It was said that the Pope of Rome had neither spiritual nor temporal power in this realm. He believed that he had spiritual power, but that he had not and ought not to have temporal power. And it was not clear to him, after the division on the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that the Pope had not some kind of temporal power. He would say this, that those who thought with him (Mr. Reynolds) would not swell the sails of a Minister who sought to oppress them. He voted for the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and he wished that his vote should be construed not as a vote on the merits of that question. [Cheers.] He thanked them for that cheer from the Treasury bench. It was said that open confession was very wholesome; he was making it now. His vote was not a vote on the merits of that question, but it was a vote of want of confidence in the Ministers. He was prepared to record other such votes, and he would tell them that if he were not prepared to do so, although his own conviction went with him, he dare not show his face in Ireland. He was asked very recently, outside of the House, this question—"Surely, Mr. Reynolds, you would not think of voting against the Ministers, where you thought they were right; do not vote against them on all occasions." Well, he said, it was a very hard dose to swallow, to be compelled to vote against a Motion he believed to be right; but he had 1341 read the history of former Parliaments, and he had read somewhere that former Parliaments had withheld the supplies, not because they were prepared to say to the soldier or to the national creditor, "You ought not to be paid;" but because they were not prepared to trust the money to the Ministers. He was prepared, so long as this Algerine, this insulting measure was on the floor of the House, to vote on all occasions in order to mark his indignation against the Government that could make so unwarrantable an assault upon the creed of himself and his fellow-countrymen. He was speaking for himself; he was not guilty of the unpardonable presumption of speaking for other Catholics, but if he could form an estimate of their own opinions, he thought he could say to Her Majesty's Ministers that until they altered their course, until they could truly prove that they were really lovers of civil and religious liberty, that until they governed Ireland, and not garrisoned her as now, they would have no Catholic votes to support them in that House, nor would they have the votes of liberal Protestants. He was attacked, with reference to his vote on the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that he voted against the merits. It was not for protection; the speech of the hon. Mover disclaimed protection. His (Mr. Reynolds') vote was a vote of no confidence in the Ministry, and he should vote so again. He had learned a lesson since he entered that House, that a great many Motions were not a move for the benefit of the people, but a move for office. He believed the great Whig party were desirous of keeping office, and, if they were good boys and behaved themselves, they might do so, and they should have his vote. If the Protectionists wanted office, they, the Irish, had no chance; they were so few. In fact, they occupied the position in that House of mere strangers, or of poor relations. They had no power of originating a measure for the good of Ireland with the prospect of carrying it. But he would tell them what they had. Bearing in mind that the two great political parties were nearly balanced, they believed they had the power of deciding which of the two should occupy the Treasury bench. And now he would make an offer: he might as well say he was in the market. He was to be bought. And he thought he could sell a few others who coincided in opinion with him. He would tell them what their price was. They were 1342 prepared to aid in transferring one party from that bench, and placing another party on it on these conditions—first, that they would abandon this Bill, totally and entirely abandon the Bill, and that they would introduce measures to save the millions of Ireland from dying as they were doing at present in the workhouses for want of food, food being plentiful and reduced to a drug price. He called on them to put an end to a system under which 220 paupers in a single workhouse, Kilrush, in the county of Clare, had died in one week—many of starvation. In the next place he asked them to do justice to the distillers and spirit dealers of Ireland, and to place them on the same footing as the foreign dealers. Next, he demanded that they should consider Ireland as an integral part of the British empire, not for the purposes of aggression and oppression, and centralization, but for the purpose of making her what both God and nature intended her to be, the right arm of this empire, and not a dragchain on its prosperity as she was at present. There was no one, either in the House or out of doors, that was more entirely anxious than himself, to strengthen the bonds of connexion, and to increase the affection between the two countries. He was not in the habit of preaching religious sermons, but he did, sometimes, preach political sermons on the other side of St. George's Channel; and the purport of his discourses on all such occasions was, that they should draw closer and closer the ties of amity between England and Ireland. It was his constant advice to his hearers, that they should copy the industry of England, and profit by her example, which had made her what they were not, a nation of freemen, instead of being what they were, a degraded community, and truly impoverished. He would not say that the present generation of Englishmen had reduced Ireland to what she was, but it was the bad and class legislation of the ancestors of Englishmen which had placed her in her present position; and he, therefore, urged their descendants to retrace their steps to a better and more wholesome system. As a Catholic Member of that House, he felt that an open and wanton insult had been committed by this Papal Bill upon his creed; and, in saying that, he spoke with no sectarian feeling. He knew that this mighty united kingdom contained a population approaching 30,000,000 souls, of which about 10,000,000 1343 were Catholics; 10,000,000 were episcopal Protestants, and the remaining 10,000,000 were split into all the sections into which their common Christianity was split. They were a mixed community of Christians, and, therefore, in the name of God let them discountenance all proceedings, which, like the present, were not Christian proceedings, but were calculated to divide man from man, instead of making them love each other—proceedings which were calculated to make the country—he spoke now of Ireland, but he thought England was very little hetter—perfectly uninhabitable. Let them get rid, therefore, of this most absurd and mischievous measure, and proceed to transact the business of the country. Above all, let them not furnish material to make them the laughing stock of every civilised community in Europe.
§ SIR B. HALL
had no hesitation in saying that it was his intention to give his vote in favour of the Bill which had been proposed by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. In the course of this discussion, one very remarkable feature had occurred. It had been elicited by the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, who had boldly and unhesitatingly declared that he and his party were a marketable commodity both in this House and in the country. The hon. Gentleman said, that they were ready to dispose of themselves either to one Government or the other; but before any one attempted to purchase them, he thought it would be well to consider the value which they put upon themselves; and he would caution his noble Friend at the head of the Government not to have anything to do with them, for they would always support the Government when it suited their convenience to do so, or when they could profit by so doing. Why, if they looked at the conduct of the Irish party, they would find that ever since the year 1832, when most of them became Members of the House, they had voted first on one side of the House, and then on the other, on every kind of question; and that, notwithstanding their loud protests, they had supported the Government in the most abject manner. The hon. Gentleman had told them that unless he opposed this measure he dared not show his face in Ireland: probably he would be excommunicated if he did. His noble Friend the Member for Arundel, who had opposed the measure, 1344 had done so in a most temperate and admirable speech, and one well calculated for the very serious occasion on which they had met—for a very serious occasion he felt it to be. His noble Friend had told them that ever since the year 1598 three had been a demand for a Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country; but surely the Pope's refusing to grant one was a proof that it was quite unnecessary for the purpose of spiritual government in this country. That being the case, he (Sir B. Hall) asked why the Pope now, in the year 1851, came forward and made this aggression? There was no necessity whatever for the appointment of sees. The old constitution of vicars-apostolic was admirably adapted to the wants of the Roman Catholics in this country, and there was no cause whatever for the change, except for the purpose of giving more power to the Roman Catholic bishops in this country. If he were a member of the Roman Catholic body, he should equally protest against this assumption on the part of the Pope. In fact, what did they, the Protestants of this country, do when one of their own bishops attempted to introduce a Bill for the purpose of giving extravagant powers to the episcopal bench, such as the Pope was now attempting to confer on his bishops? They came forward and protested against the proposition; and, therefore, he was not saying what he would not do, when he declared the course he should take if he were a Roman Catholic. It had been stated that the feeling which had been manifested was not the feeling of the people of England; but he could only look upon such an assertion as puerile and absurd. A paper which had been laid upon the table a day or two since, and which had been moved for by his hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire, completely refuted such an idea. It showed that there had been meetings in almost every county in England, with one extraordinary exception, that of the county of Kent, in which there was an archiepiscopal and episcopal city. Although at these county meetings hundreds and thousands had met for the purpose of expressing their loyalty to the Queen, the addresses had been in many instances signed only by the lord lieutenant; and yet there had been 1,006,400 signatures to addresses to Her Majesty, praying that measures might be adopted for preventing the continuance of the Papal aggression. It might be said that these 1345 addresses had been get up by the clergy, or had emanated from agricultural districts, where the people were not well informed or liberal in their opinions; but the fact was the very reverse. He had the honour to represent a district in this metropolis which was rather famous for its liberal views—the parish of St. Pancras. It contained 18,500 householders, and he had himself presented a petition signed by 14,363 out of that number. He trusted that this would sufficiently explain the sort of persons who had taken part in the movement. Hon. Gentlemen might get up in this House and talk about religious liberty, but he conceived that there had never been a greater prostitution of the term. They were striving not against religious liberty, but against religious domination. The Roman Catholics talked as if their religion was excessively tolerant, and as if the Protestants' was exceedingly domineering. The hon. Member for Mayo had explained that the reason why we had greater religious freedom in England than they had in Rome was, because England was England. But it would have been better to have reversed the question, and asked why there was not religious liberty in Rome as well as in England? The reason was because Rome was Rome—because Rome had always been intolerant. It was a fact, that Protestants were positively forbidden to worship God within the walls of the Holy City, although persons had had the presumption to deny that such was the case. And suppose that Protestants should die in Rome, the only place where they were allowed to be buried—at the very extremity of the city, at the greatest distance from their chapel, and just within the Porta St. Paolo—even there no monument could be put up over a departed father or child except with the permission of the Propaganda, and no inscription could be placed on it, when erected, without their sanction.
§ SIR H. W. BARRON
I know the contrary to be the fact, having erected a monument to a friend myself.
§ SIR B. HALL
The hon. Baronet might contradict him, but he (Sir B. Hall) must be excused if he did not stand corrected. He could relate instances within his own knowledge, if required; but he 1346 would show the hon. Baronet that whilst the Censor must be consulted, he cared not what was put up or what was inscribed, so long as there was not any allusion to Scripture. A gentleman having lost a daughter, was, after a very great deal of trouble, at last permitted to erect a tomb. He was anxious to put upon it a passage from Scripture, but he was not allowed to make any allusion to the sacred writings. At length the gentleman, not being permitted to put upon the tomb anything from Scripture, thought he would write some verses in Latin. He did so, and a solemn conclave of the Propaganda, consisting of learned cardinals, permitted it to pass, notwithstanding its sins against prosody. It commenced with two shorts and a long, followed by a short, the object being to make up a dactyl, and the lines ran as follows:—Quæ; claris fueram præclata puellis,Illa ego hoc brevi condita sum tumulo;Cui formam pulcherrimum charites tribuere decoramQuam Deus cunctis artibus erudiit.These four lines contained about as many false quantities as it was possible to get into an equal number of lines, and yet the learned conclave who would not allow any allusion to Scripture to be placed on the tombstone allowed them to pass without demur. These wonderful lines were written by a countryman of the hon. Baronet, and he had no doubt, therefore, that the hon. Baronet would be proud of such a poetical effusion. He had said before, that if he were a Roman Catholic he should oppose the measure of the Pope; and he declared, that if there should be in the time to come any effort to give to the Church of England any synodical action which would allow them to interfere in our temporal affairs, as it had been shown that the bishops of the Church of Rome did in this country, and his noble Friend the Member for Arundel, had shown that the moment the Roman Catholic bishops got a synod, they did interfere with temporal affairs; he should be most ready to oppose them. Every power for conducting their spiritual affairs should be freely granted to them—that was a province with which he had nothing to do—but the moment that the Roman Catholic bishops interfered with temporal affairs, they, as the laity of this country, ought to rise up and denounce such proceedings. Then, as to the manner in which this Bill would be brought into operation, he understood that it could not 1347 be made effective unless with the sanction of the hon. and learned Attorney General. In a remarkable speech delivered by the hon. and learned Solicitor General last Session, the hon. and learned Gentleman said, such was the admirable state of the law in this country, that if any person felt himself aggrieved, let him lay a document before the Attorney General, and he would indorse it, "Let right be done!" Now, he thought that in legislating as regards the temporal power—and he did not wish in the least degree to interfere with the spiritual freedom of the Roman Catholics—but in legislating against the invasion of the temporal power and the assumption of titles, the fullest and amplest power should be given to the subjects of the realm to require the law to be put in force, and not to leave the matter to the mere caprice of the Attorney General for the time being. He might be denounced for these opinions as one careless of the course of religious liberty, but he felt he was not liable to such an imputation. He looked on the question as a mere temporal matter, and one in which the prerogatives vested in the Sovereign had been invaded. He wished to declare that the Pope had no temporal power in this country, and that we would not allow the Sovereign of this realm to feel for one instant that we had a divided allegiance, or that any person could divide that authority with her which She ought to possess. On these grounds he should support the second reading of this Bill, and he hoped that its provisions would, before it passed the Legislature, be sufficiently effective to meet the object for which it was framed.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
I rise, Sir, with much more than ordinary anxiety to state the reasons which have made me think it my duty to vote against the second reading of this Bill. Sir, I am not insensible to the duty we all owe to regard the expression of public opinion, especially in a matter of this great importance; nor am I insensible to the great amount of public opinion which has been expressed on this question, or to the depth and strength of the feeling which has been manifested throughout the country. I confess that if I could interpret what has taken place out of doors as a deliberate and well-considered demand for this species of legislation, as necessary to protect the secular interests of the public, and to deliver the country from any political danger, I might be led to hesitate before I trusted myself in coming to a con- 1348 elusion opposed to so much public sentiment. But I have seen, and all must have seen who have attended to the subject, that with the public it is not viewed as a mere political question. It is viewed in, that light of which I join with them in appreciating the importance—it is viewed in the light of a question, if not solely of religion, at all events of mixed religion and politics, and the most important bearing of which is of a religious character. It is as. a repetition of the ancient protest of this country against what we believe to be the false spiritual principles and the spiritual aggression of the Church of Rome—it is as a solemn repetition of that protest that I chiefly view what has been going on out of doors; and viewing it in that light, and acknowledging that the occasion is a legitimate one for such an expression of such an opinion, I confess that I, for one, cannot attribute to, it the same degree of importance with reference to the particular question now before us—namely, whether this species of legislation is required by the emergency which has arisen. In approaching the subject from that point of view which every speaker in these discussions has admitted to be the only right and legitimate one in this place, not as a theological but as a political question, as a question of State, and not of religion or the Church—in approaching it from that side, I own that my mind is much more alive to the danger which false and erroneous legislation of this nature might cause to the great principles of civil and religious liberty, than to any imagination which I am able to grasp or apprehend of political danger from the aggression of the Church of Rome. It is necessary in approaching this question, and in considering the grounds stated in argument for the legislation proposed—it is absolutely necessary that we should start with a clear and distinct view of what we mean by the principles and practice of civil and religious liberty in this nation, and under the British constitution: because, if we do that, we shall sweep away a large portion of the arguments that have been urged in favour of this Bill, and we shall see that neither in reference to the practice of foreign countries (so much referred to), nor to the pretended public law of Europe, nor to those fine distinctions which it has been attempted to draw between ecclesiastical and spiritual things, can any foundation be laid, consistently with the system of religious toleration pursued in this coun- 1349 try, for much of the reasoning and many of the subtleties which have been relied upon in support of the measure before the House. I shall not forget to deal with those points of difference which exist between the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant Dissenters. But it is important to observe, in the first instance, how we deal with our own voluntary religious communities—whether, with respect to them, we draw these distinctions between spiritual and ecclesiastical freedom—whether we admit the principles and customs upon which, in similar cases, foreign countries proceed. Now, the whole practice of religious liberty in this country clearly warrants the general position, that as much freedom is allowed in ecclesiastical as in strictly spiritual matters, to all the various churches and religious communities not connected with the State, and not enjoying any of the privileges derived from such a connection. They are all allowed to organise themselves, and to localise their organisation; they may all combine, and hold their synods and religious assemblies. Take, for example, the Free Church of Scotland, which came into existence, as it were, but yesterday. That Church separated from the Establishment—on what ground? Because it rejected the principle of State interference with church government. And what did they do? They immediately organised throughout Scotland a vast parochial system, with ministers, kirk sessions, presbyteries, and general assemblies; a more complete ecclesiastical government was never established. And we are not to think that upon such a subject as this, the State can lay down one rule for Presbyterians, and another for Episcopalians. There are no grounds for such a distinction. Nor are we to go into theological differences. It is a plain matter of fact that the peculiar government of each religious persuasion is determined by the conscientious convictions of those who adhere to that persuasion. The Wesleyans have also their class meeting, their conference of ministers, and a Strictly clerical government; and there is also the case of the Synods of Ulster in Ireland, and the case of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Scotland—which is now proposed to be omitted from the Bill. We have permitted every ecclesiastical system that the convictions of each sect have dictated, without the interference and without the consent of the State, which has restrained neither their synodical action 1350 nor the powers of their local officers for the administration of the different forms of government. All this I admit may be inapplicable to a Church with foreign connection, like that of the Roman Catholics. I shall deal with that point—it is worthy of consideration; and I do not shut my eyes to that distinction. But I say that you cannot understand the elements of the question without steadily keeping before you a clear notion of the way in which we administer the principles of civil and religious liberty among ourselves, and towards our own various religious communions. Then the first question before we come to the peculiar character of the Roman Catholic Church is this-—do we limit our toleration of ecclesiastical arrangements to what has once been adopted; do we adopt the principle of finality, and say, "You shall stop where you are—you shall not modify or change your development; we allow you to establish what you like once, but when you have done it once, there it is for ever?" Why, you don't do anything of the kind, and no one thinks of drawing such a distinction. Take an illustration from the very case before us. If the principle of freedom in ecclesiastical arrangements is to be allowed at all, how extravagant it is to say, because a particular Church—an Episcopal Church—was once content with missionary bishops, therefore it never should be allowed to assume its normal condition—the diocesan form; or to say that, because once it had. not the use of synods, therefore it shall never have them at all. We have not hitherto dealt with any religious bodies in that way—it is totally inconsistent with our principles of toleration—for they themselves must be the judges of what they want under altered circumstances. I know of nothing more completely savouring of the real spirit of persecution—although not so intended—than what just now fell from the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone, who said, "If I were a Roman Catholic, I should oppose the creation of these bishoprics." Are we to legislate on the notions which we think we should entertain if we were Roman Catholics? They must he the judges themselves of their own religious system, and of their own spiritual and ecclesiastical wants. No doubt, if what they do interferes with the interests of the nation, it is the duty of the State to interpose, and that may be right and necessary; but to make ourselves the judges, in a spiritual point 1351 of view, whether the change is wanted by them or not—whether it is necessary and salutary for them or not—does seem to me to savour of the very last degree of the spirit of persecution. Before I notice those difficulties which are real ones, I must add this—that you must not forget that many religious bodies hold among their fundamental tenets those positions and doctrines which they adopt concerning matters ecclesiastical; and, above all, the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholic holds the tenet of the supremacy of the Pope, the necessity of episcopal government, and the whole system of the priesthood, among the first principles of his religion; and, therefore, to think that you tolerate their religion at all, and yet to exclude these things, which they regard to be necessary, is a practical self-contradiction. Now I come to consider whether the general principles we apply to our own domestic religious communities are inapplicable to the case of the Roman Catholics. I acknowledge that, abstractedly viewed and stated, there is a very important distinction between the two cases. I am far from insensible to the force of the argument, that whilst all these other communities are bodies of British citizens, subjects of the British law, acknowledging no foreign power of interference, and having no interests incompatible, prima facie, with those of subjects of this country; on the other hand, we may say with plausibility, and a certain amount of actual truth, that the Roman Catholic Church in this country is, as it were, a branch of a foreign Church, subject to foreign control, and the interests of which in certain cases may be in hostility to the interests of this country. I do not deny that there is a difficulty here. But I would suggest that it is a difficulty which lies at the root, not of the question before us, but of the whole previous question, settled long ago, namely, whether you should tolerate the Roman Catholics at all. It lies at the root of the question, whether they shall be allowed to have any priesthood at all—any episcopacy at all; for all their priests and bishops are nominated directly or indirectly by the Pope: they look upon him as their superior, and are subject to his decrees, acknowledging his infallibility in matters both of religion, and necessarily, by implication, of morals, too. Well, no doubt there were circumstances in the history of this country in past times where this might lead to practical evils, such as we ought to 1352 repress, and which we were obliged to repress by temporal legislation, because the difficulty was a real one. But what result did all that legislation lead to but this—that if the Roman Catholic body was a dangerous political party when we began, it became more dangerous as we went on; and so dangerous, indeed, did it at last become, that we were forced to abandon that system of legislation, and give the Roman Catholics the benefit of our general principles of toleration. And, since that time, has anything occurred that should lead us to retrograde? Why, we know very well, although it may be perfectly true that the character of the Roman Catholic Church may be inflexible, and although its principles in the abstract may be immutable—although it may even be true (I do not say it is so, but I am willing to assume it for the sake of argument, and I hope that the members of the Roman Catholic persuasion will forgive me for speaking so freely)—although it may even be true that, if they recovered their ascendancy in this country, we might see again the days of the Marian persecution—still, although they do not renounce anything which they have been once committed to, yet the world goes on, and times and circumstances change, the relations of the Roman Catholic Church to the politics of Europe alter, and the relations of the Government of this country to those of its citizens who are members of the Roman Catholic Church alter too. And we must look at the matter practically as statesmen, and we must divest ourselves as much as we can of the prejudices of past times, and of the contemplation and dread of mere possible or conceivable dangers. We must look at the actual case as it is, and see whether we have not now to deal with the Roman Catholic Church more as a religious community than as a political power. Its religion is that professed—some have said by 10,000,000, but I will say—by 7,000,000 or 8,000,000 of British subjects; and we cannot deal with it but as such; we cannot induce them to give it up; we must take it with all its conditions. We have done so, and determined that they may have a priesthood, an episcopate, and a Church without penal laws; and the notion of a divided allegiance, although so plausible, and to a certain extent so true, is at last exploded amongst us. The arguments we now hear on that subject are the very same which were stated by Blackstone in his Commentaries, 1353 in justification of the old penal laws. Blackstone said that the mark of high treason was set upon the profession of Popish priests, and on conversions to Popery—On a civil and not on a religious account. For every Popish priest of course renounces his allegiance to his temporal sovereign on taking orders; that being inconsistent with his new engagements of canonical obedience to the Pope; and the same may be said of an obstinate defence of his authority here, or a formal reconciliation to the See of Rome, which the statute construes to be withdrawing from one's natural allegiance.No doubt all this may seem logically very correct; but we have decided that our legislation shall not be based on these alarms. We have trusted to the good feeling and good faith of the Roman Catholics; they say that they do not give to the Pope any thing which belongs to the Queen; that they do not divide their temporal allegiance. You believed them when they said so, and you gave them seats in this House; and is it then reasonable or sensible to be alarmed at their extending their ecclesiastical institutions; to regard that as an encroachment on the political independence of the realm; and to defend yourselves against it, not by seeking to turn them out of this House, and thereby depriving them of real political power, but by invading, or leading them to think that you invade, that which is dearer and far more sacred—their religious freedom—a right valued by every man far above every political privilege? Then I will ask this question—whether there is really any ground for the argument that this thing which has been done—and which we say is the motive for our legislation—is a violation of the public law of Europe? That argument, I think, is the more requiring notice, because my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, throughout the whole of his speech a few nights ago, appeared to consider that if anything had been demonstrated in these debates, it was this argument, which I conceive to be a total mystification, and grounded on an utter misconception of the principles and practice of civil and religious liberty followed in this country, as distinguished from those which exist in other countries. What is called the public law of Europe upon this subject is a mere generalization—as Dr. Twiss, in his very useful, able, and excellent work, which I admire, though I differ from it, has stated—from the usage and practice of various countries of Europe. Now, if you look into the sources from 1354 which it is collected, you find that nearly the whole of it turns on the usage and practice of countries in which the Roman Catholic religion is established by the State. We know very well that, wherever a particular religion is established by the State, the State acquires a certain control over its institutions; they are adopted and incorporated into the law of the land, and of course no new element can be introduced into the law of the land by any spiritual power without the consent and concurrence of the temporal Government; a circumstance which makes the case of an established Church totally different from that of a merely tolerated religious community. The principle is the same in the cases of Prussia, the Netherlands, and other countries, where there are partial establishments on a more limited and a smaller scale. Under concordats with the Pope, and other arrangements of a similar kind, these countries have given a legal status and recognition to the dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church; they have also granted them payments or endowments; and they make it one of the terms of their treaty with the Papal See that no new ecclesiastical institutions shall be established without the concurrence of the Crown. No doubt we might do the same, if we entered into the same sort of arrangements with the Pope. But we are also referred to one or two other countries whose system is more exceptional, such as Denmark and Russia. In Denmark they do not profess to give full toleration to the Roman Catholic religion at all; that, therefore, is no pattern for us. But Russia, of all countries in the world. Why, Russia makes it penal, by banishment and confiscation of goods, for a man to be converted from one religion which he previously held to another. I do not think, therefore, we are likely to learn anything from Russia on the subject of public law. In point of fact, one observation applies equally to all these Continental nations, and disposes of the whole argument founded upon their laws. It is a mere fallacy to think that they deal with questions of bishoprics and sees in a different manner from other ecclesiastical questions; it is their system, that the Government should take cognisance of all such matters, and actively interfere in their settlement; and that a civil authorisation should be required for the public exercise of any religion in an ecclesiastical form. France, for example, pays all religious communities. Napoleon, by 1355 imperial decrees, organised the ecclesiastical system of the Protestant religion; and the whole of its working machinery in France is the creation of Napoleon. Well, we do not do anything like that; and surely ours is the better principle, and all who are sincerely attached to civil and religious liberty will think so. In the very able speech of the noble Lord who introduced this Bill, to which I listened with great admiration, what must have struck everybody was, that the latter part of it answered the former. It sounded extremely well when he gave an account of what was done in all the countries of Europe, and in our own country in the days of William the Conqueror and Edward I.—rather remote authorities to appeal to—but when he came to consider what he should do, did he adopt their principles? No; he stated that it is as necessary a part of the public law of Europe that every Papal writing relating to the Roman Catholic Church should have the royal placet or exequatur as it is that a new see should have it. He has not adopted that principle—and why? First, because it is not an English principle; and then—which is a still better reason—because the country would not tolerate it. The country would not tolerate that the Government should be so mixed up with the Roman Catholic religion as this system would require, and that we should take upon ourselves the moral responsibility of authorising all their ecclesiastical arrangements. It would not choose that their bishops should have the sanction and approval of the Crown, or that their synods should be convoked under the authority of the Crown. We know very well that the Protestant feeling of the nation would revolt against that infinitely more than it revolts against what has been done on the present occasion. There is, in fact, no middle course; we must either take the responsibility of giving the Roman Catholics privileges, recognitions, endowments, and advantages of that kind, coming before the country to sanction their arrangements, or we must leave them to make their own arrangements for themselves; unless, indeed, we are to fall hack on the foreign principle, for purposes totally Unknown to the foreign Governments—for purposes of prohibition merely, and not of regulation and assistance. That, I think, would not be quite consistent with the principles of civil and religious liberty. And, after all, it is ft fallacy to think that those countries which approach most nearly to this in 1356 the practice of religious toleration, do adopt that principle. Belgium allows the Pope to make as many bishops as he pleases; the only thing the State says is, "If you make more bishops than we think proper, we won't pay them." That is a very sensible principle; and, therefore, it appears that the case of Belgium must he an exception to the general public law of Europe, as it has been stated. Then, there are our Anglo-Saxon brethren on the other side of the Atlantic, who have more of our principles and institutions than any continental nation. They allow the Pope to make bishops and sees for the spiritual governance 6f the Roman Catholic people, and do not find any political inconvenience from doing so. There are also the free States of South America, which under the Spanish rule had concordats with the Pope; the concordat was broken off at the time of the revolution, and since that time the Pope has established many new bishoprics, and framed many other ecclesiastical regulations, and yet such a notion as that this is a violation of the territorial independence of the nation has never yet been broached. This brings me to the next argument, that the thing which has been done in the present instance, or the way of doing it, is an insult to the Queen, an invasion of Her territorial sovereignty, an usurpation of political power, and not a mere ecclesiastical arrangement. That is a difficult argument to deal with—first, because I do not mean to be the apologist of the thing done, or of the manner of doing it. It seems to me—I hope Gentlemen of the Roman Catholic persuasion will excuse my saying what I feel and think on this point—like many other acts of the Roman Catholic Church—arrogant and presumptuous; but, although it seems so, I do not think that alone would be ft good reason for legislating. With respect to the alleged insult to the Queen, it is impossible not to feel a difficulty; because if Her Majesty really has been insulted, every one of us would think that hardly anything could be too much to mark our resentment. If ever insult was wanton and inexcusable, it would be so to one Who has filled the Throne with a dignity and ft moral worth—with a wealth of public and private virtues never surpassed, and not often equalled in the history of this country; and, consequently, if I could view this as an insult to the Queen, I might lose my self-possession, and he disposed to accede to anything 1357 that might manifest my sense of the wrong. But when you talk of insult, I must declare my assent to a remark made by one of the speakers who preceded me, that, in public as well as in private life, the wiser as well as the more dignified course is not to resent as an insult that which you are not very sure was intended as such. In this case I do not believe that the thing done was intended as an insult; I believe that it was supposed, rightly or wrongly, to be an ecclesiastical arrangement which, according to the spirit of our legislation, might be carried into effect without giving that offence to the Crown or the people which has been felt, and therefore that it was not done with the intention to insult. And I do not think it any territorial invasion of the sovereignty of the Crown. We must look to the true meaning of the thing, and I have not been able to bring my mind to conceive how any one can doubt that the only thing intended was to organise a diocesan episcopate for the spiritual and ecclesiastical purposes of the Roman Catholic Church in this country. Is that an invasion of territorial sovereignty? What do we mean by the phrase? I understand by territorial sovereignty the right of dominion over the land, soil, and all within it Which can be subject to temporal government; whilst by diocesan episcopacy I understand a system of administration for the spiritual oversight and government of a religious communion, composed of men receiving and submitting themselves to that system. These words—bishop, province, diocese, see—are not words of political designation; they are words which existed in the language of the Christian Church for centuries before it had anything to do with politics; and when, in the primitive times, people spoke of Polycarp as Bishop of Smyrna, and of Ignatius as Bishop of Antioch, nobody imagined that these venerable men were claiming any temporal dominion over Smyrna and Antioch. If you legislate in the spirit of this Bill, you legislate against the natural use of language. This Bill does not stop at saying, "You shall not call yourself bishop of one place or another;" it goes the full length of saying, "You shall not do this under the name, style, or title of archbishop, bishop, or dean of any city, town, or place, or of any territory or district, under any designation or description whatever." Well now, what are these poor Episcopal Churches to do? He can a diocesan episcopate ever be described according to the natural use of 1358 language, but by styling the bishop as of some place? Or, do you mean to prohibit it altogether? If you do, you should say so; because this has been, from the beginning of Christianity, the normal state of every Episcopal Church—and to prohibit it would be utterly inconsistent with the principle of tolerating such a Church at all. A diocesan bishop must be a bishop exercising functions within some local sphere, limited by boundaries of a certain description. Is he to call himself by the immense circumlocution which would be necessary to make out the district lying within the limits of his spiritual jurisdiction? Or what else can he do, if he is not to take his name from some place within it, in the way that we always name districts from some principal place within them? It does seem to me that this would be a most extraordinary interference with the right of all the world to have the common use of language, as well as a strange violation of common sense. If I wanted proofs of this, I would go to your own acts. Your own officers of the Viceregal Court in Dublin were so unable to escape from the natural influence of that phraseology which everybody was using all about them, that they put on their ceremonial list of presentations those very diocesan titles which were against the Emancipation Act; and this notorious use of those titles by the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland was so entirely winked at, that not only nothing was done to punish it, but it did not stand in the way of the bestowal of favours of every kind upon them, short of the recognition of those titles themselves by the Government of the land. How can that be reconciled with the notion, that the assumption of such names was not only prohibited by the statute, but was in itself a territorial invasion of the sovereignty of the Crown? And so with respect to the Episcopal Church of Scotland. I do not see how, as to this point of territorial aggression, the Roman Catholic Church, owing to its foreign connexion, can stand in a different position from the Scottish Episcopal Church; and those who drew this Bill must have thought so too, because there is not a word in it about foreign connexion. The Bill prohibits the assumption of episcopal titles "under colour of authority from the See of Rome, or otherwise;" so that, if a Free Episcopal Church were formed in England to-morrow, it would be prohibited by this Bill just as much as the Popish one. And yet the Scottish bishops are now to be 1359 exempted. The Scottish bishops are called by local titles, because people must talk in an intelligible manner; they really cannot use such a roundabout way of speaking as to say, "Bishops within limits coinciding with those of the ancient See of St. Andrews"—or, "Bishops of persons of the episcopal communion living within that part of Scotland which coincides with the limits of the ancient diocese of St. Andrews?" [Mr. Fox MAULE: Call them by their names.] The right hon. Secretary at War says, call them by their names; but there must be. occasions when it becomes necessary to refer to their office, and then there must be some formal style, pointing to the locality of their jurisdiction. But this Bill allows no such formal style at all. That seems to me an extremely absurd thing, and if it were enforced, a very tyrannical one. I cannot think that the use of such titles by those who neither wish nor ask for any national recognition, is an assumption of territorial authority, or any offence whatever against the dignity of the Crown. Yet the noble Lord at the head of the Government went so far as to say that this was nothing less than an assumption of temporal power, and compared it with what might have happened if a person had come into England with a commission from the Pretender, claiming to be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or of an English county. But if that was the real meaning of the thing, the law officers of the Crown never could have told the noble Lord that they could not prosecute in this case; because, if we go to Blackstone, we find that this, if not high treason, is at least such a violation of the Royal prerogative as may be punished with fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the Courts; and if juries believed such an attempt serious, they could have no difficulty in convicting the presumptuous intruder. The difficulty which, no doubt, the law officers felt, was this—that men sworn to do justice, and with the solemn responsibility of deciding on life and property, would see that this case was nothing of the kind, that the arrogant language used might give some colour for so representing it, but that the act done was entirely different. An absurd distinction (absurd, with reference to the argument I am now dealing with), has been drawn between these new bishops and the vicars-apostolic. The hon. Baronet who spoke before me said that the latter was a most excellent system, under which the Roman 1360 Catholics got on extremely well, and that there was no reason why they should not have gone on as they had hitherto done. If the hon. Baronet had looked a little further into the history of the vicars-apostolic, he might perhaps have hesitated before he said so. First, they were not tolerated by law until a very recent period, therefore you cannot say there was a long course of toleration; they never came into existence with the consent of the Crown, nor has any Roman Catholic arrangement ever been so made in this country. They were established in this way: in the time of Pope Gregory XV., a person named William Bishop, who had been consecrated Bishop of Chalcedon, was named vicar-apostolic in England for the first time. The House has heard a great deal about the presumptuous language of the pastoral letter—"We govern, and will continue to govern, as ordinary thereof, the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, and Essex." Why, the Papal bull creating the episcopate was framed on that creating the vicars-apostolic, and founding that excellent system which the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone so much admires. The words of the ancient bull are—Potestate Catholica et jurisdictione vicarii apostolici generalis fulciatur, ac personas omnes tarn ecclesiasticas quam laicas, intra Angliam degentes, secundum ecclesiasticas constitutiones regat et gubernet.That is tolerably strong language, conferring powers as extensive as any which the late bull of Pope Pius can be supposed to confer. In the year 1688 the number of the vicars-apostolic was increased to four by Pope Innocent XI., who did it in exactly the way in which this thing has been done now, and the same language as to partition was employed as in the present letters-apostolic, the language of which was adopted from that bull. The present letters-apostolic thus faithfully describe it:—The same Pontiff (Innocent XI.) divided England into four districts, namely, the London, the western, the midland, and the northern, with the powers proper to a local ordinary… This partition of all England into four apostolic-vicariates lasted till the time of Gregory XVI.And was not that felt at the time exactly as this has been now? What said the last address of the bishops of the Church of England to James II., who did not authorise this Act, for even he does not seem to have been previously consulted?—Art. 7 If you would please, by your Royal proclamation, to inhibit the four Romish bishops, 1361 who style themselves vicars-apostolical, and by a foreign authority, not derived from your Crown, ride circuit in the land, and have presumed to cantonise this your kingdom into four provinces, and to divide it among themselves (having printed maps of it accordingly); exercising therein a jurisdiction, of which the respective bishops have been long possessed, and which by the laws of England belongs unquestionbly to them.What is the difference, for the present purpose, between these two things? Why simply that the old functionaries were called vicars-apostolic of districts, and the new are called bishops of dioceses. That, equally with this, was a mission of persons acting under the authority of a foreign Potentate, to exercise episcopal jurisdiction in England within territorial districts par-celled out by the Pope. Yet time and experience have shown, that, after all, that was a mere ecclesiastical arrangement; it has been tolerated, though not for much more than fifty years; and the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone now mourns over the loss of it, as one of the best arrangements in the world. Does not this show upon what a misapprehension all this argument about territorial usurpation has proceeded? Sir, I have trespassed already too long upon the indulgence of the House; yet I am unwilling to sit down without noticing one or two other points of a more practical character, which have been urged in favour of the Bill. The noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown referred to the way in which matters connected with politics were introduced into the address of the Romish Synod in Ireland, and he said, it was a eon-sequence of permitting these meetings that they began immediately to meddle with politics. Now, I cannot help thinking that we must remember on that point also that the principle of civil as well as religious liberty extends to religious persons as well as civil. You allow leagues and associations to exist with the view of directing or influencing the deliberations of the Legislature. You allow Acts of Parliament, and the conduct of public men, to be canvassed all over the country; and, if freedom is to be allowed to a voluntary Church of any description, you cannot possibly prevent those who exercise authority in it, from taking notice of those public questions which touch the province of religion on the one hand, and that of politics on the other. To deny this would be to take the path which led the ancient Roman Emperors to their persecutions; they thought that the early 1362 Church was an imperium in imperio—a political conspiracy—lording it over the institutions of the empire, and therefore to be destroyed. We know what was the end of that; and to the same end will come every measure founded upon the same coercive principle. In a free country we have no right to prevent any class of men from meeting and deliberating to the best of their judgment on public questions which concern themselves and their duties. The Irish colleges have been called godless. I never thought them so, because I considered them, in the difficult circumstances of Ireland, perhaps, the best institutions of the kind which could be provided; but I can conceive no greater intolerance than a wish to claim the exclusive privilege of pronouncing them godless. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford was the first to apply that epithet to those colleges: shall we be all in arms to resist it, and resent it as an interference with the temporal independence of the nation, when those charged with the spiritual interests of the Roman Catholics of Ireland express the same opinion, which, if true, it manifestly concerns them to express, whilst, if not true, they have at least the same liberty with my hon. Friend to speak as they think, and be mistaken? With respect to the landlord question, the practical and substantive act of the synod was to issue an exhortation by the bishops to the poor population of Ireland, not to be led into offences against the law by any grievances which they might suffer, or believe themselves to suffer, from evictions or other harsh proceedings towards them. That is a delicate matter, no doubt; and yet I think it very difficult to blame those bishops for offering advice to the peasantry to respect the law and abstain from wrong, or for accompanying it with such expressions of sympathy as would show their feeling for the hardships which some of that peasantry were suffering. The truth is, that the State is so much indebted to all religious bodies which teach the people the precepts of that Gospel, in whose code the maxims "Fear God," and "Honour the king," stand side by side together, training men in habits of order and subordination, that it must consent to afford them some latitude, even if that latitude should occasionally degenerate into excess. Then, as to the danger which is supposed by some to threaten the Church of England; I admit that this is a spiritual aggression, 1363 meant to mate converts from the Church of England of those men who are so deluded as to be capable of exchanging the true doctrine in which they have been reared, for what I conscientiously believe to be the erroneous doctrines of Rome. I think the aggression more serious and formidable in that view than any other; it is a spiritual aggression, meant to present to Protestants the spectacle of a more perfectly ordered church than that which existed under the system of vicars-apostolic. But, unless we are to interfere by law with efforts at conversion, which would be a most idle and objectionable thing, I do not see how, on this ground, we can be justified in passing a Bill against the new episcopate. But I do not fear. We have every possible advantage in this contest, and not the less, because the design of our adversary is laid open. We have the free and open Bible; we have an episcopacy of our own; we have the masses of the population already with us; we have all the Protestant communities jealously vigilant Upon the subject; we have money, political influence, temporal privileges, and, above all, we believe, we have the Truth. Under these circumstances, is it possible to imagine that the Church of England is to perish, or that multitudes of converts are to be made—that we are, as it were, to be converted on a sudden against our wills—merely because the Pope has chosen to turn eight vicars-apostolic into thirteen bishops? The truth is, what has taken place ought to add strength to the Church of England; the protest which has been pronounced in the country, will show our opponents how strong the religious convictions of the people are, and we shall all be on our guard, knowing that there are serious efforts being made for the spiritual extension of the Roman Catholic Church in this country. The references which have been made to the intolerant and Immutable spirit of the Roman Catholic Church, the historical recollections of what passed in the days of Mary, of Elizabeth, and of James II., so far from being reasons for passing penal Acts against the Roman Catholics, are invincible reasons the other way. With such memories fresh and ineffaceable in the people's minds it is impossible to imagine that we shall ever again fall back under the ascendancy or influence of that Power. I claim no exemption for the Roman Catholic or any other Church from temporal legislation; there are many things against which 1364 legislation might be properly directed. If any Pope were hereafter, as in the days of Elizabeth, to attempt to take away the Crown from our Sovereign, and give it to Spain, or if another Armada were sent to invade our shores, we should know what to do; that would be apolitical aggression, and would be met, as of old, by temporal and not spiritual weapons of defence. Even now, if it be true that priests in Ireland sometimes denounce from their altars to the resentment of the people, persons who, on political grounds, or grounds unconnected with the religious discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, have incurred their displeasure, that is a matter upon which it would well become the Government to interfere. Such a Bill, again, as that just introduced by the hon. Member for Bodmin, to prevent the forcible detention of females in religious houses, is, if wanted, right in principle. A measure for the registration of those houses might be in principle quite right and legitimate. Measures against death-bed bequests and donations would be legitimate. All these things are within the province of legislation; but this is not. And, if it were, what is this Bill? It does not touch synods or action of any kind, but only names; and those names in such a way, that when it is found there are clauses which would execute themselves, they are immediately struck out. Those clauses would not have operated on things not done under the prohibited titles; but it was clearly seen that it would be inconsistent with the principles of civil and religious liberty effectually to prohibit the assumption of those titles. There are occasions upon which it is not wished to prevent their being assumed. Even what is left will not prohibit any one but the bishop himself from calling him by the title which, in the language of his own Church, indicates the office he fills. How it can be worthy of this country to be agitated from one end to the other—how it can be worthy of the House to postpone all consideration of the finances of the country and other great and pressing questions, for such legislation as this, I must leave others to explain. For my part, much as I should wish to defer to public opinion, and still more to find public opinion with me; yet I should think I had not done my duty to the great principles of civil and religious liberty, which I esteem to be the chief glory of this country, if I had not entered my protest against this Bill.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, that his hon. and learned Friend who had just sat down had concluded his elaborate and ingenious, but, he was bound to add, his fallacious speech, with the expression of an opinion, in which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) entirely concurred, and to which it was not, therefore necessary that he should further advert. Neither would he be tempted by the allusion made to himself to enter into a consideration of what he might have formerly said on the question of the system of education which had been introduced into Ireland by the Government of Sir R. Peel. It was enough for him to say that he had not renounced the opinions he had formerly expressed upon that point. But he should observe that his hon. and learned Friend had, in his opinion, proceeded on a great fallacy in all his historical references. His hon. and learned Friend had talked of the Episcopal Protestant Church of Scotland, of the Free Church in that country, of the Wesleyan Conference, and of the possibility of a Free Episcopal Church springing up in this country; and then his hon. arid learned Friend had asked whether they were prepared to legislate in any one of those cases in a manner similar to that in which they proposed to deal with the Roman Catholic Church? But there was an essential difference between those cases and the act of aggression which they had then to consider. All the religious communities to which his hon. and learned Friend had referred, were founded on a system of internal organisation, and were dependent on no parties except their own voluntary associations. But the body With which they had then to deal was one, owing at least a divided, if not an entire, allegiance to a foreign Power. He had himself held in his hand that day a petition from the Wesleyan Conference, in which the petitioners stated that they refused to recognise the Sovereign of another State as the fountain of honour and authority in this Country. It was that fact which constituted the great and fundamental distinction between the cases to which his hon. and learned Friend had referred, and the case on which they had then to decide. In order to show the peculiar position occupied by Roman Catholics in this and in other countries, he had only to quote a passage from the eminent person who had been sent over by the Pope to govern the spiritual affairs of England. "The Catholics," said Dr. Wiseman or Bishop Wiseman, "are not, and never 1366 have been, merely a collection of persons holding certain opinions in common, but they are a systematised and organised religious community, representing here the Catholic Church of the universe." The fact was that the Roman Catholics of England could never be treated as a distinct religious body, such as the Wesleyan Methodists or the members of the Free Church of Scotland—they were portions of a general system, which, to quote the celebrated pastoral letter, revolved "round the centre of unity, the source of jurisdiction, of light, and of vigour." They had always heard that the Church of Rome—whether it expressly sought or not to enforce its claim—did in effect assume that it possessed a right over every baptised person in the Christian world; and when that circumstance had been referred to on a late occasion, an hon. Member had added, "and so it ought." And then, again, the noble Lord who had moved the Amendment which they were' then considering, had old them that his Church had claimed every baptised soul. They should remember, therefore, that they had to deal with a Church which admitted no salvation out of its limits, and which, in consequence, very justly and consistently claimed the care of every person who had ever been baptised. He hardly liked to follow the noble Lord in his reference—a reference which must have been painful to himself—to the number of Roman Catholic Peers who had resisted the aggression made by the chief of their religion; and he would not quote their names. But this he would say of them, that, while they were preeminent in rank, they were not inferior in talent and in character to those whose address had been presented by Mr. Langdale to Dr. Wiseman. The hon. Gentleman who had seconded the Amendment had referred with peculiar pleasure to what had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham), and from a noble Earl in another place (the Earl of Aberdeen), upon that subject. But the noble Earl in question, and his right hon. Friend, too, if he was not much mistaken', had spoken of the aggression itself in language as strong as that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, or as that of any Member of either House of Parliament. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds) should not, therefore console himself with the vote of his right hon. Friend, and forget the countervailing character of his 1367 speech in reference to the aggression which had given rise to the Bill. The difference between his right hon. Friend and those who were disposed to deal with the case by legislative enactment, was not as to the character of the aggression, but merely as to the mode in which it should be met. There were persons who thought that it ought to be met with all the powers of the law; while there were others who thought that such a mode of proceeding would be improper and inefficient; but they were both opposed to that measure which had roused the country from one end of it to the other. The hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) had told them of the number of persons who bad signed the petitions presented against that act of aggression, and of those who had signed the addresses to Her Majesty—a number greater, perhaps, than had ever before signed any similar documents. And what was the body from which the first and most important expression of opinion had emanated? Why, it was that distinguished body, the Bar, of which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roundell Palmer) was himself a member, and of which he and another were the only two leading members who had not signed the address agreed to upon the subject. Then, again, that important and influential, and by no means specially bigotted body, the attorneys and solicitors, had, to the number of 6,504, joined their supplications to those which had proceeded from so many other quarters, praying that effective measures might be taken to meet that act of Papal aggression. Whether the measure then under their consideration were adequate to the attainment of its professed object, he would not then stop to inquire. In answer to the hon. Member for Dublin, who had said that he (Sir H. Inglis) was willing to take ninepence in the pound, all he desired to state was, that he would receive the least instalment in respect to a principle. The principle for which he contended was contained in the Bill, and be should, therefore, support it. But at the same time he was quite ready to admit that he was not satisfied with the general conduct of Her Majesty's Government upon the subject, any more than he was satisfied with the particular measure then before the House. On the 22nd of October last, the first news arrived in England of that which the Pope had decreed on the 29th of September. Was there no mode by which Her Majes- 1368 ty's Government could have met that aggression, except by the Bill they had introduced into that House on the 7th of February? His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. J. Stuart) had suggested on a late occasion that there was a constitutional and obvious course by which the mind and will of the Crown might have been made manifest to the Court of Rome; and that was by a proclamation. A proclamation from the Crown might or might not, according to its subject-matter, have a legitimate influence in this country; but with respect to foreign countries, a proclamation of the Crown was as full and sufficient an exponent of the will of the sovereign power among us as any Act of Parliament to which the Crown was a consenting party. In a well-known ease the Government of Brazils had entirely disregarded an Act of Parliament passed in this country, and had stated that they had nothing to do with our internal legislation, which could not regulate their conduct. He said, therefore, that, so far as foreign countries were concerned, an Act of Parliament could not have more force or validity than a proclamation from the Sovereign. He believed that Her Majesty ought, in the first instance, to have been advised to meet that aggression on Her Crown and dignity, on the independence of Her realms, on the integrity of Her Church, and on the faith and consciences of Her people, by issuing at once a proclamation; and let him say that as in Rome the publication of the bull In Gæna Domini affixed to a church in that city was held so be a proclamation to the whole world, so a proclamation from Her Majesty, wherever it was affixed, might be held to convey to the Sovereign of Rome the determined will of the Sovereign of this country to resist an act of aggression on his part. But there were other modes in which the will of the Sovereign of these realms might have been conveyed to the Sovereign of Rome. On the 29th of February, 1848, a Bill was brought down to that House for regulating our diplomatic intercourse with the Court of Rome. That Bill did not receive the Royal Assent until the 4th of September following. It had been forced through the Upper House with breathless haste, but it had been suffered to remain six months in this House without any effort, or at least without any serious effort, having been made by the Government to ensure its adoption. During that time the people of England expressed almost 1369 unanimously their opposition to the measure; petitions, signed by not less than 3,500 members of the parochial clergy of England, were presented against it; and he believed that if Her Majesty's Government had consulted the feelings of the people of England, they would never have thought of pressing it forward. They had, however, pressed it forward, and the Royal Assent had subsequently been given to the measure. But what had they done since? They had by their own mode of proceeding precluded themselves from that most obvious course of entering into diplomatic intercourse with the Court of Rome under the provisions of their own Bill; and they had suffered the Bishop of Rome to perpetrate an act of aggression, which had excited among us all that indignation, while by the common intercourse of diplomatic life they might have explained to the Pope their views, and have induced him to withdraw his proposition. But after Her Majesty's Government had failed to proceed in that matter, either by proclamation or by diplomatic intercourse, they had a third alternative open to them. Her Majesty had a fleet in the Mediterranean, and there were such ports as Ancona and Civita Vecchia in the Papal dominions. Those ports, or at least one of them, might have been opportunely visited by Her Majesty's forces; and representations, diplomatic in their language, might have been conveyed through the admiral commanding the fleet, upon the subject of that act of aggression, in the same way in which France and Austria had taken possession of cities and fortresses in the Roman territory for the purpose of conveying their diplomatic views. He saw no reason why England should not do what France and Austria had done more than once. But if a proclamation at home had failed—if diplomatic interference had failed—if armed intervention had failed in securing the object of Her Majesty's Government, then Her Majesty might have referred to Her faithful Commons—to the representatives of Her faithful people in Parliament assembled, and have endeavoured to persuade them to pass an enactment commensurate with the danger and the difficulty of the crisis. If Government had to take the law as their alternative, instead of a proclamation, or diplomacy or war—if the matter could not be settled without legislation, then he said that Parliament ought to have been summoned at once; for if the case deserved the attention of Parliament at all, if it 1370 deserved it in February, it deserved it in October, and he could see no reason to justify Her Majesty's Ministers from asking the counsel of Parliament in February, which ought not to have induced them to have asked it when the insult had first been offered. But in considering the question, they should look, first to the law as it was, and then to the law as it ought to he. Now it appeared that two of the first lawyers in England, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newark, and the ex-Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Sir Edward Sugden), had distinctly stated it as their opinion that the law, as it already existed, had been violated by the act of Papal aggression, and he believed that opinion was also entertained by many of the highest authorities upon the subject—by Dr. Twiss, by Mr. Butt, and by Mr. Warren. It was certainly the opinion of the collective wisdom of the Bar. Now he wished to know whether Her Majesty's Ministers had consulted the law officers of the Crown upon that subject, and more especially whether they had consulted the law advisers of the Crown in Ireland, who would, no doubt, have correctly represented to them the difficulties of legislating upon the question for that country. If they had not consulted the law advisers of the Crown in Ireland, then they had, in his opinion, been guilty of a neglect of their duty. He readily admitted that by the legislation of the last few years, the statutable penalties had been withdrawn from Acts of an earlier period bearing upon that subject; but he had yet to learn that the penalties at common law attached to such proceedings had been repealed. He believed that in that matter Her Majesty's Government might have appealed to the existing state of the law, with as much certainty of success as anything that was contingent could supply. But if they had not done so, they ought, at least, to have taken counsel of Parliament at the earliest possible moment. And yet, notwithstanding their delay in convoking Parliament, the greater part of their measure, when introduced, had been found by themselves, and not by their antagonists, to be either inadequate to its object, or to go further than that object; and having themselves become ashamed of it, they had asked Parliament to allow them, in part, to withdraw it. Now, it appeared to him, (Sir R. II. Inglis) that the preamble of the Bill was miserably insufficient for meeting the requirements of the case. The preamble ought, in his opinion, to have recited 1371 all the previous statutes which prohibited that species of aggression, and likewise the Papal Brief and the Apostolic Letter which had produced that excitement and agitation throughout the country. The Bill itself ought at the same time to have been much more stringent and extensive in its operation, its provisions should have extended to other matters, for it would leave untouched some of the greatest evils to which the Papal system had given rise in this country. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer) said that they ought not to legislate any further upon that subject because they had already recognised the existence of the Roman Catholic priesthood among us; but he (Sir R. H. Inglis) denied that former concessions should be taken as a plea for perpetual wrongs and aggression. The truth was that in that matter his noble Friend at the head of the Government had not maintained that character for unshaken courage which the late Rev. Sidney Smith had given of him. Why should the noble Lord recede? He had not been defeated by any hostile division; and if his present course was not attributable to some weakness within his Cabinet, it must be the result of some influence not obvious to the world. The noble Lord's conduct reminded him of one of the personages in a well-known poem, whose hand, its skill to try—Amid the chords bewildered strayed, And back recoiled, he knew not why, Scared at the sound himself had made.He knew nothing else, except his own fears should have guided the recent conduct of his noble Friend; and his noble Friend might depend upon it that his celebrated letter would not have produced the effect it had produced, were it not that it had fallen on gunpowder prepared to explode—that if the great mass of the people of this country had not been ready to re-echo his opinions, the noble Lord would have written his letter in vain. But the noble Lord having raised the expectations of the people by his letter—for which he had already thanked him—produced, in the first instance, a miserably defective Bill, and from that he had subsequently extracted almost all that was valuable. The noble Lord thought, with another great man, that the better part of valour was discretion, and therefore had withdrawn from the Bill what he believed might cause a collision with his Irish allies; but those allies, as one of their leaders had that day announced, 1372 were not to be conciliated by any such half measures. ["Hear!"] The hon. Member for Mayo, by his cheer, acknowledged the truth of that statement. A great statesman would have determined on his course before the crisis arrived, instead of allowing the crisis to surprise him, bringing in first one measure, then another—relaxing this and extending that, and coming before Parliament unprepared with an adequate measure to meet a danger which he had himself declared to be imminent. The noble Lord's course was plain before him. Even if he had not adopted the prerogative courses—by proclamation, by diplomacy, by armed intervention—he ought, in the first instance, to have summoned the Cabinet; then consulted with the law officers of the Crown; next, called together Parliament; and, if it had not responded to his appeal, he should have appealed to the country; and, if he had done so, did any one believe that a Parliament would not have been returned by which his hands would have been strengthened for the purpose of passing any measure to repel the Papal aggression? His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth had said that no person would think at present of placing Roman Catholics in the position they had occupied thirty years ago. But he (Sir R. H. Inglis) recollected well that one of the great arguments advanced in favour of Roman Catholic emancipation was, that it would completely satisfy and pacify the Roman Catholic body; and yet they had at that moment petitions from Roman Catholics presented to that House praying for a transfer of the whole of the property of the Established Church in Ireland, although they had themselves sworn not to do anything to disturb that property. The conduct of Her Majesty's Government upon the whole question had been extremely vacillating and unsatisfactory. They had, three years ago, received ample intimation that some such step as the recent act of aggression was contemplated; and yet they had taken no precautions to prevent its occurrence. But they had been told by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth, that in considering that question we were not to go to Roman Catholic countries, but to take countries like our own. His hon. and learned Friend had referred especially to Prussia, Belgium, and Russia. He apprehended that the illustration failed in each instance. There was a concordat between the Pope and the King of Prussia, which there was not in England, 1373 and that he trusted in God there never would be. And then there was an agreement between the King of the Netherlands and the Pope. There then the Pope could create as many bishops as he pleased; but it must be with the consent of the Sovereign. In Russia no bull would be permitted to enter the country without the inspection and authority of a responsible Minister. He was, he must say, surprised at the course which his hon. and learned Friend had taken, even though he was one of the two leading members of the Bar who did not give in their adhesion to the address on this subject agreed to by the great and learned body to which he belonged; yet his hon. and learned Friend had given such a vote on the first division as this Bill which led him to hope he would be one of its supporters on the second reading. He had hoped to find his hon. and learned Friend his supporter on this occasion; for though the Motion on which they had divided was that of the adjournment of the debate, still the real matter at issue was the first reading of the Bill, which that division decided. The people of England had united on this subject in a stronger manner than he believed they had ever done an any former occasion; and their object in doing so was not merely to resist this attack on the dignity of the Crown and the independence of the country, but because they believed that the power of Rome had increased in this country, by having been fostered by the acts of many persons in high places; that Her Majesty's Government had by their silence in some cases encouraged it, and by their overt acts they had given it more direct and unmistakeable encouragement. What had passed with respect to the Australian Colonies Bill—what had passed with regard to the West Indies, made them consider that Her Majesty's Government were favourable to the ascendancy of the Church of Rome in the distant parts of the empire. He held in his hand three papers referring to distant dependencies of the empire; and he told his noble Friend that he was not to be esteemed guiltless in these transactions as long as he took charge of the general administration of affairs, and when such results followed from the policy pursued by his Colonial Minister and his Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The original concession of territorial titles was made at the bidding of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and it had been but too willingly acted upon by the noble Lord the Secretary of 1374 State for the Colonies; and what had followed? He had moved for a return of the correspondence that had taken place between Her Majesty's Government at home and the administration of their Church in the Australian Colonies. He found that a very able address had been forwarded by the Bishop of Sydney to the Governor of the Australian Colonies; and when he asked for a return of the answer that had been sent to that address, he was told it was "nil." He asked why was it not answered? They ought to remember that as communicants of the Protestant Episcopal Church of England, the Sovereigns of the House of Brunswick had held, and did still hold, the Crown of these realms. He asked them was it fitting that the Church of that Queen should be placed in a subordinate position, and its prelates regarded as of inferior rank, to the prelates who had been nominated by a foreign Sovereign, and that this, too, should be done without Her Majesty's knowledge or consent? According to Dr. Wiseman's doctrine, it was contrary to the rules of the Roman Catholic Church that their prelates should take their titles from districts—tbey should take them from cities. Now, let them look to Newfoundland, and they would find the system fostered by their Colonial Secretary; they would there find "the Lord Bishop of Newfoundland" assuming a title conferred by Her Majesty upon ecclesiastics of Her own Church. This was done by a bishop nominated by the Church of Rome. In Trinidad the Pope had created an archdiocese—this was done in another portion of Her Majesty's dominions.—[Cheers.] Then that was not merely recognised as a fact, but it was cheered as a matter of congratulation. He asked the hon. Member if when the Colonies were attached to the Crown of Spain, such an aggression would have been submitted to, or, if the Spanish Sovereign would, under such circumstances, have received such an archbishop? But this was not merely done in the Colonies, but titles were taken from portions of Her Majesty's own dominions. His noble Friend knew too much of history and antiquity not to know that there was an aggression when the Pope named a Bishop of Menevia, and thereby took episcopal possession of the ancient see of St. David's. But the Pope took two other sees—he took the sees of Shrewsbury and Nottingham; and if they looked to the Act of Henry VIII., they would find that these were suffragan 1375 bishopries, and might be called into existence at any moment Her Majesty thought proper to appoint persons to fill them. This might be said to have been accident or ignorance; but he believed it was done in malice prepense, and was a wilful violation of the existing law. Then in Ireland the Pope had created a Bishop in Galway; and even since the Papal brief had arrived in England, the Pope had, by his own direct authority, created a Bishop of Ross. He thanked the House for the patience with which it had listened to him; but before he closed, he wished to remark that the ground of opposition to this aggression on the part of the Pope was their strong attachment to the Reformation, and their conviction of the blessings they enjoyed through the Reformation. They looked to the state of England before the Reformation, and since; they contrasted the state of Protestant England with the state of any Roman Catholic country whatever. They felt that the contest at issue was one between light and darkness, between freedom and slavery, between the development of all the powers of the intellect, and the prostration of all those powers before the will of others. He did not then say one word of the religion of Rome; but he referred to the interference of Rome with the growth of literature and the spread of science. The people of England knew well what were the blessings they had enjoyed personally and socially since the Reformation, and they were of opinion that those blessings were endangered by every step taken by the Church of Rome in this country. Though he never had permitted himself, since the Roman Catholics were admitted to that House, to state his objection to their religion which the Scriptures afforded him, still he must say that the objections that might be made were felt deeply by the great body of the people of England. In the success of the aggression now made, they believed that there was great danger, lest the blessings that had been so dearly purchased, and at such an expense of blood, and which were consecrated by the most glorious memories in their history, might be risked and possibly destroyed. The object of this Bill did not accomplish all that he desired; but still, such as it was, he was prepared to take it, and he hoped to find a majority of that House supporting the second reading.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, he was quite aware of the responsibility which attached to him in attempting thus early at the com- 1376 mencement of his Parliamentary career to trespass on the attention of that hon. House; but the importance of the subject under discussion induced him to lay aside those scruples which, under ordinary circumstances, would unquestionably have silenced him into a mere formal expression of opinion, and gave him boldness to make the attempt Of addressing them. Previous, however, to submitting the few observations which he should have occasion to offer, he was desirous of soliciting that courteous attention and forbearance which he believed was invariably extended to all those in whose favour, whether required from their inexperience in Parliamentary deliberations, or even in public speaking, and consequently from the novelty of their position, some allowance might justly be made. And would that on this, his first appearance on the floor of that House, he might not be altogether unsuccessful in acquitting himself as became the importance of the cause he was about to advocate, and the dignity and character of that assembly! Before entering on the discussion of the subject before the House, he wished to make a few preliminary observations with the view of establishing the broad basis upon which he grounded his views of religious subjects, and more particularly with reference to religious toleration. It appeared to him reasonable to conceive that man was a being endowed with all the faculties necessary for accomplishing what was required of him, and, although the path by which one man pursued his destiny might apparently be in a totally different direction, or be subject to totally different appreciations, from the course which another might pursue, yet, to all, powers of reasoning were given for discerning, conscience for loving, and liberty for choosing that which was good; and according to the gradation in which they had received those sublime gifts of a divine economy, he imagined they would all have to render an account. He was himself, personally, the uncompromising advocate of the religion in which he was not only educated, but which reason and subsequent conclusions had taught him to consider as the most likely to lead to an adequate interpretation of the Divine will as expressed to us in the Bible, and he was prepared unhesitatingly to take his stand and resist every attempt to interfere and tamper with the doctrines and spiritual discipline of the Established Church. But because he held the Protestant Church to be the best, the purest, and the most free 1377 from idolatry and superstitious mummeries, he did not on that account wish by any means to control the consciences of others, or deprive them of the free enjoyment and exercise of that which they might consider as constituting a more efficient rule of faith. He looked upon religious toleration as a sacred principle of political economy, and one which, acting in unison with the freest exercise of civil liberty, so far as it could be rendered compatible with the general interests of organised society, had secured to them the most complete system of government which the wisdom and observation of man had yet devised. He held, therefore, that toleration ought to be extended to all sects and classes of religious thinkers, without any distinction or limitation being drawn, so long as public decency and public peace and tranquillity did not suffer from the exercise of the doctrines or peculiar views of any religion. When therefore the State was called upon to legislate upon matters affecting ecclesiastical subjects, what delicacy, what forbearance, what circumspection, was it not necessary to employ, so as while wielding the temporal sword to repress abuses, not to shock the spiritual susceptibilities or estrange the loyalty of those whose religious tenets might be, as was the case in the united kingdom, at variance with those of a majority of the people? It should be remembered that religion was the chief band of human society; that history, as well as his personal experience in diplomatic relations with a foreign Power, had taught him that quarrels and dissensions on religious matters drew down upon a nation the greatest scandal, and unhinged the whole fabric of society. While, therefore, they were animated in the discussion of the subject before the House, they ought to have every desire to soothe excitement which the recent attempt to complete the organisation of a Roman Catholic hierarchy in England had not unnaturally stirred up; to be prepared to deal calmly with the evils which it had unhappily engendered, and to direct their attention, as it was their duty, to the consequences which he, for one, had reason for apprehending, unless corrected, would inevitably ensue. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had been taunted with taking a step backward in bringing this Motion before the House. He had been told that he had done that which his antecedents rendered unworthy of himself and of the great Liberal party over which he had hitherto, 1378 with so much ability, presided; but, from the opinion he had ventured to form of the noble Lord's character, he apprehended that, in the imperative discharge of a duty towards his country, he would not be deterred from the free exercise of his judgment, even by considerations of political antecedents, or at the risk of incurring charges similar to those to which he had alluded. To his mind the noble Lord was not only best consulting the interests of the party which it was alleged he was deserting, but, what was of infinitely greater importance, the interests of the country at large, by acting as he had done. And, as the enactments of this Bill—although he regretted that recent Parliamentary difficulties had induced the noble Lord to modify them—would in no way interfere with the legitimate exercise and enjoyment of religious liberty, but would merely tend to control abuse, he would give the noble Lord—in the absence of a more stringent proposition—his humble but very cordial support. Might he be permitted to add that, although a humble Member of the House, it was with deep feelings of regret that he found himself unable, after mature consideration, to arrive at conclusions in unison with the opinions which had been recently expressed by one towards whom—for reasons which the House would readily understand—he bore considerable political attachment, and to whom he looked up as called upon to occupy the place unhappily vacated in the advocacy of those measures with which the country was endowed? On the model of that right hon. Gentleman's political principles, he (Sir R. Peel) would readily fashion his own sentiments; and happy he was to think that upon most subjects he could do so, though upon the present occasion, consistently with the feelings he entertained, he was forced to differ from him. It was precisely because he (Sir R. Peel) was an advocate of civil and religious liberty, which he held to be so inseparably united together, that you could not deface the one without disfiguring the other, that he gave his adhesion to legislation upon the so-called Papal aggression. Divested of the political influence which it involved, and considering it apart, if possible, from the question of spiritual jurisdiction which Rome had assumed by that act, there appeared to him no very serious cause of alarm in the simple abstract circumstance that the vanity of an individual priest had been satisfied—a priest, be it remembered, who had the meekness to promote his own 1379 elevation by the assurance that the political consequences resulting therefrom were superficial and transitory in their nature. He held that there was no great reason for alarm in the simple circumstance that Dr. Wiseman had been permitted, as by the stroke of a harlequin's wand, to shuffle off the sombre vestments of a bishop in partibus, for the gaudy trappings of a spiritual prince, and to assume the title of an imaginary see. After all, a Cardinal's hat and hose had not always been reserved for even such important functions, as from the present appointment one might be led to imagine. A Medici were a Cardinal's hat in petticoats; and did not history point the finger of scorn at Julius III., who, with no great self-respect, it must be admitted, gave away the Cardinal's hat which he had vacated on his own nomination to the Pontifical chair, to the keeper of a menagerie of monkeys which it was his Papal pleasure to maintain. Pio Nono, it really seemed to him, although but so recently and so forcibly reseated in the affections of his people by a sudden, and certainly very extraordinary burst of religious zeal on the part of Republican France—and, by the way, it really seemed as if the Citizen President of the Republic were desirous of making some amends for the Emperor's misconduct, for where the latter was instrumental in establishing republics—as, for instance, the Ligurian, the Cisaplnie, and the Parthenopean—the former had destroyed the only one he could lay his hands upon; and where the uncle, without much display, carried off from Rome a Pope beloved by his people, the nephew, with a very great display, and with considerable expense, it would appear, since it required 30,000 men, carried back to Rome a Pope whose presence the Romans had made arrangements to dispense with—lie was about to say that Pio Nono really seemed to him to aspire to the character in which Hildebrand (Gregory VII.) was represented in an old picture which he remembered seeing at Naples, with a crosier in one hand, and a whip in the other, trampling under foot the crowns of sovereigns, and with the nets and fishes of St. Peter by his side. This representation of the fiery monk of Cluny afforded no incorrect portraiture of the character which Pio Nono, with all his virtues and weaknesses, seemed desirous of enacting. But Papal history teemed with vagaries of this nature. Let the crimes, the bigotry, and the intolerance of the Papacy be for the more im- 1380 mediate appreciation of those who, now that the day-spring of liberty had been eclipsed in the blood of that great man under whose auspices it was just beginning to dawn over Central Italy, were by an arbitrary tyranny endeavouring to counteract further development, forgetful that a day of reckoning might not be far distant, and that, unless they profited by the lessons afforded to them, the temporal power of the Pope, in the balance of justice, might be found wanting. But let us be careful—Lest from the bounded level of our mind,Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;but so to regulate our appreciation of their recent invasion of the prerogative of the Crown of England, as not to limit our considerations to the immediate effects, but to the consequences likely to ensue. This was not the first time at which this country, with reference to the usurpation of authority to appoint archbishops in this realm, had had just cause to complain of Rome. So far back as the reign of King John, he found Innocent III. nominating an archbishop to the see of Canterbury, whose authority and jurisdiction John refused to recognise. The Pope consequently placed this country under an interdict, and prohibited the King's subjects from rendering the homage which was justly due to their Sovereign, and very generously gave this country to the King of France, whom, only a few years before, he had also excommunicated. Did not Leo X., in his infallibility, give to Henry VIII. the title of "Defender of the Faith," in consequence of a work which he wrote on the Seven Sacraments against Luther? yet, in a very few years after, this same title induced the Farnese Pope (Paul III.) to promulgate the bull In Gœna Domini, with a view of asserting the Pope's authority, and, at the same time, of excommunicating Henry of England. These ecclesiastical thunderbolts, in the hands of the madmen who, in the early and middle ages, usurped to themselves this authority, before the light of science and literature had dispelled the dark clouds of superstition, had a very powerful influence over men of ignorant minds. Then, again, in the recent case of Piedmont, in consequence of the Sicardi Laws, which had abolished certain ecclesiastical privileges, we had witnessed a mimick display of the terrors of the Roman Catholic Church at the deathbed of one who had been instrumental in their adop- 1381 tion, but which display had nearly proved fatal to the bigoted prelate under whose auspiees it had been planned. Thank God, we had no serious ground for apprehension on this score in the present day. The people of this country, happy in the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty—proud of the person of their beloved Sovereign, who had endeared Herself to their affections by even firmer ties than those which might naturally have attached to Her high position—would laugh to scorn the impotent attempt of that miserable political impostor to estrange them from their duty. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the debate on the introduction of the Bill, said that, if the measure were adopted, he knew no reason for entertaining any apprehension that the loyalty of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects Would fail to induce them to obey the law; but he (Sir R. Peel) apprehended that there were many in that House who would be inclined to question, however painful it might be to do so, the accuracy of that statement, and be disposed to attribute it rather to a too-confiding spirit, which the loyalty of the right hon. Gentleman had given expression to, than to any substantive proofs he had to adduce in support of it. He regretted, however, that the noble Lord, in attempting to legislate for England, should have extended the enactments of the Bill to Ireland, the ecclesiastical condition of which, from the fact that three-fourths of the inhabitants were Roman Catholics, rendered it by no means synonimous with England. Indeed, he could have wished that, while establishing even severer restrictions against Papal aggression in England, they had left Ireland, at all events for the moment, altogether untouched. He apprehended it to be quite possible to make a distinction, in legislating upon these matters, between England and Ireland. They could not conceal from themselves the fact, that the Bill before the House, although shorn of its fair proportions, would produce, if it had not already excited, serious hostility and opposition in that part of Her Majesty's dominions. Experience had taught them how tenacious the Irish Roman Catholics were of their religion—and he found no fault with them on that score—and experience had also taught them how futile were all attempts to interfere, even in an indirect manner, with what they considered to be the free exercise of a religion which 1382 united a great majority of them in one common bond of profession of faith. Let the House, then, cease to direct their energies in this particular channel; or, if they must legislate, let them not be guided by what, perhaps, might be applicable to England, but which, as regarded Ireland, was altogether idle and unprofitable. The display of Protestant feeling recently exhibited in this country certainly afforded some security against successful aggression on the part of Rome; and, although it had been said that an attempt to got up an anti-Catholic demonstration in the north of England had failed, his belief was, that, whatever artifices the Roman Catholics might employ to excite a fictitious sympathy in their behalf on the present occasion, the Protestant people of England did not need the exertions of any individual to give vent to their unanimous disapproval of the conduct which Rome had recently adopted. In an address, signed by 40,000 Roman Catholics, recently presented to Her Majesty by three Roman Catholic Peers, he found the expression, that they were ready "to give to Cæsar the things that were Cæsar's, and to God the things that were God's;" but, remembering that this expression was susceptible of a Jesuitical interpretation, he did not consider it by any means satisfactory. Whether these Roman Catholics had in view the intentional concealment of their opinions by the hypocritical use of that expression, he knew not; but this he knew, that the expression had been used by Jesuits and Roman Catholics on occasions like the present. In the reign of Elizabeth, when Roman Catholics were summoned to declare whether they considered the Pontifical bull legal and obligatory, or were prepared to obey the laws of the realm, they meekly replied, that they desired to render unto Cæsar the things that were Cæsar's; which, in those days, at all events, was deemed a very unsatisfactory profession of loyalty. He was willing to believe in the loyalty of his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects; but when they stated that the authority lately established by the Pope was purely ecclesiastical, and contemplated no interference with Her Majesty's prerogative, power, or privilege, he begged to differ from them, and very much to doubt the loyalty of that assertion. But what had experience taught him personally in diplomatic relations with foreign Powers in a very critical juncture of affairs with respect to ecclesiastical differences? A 1383 passive observer, under the instructions of the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs, whatever others might suppose to the contrary, and directed not to interfere, he had witnessed inactively, but not without emotion, the mighty struggle of liberty against despotism and intolerance—a struggle which, in a country containing little over 2,000,000 of inhabitants, had called forth the best efforts of an army of 90,000 men. That nation had been roused, not to unfold once again on the banner of victory the federal cross against foreign foes—not in another battle of Morgarten to crush the pride of Austria, or as against a Maximilian, with a view of enforcing the ratification of Swiss independence—not as against France in the 16th century, to win a Navara, or to plunder and lay waste the fertile plains of Burgundy, and besiege Dijon—but, under the influence of religious excitement and animosities, stirred up by artful Jesuits and Papal political emissaries, to wage a religious war against one another, and, in a fratricidal contest, to pour out the most gallant blood that ever warmed a patriot's heart on that soil, which, like an oasis in the desert, still affords a last retreat against the despotism of Europe—still preserves intact the hospitable abode of liberty. He admitted, indeed, it was with difficulty he could control his feelings, and maintain that rigid and impartial observance which the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department had absolutely imposed on him, when he witnessed the iniquity and intolerance with which Rome had fostered these dissensions, and, even after the capitulation of Friebourg, had been instrumental in inducing Lucerne to prolong a hopeless contest. The country had hardly yet recovered the consequences of that struggle, and the shock of contending parties. The horrors of war, the losses, misery, the ruinous expense it entailed, were only relieved by the greatest forbearance, and met by the greatest sacrifices, coupled with the entire forgetfulness of the past. And yet, if the Confederacy had not shown energy and decision in stemming that outbreak at once, he should like to know where would have now been the liberty, where the religious toleration, that at present that country enjoyed? And did not the circumstances of that war afford a striking lesson what dangers were to be apprehended from Rome from apparently insignificant causes—for they all knew the origin of the struggle in Switzerland—how step by step, if un- 1384 checked, they gradually attained a magnitude capable ultimately of convulsing an entire nation. Luther said that Rome was the seat of hypocrisy and intolerance; and certainly the antecedents of Papal history confirmed that opinion in the present day, and proved that there was in her policy a tendency the most dangerous to, and most subversive of, civil and religious liberty, and that however trivial the pretences of her aggressions might seem to be, they gradually tended to convulse entire nations. Cast your eye over the page of history. See what Spain once was, and what she is now. See what is Rome—what is Naples—what is Florence at the present day Where with Roman Catholic intolerance is civil liberty? Recollect what Hildebrand, Gregory VII. said of Spain—"It were better she should belong to the Saracen than not render homage to the Sovereign Pontiff." Recollect that another Pope, Buoncompagno, (Gregory XIII.), revelling in his unholy orgies, celebrated to Almighty God public thanksgiving for the massacre of St. Bartholomew; and recollect that her policy still continues in the same spirit—that its course, unchanged, still flows through the same channels of intolerance. Recollect, above all, that this is the enemy we have to ward off, whose arrogance, whose hypocrisy, whose indifference to the consequences likely to ensue, provided only her own selfish ends are attained; or, failing that, provided she can succeed in throwing, as in Switzerland, the firebrand of religious discord, amidst this happy, this contented people, from which she would hope ultimately to derive some advantage—require all our zeal and attention to counteract. And, as I believe from my heart this recent aggression is but the first step of a premeditated and organised system of attack, undertaken with a view of enslaving the conscience, shackling the liberties, and shaking the allegiance of the people of England, I would in-treat the noble Lord, as he respects and values that cause which he has so long, and advantageously to the country, advocated, to keep a watchful and a vigilant eye over the interests committed to his keeping as head of the Government of this great empire; and I intreat the House, by timely legislation, to prevent an abuse from taking root unheeded, the fruits of which will inevitably endanger the safety of the State.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, 1385 it was impossible for one who entertained the sentiments which he did regarding the contemplated Bill—sentiments which he rejoiced to think were shared by some of the most distinguished and experienced Members of both Houses of the Legislature, and sentiments in whose eventual triumph he felt the most unshaken confidence—to have listened to the speech of the hon. Baronet who had just sat down without emotions which he would rather not express. With what feelings the Catholic Members of the House had heard that singular address, few could be at any loss to imagine. The only observation he would make with reference to the subject was this, that he believed his hon. Friends around him could well afford to forget the ungracious expressions of the hon. Baronet, for the sake of the name he bore, and that in the debt of gratitude they acknowledged as due to the memory of the father, they would forgive what he was willing to believe the want of consideration and experience in the son. For his own part he had only one duty to discharge, and that was to speak as a Protestant Member of that House on the question. His noble Friend the Member for Arundel, who began the debate, had spoken as became an English Roman Catholic on the rights which he believed to be threatened with invasion. He (Mr. M'Cullagh) as an Irish Protestant protested against this Bill; and because he was sincerely attached to that great fundamental principle of Protestantism, liberty of judgment and worship, he intended to give the Bill his hearty and strenuous opposition: for he could not but regard its attempt to interfere with the discipline of the Catholic Church as a direct encroachment on the freedom of Catholic conscience. The right hon. the Secretary for the Home Department, in the speech he delivered on that night week, had told the House that the alterations he proposed to make in the Bill would obviate most of the objections that had been urged against it. If those objections had been really obviated he should rejoice, because he had no wish to see the excitement on this question continue; but he was prepared to contend, notwithstanding all that had been said, that the Bill was still essentially the same in principle, and that its effects would be substantially as persecuting as before the recent alterations. The Bill had originally consisted of four clauses, and now, as they were told, it contained 1386 only one; but in the preamble there was a recital from the Act of 1829 of the sole remaining fragment of exclusion then preserved. The four-docker had been cut down, but the tattered flag of intolerance still hung from the mast. It seemed to have been taken for granted by the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University, that the Irish Roman Catholic bishops were, in assuming territorial titles, offenders against the law; but he was prepared to show, from the records of all the superior courts of law and equity in Ireland—nay, even from those of ecclesiastical as well as temporal jurisdiction, that the settled and established practice of law since the change of legislative policy indicated by the terms of the Charitable Bequests Act, had been fully and unreservedly to recognise the validity of these titles. It seemed to be taken for granted that the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, by the assumption of the titles of their sees, are offenders against an acknowledged enactment; and the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) commented the other night upon the fact that in their petition presented recently to the House, they had signed themselves without the appellation of their particular sees. It should, however, he considered that while in the performance of their episcopal duties as diocesans, or when coming, in their capacity of trustees for pious and charitable institutions, before the courts of law, they do not shrink from taking their titles, by which alone they can act in the episcopal character, they forbear to assume such titles when addressing that House, from being unwilling, doubtless, to provoke needless controversy, and to inflame still further the unhappy feeling's of irritation which already were known to prevail. But what was the real state of the law? He would show, in a few words, the view taken of it by the judicature of the country. He held in his hand documents, the accuracy of which could be verified. The first was one in which it was stated that "the Most Reverend John M'Hale, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuam," sought for letters of administration to be granted to him from the Prerogative Court in Dublin; and here was the copy of a letter "granted by the Most Rev. John George Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland, to the Most Rev. John M'Hale, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam." So here was the title recognised by the first prelate of the Protestant Church in Ireland, notwith- 1387 standing which they were told that the assumption of such a title was an offence against the law, and ought to be punished as such. It might, perhaps, he said that the Protestant Primate acted in the Prerogative Court by deputy. True; but his deputy on the occasion was Dr. Keating, a Protestant, and a gentleman of great erudition, of long standing in his profession, and one who was most unlikely to commit any error in law. But that was not all. The Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, having become possessed of the estate and effects of the person regarding whom the letters of administration had been granted, found it necessary to commence certain proceedings in equity, and had to make an affidavit before Master Litton, the Master in Chancery—a gentleman who for many years was an hon. Member of this House, and was as attached as any one could be to Protestant principles. He held in his hand a copy of that affidavit. It is headed "The affidavit of John M'Hale, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam," and was signed by him as "John, Archbishop of Tuam." An order was subsequently made, upon reading that affidavit, by the present Master of the Rolls in Ireland, the Right Hon. T. B. C. Smith, a gentleman who was at one time the Attorney General of the Government of the late Sir Robert Peel. In that order this learned Judge not only granted the application made on behalf of the Archbishop of Tuam, but awarded costs. The Barons of the Exchequer in Ireland had likewise issued writs of scire facias to Dr. M'Hale as the "Archbishop of Tuam." Well, it might be said that that most rev. person occupied a see or province which I there did not belong to a Protestant prelate. To meet that objection he would take the case of Meath. In Meath there was a Protestant bishop as well as a Roman Catholic bishop. Certain lands and money in the public funds had been left by will to the latter. In that case the Most Rev. John Cantwell came before a Master in Chancery, who, in making his report, found him, as Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, to be the sole person entitled to the estate and effects which he claimed, and declared in express terms that they should be held by him till his death or translation, and then to pass to his successors. But he would prove something still more remarkable, if the hon. Baronet would favour him with his attention. He held in his hand a document showing the result of 1388 a suit between the old and the new corporators of Drogheda, respecting the appointment of trustees, of which one half were to be Catholic, and the other Protestant. The old corporation was an exclusively Protestant body, and when superseded by the Irish Municipal Reform Act, the old trustees sought to retain exclusive control over certain charities. A Bill in Chancery was filed in 1845, and the question closely contested. The Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese was no party in any way to the suit; but when Master Henn, a man of great learning and eminence in his profession, was required to make a report, the first name which he placed in the list of trustees was that of the "The Most Rev. Dr. Crolly, Roman Catholic Archbishop, and Primate of all Ireland." And this report, he need hardly say, had not been set aside by the present Chancellor. Yet in the face of all these proofs, they were told that the Irish Catholic hierarchy were usurpers of titles which the Judges of the realm conceded to them—that they were pretenders in fact, and offenders in law. He must freely own that when he hoard the statement of the Home Secretary of the modifications he proposed to make in Committee in the Bill, he was inclined to believe that some of the mischiefs it originally appeared likely to produce would he averted. But further consideration led him (Mr. M'Cullagh) to a different conclusion. It seemed to him that the second and third were little more than corollaries from the propositions laid down in the first, and in the preamble. He apprehended, therefore, that were the Bill to pass as proposed to be altered, the courts of law would be driven to draw [these inferences regarding deeds and endowments which were now set forth in the sections they were told it was intended to omit. If this were so, the alterations were in reality no amendments at all. Under these impressions, and being very desirous to hear the opinions of those who were best qualified to say what the legal effect of the proposed changes would be, he had suggested that a ease should be laid before counsel; and he had been only made aware within the last few hours of the result to which they had, after due deliberation, come. But he would venture to state that the opinion to which he adverted, and which he would read to the House, was one that might well stagger the resolution of any layman, if not the judgment of any lawyer, in the House, when called upon to 1389 defend his vote in favour of the altered Bill. He was sure the right hon. the Home Secretary would agree with him in saying that whatever Parliament might think fit to do in regard to the present subject of titles—what it did should be intelligible and plain. They might invent new offences, and render those offences punishable in a certain manner; but they could not with honour, decency, or justice, set any class of their fellow-subjects in a legal net; they could not pass a penal law of doubtful or equivocal or obscure interpretation. A case had been laid before Mr. Bethell, of the Chancery bar; and Mr. Bramwell and Mr. Surrage, of the common law bar. Two questions were asked:—ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES ASSUMPTION BILL—CASE FOR THE OPINION OF COUNSEL.—Counsel will please to consider the Ecclesiastical Titles Assumption Bill, of which a print, as proposed to be amended in Committee, is sent herewith, and to advise—'1. Whether, in case the second clause should be omitted, as proposed, a deed executed after the passing of the Act by or under the authority of any person, in or under any name, style, or title, which such person is by the recited Act or this Act prohibited from using, would nevertheless be void in law? 2. Whether, in case the third clause were omitted, an endowment by will or gift of any Roman Catholic archbishop, bishop, or dean, in the manner intended to be prohibited by said clause, would nevertheless be void in law?'
- "1. We are of opinion that any such deed or writing would be void in law.
- "2. By the 1st section any gifts, grants, or endowments for the benefit or support of the office of any Roman Catholic archbishop, bishop, or dean, by or under the name or style of his office, would become incapable of being claimed or demanded, because they became gifts to an office abolished in law, being forbidden to be assumed; and all powers and authorities annexed to any such office would become incapable of being exercised; for, in the case of grants, the grantee, and in the case of authorities, the donee thereof, has no longer any recognised legal character or existence. The first section, in fact, involves the second and third sections, which are declarations only of legal consequences resulting from the first; and it seems to us to be a mistake to suppose that by omitting the second and third sections the acts thereby proposed to be prohibited will remain good and legal, notwithstanding the first section.In illustration of our opinions:—Suppose a bequest to trustees, upon trust, to apply an annual sum for the better support of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam for the time being. The bequest would now be good, but it must be claimed by the archbishop nomine and virtute officii, which, after the passing of the first section of this Bill, could not be done, and the trust would become impossible and void.So, if powers and authorities (as for the selection of schoolmasters and appointment of trustees) were annexed to the office of any Roman Catholic bishop by a charitable endowment, such powers not being given to an individual, but made appur- 1390 tenant to the office, would become incapable of being exercised. These are some of the most ordinary examples of what may be expected to be the results of the 1st section in Ireland.(Signed) "RICHARD BETHELL.G. W. BRAMWELL.J. SURRAGE.Lincoln's-Inn, 14th March, 1851.Now, he must say, that if there were any value at all in the opinion thus expressed, it was obvious that the altered Bill would go much further than the right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Grey) told them Her Majesty's Government felt on mature consideration they would he justified in going. No wonder the people of Ireland had evinced no readiness to hail these changes as concessions. They did not understand them; but who did? Could any one be sure what he was doing in this matter? He trusted that so long as the evil principle of the Bill remained, no compromise of details would be agreed to; and that the representatives of Ireland, whatever obloquy or reproach they thus might incur would persevere unflinchingly in their opposition to the Bill.
MR. PAGE WOOD
said, after the indulgence which he had met with on a former occasion, he would have been very loth to again trouble the House, had it not been that since he last had the opportunity of speaking to the subject, the Bill had not only boon laid upon the table, but they had had the opinion of very eminent statesmen pronounced upon it, some of them holding very different views from those which he entertained. They had further heard, during the course of that evening's debate, from the hon. Member for Plymouth, one of the best and ablest speeches delivered on the subject, and one which he confessed appeared to him to require an answer. He believed that his hon. Friend had fallen, during the course of that able address, into many fallacies. But he believed there was one pre-eminent, which, being set aside, the rest would fall with it. His hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth began by laying down his definition of civil and religious liberty, and he said that it behoved the House to consider how far they had proceeded in the direction of establishing that liberty, and under what conditions they would restrain it. He (Mr. Page Wood) was sure that there was no Member on his side of the House who would not be prepared to maintain the principle of civil and religious liberty to the utmost verge of safety to the constitution. But he did believe in his conscience, 1391 that if they took those steps which had been advised, of remaining neuter on this question, of permitting any of Her Majesty's subjects to look to a foreign potentate as a source of jurisdiction, by virtue of which jurisdiction he was to govern whole counties of this empire, they were going back to a period of darkness, in which no civil liberty existed, and with which no civil liberty was compatible; and he could not help observing, that he believed the speech delivered by a noble Lord in another place, and the few words uttered by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, had done more to throw back the cause of civil and religious liberty in Europe than any event which had taken place within the last 300 years. The inhabitants of the kingdom of Sardinia, for example, must have read with pain that language, as emanating from this country, supposed to possess a greater share of civil and religious liberty than was enjoyed by any other. That declaration of sentiment must have given pain to a country now engaged in a desperate struggle for religious liberty—the same which we accomplished three centuries since—to a country which found itself in this position, that one of its Ministers was allowed to expire without the consolations of religion solely on the ground of having advocated a code of laws, of the justice of which there could be no dispute. He wished to avoid giving any offence to persons of a different religious persuasion—and he would argue the question merely as one of principle—but in Sardinia a Minister of State was allowed to expire without those solaces which the Church offers to her children, solely because he had advocated these three laws—1st, that all civil causes should be tried before civil tribunals; 2nd, that all ecclesiastics accused of crimes should be tried before civil tribunals; 3rd, that the right of asylum, so desperately abused wherever it prevailed, should be abolished. These were the only three laws he proposed; and while they were thus endeavouring to make their first steps to promote the enfranchisement of the laity, the attempt was met by refusing the last rites of the Church to the man who sanctioned them. Now, there were many men, high in station, high in character and ability, who thought that these things were trifling, and that the assumption of the Pope to introduce an authority here which we have long since happily exploded, amounted to nothing. But what did this 1392 Papal brief or bull propose to do? Why, Dr. Wiseman himself acknowledged it—to establish the canon law, the very law which the Siccardi laws were intended to abolish. And if these brave men heard English statesmen advocating that course, their hopes would be desperate indeed. In his opinion, religious liberty was the right which every man possesses of worshipping his Creator in the mode which he deems best; to select for his religious instructors those whom he wished to select; and to exercise his religion freely, so long as it did not outrage decency, or interfere with the security of the constitution: to have the free exercise of his religious opinions, with this only reserve—Sic utere tuo ut alienum ne lœdas: whilst civil liberty, in relation to religious liberty, was this, that no man should be deprived of any civil liberty on account of any religious opinion whatever; and the hon. Member for Mayo was not prepared to go so far, for he well remembered his three votes against the admission of Baron Rothschild. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth drew a parallel between the Roman Catholics and the Scotch Free Kirk establishment, but he kept back the real difficulty of the case—he admitted, indeed, that they acknowledged a foreign superior, and he said, "If that is your objection, you should have thought of it when you admitted the Roman Catholics to sit in Parliament; but the hon. and learned Gentleman forgot the policy of the ecclesiastics of the Court of Rome—he acquitted the laity of it entirely—but it was the universal policy of the former to mix up spiritual and temporal matters in such close conjunction that you could scarcely sever one from the other. Well, it was their intention to introduce the canon law, which would effectually answer this line of policy; and if any Roman Catholic gentleman contested the disposition of any property with the Church, of course he would fall under its denunciations, and the pains and penalties which it meted out. The Church of Rome claimed temporal jurisdiction, and the Council of Trent, for instance, lays it down that they ought to possess jurisdiction over the probate of wills; and, in truth, our own ecclesiastical courts were, in this respect, only a remnant of Romanism and the Papal system in this country, which he hoped soon to see abolished. But it was the ingenious policy of mixing temporal with spiritual matters which marked the whole policy of the Church of Rome. The very 1393 first portion of the canon laws involved their whole principle, Constitutiones principum constitutionibus ecelesiasticis, non pre-eminent, sed obsequuntur, which meant, in plain English, the laws of all countries must give way to the laws of the Pope. The same principle of the canon law was laid down in the Decretals of Gregory IX., where he compares the temporal and spiritual jurisdictions. He would read it in English:—Moreover, you ought to know, that God has created two great luminaries in the firmament of heaven, the greater light to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night: both great, but one greater. For the firmament of heaven, therefore, that is, of the Church universal, God has created two great luminaries, that is, God has instituted two dignities, which are the Pontifical authority and the Royal power. But that which rules the days, that is, spirituals, is the greater; but that which rules carnals is the lesser: so that as great difference as between the sun and the moon, as great difference may be known between Popes and Kings.Præterea nosse debneras, quod fecit Deus duo magna luminaria in firmamento cœli, luminare majus ut præesset diei, et luminare minus ut præesset nocti; utrumque magnum, sed alteram majus. Ad firmamentum igitur cœli, hoc est, universalis Ecclesiæ fecit Deus duo magna luminaria, id est, duas instituit dignitates, quæ Bunt Pontifioalis auctoritas, et Regalis potestas. Sed ilia quæ præest diebus, id est, spiritualibus, major est; quæ vero carnalibus, minor; ut quanta est inter solem et lunam; tanta inter Pontifices et Reges differentia cognoscatur."—Decret. Grea. IX., lib. i., tit. 33, c. 6.Boniface VIII. says—Uterque gladius est in potestate Ecclesiae, spiritualis scilicet et materialis. Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni creaturæ declaramus definimus et pronuntiamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis.Cardinal Bellarmine explained this by saying, that the temporal power thus claimed was only ad bonum spirituale, which was a tolerably wide definition; but this book of Cardinal Bellarmine was so displeasing to Sextus V., that he put it on the list of prohibited books, for this explanation and reason alone. It was true, as the hon. and learned Gentleman stated, that Rome never changed, and he should look at this position with reference to the bull In Cœna Domini. That bull was ordered to be made known yearly, and to be published on the doors of the churches. Every sentence began, "We excommunicate and anathematize." The persons excommunicated were all persons, whether judges or persons in authority, who interfered with archbishops or bishops, or any of their ser- 1394 vants or messengers; everybody who appealed from the decrees, sentence, and orders of the Church, ad Cancellarium, was by this bull excommunicated and anathematized. So that an appeal ad Cancellarium, if the canon law were introduced, would bring every person who might institute such an appeal to the Court of Chancery under the anathemas of this bull. It also provided that all those who came under its censures should be incapable to receive absolution from any but the Pope himself, except upon their deathbeds, and then only from some high spiritual authority expressly deputed by him. Neither the Church of Scotland nor the Church of England thus claimed a direct jurisdiction over temporal affairs, and this was a great and main distinction. But they must look to higher considerations of the Papal policy. They all knew that attempts had been made of old to depose sovereigns. They would find that it was an indisputable axiom of the canon law, that the Pope had a right to depose heretical sovereigns—to absolve from their oaths of allegiance the subjects, and even the soldiers, of a heretical sovereign. They might tell him that these things were defunct—his reply was, that the Papal hierarchy had been defunct for 300 years, and yet they found it now rising up again. He said they must recollect they were living at a time when the Pope had, as of old, European armies devoted to his service; and who could tell that they might not live to see him affirm the right once more of deposing heretical sovereigns, and absolving their subjects and soldiers from their allegiance. Would honourable Gentlemen cry, "Oh, oh?" Why, that was admitted by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth. He said the time might come—he admitted that Rome never changed—he said the time might come when Rome would claim the exercise of the same powers she had done before, and that we might live to see the threatened approach of another Spanish Armada. And he said, that in such a case he would be ready to interfere. Those were the words of his hon. and learned Friend. Well, now his notion was, that it was better to check the interference of such a Power at once, than to allow it to go to those lengths. This world was a world of change: sometimes it appeared to move as in a circle, and hence it was that they now witnessed the Austrian Government, which for hundreds of years had never dreamt 1395 of permitting the Pope to exercise authority in the empire without an exequatur, giving way upon that subject; and Rome might yet find a way of exercising in this country a power so largely and so broadly claimed. But his hon. and learned Friend had not dealt with those points on which the question had been argued by all previous speakers. He had only considered the possible question of foreign interference and foreign jurisdiction; and he said you ought to have considered all these points when you granted emancipation to the Roman Catholics. Now, in the first place, he would say that point was considered. He was not speaking now in terms of approbation of the way in which the question was dealt with; but in point of fact it was considered, and an oath was exacted from Roman Catholic Members taking their seats in this House, that they would not attempt in any way to disturb the settlement of the Church of England as by law established. There was another point, the precedent of which was followed in this Bill—a clause was introduced preventing parties from assuming the titles of the Protestant sees in this country, which had nevertheless been invaded. He must say he did not set much value on the protection of the oath. He had doubts as to its constitutional expediency. He doubted how far it was right that Members of this House should be fettered in any course they might think fit to take on matters that came before them for discussion. But these restrictions were enough to show that the principle of the Emancipation Act was not unlimited license. He would say farther, that, in the Emancipation Bill it was not necessary to consider more than this—"You, the Roman Catholic laity, have shown, for at least the last hundred and fifty years, that you are loyal subjects to the Crown, that you agree to submit to the laws of the country, that you in no manner attempt to evade or to impede those laws, and therefore we think it right that you should be admitted to all the civil privileges of the subjects of this realm." But were they therefore bound to go farther, and to give the clergy rights which they did not in law possess, and not only that, but waiving, as his hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth seemed inclined to do, and as had very generally been done in this House—waiving the very existence of such an institution as the Established Church—would they give those ecclesiastics the right which they claimed, 1396 of being the only Church of England, with power, as had been said, to displace Canterbury, and to set London aside, and to set up Westminster and the new bishoprics in their stead? Was such a right necessary to be conceded to them? Would the hon. Member for Plymouth tell them that that was a necessary consequence of the Emancipation Act? His hon. and learned Friend argued, that if we gave the Roman Catholic Church spiritual privileges, we gave her the right to develop herself to the fullest extent, and that this act was only her 'natural development.' But how far in that direction was his learned Friend prepared to go? The 'natural development' went much further than that—it went to the unrestricted exercise of the canon law—to the right of excommunicating every person who interfered with ecclesiastical authority. ["No, no!"] He said, Yes, yes. Let them see what was going on in Sardinia. Look to those countries where the Roman Catholic religion was in its full exercise. It was idle to tell them what it was here. No thanks to Cardinal Wiseman for declaring that he would not take the property of our bishops; because he could not. But let them look to those countries where the Roman Catholics had power, and see what was done there, and he said they would find that the 'natural development' of the Romish Church was excommunication and the refusal of the sacrament to any man who attempted to interfere with the authority of the ecclesiastics. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentleman said, "No, no." Let them look to the development of the Church in the case of the Siccardi laws in Sardinia, which had issued in the excommunication of the Minister who supported them. He said, therefore, that was the 'natural development' of the Church of Rome. Let his learned Friend look to that—let him consider the inextricable connexion that there was between spiritual and temporal things in the canon law, and then let him say if there was no cause of apprehension in that, and in the 'natural development' of the Roman Catholic Church. He (Mr. Wood) would say, let them stop this aggression at the first stage, if they valued the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and the peace and happiness of the country: for they might depend upon it if the Pope was allowed to proceed step by step in this course—he had no more dread of the ultimate prevalence of the Roman Catholic religion in this country than his learned Friend had—but 1397 he said there would be a fierce and an angry contest before it could be put a stop to, and he would rather stop it now, when it could be done with comparative ease. His hon. and learned Friend next said, that the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone had evinced a fierce and persecuting spirit, because he said, even if he had been a Roman Catholic, he would have opposed the Papal rescript. His learned Friend said, You have no right to judge of the Roman Catholics: they are the best judges of what they ought to do under the circumstances. The hon. Baronet's argument was founded upon this—he said, Look to what Roman Catholic countries are doing, and in no country will you find that such acts as these are permitted. If they are the best judges, then see what they have decided. His hon. and learned Friend said, that Belgium was an exception: it was a new exception if it were one at all. He thought he had heard a hint from the legal adviser of Cardinal Wiseman that it was so; but if it were a fact, he could only wish his hon. and learned Friend joy of the exception of Belgium, which was the most ultra-Catholic country in Europe, and which it appeared had now followed the steps of Austria. But it was the same with England before the Reformation. Their ancestors at no time had ever permitted such an act as this. The statutes of prœmunire declared, that by the common law of England the Pope had no right to interfere in the nomination and translation of bishops, and that it was against the King's Crown and regality to do so. He found even that the Roman Catholic historian, Lingard, in his history of the Anglo-Saxon commonwealth, stated, that in Anglo-Saxon times bishops were appointed by their metropolitan, with consent of the King and the wit an. He, therefore, understood the argument of the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone to be this: all Roman Catholic countries protest against the exercise of this power—why should not this country? Was that to be called a persecuting spirit? Why, they found the head of the house of Howard protesting, in the spirit of their Roman Catholic ancestors, that he, for his part, would hold undivided allegiance, and that if the canon law were introduced, he knew what the consequence would be—he would be excommunicated, anathematised—in plain English, cursed—if he interfered with the ecclesiastical authority. Now, 1398 did his hon. and learned Friend deal with this question? He said, what is the use of telling us of foreign authorities? He said that, with the exception of Russia—and that he wished us joy of Russia—every State that had been alluded to recognised the Romish religion, and on that account the State interfered. Could the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth conceive that there was any logical coherence in his proposition, which amounted to this: that although in countries where the Roman Catholic religion was the religion of the State, and where all parties were united in the same feelings and principles, it was found necessary to watch the proceedings of the ecclesiastical power; yet in countries where the Roman Catholic religion was not the religion of the State—where, therefore, they might suppose the spiritual head of that Church might be in direct opposition to the Sovereign—that in such a country there was no necessity for watching the ecclesiastical power? Now, was there anything logical in that? It was, to be sure, the argument with which the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield began these discussions; but he put it to that hon. and learned Gentleman, whether it was to be supposed, that if in the countries where ecclesiastics were best known, the laity could not trust them—whether it was to be supposed that in countries where they were not known, they were to be more entitled to trust? He would now call attention to the report which had been lately reprinted of the Committee that sat in 1816, because he found an opinion in that report of a Roman Catholic jurist, Van Espen, who spoke of the placet as a power which every Sovereign had a right to exercise before allowing a bull to be introduced into his dominions; and the heading of his first chapter was that this right was inseparably connected with the sovereignty, and that no I prince could renounce it. What the Emperor of Austria would think of this opinion of a jurist of his own faith, he did not know; but the jurist went on to give his reasons for this opinion, which he stated to be that it was the duty of every sovereign to protect his subjects, to watch over the tranquillity of the State, and to preserve their longstanding rights and privileges. Was it not, then, the duty—he would say it with respect—of Her Majesty—at all events, was it not the duty of Her Majesty's Government, to watch the proceedings of the I Pope, in order to protect Her subjects, to 1399 watch over the tranquillity of the State, and to preserve their long-standing rights and privileges? He would ask hon. Members whether the tranquillity of the State would be preserved if they allowed these rescripts to be promulgated here? He believed it would be impossible to preserve tranquillity under such circumstances. They might talk as they would of the fanatical spirit of the people; but they might depend upon this, that there was at the bottom of all this feeling against Rome the old Saxon spirit, which required that bishops should only be nominated in the country, with the consent of the King and the witan. That true English feeling actuated the Barons to pass the 16th of Richard II. It was the same strong feeling of independence which led our Barons to pass the statute of the 16th of Richard II., which occasioned the Reformation under Henry VIII., which precipitated James II. from the throne, and which allowed the present Sovereign to hold Her Throne only so long as She bowed not to that policy—that execrable mixture of temporal and spiritual jurisdiction which, he believed, was as injurious to religion as it was to civil freedom. In the next chapter to the one he had quoted, Van Espen told them that it was the duty of the Attorney General to watch over the preservation of the right of the placet. The Attorney General there might not mean the same as it did here; but it meant that it was the duty of all law officers, or any party advising any Government, to take care that this right was strictly and narrowly guarded. There then was an end to the argument of his hon. and learned Friend as to the natural development of the Papal system. And his learned Friend said that ought to have been considered at the time of the Emancipation Act. He answered it was considered at that time; they said they would trust their fellow-subjects with all rights which they ought to exercise; if they went beyond that, then was the time to interfere; not to stop religious liberty, not to stay their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects sitting in that House, because the restitution of those rights and privileges might, if abused, call upon the House, at some future period, to stop the usurpation of rights and privileges, and prevent the disturbance of the tranquillity of our country. He came next to another point, upon which his hon. and learned Friend had treated 1400 with some contempt the Member for Maryle-bone—with reference to vicars-apostolic. He said that the hon. Baronet found the vicars-apostolic an admirable government—he had no objection to them; but that his anger was excited by this great change in the diocesan government; and then his learned Friend the Member for Plymouth said, with unusual self-complacency, if the hon. Member for Marylebone had studied and read as much as he had, he would have seen that there was literally no change—the only difference was in name, there was not the slightest difference in reality. He (Mr. Wood) was not astonished that his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. R. Palmer) should omit points which made against him, but he was astonished that he should have stated points so as to misrepresent them. He accused him of no intentional misrepresentation; but it was the most complete misrepresentation that he had ever heard made in that House—to say that the change from vicars-apostolic to a diocesan government was nothing but a change of name. On another occasion he (Mr. Wood) had called attention to the bull of Pope Gregory XVI., which regarded those acting as vicars-apostolic as mere missionaries to the Roman Catholics. There was no pretence for saying the Church of Rome existed in the kingdom—she ceased to do so 300 years ago, and from that moment her ecclesiastics became mere missionaries exercising only a small fragment of power. Of course he was speaking now of England, not of Ireland. Talking of these bulls, they were mere rescripts, and if they read those rescripts they would find every one, up to the present, spoke of the Church of Rome in that spirit—in her missionary character—of persons willingly subject to the missionary exercise of power; she did not attempt to set up a rival synod, or attempt to claim, in the slightest degree, jurisdiction over territorial sees. His hon. and learned Friend knew full well that our own Government had adhered most rigidly to that distinction. When the Crown appointed bishops in foreign parts under its own jurisdiction, as for instance the Bishop of Gibraltar, he was called the Bishop of Gibraltar, because territory was assigned him as his diocese, which was part of the Queen's dominions; but when the Government appointed a bishop in Jerusalem, he was not styled Bishop of Jerusalem, for, territorially, he had no power, but was only appointed to preside over such Eng- 1401 lish or British subjects and foreign Protestants as should be willing to subject themselves to him within a given district. The distinction was, then, plain and broad and clear. The Pope, by his bull, established a province in Westminster, and different dioceses throughout the country, assigning local and territorial jurisdiction. The Pope, as the "source of all jurisdiction," for so Cardinal Wiseman expressly designates him in his pastoral letter, claimed to give Middlesex, Sussex, and such places. Was not that a distinct assertion that he claimed to give jurisdiction not merely over the Roman Catholics living within the district, but over every one? He (Mr. Wood) knew he should be told that the Pope could only give jurisdiction over those who would submit to his power. Of course he knew that; but no thanks to the Pope for that. The question was, had he not asserted that power when he said he gave this whole county and a whole district to the care of one of his bishops? Often had Cardinal Wiseman been challenged on that point, and had never denied it. He had turned round with every species of phraseology, but he defied any one to point out in any document issued by Cardinal Wiseman, in which the right was not claimed in the largest sense over all baptised persons. Then it would be said that the Bill would be directed against names after all; and if not bishops, what names would they have? His answer was, that there had been no difficulty with vicars-apostolic, and they bad gone on for three hundred years without any other bishops. What necessity was there for an alteration now? He had listened in vain to hear a single Gentleman get up and say that the Roman Catholics had suffered a single spiritual grievance from Cardinal Wiseman being Bishop of Melipotamus, instead of Archbishop of Westminster. Although he had heard five speeches from the hon. Member for Dublin, he had not heard him allege that he had suffered a single spiritual inconvenience. His hon. and learned Friend had said, the primitive bishops were bishops of places, as Ignatius of Antioch: he begged to remind him that the primitive designation of bishops was that of bishop of the church in such a place. Under all these circumstances, were they prepared to take upon themselves to say that the people of England would be justified in allowing the step to be taken, the assertion to be made of a mixed 1402 ecclesiastical and temporal right? And when he heard his hon. and learned Friend say that he thought it almost scandalous that the House should be occupied in discussing this trumpery Bill, when they ought to be proceeding with the financial measures of the country, he confessed he was of an entirely different opinion. He regarded it not in the light of a trifling and trumpery matter. He regarded the Bill as the assertion of the illegality of this act; and although be would not contend that it was framed in language so strong and precise as he should wished to have seen it, yet the illegality was denounced, and in denouncing it would establish, and not be in derogation of, civil and religious liberty. His hon. and learned Friend had said he had no fear for the Church of England: she had her endowments and everything to prosper her course. He too (Mr. Wood) had no fear for the Church of England; it was not that which made him earnest in the case. What he trembled for was the civil liberty of England. He trembled for her liberties. For the arrogant proclamation he cared not. The Pope had a peculiar vision like that of the Emperor of China; he might shut his eyes to everything but Ireland in the British empire; to everything but a small band of Poles in the Russian empire; to everything in the vast Continent of America, but a few small States in the southern hemisphere: he might shut out the existence of everything or everybody; let him rejoice and exult (though he, for one, thought his rescript might have been written in a wiser spirit); as a more insult, we would pass that by, we would have nothing to do with it, and would not regard it with a deep or serious reflection. But were the Parliament of England prepared to pass by the assertion of rights once usurped with success, and now attempted to be revived? Were they prepared to say that trade, or finance, or any other subject, was of equal value or importance with the assertion of the rights and privileges of the people of England, handed down to them from the earliest period of their history, from the Saxon times to the present; the rights, on the one hand, of all persons to the fullest spiritual freedom, but at the same time, and as a consequence, the right of each individual to assert his liberty against ecclesiastical encroachment, declaring that they would never suffer any Pope or Power to interfere in any temporal matters between 1403 them and the Government of the country; that in all causes, ecclesiastical and temporal, they owed allegiance to the Sovereign, and no one else; and that if the Pope endeavoured to introduce here that canon law which had been so fruitful of mischief abroad, he would find the same determined 1404 spirit in the people of England as at the time of the Reformation to disclaim all attacks on the temporal liberties of the laity by any ecclesiastical power?
§ Debate adjourned till Monday next.
§ The House adjourned at One o'clock till Monday next.