§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [14th March]—Debate resumed.
§ MR. BLEWITT
said, that since the noble Lord at the head of the Government had last come into office in 1846, ho, approving generally of the noble Lord's policy, had taken very little share in the debates of that House, but felt bound to deliver his sentiments on this most impolitic measure. It was, he thought, the late Lord Sydenham who remarked that the present Prime Minister was the noblest-minded man he ever knew. If he (MR. Blewitt) could not concur in that panegyric, it was not because he was no less sensible of the services the noble Lord had rendered to his country, nor that he was wanting in his appreciation of his statesman-like qualities, and great oratorical powers. He bore willing testimony to the amiable disposition and the integrity of the private character of the noble Lord; but by some extraordinary mental fatality, the liberalism for which the noble Lord had been so distinguished, had of late "fallen into the sere and yellow leaf," and he could not help viewing, with unaffected regret, his avowal of feelings, prejudices, and passions, in breach of that consistency which had been one of the proudest features in the noble Lord's political career. It seemed a matter of astonishment that the noble Lord, who had done so much to dispel the clouds of bigotry and intolerance in this country, and having succeeded, by various measures, in lulling sectarian feeling between Catholic and Protestant into 126 a state of repose, unprecedented in our annals, should now appear in the sable garments of woe to rake up from the history of a thousand years the festering recollections of the follies and crimes of Papal fallibility in the darkest and most barbarous ages. One would think, from the mode in which the noble Lord had spoken of the grasping policy and unchangeable ambition of the Court of Rome, that he had only very recently studied history; but those defects were not more real or apparent now, than when the noble Lord used all his efforts to pass the Bill of 1829. In what dark corner of the noble Lord's mind lingered those horrors of Popery and Popish ceremonies only lately brought to light? If he were desirous to introduce into the Protestant Church the purity and simplicity of the Primitive Church, he would agree with him; but he could not concur with him in designating the religious ceremonies of any class of his fellow-countrymen as mummeries and superstitions, nor to subject the ministers of any faith to pains and degradation for maintaining the perfect spiritual organisation of their Church. He had perused, and certainly with no great degree of complacency, the bombastic and inflated documents of the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman; but they had certainly neither impaired his appetite, nor disturbed his digestion; neither did he believe that they intended either insult, injury, or oppression to this country. Such a thing, in his opinion, never entered into the head of either. But what was this so-called insult? The establishment of a hierarchy. But let it be remembered that the Catholic as well as the Protestant Church was episcopal, and that without bishops its spiritual organisation must be incomplete. [The hon. Gentleman then read an extract from a work recently published upon Sierra Leone, in which the want of bishops to govern the clergy was much lamented.] And if needful in Sierra Leone, where the population was thin and the clergy few, how much more must bishops be needed for the spiritual government of 10,000,000 of people? In that case, what was the duty of the Pope? He would read to the House the opinions of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford on the subject, from his work, entitled Church and State:—He would not scruple to say, that if a Mahometan conscientiously believed that his religion came from God, and taught divine truths, he must believe that truth to be beneficial beyond all things 127 to the soul of man, and he ought therefore to extend it by all proper and legitimate means. And if such a Mahometan be a prince, he ought to count among those means the application of the income and funds lawfully at his disposal for such purposes.He asked any candid person to put himself in the position of the Pope, and look at the question impartially and fairly; let him be-lieve that the religion comes from God, and teaches divine truth—let him be told, that in this country there had been many recent conversions to the Catholic religion—that many of the clergy were now reviving obsolete Popish practices in their churches, and borrowing from the Roman ritual—that courtesies had been heaped upon the heads of the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland and in the Colonies—let him read from Hansard the various speeches made by the noble Lord at the head of the Government during the last five or six years, in favour of a Roman Catholic hierarchy—let all those things be considered, and could any man of honest common sense tell him that the Pope might not feel himself justified in appointing a Roman Catholic hierarchy without incurring an imputation that he meant the slightest injury or insult? But when he (MR. Blewitt) spoke of bishops, he did not mean to say that the Pope would be justified in appointing such bishops as those right reverend fathers in God who sat in the other House of Parliament, who were Lords of Parliament in right of their bishoprics, and who were summoned by Her Majesty's writ; but he spoke of such persons as were bishops by virtue of the spiritual supremacy which the Roman Catholics conceded to them in this country for the purpose of superintending aud overlooking the affairs of their Church, according to the proper meaning of the word episcopus. These bishops claimed no dignity, no seat in Parliament, no revenue from the State, and no reverence except that which their fellow-citizens might be inclined to bestow upon them. He felt, as a member of this country, as jealous of its independence, and as ready to vindicate its religious rights and prerogatives, as any man in that House; but he did not feel himself called upon in that instance to join in passing laws against an imaginary affront and problematical mischiefs. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the city of Oxford had told them a great deal about canon law; as if that law, by any act of the Pope, could be made the law of this land. They should hear what 128 Sir Matthew Hale said on this subject. He said—All the strength that the penal or imperial laws have maintained in this kingdom is only because they have been received or admitted by the consent of Parliament, and so are a part of the statute law, or else by immemorial usage, and no otherwise. Their authority is not derived from themselves, and, therefore, they bind no more here than our laws bind in Rome or in Italy.The hon. and learned Gentleman might, therefore, just as well quote the laws of the Chinese or Hindoos on this subject. He objected to the Bill in every form and shape; for he agreed with the hon. Member for Liverpool that its effect would be to create a festering sore, which could only be cured by the repeal of the Bill itself. It was, in fact, a mere nullity. It reminded him of the measure which was passed in 1748, to compel the Highlanders to wear breeches. [An Hon. MEMBER: The canny Scot knew how to avoid that law, for he carried his breeches suspended on a stick over his shoulder.] The Bill, he repeated, would be a mere nullity, and would, he calculated, do nothing but irritate and annoy. He should, therefore, give his vote in support of the Amendment.
SIR R. LOPEZ
said, he should not have asked the indulgence of a few moments' hearing, but for the strong speech of MR. Roundell Palmer against the bull, and against any legislation whatever on the all-engrossing subject under discussion; but, residing in the immediate neighbourhood of Plymouth, the town the learned Gentleman represented, and knowing, as he thought he did, the strong and almost unanimous feeling and opinion of that large and important town, he felt himself called upon to say he was quite certain that the sentiments which he had uttered were not in accordance with those of the bulk of any part of the constituency, or of what could be called even a fraction of the mass of the inhabitants at large. He thought it the more necessary to make this known, and he could appeal to the learned Gentleman himself for the truth of the assertion, that his opinions on this subject were at variance with those universally entertained by the inhabitants, as Plymouth was one of the places which the Pope of Rome had thought fit to distinguish as one of his newly-nominated bishoprics, without his ever, he was sure, having been at the trouble to ascertain whether he had the slightest locus standi in that town, or in the provinces he had attached to it, Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset, and which, he could 129 tell his Holiness, was a compliment (if so intended) by no means welcome either to the town of Plymouth, or to the diocese to be appended to it. The fallacy which ran through the whole argument of MR. Palmer, and all those who had taken the same ground as himself, was this—he (MR. Palmer) considered the assumption of authority and supremacy of a foreign Power, and the establishment of a regular ecclesiastical hierarchy under that foreign authority, was to be looked upon in the same light as other religious establishments within our own borders dissenting from the Established Church, self-constituted and self-supported, and owning no headship at all, much less that of a foreign instructor and old rival, and one asserting supreme spiritual dominion. If the Romanists will disconnect themselves with this foreign Power—Rome—and constitute themselves, like other religious societies in their native country, free and independent, there is an end to the contest, and no legislation is necessary. What we say, is—"No foreign prince, potentate, or power hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within these realms;" and it is against this our legislation is to provide; but the fallacies and false philosophy of MR. Palmer, and of all those who have taken the same view as himself, were so promptly disposed of by the admirable reply of MR. P. Wood, and, to use a commercial metaphor, in receipt and discharge in full of all demands given at sight, that he (Sir R. Lopes), by a repetition of the same arguments, would only weaken them; and, as to the other theme of the learned Gentleman's speech—civil and religious liberty—taking the very mention of that in connexion with Rome, was perfectly absurd. Sir R. Lopes went on to say, that, having risen for this single object, he would be glad to be allowed the opportunity, as one of the representatives of a county, second but to one in magnitude, and equal to any in consequence in the kingdom—a county which had felt the deepest interest on this important matter, and which had strongly expressed those feelings in addresses to the Throne—from its ancient metropolitan city, from every large and populous town, amongst them Plymouth, as also from its constituency, and people in general, county meetings assembled, to say, that, so far from agreeing with the learned Member for Plymouth that no legislation was necessary, he would tell the House that a 130 universal feeling of regret and disappointment pervaded that large county, occasioned by the inefficiency and inadequacy of the remedies proposed in the short and limited Bill now before the House. The first promulgation of the sentiments of Lord J. Russell, when this unexpected and sudden shock, for so he would call it, was inflicted by the Church of Rome, had given the greatest satisfaction; its direct, manly and straightforward avowal had been responded to throughout the kingdom, and every hope was entertained that if the laws now in existence were not sufficient to meet the case and repel the injury, new laws should be had recourse to, to remedy the evil. The speech of the noble Lord, on the introduction of this measure, breathed the same manly, vigorous, high and constitutional spirit; and every man, he was sure, however he might differ with him in his general policy, gave the noble Lord credit for entire sincerity, and for a wish to deal with this case as it ought to be dealt with, and he had full and uncontrolled power; but the question which this House and the country at large will have to put to itself will be, whether they will be satisfied with so meagre, inadequate, and imperfect a remedy, or whether they will not require something more to meet the present case, and to obviate the repetition of so bold and insulting a proceeding on the part of the Church of Rome. History will have been read in vain, if we have not learnt that no assumptions, no encroachments, no arrogant pretensions must be allowed. "Give an inch and take an ell," has been too much verified in this late proceeding, and the nearest motto to act upon will be, principiis obsta. The people of this kingdom, as has been said, are not the aggressors in this conflict, for that is the right character of it. The very language of the Papal instrument tells us plainly how unaltered, how persevering, how arbitrary are the principles and pretensions of the Church of Rome, and that she will not allow any country in which she has once had a footing, to be at peace, which will not bow down to her supremacy in matters spiritual, and, as a consequence, to her direct or indirect influence in matters temporal. The noble Lord also, in his first opening speech, seemed to be conscious that such feeling of disappointment would be great, as he appeared, as it struck him (Sir Ralph Lopes), to say almost in the tone of apology, that the Government deemed it best at present to 131 limit their remedies to the late actual aggression, and that any future encroachments would be met by further resources and legislation, almost as he (Sir Ralph Lopes) thought, admitting that in the course of events such necessity would arise. Surely if such a contingency and sequel might be apprehended and anticipated, it would have been wiser at once to enact a fuller and more effective measure of restraint; but instead of this precaution and policy—instead of acting on the principle that prevention is better than cure—why, as if in terror of their own first deliberate and long-matured proposal, they have actually recoiled from the proceeding they first intended to propose, and pared down to nothing, or next to nothing, measures which would not, in their entirety as at first proposed, have met the expectations, or have been considered adequate and sufficient by the smallest portion of the community. He (Sir Ralph Lopes) was glad of an opportunity to discharge a duty to a large constituency and populous county, in stating that from one end of it to the other one general feeling of regret and disappointment prevailed at the inadequacy of the remedies of the Government, to meet the demands of a dangerous and unprovoked attack, which, as he conceived, required not only present repression, but security for the future; and to express on the behalf of that constituency a sincere hope that ere this Bill passes from this House, it will be rendered more applicable, effective, and potent to nullify the present aggression, and to obviate any further encroachment by the Church of Rome, and the laws and constitution of the country. Any one of his hon. Colleagues would have expressed with more effect the deep-seated and strongly-entertained sentiments of their mutual constituents, and he considered it due to them that the almost unanimous feeling of so important a county should be echoed in that House. He should vote for the second reading of the Bill, with the hope that many salutary additions to it would be introduced in Committee.
§ MR. WALTER
said, that if the hon. Member for South Devon felt that his being the representative of a county of which one of the principal towns had been appropriated by the Pope for a new episcopal see, furnished him with an additional claim upon the attention of the House, he (MR. Walter) thought he might plead the same excuse for venturing to ask 132 their attention, as the representative of no unimportant constituency—as the Member for a borough against which a decree had issued from Rome, that from henceforth it should be transformed into a Popish see. It was that circumstance which encouraged him to trespass upon the attention of the House, for the purpose of protesting against what he deemed an act of unwarrantable aggression and usurpation. He called this an act of aggression, because he contended that the Pope had violated the provisions of that very Act of Parliament from which Roman Catholics derived their titles to seats in that House; and he-called it an act of usurpation, because he maintained that, under no circumstances whatever, whether by the law of nations or by any inherent right in the Papal episcopacy itself, would the Pope be justified in annexing territorial titles to any episcopal offices he might be disposed to establish. He might be allowed to observe, with respect to the clause in the Act of 1829, to which he had referred, that he had heard that clause misquoted at least a dozen times during the course of the debate. Now, he had the clause in question before him, and, with the permission of the House, he would read it. It ran as follows:—And whereas the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, and likewise the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, are by the respective Acts of Union of England and Scotland, and of Great Britain and Ireland, established permanently and inviolably; and whereas the right and title of archbishops to their respective provinces, of bishops to their sees, and of deans to their deaneries, as well in England as in Ireland have been settled and established by law; be it therefore enacted, that if any person, after the commencement of this Act, other than the person thereunto authorised by law, shall assume or use the name, style, or title of archbishop of any province, bishop of any bishopric, or dean of any deanery, in England or Ireland, he shall for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of 100l.He had heard it not only contended by Roman Catholic Members, but admitted, as it were, by Protestant Members of that House, that this clause referred only to existing sees. He had very carefully read the Act of 1829, and the whole of the debates relating to it, and he did not find the term "existing sees" used in any part of those discussions. He did not feel himself bound to go to a lawyer for an interpretation of the meaning of any Act of Parliament; and, although he was perfectly aware that, according to a well-known 133 maxim of law, penal statutes should be construed strictly, yet when he found the whole context of the clause, and all the discussions relating thereto, evidently implying that the clause had a general application, and was not restricted to particular sees, he thought he was at perfect liberty to put that plain construction upon the clause which the grammatical sense of the words appeared to him to demand. He therefore considered, as he said before, that the clause in the Act of 1829, which provided that no Roman Catholic ecclesiastic should assume the title of any province, bishopric, or deanery within the United Kingdom of England and Ireland, was evidently intended to bear a general acceptation, and was not limited to existing sees merely, but extended to all sees which could be possibly created. Could any hon. Member suppose, for instance, that the see of Manchester, which had been created subsequently to the passing of that Act, could by any possibility have been intended to be exempted from its operation? For his own part, he thought no one would contend for a proposition so utterly absurd. The right hon. Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham), in a speech which he made the other evening, referred to the part he had taken in bringing forward the Charitable Bequests Act. The right hon. Baronet said—was the organ of Sir R. Peel's Government in moving the Bequests Act, an Act which recognised the authority of the Roman Catholic bishops and clergy of Ireland. It speaks of the Roman Catholic archbishop or bishop 'officiating in any district,' and Roman Catholic clergymen 'having pastoral superintendence of any congregation.' What is the meaning of' officiating in any district' but having a diocese? What is the meaning of 'having pastoral superintendence of a congregation' but being a parish priest?With all deference to the right hon. Baronet, he (MR. Walter) thought the speech he made on that occasion itself furnished an explanation; that, in fact, the right hon. Baronet had himself supplied them with the distinction between the cases he had mentioned of a diocese and a district. He (MR. Walter) found, on referring to Hansard, that on the very occasion to which the right hon. Baronet referred in his speech, he, (Sir J. Graham) said—He had demurred, and he still demurred, to the right of the archbishops and bishops of the Church of Rome claiming titles as affixed to certain localities and districts in Ireland; but, hoping to conciliate the feelings of those who were deeply interested in this measure, and having no other desire than, as far as was consistent with the maintenance of sound principles, to tender that 134 which might be acceptable to their Roman Catholic fellow-subjeots, the Government were anxious to make such tender in the form and in the terms which might be most satisfactory."—[3 Hansard, Ixxvi., 1659.]And then the right hon. Baronet framed the clause to which he referred. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (MR. Roundell Palmer) had been already alluded to in the course of the debate, and he (MR. Walter) might be excused for referring to it; for he must do his hon. and learned Friend the justice of saying that a more able and exhaustive speech on that side of the question, it was impossible to imagine. There were, however, several points in the speech of his hon. and learned Friend, which he thought would bear some comment. The hon. and learned Gentleman, appealing to antiquity, asked the House whether they supposed that the Bishops of Antioch and Smyrna, Ignatius and Polycarp, invaded any civil prerogatives of the State in being called respectively bishops of those places? He (MR. Walter) thought that was a question which might be answered by another. He would like to know what sort of notion the hon. and learned Gentleman supposed that the Roman Emperors of the first ages affixed to the idea of a bishop? Did the hon. Gentleman suppose that, even setting aside the question of persecution, those Emperors would have conceded to the bishops in the early ages of the Church* the titles of "your grace," or "my lord?" He (MR. Walter) imagined that the only notion a Roman emperor would form of a bishop in the early ages of the Church would be that of a poor, miserable, forlorn being, the leader, perhaps, of a despised sect, whose very office conferred upon him no other distinction than that of priority in persecution, and a more imminent hazard of death. In those early ages it was impossible that the title of bishop of any town could give offence to the civil power, because the title of bishop contained in it no political significance. But what happened when, at a later period, after the conversion of the Roman empire to Christianity, the title of bishop did convey political significance? The State then found itself imperatively called upon to exercise a very considerable and growing control over the appointment of bishops. Nay, as far as he understood history, it appeared to him that immediately after the recognition of Christianity by the State, the influence of the laity made itself felt, and operated through the State upon the 135 Church; and that from that time to the present the laity, embodied and represented by the civil power, always exercised a concurrent voice with the Church in the appointment of their bishops. Nay, more; they exercised a very considerable control over what might be considered the spiritual functions of the Church; and if Parliament allowed the measure the Pope had introduced into this country to take effect, the dominions of Her Majesty the Queen would, he believed, be the only dominions in the world in which the Church would be allowed the full development of its ecclesiastical functions without the interference or control of the laity at all. His quarrel with the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman was this—that the one in the rescript he had issued from Rome, and the other in the manifesto he had ordered to be read in all chapels and churches within his presumed province, had claimed to exercise control, not over the consciences of their spiritual subjects, but over the temporal dominions of the Queen. It was no answer to his objection to say that this was merely the form of the Roman Catholic Church. It was precisely because it was the form of the Roman Catholic Church, and because he considered that form conveyed the grossest and most intolerable expression of spiritual domination and arrogance, that he objected to it. They must remember that forms were but the shadows of realities, and although this country might not be, as he believed it was not, in danger of receiving any serious detriment at the hands of Rome, yet they were equally bound to protest as strongly as ever against the pretensions of a Church which lacked certainly not the will, but only the power, to enforce those pretensions. With regard to the statement of his hon. and learned Friend, that, having once conceded the principle of toleration, and admitted their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to the enjoyment of their spiritual rights, they were bound to recognise the full development of their ecclesiastical system, he was on that point entirely at variance with the hon. and learned Gentleman. That they should not only concede to the subjects of the most intolerant Church in the world—a Church that had always been the foe of religious liberty—every civil privilege, and the exercise of all their spiritual rights, but that they should permit them to constitute themselves the judges of that most delicate boundary question—the boundary between spiritual and civil duties and obligations, 136 appeared to him the most suicidal act any country could commit. It was impossible that this or any other country could so abdicate its functions, and so paralyse the very conditions of its existence. Let them consider what would be the consequence if these pretensions were assumed and exercised. If they allowed to a Church the sole right of deciding what were the limits of spiritual jurisdiction—the right to decide whether or no the assumption of territorial titles was of the essence of episcopacy—much more must they allow it the right of deciding in cases involving questions of a mixed spiritual and temporal character. What had been the case in the kingdom of Sardinia? They had seen a Minister of the State deprived of religious privileges and consolations simply for the conscientious exercise of his public duties. If a similar case occurred in Ireland, what would the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth say? Would he be prepared to admit that such a case came within his definition of religious toleration? Would he say that the State had no right to interfere to protect his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects from such an act of spiritual tyranny? He (MR. Walter) must confess that he entertained a very different opinion, for he considered that the State owed to its subjects of all religions a protection against the abuse of the spiritual authority of their pastors. But the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (MR. Roebuck) might say, as he had said, "Oh, but after all, it is only the submission of one man's mind to another, and if people are such fools as to submit their consciences to priests, what business have they to come to the State for protection?" He (MR. Walter) could not help thinking that that was neither a very humane nor a very just view of the question. He thought that a State had no right to reduce its subjects to the terrible alternative of renouncing their faith, or being deprived of the consolations of religion, merely for the conscientious discharge of their temporal duties. He believed—and, in fact, history bore him out in the assertion—that in almost all Continental countries the State had exercised a control even over what might appear to be the spiritual province of the Roman Catholic Church. On referring to the "blue book" containing the evidence collected in 1816, he found that in Austria no sentence of excommunication could be pronounced or carried into effect until the State had satisfied 137 itself that the matter for which the person was excommunicated was really of a spiritual character. If, then, such were the law of Roman Catholic countries, he wished to know upon what ground they ought to deny to the State of this country the right to exercise that sort of control over the spiritual affairs of the Roman Catholic Church? With regard to the much debated question of the spiritual and ecclesiastical elements of episcopacy, he wished the House would allow him to read a passage from Dr. Twiss's very able book, which he thought set the question in the clearest possible light. Dr. Twiss said—It is contended by Roman Catholic writers that the erection of the new sees is a spiritual act on the part of his Holiness, and that the Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty who maintain the right of the Pope to erect such sees, maintain only the spiritual supremacy of the Holy See, and are within the law. But it may be observed, in the first place, that neither the erection of a see nor the appointment of a bishop is a spiritual act. The consecration of a bishop, by the laying on of hands, is the spiritual act; the appointment is a temporal act, even if it should happen to be the act of an ecclesiastic. For instance, if the appointment were a spiritual act, in the sense in which the consecration is a spiritual act, it could not be performed by laymen; yet bishops in communion with the Holy See have, from time to time, been appointed freely by the Church at large—i.e., have been elected by the laity and clergy. Such, it may be said, was the rule of the Church until the twelfth century; and even now the temporal power in many Roman Catholic States, in accordance with a direct or implied concordat, nominates the bishops of the land, and the Pope accepts such nomination, and by his confirmation of it recognises its valid origin. If, on the other baud, the appointment is called spiritual in another sense from that in which the consecration is so termed, it is a loose and improper sense, and only leads to a confusion of thought. The appointment of a bishop should rather be termed 'an ecclesiastical act of a temporal nature;' the consecration being, on the contrary, 'an ecclesiastical act of a spiritual nature.' The appointment does not give the spiritual office, but merely designates the person for the spiritual office, which is conveyed to him at consecration.…Again, if the erection of an episcopal see were held by the law of England to be a purely spiritual act, then there might be some plausibility in the Pope turning against the law of the land the weapon which it may have itself furnished to him; but by the law of England no episcopal see can be erected by the Crown within Her Majesty's realm of England except with the consent of the Legislature, in which it is true the bishops of the Established Church form part, but do not thereby impart to its acts a spiritual character. There is, accordingly, no argument furnished by the law of the land to distinguish the realm of the Protestant Queen of England from that of a prince in communion with the See of Rome, in a sense more favourable to the pretensions of the See of Rome. It may consequently happen, that the temporal, 138 and not the spiritual supremacy of the Crown of England, is impugned by those who would carry into execution the will of the Pope in erecting bishops' sees throughout the length and breadth of England, mero moto suo. It is, further, with respect to that temporal supremacy, that legal difficulties may arise for Her Majesty's loyal and faithful Roman Catholic subjects, from which they have been exempt under the previous condition of the English mission. For if it should be a correct view of the law, that the Pope, as a foreign prelate or potentate, in erecting his new sees, has invaded the sovereignty of the Crown of England, such subjects of Her Majesty as seek to put the writ of the Pope into use and execution will thereby risk to maintain his temporal superiority and preeminence; and thus the Roman Catholic Peers and Members of the House of Commons, who have taken the oath embodied in the Relief Act, whereby they deny that the Pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, person, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm, may find themselves ensnared.In conclusion, he (MR. Walter) would only observe, that whatever might be said of the letter of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he, for one, could never regret the step the noble Lord took in permitting its publication, still less could he regret the agitation this question had occasioned; for, whatever other effects that agitation might have produced, he thought it would at all events have the effect of opening the eyes of Roman Catholics, as they never appeared to have been opened hitherto, to a great fact—the deep-rooted Protestantism of the British empire. It might be perfectly true that the Pope had been so credulous as to believe the representations that had been made to him that this country was on the eve of a great Roman Catholic movement. He (MR. Walter) was inclined to believe, from his own observation, that even among Roman Catholics possessing extensive information and great knowledge of the world, there had prevailed of late years a very mistaken idea as to the state of religious feeling in this country. Observations had been made to him by Roman Catholic friends of his which showed him that they had mistaken the apostacy of a few bewildered clergymen, and a few weak-minded laymen and lay women, for a deliberate intention on the part of the Protestant body of England to abandon the strong position which they had hitherto maintained with regard to the pretensions of the See of Rome. He remembered, that at the time of the secession from the Established Church of a very well-known, most learned, able, and excellent individual, Dr. Newman, a Roman 139 Catholic friend of his said to him, "All your cleverest men are joining us; you will all come over before long." lie thought the agitation which had prevailed in this country would at all events open the eyes of their Roman Catholic friends to the great mistake they had committed in this respect. He thought it would teach the Pope to be move careful for the future in trusting to the misrepresentations of those who had misled him. But he believed it would do more. It would teach Roman Catholics to be very cautious how they attempted to put in practice what had been suggested to them by members of their own body—a regularly organised system of proselytism in this country. No one could more deeply deplore the evils of religious conflicts than himself; no one could be more anxious to avert a calamity which he regarded as the greatest that could befall this country. But it was precisely because he believed it to be such a calamity, that he wished to nip in the bud the very first attempt made to carry this system into effect, lest it should hereafter—if permitted to develop itself—set the whole kingdom in agitation. He would not shrink from avowing in that House the sentiments he had declared at public meetings elsewhere—that if the people of this country were once possessed with the idea that there existed any danger—a danger which he believed might exist if measures were not taken to prevent it—of Roman Catholic unmarried priests being set up in their parishes side by side with the Protestant clergy; that there existed a danger of the death-beds, even of misers, being besieged, and their dying bequests intercepted by the emissaries of Rome; that there existed a danger of the confessional being introduced as a general rule into this country, and of the daughters of our Protestant fellow-subjects being seduced into convents; if the people of England felt that the law could afford them no protection in such a case, he was very much mistaken in his estimate of their character if they would not be disposed to take the law into their own hands. As regarded Ireland, he could only say that, although it was not his intention to oppose the extension of this measure to Ireland, he should have been equally content to have left Ireland out of the question. That unhappy country had enjoyed for so many years a prescriptive right to every species of abuse and misrule, that he should be sorry to deprive it in this instance of a 140 privilege it had so long possessed. Nay, he might borrow an argument from the hon. Baronet the Member for Waterford (Sir II. W. Barron), who had said that if this Bill were passed, every man in Ireland who could scrape 10l. together would leave it; and he (MR. Walter) was not sure that that would not be an important reason with him for supporting the measure. But, as regarded this country, he could only say, that so long as our Protestant constitution in Church and' State should endure, he would set his face, and use every effort in his power, to resist every encroachment of the See of Rome. Although he thought that the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), after that memorable letter which created so great an excitemennt in this country, might have produced a measure more worthy of the expectations which that letter had roused, he should support the second reading of this Bill, in the hope that during its progress through Committee, some means might be devised of rendering it more worthy of the occasion which had called it forth.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
said, that, notwithstanding the high importance which the lion. Member who had just spoken of this quarrel with the Pope, appeared to attach to his own position in the debate, he should not have felt it necessary to notice the offensive remark of the lion. Member, had it not been for the very general cheers and laughter with which the remark had been received on the other side of the House—that his chief reason for supporting the Bill was, that it might induce every man of property to leave Ireland to its fate. That such an insinuation should have been received with applause, and without protest, could not but have a very prejudicial effect upon the dispositions of the Irish people, already too much exasperated by the course which had been taken, and too willing to believe the worst of the intentions and motives of the Legislature and the Government. He would protest against these sentiments, and he did not believe they were shared by Her Majesty's Ministers; if he did, he should be prepared to extend the opposition with which he met the pro-sent Bill to any measure whatsoever which might emanate from the Cabinet for the chastisement of the Papal aggression. It was, indeed, the great misfortune of this Bill, that, small and contemptible as it was in itself, it served as an opportunity and a pretext for intolerant effusions against "Popery" and "the Romish supersti- 141 tion," and the revival of bygone polemics, and the repetition of speeches of another generation, and of which those who had uttered them, having survived their old intolerance, were now utterly ashamed. Some Gentlemen, on the other hand, though detesting religious controversy, and not anxious to bring railing accusations against those who differed from them in religion, were not philosophical enough to resist the temptation to retort. For there were the means of doing so. If we had our "Father Eustace," we had also our "Vicar of Wrexhill." Gentlemen, whether of "High Church," or "Low Church," sought to lead on the populace in chase of the common game—the Church of Rome and its members, in the hope that this species of carrion might lead the hounds off the right scent; but hon. Members might overreach themselves in that matter. The hon. Members for Oxford city and for Cambridge University would very much deceive themselves if they thought thus to divert attention from the abuses charged upon their own Church. The people of this country were more intent upon the performance of the promise implied in the latter portion of the noble Lord's celebrated letter to the Bishop of Durham—much more anxious to have the attention of the House directed to the Church of which they were members, than to that Church to which they did not belong. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had shown pretty clearly, in his former speech upon this question, by what views he was animated to legislate against the Roman Catholic Church; it was not that he abhorred ecclesiastical domination, hut that he loved it too well to see it vested in the hands of a Roman Catholic priest or prelate. The power which the Pope exercised by bull, that hon. and learned Member wished to take from him, and was contented to vest it in the hands of Her Majesty; so that the Queen, by letters patent, might make and unmake in any part of her dominions, not being within this realm, any Church she pleased. The hon. and learned Member had argued that, in every instance in which the Pope by brief had attempted to legislate for the ecclesiastical affairs of the Church of Rome in any portion of the Queen's dominions, he had violated the Royal prerogative, and those who obeyed him were guilty of a contempt of that prerogative. He (MR. Anstey) begged most emphatically to deny that position. Every lawyer knew—and the hon. and learned 142 Gentleman ought to be one—that the Queen's ecclesiastical law was strictly local—that the Church of England was the Church of the realm, and did not extend to the other dominions of Her Majesty—and that the Roman Catholic Church, and every Dissenting Church, every form of Christianity—nay, every form of religious belief which was not opposed to the great law of God and nature—were as legal, and enjoyed as sound and legitimate a status in Her Majesty's colonies and foreign dominions as did the Church of England itself, and that the Pope's bulls and the letters patent of the Crown relating to such affairs rested upon precisely the same foundation, binding those only whose conscience constrained them to be bound by them, and not extending to those whose consciences allowed them to be disobedient. He could toll the hon. and learned Member, that if there were—which need not be denied—Roman Catholics who, on their own peculiar grounds, protested against this "aggression," as it was rightly called, of the See of Rome, it was not because they were minded to accept in lieu of it the ecclesiastical tyranny which he would impose. They were not disposed, it was true, to suffer the Papal innovation; but they were just as little minded to stand still and be devoured by the Church of England. The hon. and learned Gentleman's statements, in short, were all directed to quite another matter than the Bill before the House. That Bill contained but one clause; and it was directed against the mere assumption of ecclesiastical titles; and another clause had been promised by the Home Secretary for the purpose of exempting those Dissenters from the Established Church of Scotland who professed the episcopal form of church government and worship. When that clause should be proposed, he (MR. Anstey) should move an Amendment to make it include also the Scotch Roman Catholics, who were quite as much entitled to exemption. If the fear of the excitement of jealousies was to be regarded, how might the Presbyterians be expected to regard the assumption of titles by Protestant Episcopalians in Scotland—the religious community which had been guilty of the great cruelties suffered by the Scottish Calvinists in the 17th century! But, indeed, if there was to be exemption, the strongest case could be made for exempting the Roman Catholics of Ireland. No cause had been afforded by them for this species of legislation. The 143 case of the dioceses of Cloyne and Ross, and of Galway, in Ireland, had been introduced into the discussion. Now, with regard to Galway, down to 1829 or 1830, certain families in Galway, called the "Galway tribes," had the right to elect their own bishop, under the name of a warden; and this old privilege, which was regulated by bulls, had been exercised with general satisfaction to clerks and laymen, too, down to the recent change. But amongst the tribes dissensions about that time arose, and after several vain attempts at appeasing them, it became the wish of the tribes themselves, in whom the privilege was vested, to get rid of it. For this purpose the matter had to be laid before the Irish bishops, who concurred with the laity, and the subject was referred to the Pope, by whose consent the consecration of a bishop to succeed the warden could alone be obtained. Therefore, let it be remembered that the Pope did not take the initiative, but only confirmed the arrangement already effected, so far as the diocese of Galway was concerned. The matter was settled by a committee of the Irish bishops, and all that the Pope did was to agree to an arrangement between the clergy and the laity, and allow it to be carried out. That was what the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devonshire would not object to, it seemed, his objection being that what had been done in England by the Pope, had been done in the first instance. He himself (MR. Anstey) very much disapproved of the course taken in this matter. He considered that it was exceedingly wrong for the Pope to take the initiative and adopt and carry into effect such a scheme of church government as this without the clergy or laity being consulted. In that view he considered it an aggression—an aggression upon the vested rights of Her Majesty's subjects, and ultimately upon that prerogative of justice vested in Her Majesty, by which alone those rights were protected and enforced. But the hon. Baronet supported a Bill which would make penal in Ireland that which he would be contented to see done in England. With respect to the other example cited—that of the appointment of the new bishop of Ross, the fact was that the diocese of Cloyne and Ross had been found inconveniently large for a single bishop to superintend; and the clergy of that see, with the consent of the bishop, had 144 merely framed a scheme for dividing the diocese into two dioceses, and restoring the old separation of the diocese of Cloyne from the diocese of Ross. The diocese, therefore, was now converted once more into the two former dioceses, that of Cloyne and that of Ross. The parish priest of Midleton was appointed bishop of half the see, the late bishop of Cloyne and Ross continuing to superintend the other half. That was done by the Irish bishops and clergy themselves, the Pope's bull only giving effect to their wishes. Such were the cases untruly alleged by the partisans of this Bill to be analogous to what had occurred in England, and urged as a pretext for the monstrous attempt to include Ireland in the Bill. The measure was also justified on the ground that the Pope by his brief had repealed all the laws which governed the Church in England, and all the trusts which guarded the charities and endowments of the Roman Catholics. On this subject, however, the Bill was quite silent. It was justified, also, on the ground that the delegates of the Holy See] had been empowered to give synodal action to their hierarchy, and make a new canon law for the government of Roman Catholics, and of Protestants too. But the Bill contained not a word applicable to either of these points. What had been stated in defence of the only real object of the Bill—the prohibition of titles? Nothing at all. But, if titles were a legitimate subject for their legislation, the Bill ought surely to have been directed against the imposition of titles by authority of a foreign Power, instead of the assumption of titles by the free will of British subjects at home. He repeated that, if there was to be legislation on the subject, it was contemptible and absurd that it should be directed against the mere assumption of titles. The Bill, again, ought to have been confined to the country with respect to which the aggression had taken place; and the argument for its extension to Ireland might be resolved into the absurd proposition, that because persons had assumed titles in England, conferred by a foreign Power, therefore persons in Ireland who had not assumed titles conferred by a foreign Power were to be brought within its operation. Ministers would do well to drop the present Bill, to abandon legislation on the subject of titles, and to deal practically with the aggression. When their Charitable Trusts Bill came before the House, that would be the timet o introduce pro- 145 hibitions and regulations by which alone the prerogative of the Crown and the rights of Roman Catholics, as well as of Protestants, whose rights would be affected by the Papal bull, might be asserted. He hoped an attempt would then be made to prevent any person, whether within this country or without, from depriving English Catholics of such protection for their religious and charitable establishments as they enjoyed till the 29th of September last; and that some measure would be taken indirectly, if not directly, against the enactment of the jus canonicum to which the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had referred, in place of the ancient and free canon law of English Catholics. The hon. and learned Member, however, supposed, that because there was only one canon law for the Church of England, so there was only one for the Roman Catholic Church. He seemed ignorant that there might be many branches of that law; that the canon law of the Church of Rome depended not on the theology of the Church, out on the nationality of its members; that whether it was the French canon law, or the English, or the Spanish canon law, it was always the result of an attempt, more or less successful, to reconcile the jarring interests of the national Church and the State. It varied with the nationality of the members of the Roman Catholic Church, and, above all, with the laws temporal under which they lived. If the canon law of Sardinia, for example, found itself in a state of conflict with the actual temporal law of that State, it was only because of the concordat which had prevented the ecclesiastical authority from making such alterations in its canon law, from time to time, as should adjust it to the variations of the temporal law of the State. When the canon law of England was first compiled, it was in entire accordance with the common law of England; but there would be immense difficulty in reconciling the new canon law proposed by Cardinal Wiseman with the law of England and the practice of our courts. For the canon law which his Eminence wished to introduce under the delegation conferred by the Pope, was not that of England, France, or any other Roman Catholic country in which the distinction between spiritual and temporal obtained, but the canon law of the States of the Church—a canon law which knew no distinction between spiritual and temporal, which was unsuited to the genius of a free people, 146 and which must undergo considerable changes to adapt it to this country. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford was therefore in error when he spoke of the canon law as of some solid thing, one and the same for France, Spain, and all other countries; for it was not so. The House, he trusted, would appreciate the reasons why he (MR. Anstey) and other Roman Catholics looked with considerable disfavour on the Papal bull. He had very little sympathy with the speeches on either side. For instance, he could not understand why the colonies had been imported into this debate by Roman Catholic and Protestant disputants. He must revert to the distinction he had already drawn between the position of the Established Church in the realm of England and in the dominions of England—a distinction which he held to be countenanced by the authority of Blackstone and Storey. These jurists had described the laws relating to the maintenance of the established clergy, the jurisdiction of spiritual courts, the laws respecting Popish recusancy, to be totally inapplicable to the transmarine dominions or colonies of the parent State. On this subject he would refer also to a return ordered last year, on his Motion, for the purpose of showing what, on the other hand, was the position of the Roman Catholic clergy in the transmarine possessions of the Crown. It appeared, from that paper, that there was scarcely a possession of the Crown in which arrangements did not exist, whereby the Roman Catholic Church, with or without the concurrence of its head, was expressly recognised and established. A Roman Catholic Bishop of Halifax, for instance, was appointed under a legislative enactment which, having been applied for by the Church which he governed, had the effect, though not the form, of a concordat; and in Van Die-men's Land, on the other hand, a measure had been adopted, without consulting the Church at all, by which every priest receiving endowments was placed by the Protestant Legislature of the colony, under the ancient provisions of the Roman Catholic canon law of England, which screened him from the tyranny of his bishop; and the Church of Rome, immediately after the Act passed, had accepted the endowments, and therewithal the Act. Another illustration might be drawn from the history of the Jesuits in Canada. The Pope having been induced to dissolve the Society of Jesuits, the King of Great Britain, 147 who, by the treaty of 1763, inherited the rights and duties which had formerly pertained to the King of France under the concordat with Rome, gave effect to that decree by confiscating the lands belonging to the Jesuits in Canada, and thereby recognised in the strongest manner the concordat which existed between the Pope and the King of France previous to the cession of treaty of that colony, and the right of the Pope to deal with his spiritual subjects, being likewise the temporal subjects of the British Sovereign. These in-stances might suffice to show, that to the present debate the case of the Roman Church in the colonies was altogether irrelevant and inapplicable. In conclusion, he must characterise the Bill as intolerable, absurd, and unjust, because not dealing with a real grievance. If the reasons against applying it to England were strong, those against applying it to Ireland were doubly strong; and, for the reasons he had stated now and upon a former occasion, he should give his decided vote against the second reading.
§ LORD ASHLEY
Sir, notwithstanding all that has been said, revert to the first question—shall the Parliament of England, or shall it not, arise to the succour of the Crown, to maintain the rights of the people, and to assert—use the expression advisedly—the civil and religious liberties of half mankind? Our opponents; tell us of the intricate difficulties of legislation. That we always knew. We were denounced as illiberal—we foresaw the misrepresentation. Many advised a surrender. We had anticipated the demand for such a concession. But there was one thing we did not foresee. We did not anticipate that a British Peer would denounce our defence of the British Crown as equivalent to persecution or even torture; and we did not foresee that British senators would assume the rights of conscience and the necessity of spiritual development among the followers of the Church of Rome, as a lawful ground for the assumption of territorial titles, with all their paraphernalia of political Peerages, in defiance of the Queen and Her Government, and in opposition to the customs, the opinions, and the feelings of the people of Great Britain. Now will reiterate my first question, "Shall we or shall we not come to the succour of the Queen of these realms?" Even many of our opponents admit that the language and demeanour of the Roman Pontiff has been arrogant, 148 offensive, and intolerable: shall it then be endured? Will they, while using these indignant epithets, sit down and do nothing, and suffer, as it were, the seeds of that very conduct to sprout up and fructify in our very sight? would readily concede thus much, that if it can be shown that the recent movement of the Pope is in strict conformity with the Act of 1829, we ought at once to submit, and that on the principle of Holy Writ, "He that sweareth to his neighbour may not disappoint him, though it be to his own hindrance." would not withdraw from any such promise to the extent of a hair's breadth: but nevertheless think may say to those who are presuming upon our concessions, that privileges have their duties as well as their rights; and, of all those duties, there is no one more sacred or binding than that contained in the rule quoted the other night by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford—Sic uteve tuo ut alienum non Uædas.One party in this House denies not only the necessity but the propriety of any legislation on this question; and of that party the most conspicuous and able is the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, who in a powerful speech has maintained that argument. The whole of his reasoning was directed to establish this proposition—that everything that has been done by the Pope, nay, that everything that could he done by him, is irresistible and unanswerable, because founded on the demands of liberty of conscience, and necessary to spiritual development. If this proposition be admitted, it takes from us all power and control whatever, nay more, it imposes on us the duty of absolute and entire sub-mission. In using the term "liberty of conscience," the hon. and learned Gentleman, without any inquiry, without examination into the whole bearing and purport of the term, takes the words as enunciated by the Roman Catholics; the Roman Catholic interpretation and definition of the term; was used; and then whatever is demanded; as founded on this liberty of conscience, he concedes, and forgetting that there are other equivalent and certainly pre-existing interests, he ignores at once the prerogatives of the Crown and the rights and liberties of the whole mass of his Protestant fellow subjects. It is perfectly clear that" when the concessions of 1829 were made, they must have been made with reservations. Those who made the concessions, while 149 they granted relief, were not themselves to be placed in a condition of subordination; and when they gave to Roman Catholics the power of expansion, it was not understood that, in return, they were themselves to be driven into a corner. The concessions then made we are prepared upon the same grounds to maintain; and upon these grounds, too, we resist the present aggression by the Papal power. There is another party in the House who say they wish for legislation; but so dissatisfied are they with the present form of the Bill, that they would rather have no legislation at all than accept the measure in its present altered and abridged condition. Now, will the House allow mo to state my deep, solemn, and earnest conviction on this question? We are not now deliberating on a matter of transient interest. I am sure that all who hear me, whether they support this measure, or whether they oppose it, will agree that we are now handling principles that have determined, and will again determine, the existence of empires, and these principles must exercise a dominant influence over the widest surface and to the latest posterity. Perhaps I ought not again to address the House upon this subject, after having on a previous occasion experienced so ample a share of their indulgence. My only excuse is, that my feelings on the subject are so strong that I cannot control the earnest desire which I entertain to say once more what I think and feel upon this great and important question.
Now I wish at the outset to draw a very wide distinction between the Romish Prelates and the Court of Rome upon the one hand, and my Roman Catholic fellow-subjects upon the other. Of all the evils this proceeding has brought on, there is no one more the roughly mischievous than the disturbance and unsettlement of minds and hearts it has caused among one of the most orderly, most loyal, and most respectable portions of Her Majesty's subjects—the English Roman Catholics. Our position is this. We maintain that the Pope of Rome, a foreign priest and potentate—I use these words emphatically, though not wishing to give offence—has violated, by his recent aggression, the law of nations, the law of the land, and has usurped the functions of the Queen and Her Parliament. I maintain that he has violated the law of nations. Let any person listen to the words of that famous do- 150 cument which I will take the liberty of recalling to the memory of hon. Members, as it is a long time since it has been cited. Mark these words:—We, of our own proper notion, on certain knowledge, and of the plenitude of our apostolical power, constitute and decree that in the kingdom of England, according to the common rule of the Church, there be restored the hierarchy of ordinary bishops, who shall be named from sees which we constitute in these our letters. To begin with the London district, there will be in it two sees—that of Westminster, which we elevate—[mark his audacity!] to the degree of metropolitan or archiepiscopal dignity.Then again—Thus, then, in the most flourishing kingdom of England, there will be established one ecclesiastical province, consisting of one archbishop and twelve bishops, his suffragans.Observe this. Not only have we suffered one aggression, but the Supreme Pontiff tells us beforehand that he is preparing others; and so far he is candid, and puts us on our guard:—Wherefore, we now reserve to ourselves and our successors, the Pontiffs of Rome, the power of again dividing the said province into dioceses, and of increasing the number of its bishoprics; and in general to settle their boundaries, as it shall seem fitting in the Lord.Such is the language of the Brief. Was ever anything more imperiously done by the old emperors of Rome, who claimed universal sovereignty over the whole civilised world? I say, then, that he has violated the law of nations; but rather than occupy the House with any arguments of my own, I will just give the very clear and succinct arguments of Dr. Twiss. He says—The instrument could not have been externally more complete if the Queen of England had placed her realm at the disposal of the Holy See for all ecclesiastical purposes, nor could the Pope have dealt with his own territory in a more free and absolute manner. But, if there be any one principle of law which has received the sanction of that high usage and practice which constitutes it a binding obligation on all the Powers of Christendom, it is this, that the Pope cannot set up the see of a bishop within the territory of an independent Prince without his consent. Common sense suggests that none others than the Sovereign Power of the land can create a see within the land. The Pope may give a bishop mission, that is, may authorise him to go forth as the spiritual ambassador of the Holy See, but that the Pope should establish a territorial seat for his bishop in the realm of a Sovereign Power without its consent, would be to usurp an attribute of local sovereignty, and to take possession of the land for ecclesiastical purposes.To show that this is the law of nations, 151 he quotes the opinion of the great Lord Stowell, who says—The law of nations, in a very great measure, stands upon nothing but usage and general practice; and the usage and constant practice throughout Christendom is this, that no see has been or can be created in the territories of any independent Prince without the authority of that Prince.This usage and practice have been violated in the present instance, and the Pope has therefore violated the great principles of the law of nations. It makes no difference at all that the Church of Rome is not established in England, nor in the enjoyment of temporalities, for the temporalities are a civil accident of the sees. Dr. Twiss says—It was not, therefore, in any way by reason of temporalities being connected with the sees of the English bishops, over whom the Pope exercised ecclesiastical jurisdiction before the Reformation, that the Pope was held to claim and use an assumed authority; it was not in temporal matters, but in causes which he called spiritual, that his power to dispense with the laws of the realm was disputed by the Crown of England, and ultimately declared to be unlawful.So far for the law of nations. But he has not shown more respect for the laws of England. By the Act of 1829 the Romish prelates were forbidden to assume the titles of any existing sees or deaneries. It may be, that according to the strict letter, they have not violated the law; but I do not think any persons will stand up to say they have not violated the spirit of the Act. Will any one maintain that if in 1829, when the measure was under deliberation by this House, the Roman Catholic prelates had put forward a plea that they claimed a right to territorial titles and a territorial hierarchy, it would not have been used as one of the very strongest arguments against the passing of the Relief Act? Not one word was then uttered about any territorial demands whatsoever. Besides, let the House recollect one leading object of the securities of 1829; they were, in great measure, to protect the Established Church, as the present Bill is to defend the prerogative; and one of the securities given for that purpose was this, that there should be no other ecclesiastical corporation holding territorial titles, and claiming territorial power, or coordinate territorial jurisdiction. But we go further. This apostolical brief has actually defied the words of the statute, and has appropriated the title of an existing see, Episcopus Meneviensis, the bishopric of St. David's; an existing see 152 occupied by a prelate of the Church of England. In this there has been something very insidious, for when that apostolic brief was published in the newspapers, there was nothing about a Bishop of St. David's; he was called Bishop of Merioneth and Newport, and the design was cloaked under the cover of a learned language—the Latin gives the title Episcopus Meneviensis, in the hopes that the people would be thereby deceived, or, if a translation were given, it might be treated as incorrect. But I have an authorised translation of the Brief, printed and published by a Roman Catholic bookseller, at the Metropolitan Catholic Printing-office, and here are the words:—In the district of Wales there will be two bishoprics—that of Shrewsbury, and that of Menevia (or St. David's) united with Newport… We assign to the Bishop of St. David's and Newport, as his diocese, the counties of Pembroke," &c.I hope the House will pay very great attention to this fact, for it is of very great and serious import. It is, in the first place, a direct affront to the laws and statutes of these realms, and the authority of the Executive; it is in the second an experiment on the patience or the ignorance of Parliament; and if you pass this over, it will next year be quoted as a right, and then you will be told that you did not notice it at the time, and, therefore, are precluded from noticing it now, just as it is argued that you cannot resist the assumption of territorial titles in England, because you have so long connived at their assumption in Ireland. We are told that we took no notice when a Bishop of Galway was appointed, and are asked why we take notice when other bishoprics are created? Mark the language of Cardinal Wiseman in his Appeal. He says—But there has been a more remarkable instance of the exercise of the Papal supremacy in the erection of bishoprics nearer home. Galway was not an episcopal see until a few years ago… it was governed by a warden … the Holy See changed the wardenship into a bishopric… Bishop Brown was consecrated in October, 1831. No remonstrance was made, no outcry raised, at this exercise of Papal power.And why not? Because that act of the Pope was done—designedly, I doubt not—in a remote corner of the empire, and at a time of great public excitement, when the minds of all men were engaged with the reform of Parliament; they did it secretly with the intention of building it up into a precedent. And now a bishopric of St. David's is erected, with the same 153 intention, and it is therefore our duty at once solemnly to protest against it, and say, the Pope of Rome has violated the law of nations, insulted the Crown, the Legislature, and the whole people of England, and violated the statute law of the realm, by the erection of these intrusive sees. I maintain that he has usurped the functions of the Queen and Her Parliament. Those who can doubt it must either have never read, or must have forgotten, the document to which I again refer—the Apostolic Brief. Was there ever, at any one period, from any Court or Sovereign, a more imperious, haughty, or overbearing decree? In what conquered country was there ever a more intolerable edict promulgated? It is conceived in the style and temper of Napoleon in his most palmy and arrogant days, and declares virtually that the House of Hanover has ceased to reign. Will the Parliament of England submit to this? If they do, I tell them the Queen will not—["Order, order!"] I beg pardon, the Crown will not, and the people of England will not. Bear in mind that the Pope of Rome claims dominion in these realms by his apostolic brief. Whom does he send to take possession of the realm? Not a simple ecclesiastic, but a prince of the Church, a noble of his own Court, who puts forth what he is pleased to call his "pastoral," which reminded me of a power which was said to have "two horns like a lamb," but yet "spake like a dragon." He says—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 these of Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Berkshire, and Hampshire, with the islands annexed, as administrator with ordinary jurisdiction.Such is the style of nearly all the documents. Can you doubt the spirit and object of this pastoral? If you do, attend to the extract which I am about to read, which will completely indicate the spirit in which these things have been conceived, and in which they will be executed. There is no child in these realms who does not know, to some extent, the history of St Thomas à Beckett, his claims to dominion over the Church and its temporalities, and the haughty and imperious manner in which he attempted to make the Church ride roughshod over the Sovereign of these realms. The extract I 154 am about to read is addressed to the Roman Catholic laity, who seemed for a moment to have entertained some doubt of the consistency of their great champion. The extract is as follows:—Need I remind you where or how I have been nourished in the faith? Is it likely that I shall he behind any other, be he neophyte or Catholic of ancient stock, in defending the rights of my lord and master? The second altar at which I knelt in the Holy City was that which marks the spot whereon St. Peter cemented the foundations of his unfailing throne with his blood. The first was that of our own glorious St. Thomas (of Canterbury). For twenty-two years I daily knelt before the body representation of his martyrdom? at that altar I partook even of the bread of life; there, for the first time, I celebrated the divine mysteries; at it T received the episcopal consecration. He was my patron, he my father, he my model. And, withdrawn from the symbols of his patronage by the supreme will of the late Pontiff, I sought the treasury of his relics at Sens, and with fervent importunity asked and obtained the mitre which had crowned his martyred head."—Words of Peace and Justice, by Nicholas Wiseman, 1848.He tells you that his patron, father, and model is "Thomas ° Beckett," and you may, therefore, see in what spirit these things have been undertaken, and in what spirit they will be executed; and if you do not withstand this primary aggression, you will have to withstand it hereafter, and you will find it wielded by an arm more powerful and a spirit not less ambitious than that of Thomas à Beckett.
All this is without the shadow of right. I ask you, if you think there are precedents for it, to quote to me any one single instance in the history of any of the old established nations of Europe, to justify the present movement on the part of the Pope. You are not to quote the case of America, which is a mere confederation of States in which there are no historical recollections; nothing to be regained from Protestants, no recollections of thrones and churches lost and won. In the history of the countries of Europe, you can find no single fact to justify the present Papal aggression. Not one. Law, justice, history, and common sense are on our side, and yet this great kingdom is driven to an attitude of defence, and if you listen to the language of some of her sons she will be almost driven to an attitude of supplication. The apologists plead conscience, call their demand a spiritual function, and are supported by British statesmen. Is the introduction of the word "conscience" to operate as a spell, and confer an almost magical influence upon the man who uses it? 155 Are we to apply no test—to institute no inquiry? Archbishop Fransoni thought it a matter of conscience that crimes committed by ecclesiastics should only be cognisable by episcopal authority. The Government of Sardinia thought otherwise, and maintained its rights. A matter of conscience indeed! What share has it here? I should like to learn what territorial titles have to do with the domain of the spirit? Milton spoke prophetically when he said—Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,Places and Titles; and with these to join Secular power, though feigning still to act By spiritual; …and from that pretence, Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force On every conscience.But the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Plymouth (Mr. R. Palmer) will not allow us even to apply distinctive epithets to the Roman Catholic bishops, and to call them the Roman Catholic bishops of this or that district. The hon. Gentleman maintains that liberty of conscience demands that they shall be allowed to take territorial titles whenever they require them, and that in legislating against the adoption of this practice we are legislating against the natural use of language. Sir, I deny this—I maintain that we are legislating against the abuse of language only. It was the natural use of language to call the son of James II. by the name of James III., but it was illegal to do so, because the use of it indicated adherence to the Roman cause. We legislate against the natural use of many things. We legislate, for instance, to prevent men's arms and legs being used in a fit of passion to execute revenge. We legislate against the natural use of anything which inflicted a social wrong on the community, a moral wrong on an individual, or which has any injurious operation whatever on the body politic. Then you call this Bill persecution; a restriction of religious liberty! and declare that it will be wholly inoperative. Persecution! What, to forbid a foreign priest and potentate to designate certain parties by certain names, within these realms? This Bill was not persecution when first introduced; still less so is it since the copious depletion it has suffered at the hands of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. I beg the House to mark that it is an entirely new plea that territorial titles are necessary to the development of spiritual pur- 156 poses. Such a plea was not put forth in 1829. The Roman Catholic clergy joyfully accepted the Relief Act of 1829, with all its provisions, one of which was that they should not continue the use of territorial titles; and it was never said that it would repress the development of their spiritual functions if they were not allowed territorial titles. They accepted the Act with all its conditions, and their acquiescence in that Act justifies the course which the opponents of Papal aggression are now pursuing, and the arguments by which they maintain their cause. Moreover, Dr. Wiseman, in his famous Appeal, does not make use of the argument that territorial titles were essentially necessary to the spiritual functions of the clergy. What he said was this, that every Court had its own forms, and that this was one of the forms of the Court of Rome. But with reference to the charge of persecution, I beg to say that I have been forcibly struck with the idea that, if there is any persecution whatever in the matter, it is persecution of the Roman Catholic laity by the Pope of Rome, who compels them, by his recent brief, to choose between ultramontane allegiance and British loyalty.
But we are told that this Bill is inoperative. I freely admit that in its present mutilated form it may disappoint many who looked for a more stringent measure; but nevertheless the residue is exceedingly valuable as a solemn national and Parliamentary protest against this Papal aggression. It is a record to be entered on the Statute-haughty and ambitious the realm of England the Queen, her nobles, and her people. We do require some public and authentic declaration of that sort. The policy of the Court of Rome is deeply insidious and worldly wise, and is striving by all means in its power to familiarise the minds of the people of this realm first with the notion of an established, and then of a dominant Church. Let any one now take up a newspaper, and he will see advertisements repeatedly of new and magnificent services to be performed in all parts of the town by the bishop of this or that place. I do not say that they have not a perfect right to make such announcement; but I have a right to quote them in connexion with this measure of Papal aggression to show that there exists a design to familiarise the minds of the people with a new order of things. I mention them to put 157 people on their guard. Are you not struck by the frequency of ecclesiastical costumes in the streets? You may see even friars in their strange garb, and in the course of a short time you will have a vast increase in the number and costliness of their churches and chapels, with all the pomp attending the dignity of a cardinal and a titular hierarchy. I am not asking for any law to interfere with these things; but it is for our own honour, and for the guidance of our people, that we enter on our Statute-hook, that all this is the work of, and for the behoof of, a foreign Power, which we utterly repudiate and abhor. Here is enough, I think, to excite our indignation. But we ought to look to the real perils of the case. I believe there is no greater danger to be apprehended than the belief that Romanism is changed, or become harmless or incapable. She has experienced many vicissitudes; and her greatest efforts have always taken place after her greatest weaknesses. Her history shows that she possesses superhuman elasticity, and that she usually displays fresh vigour after every repulse; and I am sure that these who speak of her with the greatest contempt are the most likely to become her easiest victims. I will endeavour to trace, in a very few words, her portentous career. The Reformation, in the 16th century, seemed to threaten her with extinction. The soul of mankind appeared to have risen in rebellion against her, and she was apparently on the brink of destruction. And yet, as is shown in the able work of the historian Ranke, she made the most prodigious efforts at a time when the world thought she was nearly inanimate:—The history of the world," says Ranke, "does not present a time in which the clergy were more powerful than at the end of the 16th century. They sat in King's councils, and discussed political matters before all the people from the pulpit; they governed schools, learning, and the whole domain of letters; the confessional afforded them opportunities of prying into the secret conflicts of the soul, and of deciding in all the difficult and doubtful circumstances of private life.Under Louis XIV., and during the French Revolution, she experienced great depression. In 1815, however, she started afresh; she restored the Jesuits; she reasserted all her rights. She gained the victory in 1829, and effected the separation of Holland and Belgium. He mentioned this to show the great power she exercised. She suffered temporary depression again in 1830; but she gained under Louis 158 Philippe much more influence than she had possessed under Charles X. She suffered another temporary depression in 1848, but she has recovered herself again almost as if by miracle, and she now rules Austria, France, and Italy with an almost unprecedented dominion. Austria has surrendered every bulwark which had been raised by the Emperor Joseph respecting the rights of the crown and the liberties of the clergy. France has as much revoked her charter in respect to Protestantism as Louis XIV. did when he revoked the Edict of Nantes. The Protestants of that country are given up to the Romish clergy. The Protestant chapels are closed, [Cries of "No!"] He could prove it by authentic documents. The Protestant schools are empty. ["No!"] I reassert that chapels are closed, schools empty, public worship in many places actually forbidden—I will prove it if the House thinks it necessary, and the subject is well worthy a few hours' discussion—public worship is in many places actually forbidden, and that the condition of the Protestants in France is far worse now than it was under Napoleon, or under the Monarchs of the Restoration, or the Barricades. I have letters which I could read to the House, if required, giving a most piteous description of the condition of the Protestants in France, and saying that, with the exception of the dragonades, they were, as a body, as oppressed as their fathers were under Louis XIV. It is to support such a power as this that we are now called upon to give facilities for hierarchical organisation. We are called on to give facilities, not simply to maintain, but to promote, Romanism within these realms. Boos the House consider the state of things presented to their view? Here is a body whose ecclesiastical corporations are ramified in almost all the kingdoms of the world, whose members are bound together by ties of common interest and common feeling, who are subdued to an active and severe discipline, and guided as by one heart to one common object; and the head of this confederation is a foreign priest and potentate—the Pope of Rome—who, through the fears and the policy of mankind, is invested with all the attributes of the 11th and 12th centuries, and who is reviving all the pretensions of the days of Hildebrand. Now, the fact that this organisation is set on foot and headed by a foreign priest and potentate constitutes the great difference between the Romish 159 Church and these bodies in this country who exercise synodical action—such as the Wesleyans, the Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland, and that Church which the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth indicated as likely to arise—the Free Episcopal Church of England. Most undoubtedly we cannot refuse synodical action to these bodies, because they own no foreign allegiance, and are governed by no foreign head. They take their rise—they have their beginning and their end within the four corners of the realm. Everything they undertake is British, their purposes are all British; from beginning to end they have British interests, and no other. But it was because the organisation of the Romish Church is headed by a foreign priest and. potentate, that the people of England entertain so deep and unalterable a horror; and we may depend upon it that the people of England will never submit, so long as they have breath in their bodies, to have forced upon the Crown of this realm and themselves, synodical action by prelates who owe their origin and allegiance to a foreign priest and potentate, who himself is now, and may always be, for aught I know, under other influences than these of his own religion, viz., under the influence of the foreign Powers, to the points and presence of whose bayonets he owes the vital air he draws, and to whom, whether from coercion or from a sense of gratitude, he may frequently be induced to extend his support and influence for political purposes. This is the great and dominant idea in the minds of the people of England, and it is on this ground that they will offer an uncompromising and undying resistance to the aggressions of the Pope. I cannot but take notice of an admission made by the noble Lord the Member for Arundel the other night, when he was good enough to allude to what I said on a former occasion in reference to the claim put forward by the Bishop of Rome to spiritual jurisdiction over every baptized soul, be his creed or denomination what it might. The noble Lord expressed himself to this effect—"It is true Rome does claim every baptized soul; but why be alarmed? There is no reason for fear; Rome has no power to exert her claims." Why, that seems to me an admission that if Rome had the power, she would exercise these claims, and therefore we (the English people) are determined, God helping us, she never shall have either the power, 160 the pretence to, or the belief in it, over the Protestant people of these realms. I know it has been said very often, in laudation of the Pope, and in praise of his moderation, that he has by this late step greatly abridged his own personal power, and crippled his means of individual action. That may be so; but no one can doubt that he has very vastly increased the power of the Church, and consequently of the Papacy, by the concentration of all these ceremonial forms and by the attempted institution of synodical action. Why, look to the assumption of power contained in the Papal letter:—We decree," says the Pope, "that these our letters apostolical shall never at any time be objected against or impugned through fault of mis-suggestion or missuppression, or any defect either of our intention or otherwise, but shall also be valid and in force, all general or special enactments notwithstanding, whether apostolical or issued in synodal, provincial, or universal councils; notwithstanding also all rights and privileges of the ancient sees of England, and of the missions, and of the apostolic vicariates there established, and of all churches whatsoever and pious places, whether established by oath, by apostolic confirmation, or by any other security whatsoever; notwithstanding, lastly, all other things to the contrary whatsoever.He undertakes to override every institution, every law of the country, everything that has existed since the introduction of the Christian religion here, or in any other part of the world. Just consider the force of these words, "We decree these letters shall never be impugned, all special or general enactments notwithstanding." He claims here power to set aside all synodical, all provincial, and all universal Councils, without any limitation, not even excepting these of the first four centuries. He pays no respect to England whatever. What was the force of the words "notwithstanding all rites and privileges of the ancient sees of England?" Does he mean the Protestant sees, or these which are stated to have existed since the times of the Saxons? What does he mean by the word "churches?" Does it include the English Church, or is the Church of Rome ever spoken of in the plural number? I have always thought it was the boast of Rome to be one indivisible Church in every part of the world. The noble Lord omitted to say anything of the great assumption of power in the unprecedented exercise of the prerogative, so to speak, of the Pope, in taking away from his Church in Ireland their old right of nominating their bishops, thrusting in, as it were by his own hand, his own 161 bishop, without any reference to the ancient form of procedure. Bear in mind and consider what is the result of the change from vicars-apostolic to a regular hierarchy, in which the exercise of individual and independent opinion is taken away, and full power reposed in the majority. This constitutes the force, and in some measure the danger, of synodical action, as preparatory to the introduction of the canon law. If the House will allow me, I shall say just one word upon this. The hon. Member for Leominster, in a comment he made upon something that I had uttered, rebuked me and others for the fear we entertained—for our apprehensions, by saying, "Why need you be alarmed? the canon law is binding upon the Roman Catholics, and not upon us; it is a matter of conscience, and not recognisable in any civil court of the realm." The hon. Gentleman says what is true, but be does not go far enough. If the canon law existed already in England, and had been in force for some time, perhaps it would not be possible for us to enter into an argument against it. But when we are called upon to assent to the proposition for the first time, we have the right to ask in what manner it will affect a large body of our fellow-subjects, and how it will place the Roman Catholics relatively to their obligations to the Protestants of the empire? Now I maintain that the introduction of the canon law will essentially alter many of their obligations both in public and private; I maintain that the introduction of the canon law, being binding on the conscience, will in a vast number of instances, affect their action in law, in society, in political and civil life. The very worst parts of the canon law are at the present moment in full activity. The great canonist Reiffenstuelt published an authentic comment upon the canon law, which wa3 quoted by Mr. Bowyer, writing in 1831 under the immediate sanction of Cardinal Wiseman. Reiffenstuelt says that many of these parts of the canon law are as much binding as at any period of their history. If that be so, it will place these whose consciences they affect in a new position respecting us—it will affect many transactions in which we are engaged with Roman Catholics in courts of law, and it will affect many questions of public polity. I say we have a right, before we assent to this state of things, to consider whether it is a regulation beneficial or otherwise to the great mass of the Protestant communion. What says Ranke, speaking of another period? 162 "They are weapons kept in the arsenal of the canon law rather for curiosity than for use, and are now brought forward into immediate and deadly activity." And this is a warning to us—many of these things which are kept more for curiosity than use, in my belief, if the time or occasion served, would he brought forward into immediate and deadly activity. But Dr. Ullathorne shall give us the best proof to show the domineering character of that code. There is a case I wish to bring before the House, to show how this will operate upon the law. In the first debate upon this question, I wished to quote some passages from the canon law, and said that it was laid down that, as regarded the canon law and decrees, "the laws of kings have not pre-eminence over ecclesiastical laws, but are subordinate to them." And then, let the House observe this, "The statute law of laymen does not extend to churches or ecclesiastical persons, or to their goods, to their prejudice." The very next morning there appeared a letter in the Times, when must have been written on the very night on which my speech was delivered, and consequently could not have been written in reference to anything I said. The letter in question was addressed to Lord John Russell, and was signed by Dr. Ullathorne, who now professes to call himself Bishop of Birmingham. Let the House hear in mind the passages I have just quoted. What does Dr. Ullathorne write?—There is one point for your Lordship to consider. The hierarchy is established, therefore it cannot be abolished. How will you deal with this fact? Is it wise to force a large body of Her Majesty's subjects to put the principle of Divine law in opposition to such an enactment?He sets your law at defiance. How will you deal with that fact? There at once is the whole course of their policy, the whole principle of their proceeding. If any law is passed to repress any overt action of the Roman Church, she thunders against it the Divine law and Divine denunciations. They plead liberty of conscience and the necessity of spiritual freedom; and the State is told it must give way from point to point, until at last we shall be cast bound into that burning fiery furnace. [Cheers and derisive laughter.] It is very well for some hon. Gentleman to laugh; but I am happy to refer to the words of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, who said he did not deny that the Church of Rome was aiming at political power and ascendancy, and should she obtain it she might 163 revive the fires of the Marian persecutions. These are not my words, but those of the hon. and learned Gentleman who is your advocate, and who has maintained their cause with most ability during the debates in this House. Now, to meet these dangers, to battle with a foe so wary and so terrible, the measure here proposed may be altogether inadequate. It is so, I believe; but, being so, I rejoice that the people know it. They ascribe its weakness to the difficulty of coping with so wily and tortuous an adversary. We are not now devising how to stop a highway, or to effect some other scheme of ordinary and trifling legislation. We are here engaged in deliberating on that which has baffled the most powerful monarchs, perplexed successive generations, and hitherto escaped all law, force, and opinion—in deliberating, I say, on the mode of repressing the onward march of Papal domination. It is difficult, we know, but it is not the less to be attempted—quid enim præclarum non idem arduum? How deal with such a Protean power, presenting alternately and conjointly every form of spiritual, temporal, and ecclesiastical policy? It pretends to be spiritual in England, to be ecclesiastical in Spain, is temporal everywhere, though professing to be nowhere; it is democratic in Ireland, and despotic in Austria; it terrifies statesmen in Sardinia by refusal of the sacraments, and the Government in France by a refusal to support them at elections; here it is, in England, appealing to the rights of man and liberty of conscience; and there it is, in Italy, denouncing them by the lips of Pope Gregory XVI., as—That absurd and erroneous maxim, or rather wild notion, that liberty of conscience ought to be assured and guaranteed to every person.This is the language of infallibility. And can any Roman Catholic venture after this, with any consistency, or even decency, to get up here and appeal to the rights of man and to liberty of conscience? How, I say, deal with such a Power? The forms of our free constitution, and our Parliamentary system, seem infantine before a machinery so vast, so complete, so utterly impenetrable. And yet, by God's blessing, we will deal with it. We do not confide in legislation only, we trust to the convictions and to the attitude of our people. God forbid we should rest satisfied with any mere law! we seek a defensive, not a coercive law; defensive, to give us liberty of action, 164 not coercive, to render us idle and secure. Penal laws, objectionable in principle, are ruinous in practice. While Ireland lay under penal laws, the spirit of Protestantism was heavy and asleep; when they were repealed, and men could no longer trust to statutes, she awoke, like a giant refreshed with wine. Her progress is now rapid; and, say what you will, we will make in Ireland more converts in a year, than you shall throughout this realm of England in the whole of a century. What, then, do we apprehend? Why this—A struggle is now begun, which the youngest man in this House may not live to see terminated; it is the great, and perhaps the final conflict, of antagonistic principles. Can any one doubt it? Look to the state of the Continent, and of some of the oldest empires. Old political sympathies are there changed for religious; whatever is opposed to Rome is there held to be opposed to order and security, and a thing to be put down. Everywhere there is a preparation for a religious war. Austria, espousing the quarrels of the Pope, is panting to put down nascent liberty in Sardinia; another Simon de Montfort may head another crusade against the recovered rights of the Waldensian Christians; France, supporting Papal tyranny in Italy, and busy in unprecedented persecution of Protestants at home, may soon seek political aggrandisement under pretexts of religion. This realm of England may stand alone, but it will not give way by submission; no, not for an hour. What may be the issue to the empire no man can foretell; but, for ourselves, happen what may, we will, by God's blessing, stand immoveable on our immortal faith, which we have neither the right nor the disposition to surrender.
§ MR. S. HERBERT
said, he felt very great difficulty in addressing himself to the question, because he felt appalled by its magnitude, believing it to involve the very foundation of the whole system of government in this country, and the principles on which its unwritten constitution was founded. It was the magnitude of the question, certainly not that of the measure—which contained nothing to keep him within bounds—that created the difficulty he experienced in approaching the subject; and he felt likewise regret that he should differ from one to whom he was proud to be bound by the ties of private friendship, and by the admiration he felt for his public character—he meant the noble Lord who had just spoken. He admired the frank- 165 ness and honesty with which the noble Lord had stated his views, and, although he differed from him entirely as to the mode of treating the difficulties with which this question was attended, he would endeavour to follow in the same spirit. He differed, then, entirely from his noble Friend, and with many hon. Members who had spoken in the course of this debate, with respect to the mode of treating the difficulty they were under, though he was not sure he differed from them so much with respect to the nature and extent of the danger. His noble Friend had taken the course which had been taken by several of the preceding speakers in the course of the debate with respect to the question of restricting the Papal aggression, and he had enumerated all the dangers that resulted, not from the toleration, but from the predominancy of the Roman Catholic faith in countries where that faith prevailed; but he had not attempted to show, any more than the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, the connexion between the dangers he anticipated, and the Bill which was to put an end to them, and, as the noble Lord asserted, was to meet and control them. If ever there was a question before Parliament, on which hasty and precipitate legislation would be fatal to the best interests of the country, it was the present, embracing as it did the great question of toleration, and being one on which the possibility of governing one-third of the subjects of the Crown must ultimately depend. Let us just look at the course the Government have taken on this Bill? When first introduced into the House, it consisted of four clauses; now it consists, or rather it is intended to consist, of only one clause. When it was first introduced, the noble Lord made an able speech, the misfortune of which was, that the Bill seemed as nothing after it. Well, the Bill required setting-up; and the Attorney General, differing from the noble Lord, assured the Protestant people it was not a sham, but that it would prevent endowments, and invalidate deeds acknowledging the forbidden titles. In the mean time, whether from the opposition it encountered or not, the second and third clauses were omitted, these being the very clauses on which the Attorney General depended; and they were told by the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary they would have directly impeded the spiritual functions, on the exercise of which the very freedom of any faith depended. He had been much struck with 166 the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk, that there was the highest legal authority—the written opinions of Mr. Bethell, Mr. Bramwell, and Mr. Surrage—to the effect that these very clauses were mere surplusage, for that the first contained the operative part of both. According to that opinion, the first clause contained all that was binding and stringent in the second and third; but, if the latter clauses were to he retained, or rather restored to the Bill, at the instance of the opponents of the measure, then, if the Home Secretary is right, the Government would be placed in the strange position of being obliged to vote against the third reading. If the first clause alone were retained, he begged to ask what would be the effect of that portion of the Bill? But, before he proceeded to examine that question, he wish to remind hon. Members, that in this country we professed not to act in any manner contrary to the principles of civil and religious liberty; yet the first clause, if the lawyers be right, invalidated every institution of the Church of Rome, which the Home Secretary says we must not interfere with. [An Hon. Member: The second.] No matter, the first clause did it also; but whether it were the first or the second, or the third, the measure invalidated spiritual acts of the Roman Catholic Church in this country. According to the Bill, any document signed by a Roman Catholic bishop with the title of his see became void. He issued, they might suppose, letters of ordination. these might be signed, he would say, "Archiepiscopus Dublinensis;" but these letters of ordination would be illegal. The man who received them would not be a priest but a layman; all his acts would be informal and illegal, the marriages which he intended and professed to solemnise would be invalid, and the issue of them illegitimate; and he greatly doubted whether an Act designed for the repression of encroachments on the freedom of religion was not in itself an invasion of the first principles of religious liberty, and that it was moreover a direct interference with civil liberty and social rights. Of the preamble of the Bill he should say nothing, hut what was the title of the Bill? It was called "The Ecclesiastical Titles Assumption Bill." Why even this is inaccurate. No one denied the existence of ecclesiastical titles, or the right to assume them; these bishops are bishops—no one denies that. It is the territorial title which is objectionable; and 167 the Bill, therefore, ought not to be called the Ecclesiastical Titles, but the Territorial Titles Assumption Bill. Supposing, however, the title amended, if his hon. Friend the Member for Surrey succeeded in reinstating the clauses which had been withdrawn, what must the Government do? The only thing that was left to them, was to vote against the third reading of their own Bill. It was painful to him to see thing's come to such a pass. For many-years we had bad peace and tranquillity in the country. No doubt some Member would say, who was now disturbing that peace? [Cheers.] He was perfectly ready to meet that cheer. We had enjoyed peace and tranquillity for many years, and for many years we had enjoyed toleration. It had now been in this debate somewhat the fashion to give definitions of toleration. Of that term he had heard the definition given by his noble Friend the Member for Bath; he did not deny that definition, but there were few principles, especially in politics—perhaps in politics none—which did not admit of some exceptions. The truth was that, in the balance of opposite principles, the safest ground of policy might be found. An hon. Friend of his, the Member for Oxford, held, in his definition of toleration, that toleration was limited by that which was not injurious to others—that was, he believed, the opinion which his hon. Friend himself held: but the onus probandi lay on his hon. Friend, who was bound to show what we were likely to lose—the power and rights of which we were to be deprived by the toleration now demanded. He heard his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, with pleasure—with the pleasure which novelty usually afforded—give his opinion in favour of toleration; he regretted, however, to hear it modified to this extent, as it appeared to him that the person he tolerated must hold the same opinions as himself. This was a kind of toleration which could not be defended. His (Mr. Herbert's) opinion was, that in this country toleration, Christian toleration, gave to every man the privilege of holding any religious opinions. He might say that it was the privilege of an Englishman to hold any truth that he thought proper, or to hold any error which he believed to be truth; and he had not yet heard a single argument in favour of the Bill, which was not rather an argument against the Roman Catholic religion, than against the toleration of these who 168 profess it. It must be felt that the debate was fast assuming a theological character, but it was not the fault of these who opposed the Bill that it put on that aspect, or that language might be used calculated to wound the susceptibilities of the Roman Catholic Members of that House. He regretted that he thus found himself compelled by the very nature of the subject to argue the doctrines and tendencies of the Roman Catholic Church. He must say that he fully concurred in what had been stated as to the peculiar doctrines and tendencies of that Church; but, in viewing these tendencies, fearing them as he did, and fearing the spread of their opinions, he must say he had no faith in the efficacy of Acts of Parliament for their repression; least of all could he say that he attached much value to the statement that the Act of 1829 formed a strong defence for the Established Church; he did not desire to see that Church fenced round by Acts of Parliament of a penal character, by that which would render her odious in the eyes of a great portion of this community. He trusted that the Church of England stood upon a purer and sounder foundation than to require any such support. With the Established Church, he held these doctrines which he believed to be the primitive tenets of Christianity, delivered by our Lord himself. But here in this country we tolerated all religions—we prohibited no exercise of religious rites—we admitted to Parliament members of all Christian sects; at least that was the present state of our constitution. In England, there was an Established Church; but alongside of her full leave and license was given to every form of religious faith under the voluntary system. He preferred the Established Church; but if any one thought the voluntary system better, it was free to him to stand aloof from the Establishment. Although he belonged to the Church of England, he felt that that Church could not cover the entire ground; and he was likewise deeply convinced of this, that any the most imperfect form of Christianity, was an inestimable blessing to a people, a great portion of whom are without religious teaching. In England, then, we had an Established Church; but in spite of that, in spite of our Church being so closely connected with the State, we still gave the utmost liberty and license to any religious organisation, to any ecclesiastical system. He begged the House would here just let him read a short statement of the principle of 169 toleration as developed by a great man, Mr. Burke. It was thus expressed:—Toleration being a part of moral and political prudence, ought to be tender and large. A tolerant Government ought not to be too scrupulous in its investigations, but may bear without blame, not only very ill-grounded doctrines, but even many things that are positively vices, where they are adulta et prævalida. The good of the commonwealth is the rule which rides over the rest; and to this every other must completely submit.To that description of toleration he gave his adherence. He did not ask whether a man was a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian; he was willing to tolerate any form of religious faith, and amongst the number that of the Roman Catholics. He would not inquire, therefore, for the purposes of this debate into the comparative truth and error of the Roman Catholic faith, nor whether there are opinions held by the Church of Rome which led his noble Friend to say that it was abominable. ["No, no!"] He was glad to learn that he was mistaken in what the noble Lord had said, and that it was not intended to apply such language to the English Roman Catholics. He was glad to observe the disavowal of terms which it would be most painful to hear applied to any sect of Christians. But it must be recollected that in tolerating any form of Christianity, they could scarcely be said to tolerate error. There was no form of truth entirely overlaid with error. The idle inventions of man were never so great as the revelations of God. The vastness of truth, of any truth which involved the redemption of our race, as revealed to us by God himself, was such that no admixture of error could entirely destroy or overlay it. It was a question of comparative truth then, and it was upon that that we differed from the Roman Catholics. Having, then, established that toleration was not a toleration of that which we approved of, but of that which we disapproved of, what were the limits to be laid down for it with respect to any particular kind of faith, and what were the means by which such limitation should be enforced? This, in fact, was the question as to Papal aggression. Now this country had been for a considerable time (it was of no use going back to very distant days) mapped out into eight districts, under vicars-apostolic, exercising certain episcopal functions, but having no proper episcopal jurisdiction or authority—having, indeed, no sees, and not being bishops, or having bishoprics in this country. That had been altered now into twelve bishoprics. What was the effect of 170 this change as affecting our status? How was our civil, political, or religious state affected by this alteration? To talk of the language of the Papal rescript, and the arehiepiscopal pastoral, was another thing. Episcopal arrogance was not new. That ecclesiastics when claiming power were apt to exaggerate the effect of their authority, was not a new discovery; and he did not know that in Papal proceedings there was ordinarily very different language employed. There is no doubt, however, that such language as that used in the Papal brief was singularly offensive to Protestant feelings; but the question is, how are we to meet that? Is this Bill the best way of meeting it? That is the real question. Now is it not possible that the change on the whole diminishes the power of the Pope, whatever it might do in respect to Roman Catholicism? When there were in this country vicars-apostolic, the Bishop of Rome claimed to be Bishop of England. The vicars-apostolic were the representatives of the Pope in the form most offensive to the feelings of the country, as, in the persons of these vicars-apostolic, the Pope claimed to be Bishop of all England. Ever since the Reformation, the Roman Catholic party had desired to get rid of that arrangement, which deprived them of their due degree of independence of the Holy See. The matter had been agitated under various Popes, who had declined to do what was desired, and who would thereby have lost the direct power they exercised through the vicars-apostolic. Under this same system the canon law had existed here, more or less, ever since the Reformation. It had existed under the vicars-apostolic, not in its entirety and integrity, one part of it counterbalancing and correcting another, but such portions of it only as the Pope, in the plenitude of his power, chose to send to England. In Ireland there had been all along the canon law. Had it clashed with the municipal or civil law of the country? Not more than the by-laws of any society, religious or lay, might be said, in their pretensions, to clash with the civil or municipal law. Practically they could not clash, nor be confounded. How could that which was voluntary clash with that which had the power of the secular arm to enforce it? It was said, indeed, that in Ireland the whole canon law was not carried into effect. But if so that could only be because the people of Ireland did not desire it, although the masses of them were Roman Catho- 171 lics; what fear then could there he in this country, with an educated and enlightened body of Roman Catholics. Was it seriously intended to prevent the right of discussion in the Church of Rome in this country? It was allowed in every other religious body in Great Britain, except in the Established Church, to which the State gave great advantages, requiring therefore in return the relinquishment of this. The Church of Scotland had ever had synodical action, the Free Church had it, and every dissenting body enjoyed and exercised it. Let not the House here be led away by names. The substance was in every case the same, whether it were called "synod," "conference," or "church meeting;" and whatever the danger in any one case, it existed equally in the others. The Synod of Thurles had been blamed, and justly blamed, for the course it had pursued with respect to education. The Synod of Thurles he considered as one of the strongest cases in point. He was opposed to the opinions of that body as strongly as he could be to the sentiments of any set of men. He was favourable to the establishment in Ireland of colleges for the purpose of giving a free and mixed education to all denominations, as the best means of uniting and soldering the parties into which the inhabitants of that country were divided, and he thought the opinions of the Synod of Thurles theroughly wrong. But it was another thing to deny their right to have an opinion. But had there been no other instances of clergymen mixing themselves up with temporal affairs? In 1845, when the country was agitated from one end of it to the other with the corn laws, and class was arrayed against class, the ministers of the different "denominations" met at Manchester to consider, not spiritual subjects, but the most effective way of agitating against these laws. That was "synodical action" not at all limited to spiritual purposes. And when the noble Lord at the head of the Government had propounded his plans of education in this country, the noble Lord had the bishops of our own Church remonstrating against the plans of the Privy Council. In fact, it could not be prevented. It was impossible to prevent bishops from meeting in their own dining rooms if they liked, and passing resolutions, and circulating their opinions upon any subject among these who would be willing to accept them. This was what 172 the promoters of this Bill professed to prevent. But they could not prevent it. Unless they were prepared to put down free discussion, they could not put down synodical action. But even if you can, let it be shown how this danger of synodical action, and the introduction of the canon law, is in any way met by the Bill. Test this by the speeches of these who supported the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford spoke of the Sardinian case as showing the intolerance of the Roman Catholic Church. There was no denying it. That, however, was the Roman Church in Italy. And he must do his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen the justice to say that he could not believe that in the nineteenth century they could believe that the sacraments of the Church could rightly be refused to a man on account of a vote conscientiously given in the Legislature. But if all this were so in Italy, and if Roman Catholic synodical action here were really likely to be fatal to the liberties of England, although it existed in every other religious denomination, and it had always existed, and would always exist here, among the Roman Catholic Churches, would Dr. Wiseman be any the less able to excommunicate, because he was called Archbishop of Melipotamus? Call Dr. M'Hale Archishop of Timbuctoo, instead of Tuam, would he be the less able to withhold the sacraments from laymen? Would all the Irish embarrassments be got rid of, and the spiritual power of the Roman Catholic Church be suppressed? Why, there was no logical connexion between the two things; and it was pitiable to hear men get up one after the other and night after night declaring against the Roman Catholic religion, and then say, because this is so—because it is so hostile to civil and religious liberty in Italy, Spain, &c, therefore all this must be got rid of, and an intolerant church made meek and humble by calling Dr. Wiseman Archbishop of Melipotamus, instead of Westminster. The measure was a sheer sham, which would not bear a moment's examination, and he regretted to hear men, able and acute, committing themselves to an argument which had not a rag of reason or logic to rest upon. In Ireland, however, there had been a synod. What danger, had arisen? He appealed to the hon. Member for the city of Cork, who had the honour of sitting by the side of Sir Robert Kane, when (after the decrees of that synod denouncing the colleges), he, as 173 the head of one of them, made his most admirable speech. those gentlemen (and others) did not quail before the synod on that subject of education, but nobly vindicated the right of the Catholics to have a mixed education with Protestants under the same tuition as to secular matters, and, with the freest religious instruction upon spiritual, going afterwards into the same profession—civil, or legal, or military, in utter oblivion of religious distinctions. The Roman Catholics of Ireland were actually preparing an open and undisguised remonstrance against the decrees of that synod when this unfortunate question arose, and excited and inflamed the people, and united the Catholics of all classes against the Government Bill. He rejoiced, however, to see the speech of Sir Robert Kane, who had not quailed before the terrors of the Synod of Thurles, and he was satisfied, from subsequent information, that so far from the Roman Catholics of Ireland yielding servile obedience to those denunciations of the colleges, the number of Roman Catholic students had increased instead of diminishing. There had been several proposals made in the course of this debate. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford said that the Government should have met the aggression of the Pope by issuing a declaration and proclamation in the first instance—with which view he cordially agreed—and in the next by negotiating with the Court of Rome for a retractation—taking advantage of the Bill passed in 1848 for opening diplomatic relations with the Pope. If the retractation or apology could not have been obtained by those means, the hon. Baronet said, he would have extorted it by sending a fleet to Civita Vccchia or Ancona, and administering the "cannon law" of the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary. But there were circumstances which would have rendered such a proceeding as this last on the part of our Government unjustifiable in the eyes of Europe. In the able speech by which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had introduced the measure, he avowed his change of view as to the manner of treating these questions; but he had said nothing of his change of opinion with respect to the Roman Catholic policy previous to the occurrence of the Papal I aggression. This was an important point to be taken into consideration in determining on the probability of the Pope having supposed that the proceeding he had adopted 174 would not be disagreeable to our Government. He would read an extract from a speech delivered by the noble Lord, and he would do this, not as an argumentum ad hominem, for the noble Lord says he has changed his opinions, which is sufficient, but for the purpose of showing that the language which had been used by the noble Lord might have deceived the Roman Catholics as to the manner in which the Pope's measure would be received by the Government. On the 13th of February, 1844, the noble Lord said, not hurriedly, in answer to a question, but deliberately, on introducing a Motion respecting Ireland, with all the pomp and circumstances of Parliamentary warfare:—The system, therefore, which I should he disposed to adopt would be one which would put the Established Church, as regards the Roman Catholics, and Protestants, and the Presbyterians of the north of Ireland, on a footing of perfect equality …But I look forward to the time when the present circumstances of irritation shall have passed away, and confidence in the Government I pervade the minds of the people again.This, of course, meant when the noble Lord and his Friends should be in office, they being then in opposition—Which will enable us to give exactly the same advantages to the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians of Ireland as are now enjoyed by the Protestants. At all events I think that we ought to take away everything derogatory to the position and character of the Roman Catholic bishops. You provide by statute that they shall not be allowed to style themselves by the name of the diocese over which they preside. I think that a most foolish prohibition. You declare that Dr. Murray shall not style himself the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin; but he is so nevertheless—and a man of very high attainments and character in the eyes of the people of Ireland." [3 Hansard, Ixxii., 718–19–20.]Now, the noble Lord had a right to change his opinion of Roman Catholic polity; but it was peculiarly unfortunate that his change of opinion should be the result of the Roman Catholics having adopted the very course which he himself recommended. But the Roman Catholic Prelates had not adopted the titles of existing sees, with one exception. If, therefore, the Government had made a hostile demonstration against the Pope, Europe would have asked whether the Roman Pontiff had not been encouraged to do what he had done by speeches of eminent men delivered in high places, and, above all, whether the English Government, by refusing to have diplomatic relations with Rome, had not distinctly shown that it ex- 175 pected the Pope to take the step he had I adopted, without its previous knowledge and sanction. This country ignored the Pope, and the Pope ignored us; and, after putting ourselves in this position, it would not do for us to turn round upon the Pope vi et armis, and demand satisfaction for what we called an insult. The right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said that his hopes, after all, rested not on legislation such as this, not on acts of the Government, but on the conduct of the people of England. In that he heartily concurred with the right hon. Baronet, and believed their real hope lay in measures far different, in the hands both of the Government and of the people. But the right hon. Baronet also said that the present measure was in the nature of a protest and declaration against Papal aggression. If it were so, why not honestly bring forward a protest and declaration? Why pretend to legislate, when you are only protesting and declaring. See into what inextricable confusion the Government had already got! They had struck out the second, third, and fourth clauses of their Bill for the very same reasons which should compel them to strike out the first also—the preamble was insufficient, the title inaccurate, and, if the hon. Member for West Surrey should succeed in carrying his Amendment, Ministers would be obliged to vote against the third reading of their own measure. Ministers had brought themselves into this difficulty. The position would have been a difficult one for any Government; but Ministers had superadded to their difficulties by endeavouring at once to satisfy their Protestant supporters, and to avoid offending their Roman Catholic followers. The result was, that they had pleased neither party. All the grounds they laid for the Bill were foreign to it. They said that it was not intended to interfere with the voluntary action of the Roman Catholic Church; they admitted that the Roman Catholic was an Episcopal Church; yet they would not allow the Roman Catholics to have bishops. People in England confused bishoprics with titles, but they were not more so than rectories and curacies; so that if you suppressed one order of priesthood, you might, for the same reason, suppress any other. Because we were accustomed to see bishops sitting in the other House with titles and baronies, we had an abstract idea of a bishop with 5,000l. a year, and great tem- 176 poral advantages. If we had happened to have an episcopal dissenting body in this country, the distinction would have been quite clear; and if the Pope had called his bishops "overseers," which was the same word as the original, so complete was our slavery to words, and so accustomed were we to mistake form for substance, that he verily believed no notice would have been taken of the proceeding. The real gist of the case, however, was, that the Roman Catholic hierarchy derived their titles from a foreign sovereign. Then why not legislate on that. They said they wanted to strike a blow at the Pope. Did they? No; but they strike a blow at the English Roman Catholics. He admitted that it was not easy to legislate against a foreign sovereign; but in this particular instance, they had the means of doing so, for it is admitted that the circulation of the Pope's bull without leave given, is an invasion of the jus regali. He sympathised with the noble Lord in this matter, because the people of England expected from him impossibilities. The people of England objected to persecution. Persecution was a great weapon if they intended to put down religious opinions; but in modern days the people were too squeamish for that. And he believed he might likewise say that the people of England had of late years become far better imbued with the true spirit of the gospel than to tolerate the enactment of any penal laws, for the sake of putting down particular religious opinions. But whilst they would not allow the Government to persecute, they would not allow the Roman Catholics the full benefit of the voluntary system. A great deal had been said about the dangers attendant upon the full development of the Roman Catholic religion. It would be exceedingly difficult to legislate against or coerce a body of men sent into this country by a foreign Power, and the people of England said, the Government must have no communication whatever with the Pope. No attempt must be made to enter into any arrangements which would lead to the ecclesiastical arrangements of Rome being submitted to the veto of our Government. The moment any attempt of that sort was made, the people of this country cried out, "Touch not the unclean thing." Well, then, what was the Government to do? They asked them to do that which was not possible, and when the country began to understand the real nature of the dan- 177 ger, they would see the difficulty in which the Government was placed. By the introduction of this trumpery measure, they did not provide a remedy to the evil of which they complained, while they engendered hostility on the part of the Roman Catholics. But this Bill did more, it bestowed on these men on whom they proposed to inflict penalties, all the prestige of martyrs, without the advantages to be derived to the State by persecution. He could fancy nothing so fatal as a sham persecution. Why, if hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue, this Bill reverses that dictum, for it is the homage which virtue pays to vice. It is affecting to persecute when you do not. The result was, that the only thing Ministers dreaded was lest the Bill they had brought before the House should really prove operative. The experiment had been tried, however, and its futility proved. The Attorney General had never ventured to prosecute under the Act of 1829—not even if John Tuam signed his name to an inflammatory letter. When the hon. and learned Solicitor General rose last night, it was expected that he would throw some light on the subject, because he was one of the law officers of the Crown whom the noble Lord at the head of the Government said, in his famous letter, he would apply to in order to ascertain whether what had been done was illegal. He knew not what answer the hon. and learned Gentleman gave to the noble Lord; but he told the House last night that the Pope's act was an invasion of the Queen's supremacy. Why, every person claiming spiritual supremacy over a class of his fellow-subjects not professing the religion by law established, trenches on the Royal supremacy: every dissenting minister who rules over his church is liable to the same accusation, but we do not think it wise or just to interfere. The hon. and learned Gentleman also told the House that an outrage had been committed upon the independence of the country. Then, why was not that met by a diplomatic remonstrance, or by a prosecution? He added that the Pope's brief was a violation of the law and constitution of England. If so, why did he not take measures to resist it? Why did he not first apply the Act of 1829, which was ready to his hand? The Pope had appointed a Bishop of St. David's, in direct violation of the Act of 1829; and why had the Government not enforced that Act, and punished that assumption? No; it was plain that the 178 present Act was not intended to be carried out—that it was passed to satisfy the feeling of the country, and to deceive it. But the Government had, he believed, mistaken the nature of the feeling that had animated the people of this country. They talked of introducing this Bill as the protest of the people of England. It might have been necessary to give the most solemn expression to the feelings of the people of the country in an Address to the Queen from both Houses of Parliament. But the real and great protest of the people of England against the Papal aggression was in the meetings that pervaded the whole of the country—in the thousand addresses that had been sent up signed by a million of persons. The people of England did not want, at these meetings, that the bishop of one place should be compelled to call himself by the name of another. No; what these parties meant by their demonstrations was that the Roman Catholic faith was making great progress, and that they desired to see some steps taken to arrest it. But that was a religious question, and not a political one. The people did not see the distinction; but they, the House of Commons, which was better informed, did, and ought to have led the public feeling into better channels. It was a remarkable thing that almost all these addresses deprecated the enactment of penal laws, and expressed the adhesion to the principles of toleration of these who agreed to them. He thought he could show that it was a religious rather than a political movement on the part of the people of England by this test. It was said that the act of the Pope was objectionable as the act of a foreign sovereign. But suppose the brief had been issued three months before, when the Pope was in exile at Portici, and when he was not a foreign sovereign, or suppose that owing to the withdrawal of the French bayonets, the Pope—whose civil government, like that of his Italian neighbours, was a disgrace to the present century—were at this moment expelled from his dominions. Suppose that, like all other deposed sovereigns and distinguished refugees, he had come to reside in Brook-street—would the objection to this hierarchy have been removed? No. The question at these meetings was a religious, not a political, one. The feeling of the people of England was that of attachment to the reformed faith; they objected to the doctrines of the Romish Church as unscriptural and erroneous; and 179 it was an anxiety to see their own faith prosper and its tenets spread, which had led to this great expression of their feelings. But the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department rightly told the House that these doctrines must be met in a far different manner. They could not fight opinion by Acts of Parliament: that they might depend on. You hare tried it for 200 years in Ireland, and at the end of that time you had converted the Irish Roman Catholics into determined opponents. They had decimated the Roman Catholic gentry. The men whom they had left ignorant became the prey of the priesthood, and then the Government found it more difficult to govern Ireland than when they began, and were compelled to yield to fear what they had denied to justice. Were they going to take a retrograde step towards that system? This measure will neither repress one party nor satisfy the other. They could not amend it because it dealt with the question upon the wrong principle. They had got into a wrong groove, and until they got out of it they could not deal with the question rightly. If they wished to deal with the Pope—if they wished to prevent him from sending ecclesiastics to Ireland who were not chosen by the clergy, and who were unacquainted with the wants and habits of the people—if they thought it dangerous that the Pope's bulls should circulate in England, why did they not legislate, not against the Roman Catholic body, or against the Church they had established, but against the foreign potentate who sent these missives? Why not follow the established law which prevailed in other countries? Why did they allow these bulls to pass through the country without going through the hands of the Government, according to the practice which prevailed throughout the whole of Europe? Mr. Pitt had proposed that the State should pay the Roman Catholic clergy; but whether he was right in that proposal or not, the time for such a measure had gone by; but the Government could still remind the Pope that they were offering great advantages to the Roman Catholic Church in this country. They might tell him of the 30,000l. a year voted to Maynooth; of the laws of mortmain repealed in order that bequests might be made for the suatentation of his priesthood in Ireland, and rendering them more independent of the peasantry over whom they are placed; and they might 180 then require terms which should be binding between them. Such representations might have their effect; but anything was better than to keep up a petty warfare, in which, while the Papal power was not diminished, the Roman Catholics in this country were the principal sufferers. The Roman Catholic gentry in Ireland were rapidly recovering their former position, and becoming proprietors of the soil. They had members at the bar who were acquiring position and fortune by their talents; and the policy of the Government ought to be to place them in the same position as the gentry of England, so that they might become the friends of order and the adherents of the Government rather than its constant foes. The Government should have taken a large view of this measure; they had lost support by bringing forward a small one. He would not now allude to the proposition for the repeal of the Mortmain Act or the proposition of religious houses; both topics being well worthy of discussion. It was true that in England the Roman Catholic faith had made considerable progress, though the whole number of its adherents in these islands was not so great as in 1841; but that was owing to other causes. Yet, in England many conversions had taken place, but which were still greatly over-rated. There had been clergymen tempted by the great authority offered to them in the Church of Rome—others had been beguiled by the love of gorgeous ceremonials, such as our simple and solemn ritual could not afford them. He regretted this, but we ought not to overrate the numbers of these who had left the Church of England; and if any thought there was danger to that Church from recent circumstances, let them look at the expression of feeling in England, and ask themselves if at any time since the Reformation there had been so much determination shown to adhere to the scriptural purity of the reformed faith as existed at this moment? He did not believe there was the least fear of any great increase of the Roman Catholic body. He thought that the doctrines of the Church of Rome were foreign to the genius of the English people. He could not believe that the doctrines of that Church could prevail in a country where free institutions left the people in the unrestrained exercise of free religious opinions. The Index Expurgatorius had been referred to by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who 181 had reminded the House that Scapula's Lexicon was one of the prohibited books. Such an index would eliminate from English literature all our divinity, and some of our greatest poets and historians. Nothing was too large or too small for the prohibitions of the Romish Church, as if mankind were children in nurseries, to be kept from all mental food. All our writers on natural theology and on the evidences of Christianity were excluded—even Bishop Bull, whom in their own internal controversies they had not unfrequently quoted. So of political economy—Jeremy Bentham was forbidden; so were Hume's Essays. In history not even Hume with Stuart leanings; nor Goldsmith, nor Robertson, nor Hallam, were tolerated. In science, even Chambers's Dictionary of Science and Arts, was prohibited. So was Locke on the Under standing; and of course Descartes; so was Milton. He even found in the list a Clapham Tract, which at first he did not recognise under its Italian title, La Figlia del Lattais, but which he afterwards found was a little tract called the Dairyman's Daughter. He admitted that Roman Catholics in this country did not probably sort their libraries according to that index. There was a wide distinction between England and Italy. Any religion which entered into these minute details, and sought to regulate the whole action of our temporal affairs, was essentially unsuitable to the genius of the English people. The Protestants of England feared not these hooks—they relied upon the truth of their faith, and were not afraid to expose their creed to the light of day, for it would bear the light. We are willing to meet our opponents of any other creed in the fair field of controversy, but we do not want to manacle them first and fight them after—we do not want to interfere by enactments with their creed, restraining its operation, discipline, and organisation, and then ask them to argue with us as to the superiority of the respective faiths. It was well observed by Burke that—It was long before the spirit of true piety I and true wisdom, involved in the principles of the Reformation, could be depurated from the dregs and feculence of the contention with which it was carried through. However, until this be done, the Reformation is not complete; and these who think themselves good Protestants from their animosity to others, are in that respect no Protestants at all.Magna est Veritas et prævalebit! He wished to see the Government and people 182 of this country scorn to lean far their defence against Rome upon the crutches of a defective Act of Parliament. He wished to see them confide more in the purity of our faith, in our free institutions, and in their adaptability to the people. They should seek to meet these Romish aggressions by the spread of our Gospel principles, by the diffusion of education, by letting in light where there had been darkness, and then trust in Almighty God for the result.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he must crave the indulgence of the House for a few moments; but as the time at which he rose was the time at which they usually separated for the night, he would take care he did not encroach too touch on their attention. There was, indeed, a great part of the speech they had just heard from the right hon. Gentleman, which belonged more properly to the Committee than to the present stage of the discussion; and there were some parts which he thought it would be better to leave for the further consideration of the right hon. Gentleman, who, perhaps, by the time the Bill will have got into Committee, will have settled some question which at present appeared to be undetermined in his own mind. First, what he would do, objecting, as he did, to what the Government had proposed; and next, perhaps, he might come to a decision as to whether the Bill to which he objected was a nullity or a persecution. For his part he would freely confess that he never remembered, since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, any discussion that had been so painful to the mind as that in which they were then engaged. He had hoped that when the disabilities were removed in the first place from the Dissenters, and afterwards from the Roman Catholics, that discussions and controversies on religious questions would never again be heard within the walls of Parliament. He had hoped that when they had established, not what Gentlemen called toleration—for he, like others, repudiated that word, and said that the principle that was established was not the principle of religious toleration, but the greater principle of religious freedom—he had hoped, he said, that when that principle of religious freedom had been fairly established by the Legislature of the country, these odious coutroversies with regard to religious doctrines would never again he heard within the walls of Parliament. But whose fault was it that 183 they were? Was it our fault? It was not. We were brought to them by an act of aggression by a foreign authority—an aggression of a political character, and in that respect only would he address himself to it—an aggression on the independent sovereignty of the country, which he held it was our bounden duty to repel. He said the aggression was by a foreign authority. His right hon. Friend had drawn a broad distinction between a foreign sovereign such as the Pope, who he said was only partially a foreign sovereign, and other princes, and said that the measure might have proceeded from the Pope when he had been driven from his throne, and lodging in Brook-street; but he (Lord Palmerston) said that still the Pope would have been a foreign authority; and it was because it was the act of a foreign authority that he objected to the power the Pope had attempted to exercise in the realm of England. But it was said that this act was partly the fault of the Government; that certain indulgences had been shown to the Catholic episcopacy of Ireland; that certain courtesies had been shown to the priesthood of Ireland, and certain opinions had been expressed in debates in Parliament; and that all these things, and, moreover, the silence of his noble Friend three years ago at Rome, when a supposed paper was shown to him, and he was said to have been told "that that regarded England," and that after those things they had no right to be surprised at what the pope had done, because he was sufficiently borne out and encouraged in his expectations that they would meet it with indifference. He did not think those grounds were sufficient to justify the act. Either the pope thought the measures he attempted to adopt would be agreeable or not at least disagreeable to the Government, and the people of this country; or he would not care whether they were agreeable or disagreeable to the Government and the people. If he attached any value be acquiesced in by this country, why did he not in the three years that elapsed since the supposed conversation with his noble Friend, and the period anterior to the publication of this bull and pastoral letters—why did he not take those steps that were in his power, to ascertain what was the opinion of the Government and of the people of England? Where was Dr. Wiseman? Was he not in England? Had he no opportunities of seeking a per- 184 sonal interview with his noble Friend at the head of the Government, and ascertaining positively and beyond doubt and dispute, whether the measure the Pope contemplated, and of which he was conscious and aware, would or would not give offence to the Government and the people of this country? And therefore, he (Lord Palmerston) contended that as that course of proceeding had been studiously omitted, it was impossible for either the Papal authorities or those who advocated their cause to shelter themselves under the pretext that things had taken place to justify the Papal Government in supposing that the step it was taking would not be offensive to the Government and people of this country. Well, then, this being an aggression of a foreign authority, what was the authority by which that aggression was made? It was an authority of an ecclesiastical nature, which had a double action on the minds of men. He entered not into the question of the simple theological difference between the Protestant and Catholic Church. With that they had nothing at present to do. He was sincerely attached to the Protestant Church, and while he respected the difference of opinion of his Catholic brethren—and far be it from him to utter one syllable that would be painful to their religious feelings—he must say that the Catholic Church had another aspect: it was not merely a theological body, but was a political and temporal body also. The character of the Catholic Church was not merely contradistinguished from, but exceeded all others in its encroachments on the temporal power. Churches were corporate bodies, and corporate bodies were naturally encroaching; but there was this difference between the Catholic Church and the Church of England: the latter was a British church—having its beginning and end within this realm. The Church of Rome sprang from a foreign centre, and had for its head a foreign Sovereign, and endeavoured to spread its authority in an ever-widening circle over the whole Christian world. But what was the action of that Church? what was its temporal and and political action? Look at these countries in which the Catholic Church was predominant: Look at Portugal—look at Spain—and look at Italy. Look also, he was concerned to say, at Austria. They would find that wherever the Catholic Church was allowed to seize hold of temporal authority, that there its influence was painfully exercised over the temporal 185 and political interests of the nation. Then, he said, that some measure was rendered necessary by the course the Papal Government had adopted—that it was necessary to satisfy the feelings of the country. He thought that no man who had his eyes and ears open during the last few months could for a moment dispute. He knew it had been said that they wished to keep up a delusion, that the agitation of this country was a partial agitation, the agitation of interested men, and was not at all the spontaneous feeling of the English nation. That was a statement it was not worth while to refute. Whatever might he his opinion on the merits of the Bill, or on the necessity of doing anything, no man who knew what had been passing in this country could entertain the slightest doubt, or dare to deny, that that agitation was a movement of the whole Protestant body of the country; and he said, that while he treated with respect and deference the opinions of these who differed from him on religious questions, yet, as attached to the British constitution, and the liberty and freedom of thought and action which belonged to that constitution, he should be sorry indeed that anything should take place that should shake the political Protestant Establishment of the kingdom in which he had the happiness to live. Then he said, that the voice of the people of England required that something should be done. His right hon. Friend said, that what the Government had proposed was not the proper thing to do. If he could understand at all the vague suggestions of his right hon. Friend, he should infer that what he would have proposed would have been to have entered into some negotiation with the Court of Rome. His right hon. Friend said, he thought it was absurd to legislate against our own subjects. He (Lord Palmerston) presumed that his right hon. Friend did not mean that they were to legislate against the Pope; for if he thought our laws would not be obeyed by ourselves, surely he could not imagine they would have much force with the Pope. His right hon. Friend very properly repudiated the idea that had been thrown out by some that they ought to have sent a hostile force to Civita Vecchia. He agreed with his right hon. Friend that Papal bulls were not properly met by cannon balls. He was quite of his right hon. Friend's opinion that that was not a course fitting for this country to pursue, or likely to lead 186 to any satisfactory result. But then he said he thought it would be unbecoming in this country to meet an act of unprovoked aggression by sending an envoy to sue conditions from the Bishop of Rome. He thought the dignified and proper course for this country to take was to legislate for itself, and not to go to the Pope and say, "You have done that which has been a great affront. You have done that which we look upon as a great violation of our national independence, and an infringement on the sovereignty of the Queen, and therefore we come to you cap in hand to do something—either to retract what you have done, or to modify it in some degree." Of course our suit would have been rejected, and in what a humiliating position should we have stood under such circumstances? He was quite ready to admit that it would have been very inconsistent with the course which either the Members of the Government or the majority of the Legislature had pursued if they had proposed to Parliament anything that would have justified its being called a penal or persecuting enactment. He must, in passing, say, however, that when he saw the letters and declarations emanating from Roman Catholic ecclesiastics setting up the cry of fanaticism, and persecution, and intolerance, and looked to the course of proceeding in regard to toleration that prevailed in countries where the Romish priesthood were dominant, he felt tempted to exclaim, Quis tulerit Gracchos! The words "persecution and intolerance" were surely words that Catholic Prelates ought most studiously to eschew. But he, for one, never would consent to be a party to what was properly called a penal enactment; and he utterly denied that the Bill now proposed deserved in any sense whatever to be so stigmatised. In point of fact, it was merely a complement of the measure which removed from the Catholic people of England the disabilities under which they laboured. The Bill of 1829 prohibited Catholic Prelates from taking the titles of sees, or of any diocese or province which belonged to the English Establishment. Whether by accident or not, it omitted to extend that prohibition to other places in the realm. But was the law considered as a mere protection for the English Church? He would not accept it on so limited a ground as that. He held held that the law of 1829 was to be a defence of the sovereign rights of the country; and it was to be defended, and justly, 187 on the ground that they would not permit a foreign authority out of the United Kingdom to give to any person titles derived from any place within the United Kingdom. He contended, therefore, that the Bill now I before the House was in principle precisely the same as the Act of 1829, and that it f made good the gap that was left in that Act; and he was extremely surprised that any persons who were parties to that Act, whether the proposers or supporters of it, should on principle object to the measure the Government had now proposed. The Bill they proposed was, in its principle, exactly on the same ground as the measure which formed part of the arrangements of the Emancipation Act; and he contended, further, that being on the same ground as that measure, it could not be justly deemed as partaking in any degree of a penal or persecuting character. It was said the Roman Catholic Church required officers of the rank of bishops; but for 250 years the Roman Catholic Church in this country had gone on with vicars-apostolic, and he had heard in the course of this debate no satisfactory reason why with vicars-apostolic it might not still go on as heretofore. He contended, upon these various grounds, that the measure that was now proposed applied directly to the evils for which a remedy was demanded; he contended that it imposed no restriction on the Roman Catholie hierarchy in this country which was inconsistent with the performance of their sacred duty; and to these who said they thought the measure, if passed, would be inoperative, would be of no effect, would not be obeyed, he would reply that he wholly differed from them in that opinion; he considered that if, on the one hand, it was a peculiar characteristic of the Church of Rome to be aggressive and encroaching, on the other hand, it was also characteristic of that Church to be obedient to laws, to respect enactments, and to make its aggressions and its encroachments under the law without openly violating the laws of the land in which it was operating. Judging from past experience of the Irish Roman Catholics, he did not contemplate that this measure, if passed into a law, would be disobeyed by the Roman Catholic bishops of this country. He believed, too, that the measure would meet the general feeling of the British people; and it was not to be forgotten that there was nothing in the measure to preclude the Legislature from taking further steps, if further steps were 188 required, which he earnestly hoped would never be the case. He thought the measure adequate to meet the evils complained of.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ Debate further adjourned till Thursday.
§ The House adjourned at half-after Twelve o'clock.