§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [14th March],—Debate resumed.
§ MR. B. OSBORNE
said, that in addressing himself to the question before the House, he did not hope to be able to throw out any new light on the subject: 345 after the luminous speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, and after the massive arguments and the deep philosophical spirit which pervaded the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, he must, indeed, be a vain or a bold man who could hope to add anything to this subject. He must say, that if he had been permitted to consult his own inclination or convenience, he should have been inclined to preserve what might be termed a judicious silence upon the question, where nothing was to be gained but heartburning, excitement, and irritation. But as it might be said by "good-natured people" that he was more solicitous to secure his seat in that House than to abide by a fixed principle—that he made a trade-wind of fanaticism, to be blown by its means into the haven of a Parliamentary port—at the risk of forfeiting the confidence and offending a large body of his constituents, he had resolved to speak out his own honest convictions on this new phase of the Catholic question. Not that he had had to present one petition from the great county of Middlesex which he had the honour to represent against the Bill under discussion—or that there had been any county meeting in that district which Cardinal Wiseman was to "order and govern" to express the abhorrence of the inhabitants against Papal aggression. At the same time, he was willing to admit that there did pervade this county a great spirit of resistance to what was called Papal aggression. He did not underrate the difficulty of the Prime Minister, and he would go so far as to say, that he believed that in the provinces of this country the public opinion was, that the Minister rather lagged behind than went in anticipation of the public wishes. He did not dispute that fact; still less was he inclined to dispute or cavil at, or find fault with, those who said that the tone of his Eminence of Westminster was eminently arrogant and imperious. But because a Romish ecclesiastic of high rank had thought proper to issue a mandate, couched in the language of the middle ages, was the isle to be frightened from its propriety? Was the Parliament to be, called upon to pass a measure in opposition to that mandate, and framed in a similar spirit? Were our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to be stigmatised as bigots, or branded as disloyal, because Cardinal Wiseman publishes a harmless act in an inflated and bombastic manner? He (Mr. 346 Osborne) must dissent from that view of the question. But it was said that this Bill was an innocent, a harmless, and a mild measure; and the hon. and learned Solicitor General laid great stress upon that point. It had been said that neither the House of Commons nor the country ought to be deluded by the representation that this measure was a renewal of the penal laws. He contended that this Bill was the first step towards the revival of the penal laws. Let them dissemble the matter as they would, the truth was that this was a penal and persecuting measure, and was the first step towards that revival. It did not follow that because it contained no punishment such as disembowelling priests, and hanging and beheading laymen, that it was any the less a penal Bill. He was aware that some persons said its mildness was due to the Bishop of London, who had suggested just such a penalty as one bishop should impose upon another—Narcissa's nature's tolerably mild,To make a wash she'd hardly stew a child.But though the penalty was only fine and imprisonment, not death, it was none the less penal because it only imposed restriction. Restriction was the only form of persecution which the present age would permit, and therefore the only difference between the Bill and the penal laws was to be found in the fact that this was the nineteenth century, and not the sixteenth. In his opinion the noble Lord at the head of the Government deserved the gratitude of the country for omitting the second and third clauses; but at the same time he (Mr. Osborne) was bound to say he detested the fragment of persecution left remaining in the Bill. He agreed with John Locke, that all religious creeds should have a free course allowed to them, provided they did not interfere with the regulations and interests of society; and he, therefore, advised the noble Lord to go still further than he had done, and to omit the preamble of the Bill altogether. In listening to this debate, which had become almost exhausted, he thought hon. Gentlemen could not fail to be struck with the fact, that the sum total of the arguments of the supporters of the Bill was unmitigated vituperation, with one or two exceptions, of the Roman Catholic religion. Let them take the arguments of the lawyers, from both the Chancery and the common law bar, who had spoken on this 347 question. What said the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge? Why, he drew a comparison between the state of Catholics in Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and elsewhere, and the inhabitants of Protestant countries. That comparison might, no doubt, have suited very well in the debate on the Catholic Emancipation Bill of 1829; in fact, it was nearly identical, word for word, taken from a speech delivered by the former hon. Member for Cambridge University on that occasion. Such speeches were the stereotyped and hereditary arguments brought forward when any Roman Catholic question was under debate in that House. But with all submission to the hon. and learned Gentleman's acquirements, he wished to ask him what such a comparison as he had drawn between Catholics and Protestants had to do with the provisions of this Bill? What reference had it to the 100l. penalty which was now proposed to be imposed on our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects? Or how would that penalty hinder the commission of the offence which the measure proposed to check? The hon. and learned Member for Aylesbury had delivered a speech to the House which had made him (Mr. Osborne) suppose that the hon. and learned Member really imagined he was addressing a Committee on a railway question. He (Mr. Osborne) had compared that speech with what he conceived a former Member for Aylesbury would have spoken. Lord Nugent would not have made such a speech. He (Mr. Osborne) was glad of that opportunity of paying his tribute of respect to the memory of an excellent man, who, he repeated, would not have made such a speech as his successor had done. And what did the hon. and learned Gentleman say? Why, in order to conciliate the Roman Catholics, he spoke mildly of the conduct of the Roman Catholics at the time of the Spanish Armada—that must have been highly gratifying to Roman Catholics of the present1 day—and then he proceeded to draw a comparison between England as it was and England as it is, between England under a Roman Catholic Government, and England under a Protestant dynasty. Why, it was very true that in Roman Catholic days there was a concordat between the Pope and the sovereigns of this country, who claimed the nomination of bishops for a very good reason, because at that time of day the State 348 contributed to the support of the Roman Catholic religion. The Church claimed temporal and spiritual power, and it was necessary that the Pope should not have that authority in this country. But what analogy was there between that time when the State maintained the Roman Catholic religion and the present, when the State not only did not do so, but was jealous if any money was given by a private individual to the support of Roman Catholic convents, chapels, or churches? There was no analogy, then, between England as it was, and England as it is. But what said the hon. and learned Solicitor General, who in his (Mr. Osborne's) opinion had made one of those slashing speeches which might tell in Westminster-hall, but which he did not think would have much weight on Gentlemen in that House? Why, that hon. and learned Gentleman professed to be greatly alarmed at the introduction of the canon law; and when that alarm was expressed, many hon. Gentlemen near him shrugged their shoulders and exclaimed, "The canon law how horrible." Why, what was canon law? What was it but the code of discipline of the Church? The canon law had existed in Ireland since the days of St. Patrick, and he was astonished to hear what the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the city of Oxford said about the bull In cœna Domini. That bull had never at any period been introduced into Ireland. But what was this canon law which alarmed the sensitive intellect of the hon. and learned Solicitor Genera], and how did this Bill affect the canon law? Was the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that at this moment the most arbitrary and vexatious parts of the canon law were enforced by the vicars-apostolic? Was he aware that a vicar-apostolic might degrade or suspend a priest without giving any reason? The House might well ask who called for the introduction of bishops, which was a preliminary step to the introduction of the canon law. Why, the Roman Catholic laity had called for it; and the Roman Catholics had called for it not as an insult to the people of this country, but as a protection to themselves. These were the parties who called for the change from vicars-apostolic to bishops in ordinary. A vicar-apostolic was far more powerful than a bishop, and far more under the power of a foreign sovereign. Those who had ever read the works of the Right Rev. Dr. Doyle knew that the vicars-apostolic 349 were mere agents of the Pope; whereas the bishops were in the position of prime ministers in their respective sees. In reading a very remarkable pamphlet written by Mr. O'Dwyer, formerly a Member of that House, he found stated, on the authority of Sir John Cox Hippesley, that Mr. Pitt, in 1799, suggested to Cardinal Erskine the propriety of doing away with vicars-apostolic, and appointing British bishops; but for some reason which did not appear, such a step was not then taken. If then Mr. Pitt, in 1799, proposed such a thing, surely those hon. Gentlemen who professed to be the successors to his policy I ought not to dissent from that proposition. Well, he had another great authority to refer to on this subject. Lord Lyndhurst said—If you allow to the Roman Catholics liberty to promulgate their doctrines and enforce their discipline, you should allow them to do so perfectly and properly; and as the Roman Catholic was an episcopal church, how could its discipline be carried on perfectly and properly without the appointment of bishops?But there was another authority of later date. He found the noble Lord now at the head of the Government using the following language on this subject, in a discussion on the state of Ireland in 1844:—I think that we ought to take away every thing derogatory to the position and character of Roman Catholic bishops. You provide by statute that they shall not be allowed to style themselves by the name of the dioceses over which they preside. I think that is a most foolish prohibition. You declare that Dr. Murray shall not style himself Catholic Archbishop of Dublin; but he is so nevertheless."—[3 Hansard, lxxii., 720.]And he (Mr. Osborne) would now say to the noble Lord that the Roman Catholic bishops were bishops, notwithstanding any Acts of that House, and that this Bill was "a most foolish prohibition." He could not but regret the "No-Popery" cry which had been again raised in this country. He feared that, while they had their attention directed towards Rome, a most serious inroad had been made upon religious liberty. But when they recalled to mind the expressions which had been made in that House and elsewhere by people who called themselves staunch Protestants, he was puzzled to discover what was the real definition of staunch Protestantism. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire and the hon. Member for Surrey (not East Surrey, for wise men came from the East, but West Surrey), Arcades ambo, had spoken in this strain; and when they said 350 they were "staunch Protestants," he (Mr. Osborne) was reminded of the intoxicated soldier in Goldsmith's Citizen of the World, who, struggling for support against a Church, damns the Pope, exclaims, that he is the only friend of the Protestant religion, and concludes by saying to the church, "I will stand by you, old girl." He would recall to these hon. Gentlemen who were so staunch in their advocacy of Protestantism, and so vituperative as regarded Roman Catholicism, the words of Mr. Burke—I would say, if mere dissent from Rome be a merit, he that dissents most perfectly is most meritorious. On many points the Protestant agrees with the Roman Catholic. That man, therefore, must be the best Protestant who protests against the whole of the Christian religion.Those sentiments were more worthy of quotation than the long Latin quotations of the other hon. Member for North Warwickshire. When he saw the phrenzy that had seized all classes of the people—when he read the post-prandial excitement of a Lord High Chancellor, in the midst of the hiccuping hysterics of a Court of Aldermen—when he saw the Prime Minister, and the Lord Mayor, and all classes, in a phrenzy, he could not but recall to mind those days—When oyster women locked their fish-tip,And trudged away to cry 'No bishop!'When he read the speeches of the Sir Peter Laurie of the present day, he could not help recalling to his mind the days of 1678, when a Sir Peter Laurie of that time, the chamberlain of the city of London, declared "that precautions ought to be taken against the plots of the Papists, for fear the citizens should rise some fine morning and find their throats cut." The speech of the noble Lord the Member for Bath, who, in Pharisaical language, appeared "to praise God he was not like other men," in his quotations from Milton, and the sanctimonious air of his delivery', reminded him of a similarly sanctimonious speech made by that noble Lord's ancestor, in 1678, against the Popish Plot. The following was the peroration:—In fact, Sir, I would not have so much as a Popish man, or a Popish woman, allowed to remain here; not a Popish dog, nor a Popish bitch—no, not as much as a Popish cat to purr or mew about the King.And the historian added, that this extraordinary speech met with general approbation. And that was the gist of every 351 speech he had heard in favour of this Bill, with the exception of that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who, he was bound to say, had addressed himself to the subject in a moderate way, and was not deserving of the odium which had been endeavoured to be thrown on him by the hon. Member for the city of Dublin. But he grieved to say, that, not only in that House, but on the platform and in the pulpit, there had been a revival of cries which he thought were altogether obsolete. He regretted to see the walls chalked with the words "No Popery," and to hear men who knew better revive the accusation made years ago against the Catholic doctrine in the service of ordination, founded on the words contained in it, Hԓreticos ego persequar et expugnabo. Now, surely the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford knew enough of Latin to be assured that the true meaning of these words was not, "I will exterminate," but, "I will proselytise heretics to the best of my power." But, even supposing the words to bear the meaning attributed to them, they were not now part of the Roman Catholic oath; for they were struck out in the year 1791. When hon. Gentlemen were so sensitive on the subject of oaths, he would refer them to an oath taken by King William the Third and Queen Mary. King William swore, "We swear to root out all heretics and enemies to the true worship of God that shall be convicted. King William made scruples about taking the oath; and, on the bishop's recommendation, he took it in a non-natural sense. Why quote Van Espin, when they had Stewart percival, a Scottish Protestant divine, and one of the commentators of that period, who said, "By the law of God, idolaters were to be put to death." Now, what would the hon. Member for the University of Oxford say to that? Persecution never was confined wholly to the Roman Catholics. As a great writer had said, "Persecution is not an original feature in any religion, but it is the marked feature of all religions established bylaw." If they were inclined to rake up these unfortunate stories about religious persecution, Protestants would not come very well out of the matter. Our virtuous Queen Elizabeth consented to a little bit of persecution towards the end of her reign. But away with the recollection of these religious persecutions! all but narrow-minded and bigoted men must wish that they were forgotten. But, if he con- 352 fessed that he entertained no anxiety about the appointment of Roman Catholics in thus country, he was ready to admit that there was a very grave question, one included in the Durham letter, which he should desire to see taken up in earnest—he alluded to the present condition of the Church of England. He was afraid that our Universities did not conduce to the purity of what was taught in the Established Church. Was it not notorious that the doctrines of the Church of England were as various almost as the parishes of England? Was it not notorious that in one parish you might hear ecclesiastical infallibility insisted on, and in another the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures; in one diocese the Thirty-nine Articles were interpreted in a natural, and in another in a non-natural sense. In one, the bishop told the people that they must be taught by traditions, and in another by the Bible alone. If they went to Pimlico, auricular confession was insisted on; and if they went to Liverpool, they would find that practice denounced as worthy of the punishment of death. And when they talked of the Siccardi laws, of Santa Rosa and Archbishop Franzoni, he might call their attention to the disgraceful proceedings which had lately taken place at Chichester, where a respected Dissenting minister was denied the rites of sepulture in the churchyard, because he was a Dissenter and a teacher of Dissenters. Away with all this reference to the proceedings of Roman Catholics in Roman Catholic countries! We had to do with English, and not with Italian Roman Catholics. We had to do with men who never did, and who never would, consent to this degradation. How came it that in reply to an address the other day the Bishop of Oxford denied that any Tractarian doctrines or tendencies were taught or sanctioned by the clergy of his diocese? Were we to go to Exeter as a guide, or to Bath and Wells? or should we come to the metropolitan dignitary, who was content to allow candles on the altar, provided they required no snuffing? The people of England would feel more obliged to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, if, instead of this Bill, he had brought forward a measure for the purpose of carrying out more effectually in our own Church the principles of the Reformation. They would be more obliged to our bishops, if, instead of making speeches against Roman Gather lies, they would take the question of the. Rubric in hand; and they would be still more obliged if the hon. Member for the 353 University of Oxford, instead of raising the cry of "Stop thief!" against the Roman Catholics, would endeavour to reform the whole university system. Was it not notorious that a great proportion of the younger clergy were being brought up under what was called mediæval influences, and were only "mock-turtle Romanists? Had not the University Professor of Poetry been supported, not for his poetical celebrity, but because of his Puseyite opinions? Was it not the same case with regard to the University Preacher appointed the other day? Why was Dr. Hampden persecuted? Because he decried the authority of tradition. And what happened last week?—the appointment of an officer in the university who would have to vote on the decision of theological questions, that officer being a gentleman who laboured under the misfortune of having been suspended by two bishops for preaching what were called "Tractarian" sermons. While the eyes of the people were turned to the Vatican, Oxford was attacking them in the rear; and it was not the pastorals which issued from the Flaminian Gate which they had to fear, but the homilies proceeding from Oriel and Christ Church. These were the pastorals which there was reason to dread, for they were not only insinuating but insidious. He was strongly of opinion that as protection was the bane of agriculture, so would protection prove to be the bane of Protestantism. If the Church was fated to fall—he meant the Act of Parliament Church—she would fall not by the hands of foes from without, but of those who were within her gates. She had acquired great power and dominion, and, like Cæsar, she might be fated to be laid prostrate by the hands of professed friends, but disguised assassins. The country called for a thorough reform of the Church of England; not by commissions such as those which had been issued by the Crown—but such a reform as would throw the universities open to Dissenters. The Church of England wanted strength from that quarter. Hallam, in writing on ecclesiastical matters, said—Ecclesiastical, not Papal aggressions, are what the laity have to dread; and though it may suit some zealous opponents of Rome to turn their eyes in that direction, the true enemy is high Church principles, be they enunciated by Pope, bishop, or presbytery.So much for the English part of the question. The noble Lord gave no real satisfaction by his Bill, and, sooner or later, he 354 must meet the question of the state of the Church of England; sooner or later he must, with a high hand, reform our universities. But let him assume, for argument's sake, that the passing of some measure to repel Papal aggression was defensible in this country, where the great proportion of the people were Protestants—a country essentially Protestant—what excuse could the Government have for including Ireland? Was it recommended by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, who was never seen in his place, and from whom they could never hear anything about Ireland—or from the hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, who was always absent? Did they recommend those measures? Ireland, exhausted by misfortune, was, up to this moment, passive on this question: sectarian differences had been dying out. The only aggression in that country was the aggression of the paid Church of the minority; the people there were more engaged about poor-rates than theology, and their speculations were more about potatoes than the Pope. But this measure had excited the old odium theologicum; and what more had they done? They little guessed what they had been doing; but the fact was, they had been increasing the power of the priests. He wanted to know from the noble Lord under what pretext this measure was introduced into Ireland. Even at English county meetings, at which so much rampant fustian was poured forth, was there a single recommendation that the measure should be extended to Ireland? Even the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire did not recommend it. Had any one ever said that Ireland ought to be included in the Bill. Oh yes—the paid Irish Protestant bishops. But what statesman, since the days of Primate Boulter, would think of ruling Ireland according to the dictates of the Protestant bishops there? But there had been a meeting in Ireland on the subject, and they asked that the Bill might be extended to Ireland. That meeting was held in the Rotunda—the Exeter Hall of Dublin—on the 29th of January, 1851, It was what was termed a meeting of the Protestants of that city. Some noble Lords were present, and amongst them the Earls of Roden, Maynard, Clancarty, and also Lord Naas, a Member of that House.
§ MR. B. OSBORNE
I am very glad to hear the noble Lord was not. It is to 355 his credit, representing as he does the Catholic county of Kildare. The report of the meeting set forth that prayers were read, and the doxology sung, and the Kentish fire was given as a matter of course, when more than the usual ultra bigotry was to he expected. It was a curious fact, that whenever any meeting in Ireland was commenced with the reading of prayers and the singing of the doxology, the most unchristian and uncharitable speeches were sure to follow. Well, then, prayers having been read, and the doxology sung, and three rounds of the Kentish fire, the Earl of Enniskillen proposed that Mr. Grogan, the hon. Member for Dublin, take the chair; and he did so amid three rounds more of the Kentish fire, and cries of "More power to you, Larry Grogan!" Mr. Grogan was of opinion that all these Roman Catholic doings had been brought about by the encouragement which had been given to Roman Catholics by the Government giving them places, &c. After calling upon the Protestants of Ireland to stand by him, and upon the meeting to give three more cheers, he sat down. A Mr. Wallace, who was present, compared the Lord Lieutenant to the lady sitting upon the seven hills, or something of that sort, by calling him the Vice-Pope; but the Earl of Clancarty came more properly to the business of the meeting. He denounced the Education System and Maynooth Grant, and then he said nothing effectual could be done unless the Government would do away with Maynooth and the National Board. But a person called the Rev. Mortimer O'Sullivan, far surpassed all the rest. Indeed, Protestant clergymen in Ireland distanced all the laity in this description of oratory. Not content with doing away with the National Board, the Poor Laws, and Maynooth, he vehemently called upon the Government to re-enact the old penal laws. This O'Sullivan was the person who has been in the habit of "starling" it in the provinces. He said that it was undeniable that so long as the penal laws existed in Ireland there had been quietness and tranquillity. These were the allies of the noble Lord. Was the noble Lord prepared to adopt such allies? Was he prepared to do away with the Maynooth Grant, and the National Board, and the Poor Laws?—because if he were not, he would get no support from these gentlemen. The noble Lord had stated that other measures might be necessary in case the Roman Catholic eccle- 356 siastics proceeded to extremes in their opposition to the system of education established under the Queen's Colleges. He (Mr. Osborne) must say, that he lamented the course taken by the Roman Catholic bishops at the Synod of Thurles, but he was not surprised at it, knowing that it was only recently any clergyman would support education. This failing was not peculiar to the Roman Catholic clergymen, for it was only since the laity insisted upon being educated that any of the clergy would consent to their education. They consented when they could no longer oppose—when they could not help it. The noble Lord had said that some Roman Catholic prelate had called upon him, and stated that he could not countenance any system of education, unless based upon a theological theory. But was this view peculiar to Roman Catholic ecclesiastics? Had not Dr. Sewell, a fellow and tutor of Exeter College, Oxford, published a book, called Christian Morals, and what did he say there? He would read a remarkable passage. In treating of Zoology, he said he believed—The spiritualised eye might expect to find the figure of the cross on all the works of the creation, and he would not he surprised if all the theoretical figures were reduced to this element—a central column, and a lateral projection.[The hon. Gentleman also quoted another passage from the same work, in which the writer attempted to make the revelations of geology typical of the ceremony of baptism.] The noble Lord was quite ready to condemn the Synod of Thurles for having condemned the colleges; but the hon. and orthodox Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford had, in point of fact, stood godfather at the baptism of this new Roman Catholic university. Yes; the hon. Baronet, as the representative of the University of Oxford—the friend of orthodoxy—had denounced the Queen's Colleges in language more vehement than the Synod of Thurles had used. What did the hon. and very orthodox Baronet say? He said, in a tone and manner, the solemnity of which he (Mr. Osborne) well remembered, that "the whole proposal seemed to he that all instruction should be based on this world, and that it was a gigantic scheme of godless education." The hon. Baronet went on to say, "they ought to carry out the same principle with regard to education which the Roman Catholic prelates advocated; he did not blame the Roman Catho- 357 lic bishops, but adopted their doctrine on that branch of the subject to the full extent." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire had shown that the Roman Catholic clergy was not the only body which interfered in temporal matters, for that the Dissenting ministers had met in council to denounce the corn laws. But he had another illustration, which the noble Lord would recollect. He held in his hand a protest signed by nine of the Protestant bishops of Ireland against the National Board. They protested in the strongest manner against National Education. They commenced by saying it was with the utmost reluctance and regret—they always commenced the most bitter invectives with "reluctance and regret," And how had they followed up this protest? Why, by literally proscribing every Protestant clergyman who supported the system; and it was well known that those clergymen who did so were excluded from all chance of being presented to a living. One rev. Prelate, the Bishop of Cashel, characterised these schools as "the devil's schools," going a step further than the orthodox Member for the University of Oxford. Now, the Synod of Thurles used much more respectful language. They did not call the noble Lord's Government the devil's government; but he held in his hand a speech in which much stronger language was used by the Bishop of Cashel, [An Hon. MEMBER: Is he a Roman Catholic bishop?] No, a Protestant bishop. The Catholic bishops, to do them justice, never used such language. That was the language which could only be used by the Prelates of the State Establishment—the paid bishops. It was only those gentlemen who were entitled to designate the State schools "devil's schools." If the Catholic bishops issued anything like that language. they would at once be indignantly denounced in that House; but, of course, it was perfectly becoming in a bishop who received 5,000l., had large patronage, and a very small congregation. This Bishop of Cashel said—It is a hopeful feature of our time to see that, out of about 2,000 clergymen of the Irish branch of the Established Church, 1,500 have protested against the measures of the present Government. It is a noble thing that three-fourths of the clergy are not afraid to stand out as supporters of God's truth, in defiance of the mock liberality of the blinded head of the Administration.The noble Lord said nothing of the anathemas of the Protestant bishop; his whole animosity was directed against the unfor- 358 tunate Roman Catholics who met at the Synod of Thurles. Now, after all the insinuations which had been thrown out against the Roman Catholic bishops, he asked the House what it was prepared to do? Was it intended to make them bad Catholics, because they would not become good Protestants? Did they propose to endanger the State because they could not enlarge the Church? Why persist in attributing faults to the Irish character which were not inherent in it? He would ask them had they ever treated Ireland as if the Irish were friends and equals? Had they respected her religion? He asked the noble Lord to recollect the words of Mr. Burke, and to respect the religion of Ireland; for Mr. Burke said, that until "men were in that frame of mind that they would regard with respect what fell from other people, they were not in a frame of mind to make laws for that people." Judging the conduct of the Government on this wise principle, there could be no doubt but they were dissolving instead of fastening the bonds that ought to bind the two countries, and pursuing a most vicious course of legislation. For who were the real bishops of Ireland? Was it the Bishop of Cashel? No, he received his 5,000l. a year, but the real bishops of Ireland were the M'Hales and the Cullens. [Cries of "Oh!]" Yes, he repeated it, and he warned the noble Lord and hon. Members that the phrase "Italian monks" was not a very wise expression. He warned the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, the law advisers of the Crown, that "Italian monks" was not a prudent expression to proceed from the Treasury bench. It would be very much better if those hon. and learned Gentlemen turned their attention to the English monks who lived at Oxford. He agreed in the sentiment expressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Plymouth, in his luminous speech, for which the House and the country were under obligations to him—that the State was indebted to all religious teachers—to all who taught morality and inculcated obedience to the laws. Something of a similar idea was beautifully expressed by Burke, who knew Ireland better than any of his day. He said—My decided opinion is, that the three religions which prevail with more or less force in this island ought all to be subordinate to the legal establishments of the country—that they ought to be protected and cherished, and that in Ireland 359 particularly, the Roman Catholic religion should be upheld in high respect and veneration, and that those who taught it should be provided for; it ought to be cherished as a great good, and not tolerated as an inevitable evil.In these sentiments he entirely concurred, and believed that this Bill was not only impolitic but unnecessary, because he looked upon it as a reversal of that enlightened policy which we had of late years been pursuing; but, above all, he was opposed to it upon true Protestant grounds, because he believed that it was trenching on the principle which they had so dearly won at the Reformation after many perils and many battles, and which they so highly prized—the principle of religious freedom; and, finally, because he believed in his heart that it trenched on the right and free exercise of private judgment.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
must deprecate the violent language which had been made use of with respect to so great a Church and so great a body of men as the Roman Catholics; but he must lay the blame at the proper door, for his firm belief was, that the whole of the agitation had been caused by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whose noted letter was at the bottom of all the agitation of the last seven or eight months. It somewhat surprised him to find the noble Lord arousing the "No-Popery" cry, when he recollected that the noble Lord attributed his defeat in Devonshire, not many years since, to the very same cry. He (Mr. B. Cochrane) wished to know whether, before the noble Lord wrote his celebrated letter, he had not had a communication with the Bishop of London on the subject—whether, when that Prelate expressed himself very strongly with respect to Papal aggression, the noble Lord did not remark that it was of no consequence whatever—and whether the views of the noble Lord had not very much changed between the time of that conversation and the time when he published his very mistaken letter? He (Mr. B. Cochrane) strongly condemned the mischievous and calumnious language used by the press against the Roman Catholics. One newspaper stated that there was an organised conspiracy of Jesuits in Exeter. Another justified the Protestant boys of Liverpool for hooting the Roman Catholic children as they went to school. In that High Church organ, the Standard, it was said that the Popish plot had been revived in London by the Papists; and its excellent 360 and venerable mother, the Morning Herald, asserted that ladies could not walk out but they were solicited by priests to become Roman Catholics, or turn a corner without being met by some Jesuit who accosted them with the same object. And what were the expressions used by Dr. M'Neile and other members of the Church? "The devil's mouthpiece," "the Pope an impostor," "a mighty evil," "a monster lie," "the great beast of the Reformation," &c. The same rev. gentleman spoke of the worship of Rome as "the worship of the devil;" and in another of his speeches he proposed that all Roman Catholics should be expatriated. The hon. Member for West Surrey had applied most calumnious language to a gentleman, one of the most excellent of men, and in whom many of his (Mr. B, Cochrane's) friends took the deepest interest. He appealed to the hon. Member whether he ought to have spoken in such a manner in that House of so respectable a gentleman as Mr. Faber—a man who stood high in the opinions of every one who knew him. He had, indeed, changed his religion, and he (Mr. B. Cochrane), firmly believed, erroneously; but that was no excuse for the scurrilous language which had been employed, and it was only astonishing how a Gentleman and Member of that House could make use of such expressions. The noble Lord at the head of the Government told them last night that the Roman Catholic religion had been making greater progress since the revolutions of 1848, which had been brought about by the mischievous policy of the noble Viscount the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and that men, seeking for some safety, were resorting to the authority, the influence, and the name of that Church. What were they, then, to understand from that? Why, that at any rate the Roman Catholic religion had this advantage, that of resisting the progress of revolution, and counteracting the dangerous and false policy of the noble Viscount. A great deal had been said about the favour which the present Government had shown to Roman Catholics and to the Court of Rome. It so happened, however, that when the Lord Privy Seal was in Rome his principal friends were the agitators against the Court of Rome. Indeed our consul, Mr. Freeborn, had granted passports to all the Roman vagabonds who had been engaged in the revolution. While they were on the subject of the different opinions entertained of the 361 Church of Rome, he would take the liberty of asking the noble Lord whether he was one of those who attended the meetings of that arch agitator, Father Gavazzi, who gave lectures to Italians? These lectures were quoted in the foreign newspapers, and it was strongly remarked, that while we were talking of favour towards the Papal Government, we could yet allow such addresses as these to be delivered in the heart of this city. He would call the attention of the House to this subject. What must the opinion of continental nations be, when they learned that no steps had been taken by the Government in this matter? In one of his lectures, this Father Gavazzi had used the following language, in speaking of the Archduchess Sophia of Austria—a person of the highest character in that country. The lecturer stated that she was "a dissolute parody of the Etrurian Matilda, propping up a tottering Papacy, and compounding with monkish confessors for personal license, by crushing the liberties of mankind." That was the language used by Gavazzi; and he believed that it had been complained of by the Government of Austria, and that explanations were demanded. Now he would only ask whether this language was patronised by persons of high station in this country; and while they were upholding every abusive word against the Pope and the Continental Governments, how they could turn round and speak of the good feelings which they had always evinced towards Rome and the Papal Government? The noble Lord had talked of a comparison between countries where the Roman Catholic and Protestant religions prevailed. But he (Mr. B. Cochrane) would ask, was not the Roman Catholic religion the religion of Italy at a time when that country was at the head of the civilisation of the world, and in the possession of all her glory? He had ventured to protest against the language which had been employed in reference to this subject; for, while giving his vote for the measure, because he thought that Parliament was justified, if it thought fit to do so, to protest against persons taking the title of archbishop or bishop in this country, without the permission of the Sovereign or the Government, he did not wish to be classed with those who voted for the Bill from feelings of intolerance towards the Roman Catholic religion—feelings so degrading as could proceed only from men who were attached to the Church, like the quaint heads fixed on old cathedrals, for 362 the purpose of pouring forth all that was corrupt and vile. He considered himself fully justified in voting for this measure, and also in protesting against that language. He might be accused of inconsistency, and run the risk of having his views mistaken; but he would not refrain from offering his tribute of admiration at the manner in which Roman Catholics had borne the most improper language which had been applied to them and their religion; and he must say, while voting for the Bill, that he entirely sympathised with their views and feelings.
§ MR. C. FORTESCUE
felt hound to oppose the measure, and considered that the scenes which had taken place in this country lately, as well as the lamentable scene which had occurred in that House on the previous night, ought to be a warning to politicians to avoid the dangers of religious discussion. It might be said that we were now legislating in reference to the position which the Roman Catholic Church was, for the future, to hold in Ireland. He always thought that we could not leave that Church for many years longer without a change in its position; but he must say that the liberal party never dreamt that such a measure as this would be proposed by the Government? He believed that no party pretended that the present measure would add to the efficiency of the Church either in England or in Ireland. He regarded the continuance of the Established Church in Ireland to he indefensible, except perhaps on the principle of quieta non movere. He had always thought that that Church, which was the Church of the majority of the people of Ireland, should receive some fuller recognition by the State; but he found that the effect of the present measure would be to ignore it more completely, he had seen, in the parishes of his own county, the priest attentive to the interests of his flock, while, he was sorry to say, the Protestant Church was almost empty. The only difficulty which he felt in dealing with this subject was, in being compelled to vote against the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whom, on such a question as this, be should have hoped to have followed as his leader. He was aware that, in doing this, he should vote against the opinions, and the excited feelings—transiently excited feelings, he trusted—of a majority of the people of this country; but he must be permitted to say, that he did not believe that these opinions and feelings correctly represented 363 the better part of the Protestant movement which had recently taken place in this country. As far as that movement was an assertion of religious faith, and a repudiation of the foolish and arrogant pretensions put forward by the See of Rome, as a Protestant, he could not but participate in it; but he must blame the cowardly fear which it exhibited of leaving the cause of truth to take care of itself—and the desire which it exhibited to have recourse to the brute force of law and human legislation to enforce a statute against conscience and belief. He feared the history of the last few months would show that the principles of religious freedom were not so deeply rooted amongst us as we imagined. They had been told, during these debates, that they were bound to defend by legislation the rights of the Grown and the independence of the nation. If a Spanish Armada were on our shores, or a Roman Catholic insurrection in Ireland, he could understand people talking about rights and independence; but, used as those words had been in the present case, they appeared to him to be totally without meaning. Coleridge had somewhere said that "the history of a word had often more importance than the history of a country;" and he (Mr. Fortescue) must say that the history of the words so much bandied about lately—such words as "independence, jurisdiction, toleration," showed the confusion which prevailed in the public mind with respect to the real meaning of these words. Then they were told that they ought to treat this as a spiritual matter. The spiritual power of the Pope depended entirely on the acknowledgment of it by the Roman Catholics. It was said that the Pope might excommunicate the Sovereign, and absolve her subjects from their allegiance. Now, he must ask, under what condition alone could that power of the Pope be exercised? Only by his power over the consciences and belief of men. The belief of men must first be won over, and the conscience of England must first submit to Rome, before the power of the Pope could be felt in this land. How this was to be done, no one had yet pointed out. What would this Bill do against those spiritual feelings? He did not believe that the tide of opinion in this country was running towards Rome. The Bill in his opinion was utterly useless, and if it were ineffectual for good, they might be certain that it would be effectual for evil. Then they were told that the prerogative of the Crown 364 had been violated by the recent act of the Pope, and that the Crown alone had the power to create bishoprics for any Christian society in the land. This supposed right he found supported by precedents drawn from the history of England from the time of the Conquest down to the Reformation. He must confess that the bringing forward of these precedents seemed to him as if we had travelled back several centuries—as if we had never had the Reformation, and as if the Roman Catholic Church now constituted our national Church. We seemed to have forgotten the existence of the Pope as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. We would only treat with him in his temporal character of the weak Sovereign of the Roman States. No proof had been adduced to show that the Crown possessed the right of appointing bishops to a Church not in connection with the State. In former days, when the monarch exercised that right, England was a Roman Catholic nation; but now the Romish Church stood in a different position in this country. The true successor of the Romish Church in this country was the Church of England, which had inherited the rights and the duties of the ancient Church, and towards which the Sovereign stood in a relation analogous to that in which former Sovereigns stood towards the Roman Catholic Church in this country before the Reformation. But he might be told that since the Reformation the Crown had exercised power in matters ecclesiastical more absolute than it did before, and that this measure of the Pope had violated the Royal prerogative. He must say, that if we were living in the reign of Queen Elizabeth instead of that of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, we should not have one word to say on the subject; but as it was, he considered it to be a pure anachronism. We had learned much since that time. The Elizabethan system—if he might use the term—permitted no distinction to be drawn between things temporal and things spiritual; for under that system the coercive power of the law was directed equally against both, and religious disbelief was not held sacred from its invasions. The denial of the ecclesiastical supremacy of the law was held to be high treason. The presence of a priest in this country would have been as little endured as the presence of an emissary of Philip of Spain. But now we made a distinction between things temporal and things spiritual. He thought we had made up our 365 minds that whilst the Sovereign, as head of the State, had the same universal claim to the allegiance of Her subjects—a claim co-extensive with the empire—still, that Her superiority in ecclesiastical matters extended only to the National Church. The act of the Pope, therefore, must be judged by Parliament, not as if sitting in the sixteenth century, but as if sitting in the nineteenth century, and by hon. Members as subjects, not of Queen Elizabeth, but as subjects of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. But had no aggression been I committed by the recent act of the Pope? He fully admitted that a real aggression had been made on the Church of England; but he said it was of such a character that 'that House had nothing to do with it. It was so entirely spiritual that it rested on a theory and a dogma so purely theological, that the House could take no cognisance of it whatever. They knew it was a theory of the Roman Catholic Church; and certain members of our Church held it also, that there could only be one bishop of a see, who was said to derive his authority from a certain mysterious succession or ecclesiastical pedigree, according to which one must he the true bishop, and any other an usurper and intruder; and he trust consequently say, that for Parliament to take upon itself to decide whether Dr. Paul Cullen, or Lord John Beresford, was the real and spiritual Archbishop of Armagh, would be entirely beyond its province. The aggression on the law, and on the people, was merely imaginary, and any aggression on the Church of England was, he repeated, beyond the province of Parliament; but the independence of individuals, as well as the independence of churches or governments, was a subject which might fairly come under the consideration of Parliament. He, therefore, could conceive the possibility of his voting in favour of some Bill to assist the Roman Catholic inhabitants of this country in restraining the power of their priesthood when carried beyond proper limits. Yet he hoped that public opinion in this country would, as it always had, have great influence on the Roman Catholic community, and that no such measure would be necessary. He admitted that there was an individual as well as a national independence, and that some day the House might be called on to consider that question. He had great hopes that the public opinion in this Protestant country, and the public opinion of the Roman Catholic laity, 366 would keep priestly power—of which no one had a greater dread than he—within proper hounds; and that it would throw its protecting shield over such helpless classes as dying persons and young women, who were more especially subject to the action of the Roman Catholic priesthood, and he could conceive himself voting in favour of such a measure, and doing that without any violation of the principles I of religious freedom. He should therefore vote against this Bill with a conviction very much stronger and clearer than the words in which he bad been able to express it. He should vote against it, because it was founded on a false principle of church government—because it was certain to produce much mischief, and to do great injustice to the country with which he was more immediately connected—because it was not calculated to represent the true Protestant feeling of the country, or to defend the Protestant faith, and provide for the security of the Protestant Church—and, finally, because it was a mere collection of the confused thought and lingering bigotry of the country. He, for one must refuse to vote for a measure which must revive the dying embers of religious intolerance.
§ MR. CHILD
asked the indulgence of the House while he said a few words on this momentous question. He approached the question with considerable anxiety, because, while he could not consent to refuse Roman Catholics the full profession of their faith, he felt he had a duty to perform not only to himself, but towards his Protestant fellow-countrymen, and could not forget that self-preservation was the first law of nature. They could not but regret the irritation which this subject had caused. Of all differences, those arising from religious quarrels were ever the most bitter; and the wounds inflicted in such strife the most difficult to heal. The question had, however, been forced upon them, and they could not avoid giving a decision. The issue bad been joined, and the question put to that House, and it must give an answer, whether for the Pope or for the Queen. They might lament the discord thus jarring the political harmony of the country; but they must be well aware how this unhappy division had arisen. The apple of discord in the present instance had not been thrown by the Queen, or by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, but by a foreign Power, and by an alien to this country, 367 on whose head rested the blame of all the unhappy difference and disunion which had arisen amongst us. They might be called persecutors, but he could not but think that there was no proof of this. He thought that any parties who possessed and claimed such power as the hon. Member for Dublin, who stated that he and the party with whom he acted had the power to displace any Ministry, and to seat upon the Treasury benches any party whom they might select, could hardly call themselves persecuted individuals; nor could their hands be deemed manacled, which had such a power of directing the course of the political chariot. It appeared to him that there were four distinct parties holding particular opinions relative to that question. There was, first, the Roman Catholic party, which no doubt felt a considerable degree of irritation, which might be easily accounted for under the circumstances of the case. But he believed when the present agitation subsided, and had passed away, the Roman Catholics would again show that noble and chivalrous devotion to the interests of the country which had always distinguished them. Then there was a second party which strangely mixed up corn and Catholics together; who thought that to repel the aggression of the Pope was to re-enact the corn laws, and who seemed to consider Protestant ascendancy and a dear loaf as synonymous terms. The third party was composed of those who assumed to have taken a high intellectual eminence, and who affected to regard with supercilious disdain all legislation on the subject. They thought it was a matter with which Parliament had nothing to do, and ought to remain inactive whilst Romanism carried on its schemes of aggression. If Luther had not been warmed by his Protestant zeal from the cold philosophy of the schools, he would never have manfully confronted the spiritual despotism of Rome, and laid the broad foundation of the glorious principles of the Reformation. These glorious principles he felt now were at stake; and this Bill was intended to preserve them against an insidious attack. The fourth party was not confided to either side of the House; it combined free-traders and protectionists, whigs and tories, conservatives and radicals, all of whom were united in one common bond to support Her Majesty's Ministers and to promote this Bill, which they believed to be needful for the maintenance of those principles upon which the Queen 368 claimed the allegiance of her subjects. With that large party he should give his vote; believing that, as loyal to the Queen, as loyal to the country, and, above all, as loyal to the Protestant faith, it was our duty to repel this act of Pius IX. He should support the present Bill, in default of a more effective measure.
§ MR. WYNDHAM GOOLD
trusted the House would afford him its indulgence while he briefly addressed them for the first time on the important question under consideration. A question had been asked by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, as to why, supposing no offence or aggression intended, the Pope had not made any efforts to explain the affair, or had not come forward to apologise. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, should recollect that it was a rule in equity that "he who sought equity should do equity." If we expected acts of courtesy from the Pope, we should treat him with courtesy in the first instance. Up to the year 1829, indeed, we had no means of communicating with Rome, or treating with the Holy See in the ordinary political relations between State and State. But since that period the existence of the Holy See was ignored as it were, and any business we had to transact with it was executed in an underhand and unworthy manner. Now, if we ignored the Pope's existence, we could not blame him much for treating us in a similar way. In fact, he could hardly be censured for adopting a sort of political tu quoque towards this country. We were too virtuous to recognise the Pope, who was to us not only the "Man of Sin," but, sexu mutato, the "Scarlet Lady" also; and while we were displaying this squeamish prudery towards Rome, we did not blush to recognise the worship of Juggernaut in India, and we had an ambassador at Constantinople; as if, in the words of Sidney Smith, "the Sultan were a better Christian than the Pope." It had been stated that the Pope would not have ventured to have taken this step in any other—even in any Roman Catholic—country on the Continent; and this argument had been put in the shape of an à fortiori argument. But that was beside the question, for if he attempted to organise a hierarchy where he had representatives, in the same way that he was now doing in this country where he has none, he believed it would be a breach of the national compact; and he contended that if we had had diplomatic relations with Rome, this could not have 369 occurred. Under these circumstances it was not fair to charge the Pope with insulting this country. If he might paraphrase the letter of the noble Lord, he should say that he confessed his alarm was net equal to his hope. The present was not a political aggression; it was one to obtain a clear stage and no favour for the Church of which the Pope was the head. It was to put that Church on an equality with the Church of England. Why should the Church of England, therefore, which had been always antagonistic to the Church of Rome, complain? He believed the Church of England was not likely to suffer from that source. The Church of England and the sister establishment in Ireland had among their clergy many men of great piety, learning, and eloquence, and abounding, above all, in that most persuasive of all eloquence which had been quaintly termed "visible rhetoric"—the daily deeds of a good man's life; and she was better able to fight her own battle by her own inherent energies, than by the help of those who now sought to throw a shield around her. With respect to the introduction of theological topics into that controversy, he should be allowed to ask, who had thrown the first stone? He could trace the first theological element introduced into that discussion to the unfortunate letter of the noble Lord at the head of the Government to the Bishop of Durham. That letter had done much damage to public feeling, and had called forth a great deal of that excitement which had assumed a no very dignified shape either in this country or that House. The noble Lord might have thought that he was doing a very clever thing when he wrote his well-known Durham letter—that he was taking the hull by the horns; but subsequent experience must have taught him that it would have been more prudent and statesmanlike to have maturely considered both sides of the question. The noble Lord had not done so—he had not looked before he leapt, but rather had leapt before he looked; and the natural consequence was, the noble Lord ever since Parliament met had been in the humiliating situation of having to perform the difficult feat of leaping back again to his former position. Thinking the noble Lord's Bill the mere dry and shrivelled embodiment of the angry passions which his celebrated letter had excited—the mere residuum of that ferment and effervescence which he had stirred up—thinking that whilst in its dwarfed and diminished pro- 370 portion, it was still dangerous to the principles of civil and religious liberty, and that it would be a humiliating record of a very painful and undignified excitement—for all these reasons he should cordially vote for the amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Arundel.
§ MR. W. J. FOX
said, at that stage of so protracted a debate he had no intention of entering at large into the general question before the House; but he wished merely to give the reason why he could not support the second reading of this Bill, and to make a few remarks on one or two fallacies which, as he thought, had been very extensively put forward in that discussion. The principle on which he should vote against the Bill was this—it was not merely an abridgment of the toleration at present enjoyed by Roman Catholics, but, more than that, it was an infringement of the great principle of civil and religious liberty, towards which the legislation of this country had steadily tended for the last century and a half—a principle which could not be infringed in any sect or Church, not even in the most obnoxious, or in one that might have given the greatest provocation (and by no means would lie deny that a great provocation had been offered in this instance), but which could not be infringed under any provocation, or with reference to any sect or Church, without also damaging the position, and invading in some measure, directly or indirectly, the rights of all other non-established churches, sects, or denominations, whether they were those of Roman Catholics or of Protestant nonconformists. This Bill was an interference with the internal organisation of a non-established Church; that was the strong ground of his objection to it. With an Established Church they had the right to interfere. The Established Church bartered something of its Christian liberty for power, emoluments, and influence; and thereby it invited the State to interpose in its regulations, and to make its arrangements accord with the wants of the State. With a non-established Church, the principle of religions liberty being admitted as a constitutional principle and the guide of their legislation, they had no such concern; and he believed, therefore, that this measure tended in principle to invade the rights both of Catholic nonconformists and of Protestant nonconformists. In fact, that it had done so, appeared very promptly. He referred to the case of the Scotch 371 Episcopal Dissenters; and the Government, in hot haste to shoot its arrow at Popery, immediately found that they had wounded Episcopacy in Scotland. And there was a confession of this by the clause which it was announced would be introduced when the Bill got into Committee, exempting that particular dissenting Church from its operation. That concession he thought altogether fatal to the character of this Bill. The case of the Scotch Episcopalian Church was not only a strong one in itself, but it had some remarkable points of coincidence with the case of the Roman Catholics. These Scotch bishops belonged to a Dissenting community; Dissenters they undoubtedly were in that country. They had an episcopal title, which was represented by the hon. and learned Solicitor General as partly a civil as well as a religious designation. They held a territorial description; and what was their plea of exemption from the operation of this Bill, or what had they to urge (and they had urged their pleas successfully) but what the Roman Catholics might urge also? They said they had these territorial designations from the necessity of describing the limits within which they respectively exercised their episcopal functions. Why, that was not peculiar to the Scotch bishops. It belonged to a bishop everywhere. A bishop was an overseer, an overseer of somebody and somewhere; and how could they tell what district he overlooked, but by a description that had reference to territory. Well, then, they alleged in their petition to that House, that, in taking the ancient title of their sees, they had no idea of assuming temporal rank. This, too, the Roman Catholic bishops urged; and, if temporal rank, or at least the ordinary compliments that went with such rank, were given to the Catholic bishops in Ireland, that was the work of the Government there, rather than the act of the Catholic bishops themselves. The Scotch bishops said, the use of such a sufficient description or designation was necessarily implied by a diocesan episcopate; and yet that this, in their case, would be prohibited and rendered illegal under a heavy penalty. They also urge that no authority could dispense with a diocesan episcopate, which they conscientiously and absolutely believed to be an Apostolic institution. The Roman Catholics pleaded Apostolic institution also; they derived their descent from the same source, and they had a full right to the benefit of 372 this plea. By the arguments in the Scotch bishops' petition there were three points established—the moral necessity of territorial titles for the episcopal office—that such titles did not imply the assumption of temporal jurisdiction—nor that of a spiritual jurisdiction beyond their own communion; and when it was urged that the Roman Catholic bishops claimed by that a dominion over all persons within the districts described as their dioceses, and when that was resented as an aggression, he must ask whether, in repelling that, it was to be understood that the Church in whose behalf it was repelled claimed such a jurisdiction for itself? Because if it did, there were millions in this country who would alike protest against the episcopal authority over them, of either Roman Catholic or Protestant bishops. Now, the case of the Scotch bishops was one that bore on other classes of nonconforming religionists in this country besides the Roman Catholics. What would they do with the Methodists, with their superintendents of Lancashire, Staffordshire, and so on, who are as much at variance with the spirit of the law as if they called themselves bishops? Was the law to be evaded merely by translating "bishop" into another language, or by taking a synonimous term with a different derivation? If evasion could be so easy, what would the efficacy of the Bill be worth as against the Roman Catholics? If evasion was not to be allowed, what then would be the condition of the Wesleyans, who would be exposed to the brunt of this measure? Besides, this title of a "bishop" was no Church or sect monopoly. It was a common Christian inheritance. There might arise in this country—and some circumstances in the present state of the Established Church by no means put it beyond the limits of probability—there might arise a Free Episcopalian Church here, as there had arisen a Free Presbyterian Church in Scotland. In that case the assumption of an episcopal title, and by a necessary result, as the Scotch bishops told them, the assumption of some territorial description with that title, would arise here; and we should have a Church which, even before its origin, had the ban of the law against it. So that in the one case they attacked the most ancient Christian Church; in the other case they would provide penal legislation against that which might exist as a new Christian Church. And even, although the right was latent, yet it was a right of 373 which they ought not to despoil any body I of Christians of the possession. Why, all bodies of Christians felt they had a right to use it if they chose. It had been a matter of consultation among some dissenting bodies whether they should change the names of their preachers to bishops. We already granted the Moravians the use of the title, and the title of bishops, too, with a foreign origin—appointed at a city on the Continent—namely, at Herrnhüt. Methodism in America had a sect of Episcopalian Methodists; and in all churches, however small in their numbers, however poor in their circumstances, there was the right of calling their ministers bishops if they pleased, instead of pastors—a right which they inherited from a higher law than any which that House could make—a right with which it was not fitting that the laws made by that House should interfere. It had been argued and denied in that discussion, strenuously, on both sides, that an episcopate was a portion of the natural development of the Roman Catholic religion, and that the toleration of an episcopate was implied in the toleration of that religion, and was implied, indeed, in the recognition of Catholicism as a religion at all. Now, he believed that was the true view of the case. All the questions of a foreign power and a divided allegiance he held to belong to discussions of twenty-two years ago, and not now. That the Pope was either a temporal prince or a foreigner was an accident—was not essential to the Catholic religion. He would still be the Pope, even if he were to be deposed, or if he were a British subject. These were mere accidental circumstances of what was essentially of a spiritual character, and he thought they ought to be thrown out of the account altogether, just as much as they threw out of account the foreign origin of many of the men who had founded other churches and other sects who had earned a great name, and whose followers had adopted their names as their distinctive designation, and who had exercised an extensive influence over countries with which they had nothing to do, as in the case of the Methodists in America, who obeyed John Wesley, although he was a foreigner; and in that of various sects who obeyed Count Zinzendorf. Swedenborg, and others, although they were foreigners. Christianity over-rode nationality, and had over-ridden nationality from the first, and one of its earliest acts was 374 the sending from Jerusalem one Jew to be Bishop of Rome, and another Jew to organise a Christian Church at Athens. And as to a divided allegiance, again, why, if hon. Gentlemen believed what they said, they ought to call upon the House at once to go back to the ancient laws, and to declare that it was not meet nor fit for a man with a divided allegiance to sit in that House, and that it was not meet nor fit for any man with a divided allegiance to serve in our fleets or our armies, to vote for a Member of Parliament, or do anything else appertaining to citizenship; he should be regarded and treated as an alien—for such he undoubtedly would be. They must either take in good faith the disclaimers offered in this matter, or, disbelieving them, they must go back to ancient times and ancient laws. The full development of its priesthood through all its gradations was more essential to the Roman Catholic Church, than it could possibly be to any other Church; and for this simple reason: Catholics took their dogmas, their facts, and the precepts of their religion, from their sacerdotal authorities. Protestants took, or professed to take, theirs from the New Testament. The priesthood was the Catholic's living Testament—his incorporate Bible; and to interpose between him and the development of that priesthood came to much the same thing as the interposition between the Protestant and his Bible, Such a priesthood and an episcopate had always been held to be necessary. They had been told in that debate many times, that in vicars-apostolic the Catholics had all the provision they could possibly need for their various religious duties. Why, they themselves must be the best judges of that; and he thought the fact, the historical fact was, that they had never been satisfied with the arrangement of vicars-apostolic—that there had always been, from the very first, a craving after an episcopate. It showed itself immediately on the death of the last of the Roman Catholic bishops, the Bishop of Lincoln, when applications wore made to Rome in the sixteenth century two or three times, again in the seventeenth; and an increase in the number and an increase in the powers of the vicar-apostolic were from time to time obtained. And yet this did not satisfy them. There was still the longing; and the historian of the Roman Catholics of England, Scotland, and Ireland—that late amiable, intelligent, pious, and moderate man, Mr. Charles 375 Butler—described the feeling on this subject. He said—Bishops are of divine origin. They are the principal dignitaries in the economy of the Church. All their functions are of the highest utility, and several are absolutely necessary for its preservation and welfare. The advantages which each flock derives from having its appropriate pastor, and which the general body of the Church derives from the general body of the episcopacy, are incalculable. As to vicars-apostolic, such an institution is dissonant from the general spirit of Church discipline; but what necessity requires, necessity excuses.Such was the state of feeling in the beginning of the present century, and before any question whatever was mooted as to the Catholic episcopate for England recently instituted. But he would not rest the argument on Roman Catholic testimony. He would call in the evidence of a bishop of the Protestant Established Church, and from him derive assurance of the fact of an episcopate having been thought both necessary and desirable for the Roman Catholics in this country. Dr. Vowler Short, now the Bishop of St. Asaph, in his Sketch of the History of the Church of England, quoted Charles Butler's facts; but the sentiments and opinions founded on those facts he understood were Dr. Short's own. The right rev. Prelate wrote that the Bishop of Lincoln, the last Roman Catholic bishop in England who did not give his assent to the Protestant Reformation, died in 1584, and from that time up to 1598 "the English Catholic Church was under the jurisdiction of an arch priest." He then went on to describe the functions of that person. He said, "the Roman Catholics of England justly remonstrated against this as being virtually deprived of the benefits of an episcopate." After tracing the history further up to a recent period, Dr. Short said—Ireland has Roman Catholic bishops of her own who are independent of Rome, as far as Roman Catholics can be; and the members of that communion in England have much reason to complain that they have never been allowed the same benefits.This was written some years ago with the original publication of the work, and it had been republished in a fifth edition of as late a date as 1847, and subsequent to the bishop's appointment to the see which he now holds. Well, but there was still further evidence that the necessity of an episcopate was felt by every Church which had an Episcopal origin, which had enjoyed the institution, and which looked upon it as of scriptural origin. The Episcopalians of 376 the United States of America existed for some time without it; but soon after the declaration of independence they felt this craving for bishops, and an impatience to be satisfied until they enjoyed the full arrangements of their religion. Let him not be misunderstood in making this reference. He was not about to represent what had been done then, as bearing any close analogy with what had been done here recently by the Pope, in the creation of the hierarchy. That was not his object. He did not wish to place the two cases on the same footing. What he adduced the fact for was, merely to show the craving there was, the moral necessity, for an episcopate for religionists who were trained to think it of importance. The American Episcopalians applied for the consecration of bishops to this country, and their application was entertained. Mr. John Adams, who was then resident here, was made their medium of communication. There was a good deal of excitement among other classes of religionists, and Mr. Adams himself spoke of the undertaking "as bold, daring, and hazardous, to him and his." However, the application was made, and was entertained; and in 1787, at Lambeth, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York ordained a Bishop of New York and a Bishop of Pennsylvania; and so earnest were they, and anxious to confer what the Bishop of Oxford, the historian of the event, called this great and necessary boon, that they made extraordinary sacrifices for the purpose. They compounded for many things that would not even now be conceded to the tender consciences of their own communion in this country. They sacrificed many portions of the liturgy, which were omitted in the American Prayer-book—they sacrificed one of the three creeds, and nineteen out of the Thirty-nine Articles; and they procured legislative authority to dispense with the coronation oath, which was never before dissociated from the consecration of a bishop. This showed that there was a strong sense in their minds of the necessity of an episcopate for churches of that description. They thus laid the foundation of the American episcopate. They had heard a great deal of late about this country being mapped out ecclesiastically by a foreign authority. Why, the Bishop of Oxford, in his History of the Church in America, had prefixed to his work a map in which the whole of that great confederation of the United States, from sea to sea, was marked out and partitioned by ter- 377 ritorial lines into Anglican dioceses. There was therefore a moral necessity for a hierarchy; and, therefore, instead of committing an aggression, the Pope had complied with a want of his followers in this country—he had done that which all I churches, having the same institutions, would think rather a praiseworthy action than one of aggression. A sophism had much prevailed in that debate, and it was commenced by the noble Lord at the head of the Government in the able speech in which he introduced this measure, lie took all the enormities perpetrated by the priesthood from the dark ages down to the present time, and he ascribed them all to the Roman Catholic priesthood in particular. The noble Lord traced all the offences of the priesthood and priestcraft down to the time of the Reformation, and then when they became divided he descanted on those only that belonged to one side. But if he had taken the other side, he would have found sanguinary persecutions and ferocious cruelties without number. He (Mr. Fox) would not go back to those times; but he said there was a glaring fallacy in their ascribing to one priesthood in particular that which belonged to priesthoods in general. All priesthoods, of all religions, in all countries, and all ages, had been ambitious, grasping, and requiring to be kept in check—showing their bad qualities when they were dominant, and sometimes their evil doings very much balancing the account against them by their devotion to the beneficent works of kindness and charity through great privations when they were in poverty—as he believed was remarkable in the case of the Roman Catholic priesthood of the sister country. Well, then, let justice be rendered here. The hon. Baronet the Member for Marylehone had given them a touching and feeling recital of the difficulty experienced by a Protestant parent in Rome to be permitted to place an inscription on his infant daughter's tomb. But the hon. and gallant Member for Middlesex had only that evening told them that a town in this country had just been in a ferment at an unbending refusal that was obnoxious to all the common feelings of our nature. lie alluded to what had taken place at Chichester, where there had recently occurred the refusal of interment in the church burying ground to the remains of an aged and highly-respected minister of a Dissenting congregation in that town, after the close of his blameless and most exemplary life; 378 and the only reason for keeping his remains out of the parish burying ground was, that lie was a Separatist, and a pastor of Separatists. Why, instances of this kind on the one side and on the other, fairly balanced each other; but he had no desire to go into these things then. The noble Lord was angry with the Roman Catholic clergy for their hostility to that mixed education which all who valued the prevalence of feelings of mutual kindness and forbearance in after life, would desire to see carried out. But where had the Government found the best co-operation for that admirable system of national education which was established in Ireland? Three-fourths of the clergy of the Protestant Church in Ireland wore opposed to that system, whilst a large majority of Roman Catholic clergymen had co-operated in it, and consequently Roman Catholic children were receiving the blessings of education, lie believed that in too many instances Roman Catholic priests were opposed to education, and wished to grasp undue control over it; but in doing this they were only doing what it was the common tendency of the priesthood to do, nor did he believe there was one atom more of this in those schools which were most entirely under Roman Catholic control than in other schools, whether of the Established Church or of Dissenters, which had a religious origin. [The hon. Member then referred to a passage in the report of Mr. Marshall, inspector of Catholic schools for 1849, stating that in the northern and midland districts it was common for Catholic schools to be attended by the children of Protestant parents; that in no case did they receive religious instruction without the express sanction or consent of their parents, and were at liberty to withdraw themselves entirely from the school when it was given, or, if convenient, the Catholic children were removed to another apartment.] He wished this spirit were more general; if it were, how many of the obstacles to a more liberal system of education would vanish away! He would not say that there had not been a deep and extensive movement in the public mind on this subject, at the same time he could not keep down his suspicions that it had been considerably exaggerated. Although England had a population thrice as large as Ireland, it was remarkable that the petitions in favour of this Bill were only as one to three, or nearly so, compared to those against it. Generally, where the number of petitions 379 was large, and that of the signatures small, you must conclude that a manufactory had been at work. Now, the petitions against Papal aggression had an average of less than 170 signatures, while the petitions against the Bill had an average of 500 signatures. There was, therefore, good reason for supposing that in the latter case they had a real expression of popular feeling, while in the former one some extraneous machinery must have in active operation. But however that might be, he did not think that the petitions against Papal aggression had much to do with the Bill before the House. That was not what any class of the people meant or wished for; and, in that House, how many supporters of the measure had spoken during that long debate? Scarcely any, and those who meant to vote for it, would not do so because they liked it, for it pleased nobody. In fact, the measure found favour with none; it went too far for some, and not far enough for others. The measure required by the public mind in those petitions was this—we want something to stop the progress of Catholicism; we believe Popery to be dangerous to our civil and religious liberties; more than that, we believe it to be dangerous, and even fatal, to the salvation of men's souls. They wanted the progress of Popery to be arrested—a thing which certainly this Bill had not the most remote chance of effecting. He respected the feeling, though he did not coincide in it. How far they thought that anything could be done towards checking conversions to Popery by Act of Parliament, he should scarcely inquire; but if anything could be done in that way by Act Parliament, it must be by a very different kind of legislation from that before them. He saw but one way in which legislation could accomplish this, and that was by influence on the Church. The firmest and greatest bulwark against the spread of Popery would be to Protestantise more completely the Established Church. He did not mean by this that they should give to either of the two sections into which that Church was divided the victory over the other, or expel either of them from the bosom of the Church. It had been said, long ago, in reference to the Establishment, by a celebrated Member of that House, that she had a Popish liturgy, a Calvinistic creed, and an Arminian clergy. The Arminian clergy had passed away, or had ranged themselves with the other two divisions, which had taken their stand, the 380 one upon the Liturgy, the other upon the Articles. He thought something might be done to liberate both from the official necessity of subscribing that with which their sentiments were not in harmony—recognise that great principle which is the basis of Protestanism—the right of private judgment. Do not continue a subscription to Articles of such a nature as those which excluded from the ministry of the Church so pure and excellent a man as Robert Southey in later times, and so great a man as John Milton in earlier times; which kept out many men who in dissenting connexions rose to high and deserved eminence; and as to which one of the bishops—and an ornament to the Episcopal bench he was—the late Bishop of Norwich, testified that he never knew one single clergyman who entirely believed that to which he had formally and solemnly subscribed. You could have no uniformity of spirit more than of opinion while this existed; and this accounted for the leanings of the Established Church towards Catholicism, except where a collision arose such as that which had lately been witnessed. It was an unnatural and an unwholesome state, and there could exist no uniformity of spirit and action whilst it lasted. Then, combining these matters with the evident leanings of the National Church towards Romanism, remembering that that Church acknowledged Papal orders, and branded Protestant orders as pretended holy orders, thus taking its place by the side of Popery instead of Protestantism, was it wonderful that whilst no other church or sect, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist, or Methodist, had generated Popery, the Established Church had been prolific in conversions from its ranks. But it was not for him to go into questions of that kind then; and his only object in adverting to it was to show that if the wishes of the people were really to be gratified, and if anything calculated to check the progress of Popery were to be introduced, it should be by making the Church of England more Protestant, instead of allowing her to imitate the worst features of Catholicism in the worst of times. Whilst believing the Bill before the House would be ineffective for good, he likewise believed it was calculated to be productive of much mischief. The noble Lord, he feared, had not exercised a wise discretion in introducing the Bill. By that Bill he (Mr. Fox) saw the Government as well as the party of the noble Lord shattered to atoms: the public business delayed; 381 the time of the Legislature occupied, as well as the tone of its deliberations materially lowered; Ireland set in a blaze; the passions of the people of this country ox-cited, raging and working havoc amongst all the social relations of life; and all for what?—only to placate the wounded pride of a few titled ecclesiastics.
§ MR. WALPOLE
* Sir, in some respects I am extremely anxious, in other respects I am very unwilling, to take any part in the present discussion. I am anxious to do so because I feel the deepest interest in the subject before us; but I am unwilling to do so at the same time, because I tremble lest a word of mine should tend to wound the religious convictions of any portion of my fellow-countrymen. I am the more desirous to say this at starting, as I am about to notice, and entirely to dissent from, an observation which has fallen from the hon. Gentleman who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Fox), in one of the most able and temperate speeches which have yet been delivered. The hon. Gentleman has laid it down as a general aphorism that Christianity overrides nationality. I should have said that the reverse was the case. I should have said that Christianity had invariably recognised nationality; and hence I take my stand upon this Bill, considering that the nationality of this kingdom has not been recognised, as it ought to have been, by the recent conduct of the Court of Rome.
To discuss that matter fairly and candidly, two questions are principally at issue. First, whether the conduct of the Court of Rome, in endeavouring to establish within this realm a territorial hierarchy of its own creation, is or is not an act of aggression which we ought to take notice of; and, assuming that question to he answered in the affirmative, another and a more important question immediately arises, namely, in what way this aggression should be met, and whether the measures propounded by the Government are suitable to the occasion, and adequate for their purpose.
Now, with regard to the first of these questions, and bearing in mind that this is a matter which relates to the sovereignty of the Crown of England, and the independence of the kingdom, rather than to the principles of religious freedom—I should have thought, unless I had heard the extraordinary speech of my right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham), that there could not be a doubt as to the proper answer which ought to be given to it. My right hon. Friend 382 has admitted most frankly that what has been done by the Court of Rome is both arrogant and offensive; and, to my mind, that is admitting the whole of the case. For tamely to submit to any aggression from foreign interference which is arrogant and offensive, never has been, as yet, and never will he, I trust, either the character or the degradation of the British people.
Let us consider this matter a little more in detail. The Government have rested the Bill upon two grounds; namely, on the grounds that an insult has been offered, and an injury has been done, to this country. The noble Lord the Member for Arundel (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) disclaims the insult, and denies the injury. Now, if this were a question which could be determined by the mere opinion of any individual, there is no one whose opinion is entitled to greater weight than that of the noble Lord. But this is a question which cannot be determined by the opinion of any man, however high-minded, or however honourable, It must be determined partly by the character of the documents themselves, partly by the sense in which they had been received by the recognised organs of the Roman Catholic Church, and partly by the consequences to which, if submitted to, they must inevitably lead us. Take these tests, and all is clear. No one, I think, can have read the Papal brief, or Dr. Wiseman's pastoral, without feeling what Sir Edward Sugden so admirably expressed as his own sensation when first these documents were circulated among us. "I felt," said that great and eminent man, who was not likely to be led away by a passing emotion—"I felt as if a blow had been personally struck at me." Now I believe that sentiment is a true exponent of the feelings of the nation. The whole body of the people had taken alarm, and they too felt as if a blow had been personally struck at them. And why did they feel it? Because they heard for the first time that the language of sovereignty was used towards them, not by the Queen, whom they delighted to obey, but from a foreign Prelate, whose usurpations and encroachments both they and their ancestors had always defied; and they knew from history that if that language could he turned into action, and realised in operation, their liberties and their religion were equally in danger. Who can deny that these were circumstances enough to provoke them, and more than enough to put them on their defence? Not only were 383 they told that the Roman Pontiff had parcelled out this kingdom into new dioceses of his own invention, but they were also told in the same breath, in manifest derogation of the Queen's prerogatives, and of the power of Parliament, that any attempt, by any person, made in any manner, and under any authority, knowingly or ignorantly, to set aside those enactments, should be null and void. That was the language used in the brief. It was acted upon also by the adherents of Rome, and one of those adherents had presumed to announce from a foreign city, in that memorable pastoral of which we had heard so much, that he, forsooth, a subject of the Queen, was appointed to "govern, and should continue to govern," within the Queen's dominions, but without the Queen's sanction, such districts and counties as the Pope, in the plenitude of his apostolical power, should think fit to assign to him. Now if these documents did really mean what they purported to mean, we could not submit to such language as this. Had they been carried effectually into execution, an imperium in imperio would immediately have been created; and the authority of the Crown would have been overshadowed by the tiara. Therefore it is time, it is wise, it is right to vindicate at once the authority of the Queen; for, to adopt the expressions which Lord Bacon applied to a similar insult on a similar occasion, "The Pope has become, by his late challenges and pretences, a competitor and co-rival with the Queen for the hearts and obedience of the Queen's subjects."
Several justifications, however, have been offered for these documents by the Roman Catholics and their advocates. First, it is said that the meaning to be put on them has been somewhat misunderstood; secondly, that the power which has thus been set up is spiritual only; and, thirdly, that the change from vicars-apostolic to bishops in ordinary is a mere change in words and in names, and that it will not have any real effect on the laws, affairs, and institutions of the country.
With respect to the first justification, I am free to admit that if the meaning to be put on these documents has been really misunderstood, that is a point which ought not to be dwelt upon any longer. But have they been misunderstood? If so, it is certainly unfortunate that expressions so ambiguous were adopted by a Power which is peculiarly attentive to the words it makes use of; and it is still more unfortunate 384 that, since those documents and expressions are found fault with no attempt has ever been made to explain or correct them. Instead of that, they have been reasserted and reaffirmed in a manner more offensive and more acrimonious than the language contained in the documents themselves. Do you require a proof of this? You need only refer to the Univers in France, and the Tablet in England. The Univers stated, that as St. Gregory transferred the primacy from London to Canterbury, so Pius IX. had transferred the primacy from Canterbury to Westmister; that, in pursuance of the power bequeathed to him by his predecessors, he had substituted the See of Southwark for that of London; that he had abolished all the ancient Sees of England; and that, from the promulgation of the brief, there was neither See of Canterbury, nor See of York, nor See of London, nor any other sees, anterior to the Reformation. The Tablet used even stronger language. It said that the kingdom was divided by the Pope into new districts—that pastors were appointed to preside over them—and that all baptised persons, without exception, were commanded to obey those pastors, under pain of damnation, so that the ancient sees of England, those ghosts of realities, had passed away. Now, considering that the Queen was the head of the Church to which those sees belonged, and considering that She was resident within the new pretended diocese of Westminster, I am not surprised that the noble Lord at the head of the Government has plainly declared, in his celebrated letter, that the documents which had come from Rome constituted in themselves such an assumption of power, such a claim to sole and undivided sway, as was inconsistent with the supremacy of the Crown, with the rights and privileges of our bishops and clergy, and with the spiritual independence of the nation, even as asserted in Roman Catholic times.
It is said, in the second place, that the power asserted is merely spiritual; and my right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) had taken those who differed from him to task, for not distinguishing between things spiritual and things temporal. But whose fault is that? The Secretary for Foreign Affairs told us most correctly the other night, that this power of the Pope had always a double action and a double influence. It never has been, and it never can be, purely spiritual. If it were so, it ought to be left entirely to 385 itself. However prejudicial it may be to its votaries, it must then be permitted, as far as we are concerned, to thread its subtle and intricate course through the hidden pathways of the mind of man. In that case we have nothing to do with it—we have nothing to do with it until it touches us in temporal matters. But should it touch us in temporal matters, the mere assertion of its spiritual character is no excuse for the language which has boon used, and the conduct which has been pursued. The fact is, that the power of the Pope may be spiritual in its means, but it never is spiritual entirely in its objects. It is always acting through temporal agents; it is constantly applying itself to temporal purposes; it necessarily entails many temporal consequences. In this respect it differs from what my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer), in his most argumentative and powerful speech, has inappropriately cited as parallel cases—the Wesleyan Conference, the Episcopal Church in Scotland, and the voluntary associations of other religious bodies. They do not claim any temporal power—much less a power that comes from abroad, and which insists on its right of being supreme, and even universal. The power of the Pope, according to its best and ablest defenders, is directly spiritual, but indirectly temporal; that is to say, it has always exercised, and it always must exercise, in an indirect manner, a certain degree of temporal influence. But whether it be direct, or whether it be indirect, still it is there. And if it be there, it is perfectly immaterial on what account it is used and employed. For since all matters 'may easily be turned to a spiritual account; and since the Pope is the sole judge on what account he chooses to act; and since all history and experience shows that lie' can spiritualize everything when it suits his purpose—it matters but little whether I the power be direct or only indirect; and: in the forcible language of one of our divines, it signifies as nothing in his conflict with princes, whether he strikes at their authority be a downright blow, or only slantingly. Hence it is that every Government has always taken care to guard, to I check, and to control that Tower—even though it is willing to do homage to it in I spiritual matters. And hence it is that the change which has been made from vicars-apostolic to bishops in ordinary can not be regarded as a mere change in words and in names; but it must be regarded as 386 the change or a system which may be prejudicial to the best interests of this country.
This leads us to the third justification for what has been done. Now it ought always to be borne in mind that the system of vicars-apostolic by means of which the Roman Catholic Church had been governed in this country, was amply sufficient for every purpose that was purely religious; and it ought also to be borne in mind that it was capable of expansion to any extent according to the requirements of the Roman Catholic body. The noble Lord the Member for Arundel had pointed out most clearly to the House, how this expansion has hitherto taken place. He told us truly that there had been but one vicar-apostolic in the reign of James I., that there were four in the reign of James II., and that the number had been doubled by Gregory XVI., in 1840. It was not, therefore, for any spiritual or religious necessity that this change has been made. No; the reason was a different one. Dr. Wiseman has told us what that reason was. He has told us that without that hierarchy he could not give to the Roman Catholic priesthood an organic bond of union; that their Metropolitan was unable to convene them in synods, and that they could not apply the canon law to England. Be it so. Then the reasons alleged for the introduction of the hierarchy are the very reasons why it should not be allowed. Lt is precisely because it would give to the Roman Catholics an organic bond of union, that the new system, as compared with the old, is fraught with great political danger. It is precisely because it would enable these prelates to meet in synod, which even the National Church is restrained from doing—so great is our jealousy of ecclesiastical influence—that this new hierarchy is not consistent with the genius and character of the institutions of this country; and it is also because the measure has threatened to introduce the canon law of Rome among us, that the people of England have taken affright, and will not tolerate it for a single moment. The nature of that law has been ably, clearly, and forcibly commented on by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for 3xford. I am not, therefore, going to dilate on it now. It is sufficient to remark, bat the absolute and universal dominion of he Pope is the very foundation on which t is built—that this is the chief engine by chichi he has managed to set up his authority above the authority of kings and of 387 parliaments; that it is inconsistent with religious toleration and civil independence; and that, as Mr. Hallam has well observed, the key-note which regulates every passage of it is the supremacy of the ecclesiastical to the temporal power. It is idle, therefore, to say that this is a mere change of words and names. It is an actual change in principles and things. Under vicars-apostolic the Roman Catholic inhabitants of this country would be governed by the same laws as we are governed by ourselves, and the Roman Catholic religion would be a system of belief—erroneous, indeed, in our estimation, but not inconsistent with the duties which are owing by every good subject to the State in which he lives. But under bishops in ordinary the whole would be altered. The Roman Catholics would be governed by a law which is inapplicable to the rest of the community, and that law would impose obligations upon them inconsistent with allegiance to any society that did not pay implicit obedience to the See of Rome. [Cries of "Oh!" and "Hear!"] Well, such is my conviction. If you can refute me, I am perfectly willing to acknowledge the refutation. But if not, the question before the House is not a mere question of vicars-apostolic, or bishops in ordinary. It is a much greater question—it is simply this, whether the Pope's laws or the Queen's laws shall be paramount in England.
I have thus gone through the several justifications which have been urged most strongly for the recent aggression. Allow me now to point out what I think the people of this country have strong reason to complain of. In my opinion, the people of this country have strong reason to complain on three grounds: first, because the Papal brief, if ever it should be acted on, is contrary to the law of nations; secondly, because it is opposed in toto to the laws of England; and, thirdly, because it is entirely inconsistent with, and absolutely repugnant to, the genius and spirit of our Protestant institutions.
The law of nations requires, and it is obviously essential to the peace of society that it should require, that no encroachments should ever be made by one Power on another; that no one State should exercise or claim the right of jurisdiction within the territories of another State; that it should not presume to dictate laws to it; and that it should not interfere in any way whatever in its internal affairs. These are rules as invariable as they are universal. 388 They form a part of the great European unwritten code, by means of which the peace of the world is maintained and preserved. Every nation, therefore, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, whether enlightened or bigoted, whether religious or superstitious, has invariably protested against any interference by the Roman Pontiff with its own laws and its own dominions. The royal placet or the exequatur of the Crown, as shown by Dr. Twiss and other writers, are antecedent conditions, which must be complied with before the Pope could nominate bishops or circulate his mandates in any country whatever. In Russia the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church are named by the Emperor. In Prussia they are usually chosen by the King. In neither country can any communication be held with Rome, except through the medium of the civil Power. Similar regulations were until lately insisted on and enforced in all those countries which loved Rome more, and knew her better. And shall we alone, of all the nations in Europe, allow a Power to be created here which no other nation, until quite recently, has ever conceded? Are we as Protestants to submit to an usurpation which, as Roman Catholics, our noble ancestors indignantly denied? If such is to be the effect of constitutional government, why then I must say the countries most trampled on by the Roman Pontiff are better off than ourselves; and I also conclude that if this infringement of the I law of nations is allowed to proceed—to gain a head—to reach its height, the time may come when we shall find to our cost, and probably to our shame, that the change now made, or attempted to be made, will convert a section or portion of the community from loyal, faithful, and obedient subjects, into a compact and organised confederation against the Church, the Crown, and the Constitution.
I now proceed to the second ground of complaint. By the common law of England no person can lawfully hold, without I the Queen's consent, any kind of intercourse with a foreign Power, or accept there from any office, dignity, honour, or reward, or do or receive anything, which might create an undue influence in favour of such foreign Power. The reason for this is plain and obvious; for every State is entitled to require the allegiance of its own subjects; and no subject has a right to do anything which can in any way affect or qualify that allegiance, so as to impair, 389 diminish, or alter it. It is for this reason that, according to our laws, there is a certain offence called misprision, or contempt, which Consists in doing anything that brings into contempt the Queen's Government or the Queen's title; in interfering, or assuming to interfere, with Her just prerogatites; or in diminishing, or trying td diminish, either Her or Her authority in the eyes of Her subjects. Now no one can look at these documents which have Come from Rome without seeing that any parties who acted under them would render themselves amenable to this grave offence; for these documents, if ever acted upon, show that they recognise no principle—that they ask no sanction—that they acknowledge no authority hut that which flows from the irresistible—no, I will not call it irresistible, but from the self-assumed and uncontrollable power lodged in the hands of a foreign Prince, and claiming for itself universal supremacy. The Statutes of Richard II. and of Elizabeth, which prohibit the publication of bulls from Home, were passed On the same principles. They were not intended as a punishment of error, but their object was to repress what Was then, and what might be again, a great evil of State; and since they absolved the subject from his allegiance, they were even made high treason; the law, says Lord Bacon, accounting them as preparatives—the first Wheels and secret motions to sedition and revolt from the Queen's obedience. I admit that the law, with reference to this matter, is in a most unsatisfactory state. We have repealed the penalties and punishments of the statute of Elizabeth, but we have left the statute as it was before with reference to the offence, What the Legislature should now do undoubtedly is this—it should specify what bulls should be allowed to come into the country for the purpose of enabling the Roman Catholics themselves to regulate the discipline and to manage the internal affairs of their own Church; but all others which might be used for improper and illegal purposes should strictly be prohibited.
Again let me remind you that the recent aggression of the Pope is not merely an infringement of the Jaw of nations; it is not only opposed to the law of England, but it is utterly repugnant to the genius and spirit of our own institutions. Those institutions are founded upon the notion that no foreign Prince ever had or ever ought to have any jurisdiction or authority 390 within this realm. The national independence is that upon which the people of this country have always stood firm; and although the Church and the Court of Rome has from time to time endeavoured to shake that independence, they have always been met, and with few exceptions they have always been rebuffed by the inherent vigour of our free institutions, and the unyielding wisdom of successive Parliaments. My right lion. Friend the Member for Ripon asked us last night whether we I were prepared to resist the so Papal pretensions. And he said, in answering his own question, "our ancestors were wiser I than to attempt it, and so should we be." I own I was astonished when I heard that I statement from my light hon. Friend; for, knowing as I do the intimate acquaintance of my right hon. Friend with the history of this country, I thought he might have recalled the well-known fact that from the earliest periods of our history encroachments have been attempted from time to time by the Bishop of Rome and by Roman Catholics, acting under his authority: but those encroachments have always been checked, and, as I said before, with few exceptions they have always been defeated. I know that the Pope has said in his brief that England, after this change of system, would be restored again to her orbit in the ecclesiastical firmament; but if we refer to the same history, we shall find that the only orbit in which England has ever moved is around the Crown as its only centre; yes—to adopt the language of Dr. Wise man—"the only centre of jurisdiction, life, and vigour." The Church of England has always been free'—even before the time that St. Augustine planted his foot on our island. And when he came and demanded submission to the See of Rome, lie was at once told that it could not be allowed; that it was a strange thing never heard of before; and the House will remember the memorable answer which was made to him by Dinothus, in the name of the Britons, that the only obedience they owed to the Pope was the obedience of charity. For 400 years from that time, as the Solicitor General has pointed out most clearly, this country continued to be free and independent, and it was not until the Conqueror had derived considerable advantages from the Roman Pontiff when he blessed his host and consecrated his banners, that any usurpation was made upon us. I admit that Rome was to a certain extent successful during the first 391 Norman Kings. There were three points gained, and those three might be gained again, unless we took care, although they were defeated as long ago as in the time of Henry II. The first was the exemption of all ecclesiastics from secular jurisdiction: the second was the right of carrying appeals to the Court of Rome; and the third was the virtual appointment of bishops by homage being done to, and investiture conferred by, the Roman Pontiff. But the Constitutions of Clarendon, which reduced into writing our Saxon customs, declared by one of its articles, that when ecclesiastics were charged with any crime they should always be tried by the secular courts; by another, that appeals should go from the bishop to the archbishop, and from the archbishop to the King, but no further, without the King's consent; and, by a third, that bishops themselves should be elected by chapters under the King's writ, with the King's consent, and that, when elected, homage and fealty should be rendered by them to him alone. I admit that these advantages were again surrendered under King John. I admit that King John, in a dastardly hour, gave up his country to the Roman Pontiff, and consented to pay to him an annual tribute of 1,000 marks. But, when that tribute was demanded of Edward III. by Urban V., it was unanimously resolved by all the Estates of the realm, that this donation was null and void, being without the concurrence of Parliament, and contrary to his coronation oath; and they resolved and engaged that if the Pope persisted in his demand, he should be resisted and withstood to the utmost of their power. Subsequently to that, the regular clergy procured the appointment of various aliens to English benefices; the profits of those benefices were transferred to foreign parts; nearly half the land in England got into their hands, and sentences, and processes, and writs were put in execution by the agents of the See of Rome in this country. But then came the memorable Statutes of Provisors and Præmunire, which established, if anything was wanted to establish, that the Church of England and the Crown of England were perfectly free. The statute against Provisors emphatically declared that the Church of this country was the Church of England, as contradistinguished from the Church of Rome, and that it was founded in prelacy by the King and his progenitors. And the Statute of Præmunire had that memorable preamble, in 392 which it was stated, that the Crown of England had been so free at all times that it had not been under earthly subjection, but was immediately subject unto God, and none other. From that time, the time of Richard II., the tide of reformation set in so strongly—not ostensibly, but in a swelling under current—that it rose to the surface in the reign of the Tudors, and carried all before it with irresistible force; and when Queen Mary restored the supremacy of the Pope for a limited period, it should always be remembered that she never repealed—for Parliament would not allow her to repeal—either the Statute of Provisors or the Statute of Præmunire, but those statutes were expressly kept in full force—a remarkable fact, as Coke has observed, which showed how careful the State of England had ever been to preserve the just prerogatives of the Crown, and the ancient laws of the realm. A century and a half then passed away, when the fearful contest was again renewed through the bigotry and folly of James II.; and those times, in some respects, were not altogether dissimilar from the present. Then, as now, the plea of conscience was ostentatiously put forth in the Declaration of Indulgence; but when it was seen to be a mere pretext, the people of England flung it to the winds. Then, as now, the Nonconformists were upbraided for taking part with the bishops and clergy of the Church of England. But what was their answer? The Nonconformists said, as I think they will say in these days also, "We stand by those who stand by the Protestant religion." Then, as now, the great advocates of civil and religious liberty, such as Locke and Lord Somers, drew a broad distinction between the Church of Rome and the Court of Rome; the members of the Church of Rome being good Catholics, who had merely religious purposes in view; but the adherents of the Court of Rome being those who were sent as emissaries to make war against every community which did not hold the same tenets as themselves; and so they had no just claims to indulgence, because they were listed, as it were, for soldiers against the Government under which they lived, and, ipso facto, they delivered themselves up to the service and protection of a foreign Power. A long period succeeded this, and those undoubtedly were gloomy days for the Roman Catholics. It was not until 1791 that they obtained toleration, and it was not until 1829 that they gained what 393 was called emancipation. But, though excluded from office and from Parliament, it ought always to be remembered that they were excluded upon political and not on religious grounds.
I have referred to the Act of 1829, and I refer to it now the more particularly, because I have said before in this House, and I say still, it is my firm, clear, and deliberate conviction, that if we wish to have religious peace in this country we can only obtain it by abiding by the settlement made in 1829, as a binding compact, which gave freedom to the Roman Catholic, and security to ourselves. But if that compact is not to be held binding; if it is only to be made a convenient stepping-stone for still further advances; if all our securities are to be taken away from us one by one; if the rights and privileges conferred upon the Roman Catholics are merely to be made use of as masked approaches to future attacks; if Rome is always to be an aggressive Power; if nothing can satisfy her but unbounded dominion and unlimited supremacy—then I say, that the people of England, true to their faith, their freedom, and their independence, must renew again the protest of their forefathers, and teach the adherents of the Court of Rome—for I purposely distinguish between the Court and the Church of Rome—and teach the adherents of the Court of Rome, that if they looked for unconditional submission to Romish authority they have strangely misunderstood and utterly mistaken the faith and temper of the British people.
I think I have now demonstrated that an aggression has been committed against this country; that it is not justified by the excuses which have been urged and alleged in its favour; that it is not only an infringement of the law of nations, and opposed to the law of England, but repugnant to the genius and spirit of our Constitution. If that be so, then comes the question which my right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon asked last night—how are we to deal with it? Is it by legislation, or by applying to the Attorney General? The effect, I think, of my right hon. Friend's very able argument, if he really wishes it to be fully carried out, would be to compel the Attorney General to prosecute; that is to say, to subject the Roman Catholics to the penalties of a præmunire. Now, such a course would have been ton times more irritating than the present Rill; and, upon the whole, I agree that the Government were right in not prosecuting, for I fear 394 the law is in so uncertain a state that the success of a prosecution could not have been predicated; and a Crown prosecution ought never to be attempted unless it is likely to be followed by success. But I have another objection to a Crown prosecution, even if successful. That objection is, that a Crown prosecution would not, have touched the gravamen of the offence. The gravamen of the offence, in my opinion, is the Papal brief. But that is an offence which affects so entirely the whole nation that, in my humble judgment, the only way in which we can deal with it is by a national protest and a national movement; and I know no way in which that protest and movement could be manifested, except through you, as the representatives of the nation here assembled in Parliament. But, then, my right hon. Friend has said, if we are to have legislation, what is it to be? I admit that this is a most important question. But, before we answer it, let us see what is thought of the present Bill by its ablest opponents. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Wilts (Mr. S. Herbert) has not even yet made up his mind whether it is a nullity or a persecution; and my right hen. Friend the Member for Ripon seems still to be doubtful whether lie should ridicule it as impotent, or condemn it as oppressive. Now, these are inconsistencies in great and able statesmen which require explanation; and I know not how such an explanation can be given, except when the measure be discussed in Committee. In that event, I was going to say, I would myself undertake—but I am not so presumptuous; I believe, however, that the law officers of the Crown will readily undertake—to prove, that the first clause of the Bill, which, in fact, is now the only clause intended to be left, is not in any respect a violation or infringement of religious freedom; but it is founded on the great principle on which I understand from the noble Lord that he has advocated it throughout—the principle of maintaining unimpaired and entire the supremacy of the Crown, coupled with the duty of self-defence and self-preservation.
In one point I agree with everybody who has spoken in this debate—that is to say, that in any legislation we are prepared to adopt, we are bound to maintain a just, wise, and enlightened toleration; and if in the course of the discussion in Committee, it should be found that this toleration has been infringed, I, for one, 395 should say that the measure ought to be given up. But I must beg to observe that this is not the only principle which we have to attend to; although I fear it is the only principle to which, from the beginning to the end of my right hon. Friend's speech, he has ever adverted. There are other principles equally important: the sovereignty of the Crown; the independence of the realm; the freedom of our Church, the purity of our faith, the first great right of the law of nature—the right, when attacked, of self-defence and self-preservation; and if that will not satisfy hon. Gentlemen, I must also add the duty, of all others, which every wise statesman should be the last to give up—the duty of transmitting to those who come after us all the rights and all the privileges which we have derived from those who went before us. These are principles which must be attended to; and, unless attended to, we shall not be legislating either to the people's Satisfaction, to our own credit, or to the country's security. But, in addition to this, allow me to ask, what is the toleration which ought to be the guide of our present legislation? This has been defined in different ways by different hon. Gentlemen. One thing, however, I can safely say of it—and that is, that the toleration which is advocated by the Roman Catholics, is not the toleration which ought to guide us. What is that toleration? Mr. Bowyer, a gentleman whom I am proud to call my friend, than whom, I am sure, there is not in the kingdom an abler or better constitutional lawyer, has published a pamphlet, expressly "by authority," in which he attempts to justify the conduct of Rome an the plea of toleration; and he defines toleration as "something more than the mere equality of civil rights." What, then, is that something more? It can mean but one thing, consistently with the principles which every honest Roman Catholic holds—immediate establishment and ultimate ascendancy. In saying this, I do not think that I, at all, pervert Mr. Bowyer's meaning; and, if I do not, it is clear that this is not a toleration which the people of England will ever consent to. They will say to the Roman Catholics, as they say to others—"We will secure to, you what we secure to the rest; but we will give you no more. You ask for more, however. By your own avowal, you are seeking it now. Having gained one degree of liberty or indulgence, you are seeking another as of right: you have obtained equality, as one 396 among many who ought to be tolerated; but you are aspiring to ascendancy as one above all, who ought to be supreme." This is the tendency of your recent aggression. Conscience is pleaded, but dominion is meant. Toleration is asked for, but empire is designed.
The principle of toleration, therefore, as laid down by Mr. Bowyer, is not the principle upon which this House could proceed to legislate, for any toleration which asks for more than the mere equality of civil rights, is, as Burke has tersely expressed it, "not conscience, hut ambition." I would rather adopt the definition which has been given of toleration by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Wood). He has said that toleration is perfect freedom in the exercise and observance of religious tenets—limited by this and by this only, that you should not misuse your own rights so as to injure the rights of others—Sic utere tuo ut alienum non lœdas. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon has capped that maxim by another, which is familiar to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford, Volenti non fit injuria. Well, I agree; and if we were willing to allow this usurpation and encroachment of the, Pope, we could not allege that an injury has been done to us. But we are not willing; and therefore the maxim of my right hon. Friend recoils upon himself, and it may be turned against him as, readily as in his favour.
Taking then this as the principle of toleration which ought to be applied to the present Bill—taking it, I mean, in conjunction with the duty of preserving entire the supremacy of the Crown and the independence of the kingdom—I hope I may he allowed to add a few words on the measure itself. In doing I am very unwilling to say anything which may hamper the position of the noble Lord, for I feel he is surrounded by so many difficulties with reference to this question, that I think it is the duty of a11 who condemn this Papal aggression, to support the noble Lord to the best of their ability. At, the same time, I must point out to the noble Lord that the Bill is a defective one. It seems to me that the noble Lord, would have done much better, if he had followed and acted in conformity with the aneient Statutes of Provisors and Præmunire—if he had dealt with this encroachment in what might be called the olden way that is to say, if he had condemned the con- 397 duct which we have reason to complain of; prefacing that condemnation with an explanatory preamble, which should recite distinctly the constitutional principle upon which, we proceeded. I have thought much and anxiously on this subject; and I beg to suggest to the noble Lord the propriety of declaring that the Papal brief is unlawful and void to all intents and purposes, and that we ought to prohibit all persons from acting under it—partly by way of keeping the allegiance of the people un shaken—and partly by way of a solemn protest, in the face of Europe, against the notion that any power could come into this realm, and bring into question, or derogate in any way from the only authority which England can recognise. I would wish the noble Lord to introduce, as I have said, a large preamble, setting forth, in clear and emphatic language, the constitutional principle upon which our legislation is intended to be based; pointing out the encroachments which have been made upon us; protesting against them in the most earnest manner; and declaring that such encroachments are contrary to the laws and customs of the realm, and ought not to be allowed to ripen into usage, or to obtain. the sanction of time and custom. The noble Lord must deal with the subject in some such way as this, if he means to deal with it in a satisfactory manner, I do not touch upon other questions, such as the convention of synods, and the introduction of the canon law. With reference to these we require information, and they must be left for further inquiry. But the immediate offence ought now to be settled; and I firmly believe it may be settled in some such mode as that which I have suggested. By acting thus, we shall resent at once the immediate insult, and obviate by anticipation the prospective injury. We shall place all parties in the same position as that in which they were, before the aggression was attempted to be made. We shall preserve to the Roman Catholics all the rights and all the privileges which the great principle of religious toleration entitles them to expect: and we shall maintain for the Protestants all the protection and all the security which the equally just principle of self-preservation entitles them to demand. For these reasons, and with these views, I intend to support the second reading of this Bill, believing that any Bill is better than no Bill, in the deep excitement which prevails in this country from and end of it to the other. There is one 398 thing, however, which I cannot help adding, and that is, that I would infinitely rather have no Bill at all, unless the Government is prepared to act on it as soon as it becomes the law of the land. Depend upon it, that if we leave it unnoticed and disregarded, such a course will be idle and delusive; for then, to use a lawyer's expression, we should only be making ourselves accessories after the fact to the very offence which we mean to put down. Whatever happens, you must not do this:—You must not make a scarecrow of the law,Setting it up to fear the birds of prey;Nor let it keep one shape, till custom make itTheir perch, and not their terror.Of all the policies which a Government can pursue, this is the worst; and if these events, painful as they arc, shall fail to teach us any other lesson, I hope, at any rate, they will teach us this—namely, that the steady and just administration of the law is not less important than the law itself; and I will also add, that even tin; steady administration of the law will be fruitless and unavailing, if it is still to be accompanied by a course of policy which encourages the offence it intends to prohibit, and which weakens the security ii proposes to provide. One word more, and I have done. We have heard much about religious persecution, as if it were persecution to defend ourselves, and to repel an attack or hostile invasion. We have heard something, also, about the duty of preserving religious peace. Would to God it might be preserved! but religious peace cannot he preserved unless both parties will withdraw their forces, and prepare to stand on neutral ground. Remember, also, that it is not by us that religious peace has now been disturbed. Let it never be forgotten by whom and how this struggle has been commenced. We are taking nothing from you; but you are endeavouring to take much from us. Under the plea of conscience, you must not subject the inhabitants and people of this country to foreign laws and to a foreign jurisdiction. You must not shake that allegiance to the Crown which ought to be one, undivided, and entire. You must not set up in any church—I care not what church that may be—the sacerdotal power above the temporal; still less must you exalt the Pontifical authority above the Regal. If you do, you will put to peril the supremacy of the Crown, the freedom of the Church, and the integrity of our Constitution; and, knowing as we do, that the continued 399 protest against what we believe to be Papal error and Papal tyranny, is the very tenure and title by which the Crown is held—is the firmest foundation on which the Church is built—is the strongest bulwark by, means of which the Constitution has secured to us our freedom and our faith; I think the time is now come, not, as the Pope has prematurely predicted—when the form of ecclesiastical government in England is to be brought again into the model of Papal countries; but I think that the time has now come, when, imitating the example of Her illustrious predecessors, Her Majesty may call on you, as She has done already in her Speech from the Throne, to vindicate Her authority, as the best, and perhaps the only, means of maintaining unimpaired the nation's rights; and in such a cause—with truth, with honour, with justice on Her side—I am sure She may challenge the hearts, the obedience, the loyalty of Her subjects, while She says to them, as frankly as She certainly may truly, "I am for a free people, and I trust you are for a free Queen."
§ Mr. ROEBUCK
said, he had been much puzzled by the peroration of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. "A free people and a free Queen," said the hon. and learned Gentleman. Was there anything capable of comparison in the relative positions of the Pope and the Queen? We were a great people, foremost in the world, with a power hardly equalled, certainly not surpassed, by any of the nations of the earth. We had a Sovereign whom all parties obeyed—before whom they were proud to kneel—and for whom they were all ready to die. And was She not a free Queen? That was one side of the question. On the other hand, did not this House, did not the country exhibit real Protestant feeling? What had they on the other? But to begin at the head, he would take this foreign prince. What was he? As a prince he was no-thing, without power, without an acre of land which he could call his own, but, if he had any power, it was merely a moral influence; and he (Mr. Roebuck) would ask how they were to deal with that moral influence by any Act of Parliament? Compare him to a free Queen and the power of this country! Talk of this country being overborne by a wandering old imbecile priest! Why, if he came into this country at all, he came in clothed only with his moral attributes. He asked what they had to fear? He wanted to deal with this 400 question as a political one. He wanted to lift it out of the mire of theological dispute; he did not want to roll himself where he had seen so many rolled before, but he wanted to take the question, as well as himself, on some dry land, on which they might have some rational argument. Passion he did not wish to impart to it; prejudice he did not wish to seek the aid of; he would not talk about a free Queen, nor would he talk on the other hand about religious liberty. He would at once grant the noble Lord at the head of the Government all he asked for respecting the right of asserting the supremacy of the Parliament of England. He was quite ready to deal with any question brought before Parliament. He had no feeling in that respect one way or the other. He asked, did what was called the Papal aggression in any way affect the interest of England? He wanted to know the circumstances under which this law was propounded? He wanted to know the object of that law; what were the circumstances under which this law was propounded? He could not help, however painful it might be to the noble Lord, stating that the noble Lord had in this instance departed from his usual policy. He (Mr. Roebuck) could not help looking back to the antecedents from which the noble Lord had departed, and he felt that those antecedents did not justify the present proceedings. A great mistake appeared to him to have been committed by all those who supported the noble Lord in this matter, in considering the rescript of the Pope as a legal document, and not considering the position in which the Roman Catholics of England stood, and to whom that rescript was addressed. The position of the Roman Catholics was that of a Dissenting body. The Established Church was the ruling Church, and here the Catholics of the country were like the Methodists, the Congregationalists, or any other body of Dissenters. Suppose, for example, any body of Dissenters chose to introduce such a law respecting themselves (which was done every day), what would be the consequence? Why, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had asked this very question, "Is there not an insult and an invasion of the Royal prerogative?" What did he mean by that question? What did he intend by saying there was an invasion of the Queen's prerogative by anything the Pope had done? He (Mr. Roebuck asked that question in all humble- 401 ness. What had the Pope done to affect the position of England, or the laws of this country? They could fully understand what the rescript of the Pope was; but having considered the statement of the hen. and learned Gentleman whose audacity—(and he used the word advisedly)—whose audacity of promise was not carried out by performance, he (Mr. Roebuck) would ask him what was the invasion? He said the Pope had insulted this country by parcelling it out into district, and that is an invasion of the Queen's prerogative. If it were said that there had been an invasion of the Queen's prerogative or any way a diminution of Her power, he would ask how that was effected? Was the rescript opposed to the law of the land? The rescript of the Pope determined that there should be an alteration of certain portions of the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical establishment, and that bishops should be substituted for vicars-apostolic. Vicars-apostolic had long existed before; and he wished to know what powers attached to the present bishops which were not previously enjoyed by the vicars-apostolic? If the House considered the circumstances of the Roman Catholics of this country from the Reformation to the present time, they would learn how step by step that position was altered. At the Reformation, they were placed in a position inferior to the Established Church, and inferior to Dissenters—they were in the position of a persecuted sect. In 1640, when the Puritans were in power, the Puritanical spirit ruled undiminished, and the Roman Catholics were subjected to that cruel persecution of which they themselves had given the first example. Afterwards, in the year 1688, James H. introduced partially the Roman Catholic religion. The dissenting sects were aroused at this. The dissenting sects objected. At that time the Roman Catholics were very different from what they are now. Catholic England had been deposed, and wisely so, and he was not one of those who thought the Catholic religion was advantageous to the advancement of enlightenment; hut that was no reason why we should make laws against our Catholic fellow-subjects. He believed when the Roman Catholics were dominant in this country the Catholic priests were the most enlightened persons in the community. Who was it that preserved all the learning of mankind? Who preserved all the ancient lore but the Roman Catholic priests? In fact, they showed 402 the power of mind over matter, not that the manifestation was a good one; but it was a clear instance of intelligence conquering the power of the feudal aristocracy, which then bowed before the Catholic priests. In process of time, knowledge extended among the other classes, and people generally became learned, and the priests were consequently put down. The Reformation ensued, and upon that great alteration he believed the true interests of mankind depended. He believed it was of more benefit to mankind than any revolution which the world had ever seen. He took the Reformation to be a manifestation of the advancement of mankind, and a proof of learning extending to all the masses of mankind, instead of being confined to a class. But when the noble Lord talked of the Catholic religion, and spoke of its despotic tendency, did he find no difference between the present time and the period when the Catholics monopolised learning, and became the depositories of all the intellectual power and excellence of the empire. The advance of learning, the invention of the printing press, and the other aids to enlightenment which had since been developed, had entirely altered the position of the Roman Catholics. By the discovery of printing the people became learned, and the priests were not the only lettered persons in the community. But he would ask what the noble Lord intended to do with his Bill, and what evil did he fear? Did he fear encroachment from the Roman Catholics? If so in what way? The noble Lord had described the encroachments of the Catholics as developing itself in two ways—by the establishment of the hierarchy, and by the introduction of the canon law. He would take the last first. What, he asked, was really meant by the introduction of the canon law? Did any one act of the Pope affect any portion of our legal power? and did any one believe that the canon law was the law of the land? The canon law merely meant an obligation by which the Roman Catholics permitted themselves to be governed, so long as it continued. They called it the canon law, but it was not enforced in our courts of law, and was merely a moral obligation, binding on the consciences of the Roman Catholics, and to which they chose to submit. To say, therefore, that the canon law had only recently been introduced by means of the rescript of the Pope, was not the case. The power of the Pope, though always the same, was merely the force of custom, and 403 could not be enforced by any law. The Pope had spiritual power over the minds of Roman Catholics, but he had no power in our courts of law; and to say that the people of this country, who did not hold the Catholic faith, were to be affected by the Pope's rescript, was preposterous. If this were so, then what had the rescript done? It had slightly changed the position of the ecclesiastical body in this country. The Pope had the power through vicars-apostolic of governing the entire country, and the rescript merely directed that bishops should be appointed to preside over certain districts by the clergy, so that the difference was an election by the clergy instead of direct nomination by the Pope. But the hon. and learned Solicitor General said, that there was also synodical action. Now what was "synodical action?" He (Mr. Roebuck) had seen the Wesleyan Methodists' assembly, and also the assemblies of other religious denominations; but were they to be considered as amounting to synodical action? They had 'been told that there was a great difference between Roman Catholics and Dissenters, and that the Roman Catholics acknowledged a foreign Prince, which the Dissenters did not. It should be remembered that the Roman Catholics had an episcopal body, and derived their power from the Pope, who was not considered in the light of a foreign Prince, but as the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church. Then, again, they were told that this foreign Prince would interfere with the loyalty of Roman Catholic subjects. This was a most unjustifiable attack on their loyalty. It was an unworthy return to make for the calmness and meekness with which they had borne their oppression. Up to the year 1829, there was no more loyal, submissive, and he would say docile class of subjects than the Roman Catholics of England. The Roman Catholics of England had not gained emancipation; it was gained by the Catholics of Ireland, who terrified the Government of the day. They frightened the Government; and so imminent was their danger, that he who was called "the great conqueror of a hundred fights," the Duke of Wellington, went down to the House of Lords and said, "I cannot govern the country if the Roman Catholics be not emancipated." Sir Robert Peel too, who had left the House of Commons in 1828, declaring that, as a gentleman, he was bound to maintain all the penal laws against the Roman Catholics, came down to that House in 1829 404 with Catholic emancipation in his hand, stating that it was impossible to maintain the Government of the country if penal laws were maintained. And did the noble Lord at the head of the Government believe that he could govern Ireland now, after so many years of enjoyment of liberty and power in that House? Did he believe that Roman Catholic Ireland would remain quiet with such a Bill as the present? Did he believe that Catholic Ireland would tolerate a Bill that exhibited all the bigotry and hatred of Parliament, without being able to show its power? Could he expect to govern the country with such a Bill as this? No, no; it was an idle brutum fulmen. It was a display of hostility and hatred, without the means of attack—an insult without the power of injuring. The noble Lord depended, no doubt, upon the support of his Irish Friends; but he had not discovered the great mistake he had made in writing his celebrated letter. The noble Lord had some time since discovered the great mistake he had made, and at this moment he felt acutely how unwise he was in departing from the course prescribed to a leader of a party, to say nothing of the head of a Government, by entering into a discussion in a newspaper upon such a subject. From the hour in which he penned" his unfortunate letter to the present moment, the noble Lord had felt the inevitable consequences of his most imprudent proceeding. The present Bill was the natural product of the first wrong step. In itself it was wholly useless; but it would prove the destruction of the noble Lord's Administration. All the business of the country was in abeyance in consequence of it. Everything connected with the interests of England was in abeyance. The entire Government was paralysed because the Irish Members were no longer the friends of the noble Lord. Depend upon it, they would not be slow to take advantage of their power, and in the balance of party—(a balance which was now well nigh equal—they would hold the destiny of the noble Lord's Government in their hands. Nobody felt this so much as the noble Lord himself. What was it that at this moment made the Government of this country a spectacle to the world? Why, because on neither side of the House could any party be found to take the Government of the country. The noble Lord held it by sufferance, because his opponents dared not take it. And why dared they not to take it? Because they had no majority. And 405 what is the shuffle by which the noble Lord has held the Government of the country? Why, he has resorted to this miserable, unworthy, unstatesmanlike, blundering proceeding, which will answer no purpose save to falsify all the principles of his whole life. He had gained his power by fighting the battle of the Dissenters, and the party to which he belonged had, from 1800 to 1829, fought the battles of the Catholics; and now were they to be told by the noble Lord that he was carrying out the Whig policy of that day? All the arguments which the noble Lord had recently used, were in direct antagonism with the arguments which he had used in 1829. He could understand the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, and the hon. Gentlemen at the Conservative side of the House, acting as they had done, because the course they had adopted was, at least, consistent. They had all along opposed the emancipation of the Catholics, and they had predicted what had happened. He could, therefore, understand them now saying, "We will oppose you now, as we opposed you in 1829;" but when the noble Lord came forward to join them, who had himself assisted in passing the measure of 1829, he confessed he was surprised. This was an attempt to stay the onward progress of a great principle, and whoever made such an attempt was invariably destroyed. The noble Lord had made the attempt, and it was clear that his destruction was inevitable. He was not the first Minister who had been destroyed by following a similar course. His Administration was not an Administration. His Government had no power. The noble Lord could do nothing cither for or against his opinions. Night after night they were talking on this subject, and every one knew that the moment they came to a decision, and the Bill was passed, there would be an end to the noble Lord's Administration. In a few days after this question had been decided, same real question affecting the policy of this country would be brought forward, and what would be the consequence? The noble Lord had deserted his friends, and had enlisted in his cause the last poor remnant of bigotry and intolerance. He had offended all the liberal Irish Members, and many of his liberal English friends, who previously believed that civil and religious liberty was inscribed on his banner. To whom did the noble Lord now look for support—by whom was he now feared? 406 By whom were his majorities made up? He (Mr. Roebuck) had seen many remarkable contrasts in that House, but he had never seen so marked a contrast as that presented by the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, and the address of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. The cheers which saluted the right hon. Baronet were vehement, fierce, united, hearty, and long-sustained cheers; but they were cheers from the Government side of the House. The noble Lord attempted to answer that speech—his only support was from the opposite side of the House. Cheers, such as they were, came from the Conservative side of the House. This was a most marvellous contrast. The noble Lord felt as soon as he sat down that his spirit had gone out of him—that his former supporters were no longer his friends, and that he must look for support across the House. But to return more immediately to the measure under discussion. He was compelled to say that he looked upon this Bill as the greatest calamity which had happened to the country for a long time. He had hoped that the animosity of theological hate which existed prior to 1829 had been interred when the measure of that year was passed, and that for the future the country would be governed on the principles which were then acknowledged as the basis of future legislation. In this hope, however, he was deceived. Animosity, as far as religion was coucerned, was dying out. He looked upon the attempt of Cardinal Wiseman as a most unhappy one; for, had he but waited a few years, the consequences would have been very different. In matters of religion, there were only two courses to pursue—enthusiasm or indifference. Enthusiasm led to mischief, and indifference to Cardinal Wiseman. No more disastrous step could have been taken by the noble Lord than that by which he had aroused a spirit which he could not allay. The consequence of that course would be that we should see a revival of all those miserable feelings between religions continued for many years to come, and at length witness, that the last act of the noble Lord's political life would be in opposition to all his antecedents. He believed that nothing but the good sense and prudence of the people would prevent a civil war in England and Ireland, He entreated the Irish Members, and the liberal and Catholic Members, to view the matter calmly, and they might 407 depend upon it that the Bill was the mere effort of a party attempting to obtain power, and that if they had two months' patience, they would see that real civil liberty had not been invaded by the Bill, and that in spite of the noble Lord, and in spite of whatever other Administration might succeed the noble Lord, it would be perfectly impossible to enforce the Bill. No man knew better than the noble Lord that it was impossible to enforce the Bill in Ireland. Who could say that it would be possible to deprive the Catholic bishops of those titles which they had enjoyed for so many years? In his opinion, any attempt to put down the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England would fail. He was told that there ought to be a distinction made between England and Ireland, and that in Ireland there were eight millions of Catholics, whilst in England the poor Catholics were few in number. If there was any fear of Catholic domination, it would be in Ireland—it could not be in England. The Bill was nothing more than an exhibition of bigotry and spite against the Catholics as a body. England and Ireland were united for all purposes of government. The Government of England and of Ireland was one. The law which affected the Catholics of England must affect the Catholics of Ireland also; and they could not make a law which would make a distinction between the two countries. He would not detain the House any longer. He had expressed his opinion, and his firm belief was that the Bill in itself was entirely inefficient. It was a Bill which was brought down by the noble Lord to meet the exigency of the case, and it was now a mooted point whether, after the Bill had been shorn of two of its clauses the other should remain. The best course which the noble Lord could possibly follow would be to avail himself of the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Manchester, and put the discussion off altogether until some more convenient period; for though he might get a majority from the opposite side of the House, the Bill would never become the law of the land, and could never be enforced. The noble Lord had arrayed against him a power in the House which would prevent him from making the Bill of any practical utility. That party would take advantage of their power, and in spite of all the noble Lord's efforts, he would be compelled to quail before it. He entreated the House not to permit the Bill to be passed into a 408 law. Let them take the advice of one who desired not merely to defend liberal opinions, but also to maintain the good government of Ireland. Let this discussion come to an end—force the noble Lord to carry out his policy, and it was the most dangerous thing they could do for him. In ten days the noble Lord would be as docile a person as any who had ever held the situation of Prime Minister. He (Mr. Roebuck) was quite sure the people of this country were thoroughly tired of this discussion. They believed really that the interests of this country were not involved in it, but they believed that there was a mere party dispute for which this was made the excuse. Let this wretched debate, then, be brought to a close. And he would take the liberty of advising the Irish Members not to league themselves against the people of England. Let them suffer the noble Lord to do his utmost. To him (Mr. Roebuck) it was clear that if the shield which stood between the noble Lord and his own countrymen were removed, the noble Lord would be deprived of the support of the people of England. The noble Lord, if this debate were brought to an end, would be compelled to bring forward measures for the advancement of those great principles which he had been so long supposed to support. The country would then test his wisdom and supposed devotion to the cause of liberty. He sincerely believed that the noble Lord at that moment was exceedingly anxious to be freed from the difficulty in which this measure had placed him. He could get out of that difficulty but by one means, and that was by retiring from office. At present nothing but this Bill stood between him and destruction.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he had for some time been desirous of offering some observations to the House on the subject of this debate; and he assured the House he would make the observations he had to offer as concise as he possibly could. There was one observation which had fallen from almost every hon. Member in the debate, and particularly from the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), in which he fully concurred, namely, that on all sides of the House it was their common intention and their common wish in no respect whatever, or in the slightest degree, to interfere with the fullest possible spiritual action and liberty of conscience of any Roman Catholic in this country. He repeated that he fully 409 concurred in that sentiment; and it was in the strongest belief that nothing that he could say or do would in the slightest degree trench on that principle, that he was about to offer some observations to the House; for the purpose of explaining why, in voting for the second reading of this Bill, he thought he was in no degree violating this sacred principle. It was, therefore, a matter of the greatest importance to consider whether the act of aggression, so called—the rescript of the pope—had not, in effect, some temporal action, had not some influence on matters other than spiritual, which might have a prejudicial effect, or which would have a prejudicial effect, on the temporal liberties of various classes in this country; and if the House found it had such an effect, then it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government to interpose to prevent that effect taking place; and the only question would be, whether this measure was a proper one, and fitted to repel and prevent that action. He heard the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) say, in the course of his speech, that the Papal rescript did not affect or introduce the canon law into this country—that the canon law was not the law of this country—and that it was perfectly idle to suppose the Pope would have any power on introducing the canon law here. He (the Attorney General) thought his hon. and learned Friend was mistaken in that view of the question—that he had not understood its operation; and he would endeavour to state what would be the mode in which the canon law would be introduced into this country by means of that rescript of the Pope, and its operation when so introduced. He held it was a fact not disputed by any person acquainted with that law, that the canon law could only be carried into effect by bishops of territorial dioceses, in the ordinary and common acceptation of that term. He would not refer to the authorities which had been cited on that subject at that hour of the night. He asserted that there might be bishops in the Roman Catholic Church not being bishops of territorial dioceses, and that there was a broad distinction between bishops of the Roman Catholic Church having territorial dioceses, and persons exercising episcopal functions and being bishops, but not having territorial dioceses. That was a distinction known and recognised by the canon law; and it would not be denied also, that it was only by being 410 bishops of territorial dioceses that bishops, either as a synod or otherwise, were able to carry or put into effect the canon law with respect to the temporalities of persons holding benefices within that diocese. That was expressly admitted in the document issued by Cardinal Wiseman, and published in the pamphlet of Mr. Bowyer; and he had not heard a single authority cited to prove to his mind that that was not a doctrine of the canon law. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roebuck) said that the canon law was not the law of England. He (the Attorney General) admitted that that was so; but it was a foreign law. The law of England held this—that the foreign law was a fact, like any other fact, which was to be proved by witnesses of competent character; and, when once proved, the English law did not inquire whether it was fit or reasonable, but adopted that fact, and acted upon it. Now, he would show how this operated. He would take for his illustration a case which bad frequently occurred of late years. It was notorious that, in consequence of the schism in the Scotch Church, and the secession of a great number of persons, constituting what was commonly called the Free Church, great dissensions had arisen in various congregations in the North of England endowed for the Presbyterian religion according to the Church of Scotland. It had happened that the ministers in some of those establishments had been persons professing the doctrines of the Free Church, and the large majority of the congregation had professed the same doctrine; but that a small minority of them had applied to the Court of Chancery, and said that the original endowment of their congregation or institution was made for religion according to the Established Church of Scotland, and that the minister now held different doctrines from those taught by the Established Church of Scotland. Now, what was the course which the Court of Chancery adopted in this state of things? Simply this—it required evidence of what the doctrines were which were then taught by the Established Church of Scotland; and finding, from competent witnesses, that the present doctrines of the Established Church of Scotland differed from those professed by the members of the Free Church, the Court of Chancery had acted on that state of facts, and deprived the minister of his benefice; and he said the Court could not do otherwise, although in so doing it virtually 411 changed the doctrine taught in that congregation for a long lapse of years. Now, let the House observe how that principle Would operate in the case before them. Considering there were but a small number of Roman Catholics in this country compared with the population, they were, he believed, a particularly wealthy body, and one very richly endowed with respect to ecclesiastical benefices. There were claims of lay patronage on behalf of Roman Catholic proprietors. Now, the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church had, as he believed, claimed the right of appointing to those benefices; and that right had been successfully disputed by laymen, On the ground that, although they were bishops, as they were not territorial bishops, they could not enforce that right. But the moment they invested the bishop with a territorial diocese, then immediately, by the force of the canon law, the bishop Would have the right to appoint, under certain circumstances and conditions which it Was unnecessary to enumerate, the priests to those benefices, and which right, till he became a territorial bishop, he did not possess; the bishops might then come to the Court of Chancery and enforce every one of these trusts, and after a reference to ascertain the fact of what were the provisions of the Canon law, with reference to this subject, the Court of Chancery would enforce that canon law, and would not allow those benefices to be given to any persons save such as had been appointed by the bishop of the diocese. That was an illustration of the way in which the law would work, which he gave to make his meaning clear; because he found the question was discussed and disputed on all sides of the House; and he found hon. Gentlemen denying or affirming the possibility of the operation of the Canon law, or that it was possible for the Pope to introduce it into this country. He had explained the mode in which he believed it might be introduced, and he believed that it might be introduced to a try considerable extent in various other instances in temporal matters; and he believed further, that it would be a very injurious thing to this country to allow priests, appointed by a foreign potentate, to exercise temporal rights and powers over persons in this country. It was quite a different case from that which was put by the hon. Member for Oldham, when he said every religious body had, or ought to have, the appointment of its own leaders 412 or bishops. But the present Was not the case of a sect in this country seeking to appoint its own bishops—if it were, he did not believe that any persons would object to it; but it was the Case of a foreign Court having the appointment or control over bishops, who in their turn would have control over the property of the inhabitants of this country. He said, then, that what he had hitherto stated showed that the rescript of the Pope related to temporal matters. The next question was, to what extent and in What way did it interfere with spiritual matters? Was it in any respect necessary to create territorial bishops in order that they might exercise spiritual functions which they could not exercise before? He spoke with some diffidence on this subject; but, as he had endeavoured to make himself master of this question, and as, at an early period of his life, he had given considerable attention to the canon and civil law, he believed he spoke the exact truth when he said that there was no spiritual function whatever which could not be performed to the same extent, and in all respects as effectually, by a bishop officiating in a district, as well as by a bishop with a territorial title. He had been present during the whole debate, and had listened attentively to what was said by every person—he must add, he was present in his usual place when the hon. Member for Dorsetshire the other night complained of his absence—and he must say that he had not heard one Gentleman mention a single function of a spiritual nature which required a bishop with a territorial diocese to enable him to perform. Was it ordination—was it collation to a benefice—was it dispensation—was it administration of any of the sacraments? He would invite any Gentleman who might speak after him, to tell the House what particular spiritual function there was which required to be administered by a bishop with a territorial diocese, and which could not be administered by a bishop without a territorial diocese. Then if these things were so, this consequence followed, that the Bill, which prohibited the territorial titles and nothing more, could not injure or affect the spiritual practices of the Roman Catholics; and assuming that the Bill did not touch the spiritual part of the case, but the temporal only, it appeared to him that it was idle to talk of persecution and of tyrannising over the conscience of the Roman Catholics. What did they mean by toleration and 413 perfect liberty of conscience? His meaning of the phrase was, to allow every person the exercise of his religion in the most perfect and unfettered manner he could by possibility do. But were they interfering with the rights of conscience, or the freedom of religion, if they said you shall not, under colour of that, introduce a particular species of machinery into this country, which would transfer into the hands of a foreign Government property to a considerable extent, belonging to the inhabitants of this country, and which will enable you to deal with temporal matters in a way that you have never before been allowed to do. Then allow him to observe this—had there been any complaint made by the Roman Catholics at any time that the full spiritual functions of their religion could not be performed by their bishops? Was there one spiritual act referred to, either by Cardinal Wiseman or Mr. Bowyer, which had not hitherto been performed to its fullest extent? He referred to this the more particularly because the right hon. Member for Ripon appeared to have misunderstood the argument of his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General on this point. He appeared to represent the argument of the Solicitor General as founded on this view, that the immediate legal consequence of taking away territorial titles would be to prevent synods from being held in this country, and so prevent the introduction of the canon law; whereas his hon. and learned Friend was only explaining shortly what he had now ventured to illustrate in greater detail. If this were correct, he would beg the House to look at the Bill and to consider it, with the expressed intention of the Government to omit every clause but the first; and, therefore, he begged the House would look at it from that point of view. He would make one observation here as to the second clause. When he last addressed the House on the Bill as prepared to he introduced, the second clause contained the word "acts" as well as the words "deeds and instruments;" and that circumstance explained why he thought, and had stated to the House, that that clause affected the synodal action of the bishops. He would admit that there was a great difference in the case of Ireland and that of England, and the difference between them was obvious. It was true the Bill would operate to the same effect in matters spiritual and temporal in both countries; but it was an admitted fact that in Ireland 414 for three hundred years—ever since the Reformation—they had carried on a course of church government by bishops with territorial sees; whereas, for the same period of time, there had been no such practice in this country. Now, it must be obvious that it was a very different matter to put an end to a practice which had existed for 300 years in one country, from forbidding the introduction of that practice into another country where it had, during that time, never existed at all. He rejoiced, therefore, that the noble Lord and the Government had resolved to omit the three; clauses, and to confine themselves to the first. Now, one word—particularly as his attention had more than once been called to it—with respect to the legal opinion which had been quoted by the hon. Member for Dundalk and others. He did not agree with that opinion to its full extent; and he would as shortly as possible state to the House how far he thought that opinion correct, and how far only. It was undoubted law that contracts entered into, or liabilities incurred, by a person calling himself Archbishop of Westminster could be enforced in a court of law; and that, for instance, a bill of exchange or a bond, might be recovered against him, although signed by him under the title of Archbishop of Westminster, he was satisfied that no lawyer would be found to dispute. He was satisfied also that no lawyer would be found to dispute this proposition—that if a legacy were left by will to the Archbishop of West, minster for the time being, the only thing the Court of Chancery would look to was, who was the person that was intended by: these words to be designated. There could be no question whatever that that would be I the operation of the law, and that the same thing would happen if a trust were declared to be executed by the Archbishop of West; minster for the time being; consequently it was not in his opinion possible to say with accuracy that the second and third clauses were included in the first clause. His right hon. Friend the Home Secretary had, on a former occasion, quoted the high authority of Sir Edward Sugden, as having decided the case of a legacy on these principles, and had directed it to be carried into effect. He admitted, however, that to this extent, and to this extent only, the second clause, not the third, might be included in the first: namely, that if there was any act which could only be performed by reason of the person who performed it being a bishop of an existing territorial 415 diocese—if it could only be rendered efficacious by being performed by a person holding such a title, and that was a prohibited title, then that act would be void, and could not be sustained in any case in a court of justice. Such an act would be prohibited by the first clause, and that would no doubt interfere to some extent with the action of synods so far as civil courts were concerned. So far as these acts might require to be put in evidence before a court of law, they would be held to be void; but in no other way could the first clause operate with the effect of the second. He also wished to observe that for twenty-one years Ireland had been exactly in the same condition as she would be under this Bill as to the law. It was notorious that there were there bishops with territorial sees, and that they had been bishops of dioceses in name only; and yet it was notorious that in no court of law or equity had this point ever been contended for. Had this opinion been entertained—and this he would venture to say, and he was sure that all his brethren of the English bar would agree with him, that there were no gentlemen at any bar more subtle, more ingenious, more learned, more able to find ingenious points than the gentlemen of the Irish bar, and undoubtedly the disposition was not wanting among members of the Irish bar to take that objection if there were an opportunity to do so, but no such objection had ever been taken, and the law had been administered there in accordance with the principles he had stated—he would venture also to say, that the doctrines which had been held in Ireland for such a length of time would be sanctioned by the civil courts of this country; and that only to the extent which he had explained would the first clause include the others, He admitted the difference between the case of England and the case of Ireland; hut when he heard the loud exclamations which had been raised against the measure, let him call the attention of the House to what the Bill really proposed to do. The Bill proposed to do nothing more than this—if new bishops were created in Ireland, they must be put exactly on the same footing as the old ones; and if any bishops were created in this country, they must be exactly on the same footing as the present Irish bishops. Was that a monstrous persecution? Was that a proposition to call forth the denunciations of hon. Members, and to excite, as had been witnessed, the utmost depths of their feelings? Surely 416 there must be something more than they now saw in all this—there must be something more than appeared to the eye when this measure to put the Roman Catholic bishops on one universal footing raised such opposition, and excited so much indignation. When the same measure was introduced at the passing of the Emancipation Act in 1829, was it not then considered as a great boon? Did hon. Gentlemen then exclaim that it was a monstrous persecution? Did hon. Gentlemen then say that this was a tyrannous enactment, and a binding of men's consciences? Did they say that this was an abandonment of the principles of civil and religious freedom, which its introducers had been supporting during the whole course of their lives? So far from it, that the measure was then considered harmless, though it effected a change in the position of the Roman Catholic bishops, from what they had enjoyed for 300 years before. It appeared to him astounding to say that this measure was a violation of every principle of civil and religious liberty. He could not but think that several hon. English Members who opposed the measure did it from a desire that every Church should be totally disconnected with the State in all matters spiritual and ecclesiastical; that the Queen ought not to have supremacy in Church matters, but that the Church ought to be supreme in these matters herself. That opinion undoubtedly was the cause of a great schism in the Scottish Church; it was the opinion of a large class in this country; and he could understand hon. Gentlemen who entertained that opinion, thinking this Bill a violation of civil and religious liberty, and objecting to it on that ground. But from these doctrines he wholly dissented, and he supported the Bill, among other reasons, because that, in his opinion, it affirmed the 37th Article of the Church of England, which pronounced that the Queen was the supreme governor of the Church in all causes or matters ecclesiastical and civil. He must say that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield and others had introduced matters of a personal character into this debate—that they had spoken of the supporters of this measure as actuated by nothing but intense hatred to the Roman Catholics, and a desire to persecute. He thought his hon. and learned Friend did not himself really believe this proposition to be founded on fact; or that he (the Attorney General), or those persons with whom he had the 417 happiness to act, were actuated by any other feelings than those which he professed to entertain—he professed with great truth to entertain a feeling of the strongest possible affection for his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and the strongest wish that they should have the freest and most unfettered use of their religion in every sense of the word. The right hon. Member for Ripon, in his brilliant speech, to which he (the Attorney General) had listened with much more admiration than pleasure, had referred to a passage in a speech of his (the Attorney General's), on the debate of the Diplomatic Relations with Rome, as to something which not only justified the Pope in what he had done, but which condemned him and his friends in the course they were now taking to resist the Pope. But if the House would allow him to refer to that passage, it would be seen that what he said then was in strict accordance with what he said now, and that it was only prophetic of what had actually occurred in September last. On the debate on the 'Bill for establishing Diplomatic Relations with Rome, he resisted an Amendment which was proposed by the then hon. Member for Lambeth, and said that as the law stood, the Pope could parcel out the country into bishoprics and archbishoprics; that if the House introduced the Amendment, which prohibited dealing with spiritual matters, the Pope would still be able so to divide the country, and there would be no thing to prevent him; and that the only mode of preventing him was by establishing diplomatic relations with him. [3 Hansard, ci., 512.] That was to say, he deprecated such a measure, and was desirous that the House should pass a Bill which would enable the Government to take such steps as would prevent it. That was entirely in accordance with what he now said, and he I believed he was correct in saying it, and had since given an opinion that there was nothing in the law to prevent the Pope from parcelling out the country into archbishoprics and bishoprics; that there was a law to prevent the introduction of bulls, but there was no law to prevent him from parcelling out the country.
Now, various suggestions had been made as to the best course of meeting this measure. Some hon. Gentlemen had suggested proceeding by the Attorney General. He confessed that he had been exceedingly reluctant to any such proceeding; and his hon. and learned Colleague and himself 418 had strongly dissuaded Her Majesty's Government from taking any legal steps against any person who had been a party to the introduction of the bull, for the only offence prohibited by statute was that of introducing and publishing a bull. But there was not a newspaper in the country which had not been guilty of the offence of publication as much as Cardinal Wiseman; and, moreover, the offence was constituted under an old statute, of which the penalties had been repealed; and: he and his learned Coleague did not I think they could advise the Government to institute any such proceeding. Now, with respect to another suggestion, that we ought to establish diplomatic relations with Rome, he must remind them that they had introduced a Bill for the purpose of establishing diplomatic relations with Rome three years ago. And why had that not been done? Principally because a noble Earl in another place, and the noble Lords with whom he acted had introduced a clause into the Bill which crippled the measure; and this was the more remarkable, because that noble Earl was now one of the strongest opponents of the present measure. Yet he would venture to say now, as he had said in 1848, that the best mode of preventing such aggression as this would have been by establishing complete diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome, which would enable this country to regulate the footing on which the Court of Rome might interfere in matters ecclesiastical and spiritual in this country. He thought then, as he thought now—and subsequent occurrences had only the more convinced him—that it was unfortunate a proper and complete measure was not passed at that time. He had already said he could not consent to bring an action. What other course remained? The only other course was a legislative enactment. What was the legislative enactment they had introduced? It was a legislative declaration that the thing was illegal, and it imposed certain penalties to he enforced by the Attorney General in case it should be persisted in. Formerly the assumption of the titles of sees was a misdemeanour, punishable at common law by fine and imprisonment, both of which were in the discretion of the court. They now left it to be an offence subject to a penalty of 100l., thereby limiting the punishment to that extent, and taking away altogether the punishment by imprisonment; they further prevented any ordinary person from 419 improperly instituting an information or proceeding, and they required that that proceeding should be under the sanction and under the responsibility of the first low officer of the Crown. That did appear, consistently with the doing anything effective at all, to be as mild a mode as could by possibility be devised. Now he would say this had ever been the case. The Roman Catholics had been, as he believed, and most persons who had addressed the House concurred in the sentiment, a body of men remarkable for their attachment to the Throne and the interests of this country. He did not mean to make any peculiar exception, for the purpose of placing them above all other subjects of Her Majesty who entertained the same zeal; but the Roman Catholics had not been behindhand—they had always professed obedience to the law, and a desire to obey the provisions enacted by the law. Now, here would be an opportunity for them of showing that spirit. It would be declared by the Legislature that it was illegal to assume the power of appointment to sees, and they would see what course the Roman Catholics took, whether they were prepared to obey the law in this matter; because, if they did not obey, it was easily in the power of Parliament to make more stringent laws, and to enforce that now proposed. He thought so far from being an insult, on the contrary it was by far the most courteous way by which they could enforce the law, if they enforced it at all, with respect to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. Because we said to them—"This is the law, which you say you will obey, and we expect you will be prepared to obey it, as all other laws of the country; we have so much confidence in your good zeal, that you will do that which you have always professed, that are do not add to it those stringent clauses—the clauses of deprivation—in case you disobey it."
He confessed, among the various expressions used among the various Members, it appeared to him that Gentlemen in many respects had rather given way to a disposition for declamation on freedom of conscience, on liberty of thought and judgment, than really addressed themselves to the subject matter in hand. He confessed that he expected his right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon would scarcely have compared the measure now introduced to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, that he would have scarcely indulged in expressions on the amount of persecutions, or the 420 backward and retrograde course adopted by the Government in this measure. With respect to himself, the right hon. Baronet did, in a manner peculiarly touching, refer to the peculiar position in which he stood in that House, through the memory of one to whom he was bound by every pious tie, and to whom he principally owed the station he now enjoyed. He (Sir J. Graham) referred to those principles in which he (the Attorney General) had been educated as inconsistent with those which he now professed. He believed there was nothing in that which he was saying and doing—if he did not believe so he could not have ventured to address the House—which Was not perfectly consistent with all those opinions and all the doctrines in which he had been educated. He would refer, not as quoting the words of the right hon. Baronet, but for the purpose of expressing more correctly than his (the Attorney General's) own words would allow, the statement of Whig principles, in which the right hon. Baronet was educated, and to which, with very little qualification, he entirely subscribed, to the observation of the right hon. Baronet himself, on March 13, 1835, in that House on the question of the Church of Ireland Appropriation Bill. The right hon. Baronet in the debate on the Appropriation Clause said—But it may be said, that in the line of conduct which I am now adopting, I am deviating from those genuine Whig principles upon which I have acted, since my entrance into public life, and in which I hope, and still flatter myself, though hon. Members may sneer at the declaration—I shall persevere until its termination. What are these principles? I speak here in the presence of many distinguished Members of the Whig party; in the presence of a Russell, a name famed for the support of these noble principles, not more of liberty than of the Protestant religion; and if I might venture to define Whig principles as I embraced them, I should say, that they consisted in the assertion of the utmost liberty of thought and of action in all matters, whether of politics or of religion, consistent with law, order, and constituted authority. No death's head and cross-bone denunciations against the free exercise of the elective franchise. No prayer of mercy, limited to heaven, but denied on earth, to the unhappy Catholic who shall dare to vote for a Conservative candidate. No, Sir, they consist no less in love of freedom, than in jealousy of Popery as an instrument of dominant political "power, and in ardent uncompromising attachment to the Protestant religion as by law established in these realms.He (the Attorney General) fully concurred in those sentiments, and in the strongest possible desire for the utmost freedom of thought and conscience; and he should most strongly object to any attempt to in- 421 terfere, on the part of the Romish Church, with the due performance and exercise of civil rights and functions.
There was one view of this case, undoubtedly, which had occurred to him, on various occasions and under various circumstances, which, with some reluctance, he would venture to present to the House; and he addressed more particularly the Roman Catholic Gentlemen who represented various places in Ireland. Had it ever occurred to them—for he confessed it had to him—whether this act of aggression, as he called it, of the Pope, was directed solely against England? He was by no means sure, but he thought it was only a step, and not the first step, towards giving the Roman Catholic Church in this country a predominance over the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. He was by no means clear, if the event should ever occur in this country, whether in Ireland they would not see the priests appointed and bishops instituted by the Pope of Rome at the instance of the head of the hierarchical power of this country. A greater calamity would thereby be inflicted on Ireland than she had hitherto suffered. Having had the freest possible Church, having always elected their own churchmen, they would then be in a different and distinct situation. It was undoubtedly a remarkable circumstance, if true, as he was informed, that up to the present time, on no occasion within the memory of man had a Primate been appointed to the Catholic Church in Ireland, except those elected by the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland themselves. Undoubtedly on a recent occasion three prelates had been presented to the Pope, and rejected by him, and another person was selected by him to fill the Primate's see. He had nothing to say against that eminent prelate (Dr. Cullen). He believed him to be a man of the greatest eminence, and of the greatest learning, and highly fit for the station; but it was by no means clear to him that his appointment to that station proceeded unauthorised, and without consultation, with other parties in this country; and there are many connected with Ireland.
He did confess he had looked forward with the greatest possible pleasure to the belief that that system, which was the curse of this country and of Ireland, up to the year 1829—that system of treating Ireland as a governed and conquered country, had entirely ceased—that they had introduced a totally new system. Notwith- 422 standing that Ireland had passed through an ordeal of a serious description, he believed it was the opinion of every person that there had been lately a dawning and increasing prosperity in that country, and appearances of relief from its calamities of which no appearances existed many years previously. He hoped and believed that would continue. He hoped and believed nothing in this measure could in any degree interfere with those useful measures necessary to carry them into effect. And he did fully believe, solely because this measure put all parties in that country and in this, all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in England and in the Irish Church on the same footing, that it was not such as ought, when fully and properly considered, to interfere with that due and proper harmony which existed between the two countries. And it was on that and on the grounds which he had already stated—because he believed it was in no degree an interference with the principle of religious liberty—in no degree with those friendly and kindly relations which he felt towards Ireland, and which he believed all Englishmen who had had anything to do with that country must feel for them and their character and disposition—it was because that was so, that he thought he could, consistently with the principles in which he had been educated, conscientiously say that he hoped the Bill, unaltered from that form in which it was proposed by Government, would be carried into operation.
§ MR. W. FAGAN moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
I do not object to the adjournment of this debate: but I hope Gentlemen will consider, after the length to which it has been carried, an arguments so amply used on both sides, that we may on Monday next look for its conclusion.
§ Debate further adjourned till Monday next.—The House adjourned at half-after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.