§ Order for Second Reading read.
Mr. LACY moved the Second Reading
of the Bill, and said that he must bespeak the indulgence of the House while he introduced so serious a subject to their notice. He would state the general objects of it in a very few words. He should state, in the first place, that the measure applied to religious houses for ladies—not to religious houses for Catholic ladies only, but that it would refer also to religious houses for Protestants, of which he was informed there were some to be found. By the interpretation assigned in the Bill to the words "houses" and "vows," the House would see what class of religious houses were included. It certainly was his intention to provide by the Bill that all houses in which ladies resided who were under religious or monastic vows should be registered. He proposed that in every county where houses of the kind were registered, magistrates should be appointed at quarter-sessions to visit them, and should visit them without notice; and if they found in them any lady who wished to come out, they should have the power to remove her. That was the sum and substance of the Bill, and it was unnecessary now to enter upon its details. Having been more than once asked if he were not going by this Bill to legalise what is at present unlawful, he begged to say that those house's were already legalised by the 10th Geo. IV. c. 7. He stated that fact, so that no Gentleman should vote against the Bill under the mistake that he was about to legalise those houses for the first time. He found by the Catholic Directory of this year, that there are now 53 such houses in England and Wales, one of them only being in Wales. From other sources he learned that these houses were on the increase, and that something like 19 had been added to them within the last four years. Now, assuming that in each of those 53 houses there were only ten ladies, they had a mass over 500 persons; and could it be supposed for a moment that every one amongst 500 persons pursuing any course of life would continue to their life's end satisfied with that course of life? He could not think so; and if he left the question either to the common sense or feeling of the House, they would see it was impossible that in such a number as 500— and it was more likely to be 1,000—it was not possible that every one could be perfectly contented to remain in those houses to their life's end. He dare say it was expected that he should show there were discontented persons in those houses, and
if he were asked to do so in the way that a fact should be proved by evidence in a court of justice, he would at once confess his inability to do it; but if he showed that such things as escapes did exist, though everything about them was hushed up, he conceived that he should have sufficiently proved his case. He would quote nothing from books, or old records, or musty works, but he would quote a few instances from to-day; and if there was now and then a desire to escape from houses of this kind, it should be allowed to be evidence that there was discontent within. Might he be allowed to say that if he were to sail to an unknown country where he was not allowed to land, but if he saw on the shore men that he ascertained to be physicians, might he not at once assume that the inhabitants of that unknown country were subject to the common lot of humanity—sickness? He thought so; and by a parity of reasoning, if now and then an escape from a convent took place, he had a right to as-assume that there were persons within those places who wanted to come out—in other words, were discontented. Great difficulty, however, was experienced in getting at the truth with regard to these escapes, for people shrunk from expressing what they knew regarding them, seeing that so many contradictions of one kind or another were always put forth. Before he went into this matter, he might mention a case or two of persons who had gone into convents, who had, he might say, been beguiled into convents, and with whom their friends had no kind of intercourse. He had a letter from a gentleman on the case he was about to refer to; and he might observe that generally he was asked not to mention names, because there was an opinion abroad that everything that was said would be contradicted in some form or shape. He had a great deal of evidence offered to him, but when he came to the point, and asked should he use their names, there was a shrinking back. He was about to refer to a letter he had received from a gentleman respecting the daughter of the widow of an opulent tradesman. He told him this story: that this widow lady has a daughter, a very beautiful girl, and at the time referred to, about four years ago, about sixteen years of age—that lady, he admitted, not taking that care of her family that most females do; that a gentleman of the Roman Catholic persuasion had a good deal of the management of the family—he believed he was
executor; and at the age of sixteen this girl was sent, unknown to her mother, into a convent, and the mother had never been able to ascertain from that moment until the present (at least up to ten days ago) where that girl is. That child had written a letter to her mother, without date or address, in which she said, "You are no longer my mother—I have a mother in heaven." She had made every endeavour, but cannot find where her child is. That was the letter, and it might be a fiction, and if so he would not feel justified in using it; but the person who wrote it referred him to one of the most exalted persons in the realm. On applying to him he answered his letter, but put "private" on it. He (Mr. Lacy) could not, therefore, mention the name of the writer, but he was ready to show the letter to the Home Secretary, or to any Member of the Government. He (Mr. Lacy) would read what he said. The writer said:—"I can only say I am unable to furnish you with any facts which you can use in support of this Bill. Instances, including that specified by my friend Mr. —, of the practice of kidnapping I have heard of, and the truth of which I have no reason to doubt; but none of them can I vouch for of my own personal knowledge." Now that came from one of the highest men in this realm. Now he held in his hand a letter from a Dutch baron. [Cries of "Name!"] His name he was at liberty to give. It was a letter from Baron Vanuys van Burgst. [Laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh, but that baron was one of their heroes at Waterloo. The letter was as follows:—
Richmond, March 28.
Dear Sir—According to my promise I have the pleasure to let you know that it is a fact of public notoriety in Holland that, above five years ago, the daughter of Mr. Heldowier, the Minister of the King of the Netherlands at the Court of Sardinia, a girl not yet of age, and a Protestant like her father, left clandestinely her parent's house at Turin, and went in a convent, where she was detained in spite of her father's will, who even was not allowed by the superior or abbess of the convent to see his daughter. By applying to the King of Sardinia, his Majesty answered him that he had no power over the convents of his kingdom; whereupon the Minister Heldowier returned to Holland without his daughter. I hope to return soon from Holland, and to find you in good health.—Believe me, dear Sir, yours very truly.
VANUYS VON BURGST.
There was a movement now going on in Sardinia on this question; they were enacting laws to curb the power of those nunneries. A project of law had been pre-
sented to the Chamber of Deputies on the subject, and he found it stated in a communication from Turin that the proposition was received with cheers from all sides of the House, though the Minister of the Interior declared he would oppose it. He (Mr. Lacy) received the other day, through the intervention of the late Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan), a pamphlet on this subject, purporting to be written by Dr. Ullathorne. That pamphlet was entitled, A Plea for the Bights and Liberties of Religious Women, with Reference to the Bill proposed by Mr. Lacy. At first sight, he (Mr. Lacy) thought that pamphlet was in favour of his Bill; but on reading a page or two of it he found the writer took quite a different view of the question. Now, Dr. Ullathorne said—
An enclosed convent is divided into two parts, the enclosure and the extern quarters; into these last are received all visitors, and all who servo the house, but are not of the community. Beyond the precincts of the enclosure no person, of either sex, can pass, without a written permission from the bishop or ecclesiastical prelate, and that can only be granted on the ground of a moral necessity, or some great utility. Whoever violates the enclosure by entering within it, unless with adequate reason and with lawful permission, is, by the very fact, and without the intervention of any act of authority, excommunicated by the general law of the Church. The physician of the convent, to attend to the sick, and the clergyman, for no purpose but to administer the sacraments to the sick and dying, receive such permission by a general written order, but they must be accompanied by certain senior religious, who are to keep with them the whole time of their stay, and they must return directly their office is accomplished.
Now, he (Mr. Lacy) thought there were many ladies in those convents who were doing a vast deal of good by visiting the sick and the poor, and administering relief to them; but he was speaking of those enclosed convents, and he did not know which was which by the book of Dr. Ullathorne. That gentleman went on to say—
It is most important that those who would legislate for interference with religious houses should bear in mind that the relatives and Mends of their inmates have constant access to them; that even in very strict convents their near relations can see the members without the presence of witnesses; and that each religious person receives the visits of her friends and acquaintances at fixed and suitable hours. Nor is there any restraint on this subject greater than is needed to protect a lady from obtrusive or from unnecessary interference with her time, her habits, and her duties. Cases may, of course, arise in a convent, as they arise in the world, where a superioress as well as a parent or guardian may have to protect a lady from the intrusion or interference of some indiscreet person; but such exceptional cases can-
not be alleged against the general rule in the one instance more than the other.
He (Mr. Lacy) supposed "the indiscreet person" meant by Dr. Ullatborne were such individuals as the Dutch minister at Turin, whose ease he (Mr. Lacy) had cited, and others who sought in vain to see their children who were incarcerated in convents. Now, he would state to the House the case of a lady whe escaped from a convent at Banbury, on the 10th of December, 1850, shortly after nine o'clock in the morning, as related in the Banbury Guardian. He might state that her story was that she had escaped from a school belonging to the convent, which was only separated from the convent by the breadth of a highway. She first went to the Baptist minister's house; she was afterwards taken to the house of the rector of the parish.
She went to school at nine o'clock in the morning, but shortly afterwards returned for some copy-books to the convent. There she saw a bonnet and shawl. She then threw off her headdress, put on this bonnet and shawl, left the convent unperceived, and ran to a place three miles distant. When she reached that place she was like a hunted hare out of breadth. There she inquired for a Protestant minister's house, and having been shown one she went thither and related the story of her escape from the convent. The minister, moved with compassion, kindly received her into his house, and his wife supplied her with a gown, for which she exchanged the convent dress.
Now, Dr. Tandy said, she did not escape from the convent, but that she was sent away as being altogether unfitted for the duties of a Sister of Charity. Dr. Tandy said—
On the Friday previous to her leaving, I myself had a long conversation with her on the subject, in the course of which I offered to procure her a situation, or to assist her in any way in my power, when she should have left the convent. I did not then know her character so well as I do now. But she would not accept of my offers to serve her, and for the next three days remained silent on the subject. This determined me to dismiss her at once, and accordingly, on Tuesday, December 10, at a little after 9 o'clock A.M., I myself announced to her that she must leave immediately, offering, however, to pay her expenses to any place she would name, where she had friends. As she still refused all aid from me, I then directed the superioress to conduct her to another room, and take off the habits of the order. This was done, with the exception of the black dress, usually worn by the sisters, which she refused to take off; and then the superioress, having given her a coloured shawl, which belonged to another of the sisters, together with a bonnet and veil, and having offered to pay her journey to her friends, as well as some money for her immediate wants, accompanied her to the door and dismissed her.
Now, he would ask if any human being could believe it was at all probable that that young lady had been dismissed from the convent a few minutes after her opening the school, which had never been denied, at nine in the morning? There seemed to be some doubt as to the young lady's identity, and as to whether her name was Mather or Fitzallen, He (Mr. Lacy) would not dispute the point, for he must confess that neither Dr. Tandy nor the young lady seemed to be very particular in what they said. Dr. Tandy said that she was a poor wandering creature, who applied for admission to St. Paul's convent, and that they took her in from motives of charity. He says—"The name she gave on presenting herself for admission was Mather;" and then he says, "It was upon this story that she obtained entrance into the sisterhood." Why, the girl had come from a convent in France, and was met at Shoreham by the superioress of St. Paul's! And this fact Dr. Tandy speaks of in subsequent letters, just as coolly as though he had never said otherwise. Did any body believe that, if she was offered a sovereign or two when she was going to leave the convent, and if she, as Dr. Tandy represented, got her living by needlework in Nottingham, she would have refused them? Why, she could have just as effectually thrown herself upon the charity, of strangers. Why did Dr. Tandy strip and turn her out of the convent? She could have worked as well on the feelings of Protestants, by saying that she had shown Protestant opinions, and that therefore she was turned out of the convent. The truth was that they never offered her a shilling at the convent—she had not a farthing—and, supposing the story was true that she had been dismissed, it was the greatest brutality to turn her out in the way they bad done. Would any one believe that she refused to take off the dress of the convent? Surely there was power enough in the convent to strip her of her gown. Her story was that she was so oppressed and subdued in the convent in which she had been placed in France, that she sought to escape from that life by coming over to England. Her subsequent history he had related to the House down to the time of her leaving the convent at Banbury. Now, Dr. Ullathorne said the constitution of a convent was the freest thing in the world. According to that gentleman, it was twice as free as the British constitution. The prin-
ciples of universal suffrage and vote by ballot were recognised in convents, and therefore it was to be supposed they were very free. Dr. Ullathorne said a great deal about the constitution of religious houses in his pamphlet, but not much against the Bill before the House. He thought it would be very insulting to the Roman Catholic body, and that was the only argument which that gentleman used. He (Mr. Lacy) did not know why Dr. Ullathorne should call this Bill an insult. He (Mr. Lacy) had nothing to say with respect to the propriety or impropriety of conduct of the persons who were identified with the conventual life. He never touched such subjects. But Dr. Ullathorne seemed to have got nervous about the non-intercourse between priests and ladies, and he used a most remarkable expression—viz., that houses of a certain description were Hot visited, because it was un-English; then why should these ladies who were the happiest people in the world. But he (Mr. Lacy) must revert to the case of Dr. Tandy, who was a director or superior of a convent. Dr. Ullathorne said—
It may be thought that the chaplain or spiritual director can exercise a considerable power over the members of the community, but nothing could be more erroneous than this notion. For he has no power whatever in the government of the convent; his office is entirely limited to the Church and the administration of the sacraments.
He (Mr. Lacy) therefore asked how Dr. Tandy could turn her out, or direct the superiors to do so? It was out of the question. He (Mr. Lacy) begged to refer to another case, which he gave on the authority of a schoolmaster and local Methodist preacher—a man who was well esteemed in the community in which he lived. He said—
Some ten or twelve years ago, I was returning from Bath to Wimbourn by coach. At one of the stages on the road a woman mounted the coach, and took her place by my side. She appeared to be a countrywoman, young and healthy. After a while I broke silence by asking her if she was going far in that direction? Her reply was 'To Wimbourn.' I then learnt that she was from Ireland, and was on her way to Stape-hill, where she intended to enter the nunnery. I expected, from her appearance, that she was going thither as a servant, but soon found that that was not her object. It was with her altogether a religious step. Her mind had long been anxiously concerned about the subject of religion, and she expressed herself as willing to be anywhere, or in any condition, for her soul's welfare. She said that her spiritual advisers had informed her that the most acceptable duty she could perform would be to enter a convent, and that Stape-hill would,
on the whole, be the best. A friend had written to Stape-hill on her behalf, and leave had been granted to her to come there as soon as she pleased. I began to express my doubts as to her realising the good she expected by going to this place; but long before we reached Wimbourn I perceived that all my arguments were in vain. Seldom have I seen such determination of purpose as this woman evinced that day. I aimed to convince her from the word of God; but this was of little use, for she was not only utterly ignorant of the sacred Scriptures, but seemingly averse to hear any thing about them. On inquiry what books she was accustomed to read, I found that her library consisted of two or three Catholic works, one of which was a prayer-book, and I think another was the lives of some of the saints. Before we reached Wimbourn, I inquired how she intended to get to Stape-hill, as the evenings were very dark, and the way somewhat difficult for a stranger without a guide. Her intense desire, however, to be within the walls of the nunnery rendered her unconcerned about the difficulty of the way. I believe I felt more for her than she felt for herself, and I begged her to allow me, on reaching Wimbourn, to take her to my house, where I was sure she would be kindly received, and be accommodated with a night's lodging, and proceed in the morning without any fear. I doubted whether she had not too many scruples to allow her accepting my offer; however, on alighting from the coach, she was probably overcome by the darkness of the night, and the fatigue of travelling, and she consented to follow me. I introduced her to my family by relating the manner in which I had met with this stranger, and the object she had in view. Every attention was shown to this poor deluded visitor, and she soon felt more at home with us than she had expected to be. When our family worship commenced, she betrayed some uneasiness, and during the time we were on our knees, and while supplicating the Holy Spirit to lead this wanderer to the only source of real comfort, she remained in her seat. We thought it proper to remind her of the rigid character of the order she was about to place herself under, that of La Trappe; but she expressed herself as rather pleased than otherwise at hearing this, and as willing to suffer anything for the good she expected in becoming an inmate of the Stape-hill establishment. The next morning we parted with her, not however until we had again supplicated the Throne of Grace in her behalf, and earnestly recommending her, if possible, to read the Holy Scriptures and seek divine guidance by prayer, offered in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and man. Occasional inquiry was made respecting her of a person who was employed by the principals of the establishment in errands. It was evident, however, that to this individual (himself a zealous Catholic) such inquiries were anything but agreeable, and we were obliged to be satisfied with replies altogether vague. Indeed, we learnt at last that she was not known in the convent by her own proper name, and report says (whether correctly or not, I cannot say) that it is the custom when a person enters the nunnery for a new name at once to be given her, by which imposed name alone she is afterwards known in the house. Our desire, however, to know how this woman was getting on was at last gratified in a way we little
expected. Perhaps it was about three months after she had left our home that we were one morning about breakfast time surprised by seeing her again at our door. Very readily did she accept the invitation promptly given her to walk in and take her seat in the midst of our family; and very readily too did she begin to inform us as to the cause of her unexpected call, and the manner in which she had contrived to accomplish it. Her statement was, that she had that morning made her escape from Stape-hill unknown to any one in the convent; and she assigned as her reason for this that the system was too rigid, she could not bear it any longer. During the time she had been there, though the coldest season of the year, she had not once even seen a fire. Her food had been bread and beer twice a day. She had to rise every morning by two o'clock, to commence the devotions of the day, and again, if I recollect rightly, to attend to these devotions two or three times more before the morning light. Her mind still remained dissatisfied and unhappy as to her religious concerns, and her disappointment altogether had driven her at last to escape from a place in which she suffered much, and enjoyed nothing as a compensation. Her intention was to endeavour to make her way back to Ireland, where her friends, especially a brother she had there, would be most happy again to receive her. She knew not how to accomplish such a design, as she had no money at all. Begging her way, therefore, seemed the only means within her power. It was the latter end of the week when she thus took refuge in our house. We kept her till the following Monday, and then sent her off by the Wimbourn carrier to Salisbury, giving her a letter of introduction to a friend there, at whose house she would be taken in for the night, and be sent on the next morning, by a similar conveyance, to Bristol, whence she would embark for Ireland. We paid her fare to Salisbury, and furnished her with a sovereign, which she said would be sufficient to carry her home; and she was confident that her brother would be most happy, on her reaching home, to remit us the money we had lent her. On this particular she expressed herself in language so strong, and apparently so sincere, that we really could not have a doubt but that in a little time a letter would reach us containing the money, and giving us some particulars of her journey. Nothing of the kind, however, has ever been received, and to this day the fate of this young woman remains a mystery to us. It was reported some time afterwards that she had been overtaken in her journey, and brought back to Stape-hill, but we had no means of ascertaining the truth of this report. We endeavoured, by different methods, to learn if such a person was in the Stape-hill convent, but our inquiries were to no purpose. We soon learnt that a profound secrecy was kept up as to everything done within the walls of that place, a secrecy which cannot but awaken suspicion, and excite the wish that the day may come when, in this free country, this land of enlightened liberty, there shall not be a single establishment existing in which any portion of the human family, possessing the use of reason and obedient to the laws, shall be deprived of that liberty which is the birthright of man, and which ought to be regarded as equally dear with life itself.
[Lord ARUNDEL and SURREY: Name,
name!] He (Mr. Lacy) had no objection to give his name: it was Mr. Peter Hawke, who lived at Wimborne, in Dorsetshire. He was a man of excellent character, and respected by all who knew him. Could any one doubt but that the earnest prayers she had heard on her way to Stape-hill had touched her heart, and made her unable to bear the privation she had endured? Now he (Mr. Lacy) wished to approach this subject with the greatest respect and veneration; but he could not believe in all that was set forth in the pamphlet of Dr. Ullathorne. That gentleman said—
In thus stating, with some minuteness, the policy of conventual life, my object is to meet the calumnies brought against it, by dispersing a portion of the ignorance that prevails concerning its character. I am aware how difficult it is to put the general reader into my own point of view, and how much more so to enable him to see with my experience; besides, I have but treated of the social organisation of the convent, and not of the spirit which gives life to that organisation. Let me observe, in a word, that the true secret of the convent life, that which solves all the mystery which so much perplexes the non-Catholic world, is the holy Eucharist. This is not the time or occasion for entering into explanations; suffice that I have pointed to the true one. The world is perplexed to know how what is given up by religious persons can be compensated, and so compensated as not to be resumed in some other shape. I have pointed to the solution, though I am aware I only substitute a new mystery. Yet this may be taken as an axiom, that without the Real Presence, convent life, for any length of time, would be almost, if not altogether, impracticable,
Now he (Mr. Lacy) thought he need not say much more. But, he would ask, might not a thousand things occur in a convent to make its life impracticable to a sister, particularly if the poor creature happened to have been a Protestant? Doubts might arise in her mind with respect to the doctrines and ceremonies taught and observed there; and, having those doubts, according to Dr. Ullathorne, it would be impossible for her to continue in the convent; but there, notwithstanding, she was compelled to remain. Now, what was going on in Mexico? He read in a newspaper of the 1st April, that "the question regarding a reform of the laws relating to monastic vows was still under discussion, and was thus described." Now this was greatly on his (Mr. Lacy's) side.
In the year 1833, a statute was passed repealing all civil laws which impose any sort of coercion, direct or indirect, for the fulfilment of monastic vows. In consequence, many persons of both sexes, to whom the constraint of monastic life had become irksome, forsook the convents.
The result was a struggle between the Government and the clergy, in which the clergy prevailed. The monks and nuns who had left the convents were assailed with spiritual arms, with ecclesiastical penalties, and were obliged to return. At present the nation has passed out of the tutelage in which it had been so long held by the clergy, and further protection is demanded for those who wish to avail themselves of the law of 1833. A proposal is now before the Mexican legislature for compelling the clergy to respect the sovereignty of the State, and to abstain from persecuting by ecclesiastical censures those who claim the liberty of abandoning their monastic life.
Those things spoke trumpet-tongued, happening, as they did, in a country where all the people were Roman Catholics. There they felt the irksomeness of the power and influence of the clergy, and seemed determined to make a stand in favour of the poor creatures who were confined in nunneries. He (Mr. Lacy) wished, by the Bill before the House, to do a similar service for England; and he would ask hon. Members of the Roman Catholic religion to join him in a friendly spirit to relieve these persons from trammels from which they could not extricate themselves without extraneous aid. It was the duty of the House of Commons to take care that the canon law did not override the civil law of the country. He denied that there was any insult intended or offered by this Bill. He admitted, with respect to a great number of the ladies in convents, that they were kindly and religiously disposed, and they might think this Bill, if passed into a law, might subject them to some trifling inconvenience; but was their little inconvenience to be put in the scale against the sufferings of one person who was confined in a convent and wished to come out? He was sure there was no injustice in his proposal, and he trusted he should have the support of the House. He might for a moment refer to the case of Jane Wilbred. Had he not a right to claim some support from a consideration of that extraordinary and painful affair? Did any human being believe at the time that the young woman first made her statement before the magistrate, that when the trial came on the whole of the facts to which she deposed would be admitted? She was starved, coerced, and ill-used, and yet, afraid of ulterior consequences, she bore it all for a long time without divulging the circumstances of her brutal treatment. He brought this forward to show the great timidity of some females. Just in the same way were many poor nuns afraid to commit to any
human being the desire they might have to leave the convents in which they resided; for by means of the confessional, each nun was made to act the part of a spy upon her sisters. They might be incarcerated in what (to them) seemed a living tomb; but, having lost their compensation, according to Dr. Ullathorne, and fearing the worst circumstances, like the poor girl Jane Wilbred, they were content to suffer death almost rather than assert their wish to be free. He did not wish to refer, except for a moment, to the case of Miss Talbot, seeing that it had been so recently before the public; but he would ask, did anybody believe that that young lady could have escaped from the convent in which she was, but for the circumstance of her being a ward in Chancery? And yet we find by what has lately transpired, that she wanted to come out. Having stated the grounds on which he rested the Bill, he hoped the House would allow it to go into Committee, where Amendments might be made. If the Bill should go into Committee, it was his intention to propose that females destined to religious houses abroad should be previously examined, with the view of ascertaining whether they were acting under undue influence. So jealous was the law of England, that it would not allow a married lady to sign a deed until she had been examined by a commissioner, who must be satisfied that she was free from duresse on the part of her husband. Surely no rational objection could be made to the adoption of a similar precaution in the case of a female about to be sent abroad. The hon. Member concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now road a Second Time."
§ MR. HUME
said, he rose in the hope of being able to dissuade the Catholic Members from attempting any answer whatever to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Lacy). He was sure that the House must have listened with the deepest pain to the address of the hon. Gentleman, filled as it was with details which were not in the least applicable to the pretended purpose of the Bill. So hardly pushed had the hon. Member been that he could not make out his case without pressing Mexico and Holland into his service. Such allusions, however, were wholly beside the purpose, for here we lived under a free constitution, and the forcible detention of any class of Her Majesty's subjects was rendered ab- 961 solutely impossible by the habeas corpus. The introduction of so preposterous a measure was a proof of the evil results which had followed from the practice, which he grieved to say had been sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government, of getting up discussions upon religious topics in that Hous. He hoped that the time that had been already wasted in listening to a speech upon this absurd Bill was the only loss that the House would have to deplore, and that they could now proceed with the business of the country. It would be a serious reflection upon the House of Commons and upon this free country, if such a Bill was ever to become the law of the land. He was sorry, very sorry, that the Government had permitted the introduction of this Bill; and he hoped that they would now express their unqualified disapproval of it, and thus put an end to the discussion at once and for ever.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
As my noble Friend (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) has given notice of an Amendment that this Bill be read a second time this day-six months, I did not feel it my duty to interpose between him and the House at this stage of the debate. At the same time, as Members of the Government have been appealed to by the hon. Member for Montrose, I should have no hesitation in saying that this Bill is not one to which I can give my support. I think the hon. Gentleman who moved the second reading of the Bill has failed to show that forcible detention of females in religious houses does exist in this kingdom. I think the Bill is directed to one single object, namely, the visitation of those houses by magistrates for the purpose of ascertaining whether there are any persons forcibly detained there, and who have no opportunity of stating their objections to remain in those houses. I am ready to admit, without meaning any offence to the Roman Catholics of this country, that a dangerous control does exist over persons in those religious houses, not a physical but a moral control, and one which the Bill of the hon. Gentleman does not touch in the slightest degree. The allusion by the hon. Member to the case of the nuns who had left the convents in Mexico was not to his purpose. Those persons who were so removed were compelled by spiritual censures, exercised by the power of mind over mind, to return to those convents. I am not prepared to say that, after the cases recently before the public, it may not be necessary that 962 some steps should be taken with regard to those religious houses—not such steps as are proposed by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lacy), which would be vexatious and ineffectual—but to deprive persons, being the superioresses of those religious houses, and having an influence over persons who have been induced to enter them, of any power over the property of persons who, by the influence exercised over their minds, had entered those houses. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis) recently presented a petition, in which he stated the case of two young ladies who had entered convents, and had died there possessed of very large property, and that the petitioner, who sought to administer to their effects, was told that by the canon law the property of the deceased ladies was vested in the religious community to which they belonged. The case was at present before the Court of Chancery; and if the decision should be against the petitioners, it may be necessary to consider whether an alteration of the law is not desirable; but that may be fairly inquired into by the Select Committee appointed at the instance of the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Headlam) with reference to the law of Mortmain. I think this Bill is open to very serious objections, and will not accomplish the object the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lacy) has in view; and I think he has failed in showing that the evil is one demanding the remedy which he proposes. Under these circumstances I shall certainly vote in favour of the Amendment of my noble Friend (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey), that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he wished to ask the Secretary for the Home Department whether the House was to understand that a consideration of the law of Mortmain was all the remedy which the Government could afford for the evils sought to be abolished by this Bill, or whether they were prepared to take the subject of this Bill into their own hands, and provide an efficient system of inspection of convents and monasteries? If not, he should vote for the second reading of the Bill before the House. After the case of Miss Talbot, the House would be aware that the public could not think very lightly of their refusal to entertain a question which had been dealt with by the legislatures of Roman Catholic and Protestant countries. He did not know whether the hon. Gentle- 963 man (Mr. Lacy) intended to withdraw his Bill, or to divide the House upon it; but if he went to a division, he (Mr. Newde-gate) should vote with him. The hon. Member had done good service by introducing this subject to the notice of the House in a manner of which no Roman Catholic had a right to complain; and in justification of the proposal to institute some legislative provision on this subject, without pledging any Member to the details of such measure, which was all that he intended by supporting the present proposal, he would beg to submit to the House what some Continental Governments had done in reference to those religious houses:—1. Prussia.—By a rescript or circular of the Minister of Public Instruction and Spiritual Affairs, dated November 10, 1846, no female, whether lay or novice, is to take the veil, without previously being examined by the civil local authorities as to the motive and free will of her doing so.2. Bavaria.—A quarterly visit is to be made (Cabinet order, April 6, 1839), by the civil authorities, accompanied by the members of the Consistory, to the convents of their districts, to investigate into the financial affairs of the same, and investigate whether there be any nuns who have in the interval become anxious to return to their friends, family, and the world; in which case an immediate order for their restoration is to be issued.Austria.—By an Imperial decree of March 19, 1848, monks and nuns are allowed to address privately the Cabinet, if wishing to renounce their religious vows on reasonable grounds, and which prayer the Consistory is competent to grant after due investigation of the motives of the supplicants. The whole process is to be private, until after the issue of the order for their restoration to the world.Russia.—By an ukase of June 17, 1836, no convent is to receive even a novice without the relations or the friends of the same first addressing the Synod at Moscow, accompanied by an affidavit of the postulant that it is her wish and free will to enter on a religious life, and seclude herself from the world. The Synod will then grant or refuse the petition, according to their views on the propriety of the subject.These passages were taken from the Ecclesiastical Compendium for 1850, published at Vienna, and they proved that experience had satisfied Continental countries, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, of the necessity of establishing some control over the admission and retention of females in religious houses. It was a very difficult matter to trace anything connected with these monastic establishments. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen of the Roman Catholic persuasion, who were inclined to laugh when these subjects were brought forward, manifested but a light consideration for what he would have thought, to them, was a question of deep impor- 964 tance. In fact, it was attempted to laugh this question out of the House; but that had signally failed. Without wishing to say one word offensive to Roman Catholics, he must be excused for reminding them that there was a strong feeling throughout the country that an alteration of the whole system of ecclesiastical administration among the Roman Catholics had taken place. That feeling had been strengthened by the information which the public had lately received as to the nature of these establishments. The people of this country were determined that some control should be placed over these institutions— that there should be no establishments in this country within the walls of which the right of habeas corpus was entirely extinguished. [Messrs. KEOGH and MOORE: No, no!] Let them show him an instance where an inhabitant of these institutions had ever availed herself of that right. Let them show him an instance where a coroner's inquest had been held upon a deceased member of one of these communities. Did any one deny that sudden deaths occurred in convents; and if they did, he defied any Member of that House to show him one instance in which the coroner had been summoned? There was a convent in his own neighbourhood at Atherstone: a report was some years ago prevalent in that neighbourhood, and was universally believed, that an attempted escape had been made from it. Whether the person who had escaped returned or left the convent, they could not say; but this they knew of their own knowledge, that within ten days after that time, fifteen hundred-weight of iron stanchions were placed round the windows of the building, and that now it was as complete a prison as any in the county of Warwick. There was, too, another convent in the same county, and he could prove by the workmen who constructed it, that beneath that structure were places apparently for confinement under ground. How could the inmates from these prisons under ground obtain the ear of those willing to obtain for them the rights of the habeas corpus? In Roman Catholic countries, where they knew the nature of these institutions better, having had longer experience of their practical working, they had found it necessary to afford means of inspection; but then it was urged, that inspection would annoy the families of inmates of these places. When it was first proposed to appoint visitors for lunatic asylums, a great outcry was raised, and they were told that 965 because madness was an hereditary disease, they ought not, for the sake of the families of the lunatics, to appoint inspectors. But the House disregarded those remonstrances —inspectors had been appointed, and their inspection had led to the liberation of many persons who had been unjustly confined; and he was happy to add that he, as a magistrate, had been instrumental in the liberation of some persons so situated. It was his firm belief that many persons were kept by what was called "discipline" in these convents against their will; and that to enforce this discipline, as it was called, great severity was exercised; and he did claim on behalf of Her Majesty's subjects who might be induced to enter into these places that the Legislature would—following the example set by Roman Catholic countries, who had a large experience of these institutions—cast around these persons the protection of the law.
§ MR. PLUMPTRE
said, that these institutions were very much increasing in number in England, and the people looked upon them with suspicion, because they believed that increase was one of the signs of the advancing progress of the Church of Rome. He was greatly surprised that hon. Gentlemen who professed to be such ardent supporters of civil and religious liberty should be disposed to throw any obstacles in the way of this Bill. It was true that it was not very perfect in its nature; but might it not be amended in detail? He did not know how magistrates could appoint inspectors. A commission from the Court of Chancery would be a better mode of dealing with that provision. The country was indebted to the hon. Member (Mr. Lacy) for having brought the question before the House. It ought to receive a full and fair discussion. If they went to a division, he should certainly vote in favour of the Bill. The Government could not exonerate itself from the charge of neglecting the interests of the country, if, upon the rejection of the Bill, they did not pledge themselves to give such attention to the subject as would give satisfaction to the country.
§ MR. ROBERT PALMER
trusted that after what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Grey) the question would not be pressed to a division. The ostensible object of the Bill was to prevent the forcible detention of females in religious houses. There was not a man in that House who would not come forward and say that no case had been made out by the hon. 966 Member (Mr. Lacy) at least for this Bill. He very much questioned if there was any place in the country where they could get three gentlemen to undertake that duty. Of course they should all be Protestants; if they were otherwise the inspection would be useless. It was very difficult to get gentlemen to act as visitors to private lunatic asylums; and was the consequnce that the inspection was very ineffective. It would be far more difficult to get gentlemen to act in the capacity proposed. The manner in which the Bill was to be carried out, also seemed most objectionable. He had asked an hon. Gentleman whose name was upon the back of the Bill, upon what principle it was based; and he told him that the clauses were taken from the Lunatic Asylums Bill. He must say, in his opinion, that the same kind of supervision which was extended to lunatic asylums, was neither right nor proper. The law was quite strong enough at present. He was impressed with the opinion that the Court of Chancery was armed with all the requisite powers of jurisdiction. But if it was not, a short clause would enable that high court to take cognisance of all these matters. He thought the case was one well deserving of the attention of the Government; but he would vote against the second reading of the present Bill, which was quite erroneous, as the inspection should proceed upon a different source.
§ MR. GRATTAN
said, he only wanted to know whether the hon. Member (Mr. Lacy) wished to withdraw his Bill? Mr. MOORE: No, no!] The hon. Member for Mayo wished for war; but he (Mr. Grattan) wished for peace. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Lacy) had made out no case for his Bill—that was the judgment of the House; and if he withdrew his Bill, he (Mr. Grattan) would abstain from making any observations in reply to him. Did the hon. Member intend to withdraw his Bill. [Mr. LACY: Certainly not.] Well, then, the hon. Gentleman had made grave accusations against a large number of Her Majesty's subjects. He had always thought there was a court of law in which accusations affecting character could be tried. The hon. Member said they wanted information; but had he made a single statement which would warrant the House to grant him what he desired? Indeed, the hon. Gentleman had shown the grossest ignorance upon the whole question. Convents were not the establishments that they had been describ- 967 ed. They were founded for the purposes of charity and education; their inmates discharged those duties at times and at seasons when others neglected theirs; and those labours did not deserve to be rewarded by a Bill so infamous as this. They did not require inspection; but if inspection was asked for, he was certain they would not deny it. He had visited convents in Ireland—in Cork—in Paris, in Switzerland, in Germany, and in Italy, and there were individuals in all of them who would laugh to scorn such a Bill as this. The names of Madame Grammont and Madame Barras were enough; and he could tell the House that for intellectual culture the ladies in those establishments were unequalled by any that were to be found in Protestant establishments. Were it not for these maligned establishments, Ireland would have sunk long ago, and he could not but admire and esteem the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Robert Palmer), who asked where was the gentleman who would become an inspector to enter those convents. As it seemed the wish of the House that the discussion should be brought to a speedy termination, he would not longer detain them, although it was with difficulty that he could restrain the flow of his honest indignation.
§ LORD ASHLEY
thought that he could not be accused of having any particular feelings in favour of religious houses if he ventured to ask his lion. Friend (Mr. Lacy) to withdraw this Bill, for it was plain that the feeling of the House was against him. He was fully of the opinion that a very strong case might be made out for some legislative enactment in this direction, but he thought that the hon. Member had failed to make out that case; and not only that, but he had even failed to make out a case of suspicion. But supposing that the hon. Member had made out a case, he (Lord Ashley) must find fault with the provisions and the machinery of the Bill. The inspection which he proposed was founded on the principle which was adopted with regard to lunatic asylums. Now, he did not hesitate to say that nothing could be more imperfect than the method in which the duty of that inspection was performed. The inspection of the private asylums in England was done most unwillingly and most imperfectly. Gentlemen did not like to undertake the duty of inspecting private asylums. If this Bill passed with such alterations as would be necessary, he very much doubted whether the hon. Member 968 would recognise his own Bill. However, after all that had passed, he thought that Her Majesty's Government ought to be impressed with the conviction that it was their duty—indeed, they ought to be fully determined, after the recent disclosures, that some legislative measure should be adopted. It would be much better to leave the proposal and conduct of such a measure in the hands of a responsible body like the Government. For his part he would be perfectly willing to leave such a measure in the hands of Her Majesty's Government. Something of the kind was quite necessary. A power ought to be given to the Court of Chancery to take cognisance of the property of those who died in convents. What was the decree of the Council of Trent?—No religious, whether man or woman, shall possess in their own, or even in the" name of the convent, any property, moveable or otherwise, but the same shall be delivered up to the superior, and incorporated with the convent.The temptation, then, being so strong, and the powers posessed by these bodies so great, a power also which was inconsistent with the laws of England, it was necessary that these matters should be put under some superintendence, although not by any means of the character proposed by this Bill. In conclusion, he would say that, although they would not adopt the Bill of the hon. Member for Bodmin, still the House was grateful to him for the trouble he had taken. He had brought the subject before the country—it was a matter deserving consideration—andhis efforts perhaps might not be wholly without result.
The EARL of ARUNDEL and SURREY
would have been fully prepared to have gone into a consideration of the whole question; but as the case of the hon. Member (Mr. Lacy) had so entirely broken down, and the House appeared to reject the Bill so unanimously, at least to decide that no case had been made out to justify it, and as the discussion had gone off upon another point, he did not think it wise to occupy the attention of the House by discussing a question not before them. When, however, it did come before the House, he would not shrink from fully and fairly entering into it; but as all discussion had been so much deprecated, he would content himself with moving that the Bill be read a second time that day sis months.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
would he sorry to hurt, by any observations of his, the religious feelings of Gentlemen on either side of the House. He confessed, however, that he thought hon. Gentlemen opposite who were so strongly opposed to this measure, were making a mistake, and were greatly underrating the feeling which existed upon this subject in the country. His principal object in rising was to express his regret that he could not concur in the recommendation which his noble Friend (Lord Ashley) had given the hon. Member for Bodmin. He hoped that hon. Gentleman would not withdraw the Bill unless he received from the Government some more satisfactory assurance than they had as yet received as to what their course would be. The statements of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department were extremely unsatisfactory. He stated great objections to the measure. He (Sir John Pakington) was willing to agree in the propriety of those objections; but he wanted to know, as the present State of the law had been represented to be most unsatisfactory, whether the Government were prepared to remedy the evil which it was admited upon all hands existed. If the Government held out any hope that they would deal with the question, he would leave it in their hands; but in the absence of such a pledge, he was sorry to say that he could not give such advice to his hon. Friend below him (Mr. Lacy) as had been so freely bestowed, although he entirely admitted that some of the objections to his Bill were very great. In the absence of a promise from the Government of the nature to which he alluded, he felt it his duty to vote for the second reading of the Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY,
in explanation, begged to observe that he had not given any promise or pledge to the House that Her Majesty's Government would deal with this subject. He had only said that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lacy) had failed to establish the case which he was bound to establish, that cases did not exist of forcible physical detention. Beyond that he thought the mode by which it was intended to remedy this evil, if it existed, was extremely vicious. In short, by stating these views, he had further added that it might be necessary to frame some provision which would put a check upon inducing young persons to enter into 970 religious houses. In doing so, he alluded to a petition lately presented to the House, in which it was alleged that a large property became vested in the convent in which two ladies, the owners of the property, had resided. He stated that that case was before the Court of Chancery, and that if the law was as it had been stated by the convent to be, then it was a case which demanded the attention of the Legislature; and he further said that there was a Committee sitting before which the question might very fairly be brought.
§ MR. KEOGH
did not intend to trouble the House with many observations. The right hon. Baronet (Sir George Grey)— and he begged the attention of the Irish Members to the fact—had stated that it was his intention, or that he was prepared to introduce a measure, very much after the fashion of the hon. Member for East Kent (Mr. Plumptre). He said that this Bill would not deal with the moral influence which the right hon. Baronet believed to exist in these establishments; and it was against that influence—one, be it recollected, of a spiritual nature—he intended to legislate. [Cries of "No, no!"] The right hon. Baronet said distinctly, that there was a dangerous influence exerted in these establishments, and the measure which he would introduce— [Cries of "No, no!"] Well, which it is possible he will introduce. [Sir GEORGE GREY: On the contrary, I said I would not pledge Government to legislate at all.] Had they, then, an undertaking from Her Majesty's Government, that no such measure will be introduced? The Government stated that some legislation would be desirable, and they did not give a negative to the question whether they intended to legislate. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the Committee which was sitting on Mortmain might take the subject into consideration. Surely that was an intimation of an intention to legislate. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) said, that the writ of habeas corpus was ineffective in these convents; and he proved the fact by stating that there was not a single instance where an application had been made for one from an inmate in these convents. That was certainly the best non sequitur that ever came under his notice.
§ MR. KEOGH
As to the pretence for the coroner's inquests on the ground that 971 there must have been sudden deaths, he might as well have said that there must have been suicides in these establishments. The present discussion was a strong example of the blame attributable to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) for his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill; it was that measure which had given a basis for Gentlemen upon the other side of the House to make such propositions as these. As long as he had been in that House, he observed it had been the custom of Roman Catholic Gentlemen to avoid mixing themselves up with the religious questions which agitated the members of the Established Church; but the same delicacy did not seem to actuate Protestant Gentlemen, for there they were rising up and stating their opinions upon matters of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical and spiritual arrangement. As to referring the question to the Committee of the hon. and learned Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Headlam), as had been proposed by the right, hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, the House should recollect that although there were seventeen members upon it, there was only one Roman Catholic Member, the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey). [Sir G. Grey; Yes, there is the Earl of Arundel and Surrey.] Well, then, he had been misinformed. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Serjeant Murphy), however, suggested that the Member for Youghal did not count. At all events, he could scarcely think the Committee had been fairly constituted. He should vote against the Bill, or against the hon. Member being allowed to withdraw it.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, when the right hon. Baronet made the admission that a most dangerous moral control was exercised over the Roman Catholics in these houses, he had looked for a declaration that the whole of the subject would be taken into full consideration by Government, and that they would be prepared to state their views as to the measure they were about to introduce. Did not the right hon. Gentleman know, when he spoke of the hon. Member for Bodmin not making out a case for his Bill, that this dangerous moral control was the reason why no case could be made out, because it prevented persons getting at the facts, or holding communication with those who were under its influence? He admitted the defects of the Bill, and that county magistrates were not the persons to be employed, but that the supervision to be exercised should be 972 under the control of the Secretary of State. He asked all hon. Members who heard him who were not under the bias of strong political or religious feelings, whether they had any reasonable doubt that there were many cases in which females wore incarcerated in convents against their will? He thought that no rational man, no honest man who spoke his mind, would hesitate to say he was convinced that there were many such cases. [Here the hon. Member read the declaration of the Council of Trent, that ail convents must be kept carefully closed, and all egress prevented under any pretence whatever, except by episcopal licence.] The hon. and learned Member for Athlone had asked what right Protestant Members had to meddle with the ecclesiastical discipline of the Roman Catholic Church? He begged to tell the hon. and learned Member that what they were meddling with was the liberty of British subjects, which they wished to protect. They said that numbers of females were confined in convents against their will; that, at least, they had good ground for suspecting that the fact must be so; and they asked the Government to institute an inquiry to see whether such was the fact or not. He maintained that it was the duty of the Government, and especially the duty of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to institute such an inquiry. The hon. and learned Member for Athlone seemed to lay much stress upon the fact that no application had been made for a writ of habeas corpus by the inmates of the convent. But how could they, seeing that all communication with the world was cut off? A Roman Catholic gentleman, who had held an official situation at the Papal Court, and whose duty had been to accompany the Cardinal Vicar in visiting some of the nunneries, told the Rev. Hobart Seymour that when novices became nuns at the early ago of eighteen or twenty, they were sufficiently happy for two or three years; but that when they became old enough to understand the nature of the step they had taken, they soon gave way to misery and despair. This was the opinion of a Roman Catholic gentleman who had had peculiar opportunities of forming an accurate opinion on the matter; and yet, because no single case could be proved in detail, the House was asked to believe that no such cases at all existed. Then again, with respect to coroners' inquests. It was not 973 usual for a coroner to hold an inquest, unless where a rumour had got abroad that there was a necessity for one; and how was a rumour to come from the underground cells of the convents? [Ironical cheers.] Yes, he repeated, "underground cells;" and he would tell lion. Members something about such places. At this moment, in the parish of Egbaston, within the borough of Birmingham, there was a large convent of some kind or other being erected, and the whole of the underground was fitted up with cells; and what were those cells for? He begged the hon. Member for Bodmin not to be led away by the advice of the noble Lord the Member for Bath (Lord Ashley), who had asked him to withdraw his Bill. The House might refuse to inquire or to enter into the subject; some might be influenced by one motive, some by another; but they might be assured that the country was determined that it should be entirely examined. Sooner or later that would be the case. And he could tell the noble Lord opposite, that when he first addressed the public in that immortal letter, which he followed up by a declaration that the confidence which he had placed in Roman Catholics had been abused, or that it had not been correctly placed, he conciliated many who had been in the habit of opposing his Government, and that he stirred up in the minds of the Protestants of this country a great desire to put their trust in him. But when he looked at the measure which had been actually brought in, and still more at the alterations which were proposed to be made in it, he must say that the people were as much disappointed and disgusted as they had before been elated on the subject; and he thought it right and proper to tell the noble Lord that the country would insist upon a much stronger measure than that which was at present before them. He could tell them that the Protestant feeling of the country would again be roused in a manner which they could not at present contemplate, if to the doubts that already existed, they added further doubt by their conduct on the present occasion. Then they were told that vows of celibacy—vows of exclusion from the world—were all for the purposes of education, and for promoting the cause of religion. He would ask the House, what said the right hon. Baronet, the author and champion of Catholic Emancipation upon this subject. He said—They heard much as to the exertions of persons who were bound by religious vows in the 974 cause of education, but it appeared to him by no means necessary that to promote the cause of education they should be bound by monastic vows, by vows of celibacy and exclusion. Such vows could have nothing to do either with the promotion of education, or with the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion. The constitution and the law of this country were opposed to such persons being bound by religious vows.That was the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman. No one should be bound (continued Mr. Spooner) either as to his religious or his civil conduct, by an oath which was not recognised by the constitution and the law of this country. He admitted that there were many imperfections in the measure; but its principle was right, and he hoped it would be persevered with. He cordially admitted that in many conventual establishments much good had been done. He believed that many of these institutions were inhabited by persons who had no other object than that of glorifying their Creator in the way in which they thought right. He venerated such persons, although he could not help lamenting that they should be shut out from following a more active line of usefulness, for which they were so fitted. But he would say that there were many of those institutions whose objects he considered were totally incompatible with the safety of the country. As a proof of the desperate attempts which were frequently made to obtain possession of property for the benefit of convents, the hon. Member then proceeded to mention the case of an Irish gentleman who reluctantly consented to allow his two daughters to enter a convent, but who had told them that, while he would pay as much money as would admit them, they must expect no more money at his hands. It so happened, however, that he died without leaving a will, and his administrators, the brothers of the ladies, were immediately called upon to pay over to the convent their sisters' share of the property. The ladies remonstrated. They admitted that they had signed papers in their father's lifetime voluntarily surrendering all further claims upon his estate; but notwithstanding this, they were induced, or perhaps he ought to say compelled, while in the convent, to assign over all their right and title to their deceased father's property, for the benefit of the convent. The case went before the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who decided that the convent was not entitled to the property in question, as the deed of assignment by which the interest of the ladies 975 was conveyed over to it must have been obtained by compulsion. This decision, it was true, was afterwards set aside by the House of Lords, but only upon a technical difficulty. The hon. Member concluded by calling upon the Government to take the matter into their own hands. If they would only pledge themselves that the whole subject should be brought under consideration—the question of confinement in convents, as well as the question of mortmain—if they would say that they would appoint a Commission or a Committee to investigate the subject, he was sure his hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin would only be too glad to withdraw his Bill. But, unless they did that, he was sure that neither that (the Opposition) side of the House nor the country would be satisfied.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
thought that the House had wandered widely from the subject of the Bill in the course of their discussion, and the hon. Member who had just sat down had led them into a longer digression than before, with reference to the exclusive disposition of property obtained by persons who had entered a convent. It was with respect to that subject his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary had addressed some casual observations to the House; and he (the Solicitor General) must say the right hon. Baronet's views had been strangely misinterpreted both by the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Spooner), and by the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh). What he (the Solicitor General) understood his right hon. Friend to say was, that this Bill purported to prevent forcible physical detention of persons in convents; while the only instances which the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Lacy) had given, related to persons who were detained by means of spiritual influence; and that the Bill which went to prevent forcible detention would have no influence over persons who were detained, not by physical but by spiritual compulsion—by the force of moral exertion. His right hon. Friend (the Home Secretary) said, therefore, that the Bill would not attain the object which its author had in view, but that there were cases of property occasionally occurring which it might be desirable to inquire into, in order to guard against any improper interference with that property. The hon. Member who had just sat down twisted this admission into a declaration that because the right hon. Baronet the 976 Home Secretary thought it desirable that the law of mortmain should interfere to prevent the undue exercise of spiritual influence, therefore the Government were bound to support a measure which professed to deal with physical constraint; and, on the other hand, the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) said, now the right hon. Baronet admitted, he was willing to bring in a Bill which would affect the spiritual influence of the priests, which, according to the hon. and learned Member, was a step farther than the Government had yet taken. Such were the misrepresentations to which the statements of his right hon. Friend had been exposed. To come now to the Bill that was immediately before them. The title of the Bill bore that it was to prevent the forcible detention of females in religious houses. On seeing this Bill the first thing that struck him was, that they were bringing a grave and serious indictment against a large body of their fellow-subjects, without, so far as he knew, any case having been proved against them, or any evidence that tended to establish an indictment of this description. He had expected to hear from the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Lacy) such a case made out as would justify him in bringing in this Bill; because to bring in a Bill to remedy a grievance which did not exist, was not the usual mode of legislative proceedings. They always proceeded practically, and not before a grievance was made out; and here was the distinction between the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill and the Bill now before them. In the case of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, they had to deal with an existing grievance: it was the bull of the Pope which was the occasion of the interference of the Legislature. Unless the hon. Member was prepared to prove the need there was for this Bill, how could he expect them to pass a measure which branded with infamy and crime the whole of their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects? For the House must remember it was a great crime forcibly to detain any person; not only would the parties be liable to an action for false imprisonment, but they would be subject to an indictment for conspiracy, and all concerned would subject themselves to heavy penalties. But if these things were not proved, why should they bring in a Bill to prevent a crime which had not been committed by any one, so far as they were aware of? The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) said all they 977 asked for was inquiry. But this was not inquiry—it was a proposal to pass a Bill without inquiry. Then, he asked, in what an extraordinary position this Bill stood? There was not one hon. Gentleman who did not say that he disapproved of its provisions. If, then, they disapproved of the provisions, all they had to approve of was the principle. And what did they hear of the principle on which the Bill was framed? It appeared that the clauses were copied from the Lunatic Asylums Act. Now, he begged them to remember that when they framed that measure, there was before the House the evidence of a Committee which had investigated a great many cases, and by a painful inquiry had ascertained that there were gross and flagrant abuses in the private asylums throughout the country. But, with regard to the present Bill, the hon. Member only brought forward two cases: one young woman said she ran away from a convent, and there was some doubt as to the fact, but at all events that proved she was able to run away; and the other was the case of a person in Dorsetshire, who, after a conversation with a Methodist minister, entered a convent, and who afterwards left it; and though the word "eloped" was used in connexion with this case, yet there was not a single statement made to show that any objection was made to her leaving, or any impediment thrown in her way. Well, then, how did the case stand? The House had heard one hon. Member, the Member for Berkshire (Mr. Robert Palmer), declare that if this Bill were passed, no English gentleman would act under it; while, on the other hand, the noble Lord the Member for Bath (Lord Ashley), whom no one would suspect of indifference to the Protestant interests, recommended that the Bill should be withdrawn. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had, however, referred to the case of foreign countries; but it was to be remembered that in those countries they had not the privilege of habeas corpus, while in this country every Judge of the supreme courts could exercise the power of directing a writ of habeas corpus to issue, not only at the instance of parents or friends, but at the instance of any individual whatever; so that if the hon. Member could satisfy any Judge that there was an individual in duresse in any of these convents, he would get a writ as a matter of course. Anxious as the people might be—and very properly so—to see that property should be 978 protected against all undue influence, he was sure they were too just and too candid to subject any portion of their fellow-countrymen to provisions copied from an Act which was passed in consequence of evidence having been given of most atrocious misdemeanour.
§ MR. FRESHFIELD
said, the hon. and learned Member (the Solicitor General) had said, there was no evidence to support this Bill; but he begged to remind him that there were no means of deciding whether an individual was detained in a convent by physical control or by moral influence; for there were no means by which they did or could communicate the precise situation in which they were placed. The argument of the hon. and learned Solicitor General, that parties detaining an individual in a convent against her will would be subject to an action for false imprisonment as well as to an indictment for a conspiracy, applied with equal force to confinement in a lunatic asylum; and yet the Legislature had thought proper to appoint a magisterial visitation in the one case, so that there was no reason why they should not equally do it in the other. As a practical measure, he thought it would be most expedient that visitors should be appointed to see the residents in religious houses, and ask them quietly and mildly whether—all vows and all constraint upon their freedom apart —they were willingly there, and desired there to remain, assuring them at the same time that, if they wished to leave, the laws of the country would protect them. It was said there was no evidence adduced. He said, there was evidence sufficient to induce any grand jury to find a bill. There was the outward appearance of the houses of detention—the careful, watchful management, which produced a general belief on the subject. If there was nothing to conceal, why was there all this secrecy—why did they not court inquiry and investigation? If the Bill passed a second reading, it might be referred to a Select Committee, with power to send for persons, papers, and records, by means of which the question would finally be set at rest, instead of leaving it as it was at present; for he could assure them that if the Bill was not passed in the present Parliament, the want of such a Bill would not exist beyond the first Session of the next Parliament.
§ MR. SERJEANT MURPHY
could assure the House that nothing was more disagreeable to his feelings than to take part 979 in a discussion that savoured of theological controversy, especially in the House of Commons; and he had, therefore, observed with great satisfaction that hon. Members of the Roman Catholic persuasion had exhibited a remarkable and commendable forbearance on the present occasion. They had listened to the statements of the hon. Member (Mr. Lacy), who proposed the Bill, with calmness and patience; and if they had occasionally been moved to laughter, he begged to assure the hon. Member and the House, that it was not from any disregard to the magnitude and importance of the question, or its close connexion with the interests of religion, but it was because a question of such magnitude, having for its object to insult and degrade religious females of the Roman Catholic persuasion, containing provisions which an hon. and Protestant Member declared the feelings of an English gentleman would not allow him to put in execution—it was, that such a question, so introduced, should have led to so lame and impotent a conclusion. He asked, was it ever known, in the practice of the House of Commons, that a Bill having for its object to interfere with the liberty and well-being of any class of Her Majesty's subjects, should be introduced without previous inquiry? By the law as it now stood, they dared not, without a warrant obtained on oath before a magistrate, enter any house in this country to question the vilest person that might be resident in it; and was it to be said that ladies, who had given themselves up to the service of religion—who had had time to consider the obligations which they imposed upon themselves — who had had two years of novitiate to examine whether they could frame and attune their minds to that seclusion which was required of them —that, after all this, such persons were to be subjected to a visitation which would be degrading to any person to allow, unless there was an allegation of crime? He would say to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Lacy), and the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), whose names were on the back of this Bill, that it would have become them to have made some previous inquiry and investigation, in order to justify the title of this Bill, which proclaimed through the length and breadth of the kingdom that it was to prevent the forcible detention of females, though they had not brought forward a single instance of such forcible detention. The hon. 980 Gentleman (Mr. Lacy) had appealed to a kind of evidence that would not he admitted in a court of justice—certainly not in the House of Commons. He had appealed to hearsay evidence. Why, what was the case which they had exhibited before them in the newspapers of that morning, relative to what had taken place in the Court of Queen's Bench? For three weeks the newspapers had been full of a malignant calumny upon a convent which was close to London. It was stated that a doctor had been secretly introduced into the convent—that an accouchement had taken place—that the child had been smuggled away—place, name, everything was stated; and then, when the case became too gross to be passed over, and these females were dragged from their seclusion into the Court of Queen's Bench to deny the charge, what was the sneaking-answer of the parties who had first circulated the accusation? They were misled, forsooth, by the statements of parties whom they believed to be credible witnesses; they cried peccavi, made a most humble apology, and begged of the very persons whom they had injured to allow them to escape from punishment, by paying the whole bill of costs. Now, this rumour took place within seven miles of London—in the very centre of the intelligence that was poured upon this country by means of the press; and if, under such circumstances, that story could be circulated in the newspapers for three weeks— and it was only by those ladies coming forward and submitting to the test of inquiry that it was proved to be false, scandalous, and abominable—he would ask, how could they believe public rumour and hearsay? The other hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) appealed to foreign countries; but he could tell him that the Roman Catholics were content with the system of life they practised, and those of them who chose a life of seclusion were content with that seclusion. Did the hon. Member for North Warwickshire know anything of the state of the convents, or of the access that parties had to them? Did he believe that they were living in a state of society such as was described in the novels of Mrs. Radcliffe, where a young lady could be carried off at midnight to a secluded tower in the Apennines, where access was only allowed to some grim old monk, whom probably the hon. Member might wish on such occasions to represent? Every one 981 knew that in this country it was not so. Days and hours were appointed when all the friends and relations of the inmates bad the most perfect access to them. What said the Roman Catholic Bishop Ullathorne on that point?—It is most important that those who would legislate for interference with religious houses, should hear in mind that the relatives and friends of their inmates have constant access to them. That even in very strict convents their near relatives can see the members without the presence of witnesses; and that each religious person receives the visits of her friends and acquaintances at fixed and suitable hours. Nor is there any restraint on this subject greater than is needed to protect a lady from obtrusion, or from unnecessary interference with her time, her habits, and her duties.[Mr. LACY: Read another line.]Cases may, of course, arise in a convent, as they arise in the world, where a superioress, as well as a parent or guardian, may have to protect a lady from the intrusion or interference of some indiscreet person.Well, he had read the passage, and he agreed with the passage. He believed that the Methodist gentleman who travelled on a coach with a lady at night might proceed from religious matters to talk on matters more delicate, and to take advantage of his position; and there the presence of a third party might he advisable. In private families it was so; and in convents the superioress ought to be invested with an equal amount of control. What said the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork upon the same subject? He had written to that right rev. Prelate for information, and he would, with the permission of the House, read a portion of his letter:—If the proposed measure be not the result of immitigable hostility, it betrays the completest ignorance of our social and religious condition. There is scarcely a Catholic family of respectability in this country that has not one or more of its members devoted to God in a religious life; and it is perfectly well known that these are not inferior in any of the virtues that adorn their sex to the sisters and the kindred who select the less arduous life which the world affords. And so true it is that piety perfects their natural amiability, that I have never heard of an instance of any lady relinquishing the happiness of her domestic circle for the devotion of the cloister, without leaving in the hearts of her family the liveliest regrets at losing the society of one who was, perhaps, the most cherished of their circle. The parents' consent is generally to be obtained only by the continued perseverance of a beloved child whose happiness cannot be secured but by acquiescence in her pious wishes. To talk of coercion under such circumstances indicates such an ignorance of our actual social life, as to stamp an attempt at legislating on this subject with a character a great deal worse than madness.982 He could state and vouch, from his own knowledge, from his intimacy with Roman Catholic families, that he had seen, in families where the most elegant refinements of life were enjoyed—he had seen young women pine away, because their wishes to enter a convent were interfered with— their health was broken, and their spirits drooped, because they were brought into contact with a world which prevented them from engaging in those duties which they felt were necessary to their internal peace; and he had seen the same young persons, after their parents' consent had been reluctantly yielded, recover their health and elasticity of spirits in the convent. Now one would suppose, from the statements of some hon. Members, that the employment of nuns was of an exceedingly onerous character—that they were shut out from all the elegant refinements of society—and that their lives were one entire round of prayer and privation. No doubt prayer constituted a very sublime and elevating part of their duty. But he must remind the House that there was one class of nuns that devoted themselves to the education of the females of the higher classes; and another class who devoted themselves to the education of the females of the lower classes; and this he would say, that the consequences which flowed from that education in the social condition of the females of Ireland, they were proud to exhibit in the face of the world. There was a third class of nuns whom not even malignity would seek to blame—the Sisters of Charity and Mercy—women who went into the haunts of loathsomeness, of filth, and of disease—who made no difference on account of religious creed—who ministered to the wants of the sick as no hospital nurse could minister—and who never resorted to proselytism in their exertions, as, it had been wittily said by a Member of the House, was the practice of some parties who offered relief to the Roman Catholic poor in the shape of legs of mutton on Fridays. He could say, from the bottom of his heart, that while Protestant gentlemen denounced these establishments, he—in the spirit of charity—could wish that there were similar establishments in the bosom of their Church, where persons whose feelings had been blighted might retire and find repose from the world. But they were told this was an enslavement of the mind—that it was caused by an overwhelming moral influence and control. There was a homely proverb, that "the 983 proof of the pudding was the eating;" and there was a true proverb, that "the tree was known by its fruits." If there was such an enslavement of the mind, how did it happen that Roman Catholic ladies who had been trained in the world, and who had afterwards mixed in active life, were among the first to send their children to the same establishments? He held in his hand a letter which lately appeared in the newspapers, and which bore the honoured and historic name of Teresa Arundell of Wardour. The writer spoke feelingly of this legislation. She said—To Catholic ladies who, like myself, have sisters and relatives in convents, it is indeed humiliating and most painful, that in England, hitherto considered the land of liberty, we should be forced to exert our influence to save those loved ones from the grossest insults, the most unmanly attempts now being made to deprive them of a security which even the meanest women slaves have insured to them.That lady also added—The tenderness I feel for my children is, I hope, quite as strong as the warmest-hearted mother can know, yet the sacrifice of parting with a daughter for a time I cheerfully make, rather than deprive her of that which I know will cause her to bless the parents who deny themselves a present pleasure to insure her the lasting advantage of a convent education.What will the effect of your legislation be? In the language of an Address sent to Her Majesty by the ladies of a convent in this country, who were invited over from France by George III. in revolutionary times, "they will never be advised by their relatives to submit to that visitation"—hence it will be that what we consider one of the greatest boons to families, the facility of education, will be removed from the rich. He did not wish to detain the House further on this subject; but he felt it his duty as representing a Roman Catholic community, though this Bill was confined to England and Wales, to tell the House the impression which it would make upon the country at large if it was passed. It was a piece of wanton and unreflecting legislation, and it was a pity that we were placed in this condition by religious feuds—that there was not a young Member, whether young in point of age or of standing in the House, who did not try his "'prentice hand" at legislation on the unfortunate Roman Catholic.
§ MR. GRANTLEY BERKELEY
said, that he could not say that this Bill contained nothing, although the hon. Member who brought it forward said tantamount 984 to nothing in its support, for he believed that it created no fewer than six new felonies. If this measure passed, the next thing that Protestant dissenters might expect would be that there would be a spy sent into every one of their schools. If this measure passed, he should look upon it that the first infringement on religious liberty had taken place, and that there would no longer be liberty of conscience. No case had been made out in support of the Bill, no facts had been stated which could be brought forward, nor had anything been proved for the consideration of the House, except that it was proposed to insult the whole of our Roman Catholic brethren. If he thought that there was any need of legislation, or any chance of Her Majesty's subjects being forced or constrained in any way, he should be the first for legislation; but in this instance the interference of the House was not only undeserved, but was totally uncalled for.
said, after the allusion made by the hon. and learned Member for Cork to what had happened to a Methodist on the top of a coach, he hoped nobody would be thin-skinned if reference was heard to what befell a priest in the seclusion of his chamber. He put this forward as an argument for reciprocal moderation. Hoping that it would have this effect, he appealed to every reasonable Protestant, and to every reasonable Catholic also, whether the most advisable course in regard to this question would not be to inquire what precautions and restrictions had been found necessary in Continental and particularly in Catholic countries, and then decide with gravity and impartiality on what it was proper to do in respect to conventual life in this country. The positions and the dangers were so similar, that it was no bad provisional assumption, that what was found necessary in one case, should at least be looked sharply after in the other. He was not bound to maintain that all the details of the Bill were the best possible; but he had come to the con-elusion that he should best promote the object he bad in view, by voting for the second reading. He was not afraid of misrepresentation on this head. No one could, and no one should, ever charge him with a wish to persecute his Roman Catholic fellow countrymen. When the great struggle took place for their rights, it was well known that, small as it might be, he had done his part.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
said, that all that 985 was new in the Bill was the details, the principle of the Bill did not require Parliamentary sanction, for at the present moment the parties (if such there were) who were detained in any of these convents were entitled by law to, their liberation, and Parliament had at various times interposed to provide the necessary machinery to enable the law to be carried into effect. What was objected to was not the principle but the details of the Bill; and, to establish that principle, it was not necessary to Garry the second reading; the House were asked by that step to go further and affirm its details. Of the only two Members who had expressed anything like approbation of the Bill, the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Freshfield) approved of it because he thought that religious women were mad; and the hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington), without approving exactly of the Bill, did not condemn it altogether, inasmuch as it armed the magisterial body, of which he was supposed to be the personification in the House, with greater power than they at present possessed. This concession to his prejudice reconciled him to the injustice that he did not deny the working of the Bill was calculated to lead to. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), whose name was on the back of the Bill, had not ventured to approve of the details; and no Member who had spoken on his side of the House had gone beyond him in disapprobation of some portions of his own Bill. The hon Member had taken a course, therefore, which it was impossible to understand, if it was not that the hon. Member was possessed of a mania for legislating about women. This measure was only a measure suited for the meridian of a parliament of old women, and was quite unworthy of the British Legislature. He wished to correct an error in a matter of fact stated by the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner). He referred to the case of Fulham v. Macarthy, and stated that when the late Mr. Macarthy placed his daughters in the convent, with permission to become nuns, he informed them that neither the convent nor the daughters were to look for any further share of his property than the sum he paid by way of dotation when they professed. He (Mr. C. Anstey) was counsel for the community before the House of Lords, and it was then proved that nothing was said by Mr. Macarthy, but that there was every reason to infer 986 that it was his intention to make a will in favour of the convent had he lived to make a will at ail. The hon. Member was also wrong in supposing that the decision of the Court of Chancery had been reversed in a technical point. On the contrary, the House of Lords expressed a strong opinion as to the validity of religious vows, and of the duty of courts of justice to respect those vows.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, that he not at all astonished, nor did he regret that this question should have been brought forward for debate; but at the same time he quite agreed in the remark made by the hon. and learned Solicitor General that it would be a most dangerous precedent if on any subject the House were to pass measures not only without a case being made out, but without anything, in fact, being stated beyond the probability of a necessity. It might be perfectly true that if there are, as had been stated, 500 ladies of this country living in seclusion in conventual houses, many of them might possibly have repented the perpetual vow they had taken, and might wish to free themselves from its operation. But something more than probability was required as the foundation for legislation. Objection was constantly and justly taken in that House to fishing inquiries. But fishing legislation—a Bill not meant to meet an existing evil, but an evil which it was thought might ultimately turn out to exist—would be a precedent so dangerous that he hoped the House would resist it. He should therefore vote against the Bill; but at the same time he held that the State had the fullest right to interfere with and control the management of these religious houses. He must say frankly, that in his opinion monastic institutions, with perpetual vows, were not only unnecessary, but were hostile to the spirit of our institutions. At the time these institutions were originally created, whether they were founded in order to escape from persecution, or to promote the spread of Christianity amongst hostile populations, there might have been reasons for their establishment which no longer existed; nay, there were stronger reasons for their existence at the time of the Reformation, when they were suppressed to a great extent, and when they acted as poor-houses, hospitals, libraries, and universities, than in these days when all those requirements are better supplied by other means. He thought, therefore, that not on religious but on public grounds, and as 987 a matter of State policy, that the State had a right to regulate those establishments; and it certainly was its interest to refuse any encouragement to establishments which must necessarily have a tendency to withdraw citizens from their proper duties and services to the State. He, of course, made a great distinction between different monastic establishments; between those whose rules merely enforced a contemplative life, and those whose inmates were engaged in works of mercy among the poor: the case of the Sisters of Charity, where ladies combined in order to be actively useful to the community, was a very different ease from the former. He should vote against the Bill; holding at the same time that the Legislature had a perfect right to interfere, and that, on the necessity for their interference being shown, it would be their duty to do so.
§ VISCOUNT BERNARD
said, he held in his hand a statement of the case of "Fulham v. Macarthy," which he felt bound to read, in consequence of the statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey). The facts were these:—Mr. Macarthy, of Cork, died in the year 1843, leaving a large grown-up family, and personal property to the amount of upwards of 90,000l. Two of his daughters had, with his consent, become nuns, in the convent of Blackrock, in the years 1828 and 1829 respectively. He paid 1,000l entrance-money with each of them, on the understanding that they were not to participate in any property which he might leave at his death.The hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Serjeant Murphy) had told them, on the authority of the Roman Catholic bishop of that diocese, how ladies were willing to sacrifice all domestic affection and happiness at home for the sake of living in the delightful seclusion of the convent. But what did the House imagine to be the real state of the case? Nelson Macarthy, in his answer in the case of "Fulham v. Macarthy," giving the substance of a conversation with his sister, stated—That he saw Maria (his other sister), and that she told him that she cried and wept all night long after signing the deed. She told him that he could not see his sister Catherine that day, as she was undergoing punishment. Some weeks after, he says, he saw Catherine, who appeared very weak and depressed. She said, that in reference to the deed, a pen might as well have been put into the hands of a corpse as hers. She informed him that she feared she would be obliged to sign the deed in compliance with her vows, and that he had no idea of the mental training that they went through, and that she would be obliged 988 to state that her acts were free and voluntary, and that everything done by a 'religious' must be done cheerfully and freely, otherwise it would be deemed and considered that she had broken her vows.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now,' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 91; Noes 123: Majority 32.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Bailey, J.||Hornby, J.|
|Baird, J.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Jones, Capt.|
|Baldwin, C. B.||Legh, G. C.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Lennard, T. B.|
|Bateson, T.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Best, J.||Lockhart, W.|
|Blair, S.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Lowther, H.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Masterman, J.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Buck, L. W.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Moody, C. A.|
|Bunbury, W. M.||Morris, D.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Packe, C. W.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Pakington, Sir J.|
|Child, S.||Perfect, R.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Reid, Col.|
|Cowan, C.||Renton, J. C.|
|Cubitt, W.||Richards, R.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C.T.||Sandars, G.|
|Dick, Q.||Seymour, p. D.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Duncan, G.||Smollett, A.|
|Duncuft, J.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Edwards, H.||Stanley, E.|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Stuart, H.|
|Fergus, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Tollemache, hon. F. J|
|Forbes, W.||Tollemache, J.|
|Forster, M.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Freshfield, J. W.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Vyse, R. H. P. H.|
|Gilpin, Col.||Waddington, H.|
|Goddard, A. L.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Gooch, E. S.||West, F. R.|
|Grogan, E.||Willyams, H.|
|Gwyn, H.||Worcester, Marq. of|
|Halsey, T. P.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||TELLERS.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Lacy, H. C.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Spooner, R.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Burke, Sir T. J.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Cayley, E. S.|
|Barron, Sir H. W.||Clay, J.|
|Bell, J.||Clay, Sir W.|
|Berkeley, hon. G. F.||Cochrane, A.D.R.W.B|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Cocks, T. S.|
|Blake, M. J.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Collins, W.|
|Bright, J.||Corbally, M. E.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Crawford, W. S.|
|Brotherton, J.||Crowder, R. B.|
|Dalrym hon. T.||Norreys, Lord|
|Dawson, V.||Nugent, Sir P.|
|Deedes, W.||O'Brien, J.|
|Devereux, J. T.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Drumlanrig, Visct.||O'Connell, J.|
|Duncombe, T.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||O'Connor, F.|
|Emlyn, Visct.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Fagan, J.||Palmer, R.|
|Fortescue, C.||Patten, J. W.|
|Fox, W. J.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Peel, F.|
|Goold, W.||Pilkington, J.|
|Grace, O. D. J.||Pinney, W.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Power, Dr.|
|Grattan, H.||Power, N.|
|Greene, J.||Prime, R.|
|Grenfell, C. P.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Reynolds, J.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Roche, E. B.|
|Harcourt, G. G.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hatchell, rt. hon. J.||Sadleir, J.|
|Henry, A.||Salwey, Col.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Scully, F.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. S.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W|
|Heywood, J.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Heyworth, L.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Hindley, C.||Sullivan, M.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Hope, A.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Howard, P. H.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Tennent, R. J.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Keating, R.||Thornely, T.|
|Keogh, W.||Townley, J.|
|Kershaw, J.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Lascelles, hon. E.||Wall, C. B.|
|Lawless, hon. C.||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|Littleton, hon. E. R.||Whitmore, T. C.|
|Locke, J.||Williams, J.|
|Mackie, J.||Williams, W.|
|M'Cullagh, W. T.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Magan, W. H.||Wilson, M.|
|Maher, N. V.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Meagher, T.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|Matheson, Col.||Young, Sir J.|
|Moore, G. H.||TELLERS.|
|Morgan, H. K. G.||Arundel and Surrey, Earl of|
|Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Nicholl, rt. hon. J.||Murphy, P. M.|
§ Words added:— Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.
§ The House adjourned at twenty minutes before Six o'clock.