§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee; Mr. Bernal in the Chair.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Preamble be postponed."
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, he felt it his duty to move that Mr. Bernal do now report progress. It would he in the recollection of the Committee, that on the last night that he had the honour of addressing the Chairman of the Committee on this question, there was an unanimous understanding entered into that the Chairman should be permitted or directed to report progress, and that in the interim the noble Lord at the head of the Government would put the Bill in the shape in which he intended to propose it to the House. There was an understanding that he (Mr. Reynolds) and those hon. Members who usually acted with him should not oppose the Motion that Mr. Speaker leave the Chair; and he might say that they had not violated that understanding. He (Mr. Reynolds) might probably leave himself open to a charge of not having violated that un- 1097 derstanding in letter, but of having violated it in spirit. [Ironical cries of "Hear, hear!"] He might as well anticipate the objections which hon. Members who cheered him ironically would make in the course of this debate; but he trusted he should be able not only to justify himself with the Committee, but with those numerous persons outside the Committee who were opposed to the Bill, in the course he proposed to adopt. The Bill he now held in his hand was not the Bill that was first laid on the table. It was not only not the first Bill, but it was not even the second. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had scarcely disclosed the provisions of the first Bill, until the right hon. Secretary of State for the Home Department hacked out of two of the clauses. The right hon. Gentleman said he should be satisfied with the first clause, omitting the second and third. During the progress of the debate, the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) placed on the notice paper certain very serious and important Amendments. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell), anticipating considerable discussion in that House with regard to those Amendments, adopted a short course, or rather what they called on the other side of St. George's Channel, a short cut across the fields, for he said he had placed the hon. and learned Attorney General in communication with the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, who would settle the clauses between them. Now, being one of the defendants in this very heavy cause, he was beginning to be alarmed when he found both sides of the House agreeing in an act of aggression against civil and religious liberty, and when he found in this Bill the first fruits of their labours. He found in the first clause that the hon. and learned Attorney General had made his arrangement with the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, for the first clause stated—The said brief, rescript, or letters apostolical, and all and every the jurisdiction, authority, preeminence, or title, conferred or pretended to be conferred thereby, are, and shall be, and be deemed unlawful and void,That was what he (Mr. Reynolds) called the Walpole clause. Then he found there was another clause of a most insulting nature to him (Mr. Reynolds) and his coreligionists—he meant that relating to the Scotch bishops. The right hon. Secretary of State for the Home Department had converted his proviso in favour of the Scotch Episcopal bishops into a clause; and what did that clause say? Why, that— 1098This Act shall not extend or apply to the assumption or use by any bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church exercising episcopal functions within some district or place in Scotland, of any name, style, or title, in respect of such district or place; but nothing herein contained shall be taken to give any right to any such bishop to assume or use any name, style, or title which he is not now by law entitled to assume or use.That was what was called making fish of one, and flesh of the other. That was a clause to protect the Protestant Episcopal bishops of Scotland from any pains and penalties arising from their legislation. Would the right hon. Secretary of State for the Home Department—would the noble Lord at the head of the Government, his official superior—consent to a similar clause in favour of the Roman Catholic bishops of the. United Kingdom? They would not, because their object was to coerce them. But, as another reason why the Chairman should report progress, there were several Amendments to be proposed, and those Amendments as they were printed, did not apply to the Bill in its present shape. Would it not, therefore, be reasonable that the Chairman should report progress, and ask leave to sit again? He (Mr. Reynolds) did not care how soon— say to-morrow—in order that hon. Members who, like himself, were vitally affected by this Bill might have sufficient time to consider it in its amended shape? In the early part of his observations he was led by an ironical cheer to say it would he probably held that he had violated the understanding come to on Friday night. He believed this Bill was of so objectionable a nature that he would be justified in putting all the forms of the House into operation, if he thought lie could save his fellow-countrymen from the infliction of so obnoxious a measure. The Irish Brigade, as it was called, of which he had the honour to be a member, had been scolded and attacked by that hundred-tongued monster the public press; and one journal, more remarkable than the rest for the versatility of its abuse, had, the other morning, devoted an entire column to scolding him and others. That journal, the Times, talked of wasting the time of the House, and of the melancholy falling-off in talent of Irish Members of Parliament. It talked of his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore), his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh), and himself, occupying the time of the House, and said they had not now the brilliant Irishmen of former days, the Currans, the Grattans, the Sheridans, the O'Connells, and a whole 1099 host of Irish senators illustrious for their eloquence. But suppose he (Mr. Reynolds) retorted on that organ, and asked, pointing to the Treasury benches, where were the Poxes, the Pitts, the Burkes, and the Wyndhams—that galaxy of political glory which shed honour on the character of the statesmen both of the Whig and Tory school? Where? Echo answered, Where! If Irishmen had deteriorated, there appeared also to be a kind of pari passu deterioration among the English hand in that House, for among the leading magnates of the present day he found none equal to those of a former one. He hoped that would he a sufficient answer to that charge. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had charged him (Mr. Reynolds) and those with whom he acted with pursuing a vexatious course, and with wasting the time of the House. They had not wasted any of the time of the House yet. It was quite time enough to begin. He held in his hand a most illustrious and respectable precedent. It was the first volume of Lord Brougham's speeches, edited by himself; and he (Mr. Reynolds) would turn to a passage in it for a precedent to prove that what he (Mr. Reynolds) and his hon. Friends might do hereafter had been done heretofore, and that the noble Lord himself was a party to certain vexatious proceedings. [An Hon. MEMBER: No!] Well, if he was not a party to those proceedings, he ought to have been. The passage was contained in an introduction on the "distresses of the country in 1816, and the method of successfully supporting the people in Parliament." The subject on which the time of the House was wasted on that occasion was a question of heavy taxation, from which it was sought to protect the people; and if hon. Members were justified in wasting the time of the House at that period, on a matter of that nature, how much more were they justified in doing so when their object was to protect their religious liberties from an oppressive coercion? Lord Brougham said—The Opposition took the alarm, and Mr. Brougham declared, on presenting a petition numerously signed from one of the London parishes, that if the hurry now indicated should be persevered in, he should avail himself of all the means of delay afforded by the forms of the House. Lord Folkestone (now Earl of Radnor), one of the most strenuous and in those days one of the most active and powerful supporters of the popular cause, vigorously seconded this menace, in which he entirely joined. On the next day more petitions were flung in; more discussions took place, and the Government postponed for a week 1100 the introduction of the Bill. The week proved quite decisive; for so many meetings were held, and so many petitions sent up, that the Bill was put off from time to time, and did not finally make its appearance till the 17th of March. Above six weeks were almost entirely spent by the House of Commons in receiving the numberless petitions poured in from all quarters against the tax. For it was speedily seen that the campaign of 1812 was renewed, and that the same leaders, Messrs. Brougham and Baring, had the management of the operations. At first the Ministers pursued the course of obstinate silence. The Opposition debated each petition in vain: every Minister and Ministerial Member held his peace. No arguments, no facts, no sarcasms, no taunts, could rouse them; no expression of the feelings of the country, no reference to the anxiety of particular constituencies, could draw a word from the Ministers and their supporters. At length it was perceived that their antagonists did not the less debate, and that consequently the scheme had failed in its purpose of stifling discussion. The only effect of it, then, was, that all the debating was on one side, and this both became hurtful to the Government in the House, and more hurtful still in the country. They were forced into discussion, therefore; and then began a scene of unexampled interest, which lasted until the second reading of the Bill. Each night, at a little after four, commenced the series of debates which lasted until past midnight. These were of infinite variety. Arguments urged by different speakers; instances of oppression and hardship recounted; anecdotes of local suffering and personal inconvenience; accounts of the remarkable passages at different meetings; personal altercations interspersed with more general matter—all filled up the measure of the night's bill of fare; and all were so blended and so variegated, that no one ever perceived any hour thus spent to pass tediously away. Those not immediately concerned, peers, or persons belonging to neither House, flocked to the spectacle which each day presented. The interest excited out of doors kept pace with that of the spectators; and those who carried on these active operations showed a vigour and constancy of purpose, an unwearied readiness for the combat, which astonished while it animated all beholders. It is recounted of this remarkable struggle, that one night towards the latter end of the period in question, when at a late hour, the House having been in debate from four o'clock, one speaker had resumed his seat, the whole Members sitting upon one entire bench rose at once and addressed the chair—a testimony of unabated spirit and unquenchable animation which drew forth the loudest cheers from all sides of the House. At length came the 17th of March, the day appointed for the decision, but it was soon found that this had been, with the debate, wholly anticipated. The usual number of petitions, and even more, were poured thickly in during some hours; little or no debating took place upon them; unusual anxiety for the result of such long-continued labour, and such lengthened excitement, kept all silent and in suspense; when, about eleven o'clock, Sir William Curtis, representing the city of London, proceeded up the House, bearing in his arms the petition, which he presented without any remark, of the great meeting of the bankers and merchants holden in the Egyptian Hall, and signed by twelve thousand persons. The division took place after a debate 1101 that did not last half an hour; no one, indeed, could be heard in an assembly so impatient for the decision; and by a majority of thirty-seven voices the tax was defeated for ever, and the wholesome principle, as Mr. Wilberforce well observed, was laid down that war and income tax are wedded together. The same display which led to such important and even glorious success to the cause of the people, in an unreformed Parliament, is to the full as requisite now, and would produce, if possible, greater results. Neither slavery, nor limited suffrage, nor petty constituencies, nor refusal of the ballot, would stand before it half a Session. But unhappily it has seemed good to Whig Government that they should adopt a course of proceeding which renders all the tactics of 1812 and 1816 impracticable. Forgetting what it was that raised them to power, the remote cause of the Tory downfall, the policy which produced all the triumphs of liberal opinions; forgetting, too, that though now in office, they may to-morrow be restored to that Opposition from which the triumphs of 1812 and 1816 raised them—they have resolved that no petition shall now be discussed—that whoever presents it shall merely state its substance, after telling the body and the place it comes from—and that no other Member shall make it the subject of any observation. To this plan for stifling the people's voice, and giving the Ministers of the day and their majority in Parliament an absolute control over the policy of the empire, disarming the Opposition of their main weapons, and shearing the people of their chief strength, the Speaker, Mr. Abercromby, has unhappily lent the support of his authority, if he was not indeed the author of the scheme. It is of little moment to reflect that, but for the policy of former and better times, this distinguished and excellent person would now have been in the honourable but cheerless exile of an Edinburgh sinecure Judgeship, as his Ministerial coadjutors would have been doomed to exclusion from power on the benches of an eternal Opposition. It is of more importance to remark that, unless a speedy end is put to the present course of proceeding, the mainstay of English liberty, the only effectual safeguard against misgovernment and oppression, is taken from the people of these realms.Now, having read the opinion of the former Mr. Brougham, he asked the noble Lord whether it was fair or reasonable to taunt the Irish Members with a course which, after the lapse of twenty years, met the approval of a distinguished statesman of the Whig school? The noble Lord taunted them with wasting the time of the House, because they did that which his own bad policy forced them to do, namely, read the notes of the petitions and the prayer with which they concluded. The noble Lord said, "When I recollect the mode adopted in presenting petitions, I cannot consent to the adjournment." Lord Brougham expressed his opinion that since the privilege had been deprived the people of reading petitions and raising debates upon them, the presentation of petitions was so much waste paper; and his (Mr. Reynolds') short experience in that House showed him plain- 1102 ly that it was not only waste paper, but mere mockery, to present petitions at all. It was already upon record that petitions against this Bill had been presented signed by upwards of 1,000,000 of persons. He should be glad to know what weight was attached to those petitions. Why, it was notorious that much more weight would be attached to the signature of the Bishop of Durham or the Bishop of London, than to all the petitions he had presented. They might be told that pursuing a hostile course would detach English voters from them. Such a result as that he should much regret; but let him ask how many English votes they had in that House? On one occasion they had divided 400 to 60—and of that 60, upwards of 45 were Irish, the remaining 15 only were English Members. On the Religious House Bill the other night he found 91 Members voting for that insult to the houses and sanctuaries of female piety, chastity, and virtue. Of that 91, not less than 81 were English Members; whilst in the majority of 130 there were 42 Irish Members, the remainder being English Members. He should now be glad to know why the Government, having opposed that Bill, had not brought down their whippers-in on the occasion to swell the majority against that measure? There were 42 Irish Members in that majority, and were it not for their attendance he believed that vulgar attempt to insult the ladies of his creed in the discharge of their pious duties, would have received the sanction of the House, because there was a decided majority of English and Scotch Members in its favour. He trusted that the noble Lord would not object to the proposal that the Chairman report progress. He did not wish to offer any factious opposition; but, on the ground that they had not sufficient time to consider the Bill in its new shape, he hoped the Government would concede his proposition.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he would not argue whether the course pursued by the hon. Gentleman was or was not in accordance with the spirit of the understanding at which the House arrived on Friday evening, but was quite willing to leave that question to the decision of the Committee. If the hon. Gentleman thought that the time had come for a revision of the Standing Order, which was adopted by the general assent of the House, and not at the dictation of the Whigs, some 1103 years ago, with respect to the presentation of petitions, it was perfectly competent for him when Mr. Speaker was in the Chair to ask the opinion of the House upon it; but he (Sir George Grey) trusted the Committee would not at present be led into a discussion either upon that question or upon the provisions of the Bill by means of the present Motion; which, whatever might he the object of the hon. Gentleman (and he disavowed all factious motives), could have no other effect than that of violating the spirit of the understanding and strict arrangement entered into on Friday evening.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL and SURREY
had risen at the same time with the right hon. Baronet to second the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds), which he did not believe was at variance with the arrangement which had been come to on Friday night. It had been arranged that no opposition should be made to the Motion that Mr. Speaker leave the Chair, and that the House should go into Committee; but after that arrangement had been carried out, every Member had a right to pursue any course which he might think fit. For himself he thought it a reasonable request on the part of the hon. Member for the city of Dublin; and he (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) was not, nor never would be, a party to any factious opposition. However, he saw no reason why this Bill should not have been in the hands of Members on Saturday morning. They had now laid before them a very different Bill from that originally introduced, and it even came into their hands rather later than usual. It only reached them that (Monday) morning, and many Members of the House, like himself, were prevented from looking at it, being engaged all day upon the business of the House. He denied the charge of infringing on any arrangement, and repudiated the accusation of their opposition being factious, or being of any other kind than legitimate.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
wished to disclaim any factious opposition. He had only simply expressed his opinions, and he hoped he had not been guilty of factious opposition. He wished to inquire whether, on the present occasion, the request of hon. Gentlemen was unreasonable. When they came to read the clauses of the Bill, could any man say that they were in a position to discuss them step by step, especially after the very short time they had been in their hands? Allowing, however, it was other- 1104 wise, there were propositions in the Bill which, if they had any sense at all, were of vital importance, as they struck at the very existence of the Roman Catholic faith in this country. They ought to know whether the fact was so or not. It was their duty to get something like a fair declaration from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, or the law officers of the Crown, of the nature of the Bill. It was a new Bill. It was not the old one. And this was what he complained of in the whole administration of the noble Lord he was in the habit of coming down to the House with one proposition, which he argued and enforced with all the strenuousness of his nature, and on which he brought all his feelings into action—a power which he so well knew how to avail himself of. Then he changed his plans and his Bill accordingly. On this very subject he had changed his policy three separate times. The Bill was not now what it was upon the first occasion it was introduced; on the second occasion it was a new Bill—the spirit of it had been changed—and they had a right to discuss that Bill with a view to understanding it. For his part, he felt totally incompetent to understand it, and he was quite sure that if the law officers of the Crown were called upon to explain the force of the new changes, they would not be able, at the present moment, to give the satisfaction which that House required.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
The course which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) had referred to was that which he (Mr. Gladstone) should be disposed to recommend. He should support the Motion before the Chair, as he did not think it would be consistent with the understanding that was come to on Friday to bring forward any Amendment now for the purpose of obstructing the progress of the Bill in Committee; and though hon. Gentlemen might have made an imprudent arrangement, he would advise them to adhere to it, and at the proper time they would be justified in demanding some days' delay for the consideration of the legal effect of the alterations which had been made in the Bill. But what he would propose was what the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) had suggested, namely, to call upon the law officers of the Crown, or some Member of the Government, to give to the Committee their general view of the legal bearing of the changes made in the measure; and he, for one, could not consent to proceed with the Bill in detail until 1105 that was done. And for this reason, that if they did, they would be at the mercy of the first hon. Member who might hereafter rise to move some verbal Amendment, and upon that raise a discussion upon the general question as to the effect of the Bill without the House having the advantage of any explanation from the Government of what in their view the legal effect would be. The Committee should not lose sight of the fact that the progress of this Bill was unexampled in Parliamentary history. After three months' investigation on a subject of vital importance, and of a most delicate nature, Government introduced a Bill adequate, as they said, and no more than adequate, to the occasion. That Bill consisted of three clauses: the first imposing penalties upon the assumption of titles under the Papal rescript; the second annulling all writings or deeds done in respect to titles assumed under such rescript; and the third cancelling all bequests made in favour of persons assuming titles under such rescript. The vote in favour of the introduction of the Bill was given by an almost unexampled majority—a majority of six to one—a testimony, he was willing to admit, of strong national feeling on the subject. The Government, having that vote of six to one in their favour, thought fit, after the lapse of a short time, to announce the withdrawal from that Bill of the two most stringent out of the three operating clauses. A great and fundamental change was then made in the measure; and he was bound to say that the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, on the part of the Government, explained in full what was the nature of that change, and the operation he thought it would have on the Bill. But such a change, however great and unfortunate—and every great change, after its introduction by the Government, was unfortunate, even if unavoidable, in a measure which nearly and deeply touched the religious tenets of large masses of the people—but however great and unfortunate, he was far from saying that such a change was altogether without example. But what was without example was, that the Government, having after three months' deliberation, introduced their measure, and having afterwards changed it so as to alter its very essence in the way of relaxing it—that they should then on their own Motion, and not on a vote of the House of Commons, introduce new Amendments not in the sense of the former Amendments—that of relaxing—but in the sense of greatly binding and enhanc- 1106 ing the stringency of the measure. He believed he was right in saying that the introduction of the clause of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) would have the effect of binding and enhancing—if not, he should be glad to hear arguments to convince him of his error; but he thought there was no lawyer who would not admit that the introduction of an enactment annulling the rescript was an essential change in the Bill, and a change in the direction he had stated. Then he wanted to have the precise legal bearing of the change which had been thus made in the Bill, in order that they might be able to enter upon the discussion of the details. He would state his opinion of the change from the Bill as first introduced— from the first edition of the Bill. In that edition it was provided that all writings and documents executed by persons under the Papal rescript should be void. But they were told that that would interfere with the rights of the Roman Catholic Church, and that part of the Bill was accordingly withdrawn. Now, his object in rising was to receive some information as to the bearing of these changes—what effect they would have in rendering the Bill similar to the one first introduced, and whether the effect of the second clause was brought hack by making the whole three clauses into one, or whether the objection was got over by such a mode of phraseology? The mysteries of the law on all occasions filled with fear and horror all those who had to deal with it; but if ever they seemed formidable in appearance, it was at the present moment. Whatever might be the difference of opinion amongst lawyers—if no two of them could be found to agree upon the legal bearing of the Bill, the more necessary was it that they should be informed of what the views of the Government were in making these Amendments be would state what, as it appeared to him, would be the effect. Imperfectly informed, as he necessarily was, he confessed there was much to be said on the part of those who, thinking a penal Act necessary, determined to support the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, for if there were an occasion (which he, however, denied this to be) for retracing their steps and entering again on a course of penal legislation, whatever they did they should take care not to make the law a mockery, but give it an intelligible and legislative principle. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst declared by his Amend- 1107 ments that the brief or rescript of the Pope, appointing the hierarchy, was illegal, and, consistently enough, that all other rescripts and briefs issuing from the Pope were illegal. The Government, in their dilemma, appeared to have adopted the clause of the hon. and learned Gentleman which made the rescript illegal. On that, he (Mr. Gladstone) would put two questions to the Government. As he understood, another rescript had been sent forth by the Pope posterior to that appointing the hierarchy in England, relating to Ireland, with regard to which, if they were to observe uniformity of legislation, some attention was necessary. What was that rescript? It was, as he understood it, to abolish the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic bishop of Cloyne, in Ireland, over the diocese of Ross, erecting a new see of Ross, and constituting a new diocese. The main difference, he believed, between this case and that of the rescript establishing the hierarchy here, was that this had been done at the request of the Roman Catholics of Ireland; but the acting-power which gave force to the instrument was the same in both rescripts. Now, were they to legislate so as to give uniformity of legislation in both these cases, or were they, by their legislation, to annul the one rescript and leave the other in full force? He wished to have it explained what the intentions of the Government were in this respect. There was another question. By the first clause of the Bill as it now stood amended, the rescript of September last was declared null and void; and all jurisdiction exercised by the Pope by any bull or rescript would be similarly nullified. But the enacting force of both rescripts was identically the same; and yet, whilst they were going to legislate against Papal rescripts affecting England, they were about to leave unquestioned the power of the Pope to issue rescripts with regard to Ireland. There was another point which he wished to have explained. By the first clause, as it stood, the Papal rescript of September last was declared to be unlawful and void; but he understood that the Government declined to introduce the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst, in which he provided that, not only with respect to the rescript of September, but also with respect to all future rescripts for similar purposes, any party who should obtain them, or bring them into the kingdom, or should attempt to give effect to them, should be liable to prosecution. Now, let the House 1108 consider in what position Her Majesty's Government had placed themselves. The rescript issued in September last they declared to Tie unlawful and void; but if it should please the Pope to exercise his discretion, and issue, if not a rescript in the very same terms, at any rate one to the same effect, doing the very same thing with a different date—would such rescript by this Bill be made illegal and void? [The SOLICITOR GENERAL intimated that it would.] Then let the hon. and learned Gentleman give the Committee the benefit of his opinion. If he was to understand the hon. and learned Gentleman to give it as his opinion that, because they declared in an Act of Parliament a certain rescript, there specially referred to, to be illegal and void, they declared other rescripts not there mentioned to be illegal and void also, let them hear it on the authority of the law officers of the Crown, or of some Member of the Government. But if that was not the view—if the intention was to deal with the past, but to leave all future rescripts of the Pope to take their course-that would be to assume a position which would be ridiculous in the face of the world. He thought he had stated sufficient to justify the request which he had made, which was, that either the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) or the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, or one of the law officers of the Crown, would explain to the Committee what, in their view, was to be the legal character of the Bill as it now stood, or whether the effect of Clauses 2 and 3 of the original Bill, the exclusion of which was thought of so much importance, whether they were to be brought back by the present clause, which had been borrowed from the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, and whether the enactment of the clause which provided retrospectively for annulling the rescript of the Pope, would have a prospective operation annulling future rescripts; and, lastly, whether it was intended to annul these rescripts as to England, leaving in full force and effect rescripts having a similar character, and almost of the same date, erecting episcopal jurisdictions in Ireland? He would suggest to the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds), that according to Parliamentary practice, any Member pledging himself not to oppose Mr. Speaker's leaving the chair upon any Bill, was understood to pledge himself not to prevent the consideration of the details of such a Bill in Committee.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Mr. Bernal, I think the Committee have now two questions to consider, which, I submit, ought to be kept entirely separate from each other. First, we have the question of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds), who proposes that, instead of your formally moving that the Amendments should be read a first time, you should report progress, and ask for leave to sit again. I differ from the noble Lord the Member for Arundel (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) on the propriety of the course which he proposes that we should take. I certainly could not agree to that course, because I have no security whatever, that when we come on Friday night next to consider this Bill, the noble Lord might say, "without taking a factious course, I shall feel it my duty to move that the Chairman should leave the Chair to enable him to report progress." We should then be placed in the same position as that in which he wishes us now to place ourselves. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) takes another course. He says that, before the House is called upon to adopt the Bill in its present shape, some explanations of its probable legal effects ought to be made by some Member of the Government. Now that, I think, is a reasonable request. I think, that if the hon. Member for the city of Dublin would consent to withdraw his Motion, and allow the Committee to proceed to a discussion of the clauses, when we came to read them, my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General should explain to the Committee the view that he takes of the clause proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and what may be its legal bearings. There is one thing, I must observe, that I think it is very evident that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) has never read the preamble of the Government Bill, although since February it has been in the hands of hon. Members. It is quite clear that he would not have made the observations which he has made, with respect to the various clauses, if he had read the preamble of this Bill. However, I will reserve the discussion of that question until the Committee has disposed of the Motion of the hon. Member for the city of Dublin.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL and SURREY
said, under no circumstances could the noble Lord have any security that no hon. Member would move that Mr. Speaker should not leave the Chair.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
conceived that the 1110 Committee was called on to consider a new Bill; they were therefore entitled to expect a general statement of its objects from the Jaw officers of the Crown, after which the Committee should be allowed to consider the statement and the Bill together. He disclaimed any factious opposition.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
differed from the noble Lord the Member for Arundel, that the course now pursued by the opponents of the Bill was not a violation of the arrangement come to on Friday; nor did he admit that the Bill as it now stood was altogether a new one, as the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) contended. On the contrary, he thought there was such a general identity between the provisions of the Bill, as originally brought in and its present clauses, that the Committee would be fully justified in treating it as the same Bill. He should vote for proceeding with the measure; for, imperfect as it was, it was better than anything they could hope for from those who opposed it.
§ MR. P. HOWARD
observed, that though the second reading of the Bill had been affirmed by a majority of six to one, the committal of the Bill—the stage which went to the realisation of the purpose intended by it—had only been carried by about one-sixth of the representatives of the people. England was the last of the great Powers of Europe which had affirmed the great principle of religious liberty. In the case of the concordats between Tuscany and Spain with Rome, the ungenerous system of restrictions had been abandoned. If the law officers of the Crown would not vouchsafe to give the House the least explanation as regarded the penal enactments of the present Bill, he thought his Irish friends would be fully justified in pushing their Amendments to a division.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that if the hon. Member for the city of Dublin would withdraw his Motion so as to enable the statement to be made by the hon. and learned Attorney General, in accordance with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone), to which the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had acceded, the hon. Member would not be in a worse position than he was at present. As some misunderstanding seemed to exist as to what happened on Friday last, and as he was present on the occasion, he wished 1111 to observe that the statement of his noble Friend behind him (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) as to the arrangement entered into on that occasion was correct. The hon. Gentlemen who were concerned in the arrangement, stated, on that occasion, that they agreed to the noble Lord's suggestion, on condition that on Monday they would not be bound by it, beyond the question that Mr. Speaker do leave the Chair; and to that condition the noble Lord assented.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he had agreed that his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General should make a statement on the bearing and legal effects of the first clause, as it now stood in the Bill, when they came to discuss that clause. He had not said that the statement would be made on the preamble.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
thought that the Committee had a right, as soon as the Chairman put the question that the Amendment be read a second time, to call on the Government to give an explanation of the legal bearings of the Bill in its amended shape. He did not think that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had quite kept faith with the Committee. The noble Lord, previously to the recess, called upon hon. Members who had any amendments to make in this Bill to print them, and upon the reassembling of the House, he (Lord John Russell) would tell the House which amendments he would accept, and which he would reject. Now, on the reassembling of the House, the noble Lord stated that he could not accept the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) in the nature of clauses, but he had no objection to their being introduced in effect to the preamble. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: No, no!] He had so understood the noble Lord. The noble Lord had been sending over the hon. and learned Attorney General to the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and they had been trying "to cook up" a new Bill between them; but the hon. and learned Attorney General and the hon. and learned Gentleman could not agree. The Committee had not been informed of the mode in which the Amendments of the hon. and learned Gentleman were to be amalgamated with the Bill; and that of itself, he thought, was a good ground for requiring delay. It was sheer nonsense to say that this was the same Bill as when the noble Lord had first introduced it. In reply to the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), the right hon. and 1112 learned Gentleman the Master of the Rolls had in effect stated that the Bill, as it originally stood, was the very Bill required—"the Bill," according to the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, did not in its original shape go too far, but just went far enough. When the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire said the real penalty in the Bill would only be its minimum of 40s., and that that was about as much as the Bill was worth, he was met by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who eulogised the measure as the very model of a Bill. Well, but if the Bill had been so excellent, why alter it? Where was the original Bill now? He hoped, however, that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Reynolds) would withdraw his Motion, and that the Committee might then have an explanation from the Government as to the mode in which they proposed that the enactment should finally present itself.
§ MR. ROCHE
said, that as this was a question of the keeping or breaking of good faith, he would state his recollection of the proceedings which had taken place on Friday night. On the House going into Committee, the Bill was read a first and second time, the postponement of the preamble was objected to, and the Bill was ordered to be printed, and its further consideration postponed until to-day. The Committee were now asked to go two steps further than they went on Friday, and, having gone these two steps, they were then promised that they should hear the explanations of the law officers of the Crown. The Bill, however, was a new one, and, being new, the explanation ought at once to be given. If the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General could show that this was not a new Bill, but the old one, then the Committee might take it into consideration; but whatever their explanations might be, the Irish Members were exactly in the same position now as they had been in on Friday night: there had been no breach of faith on their part.
§ MR. KEOGH
said, that the arrangement had been made between him and the noble Lord at the head of the Government; and if lie conceived he wore violating the spirit of that arrangement in supporting the Motion of the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, he would not vote for it. But he was convinced that that Motion violated neither the spirit nor the letter of that understanding; neither had the noble Lord accused them of such a thing, but the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George 1113 Grey) hinted it. What happened was this. He (Mr. Keogh) asked the noble Lord to consent to the reprinting of the Bill; the noble Lord at first refused, and the Committee now saw that he (Mr. Keogh) had just and reasonable grotinds for that request. The noble Lord afterwards consented, on condition that on Monday he should be placed in the same position with respect to the Bill as he was then; he (Mr. Keogh) agreed, provided that he and his friends should also be put in the same position—namely, that on Mr. Speaker leaving the Chair, they should make every species of opposition to the Bill that they deemed expedient, and the forms of the House allowed. That was the arrangement agreed to, and he insisted it had not been violated in spirit or letter by them. As regarded the proposition just made by the noble Lord, he understood the noble Lord admitted the justice of the right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Gladstone's) appeal, for he had said that if they took one step, it was but right that he himself or the hon. and learned Attorney General should make a statement. Now the Chairman of Committees had just informed him that it was necessary to move that the Bill be read a first and second time, because of the alterations made in it; but that if it were the same Bill it would not be necessary. The noble Lord had adopted a great portion of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst's Amendments; let the hon. and learned Attorney General then make his statement, and afterwards let them adjourn the question to Friday next, in order that they might have an opportunity of fully considering the provisions of the Bill as amended. The noble Lord had undertaken to have the Bill reprinted, but it had not been delivered to hon. Members until late that morning. On that ground alone they were entitled to have the further consideration of the measure postponed.
§ MR. WALPOLE
thought the Committee had lost sight of one point. They could not be said in any way to have been taken by surprise. The clause which was now supposed to make the Bill a new measure, and the Amendments he proposed, were all placed on the paper before Easter. As to the remarks of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) respecting the hon. and learned Atorney General and himself cooking up this Bill between them, the hon. Member would perhaps allow him to state the fact. It was quite true that the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) promised to state after the recess what he 1114 would do with the Amendments; and, accordingly, after the recess the noble Lord said that he did not object on principle to the first of his (Mr. Walpole's) Amendments, but that he thought it was included in the old preamble. The noble Lord, however, objected to the other Amendments. Now, with respect to his communications with the hon. and learned Attorney General, he certainly had met his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General in the street accidentally, and he had spoken to him about his Amendments. The hon. and learned Attorney General had not been sent to him by the noble Lord. On the following day he met the hon. and learned Gentleman a second time, and the latter then alluded to those parts of the Amendments to which the Government objected most strongly, and also to those parts to which they assented; but until he (Mr. Walpole) came down to the House on Friday evening, the Government were under no arrangement with him, nor was he under any arrangement with them, either to accept or reject any clause. There was, moreover, no compromise between them. He entirely approved of the principle of the Bill brought in by the noble Lord; and, upon approving of that, he did not think there was any thing unbecoming in the conference he had had with the hon. and learned Attorney General, the object of which was to see how far his Amendments would or would not be acceptable to the Government.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, it was the noble Lord at the head of the Government himself who stated that he sent the hon. and learned Attorney General to the hon. Member for Midhurst.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, it was quite true that the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had met the Attorney General accidentally, and had had some conversation with him. The Attorney General most properly told him (Lord John Russell) of the conversation which he had had with the hon. and learned Member relative to his Amendments, and said that he did not like to hold further communication on the subject without his (Lord John Russell's) authority. He therefore gave the Attorney General authority to communicate with the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst on the subject of his Amendments.
§ MR. S. CRAWFORD
would recommend the Hon. Member for the city of Dublin to withdraw his Amendment, if it were distinctly understood that the Attorney General would make his explanatory statement at once. The discussion of the clauses ought, after the statement was delivered, to be postponed until a future day.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, the hon. and learned Member for Athlone had so plainly and clearly explained the understanding come to on Friday, that he would only add this—that the Irish Members only pledged themselves that they would not take any advantage of the Motion that Mr. Speaker should leave the Chair, and that both the noble Lord and the Irish Members should occupy exactly the same position that they did on Friday. If he agreed to withdraw his Amendment, it would be on the specific ground that the hon. and learned Attorney General should be permitted to explain the alterations in the Bill, and that after that explanation no further progress should be made with the Bill that night. It was necessary that hon. Members should understand each other They were all wide awake on the subject. He was willing to withdraw his Amendment, provided the noble Lord would consent, after the hon. and learned Attorney General's explanatory statement, to postpone the further consideration of the Bill until Friday.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that he could not agree to the arrangement of the hon. Member for the city of Dublin.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Preamble be postponed."
§ Question put accordingly.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 46; Noes 262: Majority 216.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Preamble be postponed."
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said: I feel it my duty now to comply with the general wish of the Committee, that, as the law adviser of the Government, I should 1116 make a statement of the provisions of the Bill now before the Committee. I will endeavour to state very briefly the legal effect of the provisions of the Bill, which appears to me to lie in a very narrow compass, and the views which the Government take of those provisions. In the first place, however, I must take the liberty of saying that I totally disagree with those hon. Members who have asserted that this is a new Bill. The only portion to which that observation can apply is what is now the first clause of the Bill. Now, I am prepared to show that the first clause in reality does not at all alter the character of the Bill, but leaves it substantially and precisely what it was before. As the Bill stood, before that which is the first clause was added (the second and third clauses of the original Bill being withdrawn, and looking only to the preamble and the Government clause, which is now the second clause), it amounts to this: the preamble recites—That certain of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects have assumed to themselves the titles of archbishop and bishops of a pretended province, and of pretended sees or dioceses, within the United Kingdom, under colour of an alleged authority given to them for that purpose by a certain brief, rescript, or letters apostolical from the See of Rome, purporting to have been given at Rome on the 29th September, 1850; and whereas by the Act of the 10th year of King George IV., chap. 7, after reciting that the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, and likewise the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, were by the respective Acts of Union of England and Scotland, and of Great Britain and Ireland, established permanently and inviolably, and that the right and title of archbishops to their respective provinces, of bishops to their sees, and of deans to their deaneries, as well in England as in Ireland, had been settled and established by law, it was enacted, that if any person after the commencement of that Act, other than the person thereunto authorised by law, should assume or use the name, style, or title of archbishop of any province, bishop of any bishopric, or dean of any deanery, in England or Ireland, he should for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of 100l.; and whereas it may he doubted whether the recited enactment extends to the assumption of the title of archbishop or bishop of a pretended province or diocese, or archbishop or bishop of a city, place, or territory, or dean of any pretended deanery in England or Ireland, not being the see, province, or diocese of any archbishop or bishop or deanery of any dean recognised by law; but the attempt to establish, under colour of authority from the See of Rome or otherwise, such pretended sees, provinces, or diocese, or deaneries, is illegal and void; and whereas it is expedient to prohibit the assumption of such titles in respect of any places within the United Kingdom: be it therefore declared and enacted by the 1117 Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that—Now, the second clause of the present Bill, which was preceded and introduced by the preamble I have just read, enacts—That if, after the passing of this Act, any person other than a person thereunto authorised by law in respect of an archbishopric, bishopric, or deanery of the United Church of England and Ireland, assume or use the name, style, or title of archbishop, bishop, or dean of any city, town, or place, or of any territory or district (under any designation or description whatsoever) in the United Kingdom, whether such city, town, or place, or such territory or district, be or be not the see or the province, or coextensive with the province of any archbishop, or the see or the diocese, or coextensive with the diocese of any bishop, or the seat or place of the church of any dean, or coextensive with any deanery of the said United Church, the person so offending shall, for every such offence, forfeit and pay the sum of 100l.In other words, the second clause places the unauthorised assumption of such territorial districts, provinces, cities, and towns, as have not already suggested archiepiscopal or episcopal titles of the Established Church, shall be guilty of an offence and subject to the same penalty as provided by the Act of George IV. That is the original Bill; it puts those places on the same footing, by constituting it an offence to assume such titles, and subjects the person assuming them to the same penalty as the Act of George IV. had fixed for the assumption of titles already appropriated by the archbishops and bishops of the Established Church. Now, undoubtedly another clause is introduced—a clause originally suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole). Does that make it a new Bill? It does no such thing. It is neither more nor less than a declaratory clause, embodying the results which you have recited—that certain persons have assumed titles by colour of a pretended authority from the See of Rome; you recite that the attempt to constitute those persons archbishops and bishops is illegal and void—you say it ought to be prevented. What says your first clause? Does it say anything more? Certainly not. It merely says that that which you have decided in the preamble is illegal and void, shall be declared by Act of Parliament to be illegal and void. It was stated by the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, that he entertained some objection to that clause, because it was su- 1118 perfluous. If you recite, in the preamble, that it is only under colour of a pretended authority that these titles are assumed—if you recite that the attempt to introduce those titles is illegal and void, and that the illegality is constituted an offence under this Act of Parliament—you have done in effect by the recital what you declare by the clause which immediately follows; and certainly, upon consideration, the first clause strikes you as being superfluous. Inasmuch as I found that there was a great desire for the insertion of that clause, I took the liberty of suggesting to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) that it should be adopted. It is said, "here is an invasion of national independence, of national sovereignty by a foreign Power; it is not enough to recite that it is illegal; let there be a statutory, parliamentary, national declaration that it is illegal and void:" and for this purpose, that there may be no mistake about it, but that it may go forth by the authority of Parliament to the whole world, in the face of which this invasion has been made, and that no doubt may be left on the mind of any Roman Catholic subject that this particular rescript is illegal and void. This clause proposes to do nothing as to penalties; it does nothing as to fines or punishment, but it does give a more solemn affirmation of that which has been already recited. There is no hardship, no injustice to anybody. It is merely the same as is contained in the preamble. It may do some good, it can do no possible harm. It may afford additional satisfaction, by removing every shadow of doubt on any mind, as to the intention of Parliament in vindicating the national independence. Therefore, I say, the first clause/contains neither more nor less than is contained in the preamble; and is enacted in substance by the second clause, though it may be a more express and explicit statement than is contained in that preamble. That is all I have to say about that clause. With regard to the second clause, it has been so much discussed that I cannot understand any one feeling any doubt as to the real intent and real legal' effect of it. It amounts to this: The statute of 10th George IV. applied in terms only to the territorial titles previously appropriated by the Established Protestant Church. It recites the attempt to parcel out this country—England more especially—into provinces and dioceses which have no foundation whatever in constitutional law. It 1119 says the assumption of those titles is illegal, and places territorial districts not appropriated to the Established Church on the same footing as those to which the 10th George IV. applies. That is the whole effect of the clause; and when it is said that this second clause will interfere with the administration of charitable bequests and trusts of members of the Roman Catholic Church, the simple and obvious answer is—the 10th George IV. had not that effect; and this has only application to dioceses and sees not already provided for in that Act. That is the whole effect of the Bill; and I cannot understand how any one can entertain any real doubt or difficulty as to its nature and character. I understand that all the Committee requires of me is a legal exposition of the measure; and after the long and elaborate discussion which it has undergone, I believe I should be trifling with your time and patience were I to add one word to the naked statement which I have now made.
§ MR. P. HOWARD
wondered why, if the matter was so simple as the lion, and learned Gentleman pretended it to be, the Bill had been withheld, contrary to the usual practice, from Members until after mid-day that day. He protested altogether against taking the discussion of the Bill that night, no time having been given for the consideration of it. In effect it was a complete^' new Bill from that last before the House. It had a new date even—a distinct proof that it was an entirely new Bill. The Government were adopting the dishonourable resource of stratagem to carry their measure through; and it was a degrading catering to the taste of a majority in the House to append the proposal of the Member for Midhurst without being convinced of either the propriety or the necessity of the addition.
§ MR. K. SEYMER
said, that one very important point had been omitted by the hon. and learned Attorney General. It had been said that the object of the Bill was to maintain the national sovereignty. Now, if there was one portion of the kingdom more than another where it was particularly important to maintain the national sovereignty, it was Ireland—for that was the only part of the empire where, in recent times, war had actually been openly levied against the Sovereign. [Murmurs of dissent.] Why, there could be no doubt about it. The war had been levied by persons, some of whom were moving 1120 in the highest circles of society, and who were now suffering the penalty of their crime. Well, the Pope had recently issued a rescript, doing exactly for a portion of Ireland what he had done for the whole of England. Now, there was no notice taken of this in the Bill, and therefore it seemed to him that it made the distinction which they were all anxious to avoid, namely, that of asserting the national sovereignty in England, and not in Ireland. He observed that the hon. and learned Attorney General was at present absent, but he hoped the hon. and learned Solicitor General would explain whether he (Mr. Seymer) was correct in saying that the Bill, as it now stood, did make the distinction to which he had referred.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
It did not occur to my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General to notice the point which was raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone). I know it was his intention to answer the right hon. Gentleman; and, from conversations with my hon. and learned Friend on the subject, I am aware of his views, which are, 1 believe, as follows. Neither the right hon. Gentleman or the hon. Member who spoke last, have sufficiently distinguished between the declaratory clause and the common enacting clause. By the declaratory clause, you have, instead of the judgment of a Court of law, the judgment of the highest authority of the realm, that such and such a state of things is the existing law of the country—a judgment which every Court is bound to follow: it admits of no appeal, and can in no way he contravened. With respect to this particular bull, the reason for declaring it to be illegal and void, I apprehend to be this: In the first place, that it is illegal and void, no lawyer can entertain a doubt. That it is illegal and void to accept a title under a bull, was determined in the time of James I., in Lalor's case in Ireland; and since that time there has never been a doubt on the subject. It was then declared to be illegal under the statute of prœmunire of Richard II. This Bill purports to do precisely the same as in Lalor's case. It is a remarkable circumstance, that from the time of Lalor's case till the present time no subject of England has dared to accept such a bull—no Sovereign Pontiff has been found to issue such a bull. It is two centuries or nearly two centuries and a half afterwards, that this unprovoked aggression takes place 1121 on the part of the Pope of Rome. These ill-advised proceedings, by certain subjects of Her Majesty, suggest the expediency of bringing in a Bill to recite that those proceedings are illegal and void; and it was thought by the Government that, to recite the proceeding as illegal and void would be enough. It had occurred, however, to the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst and to some others, that something more was wanted—for the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst was not alone in his opinion, an able pamphlet having been published anonymously with the signature of "A Privy Councillor," but which was very well known to be the work of a person who had once occupied an eminent judicial position; in which pamphlet the same view as that taken by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst was maintained—viz., they ought to recite the bull and "tear it to pieces by a declaratory clause." I confess I thought the recital was equivalent to a declaratory clause; but, however, this being the first bull for more than two centuries—the first time that any subjects of the Crown have dared to act under such an instrument, it may be as well not only to say that they are illegal and void, but to have a Parliamentary declaration, annulling the act—on the one hand, for the purpose of meeting the view in which foreign nations may regard it; and on the other, for the purpose of putting it beyond all doubt on record, that any person attempting to act under a bull of this description engages in a most unlawful act, and one which hereafter deserves to be visited with severe punishment. This being so, you take the first bull issued, the bull in question; you recite it and declare it illegal, and void. "But," said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, "you leave the act of appointing the Bishop of Ross intact and valid." Was there ever such a mistake? When it was declared—not enacted—that in the eye of the highest authority in the land a given bull was illegal and void, the right hon. Gentleman came forward and said, "Here is a bull of the same nature which has been issued in another country, which bull remains intact and valid after the other bull, which is identical with it, has been declared to be illegal and void." I did not apprehend that any Gentleman could have fallen into such a mistake—certainly no lawyer would. Why, supposing that not a bull, but any other instrument, a will, for example, of a 1122 given form, had been declared to be void, does any one imagine that if a will exactly similar to that which had been declared to be void were brought before a Court of law, that the Court would not decide that the second instrument was void upon the same principle that the first had been held to be void? There is no necessity for following up all the minor instruments which may emanate from the same authority, after declaring that this odious aggression is illegal. You have the judgment of Parliament on that bull; and any bull of that character, produced before any court in the kingdom, and all similar bulls, would be declared equally illegal and void. Without following all the petty machinery of the Court of Rome, I apprehend the most dignified course is to take up this monstrous instrument—parcelling out the whole kingdom, and, as has been truly said, annulling the sees of Canterbury and London, and dividing them into new districts—and having taken up that instrument, and declared it void, to leave the bishopric of Ross, or any other small creation of the Pope, unnoticed. I consider that by far the most proper and dignified course for Parliament to pursue.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
was very much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for the explanation which he had received; and he considered he might be well excused, if, in common with many other Members, he failed to perceive that this first clause was simply declaratory. He understood the hon. and learned Solicitor General to state that it was distinctly declaratory, and neither more nor less. The reason why he might be excused for not having perceived or thought that this clause was simply declaratory, independent of the ground of legal ignorance, was, that unless he was very much mistaken, declaratory clauses were seldom announced in this very peculiar and unusual form. Such declaratory clauses as it had been his fortune to see, had usually followed a recital that the state of the law was doubtful; but there was nothing of that kind in the present instance. They said that the Pope's act was illegal, and having said that they went on to say, "Be it declared and enacted that it shall be illegal." Now he (Mr. Gladstone) thought that was an unusual mode of proceeding; but he might be wrong. He did not, however, think that the Bill hung well together. It might be difficult to understand whether there was a declaratory clause; and, if so, what was 1123 the necessity for a declaratory clause; because that which was already clear and admitted on all hands, could not stand in need of any further explanation. But he would pass on from that, because he now understood the meaning of the Act of Parliament, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government rather did him an injustice, when he said he could not have read it. If he did not before understand it, it was not from not having read it, but because he had read it a great deal too often, and became mystified over it. But he was desirous to know whether) according to the judgment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, the effect that was intended to be produced by the second clause of the Bill as it originally stood, namely, the invalidation of all written documents executed by parties under this rescript or letter-apostolical, whether that effect would be produced by the Bill as it at present stood? He (Mr. Gladstone) supposed that the first clause would unquestionably have that effect.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
The right hon. Member has stated that the second clause of the original Bill declared that any writings under this bull should be void. But the clause was much more extensive than that. It provided—That any deed or writing made, signed, or executed, after the passing of this Act, by or under the authority of any person, in or under any name, style, or title, which such person is by the recited Act, and this Act, or either of them, prohibited from assuming or using, shall be void.The objection taken to it, and which led to its withdrawal, was, that it would have a retrospective effect of a most dangerous kind. The objectors, the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland, said—Under the old Act of 1829—we may have misunderstood it or acted wrongly under it—we have ordained a number of clergymen, under titles forbidden by that Act. If you say that any deed executed after the passing of this Act shall be void, you will prohibit our going on to do that which we have been doing ever since 1829, and which we have no right to suppose we were prohibited from doing. Therefore do not do that, but let us stand upon the law of 1829. If we were wrong under that Act, we shall be wrong under the new Act; if we were right under the old, we shall be right under the now.Now that is a legitimate mode of argument, although I entertain doubts whether they were right under the old Act. When the second clause was struck off, their case was conceded, and they were left as they were before. When the first clause said 1124 that this particular bull was void, it did not touch that particular case. If the Pope thinks fit to, or can in any legitimate manner, create a new bishopric, let him try it. I do not think he can. The present bishops in Ireland say they do not bear the title openly, but they consider themselves, as between themselves and the Pope and their co-religionists, the bishops of such and such places, although it is said that they shall not bear the title. Now if that shall be devised with respect to new sees, let it be done. The striking at this particular bull does not in any way militate against those bishops doing exactly hereafter what they have done from 1829 to the present day. Whether they have been doing that lawfully, admits of great doubt; but they have a right to the benefit of that doubt, and they are allowed to stand as they were in 1829.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
I apprehend that they will stand in precisely the same position as the Irish sees.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, it had been admitted that not many years ago the Pope issued a document with respect to the Bishop of Galway, exactly similar to the one he had lately issued with respect to the Bishop of Ross. If then, to use the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon, this was not "the signal for a reversal of policy "in effect and spirit, why did not the Government make that the occasion for vindicating the insulted honour of the country? He (Mr. Torrens M'Cullagh) said, that a similar document had been issued in the case of the bishopric of Galway, and no notice had been taken of it by the Government. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had asked a question, which his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General had certainly not answered, and not attempted to answer. He (Mr. M'Cullagh) was sure the Committee would not be put off with the answer his hon. and learned Friend had given. He had not answered the question which he (Mr. M'Cullagh) had been the first to put in that House, namely, whether the subtraction of the first and second clauses by the Government—for he had never admitted, and never would ad- 1125 mit, that this was the same Bill—whether the subtraction of these clauses was really and substantially a change of the restrictive and persecuting policy now adopted, or whether the hon. and learned Gentleman did not think that every ecclesiastical as well as every temporal Act, was really to be declared invalid by those second and third clauses, and whether he did believe that if brought before a court of law they would be decided to be illegal. He contended that when grave doubts were raised, and when men like Sir FitzRoy Kelly and the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Bethell), and others, all agreeing with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham), and all agreed upon the principle of the construction of these clauses, the question was well worthy the serious consideration of the law officers of the Crown. If those law officers of the Crown would really vindicate the Government, it behoved them to deal as lawyers with those opinions, and not meet them with rhetorical flourishes. That would not answer the question to the country; that would not solve the problem if it should come before a court of law. In justice and common sense it ought to be decided there, before the House sent millions of the Queen's subjects to decide this question of so intricate and complex a nature in the courts of law. After introducing a different Bill in the early part of the Session, the Government now sought to force this measure, which was a combination of the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and the first Bill of the Government in March and April. He wished to deal with the matter in a spirit of fairness and candour, and he appealed to every hon. Member of that House whether this was not a question which ought to be put beyond all controversy or doubt. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had laid it down as a principle respecting that Bill, that it was not persecution because it was only a repetition of the Bill of 1829. He must ask the noble Lord, then, this question, as he had been five years in office, how it happened that the violated law had never been attempted to be enforced? How was it that with a law which had been valid for these twenty years, the Government had not ventured to put an ecclesiastic on his trial before twelve jurors? Because they could not find twelve impartial men to agree with them that the law had been violated. It was said that the statute re- 1126 lating to charitable bequests remained unrepealed; and the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh), had said that it repealed in terms the penal part of the Act of 1829. What he (Mr. M'Cullagh) said was, that the Charitable Bequests Act of 1844, introduced by the late Sir Robert Peel, with the approved of the noble Lord and all who acted with him, and with the adhesion of the present right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls, a statute acting not only upon Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops, but upon the titles of the archbishops and bishops—he said, coupling that Act with many other acknowledgments of ecclesiastical titles which might be enumerated, that that state of things led to an abnegation of the whole penal character of the Act of 1829. Besides, also, the decision of the courts of law, there was a witness in that House in addition to the noble Lord himself, who, if appealed to, could set the Committee right on this question. The noble Lord had said, in reply to the hon. and learned Member for Athlone—Was it to be conceived that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, the organ of Sir Robert Peel's Government, would have brought in a Bill to nullify and repeal the Act of 1829?The right hon. Gentleman himself voluntarily told the House this Session—in his first speech of the Session—and reminded the House of the Act of 1844. [The hon. and learned Gentleman here read an extract from a speech of Sir James Graham.]
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
appealed to the candour of the right hon. Gentleman, for he had read the words from Hansard. It was obvious, then, that it was intended to give equal protection to the priest of the parish and to the bishop who had charge of the diocese; and Sir Edward Sugden, acting no doubt by the directions of Sir Robert Peel's Government, lost no time in validifying the intentions of the Legislature, and in the case of the Bishop of Meath adjudged that, as a Roman Catholic bishop of Ireland, he and his successors should be entitled to act as trustees. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford had asked a question which had not been answered by the legal officers of the Government, as to what was to become of the Charitable Bequests Act if this Bill passed? Also with respect to the penal clauses if property was left in trust to the bishop and his successors, or 1127 solely to the bishop, the intention of the testator being clearly shown to be that the bishop for the time being should exercise the trusts? His belief was that this question had never been dealt with since the discussion began. Would the hon. and learned Attorney General or the Solicitor General for England say that a court of equity would, in a case where the trust taken by the bishop under the terms of the Act of Parliament fell at his death, the necessity arising of finding new trustees, appoint a new trustee for him? He asked his hon. and learned Friends whether it was the same thing if that property or money should pass to the heirs or next of kin of the bishop personally, or to whomsoever might be his executor or administrator, or to the successor of the bishop in the diocese? Yet that would be the only result of a Bill in equity to substitute at their pleasure and discretion somebody holding an analogous office. The Government were reversing that policy of goodness, justice, and mercy, in which they themselves were once so eminent. He begged the law officers of the Crown to deal with this question as lawyers. He appealed to the Committee whether they understood the measure itself. Whether it was from too often trying to understand this Bill himself—so inconsistent in its terms—he knew not, but he declared that really and truly he did not know what was intended by the Bill. He did not know what the Bill was; and if they took it before a jury of the House, he did not believe they would get an explanation.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he would at once answer the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken, that he was not there to discuss legal questions. As a lawyer he might be bound to state his opinion, and he was ready to state his. What he was prepared to state was this. Although the various opinions which had been stated on the question, might have been obtained by different persons, he believed that he should be stating the sentiments of the legal profession if he said, "We do not believe that the mischief apprehended by some hon. Gentlemen will flow from this measure." He believed that the effect of this statute was simply to put certain classes of sees and dioceses upon the same footing as that on which they stood under the Act 10 George IV., cap. 7; and he begged to ask whether those inconveniences and fatal mischiefs which had been so much talked about, and 1128 which some hon. Members so much apprehended, had been found to result from that Act of Parliament? He did not think any hon. Member would say as much as that. Therefore the best course would be to determine the validity of the opinions which had been quoted and referred to. For his own part he did not believe that the consequences which some persons apprehended would follow this Bill when made law. It would be a very different thing if it was proposed to endow a Roman Catholic diocesan bishopric. There he agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. M'Cullagh) that this Bill would prevent it. But if you left property in the terms of a bequest—if you left a party money, and chose to give to him an appellation which this Act of Parliament declared to be illegal and void, you must take the consequence of your own act. If the object was to leave property to the party for charitable trusts, and it was left to him specified by his title, he apprehended that the courts of equity—and he spoke in the presence of many learned friends more conversant with those courts than himself—but he apprehended that the courts of equity would only look to the intentions of the testator, and would regard the title merely as a designation of the person named in the will to whom the testator intended the property should be left. And further, that a court of equity would give effect to the bequest according to the intent of the testator, and would not directly interfere with the disposition of the bequest according to that intention. He believed he was right in saying that that was the general opinion of the profession. To prove it: what had been the working of the Act 10 George IV. for a space of twenty-two years? That Act made the assumption of titles of archbishops and bishops illegal—a matter of offence; yet bequests had been made to Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops by their titles for purposes of charity; and had there been any practical inconvenience felt in administering that Act in the courts of Ireland? If there were such inconvenience, lot it be brought forward; but he apprehended there were none. He thought no such inconveniences had been experienced. And with respect to the Charitable Bequests Act, the peculiar wording of that statute was such as to give effect to such a bequest if there should be no violation of an Act of Parliament. [The hon. and learned Attorney General here read an ex- 1129 tract from the Statute 7 and 8 Vict., c. 97, s. 15—In trust for any archbishop or bishop, or other person in holy orders of the Church of Rome, officiating in any district, or having pastoral superintendence of any congregation of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, and for those who shall from time to time so officiate, or shall succeed to the same pastoral superintendence."]That passage would apply to the case of vicars-apostolic with episcopal functions in certain districts. It would apply to that class of cases, because it carried out the religion of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. The Charitable Bequests Act was carefully framed so as to leave the archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholics untouched, so long as there was not any open and practical invasion of the law made by them. He apprehended that he had now answered the question of the lion, and learned Gentleman (Mr. M'Cullagh). This was not the place to go into a legal argument; and, therefore, he should content himself with saying that he did not believe such mischiefs as had been prophesied would follow this Bill.
§ MR. NAPIER
considered these discussions highly inconvenient, as several hon. Members had given notice of Amendments; and the effect of these discussions would be to mix up questions that ought to be kept distinct, and be separately considered. With respect to the statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. M'Cullagh), at the proper time be would meet that statement, and he hoped would controvert it. With respect also to the opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh), that the present measure was at variance with the Charitable Bequests Act, he should be glad to hear that hon. and learned Member demonstrate his proposition before he proceeded to reply to it. He should at a fitting time be prepared to prove that no Parliamentary sanction had been given by the Charitable Bequests Act to the assumption of diocesan titles on the part of Roman Catholic bishops; and this was admitted at the time of its introduction by the right hon. Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham), for he said—He had demurred, and he still demurred, to the right of the archbishops and bishops of the Church of Rome claiming titles as affixed to particular localities and districts in Ireland." And added—"The Government had gone the utmost length in their power, consistenly with the principles they must maintain.Now, the Act in question had been framed by the ablest lawyers of the day. The right 1130 hon. Baronet had been pressed to recognise the right of Roman Catholic bishops to diocesan titles. The right hon. Baronet, however, always said he had an objection, and still demurred to the assumption of titles of particular localities and districts in Ireland. Government, he said, had gone to its extreme point in that Act of Parliament. He held a pamphlet in his hand on the same Act, written by Mr. Serjeant Shee, which declared that the Act designated the Roman Catholic prelates as archbishops and bishops—but that was the sum total of the concessions made to them. The Roman Catholic laity were in many cases ignorant of the fact that bequests to Roman Catholic bishops or priests were, in the eye of the law, bequests to them personally. The Act recognised Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops, but not as having diocesan titles, authority, or territory. If then the present Bill was a reaffirmation of the Charitable Bequests Act, it could not interfere with the future operation of that Act. But even admitting the amount of legal talent engaged in framing that Act—the opinion of those eminent legal persons would not bind the Committee on this great question. But he would remind the Committee that Sir Edward Sugden, who had helped to frame the Charitable Bequests Act, had openly condemned the recent act of the Pope as contrary to the laws and constitution of the kingdom. Sir Edward Sugden had done that in an able exposition of the law and constitution of the country at a public meeting. A good deal of injustice he considered was being done by the attempt to persuade the people of England—that however was not very easily done—and the people of Ireland, that the Bill was an attempt to persecute the Roman Catholics. To this, he said, if, when the specific propositions came to be debated it could be shown that the religious rights and liberties of the Roman Catholics, as conformable to and measured by the law and constitution of these realms, were in the least infringed, he would vote against that portion of the Bill which had such an operation. But he did not believe such would be the effect of the Bill, and at the fitting time he should endeavour to establish the accuracy of his views.
§ MR. M. GIBSON
said, that there appeared to him to be a doubt on the minds of both the hon. and learned Attorney General and the hon. and learned Solicitor General as to the course that ought to be pursued. If the Government really wished 1131 to avoid the inconveniences that might arise from the uncertain construction of these clauses, they would introduce a direct proviso in their Bill for the purpose of preventing those inconveniences. If there were a doubt of what might be done by the courts of law in the construction of the clauses of the Bill, let them take the obvious mode of putting that doubt at rest by inserting in the Bill a clear and distinct proviso. He did not think it came under the head of well-drawn Bills. There was not much good workmanship about it; and he believed, when it was considered that the preamble had been altered, that the clauses were new, and that there were doubts as to what the effects of the measure might be under this its matured form, he must say that there must be a great deal of bad workmanship in the drawing up of that Bill. He was perplexed himself as to what was the meaning of the bishop of a district. He referred to the case of the Scotch bishops. By the Bill a person who called himself a bishop was to be fined 100l. That was the effect of the clause. But why the Scotch bishops were permitted to break the law, was left for further explanation. He found—on referring to a book lately laid before the House—being the Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education-—that no longer ago than the 26th of October, 1850, Her Majesty's Government had submitted to the Roman Catholic Poor Schools Committee a management clause for Roman Catholic poor schools—for the trustees to adopt, under which the trustees were to be entitled to their money, which was voted by Parliament. He found this clause proceeds to say—That the Roman Catholic priest for the time being, having the care of a congregation of religious worship in any Roman Catholic church or chapel, under and by virtue of faculties duly received from and confirmed by the Roman Catholic bishop for the time being, or other ecclesiastic of the district," &c.—So that the person so described was authorised to manage the instruction of the children in these schools. But it went on to say—It is hereby declared that no priest shall continue a member of said Committee, or shall exercise any control or interference in said school, who does not hold faculties duly received from and confirmed by the Roman Catholic bishop for the time being of the district, or other ecclesiastical division in which such school is situated.On the 9th of November, the very day when the celebrated Protestant demonstrations had been made in the city of 1132 London, another letter had been written by the authority of the Lord President of the Council to the Roman Catholic School Committee, expressing his gratification that this management clause which he (Mr. M. Gibson) had just read was likely to be carried out. The correspondence showed that the clause had been agreed to on the 29th of November, after this parcelling out of the kingdom (as it was called) into dioceses by the Pope; and the Government having on the 29th of November actually laid down that the Roman Catholic priests who were to manage these schools were to be priests ordained by the Roman Catholic bishop of the district, did it not seem monstrous that the Committee should he now engaged in passing a law whereby Roman Catholic bishops should be liable to a fine of 100l. for using the title of bishop? It behoved the law officers of the Crown to tell them what they meant to do in regard to the deeds in which the titles of the bishops were recited. How could they name a bishop by his title in a deed, if it were a penal act for a man to call himself a bishop? He (Mr. M. Gibson) wished to ask for nothing else than an explanation of the most obscure and complex Bill which it had ever been his lot to hear since he had become a Member of Parliament. He hoped that Government would give a fair and full explanation of what course they intended to adopt with regard to these trust deeds, and on what grounds, on the 29th of November, they had used the term "Roman Catholic bishop" of a district, if they had decided on enacting a law rendering a person liable to a fine of 1001., who called himself Roman Catholic bishop of a district?
§ SIR FREDERICK THESIGER
said, the question they were then called upon to decide was whether the preamble of the Bill should be postponed, and the question they were arguing had but a very remote connexion with that question. The law advisers of the Crown had given their explanations as to the effect of the clause proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and which had been introduced into the Bill of the Government, and he (Sir Frederick Thesiger) thought the hon. and learned Attorney General had given sufficient reasons why the preamble should be postponed until they had considered the other clauses of the Bill. He did not think the Bill a new one in consequence of the alterations introduced into it, as had been stated by several 1133 hon. Members; and he thought that, when the hon. and learned Attorney General had given his explanations with respect to the effect of the alterations which had been made, he had done all that was necessary to enable them to go on with the progress of the measure, without entering into any further discussion until the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) brought forward the proposition of which he had given notice. He (Sir Frederick Thesiger) was at a loss to see why the Committee should on that occasion depart from its ordinary course. They had been now discussing the course they should pursue for a long time without any practical result, and he really did hope they would proceed with the Bill in the usual way. They had consumed much time, but had not advanced one step. He thought it would be infinitely better for them to proceed with the Bill until they came to the consideration of the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, and not occupy their time uselessly on points which must be again raised when the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member was brought forward.
§ MR. ROCHE
said, that if the debate had closed with the speech of the hon. and learned Attorney General, they would have known what they were about; but the greater part of the speech of the hon. and learned Solicitor General went to contradict the speech of the Attorney General, and was calculated to confuse the Committee. The hon. and learned Attorney General got up and said the Bill had not a more extensive scope than that of the Bill of 1829; and almost the whole of his explanation went to make out that proposition. Another hon. Member then got up and referred to the case of the appointment of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ross; and then they were immediately afterwards informed that the Bill did not apply to Ireland. The hon. and learned Solicitor General, however, informed them that the Bill was to apply to Ireland. Now, he had a right to assume, after that statement, that it was intended that the Bill should apply to Ireland, and the more especially from the allusions which had been made to the appointment of the Bishop of Ross; what, he would ask, were the facts connected with that appointment? Why, that the diocese of Ross had been for centuries united with that of Cloyne; but, from the extent of the duties which had latterly to be performed by the bishop, it was thought 1134 necessary, for the interests of religion, and the better spiritual superintendence of the district, that the two dioceses should be separated. In consequence, an application had been made to the Pope to have an additional bishop appointed, and the appointment of the Bishop of Ross was the result. The hon. and learned Attorney General had renewed the stale argument that the Bill was not an infringement on the rights of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, because it merely re-enacted the provisions contained in an Act of Parliament passed about twenty-two years ago. Well then, with respect to the Act of Parliament, what was the real fact? Why, that the provisions contained in it which were proposed to be revived had not been put in force for twenty-two years, and they were mainly indebted to Her Majesty's Government for that. Why then, if that were so, should they now seek to re-enact those laws, that they might be put into effect? He would not then detain the Committee by reciting what had been said by different Lords Lieutenant, and other official persons upon the subject before them, to show that many of the provisions of the Act of 1829 had not been enforced; but he would say that the Charitable Bequests Act was, in fact, a contradiction of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. Allusion had been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) to the speech of Sir Edward Sugden; but they should recollect that what that right hon. Gentleman had said was with respect to England, and not to Ireland, and that he was speaking in his private capacity as to the law, and not in the character of Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The further the Government proceeded with the Bill, the more were they getting into the mud; and he believed that not one single Member who sat on the Ministerial bench understood the scope or probable results of the measure.
§ MR. P. H. HOWARD
considered the argument of the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Gibson) was an important one. The schools to which the right hon. Member had alluded were in many cases the property of the poor; and the greatest practical mischief, hardship, and inconvenience must arise from the operation of this Bill in regard to them. The Attorney General, however, had said that they could take refuge under the Charitable Bequests Act; but the Bequests Act only applied to Ireland, and did not meet the case of Eng- 1135 land. The sanguinary statutes of Elizabeth had not interfered with the spiritual acts of the Roman Catholic ministers of religion, and had not invalidated such acts as marriages. By the present Act, however, they were going to invalidate the consecration of bishops, and to render marriages illegal; and twenty years after this they would not only bastardise a large portion of the, gentry and nobility of this country, but throw a doubt on the titles of some of the eldest Peers of the realm.
§ VISCOUNT BERNARD
would not have interposed a word to delay the progress of the measure, but from the observations of the hon. Member for the county of Cork (Mr. Roche). He (Viscount Bernard) thought he knew more of the history of the bishopric of Ross than that hon. Member. The honest truth was, that the Bishop of Rome was determined to make another attack on the sovereignty of the Queen, by the creation of that bishopric. When they talked of excluding Ireland from the operation of this measure, the answer was, "Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland." But it was said that this Bill would do something that would interfere with the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion. He would quote the words of the late Sir Robert Peel in reference to this point, when bringing forward the question of Roman Catholic Emancipation. The late Sir Robert Peel said—There are, however, some points, in no way trespassing on any legitimate privileges, or discipline, on which the religion of the Roman Catholic requires to be preserved inviolable, which may be so arranged and regulated as to afford great satisfaction and a sense of security to the Protestant mind."After alluding to a provision to prevent Roman Catholics, if admitted to corporations, wearing their robes except in places of worship, he says—A practice has occasionally of late prevailed in Ireland, which is calculated to afford great, and, I may add, just offence to Protestants—I allude to the practice of claiming and assuming on the part of Roman Catholic prelates the names and titles of dignitaries belonging to the Church of England. I propose that the episcopal titles and names made use of in the Church of England shall not be assumed by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops, I call them, for bishops they are, and have among other privileges a right to exercise the power of ordination, which is perfectly valid, and is even recognised by our own Church; but I maintain it is not seemly or decorous for them to use the styles and titles that properly belong to prelates of the Established Church, much less publicly and ostentatiously to 1136 assume them as of late. This will be prevented in future.Those were the opinions of that great man. who had sacrificed much in bringing that question forward. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, in the admirable speech he made in introducing this measure—and for that speech, as well as his letter to the Bishop of Durham, he was very grateful—the noble Lord, he said, had then quoted the address of the Roman Catholic prelates in 1830, for the purpose of showing how grateful they appeared to be for the Roman Catholic Relief Bill of 1829. He begged leave to read an extract from it on the present occasion:— "Werejoice at the results, regardless of those provisions in the great measure of relief which injuriously affect ourselves, and not only us, but those religious orders which the Church of God, even from the apostolic times, has nurtured and cherished in her bosom. Those provisions, however, which were, as we hope and believe, a sacrifice required not by reason or policy, but by the prejudices holding captive the minds of even honest men, did not prevent us from rejoicing at the good which was effected for our country.And yet in the face of these opinions and this address, hon. Members came forward now with statements that this Bill was a persecuting measure, which would interfere with the spiritual functions of the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland. Now, in the early periods of Christianity the appointment of the bishops rested with the people at large. Then the power fell into the hands of the clergy, and subsequently it was transferred to chapters. Ultimately it came into the hands of the Crown the power was thus vested in the one family of the Stuarts, which family becoming extinct, the Pope assumed the power of appointing bishops himself, and by so doing he virtuallly denied the right of the Sovereign to the Throne of these realms. While upon this subject he would read a portion of the evidence given by the late Right Rev. Dr. Doyle, in 1824 and 1825, before a Committee of the House of Commons:—Is it on the ground of those transactions with Rome, going on as if Ireland were a missionary country, that the Pope has the nomination of the bishops of Ireland?—By no means; it is because the right of presenting was vested in a family which is extinct; and then the Pope, as supremo head of the Church, took to himself this right, which was, as it were, in abeyance, and acts upon it in the appointment of bishops since the extinction of that family.You state that the power of appointing to bishoprics in Ireland resided in the Stuart family. Will you state how that power came to reside in the Stuart family?—In the same manner as in 1137 most of the other Royal families of Europe. Originally in the Catholic Church, bishops were elected by the people and the clergy conjointly; afterwards these assemblies became scenes of riot and tumult, and the right of election was confined to the clergy alone. The clergy being a numerous body, intrigues and cabals, and those other faults which human nature is liable to in every class and description of men, produced much evil, and hence the election of bishops was confined to chapters. Those chapters in time also became seats of intrigue, and kings were anxious to get into their own hands the patronage of the Church; hence they entered into treaties or concordats generally, throughout Europe, with the Pope, that they should have a right of sending a êcong d'élire to chapters, recommending a certain person to be elected by them; and they—the Sovereigns—agreed at the same time with the Pope that he should give institution to such person, he being fit and proper, as the chapter had elected upon the Royal recommendation. An arrangement of this or a similar nature exists in almost every country in Europe, and it existed in Ireland in the times of the Stuarts and Tudors.Although the Protestant population of Ireland had absented themselves from meetings, because they thought it was wiser and better to forget the sectarian differences, he could say from personal experience that they were as anxious to repel the insidious and odious attempt of the Bishop of Rome to parcel out the country into dioceses as the Protestants of this country had shown themselves to be. Let the Committee beware of the insidious attempts that were making to undermine the Protestant institutions of this country. Let them take care not to allow those engines which were pregnant with the elements of anarchy and confusion to come into contact with their glorious Protestant constitution. He trusted that whatever might be the future prospects of this country—whether it might be the occupation of some future historian to describe the fall of what was once the mighty empire of Great Britain—that he would never have to say they had permitted their Protestant constitution to be subverted by the wily machinations of the Pope of Rome.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederick Thesiger) complained that they did not confine their observations to the point in question. He (Mr. T. Duncombe) did not complain, on the contrary he rejoiced, that the noble Viscount who had just sat down did not appear to have heard that observation, or they would not have been favoured with the oration of the noble Viscount, which appeared to have been intended for the second reading of the Bill. Now he (Mr. T. Duncombe) was going to confine 1138 his observations really to the question before them-—whether the preamble should be postponed or not. He thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government was more to blame than any body else for their diverging. Did the noble Lord object to the preamble being postponed or not? If he did, why did he not tell them so, or put up his Attorney General? They were waiting for him, but they could not get him to speak. The first clause enacted that the said rescript and brief should be null and void. What rescript? He saw none. The only reference he could find to it was in the preamble, which referred to a certain brief, rescript, or letter-apostolic, purporting to have been given at Rome on the 29th of September, 1850. Now, if they were to discuss this clause, they must have laid on the table of the House this rescript. Was the Committee to legislate in the dark? No one had seen the rescript, except perhaps the noble Lord and the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole). At all events, he thought they ought to discuss the preamble first.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
thought it was much the better course to proceed in the usual manner, namely, to postpone the preamble until they had discussed the clauses of the Bill. He had, upon the suggestion of an hon. Member, consented once to discuss the preamble of a Bill first; but from the difficulties that subsequently arose in consequence, he was warned against agreeing to such a course again. [Mr. T. DUNCOMBE: But what about the rescript?] It was quite clear that even if he consented to discuss the preamble it would lead to nothing practical, for then the hon. Member for Finsbury would ask for the rescript. If then they laid the rescript upon the table, the hon. Member would ask for the authority to prove it to be the one upon which they were legislating. Why, when they were discussing the Bill of 1829 he might as well have asked for the proof of the fact of certain Roman Catholic bishops assuming episcopal titles in England and Ireland. Why, as to the rescript, the matter was notorious, and did not require any proof.
§ MR. MOORE
would remind the noble Lord that when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) ventured to express an opinion upon the first clause, the noble Lord said, that he could not have read the preamble of the Bill, and unless he read the preamble it was impossible he could understand the first 1139 clause. That was then an argument in favour of their discussing the preamble of the Bill before the clauses.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
thought that the noble Lord himself was to blame for so much time being occupied in this way. He did not think the statement of the noble Lord at all satisfactory. No doubt it was the general custom to postpone the preamble; but this was a measure which did not fall within the general rules. It was not in principle or form an ordinary Bill. If hon. Members wished the preamble to be discussed, he certainly would support that proposition.
§ MR. KEOGH
had, he said, given notice that the preamble should be taken in the first instance. Hon. Gentlemen said, they made no way with this Bill. He would tell them why they had made no way since the Bill had been introduced, and in doing so, he said that his object was to take the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) out of the difficulty in which he had placed himself. Why then was it that the noble Lord had not made any progress? Because since the Bill had been introduced, there was no definite or settled plan in the noble Lord's own mind as to what he wanted to effect. The noble Lord had said that he did not want to propose a Bill beyond the necessity of the case; but the noble Lord was never able yet to say what was the necessity of the case distinctly, and then to carry it out boldly. Since the first hour the Bill had been introduced, the noble Lord had gone about chopping and changing his notions and his intentions. First, the noble Lord gave up on a very rigid pressure two clauses of his Bill to Ireland; and then the other night, under severe pressure, he took another clause from the other side, and not only a clause but a bit of a preamble. This, then, was the case since they last met. The noble Lord took a preamble, and it would be found that the first eight lines were taken from the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole); and then the noble Lord, not to be unkind to Ireland, struck four lines out of his own preamble; and why was it that the noble Lord had struck out these four lines? Because he (Mr. Keogh) had challenged the noble Lord, and he had challenged the law advisers of the noble Lord, to show that the statement in these four lines was true. And now, after mature deliberation as he supposed, after having on the face of their preamble a statement for three months, 1140 they now, in one night—either the noble Lord instructed by his law advisers, or the law advisers instructed by the noble Lord—struck out these four lines. There was a concession to the Irish Members, and here a concession to the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, and thus went on the noble Lord, balancing between two parties, with no defined ideas, and without any fixed purpose, giving utterance to high-sounding terms, and yet flying in a panic terror from their performance. These were the reasons why the noble Lord made no progress with this Bill. The noble Lord said, it was unreasonable in the Irish Members to ask for any delay; and yet how had the Irish Members been treated? They were called upon to discuss that evening a Bill which had been placed in their hands that morning. A Bill, which the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), with all his mental astuteness, professed himself unable to comprehend, and that the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), with as pointed an intellect as any Member on cither side of the House, declared he could not understand. And yet the noble Lord, who refused to allow them time, gave facilities to others—facilities which he certainly did not give to them. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst gave notice of certain Amendments; these Amendments were only applicable to the first clause in the Bill as it originally stood; but these Amendments were now addressed, on the paper, to the second clause, and yet the Bill, with the second clause, to which they were suited, only appeared that day for the first time—the fact being, no doubt, the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, met accidentally, with the hon. and learned Attorney General, and although agreement existed between him and the noble Lord, they appear to hit it off very well together. But private Members, Irish Members who were not so fortunate as to meet with an Attorney General in search of a clause, or a First Minister of the Crown looking for a preamble, found that the Amendments of which they had given notice, would not fit the Bill as it now stood. They were placed at a disadvantage; whilst the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Walpole) was afforded a facility. He asked what was this for? He supposed that if he had met wandering on his accustomed hill the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland, he would at last have been communicative. The noble Lord had said, that 1141 it was the universal practice not to proceed with the preamble of a Bill in the first instance. He admitted that it was so, because other Bills went upon settled principles; but what settled principle had they got here? Had they got any rescript either from the west of London or from Rome? Had not, too, the noble Lord himself announced a different principle every time he had spoken upon this Bill? Had he not first descanted upon the insult to the Sovereign? Had he not then dilated upon the territorial aggressions; and had he not at last amazed his hearers by telling them of some vast conspiracy against the civil and religious liberties of the world? The right hon. and learned Master of the Rolls, in proposing this Bill, said that the intention was to prevent the synodical action of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. He now asked was that intention adhered to or abandoned? But the noble Lord said, it was the regular practice not to take the preamble in the first instance; but he would tell the noble Lord why he (Mr. Keogh) desired to take the preamble first: it was because the statement in that preamble was not founded in law or in fact. He had challenged the law officers of the Crown, over and over again, to prove that it was so, and they had not accepted his challenge. He hoped to overthrow the preamble, and if he did so, then the superstructure would go with it. He might here observe that the noble Lord had introduced Amendments which made the Bill more stringent. The Bill had first referred to archbishops and bishops, but the noble Lord was not content with that. He (Mr. Keogh) had to present a petition from the Catholic Dean of Raphoe, and he asked the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis) if he would object to it? The hon. Baronet answered him de minimis non curat lex, that such small things were below his notice; but they were not below the notice of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, for his Bill now aimed at the Catholic deaneries. It had been suggested by the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) that they might dispense with a preamble; and if they commenced their Bill with the first clause, as the noble Lord proposed they should do, in Committee, then their Bill would be alike unintelligible and absurd. But the question had been asked of them by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe), where 1142 was the rescript? He repeated the question—where was the rescript referred to in the Bill? He ventured to affirm that it had never met the eyes of the noble Lord—that it never had been published in this country. What the noble Lord referred to was quite a different and a distinct thing; for in it the name of Cardinal Wiseman never appeared as Archbishop of Westminster. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Roche) was perfectly right when he said that the Attorney General and the Solicitor General did not agree as to the effect of the Bill upon Ireland; but the strangest thing was the way in which they had misunderstood his (Mr. Keogh's) argument as to the Charitable Bequests Act. He maintained that the Bill, if it ever became a law, would virtually repeal the Charitable Bequests Act. The 15th section of the latter Act, which was framed in a spirit of comprehensive statesmanship which did not suffer itself to veer about with every breath of wind out of doors, provided that any person might leave property to the Commissioners for the benefit of the Catholic archbishop or bishop officiating in any district; but the present Bill provided that if any person other than those authorised by law should take any title from any district, under any designation or description whatsoever, he should be fined 100l. Now, suppose any person were to draw a deed giving property for the benefit of the archbishop officiating in the district of Cork, was not that giving it to him under the designation and description of an archbishop officiating in that district, and equivalent to the archbishop of that district? Most unquestionably it was, and he considered that he was fortified in that declaration by the opinions of Sir FitzRoy Kelly, Mr. Brodie, and Mr. Baddeley. The Charitable Bequests Act left it to the Catholic Commissioners to decide who was the person meant; and how could they do that but by referring to the brief, rescript, or letters-apostolical, under which alone the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland held their sees. He (Mr. Keogh) considered that they were fully justified in exposing the inconsistencies and absurdities of the measure, and that it was not to the delay interposed by the Irish Members, but to the blunders of the promoters of the Bill, that its slow progress was really to be attributed.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
certainly could have wished that, in accordance with 1143 the opinion expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederick Thesiger) the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last could have confined himself to the question now before the Committee, namely, whether the preamble was to be postponed. Instead of that they had an elaborate attack upon the conduct of the Government in bringing forward this Bill from beginning to end; there was an attack on every clause and provision of the Bill, and a long argument upon the second clause, on which the hon. and learned Member for Athlone had founded an ingenious argument with reference to the Charitable Bequests Act, which he (the Solicitor General) did not intend at that moment to follow. [Ironical cries of "Hear!" from the Irish Members.] He perfectly understood that cheer, but he would tell the hon. Gentlemen that raised it that it was not because he was not prepared to demolish every argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but because he would reserve himself for doing that at a proper time. They had quite enough to do in discussing this Bill to discuss it regularly, and without interfering with extraneous subjects. He would now confine himself to this one observation, that the hon. and learned Gentleman could not even quote the clauses correctly, and had built his whole argument on a misquotation of the clauses. Every person knew that the common reason for postponing the preamble of a Bill was, that the clauses were the important features of the Bill, and first of all they should determine what those clauses were to be before they agreed to the preamble that was to be adapted to those clauses, on the principle that every author wrote his preface after he had written his book. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that nothing was too minute for the noble Lord; but the only ground he (the Solicitor General) could hear from the hon. and learned Gentleman for postponing the preamble was this—"What," said he, "are you to do with the word 'said' if you do not pass the preamble?" But the hon. and learned Gentleman must recollect that, with respect to every Act of Parliament that passed that House, he would have the same objection to make. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that nothing was too little for the Government, yet the hon. and learned Gentleman made such an objection as that which, considering his talents, he was surprised to hear raised by him. But 1144 the hon. and learned Gentleman did not originate the objection; he merely adopted the notion of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe). He (the Solicitor General) could not have expected that such an objection would come from any hon. and learned Member of that House. He considered that from beginning to end there was no change in this Bill. The Bill in its form and intention throughout was this—that they should not allow those titles to be assumed under the Papal brief. It was said that there was a variance between the opinions of his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General and himself on this Bill. He had expected such an assertion from the hon. Member for the county of Cork (Mr. Roche), but he did not expect it from the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, for he was sure he must know better. He (the Solicitor General) contended that there was not the slightest discrepancy between his opinion and the opinion of his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Keogh) said they had adopted a portion of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst's preamble, and he thought he had discovered some mystery in that; but was it not announced by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, on Friday night, that he would adopt the first clause of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst? He (the Solicitor General) bogged to say that no one connected with Her Majesty's Government had the pleasure of seeing the lion, and learned Member for Midhurst from Friday night until that evening at five o'clock, and then no such communication as the hon. and learned Gentleman referred to was necessary, inasmuch as the notice to which he referred was put on the paper on Saturday. Then there was a great point made by the hon. and learned Gentleman as to the deaneries; but the fact was that they had merely recited the clause referring to them from the Act of 1829. He apprehended that the Committee would at once see that there was no foundation laid for departing from the established practice of the House.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
would move that "the Chairman do report progress." [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Before this Bill was passed, hon. Gentlemen would be tired of calling "Oh." The Government had an opportunity of putting forward the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, to ex- 1145 plain this measure, but they had not thrown very much light on the subject. With regard to the speech of the hon. and learned Solicitor General, he did not believe that even an unlearned man like himself (Mr. Reynolds) could receive that explanation as satisfactory. He only threw mist on a subject that was tolerably clear before. He asked the hon. and learned Gentleman if he meant by the preamble of the Bill, and the few clauses embodied in that Bill, to interfere with the free action of the Catholic bishops and clergy of the United Kingdom, in the discharge of their clerical duties? Did he mean to repeal the provisions of the Charitable Bequests Act, or direct his attention to the rescript, a copy of which, as had been said by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) ought to be laid upon the table of that House?
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, that nobody could be more opposed than he was to this Bill; but he would oppose it by fair argument, and by open and honest opposition endeavour to put an end to it. He would entreat of hon. Members to let them go to a division on the postponement of the preamble, and though they should be beaten they would not be conquered. When this Bill was called into action, the imbecility of the Government that proposed such a law would be manifest to the whole world. He would entreat of hon. Gentlemen to remember that they should adopt an open, honest, and fair opposition, and should not violate the forms of the House. A large experience proved that Englishmen observed those forms; and let it not be said that it was reserved for Gentlemen from Ireland to prove to the House of Commons that it could not govern itself.
§ MR. MOORE
fully appreciated the advice which the hon. and learned Gentleman had just tendered them; but how stood the case? Her Majesty's Government had that day introduced a Bill into the House which every hon. Gentleman, with the exception of the Members of the Government, had stated that he did not understand; and even the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, who had as acute a mind as any one in the House, had said that he could not understand it. It was unreasonable to call upon them to proceed with the Bill under these circumstances.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
quite agreed with the hon. Gentleman that postponement might be asked for the purpose of letting the subject be understood. [Mr. MOORE: That is my object.] But a proceeding having 1146 that object did not begin with a discussion as to postponing the preamble, and then accumulate opposition by a Motion to report progress. They ought not to take any course which might expose them to the imputation that they were not fighting fairly. If they said openly that they were not in a position to fight the Bill, because they did not understand it, they ought to say at once, "Give us till to-morrow." But they had been discussing the preamble, and now came to a-second proposition that the Chairman should report progress.
§ MR. MOORE
said, that the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield had not been present during the evening. The hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) had never put his Amendment. There had been nothing but a desultory conversation. ["Oh, oh!"] The expression was not his, but had been applied throughout the evening. That desultory conversation was raised on the statement of the hon. and learned Attorney General. The opponents of the Bill had never raised a discussion on the question that the preamble be postdoned; he repeated that the hon. and learned Member for Athlone had not raised the question.
The EARL of ARUNDEL AND SURREY
thought it must be allowed that they had discussed to the last moment the postponement of the preamble, and had cleared the galleries for a division, when the hon. Member for the city of Dublin proposed that the Chairman should report progress. He hoped his hon. Friend would withdraw that proposition, and divide on the subject of the postponement of the preamble, which did not affect any particular part of the Bill, and after that he trusted the Government would not press them to go further into the question for the reasons stated in the earlier part of the evening.
§ MR. P. HOWARD
begged also to request that the hon. Member for the city of Dublin would withdraw his proposition.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, that none of the appeals that had been made to him proved that he was wrong, and he would persist in dividing the Committee.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 30; Noes 271: Majority 241.
§ Question put "That the Preamble be postponed."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 258; Noes 45: Majority 213.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Alcock, T.||Evans, W.|
|Anderson, A.||Evelyn, W. J.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Farrer, J.|
|Arkwright, G.||Fellowes, E.|
|Ashley, Lord||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Bagshaw, J.||FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J.|
|Bailey, J.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Floyer, J.|
|Baird, J.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Baldwin, C. B.||Forbes, W.|
|Baring, H. B.||Fordyce, A. D.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T.||Forstor, M.|
|Bass, M. T.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Bell, J.||Freestun, Col.|
|Bennet, P.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Beresford, W.||Gilpin, Col.|
|Berkeley, Adm.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Gooch, E. S.|
|Best, J.||Gordon, Adm.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Gore, W. O.|
|Blair, S.||Granger, T. C.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Greenall, G.|
|Booker, T. W.||Grcnfell, C. W.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Grey, R. W.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Grogan, E.|
|Bremridge, R.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Brisco, M.||Gwyn, H.|
|Brooke, Lord||Hale, R. B.|
|Brown, W.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Harris, R.|
|Carter, J. B.||Hastie, A.|
|Cavendish, hon. G. H.||Hatchell, rt. hon. J.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Hawes, B.|
|Chandos, Marq. of||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Child, S.||Heald, J.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Heathcoat, J.|
|Clay, J.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Henley, J. W.|
|Clive, H. B.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Collins, W.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Conolly, T.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Cowan, C.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Hodges, T. T.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Hodgson, W. N.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Hornby, J.|
|Dalrymple, J.||Hothanm, Lord|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.||Howard, hon. E. G. G.|
|Dod, J. W.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Dodd, G.||Hutchins, E. J.|
|Drax, J. S. W. S. E.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Jackson, W.|
|Duff, G. S.||Jones, Capt.|
|Duff, J.||Ker, R.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Kershaw, J.|
|Duncan, G.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Duncuft, J.||Knox, hon. W. S.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Langston, J. H.|
|Dunne, Col.||Langton, W. H. P. G.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Lascelles, hon. E.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Lewis, rt. hon, Sir T. F.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Lewis, G. C.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Locke, J.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Lockhart, A. E.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Long, W.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Loveden, P.||Smith, J. A.|
|Mackie, J.||Smyth, J. G.|
|Macnaghten, Sir E.||Smollett, A.|
|M'Taggart, Sir J.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Mangles, R. D.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Manners, Lord C. S.||Spooner, R.|
|Manners, Lord J.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Marshall, W.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Martin, C. W.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Masterman, J.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Matheson, Col.||Stephenson, R.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Miles, P. W. S.||Stuart, H.|
|Moody, C. A.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Morris, D.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Tancred, H. W.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Taylor, T. E.|
|Napier, J.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Neeld, J.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Neeld, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Newport, Visct.||Thornely, T.|
|Nicholl, rt. hon. J.||Thornhill, G.|
|Noel, hon. G. J.||Tollemaehe, J.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Townley, R. G.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Packe, C. W.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Tufnell, rt. hon. H.|
|Pakington, Sir J.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Parker, J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Peel, F.||Villiers, Visct.|
|Pennant, hon. Col.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Perfect, R.||Villiers, hon. F. W. C.|
|Peto, S. M.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Pinney, W.||Waddington, D.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||Wakley, T.|
|Plumptre, J. P.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Prime, R.||Whiteside, J.|
|Reid, Col.||Wigram, L. T.|
|Renton, J. C.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Williams, J.|
|Ricardo, J. L.||Williams, W.|
|Rich, H.||Willyams, H.|
|Richards, R.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Romilly, Col.||AVilson, J.|
|Romilly, Sir J.||Wilson, M.|
|Rumbold, C. E.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Rushout, Capt.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|Russell, F. C. H.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Sandars, G.||Wynn, H. W. W.|
|Scott, hon. F.|
|Seymer, H. K.||TELLERS.|
|Seymour, H. D.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Seymour, Lord||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Fagan, J.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Fortescue, hon. J. W.|
|Fox, R. M.|
|Barron, Sir H. W.||Fox, W. J.|
|Blake, M. J.||Geach, C.|
|Blowitt, R. J.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Goold, W.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Grace, 0. D. J.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Grattan, H.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Greene, J.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Power, Dr.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||Power, N.|
|Keating, R.||Roche, E. B.|
|Keogh, W.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Lawless, hon. C.||Sadleir, J.|
|Magan, W. H.||Scully, F.|
|Maher, N. V.||Sullivan, M.|
|Meagher, T.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Morgan, H. K. G.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Murphy, F. S.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|O'Brien, J.||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|O'Brien, Sir T.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Moore, G. H.|
|O'Flaherty, A.||Reynolds, J.|
The EARL of ARUNDEL AND SURREY
submitted that it was not desirable at that hour of the night (twenty minutes after eleven) to proceed with the first clause of the Bill, and hoped that the Government would consent to the Chairman reporting progress.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the greater part of the debate had turned on the first clause; and though it was then after eleven o'clock, it was not an unusual hour to proceed with the consideration of the clauses of a Bill.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
said, it was impossible to finish the discussion on the first clause that night, and he would put it to the Committee whether it would be desirable to proceed further at that hour.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
urged on hon. Members who were opposed to the Bill to stand firmly together, unconcerned by the disparity in the majorities on the last two divisions. They would gain nothing by political gentility, or by scraping and bowing to the Treasury benches. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) had appealed to him not to press his Motion. He (Mr. Reynolds) could not consistently comply with that request. They divided; and what did the hon. and learned Member gain for his (Mr. Reynolds') party by going into the library? He saw no reason for complying with the request of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Grey), that the Committee should proceed with the consideration of the first clause that night. Without meaning to pursue any course that could be called factious, the Committee having now decided that the preamble should be postponed, if the Government, having had an opportunity of putting forth their Attorney General and Solicitor General, with a tyrant majority, would now enter on the discussion of the first and most important clause at that hour, he would make no apology for adopting any line of conduct he thought proper 1150 with regard to this Bill. He should oppose the Committee proceeding at that hour with the consideration of the first clause, no matter how many divisions took place.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Reynolds) had asked him what he got by doing what he thought right? It was a curious way of putting such a question. He (Mr. Roebuck) would tell him what he thought he got. He believed that a large majority of the people of both countries would judge them by what they did in that House, and that if they, fairly and honestly opposing this Bill, acted on the principles of the constitution, as embodied in their rules and laws, the people of England and Ireland would see they had done their duty. But if they did their utmost to render the rules by which they were governed in that House mischievous to the country, they would at the same time be doing their utmost to endanger the great cause of constitutional liberty. It was in that manner that he looked on the questions that had agitated the House that night; and while he did not do injustice to the strong feelings of Irish Members, let them, on the other hand, not do injustice to the strong feelings of English Members who had fought the great battle of constitutionalism, and had rendered that House what it was both for Irishmen and Englishmen. When Mr. O'Connell was opposing the Coercion Bill for Ireland, in 1833, he did not act in this manner, and though he was then nominally beaten in that House, his victory over the Treasury bench was the more striking the year after. Now he thought there was a good reason for postponing the consideration of the clauses. The alterations in the measure had been made suddenly. The Bill had been printed late in the day. The alterations which were proposed in the old Bill did not fit the new one, and it was therefore but fair that hon. Members should have an opportunity of arranging these alterations so as to fit the new Bill. The first clause in the new Bill was not in the old one at all. He thought this clause a most important one, and he believed that those who were opposing the Bill would be able to show the House, that as it stood now, it was either ineffective, or so sweeping as to be dangerous. Let the Government then give the Irish Members twelve hours; let them have no reason to say that they were governed by a tyrant majority, and even if it should turn out here- 1151 after that those twelve hours were thrown away, what was that in the government of the country? Let them be able here-after to say to the people of Ireland, "We did everything that justice called on us to do; there is no pretence for saying that there was not a fair discussion."
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, that reference had been made to a tyrant majority; but after the repeated divisions which had taken place against the strongly declared opinion of the House, he must say that if they were not to be governed by a tyrant minority, it was the duty of the Government to protect the majority, and not allow the public business, whatever it might be, to be impeded. Was the business of that House to be stopped because thirty or forty Gentlemen chose to oppose themselves to majorities of the House which had never been exceeded on any former occasion—in one instance that night, he believed the majority was nine to one?
The EARL of ARUNDEL AND SURREY
did not rise to defend himself and other Members who went into the library on a recent occasion, but in order to express his extreme regret that any Catholic Member for Ireland or England should say a word against any Protestant Member in that House who was supporting their cause—still more with respect to one who had supported their cause with so much ability, zeal, and discretion, as the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck). He trusted that the Government would listen to the appeal which he had addressed to them.
§ SIR FREDERICK THESIGER
said, he hoped that the Government would accede to the request for delay. It had accepted the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), which made a declaratory enactment in their Bill, applying merely to the rescript of the Pope of the 29th of September, 1850. In answer to a question put by his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General had explained that, although that declaratory enactment applied solely to England, it would have such an effect upon the law that the Judges of Ireland would feel themselves bound to declare that any brief would be illegal and void in Ireland. He assumed, therefore, that it was the intention of the Government that any brief should be illegal 1152 in Ireland; and, if that was so, it would be infinitely better that that intention should be declared on the face of the Bill itself. Immediately, therefore, that he heard the answer of the hon. and learned Solicitor General, it occurred to him that it would be desirable to introduce such an amendment into the first clause as should make it, in distinct terms, apply not simply to the particular brief to which it was at present directed, but to all similar briefs and rescripts—extending it, therefore, to Ireland, as he presumed it was the intention of Government that it should. It was impossible, then, to enter upon the consideration of that Amendment, and he therefore hoped that the Government would accede to the application which had been made to them to allow the Chairman to report progress.
§ MR. GEACH
said, that he was one of the Members who went into the library in consequence of the conduct of the hon. Members opposite (the Irish Members). He went into the lobby with them on the first occasion, for having lately come into the House with a distinct declaration that he should vote on every occasion against the Bill before the House, he sought for an opportunity of recording that vote, and on every fair opportunity that presented itself he should vote against the Bill; but he did not feel that he should be right in supporting the course taken by hon. Gentlemen opposite, for he could not help feeling that it was frittering away the time of the country without any practical use. He entreated those Gentlemen not to continue thus to occupy the time of the country, lie should vote with them against the measure on all fair opportunities, but he should not join them in the course which they had pursued, for he did not think it was one which advanced the cause the had at heart.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that when he was asked to allow the Chairman to report progress immediately after the division, remembering that the discussion had turned so much upon the first clause, he thought it was the duty of the Government (having regard to the public time which ought to enter into their consideration) to ask the Committee to go further into the consideration of the Bill. Time was then, however, going on; they were engaged in a discussion that could lead to no profitable result; it was clear that they could make no real progress that night; and if it was the case that the 1153 Bill, having only been printed that day, hon. Gentlemen wished to give notice of Amendments, that was no doubt a reason for delay. He hoped that on Friday next, which was the first day that they could again consider the Bill, they would enter upon the discussion of the clauses at five o'clock, and proceed with it without any further delay.
§ House resumed; Committee report progress; to sit again on Friday.
§ The House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock.