§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee; Mr. Bernal in the chair.
§ Clause 1.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, that whatever difference of opinion might exist on the subject of this Bill, it was at all events some matter for congratulation that after four months' deliberation they had at last arrived at the point that the Committee had permitted the reprinting of the Bill in an amended form, so that they now were in possession of a measure to which the Government had pledged themselves. Now, in this amended Bill he found much new matter. He would not call it a new Bill, because that seemed to give offence; but, at all events, it was not the Bill which the House had read a first and second time. The now matter to which he alluded was in the first clause, which he was about to ask the Government to postpone. This clause now said that all titles adopted under the authority of the Apostolic Lettor, Rescript, or Brief, would and should be unlawful and void. That rescript was also alluded to in the preamble, which recited that—Whereas divers 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 Letter Apostolical, from the See of Rome, purporting to have been given at Rome on the 29th of September, 1850.Now, that was what the preamble said; he did not think he was asking an unreasonable thing in proposing that this document, of September 29, should be produced previously to their being called upon to inflict, by ex post facto legislation, an injustice on many millions of Her Ma- 1330 jesty's subjects—to take from them, in fact, all the rights which had been conferred upon them by the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. All he asked was, that the document should be produced. On a former evening he had asked the noble Lord at the head of the Government where was this Brief, and whether he would have any objection to produce it? The noble Lord, must have seen it, or he could not have put it in his Bill. It was not in the original Bill, but there was some allusion to it in the clause which had been pirated from the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole). The answer of the noble Lord was, that it was a matter of notoriety, and had appeared in all the newspapers. Did the noble Lord mean to say that they were to legislate on newspaper information? Why it was only the other day that he (Mr. Duncombe) had read a letter in the Times purporting to be from M. Mazzini, as head of the central democratic committee in London, and there was, moreover, an article in the Times commenting severely on the letter. Now, suppose the noble Lord at the head of the Government had brought in a measure for the expulsion of M. Mazzini, founded on that letter, and any one asked him what was the pretence? The noble Lord's answer must be that he had read the letter in a newspaper; and yet, after all, the document turned out to be a hoax—a perfect fabrication from beginning to end. Was there any reason why this apostolic letter, signed Lambruschini, might not also he a hoax? The first clause provided that all titles under this letter should be unlawful and void. Now, he denied that that letter conferred any power, title, or pre-eminence on these bishops. There was not a single word in it about the Archbishop of Westminster; it named no names, and conferred no titles. The title of the Bill was a Bill to prevent the Assumption of Ecclesiastical Titles; while Lambruschini's letter, although it certainly parcelled out the country, gave neither title nor dignity. Therefore he said the noble Lord was bound to produce something upon which they were to legislate. He never could believe that that House would consent to pass a Bill of pain and penalties without some document to prove that legislation was necessary. If it was merely a railway or a divorce Bill, they would insist on the preamble being first proved; and therefore he called upon the noble Lord to prove his preamble before he proceeded further with this measure. 1331 He would ask the noble Lord what this rescript referred to? The noble Lord had paid him a compliment at the expense of the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh), saying he was not surprised that the hon. Member for Finsbury should ask what was the meaning of this rescript, because it was a question which a person of common sense would ask; but he was surprised at the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, because he must know, as a lawyer, that all Acts of Parliament referred to some previously recited Act. That was precisely his (Mr. Duncombe's) case. He wanted to have the Act placed on the table. He put it to the hon. and learned Solicitor General, who was certainly a great acquisition to the noble Lord—[Lord JOHN RUSSELL: Hoar!] The noble Lord cheered; the hon. and learned Gentleman was just the sort of man the noble Lord wanted. Indeed, if the hon. and learned Gentleman's performance came up to his promise, he would be a wonderful man, because he had undertaken to demolish, on the shortest notice, all the objections that had been taken or might be taken against the Bill. He (Mr. Duncombe) would tell him that the proper time had come, and he called upon the hon. and learned Gentleman to perform his promise. The minority had not many lawyers amongst them, the legal Gentlemen seeming generally to be in favour of the Bill; but there were some bright exceptions. There were the hon. and learned Members for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), Athlone (Mr. Keogh), and Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer), whom the hon. and learned Solicitor General would find rather tough morsels before he had completely demolished them. When he had asked the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) about the preamble, he was informed that it was the same as the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act; but the fact was, that the noble Lord had made a great blunder in poaching from the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole). The next mistake was in not putting a preamble to the first clause. The Bill did not require the first clause, but the first clause required a preamble to elucidate it. He would now road the preamble of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, and contrast it with the miserable, wretched, and narrow-minded preamble of this wretched and contemptible Bill. It ran—Whereas by certain Acts of Parliament, cer- 1332 tain restrictions and disabilities are imposed on Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects, to which other subjects of the realm are not liable, and it is expedient that such restrictions and disabilities shall from henceforth be discontinued.Now, that was something like a preamble. There was nothing in it about Sees and Rescripts and Letters Apostolic. It was a preamble which did honour to that great man, that lamented statesman, whose advice and counsel, whose experience both the House and the Government stood so much in need of at the present moment. ["Hear, hear!"] He repeated it, that that preamble reflected honour on that statesman, and on the Parliament that passed it, and he was sorry to find that I those who ought to have been the men to uphold its principles, were the first to assail them. It was melancholy to look round and reflect how few men were now present who had supported that Bill; but he certainly had not expected that he should live to see the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) call on the new boroughs to repeal it, because, be it remembered, it was the unreformed Parliament, the Tory boroughs, that had passed the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act; and now the noble Lord called upon Manchester and Birmingham to repeal the franchises which had been conceded by Gatton and Old Sarum. He would now ask the hon. and learned Solicitor General whether this was the Bill by which he was pledged to abide, and he wanted to know if it should pass, how the courts of law were to deal with it. Suppose that the hon. and learned Solicitor General himself should have the supreme satisfaction of proceeding against the Archbishop of Westminster, what would happen? The jury, he assumed, would be men of common sense. The Judge would have to charge them, and would say that it was an offence under the Act to derive a title from the Apostolic Rescript. But the jury would naturally ask for the letter of the 29th September, and would say naturally, "How can we tell them whether this Act is unlawful until we see the letter?" How would the hon. and learned Solicitor General then propose to proceed? He must either give evidence of this letter or rescript; and if it were necessary before a jury, surely it should be introduced in the preamble of the Bill. This brought him back to his old complaint, when he saw that Lambruschini's letter conferred no title. Well, then, they were going to stultify them- 1333 selves by passing a Bill for which there was no foundation in the rescript upon which it was professedly based. He did not know how the hon. and learned Solicitor General could answer this objection, although he had told the Committee he could answer anything. Here had been a measure delayed for four months in consequence of the Government continually taking Amendments from other people. Putting in a little here, and taking out a little there, they had at last cooked up a Bill in such a way that he defied any one to understand it. The hon. and learned Attorney General, to do him jnstice, seemed to know nothing at all about the Bill, and, much to his credit, to care less. Therefore he (Mr. T. Duncombe) asked the Committee whether it was worth while going on with this Bill for another three or four months, and whether it would not be better to proceed at once to the business of the country? There were three or four-and-twenty Amendments on the paper, and he was credibly informed that there were double that number in reserve. Would it not be better to make the Opposition a present of it? The noble Lord might depend upon it that he was pursuing a phantom which he would never overtake. The noble Lord had become the advocate of a principle which neither became him nor belonged to him. Why was he not satisfied with the bigotry he had already evoked, the laurels which Oxford was preparing for him, and the commotion which he had raised from one end of the country to the other? But if he was determined to go on, he should at least furnish them with a copy of the document on which he proceeded, so that the Roman Catholics of England might not be able to say, "You are not only insulting and degrading us, but are in point of fact proceeding on false assumptions. He would ask the Chairman then to dispose of the first clause unless the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) would produce the document.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 1 be postponed."
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, the House ought to be much obliged for the amusement which the hon. Member for Finsbury had afforded them. He could assure the hon. Gentleman that he intended no disrespect to him when he made the observation the other night, to the effect that no person accustomed, as a lawyer, to the transaction of the business in that 1334 House, would think of founding on the word "said," as used in the first clause, an argument for postponing the preamble. The hon. Gentleman was possessed of ready wit, and many other good qualities; but he (the Solicitor General) was sorry that in the interval between Monday and Friday his memory had so seriously failed him. The hon. Gentleman had stated, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had referred to the preamble of the Act of 1829, as being some sort of precedent for the preamble of the Bill now before the Committee. The hon. Gentleman was entirely mistaken in that. What the noble Lord said was, that the rescript was a matter of notoriety, not that it was to be found in the newspapers, so far as his (the Solicitor General's) memory served him; and that it might as well have been said when the Bill of 1829 was under discussion, by which the Roman Catholic bishops were prohibited from taking certain titles, that there was no evidence that those bishops had assumed those titles, as to say in the discussion of this Bill in the Committee, that there was no evidence of this rescript. The hon. Member was also mistaken when he represented him (the Solicitor General) as declaring that he was ready to answer all objections, past, present, and to come, against the Bill. When he heard the hon. and learned Member for Athlone misquote a clause in this Bill, in order to found on that misquotation an argument representing this Bill inconsistent with the Charitable Bequests Act, he (the Solicitor General) said that was an extraordinary course for the hon. and learned Member to take, and that he should have no difficulty in demolishing such an argument; but he did not venture arrogantly to assert that he (the Solicitor General) would demolish every argument against this Bill: at the same time he would state that he had not heard any argument against the Bill, which was of an invincible description. The hon. Member had referred to the practice of Committees of that House calling upon the promoters of railway and divorce Bills to prove their preambles. But he (the Solicitor General) submitted that it was a very unusual thing for that House to call witnesses to its bar for the purpose of proving the preamble of Bills of a public nature, as was done in the case of private Bills before Committees upstairs. The hon. Member had also said, there would be great difficulty in indicting a person under 1335 the Bill without producing the rescript of the Pope. He (the Solicitor General) could assure the hon. Member that there would be no such difficulty; and, so far as an authoritative knowledge of the Rescript is desired to satisfy the House, he thought they had an authority on which they might proceed. A learned and respectable gentleman, Mr. Bowyer, who was well known to be the legal adviser of Cardinal Wiseman, had published a pamphlet containing a verbatim copy of the rescript signed "Lambruschini," and it was conspicuously intimated on that pamphlet that it was published "by authority," and that pamphlet had been ostentatiously sent to every Member of that House. With respect to the recital in the preamble of the Bill, was it not matter of notoriety that certain individuals in this country, being subjects of Her Majesty, had assumed to themselves the titles of pretended sees, and had done so under the colour of the authority of this rescript? If any hon. Member thought that was a question which ought to be investigated, let him move that witnesses be called to the bar of the House to prove or disprove it. It was a quibble, and was only cheered by some hon. Members who were willing to save their cause by catching at a straw, to say that the Papal rescript only contained a number of titles, such as the Archbishop of Westminster and the Bishop of Birmingham; and that because no person was specially named in it, no title was conferred on any one. He was satisfied the Bill, if passed into a law, would be most effectual; and he had no hesitation or doubt in saying there would be no difficulty in convicting any person under it for assuming any of the prohibited titles, without the production of the rescript. The hon. Member also said, that the noble Lord had taken a fatal step—that he had departed from those high principles which had distinguished the late illustrious statesman who brought forward the Bill for Catholic Emancipation. But he (the Solicitor General) would venture to state that not only the noble Lord, but the party with whom he was connected, were the parties who distinguished themselves in endeavouring to remove those restrictions which pressed on the Roman Catholics long before the period when that lamented statesman proposed his Bill. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham) had told the House on a recent occasion that lie sat side by side with his (the Soli- 1336 citor General's) own father in that House, and advocated with him the principle of Catholic Emancipation. He (the Solicitor General) well remembered that it was the advocacy of that Bill which nearly cost his father his seat for the city of London, on a subsequent occasion. Bearing that fully in mind, it was because the principles of that Bill, which were the principles of civil and religious liberty, had been grossly invaded by the arrogance of that man who dared again to assert what he called spiritual supremacy, but which was the most despotic spiritual control over the whole human race—it was because the real principles of civil and religious liberty were invaded by that man, as they had been invaded in Sardinia and elsewhere—that he (the Solicitor General) was following in the steps of him whose memory he most revered in giving his hearty concurrence and assent to this Bill, which he trusted would ultimately pass by as large a majority as had voted in its favour during its previous stages.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
would not attempt to follow the grandiloquence of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, but would endeavour to understand the Bill. The first clause spoke of the formation of certain dioceses under the colour of an alleged authority given for that purpose, coming from Rome, and dated September 29, 1850. The first clause declared thatThe said Brief, Rescript, or Letters Apostolical, and all and every the Jurisdiction, Authority, Pre-eminence, or Title conferred, or pretended to be conferred, thereby, are and shall be, and be deemed, unlawful and void.Now, let them pursue the stops of a legal proceeding in this matter. Supposing some "John Smith" chose to assume the title of Bishop of Cloyne, and was indicted under this Act for so doing, or was pursued for the penalties, if that was the form, the question came to this, without reference to the second clause, what was the offence? He thought it evident that, even supposing there was any meaning at all in the clause, it was wholly useless, for he was speaking now to the first clause only. Under the Act the party would be charged with having assumed a title under the said Brief or Rescript, that was, the Brief or Rescript of a certain date. Now, how was that to be proved? The party charged called himself Bishop of Cloyne. He (Mr. Roebuck) did not ask himself if the title assumed was that of any existing bishopric, or a title belonging to any other person, 1337 but simply whether the title was assumed under this particular Brief or Rescript; and, if so, he wanted to know how the offence was to be proved? They must remember that in this case they were entering upon a criminal proceeding, and the whole charge must be proved to the satisfaction of the jury. How would the Attorney or Solicitor General prove that the title of Bishop of Cloyne had been assumed by this John Smith by authority of this Rescript of September, 1850? He could understand the proposition of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir F. Thesiger), who would extend the operation of the Bill to all Rescripts or Letters Apostolical; if that were adopted he could understand the operation of the Act, but not when it was confined to the one particular Brief or Rescript. If the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General admitted that every Rescript should be included, and that any person assuming the title of bishop, under any such authority, should commit an offence, whether the title assumed were Bishop of Cloyne or Bishop of Melopotamus, then the consequence would be to prohibit Roman Catholic bishops altogether. He was justified, then, in saying that the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had borrowed from his opponents that which must destroy his own object, and the Bill as it now stood was either utterly useless, or so extensive as to put an end to the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, as well as in this country. He wished to know from the hon. and learned Attorney General, if an information were laid against a person assuming the title of Bishop of Cloyne, how he would prove that he took that title under the Rescript referred to in this Bill?
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that his simple answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman's question was, that he should not prove the Rescript at all; and for the best of all reasons, that it would be altogether foreign to the inquiry. It would not be laid as part of the information, and would not, consequently, be open to proof, and he would not attempt to prove it. He was surprised any lawyer in that House should have asked such a question. He might be allowed to observe that it would be a great saving of the time of the Committee if hon. Members would deal with one thing at a time. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) had proposed to postpone the first clause until they should have the Rescript before them; 1338 but, speaking on that Motion, the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) proceeded to discuss the clause itself, and asked how he (the Attorney General) would attempt to prove that the title prohibited by the clause was assumed under this Brief or Rescript from the See of Rome? To that question he replied there was not the slightest reason for doing so at all. The first and second clauses of the Bill were totally distinct. The first declared that the Brief, Rescript, and Letters Apostolic conferring the title was illegal, and the titles conferred under it void. This related to the authority and jurisdiction, and was applicable, if he might be allowed to use the term, to civil purposes. It created no offence for which an information could be issued against any party. The offence was enacted under the second clause. [The MASTER of the ROLLS: Hear, hear!] He was glad to hear his right hon. and learned Friend the Master of the Rolls confirm that view. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield's objection proceeded on the assumption that the two clauses should be taken together. But it was clear that under the first clause no man could proceed to indict, for that clause merely annulled any acts done under, or titles conferred by, the Bull or Rescript; but with regard to the offence that was created by the second clause, all that would be necessary to prove would be that the party charged had assumed the title forbidden by the first clause. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) said that the effect of the clause would be to prohibit and abolish the assumption of the title of bishop by any Roman Catholic, no matter from whence the title was derived; and the hon and learned Gentleman referred to the title of Bishop of Melopotamus; but the Bishop of Melopotamus exercising his functions as vicar-apostolic would not be in any way affected by the Bill, because the clause only referred to titles derived from places in these kingdoms.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, that the hon. and learned Attorney General had completely proved his (Mr. Roebuck's proposition, that the clause was useless. That was his proposition. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that this clause had nothing to do with the information charging the offence, but only with the civil rights derived from the Rescript. Would any one say that all the titles derived from the Rescript, and declared to be invalid by this clause, might not be made so by the 1339 second clause? It was clear, therefore, the clause was useless. It might be very well to indulge in affected wonder, and express a pretended surprise how a lawyer could fall into such an error. But he would ask the hon. and learned Attorney General to point out one of the civil consequences following from the enactment of the first clause, that would not follow from the second. He had said the clause was useless: and he thought he should have very little trouble in proving that it was mischievous also. He believed the Government had fallen into a great trap, fatal to the great principles of the Act of 1829, about which they talked so much, but did not understand—principles which appeared long since to have been forgotten by the leader of the party, and his followers, who had been their strongest advocates.
§ MR. WALPOLE
thought it would be desirable to decide whether they were to discuss the merits of the clause itself, or the proposition of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) for postponing it until the Rescript should be produced. He conceived the latter question was the only Motion now properly under discussion. When they came to consider the clause, he thought he should be able to show the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield that it was necessary; he thought, however, the Government had placed themselves in considerable embarrassment by not adopting the preamble he had suggested, and the provisions consequent thereon. Now, with regard to the question whether the Rescript ought to be produced before discussing the clause, the hon. Member for Finsbury said, there was no evidence that any such Brief or Rescript had been issued. But was that the way our ancestors dealt with such questions? What was the great precedent on which they ought to proceed, a precedent not derived from Protestant, but Roman Catholic times? That precedent was the statute of prœmunire. What was done then? The Pope of Rome, contrary to the rights of the Crown of England, had attempted in Richard II's. time to translate certain bishops to other sees. The hon. Member for Finsbury says, Look at the preamble of the 10th of George IV.; but he (Mr. Walpole) would refer the hon. Member to a good preamble; he would refer him to the recital of the Act by which that aggression was met, and by which the national honour and the national rights were vindicated. In that statute Parliament proceeded not on legal 1340 proof, but on public notoriety of the fact. Our ancestors rested their proceedings in that case on common clamour. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, they proceeded on what was called in the genuine Saxon English of the time, "common clamour;" but which translated into the modern, diluted and Latinised English, was called "public notoriety." The consequence of passing that statute was, that the Act was never infringed but twice, once by Cardinal Wolsey, and the second time by Richard Lalor; and in both cases conviction ensued. The preamble of that Act was as follows:—It is said, and a common clamour is made, that the said Bishop of Rome has ordered and proposed to translate some prelates of this same realm, and some out of this realm, and some from one bishopric to another within the same realm, without the King's assent and knowledge.… So the Crown of England, which hath been so free at all times that it hath been subject to no one on earth, but immediately subject to God in all things touching the regality of the same Crown, and to none other, should be submitted to the Pope, and the law and the statutes of the realm by him defeated and evaded at his will, in perpetual destruction to the sovereignty of the King our Lord, his Crown, his regality, and of all his realm, which God defend.Did the Parliament of that day hold their hands when they saw the independence of the nation attacked by a foreign Power? No. The recital continued—And, moreover, the Commons aforesaid, say that the said things so attempted be clearly against the King's Crown and his regality used and approved of in the time of all his progenitors; wherefore they, and all the liege Commons of this same realm, will stand with our said Lord the King, and the said Crown and his regality in the case aforesaid, and in all these cases attempted against him, his Crown and regality in all points to live and to die.Were not the Commons of England still prepared to stand by our Lady the Queen and Her regality? Were they not prepared to stand by the nation whose rights, freedom, and independence were placed in jeopardy, if they allowed any foreign Power, of any sort or kind, to interfere with the laws, religion, or internal affairs of the kingdom?
§ MR. KEOGH
said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had not been very complimentary to those Gentlemen who felt it their duty to oppose that Bill. He said that they were perfectly ready to catch at any straws which might chance to float, for the purpose of impeding its progress. He attempted to decry the playful wit of the hon. Member for Finsbury—a wit which had often delighted 1341 the House—by saying that that distinguished Gentleman had made a very "amusing speech." But that attempt the House was not disposed to agree with; and least of all did he think that it would be disposed to come to the conclusions of the hon. and learned Gentleman, who said that there had been no arguments used in the course of the debate which had made an impression upon his mind—
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
The hon. and learned Gentleman never can quote correctly anything uttered in this House. I did not say no argument had made an impression on my mind. I said that no arguments had been urged which had impressed itself on my mind as being invincible.
§ MR. KEOGH
The hon. and learned Gentleman said he (Mr. Keogh) could never quote correctly the words of a speaker in that House. What a lecture upon accuracy from a Gentleman who told them the other night, holding this mangled and distorted Bill in his hand, that not a single line of this Bill had been altered, that he would maintain and prove that not a single line of it had been altered since it came into this House. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL: No, no!] The hon. and learned Gentleman said "No;" the Committee was in a position to judge between them. But to return. He understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that he had not heard an argument since the commencement of the discussion to affect his mind; and he added something about invincible. Well, was this arrogant, or was it not? He heard the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham)—he heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone)—he heard the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer) address this question, and he says that he heard no argument which made an impression on him; and he adds the word "invincible." He (Mr. Keogh) did not know what the hon. and learned Gentleman meant by it, whether invincible arrogance or invincible ignorance. One would suppose that the law officers of the Crown would, with respect to this Bill, have stood upon high ground, and that it came out of their laboratories in a perfect state. But was not the whole Bill taken from his side of the House? There had not been a single argument put forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Master of the Rolls, or the officers of the Crown, con- 1342 sistent one with the other. He understood his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) to ask whether, under the first clause, an indictment could be maintained without proving the Bill? He also understood the hon. and learned Solicitor General that there could. Now the hon. and learned Attorney General said, that the first clause had no operation; that it was under the second that the offence was committed; and that the first clause had no operation so far as regarded the criminal offence. This was the way in which they agreed in their opinions, and, by shoving in a word here and a word there, they tried and endeavoured to escape from the dilemmas which beset them. Now if the first clause was inoperative as regarded the criminal offence, did the Committee mean to insert it for some amusing or inoffensive purpose? The hon. and learned Attorney General said, it was inoperative. Did the hon. and learned Solicitor General say the same thing? It was all very well for them, while they confined themselves to general declamation, or attacks upon Irish Members, to agree; but when they came to the very terms and express words of a section, then they were essentially different.But when they come to form the model,Not one can fit the other's noddle.Let them depend upon it, Her Majesty's Government were not only prepared to deceive them, but also those who sat on his (the Opposition) side of the House. He had asked them over and over again, did they intend to put this Bill in force in Ireland? but over and over again had they declined to answer that question; and why? because they wished to deceive them—they desired to obtain their votes in order to retain them in power and in office; and then, when they had escaped from the Parliamentary difficulties which their bungling involved them in, they intended to deceive them out of doors. Let them see what were the words of the preamble:—Whereas divers 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 Letter Apostolical from the See of Rome, purporting to have been given at Rome on the 29th of September, 1850.In this it was assumed that the Brief was perfectly notorious, or, as the hon. and 1343 learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) had said, was, "in diluted English, a matter of public notoriety," he having discovered by some extraordinary philology that public clamour was a pure and genuine Saxon expression. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said the bull was perfectly notorious. He assumed that it had been published in every paper in the kingdom. The noble Lord had in this, and he said it with respect, committed a decided blunder. He defied the production of a single paper in which it had been published. If it had obtained public notoriety, let them lay it upon the table of the House, and they could then resort to it for some useful purpose. Well, then, if it had not been published, and was not, therefore, a matter of public notoriety, that was a good argument in favour of the proposition that they could not deliberately or wisely come to a decision upon this question without having a copy of the Rescript before them. As to the arguments which he had put forward upon former occasions, notwithstanding the boasting of the hon. and learned Solicitor General, he had never replied to them, because he never could; and he (Mr. Keogh) still remained undemolished.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, it appeared that hon. Members were very anxious for their dinners. A certain English poet said—And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.Now, he did not say the hon. Members of that House would hang the Pope rather than have their mutton cold, but he was of opinion that they would not mind taking a short cut, by passing a Bill of pains and penalties upon their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, that they might dine. The hon. and learned Solicitor General, with his usual legal flippancy—["Order!"]—he maintained that that expression was perfectly in order—started up and told them that the speech of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) was exceedingly amusing. Was that a fair way of getting rid of the powerful case the hon. Gentleman had made in favour of his Motion? It was as much as to say, "Your argument is not worth a fig. You do not belong to the long robe, as I do. You are not Solicitor General, as I am. You are only Member for Finsbury; and, although you may be a lawmaker, you are not an interpreter of the law." The Committee ought to consider itself in the light of a jury empanelled to decide whether the bishops 1344 and clergy of 10,000,000 of people were to be convicted and sentenced to pains and penalties upon false testimony or not. Now, he asked, if the humblest man in England were put on his trial, would he be convicted upon such slender testimony as that contained in the preamble of this Bill? He did not put the question to the Irish Solicitor General, because he had been putting questions to him for a very long time without being able to obtain a reply. He therefore gave up the hope in despair of obtaining official Irish legal information. He would ask, if they were about to indict a man for forgery, would they do so without producing the Bill? But the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General said they knew of the Rescript as their ancestors knew—by public clamour. Well, they certainly had plenty of public clamour. He took the noble Lord at the head of the Government to witness that ever since the publication of his Papal edict they had had clamour, and nothing but clamour—clamour out of the House then, clamour in the House now. But did the noble Lord think that if his Bill passed—and he believed it never would pass, at least in its present state—he would then have peace and tranquillity on the subject? No, the noble Lord might depend on this, it would be only then that his troubles would begin. [Cries of "Divide!"] If these cries were continued, he must move that the Chairman report progress. He would ask the most determined supporter of the Bill whether he would venture to swear that this Rescript had any existence whatever, except in his own imagination?
§ Question put, "That Clause 1 be postponed."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 49; Noes 221: Majority 172.
|List of the AYES.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Keating, R.|
|Lawless, hon. C.|
|Barron, Sir H. W.||M'Cullagh, W. T.|
|Blake, M. J.||Magan, W. H.|
|Bright, J.||Maher, N. V.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||Meagher, T.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Mahon, The O'Gorman|
|Devereux, J. T.||Monsell, W.|
|Fox, R. M.||Moore, G. H.|
|Fox, W. J.||Mowatt, F.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Murphy, F. S.|
|Goold, W.||Nugent, Sir P.|
|Grace, O. D. J.||O'Brien, J.|
|Grattan, H.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||O'Connell, J.|
|Hope, A.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Howard, Sir R.||O'Connor, F.|
|O'Flaherty, A.||Sullivan, M.|
|Pechell, Sir G. B.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Power, Dr.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Power, N.||Urquhart, D.|
|Reynolds, J.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Roche, E. B.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Roebuck, J. A.|
|Scully, F.||Duncombe, T.|
|Somers, J. P.||Keogh, W.|
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
rose to propose his Amendment, namely, instead of the words "the said brief, rescript," in the first clause, to insert the words "all such briefs, rescripts." There had been so many alterations proposed in the words of the first clause, that the effect of the Amendment he suggested had probably escaped the observation of hon. Members, and he therefore thought it his duty in fairness to them to call their attention to this important question. He had not solicited any support for his Amendment, because, after the observations which were made on Monday last on the part of the Government in explanation of their intention with regard to this Bill, he was satisfied that he ought to receive no manner of opposition from that quarter; and he was content to leave the determination of this question to the careful consideration of the Committee, who, he was sure, would weigh it most deliberately. The Committee were aware that the clause proposed by the Government, coupled with the preamble, formed a declaratory enactment to the effect that a certain rescript, alleged to have been issued on the 29th of September, 1850, was illegal and void; and the object of his Amendment, which he would explain at once, was this—to make all similar rescripts which had been issued prior to the passing of this Bill, to be comprehended and included within the terms of this declaratory enactment. He felt satisfied that those Members who believed that such a declaratory Act as this was necessary, would perceive that the addition which he proposed was essential to the working of the measure; and that even those who were against all legislation would admit that, if they were to legislate at all, the Government measure would not be complete and consistent without the additions and alterations which he proposed to make. In order that the subject might be perfectly intelligible to the Committee, he would, in the first place, take the liberty of explaining what, in his mind, was the existing law upon the subject, which, as it appeared to him, had not hitherto been 1346 plainly and distinctly brought under the notice of the House. It was not a task which he willingly undertook; it was not a very inviting subject; but the House would feel, now that they were upon the threshold of a new legislation, now that they were about to create a new law, it was important to understand clearly how far the existing law went. It would be found that he agreed as to the result in the opinions expressed by the law officers of the Crown; but as he had arrived at the conclusion by means somewhat different from what he had observed to have been previously put forward, he would entreat the particular attention of the legal Members of the House, that they might correct any unintentional errors into which he might fall. The Acts of Parliament to which he was about to draw the attention of the Committee were, fortunately, few in number; they were the statute of the 16th Richard II., those of the 1st and 13th of Elizabeth, and the Acts passed in 1844 and 1846, repealing the penalties of those statutes. These Acts related to two distinct matters, which it would be desirable to keep separate and apart from each other—those which were applicable to the exercise of jurisdiction on the part of the Pope, and those which were applicable to the introduction of bulls from Rome into this country. The first part of the subject depended principally upon the statute of the 1st Elizabeth, chap. 1; and he must confess he was struck with surprise to find that, during the whole of the discussions which had taken place, the most important section of this Act of Parliament—that which contained an absolute prohibition of such jurisdiction—had never been adverted to. The 16th section, on which the present prohibition depended, was in these terms:—And to the intent that usurped and foreign power and authority, spiritual and temporal, may for ever be clearly extinguished, and never be used or obeyed within this realm, or any other of Tour Majesty's dominions or countries, be it enacted, that no foreign prince, person, prelate. State, or potentate, spiritual or temporal, shall use or enjoy any manner of power, jurisdiction, &c., pre-eminence or privilege, spiritual or ecclesiastical, within this realm or any other Your Majesty's dominions, but from henceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm.Now, there could be no doubt that on this prohibitory clause, if a person attempted to maintain or support the jurisdiction or authority of a foreign prince, he would be liable to be indicted for a misdemeanour, at 1347 to be punished with fine and imprisonment. But the Legislature had gone further, and provided a specific punishment for the offence. The 27th to the 30th clauses contained no prohibition of the offence; but they contained provisions with regard to the punishment in case the offence should he committed. They stated—And for the more sure observation of this Act and the utter extinguishment of all foreign and usurped power and authority, be it enacted that if any person dwelling within the realm shall, by writing, printing, &c., express words, deed, or act, directly affirm, maintain, or defend the authority, power, or jurisdiction of any foreign prince, prelate, &c., heretofore claimed, used, and usurped within this realm, or shall advisedly and directly put in use or execute anything for the advancement or maintenance of any such pretended or usurped jurisdiction, power, pre-eminence, and authority, shall for the first offence forfeit and lose all his goods and chattels, real and personal—for the second offence shall incur all the penalties of a præmunire; and for the third offence shall suffer death and all other the penalties attached to high treason.Now, the Act of the 7th and 8th Vict., cap. 102, passed in 1844, repealed the second and third offences, and their punishments along with them, but left the first offence as it was described in the 27th section, and the punishment connected with it. But in the year 1846, the Act 9th and 10th Victoria, cap. 59, was passed, which repealed so much of the 1st of Elizabeth, chap. 1, and the corresponding Irish Acts, as made it punishable to defend or maintain the authority of a foreign prince or prelate. By the operation of those Acts of Parliament, the punishment having been taken away from those prohibitory sections, the whole effect of them was entirely gone, and it stood to reason that that must be the case; because, if a certain punishment was attached as the consequence of doing a certain act, and the punishment were taken away, nothing remained upon which the provision could operate. But the Act of Victoria went on to state that nothing therein contained should render it lawful to maintain or defend the jurisdiction of a foreign prince or prelate; nor should the Act be construed to extend farther than to the repeal of those particular penalties; but in all other respects the Act was to remain the same. It was clear, therefore, that the 16th section, which contained a prohibition of the jurisdiction, still remained untouched; and if anybody attempted to maintain the usurped jurisdiction of a foreign prince or prelate, he would be liable to be indicted for a misdemeanour, 1348 and punished accordingly. So much with regard to the exercise of jurisdiction in this country by a foreign prince. He would now turn to the other branch of the subject, that relating to the introduction of bulls. That depended entirely upon the 16th of Richard II.—the statute of provision and præmunire—by which, after the noble preamble that had been read by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst, it was enacted—That if any do purchase or pursue, or cause to be purchased or pursued in the Court of Rome any bulls, instruments, or any such thing whatever which toucheth our Lord the King, his Crown, and his Regality, or his realm, and they which bring the same within the realm, or receive them, or make thereof notification, or any other execution whatever, within the same realm, or without, that they, their notaries, procurators, maintainers, abettors, factors, and counsellors shall be put out of the King's protection, shall forfeit their lands and goods, shall be attached by their bodies, and process shall be made against them by prœmunire facias.The 13th of Elizabeth, c. 2, contained a provision, that if any person obtained from the Court of Rome any bull, writing, or instrument, and published the same within this realm, such acts should be held to be high treason. The Act of Victoria, passed in 1846, repealed so much of the 13th of Elizabeth as imposed the penalty; and as this Act of Elizabeth, like the others to which he formerly adverted, did not prohibit the offence, but contained a provisional penalty in case of the offence being committed, it followed that, if the punishment were repealed, the whole effect of the provision ceased. But the Act of Victoria went on to say, that nothing therein contained should render the introduction or the reception of such bulls lawful; and that in all other respects, except as regarded the punishment, the Act of Elizabeth was to remain the same as if the Act of 1846 had not passed. Now that remitted them back, as he might say, to the statute of Richard II., which was now the existing and binding law upon the subject. Hon. Members were aware that the statute of Richard II. was introduced into Ireland in the reign of Henry VII., along with other English Acts, by the law commonly known as Poynings' Law; and there could be no doubt of that fact, because of the well-known case of Lalor, who was convicted under it in the reign of James I.—(Howell's State Trials, ii.) Lalor was indicted in Ireland under that Act, for having assumed the title of Vicar General under the authority of the Pope, 1349 and therefore it was clear that that law was actually existing, which in itself would be sufficient to punish the act of introducing into this country or into Ireland any bull, brief, or rescript like that which was now the subject of their consideration. It might be said, then, if there was a law already on the subject, where was the necessity for a new law? To that he thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government had given a most satisfactory answer. He stated that, in the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, the law had been infringed by the introduction of this brief; but he stated at the same time that in consequence of the law having slumbered on the Statute-book for such a long period, it was considered by the law advisers of the Crown, that in all probability, if they brought an action on the present aggression, it might savour of hardship; and this feeling might cause a prosecution under the old statute of Richard II. to fail. Now, he agreed with the law advisers of the Crown, that if there was any one thing more undesirable than the revival of an antiquated and obsolete statute, it was the institution of any prosecution which might prove unsuccessful. But it was also clear that it would not do to leave the law in its present unsatisfactory state—to say that there was a law on the Statute-book which was applicable to a particular occasion, but that from circumstances it was necessarily inoperative; and therefore it became absolutely essential in some way or another to revive the Act of Parliament, to make it applicable to the present day, and to show that there was no intention on the part of the Legislature that the law should continue a dead letter. When the noble Lord originally introduced his Bill, there was no clause which applied to this particular point; and it was suggested to the noble Lord that he would leave the law in a very unsatisfactory state, because his forbearing to prosecute was an indication of the inapplicability of the law to the present occasion; and by not stating in the Bill anything upon the subject of the law, they not only left it in its former state of obsoleteness, but destroyed any little efficacy it might at present have by remaining upon the Statute-book. The noble Lord yielded to this argument, and he took from the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst a portion of the Amendments which he proposed to introduce, and brought them forward in a declaratory enactment, which 1350 now constituted the first clause of the Bill. But the noble Lord, having selected only a portion of the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, had immediately placed himself in a position of inconsistency, and, in his opinion, made the law which he proposed to introduce inconsistent, incomplete, and imperfect. This objection was immediately pounced upon—if he might use the expression—by the acute and intelligent mind of his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford; and the other night he pointed this out in very striking language. He said that the hon. Member for Midhurst, besides proposing the Amendment, had also proposed the means of making it effectual, and not satisfied with imposing penalties on British subjects who might feel called upon to act under the rescripts of the Pope from a conscientious obligation, he struck at the Papal brief itself, and went on to declare it and all similar briefs illegal. Now the dilemma which the Government was placed in was this—that there was another rescript of posterior date to that which created the English hierarchy, which abolished the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cloyne over the Roman Catholic see of Ross, which latter was created into a new diocese. The enacting power in both cases was the same—the nature of the rescripts was identical; and, therefore, the hon. Member said he wished to knw if this Bill would touch the rescript in Ireland as well as the rescript in England? On which the Solicitor General immediately replied, "Was there ever such a mistake? When it was declared, not enacted, that in the eyes 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 bull which is identical with it has been declared to be illegal and void.' He (the Solicitor General) did not apprehend that any gentleman of the legal profession could have fallen into such a mistake." Now the Committee would observe that if any proceedings were to take place in Ireland with respect to the rescript appointing the Bishop of Ross, it would be a proceeding not under this Bill, but under the Act 16 Richard II.; and there could be no doubt that the Judges would, as the Solicitor General suggested, declare the law to be such as the Legislature declared it to be in this Bill. But if they could be 1351 embarrassed and perplexed in their decision, it would be by the partial and restricted declaratory enactment of the noble Lord, because it might well be argued by a counsel employed for the defence of the parties, that the Legislature, having before them the fact of the rescript appointing the Bishop of Ross in Ireland, had not noticed that particular rescript at the very time that they were condemning a similar rescript in England; and though it might be perfectly true, that the Judges would ultimately come to a right decision, and that the law would be declared according to the statute of Richard II., yet they might be embarrassed, and feel a difficulty in the course of the discussion, by reason of the limited character of this particular enactment, which was confined to the particular rescript only. Therefore it appeared to him that, although his lion, and learned Friend (the Solicitor General) was perfectly right in saying the Judges would find no difficulty in declaring the law on the subject, he was not so right in saying that by reason of this declaratory enactment they would be guided to a right decision. The learned Solicitor General had expressed the intention of the Government. It was their intention that this declaratory enactment, as it stood at present, should have an efficacy in any decision which might be required from the Judges in Ireland with respect to the rescript appointing the Bishop of Ross—it was the intention of the Government to denounce that rescript; and his hon. and learned Friend said that would be the effect of this declaratory enactment. His (Sir F. Thesiger's) answer to that was, "If that be your intention, why not express it on the face of your Bill fairly, openly, and directly? Why leave the matter in any doubt? If your intention be clear and unquestionable, do not adopt any legislation which leaves it open to difficulty? If such be the object, let the object be carried out by express words." The noble Lord had told the House over and over again that he meant the Bill should apply to Ireland, and that there should be uniformity of law in this particular in the two countries. He had no doubt the noble Lord had come to a right decision upon that subject. He was perfectly satisfied, if they left the law applicable only to England, the effect would be to deliver over the other part of the kingdom to the uninterrupted and uncontrolled authority and jurisdiction of the Pope. He was perfectly satisfied that the 1352 noble Lord meant sincerely what he expressed, and did not mean, for one moment, as the hon. and learned Member for Athlone had suggested, to obtain support for his Bill by false pretences—and not fully to carry out his object, and to render his law operative in Ireland. Therefore it was that he felt persuaded—such being the object of the noble Lord, and such being the intention of the Government, as manifested by the expressions of the learned Solicitor General—it was quite impossible, if they were consistent, that they could oppose the introduction of words into this clause, to give that effect to it, coupled with the preamble—which it was intended also to alter—which had been expressly declared to be their intion and object. And he (Sir F. Thesiger) apprehended that the noble Lord would find himself in considerable difficulty and embarrassment, if he pursued a different course; because it was now matter of notoriety, that after this rescript had been issued and had been received in England, and when the strongest excitement prevailed in the country, and feelings of indignation at the aggression had extended from one end of the land to the other, a new rescript was issued by the Pope, as if in defiance of that feeling so generally expressed, by which the bishopric of Ross was created. He would call the attention of the Committee to the views taken of this Act by the newspaper, said to be the organ of the Jesuits in Paris—L' Univers—in which this striking and remarkable passage occurred:—Protestant England refuses the right of the Sovereign Pontiff to erect episcopal sees and to name bishops for the direction of the British empire. Is it aware how the Holy See replies to the denials of heresy, to the clamour and threats of English Protestantism? Precisely by using the right and exercising the authority which has been denied to Her. Here is a new subject of irritation for Anglicanism. The Pope is about to erect a new espiscopal see. The diocese of Cloyne and Ross has been divided, and Pius IX. names a new bishop for the new diocese. We give Lord John Russell this information respecting the erection of a new Irish diocese. This will be another difficulty with which he will have to contend when he undertakes to make the sees of those bishops whom Pius IX. has created in the English territory submissive to the sceptre of the British Monarch.Was not this throwing down the gauntlet of defiance to the noble Lord? It was suggested that the noble Lord's difficulties would be increased by this additional usurpation of the Pope. They might be increased; but the noble Lord had, he was 1353 perfectly satisfied, a spirit which would surmount those difficulties. He was convinced that the noble Lord was sincere in his intention to suppress the present and all future aggressions; that he meant his measure to be a perfect and complete one, and to extend to every part of the United Kingdom; and, believing this, he (Sir F. Thesiger) had no hesitation in thinking that the noble Lord would find it was absolutely necessary to introduce into the clause, which he had taken from the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, those additions and alterations which he (Sir F. Thesiger) proposed to introduce, which could alone carry out the expressed views of the noble Lord, and make this Bill consistent, complete, and efficacious. He would, then, without further trespassing on the time of the Committee, move his Amendment.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
thought his hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger) had somewhat misconceived the whole scope and tendency of this clause, and the objects for which it was introduced. He stated that the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had said that the original Act of Richard II. was so obsolete—so long a period had elapsed since it had been acted upon—that the Government thought it wrong to revive and again call into action an Act so long in disuse. That certainly was one of the grounds stated by the noble Lord for abstaining from a prosecution under that statute; but that was not the only reason. The noble Lord also stated that the penalties of that Act were of a character and description which it was not at all desirable should be revived, namely, the penalties attached to a prœmunire; and no one could know better than his hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger) who had had so much experience in the subject of prosecutions, that whilst it was most unwise to go upon a very old statute, which might be represented by those who had care of the defence as obsolete, it was still more unwise to go upon a statute the penalties of which would bethought unreasonably severe. The statute of Richard II. remained on the Statute-book, and there was no necessity for re-enacting or re-declaring that statute. That was not the object of the declaration being inserted; that was not the object of the reciting, as the Bill did before the declaratory clause was introduced, that all attempts to establish bishoprics under pretence of authority of the See of Rome, were null and void. 1354 The object was to make a public and solemn declaration of the State, with respect to an act of violence and aggression on the part of a foreign potentate, under which certain of the subjects of this realm had presumed to assert titles and authority, in other words, to prevent the reviving old and antiquated pretensions to spiritual authority, which the Parliament of England ought to arrest on its first reappearance, by recalling to attention, and reminding the nation of the illegality of all attempts of that description. The Government proposed to do so merely by a recital, which appeared in their measure as it originally stood; and the recital was, that every attempt to establish, under colour of authority from the See of Rome, or otherwise, such pretended sees, provinces, or dioceses, was illegal and void. It was not thought necessary that there should be any enactment whatever. But the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) thought there was something much more solemn and authoritative in a public declaration—he preferred the mode of declaration to the mode of recital. He (the Solicitor General) was sure his hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger) would recollect that, in first answering the observation of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), he (the Solicitor General) said the recital would have all the force, all the validity, all the effect, of a declaratory clause. He conceived a declaratory clause would go no further than a recital; it simply told them "what is void is void;" but not only his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) but other parties—parties whose opinions were entitled to consideration—and he mentioned one right hon. Gentleman who had filled a high judicial position (Sir E. Sugden)—thought they ought to have a declaratory enactment (to use the right hon. Gentleman's own words) "tearing the bull to pieces." And he (the Solicitor General) continued then to say, that it was with that view, conceiving that no legal enactment was necessary—because the law was clear, and no one would dispute that the act was illegal and void, but looking to those views and feelings—the Government saw no reason why that course should not be adopted, which had been adopted in previous instances, although the law was indisputable. The recital could have no effect, and was not intended to have any effect, but simply to remind them that the law was clear and plain. No one doubted that the law was clear, and the attempt to 1355 take titles under the See of Rome was illegal. The whole function of the declaratory clause was simply to make a public declaration, a solemn act of the Legislature, against a very unusual and a very unprovoked attack on the part of a foreign Potentate, and an attempt to revive old and obsolete authorities. The Government were doing that which the circumstances of the case required them to do, by fastening on a particular offence, and declaring the particular bull which had created that offence to be illegal and void. He said then, and he said now, that that was by far a more dignified course, than hunting every bull, every rescript, which the Pope might think proper to issue. The great offence had been that bull, which annulled the whole sees of England—Canterbury, York, London, & c.—and established over this realm a wholly new hierarchy. That was the instrument which had created the feeling of indignation in this country, and which required to be solemnly dealt with; and he confessed it seemed to him an indescribable bathos to come down from that instrument to what had since been done by the Bishop of Rome, in respect of the See of Ross, which, following the general law, was void, and required no solemn declaration or enactment. The act of the Pope with reference to the bishopric of Ross, stood upon an entirely different footing. It fell under the Act of 1829, being an existing see of the United Church of England and Ireland. The Act of 1829 dealt with that assumption, and, therefore, the insertion of the words proposed, so far from strengthening that they were about to do—by a declaratory enactment against the audacious bull with which they were dealing—would be only throwing it into the general mass of all other bulls, rescripts, or documents, which the Pope might issue. There was a plain and distinct outrage to deal with. They made that the foundation of their declaration, and that declaration was to be taken as recognising every other bull in the same way. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he wished to test the intentions of the Government; but every lawyer must know that the declaratory clause imposed no new penalties. The prohibition did not rest on that clause at all; and the second clause would teach every person that the attempt to assume any title, whether by the authority of the See of Rome or otherwise, was illegal. The declaratory clause was introduced solely with the view of 1356 making a national declaration or protest, and the addition of the proposed Amendment would be a mere insertion of vain words, which, instead of strengthening, would materially weaken the effect of that protest.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY
must remind the Committee that the tenour of recent legislation had very much altered the position of bulls from Rome. By the 31st of George III. the right of English Catholics to acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the Pope was admitted; and the following letter was about that time addressed by Burke to Mr. William Smith:—But the business of the Pope (that mixed person of politics and religion) has long since ceased to be a bugbear; for some time past he has ceased to be even a colourable pretext. This was well known, when the Catholics of these kingdoms, for their amusement, were obliged on oath to disclaim him in his political capacity, which implied an allowance for them to recognise him in some sort of ecclesiastical superiority. It was a compromise of the old dispute.In 1846, Lord Lyndhurst brought in a Bill, in the House of Lords, for the total repeal of the 13th Elizabeth. That Bill passed the second reading in the Committee, but was arrested in its progress by a change in the Administration. Upon the Whigs succeeding to office, Lord Lyndhurst drew—"their Lordships' attention to a Bill which had been for some time before their Lordships' House—he meant the Religious Disabilities Bill. That Bill had passed through Committee on the understanding that a communication should take place on the subject between himself and a right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter), and it was now waiting to be recommitted, with a view of considering some Amendments that were intended to be proposed. He had since had an opportunity of meeting the right rev. Prelate, and had agreed with him as to some Amendments. He wished at present that their Lordships would consent to go into Committee pro formâ, for the purpose of having the Amendments printed, with one or two others which he intended to propose. He understood that Her Majesty's Government were disposed to make this a Government question, to be brought forward as a Government Bill. He was willing to accede to that proposal on the distinct understanding that they would proceed with the measure without any avoidable delay."—[3 Hansard, lxxxvii. 1378–9.]The Marquess of Lansdowne (who could not have been at all aware of the clauses proposed to be introduced by the Bishop of Exeter) said—"he was exceedingly glad that the noble and learned Lord was willing to go on with the measure. He could not have the least hesitation in assuring the noble and learned Lord, on the part of the Government with which he had the honour 1357 to be connected, that they would consider this Bill as a Government measure, so far as giving it every facility in their power in its progress through Parliament."—[Ibid.]The Bill subsequently passed in a modified form, removing all the penalties, but not stating that Bulls were henceforth lawful. As he (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) should have an opportunity of again addressing the Committee, he refrained from further observations at present.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, the difficulty which is now felt appears to me to arise in consequence of the Government having accepted the first clause proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), without adopting at the same time the preamble which he proposed, because if the preamble of my hon. and learned Friend had been adopted by the Committee, I do not think there would be any necessity for the Amendment proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederic Thesiger); and as I do not despair of the Committee adopting, on the proper occasion, the amended preamble proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst, I trust my hon. and learned Friend will pause before he divides the Committee on an Amendment which will be perfectly unnecessary if the general scope of the Amendments of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst is adopted. The objection to this first clause would be entirely removed if it were preceded by the preamble of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst. Why I am in favour of the first clause as it present stands is this—that what I desire principally to see in this Bill is, that it shall be a retaliatory Act, and, therefore, that it should have on its face a declaration that it has been occasioned by the aggressive conduct of a foreign Power. That effect would be materially diminished if the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon were carried. The objection that the case of Ireland would not be included in the first clause as it now stands, is also met by the consideration that the Amendment proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst, in the second clause, namely, the insertion of the words "the United Kingdom," would include the case of Ireland. This first clause is, to a certain degree, inconsistent and incongruous; but as I take that clause only as a part of the design of my hon. and learned Friend 1358 the Member for Midhurst, which, as a whole, appears to be consistent and congruous, I am disinclined to adopt the suggestion of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon, though I admit that, per se, it is an extremely sensible suggestion. But, considering the circumstances under which we are called upon to disapprove of this matter, I am not inclined to disturb the language of the clause, trusting that it will be preceded by a preamble and followed by a clause which will supply all the deficiences pointed out b}r my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abingdon. It may be almost presumptuous in me to give an opinion on such a matter; but I must say that I agree with the hon. and learned Solicitor General that the case of the See of Ross is mot by the provisions of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. But if that be so, how happens it that the Bishop of Ross has not been proceeded against? I hope the Government will give some explanation on this point.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had made a great mistake. The preamble had nothing to do with the Bill. They must consider the Bill without reference to the preamble, because the Judges would pass their pen, or their mind's pen, across it, and ask what was the meaning of that clause by itself? He (Mr. Roebuck) was quite prepared to protest that the view of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederic Thesiger) was the only consistent view of the case which it was possible for the supporters of the Bill to take; but he wholly dissented from the necessity of the proceeding. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had talked of the law as it stood in regard to this question, and of the statute of Richard II., which was the well-known statute of prœmunire. What was that? That was really a law to protect the King's power, which, at that time, was really assailed. The Pope rode triumphantly through the kingdom, and claimed the power of civil jurisdiction, and nothing but an Act of Parliament could thwart that power and drive it out. Then they were referred to the 1st of Elizabeth, which was passed because the 1st and 2nd of Philip and Mary had repealed all the provisions made against the See of Rome by the 20th Henry VIII.; and when the Act of Elizabeth was passed the Pope possessed ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction in these realms. But was that the case of England 1359 now? And if it was not, were they not going upon a false assumption? Were they not completely and thoroughly free from all dominion of the Pope? The Roman Catholics in England were merely Dissenters. The declaration of the Pope was not what it was when those Acts of Parliament were passed. The declaration of the Pope was that of a private individual, not considered by the law—having no power by the law—and, therefore, when the Government pronounced against that power, did they not treat it in manner wholly impolitic? We were not in the state now in which we were when the Acts of Richard II. and 4th Elizabeth were passed. We were now completely free from all foreign domination, and the power of the Pope was merely a moral mental power, which could not be enforced by a single legal authority, and acted only by consent, upon the minds of men. He solicited the attention of the hon. and learned Attorney General to a question which he had propounded, and which had not yet been answered. Either this clause was useless, being superseded by the second clause, or it went much further than it pretended. The reply of the Solicitor General to the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon was that it was unnecessary, because the Bill did deal with all descriptions of rescripts, briefs, &c. Now, he (Mr. Roebuck) would go back to the preamble. The preamble recited, not against the assumption of titles, but against a certain power to be exercised within any province of the United Kingdom. Now, here the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Master of the Rolls, while Attorney General, drew a great distinction between a bishop of and a bishop exercising power within, a province or see. In the preamble of the Bill the words were used, "Whereas divers 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 and dioceses within the United Kingdom," &c. Now, supposing the Pope appointed an Archbishop of Heliopolis, exercising jurisdiction in the diocese of Bath; in that case he would not have assumed the title of any existing bishopric or sec, or any title to any part of England, but only a title to exercise certain jurisdiction within a certain province; and he wished the present hon. and learned Atttorney General to inform him whether, in that case, this Bill would possess any efficacy? He wanted 1360 to know whether it was intended to render invalid all the acts of a bishop appointed by the Pope of Rome to exercise jurisdiction in a certain district? Because, if so, that would not be the effect of the present clause. Then came the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon, who on this occasion was acting with perfect consistency. He (Mr. Roebuck) understood his object, but that, he presumed, was not the object of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. Then, to come hack to the proposition of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) as the preamble restricted the Bill to the said Brief, and a particular Brief was attacked, what was there to prevent the Pope issuing a fresh Brief to-morrow? and if it was not for the Act of 1829, the Brief appointing the Bishop of Ross would be without the law of England. But if the titles assumed were not the titles of existing sees, they could not touch them under the Act of 1829, nor by this Bill, which referred to one particular Rescript. All the mischief talked about, all the horrors they were anticipating of falling under the dominion of the Pope, would be actually in existence, and that marvellous eloquence of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst, which seemed to be produced by a different atmosphere—that of Exeter Hall—would have something on which to expend itself. What was the Government about to do to avert the doom of waking one fine morning under the dominion of the Pope? He asked the hon. and learned Attorney General to point out, if he could, the fallacy of the argument he (Mr. Roebuck) had used, and to show, if he could, one single disability which was not included in the second clause.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman called upon him to answer the question which he had thought proper to put to him. He (the Attorney General) owned that he rose with reluctance to answer the question; for without intending to say anything offensive to the hon. and learned Gentleman—for he never wished to give offence—he must be permitted to say that if he called in question the hon. and learned Gentleman's law, or differed with him as to the conclusions to which he had come on any subject, the hon. and learned Gentleman got quite angry with him; all he could say was, that if the hon. and learned Gentleman got angry with him on the present 1361 occasion, he could not make him (the Attorney General) angry with him. The hon. and learned Gentleman was quite wrong in the view which he had taken of this clause. The preamble and the first and second clauses had reference to the assumption of ecclesiastical titles derived from Rome, and sees carved out from districts within this empire. The hon. and learned Gentleman put the case of the Bishop of Heliopolis exercising spiritual jurisdiction within a certain province or diocese. All he (the Attorney General) would say was, that such titles would riot be within the preamble, and for this reason, because it would not be the assumption of an ecclesiastical title of an archbishop or bishop of any province or diocese in England. So long as Roman Catholics exercised episcopal functions among their own community without assuming titles derived from territory within this kingdom, neither the present Bill nor the 10th of George IV. would at all affect them. This clause did not carry the provisions of the Bill further than the recitals in the original Bill. It took nothing from the efficacy of the measure; but it did something more than a mere recital of the illegality of the act of the Pope, for it was a more solemn and emphatic declaration of the will of Parliament, and the sense of the nation in reference to that act. It therefore did no harm: it satisfied the feelings of many persons; it removed all doubt and ambiguity that might attach to the proceeding; it openly declared what the law was; and, therefore, it might do good; whilst, on the other hand, it could lead to no harm. Into the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend (Sir Frederic Thesiger) to introduce the plural number instead of the singular, he did not propose to enter, as it had already been fully discussed; and he thought that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), on further and more mature consideration, would agree with him that the case which he had propounded did not come within the Bill.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
must ask if he was then to understand that the law officers of the Crown considered the efficacy of the Bill was to this extent: that to-morrow the Pope might issue a Rescript, or Brief, really and truly dividing England, giving to certain parties the names of Bishops of Heliopolis and elsewhere, but in reality making them bishops of dioceses in England? The Pope could give them synod- 1362 ical action, and this Bill did not touch the matter at all. He was glad to find the law officers of the Crown admit that point, and he should be quite satisfied if the Judges of the land would do the same thing.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman had made another mistake. He had assumed as a fact that bishops acting with foreign titles were capable of carrying on synodical action. Now, the so-called Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Wiseman, in a letter which he addressed to the people of England, expressly justified the assumption of power on the part of the Pope, as contained in the Rescript, upon the ground that an episcopacy with ecclesiastical titles derived from the sees within the realm were especially necessary to synodical action.
§ MR. MONSELL
wished to know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman meant to say that this Bill would prevent synodical action? The hon. and learned Gentleman had previously stated that this Bill would leave Ireland in precisely the same state as it found it. Now at present there was no law against synodical action in Ireland; and therefore the hon. and learned Gentleman must, in one or other of his statements, be wrong. With reference to the Act of Richard II., he did not see that there was any analogy between the circumstances under which that was enacted, and the present case. He would remind the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederic Thesiger) of the celebrated case in the reign of Edward III., in which all the Judges were unanimous. Judge Kelsey said—The writ ought to be ratione temporalium episcopatus; for the bishopric is a thing spiritual, which cannot come to the king.Judge Parnell said—The temporality and spirituality make a bishop; and as the spirituality cannot come into the hands of the king, the temporalities shall; and in ancient times the kings were accustomed to give the bishopric.Judge Hank said—As well might the king say, that in the time of voidance he can, as the Pope, give a bishopric, not only in temporalities but in spiritualities.Judge Houp said—The spirituality without the temporality can be a bishopric; but if the temporality be joined to the spirituality, the Pope cannot give the temporalities except at the will of the king; the temporalities may remain in the hands of the king, and yet a bishop can be created.1363 Now, in what way could this act of the Pope be said to affect the temporality of this kingdom, that temporality being understood in the same way that it was at the period of history to which the Act adverted to referred, and to which reference was made by the noble Lord at the head of the Government in his opening speech? In the case of Lalor, the only proof against him was that he signed himself "Vicarius Apostolicus," and that was the case that was brought here to justify an attack made upon the Roman Catholics of this country for having changed their system of government here from vicars-apostolic to bishops. The Roman Catholics here and in Ireland claimed nothing except the power of being governed in spiritual matters in the way they thought best; and by no manner of special pleading whatsoever could it be made out that interfering with them in their spiritual government was anything else than an act of direct and gross persecution. As for this country saying they could judge for the Roman Catholics what was the best form of government for them, why, how would they like the Roman Catholics to judge for them? How would they like Cardinal Wiseman to decide how the Wesleyans or the Church of England should be governed? and yet that was not more absurd than for the people of this country to say they should decide how the Roman Catholics should be governed in spiritual matters.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
thought the hon. Gentleman's statement was more fitted for the second reading of the Bill than applicable to any Amendment on the present clause. With respect to the Wesleyan body, he had never heard that the Wesleyan Conference had pretended to govern any other but the members belonging to their own community, or had ever presumed to declare that all Christians were bound to obey them, and that Roman Catholics must submit to them.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that that was not an answer to the question he had put to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he had put a very clear and simple question to the hon. and learned Gentleman with respect to the effect of this law upon Ireland, and he should be obliged by an answer.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, 1364 the same question had been asked and answered on the second reading of the Bill. He apprehended that the Bill would, indirectly, have the effect of stopping synodical action in Ireland.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that was not the point. He wished the hon. and learned Gentleman to reconcile his two statements—that the Bill would have the effect of stopping synodical action, and yet that it would in no degree alter the law in Ireland as existing since the Emancipation Act.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that the Emancipation Act already prevented synodical action, because it contained a provision specially relating to the assumption of titles of existing sees. He might be told that Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland assumed those titles notwithstanding; but it was upon that evasion of the law that they grounded the possibility of having synodical action. All he said was, that the present Bill would carry the law no further than as it existed at present in Ireland in this respect, for the assumption on the part of the Roman Catholics of titles of existing sees, and synodical action as a consequence thereof, were already illegal.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, it was to be understood, then, that the Bill did nothing against the Catholics in Ireland which the Act of 1829 did not do. The Synod of Thurles was a violation of the law of 1829, then, or it was not. If it was, it ought to have been stopped. Its not having been stopped, and the introduction of this Bill to put a stop to synodical action, was a clear admission that this was a new Bill of pains and penalties. But the noble Lord at the head of the Government had said that the Act of 1829 had not been put in force because it had not been broken. The bishops in Ireland had not violated the law, and, except the case of the Archbishop of Tuam, there was no attempt to evade the law; leaving the Committee under the impression that if the noble Lord and his advisers had known the law was violated, he would have considered it his duty to administer the law. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) said, that he approved of this short clause proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), because it was retaliatory. Was that the principle to act upon in this year 1851—to make the laws in a retaliatory spirit? Was it the duty of the Legislature 1365 to usurp the functions of the Executive Government, and make laws in a retaliatory spirit against the Queen's subjects? Were they to insult the faith, abridge the liberties, and take away the rights of millions of their fellow-subjects in order to exercise a retaliation upon a foreign Power? What was this retaliation? It was described by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst as characteristic of the ancient spirit of our ancestors; and he prayed the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman to the inconsistency of this. They were told that the statute of Richard II., and the statutes of first and second of Elizabeth, were all precedents. The statute of Richard II. recited what were termed evasions of the authority of the Crown, and of the regality of the King, by the Pope; but the statute spoke throughout of the invasion of the regality and temporal rights of the sovereign as regarded his kingdom, and not of invasions of his spiritual rights or jurisdiction. At the time the statute of Richard II. passed, there was a formidable potency in whatever came here from the Pope. At that time the whole community recognised the authority of Rome, and it was impossible for the Crown to dispose properly of the subject. That statute was passed for political or temporal, and not for ecclesiastical purposes, and it could not be compared with the Bill now before the Committee: it was then known that on the walls of the cathedral and the palace in London a bull had been posted denying the legality of the succession to the Throne; but where was now the pretence of any attempt to dispute the succession, or touch the regality of the Sovereign? The Bill was retaliatory upon the Queen's subjects for an insult they thought had been offered to their own religion, and was proposed for no other motive whatever. As regarded the effect of this clause, he would ask the hon. and learned Solicitor General what that effect would be, if, as he had stated at the beginning of the evening, no civil consequences would ensue from it? Did the hon. and learned Gentleman mean to say that a prosecution would not lie for misdemeanour for an infraction of this law as well as the other?
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he would request the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederic Thesiger) to leave the clause as it at present stood, on the ground that in cases of this nature it had never been the policy of the Legis- 1366 lature to go beyond the necessities of the case. The Pope had made what was considered to be an attack on the supremacy of the Sovereign in a particular form, and it was to strike at that form, which assumed the shape of a Brief, Rescript, or Letter Apostolic, that the present Bill was introduced. If former statutes were referred to, it would be found that particular acts of aggression were always singled out—not with the slightest intention of insulting Roman Catholics, or of interfering with their religion, but simply to assert the supremacy of the Sovereign.
§ MR. NAPIER
doubted very much, from the turn the debate had taken, whether the mode proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) of taking the preamble first, would not be better. The Legislature were about, by this Bill, to deal with a double offence, namely, with the aggression of a foreign authority, and with those subjects of the realm who were aiding and abetting it by accepting the titles prohibited by the Bill. The preamble proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) would cover the case of the bishopric of Ross, which the Government preamble would not. [Here the hon. and learned Gentleman quoted a passage from a newspaper, to the effect that the Sees of Cloyne and Ross had been just separated by the authority of the Pope, who had thus added another bishopric to the Romish Church in Ireland.] He would accept the clause of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, provided his preamble also was to stand; but if not he would rather have the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederic Thesiger). In Richard Lalor's case, Lalor had been convicted under the Act of Elizabeth, then recently passed; and the Attorney General, to avoid being charged with putting in force a Protestant law made for religious purposes, went back to the old statute, 300 years old, for a law made in Catholic times for the safety of a Catholic country; for Lalor was convicted under the Protestant law of Elizabeth for exercising episcopal functions by authority from the See of Rome. It had been said that there was no law in Ireland to prevent such a synod as that of Thurles; but there was the direct authority of Sir Edward Sugden to the contrary. He (Mr. Napier) had no doubt that the late Synod of Thurles was a violation of the law. To use the words of the Lord Lieutenant in a late letter, if 1367 the legal evidence were as sure as the moral certainty, that synod would be a plain case within the statute of Richard II. and the 1st and 2nd of Elizabeth. Would any lawyer say, that if Roman Catholic bishops, appointed under the authority of the Pope, should meet under the presidency of a legate from Rome, such an assembly would not be illegal? Dr. O'Connor, a learned and accomplished Roman Catholic, who had been excommunicated for holding liberal opinions, said that in his judgment Lalor had been justly prosecuted. An attempt had been made to draw a distinction between temporal and spiritual functions; and there was a letter written by Thomas Moore, the poet, touching upon that very point. [The hon. and learned Gentleman here read an extract from the letter, which was to the effect that the distinction sought to be drawn between spiritual and temporal functions was an endeavour to reconcile submission to the Pope with the discharge of our other duties; but that the spiritual authority of the Pope would still combine with itself many gross particles of temporal power which it behoved a wise Government to resist.] At the time the Act of 1829 was passed, it covered the case of every bishop in Ireland, and he was contented to abide by it. If that Act had been administered on both sides effectually and wisely, without connivances at breaches of that Act, all parties would have been in a better position than they were at present. He would recommend the Government and the Legislature calmly and deliberately to consider the subject, and to decide what, by the existing constitution of the country, Roman Catholics were really entitled to. He, for one, was not desirous to take from them what they had, or to infringe the liberty they possessed; but he was determined to resist every attempt emanating from foreign authority which he considered inconsistent with the rights, liberties, and religion of the people of this country.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, that the hon. and learned Member had set the Committee a difficult task—that of a court of judicature. But they were legislators, and not a court, and they had to decide not what the rights of Roman Catholics were, but what they ought to be. It rested with the Government to put that in motion, and it rested with the Government by constitutional means to define their rights. He spoke not as a lawyer, but as a statesman; and he appealed to the noble Lord whether 1368 he and his Government had not done all in their power to make these people believe that they had the power of synodical action. Did not the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland know of the Synod of Thurles? Was it a thing done in a corner? Were not the legal authorities of the Irish Government—the police—employed not only to protect the bishops, but to impart dignity to them in their assembly. It would not do to come down now and ask that House to go calmly into the question whether synodical action was legal or not. He said that the fault lay at the door of the noble Lord—at the door of the British Government; that he had fostered this spirit, and had told the Roman Catholics that they should have this power; and now at last the noble Lord had turned round upon them most unfairly as regarded the Roman Catholics, and most injudiciously as regarded the policy of this country. He (Mr. Roebuck) was prepared to maintain, that a synodical act, as described by the hon. and learned Attorney General, done under the title of bishops in partibus, with dioceses in England, was, with regard to political purposes and considerations, precisely the same as though it were done by them under the assumption of the titles of existing dioceses in England or Ireland.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY,
in answer to the statement which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) had made regarding the attendance of a guard of police as a guard of honour upon the bishops, and which statement had been also made by the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside), said, that he was now in the position, by the authority of the Lord Lieutenant, to give the most explicit contradiction to that statement. He had received a report from the head of the local constabulary of Ireland, and the truth of the matter was that the police was increased to the number of fifty, and sent to the place where the bishops met on the 15th of August, simply because a large assemblage of people from the country was anticipated; and the police were there to prevent any breach of the peace, as was usual in large assemblages of the people, and for no other purpose. There was nothing in the attendance of the police on that occasion that was inconsistent with the duty of the Irish Government; and it would have been contrary to their duty if they had not sent a sufficient number of police to keep the peace. But there was 1369 nothing in their attendance that could give any sanction on the part of the Government to the so-called Synod of the bishops at Thurles. But then it had been said that it was quite well known they were to assemble there. Were the Government, however, although possessing the knowledge that they were to assemble, to anticipate that they would assume titles which the law prohibited, and hold a synod which was illegal? The Government had acted the wisest part which they could in the matter; and because they had not forcibly dispersed this assemblage of Irish bishops, a step which would have been denounced as a violent and unjustifiable one, and would have caused, doubtless, great confusion, besides in all probability leading to an outbreak against the constituted authorities—because they had not done this, therefore was it argued that Government had given an authoritative sanction to an illegal synod, and had refrained from taking those measures necessary to vindicate the authority and supremacy of the Crown. He hoped that they would hear no more of this accusation of the Government having given their sanction to an illegal assembly.
§ MR. WHITESIDE,
in reference to what the right hon. Gentleman had said, would merely say that he had been informed from the best authority that the police, on the occasion referred to, did line the road from the Cathedral of Thurles to the College, and between the lines of the constabulary the Roman Catholic hierarchy walked in procession. The primate, who was clothed in the same dress he wore at Rome, did cross the public road, and proceed thus escorted to the cathedral. His informant further stated that it was generally supposed, from the circumstances of the magistrates being present, the police being assembled there under their authority, and the improbability of the slightest breach of the peace occurring on an occasion of a religious procession of Roman Catholic bishops amongst a Roman Catholic people, that it was intended by the Government to lend their sanction to the whole proceeding. If the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the Committee were as intimately acquainted with Ireland as he was, he would admit that this was not the only occasion of the sanction of the Government being given to the use of these titles by the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
§ MR. ROEBUCK,
in reply to what had 1370 been said by the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Grey), begged to ask if the Lord Lieutenant had not given precedence to these Irish bishops? Had that not been done habitually, and had the bishops not been known by the titles of the places in which they laboured, and which they had assumed? These titles, moreover, let it be remembered, had been mentioned in legal documents, and further, had been recited even in Acts of Parliament. While the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) and his Lord Lieutenant knew all these things, it was making rather too light of the matter for the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Grey) to come forward now and say that the Government could not contemplate the Synod of Thurles resorting to the assumption of titles. He (Mr. Roebuck) was ashamed to hear such a mode of argument.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Roebuck) had now changed his ground, and had charged the Government with giving precedence to Roman Catholic bishops. It was quite true that they had given this precedence; but the precedence had not originally been given by the present Government. The hon. and learned Member could not show him an Act of Parliament which could prevent the Government from calling a Roman Catholic archbishop "your grace," and a bishop "my lord;" and although he (Mr. Roebuck) said that the Government had exceeded their duty in giving precedence to the Roman Catholic dignitaries, that was a totally different thing from what he had charged them with previously, viz., a direct violation of the law. The hon. and learned Member had also said that these titles were used in public documents and Acts of Parliament; but with the single exception of the list admitted to entrée inserted in the Dublin Gazette—a document which had often been referred to, he (Sir George Grey) was not aware of any public paper in which these titles had been used with the sanction of Government.
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
said, he had been pressed by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), and by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), to withdraw his Amendments. Now, it was not without due care that he had prepared those Amendments for the consideration of the Committee. He had dealt with the Bill as it was put forward by the Government, and he could 1371 not assume that any Amendments proposed to be introduced would be adopted by the Government, or by a majority of the Committee. Having listened to all the arguments which had been adduced on the subject of these Amendments, he must say that he had not heard one which satisfied him that those Amendments ought not to be introduced, supposing the Government Bill ultimately to stand. Now, if the Government would adopt the whole of the preamble of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), that would accomplish the object he had in view; but as he did not anticipate that would be the case, he would just call the attention of the Committee to the situation in which he should be placed. The preamble and the clause as they now stood, were directed against a particular rescript only. His object was not to confine the operation of the Bill to that particular rescript. He wished to carry out the object of the Government by introducing some alterations in the clauses; and the withdrawal of his Amendments would leave the Bill incomplete and inconsistent. Although it might be somewhat inconvenient and disadvantageous to disunite those who were anxious to carry out the Bill, a regard to his own character required him to do that which was essential to make the Bill operative, and therefore he felt bound to press his Amendments.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, there had been a doubt as to whether the hon. and learned Member (Sir Frederic Thesiger) intended to press his Amendment; but as he had now declared his intention to do so, he (Lord John Russell) trusted that the Committee would keep to the discussion of the Amendment, and not go into the general question involved in the Bill. He agreed with the argument which had been stated by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General. The Bill as it stood originally stated that there had been certain persons in this country who had assumed the titles of archbishop and bishops on the authority of the See of Rome, and declared that all such assumptions were void and illegal, and proceeded to enforce penalties on the violators of the law. It had been said, the Bill did not point so directly as was desirable to what had been the great cause of offence—that which had excited so much indignation and discussion throughout the country—namely, the letters-apostolic received from Rome. The Government had considered that there 1372 was some force in this argument; and although the preamble contained a general declaration of the illegality of such assumptions, they had agreed to introduce Amendments which went the length of declaring illegal and void the particular rescript of the Pope in question. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir Frederic Thesiger) had proposed to introduce other rescripts in regard to which he did not seem aware of the bearing of the existing law. By acceding to the Amendment they would take away the strength which the measure possessed in dealing with a particular rescript and act of the Pope, and would dilute and disperse the declaration of the preamble, instead of making it more effective. It was upon these considerations he (Lord John Russell) had been induced to agree to some of the Amendments of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Walpole). He trusted the Committee would at present discuss the Amendment only, and not go into the general question.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
would say, as a lawyer, that the adoption of the Amendments of the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon would have the effect of preventing the Roman Catholics in this kingdom from effecting any organisation whatever, although such organisation had been recognised by previous Acts of Parliament. The Amendment of the lion, and learned Member for Midhurst was prefaced by a preamble to which he entertained the strongest objection; but he thought the Government would have exercised a wise discretion if they had borrowed a portion of the preamble as a preface or apology for the first clause. The question was, would the first clause have the effect of preventing such innovations as had recently taken place? He was indifferent to the opinion of any Gentleman, in or out of that House, and, so far from opposing the first clause, he would vote for it. He considered it a step in advance of the principle of civil and religious liberty. By adopting that clause, they would be legislating in the spirit of the statutes of Richard II., and the 38th of Edward III., and not in the spirit of the Acts of Elizabeth. If the legislation did not proceed further, it would be in consequence of the conduct of Roman Catholic Members who had shown a disposition to be governed too much by a consideration of their faith, and too little by their impartiality as subjects of a British Sovereign. He was re- 1373 presenting the sentiments of hundreds and thousands of Roman Catholics in the country, who, he regretted to say, had not had the courage to come forward in their own persons to support those statements, which he made in their name, and as their deputy. [Laughter.] He would refer the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Scully), who laughed at what he had been saying, to the numerous petitions and memorials that had been addressed to the Court of Rome from Roman Catholics of this country, some of which had found their way into the public newspapers. He would vote against this Bill being extended to Ireland, and against the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon's Amendment; but, as he said before, he would vote in favour of the first clause.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, in his Amendment he had endeavoured to confine himself to the specific offence with which it was necessary to deal—the introduction of a Brief, not merely conferring titles, but parcelling out the kingdom, and interfering with the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishops and ministers of the Church of England. That was a grievous offence, and the proper way to deal with it was by a declaratory enactment. His preamble recited—Whereas, the Bishop of Rome, by a certain Brief, Rescript, or Letters Apostolical, purporting to hare been given at Rome on the 29th day of September, 1850, hath recently pretended to constitute within the kingdom of England, according to the common rules of the Church of Rome, a hierarchy of bishops named from sees, and with titles derived from places belonging to the Crown of England.And it then went on to state that—Whereas the said Brief, &c., and all such or the like acts or matters touching the Queen, her crown, her regality, and the realm, and the pretended constitution of a hierarchy of bishops named from sees and with titles derived from places belonging to the Crown of England, are usurpations and encroachments in manifest derogation of the Queen's authority.The clause then provided—That the said Brief, &c., and all and every the jurisdiction, authority, pre-eminence, or title conferred, or pretended to be conferred thereby, are, and shall be, and be deemed unlawful and void.And why? Because it pretended to constitute a new hierarchy in the country. That was a specific offence. He was afraid of introducing any general words which might touch functions purely religious and spiritual; and thinking it advisable not to go beyond the specific occasion, he pre- 1374 ferred the clause as it now stood. One word as to Ireland. Either this was an imperial question, or it was nothing. He did not exclude Ireland; but at the same time he did not wish to drag that country in, unless the Pope should do there what he had done here. Seeing that the supporters of the Bill had but one common object in view, he trusted his hon. and learned Friend (Sir Frederic Thesiger) would withdraw his Amendments.
§ MR. SADLEIR
thought the lawyers had succeeded in placing the legal aspect of the Bill in as great confusion as the opponents of the measure could desire. Leaving that, however, in the state of inextricable doubt into which it had been plunged, he rose to set the Committee right as to a matter of fact. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal, and some other hon. Members, had had the temerity to repeat the very stale and hackneyed allegation that the establishment of a hierarchy in England was a wanton and needless act on the part of the Pope of Rome, suggested by some desire to disturb the peace and order of this kingdom. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal had stated that the establishment of a Catholic hierarchy in this country was not viewed with approbation by a large portion of the Catholic laity, who secretly desired the interference of the Legislature in their behalf. He should only, in answer to this charge, read an extract from a declaration just published, made by the Roman Catholic laity, and signed by the Earls of Shrewsbury and Newburgh, many others of the nobility, a dozen baronets, and 500 of the most respectable Roman Catholics in England. This declaration stated:—We reject with the utmost scorn and indignation the imputation that we wish for any interference between our revered prelates and ourselves, or require any protection for our rights and property against them and the powers conferred by the hierarchy. We regard every attempt made to represent a penal law against our bishops as a measure passed for our benefit and at our request, as an attack upon our honour. And we make this statement for the express purpose of depriving any person who may again hazard these insinuations (whether he be a professed enemy to our religion, or a secret foe within our own body) of all credit and attention. Moreover, we protest most strongly against the glaring impropriety of founding measures against the Catholic bishops, clergy, and laity, on secret or anonymous information, or on any statements, except such as shall be made openly and in a manner which will enable us to refute them if untrue. We declare that the government of the 1375 Catholic Church, through a regularly constituted hierarchy of diocesan bishops, is the only normal and perfect condition of the Catholic body.He strongly recommended this "declaration" to the perusal of hon. Members.
§ MR. HENLEY
thought that the introduction of the words proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon would tend to place the Committee in a position of some difficulty. Part of the Amendments proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had been adopted by the Government, and the subject could be discussed with more advantage if the second Amendment were postponed until it was seen what would be the fate of the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst; for if that were adopted, almost the same object would be effected as was aimed at by the second Amendment.
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
was anxious to take the discussion in the way most convenient to the Committee; and as he should be satisfied if the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst were carried, he was content to adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), on the clear understanding, however, that, in case the first Amendment were not carried, he should be at liberty to bring forward his own Amendment a second time, at a later stage of the Bill.
§ MR. KEOGH
thought it was now clear that the proposition he had made for considering the preamble of the Bill first of all was not so much out of place, because the moment they came to discuss the first clause, it was said that one Amendment upon it would be rendered unnecessary if another Amendment were made in the preamble. He would take the liberty of reminding the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon of a grave inconsistency on his part. A Bill was introduced into the House of Lords in 1846 by Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, at the time when the hon. and learned Member was first law officer of the Crown, which repealed the penalties imposed by the 13th Elizabeth, c. 2, for bringing into this country and putting in execution any Bulls or other superstitious instruments of the See of Rome. As the hon. and learned Gentleman was in office at that time, it might be supposed that he approved of that Bill introduced by the Lord Chancellor in 1846; and yet now, in 1851, he proposed to re-enact the provisions of the Act of Eliza- 1376 beth, against Briefs and other instruments from Rome.
§ SIR FREDERIC THESIGER
said, the hon. and learned Member for Athlone seemed to be ignorant of the provisions of the law on this subject which applied to Ireland. The 13th of Elizabeth, c. 2, had nothing to do with Ireland. The only statute relating to Ireland was that of Richard II., and therefore the Act of 1846 would only have affected England and Scotland.
§ Amendment postponed.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY
then proposed the Amendment of which he had given notice. He thought it, however, but fair to give notice, that if the Amendments were rejected, he would move further to expunge the whole clause. In fact, if it became law, for the future every spiritual act done by a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church would be unlawful. He would be guilty of a misdemeanour, and might be indicted by any person who chose to do it. All marriages, too, celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church would be invalid, because it would be impossible for bishops to grant facilities to any priest for the purpose of celebrating marriages; property, too, would be interfered with, and every thing interfered with that related to the acts usually done by a bishop. Jurisdiction and ordination, he would remind them, were two separate things. Ordination might be obtained anywhere, but jurisdiction could only be obtained from the bishop of a district, and they could not have bishops except by the Pope's Rescript. Vicars-apostolic could do it no longer, because they were abolished by this Brief. Under these circumstances, he should call upon the Government to stand by the assertions so lately made by themselves, that it was not intended by this Bill to interfere with the spiritual exercise of the Roman Catholic religion. The present clause, he contended, would interfere with spiritual matters, and he therefore asked them to consent to the insertion of these Amendments.
Page 2, line 13, after the word 'thereby,' to insert the words 'save in so far as the exercise or use of such Jurisdiction, Authority, Pre-eminence, or Title shall be necessary for spiritual purposes.'
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, they proposed by this clause to declare that certain Briefs and Rescripts addressed to certain bodies in this country were illegal and void; but if they adopted this Amend- 1377 ment of the noble Lord (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey) they would declare that these Briefs and Rescripts should be legal and valid for certain purposes. If the main object of the Rescript related merely to spiritual authority, he could understand it; but when the main object was to establish a hierarchy with titles derived from places in this country, it seemed to him that at the same time they declared them to be illegal and void, they admitted them to be valid for certain purposes. They had said, no doubt, all along, that they did not propose by this Bill to interfere with the spiritual authority of Roman Catholic bishops in this country, unless the exercise of authority was followed by ecclesiastical titles. They said so still, but if they asked them to go beyond that, and to say they would acknowledge the exercise of spiritual jurisdiction and authority by persons taking upon themselves temporal and ecclesiastical titles, they were asking them to do that which they declared to be illegal and void. It appeared to him, therefore they should stultify themselves by adopting the Amendment.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY
said, if the hon. and learned Gentleman said they should stultify themselves by passing the Amendment, he wanted to know what position the Government stood in by saying they would not interfere with ecclesiastical government, and then interfering with it.
§ MR. MOORE
was at a loss to understand the explanation of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General. If he understood him rightly, he meant that the acts of the archbishops and bishops of the Church in Ireland were illegal and void. He (Mr. Moore) regarded this Bill as a breach of national treaty, as the violation of a solemn act of atonement made by one nation towards another, which had suffered greater wrong than ever nation suffered before. It was the fashion to regard with indifference the feelings, or rather the passions—because they were on these subjects passions—of the people of Ireland. "They will not rebel, do what we may," was the manly and statesmanlike conclusion to which they seemed to have come. It was true that there would be no insurrection, do what they would; but he warned them that they were awakening an agitation in Ireland that would last for years, and the ultimate results of which they little dreamed of. What had been repudiated by his hon. and 1378 learned Friend the Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh)—namely, that he regarded a twenty years' agitation with sympathy, he (Mr. Moore) boldly avowed; for he thought that twenty years' agitation, wasteful as it might be, would not be time thrown away. He warned the Committee not to let that great charter of a nation's rights which Pitt had conceived, which Burke had proclaimed, of which Grattan was the apostle, and on which Wellington had set his seal, be overthrown by a Bill that was the very heeltaps of discordant opinions, and that the House in its returning sobriety was almost ashamed to pass. If they did, Ireland would take example by England. The people of this country had taught them how an insult upon their national faith was to be met; and they would profit by the lesson. England had taught them how a foreign aggression upon their religion should be resisted, "and it should go hard but they would better the instruction." The Bill, instead of being a national degradation, would prove the alarm bell of their regeneration; and twenty years hence the standing toast of Irish religious independence would be, "The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill."
§ MR. KEOGH
thought it rather hard that Gentlemen who did not profess the Roman Catholic religion should fancy they knew best what was fitted for those who did. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and all those hon. Gentlemen who agreed with him, ought surely, if they were sincere, to support the Amendment of the noble Lord (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey). If there was to be no reservation in the proposed enactment, then the entire Bill would have no legal foundation. But the vicars-apostolic had been abolished; and, therefore, the Roman Catholic Church—an essentially episcopalian body—would be deprived of bishops altogether. He should like to know how the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) could reconcile his previous declaration of not desiring to interfere with the spiritual affairs of the Roman Catholics, with a refusal to vote for the Amendment.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that the first clause was one which declared what the law was. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) had stated, and that too without being contradicted even by the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) that every lawyer must be aware that the declaration con- 1379 tained in the clause was in conformity with the law, and that what the clause declared to be illegal and void, was really illegal and void. Now, if that were so, he (Lord John Russell) could not possibly conceive how they could declare that to be lawful and legal under certain restrictions, which they were at the same time pronouncing to be unlawful. If the question were one of expediency or policy, there might be some argument for proposing a difference in the clause; but they knew perfectly well that every part of the rescript was of a spiritual nature, affecting only spiritual things, and therefore the Amendment was only an indirect way of declaring that to be law which every lawyer saw at once to be unlawful and illegal.
§ SIR HENRY BARRON
thought the speech of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) proved that the Government had shown themselves exceedingly imprudent in adopting any portion of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst's proposals whatever. If what they wished to enact were law, why did they seek to legislate upon the subject? The very fact of their doing so proved either that they wished to give new force and new power to the existing law of the land, or that they were doubtful whether it had not, as it were, been repealed by antiquity and disuse. He wondered, after the declarations of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, how he could in honour, in justice, and in common honesty, refuse his assent to the Amendment. The policy of Government had already produced one fruit, namely, a proposal for the formation of a new Catholic Association; and they surely could not forget the old society which bore that name. He understood that eminent prelate, the Archbishop of New York, recently appointed Cardinal, was now in the House, and was a witness of the different manner in which this question was treated by the British Legislature. It was idle to talk of this being an invasion of the Royal prerogative, or an insult to the nation. Why should the nation be insulted, after petitions had been presented for years, praying for Roman Catholic bishops in this country—not by Roman Catholics only, but by others who were anxious for the independence of that body in this country. It was well known that vicars-apostolic were completely at the mercy of the Pope—bishops would be much more independent. But it was said by the noble Lord at the head of the Government that this was part 1380 of a great conspiracy against the liberties of Europe. Did he mean to assert that the Roman Catholics of this country were involved in any such conspiracy? Had they not, for the last fifty years, supported the extension of liberty to all classes, including Dissenters, and all who had laboured under any civil or religious disability? If the noble Lord meant to assert that the Roman Catholics of this country had been guilty of any such conspiracy, he would tell him to his face it was a base falsehood—it had no foundation. [Loud cries of "Order, order!"]
I am sure the hon. Baronet will, on consideration, be sorry that he has used the word he did.
§ SIR HENRY BARRON
I am sure, Sir, you did not hear my words. I said, and I repeat it, that if the noble Lord charges the Roman Catholics of this House, or of this country, with a base conspiracy against the liberties of mankind, it is a base imputation. I say that it has no foundation in fact. I call on him for his proofs. I have a right to ask for them. I have here the noble Lord's words. In speaking of this appointment of Roman Catholic bishops by the Pope, he used these remarkable words:—"It was a part of a conspiracy to prevent the extension of civil and religious liberty in Europe." Now, Sir, mind it was the appointment of the Roman Catholic bishops in this country that was a part of this conspiracy. Does that, or doos it not, connect the Roman Catholics of this country with a conspiracy against the civil liberties of Europe? ["No, no!"] Then I am wrong. I only say, if there was not any intention to connect the two matters together, it was said in a manner and under circumstances to convey, at least to my mind, that impression: and I repudiate it, as I have a right to do. There is a conspiracy, and it reminds me very much of that known in the history of this country as the "Titus Oates conspiracy." It is a conspiracy to put down the religion of the Roman Catholics in this country, and to abridge their liberties. ["No, no!"] I am convinced of it from the attempt now made to pass a Bill of this description. I have been so much struck by the parallelism of the present case to that to which I have alluded, that I will trouble the Committee with a few extracts from the history of that period:—An imposture, which was brought forward in a time of popular commotion, and supported by the arts and declamation of a numerous party, 1381 goaded the passions of men to a state of madness, and seemed for a while to extinguish the native good sense and humanity of the English people. His (Titus Oates's) fictitious, absurd, and incredible statements, as they must appear to thinking men, were received without hesitation; and even men of the highest classes suffered themselves to be agitated with the apprehension of danger, the more alarming to the imagination, because it was wrapt up in mystery, and was to be expected from unknown and invisible foes.It struck me that there was a great deal of similarity between what I have read and the present proceedings. The apprehension of invisible foes, and of the manner in which the Pope is to invade us some fine morning when all the Gentlemen around me are to be made Roman Catholics in twenty-four hours, is really ridiculous.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes Noes 316: Majority 255.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Murphy, F. S.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Blake, M. J.||Nugent, Sir P.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||O'Brien, J.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||O'Connell, J.|
|Corbally, M. E.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Ponsonby, hon. C. F. A.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Portal, M.|
|Fagan, J.||Power, Dr.|
|Fox, R. M.||Power, N.|
|Fox, W. J.||Reynolds, J.|
|Geach, C.||Roche, E. B.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Sadleir, J.|
|Goold, W.||Scholefield, W.|
|Grace, O. D. J.||Scully, F.|
|Grattan, H.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Greene, J.||Somers, J. P.|
|Henry, A.||Sullivan, M.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Hope, A.||Tennent, R. J.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Keating, R.||Towneley, J.|
|Keogh, W.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Lawless, hon. C.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|M'Cullagh, W. T.||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|Magan, W. H.||Young, Sir J.|
|Maher, N. V.|
|Mahon, The O'Gorman||Arundel and Surrey, Earl of|
|Moore, G. H.||Barron, Sir H. W.|
§ MR. SADLEIR
then moved an Amendment, that the words "for temporal purposes" be inserted in the clause. By the Act of 1829 the Parliament of the United Kingdom determined to enter upon a course of policy, which, at all events, was to be understood as conferring on and guaranteeing to the Roman Catholic religion perfect toleration. He submitted to the Com- 1382 mittee, that, inasmuch as the Roman Catholic religion was an episcopal religion, it could not be perfectly followed out and developed except by the intervention and action of a regularly constituted hierarchy; and that there was by the legislation of 1829, a full and perfect guarantee given for the maintenance of that episcopacy. His object in moving the Amendment was to ask the Committee to declare that these Bulls and Rescripts of the Pope were unlawful and void for temporal purposes. If he understood the declared intentions of the Government, it was not their object to cripple the free action of the Roman Catholic clergy. If these declarations were made with any sincerity, he could not see how the Government could resist the Amendment which he now invited the Committee to adopt. In the year 1846, the noble Lord at the head of the Government adverting to these rescripts, said—There is another offence which the Bill under discussion deals with, and that is the offence of introducing a Bull of the Pope of Rome into this country.The noble Lord then proceeded to say—By the 13th of Elizabeth, the introduction of these Bulls subjects the delinquent to severe punishment;and afterwards—The question is, whether it is desirable to keep up that or any other penalty for such an offence. It does not appear to me that we can possibly prevent the introduction of the Pope's Bull into this country. There are certain Bulls which are absolutely necessary for the appointment of bishops and pastors belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, and I think it would be quite impossible to prevent the introduction of such Bulls. Every one knows they are not prevented, but are introduced into this country.The noble Lord then added—Again, the security with respect to this Act is, that if anything seditious or treasonable be promulgated, the parties can be punished in this country as they could for any other writing of a seditious or treasonable nature.He (Mr. Sadleir) assured the Committee that if they resisted the insertion of the words he proposed, serious and difficult points of law would arise in the courts of common law in the United Kingdom, which would amount to a positive denial of justice, and might lead to disastrous and painful consequences within the Roman Catholic Church. If the clause were passed in its present shape, the practical result would be, that if a Roman Catholic bishop, in the exercise of his diocesan or episcopal functions, removed a parish priest, in order to appoint a successor, a struggle might arise 1383 between the clergyman so removed, and his successor, and the validity of the rescript creating such bishop might be questioned, and in a court of common law it might be difficult to establish the right of the parish priest appointed to succeed to the charge of the parish. A case might also arise in which a parochial house might be devised for the use of the parish priest for the time being. Upon the decease of the priest, his successor might find it necessary to bring an action of ejectment to oust some person over holding possession; and, in that case also, the very first thing he would have to do was to show that he was the priest lawfully appointed to the parish. Was it, he asked, the intention of the Government to-put down the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, and to lead to the appointment of vicars-apostolic, who would be entirely dependent on the Church of Rome? The practical result of this would be to make the Pope bishop of all Ireland. He challenged the Government to show how it would be possible to have any hierarchy in Ireland except that which now existed. The bishops of Ireland from the earliest times were appointed by the Pope to certain dioceses and archdioceses, and no bishop could interfere with any district but that to which he was nominated. He contended that it was against the spirit of the age and against the desire of the Protestants that the Legislature should interfere with the free exercise of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in spiritual matters. It had often been said in the course of these discussions that the religious feelings of the Protestants ought to be respected. This was true, but the religious feelings of the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom, who numbered 10,000,000 of persons, ought likewise to be revered.
§ Amendment proposed, line 23, after the word "thereby" to insert the words "for temporal purposes."
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman appeared to be identical with that which the Committee had just negatived by a large majority; and that being so, he (Sir George Grey) submitted the discussion of such an Amendment was only wasting the time of the Committee.
§ MR. MONSELL
wished to know from the law officers of the Crown whether he had correctly understood the effect of the clause as it stood without the words proposed to be introduced by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Sadleir). He would 1384 illustrate what he meant by an instance. In the county of Limerick was the diocese of Emly, which contained from 80,000 to 90,000 Catholics, and 1,200 Protestants. The bishop of that diocese, who was appointed by a Bull from the Pope, claimed none of the tithes, or the glebe, the houses or the churches—none of those funds which were devoted by the piety of his ancestors to the spiritual wants of the people of that diocese. All these the 80,000 Catholics left to the 1,200 Protestants. Now he wished to know, if this clause passed as it at present stood—in case of the bishop doing any act or exercising any jurisdiction which he could only obtain from a Bull appointing him—it would not be possible, not only for the hon. and learned Attorney General, but for any common informer, to proceed against him, and whether the issue to be tried before a jury would not be, whether the bishop had not done an unlawful act because he had performed an act which he was only capable of performing by a Bull, which this Act of Parliament had declared to be illegal? If that was so, he would ask the strongest supporters of the Bill in that House—those who were most indignant at the insult supposed to have been offered to this country by the Pope—whether, if such a state of things was allowed to exist in Ireland, there could be any attachment on the part of the Irish to this country?—whether it was wise for the House to set the consciences of that people in direct opposition to the law, towards which the legislation of this country had not trained them to entertain the most kindly feelings; and whether, if this measure was passed, they could possibly expect even the material prosperity of Ireland to advance; and whether they were not sowing the seeds of an agitation which must produce the most disastrous effects not only on that country but on this country also.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, that he could only answer the legal question in the same manner in which it had been already answered four or five times by his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General. The Committee was not by this clause making any new law at all, but was merely declaring a law; when this clause was passed, the law would be the same as it had been for the last two hundred years.
§ MR. SCULLY
wished to know whether the effect of the clause, in its present shape, would not be to make all Rescripts 1385 and Bulls of the Pope void for the future? In that case no bishop could be appointed or priest ordained in Ireland, for their appointment or ordination could only take place in pursuance of a Bull from the Pope. He maintained that that would amount to a repeal of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, while it would prevent the Charitable Bequests Act from being carried into effect, since no bishop or priest could then act under that Act, as he could not show by what authority he was appointed or ordained. This clause would prevent any communication with the See of Rome—a measure which no civilised country in Europe dared attempt to carry out at the present time; while it completely ignored the existence of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. In furtherance of his views, he must refer to the opinions expressed by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) and Lord Lyndhurst, in 1846, with respect to the introduction of Papal Bulls. He therefore begged the noble Lord not to pass the Bill without some such Amendment as that proposed by the noble Member for Arundel (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey), which only bore out the sentiments which the noble Lord had himself formerly expressed. The words proposed to be introduced by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Sadleir), though not exactly the same, tended in the same direction, their object being to qualify the clause, so as to confine the Act (as the Government said they wished) to the aggression made by the Papal Bull upon the sovereignty of the Queen, and the temporalities of the country. [Loud cries of "Divide!"] He would not be put down by clamour; if an opportunity was not given for a fair discussion of this question, the opponents of the Bill would take another course which was open to them, but which they had not yet tried.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
said, that the Government, by adopting the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had given the Roman Catholic Members cause to fear the consequences which this clause, if adopted, would have upon the spiritual jurisdiction exercised by their bishops. They were endeavouring to get some reservation for purely spiritual acts, but they had not been able to hit upon a form of words to meet the views of the hon. and learned Attorney General, or of the House generally. The Government, however, had declared that they had no 1386 intention whatever to interfere with the spiritual liberty of the Roman Catholic Church in England or Ireland. Let them, then, carry out that intention practically by mentioning a form of words that they would introduce into the Bill to exempt from its operation purely spiritual acts; or at all events let them promise to take the subject into consideration.
§ MR. KEOGH
said, that he thought it a very reasonable suggestion that Her Majesty's Government should have a little further time to consider this subject. They had only had four months to make up their minds upon the Bill, and it would therefore only be reasonable that they should take—say an additional week—to consider this clause. If they would not take a little time to consider it, and to introduce proper terms to carry out their own views, he thought his hon. Friend should press his Motion.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that the Committee had been occupied for thirty-five minutes, since they last divided, by a discussion, on the part of the Irish Members, of a point which was really not before the Committee, and merely because they supposed an hypothetical case, and then argued upon it as a great grievance to Ireland. The clause had no connexion whatever with Ireland. It applied solely to that aggressive act on the part of the Pope, which consisted in sending a particular Brief into England. That particular Brief was condemned; and, with regard to that particular Brief, as applicable to England and not to Ireland, the law now stood precisely in the same state as it did on the 28th September, 1850.
§ MR. SCULLY
said, that the hon. and learned Solicitor General had stated that the effect of this declaratory clause would be to declare, not only that this Bull was void, but that all similar Bulls were void.
§ MR. SADLEIR
said, that when the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had referred to the Bull creating the See of Ross, and asked why it was not included in this clause, the hon. and learned Solicitor General replied that the recital in this clause would comprehend all such Bulls in Ireland.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, that he believed that this Amendment had been substantially before the Committee once at least in the course of the present evening, and he was not, therefore, going to discuss it at any length; but he felt it his duty to 1387 bear witness to the accuracy of what had been just stated with respect to the remarks of the hon. and learned Solicitor General. The explanation which had just been given by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) was in direct contradiction to the construction of the clause given by the hon. and learned Solicitor General two nights before. He (Mr. Gladstone) had then asked the Government why the Bull creating the See of Ross was not included in this clause; and the hon. and learned Solicitor General's reply was that that was a question that could not possibly be put, except by a man totally ignorant of law, "for this being a declaratory clause," said he, "it does no more than lay down a general principle of law, and is just as applicable to the case of Bulls which it does not name as to those which it does." But now the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst rose, and told the Committee, with equal confidence, that the clause had no effect at all with regard to Ireland, but that it was confined to England. Nor, while he was in direct contradiction to the hon. and learned Solicitor General, was he quite consistent with himself, for he said not only that this clause did not apply at all to the case of Ireland, but also that it left the law as it was on the 28th September last. If so, neither did it apply to England. Now, these were exhibitions of contradiction and confusion such as occurred on the second reading of the Bill, and which appeared to multiply and accumulate as the discussion upon this ill-fated Bill was prolonged. The real truth was that Her Majesty's Government did not think it politic to point out the case of the Bull constituting the See of Ross in so many words; they thought it would be had policy to do so. They did not wish to insert in the Bill (and he gave them credit for the feeling of reluctance) any words pointing directly to a Bull affecting Ireland. The more they proceeded with the Bill, the greater appeared to him the difficulty into which the Government had plunged themselves. This declaratory enactment, as it was called, was totally inconsistent and unintelligible. If they were to declare the law, why did they declare it with respect to one Bull, when they had at least three before them? Then, if they were to leave the law as it was on the 28th of September, why declare it at all? But if they passed a declaratory law, why not recite that the law 1388 wanted declaring? In fact, there were no two ideas connected with the subject that were consistently and consecutively carried out in the provisions of this Bill.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, that the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the Committee, had, in recalling to the recollection of the Committee that which passed the other night, in answer to his own observations, accidentally omitted to state the suggestions which he made, and to which his (the Solicitor General's) observations were a reply. The right hon. Gentleman then said, "In making this declaration, you are omitting the case of the bishopric of Ross;" and his (the Solicitor General's) reply was, "It is not that we are making a new law by this Bill, but we are declaring the law; it is a judicial decision—it is a declaration of what the law has been for hundreds of years past—we declare it on this particular Bull, because this Bull has been the cause of its being necessary to repeat that which is the known law of the realm." He (the Solicitor General) did not say that this clause applied as an enacting clause to Ireland; but he said, "This law does extend to Ireland; the law does, and has for two hundred years and more, extended to Ireland; we are not altering the law, or in any degree varying the law, or departing from the law, but we are declaring it; and if we declare it as to one Bull, that declaration is just as valid as if it were made with respect to a thousand; just as valid with regard to' a Bull in one part of the kingdom as to another;" that was, when they were declaring any law which existed before Poyning's Law; for everybody knew that by Poyning's Law, which was passed in the time of Henry VII., any law applying to the kingdom of England was applied also to Ireland. There was no discrepancy. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst stated that the law was to-day what it was on the 28th of September, 1850. He said so too. These Bulls or Rescripts were illegal in Ireland as well as in England. They are so still, and this clause says nothing more. If this was a mass of confusion, there was nothing which could be made clear.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY
said, the Committee had now two equal opposing authorities upon the question—the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, and the hon. and learned Solicitor General. The one said the law was merely declara- 1389 tory; the other, that it was also an enacting law. Notwithstanding this, the Government were exceedingly indignant if they sought for certitude. But if the clause passed in its present shape, the hest thing they could do would he to take up their hats and walk out of the House, and leave the Government to extricate themselves from a position which they would find inextricable.
§ MR. MOORE
said, the hon. and learned Solicitor General had accused the Irish Members of speaking obscurely on what was manifestly an obscure subject. It was quite clear now, however, that the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had suggested the present clause in one sense, and that the Government had adopted it in another. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had suggested it in a restricted and comparatively mild sense; and the Government had adopted it in a mischievous sense. He thought it desirable that the hon. and learned Member and the Government should consult together again, with the view of seeing whether they could not come forward on some future occasion, and jointly explain to the Committee what was the real meaning of the clause.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst had suggested the clause in one sense, and that the hon. and learned Solicitor General had suggested it in another. Now, he would not follow the hon. and learned Solicitor General in the gloomy wit in which he had indulged; but he would tell him this, that he (Mr. M'Cullagh) was at a loss to understand the hon. and learned Gentleman's meaning. The Committee had heard such different constructions put upon the clause, that he despaired of ascertaining whether a Roman Catholic bishop in Ireland might or might not be prosecuted by any common informer if the clause passed in its present shape. He asked whether the right hon. and. learned Attorney General for Ireland— [Laughter.] He did not ask that right hon. and learned Gentleman in any spirit of jesting or of disrespect, but in perfect seriousness — he asked him whether if this clause should pass, he, the responsible adviser of the Crown in Ireland, agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst that it would not affect Ireland; or did he agree with the hon. and learned Solicitor General for England, that, without venturing to name Ireland, the House was passing a Bill of pains and penalties, which would 1390 subject every Irish Roman Catholic bishop to the indignity of being sued by every scoundrel who chose to institute proceedings against him?
§ MR. KEOGH
said, the question was a fair one—it was put unobjectionably, and it must be answered before the debate proceeded. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, who had not varied from his original declarations—who had not played fast and loose with the Committee—who had adhered, consistently with his high character, to his original statement—says that this clause does not apply to Ireland. And here he must be permitted to regret that the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) was not present when the hon. and learned Solicitor General was—if he might use the term without disrespect—paltering with the Committee as to his former declarations. The hon. and learned Solicitor General did say that so far as the clause was declaratory of the law, that is, in the full extent and bearing for which the clause was brought into the House, it did apply to Ireland. Now it was no answer to tell them that the clause was only declaratory of the law of England; and when the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the confusion which existed in the minds of his adversaries, he ought to have prayed—O wad some Power the giftie gie usTo see oursels as ithers see us!He to talk of any obstruction which they felt it their duty to offer! Why, if he were the law officer of a Government which had done anything straightforward, anything candid, anything high or honourable, anything with an independent courage, he might speak; but as the law officer of a ricketty, feeble, ineffective, peddling, contemptible Administration, which had been living from hand to mouth for the last four months, and were now living from hour to hour, perhaps from minute to minute—who were indebted for suggestions from every side and every corner of the House—it was not for him to take the position of a scorner, and, with a gloomy and a melancholy wit, attempt to ridicule the conduct of hon. Members. Neither that House, nor would public opinion out of doors, support him in the position he intended to assume. As to the opinions delivered by the hon. and learned Gentleman, they were at right angles with each other, and they were entitled to an answer from the chief law adviser of the Crown in Ireland, for, if he coincided with the opinion 1391 of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, the Government would never afterwards dare to enforce it in that country.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
should not attempt to bandy personalities or vituperations with the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just resumed his seat. When the hon. and learned Member asked this question, he must have seen that it happened by accident the Irish Attorney General was not in the House. Let them be fair and generous even with an adversary. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had been there the whole evening, and had just left by accident. It was hardly fair to keep calling on the law officers of the Crown to give answers to every question, and, when they gave them, to treat them so very unhandsomely. In the absence of the Irish Attorney General, he would consider the question as well as he could. The propositions of both his learned Friends were not in contradiction to each other. If the Committee could only understand the sense in which both of them answered the question, it would see that this was the case. The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst says that the clause does not apply to Ireland. He directs the clause against the Rescript, which applies to England. The hon. and learned Solicitor General applies the clause only to Ireland, as declaratory of what the law is and always has been. In that sense he is right. Whereas, on the other hand, the law is not intended to have immediate application in Ireland.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
said, the hon. and learned Attorney General had not made the matter more clear, for he had told them that the clause did not apply to Ireland, and then that it did.
§ MR. MOORE
said, it appeared to him that the statement of the two hon. and learned Gentlemen was this—that that was merely a declaratory law. But the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst said, it did not declare the law with regard to Ireland, while the hon. and learned Attorney General said it did. If that was not contradiction, he did not know what was.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted,"
§ The Committee divided:—Aves 57; Noes 317: Majority 260.
§ MR. REYNOLDS moved, that the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
said, he wish- 1392 ed to make a suggestion to the noble Lord at the head of the Government with respect to the progress of public business. It appeared to be the intention of the minority of that House to put off the passing of this Bill to the latest possible period. The only way of defeating their intention would be to follow the same course with this Bill as was sometimes taken with Bills of less importance, namely, to have early sittings—at twelve o'clock every day—to discuss it, so as to allow the other important business of the country to go on at the evening sittings unobstructed. He made that suggestion to the noble Lord, because if he did not adopt it, the business of the country would get still further in arrears, and the country would say that the Government did not intend to press the Bill as earnestly as they ought to do.
§ MR. KEOGH
said, the people of Ireland always expected conciliatory propositions from the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir Benjamin Hall). He did not think the Irish Members were open to the taunt of having unnecessarily delayed this Bill. ["Oh, oh!"] How long had the alterations of the Government delayed this Bill? Had they not changed their course over and over again?—had they not struck out some clauses, altered others, and at the eleventh hour adopted the suggestions of other hon. Members? Did hon. Gentlemen, then, wish to exculpate the Government for its delays, and lay them all at the door of the Irish Members? If the noble Lord adopted the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman (Sir Benjamin Hall), and sought to expedite the course of this Bill by treating it "like other Bills of less importance," as the hon. Gentleman said, then the Irish Members would adopt every means in their power to defeat so unconstitutional and unjust a proceeding.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
hoped the noble Lord would not agree to continuous morning sittings, because that course would materially obstruct public business in the Committees of the House. Hon. Gentlemen who sat on Committees could not possibly attend that House in the day, and at the same time discharge their duty in their Committees; and therefore the suggestion of morning sittings, if intended to facilitate public business, would clearly defeat its own object. He certainly concurred with the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) in thinking that great delay had been caused by their having needlessly to debate propositions which the 1393 Government themselves afterwards withdrew; and after the unintelligible explanations that night from the legal Gentlemen as to the effect of the first clause, he certainly thought the discussion that had taken place was perfectly justified.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY
said, if the noble Lord at the head of the Government wished the business of the country not to be at a standstill, let him proceed with the other measures by morning sittings; but a measure like this, affecting the tenderest affections of millions, ought not to be dealt with in so unusual a manner; and for his part, although he was a member of a Railway Committee, he would not be able to attend it if this Bill was under discussion at morning sittings. He thought, when the importance of the Bill was considered, it would be most unfair on the part of the Government to take so unusual a course as to proceed with it at morning sittings. He must say, that the hon. Gentlemen with whom he acted had not been guilty of anything like factious opposition, though he acknowledged that a great deal of time had been wasted in the discussion that evening. The hon. and learned Member for Abingdon (Sir Frederic Thesiger) had objected to the first clause; and, after a three hours' discussion upon this proposal, he had eventually withdrawn it.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, his desire was to consult in the first place the convenience of the House. But he was persuaded that not only was a good deal of other business interrupted by morning sittings on a question of so much importance that Members would not like to be absent, but the question of morning sittings always provoked opposition of a different character from what would otherwise take place. He was not, therefore, prepared at once to assent to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Marylebone. It was obvious, however, that whatever cause there was for opposition to any particular proposition, if questions were to be asked eight or ten times over, and the answers only provoked fresh questions, and they were continually to have the same questions over and over again, without imputing a wrong motive to those who took that course, he must say, if it was to be repeated, a great deal of time would be taken up in the discussion of the Bill. He should, therefore, reserve to himself the discretion of adopting morning sittings if they should be necessary; but he certainly should not at 1394 once adopt them, or give notice that he intended to do so, unless it was very necessary. He should not go on any further that night with the Bill; but he trusted that the Government would have the support of the House if any unnecessary or unreasonable delays were persisted in. With regard to the remarks of the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) on this occasion, as on almost every other, the right hon. Gentleman took the opportunity of making some good-natured observations against the Government, which the House would decide whether he was warranted in making.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
thought he had only made a remark with regard to the delays caused by the Government, which was perfectly justifiable, and he was very glad that the noble Lord had acceded to his remonstrance against morning sittings.
§ MR. DISRAELI
This Bill of the Government, though a very important one, is a very brief one. It has very few clauses in it, and notwithstanding the active opposition it has received, there must be some termination to the discussion. It is not like the Reform Bill, with 120 clauses in it, and therefore he could not think the time had arrived when it would be necessary to resort to so desperate an expedient as the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir Benjamin Hall), with every wish to support the Government, had suggested. He was bound to say that it was impossible for any Government to bring forward a measure of this kind without expecting very active opposition. It might, in certain cases, be perfectly justifiable; and he did not think that the excess in that opposition had been more than they might in such a case have expected. Because, although it might be very disagreeable, as he knew from personal experience, to be perpetually going into full lobbies with an almost empty lobby on the other side, yet it was impossible to forget that the measure of the Government had not been as matured and well considered a measure as would entitle it to the general support of the House; on the contrary, it was rather a measure which encouraged and invited opposition, the Government having first brought forward clauses which, after considerable discussion, they had withdrawn, and, by withdrawing them, of course they had recognised the legitimate grounds of the opposition afforded to them. He therefore thought that the noble Lord was per- 1395 fectly right in not acceding to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Marylebone. The objection of the Committees was a sufficient ground for refusing to take that suggestion. On the Paper that night they had four Committees to be nominated on very important subjects, one of which was of no less importance than the property tax, and it would be impossible for any Member to attend on that Committee, and also to attend the House, if there were morning sittings on this Bill.
§ MR. MOORE
said, the noble Lord had brought an accusation against the hon. Members on his side of the House, that they asked questions eight or ten different times. Now, he thought they were fully justified in asking questions eight or ten different times when they found that these questions were answered eight or ten different ways.
§ House resumed. Committee report progress; to sit again on Monday next.
§ The House adjourned at half-after One o'clock, till Monday next.