§ MR. SPOONER
rose to move the appointment of a Select Committee "to inquire into the System of Education carried on at the College of Maynooth." The hon. Gentleman, who was evidently suffering from indisposition, arising from accident that had befallen him on the previous evening, said: Sir, the circumstances under which I rise to address the House will, I feel confident, insure for me that large and liberal indulgence which this 502 assembly never niggardly grants to those who stand in need of it. Before I enter into the immediate consideration of the subject I have ventured to bring under the notice of this House, I beg, Sir, to assure those hon. Gentlemen who profess the Roman Catholic faith that it is my anxious wish, as it will be my earnest endeavour, to abstain from saying anything which may hurt their feelings or wound their consciences. I have no quarrel, Sir, with individuals. In the fulness of the Protestant principle I recognise, and I respect in every one, to the fullest extent, the right of private judgment. My quarrel is with the system of education carried on at the College of Maynooth. I charge that system with being injurious to society—with having a tendency to create immorality, and with being completely subversive of the true principles of allegiance. To these points I propose chiefly to direct the few remarks I trust I shall be able to address to the House. But, Sir, while I propose to confine myself to these points, and abstain from otherwise arguing the question, I must, in consistency with my known opinions, as also from a sense of duty, maintain that the original grant to the College of Maynooth was in itself bad in principle, and that all the forebodings of those who at the time ventured to oppose it are fully and completely realised. I say, moreover, that I believe the system taught at that College to be antagonistic to the Word of God—that it is a national sin, and, therefore, it is my earnest wish to see the grant repealed. Thus much, I say, for the satisfaction of my own conscience, and the declaration of my own convictions. But I have no intention to provoke a polemical discussion. [Ironical applause from the Roman Catholic Members.] In an assembly constituted as this House is, and representing, in religion, as on all other questions, so many and such various opinions, I cannot but be sensible of the great inconvenience of engaging in doctrinal disquisitions. I would sedulously refrain from the use of any arguments that could have such a tendency, and would confine my remarks to the policy of the measure I am about to impugn. I have no doubt that I shall be met at the onset by the plausible, but exceedingly fallacious interrogatory, "Why institute an inquiry?" And those who put the question, will follow it up by the assertion that we have bad sufficient inquiry already; that we know everything about Maynooth that 503 can be known; and that no purpose of practical utility could be attained by another investigation. My answer to such a line of argument as that will rest upon as high an authority as any that can be possibly cited on such a question, the authority of no less a man than Sir Robert Peel himself, who has stated, in language the most distinct and emphatic, that inquiry into the system of education adopted at Maynooth, was a duty which devolved with peculiar and inevitable urgency upon the House of Commons. Presently, I will read to the House Sir Robert Peel's own words on the subject. Reference is often made to the evidence already taken upon this subject. I can assert, upon the authority of my own experience, that this blue hook, the Eighth Report of the Commissioners on Education in Ireland, 1827, containing the report of the Commissioners appointed to visit the College, is very little read, and very little known amongst the Members of this House. I have made it a point to ask many hon. Gentlemen, of all parties in this House, whether they had read the book, or knew anything whatever of its contents; and in no one single instance have I received an affirmative answer. I have asked many Members, including Roman Catholic Members, whether they have ever read any of the works used as class books or standards in the College of Maynooth; and the answer has been still in the negative. Nay, I will go farther, and assure the House that a few evenings ago, when in conversation with a most respectable gentleman, a Roman Catholic Member, I quoted in his presence one or two passages from the books taught at Maynooth, the Gentleman in question expressed his astonishment, and declared that "such doctrines were not the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion -that he, at least, had never heard them before—that he entirely renounced them—and that if such doctrines were indeed inculcated in that institution, it was very fitting that there should be an inquiry;" or to this effect.
Not to dwell on these and similar observations, which I have often heard from Roman Catholic Members, I will now proceed to submit to the consideration of the House the opinion expressed by Sir Robert Peel, with respect to the obligation which devolves on this House to institute inquiries into the system of education pursued at the college of Maynooth, as often as, it may appear expedient to do so. 504 Upon the question of inquiry, that high authority, Sir Robert Peel, in 1840, before the grant was increased and settled by Act of Parliament, thus expressed himself:—He could not agree in the opinion that the system of instruction pursued at Maynooth ought to be a matter of indifference to the House. The system of education was a legitimate matter for the consideration of Parliament; and the House would abandon its duty, if it were to avow the doctrine that, because the grant had been continued for thirty years, it was therefore pledged to say to Maynooth, 'You may inculcate what doctrine you please, however injurious to the supremacy of the law, and detrimental to the established Government and monarchy of the empire.' If an opinion of that kind were put forward, he, for one, would never concur in it, and he thought it should be repudiated by every Member of the House. A misappropriation of the grant would form a very proper subject of inquiry, and if it were proved, the question might be submitted to the House, whether on that ground the vote ought not to be discontinued. If accusations of this sort were made, all he could say was, that the recipients of the grant were the persons who should show most interest in challenging inquiry, for the purpose of conciliating the good will of the public by showing, if such was the fact, that the charge was groundless. Under such circumstances, so far from inquiry being injurious, they should, as he said, be the first to challenge it. But, at the same time, he should say that nothing but full proof of abuse would render it wise in the House of Commons to enter into a pledge as to the future, with respect to this grant. To him, however, it would be much more satisfactory to have the ground of accusation cut away, and having established that, he should be able to give the vote which he was about to give with greater satisfaction.The view of the case, thus so powerfully stated by Sir Robert Peel, is the one which I am especially desirous to press upon the consideration of hon. Members who profess the Roman Catholic faith. I boldly charge that the doctrines taught at the Royal College of Maynooth are such as Sir Robert Peel has described, and that being such, there is a good cause for instituting an inquiry. If my charge be groundless, there will be ample opportunity to prove it so; but if such doctrines as I shall presently submit to the consideration of the House are indeed inculcated at Maynooth, there can be no gainsaying the propriety of instituting an inquiry. Indeed, I have no doubt that such a proceeding will find favour with the educated laity of the Roman Catholic persuasion, both in England and Ireland; for I am persuaded that no educational system which is injurious to virtue, or subversive of morality has the least chance of being received by educated Roman Catholics 505 with other feelings than those of reprobation.
The Amendment of the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. H. Herbert) goes the length of saying that inasmuch as certain visitors have already been appointed by Her Majesty to visit the College of Maynooth once every twelve months, and to inquire into the government, management, and discipline of the said college, there was no occasion for any further inquiry. Now, if the hon. Gentleman would but look to the original Act (48 Geo. III., cap. 145) under which the College of Maynooth was founded, he will find the 3rd Clause to this effect:—"Provided always, and be it enacted, that the authority of the said visitors shall not extend to, or in any way affect, the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, or the religious doctrine or discipline thereof within the said college."["Hear, hear!"] Yes, but by the provisions of the Act passed in 1845 these restrictions go to a much greater length. I do not think it necessary to detain the House by detailing them on the present occasion; but if they will but read the clauses of the Act to which I have referred, as well as the evidence given upon the inquiry into the system of education taught at Maynooth, I am quite sure hon. Members cannot entertain such an opinion as is expressed in the Amendment to which I have referred.
The objection that this grant to the College of Maynooth having been confirmed by Act of Parliament, cannot be revoked without a breach of faith, is frivolous in the extreme, and will not endure one moment's examination. Nothing can be more absurd or more alien from the spirit of the British Constitution than to say that there does not reside in the Legislature a Power to recall its own free and unfettered act. If any sacrifices had been made by the Roman Catholics—if there had been any surrender of privileges on their part as the condition of the enjoyment of the grant—if they had been placed in a different and less advantageous position by reason of the grant, from that which they had heretofore occupied, the case would have been different, and an attempt to repeal the Act should necessarily be accompanied by a measure to indemnify the Roman Catholics; but surely no constitutional lawyer would say that in a case where no such compromise had been made, it was not competent for Parliament to review an Act of its own, which was found to have worked disadvantage- 506 ously. Surely what was freely given may as freely he revoked.
The power, and indeed the duty, of Parliament to do so has been expressed in very distinct and powerful language by the noble Lord the Member for London, who will be admitted to be as high an authority on matters of constitutional history and principle as any that can be found in this House. The noble Lord, in the debate of April 3, 1845, has thus expressed himself:—I do not mean to argue, as has been done by other hon. Gentlemen, the question of compact, or whether it would be wise or prudent, after fifty years, during which this grant has been made, to stop suddenly and to declare that you will advance no further sums from the public purse for the purpose of educating the priests of the Roman Catholic religion. But, at the same time, will say, that if you found you were doing that which was mischievous to the community, and that the religious scruples of the community would not allow the continuance of this grant, or with reference to the civil and political reasons, you found that those you meant to be the teachers of religion had become the leaders and conductors of rebellion; if, I say, you found, for any of these causes, that there was ground sufficient to refuse this grant, then I can see no valid reason why any compact should restrain you, or why, upon strong grounds of this kind, the House would not be justified in declaring that it would give no further allowance.I doubt not but that I shall nevertheless be met by some such objection as this—"Oh, you are going to commit a breach of faith in withdrawing a grant that has been guaranteed by Act of Parliament. You cannot revoke what you have already guaranteed." Well, then, I propose at once to join issue with those who make such an objection, and to contend against the principle involved in it. The speech of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), which I have just quoted, is a sufficient answer to such an objection.
It cannot be doubted that the contingency suggested by the noble Lord the Member for London has in fact arisen, and that "the teachers of religion have become the leaders and conductors of rebellion." I ask, then, whether any man in his senses can for a moment deny that the priests educated at Maynooth College have, from time to time, and especially in latter times, recommended resistance to the power of the Crown, and invariably encouraged the greatest hostility to the constitution of Church and State? I ask whether they have not said, notwithstanding their former professions, that they never would rest contented with the incubus, as 507 they called it, of the Established Church continued? [Cheers.] Well, that fact appears, from the cheers of hon. Members opposite, at all events to be admitted. Now, I will presently show that such a declaration is contrary to the oath taken by Roman Catholics; that is, contrary to the oath of allegiance which is taken by many others besides hon. Members, who are sworn at the table of this House. Every one knows that it can be proved from history, that two at least of the rebellions that have taken place in Ireland may be dated since the period of the foundation of this College.
But it might be said that when we granted this money we knew what the nature of the morals taught at Maynooth was, and to what purposes the grant would be applied, and that, therefore, we have no right now to find fault with the College of Maynooth for carrying out those objects. Now, in the first place, I am quite sure that the morals taught in Maynooth are anything but well known to the country at large, or to the vast majority of the Members of this House. I will venture to go further, and say that the principal object of founding the College was not to teach the Roman Catholic religion. If you will look back to history you will find that it began by a grant of permission to the Roman Catholics to educate their own body in their own country, rather than to send them abroad to be educated. We laid down this clear, plain, practical principle for our guidance: that the Roman Catholic youth, when sent abroad to he educated, learned un-English notions; that they learned those principles which we believed to be dangerous to the spirit of the Constitution, and which tended ultimately to the disruption of the monarchy in this country. The Legislature said, "Let the priests be national, let them feel that they belong to us, and do not let them imbibe those foreign feelings which a foreign education must necessarily generate."
The object, then, was to enable Roman Catholics to provide competent means of education for the Roman Catholic priesthood in their own country, so that they might become national in. their spirit and character, and no longer be imbued with those foreign prejudices which a foreign education inevitably engendered. But this object has not been realised, and the Roman Catholic priesthood are, in spirit and feeling, more estranged than ever from the Government. It is a mistake to say, that the grant has become prescriptive from ancient usage. It is true, 508 that in the Act of Union there was a stipulation that certain grants for charitable purposes should be continued for twenty years; and though this grant was not specified, yet it was voted, for a series of years almost annually, but not altogether so. Some years were suffered to elapse without any grant being made. Sometimes it happened that the grant was diminished, and sometimes that it was increased; but it was not until 1845 that it assumed a more settled character.
Now, I ask the House to look at what has taken place in this House, from time to time, in reference to this grant. Will any one say that the grant was not made a matter of serious dispute in this House, and of resistance on the part of a number of its Members? These Members, though few at first, no doubt had been gradually increasing up to last year, when, upon the question of a small grant being given for some annual repairs to the College, I had the honour of submitting an Amendment, in opposition to the proposal, which was only lost by a majority of two. The rejection of that vote was solicited, and all but obtained, not on grounds of economy, but upon this principle—that in this Protestant country the House of Commons had no right to allocate the people's money to the maintenance of any such an institution as the College of Maynooth. The denial of the allegation that there could be any breach of good faith in withholding the grant, is not the only ground on which I desire to base the present Motion. What is contended for is, that in order to justify an inquiry it is sufficient that there should be, as I maintain there is, fair grounds for believing that the doctrines taught at Maynooth are injurious to public morals, and dangerous to the welfare of the community. If the Committee I now move for be granted, I will undertake to show that nothing can be more pernicious than the moral doctrines which are to be found in the class-books of Maynooth.
Surely it is the duty of the House to inquire into these things, and to consider how far the anticipations of those who introduced the Act of 1845 have been realised or defeated. On the 3rd of April, 1845, Sir Robert Peel said, of the measure he then proposed—It is, I trust, conceived in the spirit to which I have referred—a liberal and confiding spirit. We have not introduced it without communication with the leading ecclesiastical authorities in the Roman Catholic Church. It has not been a subject of stipulation or contract with them. We 509 have intimated to them our intention, and we have every reason to believe that they are satisfied with, and grateful for, the measure.If, then, there has been no stipulation or contract on the subject—as, according to Sir Robert Peel, there had not—then it is clear there can be no breach of contract in withdrawing the grant. I will next ask, Have the expectations which were entertained when the grant was made, been fulfilled? Have the Roman Catholics met the grant in the spirit in which it had been given? I think it would not require much argument to show that they had not. I will again quote from the speech of Sir Robert Peel, before referred to, in order to show in what spirit the grant was made, and the results which were expected from it.
Sir Robert Peel said—We are prepared, in a liberal and confiding spirit, to improve the institution, and to elevate the character of the education which it supplies. By improvement, I do not mean such an interference with the course of education as would poison all the good that one may derive from liberality. I mean that we should treat that institution in a generous spirit, in the hope that we shall be met in a corresponding spirit, and that we shall be repaid for our liberality by infusing a better feeling into the institution, and by insuring a more liberal system of instruction.Has the grant, then, been "met in a generous corresponding spirit?"
I maintain that it has not. Now, what I maintain is, that the anticipations in which the late Sir Robert Peel has indulged on this subject, have been one and all falsified; that the clergy, so far from being better affected towards the Government, because of the grant, are more alienated than ever; and that the system of education, so far from being liberal and scholarly, is narrow and bigoted. When the College was first founded, nothing could exceed the feelings of delight and gratitude with which the College of the Propaganda affected to regard the liberality of the English Government. The letter of the Prefect of that College, conveying also the sentiments of the Pope at the time the College was first founded, contained many enthusiastic expressions of gratitude for the munificence of the English Government. It was with feelings such as these that the Roman Propaganda affected to regard the foundation of the College in 1796; but no gratitude has ever been practically exhibited.
The following is an extract from a letter, found at page 44 of the Report of 1827, addressed by the Cardinal Prefect of the College of the Propaganda at Rome, in 510 1796, when the College was founded, to the Trustees of Maynooth:—We experience the deepest feelings of delight and mutual congratulation at the welcome news conveyed in your letter. The great liberality and munificence of your powerful Sovereign will to a great extent furnish you with the means of establishing a seminary for the education and the training of your youth to the sacred duties of their religion. Our first duty under the circumstances is to render our grateful thanks to the Most High. It is also our earnest desire that you will prove by your conduct the grateful sense you entertain for so signal a benefit. The inmates of the establishment should be sedulously admonished to be submissive to power and authority, so that no feelings of regret can ever be experienced for having conferred upon you such a benefit by every suitable means, a duty which we have no doubt you will be most sedulous in your endeavour to perform.Now that was the nature of the instruction that was given by the Propaganda previous to the actual foundation of the College. Upon the faith of such a spirit being created, the original grant of 1795 was given. These were the expectations that were then held out. I will now show you that the teaching in the College of Maynooth has been exactly contrary to the pledge thus given by the Propaganda, inasmuch as the students are taught that no allegiance was due from them to heretical sovereigns. It was laid down in their books that every one who is baptized is subject to the Church of Rome—that there is but one Church, and that the act of baptism gives a dominion to that Church over every baptized individual; and every one who rejects that doctrine is a heretic, and is to be treated as such. The word "heretic" has, then, as the House will see, a most extensive application, and of necessity includes our most gracious Sovereign herself. Thus it appears that the grants made were obtained by fraud and artifice; and, on that ground alone, I submit that there is good ground for the appointment of a Committee. I will now read some extracts from these books. The first subject upon which I will touch is that of Oaths. Now, in approaching this subject, I must say I do not believe that the educated Roman Catholic laity either subscribe to or believe in the doctrines here laid clown. But what answer is that to make when I shall prove that they are taught in the College of Maynooth? It is, then, to inculcate these views that we still grant the sum annually of 29,000l. It is to support those views that we have already raised and expended a much larger 511 sum than any hon. Member in this House conceives. An enormous sum has been given altogether by us for the teaching of these doctrines.
But to return to the point of oaths. What is the doctrine laid down on this subject? I find in Bailly (class-book), a Paris edition, 1826, in volume vii., p. 366, the following proposition. Bailly says—It is clear that oaths, being made to God alone, may be changed for a just cause, or may be relaxed by dispensation from a lawful superior; for in this respect vows and oaths are on an equal footing.Bailly proves this dispensing power—first, from Scripture, Matt, xviii., "Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." In the Eighth Report of the Commissioners before quoted, Professor Anglade (p. 171), and Dr. M'Hale (p. 283), both justify this application of Matthew xviii. Secondly—This is proved from the universal custom of the Church. This power is expedient—nay, necessary, for the common good of the faithful; for that which was better at one time, and more useful to their safety, may afterwards become less good and less salutary.I will suppose that this country is invaded by a foreign Roman Catholic Power. Why, according to these doctrines, all who have sworn allegiance to the Sovereign of a Protestant State might be released from their allegiance if it came under this description. Do you believe that Roman Catholics thus taught, feel they owe as much allegiance to the Sovereign as Protestants? I must, however, admit that I am in the daily habit of meeting Roman Catholic gentlemen whose oath or word I would take to be as binding as those of any Protestant; but that is not the question. I am now merely asking them what they teach in this College of Maynooth. I am confident that we are as safe in the allegiance of the well-educated Roman Catholic laity of both countries as in that of Protestants, or the members of any other Church; but I say that there is an ignorant class of Roman Catholics who are taught by those very priests who imbibe these doctrines. The lower classes in Ireland have no time to think for themselves, and, from the nature of their religion, they are obliged to receive whatever the priests tell them, who are imbued with those principles to which I have referred, as taught at Maynooth. Do you then wonder that the verdicts delivered in Ireland are very frequently and notoriously against evidence?
512 Give me the inquiry I ask, and; you will find that I have not in the slightest degree overcharged the picture which I have ventured to submit to your attention. Now, there are stated in the same page twenty four ways of getting out of an oath. Surely no confidence can be placed in these oaths when we find so many ways laid down for evading them. I will not trouble the House with reading the whole of these twenty-four ways. Bailly, upon Moral Theology, in vol. vii., chap. 2, page 343 says—"A promissory oath obliges, under the penalty of mortal sin, to do that which is promised in the oath, unless a legitimate cause excuses," At page 345 there is a section with this title—"Of the causes which hinder or take away the obligation of an oath. "Of these, seven are named; the third is" The hindering of a greater good which is opposed to that promised in the oath" (which is susceptible of a wide ecclesiastical range). The seventh cause excusing is the—Limitation, either expressed, or even tacitly and silently understood, of the intention of the swearer…For, in every oath certain general conditions are, from justice and use, included; one of them is, 'if you accept, unless you remit,' another (condition) is 'saving the right of another.'If, then, a religion inculcating doctrines like these is growing and abounding among us, what security have we for the observation and sacredness of Oaths? Now, I believe that the Roman Catholic Members of this House are ignorant of the existence of such doctrines, or they would at once repudiate them. I ask you, then, will you refuse an inquiry into a system such as this, with a view of proving whether those charges are correct or not; and if they are proved to be true, with a view of saying that these things must not and shall not be, in this of obeying the voice of the whole kingdom, which, ere long, will be felt in this House in a manner which you will be totally unable to resist?
On this ground, then, I ask you to put a stop to this system, before you are compelled to do so by a pressure from without, which it is always dangerous to provoke and which, when provoked, can never be successfully resisted.
I come now to another point, and that is the canon law, and the House, will recollect that when Cardinal Wiseman came, to this country he openly professed that his object was to establish that law. Now what says Reiffenstuel? [Cries of" Who 513 is Reiffenstuel?"] The very question now asked shows how little hon. Members know of the subject, and how necessary the inquiry for which I plead—he is a Lord Bacon of the Roman Catholics, and whose work on the canon law, Jus Canonicum Universum, is a standard book at Maynooth—what does he say on the subject of oaths? In book 2, sec. 2, page 495, he says—In every promissory oath, though made absolutely, there are understood certain tacit conditions, as, 1. 'If I am able;' 2. Saving the law and authority of my Superior."Observe, this is a part of the canon law which Dr. Wiseman is determined to establish in this country, and which is now taught in the College of Maynooth. Once let him induce Roman Catholics to believe that this law is binding upon them, and where, I ask, will you find any security for your persons or property, the institutions of the country, or the existence of the monarchy itself? This high authority then goes on to say—It is agreed (among the doctors) that an oath is unlawful, and cannot be kept which does not reserve the honour of the Apostolic See, because, truly, if a just cause arises, the Pope can dispense all vows and oaths.Why, "the honour of the Apostolic See" is concerned in putting down all the Protestant bishops and clergy of the country; and that honour would also be concerned in putting down that spirit of civil and religious liberty which, I have no hesitation in saying, finds its most powerful support in the Protestant Reformed Church as by law established. Yet the House of Commons granted the public money to teach the ignorant and deluded victims of the Papacy that if they had sworn an oath which they might conceive to be contrary to the dignity of the Pope, such was not binding upon them, and that they were released from its obligation. Reiffenstuel proceeds:—A fourth condition is, if affairs remain in the same state; that is, shall not have been essentially changed. The reason is, that the person making oath had no intention of binding himself to a thing very difficult, or even improper, such as might occur when some remarkable change in affairs supervened; and, therefore, his oath is to be so interpreted that it does not extend to matters unforeseen and unexpected.Yes, circumstances might change. They who were called heretics might become weak, and then the oaths taken by Roman Catholics would cease to be binding. Any person who reads this work would find one 514 principle pervading it throughout. It was this, "If you find you are too weak to put down heretics, let them alone; bide your time; but if circumstances change, and you become strong, you are altogether absolved from your oath of allegiance, and you may do your best to destroy heresy and heretics." Again I warn you, then, if you allow these things to go on little by little—if you go on sanctioning these principles by granting funds for their dissemination, you will at no far distant day have a practical illustration of the trite old proverb—"Eggs first, eagles afterwards." Again, Thomas Aquinas, who, by the Eighth Report, before quoted, is constituted by the College of the Propaganda to be a great final referee in all disputed questions, and who, for his extraordinary virtues, was canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, in discussing whether a prince who was apostate from the faith forfeited his dominion over his subjects, said, that "as soon as a prince was excommunicated on account of his apostacy from the faith, his subjects were ipso facto absolved from their allegiance."(The. Aq. Secunda—Seeundæ, Quest, xii. art. 2.) I will now refer to the question of honesty. In the above Maynooth class-book, Bailly's Theologia Dogmatica et Moralis, Paris, 1826, vol. vii., chap. 7, p. 455, I find this clause:—?Q. How great must be the quantity of the thing stolen in order to constitute theft a mortal sin?A. The quantity cannot easily be determined, since nothing has been decided on this point, either in natural, Divine, or human law.Then, referring to sundry opinions, he supposes a distinction of men into four ranks corresponding with the aristocracy, the middle class, the working class, and beggars; and says—That it has been generally laid down and determined that, in order to theft being a mortal sin, when committed on persons of the first rank, 50 or 60 pence are sufficient: with respect to persons of the second rank, 40 are enough; with respect to persons of the third rank, 20 or 10; with respect to the fourth rank, 4, or even 1, if they have nothing else to live on. Hence we do not give the aforesaid rule as a thing on which you can rely with certainty, but it is good, as something to guide confessors, all the circumstances being (by the confessor) prudently considered.Now, I should like to know if any Gentleman whom I have the honour to address, being a merchant or banker, and having large sums of money which pass through the hands of confidential clerks, would 515 desire to see such a rule as this received in his warehouse or counting-house—that if you steal from a rich man to the amount of fifty pence, or any sum below that amount, you need not confess nor get absolution for the offence? Yet, to such a rule as that we give the sanction and encouragement of Parliament; and I say that we ought at once to get rid of it. Once more, I return to "Reiffenstuel," the great expounder of the canon law. Concerning heretics bound by the canon law, in book 1, tit. 2, page 138, I read—Question 3. Whether hereties are bound by ecclesiastical constitutions?Answer. That although heretics all over the world do, in fact, resist pontifical constitutions, nevertheless they are bound to them by law. Lugo says it is most absurd for any one to deny this. Heretics are bound by ecclesiastical laws; the reason is—that heretics, by baptism and the reception of the Christian faith, are now entered into the Church and become its members, and therefore remain bound by its laws. And truly, if heretics are not bound to ecclesiastical constitutions, the whole penal code of the canon law, and of all other constitutions ecclesiastical which have been put forth against heretics, are void.According to this we are bound, every one of us, as heretics, by those ecclesiastical laws which are actually set up now by the Pope's agents in this United Kingdom, in antagonism both to the Parliament and the Sovereign; and yet this is the doctrine for the teaching of which we endow and maintain the College of Maynooth. Surely no one in this House is prepared to justify a doctrine so adverse to the laws of the land and the authority of the Sovereign as that. Princes are to be sworn to aid "the Church" against all heretics. (Reiff. lib. v. tit. 7, p. 252.) They are not to permit the exercise of their religion—they are zealously to exterminate them to the uttermost of their power—they are to be sworn to do this:—But if they shall be unwilling to observe their oath, let them be deprived of the honour they hold [be ineligible for other honours, be bound under excommunication], and their lands placed under an interdict of the Church.And again—If, therefore, a temporal ruler, required and admonished by the Church, shall have neglected to purge his territory from heretical filth, let him be bound by the chain of excommunication by the Metropolitan and other com-provincial Bishops; and if he shall have contemptuously refused to make satisfaction within a year, let this be signified to the Pope, that he may declare his vassals to be henceforth absolved from their allegiance to him, and give up his territory to Catholics, who without any contradiction shall possess it, having exterminated the heretics from it.516 Hear this, ye who claim to be, par excellence, the friends and defenders of civil and religious liberty. In book 5, tit. 7, question 6, page 281, of the same authority, it is asked—Are vassals and servants and others freed from any private or individual obligation due to a heretic, and from keeping faith with him? (Et fide eidem servanda.)I answer affirmatively. All are so from the clear disposition or ordering of the law"[referring to the authorities he quotes it thus],"They may esteem themselves freed, or released (absolutos), from the debt of fidelity or obedience to such a person, and of all obligation by any kind of covenant, though fortified by any sort of affirmation, where any one has clearly fallen into heresy.No. 311. The conclusion in this case in which any one is bound by an oath to a party who has fallen into heresy is (referring to authorities) that the doctors commonly conclude that the Pope, for the cause of religion, can for this fault absolve the laity from an oath of fidelity, and from every other obligation on oath which previously attached to them towards the delinquent. And this, because in every promise it is understood, 'excepting the cause of religion,' as well as because in such an obligation and oath it is tacitly understood.If you place priests imbued with such doctrines among an ignorant deluded people, is it a matter of surprise that they should be induced to rebel against one whom they regard as an heretical sovereign? Reiffenstuel further says—No. 312. It is inferred that he who owes anything to a heretic by way of purchase, promise, exchange, pledge, deposit, loan, or any other contract is ipso facto free from the obligation, and is not bound to keep his promise, bargain, or contract, or plighted faith, even though sworn to a heretic.How can our common contracts be deemed safe if such laws as these are suffered to be promulgated at the national expense? And to this end he decides, "No. 309, that if the heresy is manifest, no declaratory sentence is required," that is, no open denunciation. Such was the doctrine taught at Maynooth, and paid for by the sanction of this House. Concerning the toleration of heretics, lib. 5, title 7, page 252, this Lord Bacon of this Roman Catholics says—It is asked if the Princes or Governments of Catholic States may receive and tolerate heretics in their territories, and (tolerate) their rites and exercises of religion?I answer, first, by saying that, ordinarily, neither by the common or civil law, nor yet by the canon law, are Catholic Princes to tolerate heretics in their territories, and much less permit the exercise of their rites, or religion, or, rather, their false sect; but are bound most severely to repel and expel them from all places. This conclusion is most clearly made known by the text of the canon law.517 He then quotes the following as a portion of the canon law:—We decree, moreover, that earls, barons, and consuls of States and other places, at the admonition of their Bishops, shall promise, having given their personal oath, that whensoever they shall be required by them, they shall faithfully and effectually give their aid to the Church, bonâ fide, according to their duty and power, against here-tics and their accomplices.In lib. 5, tit. 7, sec. 10, page 301, No. 451, it is inquired, thirdly—In what manner Princes or other Powers, and secular Judges, ought and may conduct themselves in the case of heresy; especially in the case in which the process against it is intended to be taken by the inquisitors, and by the bishop?I answer, first, that all Princes and secular Powers not only are incompetent to take cognisance of heresy, but rather, if they are invoked (required) to assist the Bishops as well as the inquisitors, whenever any of them wish to proceed, inquire, or take process against heretics. They are bound, moreover, to execute forthwith the punishment imposed by the Ordinary or the Inquisitor; or if the heretics are delivered up to them to be punished by the ordinary sentence of the law, they are even to punish with death.He answers, secondly—That secular Princes must not defer to execute the sentence of Bishops and Inquisitors because those Princes have doubts as to the validity or justice of them; and if they demand to see or examine the process, the ecclesiastical judge is to deny them.And, thirdly, he answers—That though they may not review or interfere with the judgment of Inqusitors and Bishops, they may and ought to catch the heretics for them.And for all this he quotes the canon law and the bulls of Popes (Innocent VIII.) as part of it. Concerning the immunity of the clergy from civil jurisdiction for any crimes, theft, adultery, &c, that they may commit, in book 2, title 1, sect. 4, p. 12, the question is asked—Who is the ordinary judge in criminal causes of the Clergy?A. First, in every crime the Clergy must be brought before the ecclesiastical judge. The layman cannot be the ordinary judge of the Clergy, notwithstanding any custom to the contrary. The reason is, because a secular judge has no jurisdiction over the Clergy, seeing they enjoy a privilege of court, and are exempt from the civil judge's jurisdiction. And, above all, should the civil judge proceed in criminal cases against the Clergyman, the clerical order would fall into great disgrace and contempt if the secular judges, who are the inferiors of the Clergy in rank, should take cognisance of their crimes and punish them, and thus bring into judgment their betters and superiors. Certainly, a sentence pronounced upon these who are not subject to the judge does not bind."518 Again, another Roman Catholic, Maldonatus, in commenting on the 5th chapter of Matthew, asks whether there is any other crime than adultery for which a man might put away his wife; and the answer is, "Yes, for the crime of heresy or parricide, which were worse than adultery."
This Maynooth commentator on the Gospels, which it may be supposed that the students read with more than ordinary attention, further writes on Matt. xiv. 12."Heretics are not worthy to be buried like others, but rather with the burial of an ass." In the very index of this author are these references:—Heretics are like worms or bugs—they are false prophets, nor when they utter truth are they to be heard—they are like Sadducees—they are to be punished with death.Again, on John iv. 9.—Heretics are more worthy of punishment than the heathen are of pity.I appeal to this House, whether it be probable, or even possible, that priests who are instructed to receive and propagate such laws as these, should be loyal themselves, or make those to be good and loyal subjects to a Protestant Queen, who are under such guidance and instruction? I will now proceed to another branch of this Roman teaching for which this country has to pay, and of which it may be well said that "it confines the intellect and enslaves the soul." I will not pollute the ears of others, or my own lips, with the filth relating to Confession inculcated by the class-books at Maynooth, and which, in point of fact, if I had not felt myself obliged to look through those books, I could not have believed there were men to be found who would suffer such doctrines to be taught. I will only make one remark upon this, which I have taken from Bailly, vol. iv. page 262–3. It may be said that the case now alleged shows caution, and is an exception; but what must be the general working of a system that requires such caution; and does not such an exception prove the rule itself to be corrupt indeed? "An author, Pictavius, the Theologian, is quoted by him, whose advice being useful and necessary to young confessors, it is well in this place to quote, a few things being altered:"—Penitents are to be questioned only as to those sins which are most common and usual among that class of persons, and are to be asked, not if they have committed them at all, but how often they have done so; and if they seem to doubt and hesitate, then require them to state the greatest number of times—as did he swear 519 100 times—for experience teaches that thus the interrogated answer more readily.As to sins against chastity, the confessor must interrogate most cautiously, especially lest the younger penitents should learn those vices of which they are as yet happily ignorant.Alas! with great grief I say it, I have known penitents when on the bed of death, who had grown old in crimes against chastity which they had not known hut from the filthy and incautious questions of confessors, who more rightly deserve to be called contaminators than confessors.But there is something more to be said on this subject. What was the judgment of the late Sir Robert Peel, who, speaking on the Motion of Sir Francis Burdett on the 6th of March, 1827, said—I will own fairly and candidly, that I entertain a distrust of the Roman Catholic religion. I object not to the Catholics on account of their faith. For them I have the highest respect. In private life I have never made any distinction between persons on account of their religion. It is a matter of perfect indifference to me whether or not a party professes the doctrine of transubstantiation; but if there is added to that doctrine a scheme of worldly policy of a marked character, I have a right to inquire into its nature, and observe its effects upon mankind. Can any man acquainted with the state of the world doubt for a moment that there is engrafted on the Catholic religion something more than a scheme for promoting mere religion—that there is in view the furtherance of a means by which man may acquire authority over man? Can we know what the doctrines of absolution, of confession, of indulgences are, without a suspicion that those doctrines are entertained for the purpose of establishing the power of man over the hearts and minds of men? What is it to me what the source of power is called if practically it operates as such?And now I will appeal to hon. Members to say whether, if a man fully opened his bosom to another and told him all his sins, faults, and transgressions, be they great or small, I ask, is not that man who has thus confessed to another the slave of that other in the very worst sense? Yet that is the 'doctrine which is taught at Maynooth—the doctrine of confession. Look at the class-books and see if I have overstated the matter. What says Bailly on the "Seal of Confession?" In vol. iv., p. 270, of the Paris edition of 1826, occurs the following proposition:—By natural, by Divine, and ecclesiastical law, the priest who receives confession is bound to secrecy." "The second part is proved, because the priest hearing confession acts as Christ's substitute, and personates Christ.Then are recited the punishments of priests who divulge confession—ignominy, banishment, deprivation, death; civil magistrates should burn them. He asks, "Is it in no case lawful to break the seal of confession?"In no case without the express leave of the 520 party—not even to escape death, nor for the spiritual or temporal good of the penitent, nor to guard the Republic (the State or Nation) from however great an evil.These are the doctrines which are taught at Maynooth, and which you have allowed yourselves to maintain and support. I am sorry to be troubling the House with so many citations, but I must go through my task, and show what is taught at Maynooth, which the people of this country are required to support, while at the same time the Sovereign is required to pledge Herself to maintain a Church which denounces the doctrines taught at Maynooth as "blasphemous fables." "The Seal of Confession," it is laid down, "was in no case to be broken, without the express leave of the party." Treason may be confessed, but the confessor was bound not to reveal it. In the year 1845, when the question of the increased grant was mooted, a book was published by a well-known Roman Catholic, Mr. Eneas M'Donnell, in which were given extracts from a petition signed by the Roman Catholic Prelates in the year 1792, just before the foundation of the College. The petition was addressed to the Irish Parliament, and showed a very different tone of mind on the part of the Roman Catholics from that now exhibited, and showed also the line of conduct to which they pledged themselves. It is for the House to see whether they have observed that pledge. In 1792 the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland petitioned to this effect:—With regard to the Constitution of the Church we are indeed inviolably attached to our own: first, because we believe it to be true, and next, because beyond belief we know that its principles are calculated to make us, and have made us, good men and citizens. But as we find it answers to us individually all the useful ends of religion, we solemnly and conscientiously declare that we are satisfied with the present condition of our ecclesiastical polity. With satisfaction we acquiesce in the Establishment of the National Church; we neither repine at its possessions nor its dignities. We are ready upon this point to give every assurance that is binding upon men.In 1808 these assurances were repeated:—Your Petitioners most solemnly declare that they do not seek or wish in any way to encroach upon the rights, privileges, possessions, or revevenues appertaining to the Bishops and Clergy Of the Protestant Religion in the churches committed to their charge, or any of them.I ask you to remember the cheers on the other side a few moments ago, when I referred to the United Church of England and Ireland, and then to say how the spirit 521 evinced by those cheers tallied with the tone of that petition of the Irish Prelates in 1792. What is become now of not wishing to encroach upon the privileges and possessions of the Established Church? Have we not heard it stated in this House that nothing would satisfy the Roman Catholics of Ireland until the revenues of the Church were taken from it, and distributed amongst them?
Again, Dr. Collins, afterwards made bishop, stated that there was not the slightest disposition on the part of the Roman Catholics to disturb or dispossess the Protestant Hierarchy; that he could make the most solemn declaration to that effect, and could undertake to say that not a single Roman Catholic Clergyman would contradict what he averred, namely, that they had no wish whatever to disturb the Protestant Establishment and the existing arrangements of Church property, and that if the Roman Catholic disabilities were removed they would acquiesce in those existing arrangements. [Mr. E. Macdonnell's Appeal, 1845, p. 17.] Such were the opinions and sentiments circulated and believed with reference to the Roman Catholics at the time that the question of the removal of their disabilities was agitated; and relying upon which, and the arguments founded upon them, I supported their removal in the year 1829. I thought the arguments of Mr. Canning unanswerable at the time of the question. That great statesman said—"When you keep the Roman Catholics out of Parliament because you say they are not bound by an oath, what is it keeps them out of Parliament but their being bound by an oath?" and Mr. Canning added to the effect, "and if an oath is sufficient to keep them owl of Parliament, why do you doubt that an oath would be sufficient to direct their conduct when in Parliament?" That argument appeared to me unanswerable at the time. But this is now fully explained; this problem is solved by the construction put upon the nature of an oath by the books already referred to, which teach that an oath is binding only till circumstances change, or till it becomes the interest of the "superior" that it should be broken. But how has the favour then bestowed been since regarded, and to what use has it been applied? In the address of the Secretary of the Catholic Defence Association to the Catholic Electors of Ireland, which was lately published, the following passage occurs in reference to some observations which had been made 522 elsewhere by the noble Lord at the head of the Administration. It is impossible for me to read the document signed by my near and dear relative without the most painful emotions. I regard him with respect because I believe he is honest in his convictions, and I earnestly trust that he will yet be recovered to the true and sound religious principles in which he was educated. Mr. Henry Wilberforce thus writes:—These, then, are our crimes. The Pope has taken the steps which he thought necessary for the spiritual benefit of the Catholics in England, and we and our Clergy have disobeyed a law which we could not have obeyed without denying our God and our faith.But observe, Lord Derby is 'disappointed;' he expected that these things would have been prevented by the fruits of the endowment of Maynooth.He is 'disappointed!' When he agreed to endow Maynooth he expected that in consideration of this endowment the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church upon earth would abandon the measures which he thought necessary for the good of the Catholic Church.He really believed, it seems, that he could buy the holy Roman Church to abandon her own principles and duties, and that not in Ireland only, but in other countries, for the sum of 26,000l. per annum to the College of St. Patrick, Maynooth.This is the exact price at which he valued the holy Church throughout the world.It is strange that with history before him he should have dreamed that the Catholic Church could be bought at any price; stranger still, that he should suppose any men, however base, would sell it for a bribe so contemptible.He values the consciences of rulers and members of the whole Church throughout the world at the sum of 26,000l.But he is as much disappointed by the fruit* of the endowment in Ireland as at Rome.He expected the Catholic clergy of Ireland would have obeyed the law, and they have openly refused obedience to the Ecclesiastical Titles Act.Who are they who have disobeyed this law? The archbishops and bishops of Ireland. They have treated it as they were in duty bound, simply as if it did not exist.Was not that a declaration showing how the expectations even of the majority of Parliament had been defeated. Was it not clear from that statement that the favours already conferred on them were fraudulently obtained in order to entrap us, and to turn the gift bestowed against the hand that presented it? In the speech of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) on the Papal aggression last year, the noble Lord clearly showed that the relations between the Roman Catholics and the people of this country were wholly changed, that the circumstances were changed, and that something should be done to stop that aggression. In a letter also which the same noble Lord 523 (Lord J. Russell) had addressed previously to the Bishop of Durham, the same sentiments prevailed. For that letter I heartily thanked the noble Lord in this House; hut, alas! it was hut a letter. It would appear, too, from a letter addressed by a Roman Catholic prelate, Dr. M'Hale, that the Irish Members were in future not merely to canvass their constituencies, but in the first instance to conciliate the Pope's Irish bishops; and that letter contained the following passage:—As our holy religion has been recently subjected to penal enactments at once injurious and insulting, no person should be permitted to aspire to the representation of our counties or boroughs, but one who will be prepared strenuously and perseveringly to vindicate our religion from such hostile as well as impolitic legislation.The subject is not at all exhausted, but I will not weary the patience of the House, or trespass any longer upon its attention. I have shown, I think, that by supporting this grant you are giving aid and encouragement to a religion which is subversive of morality, dangerous to the existence of the social compact, and is in direct opposition to the observance of dutiful allegiance to the Sovereign. The Papal aggression has opened the eyes of the people of this kingdom, and from one end to the other they are urging you to resist that system. They now see that the rebellion, contumacy, and disloyal conduct of Ireland are in perfect accordance and full consonance with the doctrines inculcated at Maynooth. To you, the Irish Opposition Members, I would say it is your bounden duty to consent to the inquiry. If I am wrong, you are right, and a full and fair inquiry will enable you to vindicate your system from the charges I have made against it. I fear not, I hesitate not, to say that every word I have advanced is capable of proof. I challenge you to disprove it if you can. But the people of this country will not be satisfied unless a full inquiry takes place before a Committee of their own House, fairly and impartially chosen. I therefore move, Sir—That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the system of education carried on at the College of Maynooth.
The MARQUESS of BLANDFORD,
in seconding the Motion, said: I do not mean, Sir, to enter upon the various details of the subject which my hon. Friend has so ably treated at length; but there are one or two subjects which have not been touched on—not embodying details, but principles, and to which I wish briefly to refer. I know that a proposition of this 524 nature may be thought by some to have emanated from a party out of doors, holding narrow sectarian views; but, deeply as I feel on this measure, and fully impressed as I am with the necessity of a full and efficient inquiry into all the facts, I beg to say I have no connexion with any one party or other in the matter. There may have been an expression of public opinion out of doors; but in that expression I have taken no part, reserving to myself the opportunity of expressing my opinions within the walls of this House. The subject has undoubtedly been most ably dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire; and his statement leads to this one only conclusion—that if the facts are true which he laid before the consideration of the House, there is but one inference to be drawn, and that is, the House is hound to repeal the grant to Maynooth. It is because I have that object in view—because I advocate the absolute and unconditional repeal of the grant to Maynooth, that I now second this Motion. I have weighed this question most carefully, and my conviction is that the repeal of this grant is necessary, as a portion of that wise and constitutional policy which is required by the interests of the State. I was one of those Members who supported the late Sir Robert Peel in 1845, in voting for the increased grant to Maynooth. If at that time I did not entertain the strong opinions I now do, it was owing to the absence of a full inquiry into the true nature of the Roman Catholic religion. But if I had even felt inclined to doubt the policy of that measure, still I and those who voted with Sir Robert Peel on that occasion were placed in an exceptionable position. Sir Robert Peel was not introducing a new measure, but a peculiar Amendment, required, as it was thought at the time, of a policy which dated from before the Legislative Union between England and Ireland. It was stated then by Sir Robert Peel that three courses were open for consideration in the matter: either, through respect to conscientious scruples, to repeal the grant altogether; or to leave it in its then inefficient state; or to increase it, and thus make an attempt to conciliate the Roman Catholics of Ireland. I regret to say we were then mistaken in the views we then entertained. I admit the late Sir Robet Peel entertained high, noble, and generous feeling's upon that occasion: it was a feeling which was participated by other statesmen equally great, conscientious, and illustrious as he was. They 525 were mistaken; and there are instances of men equally illustrious having been equally mistaken. In 1792, when the French constitution was first promulgated, Mr. Fox, theft a Member of this House, said of it, that it appeared to him as a dawn of light bursting in upon the darkness of despotic France; and he said—little apprehending the evils that were to follow—that he believed that constitution to be the most splendid edifice of freedom ever reared upon foundations of human integrity. But everything pertaining to that period was seen in a juster light by the sounder and more sober judgment of Burke. Again, another instance of an illustrious man, equally mistaken, was presented in 1813, when Mr. Canning, I think, introduced a Bill to remove the Roman Catholic disabilities. Looking to the success of that measure, and actuated likewise by the most generous motives (but still mistaken), Mr. Canning said—To pause now—to retrograde now—would be to descend from the pinnacle on which we are new placed, and which commands a view of the affection, the harmony, and the gratitude of our Roman Catholic subjects—would be to lose all the ground we have gained. That ground once lost will not be easily recovered. There is a tide in the affairs of man, upon the summit of which we are now riding towards the accomplishment of our object. The hands of Protestant and Catholic are outstretched to meet each other, and nearly touching."—[1 Hansard, xxvi. 75.]Those were the honest views of that illustrious man; and he was mistaken. After such remarkable instances of erroneous views held by men of gigantic intellect, we may well pause in pursuing a policy even recommended by a statesman in whose judgment we should be naturally inclined to rely. In connexion with this view of the subject, I may observe that the people of this country no doubt are desirous of extending the boon of education to their fellow-subjects in Ireland; but let us see how the boon has been received. I must say it is my solemn conviction we shall never be able to carry out the views which we desire to effect. The three modes adopted were these: In the first instance we have the grant to Maynooth, instituted in 1795, when the French Revolution was terrifying all Europe. It was made for the purpose of providing education for the Irish priests at a time when they could not obtain it elsewhere, and with a view to introducing a better spirit amougst them. The memorial of the Roman Catholic Prelates of that day to the Lord Lieutenant, I should 526 wish to compare with other statements which I also desire to read to the House. It was as follows:—Believing that piety; learning, and subordination would be thereby essentially promoted, your Excellency's memorialists are inclined to undertake the establishment of proper places for the education of the Catholic faith in their communion; and it being believed by counsel that his Majesty's Royal licence is necessary in order legally to secure the funds which they appropriate for that purpose, they humbly beg leave to solicit your Excellency's recommendation to our Most Gracious Sovereign, that he will be pleased to grant his Royal licence for the endowment of academical seminaries for educating and preparing young persons to discharge the duties of Roman Catholic clergymen in this kingdom under ecclesiastical superiors of their own communion.In 1799 the Roman Catholic Prelates, in a petition, expressed the opinion that—A more faithful attachment to Government, and a more dutiful submission to the laws, must be naturally looked for from the zealous exertions of instructors, who, by the inculcation of those important duties, must feel themselves urged by a strong impulse of gratitude to enforce and illustrate the general principles on which those duties are founded,I will just compare that statement with a passage from an edition of a Dublin newspaper, which contained an extract from the Tablet, embodying a letter which, I believe, is authenticated as having been written by the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (the Earl of Clarendon) to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Let us see the result of the policy of 1799 and of 1848. Lord Clarendon is there assumed to have written as follows:—It is very true that the Pope ordered the clergy not to meddle in politics; this he did in 1847, in the same rescript in which he condemned the Colleges. The second part was received with reverence, as hostile to the Government; and the first was obeyed by the clergy rushing headlong into the revolutionary movement of '48, when nothing saved them except their belief in the impartiality of the Government—in which they were quite right, because if the legal evidence of their guilt had been as strong as its moral certainty, several of them would now have been along with their friends in exile in Van Diemen's Land.That shows the result of the first measure. Now let us see the effect of the second measure—that of founding the Queen's Colleges. To that measure I am not hostile; I only put the matter forth to show the spirit in which that measure has been received by the Roman Catholic clergy. In moving for leave to bring in the Bill for their establishment, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) told us that that measure would conduce to the order and concord of that country. 527 But are the Roman Catholics allowed to participate in the benefits of these institutions? I hold in my hand a letter of Archbishop Cullen's to the clergy of the archdiocese of Armagh, referring to these colleges. Archbishop Cullen says—I know that attempts have been made to lessen the effect of the salutary admonitions contained in the solemn and authoritative documents published by the Synod of Thurles, and that certain anonymous memorandums and irrelevant statements have been industriously circulated to disturb the public mind. Such devices are not to be attended to, and will have no lasting effect. The admonitions of the synod are clear and decisive; and in full conformity with the rescripts of the Apostolic See. All Catholic parents have been warned of the' grievous and intrinsic dangers' of the institutions; they have been called upon to gave their children from their influence;' the terrible account has been announced to them which they shall have to render to Jesus Christ for the souls purchased by his blood if they betray these little ones, who are so precious in his sight, into grievous dangers, or suffer them to be perverted by a corrupt system of instruction.Owing to this address to the Roman Catholic clergy, what is the position in which the people of Ireland are placed? Does it, as the right hon. Member for Ripon said, conduce to order and harmony among the people, when families and society at large are thus divided against each other—when Roman Catholics are driven to the alternative of obeying the Church and abstaining from the blessings of education, or incurring the peril of being excommunicated by their clergy? I now come to the third method adopted for the education of Ireland—the national system of education. The scheme was brought forward on the same principle, and emanated from the same noble and generous motives. For my own part, I must say, I disapprove of the plan. These schools may have effected some good—all education is to a certain extent productive of good; and any education is better than no education at all. But how is this system treated by the Romish clergy? These are not the words of Archbishop Cullen, but they are the opinions of a French prelate, whom he quotes in confirmation of his own views. Speaking of the national system of mixed education in France he says—The rock I allude to is that indifference in matters of religion which is practised in public, and, as it were, in an official manner, in certain educational establishments. In these houses, heresy and Catholicity, have, without hesitation, been placed in presence of each other—there is a temple for one, and altars for the other—one portion of the youth is obliged to receive instruction in the true faith, the other an heretical teaching. 528 What disastrous impressions must not be produced on the yet scarcely awakened reason of the Catholic youth by this even-handed favour, or rather by this indiscriminating indifference, with which creeds the most opposite have been treated? What value will he attach to the dogmas and pramtices of his worship when he will know that under the same roof and same protection these dogmas, and these practices are represented to some of his fellow-students as so many superstitions?These are the opinions entertained of our endeavours to afford the means of instruction to the people of the sister island; The nature of the grant to Maynooth is peculiar and exceptional. It is different from the grant to other religious bodies. Those grants are for the most part for the support and endowment of the clergy) We educate in that establishment the priests of a Church which is not our own; and over whose future actions we have no control. We give the Regium Donum to the Presbyterian Protestants of Ulster, it is true, but that is for the endowment of the Presbyterian clergy; but the grant to Maynooth is not for the support and endowment of a Church, but for the education of a clergy who may be sent to at parts of the world to propagate Roman Catholic doctrines at the expense of the people of this country. Under these circumstances, therefore, I give, most unhesitatingly, my support to the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). I call on the House to institute an inquiry into the sys-tem, and eventually—as I think they must—to repeal an endowment which is repudiated by the people of the country of all political creeds—Conservative, Liberal', Free-trader, and Protectionist. A system against which you had in 1845 ten thousand petitions and a million and a half of signatures, and against which, in the present Session, you have had no fewer than 500 petitions. I call upon the House, therefore, to grant the Motion of my hon. Friend, and in so doing to take the first step towards the repeal of a measure repugnant to the feelings of the people of this country, opposed to their conscientious religious convictions, and repudiated even by the very persons whom we desire to benefit.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the system of Education carried on at the College of Maynooth.
§ MR. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
having listened with great attention to the speech of the noble Lord (the Marquese of 529 Blandford) was perfectly astonished at the conclusion at which the noble Lord had arrived. There was not a line of the noble Lord's speech which did not prove that no inquiry was needed, and that the House already possessed sufficient grounds to justify the repeal of the Maynooth grant. Every one of the reasons which had been assigned by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) and the noble Lord for an inquiry, was fatal to the object of their Motion. It was evident, therefore, that in making it they were not sincere. The Motion had been shaped with a view to the necessities of the Ministry and had been formed into a sort of couch to soften the fall of their friends from the high principles they professed when out of office. The hon. Member first gave notice, so long ago as February last, of a Motion on the subject of the Maynooth grant—the object of the hon. Member and his friends being to create a little political capital out of the subject. But when he found the present Government unexpectedly in the possession of office, he backed out of his original Motion; and it was only by the derisive cheers of his opponents that he was forced to bring the subject forward at all even in its present weakened form. It was, therefore, that he had given notice of an inquiry into a matter that, according to himself, needed no inquiry at all. The hon. Gentleman's Motion was open to another objection. It referred to the Maynooth grant only. But he (Mr. C. Anstey) felt that the attention of the House should be called to all similar grants, whether for Catholic or Protestant purposes. He grounded his opinion upon this principle, that the House had no moral right, although they might have the legal power, to appropriate for such purposes as those grants contemplated the money of the people. They had no right to apply money collected by taxation of the Roman Catholics to Protestant purposes. On the other hand, they had no right to require the Protestant taxpayer to submit to have his money appropriated against his will for the support of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. It was no doubt considered a great outrage against the conscience of a Protestant to have his money applied to the propagation of what he deemed to be idolatry. How great was that burden upon the Protestant conscience, no man could tell. Similar also must be the feelings of the Roman Catholic- who saw his money applied without his 530 consent to the support of an ecclesiastical establishment of the Protestant persuasion. But such were the natural effects of imposing such charges upon the Consolidated Fund. His object, therefore, was to ask leave to bring in a Bill to repeal all these charges upon the taxes of the country. In doing so, no doubt, he should detach from the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Spooner) alt those voluntaries whose sentiments the hon. Gentleman pretended now to represent. It was very true that the table was covered with petitions against the Maynooth grant; but those petitions were not, for the most part, imbued with any sectarian doctrine. They were from persons who regarded it a violation of the principle of religious liberty to be called upon to pay towards the support of a religious establishment from whose tenets they dissented. He considered the Motion of the hon. Member to have been brought forward for a purpose not openly avowed, although it was sufficiently transparent. It was no doubt intended as a sort of couch to assist hon. Gentlemen in their fall from the great principle on which they had originally stood, down to the uneasy level of modification which they had since found it expedient to seek. But who were they who wished to avoid those consequences which were so much apprehended by the hon. Gentleman? Certainly not Her Majesty's Ministers. They were represented by their Premier—a man of high honour, of great chivalry, and of sterling worth. When the Earl of Derby was Lord Stanley, and in another place assisted in passing, in 1845, the very Act which he (Mr. C. Anstey) now sought to expunge from the Statute-book, that noble Lord opposed a similar Motion for inquiry into the system of education pursued at Maynooth, although it had been proposed as an essential preliminary to the passing of the Bill through the House of Lords. On the 4th of June, 1845, Lord Stanley thus expressed himself—"He anticipated that the Amendment proposed was not intended as a substantial Amendment. Well, so he (Mr. C. Anstey) now thought that the present Motion was not intended as a substantial Amendment, and for the same reason which Lord Stanley gave. For Lord Stanley said—The real question was, would their Lordships accept or reject the measure? He had conceived it was so, because, in the first place, the inquiry would be utterly useless. It would be useless, on this account, if on no other, that in the sense in 531 which some noble Lords looked upon it, no possible result of that inquiry would alter the votes they Were about to give They might prove that doctrines, more or less hostile, were taught there; that they were doctrines of an antagonistic Church, for he adopted the expression of a right rev. Prelate. They knew them as the doctrines of a Church antagonistic to their own; and the Government avowed and declared that this endowment was granted to Maynooth for the purpose of instructing, in doctrines from which they differed, the priesthood of a population whose creed was not that which they themselves professed. If the inquiry were useless, it would not be merely useless. If they entered upon that inquiry—if, in prosecuting it, they called before them the various officers of the College, and the evidence which noble Lords were prepared to produce for the purpose of proving that this or that objectionable passage was to be found in the textbooks used at Maynooth, or that this or that doctrine or principle was there inculcated—the only result of Such inquiry would be an incessant, constant, and daily increasing acerbity, and an exaggeration of all the religious rancour and animosities which remained between different portions of the community. But in regard to the question whether it was right or wrong to continue the endowment to Maynooth, in his opinion such an inquiry would be useless. They had the right to be satisfied that the principles of Maynooth were not at variance with the civil rights and duties which were owing to the country, and the allegiance that was Owing to the Crown. But was there any noble Lord who would say that he knew and believed that Maynooth did not uphold and maintain the doctrine of allegiance to the Crown? No one asserted so."—[3 Hansard, lxxxi. 108.]Such was the language of Lord Stanley in 1845. And so he (Mr. Anstey) thought it would be most imprudent to set Parliament upon a fruitless inquiry at the very end of its existence, when it would be impossible to bring any such inquiry to a close. So also, and for the same reasons which Lord Derby had stated, he did not now believe the hon. Gentleman to be sincere. Another reason, and it was a strong one, which induced him to advocate the withdrawal of all these grants, was, that so long as they Continued, they would have persons like the hon. Member for North Warwickshire for ever stirring up religious strife, and pouring into the contest all the bitterest ingredients of polemical acerbity. He did Hot propose his Amendment with the view of retaliating on the hon. Gentleman, but to affirm a great principle, which was making much way in this country, and even in Ireland; for there were many Roman Catholics in that country who were as steady friends of the voluntary principle as the Dissenters themselves. He believed that ibis great principle would yet be recognised, if not during the present Parliament, at least at no distant day. He con- 532 fined his Motion to grants which were in consimili casu with the Maynooth grant, that was to say, to endowments permanently supported out of the public funds and imposed by Act of Parliament, But there were also annual votes which he should oppose whenever they were pro-posed, because he was anxious to give the widest application to the principle for which he contended. If he succeeded, the relief to the House itself would be great. It would take away the ever recurring occasion for the House to concern itself with these miserable questions of polemics. He would like to see Her Majesty's Ministers taking this wider view of the question—not that which was taken by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. If they disapproved of the Maynooth endowment, let them withdraw it But, at the same time, let them withdraw the vote from the Presbyterians of Ireland, called the Regium Donum; the grants in aid of bishops and clergy in communion with the Established Church in various parts of the British dominions; the gratifications to chaplains of Ambassadors; and all similar items of expenditure. In short, let them not confine their view to the grant to Maynooth, but embrace every other grant of the same kind. He should test the principles of Government in this matter by pressing the entire Amendment to a vote. It would be for them to accept or reject it. At all events, he should I have discharged his duty. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Amendment of which he had given notice.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'this House will resolve itself into a Committee, for the purpose of considering of a Bill for repealing the Maynooth Endowment Act, and all other Acts for charging the Public Revenue in aid of ecclesiastical or religious purposes,' instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. SCHOLEFIELD
wished to say a few words, for he felt that he was in a peculiar position, having to differ from a considerable number of those who were his most strenuous supporters in 1847. In voting against the Motion of his hon. Friend, and in favour of the Amendment, he did not intend to affirm his admiration, of the college of Maynooth. He was quite as much opposed and had quite as strong a dislike to the endowment of that college as 533 the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). He was as much indisposed as that hon. Member to propagate error at the expense of the State; and he would not be an honest Churchman if he did not make the declaration that they were propagating error by the grant to Maynooth; but he would not lend himself to an invidious attack on a small endowment given to Roman Catholics, while they left unchallenged and untouched the larger revenues of the Irish Protestant Church. He believed that the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was, though involuntarily, putting a delusion upon the people of this country. The hon. Member's Motion was simply for an inquiry; but the country understood it to be for a repeal of the grant; and the House should recollect that, while there had been hundreds of petitions against the grant, there had not been a single petition in favour of inquiry. Every one of the petitions was founded upon the interpretation put on the hon. Gentleman's notice, that he was in favour of the repeal of the grant. Now, he confessed, he was disposed to agree with the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. H. Herbert) as to there being no necessity whatever for inquiry, for he thought that under the Act of 1845 Government had full visitatorial powers, and he hoped they would use them. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire, whose chief characteristic—though not his best, as those who knew his private virtues well knew—was his inflexible intolerance towards those who differed from him, talking about the Injury done to the consciences of the people of this country by taking their money for the purpose of propagating error. He wished his hon. Friend would also bear in mind that a very large portion of the people of Ireland felt just the same pressure upon their consciences as he felt upon his, in having to support the Protestant Church, He could not help saying, that he thought it was with an exceedingly bad grace that a member of the Church of England found fault with such a grant as this; and as extracts had been read that night from various speeches, perhaps the House would allow him to read one from a speech made in 1845, which would illustrate what he meant by the expression—"bad grace"—better than any words that he could employ. Mr. Macaulay eloquently said—When I consider with what magnificence religion and science are surrounded in our Universities—when I call, to mind their long streets of 534 palaces, their venerable cloisters, their trim gardens—their chapels, with their organs, and altarpieces, and stained windows—when I remember their schools, libraries, museums, and galleries of art—when I remember, too, all the solid comforts provided in these places, both for instructors and pupils—the stately dwellings of the principals, the commodious apartments of the fellows and soholars—when I remember that the very sizars and servitors lodge far better than you propose to lodge these priests who are to teach the whole people of Ireland—when I think of the halls, the common-rooms, bowling-greens, even the stabling of Oxford and Cambridge—the display of old plate on the tables, the good cheer of the kitchen, the oceans of excellent ale in the buttery; and when I remember from whom all this splendour and plenty are derived—when I remember the faith of Edward III., of Henry VI., of Margaret of Anjou, and Margaret of Richmond, of William of Wykeham, of Archbishop Chichely, and of Cardinal Wolsey—when I remember what we have taken from the Roman Catholic religion, King's College, New College, Christchurch, and my own Trinity—and when I look at the miserable 'Do-the-boys Hall' we have given them in return, I ask myself if we, and if the Protestant religion, are not disgraced by the comparison?"—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 648.]Now, it was upon these grounds that he (Mr. Scholefield) should oppose the Motion. He was as anxious as the hon. Gentleman could be to do away with the endowment, but he told him distinctly that he believed the Motion with which he concluded was nothing but a contrivance of political cowardice, seeking to undermine that which he had not the courage manfully to attack.
§ MR. WALPOLE
I think it right, Sir, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, to state early in this discussion the course we intend to take with regard to the question now before us; and I will endeavour to do so without exciting any of those polemical asperities to which the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) has adverted. We must all of us agree that this is a question of no ordinary difficulty and delicacy. Whether we regard it in its political, or whether we regard it in its social and moral bearings, the question necessarily and inevitably touches the tenderest parts in some of the warmest feelings of the people of England—feelings to which recent events have given greater effect, so far as relates to their religion. Under these circumstances, I own I approach this question with the Utmost caution and forbearance; but approach it, I think, we must: because, in the first place, it is directly brought before us; and in the second, it has taken such a hold of the public mind of the people of this country that we cannot, and ought 535 not, avoid approaching it if we would. To the question proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), the hon. and learned Member for Youghal has proposed an Amendment —and I wish to dispose of this Amendment before I go to the main question. The Amendment is to the effect that the House will consider in Committee a Bill to repeal the Maynooth Endowment Act, and all other Acts for charging the public revenue in aid of ecclesiastical and religious purposes; and the ground on which he supported his Amendment was that he wished to see established the voluntary system. That, however, is so great a principle, that the hon. and learned Gentleman told the House he will not press it now, but will bring it forward in another Parliament as a substantive Motion. I own that I think that a question of this large nature should be brought forward, not as an Amendment, but as a substantive Motion.
§ Mr. ANSTEY
explained. He did not say that he would not press his Amendment now, but would bring it forward on another occasion. He said he would press it now, and bring it forward again if it was not adopted.
§ MR. WALPOLE
With regard to the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), it seems to me to be the simple question whether we are or are not to inquire into the System of the education of the clergy at the College of Maynooth. Now, that depends upon this further question, namely, whether the grant, which was originally made under various Acts of Parliament, and subsequently enlarged and perpetuated by the last Act of Parliament relating to it, has or has not answered the purpose for which it was given? That, I think, is a fair test to apply to the question before we come to the conclusion of my hon. Friend, namely, that inquiry is necessary. Now, there are two ways in which it might not be necessary to go into this question at all. First, I heard it intimated, I think by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, that the question had been concluded in 1845, and that therefore it could not be opened again. Another way of getting rid of the question is, by showing, as was the argument of the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford), the grant to be so vicious in principle that you need not inquire into it at all, but at once bring in a Bill, to repeal it. With respect to the first of these, the House will immediately 536 see that, in point of fact, the conditions on which the grant was made, from time to time, were conditions which the Parliament that made them had a right to reconsider. Now, let us trace its history. The grant was first given in 1795. The object of it was, that, as Roman Catholics had no seminaries or colleges of their own by law, they were forced to be educated in foreign countries, where revolutionary principles and republican doctrines were so much in vogue that it was considered inexpedient that subjects of the British Crown should, be educated where they could be imbibed; and therefore it was thought expedient by the British Crown and Parliament that they should be educated at home. Now, this was the great reason for making the grant; the object evidently was to provide in Ireland for Roman Catholics a well educated and domestic priesthood. That grant continued till the Union; and there was allusion made to it in the 7th Article of the Union, which provided that certain funds given to different institutions in Ireland, which were secured to those institutions at the average for six years should be continued for twenty years longer. I consider, therefore, that there was a pledge to continue the grant to Maynooth till 1820; and I think that Parliament could not have altered, modified, or diminished the grant until the period expired for which it was guaranteed by the Treaty of Union. Subsequent to that period the grant was entirely voluntary on the part of the Parliament, and must be considered to be made and continued principally on the ground of expediency, or from motives of benevolence. It so continued up to 1845, when Sir Robert Peel made an essential change in the grant, first, by increasing the amount, and, secondly, by making the grant perpetual. But at the time he did this, Sir Robert Peel stated his grounds for so acting, which, I think, we ought not to lose sight of in considering the question, whether this grant had answered the purpose for which it was given. The first ground was the great necessity—I might say the poverty of the institution—indeed, I think the right hon. Baronet represented it to be so great in 1844 that the professors had barely enough to live upon, and that some of the students were forced to go home at certain parts of the year in order to save the expense, which would have been beyond their means. That having been one of the grounds on which Sir Robert Peel justified and vindicated 537 the grant, I will quote the other ground in his own words—for I think it extremely material in the view of the question I am about to take. The right hon. Baronet said—I defend it—the Maynooth Bill—because I believe it to be a wise and a just measure, and far better than the continuance of the present system. I say that without the least hesitation; and I call on you to recollect that you are responsible for the peace of Ireland. I say you must break up in some way or other that formidable confederacy which exists in that country against the British Government and the British connexion. I do not believe you can break it up by force. You can do much, consistently with the principles you avow, as to the maintenance of the Union and the Protestant Church. You can do much to break it up by acting in a spirit of kindness, forbearance, and generosity."—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 1040.]Now, the reason why I have given this brief history of the Maynooth grant is to call back the attention of the House to the purposes for which it was made; for you must consider how far those purposes have been answered to justify you to continue the grant as it is, and in voting "Ay" or "No" to the inquiry which you are called on to make. These three purposes were, I take it, first, to obtain a well-educated, loyal, and domestic priesthood; secondly, to provide an institution for the instruction of the priesthood, which the Roman Catholics were supposed to he too poor to provide themselves, in order that then-priesthood might be bred up in a manner suitable to their holy calling and profession; and the third reason was to break up by generosity that formidable confederacy which Sir Robert Peel alleged to have existed in Ireland against the British Government and the British connexion. These were the objects for which this grant was made and perpetuated. Well, now, I ask you these questions: Has or has not, in any of these three instances, the grant answered the purposes for which it was given? And I think they are questions we are bound to answer for ourselves, before we determine whether this Committee of Inquiry be necessary or not. I ask myself, first, has or has not the grant provided a well-educated, loyal, and domestic priesthood for the people of Ireland? It may hove done so up to a certain time; but observe what rumour says, for I am not going to give an opinion of my own on the question. Well, then, I say there is strong reason to believe that many of the priesthood educated in that College of Maynooth ire members of different Orders, who are sent out to different countries, and who do 538 not remain a domestic priesthood in Ireland; and, if I am right in that conclusion, I say it is a material ground for you to go on before you decide on this question, whether a grant given to provide a domestic priesthood is to be applied to give a priesthood to other countries, and that you are to spend English money for such a purpose. Another question is, Has or has not the character of the priesthood changed of late years? If you take what has happened recently, I suspect the answer would be, that instead of domestic influence, another influence has prevailed, and that you will find the priesthood of Ireland, instead of confining themselves, as they ought, to the purposes of maintaining and teaching their own religion, and their religious duties, have in effect assumed an aggressive character, which does constitute what Sir Robert Peel called a confederacy—I don't say a formidable one; but still a confederacy—against, I think, the British Crown and the British connexion. I allude more particularly to what has taken place since Dr. Cullen came into Ireland, and was raised to the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. The character of the priesthood of Ireland is materially changed by that event. When the Roman Catholics desired emancipation in 1814, I could produce proofs to you that they laid down propositions by which they wished this country to understand that the domestic priesthood of Ireland were not to be superseded by foreign bishops; and I could quote you passages from writers of the strongest authority against exposing them to Propaganda influence. But since you have had Dr. Cullen over here, you have had an influence exercised, which, as recent events, even those of the last year, distinctly show, has changed the character of the education of the priesthood, so that it has not been of that domestic character the promoters of the grant intended it to be. If this be so, I do not say that this is a justification for you to withdraw the grant without inquiry; but I say it is a justification for making the inquiry, in order, that if the facts be not as I have stated, the matter may be set right in your favour: and if they be as I conjecture, that means should be taken to provide against the application of the public money of this country to any other purpose than that for which it was intended—that of providing for a loyal and domestic priesthood. As to the second reason for the grant, the poverty under which the 539 clergy were labouring, so far as it was a ground for extending it, I shall [be glad to know how far it is true. The House will remember, that at the time the Maynooth Act was brought in, it was accompanied by an Act introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham), for the establishment of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. Those two Acts must be taken together. They are parts of one measure—they were simultaneously introduced—they were intended for one object, and they were proposed with one view, that object and that view being a national and a domestic one. It was to heal up political and religious differences, to bring the Roman Catholics and the Protestants together in one common field of education, where asperities might be rubbed off, where conciliation might be effected, where friendship and good feeling might spring up, and where all those unhappy differences which have so pervaded that afflicted and unhappy country might possibly be brought to a close. Well, but how has that succeeded? Since Dr. Cullen's appointment you have had what is called the Synod of Thurles; you have had decrees issued by that synod, and those decrees have been confirmed by the Court of Rome; and in those decrees no Roman Catholic bishop is allowed to hold any place in any of those colleges; no ecclesiastic is allowed to be a professor or even a visitor; and the laity themselves are recommended, at least, though not actually enjoined, to abstain from sending their children to those institutions. ["Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members cheer, but what is the inference which the House and the country will draw? Why, the inference is this—that the object which my right hon. Friend had in view in introducing these Bills, and the object which the Legislature had in passing them—this beneficial and conciliatory object has been defeated and destroyed by those who are acting under foreign domination. But that is not all. Since that happened, you (the Roman Catholic Members) have established Colleges, or endeavoured to establish colleges of your own—I do not in itself deprecate that attempt; but it is for the purpose, be it remembered, of separating the Roman Catholics from the Protestants, it was in order to have them educated in a distinct manner, to keep the Catholics under foreign guidance, and to maintain Ultramontane influence. I state that distinctly; but if, as you say, that 540 has not been the case—if it has not had the effect of introducing a foreign interference to a great extent in Ireland—well, then, the inquiry will turn out in your favour; but if it be so—if it has had that effect—then the inquiry is one which the Government will have done right to institute. Now, the last point to which I adverted is most material. Sir Robert Peel said, in his emphatic language, that he sent this grant into Ireland as a messenger of peace—that he sent it, as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire reminded us, in a liberal and confiding spirit—that he intended it to still very great religious differences, and to break up this formidable confederacy to which I referred. I ask any man who hears me now, whether the grant has had that effect? I ask whether the system of education so established has had that tendency? Some of the most ardent promoters of the grant have felt to the greatest degree that disappointment which has been expressed to-night at the failure of the results which they intended to flow from it. They feel that disappointment all the more bitterly because there are no means of bringing about those beneficial results which I firmly believe it was the object of Sir Robert Peel's Government to bring about when he induced the Legislature to pass those two Acts. There is one answer by anticipation to the observations I have made, to which I must advert for a moment, and that is the answer of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kerry (Mr. H. Herbert). He has placed an Amendment upon the notice-paper by way of reminding the House that visitors wore appointed to inquire into the management, discipline, and government of the college, and therefore that no inquiry by a Parliamentary Committee can be needed. Has, however, the hon. Gentleman referred to the reports made, year after year, by those visitors? and, if so, does he find that the inquiries made by them will answer the object of my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire? On looking at their report I find that it goes into none of the facts with reference to which the people of this country demand inquiry; but the inquiry is simply this: First of all, as to complaints made by the President; then, as to complaints made by the superiors or professors; then into complaints made by the students; then into the oath of allegiance taken by the students; then as to any change in the number and duties of pro- 541 fessors; next, any change as to the college discipline; then any improvement accomplished within the walls; and then the visitors say, "We have made the necessary inquiries," and so on. All the inquiries they consider necessary, the House will perceive, are inquiries which have nothing to do with the subject now immediately under our notice by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire: these inquiries do not at all meet his case. I will now endeavour to state to the House the reasons which induce me to think that some inquiry ought to be granted. I think that the inquiry ought to be granted en the three grounds to which I have referred; for, seeing as I do (or at least as I think I do), that the conditions upon which this grant was made have not been adequately or completely fulfilled—seeing that the reasons for which it was made are no longer existing to the same extent as they were when it was made—since we hear there are funds forthcoming to endow other colleges, which are opposed to the system you intended to establish—and seeing that the objects which Sir Robert Peel had in view, those peaceful, loyal, domestic objects, have not been accomplished, as Parliament hoped they would be—I think that the country has a right to ask, and that Parliament is bound to concede, some inquiry into this subject. ["Hear, hear!"] Unless I had been anticipated by the cheers of hon. Gentlemen opposite, who seemed to think that I was shrinking from the avowal of my own opinions, I should have abstained from the expression of any opinion. I wished my own opinions to abide the result of that inquiry; until then I did not wish, and I do not wish, to prejudge the question. I repeat, that I do not wish to prejudge the question. The result of that inquiry may be to effect a complete alteration in the grant, or to make various changes as to which it can be easily seen whether they are those which amount to a withdrawal or an abolition of the grant. From these results, I say on my own part, and on the part of the Government, we do not wish to be precluded; but we wish there should be such an inquiry as that the whole of this question may be investigated, so that the House may be in a position, on some future day, when the facts are known and ascertained, to carry out the intentions of the Legislature, and to contribute as far as may be to the peace and prosperity of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
said, that, representing an English constituency, he should probably be consulting his own ease, and probably his own interest, on the eve of a general election, if he had been content to avoid the question which had been brought forward that evening by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). But as he looked upon this Motion as a mean attempt to raise a "No-Popery" cry, with which hon. Gentlemen opposite might go to the hustings, as he considered the Motion a means by which certain parties might make use of fanaticism for retaining their seats in that House, he, for one, would not for an instant shrink from expressing his opinion on the question, nor would he pander to what he considered a base fanaticism, even should he lose the confidence of his constituents. Now, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire commenced his speech, as he always did in similar cases, with assurances of the greatest good-will towards his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects; but in the next breath he told them that they professed a creed which was subversive of allegiance and injurious to morality. He did not intend to follow the hon. Gentleman through the various quotations which he had made from works of casuists and from certain textbooks of Rome; but he objected to this Motion of the hon. Member, because, when he remembered the course which he had always pursued on this question, the language of unmeasured vituperation which he had always employed in that House with regard to his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, he thought the Motion was a foregone conclusion. When the hon. Gentleman called upon the House to inquire into the system of education at Maynooth, it was not for the purpose of inquiry that he proposed it, but for the purpose of destroying the Roman Catholic system of religion in Ireland. Delenda est Roma had always been the consistent cry of the hon. Gentleman. [Mr. SPOONER: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member cheered that assertion, and yet he loved his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. Why, he had but repeated that night what he rehearsed in 1845. Word for word had the hon. Gentleman done that; even in the quotations he had made he had introduced no new authority—from Thomas Aquinas down to Lord John Russell. He (Mr. Spooner) had read to them a portion of his speech made in 1845, when there was a great Minister in power to resist him. Now, he had got 543 his old friends on the Treasury benches, and might possibly carry his Motion. If be (Mr. B. Osborne) could be surprised at any course taken by Her Majesty's Ministers, the speech which had just been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department would certainly increase the degree of that surprise. Under all that smiling and conciliatory demeanour, the right hon. Gentleman concealed the greatest bigotry. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire had quoted several extracts from speeches made by the late Sir Robert Peel, in reference to this inquiry; and if he (Mr. B. Osborne) remembered rightly on the occasion, in 1845, when the hon. Gentleman brought forward the same Amendment on which he had spoken that night, what was the answer of Sir Robert Peel? Why, that Minister expressly set his face against any inquiry, because he thought the powers given to the Visitors, together with the powers lodged in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland quite sufficient, and because he considered that an inquiry would only increase the animosity between Roman Catholics and Protestants, not only in Ireland, but in this country. He (Mr. B. Osborne) came now to the course pursued by the then supporters of Sir Robert Peel, and who were now Members of the present Government, with regard to the foundation of Maynooth. If he should prove a little tedious, after the numerous quotations which the House had listened to from Dens, Thomas Aquinas, and other learned writers, he hoped that the quotations which he wished to read, not from such learned churchmen, but from as great statesmen, would be received with indulgence by the House. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) had told the House the opinion of Lord Stanley in 1845, when that noble Lord stated the Amendment moved in another place by the Earl of Roden was not a substantial Amendment, but was meant only to destroy the system. Was Lord Stanley the only one of the present Ministers who then took that view? He held in his hand the speech of a Gentleman, a Member of the present Ministry, who was not then a Baronet, but who was supposed to owe to that speech the right of bearing the arms of Ulster on his coat. It was the speech of Mr. (now Sir John) Pakington, the right hon. the Secretary for the Colonies. Mr. Pakington says—He did not think it inconsistent with his duty, as a Churchman, to give the endowment of May- 544 nooth his support—not a cold or hesitating support—not a reluctant support exacted by the strength of party ties, but a cordial and willing support, founded upon deep conviction, first, that they must not venture to leave Maynooth on its present footing; secondly, that this measure was called for as a step in that wise and conciliatory policy towards Ireland which every Government should attempt to carry out."—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 119.]He regretted that he had not seen the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies in his place; perhaps the opinions of the right hon. Gentleman on theological matters might be found to have undergone as great a change as they recently discovered in his opinions on secular matters. As Secretary for the Colonies, the right hon. Gentleman was now able to carry out the wise and conciliatory policy which he had recommended in 1845. What was the House then to understand from the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman's Colleague, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he declared that the character of the Irish priesthood had changed, and accused them of showing a want of allegiance to the Sovereign? Was, however, the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) the only Member of the present Government who spoke on this subject on a former occasion? The House had listened to long extracts from the learned writers of a past age, perhaps they would; permit him to read rather a long extract from a speech made by a gentleman who was supposed to represent the chivalry of the Ministry in that House, he meant the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, (Lord John Manners), who was not at that time a Minister, and whose opinion was therefore pronounced at a time when—Free as nature first made man,And wild in Woods the noble savage ran.This was a speech to which he begged to call the attention of the House, particularly of the electors of Colchester, that they might learn the opinions of their noble representative. In 1845 the noble Lord said—The cry is raised, 'The Church is in danger.' Yes, Sir, I admit that it is; but it is not from this grant to Maynooth, nor yet from the Vatican, nor yet from the Jesuits, that the Irish Church is in peril. It is from herself; from her own self-willed and disobedient laity that she is danger; they who would have her isolate herself from the rest of Catholic Christendom, fraternise with the Puritan, and denounce priestcraft with the Presbyterian! I admit that the Irish Church is in danger, but am irresistibly reminded of the dying words of the martyred Laud on the scaffold. 545 They may who list trace all the glory, renown, and magnificence of the old English monarchy to the Dutch conquest of 1688, which subverted it, and See in the Penal Code and Protestant Ascendancy the safeguards of the Empire; but, for my-self, I claim a liberty to mount higher, and to act in 1846 as though William III. had died Stadtholder of Holland."—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 826.]How was the noble Lord going to act in 1852? Was he really going to act as if William III. had died Stadtholder of Holland? Then the noble Lord, after quoting Some very pretty poetry—The priests, those gentle priests and good, their fathers loved to hear,Sole type below, midst work and woe, of the God whom they revere,proceeds to say—Acknowledge frankly, and at once, that power which you admit to be so great, and which hitherto, with a childish and fatal obstinacy, you he We pretended to ignore. Accredit a Minister to the Vatican; receive a Nuncio at St. James's… With every feeling of confidence that as a Churchman I am not acting disloyally towards the Church in sactioning this measure, and as a statesman, that I am promoting the best interests of my country, I give my vote for this Bill of permanent endowment to the college of Maynooth."—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 830.]Those were the opinions of two Members of the present Cabinet, two steady and consistent supporters of the permanent endowment of Maynooth. But there was another Member of the Cabinet who had consistently opposed that Motion. It was the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the man who carried the brains of the Cabinet. In justice to the question, he (Mr. Osborne) would read to the House what that right hon. Gentleman then said, and perhaps after the voluminous polemics in which the rev. Gentleman—he begged pardon, he meant hon. Gentleman—the Member for North Warwickshire had indulged, perhaps the House would receive one or two extracts with pleasure. It was the speech of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered in 1845, opposing, not Maynooth, but quarrelling with Sir Robert Peel, upon which he (Mr. Osborne) based his opposition to this Motion. On April 11, 1845, the right hon. Gentleman, for the first time falling out with the late Sir Robert Peel, then said that he opposed the permanent endowment of Maynooth, but not on the grounds taken by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. What those grounds were on the present occasion, the right hon. Gentleman could not have heard, for he (the Chancellor of the, Exchequer) was asleep 546 during the whole of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, not a Treasury sleep, but a bonâ fide, natural and—if the right hon. Gentleman ever slept—a sincere sleep. The right hon. Gentleman then said that he opposed the Bill on account of the men who had brought it forward. He opposed it on account of its having been brought forward by Sir Robert Peel, whom he (Mr. Osborne) doubted not the right hon. Gentleman now sincerely regretted. He said—I oppose this Bill on account of the manner in which it has been introduced; and I oppose it also on account of the men by whom it is brought forward.… Are we to be told, that because those men who took the course to which I have referred, have crossed the floor of the House, and have abandoned with their former seats their former professions—are we to be told these men's measures and actions are to remain uncriticised and unopposed, because they tell us to look to the merits of their measures, and to forget themselves and their former protestations? Let us endeavour to put an end to the misconception and subterfuge which now surround us. You have permitted men to gain power, and enter place, and then carry measures exactly the reverse to those which they professed in Opposition; and you are reconciled to this procedure by being persuaded that by carrying measures which you disapprove of, and they pretend to disrelish, they are making what they call the 'best bargain' for you. I say the Parliamentary course is for this House to have the advantage of a Government formed on distinct principles. Here is a Minister who habitually brings forward as his own measures those very schemes and proposals to which, when in Opposition, he always avowed himself a bitter and determined opponent.… Let me ask the admirers of this 'best bargain' system how they think the right hon. Gentleman would have acted, had they been introduced by the noble Lord opposite? Let us tell persons in high places that cunning is not caution, and that habitual perfidy is not high policy of State."—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 561,563.]In all his reading he had never met anything so graphic and forcible as the right hon. Gentleman's picture of the state of Ireland on that occasion, and upon it he (Mr. Osborne) entirely grounded his opposition to the present Motion. This is the description:—The present condition of Ireland was to be traced, not to Protestantism but to Puritanism. Let them consider Ireland as they would any other country similarly situated, in their closets, then they would see a teeming population, which, with reference to the cultivated soil, was denser to the square mile than China.… That dense-population, in extreme distress, inhabited an island where there was an Established Church, which was not their church; and a territorial aristocracy, the richest of whom lived in distant capitals. Thus, they had a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and the weakest 547 Executive in the world. That was the Irish questionâThe moment they had a strong Executive, a just Administration, and ecclesiastical equality, they would have order in Ireland.[Mr. Walpole, at this instant, rose to leave the House, after consulting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.] He saw the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) was going out for Hansard; if he would wait one instant, he (Mr. B. Osborne) would give him the date. It was April 11, 1845. So long as there was ecclesiastical inequality in Ireland, so long would he (Mr. B. Osborne) refuse to be a party to any one-sided blow against his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen. He did not look upon this question as one of common endowment alone. He regarded it in the light of restitution. Those words were used by a noble Lord now in another place, by the then Lord Sandon, now the Earl of Harrowby, and also by the noble Lord the present Member for the city of London. He (Mr. B. Osborne) hoped the latter noble Lord would look upon it as a restitution now, and that he would not consent to be a party to this direct insult to the feelings of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. He hoped that the noble Lord would not unite with that body of men who, though they might be well-intentioned, were united with schemers for the next elections; but that he would avoid such a union with fanatics and schemers, and resist the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. He (Mr. B. Osborne) could not understand hon. Gentlemen who talked of love for their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, and held such terms as those used by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department—Oh, he saw the book had arrived—if the right hon. Gentleman would send it over to him, he would point out the place. If a particular agreement had been entered into with the Roman Catholics of Ireland at the time of the Union, they were bound to put the Roman Catholics in the same position with reference to their priests as the Protestants; and if that did not suit the Parliamentary consciences of the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner), and of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole), why, the Union ought to be dissolved. They were bound to recognise the claims of their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, and to give them a fair share of the resources of the country. While paying large sums to the Protestant Establishment and to the Protestant Dissenters in Ireland, they gave the Roman Catholics the paltry miserable 548 pittance of 26,000l. in the shape of the permanent endowment of Maynooth. He (Mr. Osborne) considered it was an insult to the feelings of the Roman Catholic population. But the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Spooner), with that peculiar pulpit grumbling kind of oratory, said that he objected to the propagation of error. He (Mr. Osborne) did not know to what other species of propagation the hon. Member objected. The hon. Member had quoted from various learned authorities, and among them from Thomas Aquinas, who had written upwards of 140 volumes, and from Paley, whose name was pronounced so indistinctly, that they on the Opposition side had fancied the hon. Member was quoting from something said or written by Mr. Henry Baillie, a respected Member of that House. One simple answer had been given to all these polemical discussions by Burke, who had said that whenever topics of religion came to be discussed in the State, the only view which ought to be taken of them was the political, and not the theological one. The House of Commons ought not to allow its time to be taken up with such a question as this, nor to permit the hon. Member for North Warwickshire to make it a rostrum from which to address his constituents. The noble Lord the seconder of the Motion (the Marquess of Blandford), agreed with the mover in objecting to the propagation of error. He (Mr. Osborne) would ask that noble Lord how he accounted for the propagation of error in our colonial dependencies? How did he account for the Roman Catholic endowments in Malta, in the Maurititus, in Gibraltar, and in Canada, all of which were granted by direct votes of that House? From India to Newfoundland the House had voted Roman Catholic endowments. He held in his hand a list of chaplains, whose appointments were salaried out of funds granted by that House. In Ireland more than 280 Roman Catholic chaplains were appointed to workhouses and gaols, and paid by the direct Vote of that House. The House had done more; for if he remembered rightly, in 1838, the Government of the day founded Hindoo and Mahometan Colleges in India, and endowed them with lecturers and professors of divinity. He wondered whether the hon. Member and his supporters were as well acquainted with the rites of Hindoo divinity as he was with those of the Roman Catholics. What ought the House to think of that odour of sanctity which strained at the Roman Catholic gnat, and 549 swallowed the Brahmin camel? How could they object to the doctrines taught at Maynooth, while they encouraged the indecent doctrines taught at Benares? Were they to suppose that the hon. Member and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole), who was the only Member of the Cabinet who did not go to sleep during the hon. Gentleman's speech, had a greater respect for the Hindoo religion, than for the Roman Catholic faith? What was the reason that they despised the Roman Catholics in this country, and respected the Hindoos in the Colonies? Because they were well aware that if they attempted to treat India or our other colonial dependencies as they had treated Ireland, this great empire would topple to destruction. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) had said that the character of the Irish priests had changed, and he left the House to believe that they were the instigators of rebellion. Had the right hon. Gentleman taken the pains to examine the statistics of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth? Was he aware that Dr. Cullen was not educated at Maynooth? Was the right hon. Gentleman aware that during the late unfortunate disturbances, there was but one priest brought up in Maynooth who had taken part with the party of Young Ireland, and that was Father Kenyon? Was he aware that most of the priests who sympathised with Mr. Smith O'Brien and his friends were not brought up at Maynooth? And yet the right hon. Gentleman said, on the eve of a general election, that Maynooth ought to be inquired into, because the priests were disloyal. When the right hon. Gentleman talked of the priests having assisted Mr. Smith O'Brien, was he aware that Trinity College furnished a great many more sympathisers than Maynooth? And yet they did not want an inquiry into Trinity College, although that College was confiscated from the Roman Catholics. Was the right hon. Gentleman aware that it was a Fellow of Trinity College who wrote the revolutionary song, "Who fears to speak of ninety-eight" Why, the right hon. Gentleman must be totally unacquainted with the duties and business of his office if he was not aware that Dr. Cullen was not a pupil of Maynooth. If the right hon. Gentleman was consistent, let him inquire into Trinity College. Let not one-sided inquiries be made, for the sole purpose of insulting the feelings of the Irish Roman Catholic population. But a grave objection bad been made by the Member for North 550 Warwickshire, and by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole), both of whom declared that it was wrong to give away the money of the country for the purposes of endowing error; and they had talked of the various grants given to the Roman Catholics being made from Protestant funds. He (Mr. B. Osborne) denied that it was Protestant money. He denied altogether that the money given to Maynooth was the money of this country, or Protestant money. He held in his hand an account of the public revenue of Ireland for the year ending 5th January, 1851. In that year the Customs receipts were 1,827,823l.; the Excise, 1,312,000l.; the stamps, 462,600l., with other items, which made a total of 3,607,000l. The Roman Catholic population contributed a larger proportion to that taxation than any other class in the country. The entire public revenue of Ireland, combining taxes, Church estates, and tithe-rent charge, amounted to upwards of 5,000,000l., of which nearly 1,000,000l. was given to the Established Church, 38,000l. to the Protestant Dissenters, and 26,000l. to the Roman Catholics; and yet they had the barefaced-ness, the presumption of dilating on the extraordinary munificence of this palty pittance of 26,000l., to declare that it was paid out of Protestant funds, He (Mr. B. Osborne) said that it was Roman Catholic money, and that they had a right to it; and he warned the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner), who professed such a great love for the Established Church in Ireland, that if there was one subject which more than any other was fraught with danger to that Establishment, it was the topic which the hyn. Gentleman and his supporter (Mr. Walpole) had raised. They talked of the immense sums of money received by the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth since 1845. Let the House see the treatment the Roman Catholic Colleges had received at the hands of the House. Since 1845 the Established Church had received no less than 5,209,000l.; the Protestant Dissenters had received 1,019,0002., and the Roman Catholic Colleges—let them hear and blush—had received a beggarly 365,670l. That was the sum which the hon. Member had talked of so largely. He remembered a speech of Mr. Grattan, delivered in 1797, upon temporalities, which was so appropriate that he would read a passage to the House. Mr. Grattan said—Give us all the good things on earth, in the name of God, and give nothing to the rest of our 551 fellow-subjects. Thus this pure and pious passion for Church and State turns out to be a sort of political gluttony, an immoderate appetite for temporal gratifications, in consideration of spiritual perfection; and in consequence of this vile, mean, and selfish monopoly your State becomes an oligarchy.Whatever might be his (Mr. B. Osborne's) own views with regard to the Amendment moved by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey), as to the abstract justice of the endowment of any religion at all; he, for one, would never be a party to beginning with his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, who received so small and niggardly an amount. Let there be an immediate inquiry into the endowments of the Established Church and into the endowments of the Dissenters in Ireland. He would be no party to anything to increase Protestant ascendancy in Ireland, nor to any measure of a partisan nature, which was brought forward by the Government for the purpose of going to the hustings with a Protestant cry. The Government, it was clear, had no distinct principles to go on. They had pressed that respectable Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire to act upon the doctrine of compromise, which had been broached the other night in the Mansion House, and which was now to be practised in St. Stephens's. He (Mr. B. Osborne) would be no party to a compromise of rights which were founded in high truth and justice. He thought it was hardly consistent, at a time when it was acknowledged that the country was in a weak state of defence—when they were about to add to the national defences a militia force of 80,000 men—to deprive the country of that great source of national Strength, the confidence and good will of the people of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) was forsaking his position as a Minister of Great Britain, and was making himself the Minister of a mere party. He was realising the prophecy Uttered by that great man Mr. Sheil, who, in the year 1845, said that "if ever this country should fall so low that Parliament should be guided by a Minister who should yield to considerations of religious bigotry; when the Parliament should become a tabernacle, and the Cabinet the appurtenance of the conventicle, and the receptacle of the doctrines of the tub, the people of Ireland would, at every hazard, demand the repeal of the Union, not upon futile grounds, but because the Government, abdicating their position as Ministers, wished to splinter up the empire by becoming pan- 552 ders to the religious prejudices of the country."—[See 3 Hansard, lxxix. 979.]
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I beg the indulgence of the House for a moment, while I speak to a point respecting a representation made by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down; as it is a point of importance to myself personally, I beg the attention of the House. The hon. Gentleman quoted several passages from a speech of mine, which he said was delivered in 1845; and added, that in consequence of what he found in that speech, he founded his opposition to this Motion. There could be no mistake as to the particular speech referred to, because he very courteously gave the date of it, the 11th of April, 1845, to my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole); nor could there be any mistake as to the particular speech intended, because he said the speech impugned the intentions of the then Ministry. The hon. Gentleman quoted what he called a graphic description of the state of Ireland, and to which the House listened with attention- The hon. Gentleman is entirely mistaken—I thought so at the time he was speaking—for, on reference to it by myself, by the right hon. Secretary of State for the Home Department, and by the Attorney General, we find it contains nothing whatever of the graphic description of the position of the people of Ireland to which the hon. Gentleman alluded. There is not one syllable of the kind in the speech.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
I refer most distinctly to page 561 of Hansard, where what I quoted will be found. The right hon. Gentleman is getting off in his usual quibbling—["Order, order!"] I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon; I should say in his usual ingenious way. The speech from which I quoted was made by the right hon. Gentleman on the 16th of February, 1844, and will be found at page 1016 [3 Hansard, lxxii.]. The right hon. Gentleman used the distinct words which I quoted, and cannot now eat his own words. I make him a present of the difference in the dates.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The hon. Gentleman professed to quote from a speech of mine, delivered on the 11th of April, 1845, on the subject of Maynooth. I said there was no passage of the kind to be found in the speech of April 11th; and now the hon. Gentleman says the quotation is to be found in a speech delivered on the 16th of February, 1844. But what has that speech to do with the 553 argument I used on the subject of Maynooth, in 1845, when the hon. Gentleman alleged I used a statement on which he grounded his opposition to the present Motion? That statement was not made on the subject of Maynooth.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
Sir, I cannot hear this question discussed tonight without rising to offer my protest, weak and feeble as that protest may be, against the hybrid Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner)—a Motion pretending inquiry, but breathing persecution; and When persecution is alleged against it, taking shelter under inquiry—a Motion which turns this House into judge, jury, and public prosecutor, and calls for inquiry into a system of education for a religious priesthood, the only reason for that inquiry being that this system of education is founded upon a series of books that existed for centuries before the hon. Member, the inquisitor who has brought forward this Motion, had the honour of a seat in this House, and which no more constitute a reason for inquiry into the education taught at Maynooth in 1852, than they did in 1792 or 1798, or at any other period since the college was first instituted. And yet here we have been for two mortal hours listening to quotations delivered from that red box which is now a green box, that have been three times, ten times, nay fifty times, re-echoed from folios to blue books, from blue books to pamphlets, from pamphlets to speeches, and from speeches back to pamphlets again. And cui bono? What is the advantage of all this? What benefit are we to gain? Looking at the matter calmly and dispassionately, I can see no benefit or advantage to be gained, unless this be counted one—that we drive to desperation 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 of the integral population of the British Isles, who already feel aggrieved and hurt by the legislation of last Session. Surely, Sir, one would have thought that last Session was enough for spite; this might have been given for legislation. But it would almost appear that spite is now to be the prevailing character of our legislation with regard to Ireland. And what is the argument? I confess I heard with deep regret—from the great respect and esteem I entertain for him—I heard with deep regret the arguments used by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Walpole), who has come forward as the advocate of this Mo- 554 tion. He told us that a loyal priesthood had not been reared at Maynooth. Why, Sir, in the first place, Maynooth under the new system has only been six years established, and the students who entered under that system in the first year can scarcely yet have passed through the curriculum of study. How a system can be tested by its effects, which system has been only sir years in operation, I own altogether passes my comprehension. The argument is this—Old Maynooth did not educate loyal priests—New Maynooth has not had the time in which it was physically possible to educate priests of any character—for, as I said, the students who entered the first year can yet have barely passed their curriculum—therefore let the system be tried by an impossible test. Really, in listening to the speech of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, one was tempted to think that he saw a vision of the whole Roman Catholic hierarchy—archbishops, bishops, and priests, all—lurking behind the cabbages in the Widow Cormack's' garden. Nothing else has been shown to justify the virulent expressions that have been used against the Roman Catholics. But, Sir, what miserable, what petty arguments are these to justify an interference with the education of the clergymen of so many millions of our fellow-subjects—arguments dictated by party declamation, party misrepresentation, party feeling, and used against a portion of our countrymen whose unhappy condition requires, and has long required, the most calm, the most gentle, the most patient, long-suffering, and forbearing treatment. It was only a few days ago that this House heard, and heard with proud and justifiable pleasure, the right hon. Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir J. Pakington) lay down a sensible and statesmanlike scheme, announcing that the distinction between the Maori and the Englishman, the New Zealander and the European, should he no longer a badge of difference. So here we are one day bridging over with a large-hearted toleration the cincture of half the world, and the next meeting to aggravate sectarian differences, to propagate evil feelings, and to make St. George's Channel an Atlantic Ocean. Surely six centuries of the difficulties of the Irish question might have been a warning to us that the seventh century requires a different treatment. A different treatment was tried in the year 1845. The evil was great, the remedy was patent; and because that re- 555 medy has not yet proved efficient, which physically it is impossible it should yet have had time to be, therefore we, like spoiled children, or rather like spoiled patients, throw away our physic because it has not accomplished an instantaneous remedy. With the experiment of 1845 I ought to say I do not altogether hold. There was one portion of it which I then resisted, and which I still resist, on account of the unfortunate foundation on which it was based. I sympathise with my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis) as to the unfortunate foundation on which the colleges of Belfast, Cork, and Galway were placed when the hon. Baronet and the late Mr. O'Connell united in resisting their establishment. These colleges have not succeeded, and I cannot say I regret they have not succeeded. But this College of Maynooth, which, as far as physical improvement has gone, has certainly benefited, as far as we can tell—or rather, as far we cannot tell, for I return to my first assertion that in six or seven years it is physically impossible to test its efficiency—this college is to be sacrificed to a mere hustings cry, which the Roman Catholics may confound with the English national feeling; it is to be sacrificed to the Durham letter—that miserable and desperate attempt to prop up the fortunes of a tottering Minister of unparalleled pettiness in the last days of his power. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and those who think with him, from some motives of their own, inscrutable to other men, have got up a cry which has led to this miserable result, that Ireland, barely putting in a claim for pacification and good government, has had legislation postponed for a whole Session; while now, for the gratification of national prejudices and national feelings, the subject of Maynooth is put forward, no longer as matter for legislation, but for aggravated insult and mistaken injustice. An inquiry is now moved for; yet sixty years ago, when the College of Maynooth was founded, the programme of the education of the Roman Catholic clergy was the same, and their faith and principles were then what they are now. And what, then, is the justification for this proposed investigation? What proof have we of the disloyalty of those who have received their education at the institution which has been so much assailed? Most abortive and contemptible were the efforts which characterised the last attempt at an, insurrection in Ireland; but would 556 the rebellion have been what it was if the Roman Catholic clergy had abetted it—had their seminary been that nest of Mazzinis, Ledru-Rollins, and Kossuths, which it is attempted to represent it? I do not call on the hon. Member for North Warwickshire to applaud Maynooth—I do not applaud it myself. I am not a Roman Catholic; I am a member of the Church of England, devoted to her; hut being a member of the Church of England, I am also an English citizen: and when I recollect that millions of Roman Catholics contribute to; our taxation, I regret to see hon. Gentlemen grudge a small tithe and toll out of it for the education of the Roman Catholic clergy. I do not ask the hon. Member for North Warwickshire to reform the College of Maynooth, or to prescribe a course of lectures, or even to give a single lecture himself; but I do call on my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford—I wish I could call him my right hon. Friend for he has well earned the title by his integrity of conduct and singleness of heart—and I will ask him what foundation will be secure if the settlement of the grant to Maynooth is to be disturbed? Maynooth is an institution of the country; so is Oxford; institutions which have been solemnly guaranteed by the country, and whose stability ought not to be affected by the mere breath of vulgar rumour. What sanctity, what prescriptive right, has any institution—what school or college in England or Ireland can bring forward any of those prescriptive claims on which they now rely, if such a vague, crude, ill-founded cry as that which has been raised against Maynooth can justify such an inquiry as this—built as it is upon prejudices which have been reared up all on one side? An inquiry conducted in this spirit can only lead to one conclusion—a conclusion which I must do the hon. Member for North Warwickshire the justice to say he did not state openly, but which, in the short, pointed sentences of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (the Marquess of Bland-ford), came out clear and unmistakeable. I must apologise to the House for detaining it so long, but I could not help protesting against this Motion as an instrument of class legislation, as a surrender to prejudice for the sake of popularity, which we feel must keep open for centuries longer the wounds which have remained open for centuries past, and which will even open fresh wounds, and aggravate fresh quarrels. It will sow the seeds of enmity 557 among the inhabitants of these fair lands; and this at the time when that which ought to be a happy kingdom, and to embrace not Britain and Ireland, but the British nation, and, as a part of it, that island foremost towards America of the old world, is so far divided against itself that a large portion of your population is flying from your class legislation to another continent, whose suppliers, and not whose colonisers, they might have been. This may seem a great deal to say of a grant of 26,000l a year; but this is a question on which the feelings of the people of Ireland are very warmly excited, and I can conceive that your legislation may tend further to exasperate those feelings. Last year you irritated and insulted them—this year you propose not only to irritate and to insult, but to add positive damage. On these considerations, with a view to the safety and good government of this empire, and the maintenance of national honour and honesty, I protest against the proposition of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, as one divested of character, of statesmanship, and of judgment, and likely to subserve any object but that of the public good.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he thought the House must labour under one great difficulty in that matter, and that was to ascertain the point to which the observations of the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. B. Hope) tended. The hon. Member had deprecated inquiry into anything; and yet there was hardly a point connected with ecclesiastical subjects to which he had not made some sort of reference. As the hon. Member had alluded to so many extraneous topics, he (Mr. Newdegate) must say that he was surprised that he had said nothing about the induction of Mr. Bennett to the living of Frome. The hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne) had also addressed the House upon the subject, and in a very different strain, and had been, as usual, witty and amusing; but his wit had been tainted by something of the assurance of the barrack yard. The hon. Member had, at all events, succeeded in proving incontestably his total ignorance of the subject under the consideration of the House; he had even boasted of his ignorance, and congratulated himself on his own blindness to the effects of circumstances which were almost universally recognised. The hon. Member was very unfortunate in the result of his readings in Hansard. He 558 certainly appeared to have made a great point against the Chancellor of the Exchequer; when, to and behold! he was detected in having most unfairly joined together portions of different speeches on different subjects, and then tortured the meaning of this composition of his own into the expression of opinions which he entirely attributed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Nothing could be more unfair. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to his (Mr. Newdegate's) hon. Colleague, and had stated that his hon. Colleague had made his Motion in a mean and cowardly spirit for electioneering purposes. Now, he had often been proud of having been associated with his hon. Friend, but he never felt prouder of that association than on the present occasion. His hon. Friend had met with a serious accident at one o'clock that morning, for he had been knocked down and driven over in the street; and surely there was very little of meanness or cowardice in his appearing in his place in the House that evening to bring forward that Motion after such an accident. But it was said that the Motion was made for electioneering purposes. Now he (Mr. Newdegate) believed that if his hon. Friend had had any such purposes in view, he would have adopted the terms of the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey), and proposed a repeal of the Maynooth grant. But did the hon. and learned Member for Youghal desire that repeal? By no means, for the real object of his Amendment had been to get rid of that Motion by a side-wind. And this was evident, for the hon. and learned Member proposed that the House should inquire not into the education given at Maynooth only, though that was a wide subject, but into the application of all public grants in aid of religious purposes. It was manifest that such a Motion could only be made with a view to defeat the practical proposal of his hon. Friend. It had been said of Irish Members, that no matter to what purposes a grant was applied, so it was a grant of money, they could not bear to forego it. Was the hon. Member for Kerry so much of an Irishman that he clung to this paltry sum, and would defeat the inquiry altogether rather than give it up? He (Mr. Newdegate) should, till he heard him assert the reverse, believe that he deprecated the temper of the priests educated at Maynooth as much as he (Mr. Newdegate) did; yet the hon. Member's Amendment alleged there 559 were means of inquiry by visitation; but he must know that these means were insufficient: they had been proved to be so by fifty years' experience. The hon. Member's Amendment was but another side-wind. The hon. Member for Middlesex had stated that the late Sir Robert Peel had opposed an inquiry into the state of the College of Maynooth in the year 1845; but that argument had been ably answered by his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Had there been no change of circumstances since the year 1845 to justify inquiry? Would the Roman Catholic Members of the Defence Association—would the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh)—rget up in his place and say that the status of the Roman Catholic hierarchy had continued unchanged since that year? Could he hope that the people of this country would forget the intrusion of a Cardinal, rescript in hand, upon them in 1850? Had, or had not, the hon. and learned Member declared throughout Ireland his conviction of the necessity, in his opinion, for forming a great Roman Catholic League for the purpose of defending what the vast majority of the people of this country believed to be an aggression on their rights and privileges? The hon. and learned Gentleman, after proclaiming how great a circumstance, how vehemently to be defended by the adherents of the Pope and his legate, Cullen, was the intrusion of a foreign hierarchy upon Ireland, could not deny that that that fact had altered the relations of the Roman Catholic body of that country from those which existed in 1845. But the hon. Member for Middlesex had concluded his address by a quotation from a speech of the late Mr. Shell. Now he (Mr. Newdegate) would beg the attention of the House i—and more especially that of Roman Catholic Members—to an extract which he could read from a speech which had been delivered on that very subject, in the year 1845, by the same distinguished Gentleman. It was well known that Mr. Sheil was a sincere Roman Catholic, as well as a great ornament of that House; and in the year 1845 he spoke as follows:—If I am asked whether I am prepared to defend every opinion contained in the text-books of Maynooth, I answer that I am no more prepared to do so than to defend everything in Coke's Commentary upon Liitleton, or everything contained in Blackstone, in his distinction between malum prohibitum and malum in se; nor do I conceive that Maynooth is responsible for all that is to be found 560 in the books which are read in the course of its studies—the text-books must be taken in conjunction with the lectures of the professors; and if it be alleged that by the professors any criminal or intolerant doctrine is taught, or even broached, let a Committee of Inquiry be proposed by the Gentlemen by whom that allegation shall be preferred, and every Catholic Member of this House will vote in favour of the Motion."—[3 Hansard, lxxx. 712.]The facts supposed by Mr. Sheil, that is, the ultramontane nature of the teaching at Maynooth, as evidenced by the conduct of the Irish priests there trained, had been credibly alleged in this House, and were recognised throughout the country. The Committee of Inquiry to which Mr. Sheil referred was proposed in the present instance; why, then, if they respected Mr. Sheil's memory, should Roman Catholic Members oppose the Motion? Many Members of that House alleged that the teaching in Maynooth was intolerant; and that the fruit of that intolerant- teaching was evinced in the conduct of those who had been brought up in that establishment. What fairer specimen of the character of that teaching than the acts and speeches of a late Professor of that establishment (Dr. M'Hale) could be adduced? There was danger in the present condition of Ireland. Mr. Sheil, alas! was dead, and so was Dr. Murray; and in their places were to be found the hon. Member for the City of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds), and Dr. M'Hale, who were at the head of an association having for its object the overthrow of the civil and religious independence of this country. Had hon. Members never heard of the denunciations of the Roman Catholic priesthood? Had they' never heard of the horrible curses which had been uttered by the Rev. Mr. Meehan? Had they not read Dr. Cahil's letters, exciting the Raman Catholics of Ireland to rise in rebellion against the Constitution of these realms, whenever England should be attacked by any foreign enemy? He was sure the House would feel that after the statement of his hon. Colleague it could not refuse to accede to the Motion. The country had long decided that question, and come to the conclusion that no further inquiry was necessary. The Legislature alone still remained unpersuaded, and still hesitated, for some reasons which he could not understand. And under these circumstances could there be a more reasonable proposal than that made by his hon. Colleague, that they should inquire whether there 561 were any just grounds for the strong feeling which, it was admitted, prevailed throughout the country upon the subject, and cause a difference between the people and the Legislature? Why, by refusing that inquiry they would be treating the people of England with contempt; it was treating the honest conviction of all those who had sent petitions to the House on the subject with absolute contempt. And for what reason were they asked to pursue such a course? They were asked to pursue it in order that they might not produce irritation among the Irish people. But were the Irish people so content with their condition, or so attached to their priesthood? Was it not well known that no sooner did the Irish peasantry reach the shores of the United States than they emancipated themselves in millions from the thraldom in which they had been kept by their clergy at home? Were not attempts at present made by the priesthood in Ireland to prevent emigration, on the very plea that those who emigrated to America abandoned the Roman Catholic Church and liberated themselves from the tyranny of their clergy? Hon. Members opposite could not deny those facts, and yet they sought to evade that inquiry. Was not the teaching at Maynooth intolerant? Were not the students there instruments in the hands of clergy, thrust by the Court of Rome upon Ireland for the purpose of creating ill-will between that country and England? These truths were too well known. If they wanted to know the real objects and feelings of the clerical party in Ireland, let them read the Tablet. The Tablet was the organ of the Roman Catholic priesthood. Again, he challenged the hon. Member for Athlone to deny that the Tablet expressed the feelings of the most powerful section of the Irish priesthood. The hon. and learned Member for Athlone had been entertained at a great festival by his admirers, and towards the close of that festival a curious scene had occurred. A gentleman of the name of Roche had been called upon to respond to the toast of "The Press," whereupon a great uproar had been raised by the Roman Catholic priests, and a Mr. Murray, a priest, had rushed upon the table, amidst the crash of decanters, and had vociferated for Mr. Lucas, though Mr. Roche had risen in obedience to the chairman. And why had Mr. Lucas been so called for? Why was he preferred, and set up to set down Mr. Roche? Why, because he was 562 the editor of the Tablet; which was, he (Mr. Newdegate) said, without the slightest hesitation, an organ more full of sedition, more full of anti-national feeling, more replete with the bitterest intolerance and bigotry, than any other paper that had ever disgraced the United Kingdom. He trusted that the House would not allow itself to be diverted from the moderate and reasonable proposal of his hon. Colleague, and that it would not any longer allow that cancer of Maynooth to fester in Ireland unsearched.
§ MR. MONSELL
The hon. Gentleman who has just concluded his speech evidently thinks it is just and right that Protestants should coalesce for the purpose of attacking the Roman Catholics, but not that Roman Catholics should combine in order to defend themselves. The hon. Gentleman did not stoop to argument, but did what he could to fan to the uttermost the flame of religious bigotry. I will pass by his speech with the single remark, that in the case of the Rev. Mr. Meehan, to whom the hon. Gentleman referred, the report was entirely inaccurate, and that he never used the words which were attributed to him. [Mr. NEWDEGATE said, he had not quoted any words used by Mr. Meehan.] What I stated was this, that the words to which the hon. Gentleman must have referred in making his statement—for I suppose he did not imagine or invent it—were incorrectly reported. But I pass by the speech of the hon. Gentleman, to the statement, far more important, of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department. That right hon. Gentleman rose, after a tirade of abuse had been discharged against the religion of one-third of Her Majesty's subjects, without one word of reprobation of the language that had been employed. Did he not rather ratify the statements which had been made, and proclaim war to the knife against us, when he, occupying the high position of a Minister of the Crown, said not one word in reproof of our adversaries? Occupying that position, whatever his own private feelings might have been, I think we might have expected that he would have endeavoured to protect us from the statements so wantonly made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). And now, what is the real object of the Motion which has been made? It was candidly acknowledged, if not by the right hon. Gentleman, by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (the Marquess of Bland- 563 ford), that the object of the inquiry is to take away altogether the grant from Maynooth. Their object is to diminish the number of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. What they wish and desire is, that the poor man, who has passed through a life of suffering, shall not have a priest to stand by his bedside, and give him the consolations of religion when he is dying. And here let me ask the House for one moment what is the conduct of every other country in Europe where there is a divided population—that is, where there is a considerable minority differing from the majority on the subject of religion? I say, that in every instance that minority is treated with consideration. They have ministers endowed, schools founded, and children educated out of the funds of the State. Yet you wish to support a position of insulated illiberality; and you, who profess to be the friends of civil and religious liberty all over the world, who profess to desire to see your free institutions copied in every part of the globe, take this for a specimen of the policy which you wish to hold up for imitation. You have taken away from the people of Ireland the property left for the support of their religion by the piety of their ancestors, and you begrudge them the poor and miserable grant of 26,000l. per annum, which is all they receive at your hands. In one of the constitutional essays published by the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Viscount Mahon), he says that the Tories of the present day profess the same principles which the Whigs did a hundred years ago. Mr. Macaulay, in commenting upon that passage, observing that the nation was constantly advancing, said that the head and tail always maintained their relative positions, though the tail was now where the head was then. But where does the right hon. Gentleman trace his opinions to? Not to Mr. Pitt, who founded and endowed Maynooth; not to Lord Clare, stern Protestant ascendancy champion as he was. Not to Mr. Perceval. No; he must trace back his political ancestry on this subject to the time of the penal laws. It is there, and there alone, that the opinions which we have heard this night, and which are supported by a Cabinet Minister, must be found. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman, instead of being in advance of Mr. Perceval or Mr. Pitt, has gone back to those times which, I should think, no one would ever wish to see revived in this country. Under these circumstances, with the strong feeling existing in the country, and 564 with the line that Her Majesty's Government were prepared to follow (though the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was not expected), the question is, what course it is expedient for those to take who are most deeply interested in the College of Maynooth? Now, on this subject I speak for myself alone. I will not oppose this inquiry, because I believe that the more you look into the teaching and lectures of the professors, the more you will find that College is honestly and fairly conducted, and does carry out, bonâ fide, the intentions of those who founded it, not, of course, by teaching the Protestant, but by teaching the Catholic religion. I believe that the results of that teaching are most satisfactory to the people of Ireland, and will be satisfactory to any fairly appointed Committee of this House. If a Committee he appointed, I will ask the House, in common justice, to take care that the tribunal appointed be a fair one. I will ask them not to put on that Committee jurymen who have signed their verdict before they go into the box. Do not let them send them there judges who have written their judgments before they have heard the cause. Do not let them appoint Gentlemen who have written to their constituents to say, that if the repeal of the grant to Maynooth should be proposed, they have determined to support the Motion. Let the inquiry be a fair and a full one, and I, for one, shall be fully satisfied. In expressing that opinion, I am happy to say that I am confirmed by the written opinion of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh (Dr. Cullen). The most rev. Prelate said, that in his opinion it would not be wise to oppose inquiry; that the College could defy all its enemies; that there were no secrets, no occult practices; that the books used were known to the world, and might be had of any bookseller; and he goes on to say, that in the present state of feeling in the country, he thinks it better that there shall be a full inquiry. The only object, then, which I have in view now is, that the House will take care that the inquiry shall not be entrusted to a Committee which has prejudged the question.
thought it quite unnecessary to make any observation upon the statement which had been made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). He had little doubt that the inquiry moved for would be granted; and he certainly thought, after all that had been said of late, both in that House and out of it, re- 565 specting the system of education in the College of Maynooth, that such an inquiry would be considered desirable, not only by the opponents of the Maynooth grant, but by those who were friendly to its continuance. He must say, however, that he agreed with the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood), that this inquiry ought to be extended to the exclusive system, which in some degree existed at Trinity College, Dublin; and if the Motion before the House were carried, he would also consider it to be his duty to vote for the addition of the words proposed by the Member for North Lancashire. If the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had persevered in the Amendment of which he had given notice, he (Mr. Duff) would have been equally prepared to support that Amendment.
§ MR. MOORE
had no intention of following the hon. Member for North Warwickshire through the fields of theological controversy in which he had been revelling. He believed it was quite possible for a Gentleman who had no intention of speaking an untruth to be guilty of utterly perverting and falsifying facts unintentionally. He would take the liberty of saying that the hon. Gentleman had been guilty of such a perversion of fact as he hoped would not be found recorded amongst the casuists to whom he had alluded. The hon. Gentleman stated, that in the works of Mons. Bailly, which he quoted to the House, a mental reservation, which amounted to little less than perjury, was justified; and he quoted the following words:—Causa a juramenti obligatione excusans est limitatio intentionis jurantis, vel expressa, vel etiam tacita et subintellecta.But at the very moment he was inveighing against a perversion of facts, he stopped short in his quotation, leaving out the words, "ex dispositione juris, vel ex consuetudine;" that was to say, that a man taking an oath might resolve in his mind the legality of the act which he engaged to do, and might limit it to the reservation which, by common custom, might apply to the circumstances under which he swore; it was as though he (Mr. Moore) were to take an oath to make a Motion in that House on a particular subject, and afterwards found that he could not do so according to the rules of the House; he should therefore be exempted from making the Motion. It must be recollected that a few weeks or months ago the hon. Member put upon the paper a Motion in which he intimated his 566 intention to repeal altogether the grant to Maynooth; but now the hon. Gentleman appeared to have altered his intention, and came to the House with a speech which breathed of Exeter-hall, and a proposition which smacked unmistakeably of Downing-street. So that the Protestantism of the hon. Gentleman was only Brummagem metal after all. What was the principle of the agitation out of doors upon this question? It was this, that it was not expedient nor proper that the Protestant people should be taxed for the maintenance and propagation of a religion which they believed to be untrue. That was a lucid, clear, and intelligent position, in the comprehensive and bold application of which the people of Ireland even would not be much inclined to disagree. But what need was there of an inquiry into the state of education at Maynooth to settle that point? Did any one deny that the religion taught there was a religion in which the Protestant people did not believe? Would the hon. Gentleman himself be inclined to propose an inquiry into the comparative truth of the Protestant and the Roman Catholic religions? The hon. Gentleman had said, that the object of the State in granting that endowment was to protect the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland from foreign and ultramontane influence, and to infuse into the Roman Church a national as well as a Catholic spirit. He (Mr. Moore) feared that result had been fulfilled, not only beyond their expectations but beyond their wishes. Was it possible to conceive a body of men more full of national instinct, more incorporate with the people, than the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland? They had, he feared, been found too national, too independent of Papal influence. Six years ago Government obtained a brief or rescript from Rome, the intention of which was supposed to be to fetter and restrain the Irish ecclesiastics in the exercise of their civil and national rights. The public opinion in this country was absolutely ultramontane in its indignation at the want of humility and obedience of the Catholic clergy to the mandates of the Pope; and it was only the other day that an English viceroy was detected in secret and clandestine correspondence with the Pope, humbly seeking his interference in the domestic arrangements of the Roman Catholic Church. If their object were not to nationalise or to popularise, but to separate the Irish clergy from the nation, then indeed they had begun at the wrong 567 end. The Irish Roman Catholic clergy had been for ages the leaders of the people, because for ages the people had had no other leaders, and no other friends. While the laws made it penal for the Roman Catholics to read or to write, the priests taught the people how to lire and die; while the laws degraded them into savages, the priests marshalled them into a nation, and taught them to be a people. Let the State, then, come forward as a leader and friend of the people, and the priests of Ireland would deliver over to them the keys of the fortress of the people's hearts with benediction and with prayer.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
Sir, I propose to give my vote in favour of the Motion which the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) has made; but the subject is of so much importance, and I differ so widely from the spirit of the speech by which he introduced and recommended that Motion, that I cannot honestly or properly consent to vote in silence. Sir, I am not here to contend that Parliament is bound by any compact to the maintenance of the Act which secures the endowment of the Maynooth College. I do not now raise the question what may be due to individuals whose livelihood is dependent on their employment in connexion with, the college. I speak of its permanent maintenance, and in regard to its permanent maintenance I altogether disclaim the doctrine of compact. But while I disclaim the doctrine of compact, I must add that it appears to me that unless you can show in a definite manner and by substantial proofs that the objects and purposes of that endowment have failed, that the expectations you entertained at the time of that endowment have been frustrated—unless you can show all this, then both prudence and justice, in their highest forms, demand the maintenance of this endowment. It appears to me that failure cannot be shown; and I must say, in the first instance, it would be to me a subject of very great grief and of very serious apprehension if that failure could be shown. I confess I am surprised at the manner and tone in which this question is approached by many hon. Gentlemen. They seem to think it a small subject whether they shall withdraw this endowment from the College of Maynooth. They forget that its importance is not to be measured by the figures that designate its amount. They forget that the endowment of the College of Maynooth is of 568 itself, if not a vital, yet a great and a material circumstance in the whole relations between England and Ireland. They forget that in 1845, when the whole power of a strong Government was staked upon: carrying the enlargement of this endowment, that that important Act derived it chief importance from the feelings and the sentiments of which it was the symbol. They have not seriously asked themselves what will be the next step which the withdrawal of this endowment will lead to: for my part, I do not say that if this endowment can be shown to be mischievous1—if your expectations founded on it Can be shown to have failed—I do not say that in that case the endowment is to be maintained. But this I venture to say, that if this endowment be withdrawn, the Parliament which withdraws it must be prepared to enter upon the whole subject of a reconstruction of the ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland. I am not speaking of what is right, or what is wrong. I am not speaking of what is to be desired, or what is to be deprecated. For my part,. I deeply deprecate the series of changes upon which such a course would precipitate us; but I am speaking of what I believe to be not merely the logical but the' necessary consequence of the course upon which we should be entering. And having these anticipations of the consequences of such a policy, begun in such a form as the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire would propose, it is but honesty on my part that I should state them1 fairly in the face of this House of Commons. It appears to me that no serious case has been made out to prove the failure of this endowment. We have not yet completed the cycle of seven years since the present endowed institution of Maynooth has been organised. I believe I am correct in saying that not one single student in the regular course of theological education in that seminary has yet left Maynooth who entered the college since' the enlargement of the endowment. Now, Sir, I am sure no reasonable man could expect that that endowment was to operate by magic upon the sentiments and the habits of a whole generation and an entire people. It is painful to me to hear the language in which parts of the history of Ireland and circumstances in the state of Ireland have been referred to to-night. Nothing is more easy, God knows, than to make inflammatory and exasperating statements in regard to the condition of that 569 unhappy country. Nothing is more easy than to retaliate those statements. You may draw forth cheers and counter cheers; you may gratify the feelings of zealots and partisans; but what does all that do for the prosperity, the happiness, and the peace of the country? Why, Sir, there was a time—it was when one of the Acts was passed in the Irish Parliament relating to the militia—in which that Parliament thought fit to frame the preamble of that Act in a mode somewhat like this—I do not quote the exact words, but from memory, and the substance is accurately given:—"Whereas the Popish inhabitants of this country have often broken out in rebellion, and whereas it is most probable that the said Popish inhabitants will again, in a future time, rebel, therefore be it enacted," &c. Sir, I had hoped that the spirit which dictated those words was no longer represented within these walls. But, Sir, when I heard the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire speak of the priests of Maynooth, and of their relation to sedition and rebellion, in the language—as I thought, the imprudent and most unfortunate language—he used, I cannot but feel that we are still in danger, unless we put a guard upon ourselves when we discuss these inflaming questions, of being hurried back into a temper such as, in our cooler moments, we all should deprecate, and such as is fraught with most dangerous consequences to the country. Now, Sir, I think that the hon. Gentleman has mentioned points, and that there are other points, which may be legitimate subjects of Parliamentary inquiry in connexion with the College of Maynooth. I frankly own that I should prefer this inquiry had taken place at a somewhat later period; because I think it would be more nearly consistent with wisdom if you were to wait at least until the pupils of some two or three successive years had gone through their training at Maynooth, and until you had had home practical experience of their pastoral efficiency and their general conduct as compared with the older priests who were reared under an earlier and more pernicious system. This, it seems to me, I confess, would have been a wiser course than that we should examine at a period when evidence is scarcely, as I should say, ripe for investigation. At the same time, when a Motion of this kind is made, we must consider, not simply the expediency of making it, but we must consider the 570 consequences that will flow from resistance Now, I confess it appears to me that my hon. Friend who spoke latterly from that bench (Mr. Monsell) has acted wisely, and has formed a just judgment, when he said he thought, considering the strong feeling in this country in favour of the inquiry, that it was for the interest of Maynooth that those who were its friends should not place any obstacles in its way. If it be true, as has been alleged, that the establishment is extravagantly large-—if it be true, though I confess I have heard no evidence to induce me to believe it—that at Maynooth you not only have the means of educating a supply of Roman Catholic priests for Ireland, but that you likewise send a surplus to England and the Colonies that ought not to be: those are legitimate subjects for inquiry. I grant you are entitled to inquire, if you think fit, when Parliament has endowed an institution with 26,000l. a year, whether that money is economically, judiciously, and effectively applied to the purposes which Parliament intended. Nay, more, I go a step further, and say, that when allegations have been raised, such as those of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire, in regard to the teaching at Maynooth as respects civil duties and the obligation of allegiance, I do not think it would be wise to show the slightest indisposition for a full inquiry. I confess my own belief is, in regard to that point, that the inquiry will end much as it began. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the Report of 1827, made by the Commissioners of Education; but I very much doubt whether the hon. Gentleman has discharged the labour of wading through that Report. If he had done so, I think he would have found that those Commissioners had sounded the very depths of casuistical teaching in regard to oaths; and I doubt whether the hon. Gentleman will produce any fuller exhibition of the doctrine, or will arrive at any more definite conclusion than was arrived at by those Commissioners. If I pass from these points to the general tone and spirit of the hon. Gentleman, it appears to me his main charge against the College of Maynooth is, that in that college are inculcated the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion. It is a question of the gravest character, whether Parliament should enter into relations of that kind with the Roman Catholic Church. But permit me to say it is a question that does not depend upon an 571 examination of minute details. It is a question for the highest legislative wisdom and statesmanship. It is not a question to be referred to the inquiry and the report of any Select Committee. And here I come to the limitations which, as it appears to me, prudence and justice must impose on this inquiry. In the first place, I find that both the hon. Gentleman who moved the inquiry and the noble Lord who seconded it—either in express words or by implication not to be mistaken—stated it to be their view that they looked upon this inquiry simply as a means of establishing certain charges upon which they had made up their minds, and as the first step in the process of the repeal of the Act. I hope the hon. Gentleman will not think I am treating him with disrespect if I state that a Select Committee appointed upon the Motion of a Gentleman who expresses views like these, must not be considered as competent to make this inquiry. The inquiry is too large and too important, I will presume to say, for the guidance of any individual Member. It is a great national question whether you shall or shall not withdraw the endowment of Maynooth. It is a question at all times to be dealt with by the Executive Government; and what I venture respectfully to claim is, that the proposed inquiry shall likewise be conducted under the immediate superintendence and responsibility of the Executive Government. We are here to do impartial justice, and to consider alike the feelings of the people of England, the people of Ireland, and of Scotland. It is consistent with that justice that we should institute an inquiry into the state of the College of Maynooth, and the system of education there; but it would not be consistent with that justice that the conduct of such an inquiry should be entrusted to any Member of Parliament, however great his eminence and his gifts, whose mind was pledged to a foregone conclusion; and to an inquiry being conducted under such auspices, I could not for an instant be induced to consent. There is another limitation which I think it is essential for me to point out to you, because it is founded in the very nature of the subject. I conceive that the inquiry proposed ought not to be an inquiry into the general character of the doctrine, discipline, or exercises of the Roman Catholic religion at the College of Maynooth—I conceive it upon grounds of reason, because I say that that would be only trying in a Select Committee the policy 572 of the endowment of Roman Catholic institutions by Parliament, which is not a question that ought to be entrusted to a Committee. This I say upon grounds of reason—but it is likewise a principle which has ample support from the history of this case. I have used the words "doctrine, discipline, and exercises of the Roman Catholic religion at the College of Maynooth," because these are the words—the wise and comprehensive words—employed in the statutes upon this subject. We are not without precedents in this case. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire proposes that we should inquire into the system of education at Maynooth; and I fully grant to you that you might place a construction upon these words if they were not ruled and limited by what I think to be the sense of the Acts of Parliament and the precedents that bear upon the case—I grant that under these words the hon. Member might be able to introduce such a largeness of theological investigation as might satisfy even his appetite in that direction. But this is not the first time that the College of Maynooth has been inquired into. In 1827 you had a Report of a Royal Commission upon the College of Maynooth. What was the view that that Commission took of its duties with regard to its inquiry into the college, and what were the instructions under which it acted? I will show you that its instructions were quite as large as those that are proposed by the hon. Member in reference to his Select Committee; for the Crown in the year 1824, after reciting an Address of the House of Commons praying for the appointment of a Commission, then appoints certain individuals in these words, "To inquire into the nature and extent of the instruction afforded by the several institutions in Ireland established for the purposes of education, and maintained, either in whole or in part, from public funds." They were to inquire into "the nature and extent" of the instruction afforded in these institutions; but, notwithstanding, when they came to report, they placed in the foreground of their report these words of wisdom—"We do not consider that it fell within our province to examine into the tenets of the Roman Catholic religion, except where they appeared to be connected with the civil duties and relations of Roman Catholics, either towards the State or towards their fellow-subjects." I confess that it appears to me that these words lay 573 down with the greatest impartiality and precision the due scope of this inquiry. You are entitled to inquire into the condition of the college—you are entitled to inquire into the system of education there pursued—you are entitled to inquire into what the Roman Catholic religion teaches, so far as it touches the civil and political duties of the inmates of Maynooth College: hut beyond that you are not authorised to go, and into the domain of theology you should not presume to enter. And I must point out to the House that it is perfectly evident that this is the spirit and intention with regard to which the Acts of Parliament upon this have been framed. I understood the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, in the speech in which he introduced this question to the House, to make an argument of this kind. He said, "So far as regards matters not Roman Catholic, visitors are already appointed, and, therefore, there are means of dealing with them; but, so far as regards matters Roman Catholic, there are no visitors, and therefore I must have them referred to a Select Committee." That I understood to be his argument, and I understand the gist of this Motion to be exactly the converse of what in my opinion it ought to be, namely, that he wanted a Committee which was to inquire at large into the system of the Roman Catholic Church as taught and exercised within the College of Maynooth. Now, Sir, I say that that is the very thing which we have not the right to touch, except so far as the system of the Roman Catholic Church bears upon the question of civil obedience. But what are the provisions of these Acts? It is perfectly true that by the Act of 1795, by which Maynooth College was founded, the Irish Parliament did appoint trustees with visitatorial powers. In the Act of 1800 the Irish Parliament constituted one body of trustees to hold the property, and appointed another body to exercise visitatorial power. In the Act of 1845 that visitatorial power was continued; but the superior power of Parliament was likewise reserved, and that in two ways: in the first place, by making a special provision that the Lord Lieutenant might be required by the Crown to order a special visitation; and, moreover, it was reseved in the Act of 1845 that the reports of the visitors should be annually laid upon the table of both Houses of Parliament. I conceive that this provision, namely, that the reports of the visitors 574 should be annually laid before both Houses of Parliament, would be a distinct recognition of the principle that the intention of Parliament was to reserve its own full and unimpaired rights over the institution which it had founded. Setting aside considerations of policy, therefore, it is plain that you are fully entitled to inquire into the condition of the College of Maynooth generally. But the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was entirely in error when he represented that Parliament had appointed no means of visiting the College of Maynooth in regard to Roman Catholic discipline, worship, or instruction, and that therefore it was the duty of Parliament to step in by means of a Select Committee. On the contrary, if the hon. Member had read the Acts of Parliament, he could not fail to perceive that Parliament had constituted a visitatorial power for purposes specifically Roman Catholic, and has made that power a final power. Parliament provided in the Act of 1800, and again in 1845, that as regarded any matter "which touched the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, or religious doctrines or discipline thereof, within said college or seminary," no such matters should be touched by the visitors at large, but that all such matters should be referred to the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic visitors exclusively; and while Parliament provided that the visitation into the college for general purposes should be accompanied by reports, which were to be annually placed in our hands, as regarded the doctrine, discipline, and instruction of the Roman Catholic religion, Parliament referred these to the Roman Catholic visitors only. It required no report whatever, and made no reference to our supervision. Therefore nothing can be more clear upon the statutes, nothing can be more clear upon the precedents, than that, when Parliament entered upon this arrangement, it did not intend to place the Roman Catholic members of the college perpetually upon the tenter-hooks for fear of being brought into collision with those who held the tenets of the Established Church. Parliament approached the subject in a comprehensive and statesmanlike spirit. It proceeded upon the principle that the Roman Catholic Church, whatever it was, was a system well known to history, whose merits or demerits had been tested by experience sufficiently long, so that you could say "Aye" or "No" whether you would have relations with it or 575 not; and it did not condescend to accompany this boon with conditions which would have made it insufferably degrading and painful to the receivers. It wisely provided for protecting from the attacks of theological rivalry the feelings of the persons for whose benefit the endowment was intended, and in so doing it left a clear pattern of the rules which should direct our course of acting. In conformity with that pattern, I propose to assent to an inquiry; but to assent to it with the strongest expression of opinion that we ought now to proceed upon the principle upon which Parliaments have proceeded in former years, namely, reserving this great and important international question from the management of private and individual hands, and that we make it a bonâ fide inquiry into the application of the Parliamentary grant for the purposes provided for by Parliament, and that, adhering to the terms of these important statutes, we do not suffer them to be departed from by indulging in investigations that would be most improperly conducted, whether into the doctrines, or the discipline, or the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion within the walls of the College of Maynooth.
§ MR. GRATTAN
said, he was surprised that Government had come forward so ill-prepared on this subject. They were wrong in their premises and wrong in their conclusions. They knew nothing about the matter, and were altogether ignorant of the affairs of Ireland. He asked, why did they dare to libel his countrymen when they said that there was a conspiracy amongst the priests of Ireland to wean the people from their allegiance to this country? The charge was false. No more loyal body existed than the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland, and to prove the fact, they need not go further back than 1348, when a few deluded but honest men had become involved in an insurrection. Then it was said that the College of Maynooth supplied clergymen to foreign countries; but so far from this being the case, 140 Roman Catholic clergymen had to be brought from the Continent to supply the wants of the Irish people. When they spoke of the danger of giving the Irish youth an un-English education, he would ask what inducement was there to give them an English education? They had been brought up in the crucible of sorrow and affliction, created by the misgovernment and injustice of this country. Let them recollect that their 576 great thunderer of the press had no gentler epithets for the Roman Catholic priesthood than "surpliced ruffians" and a "rebel priesthood." Loyalty, too, was talked of, but what was loyalty? Were the ancestors of the English people loyal to Charles I. and James II.? Let them not give an oath of allegiance to the Irish nation to swallow, but let them give them good government under which they might live. Give the people of Ireland good government, and it would bind them closer to them than these miserable and unmeaning oaths. Why should they talk of the oath of allegiance to the Irish, when this country had ever acted as tyrants towards their country? If they agreed to an inquiry into the Catholic College of Maynooth, why, he would ask, should they not also inquire into the institutions of Protestantism? The Protestant Church derived an income of 1,200,000l. from their land tithes in Ireland; and how then could any individual come forward and call upon the Catholics to disgorge their money? Let them recollect the tithe system of Ireland, in which the grossest injustice was done to the unfortunate Catholic tenantry. He was against this Motion; for, as a Protestant, he thought that they would be acting much better if they did not interfere with the Catholic Church, but allowed the Catholics to manage their own affairs.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
said, he thought the debate ought not to close without a passing reference being made to one passage in the speech of his right hon. Friend and Colleague the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Glad' stone), whom he understood in the earlier part of his speech to state that it was quite true that there was no compact made between the Legislature of the country and the College of Maynooth; and that therefore the Imperial Legislature were at liberty to recall the grant or modify its application in any way that was more adapted to the necessities of the case, or that at all events the subject was open to the consideration of the Imperial Legislature; but, nevertheless, his right hon. Friend went on to say that the House must take care what they did in this matter, because if they withdrew the grant from Maynooth, they must be prepared for a new arrangement of the ecclesiastical establishment in Ireland. [Cheers.] It was not so much the words of his right hon. Friend which roused his attention, 577 as the significant cheers which they had evoked, and which had now again been repeated. Now, to put that language into simpler terms, did not these words mean a further confiscation of the property of the Irish Church? He did not say that his right hon. Friend was to be held bound to such a confiscation as some of those who cheered him would desire; but at any rate these words must mean a continuation of that system of alteration which was begun fifteen years ago, and in which one-half of the Irish hierarchy was sacrificed. He would not, however, apply the word "confiscation" as being in the mind of his right hon. Colleague; but he knew from the cheers with which his right hon. Friend had been met, that confiscation was uppermost in the minds of many of them. He did not believe that such a result was a necessary or even a probable consequence of their inquiries about Maynooth: and not believing it, he would not look at it as an object in their path. He should not perhaps have risen at that hour of the evening to notice any other point except this; but, before he sat down, he wished to state two or three other considerations which the speech of his right hon. Friend suggested. He talked of the College of Maynooth as established by Act of Parliament; so were the Great Western and the South Western Railways. It was not, in any other sense, established by Parliament until within the last seven years. In the Irish Parliament permission was given to a company of individuals to found the College of Maynooth; but that body did not even give a grant towards the foundation, in the popular sense of that word. A donation was given, in the same way as any hon. Member might give 1,000l. to the London Hospital; but it was never repeated, and, being purely a donation, pledged the Government and Parliament of Ireland to nothing except that act of charity. He quite admitted that afterwards, that is, for twenty years after the Union, the case stood on a different ground; but he contended that from that period up to the passing of the Act in 1845, there was not the shadow of a ground for claiming this grant as a right; and, even now, he contended that the Legislature had it in their absolute discretion, if it should be their pleasure, to repeal this Act. That, however, was not the object of the present Motion. His right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department had, in language and in a tone which was not only 578 most temperate but most judicious, shown that the existing system of visitatorial inquiry did not in the slightest degree touch the objects which his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) desired to attain by this Motion. The existing visitation was limited almost entirely and necessarily to the external character of the institution, and did not touch the vital essence of the system which it was the object of his hon. Friend's Motion to have investigated. He (Sir R. H. Inglis), however, entertained an objection to the Motion, believing that on the 11th May, with the prospect of a dissolution imminent in the course of the next three weeks or a month, it was not desirable that the House should engage in such an inquiry as was now proposed to them. But, as the leaders of both parties in the House concurred in this Motion, and as even that guerilla band which had sent forth so many champions in the course of the evening, and were always prepared to do so, were in favour of the proposition—as appeared from the speech of their leader the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell), he should vote for it as a recognition of the principle of inquiry; believing, however, that nothing further would result from the Motion during the present Session.
§ MR. HUME
said, that the question involved in this Motion was one of a much more serious nature than a mere inquiry into the manner in which the Catholic priests were educated at the College at Maynooth. When Parliament gave to the Irish people an establishment for the education of the ministers of their religion, it never meant to prescribe to them the mode in which they should educate them. He had always contended that it was the wise and proper policy of this country to remove those oppressive restrictions and disabilities which had been imposed upon Ireland, in order that her discontent might be removed, and that she might become a tower of strength instead of a source of weakness to this country. How inconsistent, then, was it to entertain such a Motion as this, which, according to the speeches of the Irish Members who had spoken, would increase discontent in that country, after the strong representations which had been made of the defenceless state of the country, and after the House had been occupied for the last three or four weeks in providing additional security. He believed that this Motion would be attended with disastrous results, and would 579 materially increase the difficulty of governing a country, seven-eighths of whose population were Catholics. He thought the House had a right to hear from the Secretary for Ireland what would be the political effect of this Motion upon that country.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I rise for the purpose of stating very shortly the grounds why I constitute one of those exceptions which my hon. Friend by me was at a loss to find, who are prepared not to agree to this Motion. It is my intention, if the House divides, to vote both against the Amendment and the original Motion. Sir, I think that this House is entering on a very unwise and dangerous course. I think they are entering on a course which, if a Committee he granted, must either end in a nullity or in very dangerous consequences. I think that no ground has been laid for the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) in the speech which he made. I think, of that speech, that it certainly does bring to mind the opinion entertained by some, that the shades of departed men are wont to hover over the scenes of their earthly occupations; and if the shade of Dr. Duigenan had been hovering over this debate, I can imagine the grim delight with which his spectre would have surveyed the scene. I thought we had got back to the times when the Catholic question was debated, and that we were not discussing the incidental and single question of the endowment of the College of Maynooth; for what was the line of argument which the hon. Member for North Warwickshire adopted? Did he go into any details of the system of education at Maynooth—of a system of education peculiar to that establishment? Did he tell us what were the doctrines inculcated by the lecturers, and in what way the course of education was likely to defeat the purposes for which the establishment was framed? If he did, I must confess that those parts of his speech did not catch my attention; but I did hear long and elaborate dissertations on the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic religion; I did hear quotations from writers whom the hon. Gentleman described as the Bacons of the Catholic Church; and I presume, therefore, that the main ground on which this inquiry is proposed by him is, that he believes, and no doubt sincerely, that there are in the Catholic religion, or at least in Catholic authorities, tenets which he considers to be at variance with the welfare of a Pro- 580 testant country, I do not like to enter into that question; but I am quite sure that, if that were a question fit to be entered on, it is not by an inquiry into the College of Maynooth that it can be properly entertained. It was stated that one great evil intended to be remedied by the College of Maynooth—an evil which is ascertained still to be prevailing—is the prevalence of ultramontane and foreign influences and authorities in Ireland. But shall we remedy that by abolishing the College of Maynooth?—and I am entitled to say that the withdrawal of the grant from the College of Maynooth is the object of those who have moved and support this Motion, because that was fairly avowed by the noble Lord who seconded it. He put the question fairly. He said, "This is but the first step; the object I have in view is the entire withdrawal of the grant, and the repeal of the existing law." Then, what is to be the result of that? You will drive your Irish Catholic priests to be educated abroad; and will they come home from abroad less imbued with ultramontane doctrines and foreign influences than if they had been educated at Maynooth? It is absurd to suppose that such a result can arise from such a proceeding. When we are told also that some of those who are educated at Maynooth, instead of being employed in Ireland, are sent elsewhere, I think that has been answered by my hon. Friend the Member for Mayo, who showed that the total number of priests required for the supply of Ireland was greater than the number educated at Maynooth. As to the conduct of the Irish bishops, with which great fault has so justly been found, I cannot see the connexion between that and the endowment of the College of Maynooth. But we cannot shut our eyes to the real cause of this Motion, and to the real motives by which it has been suggested. This Motion arises from the feeling out of doors which has been unfortunately raised among the Protestant portion of the people of this country by what I shall not shrink from characterising as the aggressive and violent proceedings of the Court of Rome. I don't wonder that these proceedings should have produced a deep impression of resentment—nay, of indignation—on the part of the Protestant portion of the community; but do not, because the Court of Rome has done that of which the people of England have a just right to complain—do not, I say, punish the Catholic youth of Ireland who are intended 581 for the priesthood. I contend that it would be not only unjust but impolitic to do so; because you would thereby inflict an injury upon yourselves; you would aggravate in Ireland the very evil, one of the circumstances connected with which is the cause of the anger which is at present felt in many parts of the country. I must say that this Motion appears to me a Motion of vengeance, and that, as a Motion of vengeance, I think it impolitic. And it is not only because it is a vindictive Motion that I think it an impolitic Motion, but because it is at variance with all those principles of sound national policy upon which the Government and Parliament of this country have hitherto acted in regard to this question. It is upon that ground-that broad and general ground—that I am prepared to resist the Motion which is now about to be proposed to the House. My view of the question is not altered by the very proper and honourable offer which has been made by the Catholic Members of this House on the part of the Catholic priesthood of Ireland, to lay the institution open to the fullest and freest inquiry. No ground, in my opinion, has been laid for an inquiry at all at this particular moment. I don't dispute the right of the House to inquire. Any institution which is supported in any degree by public money must submit to inquiry, if sufficient ground is laid for making the inquiry. There may be ground in this case, or not; I am not able to speak as to that; all I contend for is, that no ground for it has been laid in anything which has been stated in the course of the present debate. But if inquiry be thought to be necessary, a right hon. Friend of mine has pointed out that there exists another authority under Government capable of making it; and I must say that in my humble opinion there is no machinery for making an inquiry of this kind so utterly objectionable as a Committee of the House of Commons. Why, we should have fifteen Gentlemen sitting upstairs, summoning before them the different officers of Maynooth, and examining them according to the varying fancy and spirit of inquiry of each member of the Committee. Either the inquiry would be conducted with all that respectful abstinence which becomes an inquiry so deeply and intimately connected with the religious opinions of men differing probably in creed from their examiners—and, if so, you would not get at the results which the promoters of the Motion 582 wish to attain; or it would be conducted upon a different principle, and then the result would he that you would have theological inquiries, which must be highly offensive not only to the persons examined, but to those who belong to the same faith in Ireland; and I must add that in either case it would be most unwise and most inexpedient that the inquiry should be proceeded with. But the people of Ireland will not believe that the mere motive, and object, and effect of the Motion, if carried, will be to inquire into the College of Maynooth. They will look upon it as the yielding of the House of Commons to what, if it were not disrespectful so to call the prevalence of sincere opinion, I would describe as a fanatical cry. But the people of Ireland are clear sighted enough to see that were the House of Commons to adopt this Motion they would be merely yielding to a popular feeling created by the circumstances of the moment; and if they are charitable enough to think that the Members of this House have yielded to that cry, or that many persons who are going to vote for this Motion have not been much moved thereto by considerations of the approaching election, they will be giving them greater credit than, in my conscience, I think they deserve. I again say, that if any Members of this House shall call for a division on this Motion, I shall think it my duty to vote against it, and that I earnestly hope, in spite of the handsome offer on the part of the Catholic Members to submit the institution to the fullest inquiry, the House will either resist the Motion altogether, or, if an inquiry be thought expedient that that inquiry will be conducted by Commissioners appointed by Government—because it is obvious that a subject of such a delicate nature, involving questions so deeply affecting the interests of a large portion of the community, is not a subject which should be submitted to the rough handling of the Members of a Select Committee of this House.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had watched the debate with great attention, and it seemed to him that it had one remarkable characteristic, and that was that almost every speaker had been of the same opinion; and, therefore, it seemed to him extremely advisable to conclude the debate that night if possible.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
wished to say, the hon. Member for the county of Limerick did not make any communication to him before he made his proposition; and he (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) and other Catholic Members had strong objections to urge to the Motion. If there was any chance of his then being able to do so, he should go on; but after two speeches being made against the Motion, which were unanswered on the other side, it was impossible to expect that he should be listened to.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
begged to say, that he had waited with breathless anxiety to hear the opinion of the organ of the Irish Government—the Chief Secretary for Ireland—on the subject so closely connected with his department. He was anxious that on a great and important question like this, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, or, in his absence, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, the representative of the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) would give some explanation of the speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He (Mr. Reynolds) was particularly anxious to ascertain whether the opinions of the organ of the Irish Government in that House harmonised with the No-Popery speech of the Home Secretary; because, having listened to that speech with attention and with feelings of pain, he could not help coinciding in the opinions expressed by the noble Lord who had just addressed the House, that the spirit of the ancient times of bigotry and intolerance hovered over this discussion. He (Mr. Reynolds) cared very little for the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire, because he was prepared to bear that speech with Christian patience. A man who was elected to the honour of enjoying a seat in that House had many penalties to pay for that honour; and one of the greatest penalties that a Catholic Member of the House had to suffer, was to hear the wholesale libels, the unmitigated calumnies, the filthy abuse contained in such a speech. He (Mr. Reynolds) was anxious to have an opportunity of replying to that speech, and also to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. He was anxious to put his Catholic countrymen on their guard, and to tell them that there was now a party in power who, if they had sufficient strength, would repeal the Act of 1829, and again sound upon every Protestant steeple in the 584 United Kingdom the tocsin of Protestant ascendancy. Now, that a general election was approaching, he wished that the people should be put on their guard against the insidious efforts that were made against them. He (Mr. Reynolds) spoke as a Catholic Member, and he should allow no Catholic Member to speak for him. Reference had been made to the hon. Member for the county of Limerick (Mr. Monsell), and he (Mr. Reynolds) begged to be specifically understood that he was not to be bound by his declaration. He had entered the House to hear the discussion, and should vote according to the dictates of his own conscience. He might vote probably for an inquiry—and he might not; but he would remind hon. Gentlemen over the way, who were so fond of borrowing a leaf from the book of a great deceased statesman—the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his own eloquent (without meaning him the least offence) and plausible manner had done so—that there were three courses to be pursued. One course to be pursued was, to vote for the Motion; the next, to vote against it; and another, not to vote at all. He (Mr. Reynolds) was at liberty to adopt any one of the three courses. He would remind the hon. Gentleman the author of this intolerant, insulting, and impertinent Motion, of the truth of an old maxim—though the hon. Gentleman had arrived at the age of maturity, he (Mr. Reynolds) was not quite certain that he had arrived at the age of discretion—he would remind him of the maxim that "those who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones." He would remind them that there were other ecclesiastical institutions that ought to be inquired into. There was the United Church of England and Ireland, with her 600,000l. a year of tithe rent-charge, and one million of green acres, in a country where the Roman Catholics formed the majority of the ratepayers and taxpayers. There also might be an inquiry demanded into the Regium Donum, that was voted for the support of the Presbyterian clergy. He reserved to himself the right to speak more at length after the adjournment, which they had a right to demand, and he challenged. When the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) addressed the House, he spoke from the Treasury bench, and he observed that the hon. Member had zealous bottle-holders. The hon. Member, in fact, was on the first step leading to office—he was a semi- 585 official person; so the Catholics might judge what they had to expect. Though there might he an object in appealing to certain constituencies of this country by bigoted harangues, he (Mr. Reynolds) and his friends were ready to abide by the verdict which would be pronounced by the great majority of the nation.
MR. HENRY DRUMMOND
simply rose to say, that, although highly disapproving of the Motion, and of all the arguments by which it had been supported, he meant to vote for the adjournment. He was one of the few persons in that House who had served an apprenticeship with his noble Friend below him (Viscount Palmer-ston), as a listener to the dulness and bigotry of Dr. Duigenan. Having heard, for a long time, that impersonation of bigotry, he had not one word to say in his favour; but he would undertake to prove, when the debate was resumed, that a bigotry more fierce than that of Dr. Duigenan was now in full play in Ireland—a bigotry more fierce than that which had existed in the blackest times of Popery.
§ MR. KEOGH
contended, that the opponents of the Motion were fairly entitled to an adjournment, because numbers of them had not yet spoken. He could not avoid remarking that a confusion and inconsistency of opinions without end seemed to prevail amongst the members of the Government. He had heard an hon. Gentleman connected with the Government state that this was an open question with the Administration; but he thought the opinion of the members of the Ministry should be manfully expressed. He hoped the House would allow him to say a few words in explanation of a personal matter. His hon. Friend near him (Mr. Osborne) had quoted some passages from a speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and he understood that right hon. Gentleman to convey to the House that he was not only disposed to repudiate the sentiments he at that time expressed, but that the fact that he had ever uttered such opinions had entirely escaped his memory. Now, lest there should be any mistake upon the subject, he (Mr. Keogh) begged permission to read, from the authorised version of the Debates, the passages to which his hon. Friend had alluded. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking upon a Motion brought forward by the noble Member for the city of London (Lord J. Russell), and referring to agitation in Ireland, used these words:—They heard a great deal of Reform Associ- 586 ations, of Anti-Corn-Law Leagues, Roman Catholic and Repeal Associations, Birmingham Unions, and other combinations of that kind. Now, those things were merely the consequence of the people taking the government of the country into their own hands because the Government would not administer matters themselves."—[3 Hansard, Ixxii. 1016.]Then, going on to ask what the Irish question really was, the right hon. Gentleman said—He wanted to see a public man come forward and say what the Irish question was. One said it was a physical question; another, a spiritual. Now, it was the absence of the aristocracy; then, the absence of railroads. It was the Pope one day; potatoes the next. Let them consider Ireland as they would any other country similarly situated, in their closets. Then they would see a teeming population, which with reference to the cultivated soil, was denser to the square mile than that of China; created solely by agriculture, with none of those sources of wealth which are developed with civilisation; and sustained consequently upon the lowest conceivable diet, so that in case of failure they had no other means of subsistence upon which they could fall back. That dense population in extreme distress inhabited an island where there was an Established Church which was not their Church; and a territorial aristocracy, the richest of whom lived in distant capitals. Thus they had a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and, in addition, the weakest Executive in the world. That was the Irish question.But the right hon. Gentleman did not stop there. He proceeded:—What would hon. Gentleman say if they were reading of a country in that position? They would say at once, 'The remedy is revolution.' But the Irish could not have a revolution; and why? Because Ireland was connected with another and a more powerful country.The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly candid, and followed all his propositions to their necessary conclusion; for he said—Then, what was the consequence? The connexion with England thus became the cause of the present state of Ireland. If the connexion with England prevented a revolution, and a revolution were the only remedy, England, logically, was in the odious position of being the cause of all the misery in Ireland.What, then, the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to ask, was the duty of an English Minister? The right hon. Gentleman was then engaged in hunting down a man who was a great English Minister—the right hon. Gentleman was then telling of "the Parliamentary middleman who bamboozled one party and plundered the other." The right hon. Gentleman was then calling on that House, above all other earthly duties, to put an end for ever to Parliamentary hypocrisy. He asked the House to stigmatise the hypocrisy which accused 587 his hon. Friend (Mr. Osborne) of misrepresenting the sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman. But what were the final words?—To effect by his policy all those changes which a revolution would do by force. That was the Irish question in its integrity. It was quite evident, to effect that, we must have an Executive in Ireland which should bear a much nearer relation to the leading classes and characters of the country than it did at present. There must be a much more comprehensive Executive, and then, having produced order, the rest was a question of time. There was no possible way by which the physical condition of the people could be improved by Act of Parliament. The moment they had a strong Executive, a just Administration, and ecclesiastical equality, they would have order in Ireland.He (Mr. Keogh) would only put the moral to the tale which was drawn by the right hon. Gentleman himself, and address the right hon. Gentleman's words to the benches opposite, when he said that he was then advocating Tory principles, but "they were not the Tory principles of those who would associate Toryism with restricted commerce and with a continual assault on the liberty of the subject."
§ Question put, and agreed to:—Debate adjourned till Wednesday, 19th May.
§ The House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.