HC Deb 15 August 1853 vol 129 cc1722-3

said, he rose to ask a question of the right hon. President of the Board of Control as to the Provision made for the exercise of the Catholic religion in India, in pursuance of the compact of 1833, and also to the provision hereafter to be made for the same purpose. He would request permission to refer to the promises of the Government on the subject in 1833. Mr. Grant (now Lord Glenelg), speaking of the Roman Catholic community in India, said— That they deserved the particular regard and consideration of the Government, And that— he should be happy to communicate with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin on the sub- ject, or with any other persons who took an interest in it. Mr. Grant, in the course of the debate, proposed the following proviso:— Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the Governor General in Council from granting from time to time, with the sanction of the Court of Directors, and of the Commissioners of the Affairs of India, to any sect, persuasion, or community of Christians, not being of the United Church of England and Ireland, or of the Church of Scotland, such sums of money as may be expedient for the purposes of instruction, or for the maintenance of places of worship. The question of which be had given notice referred to the manner in which that arrangement and the provision of the Act of 1833 had been carried out. Without going into the discussion of the subject, he wished merely to state that there was no doubt, with respect to certain material points, that the agreement had not been fulfilled. He wished, therefore, to put his question with reference to these points, and to inquire whether it was the intention of the Government to take immediate steps towards fulfilling the agreement of 1833, and carrying out the spirit of that agreement in future?


would not enter on what took place twenty years ago, but quite agreed with the principle then laid down, that adequate provision ought to be made for the spiritual instruction of Roman Catholic servants of the East India Company, as provision was made for the Protestant servants of the Company. The Company did not profess to do more than provide for the spiritual instruction of its servants, or in any way whatever to provide for the religious instruction of the community. Several witnesses had been examined before the Committee on the Indian Territories with respect to points referred to in the hon. Gentleman's questions. Some of those points were of considerable difficulty. He (Sir C. Wood) was quite prepared to admit that the provision at present made for the Roman Catholic servants of the Company was far from being adequate, and that the Indian Government were perfectly alive to the spiritual wants of their servants, and that they were prepared to meet the wants of those servants.