HC Deb 23 February 1853 vol 124 cc487-521

Order read, for resuming adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to be made to Question [22nd February], "That this House do resolve itself into a Committee, to consider the Act 8 & 9 Vict. c. 25, being 'An Act to amend two Acts passed in Ireland for the better education of persons professing the Roman Catholic Religion, and for the better government of the College established at Maynooth for the education of such persons, and also an Act passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for amending the said two Acts,' commonly called the last Maynooth Act, with a view to the repeal of those Clauses of the said Act which provide Money Grants in any way to the said College:"—(Mr. Spooner:)—And which Amendment was to leave out from the word "consider" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "all Enactments now in force, whereby the Revenue of the State is charged in aid of any ecclesiastical or religious purposes whatsoever, with a view to the repeal of such Enactments,"—instead thereof:—(Mr. Scholefield:)

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


, as a Roman Catholic, and the representative of a large Catholic constituency in Ireland, was anxious last evening to take an early part in the debate, in reply to the statement of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and to say why it was he could support neither the original Motion nor the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield). But as he had not the good fortune to have been taken by the Chair, he had now to throw himself on the indulgence of the House—as he felt he presented himself under some disadvantage—while he stated the case he was anxious to establish against both the Motion and the Amendment, and in favour of the religion he professed. He would not be tempted by the irritating topics introduced into the debate, particularly by the mover of the Resolution, to enter on the subject with any angry religious or sectarian feelings. He would endeavour to treat the question dispassionately and with forbearance. Before he proceeded to the immediate question under discussion, he would refer to a subject which he considered was irrelevantly introduced into the debate by the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner). He meant the alleged conduct of the Roman Catholic clergy at the late elections, as if that conduct, supposing it to be true, which he denied, had anything whatever to say to the endowment of Maynooth, or to the system of education adopted in that institution since 1845. He was very unwilling to attribute motives to any one unless they were patent and undeniable; but, with all due respect for the hon. Member, he could not help thinking that the introduction of this irrelevant subject was for a purpose, and with an object to keep alive in the minds of Members who were to try the merits of petitions from Ireland, alleging intimidation against the sitting Members—the exaggerated statements circulated by the press in reference to the conduct of the Catholic priesthood—in order to prejudge these cases. The Member for New Ross (Mr. Duffy) had last evening showed the House what little reliance was to be placed on the statements which were read by the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), some of them taken from Sir Francis Head's veracious revelations after a fortnight's visit to Ireland, and others of them, the mere inventions of the press, bitterly hostile to the people of Ireland, their religion, and their clergy. He, however, was quite ready to admit that the Catholic clergy had thrown themselves heart and soul into the contest during the last general election, from the conviction that their religion was in danger. Who was it that produced that feeling? Why, the hon. Member himself (Mr. Spooner), sustained, cheered, and encouraged by the late Government—nay, the late Government themselves, mainly contributed to the excitement in Ireland by stirring up for election purposes the re- ligious prejudices against Catholics existing in this country, and producing a bitterness and intolerance greater than was over before exhibited since the time of Charles the Second. They issued the Queen's proclamation, putting down innocent religious processions, prohibiting out of doors certain aesthetic observances of the Catholic religion, and bringing forth some of the obsolete penal provisions of the Emancipation Act, in order to prevent the Catholic clergy wearing any costume designating their snored profession. What was the consequence? Why, through the length and breadth of England the Catholic clergy wore openly insulted; aye, even in the streets in the open day, and in the very presence of the police—and the whole ended in the Stockport riots, acquiesced in, nay, encouraged, by the civil authorities of the town—the churches of the Catholics were broken into and desecrated, and the most high and sacred mysteries of their religion trampled on and profaned. Was it, then, wonderful that the Catholic clergy of Ireland should have looked upon the contest as a religious struggle, and have made every effort to send men into that House who would endeavour to counteract that existing anti-Catholic feeling, and stand up for their religion and its doctrines, whenever the one was insulted, or the other impugned. Having said so much on the irrelevant topic introduced by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, he would proceed to the matter more immediately under the consideration of the House, and would state why it was he was not prepared to accede to either the Resolution or the Amendment. He would then, in the first place, take his stand upon this patent fact: That one-fourth of Her Majesty's subjects in this United Kingdom wore Roman Catholics, and of this one-fourth, some four or five years ago, 7,000,000 wore the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, and even now, after that population had been more than decimated by famine and pestilence—after nearly a million of that population had left their shores to seek across the Atlantic their fortunes in some happier land—even now the Catholic population of Ireland exceeded, not 4,000,000, as stated by the Secretary of Ireland (Sir John Young), but 5,000,000. Well, this population has remained true to the religion of their forefathers, notwithstanding all the efforts of various character that were made cither to coerce or to induce them to desert it. First, it was prosecution, and perse- cution, and penal laws; the son was set against the father, the child was refused the ordinary advantages of education, the Catholic schoolmaster was prohibited from teaching, the Catholic priest was banished from the land, and, if he were discovered in openly exercising the functions of his sacred calling, he was liable to penal transportation—the property of the Catholic was at the mercy of his Protestant neighbour—the Catholic occupier could have no tenure of the land he cultivated, the land of his birth, the land of his forefathers. In fine, as an Irish Lord Chancellor stated, the very existence of Catholics was ignored by the laws of the country. In latter days and modern times, after this persecution proved abortive, they tried to seduce the people by corrupt influences, acting upon their poverty, to desert their religion. Thank God, it was no crime against the laws of this country, as it was in Tuscany and elsewhere, for a man, if he believed the faith he professed to be the best and to lead most surely to salvation, to endeavour, legitimately, to induce others to follow his example, and to adopt his religious principles; but, at the same time, he considered it morally criminal to bring corrupt influences to bear on the distress and poverty of the people to seduce them from their faith, and to engender in the population one of the worst vices of human nature—that of hypocrisy. Well, notwithstanding all this prosecution, and persecution, and seduction, the people of Ireland remained true to the faith of their forefathers—true to that religion which they are taught to believe has descended to them in unbroken succession from the Apostles—true to that religion which is taught, by what the noble Lord the Member for London, in the debate on the Maynooth endowment in 1845, called truly "the most ancient branch of the Christian Church"—true to that religion which is professed by 200,000,000 of the human race, and by two-thirds of Christendom—true to that religion that inculcates the same divine injunctions as do the Protestants—"Peace and good will amongst all men"—"Do unto others as you would be done by"—"Love God above all things, and your neighbour as yourself"—true to that religion which gives practical effect to the evengelical counsels. Where, he would ask, but in the bosom of the Catholic Church was the evangelical counsel of "Give all thou hast to the poor; take up thy cross and follow me," faithfully carried out? Let them go to the nunneries that have been so much abused—let them go to the abodes of those high-born and religious ladies who live in communities, and who were threatened in the last Parliament with magisterial visitations—let them go to the monasteries that have been held up to the execration of the population of that country—to Mount Melleray, in Ireland, for instance, and they would find persons of rank and station abandoning wealth and society, in order, in retirement and obscurity, to carry out these gospel counsels. Ireland has been true to that religion—to the religion which the most eminent divines of the Established Church have embraced after years of study and research—abandoning station, family connexions, worldly prospects and affluence, because they believed that there they would receive spiritual peace, comfort, and enjoy the entire' blessings of hope. Well, then, it was an "accomplished fact" that the national religion of Ireland, as the Duke of Wellington called it, was the Roman Catholic. What was the State and the Government to do under such circumstances? No effort of theirs of any character could change that religion. What was to be done? The State and the Government had introduced the national system of secular education, and the collegiate secular system for the middle classes. He had always supported the national system; and, amidst much obloquy, had given his countenance to the Queen's Colleges, because he believed that secular education fitted the mind for the reception of religious truth; but, at the same time, he always held that no secular education was of value—nay, that it was an evil unless sustained, supported, and accompanied by religious education. If, then, the State and the Government voted large sums for secular education, in order to make men better subjects and better citizens, how much more reason, on the same ground, was there to contribute to their religious education. It was, therefore, that he always held that if the national religion of Ireland and its clergy could, under such a system, preserve their independence of the State, and that that mutual dependence of the priesthood and the people could remain undisturbed, the State was bound to provide churches and maintain them for the benefit of the people, and glebes or manse houses for the clergy. If that were his opinion, with how much more force did that opinion bear upon the question of giv- ing a high moral and religious education to the youth destined for the priesthood of the national Church, and thus, to use the language of the noble Lord the Member for London, to make them "better men, aye, and better Christians, too." Here he had to contend against the "voluntary principle." Now, the voluntary principle did very well in a rich country like England, where every member of the sectaries in the land could well afford to contribute muni-ficiently to support, in affluence, the clergy of his congregation. But, in a poor country like Ireland, where a large mass of the population was immersed in misery and destitution—produced by misgovernment and neglect—the thing was altogether different. Besides, its Church property was taken forcibly from the national religion. The present Lord Harrowby, when, as Lord Sandon, he sat in that House, in 1845, asked this question in the Maynooth debate: "Was not the Church property transferred from Catholic to Protestant hands, and merely by the will of England, and because England, and not Ireland, had become Protestant?" But, it was not only that the national religion was deprived of its Church property—that law prevented its being endowed from private sources—that being the state of facts, when all this policy failed, and the religion remained triumphant and progressive, what course had the Government to adopt but to give the means of education to a priesthood they could not destroy? Accordingly, it is remarkable that the first measure allowing the Catholic religion to be endowed, was the Act of the Irish Parliament, in 1795, allowing the endowment of Maynooth College. What were the reasons of state that induced this change of policy, it is not easy to ascertain. Mr. Grattan stated that it was because the people of those kingdoms were shut out from the Continent by the war, and the clerical students could not go to their "Burses" on the Continent. Others, with perhaps more reason, alleged that the Government were afraid that those who were destined to be spiritual instructors of British subjects, and to have enormous influence in Ireland, would, on the Continent, imbibe the then prevailing political opinions, which were so adverse to the interests of England; at all events, it was clearly a political move, and not one springing from any love for the national religion. The clergy did not require it; they would have been educated by the munificence of private individuals, aided by the bounty of foreign Sovereigns, as they had heretofore been, and as they would have been again if this endowment was taken away. The Member for North Warwickshire referred last evening to a letter written at the time by the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda, calling on the bishops and clergy to be grateful for this boon, accompanied as it was by an annual vote of 8,000l. a year. Well, the people and clergy were grateful; for at the time when the Catholic population did not exceed two millions, the grant was adequate for its purposes; but when the Catholics became seven millions, and were increasing in wealth, Sir Robert Peel, with great truth, said, that the annual vote had only a tendency "to discourage and paralyse private benevolence." It was then that he came down, and proposed the existing endowment of 27,000l. a year, out of the Consolidated Fund, in order, as he said, "to improve the system of education at Maynooth, and elevate the tone and character of the institution." The people of Ireland were sensible of the enlightened motives which induced this measure, and of the difficulties which surrounded the Government who, amidst such unprecedented opposition, carried it through; and though they thought, with Mr. O'Connell, at the time, that 70,000l. a year would not have been too large a restitution, still they were satisfied and quiescent after this "message of peace" was sent to them; and though they saw before them the rich Church establishment in possession of 600,000 acres of the richest land of Ireland, which once belonged to their own Church, and with an income of over half a million sterling annually, and lifting its head as a badge of degradation of the Catholic majority and of ascendancy of the Protestant minority, still they were quiescent until, at last, the Member for North Warwickshire stirred up that flame which he will find it exceedingly difficult to extinguish. Well, now, what are the objections to this endowment? He would, in the first place, take the objection on the ground of the "Voluntary Principle," because many of his friends near him were conscientiously opposed to this and all other endowments on this principle. Respecting this objection, he would suggest to them to record their opinions by supporting the Motion of his Friend the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield), instead of voting for the original Resolution, which, if they supported, they might aid practically in giving an effectual blow to the educational establishment at Maynooth belonging to an unendowed and poor Church, while the rich Church Establishment would remain intact, for it is clear that the time has not yet arrived when that strong fortress can be even approached. There would not be even-handed justice in such a course. The next objection is, that the doctrines taught at Maynooth are so inconsistent with the Protestantism professed by a majority of the nation, that its support is not to be justified. Well, the same argument would tell equally well against the Roman Catholic Establishments in Canada, in Australia, in Malta—the colleges for Hindoos and Mahomedans in India, and the protection given the Budhist faith at Ceylon. After all, hon. Members should recollect that, putting some dogmatic teaching aside, the moral and leading truths inculcated, by both religions, are the same; and as the Catholics contribute their share to the taxation, their religious institutions are as fully entitled to be maintained by the whole community. The next objection is, that the Catholic religion is antagonistic to the Church Establishment, and ought not to be thus encouraged. Well, it is true that the two Churches are antagonistic, but still they are Christian Churches, and this very antagonism and collision leads to the development of truth, and a strict and rigid observance of Christian practices by the professors of both religions. The next objection is the most painful of all. It is, that immorality and disloyalty are taught at Maynooth. Now, the Member for North Warwickshire professed to instruct the House in this branch of the inquiry, and he stated that he had read the works of the writers to whom he alluded and libelled. Now, he (Mr. Fagan) felt convinced, from the statements made by the hon. Member, that he never read that most valuable report of a Royal Commission empowered to examine in 1827 into the system of education at Maynooth; for, if he had, he would have seen all his statements answered and overthrown in every line of that, one of the most remarkable volumes in the library of that House. The hon. Member referred to some doctrines taught by Bellarmine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Now he (Mr. Fagan) as a Roman Catholic, repudiated those doctrines. Roman Catholics were not bound to believe as of faith everything written or said by any divine of their Church, how- ever eminent, pious, or enthusiastic. What the Universal Church teaches, as a matter of faith, that they believe, and the Catholic Church never taught the doctrines alluded to by the hon. Member. He talked of ultramontane doctrines. Why, in the Catholic Church there are no doctrines, as of faith, that are not acquiesced in by the whole Church after being submitted for its decision from the Chair of Peter, and therefore, though some writers and doctors may hold ultramontane doctrines as regards the Pope's infallibility, and others may hold the Gallican doctrines on the same subject, which, by the way, are those taught at Maynooth, from the works of De la Hogue and Bossuet, no Catholic is bound to either, for the Church has not accepted, as of faith, one or the other. The next objection is, that those works of Bellarmine and Thomas Aquinas are class books at Maynooth, notwithstanding the particular doctrines to which allusion has been made—as if these eminent doctors, who are great lights of the Church, were to be shut out from the student's perusal, because of a few objectionable passages. He would read to the House a question put on this subject in 1827, by one of the Royal Commissioners to the Professor of Moral Theology at Maynooth, and his answer, as it illustrates the observations he had just made. The Commissioner says— We beg you will understand that the object of this question, and of any similar ones that may be put, is merely to suggest to your mind that M. Bailly has not rejected all the doctrines that it would be desirable that he had done in the construction of his work, and certainly not for the purpose of imputing to any living Roman Catholic anything objectionable that it contains. Answer:— As I was observing just now, although a work may contain many things which I should condemn, yet if it has any particular question better treated of than I can find it anywhere else, I should not reject it altogether because the work itself contains exceptionable passages; but I should make use of what is good in it, and reject what is exceptionable. The next charge is that the Roman Catholics have no regard for the sanction of an oath—as if they have not amply shown that regard by centuries of exclusion from the benefits of the constitution and from the walls of Parliament, because of their scrupulous adherence to that sanction which they consider to be a law of nature. The Professor of Theology at Maynooth makes this observation:— In every moral treatise I have seen, written by Catholic divines, they consider the obligation of oaths and promises, in themselves lawful and not contrary to the law of God, as having their sanction from the law of nature antecedently to the Christian or any other revelation. But it is said that the Catholic Church claims a power of dispensing with oaths—so does the Established Church, as may be seen in Paley's Moral Theology. The Catholic Church treats that when an oath or promise is made under coercion, or is unlawful, or impossible of being kept, or has been obtained by fraud, or been made under error; or where the intention of the person taking the oath is tacitly limited by the law or custom of the country, and yet if kept would transgress that law, or be contrary to that custom—such oaths might be dispensed with. Paley holds nearly the same doctrines, and every one of these grounds of excusing any oath are most admirably set forth, explained, and illustrated in the evidence before the Royal Commission. Archbishop M' Hale, who was a Professor of Moral Theology at Maynooth, in a short sentence explains the case. He says— Every duty springs from God, and as God cannot contradict himself by requiring incompatible duties, the Church only interprets the Divine will while it releases him from the obligation of his oath. But the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner), not content with charging the Roman Catholics with doctrines which they repudiate as not the teaching of the Church, further charges them with being enemies of civil and religious liberty, because, forsooth, the Rambler newspaper chooses to put forth opinions of the most intolerant character. Was there ever so gross an injustice? Let the Roman Catholics be judged by their acts. How have they conducted themselves since they entered that House? Have they not always ranged themselves at the side of civil and religious liberty, and of human progress? Have they not always fought for the extension of parliamentary and municipal franchises? Where will they be found to-morrow on the division for admitting Jews into that House, and at what side will the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner) be found? And they, the Roman Catholics, acting always at the side of human progress, are to be denounced as enemies of civil liberty, because the Rambler newspaper gives expression to absurd opinions on the subject? The hon. Member then attacked the Sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church, and spoke of the secrecy of the Confessional. Well, all he (Mr. Fagan) would say on that subject was that even supposing that sacrament to be a mere human institution, instead of being, as it is, of Divine origin, it has proved the wholesome check to human failings, and though, of course, considering that it has existed eighteen hundred years, and has been administered to thousands of millions of the human race, it must have been occasionally abused both by priest and penitent, still it has done much for human nature and the Christian religion. If, then, the secrecy of the Confessional was in a single instance and for any purpose violated, that most admirable institution would at once fall to the ground; and nothing so much proves its Divine origin as the fact that in no one instance has that secrecy been ever violated. The order of Jesuits, again, is the constant subject of attack in discussing the Catholic religion. Well, he (Mr. Fagan) had only to state his conviction, after considerable study of the subject, that those attacks are without foundation. He would he content to rely upon the testimony of the historian Ranke, a Protestant writer, to establish a case for the Jesuits. Why is it that for two centuries they have been the constant theme of vituperation on the part of Protestant writers? Because the Jesuits were the order in the Catholic Church that succeeded in repelling the advances of the so-called Reformation, and once again establishing Catholicity throughout the greater part of Europe. This, Ranke admits, and this is the reason the order is so unceasingly maligned. Why is it the Jesuits were disliked by the European sovereigns? Because they were always at the side of the people, and were the first who taught the political doctrine that the people were "the true source of legitimate power." Those Catholic sovereigns in Spain, Portugal, and France had influence with the Sovereign Pontiff, and hence the suppression of the order; but it is well known that that Pontiff afterwards bitterly repented that act of suppression. The last topic of insult to which he would refer is respecting the class from which the Catholic clergy of Ireland is taken. Well, he admitted freely that they belonged, and were proud to belong, to the people—and so were the Apostles. It was the class our Saviour chose to belong to, and to mix with. It is because they belong to the people, and are of the people, that they have succeeded amidst so many difficulties to keep alive the spirit of religion amongst them. It is because they are of the people that they are their best spiritual and temporal friends, and are always with them, protecting their temporal interests, and teaching them unceasingly the truths of religion and the duties of social life. The proudest feather in their cap is that they belong to the people. He would now conclude. In defence of his religion he had been obliged to trespass at unusual length on the attention of the House. He regretted the necessity. He regretted the introduction of such angry topics. He was for peace and union amongst all Her Majesty's subjects of every religion, and he had arrived at a time of life when agitation was not agreeable. But he warned the House that, if the Motion were carried, there would arise in Ireland a storm that would shake the Established Church to its foundations. All he hoped was, that the House would negative the Motion by such an overwhelming majority that, as in the case of Protection, it would be for ever crushed and buried amidst the other ruins of intolerance and monopoly.


was not inclined to follow the course which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down thought proper to pursue. He certainly was not in the counsels of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and therefore he was unable to speak of the reasons which induced that hon. Gentleman to bring forward his Motion. This, however, he would say, that if they were those alleged by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan), that he should not have his (Mr. Mills') support; for he could conceive no more unworthy, no more unbecoming, motives than those which had their origin in religious rancour; and in order to show that he did not participate in any such feelings, and that he entirely disclaimed being influenced by them, he wished to address a few words to the House, while he gave his reasons for supporting the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. It was not only because he believed the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church to be theologically false, though he did profoundly entertain that conviction, but because he was thoroughly convinced of the pernicious effects of the Roman Catholic system. He believed it to be a system practically mischievous—to be one which had tended to wither and degrade to a state of moral, social, and financial bankruptcy, every com- munity which had adopted it—therefore he was opposed to the endowment of an institution the object of which was to give permanency to such a system. He was opposed to the grant because he had himself witnessed in America, in various parts of Europe, as well as in Ireland, the ruinous consequences of the Roman Catholic system, morally, socially, and economically, to the community that adopted it. It was not for him or for the House to enter into the question of the doctrinal differences between the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches. It was not a question who was right and who was wrong—let it be supposed, for the sake of argument, that the Roman Catholic religion was the nearest to the truth. But if he proved that that religion was practically mischievous—if he found that it undermined the principle of individual responsibility—he never could consent to endow an institution out of the funds of the State, which in his conscience he believed to be prejudicial to the well-being of the kingdom. Now, though he was most unwilling to trespass at length upon the attention of the House, still he could not avoid making a momentary reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Cork on the subject of the report of the Commission of 1827. It struck him (Mr. Mills) that that hon. Gentleman might also have drawn attention as well to the report of 1851 from the Visiting Committee. Having lately himself perused that report, he was able to say that the Visitors informed the House that they found everything there, including the dietary of the professors and students, in a most satisfactory state. Nevertheless, he must confess that the report was anything but satisfactory to him (Mr. Mills), whatever it might be to the Visitors. Neither did he believe that it would meet the requirements of the great constituencies of England, who had a right to demand how the large sums of money which were annually voted to the College of Maynooth were expended. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge had practically a visitatorial power exercised over them. Lately a Commission of Inquiry had been issued to inquire into the state of those Universities; and the public had a right to look for some definite information with respect to the system of education pursued at Maynooth. He did not think that the report before the House was either as full or as satisfactory as the Protestants of England had a right to expect. But he (Mr. Mills) was not so presumptuous as to suppose that any importance would attach to sentiments which rested only on his own authority. He would take the liberty of quoting to the House certain opinions which proceeded neither from Exeter Hall nor from the Protestant Alliance; but it was the language of a right hon. Gentleman a Member of Her Majesty's Government. They were not ill-considered words, hastily pressed forward during the heat of debate; but they were solemn words, appearing in a book which was much noticed, and in which very great talent was evidenced. The work which he alluded to was, The State in its Relations to the Church. Here were the words:— The support of the College of Maynooth was originally undertaken by the Protestant Parliament of Ireland, in the anticipation, which has since proved miserably fallacious, that a more loyal class of priests would be produced by a home education than by a foreign one, and that a gradual mitigation in the features of Irish Romanism would be produced when her ministers were no longer familiarised with its condition in continental countries where it remains the religion of the State. Instead of which, it has been found that the facility of education at home has opened the priesthood to a lower and less cultivated class, and one more liable to the influence of secondary motives. It can hardly be denied that this is a well-merited disappointment. If the State gives anything of pecuniary support, it should, in consistency, give everything; unless it is bound in conscience to maintain the national church as God's appointed vehicle of religious truth, it should adopt as its rule the numbers and the needs of the several classes of religionists, and in either respect the claim of the Roman Catholics is infinitely the strongest. In amount this grant is niggardly and unworthy; in principle it is wholly vicious, and it will be a thorn in the side of the state of these countries so long as it is continued. When foreigners express their astonishment at finding that we support in Ireland the Church of a small minority, we may tell them that we support it on the high ground of conscientious necessity for its truth; but how should we blush at the same time to support an institution, whose avowed and legitimate purpose it is constantly to denounce that truth as falsehood? If, indeed, our faith be pledged to the college, by all means let us acquit ourselves of the obligation; but it is monstrous that we should be the voluntary feeders of an establishment which exhibits at once our jealous parsimony, our lax principles, and our erroneous calculations. Such was the language once used by a right hon. Gentleman, now Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gladstone). Last night the hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland (Sir J. Young) informed the House that Maynooth had been established in order that the Irish ecclesiastical students might not imbibe Ultramontane opinions, and that Sir Robert Feel had experienced as much gratitude from the people of Ireland for his endowment of that college as he had expected. He (Mr. Mills) did not know what was the exact amount of gratitude which that lamented statesman looked forward to receive from the people of Ireland; but this he knew, that he anticipated that after the passing of his measure of endowment, the education of the priesthood of Ireland would be conducted in a spirit less alien to the institutions of this country, He concurred in the statement that the opinions taught at Maynooth, and the system propagated through the instrumentality of that teaching, were such as those who supported the Act of endowment did not expect. As the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed it, they were miser ably disappointed in the results. He would only make a remark in reference to one point which he thought was not sufficiently dwelt upon. They had heard a great deal about religious equality. He considered that this endowment was one not based upon the principle of religious equality-It was a special gift to one class in preference to others. He would express this position in a few lines, extracted from an able address presented to the candidates for the City of London, previous to the last July election, by an influential body of the electors for the City:— The endowment of Maynooth is a peculiar favour granted to one religious sect, while it is denied to all others; and granted to that sect only which is regarded by all others with well-grounded apprehension. The churchman, if he desires to educate his son for the ministry, sends him to a university at his own cost. The Dissenter or Wesleyan, proposing to devote a son to the service of God, places him in a college maintained by private funds. The Romanist only has the; education of his son undertaken by the State—a preference which is not only unjust, but regarded by Protestants with alarm, when it is remembered that the body thus distinguished is the only sect which inculcates and practises direct idolatry. He did not mean to designate the members of the Roman Catholic Church as idolaters: he only meant to say that many members of the Protestant faith considered them to be such, and they felt that they had a right to be consulted as to the manner in which this money was appropriated.


said, the more he heard the more he was convinced that that House was not the proper place for theological or casuistical discussion. If there existed in any Member's mind a persuasion that the teaching at the College of Maynooth was such as to endanger the safety of the State, or to injure the morals of the people, he would ask him to turn to a volume in the library, which had not emanated from the Visitors, hut from a Royal Commission, by whom the professors of the college were examined in the most searching manner; by whom, also, the contents of the textbooks had been examined, and who had laid before the House and the country the result of their inquiries—he meant "The Report of the Royal Commission of 1827." The result of the inquiries of these Gentlemen was a satisfactory contradiction to the allegations so perseveringly made against the system of education pursued at Maynooth. The College of Maynooth with respect to morality and theological teaching was now the same as it was at the period of that inquiry; and so far from shrinking from inquiry, that college challenged the most ample investigation. He begged to ask whether the Standing Orders of the House did not prohibit the use of language which was deeply offensive to the feelings of a large number of the Members of that House? If they did not prohibit it, the time might come when they should be revised and amended, so that language should not be used that was offensive to many Members of the House. He trusted, however, that the tone adopted by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, would not be imitated by other Members who might follow him in the debate. The chief object with which he had risen was to appear in the character of a witness, and to entreat of those who following the hon. Member intended to vote, not for inquiry, but for the abrogation of this grant, to consider well what they were about. He was acquainted with the, feelings of individuals in many parts of Ireland, and he warned the House that the tendencies exhibited by this Motion, and that expressions of opinion couched in the language they had heard on the preceding night, were most materially calculated to assist those who desired to spread in Ireland feelings of disaffection to British institutions. A very misguided man—not long ago a Member of that House—was now expiating in a penal colony his attempt to excite disaffection on the part of the Irish people against the institutions of the country; and he asked any person who knew anything of Ireland if that gentleman had done half as much to excite disaffection as those who adopted the course that had been taken on this occasion by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire? He hoped before the discussion closed they should hear from some one of its Members the sentiments of the late Government, who, during the general election, had profited very largely by the cry raised by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. At the beginning of the last Session the hon. Member had put down in the notice-book, with sybilline brevity, "Maynooth Grant," without any intimation as to his future proceedings; and subsequently he deemed it more prudent to move merely for an inquiry—but he had thought proper to adopt a different mode of proceeding on the present occasion. He (Mr. J. Ball) would now allude to a topic which had been referred to by the hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House, and he was the more desirous to do so, because the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whom he had referred, was not present. It was only necessary to appeal to the generous feelings of the House to obtain its attention, while he reminded them that that right hon. Gentleman, with a refined, and, as many thought, an exaggerated sense of honour, had atoned for his change of opinion as to anything that he thought erroneous in the passage read by the hon. Member, by the abdication of high office, not because he still retained those opinions, and was unable to carry them out in office, but simply to preserve his personal honour perfectly pure and untainted by the slightest appearance of being influenced by personal considerations in the vote which he gave in 1845. Circumstances had led him (Mr. J. Ball) to travel through a remote part of Ireland about the time the measure was introduced by Sir Robert Peel in 1845. He happened to fall into company he had not seen before, and which included many Roman Catholic priests. He had heard their free and unchecked expression of opinion, and he was struck by an observation that was made by one clergyman, who said they now, for the first time, understood the meaning of the term paternal Government; hitherto, he said, the friendly measures for which they were called upon to be thankful, merely extended to the relaxation of severity, the mitigation of a penal Act, or the removal of something that was grossly unjust, but that then, for the first time, a measure had been proposed by the British Government which appeared to be dictated solely by just and friendly motives, not reluctantly forced from it by political considerations, but influenced solely by a regard for the welfare and just claims of the majority of the Irish people. He (Mr. Ball) did not think it natural or reasonable that the feelings of a people towards its governors should permanently be influenced by gratitude for a solitary act of legislation; but it was a mistake to suppose that deep gratitude was not felt for that measure, or that deep gratitude would not be felt if they followed up in the same spirit that system of legislation.


Sir, I am unwilling to give a silent vote on the present occasion, because I know the interest which this question excites in the public mind, and the more so, as I am sorry to say, that I am unable to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), which goes to the immediate abrogation of the grant to the College of Maynooth—a course which I cannot think consistent with the honour and good faith of the Legislature. I need not have occupied the attention of the House further if it had not been for certain expressions which fell from the right hon. the Secretary for Ireland, in which he seemed to assert that all the violence, the bloodshed, and the tumult which occurred during the late elections in Ireland were to be laid to the charge of those gentlemen who ventured into a contest, without what he chooses to think sufficient chances of success. It seems, Sir, that he considers that every candidate for an Irish borough or an Irish county must have the exequator of the priest before he ventures to come forward. I dare say that this is very agreeable to those Gentlemen who have received that exequator, and are now by virtue of it sitting as Members of the Legislature; but I protest against such a doctrine as a gross infringement of the rights of Irish electors and Irish candidates. Further, when the right hon. Secretary detailed the evils, to guard against which the College of Maynooth was founded, the dangers of Ultramontanism, of foreign influence and intrigue, of disaffection to the Government of this country, I declare that for a moment I thought he was describing the actual state of Ireland. Sir, it is my firm belief that the College of Maynooth has been in every respect an utter and complete failure; but it must be recollected that the grant to the College has now existed for half a century; that it has been voted by successive Parliaments during that time; and that within the last few years it has been solemnly ratified by the Crown and Legislature of the Kingdom; and therefore I must repeat that the withdrawal of the grant would be injurious to the good faith and dignity of the Legislature, without a fair, full, and searching investigation into all matters connected with the College of Maynooth; and I must therefore with great regret refuse my support to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire.


said, he was glad to find that the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had not taken the same course as that of last year, by moving for inquiry, because to men holding such opinions as the hon. Member, such an inquiry as he had then sought for would be useless. It was far better that he and his Friends should propose at once the extinction of the grant. If they had an inquiry, he believed that the result of the investigation would merely show that the College had followed the same system of education since 1845, which it had acted upon for years before. Beyond that he believed the Committee would afford no new evidence upon which they could found a Motion for the abrogation of the grant. He was glad to find that the hon. Member had repented of his moderation and liberality of last year, and had founded his present Motion upon the old, antiquated, familiar ground of religious intolerance. They knew all those arguments well; but he must say he had never heard them put forward more broadly and unmistakeably than last night by the hon. Member. He could not help wishing, as he listened, for something like a statute of limitations applied to their discussions, which, after a certain lapse of years, might bar the arguments of Lord George Gordon and the No-Popery men of 1780. Yet he was not sorry that the hon. Member had exhibited his proposal in all its naked deformity, because he felt it would be so repulsive to the House as to ensure its rejection. He had no fear then for the result of the vote upon the present occasion. Yet he could not refrain from expressing his regret at the state in which the question now stood, and the attitude in which the friends of religious equality now found themselves placed. It appeared as if a great gulf separated them from the year 1845; for what was the state of things in Ireland in 1845, compared with former years? After many failures which this great cause had undergone for the last half century—after its break-down in 1801 under the master hand of Mr. Pitt, and again in later years under the powerful Ministry of Earl Grey, the time did seem to come in 1845 when a settlement of this great question was approaching. Who could forget the great debates of 1845? Who could forget the speech of the late Sir Robert Peel on that occasion?—a speech which, as an hon. Friend of his had told them, was read with gratitude by poor Irishmen in the wilds of Connaught? Who either could forget the language of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, and the leaders of the Liberal party of that day? On that occasion Earl Grey, and others, told the House that they did not receive the increased grant to the College of Maynooth as a final settlement of this great question, and they thought that the establishment of religious equality in Ireland could not be long deferred. But he could not forget the lamentable events that separated us from the year 1845. There was first the insurrectionary movement in Ireland, when the genius and ardour of young Irishmen like Meagher and Davis were worse than wasted in the vain pursuit of separate nationality. Who could forget the famine that followed those events, and the destruction of a large portion of the population? Then came that ecclesiastical movement which was called the Papal aggression. He had always deplored that movement. He condemned the legislation which followed it, believing that the rude hand of the State only made matters worse; but there could be no doubt that it had provoked a reaction in this country which made the settlement of the ecclesiastical question in Ireland more difficult and distant than ever. Those lamentable occurrences had intervened, and the question was now in a different position from what it was in 1845. He did not, under these circumstances, blame the Government for not undertaking at this moment the task of remodelling the ecclesiastical establishment of Ireland. He did not expect impossibilities from Government, nor did he think it was the duty of any Irish Liberal to put himself in hostility to them. It was his belief that the noble Lord and the Government were ready, as far as it was possible, to govern Ireland on the principle of equality, as between classes and creeds; and he was confirmed in that opinion by the speech which had been delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland (Sir John Young). He thought that speech gave such a direct, honest, unequivocal negative to the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and at the same time was couched in such friendly terms towards the Roman Catholics, that the right hon. Gentleman deserved their best thanks. But all Liberal statesmen and politicians should remember the enormous difficulties that any Government had to encounter in carrying out the principle of religious equality in Ireland, and the greatest of these lay in the honest but unhappy prejudices of the people of England and Scotland. It was their duty, at all events, not to appeal to those prejudices, or aggravate them for party purposes. He hoped they would have no more Ecclesiastical Titles Bills, or no more legislation tending to confirm the prejudices of Protestants against Roman Catholics. He felt, for his part, the difficulty of governing a Catholic country through a Protestant Parliament No one respected more than he did the Protestant feeling of the people of this country; he should be sorry to see it lessened or lowered within its proper sphere. But let it not be blindly brought to bear upon the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Let Englishmen and Scotchmen reflect sometimes how Ireland, if Ireland were an independent country, would be likely to settle her Church question, and how they would feel themselves, if they were in the position of the Roman Catholics there. Religious zeal and Protestant zeal might be a good thing; but a sense of justice was better. He was himself a Protestant, but he could distinguish between the Protestantism of the heart and the Protestantism of the benches opposite—he could distinguish between the personal religion which animated the man, and that party religion which dictated the vote. The fool of party religion would oftentimes rush in where the angel of personal religion would fear to tread. He called upon all good Protestants to reject the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and to join in promoting the great cause of religious equality.


Sir, I can promise the House that I will not enter on any of those extraneous topics to which hon. Gentlemen who have preceded me have adverted, and into which we are generally drawn by a discussion on the subject of Maynooth. I think there exists, on both sides the House, a very general desire that this debate should be concluded to- day; and, if possible, that, being concluded, it should not again be resumed. In that desire I concur—not only on account of the state of the public business, always pressing at this time of the year—not merely because, in the course of repeated discussions, all that is really original and valuable, whether in the way of opinion, of argument, or of fact, has long since been elicited, leaving behind little except matter for theological disputes and mutual recrimination—but because every day and hour that this question remains open—the opinion of the House not expressed, its decision not anticipated with certainty, for though we may predict with some confidence what that decision will be, yet it is impossible that out of doors any similar confidence of expectation should prevail—tends to embitter the animosity with which this question is unhappily regarded in Ireland, and to keep open that sore which it was the object of the settlement of 1845 to heal and to close up for ever. And feeling thus, I should not have risen were it not that it seemed undesirable that this debate should close without an expression of opinion from any single Member of the late Government. And in stating the reasons for which I find it impossible to support the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire, I must in the first place briefly glance at the circumstances under which this grant originated. I must ask the House to recollect when, where, and with whom it had its origin. It was first made at a time when questions of religious difference were not dealt with in the comparatively calm and temperate spirit which characterises the present day; at a time when the penal laws were still unrepealed, when Protestant ascendancy was the watchword of a powerful party in the State, and when Protestantism was too often synonymous with intolerance. Neither did it originate with a Roman Catholic Legislature, representing a Roman Catholic country, but with the exclusively Protestant Parliament of Ireland, an assembly in which no Roman Catholic could so much as take his seat. It originated in Ireland—then, at least, distinguished beyond all other countries of Europe for the height to which religious intolerance was carried—and it originated on the spot, in a Legislature whose local knowledge peculiarly qualified its Members to judge as to the manner in which the money granted was likely to be applied. Trace the history of the Maynooth endowment, and you find it at once adopted and sanctioned by the Imperial Parliament; adopted, moreover, if I mistake not, without opposition from any quarter. Not only was it continued by the Parliament of this country, but within a few years' time it was actually increased from 8,000l. to 13,000l.; and though the latter sum was only voted for a single year—1808—yet from that time forth, down to 1845, the annual grant was continued at 9,000l., being 1,000l. more than the sum originally voted; and this, be it remembered, was done in the very days to which we are accustomed to look back as those during which the Government of this country was carried on, on principles the least tolerant, and, in a political sense, the most exclusively Protestant. I mention the fact of that slight increase, trifling though it appears, because it seems to prove, indisputably, that in dealing with this grant the Legislature did not act in the spirit of a party tied down to the strict and literal performance of a contract—did not content itself with merely acting up to the letter of the arrangement it had entered into—but showed itself willing to go beyond what it had promised, and to deal with the whole question in a large and generous spirit. It has been sometimes objected that during the greater part of the last half century—from 1801 to 1845—the grant was merely an annual one, and its renewal beyond the period of a year in no way guaranteed by Parliament. That is certainly the case; but it makes my argument stronger. If, at the time of the Union, or soon after, the grant had been placed at once on the footing on which it was afterwards placed by Sir Robert Peel's measure in 1845, I could very well understand how it might be said, that whether the endowment of Maynooth were an act in itself right or wrong, politic or impolitic, it was the work of only a single Parliament and a single Ministry; and that, though subsequent Parliaments and Cabinets had not chosen to repeal the grant, they had been actuated, in abstaining from so doing, not by any approval of what their predecessors had done, but solely by a desire to maintain inviolate the public faith. I can understand, in such a case as I have supposed, how that language might have been held; but with regard to an annual grant, voted for one year only, and regularly renewed, from 1801 to 1845, without the interruption of a single year, it seems impossible to deny that we have a distinct approval of the principle on which it was originally framed, repeated, and confirmed by every Minister and every Parliament, without exception, before whom this question came during a period of forty-four years. I come now to the measure of 1845. What was the object which Sir Robert Peel proposed to himself when dealing with the question in 1845? Evidently it was this: Sir Robert Peel, in his proposal to place the endowment of Maynooth on a new footing, was influenced by an apprehension, that—although no ill consequences had actually arisen from the yearly renewal of the grant by Parliament—still that such consequences might arise, and that, to guard against them, it was desirable to remove this question from the list of those questions that were open to annual discussion in Parliament, by placing Maynooth College in a position of permanent independence. There can be no doubt but that was the view taken by Sir Robert Peel: there can be no doubt but that he regarded the Act of 1845 as a permanent settlement, and that by Parliament generally it was regarded in the same light. As such it was proposed, as such it was debated and opposed, and, as such, it was finally carried through both Houses. What, therefore, I want to impress on the minds of my hon. Friends is this, that, however much they may desire it, they cannot now replace this question on the footing on which it stood previous to 1845. There is certainly one case, but one only, in which the settlement of 1845 ceases to be binding; and that is, if you assume that in the eight years which have elapsed since 1845, circumstances have altered in so great a degree relatively to the College of Maynooth, that the Maynooth of 1853 cannot be considered as identical with the Maynooth of 1845, to which the endowment was granted. On any other assumption, it appears to me that the Act of 1845 is binding, and, indeed, irreversible. I believe I do not stand alone in this view: I believe there are many hon. Members in this House who will not consent to a repeal of the grant now, although they voted against it in 1845, because they feel that Parliament stands pledged to its maintenance. I may be told, undoubtedly, that there are other Members who take the converse view of this question, and who, though supporters of the grant in 1845, are now prepared to oppose it. They do not consider that Parliament is pledged to its continuance; they regard the grant as having been originally made in the nature of an experiment: they think that as an experiment it has failed, and therefore desire that it should be discontinued. Well, that is a clear, consistent, intelligible view: but, in order to entertain it you must first assume, not merely that the grant was not guaranteed as permanent, but also that it was granted conditionally. Now, I am unable to find any condition expressed or implied, either in the speech of Sir Robert Peel when introducing the measure, or in any other speech delivered on the subject in either House of Parliament. On the contrary, it seems clear that the intention of the Legislature in 1845 was, first, that the grant should be unconditional; and, secondly, that it should be permanent. I now come to the Amendment on the original Motion, proposed by the hon. Member for Birmingham, in which the House is asked to express a general approval of the voluntary principle. I shall not enter upon any inquiry into the abstract merits of the voluntary principle. I believe that it is impossible to lay down a principle in such matters which shall be applicable to all times and to all societies. I believe that there are certain circumstances, and certain conditions of society, in which the voluntary principle would be not only the best, but practically the only one, on which it would be possible to legislate. If, for example, we were legislating for a new country, founding a new society, no doubt it would be the wisest plan to place the government of such a country in a position of neutrality as regards all religions, leaving each to maintain itself, and giving to none an endowment out of public funds. But how is that principle to be applied to the state of things now existing in England? What is meant by the hon. Member asking us to assent to a declaration that no public funds shall be applied to any religious purpose? Is that declaration to apply to every kind of endowment? Is it intended to be retrospective, or prospective only? Is it intended to apply only to votes annually granted, or to grants for a longer period? or does it proceed on the assumption that all ecclesiastical property is the property of the State; and does it mean that all endowments, whether in the shape of land or money, now devoted to religious purposes, shall be resumed by the State? In the latter case, the proposition which we are called upon to consider thus incidentally, involves the secularisation of the whole ecclesiastical property of the country. Now I do not think that it is a question on which it would be wise or convenient to enter, when it is brought forward merely by way of supplement to another debate. It is far too wide, far too general, far too important, for any such incidental discussion. But if it be intended to leave untouched the great bulk of ecclesiastical property, and repeal only such grants as are either voted annually, or derived directly from the State, then I must say that such an application of the voluntary principle seems partial and unfair; because, in the majority of cases, the object of such grants is to place the members of other sects in a position less unfavourable, when compared to the position of the Established Church, than that which they would otherwise occupy. With regard to the propriety of instituting an inquiry into the education given at Maynooth, I certainly should not have opposed my hon. Friend if he had limited his Motion, as he did last year, to a demand for inquiry; for I cannot conceive that Parliament should not have the right of ascertaining in what way money voted by it has been expended, and whether that money has been appropriated to the purposes for which it was voted. The acceptance by any religious body, of endowment from the State, implies its willingness to submit in return to a certain degree of supervision and control: and since Government has taken upon itself to inquire into the condition of the English Universities, I cannot imagine that any other religious or educational body, receiving public money, can be entitled to claim exemption from inquiry as a matter of right. It has been stated that the Maynooth grant is abused. That may or may not be the case: it is only by an inquiry that the truth can be ascertained; but if, as the result of such inquiry, it be proved that the education given at Maynooth is not all that it ought to be, still it should be distinctly understood, and laid down as a principle, that be the existing abuses what they may, you are not on that account to repeal the grant, although you may take measures to secure its not being abused. That is one of the two provisions which seem necessary, in order to render the inquiry a fair one; and the other is, that the inquiry should be conducted, at least in part, by members of the Roman Catholic religion. If an inquiry be proposed on the above terms, I think hon. Gentlemen who are interested in Ireland, and espe- cially who are interested in Maynooth, will be acting unwisely if they resist the proposition. They at least will not deny that there prevails in this country some degree of prejudice against the institution which they support; and to destroy that prejudice, and convert animosity into friendly feeling, only one means will he effected. Let them show that they do not fear, hut rather court, publicity: that they have nothing to conceal, nothing to be ashamed of; and they may rely upon it, if they take that course, that though the public of England may not be free from prejudices, still that the spirit of fair play will in the end prevail, and impartial justice will be done. With regard to the present Motion, I, for one, must oppose it: I believe that it will be rejected by a large majority of this House; and rejoicing, as I do, to think that there is no danger of the settlement of 1845 being disturbed, I rejoice the more on this account, that I believe there can be no security for the Established Protestant Church of Ireland, unless you deal in a fair and liberal spirit with the claims of the Irish Roman Catholic population.


said, as there was a general wish among hon. Members at once to divide, he was unwilling to intrude himself on the notice of the House; but he was equally unwilling to allow this question to go to a division without expressing his views in reference to it. His opinion was decidedly against both the Amendment and the original Resolution. The original Resolution was one which no man entertaining the opinions which he entertained could for a moment support; and he considered the Amendment as one which was equally objectionable to every Gentleman who entertained opinions similar to his own on this subject. He regarded, indeed, the Amendment as the original Resolution under a different shape. He had nothing whatever to complain of in the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield); it was extremely liberal, fair, and candid; but it was impossible for him (Mr. Lucas), or hon. Members who acted with him in that House, to conceal from themselves the fact that the Amendment moved by the hon. Member was one, a great part of the support of which would be dictated by the same feelings of religious bigotry and opposition to Catholicity as those which animated the supporters of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen might cry "Oh, oh!" but it was impossible to deny that that was a fact. It was impossible for any one who had paid attention to the elections which followed on the recent dissolution of Parliament to misunderstand this fact, that the liberal constituencies in the boroughs and large cities and towns in England were just as much opposed to there being fair play towards Catholicity, just as much hostile to the Catholic Church and faith, and just as much determined to refuse justice to the Catholics of Ireland and Great Britain, as those constituencies which supported the views of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire; and the fact was, that the scope and purpose of the Amendment was to avoid, under a plausible but delusive appearance, giving full and open expression to that feeling of bigotry. He had been taking a little pains to look through that interesting register of Parliamentary opinions, Dod's Parliamentary Companion, and by some accident he had stumbled upon the name of Mr. Kinnaird, the hon. Member for Perth, and in reference to that hon. Member he read "a Liberal; opposed to the Maynooth grant." He was in hopes that the hon. and Liberal Member for Perth, whom they had heard deliver himself with so much emphasis the other night on a foreign question of religious freedom, would have delivered himself with equal emphasis on the present occasion, and would have favoured the House with his opinions on domestic religious freedom, and would have shown that he was not a gentleman who would raise a great outcry in favour of those who did not immediately concern or call for the attention of that House, while at the same time he had nothing to say to his fellow-citizens at home. But he (Mr. Lucas) took that hon. Member as an example of a very considerable class of Members on the opposite side of the House, whose votes were to be caught by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Birmingham. He would point out very briefly in what way he thought the Amendment objectionable. An appeal had been made to him and the other Catholic Members to the effect that the Catholics ought to be too proud to accept this beggarly grant, as it was called, of 30,000l. a year. Let hon. Members put that question fairly and justly, and still he would go as far as any man in rejecting this beggarly grant, which raised against them (the Catholics) the question of gratitude, which he, for one, was not disposed to pay, by robbing them of the immense debt of justice which he, for one, was determined always to claim. If the hon. Member for Birmingham would alter the form of his Motion, so as to do justice—and not merely justice to the Catholics, but to the very principle which he himself (Mr. Scholefield) advocated, and a great many hon. Members about, they would support the hon. Member's Amendment, and would do their best to carry it in the House on that and all other occasions. What was the hon. Member's principle? It was that of the absence of religious endowments. They were now considering the question as it affected Ireland. He (Mr. Lucas) was not asking the House to adopt the principle of voluntaryism in England against the Established Church in England. That was a distinct question arising on its own merits, with which he should not then attempt to meddle. But he took the case of Ireland as an isolated case of practical injustice, and, in answer to the appeal made to him from the other side of the House in favour of the voluntary principle, he said that, although he did not agree with the abstract views of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who advocated the Amendment on the ground of voluntaryism, yet he was prepared to adopt this practical conclusion if they would put that practical conclusion in issue. The Amendment did not even deal with the grant made in the shape of the Regium Donum to the Presbyterians in Ireland. If that Resolution was carried, they would take away the endowment of Maynooth, and leave standing the endowment granted out of the Estimates of every year in favour of the Presbyterians of Ulster. Therefore that Resolution did not in any way put fairly in issue the principle which the hon. Member wished to recommend to the House. The hon. Member ought to put that principle in issue by including some form of words which would declare that all religious endowments in Ireland, of whatever kind—whether the endowment of Maynooth, the Regium Donum of the Presbyterians, or that most flagrant and flagitious of all endowments, the endowment—not by the voluntary grant of the State out of the funds of the State—but the endowment conceived in fraud and brought forth in robbery—the endowment of the Established Church of Ireland, which plundered the Catholics of their own funds, and gave them to a minority of the people. An appeal had been made to them (the Catholics), and it was an appeal ad misericordiam—that they would not be so stony-hearted, or so hard, as to ask Protestants to vote their Protestant money for the support of a religion to which they had a conscientious objection; and yet the Protestants took not their own, but the Catholic funds, and actually compelled and dragooned, and coerced the Catholics to make over the funds accumulated by their religious and Catholic forefathers for the endowment of the religion which they professed. They took all those funds from the Catholics, and they had no scruple of conscience, no reciprocity of toleration, hut they went on the vulgar principle of taking all they could get, and of keeping all they got when once they got it. That principle would not do; it would not succeed; it must break down. What was the real state of the question now before the House? Nobody believed that the Resolution of the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner) would be adopted by that House. Everybody knew it would be outvoted. It was, in fact, a Resolution which was supported only by what he (Mr. Lucas) might call the tail of two parties in the House without the assent of the heads of either. There was no man on either side of the House who had ever been connected with the administration of the affairs of this country—no man who had ever been a Cabinet Minister, or hoped to be one—who would ever commit himself to the insane proposition that the House was to maintain such an iniquity as the Established Church in Ireland, and that it was to take away from the Catholics that poor paltry contribution which it had made not so much in a spirit of liberality and kindness, as in a spirit of State policy. The greater part of the hon. Member's (Mr. Spooner's) speech depended on what toot place at the last election. The hon. Member claimed inquiry into Maynooth in consequence of the scenes that took place at the last election; because, he argued, those things proved that the object in making the grant had failed. He (Mr. Lucas) admitted that in one sense the object of Sir Robert Peel's policy with regard to Maynooth had failed; for it was part of the avowed object of that policy that that House was to have done for ever with the annual discussions about Maynooth, and that they should not waste two valuable nights every Session with abusing one another about religious topics, and in enkindling mutual religious hostilities which could not but exist out of doors, but which it was not for the interest of the State or the Empire that they should be cultivated in that House. He had always understood it to be the policy of Sir Robert Peel in this matter that that House should cease to send forth the "message" they had so often sent before—that the feeling of intolerance still existed in that House, and that religious freedom was insecure, because a large majority in that House wished to give expression through the Legislature to those feelings of intolerance, and to strike a fatal blow at the peace and tranquillity of the empire. That must be the result if the Resolution passed. He did not think he ought to occupy the time of the House by answering objections so offensively made by the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner) against everything that was most sacred and holy in his (Mr. Lucas's) estimation. He certainly thought he should be treating those imputations with a respect which they did not deserve, if he were to meet them with anything like serious refutation. To hear the hon. Member, the House might think that the Catholic religion had dropped down from the moon only last year; that it was some new subject which occupied the thoughts of the educated gentlemen of England; that they had to learn for the first time what was the religion of their forefathers; and that we of the nineteenth century had yet to go back for some centuries to know what was the religion which prevailed in this country for so many generations, which laid out the foundations, and built up the fabric of the constitution which was now their boast, and every institution on which they prided themselves, and which created that political inheritance which they enjoyed, whilst they blasphemed the creators of it. Neither on this nor on any other occasion would he condescend in that House to vindicate the Church of which it was his greatest pride to be an obedient child, against the aspersions brought against it by that hon. Gentleman. If ground were laid for inquiry by bringing in a bonâ fide distinct charge against the endowment of Maynooth—if evidence were adduced establishing a primâ facie case that the funds were badly applied, that there wore abuses of any kind in the administration of these funds, or that any particular immorality prevailed in the institution—if any tangible accusation were brought against Maynooth, then he and every hon. Member who acted with him should be prepared to meet an inquiry, and to assist it by every means in their power. But that was not the fact. No case had been made out against Maynooth, nor the pretence of a case. The only case made out was a case against the Catholic religion; and the question the House of Commons was now asked to try was, not whether Maynooth was a good Catholic college, but whether the Catholic religion was of such a nature that no Catholic college, without being false to the character of Catholicity itself, should have any endowment whatever. That was the case which had been made out; and to a case made out in that way, resting on such grounds, depending on the truth of such propositions as had been advanced by the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner), he should never give his assent, but his most determined opposition. He understood that by continuing his observations he should stand in the way of a division; he would, therefore, though he had other remarks which he intended to have made, yield to the expressed wish of the House.


I have no objection that we should go at once to a division, if that is the wish of the House; but, Sir, my constituents of every rank and degree have urged me to vote against the continuation of this grant. But I know I won't. [Laughter.] I said, "No—I refuse to do an act of injustice." I said, "Let there be a case made out—let there be a Motion made for inquiry, and into that inquiry I will go." But my constituents, like the rest of the people of England, are not a pack of blind bigots, who do not know what they are talking about. That which has raised their indignation is this, the address of a gentleman called Paul Cullen, who writes, "The venerated hierarchy and clergy, in the fulfilment of their duties, will inculcate the strict and religious duty of selecting as representatives of the people those men who are best fitted to support in the Imperial Parliament our religious rights." Now we go back to the master of Paul Cullen, and see what he calls religious rights. The Pope says, "We have taken this principle for basis, that the Catholic religion, with all its rites, ought to be exclusively dominant, in such sort that every other worship shall be banished and interdicted." Now, Englishmen may be called coarse, but they are honest and plain spoken; and I say, with those words, to talk about religious equality is a gross fraud and imposture. I have not time to go into all the question; but about this new religion, I could, if I had time, prove that now, for the first time in the history of the Church, the doctrines of the Jesuits are alone authorised. Do not shake your heads, Gentlemen. I will give my authority; I have got all the extracts; those pocket pistols, as they are sometimes termed. [An Hon. MEMBER: Go on!] I won't go on, because I know very well the nature of the adversaries with whom I have to deal, and I will not stir one step without making good my ground as I go. I know the cleverness of the Jesuits; I know they beat the Popes; and I am not going to suppose that I can beat them as they have beaten the Popes. But I will give you a sample of them. Bellarmine—no obsolete authority among them—says Pontifex potest legem Dei mutari. That sentiment astonished the King of France; and the King of France, after a good deal of trouble, got the Pope to put this among the propositiones damnatœ. How did they get over that difficulty, do you suppose? By putting in a word or two—Pontifex non sine justa causa. There are a dozen instances; would you like any more? ["Go on!"] I will oblige the hon. Gentleman by giving one—though I am sure it is not at all my wish. For instance, you must know these Jesuits have a sort of falsehood called mental reservation. Innocent XI., a very good Pope, tried to put down some of those things, and among the rest this "mental reservation." But how did they get over him? By saying they wanted pure mental reservation—so pure, indeed, that nobody was to understand it. [Mr. BOWYER: Where is that to be found?] You will find it, Sir, in the fifth volume of Liguori, page 268. Then, again, they encourage assassination, as we all know. That was why the King of Spain banished them from his dominions. The answer they put in to that charge was, that they only were to be accounted assassins who committed assassination for a temporal consideration. So, if you are not paid for a murder, it is not assassination. But this is not the point I wished to bring before you. I wanted to bring specially before you what they think with regard to witnesses and false oaths. That is the point, and it is upon that point that it behoves the Government to institute inquiry, because it would be impossible to maintain that there is any means of carrying on the institutions of freemen whilst such doctrines are taught. [Mr. BOWYER: Where do you find that? In the fourth volume of Liguori, page 364. You will see there that a witness may say he does not know that which he does know. I might go through the whole system of this falsehood. I want to treat it, not as a religious question; it is a question of the conspiracy of these men against the rights of mankind; and it behoves every country in Europe to combine to expose and refute such a system.


then attempted to address the House; but the cries for a division being great, the noble Lord moved that the House do adjourn.

After soma interruption,


said, he could not suffer the discussion to close without protesting in the strongest manner against the observations with respect to the Established Church used by the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas), who could not have taken his seat in that House unless under the solemn obligation of an oath to do nothing to weaken or destroy the settlement of the Church Establishment. Language more bitter, more insulting, or more unlike anything which the hon. Member himself would tolerate to be used in reference to his own Church, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) had never heard.


said, that with respect to what had fallen from the hon. Baronet, all he could say was that it was not his intention to use one expression insulting to any hon. Gentleman on account of the religion or Church to which he belonged. He had spoken of the Establishment solely in its character as a political institution, not wishing to express any opinion on its character as a Church; and he should have deemed himself open to great reprobation if he had used any observations about the Church to which the hon. Baronet belonged such as those uttered the other night, without any remonstrance being made, by the Member for North Warwickshire against the Catholic Church and its sacraments.


thought it due to himself to take some notice of what had fallen from the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas). That hon. Member had said, that if the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Birmingham had included all religious endowments, that of the Established Church in Ireland among the rest, he and those who acted with him—meaning, he (Mr. Serjeant Shee) presumed, all or many of the Catholic Members of the House—would have voted for it. Now, he (Mr. Serjeant Shee) meant to say that, so long as the oaths now taken at the table by Members constituted part of the law of the land, he would not vote for such an Amendment. On many subjects, doubtless, he entirely agreed in opinion with the hon. Member for Meath, but not on that subject; and he could not allow the debate to close without expressing distinctly his sentiments on the point.


, amid loud cries for a division, emphatically denied that in voting for the Amendment he was influenced by religious bigotry.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put, and negatived.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 162; Noes 192: Majority 30.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Anderson, Sir J. Duke, Sir J.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Duncan, G.
Archdall, Capt. M. Duncombe, hon. A.
Arkwright, G. Dundas, G.
Astell, J. H. Dundas, F.
Ball, E. East, Sir J. B.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Ellice, E.
Barrington, Visct. Ewart, W.
Barrow, W. H. Farnham, E. B.
Bennet, P. Farrer, J.
Bentinck, G. P. Ferguson, J.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Floyer, J.
Blair, Col. Forbes, W.
Booker, T. W. Forester, rt. hon. Col.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Forster, Sir G.
Bremridge, R. Fraser, Sir W. A.
Brisco, M. Freestun, Col.
Brocklehurst, J. Frewen, C. H.
Brooke, Lord Gooch, Sir E. S.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Graham, Lord M. W.
Bruce, C. L. C. Greaves, E.
Buck, L. W. Greenall, G.
Burghley, Lord Grogan, E.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Guernsey, Lord
Butt, G. M. Gwyn, H.
Cairns, H. M. Halford, Sir H.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Halsey, T. P.
Chambers, T. Hamilton, Lord C.
Cheetham, J. Hamilton, G. A.
Child, S. Hamilton, J. H.
Christopher, rt. hon. R. A. Hanbury, hon. C. S. B.
Cobbold, J. C. Hardinge, hon. C. S.
Codrington, Sir W. Hastie, A.
Coles, H. B. Hastie, A.
Collier, R. P. Heathcote, Sir G. J.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Heathcote, G. H.
Crook, J. Hope, Sir J.
Davison, R. Horsfall, T. B.
Deedes, W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Dod, J. W. Jones, D.
Dodd, G. Keating, H. S.
Du Cane, C. Kendall, N.
Ker, D. S. Pellatt, A.
Kershaw, J. Pilkington, J.
King, J. K. Repton, G. W. J.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Robertson, P. F.
Knatchbull, W. F. Rushout, Capt.
Knightley, R. Sawle, C. B. G.
Knox, hon. W. S. Scott, hon. F.
Langton, H. G. Seymer, H. K.
Langston, W. G. Smijth, Sir W.
Lockhart, W. Smith, W. M.
Long, W. Smyth, J. G.
Lowther, Capt. Somerset, Capt.
Macartney, G. Stafford, A.
MacGregor, J. Stafford, Marq. of
M'Taggart, Sir J. Stanhope, J. B.
Maddock, Sir T. H. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Mandeville, Visct. Stapleton, J.
Martin, J. Taylor, Col.
Masterman, J. Thomson, G.
Matheson, A. Tollemache, J.
Matheson, Sir J. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Maunsell, T. P. Turner, C.
Meux, Sir H. Tyler, Sir G.
Michell, W. Vance, J.
Miles, W. Vane, Lord A.
Miller, T. J. Verner, Sir W.
Mills, A. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Montgomery, Sir G. Waddington, H. S.
Moody, C. A. Walcott, Adm.
Morgan, C. R. Warner, E.
Morris, D. Whatley, G. H.
Mullings, J. R. Whitmore, H.
Mundy, W. Wickbam, H. W.
Muntz, G. F. Wise, J. A.
Napier, rt. hon. J. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Neeld, J. Wynne, W. W. E.
Noel, hon. G. J.
Packe, C. W. TELLERS.
Palmer, R. Spooner, R.
Parker, R. T. Newdegate, C. N.
List of the NOES.
A'Court, C. H. W. Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.
Adair, H. E. Cocks, T. S.
Anson, hon. Gen. Coffin, W.
Atherton, W. Coote, Sir C. H.
Bailey, C. Corbally, M. E.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Ball, J. Crossley, F.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Denison, J. E.
Barnes, T. Devereux, J. T.
Bell, J. Divett, E.
Bellow, Capt. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Berkeley, Adm. Drummond, H.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Duff, G. S.
Bowyer, G. Duff, J.
Brady, J. Duffy, C. G.
Brainstem, T. W. Duncombe, T.
Brand, hon. H. B. W. Dunlop, A. M.
Brotherton, J. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Brown, W. Emlyn, Visct.
Browne, V. Esmonde, J.
Bruce, H. A. Evelyn, W. J.
Butler, C. S. Fagan, W.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Ferguson, Sir R.
Chaplin, W. J. Fitzgerald, W. R. S.
Charteris, hon. F. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Clay, J. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Clay, Sir W. Forster, M.
Clinton, Lord R. Forster, C.
Cobbett, J. M. Fortescue, C.
Cobden, R. Fox, R. M.
Fox, W. J. Osborne, R.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Paget, Lord A.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Palmerston, Visct.
Gladstone, Capt. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Glyn, G. C. Peel, F.
Goderich, Visct. Percy, hon. J. W.
Goodman, Sir G. Phillips, J. H.
Goold, W. Phillimore, R. J.
Gower, hon. F. L. Phinn, T.
Grace, O. D. J. Pinney, W.
Greene, J. Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.
Gregson, S. Potter, R.
Grenfell, C. W. Powlett, Lord W.
Greville, Col. F. Price, W. P.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Ricardo, J. L.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Ricardo, O.
Hadfield, G. Rice, E. R.
Hall, Sir B. Robartes, T. J. A.
Harcourt, Col. Rumbold, C. E.
Headlam, T. E. Russell, Lord J.
Henchy, D. O. Russell, F. C. H.
Heneage, G. H. W. Russell, F. W.
Heneage, G. F. Scholefield, W.
Herbert, H. A. Scobell, Capt.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Scully, F.
Hervey, Lord A. Seymour, W. D.
Heywood, J. Shafto, R. D.
Higgins, G. G. O. Shee, W.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Shelburne, Earl of
Howard, Lord E. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Hutchins, E. J. Sheridan, R. B.
Hutt, W. Smith, J. A.
Ingham, R. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Jermyn, Earl Stanley, Lord
Johnstone, Sir J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Keating, R. Stirling, W.
Kennedy, T. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
King, hon. P. J. L. Stuart, Lord D.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Sullivan, M.
Lacon, Sir E. Swift, R.
Laslett, W. Thicknesse, R. A.
Layard, A. H. Thornely, T.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Towneley, C.
Locke, J. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Lockhart, A. E. Vernon, G. E. H.
Loveden, P. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Lucas, F. Vivian, H. H.
Mackie, J. Wall, C. B.
M'Cann, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
M'Mahon, P. Walter, J.
Magan, W. H. Wells, W.
Massey, W. N. Whatman, J.
Meagher, T. Whitbread, S.
Milligan, R. Wilkinson, W. A.
Milner, W. M. E. Willcox, B. M.
Milton, Visct. Williams, W.
Mitchell, T. A. Willoughby, Sir H.
Monck, Visct. Wilson, J.
Moncreiff, J. Wilson, M.
Moore, G. H. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Wrightson, W. B.
Mulgrave, Earl of Wyndham, W.
Mure, Col. Wyvill, M.
Murphy, F. S. Young, rt. hon. Sir J.
Norreys, Lord
Oakes, J. H. P. TELLERS.
O'Connell, M. Hayter, W. G.
O'Flaherty, A. Monsell, W.

And it being Six o'clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till To-morrow, without putting the Question.