HC Deb 22 June 1853 vol 128 cc534-85

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he would now beg to move the Second Reading of this Bill, which was a Bill for the recovery of personal liberty in certain cases. But first he would call the attention of the House to its title, for among the hundreds, perhaps he should say thousands, of petitions presented that day, as well as in the various speeches which had been delivered against it, he had heard almost every possible variety of misdescription applied to the Bill. According to more than one-half of the petitions, the House was called upon to deal with the Bill as one for the "visitation" and "inspection" of convents; while, in other cases, that of the hon. Member for Drogheda (Mr. M'Cann, for example, the Bill was spoken of as one for the "desecration" of these nunneries. And after that, the real title of the Bill, as announced by the hon. and learned Member for Hertford himself (Mr. T. Chambers), was met by a sneer on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite, just as if the hon. and learned Gentleman did not know the title of his own Bill, its scope, and its tendency. Now he (Sir R. H. Inglis) was prepared to contend that the Bill was a Bill for "the recovery of personal liberty in certain cases," and that, from the very first enunciatory principle of the Bill down to its closing section, there was not one word exclusively bearing upon the religion of the Church of Rome, of the Church of England, or, in fact, upon any religious denomination whatever. True, it might be that the Bill was open to the exception that it was too general; but it was certainly not open to the objection which had been raised, that it applied exclusively to the Church of Rome, or to any of the institutions which were connected with it. However, he did not mean to say that the Bill did not intend— [Ironical cries of "Hear, hear!"] Perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite would postpone their cheers for a little. He was not going to deny that the Bill would not be found to include within its operation convents established under the Roman Catholic religion, but he was prepared to deny that it was intended to apply to such convents exclusively. The Bill did not refer to the Church of Rome by name; it did not refer exclusively to the Church of Rome, nor was there a single phrase in the Bill which could be regarded as offensive by any particular communion in any part of the world; and he (Sir R. H. Inglis), in the observations which he was about to address to the House, would endeavour to take care not be misled into the utterance of a single acrimonious remark, or to comment in any way upon the peculiar views of those who might have happened to take up their residence at either a convent in Essex or at Blackrock. His argument, then, would be based upon no other foundation than that which he believed the sternest opponent of the Bill would admit was a just one— namely, that if it was once granted that abuses might exist in the system of which they were the advocates, that then it was the duty of Parliament to provide an adequate remedy against an evil which even the friends and supporters of that system believed might have a possible existence. He was there to contend that the mere fact of persons of a tender age being placed in a particular residence, there to take vows, and there to remain irremovable, furnished an â priori probability that there might be cases of abuse attendant on such a system of confinement. Well, if so, was it, or was it not, the duty of that House to provide agaidst such a contingency, and to protect the rights of our fellow-subjects? Nor could he apprehend that it was a sufficient answer to that question to say, that they had already provided for such requirements. They would not deny the possibility of the existence of abuses—they would not deny that it was their duty to remedy such abuses, if they did exist— and yet their sole retort was to say to him "the actual law provides a sufficient and practical remedy for the evil." He contended that â priori there was a possibility of abuse; and on this ground, first of ail-that the Council of Trent, the latest Council of the Church of Rome, had anathematised those persons who placed young persons—not contrary, perhaps, to their own inclination, but against the wishes of their parents and friends—within religious houses. If that, then, were so, they had the highest authority of the Church of Reme recognising the necessity for interference. And he would go next to the conduct of Roman Catholic States on the subject. Now, was it inconsistent with the knowledge possessed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, who took the most decided part against the Bill, that the Roman Catholic States of the Continent were not behind the Protestant States in providing remedies against evils which some Gentlemen in that House contended were to he found in actual existence? He must not, however, lay too much stress upon the conduct of Protestant Governments on the Continent, and by whom it had been deemed not incompatible with the personal freedom of their fellow-subjects jealously and anxiously to guard against anything which might interfere with their individual rights. But he would rather refer to Catholic countries. And was it not notorious that in Bavaria it was impossible for- any one to take a vow for life in a convent? Was it not, indeed, a matter of daily notoriety that vows were taken but for a limited period; and that if the party immured only chose to do so, she was at full liberty to leave the convent quite as free at the end of three years as the day she entered it? And were not hon. Gentlemen opposite content to allow their own countrywomen the same advantages as were enjoyed by their fellow Christians in other parts of Europe? Again, perhaps he might be allowed to advert to the case of Prussia; for though Prussia was a Protestant country, nevertheless she in no way exercised an undue influence over the consciences of any of her subjects; indeed, he believed that if the legislation of Prussia was examined, it would be found that she extended something more than toleration in religious matters. But in a part of the Prussian code—he believed it was the 658th Article—he found that it was expressly prohibited that any one should enter a convent, except the individual was first ascertained to do so by her free will; and, moreover, it was declared in the power of the State to visit all such institutions. Well, they in England, asked no more than that—they asked no more than was granted to the Roman Catholics of foreign countries—who, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) would tell the noble Lord the Member for Arundel (Lord E. Howard), held ties quite as dear to them as either the mothers or sisters, the aunts or the nieces, referred to in his petition of that day. Such domestic influences were not confined to the inhabitants of this country; they must be shared in wherever human nature existed. He found, then, that Roman Catholics in other countries not merely submitted to, but cheerfully admitted this interference; and, therefore, he would ask, what was there in the Bill now before the House to provoke such hostility as that with which it had been encountered, both in speeches and in petitions? And though he believed that the Bill did not preclude them from inquiring into the condition of many other institutions, in addition to those in connexion with the Church of Rome in this country —and though he knew that it might be objected to the Bill that it extended its grasp far beyond any convent of that Church, and might lead to the violation of private dwellings under the authority of law, yet he would not conceal from the House that its principal object was the preservation and restoration of personal liberty, which they believed had been hazarded, and was hazarded, by the irresponsible confinement of religious women in religious houses. He would not attempt, indeed, to ignore the fact that contentment was often found to sanctify that exclusion; but still human nature could not have so much altered in its every individual specimen, that it was not possible to conceive that among the 3,000 inhabitants of these nunneries, many were pining after that world which they had renounced—not a world of gaiety and sinfulness—but the world, with all its kindly affections, and which had become blighted and destroyed in their regard. Then it was to protect those, and those only, whom it was desired to guard over by this Bill. But then it was said, "If you call upon us to pass such a law as the present, you admit that the law as at present is not sufficient for the protection of personal liberty." Now, the only mode by which personal liberty was recovered when lost, or guarded when at hazard, was by means of a writ of Habeas Corpus. Well, speaking in the presence of many lawyers, some of them of high eminence, he defied any one of them to contradict him when he said that the issuing of a writ of Habeas Corpus required that the party seeking for it should be able to state that he had held personal communication with the person on whose behalf the writ was moved for. It must be upon an assurance that the particular individual desired to be released, or upon the affidavit of the party, stating that, according to his conscientious belief, the individual in question was unjustly or unwarrantably detained. Well, the writ could only be obtained upon one or other of those conditions; and there were Gentlemen of authority in that House whose opinion would support him in that statement. But here the law had caught its little bird, for if it got hold of a party who said she was detained against her will, the very object of the present Bill was already attained. But the intention of the present measure was to secure a link now wanted between the existing law and its practical application to the injured party. He wished them, then, to tell him, if he could produce credible evidence from the party herself, that she was unlawfully and unwillingly confined—because his proposition supposed that there were many such cases in which it was physically impossible that she could make communication to the external world—well, he asked, then, in such a case had they any alternative but to continue the evil, the existence of which was deplored, or to provide a remedy against it? Therefore he thought it became necessary to invest Her Majesty's Government, through the intervention of the Lords High Chancellors of England and Ireland, with the power of providing a remedy in such cases. And so far from that intervention being regarded as an evil, the House had been called upon over and over again, by petitions, to extend the provisions of the Bill to Scotland. And, certainly, as far as he (Sir R. H. Inglis) was concerned, he should not be prepared to oppose the extension of the provisions of the Bill to that country. Now, he had referred to the cases of countries upon the Continent; and it might be said, as was said during the discussion on the Bill of 1829— But those countries, or the greater part of them, are all Roman Catholic, and we do not mind what our own co-religionists may do; they at least will be tender in their investigations; our dread is from the conduct of those who are not of our own religion, and who have no sympathy with those whose exclusion you profess to deplore. Now he was prepared to contend, that although all that might be a very good argument against the admittance of Roman Catholics into that House, it furnished no reason whatever against a proposition of this nature. He was one of those who contended that in absolute countries, whether the Roman Catholic part of the community were declared rebels or obsequious slaves, the most obedient or disobedient, that the Monarch in all such cases held a remedy in his own hands. Thus, for instance, if a Roman Catholic bishop attempted to interfere with the independence of his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, he could be removed at once, whether from Cologne to Rome, or from any other part of the dominions of Prussia; in all cases the Royal authority being sufficient to meet the evil. But if that were true with regard to the civil power, it was equally so with respect to such interference as that which the present Bill called for. He and those who favoured the Bill were against allowing despotic power to any authority, civil or ecclesiastical, within these domin- ions. They were not calling for the liberation of those confined—they asked but for the inspection of the places of their confinement. Let a warrant be issued—let the individual be brought up, and if she were immured at her own discretion and with her own free will, she could return to the convent as unscathed as she came forth into the world to offer her testimony. But if, on the other hand, there could only be established one woman out of every hundred that entered upon the conventual life, who had taken what was now an indissoluble vow, but who wished once again to be admitted to the society of their families and their friends, they were bound to come forward and release her from bondage—self-inflicted, it was true, but then inflicted at an age when she required the protection of the laws of her country. And had they no precedents in being thus called upon to care for the interests of their fellow-subjects? Was there no instance on the Statute-book where they had extended protection and the benefits of reform to those who were unable to protect or reform their own position? Why, glancing at the Orders for that very day, he found that No. 6 on the list was a Bill entitled the "Common Lodging-house Bill;" that No. 7 was a Bill purporting to deal with the case of lunatics— ["Oh, oh!"] He could assure hon. Gentlemen that his use of the word was in the most bonâfide sense. Assuming there were the limited proportion of one in every hundred cases as being confined unwillingly, he contended that even then that House was bound to legislate for such cases quite as strongly as in the case of lunatics or common lodging houses. They were asked, at all events, to do nothing more, and he believed that the public feeling of the country would be content with nothing less. He had heard in that House passages quoted from petitions, which showed the animus with which the measure was now resisted. He believed that if the people of England could but know fully the temper and the spirit in which the best institutions were described by the opponents of the Bill, it would not tend very much to recommend to their good opinion the doctrines of the Church whose institutions were supported by such language as had been uttered in that House, and in various parts of the country. He believed that if it were befitting a debate in that House, he could quote specimens of that language, which would prove that he was justified in stating that he could show that the conduct of those who petitioned against the Bill was not more respectful to the Members of that House, than it was consistent with their duty to their fellow Christians. In one instance a petition, when presented, or by whom presented, or whether it was presented at all, he could not say—but in one instance a petition was agreed to at a public meeting, and in it he found such a passage as the following:— That the readiness with which a large portion of the English nation allows itself to be inflamed against convents is the natural expression of the Protestant Reformation"— "of the Protestant Reformation"— against poverty, chastity, and obedience, to which it preferred plunder, lust, and rebellion in the person and conduct of the sacrilegious tyrant King Henry VIII. and his illegitimate daughter, who murdered the lawful inheritor to the throne of England. [Mr. G. MOORE: Hear, hear!] Would the hon. Member for Mayo get up in his place in that House and state that Queen Elizabeth was the illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII., and that she was the murderer of the lawful inheritor of the throne of this country? Well, he was glad to find that there were not more than two or three Gentlemen, at all events, who held that Queen Elizabeth was illegitimate, and who were prepared to adopt in its entirety all the denunciations fulminated against that monarch by the bull of Pope Pius V. He would trouble the House but with a very few more remarks. But still the great grievance remained, and it was this:—Suppose a lady, who was a professed member of the Benedictine order, and who had attached herself to a convent in England, she might be removed thence and transferred to another country altogether. Thus, from Shepton Mallet she might be removed to Bruges, and from Brussels to Breslau; and though, perhaps, she could not be so removed without her own knowledge, yet it might happen without the knowledge of her parents or friends. He, therefore, contended, that if it was inexpedient that she should be so removed, they were bound to accept the provisions of this Bill. The Bill provided that, in order to guard against that sudden and clandestine removal, there should be the power of ascertaining those who occupied those habitations. And it was for hon. Gentlemen opposite, whether they were lawyers or not, to prove that the existing law was sufficient to meet such a case. Many instances had been already recorded within the last two or three years in which the Legislature had provided against the recurrence of ill-treatment to our fellow-subjects. They had begun with the factory children, and then they went on to mines, and had reached to almost every class that were unable to redress their own wrongs. And was there not a large class of our fellow-subjects whom they were bound to regard with the deepest sympathy and interest who might be detained within the walls of a convent? He hoped that he should receive the sympathy even of hon. Gentlemen opposite who cheered him, because the whole question depended upon whether such persons could be detained against their will or not; and if they were so detained they were unable to prove the all-sufficiency of the existing law. Such, then, being his view on this question, he begged leave to move the second reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


begged to state the reasons why he conceived the course which he intended to propose was a more judicious one than the course which had been proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. Apart from the other objections that had been taken to the Bill, he contended that as regarded the infringement of the liberty of the subject, it was as unconstitutional in its nature as any measure that ever had been brought before the House. He felt humiliated that any lawyer should submit to the House a measure that began with a false recital, and terminated with a provision which must be considered destructive of the first principle of the English law, namely, that "every man's house is his castle." It was objectionable that a measure which was intended to apply to a particular body should be brought in under a general denomination; and he would take the liberty of saying, as a lawyer, that he entirely disclaimed the statement of the hon. Baronet who last addressed the House. He had looked over the books with the most painful and anxious attention, and he did not believe that any such case as had been referred to by the hon. Baronet had been decided on an application for a writ of Habeas Corpus. If such a decision had been made, it had escaped his research; and he challenged the hon. Mover of the Bill, or any lawyer who supported him, to point out a single instance in which the Court had been baffled by the difficulties suggested by the hon. Baronet. He had consulted with many members of his profession, and had looked over the books of practice, and he stated with the utmost confidence that the writ of Habeas Corpus was issued in a manner that would protect the liberty of the subject. The law on the subject, as regulated by the 56 Geo. III., c. 100, was, that any person might have the writ as a matter of right, though not as a matter of course; that is to say, on the Court being informed by the person in confinement, or—mark the words—"by any person on his behalf, upon complaint being made to the Judges by or on behalf of the person so detained in custody, they wore bound to issue the writ under very severe penalties. The hon. Baronet said that the writ could not be got without a communication taking place with the party who required it; but if that were the case, the Government might plunge a man into a dungeon, and detain him there against his will, because none of his friends could communicate with him. Did any person ever hear such a monstrous doctrine as that? It was impossible to conceal from the House that those religious communities had very much increased of late years. The inmates in those religious houses took a vow of celibacy, led a life of seclusion, and shared what property they brought there in common. They spent their time in exercises of an ascetic nature in some instances, in others in acts of devotion, mingled with those of usefulness and charity. These were the common features of those various houses; and he was bound to say that among those which belonged to the members of the Roman Catholic persuasion, he had been able to find none which had excited the public feeling so much, and which had been so obnoxious in themselves, as those which belonged to the Protestant Establishment. He need only refer to a pamphlet descriptive of an institution founded first at Devonport, and subsequently transferred to Plymouth. He meant that of the Sisters of Mercy. That was an institution established by Protestants, with the entire sanction of a Protestant bishop; and, under the pretence that it was a house of seclusion for Protestant purposes, there was, he (Mr. Phinn) believed, an attempt made to convert it into a Roman Catholic nunnery, He had hoped that the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, who professed such zeal for the Protestant religion, would have taken the just and proper course of calling the attention of the Church at large to that gross abuse of its functions, instead of by a dexterous move diverting public consideration from the real sore, namely, the treachery within the walls of that Church, and concentrating it upon the religious houses belonging to the Roman Catholics. He (Mr. Phinn) held in his hand a pamphlet in the shape of a letter, written by the Rev. Mr. Cookesley, a gentleman of great eminence, whose name could only be mentioned with feelings of respect, to the Archbishop of Dublin, and inveighing against the system practised in a Protestant convent, in which the sister of a gentleman who was confined there was commanded by the Rev. Mr. Prynne to lie down flat on the floor, and, with her tongue in the dirt, describe the figure of a cross. He mentioned that to show the House that much of the irritation to which the hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Inglis) referred, had originated with the existence of such an institution as that within the walls of the Church, and which institution had been most dexterously diverted from its original purpose. There was another establishment, known as the Agapemone, or the Abode of Love, situated near Taunton, which he mentioned for this reason, that the only instance of restriction or imprisonment in conventual establishments he had heard of occurred there, in the case of an inmate who had escaped. It was an institution into which married persons were received, he did not exactly know under what conditions, and the person who had escaped was a husband. But it had been said that, reasoning â priori, when they found persons in a state of passive obedience to a superior, abuses and restrictions upon personal liberty might occur, which it was the duty of the Legislature to prevent. But was it likely, without some ulterior motive, that those who lived together in the conventual state would join to compel a. person to remain among them whose presence must be a continual sore to them, and who must, under such circumstances, of necessity make herself disagreeable to all the inmates of so limited a community? Such an act could only be done from pure malice, and with the desire of inflicting pain, or with some regard to the subject of property. Then arose the question—was it desirable that some restriction should be imposed on the acquirement of property by the inmates of such establishments? He was inclined to say that when they had a person taking the conventual vow at an early age, and when that vow involved the transfer of the property of such person to the institution, the House was entitled to ask that some such protection should be cast round such a person on entering a convent as was cast round married women when they had to alienate property to their husbands, under the Act for taking the acknowledgment of deeds by married women. The House would allow him now to call their attention to what he thought was the dangerous and unconstitutional character of this Bill, irrespective of any religious or sectarian feelings that might enter into its discussion. The first thing that struck him was the false recital in the preamble of the Bill: "Whereas difficulties had been found to exist in applying for and obtaining the writ of Habeas Corpus in certain cases in which females are supposed to be subject to restraint." Where were those difficulties? Could his hon. and learned Friend turn to a case in any of the works, in which it appeared that any impediment had ever been thrown in the way of obtaining the writ of Habeas Corpus, when the liberty of a female was involved? He might remind the House that the writ of Habeas Corpus was not a writ by statute—it was a writ given by common law, and as old as the constitution itself, though its issue was regulated by certain statutes. By an Act passed in the 26 Geo. III., any person who thought another was improperly detained might go before a judge, and upon stating, on his oath, that he was informed and had reason to believe that such person was so improperly detained, might get a writ of Habeas Corpus directed to the person at whose instance the party in question was detained. And, he would ask, were the Roman Catholics of this country so entirely dead to all sense of decency as to allow their sisters, their nieces, and their cousins to be immured in great numbers in a convent, and probably to visit them occasionally— was the House to suppose that there was so little spirit among that part of the community, or that they were so trodden down by their priests, that they would not venture to go to a judge and procure such remedy as the law provided them. To suppose, much less to state, such a thing, was an imposition on the common sense of that House. If the recital in the preamble of the Bill was true, it ought to be proved to be true in the face of the world; and he contended that legislation on a subject of this kind without previous inquiry—without something to satisfy the minds of the people that such evils existed—would be an extraordinary departure from the principle on which the legislation of this country had proceeded for ages past. Again, what was the remedy provided by this Bill? Its real object was never once glanced at in any one of its provisions. What was the proposal? Not that, if they thought a person was improperly immured within a convent, application was to be made on oath for a writ of Habeas Corpus, but this was the extraordinary proposition—"That in any case in which any one of the said Commissioners shall have reasonable ground to suppose that any female is detained in any house or building against her will, he is hereby authorised and required, in company with a justice of the peace of the county in which the said house or building shall be situate (who is hereby required, when called upon, to accompany the said Commissioner) to visit the said house or building, and, if necessary, to make a forcible entry into the same, and to examine every part thereof, and to ask for and obtain from the occupier or occupiers of such house or building a list of all persons then resident therein, or who slept there on any night within seven days next preceding such visit, and to see all and every the inmates, and to examine each, either apart and separate from all others, or otherwise, and ascertain whether any female is detained in the said house or building against her will; and the said Commissioner is hereby authorised to make complaint on behalf of any such female as last aforesaid, and to proceed by writ of Habeas Corpus or otherwise according to law to obtain the liberation of such female: provided always, that such entry shall be made between the hours of eight o'clock in the morning and eight o'clock in the evening." He would venture to say that, of those who had petitioned in favour of the Bill, not one in a hundred had read it. Those persons little knew they were arming the Government with a weapon which might be used with potent effect against the liberties of every individual in this country. Let them see how that provision was to act. By the Habeas Corpus Act there was a short and speedy remedy. The parties to be made the subject of this Bill were not to have the protection which attached in such cases to a statement made on oath before a judge. Any gabbling old woman — any person who detailed the merest gossip of the village—might make a statement to this political officer that there was reason to believe that a woman was confined in a convent against her will. Let the House fancy such a Bill in operation when the recent "No-Popery" cry was raised throughout the country. Why, every nunnery in the land would have been ransacked, and feelings of rancour, animosity, and hostility to the Government would have been excited among the people, which it would have taken years and years to allay.? He asserted most strongly, if there was any great practical grievance connected with the conventual establishments of the country, the right of Parliament to legislate upon that grievance; but what he contended was, that, as there was a feeling in the public mind stimulated in the way he had mentioned, before imposing those restrictions it was necessary that some inquiry should take place. The question had been mooted on two occasions recently before the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, whether the law now in existence recognised the civil death of a person who entered a convent; that learned Judge decided that such was not the law; but he had thought it a matter of such delicacy that he had advised an appeal to the House of Lords. He (Mr. Phinn) thought the subject was one for the grave consideration of the House whichever way the law was decided to be. Numerous discussions had been raised as to whether a nun was obliged by her vows to resign all her property to the convent. Whichever way that was decided, it was a matter of grave consideration for the House to establish some certain and definite rule on the subject. The Motion he had to make was—"That it be referred to a Select Committee to consider whether any and what regulations are necessary for the better protection of the inmates of establishments of a conventual nature, and for the prevention of the exercise of undue influence in procuring the alienation of their property." He was bound to say he came to this discussion with opinions somewhat formed on the matter. He had always considered it would be right that certain regulations should be instituted; but he thought it right, at the same time, that they should not be embodied in any Act of Parliament without the most careful investigation of the subject, which should be conducted with delicacy and propriety, and with a due degree of deference to the feelings of the inmates of conventual establishments. What he would suggest was, first, that all vows should be forbidden under the age of twenty-one; secondly, that there should be some such restriction as he had adverted to with respect to the alienation of property by a person in a convent; thirdly, that a provision should be made by which anybody taking the vows might name two persons of her own family, or her own connections, who should be allowed access to her at proper and stated periods, under penalties for any improper use they might make of such a right. He threw those suggestions out to the Roman Catholic Members, and he would ask them whether they were not such as might be fairly and reasonably discussed before a Committee of that House? He made this Motion in the hope of preventing the constant irritation attaching to the discussion of questions of this kind, and which was so well calculated to lower the tone of the debates of that House, an evil which he greatly deprecated. He would refer for a moment to the legislation which had been attempted on this subject. There was the Bill of Mr. Lacy, who sat in the last Parliament; then came the measure of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. T. Chambers); but he would remind the House that fifty-three years ago, when this country was flooded with Roman Catholic priests, who had fled from the persecutions on the Continent, a Bill was brought into that House to restrict the liberties of persons in conventual establishments, and to subject those establishments to magisterial visitation. That Bill was resisted, as he trusted this would be, by the united strength of the Whig party. Those were days in which the principles— he would not say of toleration, but of civil and religious liberty—were but imperfectly understood, and when the penal laws in force against Roman Catholics were only in the course of relaxation. That Bill passed the House of Commons, but was rejected in the House of Lords, and it was rejected, he was glad to say, on the Motion, not of a person professing extreme Radical opinions, but of an enlightened Christian Prelate; and what the Bishop of Rochester said on that occasion was so apposite to the subject now under discussion, that he could not forbear quoting the right rev. Prelate's very words. The right rev. Prelate said— Now, my Lords, if any ten or twenty, or a larger number, of those ladies should choose to take a large house, where they may live together, as they have been used to do, all their lives, and lead their lives according to their old habits— getting up in the morning and retiring at night at stated hours; dining upon fish on some days in the week, and upon eggs on others—I profess I can discover no crime, no harm, no danger, in all this. And I cannot imagine why we should be anxious to prevent it. My Lords, I say it would be great cruelty to attempt to prevent it; for these women could find no comfort in any society but their own, nor in any other way of life. They cannot mix with the lower orders of the people. They are ladies well born, many of them, indeed, of high extraction and of cultivated minds; and yet they are not prepared to mix in politer circles. Enamoured by long habit of the quiet and solitude of their cells—absorbed in the pleasures of what they call 'the interior life,' these women would have no relish for the exterior life of fashionable ladies. My Lords, it would be martyrdom to those retired sober women to be compelled to lay aside the cowl and simple habit of their order, to besmear their cheeks with vermilion, and to plaster their throats with litharge, to clap upon their heads an ugly lump of manufactured hair, in shape and colour as different as possible from the natural covering; and then, with elbows bared to the shoulder, to sally forth to the pleasures of the midnight rout—to distribute the cards at loo, or, soaring to sublimer joys, to rattle the dice-box at the game of hazard. Exquisite, ravishing as these delights must be confessed to be to those who have a well-formed taste, these stupid women, my Lords, have not that taste……My Lords, being put to my shifts, as I mentioned at the beginning, to discover what the friends of this Bill would say for it, I have hearkened out very much to the pro and con about it in company. One thing I have heard urged in favour of the Bill is this—that the Roman Catholics very much dislike it. They dislike it! Ergo, it must be a most delectable Bill. A very pleasant argument, my Lords! Nothing could be more opposite to the general interests of Christianity—nothing more opposite to the interests of the State—nothing more opposite to the interests of the Protestant religion, than any measure that might conduce, as the passing of this Act would conduce, to a revival of the rancour between Protestants and Roman Catholics, which I flatter myself is dying away, if we can but persuade ourselves to let what is well alone."—[Hansard's Parl. History, xxxv. 377, 383–84.] The right rev. Prelate spoke very much the feelings which actuated him (Mr. Phinn) on the present occasion. He was ready to bear his earnest tribute of admiration for the simplicity and innocency of life of ladies in conventual establishments, and for the works of education, charity, and mercy, by which they had always been distinguished; and he was convinced, if any improper restrictions had been imposed on their liberty, that the fathers and brothers of those ladies would have been the foremost to come forward and denounce it, and to do their utmost to subvert and destroy the whole system For those reasons, he asked the House now to take a middle course, and so prevent the recurrence of those religious discussions which were so much to be deprecated in that House, and put an end for ever to attempts like those which were made to weaken and destroy the religious freedom of the Roman Catholic portion of the community.


said, he rose with great pleasure to second the Amendment, and he trusted the House would bear with him if even at this early stage of the discussion he stated his reasons for taking this course. He must say that he did not concur in all that had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Bath. Perhaps it was better that it should appear that two Members of that House, differing upon many political subjects, could yet concur in asking the House to reject a Bill which appeared to them a direct violation of the constitution, and a departure from all the principles of freedom upon which, hitherto, British legislation had been founded. He did not take this course from any favour to conventual institutions, nor yet, let him say, from any tenderness towards that religious system of which, exercising his honest judgment, he believed those institutions to be not the least objectionable feature; but because, in order to attain an interference with these institutions the Bill vested in Government officials a power utterly subversive of the free spirit of our law. From the time he had first read this Bill, he entertained insuperable objections to its passing. The Bill in reality having a particular object professed a general one. His hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford had found a merit in this. He stated it as a recommendation of the measure, that while it was really aimed at the Roman Catholic convents, it never once mentioned either the Roman Catholic religion, or the existence of convents. Now, he (Mr. Butt) thought this the strongest objection to the Bill. Aiming at regulations intended to affect convents, it proposed enactments that affected the home of every man in the three kingdoms. He must say he did not like this shrinking from the true question. He did not like the proposal to legislate for one thing, while he meant another. Why should they not mention both the Roman Catholic religion and convents too, if these institutions were the true objects of their measure? This mode of legislation was unmanly—he meant no affront to the hon. author of the Bill if he said it was cowardly. If they meant to regulate convents, let them boldly say so; if they meant to suppress them, let them enact it; but let them go straightforward and openly to the point. Why this affectation of not mentioning the Roman Catholic religion? Were they afraid openly to meddle with it? He (Mr. Butt) believed that there was no measure which truth or justice demanded, from the open and direct enactment of which a British Parliament need shrink. If grounds were laid for a measure regulating conventual institutions, they should pass it; if it were right to prohibit their existence, they should do so; but do so by enactment openly avowing the object, and confined to the cases it was intended to meet. Those were questions which he thought it altogether unnecessary to discuss. Were he ever so satisfied of the expediency of suppressing or regulating conventual establishments, he would still strenuously resist this Bill. He never would consent, for the sake of attaining the visitation of convents, to establish a universal power of domiciliary inspection; nor would he, to suppress Roman Catholic nunneries, institute a Protestant Inquisition. He earnestly asked the attention of the House to the provisions of the Bill, especially to the question of its principle which arose on the second reading. Its principle was not that nunneries should be inspected or regulated; from the beginning to the end of the Bill no such principle was either affirmed or so much as hinted at. He implored the attention of those Gentlemen who were anxious for measures regulating conventual establishments to this— Let them not vote for the second reading of the Bill under any false impression as to its principle. Its principle was the establishment of a discretionary right of domiciliary inspection over every house in the kingdom in officers of the Crown: this, and this only, would be affirmed by the second reading of the Bill. It was essential this should be understood. They had petitions praying for the passing of this Bill as a Bill for the inspection and the regulation of nunneries. This Bill enacted no such thing. Its provisions did not apply to nunneries—they established no inspection of nunneries. If there wore evils in those institutions, the Bill could not touch them. What it did do was this: it gave to political officers the power of entering into every man's house—of dragging from their beds perhaps, the female inmates—of questioning them as to who slept in the house for every night during the week before; and, let hon. Members observe, unless those questions were all answered to the satisfaction of those officers, they would have the power of subjecting the persons they questioned to pains and penalties. On the common principles of freedom, he could never consent to such a Bill. If the hon. Member for Hertford thought it expedient to suppress conventual institutions altogether, he might have introduced a Bill for that purpose, without violating the principle of liberty, or without lowering the whole tone of legislation. Would any man tell him that there existed in anything that had ever been stated a necessity for subjecting the home of every Englishman to a power of inquisitorial visitation such as this? It was a power to be exercised entirely at the discretion of the officials that were armed with it; no sworn information was requisite, no judicial authority was needed. Any man's house might be broken open whenever the Commissioner thought proper to suspect that any female was detained in it against her will, and upon this suspicion the inmates were to be subjected to the inquisitorial questionings to which he had adverted—and the object of all this was to obtain evidence upon which an application was then to be made to a judicial tribunal for a writ of Habeas Corpus. An enactment more completely opposed to the whole spirit of British law, it was difficult to conceive. He (Mr. Butt) must say that he entirely dissented from the exposition of the law by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. He did not believe that the proceeding by Habeas Corpus was such a complete mockery. He had always fancied that he was living in a free country—in a country where no man could be imprisoned illegally without the power of being discharged upon the application of any party to a Judge for a writ of Habeas Corpus. This great protection of our liberties would be a mockery, if the statement of the hon. Baronet were correct, and it could be defeated or baffled by keeping the prisoner in such close durance as to debar all access. His hon. Friend would forgive him for saying that it was a complete mistake, founded on a misapprehension of all the principles which regulated the writ. The Habeas Corpus was not the creature of any statute—it existed by the common law of the land. It was not a writ to be sued out by a private individual to remedy or redress a private wrong. It was what is termed a prerogative writ, issuing on behalf of the Queen—upon the ground that the illegal imprisonment of one of the Queen's subjects was a wrong to Her Majesty, and therefore the Queen had a right to be informed why any one was detained in custody, that Her Judges might determine whether it was illegal. It was the duty of the Queen's Courts to issue that writ, on behalf of the Sovereign, whenever they had judicial reason to believe that any person was illegally detained in custody. In the exercise of their discretion, they might, indeed, refuse to interpose the Royal prerogative in a case where the party alleged to be imprisoned had full opportunity of complaining, and made no complaint. Why? Because this very fact, at once raised the presumption that there was no imprisonment at all. But he confidently denied that ever the writ of Habeas Corpus had been refused, or that it would be refused in a case where the closeness of the imprisonment made it impossible to obtain access to the individual alleged to be wrongfully detained. He denied that under such circumstances the authority of the person imprisoned was necessary to sustain the application of the writ. But if it were so—if they were living in a country in which any man might be imprisoned without remedy—if only his gaoler kept him close enough—if for centuries the laws of England had provided no remedy for the very imprisonment which most of all needed it:—if this were the law—which he confidently denied—surely the remedy would be to alter the law as to this, and not to give, as this Bill proposed, an arbitrary power to a Commissioner of breaking open the doors of every man's house, where he suspected a female to be illegally detained, in order that he might then obtain her consent to the application for a Habeas Corpus on her behalf. Regarding this Bill as a measure of general application, it was one which it was utterly impossible for that House ever to pass, even for the sake of including convents in its operation. But if they acepted not the provisions of the Bill itself, but the statements of its supporters — if they treated this Bill only as one aimed against those convents, let them look to the position in which they were placed. The only argument upon which the Bill was founded was this—that there were vows taken by persons in those establishments who could not be considered free agents after they had bound themselves by these vows. Well! if that was an evil, neither the Habeas Corpus nor this Bill could remedy it. There were instances in which fathers had applied for writs of Habeas Corpus under cruel circumstances, which were thereupon granted. But when their daughters were brought before the Judge, they said they wished to return to their former custody, and not to go home with their parents. The Judge in those cases was compelled to acquiesce in their wishes, and to let them return whence they came. Suppose the whole machinery of this Bill put in force—the doors of the convent broken open—the nun dragged before the commissioner, in cases where she remained a prisoner under the influence of moral compulsion—this was the alleged evil—what would be her reply under that compulsion? She would still say she desired to remain in the convent. What, then, had they gained? When they had violated the sanctity of a home, when they had authorised commissioners to institute those inquiries, and visited with the penalties of an inquisition those who refused to answer their questions, they would find that their legislation was only a mockery, and that they had succeeded in attaining no other object than that of insulting the feelings of Roman Catholics. The real evils that might exist in the conventual system—the permission of rash, and it might be premature, vows—the coercion of the will and conscience under the influence of those vows—the secrecy and terror of the discipline by which that coercion might be carried out—with none of these things this Bill attempted to interfere. It was a needless and a useless insult to the feelings of the ladies who were the inmates of these institutions, and to those of their relatives outside their walls. This was a case in which he was not ashamed to say the opinions of those relatives ought in his mind to be almost conclusive. This Bill was not proposed in any way to protect Protestant rights. He threw out of consideration the case of Protestant convents, of which they had heard; the measure professed to protect Roman Catholic liberties. If they said that Roman Catholic ladies were confined contrary to their will, surely that was a question upon which, above all others, they should consult the opinion of the Roman Catholic laity. If, indeed, it were a question affecting Protestant rights—if they came forward and said that those establishments were dangerous to the institutions of the country—he thought that that was a matter in respect to which Protestant opinion might be more valuable than that of Roman Catholics. This was not the case. They asserted that Roman Catholic women were confined in convents against their own will or the will of their relatives; then he said that they were bound to consult the opinions of those relatives, and their petitions against the Bill were overwhelming! He attached to this view of the question the very highest importance. He viewed with the deepest apprehensions the effect which such insulting legislation would produce on the feelings of the Roman Catholic laity. The habits of his life in Ireland had thrown him into intercourse with many Irish Roman Catholic gentlemen, who, he believed, were as liberal, as highminded, and as independent a class as any other in the world. He (Mr. Butt) observed, that of these, many who had never joined in any priestly or sectarian agitation, had come forward to oppose this Bill. Such demonstrations must have their weight. He must not be misunderstood. He was not seeking any popularity with any Roman Catholic party in that House or in the country. No man in that House was more determined to resist Roman Catholic aggression than he was. Nay, more, he believed that doctrines and principles were gaining ascendancy in the Roman Catholic Church that might soon involve them in a contest for the great principles of civil and religious liberty. But the more he anticipated that contest, the more anxious he felt that they should go into it with the cause of Protestantism entirely in the right. He was convinced, that if they passed this Bill, they would, as far as they could, place that cause entirely in the wrong. The more convinced he was that intolerant principles were making way in the Roman Catholic Church, the more he thought that no greater calamity could occur to the cause of religious freedom than that this Protestant country should adopt a system of legislation which would have the effect of driving the intelligent Roman Catholics to make common cause, he would not say with bigotry, but with what, to avoid offence, he would call the High Church party in the Roman Catholic Church. But, totally independent of considerations of this character, he never could reconcile himself upon the broad ground of constitutional liberty to an enactment like this. This was a general Bill giving a Commissioner appointed by the Crown the power of invading any man's house. He would put it to every Protestant in that House— throwing over any considerations as to the distinction of Roman Catholics or Protestants—whether it was consistent with the principle of liberty upon which all our laws were framed, that they should give this power to any official appointed by the Crown? It ought not to reconcile them to this violation of constitutional principle, even if they believed that it might remedy evils that existed in conventual institutions. He would appeal to those who thought that the existence of Roman Catholic institutions was mischievous to the country. He would tell them that there was one mischief which would be by far the worst of all, which the prevalence of the Roman Catholic system would cause—the deepest and heaviest evil that could be inflicted by it upon England would be this—if the presence of the Roman Catholic religion in this land were to induce them to lower the high tone and spirit of freedom in their legislation, for the purpose: of meeting real or fancied evils in that system—if arbitrary laws were to be tolerated for the whole of this Protestant nation upon the plea that they were necessary to control Roman Catholic abuse. Viewing this as a measure to authorise the forcible breaking open of every man's house at the discretion of Government officials, he thought it would place in the hands of the Crown a power that was never before given since British freedom had been established. It was recognising a principle that was in utter violation of the good old maxim, that every man's house was his castle. He was one who believed that there was much in these old maxims which even in the present march of intellect ought not to be despised. Those maxims put into compact shape and form those very principles of liberty which had formed the character of the people. Whether he regarded the measure as intended only to affect nunneries, or a general measure of legislation, his objection to the Bill was equally strong. At the same time he was perfectly prepared most resolutely to assert that Parliament had a right to control and superintend all associations in the country, whether voluntary or otherwise. He was therefore perfectly ready to vote for an inquiry into the whole question of the conventual system as it existed in this country. He did not vote for that inquiry only as a means of defeating the Bill. He would have supported it if it had been brought forward as a separate and substantive Motion, as he would unquestionably meet the Bill with a direct negative even if its second reading were the only question before the House. With these views and feelings he begged leave to second the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Bath.

Amendment proposed— To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'it be referred to a Select Committee to consider whether any and what regulations are necessary for the better protection of the Inmates of Establishments of a conventual nature, and for the prevention of the exercise of undue influence in procuring the alienation of their property'—instead thereof.

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


said, he regretted that a measure so offensive to the feelings of the religious community to which he belonged, should have been referred to the representatives of the people. He could only account for it by remembering that the people of this country had had their morbid feelings against Roman Catholics lately excited by the doctrine recently promulgated by a high authority in that House, that the Roman Catholic religion—which was professed by one-third of Her Majesty's subjects, and by upwards of 200,000,000 of the human race, and which taught the doctrines of their common Christianity—was a mere political system. While giving credit for good intentions to both—the hon. Baronet who had moved the second reading of the Bill, and the hon. and learned Gentleman who had moved the Amendment— he had an objection to both propositions. He himself had the honour of being a Roman Catholic, and he must beg to deny the imputation cast upon the Roman Catholic ladies in the conventual establishments, that they had not sufficient spirit to resist coercion on the part of the persons who had the control of those establishments. A demand for inquiry necessarily implied that there was a case which required it, and he would ask who were the persons against whom it was proposed to institute that inquiry? With regard to the benefits conferred by these institutions, the large body of the poorer Roman Catholics derived their education from that source. There were two orders into which these establishments might be divided—the contemplative and the active order. The contemplative order spent part of their time in meditation and prayer, but at the same time a great deal was employed in the work of education. Nearly every Roman Catholic family in these dominions had re- ceived their education and religious principles through the instrumentality of these convents. With regard to the active order, there was not a man, he believed, in that House, or in the whole community, who would say a single word against it now, for even during the wildest periods of the French Revolution the Sisters of Charity and of Mercy were held in universal respect and veneration. He would ask those who inquired as to the services performed by the ladies belonging to these establishments to go into the lanes and dens of their cities, and into their hospitals, too, and they would find these ladies pouring consolation and hope into the ear of the dying, and relieving their physical sufferings at the same time. Yet these were the ladies into whose lives, character or proceedings the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Phinn) proposed a Committee of Inquiry—an inquiry that would break in upon the sanctity of private life, for he maintained that these ladies, though associated together, were still private individuals dwelling in their own private houses, lie believed that the hon. and learned Member had with the best intention suggested a middle course for adoption; but so far as the opinion of the great majority of the people of this country was concerned, that proposition was as offensive to their religious feelings, and as offensive to their principle of honour, as even the Bill now before the House; and after the speech which he had just heard, it was hardly necessary for him (Mr. Fagan) to express how deep were the feelings of abhorrence with which he viewed the proposition. With regard to the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Hertford (Mr. T. Chambers), he contended that he had made out no case in its favour. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the canons of the Roman Catholic Church, and said those canons denounced any nun who left her convent; that Roman Catholic writers poured anathemas and imprecations on all who did so, and therefore he argued persons must he kept in nunneries against their wills. But the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to know there was a general rule in every convent, that a discontented nun must he dismissed. Dr. Ullathorne, who was more intimately acquainted with the subject than any other man, stated, that during a long life he only knew of one such case, and that was the case of a nun dismissed because she was discontented, though the inmates forming the community were mainly dependent on the fortune which she had brought with her for their support. The truth of the matter was, there were so many checks, and guards, and provisions with reference to admission to these institutions, that it was not to say probable, but scarcely possible, that there should exist discontented persons in them, at least in this country. He admitted that in other countries, considering that many of these institutions had lasted for 1,000 years, there might have been abuses in them, and consequent discontent; but in England and Ireland his honest and sincere conviction was, that there did not exist such a thing as a nun having a particle of discontent about her. The great majority of these religious ladies were, generally speaking, educated in these convents from early life, and their tempers, and dispositions, and aptitude for a religious life were well known. They were mostly ladies of the higher class among Roman Catholics, and, on leaving the convents, were naturally led to mix in the world along with their families. When it happened that they became disgusted with the world, they naturally felt a desire to return to the convent in which they had received their education. Their inclinations, generally speaking, were resisted by their parents, who wished to retain their society, and often long and painful struggles were the consequence; but in the end the consent of their relatives was usually obtained. For six months the young lady became a postulant, and then, if she had an aptitude for a religious life, she was admitted to the novitiate. During these preliminary stages the candidate was carefully observed by the other inmates, for each of them had a self-interest in the matter, it being for the peace, and comfort, and harmony of the establishment that the nun who was to be admitted should have all proper qualifications. It was hardly possible, therefore, that a discontented person could be admitted. After a year, and in some cases two years, had passed, a ballot, an absolute and secret ballot, was taken of every individual member of the community on the admission or rejection of the candidate, and many heartrending scenes had been witnessed when a lady, by the exercise of the ballot, was found to be excluded. Now, if such was the general rule at all these establishments, was it likely that anything like discontent prevailed in the mind of one single individual among the 3,000 nuns who were in this country? But suppos- ing discontent did exist, it had been clearly shown that there was sufficient provision in the laws as they stood to protect and release the discontented individual. He could not but think that this movement against convents was made with a view to pander to the animosity and hatred entertained against Roman Catholics. Was it not unfortunate that this unhappy feeling of hostility should exist among us? He believed in his heart and conscience that they never would have passed the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill but for the differences existing in the Protestant Church itself. It was because of the differences between high and low Church that this hatred and animosity of the Catholics was felt. It was said, they had been playing in their Protestant Church at what the hon. and learned Member for Bath called Catholicism. He denied that they had been playing at Catholicism. There was nothing of the spirit of the Catholic religion in the Puseyism that existed in the Protestant Church; but they believed it nevertheless, and hence the animosity which prevailed against the Catholics. Because some of their learned men, too, had gone over to the Church of Rome, an impression had gone forth that there was Catholicism in the bosom of the Protestant Church; and because some Protestant ladies had thought fit—though the Protestant religion was not suited for such institutions—to associate themselves together in convents, a strong prejudice had been excited against the Catholic religion, and it had broken out into hostility to the convents of the Catholic Church. Probably they thought that by their legislation they would frighten away these peaceful ladies from the establishments to which they belonged. True, they looked upon it as persecution; even the agitation and discussion of this question they regarded as persecution; but they would not be frightened from their duty. The more they were persecuted the more firm they would be, and the more they would extend themselves, and be as it were shining lights in the moral desert around them. He was anxious to know what position the Government would take up with reference to this proposition for an inquisitorial inquiry into the character and pursuits of the saintly inmates of these establishments. The noble Lord the leader of the Government in that House, made an able speech on the first reading of the Bill —a speech worthy of the olden time when he had the countenance of the Catholic people of this country; but since that time he had come down to the House, and told the Roman Catholics that theirs was a mere political system under a foreign Sovereign, and that they could not be loyal subjects. With these sentiments he could hardly hope that they would have the honest support of the noble Lord in opposition to the appointment of this Committee. Some of the Colleagues of the noble Lord were said to have expressed themselves favourable to the inquiry, and, therefore, he feared there would not be manifested any strong opposition to such a proposal on the part of the Government. But, however that might be, he hoped the Irish Members would show a serrated front in resisting this uncalled-for, this unjust, and most insulting inquiry.


said, that he had entertained the hope that all sides would have accepted the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Phinn), and have consented to an inquiry, with the view of meeting evils which he deemed to be of a grave character, and involving very difficult and delicate subjects. But, as they were now told that the Amendment was not to be accepted by a certain portion of the House, he was anxious to state the grounds upon which he should give his support to that Amendment; and in doing this, he must say that he could not concur in the criticism of the hon. and learned Gentleman near him (Mr. Butt) that the Bill under consideration was either cowardly or unmanly. In his opinion, the hon. and learned Member for Hertford (Mr. T. Chambers) stated his case with clearness and candour when he introduced the Bill; and this he said, although he (Mr. Napier) did not on that occasion give his vote either for or against the measure. His objection to the Bill was, that it would be utterly inadequate to meet the evil that it professed to deal with. He had also great objections to some of its details; but his main objection was that it was inadequate to meet the evil—that it did not touch the most important part of the question, namely, the free distribution of property, and that the system of inspection proposed would not be any safeguard with reference to cases where personal liberty was interfered with. At the same time he admitted that the existing provisions of the Habeas Corpus Act did not meet what he considered to be the evil; because the provisions of that Act required that application should he made by or on behalf of the person detained. It must be shown that the person was detained against her will; and though there might be a moral conviction that a person was detained in a convent against her will, it would not be enough to put that moral conviction in the shape of an affidavit, and then proceed to move in Court for a writ of Habeas Corpus. So that while he concurred with the hon. and learned Member for Bath that there was an admitted grievance that required some remedy and correction—that the existing law did not meet the evil and grievance— yet he did not think the provisions of the Bill would furnish that remedy and corrective. They were bound, therefore, to approach this question with the utmost care and deliberation, in considering if it were possible for legislation to cure the evil; and he, for one, was prepared to go into a fair, a candid, and an impartial investigation of the question. But with regard to that part of the subject to which the hon. and learned Member for Bath had directed his attention—the free distribution of property—he must say that ever since the case of "Fulham and Macarthy," in which he had the honour of appearing as counsel in the House of Lords, he had thought it absolutely necessary that steps should be taken for preventing the exercise of coercion and restraint in the disposition of property. Looking at the character of the vows which were taken by the inmates of a convent—seeing that they were irrevocable — that they bound the free will and the disposition of the property of the person making them—that they were of such a nature that a bishop could not dispense with them—that the person making them withdrew herself from the control of the law—then he must say that there was not that protection and safeguard which all the Queen's subjects had a right to enjoy under the constitution of this country. It was no longer a question of invading religious liberty: it became a question of defending civil freedom; and if such a system came into conflict with the constitution of the country, then, in the words of the noble Lord the Member for London, when he made his remarkable speech upon bringing in the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, they must choose between them, for both could not exist together. Now the duty of that House was to consider these two propositions, namely—the justice of protecting every subject of this realm in the free exercise of personal liberty and the free distribution of property, and the policy of resisting the monastic system in its efforts to withdraw persons and property from the control of the law, and to set up in this country an authority which was not recognised by the law. It had been very properly asked what were the facts on which the necessity for a measure of some kind or other was grounded, and he would, therefore, give one or two which he thought of some importance in considering the question. The first was a case brought before the Court of Exchequer in Ireland—that of "Whyte v. Meade and others," and the facts were fully stated in the judgment of Baron Pennefather, as follows:— In the year 1825 this young woman, the plaintiff in this cause, entered into the establishment of the defendants as a lodger, and unquestionably not as a person who had irrevocably bound herself to take the veil. That this was so is quite manifest, independent of the express evidence of what was stipulated at the time she entered the convent. And what is that which was so stipulated, and which ought to be done without express arrangement? Namely, that she was not to be professed until she attained the age of 21; nor even then without communicating with her friends. That is the evidence of one of the witnesses (Mr. Henry). It is not denied, nor can there be a doubt thrown upon it. Under that stipulation she entered the convent; and it was further agreed that she was to pay 40l. a year until she took the veil, and 600l. afterwards, the defendants having no pretence to claim the 600l. until she took the veil. When the case, therefore, is put upon contract, there is no foundation for it: the contract was violated in every material point by the defendants, because the plaintiff took the veil, and we must suppose by the influence of the defendants, while she was under age—contrary to the duty of the defendants, even without any agreement upon the subject, but also in direct violation of the express agreement they entered into with the plaintiff and her friends. In February, 1827, she remains under the same influence, it must be supposed—which, give me leave to say, is incontestably proved by her having taken the veil—and so she continues till 1829, when she becomes unwell. Her brother-in-law is denied access to her; her sister is allowed to see her, but never without a member of the convent being present; and in such circumstances as these she transfers 1,100l. to the defendants, and the whole of her real estate, with the exception of some small portion of it, which she gave to her relations. Can it be seriously said, that a transaction like this ought to stand? That a deed executed by a person placed at a convent, like this person—placed in a situation where that undue influence is more likely to be exercised than any other which courts of equity should interfere to prevent; and shall it not be presumed, beyond almost a doubt so strong as not to be rebutted, that the documents in question were executed by the plaintiff under undue influence? But that was not all. The deed was got up by Mr. Dolan, the professional friend of the convent, without the presence of any professional friend, or of any friend at all, of the infant; and this gentleman takes upon himself to swear that these ladies are so incapable of erring, that all this young woman has done was done without the slightest influence having been exercised over her—the spontaneous effusion of her own mind! When we find him thus volunteering to swear what the Searcher of Hearts alone could tell, is it not plain that he gave his heart and mind, not to the unfortunate victim upon whom he was about to practise as far as he was able, but to the defendants in this, cause? He is not called upon to say whether the deed was technical or not, or whether counsel saw it; we do not want to know what the plaintiff said to him; what we seek to know is this—if she had an intention to make this disposition of her property, how was it produced? And no man can doubt that it was produced by the influence of these ladies over a young person secluded from every friend; her nearest relatives excluded from her. Can we hesitate for one moment to believe that the intention was produced by an exercise of influence on the part of those who ought not to be engaged in secular pursuits, but ought to have been devoted to the instruction of the plaintiff's mind? Upon the whole, we think, without any doubt, that we ought to decree a reconveyance of these premises, and the account sought for by the Bill. The next case to which he would refer was the remarkable one of "Fulham and Ma-carthy," in which eminent Roman Catholic counsel were employed on both sides. They examined the Roman Catholic bishop, Dr. Murphy, and the superior of the convent; therefore we might expect to have all the evidence favourable to those institutions fully brought out. Dr. Murphy, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork, said that— The said Maria and Catherine are professed nuns, according to the rules, regulations, and canons of the Roman Catholic Church. Dr. Murphy proceeded to say:— I say that if they were inclined to dispose of their properties in favour of their relations or civil friends, they would not have power to do so, consistently with the laws or rules of the community, which alone prevent them. The following extract from the evidence of Jane Macarthy showed the state of mind in which her sister was when she signed the deed which was the subject of the suit:— Defendant Jane saith, that the said Maria told her that she, the said Maria, wept most bitterly the whole night previously to her signing the said deed, and that no member of the family had half the affection she felt for her brothers and sisters, but that, having made vows, she could not express what her real and unbiassed wishes were; and her hands were so completely tied up by her vows, that were even a brother or sister dying of starvation, and that if a loaf of bread could save them, she could not give it without the permission of her superioress. The Rev. Mr. Mathew, the superior of the convent, gave the following evidence:— I have full experience and knowledge of the rules of the said institution, and of other similar institutions, in Ireland as elsewhere. There is a vow of religious poverty, or, in other words, that there is nothing over which she can have dominion, taken by ladies becoming members of the said institution or of similar institutions. Any property to which a nun may become entitled, the individual has no control over it, and such is the well-known and understood effect and result of such vow. The Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese, in his capacity of such bishop or superior of any convent, according to the usages and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church and such institutions, has no right, power, or authority, to dispense with the vow of poverty—a vow taken upon her profession by every member of such community. The Church of Rome reserves that power to itself with regard to dispensing with any solemn vow. Now, take the case of a young woman who might, under the influence of religious fervour, have taken these vows and given up her property, but who, on arriving at years of discretion, might wish to resume the power she had parted with over her own person and property: was the constitution of the country to stand by and refuse to relieve her from her rash and immature engagements? The taking of monastic vows was hostile to the constitution of the country. No man in this country was free to be a slave. That was the principle of the law. Mrs. M'Morrogh, the sister of the nuns, gave this evidence:— I say that my sister Catherine, previous to her signing the deed in favour of the convent, told me in the presence of the said Maria, and of the said Jane, and Alexander (my brother), that if she was obliged to sign a deed it would be like the act of a dead person, and that she would have no more power over her will or act than a dead person would have; in fact, that it would be as if a pen were held in the hand of a dead person, and that it was out of her power to avoid signing the deed in consequence of the strictness of her vow, the operation of which upon her she complained of, or likened to the effect of a presentation of a pistol by a highwayman about to rob another. Mr. Nelson Macarthy, brother of the nuns, said— His sister Catherine told him she feared she would be obliged to sign the deed, in compliance with her vows, and that we had no idea of the mental training that they went through, and that she would be obliged to state that her acts were free and voluntary; and that everything done by her as a réligieuse must be done cheerfully and freely, otherwise it would be deemed and considered that she had broken her vows. He saw her after she had signed the deed. She said, * a pen might as well have been put into the hands of a corpse as into hers when she signed the deed, as she knew she came to do an act contrary to her conscience, and let the sin be upon those who caused her to do so.' The present Lord Chancellor of Ireland, in giving his judgment upon the case, said— It appears by the evidence that the society is so framed that the members of it are bound by the vows they have taken on themselves, and the construction of those vows is declared by the society to be that its members are no longer, from the moment of taking them, free agents in the distribution of their property. They are enslaved to the rules and regulations of the community which they have joined, and are without the possibility of relieving themselves by any act of volition from their vow. Whatever be their condition in society, whatever their connexions with others—whatever their relations in life—regardless of every obligation of nature and society— they must adhere to these vows. Whether they be isolated individuals or members of a family, whether they be persons having no ties of kindred to bind them to the world, no objects to attach their feelings, to claim their affection and bounty, and entitled to their care, or whether they be the reverse of this, and having the nearest ties of blood—even children (for widows, after they have become such, may enter these communities), or, at least, relatives in the next degree of kindred—yet it makes no difference. By the rules of the institution they must cast all such considerations to the winds; and, willing or unwilling, freely offering it or not, of their own accord or under coercion of their vow, they must devote all their property to the benefit of the community, and execute deeds to transfer it. On such considerations I can well understand and perfectly concur in the policy of the ancient law which placed persons thus circumstanced in the position of civil death. No difficulty, such as I have referred to, then occurred. The law made the system harmonious and complete. They were left separated from the world to pursue the dictates of their consciences, and follow the line of life which they had chosen; but they were not placed in this dreadful position of being forced to tear their property from the persons whom they were most bound to regard and provide for, and to give it to the members of a community for whom they might have no personal regard whatsoever. His Lordship having ordered an issue to go to a jury to inquire whether the deed bad been executed freely or not, and counsel for the parties to whom the deed was made by the nuns having declined that alternative, the case then went before the House of Lords. The case taken to the House of Lords was signed by Sir Colman O'Loghlen and Mr. Kirwan, who interpreted the vow of poverty to mean that the professed nun renounced all claim to and dominion over property, or power to dispose of such property; and that by the vow of obedience, the nun surrendered all exercise of her own free will to the superiors of the convent, and became actually subject to their control; and amongst their reasons for supporting the decree of the Chancellor, they said, because it was contrary to public policy that any person should be permitted to be bound by vows to the disposition of property at the will of a superior, without regard to the moral or civil rights and duties of such person. Now, the cases he (Mr. Napier) adverted to showed distinctly that the parties were bound by vows that took away their own free will and responsible agency, and did not allow them to deal with their own property in the way provided by the laws of the country, and that it was therefore the duty of the Legislature to devise some remedy for this evil. This he knew to be the opinion of several Roman Catholics themselves. When in Ireland he had been spoken to by many Roman Catholic members of the bar, and although they were all against the inspection of convents, without a single exception they spoke of the necessity of some provision with regard to the distribution of property. One and all said it was absolutely necessary that something should be done. He willingly admitted that it was not within the province of legislation to interfere with matters where religious views and opinions were concerned. To grapple with such questions the best weapon was the power of truth, argument, and the Word of God. But when the polity of religion came to deal with personal liberty and the free distribution of property, he held that it became a temporal question, involving acts of aggression on civil freedom, and that the law should be made to provide a remedy, and throw a protection around the inmates of those conventual establishments. It would be a question how to get at them, in consequence of the privacy and seclusion which were the very essence of those places. This was one great difficulty. There was another difficulty, and it was this: a Court of Equity might interpose in a case where the relations of superior and of nun were recognised by the law; but the misfortune was that they were not recognised by the law; and this was, perhaps, the greatest difficulty in the question. Another matter complicated the controversy still further. Under the old law in this country, and, also, under the canon law which prevailed in other countries, the doctrine of civil death in the case of nuns applied. The effect of that doctrine was that they could no longer acquire or transmit property. The Lord Chancellor said the other day that before the Reformation those persons were considered as dead in law, and were treated as such in regard to property, their heirs at law entering into possession of their property even during their lifetime. After adverting to other matters in reference to the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, the Lord Chancellor —and in that he differed from the hon. and learned Member for Bath—said that this Act prohibited things which were previously illegal by setting a penalty upon them. The monastic institutions were certainly the sources of influence as regarded property, as well as the depositories of power derived from that influence. Suppose they were to be studded all over the land, what would be the consequence? The Queen's subjects might then be bound by vows to surrender their liberty and their property. That would be a state of things that would call for a remedy. He (Mr. Napier) admitted the question was a painful and unpleasant question, and that the remedy was moreover a most difficult one; but when it came before that House, which represented the good sense, the intelligence, the justice, and the good feeling of the country, they were bound to apply themselves to its solution. He had no doubt that the subject would raise all the evil feelings of the nation; but the only question for that House to consider was, how it could best be dealt with. It was found that a number of institutions existed, which involved vows on the part of those who belonged to them, which vows directly interfered with liberty of person and the freedom of property on the part of Her Majesty's subjects, and which were therefore based on principles totally irreconcilable with the spirit of the constitution of this country. Parliament was consequently, in the discharge of its duty, obliged to discover a remedy for such a condition of things. The Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Bath admitted the existence of the evil: he (Mr. Napier) admitted it also, and desired, with that hon. and learned Gentleman, a free and unfettered inquiry. He could not believe that the inspection proposed by the Bill would produce the effects as regarded personal freedom which were attributed to it; while, on the other hand, he was satisfied that the annoyance and uneasiness it would cause would counterbalance the good intended to flow from it. The question involved was a very large one—the increase of the monastic institutions of the country; and as that question would be best solved by inquiry, he should therefore support the Amendment.


said, that he did not mean to apply the words "cowardly and unmanly course of legislation" to the introducers of this Bill, but to the character of the Bill itself, which, while its object was to regulate convents, did not do so directly, but by implication.


Sir, I own I regret that this question does not come before the House simply in the form in which the hon. and learned Gentleman who introduced the Bill at first placed it. The Bill itself appears to mo to admit of hon. Members easily making up their minds with regard to the course they shall pursue. For my part, I must confess that I agree with the statement made by the hon. and learned Member who moved the Amendment, and the hon. and learned Member who seconded it, and who used most powerful arguments against the provisions of this Bill. In the first place, I am somewhat surprised to find my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis) endeavouring to prove that the Habeas Corpus Act, which has been the security of the personal liberty of the subject for upwards of 170 years, is an Act which provides in no way for the liberty of the subject; that it is totally inefficient in its provisions, and that, unless we adopt the Bill now before the House, we have no security for personal liberty whatever. In the next place, I own I consider that the Bill should state in its preamble some real case on which it is founded; whereas I find in the preamble of this Bill nothing but allegations which appear to me totally destitute of truth. But when I come to the remedy provided by this Bill, I own I should be much astonished if the House were ever to consent to the passing of such a measure. It does not, indeed, empower the Secretary of State to name persons who shall visit those convents; but it does empower the Lord Chancellor—who, besides being a great Judge, is likewise a Member of the Executive Government—to name Commissioners; and any one of those Commissioners, on seeing reasonable ground to suppose that any female is detained in any house or building against her will, is empowered and required, with the assistance of the justices of the peace, to make forcible entrance into such a building. I ask, if you pass this Bill, where is the safety of our houses after such a provision? I speak not now of convents, or of detention in convents; but, I say, what oppression may be exercised if a Commissioner named by the Lord Chancellor—and we know not what Lord Chancellor we may have—is to be empowered, and even required, to break into any house in which he has, not on any affidavit, not on the testimony of any witnesses examined on oath, but on what, in his own mind, he considers reasonable ground to suppose that a female is detained against her will. I have no doubt that, putting aside altogether this question of convents, there are at the present moment, and indeed at all times in this country, some houses—private houses—where there may be persons who, others might say, were detained against their will. But at no time has the Legislature thought fit to set aside that general rule of law, that sacred part of the constitution, which protects the private houses of Englishmen, and which is embodied in the common phrase "that every Englishman's house is his castle." To endeavour to provide, as is proposed by this Bill, for these chance or accidental cases, would be, by way of endeavouring to secure the liberty of the subject, to set up a tyranny. I therefore, for these reasons, could have no hesitation in vesting against the second reading of this Bill. I believe that during my time cases of abuse, both in prisons and elsewhere, have been discovered; but I cannot tax my memory with the recollection of any case where the alleged or proved case of a person's being detained against his will, was the insufficiency of the Habeas Corpus Act for the protection of the liberty of the subject. I am, therefore, still for remaining under the protection of that Act. It was framed by the wisdom and skill of one of the greatest men who ever took part in the administration of the law, or in the legislation of this country, and it was assented to by the Parliament of Charles II., in order to the protection of the liberty of the subject. No doubt in subsequent times amendments have been made in some small particulars, but the great provisions of that Act have remained to posterity, and every writer on this subject has done justice, both to the skill of the person who framed it, and the patriotism of the Parliament who enacted it. But we now come to another question, which I am very sorry has been introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Phinn) in the shape of an Amendment. The hon. and learned Member, I think, argued most ably and most successfully against this Bill; and if he had moved that this Bill should be read a second time this day six months, I should gladly, without taking any part in the debate, have followed him into the lobby, to throw out this measure. But, instead of taking that course, the hon. and learned Member has raised other questions, and, as I think, without showing for this course such conclusive reasons as he did with respect to the Bill. He has moved that a Select Committee should be appointed. Now, this Select Committee is to investigate two points. The first point for them to inquire into is, as to whether any, and if so what, regulations are necessary for the better protection of the inmates of establishments of a conventual nature, which appears again to raise the whole question of this Bill; and I cannot say that, without some proof— without some circumstances shown to the House, we ought to enter into an inquiry before a Select Committee as to the necessity for protecting the inmates of these conventual establishments. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that they are not made lawful by the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. But at the same time it cannot be denied that, if not positively sanctioned, they are recognised by the law as actually existing institutions. The clause is a very short one. It enacts, after making various provisions against Jesuits and other monastic orders— Provided that nothing so enacted shall be considered, or made to extend to, or to affect any religious order or community consisting of females bound by religious or monastic vows. I quite admit that the law takes no notice of these monastic vows or rules, or of the regulations of these establishments. At the same time it cannot be denied, on the other hand, that they are recognised as existing establishments; and it appears to me that you should have very good grounds to show that the females in these establishments are kept against their will, before you have any inquiry respecting them. One of the objections against the proposed Bill—the alarm that it will excite amongst the inmates of these establishments and these convents—will apply at least as forcibly to the proposal for an inquiry. I only ask you to consider what apprehension will be felt if the inmates of these establishments are to be brought up for examination before a Select Committee. I therefore say that, without some very strong case—a case which I have not heard attempted to be made out with respect to the restrictions that are placed on liberty in these establishments—I cannot agree to the appointment of a Committee for this purpose. Only observe how vague are the allegations on this subject. A very revered friend of mine, for whom I have the greatest respect, was supposed, when we had the last discussion on this subject, to have stated something or other rather confirming the prevalent rumour that females were detained in these houses against their will. But I saw the other day, in a newspaper, an account, professing to be under his own hand, and certainly appearing to be his own statement of what really occurred: he said that when he was out walking a female accosted him, said she was the mother of a young girl who was detained in one of these convents, and asked him if he could procure her redress; that he desired her to apply to the late Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Murray; that she then left him; that he did not know who she was, or what was her name; and that it appeared afterwards that she did not mean to apply to him, but took him for another person; and that of what became of the case he knew nothing. The whole affair might have been a mistake; she might have been a person out of her mind, or a person entertaining groundless suspicions. In short, it was one of those cases of which nothing can be made—which begins in a mere apprehension, and cannot be the ground of any sort of inquiry. I own, indeed, that other cases of which I have heard seemed to have more foundation. But then, the hon. and learned Member for Bath says that these vows are against civil liberty; and his argument goes, in fact, in favour of a provision by law the reverse of that which is contained in the Roman Catholic Relief Act, namely, that in future these conventual establishments, and the taking of vows, should be forbidden by the law of this country. I should not like to place my own authority against that which he stated; but I remember a great authority, with whom I have frequently conversed on this subject, and whose opinion differed much from that which was stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I understood him to say that no person in this country could, according to the laws of this country, bind his own liberty. Now, a question was some time since frequently raised, whether the Africans introduced into our West Indian colonies should have the power to bind themselves for three, five, or ten years. I have frequently conversed on this subject with the late Lord Chancel- lor Cottenham, and have asked him what was the law in this country; and he always affirmed that, when a person was of full age, there was no law which would prevent him binding himself to give his labour for three, five, or even for thirty or forty years. Now, if Lord Cottenham is not wrong in that opinion, there is a power in a person, being of full age, to part with his liberty in this respect. I do not say whether that state of the law is right; but it is one which certainly is opposed to the view which the hon. and learned Gentleman takes of these conventual establishments. I believe that that which affects the inmates of these establishments is the restriction which is felt to be binding on the mind and the conscience. I believe there is no case in which one of these nuns might not leave the convent which she inhabited, or might not at any time go back into the world, without there being any power in the convent to require that she should leave the world and re-enter one of these institutions. If that is the case, we come next to another question, which I am very sorry has been mixed up with the present question before the House. The question before the House, as introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Hertford (Mr. J. Chambers), is a question of personal liberty, and the question then arises on that point, whether the House wishes to have any Bill on that subject, and if so, whether the present Bill is the one. I think that question would have been quite sufficient to occupy the attention of the House. But the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bath has introduced a second proposition, and has raised the question of the propriety of having a Select Committee to consider whether any regulations are necessary for the prevention of the exercise of undue influence in procuring the alienation of property. Now, I beg to submit that that is a totally different question from the one which is raised by this Bill, and that it is one which is complicated with various other questions in regard to the general policy of the law with respect to the disposition of property, and to the liberty left to every person in the disposition of that property. It is a very fitting question for the consideration of this House; and if the Government, or any individual Member of this House, thinks the present state of the law deficient, it would be quite open to them to propose any amendment of that law; but in that amendment let them deal with this case of convents along with other property in this country. I do not see that this case should be provided for differently from others. If undue influence is anywhere exercised over individuals in the disposal of their property, let all the cases be treated alike, according to the best law you can make upon the subject. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) has shown that the present law is sufficient with regard to some of these cases, because he has shown that cases have been brought before the Courts of Law in Ireland, and decided on the ground that undue influence was used. In the first case to which he alluded, the conveyance of property was set aside, and a reconveyance was ordered to be made. If the law is sufficient in that respect, it may be left to its present operation. If further restrictions are necessary, let them be drawn up in the shape of a Bill. Let those restrictions be introduced, and let the House fairly consider them, and see whether they are suited to the case. I quite admit the inconvenience which arises when a person, on arriving at the age of twenty-five or thirty, finds himself bound by vows which he has made at eighteen. I can conceive that, wishout interfering with conventual establishments, the law should provide for cases of that kind. Conveyances obtained by undue influence are set aside by the Courts of Law in this country. A friend of mine found that his agent, by means of undue influence over his tenants, had nearly procured the conveyance of a large property into his own hands. But when that question was brought before the Court of Chancery in Ireland, the conveyance was set aside, and the property was restored to the proper owner. All these questions are very difficult in themselves, and certainly deserve to be considered separately. Do not let us mix them up, then, with this Bill; and, above all, do not let us deal with them as a matter solely affecting the dispositions of property made by nuns in convents. Let us consider the whole question of the disposition of property under the exercise of undue influence; and if the law is not already sufficient to deal with such cases, let it be made sufficient. I therefore come to the conclusion that, in the first place, without entering more into the merits of this Amendment, I shall vote for taking the question, as the words now stand, for or against the second reading of this Bill. I think it would be both fair and wise for the House to take that question simply as a question in itself. And if we come to the second reading of this Bill —if the question is proposed in that plain manner to the House, whether this Bill shall or shall not he read a second time— I shall cheerfully vote that it shall be postponed to this day six months; considering, as I do, that this Bill, intending and pretending to suit the particular case of nuns in Roman Catholic convents, is not founded on any proved circumstances; that it begins with a preamble which is not justified by fact, and goes on to provide enactments which I believe, so far from being favourable to civil liberty, are hostile to civil liberty; and that while it is hostile to the civil liberty of the whole community, Protestants as well as Catholics—to persons, in short, of every religious community—it would be in its effect most offensive to the Roman Catholic community; that while it is not sufficient to remedy any existing evil, it would tend to exasperate the feelings of those who are in these houses, and who have devoted themselves to a religious life from motives of religion and piety.


said, that he should be utterly belying his own opinions if he affected to recognise the sincerity or the good faith of a single feature of the present Bill—of a single profession of the hon. and learned Gentleman by whom the Bill was introduced—or of a single profession or sentiment that had been uttered in its support since the commencement of the discussion. The very title of the Bill was a prevarication. Its first reading had been obtained by pettifogging fraud; and it had been set forth, argued, and agitated for with an amount of insincerity and dishonest seeming which the measureless hypocrisy of this pharisee of nations could alone have supplied. It was extraordinary that, while on other questions the English were the most scrupulously truthful people in the world, they appeared on the single subject of religion to be wholly reckless as to the truth or falsehood of their assertions. Nothing could be lower than the standard of morality of religious journalism; nor did men care what they said of each other in social life upon religious matters. England was just now in one of those bursts of Protestant insanity which had periodically marked her history from the time of the Reformation, and which closely resembled the fits of phrensy to which naturalists stated that the grave and sagacious elephant was subject, He was bound to believe that the supporters of this Motion believed what they said; but still he could not but remark that their statements were directly opposed to all the facts which stared us in the face. He could not help seeing that, while with those periods of our history in which there had been the least marked display of Protestant and anti-Catholic feeling were associated the fairest and brightest recollections of our history, those in which that feeling had been most violent were inextricably intertwined with all that cast shame on our national character, and with all the most discreditable passages in our laws. Why, it was not a century ago, that a Protestant Parliament—bishops and all —in an age of great social advancement, passed an Act for the horrible and obscene mutilation of the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland! With respect to this Bill, he knew many families, amongst his nearest and dearest friends, who had sisters and other relatives in religious houses, who were invariably regarded by them with the tenderest affection, as being those who had chosen the better part. And did that House think the fathers and brothers of such religious persons required their aid to protect them, whose honour was as dear to them as their own? This Bill would empower the hired detectives of bigotry to invade the dwellings of the most sinless and sacred women in the world. He was quite sure that no gentleman would be found willing to carry out such a measure; as for Ireland, high as party feeling ran there, he was quite satisfied that even the Orangemen were too honourable for such a service. If they wanted agents for this purpose, they must send for them to our friend the Turk, who would supply them with officers properly prepared. But it was further provided that every magistrate was to be compelled to accompany these Jack Ketches of bigotry in their examination of convents: why, the effect of that would of course be, that every Roman Catholic magistrate of Ireland must resign the commission of the peace. What was the case for this Bill? Although English witnesses had not scrupled to commit perjury against their Catholic fellow-subjects, nor English juries to protect the perjurers; although English clergymen had not scrupled to circulate libels, nor English bishops to promote them for it; although out of doors the whole people were leagued against the honour of defenceless women, still no case had been made out which would suf- fice, in legal parlance, to hang a eat; nor had the opponents of these institutions succeeded in producing a Bill which was not discreditable to the reputation of the hon. Gentleman who drew it, and inconsistent with the clearest principles of constitutional law. What, on the other hand, was the case of the opponents of the Bill? The unanimous, consistent, uniform conviction of every man and woman in England and Ireland who had sisters, daughters, or relations in a religious institution, was, that they were happy and free. His (Mr. Moore's) own mother and wife had been educated in a convent, and the relatives of many of his dearest friends had likewise. If, therefore, such practices as those which had been complained of had existed, must he not have heard of them? He believed that the nuns were as free as any Members of that House—indeed much freer than many of them were between "whips" and angry constituencies. They had had laid before them documents signed by Catholic peeresses and other ladies of the highest rank, to the number of many hundreds, attesting their belief in the freedom and happiness of the inmates of convents. The case of the opponents of this Bill was, that a whole people, all whose sons were brave, and all whose daughters were virtuous, regarded this solicitude for their welfare as hypocrisy, and this professed protection as little less than persecution.


Sir, I should be very unwilling to detain the House from a division at this late hour, but I think it necessary to say a very few words to justify the vote which I intend to give. I cannot altogether approve of this Bill, chiefly because I think it does not go far enough, and is not nearly so efficient as it might have been framed to be. I am one of those who would much rather vote for the total suppression of monastic institutions. I agree, too, in many of the objections which have been urged against this Bill by the hon. Member for Bath. But I consider that this Bill has one great merit—that it recognises the fact that priestly influences are encroaching rapidly on the civil authority in this country, and that Parliament must look that fact in the face, and be prepared to deal with it. The main question before us seems to me to have been very little touched upon in this debate. It is this: Will you maintain your free institutions, and vindicate the majesty of the law and the supremacy of Parliament? Or will you suffer another and a hostile Power to set up an imperium in imperio —to defy your legislation, to acknowledge no law but its own, and to trample on the liberties of your people? I would not willingly offend the conscience of any man—I would advocate the principles of civil and religious liberty as strenuously as any man in this House; but, sitting here as a Member of this Legislature, I feel bound to support this Bill; for it appears to me that if you reject it, you will publicly betray your own authority, and the institutions of which you form a part.

Sir, hon. Gentlemen have endeavoured to show that this is an attempt to excite the Protestant bigotry of the people of England against their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. One hon. Gentleman told us that the English people hated the Roman Catholics without a cause, and seemed to think they were everywhere trampled down in this country. But before we pay much attention to such appeals, ad misericordiam, on the part of Roman Catholics in England, let us consider for a moment the relative position of this Church and Protestantism, not only in this country but in Europe. It may be that the Roman Catholic Church is in a minority in England; but in Europe it is almost to this country alone, and to its moral support, that Protestantism can turn—while the Church of Home is closely bound up with the material interests, and supported by the physical power, of nearly all the monarchs of Europe. It has struck its roots beneath the dungeons of Austria, and it flourishes within the shelter of the bayonets of France.

But, Sir, I utterly deny that the people of England have any animosity against their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. No statement was ever more unfounded. But I will admit this, that there is a deep-rooted feeling of dread and abhorrence to the foreign organisation and the persecuting theories of the Church of Rome. And it is because England remembers her martyrs —because her history has been one long-continued struggle with [the political power which Rome wields—because the darkest periods of her annals have been those when Rome has prevailed against the pusillanimity of her Kings or her Parliaments, and the brightest periods have been those when she has most effectually resisted the yoke— because the people of England cannot but feel that the Power which is now striving for the mastery by peaceful and cautious intrigue on one side of the Channel, and by vehement agitation on the other, is the same Power which once lighted the fires of Smithfield, and which armed the Bigot of Spain with his "Invincible Armada" against" that illustrious Queen, whom even the hon. Gentleman who spoke last has acknowledged to have been the free choice of a free people.

It may be, Sir, that many have come here to vote who have not well considered the hearings of the question. If so, I entreat them to think what they are going to do. I warn them, that if they reject this Bill and the Amendment, they are voting away the dear-bought liberties of their fellow-subjects. I warn them that, by their connivance, they are building up a structure of ecclesiastical tyranny which will yet be the scourge and the shame of the land; and I entreat them earnestly to consider, each for himself, who knows but he may lay the foundation of it in his firstborn, and set up its gates in his children's children.

There may be defects in this Bill, but it recognises a great principle, and I shall give it my support; and if it should he rejected by the House, I shall then most cordially give my vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bath.

But I thought, Sir, that I might have some claim to address a few words to the House on such a question as this; for the great city which has sent me here as her representative has reason to value, and does value dearly, the principles of civil and religious liberty, deriving as she does much of her success in arts and in commerce, much of her wealth, her fame, and her prosperity, from the time when Norwich opened her gates to the exiles of the persecuted Netherlands—to that remnant who had seen their cities made desolate, and their wives, and their children, and their parents, offered in sacrifice to the Moloch of intolerance, and who escaped with nothing but their lives and their loyalty, their industrial skill and their unsullied faith, from the bloodhounds of Alva's merciless soldiery, and the priested fiends of the Inquisition.


said, he felt that the Eoman Catholics of Ireland were indebted to the Protestants for obtaining Catholic emancipation; and for that, and for many other reasons, he was opposed to the style and language adopted by the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. Moore). There was not one member of his (Mr. Henley's) immediate relatives who had not been educated in a convent, and not one of them had embraced a conventual life. It was, therefore, plain that no undue influence had been exercised over them. Some of the elder branches of his family, having become mothers, had sent their children, in their turn, to be educated in those establishments; and that disposed of the charge that young persons were inveigled into becoming inmates. With regard to the statement of the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. C. Berkeley), that relatives were not allowed to visit them except in the presence of the superior, he could contradict it; for on several occasions he had visited his relatives in different convents in England and Prance, and on no occasion was he ever subjected to the surveillance of a superioress or nun. The rules with respect to ladies embracing a conventual life were very strict, and two years and a half must elapse between the time of entering and the time of taking the veil—abundance of time for them to make up their minds whether that kind of life would suit them or not. With regard even to the step being irrevocable, there were cases in Dublin and Car-low of ladies being allowed to leave convents after having taken the vows; but there was one vow which they were not allowed to break, and that was the vow of chastity. At the Good Shepherd Convent, Hammersmith, there were eighty or ninety unfortunate women received and sheltered, with the view to their reformation; and in Liverpool numerous children were educated by these religious establishments. In conclusion, he should vote against the Bill, as being intended to uproot and exterminate the Catholic religion.


who rose amidst general calls for a division, said, he would not detain them at that late hour for more than a very few minutes. He did not wish to give a silent vote, because he intended to act in accordance with the statement which he made on a former occasion, that he considered a measure for the regulation of conventual establishments to be, if wanted, right in principle. He should, therefore, mark his opinion on that subject by not voting for the second reading of this Bill, which he conceived it was utterly impossible that House could sanction, but by voting for the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Phinn), which appeared to him—whether the terms were or were not so entirely comprehensive as might be wished, or whether or not it might have been more orderly to have moved it as a substantive proposal, and not as an Amendment on another Bill—to be conceived in a fair spirit, and to express a principle on which those who desired and were determined consistently and firmly to resist every encroachment on the religious liberty of their fellow-subjects, but at the same time not to be withdrawn by any amount of clamour to confound a question of civil liberty with a question of religious liberty, could consistently act. What did this Bill do? It began by misreciting the present state of the law. It proceeded to appoint Commissioners, who would either do nothing, or, if sufficiently employed, would constitute an inquisition, which would be intolerable in a free country. The Bill would interfere not merely with religious establishments, but with domestic liberty in every house in the country. It reduced under supervision lunatics, children, and schools. It appeared to him to enable the Commissioners to enter any house, not only on sworn information but on vague surmises, originating, perhaps, in their own minds. It appeared to him, if the House sanctioned the principle of such a Bill, they would be committing a very grave error, and he was convinced not one word of it would remain if the Bill should go into Committee. But he must enter his firm protest, in the name and on behalf of religious liberty—on behalf of the religious liberty of Roman Catholics themselves—against the assumption that conventual establishments, whether of that or of any other Church, were exempt by right from the control of the law and the supervision of the State. The very fact of suspicion, alarm, excitement, and agitasion, and the tendency to agitation which existed in the public mind, was in itself tufficient reason why, if the principle were admitted, the attempt should be made cautiously to bring those establishments under a supervision of a guarded and general application, and consistent with the principles of law—not to stop abuses, which he did not know existed, but to prevent the possibility of those abuses, and to satisfy the public mind. If the Roman Catholics would not admit that such institutions were subject to regulation and control from the law of the land, it was inciting agitation, not for the purpose of regulating those institutions, but for the purpose of suppressing them; and if the Roman Catholic people valued the use that those institutions were of, for the purposes of education, piety, and charity, they would, in his opinion, be taking the most unwise course they possibly could take if they said, "We of ourselves declare those institutions must exist unregulated, or must not exist at all." However disinclined they might be to believe abuses of the nature alleged did exist, not merely in Roman Catholic but in all such establishments, no one could help admitting, seeing the present state of the law, the possibility of encroachment on the liberty of individuals in every establishment of this nature. As an answer to the suspicions which would arise, he wished to have the subject calmly, deliberately, and dispassionately considered, and, if necessary, a measure introduced by the Ministry of the country, founded on the principle adopted in other countries, which, without the appearance of sectarian difference or polemical warfare, should guard and protect the liberties of Roman Catholics interested in these establishments, and tend to satisfy the reasonable requirements of public opinion.


said, he was glad to see the temper of the House, as it must satisfy hon. Members that a Bill so odious and tyrannical ought not to be proceeded with. The Bill was an inquisition into religious houses—into establishments where those who took refuge in them were actuated by motives of the most exalted piety. The Amendment was to the same effect, and on that ground he was of opinion it ought to be resisted as ssrenuously as the Bill itself.


said, he accepted with the utmost satisfaction every single ssue raised upon the Bill he was submitting to Parliament. He was glad some issue had at length been raised on the Bill so submitted by him, for it was impossible to avoid remarking, or to overlook the significant circumstance, that notwithstanding all the careful and anxious scrutiny which had been made into it—notwithstanding all the earnest, eager, and impassioned orations at public meetings here and in Ireland on the subject of the Bill—there was not a single argument on which he. had grounded his measure overthrown—nay, he would say much more—not even assailed. In the experience which the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair had had from presiding over the deliberations of Parliament, one inference more strongly than any other must have been drawn from the discussions, that it was absolutely and imperatively necessary in every debate, that he who originated the debate must restate the question and reiterate his arguments. He repeated that notwithstanding the amount of eloquence exhausted on the subject, not one of his arguments had been attacked. He rested the Bill on facts—not in the narrow sense in which the word was presented to the minds of hon. Members. He had not adduced single instances picked up there or here; and he had this plain and sufficient answer to all cavillers —that he did not take exceptional cases as the ground of his argument, but rested it on the result drawn from the literature of the Roman Catholic Church—its code, its ordinances, its canons, its councils, the laws of emperors, of legislatures, and of statesmen living in the lands where convents were established. He had recited the fact of the last authoritative council of the Roman Catholic Church having dealt with the alleged evil as existing and flragrant. It was not necessary for his purpose to show that the evil now actually existed, only that there was a very perilous liability to it, which required prompt and immediate remedy. The Council of Trent did deal with the evil, and yet hon. Gentlemen ventured to assert he was not arguing from facts. He would suppose the question was an historical question. How would it be settled? Would they not put the right hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), Lord Mahon, Mr. Prescott, and Mr. Hallarn, into the library, and propound the question to them? The witnesses ranged around them on the library shelves, would be those on whose testimony the question would be decided. These witnesses were authors of the current literature of a thousand years—from the sixth to the sixteenth century. The philosophers, the poets, the historians, the annalists, the divines, from pontiffs to mendicant friars. Set aside at once all against whom reasonable or unreasonable exception could be taken, or who could be deemed biassed or accused of partiality; and would any man venture to tell him, in an educated assembly like that he had the honour of addressing, that any room for doubt was left in any mind competent to understand and admit his argument. If various witnesses of different races, different religions, different habits, and different characters, all concurred in their testimony, what else could be said but that this universal concurrence of testimony could be accounted for only on the supposition of truth? But his case did not rest on the mere concurrence of witnesses—it went further. It rested not only on what was written, hut on the fact that every one who had so written had acted as if what he wrote was true, and in such a manner as he could not have acted had the allegations not been true. Was it true that persons were sometimes deprived of their liberty in convents and monasteries? The proofs of the affirmative were overwhelming. Decrees had been passed by emperors to abate the evil. If no such evil had existed, would such decrees have been passed? That they did exist from age to age was notorious, and the conduct of all who had dealt with the subject showed they existed. If the evil did not exist, how could they account for the decree of the Council of Trent, to which no allusion had been made in any answer to his arguments? To all the authorities he had cited, he would add one more. It was found in a "novel" appended to the Theodosian Code, providing that no female could be compelled to take the veil under forty years of age, and that if, through the cruelty of parents and relatives, which often happened, she took the veil before that age, she might be relieved from her vows, and allowed to leave the convent and marry, without any imputation of sacrilege. Such was the law he had cited. It was said, ad captandum, by hon. Members, if the evils alleged to exist, or likely to exist, did really exist, the parents, brothers, and friends of the oppressed person would be the first to complain. But this argument could have no real weight against the facts he had produced. He found in the various volumes he had referred to, proofs in every form of what he complained of. He found it in the works of divines, in sermons and homilies; his proposition was established in every form. [Cries of "Divide!"] He would he brief, and allow the House to divide immediately. He would accept the issue raised by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), and he would say, in opposition to the noble Lord, that the Bill was not unconstitutional. He said it was not an unconstitutional invasion of a private house for a publicly-appointed officer to enter it —as he proposed by the Bill—for the purpose of restoring to liberty those who were supposed to be under constraint. Such a proceeding was not unconstitutional, for he could cite many instances in which it was done, not for the purpose of restoring persons to liberty, but for the purpose of restoring smuggled or stolen goods. In that case private houses were not entered by a high officer, like the commissioner he wished to be appointed, but by revenue officers for a petty evasion of the law. He would not trouble the House to go to a division on his Bill, hut he would accept the Amendment, as that affirmed the principle.


said, he wished only to explain that it was his intention to vote both against the second reading and the Amendment. He should therefore vote that the words "this Bill be read a second time" stand part of the question, in order to vote against the second reading of the Bill when the Amendment was disposed of.


said, that, speaking for a vast number of Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House, after what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Hertford (Mr. T. Chambers), that he accepted the Amendment, he begged to say that he intended to vote against the Bill, in order, with the concurrence of the hon. and learned Gentleman, to vote for the Amendment.

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

The House divided: —Ayes 178; Noes 207: Majority 29.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Corbally, M. E.
Anson, hon. Gen. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Atherton, W. Dalrymple, Visct.
Bailey, C. Denison, J. E.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Dent, J. D.
Ball, E. Devereux, J. T.
Ball, J. Duffy, C. G.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Duke, Sir J.
Bass, M. T. Dunne, M.
Bell, J. East, Sir J. B.
Bellow, Capt. Ellice, rt. hon. E
Berkeley, C. L. G. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bethell, Sir R. Esmonde, J.
Blake, M. J. Fagan, W.
Bland, L. H. Fitzgerald, J. D.
Bowyer, G. Forster, C.
Brady, J. Forster, J.
Brand, hon. H. Fortescue, C.
Bright, J. Fox, R. M.
Brotherton, J. Fox, W. J.
Brown, W. Freestun, Col.
Browne, V. A. French, F.
Bruce, Lord E. Frewen, C. H.
Bruce, H. A. Gardner, R.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.
Burke, Sir T. J. Goderich, Visct.
Byng, hon. G. H. C. Goodman, Sir G.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Goold, W.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Gower, hon. F. L.
Cayley, E. S. Grace, O. D. J.
Charteris, hon. F. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cobbett, J. M. Greene, J.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Gregson, S.
Coffin, W. Grenfell, C. W.
Cogan, W. H. F. Greville, Col. F.
Collier, R. P. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Conolly, T. Hadfield, G.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hanmer, Sir J.
Harcourt, G. G. O'Flaherty, A.
Hastie, A. Osborne, R.
Hayter, rt, hon. W. G. Otway, A. J.
Heard, J. I. Paget, Lord A.
Henchy, D. O' C. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Heneage, G. F. Peel, F.
Herbert, H. A. Phillimore, J. G.
Hervey, Lord A. Phillimore, R. J.
Heywood, J. Pigot, F.
Higgins, G. G. O. Pilkington J.
Howard, Lord E. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Hutchins, E. J. Potter, R.
Hutt, W. Price, Sir R.
Ingham, R. Rice, E. R.
Johnstone, Sir J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Jones, D. Russell, Lord J.
Keating, R. Russell, F. C. H.
Kennedy, T. Russell, F. W.
Keogh, W. Sadleir, J.
Kirk, W. Scholefield, W.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Scully, F.
Langston, J. H. Scully, V.
Lawless, hon. C. Seymour, Lord
Lawley, hon. F. C. Seymour, W. D.
Layard, A. H. Shee, W.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Smith, J. A.
Locke, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Lowe, R. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Lucas, F. Sullivan, M.
Mackinnon, W. A. Swift, R.
M'Cann, J. Tancred, H. W.
M'Mahon, P. Thicknesse, R. A.
Magan, W. H. Thompson, G.
Maguire, J. F. Townshend, Capt.
Massey, W. N. Traill, G.
Matheson, A. Vane, Lord H.
Matheson, Sir J. Vansittart, G. H.
Meagher, T. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P
Milton, Visct. Vivian, J. E.
Molesworth, rt. hn. Sir W. Vivian, H. H.
Monck, Visct. Wall, C. B.
Monsell, W. Walmsley, Sir J.
Moore, G. H. Wilkinson, W. A.
Morris, D. Willcox, B. M.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Williams, W.
Mulgrave, Earl of Wilson, J.
Mure, Col. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Murphy, F. S. Wrightson, W. B.
Murrough, J. P. Young, rt. hon. Sir J.
Norreys, Lord
Norroys, Sir D. J. TELLERS.
O'Brien, P. Chambers, T.
O'Brien, Sir T. Inglis, Sir R. H.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D Biddulph, R. M.
A'Court, C. H. W. Biggs, W.
Adderley, C. B. Blackett, J. F. B.
Anderson, Sir J. Blair, Col.
Annesley, Earl of Boldero, Col.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Bonham-Carter, J.
Archdall, Capt. M. Booth, Sir R. G.
Arkwright, G. Bouverie, hon. E. P.
Aspinall, J. T. W. Brisco, M.
Bailey, Sir J. Brocklehurst, J.
Baird, J. Brooke, Sir A. B.
Baldock, E. H. Bruce, C. L. C.
Barnes, T. Buck, L. W.
Barrington, Visct. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Barrow, W. H. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Bateson, T. Burroughes, H. N.
Bentinck, Lord H. Butt, G. M.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Cairns, H. M.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Campbell, Sir A. I.
Carnac, Sir J. R. Jones, Capt.
Chandos, Marq. of Kendall, N.
Chaplin, W. J. Ker, D. S.
Child, S. King, J. K.
Cholmondeley, Lord H. Kingscote, R. N. F.
Christopher, rt. hn. R. A. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Clinton, Lord C. P. Knox, Col.
Clive, R. Knox, hon. W. S.
Cobbold, J. C. Laing, S.
Cocks, T. S. Langton, H. G.
Codrington, Sir W. Langton, W. G.
Coles, H. B. Legh, G. C.
Compton, H. C. Lennox, Lord A.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Leslie, C. P.
Cowan, C. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Lockhart, W.
Crook, J. Long, W.
Crossley, F. Lopes, Sir R.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Loveden, P.
Davies, D. A. S. Lowther, Capt.
Davison, R. Macartney, G.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Mackie, J.
Dod, J. W. MacGregor, J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. MacGregor, J.
Duncan, G. Malins, R.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Meux, Sir H.
Dunlop, A. M. Miles, W.
Du Pre, C. G. Milnes, R. M.
Egerton, Sir P. Michell, W.
Egerton, W. T. Mitchell, T. A.
Egerton, E. C. Moffatt, G.
Elmley, Visct. Montgomery, Sir G.
Evelyn, W. J. Moore, R. S.
Ewart, W. Morgan, O.
Farnham, E. B. Mundy, W.
Farrer, J. Muntz, G. F.
Ferguson, J. Naas, Lord
Filmer, Sir E. Napier, rt. hon. J.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Neeld, J.
Floyer, J. Newdegate, C. N.
Forbes, W. North, Col.
Forster, Sir G. Oakes, J. H. P.
Freshfield, J. W. Pakenham, E.
Fuller, A. E. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Palmer, R.
Gaskell, J. M. Palmer, R.
George, J. Patten, J. W.
Gladstone, Capt. Pellatt, A.
Gooch, Sir E. S. Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.
Gordon, Adm. Portal, M.
Gore, W. O. Powlett, Lord W.
Graham, Lord M. W. Prime, R.
Greaves, E. Pritchard, J.
Greene, T. Robertson, P. F.
Grogan, E. Rolt, P.
Grosvenor, Earl Sandars, G.
Gwyn, H. Sawle, C. B. G.
Hall, Sir B. Scobell, Capt.
Halsey, T. P. Seaham, Visct.
Hamilton, Lord C. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Hamilton, J. H. Sibthorp, Col.
Hanbury, hon. C. S. B. Smijth, Sir W.
Harcourt, Col. Smyth, R. J.
Hastie, A. Smyth. J. G.
Hayes, Sir E. Smollett, A.
Headlam, T. E. Somerset, Capt.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Spooner, R.
Hildyard, R. C. Stafford, A.
Hill, Lord A. E. Stanhope, J. B.
Hotham, Lord Stanley, Lord
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Stirling, W.
Irton, S. Taylor, Col.
Jackson, W. Thesiger, Sir F.
Johnstone, J, Tollemache, J.
Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J. Whitmore, H.
Tudway, R. C. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Tyler, Sir G. Wise, A.
Tyrell, Sir J. T. Woodd, B. T.
Vance, J. Wortley rt. hon. J. S.
Verner, Sir W. Wyndham, Gen.
Walcott, Adm. Wyndham, W.
Walpole, rt. hon. S. H. Wynn, Major H.W.W.
Walsh, Sir J. B. Wynne, W. W. E.
Walter, J. TELLERS.
Warner, E. Phinn, T.
West, F. R. Butt, I.

Question proposed, "That those words be there added." Debate arising; Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."

And it being Six of the Clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till Tomorrow, without putting the Question.

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