HC Deb 31 May 1853 vol 127 cc862-955

said, the subject which he had to bring under the consideration of Parliament that evening was unfortunately no new one to the House. It was one of its oldest and most wearisome grievances—it had vexed the Legislature that inflicted, almost as much as the people that endured it; and he believed there was no nation upon earth but Englishmen that would endure such a bore as Irish grievances had been to them, for the mere luxury of obstinacy in wrong. If Englishmen would only reflect, that in order to save Ireland from the doctrine of purgatory in the next world, they were dooming it and themselves to something very like a purgatory in this, they might ultimately come to the conclusion that it would be a profitable compromise to get rid of Irish wrongs and Irish discussions together. But until they could bring their minds to that wise determination, they had none to blame but themselves, if, to use the words of a great man on an ominously similar occasion, they continued to be "lashed round and round the same miserable circle of occasional arguments and temporary expedients, in which their heads turned and their stomachs nauseated, in which invention was exhausted, reason was fatigued, experience had given judgment, but obstinacy was not yet conquered." If, however, they could not avert the vexations, they might at all events vary the form of such an argument, by clearing the question of certain hypocrisies of discussion which had hitherto clung like cobwebs around it, and which every one seemed to have a prescriptive horror of brushing away. For instance, it had been the habit of those who advocated the just rights of the Catholic people of Ireland, to represent that people as amongst the most loyal of the subjects of the Crown. The Catholic people of Ireland were not loyal; he was not a loyal or true man who said that they were loyal; and he himself, whose most fervent hope and prayer it was, not only to live and die a loyal subject of the Crown, but to see all his countrymen before he died as loyal subjects in Ireland, as they were in America, and in every country but their own—deemed it his first duty as an Englishman and an Irishman to tell the truth in a matter in which he believed both England and Ireland were deeply concerned. The Irish people were not loyal; they were deeply disaffected to their Government from one end of the island to the other; there was not a part of their coast before which an American and English frigate could come in hostile collision, in which the vast majority of the lookers on would not wish the American to win. These were truths that it was not fashionable to speak in that House; but in that House, to his mind, the truth should be told; and he spoke of a danger which, if it existed, could not be too plainly or too broadly portrayed. He said a danger, a great imperial danger; he did not speak of danger of rebellion or insurrection: there was no danger of anything of the kind. Ireland was but as the mouse beneath the talons of the lion; but it was no mouse's service her children had done the empire during the late war; it was no small disservice that but a small number of her exiled sons had done that empire at a former period of its history. The time might come, the time might be fast approaching, in which it would require the united loyalty of the subjects of the whole united empire to defend the integrity of its triple Crown. It was therefore no light matter that a state of feeling touching the loyalty of a fifth part of the subjects of the Queen, should be permitted to exist in the very heart of the Queen's dominions; and no statesman could doubt that it was the duty of the State anxiously to probe and examine into such a disorder, with an earnest desire, if possible, to effect a cure. Now, were these effects without a cause—he meant a just and reasonable cause, such as would produce similar effects in other portions of the empire? It had been the habit of political writers to speak of the state of feeling existing in Ireland, as an anomaly in the social and political condition of the empire; and of the problem of bringing Ireland really as well as nominally within the pale of the constitution, as the great secret—the philosopher's stone of imperial policy. Well, if they really regarded the position of the Irish people towards their Government and law as an anomaly, the first question, which in a spirit of honest investigation they ought to proceed to consider, was, whether there was anything anomalous in the position of their laws and Government towards the Irish people. And if they found, not only that there was one marked and startling anomaly in their government of Ireland, specific in its nature, and wide in its sphere of operation, but that that anomaly was of precisely the same specific nature, character, and complexion of which they complained—if they found, in the history of other portions of the empire, that the same exceptional legislation led to the same anomalous result—if, moreover, the history of other countries furnished other parallels, leading to the same conclusions—was it not probable that in these matters they might not only trace cause and effect, but the disorder and the cure. It needed but a glance to perceive that, while in every other respect British rule and legislation were the same, or similar, in their application to all parts of the empire, on one point alone, and that a point on which human feelings and prejudices were most sensitively alive—a point on which English feelings and prejudices were most tenderly consulted—the most susceptible of all the susceptibilities of the most susceptible people in Europe were studiously overlooked, if not sedulously slighted. In the constitution of all human society the religious element is a vital component part; and any form of government constituted in hostility, or without regard to the religion of the people, must, in its very essence, be as unsound and unhealthy as the air we breathe if deprived of one of its vital gases. Let them observe how reverently and assiduously the religious element was, as it were, woven into the constitution. The religion of the majority had a voice in one of the estates of the realm; the Sovereign was bound by a solemn oath to watch over and defend its rights; the highest offices in the State were reserved for the members of its communion; and the smallest invasions of its prerogatives were made the subject of legal enactments. The religious feelings of the people of England were not only sustained, but sunned and fanned and flattered by English law. The consequence was natural: the law and the constitution had won the religious feelings, the religious sympathies, and—though last, not least—the religious prejudices of the English people. In Ireland, on the contrary, the religious feelings, sympathies, and prejudices of the people were not only studiously disregarded, but triumphantly contemned; and the consequence was equally natural—the common cry, the universal wail, of every discomfited Minister was, that the religious feelings, prejudices, and passions of the people were in the way of law and order in Ireland: that is to say, that in the one part of the empire, on the one point of their policy on which the principles of the constitution had been systematically violated, in that one country, and on that one point of policy. British legislation had utterly failed, and British law was regarded, not as a pride, but as a terror. But was Ireland an anomaly in this matter? Had the policy of the constitution failed in that country? On the contrary, the constitution was triumphant in the result of its exceptional violation. Ireland was a new proof of its universal wisdom—showed a new necessity for its extended and impartial application. So far from Catholic feeling in Ireland being an anomaly in the history of the empire, if it were other than what it was, it would be an anomaly in the history of humanity; and if peace, union, and strength were the necessary results of the religious policy of the State in England, sectarian strife, social disorganisation, national weakness, and imperial danger were the equally necessary and analogous consequences of the religious policy which the State had ventured to pursue towards one portion of its people. But were these deeply-rooted objections to our religious legislation confined to the people of Ireland? Had they arisen from any peculiar organisation on the part of that people? On the contrary, no error, if error it were, was so strongly supported by the weight and authority of English opinion. The opinions of the noble Lord, the leader of the House of Commons, were too well known to need quotation; in his judgment, the evils of the Irish Church Establishment were so great, that if Parliament refused to redress them, it "had no right to maintain the legislative union between the two countries." In his judgment, nothing short of "complete religious equality" would satisfy the justice of the case. But what said the leader of the Opposition, the head and the brain of that side of the House? If any one could make a case for the Irish Church Establishment, undoubtedly the right hon. the Member for Buckinghamshire was the man—he was, however, one of its most eloquent opponents. "How could people talk of identity of institutions between the two countries," said the right hon. Gentleman, "when the primary and most important institutions of ail, the union of Church and State, was opposed to the feelings of the Irish people? Had Mr. Pitt's plans been carried out, they would have had the Church question in Ireland settled at a very early period; and it would, in his mind, still be settled at a very early period, and settled, he had no doubt, upon principles analogous to those which were laid down by a great statesman in 1636."The right hon. Gentleman alluded, as might be gathered from another passage in one of his speeches, to Glamorgan, who, at Kilkenny, acting under private instructions from Charles, agreed that the cathedrals, churches, churchlands, and tithes—then nearly all in possession of the Catholics—should remain with them; and that as Protestants disappeared from the residue, they should go to the Catholics; but the right hon. Gentleman went on to say, "Her dense population inhabited an island where there was an Established Church, which was not their Church."This Church he again called "an alien Church;" and said that "that was the Irish question: as long as they had a strong executive, a just administration, and ecclesiastical equality, they would have order in Ireland; and the improvement of the physical condition of the people would quickly follow." Well, the leader of the House of Commons, and the leader of the Opposition, having both pronounced its condemnation, to whom would this persecuted Establishment naturally appeal for justice? Perhaps to the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench. He, as the head of the law in England, would be the natural defender of all that the law established. What was the sentence pronounced upon the Irish Church Establishment by the Lord Chief Justice of England?— He believed the Protestant Church in Ireland to be one of the most mischievous institutions in existence; he believed it was so considered now; he believed it would be considered so by posterity; and it was only because their Lordships were familiar with it that they were not shocked at the picture. There was nothing parallel to it, except the attempt at the end of the seventeenth century, to impose episcopacy upon Scotland. Could there be any wonder, then, that the Roman Catholics were discontented? If, from the vigour of the laws, the Irish Establishment flew into the arras of Equity, what was the judgment of the greatest—politically the greatest—of the living-Lord High Chancellors of England? Lord Brougham said— As long as the foulest practical abuse that ever existed in any civilised country continues untouched, or touched only with a faltering hand—the Irish Church, as lavishly endowed for an eighth part of the Irish people as if more than double their whole number could partake of its ministrations—there assuredly never can be peace in that ill-feted land. Well, but although lawyers in the gloom of their courts, and politicans in the dust of party battle, might not appreciate the high and transcendental merits of the Irish Church Establishment, modern history, perhaps, would do her justice; and this would be the description handed down to posterity by Mr. Macaulay:— My own opinion is, that the Irish Church is a bad institution—that it is a very bad institution. It is my deliberate opinion that of all institutions now existing in the civilised world, the Established Church of Ireland is the most absurd and in defensible…Take the opinion of foreigners, of travellers, of writers, it does not matter where the book comes from, whether from Europe or America—whether Catholic or Protestant—whether partial to England, or opposed to England, they one and all state that Church to be such an abuse that they can scarcely conceive How it exists."—[See 3 Hansard, lxxix. 1180–82.] It would be difficult to find a hope of refuge for an institution so condemned, unless, perhaps, in political economy; and what said Mr. M'Culloch?— In Ireland the adherents of the Established Church are but a small minority of the population; and this minority consists almost entirely of the wealthier classes, who could, without diffi- culty, supply themselves with religious instruction. The Catholic population have been compelled, down to this moment, to pay tithes to the established clergy who, at the same time, possess all the estates and glebe lands that formerly belonged to the Catholic clergy. Can we wonder, under such circumstances, at the rooted hostility to the Established Church evinced by the Catholic population?…A distinction of this sort is at variance with every principle on which society is founded; and, so long as it is kept up, it must be productive of the most violent animosities. Having read these authorities to the House, he would only say by way of summary, that if the opinions of the leader of the House and of the Opposition—of the Lord Chief Justice, and Lord High Chancellor of England—of the first political writer and historian, and the most eminent political economist of the day, all pronouncing the same condemnation of this institution, did not warrant the Irish people in taking exception to its present status, and in calling upon Parliament to inquire whether it might not he reformed—then it would be well to send all the intelligence and authority in England to Bedlam, and to appoint the hon. Member for North Warwickshire First Minister of the Crown. And now, what was the nature of the institution, that the people of Ireland called in question, and into which they prayed for inquiry and investigation? In discussing this question on its merits, he thought it would be well to abandon on both sides two modes of stating it, both of which were vulgar and superficial. On the one hand, it had been alleged that the revenues of the Church in Ireland were a tax paid by the whole people for the support of the religion of the minority. It was not true that these revenues were a tax paid by the people for that or any other purpose. On the other hand, it had been not less confidently asserted, that the land of Ireland, being for the most part in the hands of Protestants, the revenues of the Church were in reality paid out of Protestant property. It was not true that they were paid out of any property, Protestant or Catholic. The ecclesiastical revenues of Ireland were a property in themselves; a head-rent upon all property, superior and anterior to the right of any proprietor in Ireland; set aside for public purposes, by public authority for the public good. It was, therefore, not only the right but the duty of the State to see that these revenues were not diverted from the original purposes of the trust. And what were those original purposes? He was not about to argue that, because these revenues were set apart in Catholic times that they were necessarily applicable to Catholic purposes; but being set apart in Catholic times, it certainly followed that they were not necessarily applicable to Protestant purposes. They were manifestly appropriated to the religious worship and instruction of the whole people of Ireland; and, if they had been greatly alienated from that purpose, then they had been alienated from the original purposes of their trust. Were those purposes carried out in Ireland? Were the ecclesiastical revenues of that country applied to the religious uses of the people? It was almost a mockery to enter into the statistics of an abuse which was "gross as a mountain, open, palpable," and which had incurred the indignant reprobation of the whole civilised world. Besides, the dislocation of society which had resulted from Ireland's last calamity had afforded peculiar facilities for involving the subject in that mystification and obscurity which were always so favourable to crime; and the hon. and learned Members for Dublin University and Enniskillen were too well versed in criminal practice not to give their monster client the full benefit of this advantage. Accordingly, on every successive occasion on which this subject had been incidentally discussed in the House, they had so gradually improved their facts and statistics; their Protestant census insensibly swelling into such magnificent proportions; and the revenues of their Church, under their delicate manipulation, becoming so "small by degrees and beautifully less," that he would not be in the least surprised if, during the present discussion, they found themselves in a position to declare that the Catholic population of Ireland had entirely disappeared; and that the Protestant bishops and clergy were absolutely losers by the possession of their benefices. History, however, furnished them with some instruction in the elucidation of this Protestant mystery. In 1731, the relative proportions of the population of Ireland were ascertained to be as follows:—Catholics, 1,309,708; Protestants, 700,451. In 1834, or about a century after, the members of the Establishment were 850,000, while the Catholics had increased to nearly six millions and a half. During the whole of this interval the people of England had been constantly entertained with pious statements, such as the House would probably hear that evening from the learned Member for Enniskillen, of the wonderful increase and progress of Protestantism; they were told that nothing was wanting but more money from England to complete the godly work; and absolutely a fact, that the generous, simple, befooled bigotry of England, had contributed nearly a million of money in Parliamentary grants to the gorged but still insatiate rapacity of the Irish mission, for the ostensible purpose of ministering to holy necessities of Protestant increase. When the census, however, like Ithuriel's spear, touched the toad that squatted at the ear of England, it stood up in its true proportions; and it had been found that all this time Protestantism had been pining and dwindling away in its hotbed; and that, in relation with the social expansion of the country, it had almost miraculously decreased. And now they found that an old established swindle could never be too often repeated. Since 1834, the population of Ireland had diminished, by death and emigration, to six millions and a half; and the credulous bigotry of England is again called upon to believe, that out of these national debris a new grain of Protestant mustard seed had sent forth prodigious shoots; and the English people are, of course, again besought to contribute to the young Irish ravens that dwell in its branches and cry continually for food. For his own part he believed that, if a census similar to that of 1834 was again ordered, it would be found that the Catholics of Ireland were, in proportion to the Protestants, as five to one. He knew that this proportion would not at all tally with the pious statistics of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University, nor with the rhetorical arithmetic of the hon. Member for Enniskillen; but the difference between them was a question for inquiry, and that inquiry he, at all events, courted and craved. The same observation applied to the revenues of the Establishment. He knew there was no sum so small that some hon. Gentlemen would not engage to reduce them to on paper. The income, however, returned to Parliament, by their own dignitaries in 1831, was upwards of 800,000 l. per annum; and the people of England had formed a tolerably definite estimate of the value of a bishop's statement of his own revenues. Whatever they might be worth to the Established Church, he believed, that, honestly and honourably managed, they might be made to produce nearly 1,000,000 l. a year. He said honestly and honourably managed, because, he believed, that the whole system of bishops' leases in Ireland was a fraud, of which no honourable layman, holding property under a sacred trust, ever would have been guilty. But, here were revenues originally set apart for the religious worship and instruction of a whole people, nominally appropriated to the uses of a small sect, but really, to a great extent, for no religious purpose whatever; but scrambled for as a precarious patrimony by the slowest and feeblest of a corporation of younger brothers, who made it their profession to wear a black coat and white neckcloth, instead of regimentals and moustache; and devoted their time to the diffusion of intolerance, instead of the more Christian-like occupation of shooting snipe. Hon. Gentlemen might laugh at this statement, but if they stood in his position they might think it no laughing matter. On a former occasion, in this House, he had stated his own experience as a Catholic landed proprietor. He had stated that he paid tithes in eight parishes, and that in all those eight parishes there was not a single Protestant church, glebe, or resident clergyman; that he did not think that he had a single Protestant tenant; and that he doubted whether there was a single Protestant inhabitant, or whether service according to the Protestant ritual, had been celebrated in any of these parishes since the Reformation. Having heard that this statement had been privately contradicted, he had made subsequent inquiries, and he had reason to believe, that in every respect but one, his statement was strictly correct. In three of those parishes he found, however, that at the period at which he spoke, there were a few scattered Protestants; and this part of his statement, therefore, he wished to correct. He thought it right to state also, that in at least two of those parishes Protestant clergymen were now resident, and that in one of them a church had been subsequently built. He wished to give the Protestant Establishment the full benefit of this contradiction, in order that the House and the public might know the kind of defence that it could make for itself. But he would take just one of these parishes as an example of the application of the Church revenues to their original purposes. The parish of Ballintubleer was one of the largest in the county, and, previous to the famine, had a very dense population. In the midst of that parish stood a venerable abbey, erected by Catholic hands and hearts, and wrecked by the soldiers of the Reformation. In the abbey field outside was the grave of the infamous "Shawn a Saggarth," the priest hunter, who for Protestant gold had betrayed the pastors of the people to death, and the Church of his fathers to desolation. In that ruined church, without a roof, open to the winds and the rains of heaven—the whole population—for there is not a Protestant in the parish—knelt to God; and, beneath a last remaining arch, that shaded rather than sheltered the sacrifice, the shivering priest raised to heaven in expiation of their sins, the body and blood of Him, who, while He lived, had not a roof to lay His head, but to whom every other Christian land granted an altar and a sanctuary. And what was the purpose to which the revenues originally set apart for the religious uses of this parish were now applied? Shortly after coming into the possession of his estate, he had received a letter from the vicars choral of Christ Church, Dublin, informing him that they were his pastors, and that to them he was to pay for spiritual instruction; so that while the people of Ballintubleer were kneeling in the pelting storm, within the walls that sacrilegious fury had unroofed, the vicars choral of Christ Church, Dublin, pocketed the funds that should shelter the flock and maintain the altar—in payment for hymns professed to be offered up to the God of justice. Did they think that those hymns ascended to heaven? Did they think that the Protestant Church could hove a blessing with these pieces of silver? Can you expect that a Catholic, standing on the grave of the priest hunter, with such a letter in his hand, and looking at a shivering people kneeling to their houseless God, could fail to feel a busy spirit rising within him and whispering to his heart that it was impossible to be loyal to such a law? Would any one venture to assert that this was a fulfilment of the original purposes of the trust—that these ware not circumstances that called for inquiry? But the wrong done to the Catholic people of Ireland, by this evil legislation, was as nothing compared to the injury inflicted on the empire and the State. Some little had been said in the House lately, and a good deal had been said out of doors, or the relative merits and disadvantages of State endowment on the one hand, and the voluntary system on the other. But the system they had established in Ireland, contains all that was evil in both principles, without any of the advantages of either What was the great argument, at once Christian and politic, in favour of State endowment? The indefeasible right of every man, however poor, to religious worship and instruction in life, and religious consolation in death. Cobbett had defended the Established Church, and logically, on the ground that it was the poor man's Church. An hon. Member, some nights ago, had said, that a man should pay for his priest as for his doctor; but what about the man who could pay neither for priest nor doctor? His right to be cured at the public charge might be disputed, but his right to be saved could scarcely be denied; and it must be avowed that the right of the poor "to have the gospel preached to them" was a very strong argument in favour of State endowment. Then it had been urged with no inconsiderable force, that if the clergy were made dependent for their subsistence upon their popularity, they would be apt to consider the passions and prejudices of their audience quite as much as the duty of communicating wholesome instruction. "For a preacher to be at the mercy of his audience," said Dr. Paley," "to be obliged to adapt his doctrine to the pleasure of a capricious multitude, are circumstances rarely submitted to without sacrifice of principle and depravation of character." The principle of State endowment, therefore, was, that the poor should have a right to spiritual instruction at the public charge; and that their clergy should be independent of their passions and caprices. But what was the principle of the State endowment that had been established in Ireland? They endowed the Church of the rich, while they handed over the poor to the unrestrained operation of the voluntary system. They cut from under the principle of endowmentt every argument that rendered it defensible; whilst they placed the voluntary system in precisely the position in which they believed it was most capable of evil. Surety, out of that place where "no order but everlasting horror dwelt," there never had been devised an ecclesiastical system so pregnant with the seeds of religious discord, and social and political disorder. Primâ facie, therefore, and on its own merits, "the Church of Ireland was a bad institution, a very bad institution;" but then it was said that there were special reasons which made this very bad institution expedient and even necessary. One of these attempts to justify injustice was, that the religion of the Irish people was unscriptural and idolatrous. It must be admitted that if the object of Parliament were to set aside altogether the feelings and opinions of the Irish people, this mode of dealing with the question was straightforward and intelligible; but if it were their object, as they professed it was, to convince the people of Ireland that they were disposed to deal justly with them; could they possibly expect that acute and susceptible people would be reconciled to an act of political injustice, by an assertion which their feelings must receive as an insult; which their reason must reject as idiotic; and which was in point of fact a begging of the question so intolerant and stupid that the decencies of hypocrisy should prevent its use. Was the House of Commons a society de propaganda fide? Were its functions those of government or priestcraft? Had it been appointed to legislate for a people, or to proselytise for a sect? He could quote numerous passages from Dr. Paley and other eminent divines of the Church of England to show that it was the duty of the State in establishing a particular religion to consult the faith of the nation and not its own; but it was scarcely necessary to demonstrate that the contrary practice was a mere right of conquest, which could only be exercised in a country completely subjected to a foreign will. So clear was this that a very eminent debater in that House, now Chancellor of the Exchequer, of too logical an understanding to resist this evident proposition, was obliged to have recourse to a clue of very subtle casuistry to escape from the difficulty. "True," said the right hon. Gentleman, "the established religion in every free country must be the religion of the majority of the people:" but Ireland being now an integral portion of the empire, and the Protestant religion being the faith of the majority of that empire, the Protestant religion ought therefore, in Ireland, to be the religion of the State. Well, if that were to be so, then let this imperial Church be paid out of imperial resources; and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer were content to defray the expenses of this establishment out of the Consolidated Fund, the people of Ireland would wish him joy of his bargain. But the right hon. Gentleman had, under his very nose a practical refutation of his doctrine. Scotland was an integral part of the empire; the episcopal church was the church of the majority of that empire: why then, was not the episcopacy the Church of Scotland? Because the Scotch people, with sharper arguments than those of the right hon. Gentleman, had cut right through this sophistry of intolerance. What said Dr. Warburton upon this question? After asserting the necessity of the State allying itself with the largest of the religious communities of the country it governs, he went on to say, "From hence it may be seen why the Episcopal Church is the Established Church of England, and the Presbyterian the Established Church of Scotland, and the equity of that convention;" and from hence it also followed—unless reason and right became folly and wrong on crossing the Irish Channel—that the Catholic Church ought to be the Established Church of Ireland. But then it was argued that the present status of the Irish Church Establishment was guaranteed by the Act of Union: no matter how monstrous in principle, no matter how disastrous in practice, it was stipulated in his bond, and the Irish Shylock would have his pound of flesh. But although some moralists might maintain that in the case of every contract entered into by two parties, no plea of expediency or necessity could warrant cither party in violating that contract without the consent of the other; he fancied that it had never been contended that both parties, by mutual consent, might not declare void any contract into which they had previously entered; and if the majority of the representatives of England concurred with a majority of the representatives of Ireland in accomplishing an act of justice, tending to the honour and advantage of both countries, not only would they not be violating an Act of Union, which indeed was more honoured in the breach than the observance, but they would be establishing a real bond of union and peace between England and Ireland, that no Englishman or Irishman would ever wish to repeal. He was almost ashamed to go through the task of winnowing all this chaff, for the mere sake of showing that there was not a grain of wheat in it. But what was to be said for an institution, in support of which, men of ingenuity and intelligence could put forward arguments of which such stuff as this was the common staple? But the Irish Establishment had been lately supported on other grounds, not sounder or more true, but more plausible, more decorous, less repulsive to the spirit of the age. A public journal, which it was the fashion to call a great organ of public opinion, and which certainly ministered to the opinion of the hour with some dexterity, supported this Establishment on the ground that every alliance between Church and State must necessarily be reciprocal; that if the State tenders certain advantages on the one hand, it has a right to expect corresponding influence and control on the other; and, inasmuch as the Catholic Church in Ireland refused to enter into such an alliance, the State had no option but to continue in its present anomalous position. But although that might be a certain argument against the endowment of the religion of the majority, what possible excuse could it be for an endowment of the minority that was unjust in principle and disastrous in practice? What was the state of things, in favour of which such an argument as this was considered satisfactory? He would take the description from the same journal from which he had taken the argument:— The Protestant Church is in form a temple, but in truth a fortress, built from the ruins of the old national hierarchy, drawing supplies for its ample garrison from the conquered and impoverished country over which it frowns, but yielding no succour or protection to its vassals. It has been fed by forced contributions wrung from the people whom it could not, as a religious establishment in, demnify for the tax that it extorted. The Church of Ireland, is, finally, one which for centuries, in every measure of severity of exaction and oppression, signalised itself by more than a concurrence with the tyrannical spirit of the civil government. It is felt to be at once a weight upon the country and a degradation. Let any honest man answer this question—Is it possible for a community where such things exist, to be kept we do not say at peace—for that were extravagant—but in subjection to the British Crown, otherwise than by constant and irresistible force of arms? And so the Legislature was to perpetuate a system which was at once "a weight upon the country and a degradation"—which "disorganised society," under which "peace was impossible," and "subjection" only maintained "by constant and irresistible force of arms." Because it assumed that the Church of the people would not accept terms which had been never offered it—which it was never intended to offer, and to which public opinion in England was incorrigibly opposed. Far more endurable were the old blatant utterances of unreasonable and unreasoning bigotry, than such frigid and predetermined causistry as this! But he would go farther than the argument of this extract, and show—not only that peace was impossible under our present policy, but that there was every reason to expect peace by its abolition. Let hon. Gentleman look to the analogies of their own history. What was the nature of popular feeling in England that drove James II. from his throne? Was peace possible in England under the religious intolerance of James? Was not peace secured to England and Scotland by religious liberty under William of Orange? Yes, under William of Orange. It was his advent, it was his example, that he invoked to confute the intolerance of those, who, while they pretended to reverence, outraged his memory. Let hon. Gentlemen look to the history of Scotland before and after his coming. Whenever they would reprove the people of Ireland for their unhappy, querulous, distracted state, they told them to look to Scotland. Well, look to Scotland. As long as England attempted to force its intolerant convictions upon the people of Scotland, no social animosities that ever existed in Ireland could bear a comparison with the passions and prejudices that in that happy and industrious land tore society asunder. And such was the perverse fury of religious excitement, that the cold-blooded murder of an aged and venerable archbishop was proclaimed to be a godly act by the Scotch people, and even from the Scotch pulpit. And what calmed the social fury? What exorcised the religious devil? Why these simple words of an Act abolishing prelacy (July 22, 1689):— Whereas the estates of this kingdom, in their claim of right, declared that prelacy is and hath been a great and insuperable grievance to the nation, and contrary to the inclinations of the majority of the people…Therefore the King's and Queen's Ministers do declare that they will settle that Church government in this kingdom which is most agreeable to the inclinations of the people. It was to be remarked that there was here no chopping logic, or bandying of theology; it was not that prelacy was scriptural or un-scriptural, but simply and sternly that it was contrary to the inclinations of the majority of the people. And now let them look to Belgium. The cases of Belgium and Ireland were not so much similar as identical. The grievance of Belgium was a religious grievance like that of Ireland, and assumed every other form as it did in Ireland. There was the priest party, and the orange party exactly as in Ireland, and they kept the country in hot water between them, much as they did in Ireland. Well, he was old enough to remember the Belgian insurrection; and when it first broke out, the people of this country were perfectly astonished, and asked what on earth the Belgian people had to complain of. The Belgian people published their complaint in the following declaration, which might have been written by O'Connell himself for the Irish people, and which contained a recital of every grievance but the real one. After alleging that the Union was obtained by fraud, it, goes on to say— An enormous debt and expenditure, the only portion which Holland brought to us at the time of the deplorable Union, taxes overwhelming in their amount, laws always voted by the Dutch for Holland only, and always against Belgium, representations so unequal in the States General, the seat of all important establishments fixed in Holland, the most offensive partialities in the distribution of civil and military employments, in a word, Belgium treated like a conquered province, everything rendered revolution inevitable. Well, the people of England pooh-poohed these complaints, and declared it was a mere plot of the priests fomented by that mischief maker, Palmerston. The priests and the people succeeded in their plot nevertheless; the people were satisfied, and after prophesying the ruin of Belgium for a year or two, the orange party became satisfied. The priests and the people had been perfectly loyal and contented ever since under a Protestant king, as Ireland might be, and he hoped one day would be, under a Protestant Queen. And, now could they doubt that it was the same cause that led to revolution in England, to civil war in Scotland, to insurrection and change of dynasty in Belgium, that kept alive in Ireland that religious strife and social disorder, more fatal to the progress and prosperity of a nation than even civil war itself. There was a very able and industrious writer in this country, who had devoted his energies to the defence of British rule in Ireland, and even to the vindications of penal laws; and his case was— That the object of every insurrection that had taken place in Ireland since the Reformation, was the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Romish form of worship. That they were not wars against English rule, nor for ambitious purposes, but wars of religion. That the penal laws and confiscations that followed, were not laws of persecution or the result of bigotry or tyranny, but of political necessity, and absolutely required for the protection of the Church Establishment. That was to say, that all the outrage, insurrection and bloodshed that had taken place in Ireland since the Reformation, had arisen solely from our inexorable determination to maintain in that country an Established Church which was not that of the people. And now that the very embers of insurrection were trodden out, were the results of peaceable government obtained? No! Bloody' persecution had produced its natural result, bloody insurrection, which had been quenched in blood; and now the iron reign of cold-blooded injustice had also produced its natural correlative, steady, stubborn, abiding disaffection, which would not break out in open eruption, but winch shook society, affrighted industry, and dried up the fountains of national energy; which made Ireland what it was, and what England would be if subjected to the same fatal influence. There were those who said, "Take no note of this religious grievance; that is not the evil against which the Irish people clamour." There was an old Greek Joe Miller called Hierocles, who told a story of a certain scholasticas, who could not be persuaded that his wine cask leaked at the bottom, because it was at the top that he missed his liquor. But he (Mr. Moore) would tell them to stop the leak at the bottom of their cask, and they would no longer miss the liquor that was fast sinking from the brim. The House might be assured that every blind delusion, every crazy crotchet, every clamorous agitation, every organised system of outrage that had tormented society in Ireland, and bewildered common sense throughout the empire, had their origin all and each in the one deep and fatal disorder which had equally distracted every other country in which it had existed—a wronged religion and an alienated Church. Such a state of things existing in the very heart of our empire would be a heavy penalty even upon success in a Christian mission. But had it succeeded? "Oh! yes'" Hon. Members of a pious and enthusiastic temperament would exclaim, "The success of Protestantism in Ireland was most extraordinary; the number of sincere inquirers after truth, particularly amongst children of tenders years, surpassed imagination." "The poor," said a report of the Irish Reformation Society, "the poor are ready! Hunger has softened the hearts of the poor; numbers of converts from Popery had been saved from the grave; and many sincere inquirers after truth have been enabled to come out of Babylon through our protection." That was to say, through the protection of the Irish Reformation Society. But what had that to do with the Irish Established Church? Why, just this, that while an endowment of from half a million to a million per annum, for three centuries, had failed to produce the slightest effect in the development of Protestantism; a few thousand pounds voluntarily subscribed and worked through the agency of the voluntary system, had, as it was alleged, succeeded in evangelising Ireland, and was rapidly spreading Protestantism through the country. He would not question the success of the juniper mission in Ireland; it suited his purpose and his argument to admit it; because if indeed it were true that in a country in which for three centuries Protestantism had withered away under endowment, it was now springing into life under the operation of the voluntary system, then the Established Church of Ireland had not an inch of honest ground whereon to stand; then on the confession, on the evidence, on the very plea of its own advocates, it must stand condemned by whatever common sense remained in the Protestant world. Just in the same spirit of argumentative acuteness, the hon. Member for Warwickshire—he meant the younger of those Protestant logicians—had mentioned with an air of triumph that the Irish people became Protestants the instant they went to America: that was to say, the instant they escaped from the air of the Establishment. There was no Church Establishment in America; and there, said the hon. Gentleman, the Irish people become Protestants; there was an Establishment in Ireland, and there they remained obstinately Popish, except just in so far and in so much as the influence of the voluntary system was brought to bear upon them. "Therefore," said this Protestant reasoner, "beware of the American system, which produces Protestantism, and adhere to the Irish policy, under which it withers and dies away!" Was it not clear that though these hon. Gentlemen talked of Protestantism, they did not mean it: that it was not Protestantism, but power; not religion, but intolerance, not God, but Mammon, that they had in view. Now, he said on the contrary,. "give Protestantism a fair chance, giver her air to breathe, and room to act in, remove the golden collar of England from her neck, and the stain of Irish plunder from her hands: then let her stand forth in her true proportions, to meet her great adversary in a fair field, and before a free people; and may God defend the right!"


said, that although he rose to second the Motion, and meant to vote for it, yet he exceedingly regretted it had been brought forward, He had always been of opinion that the less this vexata questio was touched the better, and that it was rash and imprudent to approach it at the present moment. He was a free churchman; and he should not have addressed the House at all upon this question, but for the demur of the hon. Member for Mayo to an observation which he (Mr. O'Connell) made a few nights ago in that House, to the effect that every man ought to pay for his priest as he paid for his doctor. That was his (Mr. O'Connell's) doctrine, and it was also the doctrine of his late father—a man who had done more for Ireland and religious liberty than had ever been effected by the hon. Member for Mayo. But he thought that such rash and imprudent Motions damaged the cause they were meant to serve, and that the persons who brought them forward were not acquainted with the feeling of the people of England on these matters. He was against all religious endowments; but the abolition of church endowments could not he effected by such sweeping measures as that now proposed by the hon. Member. The friends of the voluntary system must proceed quietly, and effect their views inch by inch. But rash demonstrations, which he held this to be, although he had seconded it, always damaged the cause you had in hand, and threw you back for several years.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Ecclesiastical Revenues of Ireland, with the view of ascertaining how far they are made applicable to the benefit of the Irish people.


said, that the hon. Member for Mayo had asked the House to agree to a Committee—as he stated in one part of his speech—of inquiry and investigation. It certainly, however, appeared from other parts of his observations that on his part, at any rate, further inquiry and investigation were needless. If the House agreed to a Committee, he thought they must do so with the distinct understanding that it was one which was proposed with a view to the abolition of the Protestant Church in Ireland, and that, as the hon. Member had said, nothing short of religious equality would, in the opinion of those who brought forward this Motion, satisfy the justice of the case. [Mr. MOORE said, that he had quoted the words of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London.] The hon. Member had, it was true, quoted the noble Lord; but in doing so, he had also adopted the sentence. He apprehended that this religious equality meant the total destruction of the Irish Established Church—an opinion in which he was confirmed by the other quotation given by the hon. Member of the opinion given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks. The hon. Member appeared to have fallen into the common error of attributing all the evils of Ireland to one cause. At one time they were attributed to the spirit duties, at another to imperfect registration, and at various times to a variety of other things; while the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) had summed them up in one terse sentence—"a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church." The hon. Member (Mr. Moore) attributed all the evils of Ireland to one single cause—the existence of the Established Church. But if Ireland had had the best Church in the world, the same evils would have been developed under a starving population and an absentee aristocracy. He (Sir John Young) believed that the evils of Ireland might be traced in the main to a bad system of commercial legislation, and a wrong system with regard to the general treatment of the people, and that a very small portion of the evils that now existed in Ireland could be laid to the door of the Established Church. The hon. Gentleman said, that the endowments of the Established Church in Ireland were not attached as a tax either upon the Roman Catholics or the landed property of Ireland; but that they were trust property, originally set apart for the use of the Roman Catholics. In his remarks upon this point he seemed, however, to have overlooked the operation of that principle of law—prescription, which had contributed more than I any other to the happiness of the community; and his proposal to divert this property from the uses to which it had been devoted for the last 300 years would clearly be a violation of that principle, which, as he (Sir J. Young) believed, was more beneficial to society than almost any other principle of law. He was, he must confess, scarcely prepared to anticipate that a Roman Catholic Gentleman would have come forward in that House to advocate the total abolition of the Protestant Church in Ireland. He had thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman would rather have contented himself with the advocacy of one of those modified schemes which had been put forth. He (Sir J. Young) should in that case have shown that, although there was room for a better distribution of the revenues of the Church in Ireland, and although it was desirable that the friends of the Church should undertake a more equitable distribution of that property; yet that still its property was not more than sufficient for the purpose, on the assumption that it was the will of a majority of the people of England that there should exist a Protestant Established Church in Ireland. If that were, as he apprehended it was, undeniably, the case, very little fault could be found with the parochial system at present existing in Ireland. If there was any fault, it was that the parishes were too large, and the ministers were too few; and if that parochial system was to remain it could not be denied that the revenues of the present Irish Church did not afford more than an adequate maintenance for the clergy required to perform the ministrations of the Church to the Protestants, who, though few in number, were scattered over the whole country. After making an allowance of 45,000 l. for the curates, whose services were indispensable, there remained only an average of 210 l. per annum for each incumbent. The education of a clergyman did not cost less than 500 l.; and yet, if they compared this remuneration with that received by persons entering situations either in public offices, or even with that of clerks in large commercial establishments, they would find that on an average clergymen were losers, as compared with the others, at least 100 l. on the first ten years; and on the second of 1,000 l. at least. No doubt, if some great public emergency arose, and there was a great call on the part of the influential and intellectual classes in this country, for some great change in the Irish Church, it might be for the advantage both of the State and the Church to make a sacrifice to obtain peace, and to give up a certain portion of the revenues of the Church in order to obtain tranquillity and a certain and permanent security for the remainder; but at the present moment there was no such emergency, and there was no agitation in the public mind in the direction of this Motion. Instead of a demand that the property of the Church of England should be sacrificed either for secular or for Roman Catholic purposes, the tendency of the public mind was rather the other way, and great alarm and jealousy existed with respect to Roman Catholic objects and designs. He (Sir J. Young) was one of those who thought that the Protestants of these kingdoms were justified in these feelings of alarm, and that anxiety and jealousy were likely to be increased rather than diminished by such a Motion as that now brought forward by the hon. Member for Mayo; for there were many Protestants in this country of moderate views, quiet and well-judging men, who did not wish to stir up religious strife, but who yet, when a question of this kind was brought forward, would revert to the time when the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was under discussion, and compare this Motion and the speech by which it was introduced with the assurances then given by the most distinguished Roman Catholic leaders and prelates of that day, that the removal of the religious disabilities of the Roman Catholics would not be prejudicial to the interests of the Protestant Established Church. Mr. Plunket, the acknowledged organ of the Roman Catholics during their struggle for emancipation, when referring, in 1821, to a speech delivered by Sir Robert Peel on this question in 1817, said— There are some who really think, and some who affect to think, that great dangers may result to the Establishment from concession. I declare solemnly, that if I could enter into that opinion—if I could see anything of peril to the Church or the State—dear to me as are the interests of my fellow-men, I would abandon these long-asserted claims, and would range myself with their opponents."—[2 Hansard, iv. 980.] In a subsequent part of his speech he added, "I will only say, on the part of the Roman Catholics, that they harbour no principle of hostility to our Establishment." If that eminent man had been living now, what could he have said to the speech of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore)? The hon. Gentleman had referred in rather slighting terms to the Treaty of Union, though it was only the other evening that the provisions of that treaty were appealed to by those who sat near him upon a financial question. The Established Church in Ireland was, no doubt, before the Union, the Church of a minority, but the Members of the Irish Parliament were exclusively those of the minority; and it was quite clear, from the terms of the Act of Union, that what they meant to do by it was to defend the dignities and temporalities of the Church, and to see that no part of its property should be diverted from the Church, except for purposes advantageous to it. He could not, therefore, see how the Irish Parliament, having ceased to exist, and there being no body now in existence as the representatives of the Irish Protestant body, the Imperial Parliament could absolve itself from the contract on any principle of good faith. It was, indeed, obvious that if any real advantage could be gained to either the State or the Church from a different allocation of the property, no one could deny the omnipotence of Parliament to make such an arrangement. Indeed, within the last twenty years the revenues of that Church had been greatly curtailed by the operation of the Tithe Commutation and other Acts, such as that for the abolition of ten sees, and for the suspension of any benefices in which Divine service had not been performed for three years. Moreover, not less than 100,000 l. per annum had been taken from the Church and given to the landlords for collecting and paying the tithes into the hands of the clergy: a great amount of retrenchment had been carried into effect, and the Church of Ireland had been thereby greatly reformed. And now, when the hon. Member for Mayo asked them to go into Committee with a view to make further retrenchments, it was natural to ask, what effect had the changes and retrenchments already made produced? And the reply must be, None whatever; for, according to the hon. Member, the presence of the Establishment was quite as obnoxious to the Irish people as it was before it underwent these retrenchments and reforms. What encouragement was there, then, to induce Parliament to assent to this Motion? Suppose the result of an inquiry before a Committee was the surrender of another 100,000 l. or 200,000 l., what advantage would be gained? Only this—that the vast number of the Protestants of England and Ireland would be convinced that the amount of money that the Church possessed was not the grievance, but that, so long as a vestige of the Irish Church remained, the people of Ireland would not be satisfied. The hon. Gentleman said that the endowment of the Establishment was not a tax on the Roman Catholics; and certainly it was not. But in that case it must be a mental grievance. They viewed the Church with jealousy, rejected its doctrines, and disliked its teachings. But, if so, what must be the feelings of Protestants, when a proposition was made to abolish their Church? And were they not to be taken into consideration? If the hon. Gentleman should succeed in obtaining a Committee which should take away the endowments of the parochial clergy, what did he propose to do with the churches, a great part of which had been kept in repair by voluntary subscriptions amongst Protestants? Out of 900,000l. that had been spent in the erection or repair of churches of late years, 700,000l. had been so subscribed; was it thought that churches, two-thirds of which had been built by Protestants, and which were wholly kept in repair by them, could be allowed to go to ruin without producing a bad feeling in the minds of Protestants? He did not know that he need add anything more to the objections he had already urged against the proposal before the House. He thought that the present Motion was a most unfortunate and ill-timed one on the part of the hon. Gentleman. He believed that if the House agreed to a Committee, knowing that it was not for any real inquiry—not for the purpose of improving or rendering more efficient that Protestant Church which had of late years been so greatly reformed, and whose ministers at the present moment were as useful, efficient, and virtuous, as those of any Church had ever been—that Church in which the abuses that had been long complained of no longer existed, in which the scandal of pluralities, non-residence, and sinecures, had been abolished—if, he repeated, they agreed to a Committee, which they were distinctly told was asked for with a view to the total abolition of such a Church, they would give a great shock to the public mind of this country; they would lead sober-minded people to think that no faith whatever was to be placed in the declarations of Parliamentary leaders; and they would shake to their foundations all ideas connected with property and prescription in this country. For these reasons he should certainly oppose the Motion of the hon. Member for Mayo.


Sir, I deem the hon. Member for Mayo entitled to the consideration of this House for having brought forward this Resolution, not only because it is no party question, and from the manifestations of applause on the other side of the House, I perceive that no succession to office is in anywise involved in its decision; not merely because it deeply affects the interests and the feelings of a peculiarly sensitive, conscientious, and religious people, but inasmuch as it may afford some test to those representatives of popular constituencies, whose impatient and undisciplined minds could not brook the delay which was necessary for the formation of a progressive party, how far they have been justified in hustling into office the present Government with all its conservative tendencies, and at the expense too of a plebeian Minister, who, numerous as undoubtedly were his faults (and during his brief career in office he paid the severest toll to censure which the most malignant envy could impose), still he had pronounced the Irish Church Establishment a monstrous evil; he was not bound up in his own finality—he was not styed in the prejudices of a University—and his predilections in favour of your ecclesiastical establishments were not reputed to be those of a bigot. But when I remember the letter of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the 1st of January to his friend Mr. Greswell, in which he states that the interests of the Church are as safe under the present Government as under that of their predecessors; when I recollect that when my hon. Friend the Member for Cork brought forward his Resolution on the subject of ministers' money in Ireland, he was met with a negative vote on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, and an equally negative absence on the part of many of his Colleagues; when I call to mind the existence of those mysterious influences through whose procurement the third clause of the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill was withdrawn; when I recur to the language of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, uttered a few nights since, in which he stated that he was prepared to resist to the utmost of his power every conclusion which might in any way tend to the displacement of the Church Establishment from its paramount and unrivalled predominance; and when I present to my mind the fact that that party of which the noble Lord is the acknowledged leader in this House, have never been the very zealous advocates of religious liberty, save when that lust for office, which is their ruling passion, has been evoked—a passion to which you, the representatives of liberal constituencies, have ever been the too subservient ministers;—I must confess that I see no just cause for any abatement of that distrust which I feel towards the Government, or any diminution of that solicitude which I entertain on behalf of the people of Ireland. But I derive some solace from the reflection that in this conflict Ireland stands not alone: great, powerful, populous, Protestant England is at this moment ar- raying herself for the struggle in favour of religious emancipation; the Nonconformists will not tamely submit to the decision of the other night on the subject of the odious impost which oppresses them: they have the power of converting their minority into a majority—for of your constituencies they form a most numerous and at the same time a most intelligent and vigilant portion; neither is the time, speaking in comparison with a nation's annals, far distant when the doors of this House must be opened not only to one semi-Austrian milloerat, but to Englishborn Jews who have never contributed a single florin towards the corruptions of a City of London election; but I derive still more encouragement from your recent legislation on the subject of the clergy reserves of Canada; but perchance in that case you yielded to your fears that which you would have denied to justice: you knew that Canada was separated from you by a world of waters—that she was under the protecting influences of an invincible republic, and that her soil was not fitted for the reception of a coercive and fanged legislation, or that the crop of Cadmus would be the inevitable harvest of such culture. From the icebound shores of Labrador to the gulf of Florida the vast Atlantic rolls an unbroken wave contagious with freedom upon an undivided continent; and you must have felt that Canada, that giant appendage of the English Crown, could burst asunder almost without an effort the feeble withs with which your perpusillic powers have bound her. But perchance I do you wrong; yet, if in the case of Canada you deviated into right from an adherence to principle, with what grace can you now meet the demands of Ireland with derisive smiles or contumelious negatives? Is it because her advocates come unarmed to ask them?—because, as your helots, they are powerless to enforce them? When you were in opposition, and for the purposes of faction, you were accustomed to refer to the opinions of the late Sir Robert Peel; do not flatter yourselves that you can ever form the pediment on which Sir Robert Peel's reputation is to rest. The volume of his career requires not the meretricious aid of your illustration; but in some things you will do well to follow his example; he, too, was once a Member for the University of Oxford; it was the cradle, and in obedience to those feelings of justice which were always paramount in his breast, he made it the grave of his most romantic friendship and his loftiest aspirations; and had he been spared to his country till 1853, he might have been unwilling to have left the legislation of 1829 imperfect and inconsummate. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Ireland has told us that there is no agitation in Ireland on this subject. Does he wish that, in order to obtain justice, the Irish should emulate the example of the Scotch, and cut the throat of an archbishop? If so, I do not think that the Protestants of Ireland will feel grateful for his advocacy. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the bygone authority of Mr. Plunket. I am ready to admit that every opinion of Mr. Plunket is entitled to the greatest respect and consideration; but I must confess it occasioned me some surprise to hear the opinions of Mr. Plunket, expressed so many years ago in defence of the Irish Church Establishment, uttered by one sitting on the Treasury bench, surrounded by the authors of the Reform Bill, who, within the narrow limits of my own mimetic experiences, have destroyed institutions ancient as our civilisation, and subverted privileges coeval with the constitution of the country. But, says the right hon. Gentleman, what is to become of the churches kept in repair by Protestant funds? Sir, I deny this to be the case; the greater part of them were reared by Catholic hands, dedicated to Catholic saints, endowed by Catholic devotion, and since the Reformation have been sustained by cess levied upon Catholic property. I maintain, therefore, that the title to these fabrics, both by descent and purchase, exists in the Catholics of Ireland. In your successive Speeches from the Throne you have caused lips consecrate to truth to utter the language of your dissimulation; you affect to regret the disturbed state of Ireland; I tell you that you have no right to expect that the public mind of Ireland will be tranquil while the corroding blister of your Church Establishment is upon her. Perchance there may be those who deem my language upon this occasion somewhat strong for one in communion with the Church established; but who shall say that it is stronger than the occasion justifies, for as a member of that Church I have at once the mortification and candour to acknowledge that you have rendered your ecclesiastical system odious to the people of Ireland; and that, although with proper culture the doctrine of the Reformation might have flourished through the land a goodly plant, yet you have nur- tured it in oppression and watered it in tears, until it has become mandrake in its nature, and groans are its perpetual exhalations.


would not have troubled the House with any observations but for the strange nature of some of the arguments which he had heard. He had heard it argued that the Protestant religion ought to be maintained in Ireland because it was the true religion. He would not stop to ask persons with such views where was the proof of their infallibility; but he would ask them to consider the dangerous consequences of their doctrine. If the presumed truth of a system were admitted as an argument for its support, how could they deny an equal right in those who held a contrary opinion? Would they not allow every Roman Catholic to entertain the same views himself about his own religion? and if they did, how could they deny the right of those who conscientiously held the Protestant religion to be false to exert every means for its destruction? If, again, they contended that the Irish Church was the inevitable consequence of English connexion, could they wonder that the Irish people looked with disfavour on that connexion? And although he could not quite agree with the hon. Member for Mayo as to the extent of disaffection existing among the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, yet he thought the measures adopted to maintain the Irish Church Establishment on high religious grounds had produced more evil and disaffection than any political or economic cause whatever. He had heard it said also that Ireland was a conquered country, and must, therefore, adopt the Church of her conqueror; but what could the feelings of the people be expected to be if they were continued to be treated as a conquered nation, and laws forced upon them which could only be justified by the rules of conquest? Was it possible to conceive anything more calculated to irritate the feelings of the Roman Catholics than to teach them thus to regard every penny of church dues they paid as a tribute to an invader, and every church steeple they beheld among them as a badge of conquest? He could well understand that these doctrines might have been prevalent at the time of the first establishment of the Church in Ireland. Hallam, the Protestant historian, stated that there were three arguments in favour of the compulsory establishment of the Pro- testant Church, which no one could at that time have disputed without being accounted a lover of unreasonable paradoxes. The first was, that the Protestant religion being true, it was the Queen's duty to take care that her subjects should follow no other; the second was, that, being an absolute monarch, or something very like it, she had a better right to order what doctrine her subjects should believe than they could have had to choose for themselves; the third was, that Ireland, being a conquered country, must wait in all important respects on the pleasure of England. He could fancy that opinions of that description were maintained at the time of the establishment of the Church, but could not conceive them at the present day; but if they did endeavour to continue an institution established on such unjust grounds, they must rule the country by the sword. During the last century Ireland had been ruled by the sword, and had been kept tolerably tranquil—but what had been the results of such a rule? They saw them in the evidence of the Poor Law Commissioners, of the Famine Commissioners, and of the Devon Commissioners. It was quite evident they could not now continue to rule Ireland by the sword—the spirit of the age and the feelings of the English people would not permit it. But if it was to be ruled as a free country, why were those institutions to be maintained which no free country could endure? Let them look at the different remedies that had been at different times applied to Ireland which were to restore her to prosperity and happiness. They had applied every nostrum. There was Catholic exclusion and Catholic emancipation, poor-laws and no poor-laws, productive employment and non-productive employment, and all had ended in disappointment. What was the reason of the failure of all their well-meant endeavours? Does not the common sense of mankind, does not the testimony of almost every impartial writer or traveller, do not all the methods of observation and reasoning that have been recommended by philosophic politicians, point out the same cause, namely, the Church Establishment, as producing the greatest evils to Ireland. In all parts of the Continent, at every table d'hÔte, or in the salons of the large cities, the same observation was made. The history of Ireland, compared with that of other countries, presented the strange spectacle of a most fertile country maintaining a miserably poor population. If it could be shown that no other country presented such a spectacle, and that it was the only country in the world where a similar Church Establishment was maintained, that fact would afford a strong presumption that the cause of the existing evil was to be found in the Church Establishment itself. But if it could also be shown that when the attempt had been made in any other country to introduce a similar system, the same results had followed as in Ireland, that presumption must be considerably strengthened. He would not go back for an instance to the Pagan times; the only instance in Christendom was when an attempt was made, under the reign of the Stuarts, to establish Episcopacy in Scotland. Scotland then became as much disorganised as Ireland; but upon the attempt to establish Episcopacy being relinquished, it was restored to order and prosperity. If, then, the evidence of intelligent persons, and the analogy of history, pointed out that the Church Establishment had been the cause of all the sufferings of Ireland, he would ask, was it reasonable that it should be continued in its present form? Why should they not abandon a policy in Ireland which could not be maintained in Scotland? He was told that the Church of Ireland was a necessary part of British connexion, and that it was necessary to maintain it according to the articles of the Act of Union; and people argued this point as if the Union were considered to be the dearest portion of the constitution by the people of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cavan (Sir J. Young) said they would be guilty of a breach of faith if they altered an arrangement which had been entered into at the time of the Union; but they had undone many arrangements during the last ten or eleven years, and they should not be so very particular on that ground. It was said that the Established Church in Ireland was the consequence of the British connexion; but why should they adopt means to maintain British connexion across the Channel, by which they could not establish it beyond the Tweed? It was said that the evils of Ireland were not so much political and religious, as social and economical. He thought all the experience of history and the judgment of reflecting men proved the immoral effects of bad laws, which pervaded every thought and affected every action of the people among whom they were in force. He would refer to what was said during the famine in Ire- land. They were reproached with an inveterate tendency to job on that occasion, and he believed that in many cases the reproaches were unfounded; but how could they be surprised at the existence of jobbing, when an institution that should teach religion and morality was one of the greatest national jobs? Let it be remembered that before the year 1833 there were four archbishops and a large number of bishops to take care of a Protestant population scarcely amounting in number to one-half of the Protestants in the diocese of London; and, he believed, not more than double the number of English Protestants now scattered over the Continent, who were a sort of extra charge to the diocese of London. These offices had not even been made sinecures for learned men and eminent divines, but had been mere places for members of the great and noble families of Ireland. He found, on looking over the names of the church dignitaries of Ireland, that there had been contemporaneously two bishops and one archdeacon bearing the noble name of Knox, and that there were also contemporaneously an archbishop, a bishop, and one archdeacon bearing the name of Beresford. He thought that at some future day, when the history of these islands belonged to antiquity, it might be a matter of debate among the learned whether the Established Church in Ireland was for the good of the people or of the Beresfords; and some future lexicographer might define the church as an institution for the benefit of the people in England, and of the Beresfords and Knoxes in Ireland. Perhaps they thought this an Irish exaggeration. Let them hear, then, what was said by the most matter-of-fact of. English historians, Mr. Hallam:— It seems as if the whole connexion of the two islands, and the whole system of constitutional laws in the latter, subsisted only for the sake of securing the privileges and emoluments of a small number of ecclesiastics, frequently strangers, who rendered very little return for their enormous monopoly. A great many persons talked of the inalienability of Church property, but it must be remembered that that argument cut in two directions. Some persons thought the Church ought to be the religion of Protestants, and others that it ought to be the religion of Roman Catholics; and what the one party regarded as their right to church property, the other party might look upon as little else than church robbery. There were persons who admitted the anomalous character of the Established. Church of Ireland, and who acknowledged that many of the evils under which that country laboured flowed from this institution, but who considered that, having existed so long, it ought not to be meddled with. He was extremely sorry to think, as a sincere Protestant, that a Protestant institution could be maintained upon no better ground than as a sort of antiquated abuse. The right hon. Member for Cavan (Sir John Young) had said that there was not now any agitation on this subject, but that if there had been any very strong feeling evinced it might perhaps have been desirable to deal with the question. Now he (Mr. Pollard-Urquhart) regretted to hear him advocate that most pernicious system of policy so well described by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, in Coningsby, namely, to concede nothing to reason, and everything to agitation? He thought the late Sir Robert Peel had used very unfortunate language on this question when he said, "I can do nothing to the Irish Church until the overwhelming necessity of the times compels me;" and he regretted to hear the Chief Secretary act in conformity with that language. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had observed, not long ago, that if they were not to continue the Maynooth grant, it would be necessary to reopen the whole question of ecclesiastical endowments in Ireland; and he (Mr. Pollard-Urquhart) thought that most persons who had observed recent events must be convinced that before many years had elapsed the Maynooth grant must be abandoned. He asked the House to reflect upon the irritation which the withdrawal of that grant would cause in the minds of the Irish people, and upon the spirit in which they would then be likely to receive any concessions with respect to the Established Church. He called upon them to consider, therefore, how much better it would be to do an act of justice now, than to defer it till some future time, when, if it were done, it might be looked upon, not as a favour, but as extorted from their fears. Sir Robert Peel, in his speech respecting the encumbered estates in Ireland, had stated that the prosperity of Ireland was of more importance to them than anything connected with Canada or the Colonies; the two countries were united so closely that they must sink or swim together, and if they did not elevate Ireland, Ireland would surely bring this part of the United Kingdom to a level with herself. Let them do something for Ireland while the time was favourable, and raise her to a position which would render applicable to her the words that had been used by the right hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay) to describe the improved state of Scotland—"We raised Scotland from one of the poorest, most disaffected, and most turbulent parts of the United Kingdom to her present state of order, industry, and prosperity."


said, that in one portion of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat he perfectly agreed—namely, in the very just criticism which he had delivered upon the argument of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Cavan (Sir John Young), who that evening had come forward as the organ of Her Majesty's Government; because anything more weak—anything less effective for its purpose—in fact, anything more entirely destructive of the avowed principle which it professed to defend, than was that argument, it had never been his fortune to hear. Nor had its weight or influence been increased when coupled with the authoritative name of Sir Robert Peel; for substantially it was nothing more than this—"If you agitate sufficiently, we have not sufficient force to resist." Why, was not that holding out a premium to agitation?—was it not in effect to say, "Because there is no sufficient manifestation of public opinion out of the House, and no sufficient interest excited in the House, I will resist a proposition which otherwise I might be unable to oppose?" But the question was not of numbers in the House or out of the House—it was a question of right. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had, indeed, found it convenient to slur over the Union compact; but he (Sir R. H. Inglis) begged to remind the House that the Act of Union was not, like other Acts of Parliament, passed in the early part of the Session, to be repealed or not before its termination, according as the House might deem fit. No; it was a solemn compact between two nations previously wholly independent of each other. The Union with Scotland was one such instance—that with Ireland was another; and neither party was now at liberty to consider whether the stipulation was, according to their estimate, injurious to their particular interests. Now that Act of Union—that solemn compact between two independent Legislatures, provided as an essential feature [that the Church of Ireland should be maintained absolutely and undisturbed. The Church of Ireland, in one sense indeed—as he (Sir R. H. Inglis) had stated to the House, had ceased to exist from that day—as also had the Church of England, for the two had become one undivided, and, he trusted, one indivisible body—the United Church of England and Ireland; and, therefore, no attempt to shake the foundations of the property of one, could be without effect upon the security of the property of the other. But since that security was not a mere parchment security—for he would advert to the oaths taken by Members on their entry into the House, that they would not disturb the property of the Established Church as by law existing—what, then, was the meaning of the proposition of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore)? Why, in the present instance, as in hundreds of others, the terms of the Resolution did not imply all that the language of the speech conveyed, and even his speech probably professed less than was meant. It might, perhaps, be a matter of literary curiosity for the hon. Member for Mayo to determine whether the Established Church had effected all that her friends could have desired; and they must all know that it was not the mere gratification of an abstract curiosity that the hon. Gentleman wanted; and when the House listened to the language which had been used—when it heard the words "monstrous job" applied to the Establishment in Ireland—and all its usefulness ignored, it behoved them not merely to confine their attention to the terms of the Resolution, but they must consider also the animus and words of the speaker who introduced it. But did the Church in Ireland deserve the opprobrium and reprobation which had been cast upon it by the hon. Gentleman? Had it, even in the judgment of those not attached to it as members, deserved to be visited with that opprobrium with which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) had heard it denounced both in and out of that House by those who ought to be its friends? Had it been so denounced in the judgment of one of the most intellectual of those who were not in communion with it—he meant the late Dr. Chalmers? He (Sir R. H. Inglis) would ask, had it not been the means of especial graces and blessings—not alone as regarded conscience, but—of great general instruction and great social benefit to the people of Ireland? Had not its clergy ministered, he might say, as angels, in recent times of want and affliction to their poorer brethren in a manner which had never been excelled? [Mr. G. MOORE: Hear, hear!] He thanked the hon. Gentleman for that cheer—it was an honest acknowledgment, honourable to his heart. But with the permission of the House he would quote a passage from the writings of Dr. Chalmers—who, be it remembered, was no bigot, or member of the Church of which he spoke, but attached to one differing essentially in its organisation from the Church in Ireland. He said— I hold the Established Church of Ireland, in spite of all that has been alleged against it, to be the best machinery for the moral and political regeneration of this country. Its overthrow I should hold to be a death-blow to the best hopes of Ireland. It must be well manned—the machine must be rightly wrought before it can answer its purpose. And the more I reflect upon the subject, the more I feel the highest and deepest interests of the land are linked with the support of the Established Church. All is provided if that Church is well fostered and patronised. Now those words reminded him (Sir R. H. Inglis) that the Irish Church had much more to complain of its friends than of its adversaries. She might have said, "Save me from my friends!" to the speech delivered by the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir John Young) that evening. He, too (Sir R. H. Inglis), might exclaim, Save her from having men placed in the highest offices within her, as was formerly the case, merely on account of their birth and political connexions. That, however, was a circumstance not to be alleged against the Church herself, but against those who had the distribution of the patronage. But when he heard the name of Beresford mentioned in terms of depreciation-—brought forward to swell the list of charges against the Church of Ireland, he should have felt ashamed of himself if he did not raise his voice to declare that there was one Beresford on the episcopal bench who would confer dignity upon whatever establishment he belonged to—a name ennobled, in every sense of the word, by its spirit, by birth, and by fortune—a fortune distributed through life with the most princely generosity. At all events, that was an appointment which proved that Government patronage was not invariably bestowed upon those who were unworthy of it. To meet much that had been said that evening, it was enough to say that the question was not one of religions truth or falsehood. [Mr. G. H. MOORE: Hear, hear!] In his conscience he believed the doctrines of the Church of England to be true, and he would never deny the fact for the sake of any cheer, no matter how otherwise flattering to his feelings. But it was not on that account that he called upon the House to support the Church Establishment of Ireland; he did so because every Member of that House, be he Roman Catholic or Protestant, held his seat under a solemn pledge and obligation to maintain the Established Church of England and Ireland as an integral part of the constitution of the empire; and, more than that, each individual Member belonging to the Church of Rome assumed a most binding obligation to abstain from any course which might imperil the security of the property now possessed by the Established Church in Ireland. And though, in breaking through that obligation, hon. Gentlemen might declare that they were only walking in the footsteps of English and Protestant Members, still there were independent considerations debarring them from such a course. He wondered how any man who had read the Act of Union could seek to destroy the national existence of the Established Church of Ireland, merely because, in his abstract views of the subject, he believed that it was not profitable to the majority of the people. It should rather be considered as a fundamental law of the empire, which enshrined the Church in the constitution of the United Kingdom, and that every Member of that House had bound himself by a solemn oath to protect that Church, or, at all events, not to do anything that was calculated to undermine it. Under these circumstances, without knowing what the words of the Resolution intended, but from the general conduct of those who brought the Resolution forward, and still more from the unequivocal speech of the hon. Member for Mayo, he might well judge what the object of the Motion was; and he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland did not meet the question on the only ground on which, he thought, it ought to be met—namely, on that of principle. He would resist the proposition, not on temporary or partial grounds, but absolutely and singly upon the ground of that duty which he owed to the United Church of the two countries—a branch of which was established in Ireland—a duty that was equally incumbent upon every other Member to discharge in obedience to the oath he had taken, to do nothing that should injure that Church in its rights, any more than in its doctrines and principles, namely, to oppose a Motion which, if carried, would have the effect of weakening the Church as by law established.


hoped hon. Members were not prepared to do what the Secretary for Ireland had stated he was ready to do—namely, to maintain the Established Church in Ireland at all hazards, and under all circumstances. He hoped, moreover, that they were not prepared to adopt another suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman—a suggestion which appeared to come from that quarter with particularly bad grace—namely, to wait the force of circumstances, and yield to violence what they had long refused to reason. Neither could he agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the injury the people had suffered from the Establishment had been small. He (Mr. Gardner) admitted that the injury inflicted by the Church in Ireland in the present day was inconsiderable; but he had been accustomed to refer by far the greater part of the misfortunes of Ireland, whether political, social, or commercial, to the abominable penal enactments of the last century, which were most undoubtedly passed to further the interests of an indefensible institution. For himself he remained unconvinced of the contrary; even after the speech of the hon. Baronet (Sir R. H. Inglis), whoso arguments appeared to him to have added no cogency to the case put forward by the Secretary for Ireland. The truth was, that the poverty which characterised the arguments of those hon. Baronets, was owing to the consciousness they had, that they were the advocates of a thoroughly bad cause. He was himself opposed to Establishments on principle; but still he admitted that a great deal might be said in favour of such an Establishment as existed in this county; but such an Establishment as that that existed in Ireland nothing could justify. He should have preferred that this Motion had come from another quarter; but believing, as he did, that nothing could be worse than the existing state of things, he should give the proposition his hearty support, and he trusted the time might shortly arrive when they would bring to the discussion of Catholic claims a spirit more just, more rational, and, he might be permitted to say, more religious.


said, that the House had heard it stated that the Established Church of Ireland had been the cause of many evils in that country; but hon. Members who entertained that opinion had not stated what that Church had done to deserve this accusation? The clergy of the Established Church were not turbulent nor disaffected, nor had they during the famine, or at other times, manifested a want of charity for their suffering neighbours. Was it because the Church of Ireland was in a state of torpor that its existence was complained of by the Roman Catholics? Or was it because that Church was active and daily spreading its doctrines and its ministrations among the people of Ireland, and because the people were showing their appreciation of the blessings which the Church dispensed, by flocking over to it in thousands? Which of the two reasons was really influencing the supporters of the present proposition? It was notorious that the people of Ireland were quitting the errors of the Church of Rome, and attaching themselves to the Church of Ireland in multitudes. It was notorious that they were flying from the domination of the Church of Rome, and seeking the freedom of the Church of England. Some hon. Members seemed to hold that fact an argument for the destruction of the Established Church in Ireland; but no Protestant, no man who deserved to be considered tolerant, far less liberal or just, would sanction such an argument. The true purport of this Motion was the destruction of the Church in Ireland. This was one of the two objects that had been decided upon by the Synod of Thurles, which was presided over by that emissary of a foreign Power, the Legate of the Pope, Dr. Cullen, who was intruded upon Ireland contrary to the law of the United Kingdom and of Europe. The first object which he dictated to the Synod was the disturbance of the settlement of private property by the adoption of measures in respect to tenant right which were inconsistent with the rights of property; the second and chief object was the destruction of the Church in Ireland. These were the avowed objects of the Synod of Thurles, as stated by the Pope's legate, Cullen, and an association had been formed to carry out the decrees of the Synod, of which the hon. Member for Mayo was the representative in that House. ["No, no!"] Was not the hon. Member the representative of an association established under the auspices of the Synod of Thurles? This Motion was an organised attack upon the Protestant religion of the United Kingdom. The hon. Member for Mayo was following the instructions of Legate Cullen. [Mr. MOORE: No!] He (Mr. Newdegate) should be much surprised if the hon. Member denied that he was acting up to the instructions of the Pope's legate in Ireland?


I have no such instructions.


asked whether he was then to understand that the hon. Member for Mayo was not acting under the countenance and authority of Archbishop Cullen? Had not the hon. Member the support of Archbishop Cullen?


I really do not know whether I have or have not.


said, he believed that the hon. Member was connected with an association in Ireland, the establishment of which had been recommended by Archbishop Cullen.


That is not the case.


said, he was bound to yield to the authority of the hon. Member for Mayo, and he must, therefore, endeavour to suppose, that in making the present Motion, the hon. Gentleman was acting in contravention of the wishes of the Roman Catholic dignitary to whom he alluded. [Laughter.] He might, though he was not aware of having done so, have used some term, of which the hon. Member took advantage; but he asked him whether it was not the object of the Church of Rome to destroy the endowment of the Established Church in Ireland, and whether it was not in furtherance of that object he had brought forward his present proposition? He (Mr. Newdegate) asserted that this was the fact; he did not make the assertion without some authority, and he would now give his authority. In 1851, a dinner was given in Athlone, in honour of the hon. and learned Member for that borough (Mr. Kcogh), who was now Her Majesty's Solicitor General for Ireland, at which the hon. Member for Mayo was present, and at which Dr. M'Hale, who was also present, used the following language, as reported in the Morning Herald:Dr. M'Hale responded to the toast, 'the Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland,' in a speech of a character usually remarked in most of the letters of his Lordship. In the course of his remarks, he said—So clearly are the temporalities of the Church the root, the centre, the foundation of all the discordant sects that are now warring against truth and the lives of the people, and the peace of the country, that we find professors of one sect abandoning the unfashionable conventicles of their sires, as soon as the light of orthodoxy and patronage breaks in upon their hopes, and dissipates all the darkness in which dissent from the favoured creed had involved them. The uncouth tenets of the Caledonian Kirk professed by the pious father are repudiated by the son, who grows wiser on the woolsack, and, forgetful of the early vows with which, like another Hannibal, he dedicated his sons to the hard service of John Knox, he lives to see one of them associated to that godless prelacy, on which, in union with Royalty itself, the puritanical apostle, the oracle of his father, was wont to hurl the most withering maledictions. [Laughter and cheers.] If the Irish representatives but perform their duty as faithfully and unflinchingly as those who have obtained the honourable appellation of the Irish Brigade performed theirs last Session, this never-ceasing spring of Ireland's calamities will soon be dried up. He supposed that the hon. Member for Mayo would not now deny that he had the concurrence of Dr. M'Hale—no mean authority among the ultramontane priesthood and Roman bishops of Ireland—in the course he was taking? The present Motion was intended not only to strike at the funds and the property of the Church Establishment, but also to strike at every Protestant sect in Ireland. This Motion was aimed directly at the Protestant Church of Ireland, and, through that Church, at every form of Protestant religion in Ireland. ["No, no!"] That was precisely the purport of the words which he had quoted. The hon. Member for Mayo said he was the advocate of religious equality. That object might be attained in either of two ways: either by equality of endowment, or by a universal privation or refusal of endowment. In some countries the Church and Court of Rome sought and supported endowments, as in Belgium and in Prance. In other countries, as in Ireland, the Church and Court of Rome sought the destruction of all endowments, exactly as the Church of Rome found either course suited her exclusive, intolerant, and tyrannical purposes. Why did not the hon. Member propose the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church, if religious equality was his object? Because Rome could not pretend that equality was her real object. The hon. Member well knew that that Church, whether endowed or not, would never rest satisfied whilst any other religious sect was endowed. Let them look to the Continent, where Protestants were in a minority. Was there a single instance in which the Church of Rome, where it had the power, did not seek to take away the property of other religious establishments? ["Oh, oh!"] He would give his authority for making that assertion. The present Pope issued an Allocution on the 15th of November, 1851, in which he particularly pointed to two countries—namely, Spain and Tuscany. The Pope stated in this Allocution, that he had been negotiating with the Government of Spain. And what were the powers for which he had negotiated, and which he had obtained? What was the object to which they were directed? He hoped he might read the Pope's own words without offence, as the best exposition of the Pope's own intentions. In speaking of Spain, he said— This, indeed, we have had, above all things, at heart, most anxiously to consult for the security of our most holy religion, and the spiritual affairs of the Church; and, therefore, you will perceive that the Catholic religion, with all its rights, which it enjoys by Divine institution and the sanctions of the sacred canons, is so singly, as heretofore, to flourish and be dominant in that kingdom, that every other worship is to be altogether removed and interdicted, &c. And with equal zeal have we taken care to assert the liberty and dignity of the ecclesiastical authority, &c.; but it has also been decreed that all the magistrates of the kingdom shall do their endeavour to secure that due honour, observance, and obedience shall be shown by all to the ecclesiastical authority and dignity. To this is added that the most illustrious Queen and Her Government promise to give all assistance by their powerful patronage and protection to the aforesaid bishops, when, in the exercise of their pastoral office, they shall have occasion to restrain the wickedness and audacity of those men, principally, who impiously seek to pervert the minds of the faithful, and to corrupt their morals, and when they have to scatter and drive away from their flocks the detestable and dire plague and ruinous evil of perverse books. Such was the avowed object of the Pope in Spain. That potentate had brought the temporal power to bear in the way suggested by the document he had just read, so that the Church of Rome was the only form of religion which was to be permitted to enjoy property, rights, privileges, and authority, all other religions being altogether interdicted. In the same spirit which characterised this Allocution of the Pope, the representatives of the Roman Church, which was professed by the majority of the population in Ireland, were now proposing the destruction of the endowments of the Protestant Church, with a view to the destruction of all religion but that of the Roman Church. They had the interpretation of the Motion in the words of Dr. M'Hale—namely, that the agents of Rome should attack this endowment if they wished to undermine the existence of every Protestant sect. In reference to Tuscany, where there was a majority of Roman Catholics, the Pope, in his Allocution, said— We now wish you to be informed that our most beloved son in Christ, Leopold II., Grand Dake of Tuscany, and Duke of Lucca, as might be expected from his distinguished piety, ardently desired that the laws existing in Tuscany might in some way be set in order, and adjusted in all those points which have reference to ecclesiastical laws. He, therefore, with earnest entreaties be sought of us that we should, in the meantime, be pleased to make certain arrangements, since the same most religious prince has proposed and determined hereafter to enter on a full convention with this apostolical see, by which the ecclesiastical government and affairs in the regions subjected to him may be prosperously settled. Therefore, confiding in a firm and sure hope that the aforesaid our most beloved son in Christ will enter on such a concordat, according to our wishes, with the greatest possible celerity, we, meeting his wishes, some heads having been examined by our venerable brothers, cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, of the same congregation, placed over special ecclesiastical affairs, were in the meanwhile settled, which heads have been ratified by us, and by the prince himself. And by these heads or articles, among other things, it is decreed that the bishops shall have all liberty in fulfilling all those things which pertain to the sacred ministry, and may exercise censorship over writings and works which treat of things relating to religion; that they may freely apply their episcopal authority to keep away the faithful from any bad reading whatsoever, mischievous whether to faith or morals; and at the same time it is provided that they may all be able to communicate freely with this Chair of Blessed Peter, the centre of Catholic truth and unity, and that all spiritual and ecclesiastical causes are singly and altogether to depend on the judgment of the sacred power, according to the prescript of the sacred canons. But we received no slight joy in that our aforesaid most beloved son in Christ did not fail to promise and profess to us that he would devote all his resources and diligence to protect our most holy religion, to maintain Divine worship, and to encourage the honesty of public morals, and would be ready with his powerful assistance, by which the bishops might be enabled freely to exercise the episcopal authority. The House had been informed of the fruit of this document in the persecution of the Madiai, for, although they had heard it said that the proceedings against those faithful Protestants were an outrage of which the civil authorities were guilty, he (Mr. Newdegate) had proved from the document which he had just read, on the authority of the Pope himself, that it was at the instance of the Pope that the civil power was put into motion. This was the tyrannical course which Rome pursued in countries like Spain and Tuscany, in which the majority of the population were Roman Catholic, and where Rome had endowments and the civil power at her back. In the United Kingdom, they saw the mode in which the Roman Catholic Church acted in countries where Roman Catholics were in a minority. Well, what was the agency by which this attack upon the Protestant religion was to be carried out in the United Kingdom? In 1851, the hon. Member for Mayo, following up the speech of Dr. M'Hale at the Athlone dinner, thus explained what was the duty of the "Irish Brigade," as his party was termed by Dr. M'Hale:— But, gentlemen, while we thus send back our defiance to the challenge of Orangemen, let us not forget that there is another deeper, deadlier, more subtle, and more fatal foe, to whom we owe a debt of vengeance, with the scrupulous payment of which we cannot allow even Orangemen to presume to interfere, and Tories must be content to wait until we have first discharged towards the Whigs that preliminary duty. Business first, and pleasure afterwards. Let us first oust the Whigs, and then drub the Tories. With regard to the first, Lord John will not have it to say, that of the payment of that debt we seek postponement. We will discharge it with interest, and to the uttermost farthing. In this island, once so attached to their persons and so devoted to their policy, their policy has not an honest supporter, nor their persons an honest friend; and when the news that their destiny is at last accomplished shall reach our shores, there will arise from Cape Clear to the Giants' Causeway one universal shout of triumph and execration, which might almost arouse our famine-stricken dead from their very graves to swell. Thus let us endeavour to deal impartial vengeance between Whig and Tory. Now he (Mr. Newdegate) did not think that he exaggerated the object of the present Motion, for it had been proclaimed without any attempt at secrecy. Nor did he think it possible for the House to doubt the agency which was intended to effect the objects of Rome through the paralysation of the constitutional action of the House itself. The hon. Member for Mayo had proclaimed that it was his determination, and that of those with whom he acted, to form a party which should so destroy the constitutional action of the House of Commons, that no Government should be possible but one that would obey their behests. He then {Mr. Newdegate), for one, even if he thought that the case of the advocates of this Motion was better than it was, would resist it, because he felt that he owed it to his country to defend its constitutional liberties. This was not merely an attack upon the Protestant Establishment of Ireland, but was directed against the very existence of Protestantism and against the free exercise of religion. He would say "No" to the Motion, with the fullest determination to persevere in his opposition.


said, he regretted the tone which had characterised the speech of the hon. Member who had last addressed the House. It was to his (Mr. Phillimore's) mind greatly to be deprecated that when a question of this kind was introduced into the House, history, instead of forcing us to acknowledge our errors, should be made a kind of magazine for the purpose of furnishing weapons to parties of different religious persuasions with which to attack each other. If he was disposed to follow the example of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) it would not be difficult to point that hon. Member's attention to instances of persecution on the part of Protestant States quite as galling and far more sweeping than any which the hon. Member had laid to the charge of Roman Catholic States. No one could have travelled in Germany, within the last few years, but must have observed large bodies of Protestants fleeing from the dogmatical persecution of the King of Prussia. He mentioned that circumstance simply to show that arguments like those used by the hon. Member were of no avail whatever, and only tended to increase religious hostility; and the only safe course for the House to adopt was to disregard alike the indiscreet expressions uttered at public meetings and the violence exhibited by parties in other countries, and to look for reasons of mutual charity and good will. Therefore, the simple question the House now had to consider was—Did the Irish Church, as at present constituted, fulfil its high and important functions? In other words, did it minister to the spiritual wants of the Irish people? He did not dispute that it was a highly-endowed establishment, and contained among its functionaries a number of men of great ability and learning; but he asked the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Newdegate)—he asked any hon. Member in that House, having a regard for candour—whether in his conscience he believed that that Church was a blessing and a benefit to the people whose spiritual care and instruction it was meant to promote? He would ask whether, in the records of history, there could be found any instance of a Church which had been beset by a fatality which had made it rather the instrument of evil than of good? He would ask whether any Church ever owed its existence to any more inauspicious circumstances? He would ask whether there was any Church whose career had been marked, even up to a recent period, with a more disgusting indifference to the spiritual welfare of the people which it was meant to promote? It was neither his habit nor his inclination to indulge in any vulgar abuse of dignitaries of the Church, or of any Church; but they all knew that the station and functions of a clergyman did not preserve him from human failings and infirmities; and he (Mr. Phillimore) had a right to ask, as a Member of that House—as one who felt for the peace of the empire—as one who felt the affectionate support of so mighty a limb of that empire as Ireland, and, still more, the great assistance she was still capable of rendering us in cases of emergency—be had a right to ask whether there was not a cause in Ireland which was at the bottom of all this? Was there not something that paralysed their strength, and explained why they found discord where there might have reasonably expected to find peace and brotherly affection? He would ask whether they did not always find some cause at work rendering all their efforts to benefit Ireland unavailing? He would ask whether in every wound they did not find something that rankled in it and rendered its cure impossible? He said, but in no spirit of exultation, that the result of such inquiry as he had been able to bestow upon the matter, and of such a knowledge of history as he had had it in his power to acquire, taught him that at the bottom of all those feuds and animosities in Ireland, they would find religious discord and inequality. Believing that to be the cause, as he did, he could not desire that cause to remain, and he did wish that the proposition before the House, instead of coming from the hon. Member for Mayo, had come from Her Majesty's Ministers. He did desire to see the subject treated in a wise and statesmanlike spirit, and that if opposed by the Government that their opposition to it had been based on anything rather than the miserable ground of temporary expediency, which had been put forward by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland. With regard to the immediate feeling which animated him towards the Church of England, he confessed that he belonged to that Church, as, indeed, did all those who were dear to him; it could not, therefore, be conceived by any one who would judge of him with candour that he spoke on this subject with any feelings of animosity towards that Church. "Ille erit, ille nocens, qui me tibi fecerit hostem." Indeed, he was connected with it by the strongest associations; but when a question like this was in issue, he could not allow himself to be warped by those feelings and associations, however dear to him; and for the sake of the Church itself he could not but wish to see removed that which had been too long a perpetual cause of discord—of triumph to its enemies, and of mortification to its friends.


said, that the advocates of the present proposition were compelled, from the consciousness of the weakness of their cause, to indulge in vague generalities. The hon. Member, as the foundation of his arguments, if they could be called such, stated that which he (Mr. R. Moore) trusted, for the honour of the Roman Catholics, was untrue—namely, that they were eminently a disloyal and disaffected body. He trusted that this was merely a specimen of Hibernian exaggeration. Although the Catholic portion of the population was not as loyal as they ought to be, yet he believed they were far from being as disloyal and as disaffected as their champion had represented them to be. He felt surprised to hear a member of the Roman Catholic Church asserting that the Roman Catholic population of Ireland were disloyal. Was it not in the memory of all those who heard him, that the warmest advocates of Catholic emancipation previous to 1829 had stated that the Irish Roman Catholics were then indeed disloyal; but if Parliament emancipated them, and gave them equal rights with those of Protestants, they would prove themselves a most loyal body. Their requests having been conceded, was it not now too much to be told that they were still disloyal, because the Established Church, which they had sworn never to undermine, still existed? A reference had been made to the opinions of eminent men by the hon. Member for Mayo. He would take the liberty of troubling the House with the opinion of as eminent a man as graced the age in which he lived. It was the opinion of Lord Plunkett; and it was completely at variance with that which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Mayo that evening. Lord Plunkett said— With respect to the Protestant Establishment of the country (Ireland), he considered it necessary for the security of all property. He thought that there should not only be an Established Church, but that it should be richly endowed; and that its dignitaries should be enabled to take their stations in society with the nobles of the land; but speaking of it in a political point of view, he had no hesitation to state that the existence of the Protestant Establishment was the great bond of union between the two countries; and if ever that unfortunate moment should arive when they should rashly lay their hands upon the property of the Church to rob it of its rights, that moment would seal the doom of, and separate the connexion between, the two countries. That was the opinion of Lord Plunkett, the distinguished champion of Roman Catholic rights. What was the opinion expressed here to-night by their champion, who brought forward the Motion now under consideration? Why, that the destruction of the Established Church in Ireland was essential to the preservation of the Union, and to the peace and prosperity of the country. Destroy that Established Church, said the hon. Gentleman, and you will have the Roman Catholics of Ireland living in peace and happiness under the Protestant Queen of England. How different that was from the opinion expressed by Lord Plunkett, the House would at once perceive. He would refer to but one other authority—and that was the opinion of an hon. Gentleman who was now a Member of this House. That hon. Gentleman had recently written a pamphlet in support of the Roman Catholic religion, and also against the Protestant Church in Ireland. And in that pamphlet he adduced a number of facts, which, unfortunately for himself, turned out in many respects to be fiction, and relied on a great number of figures, which also, unforiunately, turned out to be false. But though the hon. Gentleman had exposed himself to the refutations of an able writer who had replied to him, still his opinions and arguments being those of an honest man were entitled to respect. The pamphlet to which he alluded was that of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Serjeant Sheo), and the following extract from it would show that the opinion that hon. and learned Gentleman entertained was totally at variance with that which had been expressed to-night by the hon. Member for Mayo. At page 21 of his pamphlet the hon. and learned Gentleman thus wrote:— The Church by law established is the Church of a community every where considerable in respect of property, rank, and intelligence; it is strong in a prescription of three centuries, and in the support which it derives from the supposed identity of its interests with those of the Church of England. Nothing short of a convulsion, tearing up both establishments by the roots, could accomlish its overthrow. The notion of dislodging it from its temporal pre-eminence, in order to clear the way for three national establishments, among which its property should be equally distributed, is surely too primitive to be realised in our time; Nor is it by any means clear that such an adjustment would be desirable. Better, we say confidently, that the union of Church and State in Ireland should endure for ages, than that the State, by a divorce from its present spouse, should be at liberty to contract or intrigue for a new alliance. The true policy of the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland is, that its ministers, as respects their means of support, should be wholly independent of the civil Government, and mainly dependent upon the people. Did that accord with the sentiments expressed here this evening by the hon. Member for Mayo? That hon. Member complained of the indignity to which the clergymen of his Church were subjected, by being made to pander to the caprices of the people whose voluntary donations they were dependent upon for their support. But that seemed not to be the opinion of the hon. and learned Serjeant. The hon. and learned Serjeant said— It is the interest, also, of the Protestant Church and of the State. Ours is the first Government in the history of the world which has found any difficulty in dealing with men who ask only the means of being useful to their fellow-subjects, and nothing for themselves. The hon. Member for Mayo had, in an ironical vein, referred to a statement which was made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), on a former occasion, as to Roman Catholics, to the effect that when they emigrated from Ireland, and went to America, the great majority, or, at all events, a very great proportion of them, ceased to be Roman Catholics, and became converts to the Protestant religion. Now, that which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) stated on the occasion to which he referred, he gave upon the authority of a clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church itself (the Rev. Mr. Mullen, the Roman Catholic curate of Clonmellon), who was sent out as a deputation by the Roman bishops in Ireland to collect funds for their new university. This gentleman publishes the result of his inquiries about Irish Romanists in America, since the year 1825. His result is, in his own words, as follows—"Number lost to the Catholic Church, 1,900,000. Say, in round numbers, 2,000,000." Now, the hon. Member for Mayo said this was rather a bad argument in support of the Protestant Church in Ireland—namely, that as long as the people remained in Ireland they were Roman Catholics, but the moment they went to America they threw off Popery, and became good sound Protestants, because there was no Established Church there. Did it escape the hon. Member that another solution might be given to the matter in this way? True, the Roman Catholics whilst they remained in Ireland continued Roman Catholics, because they were under a power which coerced and condemned them to continue Roman Catholics; but take them to the land of liberty where the priests had not the influence which they possessed in Ireland, and there the people emancipated themselves; they were no longer Roman Catholics, but Protestants. It was not, however, because there was an Established Church in Ireland that they remained Roman Catholics there. It was because their own free will was not in action, in consequence of the spiritual dominion which was exercised over them by their own priesthood. Take away the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland; leave the people to the dictates of their own consciences and good sense, and then see if the same results would not follow in Ireland that were witnessed on the other side of the Atlantic. He (Mr. R. Moore) confessed he was somewhat surprised to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman who last addressed the House—himself an Englishman, though he had spoken so warmly in favour of the Roman Catholics of Ireland—wind up his statement by saying that he was a member of the Established Church, and one of its warmest supporters. After hearing that hon. and learned Gentleman slander the Established Church in Ireland in the manner he had done that night, he must say he could not regard him in the light of the warm supporter and the sincere advocate of the same Church in England that he professed himself to be. He stated that the Irish Established Church manifested the most disgusting indifference to the spiritual wants of the people over whom it was placed; but surely if the hon. and learned Member knew a little more of the Protestant Church in Ireland, he would never have given utterance to a calumny so discreditable to the source whence it emanated. "A little learning was a dangerous thing." The hon. Member just knew enough of the Established Church in Ireland to be able to point out its defects; but if he knew more of it, he would have been aware that its virtues ten thousand times overbalanced its defects, and that it did not manifest the disgusting indifference to the spiritual wants of the people which he had represented. If necessary, he (Mr. R. Moore) could demonstrate by figures that this Church, which manifested, as they were told to-night, such disgusting indifference to its primal duties, was at this moment actively at work; and it was, perhaps, on account of this very activity that the present Motion was brought before the House. In his speech delivered in the debate on this question in 1849, the hon. Member for Mayo pointed to places in Ireland where, at that time, no Protestant congregations nor Protestant ministers were to be found. Let him look at the same quarters now, and he would discover there Protestant ministers actively engaged in preaching to numerous Protestant congregations, all of whom were, in 1849, Roman Catholics. In those places the people were following the example of their brethren in the United States of America. They were boldly throwing off the tyrannical yoke and spiritual domination of the priests, and avowing themselves Protestants—ay, and Protestants of the Established Church. He was not dealing in language which he was not prepared with proof to maintain. He was speaking in the language of truth, and would bear out what he had asserted: he would quote to the House one passage from an authority which could not be questioned for a single moment. He challenged any hon. Gentleman who might follow him in that debate to contradict the accuracy of what he was about to state, not upon his own authority, but upon the authority of a distinguished dignitary of the Established Church in Ireland—he meant the Lord Bishop of Tuam. He quoted from a small tract, entitled, The West Galway Church Building Fund. Statement and Account, by the Lord Bishop of Tuam. With a Report of his Lordship's Tour through Parts of the United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala, and Achonry, in the months of July and August, 1852. In that report the Bishop stated— In order to enable the members of the Church to form some judgment of the benefit hitherto effected in the district of West Galway, it may be enough to state, that whereas but a few years ago there were only two churches, and two clergymen the incumbents, by the arrangements already made there are S churches, besides 8 buildings licensed for the performance of Divine worship; and there are 18 clergymen officiating, of whom six are incumbents of parishes, and 12 are missionaries. He (Mr. R. Moore) asked them, was that a Church which manifested the disgusting indifference to its primal duties of which the hon. and learned Member had spoken? Why, it was a most unjustifiable slander. When he came down to the House to-night he thought he should have some statistics produced, and that an attempt would have been made to establish to the satisfaction of the House that there was a great disproportion between the members of the Established Church in Ireland and the revenues of that Church. But, to his surprise, no such statistical information was given. On the contrary, the House had been treated with nothing better than mere vague generalities—assertions totally unsupported by a tittle of proof, and resting solely upon the authority of the individual who made them. Perhaps it was found somewhat inconvenient for the hon. Member to adopt any other course. Had he done so, however, he (Mr. R. Moore) would have been perfectly prepared to grapple with his statistics, and to show that there was no such shocking disproportion, as alleged, between the revenues of the Established Church and the number of members of that Church in Ireland; and with regard to the requirements of the Established Church in Ireland, he contended that the present Church revenues of that country were barely sufficient to supply the spiritual wants of the Protestant people of Ireland. This he said advisedly; and, in proof of it, he referred to the admirable argument contained in a book which had been published by Dr. Stopford, Archdeacon of Heath, in which it was shown that, so far from there being any disproportion between the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland, and the number of Protestant congregations there, every penny of the Church revenues in Ireland was required for Church of England purposes in that country. But the hon. Member for Mayo had made one admission to-night which completely cut the ground away from under his own position. He admitted fairly that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were not taxed to support the Protestant Church; but he also said that the Church revenues were the property of the State. Now, upon the latter allegation be (Mr. R. Moore) joined issue with him, and contended that, by prescription, by law, and by original appropriation, the revenues of the Irish branch of the English Established Church were the property of that Church, and that to take them from it would be nothing short of robbery.


would not follow the hon. and learned Gentleman who bad just sat down through all his various misunderstandings of the various speeches which had been delivered that evening. On one point the hon. Gentleman was greatly to be condoled with. It appeared from his speech that he had come down armed with a variety of statistics, which he had intended to discharge in reply to the hon. Member for Mayo; but, very provokingly, the hon. Member would not give him an opportunity of doing so. He then attacked the hon. and learned Member for Leominster (Mr. J. G. Phillimore), and said some severe things of him; but, with all due deference, that hon. and learned Member said nothing about the present state of the Irish Church. The hon. Gentleman said, "A little learning is a dangerous thing;" and so it might be; but no learning at all was surely worse. No man could know anything about the Irish Church without knowing that there was not even in the Church of Rome such disgusting instances of nepotism, such disgusting instances of immense private fortunes made out of the funds of the Church, as in the Church of Ireland. Fortunately, this question was neither a religious nor a polemical one—it was a question of political justice—a question of whether the state of the Irish Church was such as ought to be satisfactory to the Irish people. Almost every statesman that had existed within the last forty years had declared that it was not. Many years ago he (Mr. Drummond) had offered Sir Robert Peel a plan for settling this question, which he, very wisely, no doubt, rejected; he then offered it to the noble Lord the Member for London, but he also showed it the cold shoulder. After many years of reflection, however, he believed that his plan was founded upon substantial justice; but it would not be applicable now, for the worst part of those questions was that they could be carried at one period, and not at another. The plan was, that the whole ecclesiastical revenues should be placed in the hands of two sets of ecclesiastical Commissioners, Protestant and Roman Catholic, to be divided between the two Churches, in proportion to numbers where there was a mixture of religionists, and in parishes where there were no Protestants the Roman Catholics would have taken it all. Where the population was mixed, the question would become more difficult; but still he believed the plan might be arranged. If hon. Gentlemen thought that the present state of the Irish Church was no grievance to the Roman Catholics, would they give him leave to ask them to put themselves in the situation of those Roman Catholics? He addressed himself to those who took the high ground of conscience with regard to the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland, and he wanted to know why they did not take the same ground with regard to the Protestant Episcopal Church in Scotland. They said this was not a question of political expediency—that was a casual consideration with these conscientious Gentlemen. But why were not their consciences as strong on the other side of the Tweed as on the other side of St. George's Channel? He could not understand why one argument was employed with respect to Ireland, and another with respect to Scotland. Taking into consideration what had been said by the noble Lord the Member for London, and by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, the time really appeared to have come when they might put the question on a more just and secure footing. A great deal had been said about the ambitious designs of the Roman Catholic priests. Now, he quite believed that the priests were now what they ever had been, and what they ever would be to the end of the chapter; but did they think that the Roman Catholic laymen would be such fools as to lend themselves to the ambitious views of the priests when they had no grievances themselves? He did not find that the laymen were so very obedient to the priests in France or in Italy. There was a curious Motion which an hon. Gentleman who sat up behind him (Mr. Duncombe) had given notice of—a Motion which was a curious specimen of humanity, for the hon. Member proposed that this country should use its good offices to have the French troops withdrawn from Rome. Did the hon. Member not know that such a Motion would be tantamount to having all the priests' throats cut? Rely upon it the Roman Catholic laymen were not quite so obsequious to their priests as was generally supposed. For his part he would say—Refuse to Roman Catholic priests and laymen every demand that was unjust, but do not refuse to cither priests or laymen what they had a right to demand.


said, that he remembered Canning's saying that the duty of a Lord of the Treasury was to make a House, to keep a House, and to cheer the Minister; but from what he had noticed that evening, it appeared to be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to clear the House; for the result of his observations had forced him to the conclusion that the debate was near happening to be brought to a speedy conclusion by the zealous activity of the Government agents. Such conduct was not to be wondered at when it was recollected that there were many persons on the Ministerial benches who were pledged to support such a Motion, but who might, in their present position, find it inconvenient to do so. Those Gentlemen were zealous in their advocacy of the Motion when in opposition, but now they were in office they attempted to clear the House in order to get rid of it. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) had brought the question fairly before the House. He had made a reasonable proposition, not to destroy the Protestant Church in Ireland, but merely to appoint a Committee to inquire how far the revenues of that Church had been made applicable to the benefit of the Irish people. Ireland contained 800,000 Protestants, 600,000 Presbyterians, and at least 4,500,000 Roman Catholics. Were, then, the large revenues of the present Church Establishment applied to the spiritual wants of the Irish people? The hon. Gentleman was blamed for having brought forward the Motion; but how long should they have waited before any such proposition would have come from the Treasury bench? The Government had done everything they could to prevent the discussion. The most barefaced attempts to clear the House were made when questions of this description, affecting civil and religious liberty, were brought forward. The speech of the right hon. the Secretary for Ireland to-night held out a bonus to agitation. He had told those who had influence in Ireland to blow the coals of agitation, to gather monster meetings, and to place large petitions on the table of the House, and that then the Government would gracefully yield to their demands. This was not the proper way of dealing with a great question, to which the right hon. Gentleman and his associates were pledged by tradition. The right hon. Gentleman said the measure was desirable, because the people of Ireland were in favour of it. [Sir J. YOUNG: Not the people of Ireland.] He was glad the right hon. Gentleman had not made a statement so degrading to Ireland; but that reminded him of an observation which made him feel more degraded than he had ever felt before. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Irish Church must be maintained because it was the will of the peo- ple of England that it should be maintained. Was that the spirit of the Union? He believed it was from that spirit that all the miseries and misfortunes of Ireland flowed. Class had been set against class, and most of the miseries of Ireland had arisen from her being subjected to the will of another country. He believed that the feeling of the people of England upon the subject had been well expressed by the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), in his pamphlet upon the church-rate question. The noble Lord said that whenever an opportunity was offered of dealing with ecclesiastical establishments de novo, unfettered by immemorial custom, the principle on which the present generation would act would be that of strict religious equality. As a matter of justice, he said, it was wrong to call on a man to pay for the propagation of opinions in which he did not share; and that the voluntary system had worked well among Churchmen in England, where the rates had been refused. The noble Lord summed up his arguments by saying that to him the case of the Nonconformists to exemption from ecclesiastical taxation appeared unanswerable. Now this was the whole case of the Catholics of Ireland, and that case was "unanswerable," because it was based upon the principle of justice. The noble Lord gave several instances of the beneficial effects of the voluntary system. At Leeds no rate had been raised for eighteen years, and the change in the system was attended with none of those evils which had been anticipated. Churches had been rebuilt, new churches consecrated, and schools established in several places at a large expense by that system. He (Mr. Maguire) did not appear there to cry "Down with the Protestant Church in Ireland!" Himself a Roman Catholic, he would not destroy that Church; and when he heard it said that if they touched the revenues of the Protestant Church in Ireland it would crumble into dust, he told them that they slandered it, and that it was tantamount to confessing that gold was the sole prop and support of that institution. But even if the Roman Catholics did call for the downfall of the Established Church, still, though a Roman Catholic, he must confess that that would not secure the destruction of the Protestant religion. He would show that the Protestant Church of Ireland was larger than the requirements of the Protestant congregations, from figures which an hon. and learned Gentleman who had spoken by anticipation, had erroneously, as he believed, stated to be false; but they were the work of public officers, and they were the authority to which Parliament referred. He (Mr. Maguire), however, denied they were false, But, making all possible allowances for mistakes and reduction in the amount of the population, what was found to be the fact by these returns? It was found that the disproportion between the creeds was still enormous, and that greater solicitude was manifested in decorating, repairing, and building glebe houses, than in maintaining the fabric of the churches. He made no charge against the bishops, or the Protestant clergy of Ireland, but he only contended that the Roman Catholics ought not to be called on to support them. In the archdiocese of Armagh there was a parish with a revenue of 188 l, 3,000 l. had been expended on the glebe, and 553 l. on the church. The number of the Protestant congregation was 34, while that of the Roman Catholics was 1,677. In another parish the revenue was 216 l.; the congregation 4, and the Roman Catholics 1,063. The archdiocese contained a total of 103,000 Protestants, and 309,000 Roman Catholics. There were numbers of similar cases in the diocese of Meath. New Town parish had a revenue of 1,860 l.; there had been 1,384 l. expended on the glebe; no sum was stated to have been expended on the church; the congregation was 35, and the number of Roman Catholics 2,500. It was the same in the diocese of Derry, which contained, amongst other similar instances, a parish, the glebe estate of which was 669 acres. 2,838 l. had been expended on the glebe estate and house, and 341 l. on the church. The Protestant congregation was 1,683, and there were 3,397 Roman Catholics. The diocese of Tuam contained a parish with a revenue of 135 l. The Protestants were 2, and the Roman Catholics 911. Another parish. had a revenue of 135 l., with a congregation of 10, and 4,000 Roman Catholics. In the archdiocese of Dublin was a parish with a revenue of 187 l., a congregation of 4, and 470 Roman Catholics. The case was the same in the south of Ireland. A friend of his, who desired to see an ancient church in that part of the country, had to apply for the key to a Roman Catholic sexton, who told him that the church was not open because the congregation had gone to the salt water. In the diocese of Cloyne there were four parishes which only had three or four Protestants between them, who went from parish to parish to hear service regularly every Sunday. In that diocese the total church revenue was 33,000 l.; there were 1,100 acres of glebe land, 13,000 Protestants, and 328,000 Roman Catholics. He thought that these cases showed, at least, a fair ground for inquiring whether or not the revenues of the Protestant Church in Ireland were, as it was alleged they were, excessive, or whether the great body of the people derived benefit from her ministrations. Much had been said about the benevolence and worth of the Protestant clergy. He had no wish to say anything in depreciation of that body. He had, in fact, more than once borne testimony to their merits. He had said, and he now repeated, that the Protestant clergy of Ireland exhibited towards their Catholic brethren during the famine the true spirit of the Samaritan; and no Catholic could ever forget their charity on that occasion. But what he said was, that the existence of the Established Church was a direct barrier to the interchange of that good feeling between the Catholic and Protestant which ought to exist, and which had thus begun to be created. He asked English Churchmen to make it their own case, and consider whether, if the Dissenters of England were to set up a claim to the revenues of the Established Church, to the exclusion of those who at present possessed them, they would not be disposed to say that the Dissenters were not only insolent but audacious? The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland had said that the Motion of the hon. Member for Mayo was unfortunate and ill-timed. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that it was ill-timed because we had at present a coalition Ministry—a patchwork Administration—some of the Members of which were bound and pledged by their former lives and conduct to support the Motion, while others of them were wedded to the old and intolerant tyranny of Tory politics? When ought a Motion of this kind to be brought forward, if not now, when they could discuss it calmly and dispassionately? Would it be better to postpone it till the time when they had monster meetings and general agitation? If they did, they would then be told that it could not be entertained by Parliament until the country was at rest. The right hon. Gentleman had only brought forward the usual Tory flam; but he assured him that it would not go down with the people of Ireland. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had said that they had no substantial accusation to bring against the Irish Church. Why, the fact was that their chief accusation was that of injustice. Their accusation was that they were made to pay for a Church whose ministrations they did not require, and whose doctrines they did not believe. Some allusion had been made to a dinner at Athlone, concerning which a Member of Her Majesty's Government must have some knowledge; but he (Mr. Maguire), at least, was not one of the Brigade. Why. had not every platform in England fulminated against the Catholics for accepting the Maynooth endowment? If so much wrath had been excited on account of the endowment of that one college, what would it be if the state of things which now existed were reversed, and the Protestants were made to support the Catholic Church altogether, just as the Catholics were now made to support the Protestant Church? He was merely an Irish Member sent to that House, neither by the Pope nor by Legate Cullen, as he had been disrespectfully called, to act honestly and uprightly between party and party, and anxious to support either Whig or Tory who would bring forward a measure for the benefit of Ireland, although he might have that instinctive abhorrence of a genuine Whig which was felt by many in his country. He would conclude by again vindicating the motives of his hon. Friend in bringing forward this Motion, and preventing the evil from being allowed to sleep. The present system paralysed the energies of his country, which had been blessed by God, but cursed by the intolerance of man. The intelligent Catholics of Ireland regretted that such men as the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell), who once advocated civil and religious liberty, should allow the continuation of a system which caused strife and dissension where peace, love, and charity ought to prevail. He repeated that a fair case had been made out for inquiry. If the Government were afraid of inquiry, let them say so; but if they were not, let them prove that the charges against the Irish Church were unjust, and that its accusers had no ground to stand upon; but let it not be said that the British Parliament had hesitated to give a deliberate opinion upon it.


said, he regretted that an institution so ancient and so venerable as the Established Church in Ireland should not have received at a moment of emergency a more warm, cordial, and vigorous support from Her Majesty's Government than they seemed disposed to afford to it on the present occasion. Had such support been offered, he should not have trespassed on the attention of the House, notwithstanding that the Motion now under consideration was one which, as a member of that Church who had its interests intimately at heart, be could not regard with other feelings than those of indignation and surprise; for, though he belonged to a part of Ireland which, as be understood from the hon. Member who had just spoken, did not constitute a part of the nation, there was no question which could touch him, or any one who thought with him, more deeply, and any one who studied their history would say more naturally, than a Motion of this nature. It was indeed enough to excite watchfulness and surprise. If it had been introduced by any person interested in the Church, in its reformation or amendment, who, laying his finger on the allocation of those revenues, which he admitted were devoted by the piety of past ages for the purposes of religion, should say, "Such and such a defect might be remedied," it should have had his (Mr. Whiteside's) support. But was that the object of the hon. Member? Lord Bacon told us that a man's speech ought to be interpreted by reference to the ends which he had in view; and, tested by this excellent maxim, the speech of the hon. Member for Mayo must be admitted to be one of no ordinary importance. It was of no avail to refer to loose speeches, because he had remarked that when that was done the reports were generally "inaccurate" and "incorrect," and the statements of the circumstances connected with them were said to be doubtful and unsatisfactory; but if they desired to arrive at an accurate knowledge of the object and purpose which the hon. Gentleman really proposed to himself in submitting the present Motion, they would do well not only to bear in mind his speech of that evening, but to turn to the manifesto of an association in Dublin, of which the hon. Gentleman was a distinguished member. That association had issued a circular—whether it was the performance of the hon. Member himself, or the elaborate effort of the hon. and learned Gentleman now Her Majesty's Solicitor General for Ireland, who had been the acute adviser of the association, as he had been likewise its most brilliant orator, he did not know—which would enable the House to decide whether the Motion before them was for the spoliation or for the annihilation of the Church. This circular contained an account of the grievances of the people of Ireland; for, be it observed, it was a part of the policy of some persons to attribute all the evils which pressed on the energies of the people, of Mayo for example, to the Government, and not to those who were the main cause of them. It said— 1. The appropriation of the ecclesiastical revenues of the country—originally set aside for the religious instruction and consolation of the people—to purposes quite foreign to the spirit of that sacred trust. 2. The penalties or prohibitions which still attach to the performance of certain spiritual functions, or the exercise of certain ecclesiastical rights of order or jurisdiction. 3. The laws which still disqualify certain classes of Her Majesty's subjects, on account of their religion, from holding various honourable and important offices in the State. 4. Those more hidden operations of Government which, by a certain connivance between the legislative and the executive, between the wording and the working of the law, pervert the best and most benevolent institutions into instruments of persecution, drain the bitter cup of poverty of its one blessed drop of comfort, and cheat even the gallant men who live and die in the service of their country, of all that elevates life, and consoles death. The first, though perhaps not essentially the most vicious, is the largest of these elements of persecution; and as it sustains, and feeds, and fosters all the others, may be regarded as the most important of them all. The iniquitous anomaly of the Church Establishment of Ireland may be truly said to be the cause of every evil, and to stand in the way of every good in that country; and it would be superfluous to argue the condemnation of a system which has been already denounced by the voice of the whole civilised world. Was that to modify the revenues of the Church? Was that a proposition for temperate and rational reform, for endowing the members of the Roman Catholic Church, who were, he regretted to say, now suffering want and privation? No; for by the second paragraph the writer suggested various schemes for disposing of the Church property, one of which was to sell the whole of it by auction, and thus to carry out the ideas of the Conservative Member for West Surrey. If the opinions of Dr. Cullen were not to be adverted to as operating on the hon. Member for Mayo, he might refer to the statements of one who had—he would not say nominated the hon. Member, for his abilities entitled him fully to sit in that House, but who had—certainly proposed him at the hustings as one entitled to the confidence of the Church—he meant Dr. M'Hale—he would not call him the Archbishop of Tuam, for he was forbidden by law to do so. It was impossible for the hon. Member to escape the connexion with that rev. gentleman, and he was sure he (Mr. Moore) would not deny it. What said Dr. M' Hale? He could not give the date, because his documents were generally dated in a way he (Mr. Whiteside) could not pretend to understand, but the letter to which he referred purported to be written from "St. Jarlath's," on "The Feast of the Seven Dolours." He did not know when that was—and the rev. gentleman adverted in a triumphant manner to the elections which had just terminated. He said— Amid the anxiety and alarm which have seized the adherents of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland, they must look to some more efficient props to uphold its tottering existence than the clumsy fictions which they are not ashamed to scatter about its imaginary extension. In vain are they endeavouring by such weak expedients to avert its impending doom. They may fancy that because they have been hitherto imposing on the English people, and gathering funds by an indulgence in all the licentiousness of slander, they may be still permitted to enjoy the same privileges of imposition in a continuous immunity from exposure. They appear, however, to feel that they have been somewhat mistaken in their calculations. The result of the recent elections in Ireland has filled them with an alarm which they are awkwardly endeavouring to conceal, and the loudness and audacity of their boasts, at a time when the world has witnessed the decline of the Parliamentary establishment, and the vigorous reaction of a people whom its votaries proclaimed to be prostrate, are but too evident signs of their terrible apprehensions…Yes, it is this conviction of the deep-seated reverence of the Catholic people of Ireland for their religion, and their unconquerable resolve not only to maintain it, but to carry on a vigorous, and legitimate, and constitutional opposition to the Moloch of the Establishment, that has recently sent over such a motley crew of parsons and readers to this country, and is sending back, by way of commercial interchange, such huge cargoes of lies and inventions regarding their triumphs in the west of Ireland. Such artifices will no longer do, for in the fate of every successive Administration that refuses to extinguish this national nuisance it will appear that the days of the Establishment are numbered. When pressed by the serried array of half the representatives of Ireland, who can break up a more vigorous Administration than yours, to relieve at once this country from the incubus that has oppressed all its energies, it will not do to adjure them to wait until you sec the result of the new ninth or tenth reformation in the regions of the south or west of Ireland. No, they will not wait, nor will they listen to those arguments of persuasion which Tory, as well as Whig, Ministers know so well how to wield; for this very Celtic people, who are represented in England as Protestant converts, have instructed their representatives not to wait, nor take office or favour of any kind from any Minister until the country is cased of the burden of that Establishment with which calumny has not blushed to connect them…Those ecclesi- astical funds, so long misused, should, after the life interests of their present occupants, revert to their own original purposes of promoting Catholic piety, charity, and education. Too long has their usufruct been squandered with no other result than propagating dissensions and upholding an unholy ascendancy. It is fortunate that there remains such a fund for the erection and endowment of Catholic schools and the building of Catholic churches, and, should it extend so far, to serve as an outfit for the purpose of Catholic glebes, all as free and independent of any sinister interference of the secular power as were those funds when first abstracted from those pious uses. It is only on such conditions they will be claimed—on no others should they be accepted; and on such equitable terms it would be the height of impolicy to withhold them. It will be an act of just and tardy restitution of property long diverted from its legitimate objects; and as to the prospective maintenance—the daily bread of the Catholic clergy—they will exclusively rely on that rich fund that has never failed them—the spontaneous offerings of a grateful people, to whom protective measures for the fruits of their industry, no longer to be deferred, will give additional cheerfulness in discharging the duties of their religion. As for the Protestant Establishment, dream no longer of upholding it in Ireland. Treat it like the question of free trade, yielding to the inevitable necessity of events which statesmen cannot control. The Catholic people of this country are resolved not to be content until they witness its legislative annihilation. The axe is already laid to the root, and, as time has but too well attested the baneful vices of its influence, it is in vain you will endeavour to avert its inevitable fall. The concluding words expressed the idea he had ever entertained of the end to which the efforts of this active and indefatigable party were directed. Had any hon. Member now a doubt of the object of this Motion, so artfully and speciously concealed beneath the modest guise of a proposition to inquire into that which did not want inquiry, inasmuch as there was not a single fact connected with that Church which was not open and known to the world, and there was nothing of which those who belonged to her needed to be ashamed? That Established Church in Ireland was pure in doctrine—was tainted by no pestilent heresies—had adopted no spurious form of Romanism—had adhered unswervingly to the doctrine and principles of the Reformation, and had it been less faithful in this respect would probably have received more mercy and forbearance from its relentless enemies. The object of this Motion was plainly to effect not even spoliation—it was to annihilate; and it behoved the House to consider whether they had not a grievous question to discuss with those who brought it forward. He would discuss it not discourteously, he hoped, but certainly boldly, and hon. Members must be prepared to hear the truth; nor would English Members, perhaps, deem it an unwarrantable intrusion on their time if he presented them with a few facts to bear on the subject. He entreated, therefore, the House to consider with him the professions and engagements of the Roman Catholics in past years with respect to the Established Church, and then to say whether it lay in the mouths of men pledged and sworn as they were to advocate a Motion which was brought forward with no other intention than to compass the destruction of that institution. When the Roman Catholics demanded redress of their grievances from the Irish Parliament in 1792, what was their language? Why, this: they said— With satisfaction we acquiesce in the establishment of the national church; we neither repine at its possessions, nor envy its dignities: we are ready upon this point to give every assurance that is binding upon man. He respected an honest Radical; he could understand a Nonconformist or a Dissenter, or a man on abstract principles, being in favour of the voluntary principle; but if any man looked on the working of that principle in Ireland with approval, he must be easily satisfied indeed. When Grattan and Plunkett, with ability never equalled, urged on the Parliament their propositions in favour of the Roman Catholic claims, the arguments on which they most relied, and which they most pressed on the House, were these:—We desire to secure the Church in Ireland by its identification with the State. They would be satisfied, they said, if that was done—they did not seek to take away its existence, or to endanger its position. Such was the argument enforced by their brilliant and triumphant logic; but it did not convince Sir Robert Peel, and Grattan then addressed himself to prove that the carrying of emancipation would conduce to the greater security of the Established Church. Still the question did not make way, and now came a matter on which he had a word to say to Dr. M'Hale, whom he selected, especially, because be was the leader of this great movement against the Church. If any hon. Member would like to see two documents which cast a greater light on the character and conduct of the Roman Catholic prelates in Ireland in respect to this question, he would refer them to the following papers. The first was the celebrated pastoral address and declaration of the Roman Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland to the clergy and laity of their communion, dated January 25, 1826. They said— The Catholics of Ireland, far from claiming any right or title to forfeited lands, resulting from any right, title, or interest which their ancestors may have had therein, declare upon oath 'That they will defend, to the utmost of their power, the settlement and arrangement of property in this country as established by the laws now in being. 'They also' disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any intention to subvert the present Church Establishment, for the purpose of substituting a Catholic establishment its stead. And, further, they swear that they will not exercise any privilege to which they are or may be entitled, to disturb and weaken the Protestant religion and Protestant Government in Ireland.' This document was signed "John M'Hale, D.D." He appealed to any hon. Member to say what would be the effect on him as a gentleman, of this act of a man of ability and learning, who signed such a document, and afterwards proposed and urged a measure for the annihilation of that very Church? He was quite prepared for it when hon. Members below cheered; but they might have suspended the expression of their sentiments for a moment. What did their cheer mean—for casuistry was a noble science—if not this, that they would demolish the Church, but that they would not erect the Roman Catholic Church on its ruins? ["No, no!"] Then he did not understand it, nor was their cheer intelligible. At all events, the astute lawyer who drew up the Emancipation Act fell into error in not following the advice of Grattan and Plunkett. When the oath was framed, Sir Robert Peel introduced the words with which the oath now stood at the present day, as follows:— And I do declare that I do not believe that the Pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, person, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm. I do swear that I will defend to the utmost of my power the settlement of property within this realm, as established by the laws; and I do hereby disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any intention to subvert the present Church Establishment as settled by the Jaw within this realm; and I do solemnly swear that I never will exercise any privilege to which I am or may become entitled to disturb or weaken the Protestant religion or Protestant Government in the United Kingdom; and I do solemnly in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words of this oath, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatsoever. So help me, God! It was not the Protestant religion or the Established Church, which was to be pro- tected—that might be matter of debate—but the most distinct and unequivocal meaning of the oath was, that the Roman Catholics would never attempt to subvert the Established Church of Ireland. The Articles of Union, as recited in the 10 Geo. IV., said— And whereas the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, and likewise the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and the government thereof, are, by the respective Acts of Union of England and Scotland, and of Great Britain and Ireland, established permanently and inviolably. Well, after the Emancipation Bill was carried, the Roman Catholic Bishops met again with the words of this oath and with the clauses of the Emancipation Act before them; and what would Englishmen think when he told them that Dr. M'Hale signed a document in which there was a high eulogium pronounced on the Emancipation Act in a paper than which a finer document was never penned by Christian prelates? Yes; and if they had acted upon it, the House would never have heard one word from the Protestants of Ireland, if Roman Catholics had filled every office in the State. Well, the Roman Catholic clergy issued their address, and he would read their very words:— And is not the King, beloved brethren, whom by the law of God we are bound to honour, entitled now to all the honour, and all the obedience, and all the gratitude you can bestow? And do not his Ministers merit from you a confidence commensurate with the labours and the zeal expended by them on your behalf? And that Legislature which raised you up from your prostrate condition, and gave to you, without reserve, all the privileges you desired—is not that Legislature entitled to your reverence and love? We trust that your feelings on this subject are in unison with our own, and that a steady attachment to the constitution and laws of your country, as well as to the person and Government of your gracious Sovereign, will be manifest in your entire conduct. Labour, therefore, in all things to promote the end which the Legislature contemplated in passing this Bill for your relief—to wit, the pacification and improvement of Ireland. Let religious discord cease; let party feuds and civil dissensions be no more heard of; let rash, and unjust, and illegal oaths be not even named among you; and, if sowers of discord or sedition should attempt to trouble your repose, seek for a safeguard against them in the protection afforded by the law. The work was done at last—the Act of Emancipation was passed—the Roman Catholic bishops had got all they wanted, and all that which they said was enough to make them contented. Was the question settled? No. In 1833 the Bishop of Exeter had occasion to write a letter on the subject of this sacred obligation of the Roman Catholic oath, so far as it referred to its weight with Dr. M'Hale; and the latter answered him with charming naïveté:Far, then, from shrinking from any avowal of hostility to a system fraught with such injustice, I must frankly own that the Establishment has been, and shall continue to be, the object of every legal and constitutional opposition in my power. However irrconcileable you deem such a declaration with the obligations of our oath, I must protest against your competency to expound its meaning, or to be the guide of my theology. And Dr. M'Hale had followed up that declaration by a long and consistent line of conduct which he had declared he would never cease till he witnessed the annihilation of the Established Church. So much then for the consistency, so much for the good faith, so much for the stringency, of prelatical covenants. Well, if they got rid of this oath, what security had they for the oath of allegiance, or for any oath which ought to be binding on the consciences of men? Could the British Parliament adopt an argument or a policy pressed on them in so perfidious a manner? The Act of Union had been sneered at. He was lost in astonishment that any lawyer or statesman should stand up in that House and tell them that the Act of Union with Ireland, which then had an exclusively Protestant Parliament, and a Parliament which would, they were told, not have consented to the Act of Emancipation, was to be treated as so much waste paper. The speech of Lord Castlereagh was still extant, in which, as the mouthpiece of Mr. Pitt, he declared that if Ireland surrendered her national independence there should be henceforth for the two countries but one law, one State, and one Church. If there were no Statute of Union at all, he would appeal to the House if it would be expedient for the House to sever their connexion with the Protestant Church? He had henrd much in the course of that debate of the objects for which the Church in Ireland had been founded. Greater mistakes in history, law, and fact were never made. He admitted that all connexion with Rome was severed at the time of the Reformation; but it was not to make the nation Protestant, but to get rid of a disaffected and rebellious priesthood. Let them look to the history of Ireland from the reigns of Elizabeth and James downwards—let them trace the events which occurred in Ireland, and the proceedings of the legate Rinuccini, and they could clearly understand the reason why. The priesthood were bound up with a foreign Power, and their object was to establish its empire here. When Dr. Doyle was examined before the Committee in 1825, and was asked how the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church were appointed, he replied, "While England was Roman Catholic, by the Sovereign" (thus overthrowing the assertion that it was an ancient prerogative of the Pope),"but afterwards by the expelled monarch and his descendants through the medium of the See of Rome. "Why was that? Clearly for the purpose of subverting the existing constitution, and expelling the regnant family. Why was not that object successful? Bishop Bedell, in 1663, pointed out the men in his diocese who were appointed by the Pope, and all sworn to subvert the constitution. Let not any one suppose he commended the past management of the Church in Ireland. He admitted that in bygone times the patronage of the Church was shamefully prostituted to serve the political purposes of England, and that Irish clergymen of learning and piety were set ignominiously aside to make way for the dull tutors of the English aristocracy. But surely it did not lie in the mouth of an English Member to make that a matter of reproach against the Irish Church. He should rather hang his head in shame and sorrow that his own country should have acted so disgracefully towards Ireland. Many hon. Members had, no doubt, read the letters of Primate Boulter during the Duke of Newcastle's Administration, which some unhappy member of that prelate's family had published. That Primate passed his time in watching the health of the Irish bishops to sec when, to use his own words, they were going "to drop," so that the King's service might not be injured by the appointment of natives. In one of his letters he said, "I think it right to apprise your Lordship that his Grace of Dublin has a cough; and I beseech your Grace, if he should drop, not to give this appointment to a native." Dean Swift also had left upon record in his own caustic language his opinion of the public men of that country. He wrote thus upon the subject of the Church in a letter to Lord Carteret, the Lord Lieutenant, in July, 1725:— The misfortune of having bishops perpetually from England, as it must needs quench the spirit of emulation among us to excel in learning and the study of divinity, so it produces another great discouragement, that those prelates usually draw after them colonies of sons, nephews, cousins, or old college companions, on whom they bestow the best preferments in their gift; and thus the young men sent into the Church from the University here have no better prospect than to be curates or small country vicars for life. If I have dealt honestly in representing such persons among the clergy as are generally allowed to have the most merit, I think I have done you a service, and am sure I have made you a great compliment by distinguishing you from most great men I have known these thirty years past, whom I have always observed to act as if they never received a true character, nor had any value for the best, and consequently dispensed their favours without the least regard to ability or virtue. And this defect I have often found among those from whom I least expected it. The truth was, that the Church was in danger, not from rebellion and external opposition, but from the maliciousness of factions and the corruption of public men. The truth of this remark was proved by the fact, that in later years Dean Kirwan, who was the most eloquent Divine who ever mounted the pulpit in Ireland, was appointed to the parish of St. Nicholas, the most wretched in Dublin, while at the time the Archbishop of Dublin was the son of an English footman. Referring to his case, Grattan, in 1792, said— What is the case of Dr. Kirwan? That man preserved this country and our religion; and brought to both a genius superior to what he found in either. He called forth the latent virtues of the human heart, and taught men to discover in themselves a mine of charity of which the proprietors had been unconscious. In feeding the lamp of charity he had almost exhausted the lamp of life; he comes to interrupt the repose of the pulpit, and shakes one world with the thunder of the other. The preacher's desk becomes the throne of light; around him a train, not such as crouch and swagger at the levees of princes (horse, foot, and dragoons), but that wherewith a great genius peoples his own state—charity in action, vice in humiliation; vanity, arrogance, and pride appalled by the rebuke of the preacher, and cheated for a moment of their native improbity. What reward? St. Nicholas Within, or St. Nicholas Without! The curse of Swift is upon him—to have been born an Irishman, to have possessed a genius, and to have used his talents for the good of his country. Had this man, instead of being the brightest of preachers, been the dullest of lawyers—had he added to dulness venality—had he aggravated the crime of venality and sold his vote, he had been a judge; or, had he been born a blockhead, bred a slave, and trained up in a great English family, and been handed over as a household circumstance to the Irish Viceroy, he would have been an Irish bishop and an Irish peer with a great patronage, perhaps a borough, and had returned Members to vote against Ireland, and the Irish parochial clergy must have adored his stupidity and deified his dulness. But, under the present system, Ireland is not the element in which a native genius can rise unless he sells that genius to the Court, and atones by the apostacy of his conduct for the crime of his nativity. He admitted that since the Union better men had been appointed, and it was the virtue, the zeal, the purity, and the fidelity of the working clergy which had saved the stablishment. What was the condition of that Establishment now? The hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) had quoted from works as applicable as the productions of the Middle Ages, and had spoken of the Roman Catholic population as the nation. The nation? What was that? If there was commerce in Ireland, it belonged to the Protestants. If there was manufacturing industry, it was theirs. If there was agricultural improvement, it was theirs. If there was religion, it was theirs. If there was the pursuit of science, it was theirs; and if there were four great names in contemporaneous history, while England had her Nelson and her Pitt, Ireland could boast of her Wellington and her Burke. Their towns were prosperous and populous. They wanted nothing from England but good government. Wherever the Protestant Church had gone, she had been successful. Whenever her priests had not confederated to stop the progress of Divine truth, that Church had been eminently successful; and, furthermore, and not to torment the House with details, he might add that upwards of 700 churches of the Protestant Episcopal Establishment had been erected in Ireland since the Union. Their principles had spread into many counties where they had never existed before; and the hon. Member for Mayo, in representing that county, had, unhappily for himself, suggested the weakest argument that could have been adduced. Archbishop M'Hale was confronted in his diocese by a prelate of the Protestant Church, who, himself a most zealous advocate of Roman Catholic emancipation, had done all in his power to extend the sphere of his usefulcess. That prelate boasted the name of Plunkett, and he and his family had always advocated the claims of their Roman Catholic subjects to perfect religious equality. But this was the person whom Archbishop M'Hale wished to get expelled. He believed that Bishop Plunkett had done more good by addressing the people in their native language than any other prelate who had ever presided over the diocese; and he had brought a greater number of sincere persons to join the faith of the Established Church than any of his predecessors, He (Mr. Whiteside) firmly and conscientiously believed that those attacks upon the Established Church were part and parcel of a general movement now in force in Ireland. Before Parliament rose it would have to resettle the National Board of Education in Ireland, and he had heard that an amendment was placed upon the books of that society, emanating from a distinguished Prelate of the Church of Rome, which, if carried, would dissolve the body. The House little understood the stealthy manner in which the purposes of a great body were carried forward. He did not blame the Catholics in Ireland—he meant the laity—for anything they had done, but he blamed the conduct of the Catholic prelates and bishops for the course they had adopted with reference to education. Let them look at the case of the colleges at Cork and Galway. In the latter, the Vice-President Dr. O Toole, a man of great learning and attainments, had been compelled to resign an office for which he was in every way qualified, because he was directed to do so by an edict from the Pope. Dr. O'Toole proceeded to Rome with the view of making some arrangements by which he could retain his office; but he was compelled to resign, in deference to the oath which he had taken to a foreign potentate. He implored the House to act upon some principle in this matter, and he was not ashamed to mention what that principle should be. He did it not in unkindness, not in bigotry, not in illiberality; but he said that that principle must be the maintenance of Protestantism in the British empire. Wherever it reached, liberty beamed upon the whole world, industry flourished, truth was sacred, and justice was respected. He confessed that he felt strongly and sincerely upon this subject, because he believed that the Papacy had two objects which it sought to carry over the whole world. One was to destroy Parliamentary Governments, and the other to beat down Protestantism. Upon this subject there was a remarkable letter signed "N. G." in a Dublin newspaper, addressed to the editor, and headed, "Louis Napoleon and the Catholic Church in France," and dated "46, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, October 16, 1852." The writer describes himself to have been a rank Puseyite, but whose mind was disabused of the miserable delusions and bondage of the most specious form of Anglican heresy. He complains that the Catholic press had not done justice to the eminent qualities of the ruler of the French people by bringing forward the remarkable services he had, by the grace of God, done to the Church in their land. The article then reviews the several Governments—elder Bourbon and Louis Philippe's—and contrasts the President's conduct towards the Church with theirs, favourably for the President. Then follows this ominous passage:— I have been a witness of the reception of his Imperial Highness on his return to this city. It was a touching sight to see the children of the schools conducted by the Christian brothers greet him in whom they recognised their friend; and I was forcibly indeed reminded that, while Parliamentary England, Belgium, and Sardinia cither persecute the Church or obstruct her full working and development, monarchical Austria, Tuscany, France, and Naples protect and defend her liberties, maintain and uphold her rights; nay, more, in proportion as the Cortes in Spain loses its power, the Church recovers its authority—a humiliating lesson to those who would cry out for Parliaments as the panacea for all evils, and who denounce Governments which punish evildoers and disturbers of religious peace, but which encourage the good in the practice of goodness—the pious in works of piety. The Pope of Rome claimed to be the director of the education of the youth of the whole civilised globe. He did that in Italy, Austria, and in many other countries where religious liberty was not tolerated, and he was pressing it in France and Belgium. Yet the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Moore) humbly said that "religious equality" was all he asked—religious equality was all he desired—he panted for religious equality; but when they should have struck down our Protestant bulwark in Ireland, they would transfer these funds to the Roman Catholic Church in order to extirpate Protestantism from Ireland, and with it the element of its civilisation, the element of our power, the element of our prosperity, and the element of our greatness.


said, that he found the Motion they were discussing that night to be one which it was extremely difficult and painful for him to speak upon, because it was a Motion which seemed to him to be beyond all argument; and he confessed that he experienced a feeling which he knew not how to describe when he approached the discussion of a question which in his judgment ought to pass as a matter of course in any national assembly that wished to deal justly to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects. He experienced a difficulty to restrain the feelings of indignation which always arose in his mind when he considered the enormous injustice under which 5,000,000 of Catholics laboured in Ireland through this grievance, the abolition of which, as their mouthpiece, the hon. Member for Mayo now claimed at the hands of that House. The Motion of his hon. Friend had been grievously mistaken and misrepresented by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland (Sir J. Young) and other speakers who had opposed it. Hon. Members said sometimes there was a difficulty in understanding what was the meaning of the friends of this Motion, as if a hidden sense were couched in their language; but before he sat down he should take care to render his meaning plain and unmistakeable. The Motion was one asking for inquiry into all the ecclesiastical revenues of Ireland—embracing the R egium Donum of the Presbyterians, and the May-nooth grant to the Catholics, no less than the endowments of the Protestant Establishment, with the view of ascertaining whether they operated fairly and justly for the well-being of the whole community in that country. The question was not what was generally understood as the abolition of the Established Church, but how justice could best be done to all religious denominations in Ireland—in short, how perfect equality of treatment for all denominations could be established by Act of Parliament. There were many ways in which that justice might be done, and it was not dealing with the Motion in a fair spirit to assume that there was only one method of settling the question which could result from the deliberations of the Select Committee, when the Catholics of Ireland were willing to accept any mode which should really establish religious equality in Ireland, and really remove from them a badge of inferiority to which they would never tamely submit, against which they would never cease to struggle, which would torment the debates of that House Session after Session, and, if need be, generation after generation, until this great injustice was substantially and completely remedied. How had this question been argued? The hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last had quoted a document dated as far back as 1792, when neither he nor any of his friends took part in public affairs, but which showed that the Catholics of that time were content with, and almost grateful for, the ecclesiastical arrangements which then prevailed and still continued in Ireland, but which sentiments he (Mr. Lucas) neither approved nor applauded. The hon. Gentleman had talked of deception and fraud; but did he forget that the iron had entered into the souls of Catholics in those days, and that, long oppressed by social debasement and political degradation, in the first moment of even their partial deliverance from the tyranny under which they had groaned, was it to be wondered at if their feelings of thankfulness found vent in language which, if they had lived in the present day, they themselves would have been the first to condemn? Again, when Catholic emancipation was granted, was it surprising that when the intolerable yoke was removed from off the necks of the Catholics of Ireland, they expressed their gratitude in rather exaggerated terms? From the little allowance that was made for the natural feelings of men under the circumstances he had described, and seeing the use that was made of such expressions, he confessed that be had been taught that the avowal of political gratitude was a very dangerous thing, and it would perhaps be for the better if in future they were rather sparing of that article, seeing that it might be reasoned upon 20 or 50 years afterwards with all the dexterity of hard-headed Nisi Prius lawyers in that House, He had listened carefully to the debate, and he had heard nothing which he thought any hon. Gentleman who spoke on the other side could himself have imagined would have any effect upon his mind and that of his co-religionists, other than that of strengthening their determination to use every practicable and legitimate means of resistance to the grievous enormity of which they so justly complained. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) went into a rambling and rather erratic discussion of almost every conceivable topic of an extraneous character—the only part of his address which touched the real question at issue being that in which he avowed his determination to uphold this social injustice and political wrong in Ireland, because he regarded it as a barrier against his (Mr. Lucas's) religion, and as a means of depressing its activity in that country. Now, that might be a very good argument for the hon. and learned Gentleman, and no doubt it was urged most sincerely; but it surely could have no other influence upon the minds of Catholics—if it had any at all—than to induce them, equally as conscientiously on their parts, to persevere steadfastly in an exactly opposite direction to that of the hon. and learned Gentleman. But that species of argument had no weight with him at all; and he could frankly assert that, even when he himself belonged to the Protestant community, he entertained precisely the same convictions upon this question as had long been entertained and avowed with regard to it by every enlightened Protestant, and by almost all the leading Members of the present Government, and also of the Opposition. The question really lay in a nutshell. Could any Member of that House place his hand upon his heart, and say, as an honest man and upon his conscience, if the case were his own, that he would sit content under this injustice, or submit to have the stigma of social and political degradation and inferiority stamped upon him; and that he would not rather, if he had the spirit of a man, come forward and openly declare that he knew no reason why his religion should subject him to such an odious brand; and that he should do his utmost to have it speedily effaced? The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) talked of the constitution, and quoted a document, but did not tell by whom it was written, shrewdly recognising the maxim, Omne ignotum pro magnifico, for very probably it was better for the hon. and learned Gentleman to have left that point shrouded in darkness; but on the authority of some anonymous writer on the Continent, they had been told that the partisans of despotism had declared themselves very well satisfied with the change of government which had lately taken place in France, because, wherever Parliamentary government prevailed, there the Catholic Church was attacked, and wherever despotism reigned, there it was protected. Well, was it to make them more ardent devotees of Parliamentary government that the hon. and learned Gentleman made use of his power in Parliament to endeavour to induce it to fix and maintain upon the Catholics of Ireland for ever the gross injustice under which they laboured? If any of these men were hostile to Parliamentary government, it was because they believed that under it their rights had been denied, their liberties impaired, and the education of their children retarded; and in order to wean them from such fatal paths the hon. and learned Gentleman inconsistently, by his counsels, sought to perpetuate and extend the feeling (in which, however, he would not succeed), which led men to appeal from petty tyrants to the Throne. He (Mr. Lucas) admired Parliamentary government in this, its home, where it was of native growth; he admired it also in other countries, wherever it was real, and not made the excuse for petty factions and miserable misgovernment. He thought genuine Parliaments the best of all form of government; and therefore it was that when they had several millions of Her Majesty's subjects, whose good or ill disposition towards Parliamentary institutions could not be a matter of indifference, he deprecated the House tampering with sentiments which he believed were deeply rooted in their minds, and furnishing them in their grievances with a motive which he (Mr. Lucas) did not believe would ever act upon the Catholics of Ireland; but which motive, at all events, both the reasoning and the sentiments of the hon. and learned Gentleman had a tendency to supply for the adoption of a course which, at any critical moment, would be most hostile to what that House and the Catholic Members equally desired. But he asked what was meant by the constitution? He agreed with that great statesman, Edmund Burke, that the constitution was not the mere outward form of returning certain gentlemen whom they called representatives to a body which they called a Parliament, and investing them with powers of government. What did they call the constitution in Ireland? The constitution in England was a means to an end. The means was representation, and the end was making the permanent, settled, and deep-rooted convictions of the people omnipotent in the management of public affairs; and that operation, notwithstanding all the defects and all the corruption of the representative system here, was manifest in the Government of England. But how stood the case as regarded Ireland? It stood thus: that despite the deep-rooted, fixed, permanent, irrevocable will of the Irish people, the monstrous iniquity of the Irish Church was in this year 1853 erect and triumphant. The constitution in Ireland meant that the permanent, settled, fixed, and irrevocable will of the people should be thwarted, refused, and denied, trampled on and insulted by generation after generation. The constitution in Ireland meant that the people should knock at the doors of Parliament in vain for justice. It meant an injustice under which no human beings could be induced to live except by military violence and physical force—a despotism which no religionists, no race, no class or description of men upon God's earth, neither Turk, nor Hindoo, nor Pagan, would endure for one moment, if they had the physical force to cast it off from them. For years the peo- ple of Ireland had endeavoured to get rid of this injustice; but their demands had been rejected with contempt and insult, and they had been told that because there were a hundred Gentlemen returned to that House by a process which was called representation, they had the blessing of the British constitution, which in England meant the accomplishment of the will of the people, but which in Ireland meant exactly the reverse. The House would not expect him to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman who last spoke into all the topics embraced in his speech. If the hon. and learned Gentleman wished for an inquiry into the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholics in Ireland, or into the connexion between the Holy See and the clergy, or between the latter and the laity, there was no reason why his curiosity should not be gratified. There was nothing to conceal or be ashamed of. By all means, therefore, let an inquiry be instituted if necessary; but do not make this threatened investigation, which, after all, was a mere bugbear to frighten children with, an occasion for refusing justice to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Frequent reference had been made in the course of the debate to the oath taken by the Roman Catholic Members on entering Parliament. Well, let the subject of that oath be brought forward in a regular manner—let a substantive Motion be founded upon it, and let it be discussed by itself; but do not make it an instrument for civilly, and in the most courteous language, taunting the Irish Members with indifference to the most solemn obligations. That was not the way in which any Gentleman who came to take his part in a deliberative assembly like this ought to be treated. Before consenting to stand as a candidate for Meath, he took occasion to study the oath in question; and he had perfectly satisfied himself that on a Motion like the present, which was clearly demanded by the highest interests of the State itself, there was nothing in the oath to induce or compel him to give a vote which was hostile to what he believed to be the true interests of the country, to betray his duty to Her Majesty, to whom he was bound to give the best advice he could, or to prove a recreant to the land which he was sworn to serve. Allusion had likewise been made to the Act of Union, and the only Member of the Government who had spoken during the course of the debate, had read to them a lesson on agitation, which he thought did not come well or wisely from one of Her Majesty's Ministers. Many Members of the Government were pledged to the full extent of what was demanded by the Motion now before the House; but they found it inconvenient to carry their pledges into execution, and at all events they would find it difficult to reconcile their conduct to-night with their political antecedents. Their spokesman on this occasion was the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir John Young), and his answer to the Motion was, that this was a bad time to bring forward such a measure. If, said he, there was a certain amount of disturbance in the country—if society was disorganised, and crime stalked through the land unchecked by the ordinary operations of the law—if the Government had great political and social difficulties to contend with, and had been obliged to come down to this House with a Coercion Act, and if the Church itself was in danger—then, quoth the right hon. Baronet, Her Majesty's Ministers might come down and offer to compound with the malcontents, giving up a portion of the monstrous Establishment in order to save the remainder. That was the doctrine of Ministers; that was the wisdom and statesmanship which shone out upon poor benighted Ireland from the Cabinet of "All the Talents." But the statement of the Chief Secretary, it was worthy of notice, had not been supported or followed up by any other Member of the Government. In the Biography of Lord George Bentinck, written by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, the hon. Baronet was described as having upon one occasion occupied the position of a "disavowed plenipotentiary." It was true Her Majesty's Ministers had, by their silence, adopted his statement; but the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University, the hon. Member for West Surrey, the hon. and learned Gentleman who last spoke, and other hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, who considered themselves identified with the interests of the Established Church in Ireland, had disclaimed his sentiments; and now the right hon. Baronet, for the second time, as far as those independent Members were concerned, stood in the position of a "disavowed plenipotentiary." He frankly confessed that he believed the opponents of the Motion would have a majority tonight. He was not, however, disheartened; on the contrary, he was greatly encouraged. They were at the beginning of this discussion, and not at the end of it. The division of to-night would commence probably a long and arduous, but certainly a successful campaign; and if he wanted a reason for something more than certainty, he would find it in the speech of the President of the Board of Control on the income tax. That right hon. Gentleman told him that the one thing which reconciled him above all others to the imposition of the income tax upon Ireland was, that equality in the fiscal relations between the two countries would bring about all kinds v of equality, and that a new era was about to begin for Ireland. He believed those words to be true; and although there was perhaps a little bit of Ministerial no-meaning about them when uttered, still they had a great deal of meaning in his mind and in the minds of those who acted with him. If there was one thing which sweetened to his mind the fiscal injustice which they were about to perpetrate, or which he might say they had perpetrated, in the imposition of the income tax upon Ireland, it was, that by the removal of a pretended financial inequality, and by making it clear that Ireland was taxed the same as England, they put it in the power of the Irish representatives to come with a loftier do-termination into that House, and say that if they would make the taxes of Ireland equal to those of England, they should put her institutions on a similar footing. The right hon Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in bringing forward his Budget, spoke of the income tax as a "colossal engine of finance." He admitted that the income tax was a colossal engine of finance, and something more. It was an engine which would smite not only the pockets of the people of Ireland, but which would strike down, by repeated blows, if necessary, every social and political injustice which the oppression and tyranny of England had perpetuated in past ages, which would break through the bonds and manacles with which Ireland had so long been fettered, and leave not a shred of the tyranny of England upon Ireland existing to tell the tale of the past to the future generation.


Sir, I am anxious to state my reasons for voting against this Motion; and after the speech to which the House has just listened, I do not think I shall find much difficulty in performing that task. The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) has perfectly kept his word to the House; he has frankly stated his opinions; and those opinions may be dealt with instead of the Motion of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore), or the speech in which it was introduced. Laying aside every question with regard to inquiry into a number of circumstances that are sufficiently known already, or which, if not sufficiently known, may be learned in the library by any one who chooses to consult the returns presented to Parliament on the subject—laying aside every question of such sort of inquiry, or the results which are to be brought out before the Select Committee, the hon. Gentleman does not conceal that this is a Motion aimed directly at the abolition of the Irish Church. The object may be a good and praiseworthy one; but at all events in the speech of the hon. Gentleman it is not a concealed one; and that, therefore, is the Motion with which we have to deal. Now, Sir, before I deal with that Motion at all, let me say that I think the hon. Gentleman in his statement of the condition to which he says the Irish people are reduced by the existence of that Church, goes far, very far indeed, beyond and beside the question. The hon. Gentleman says that the Roman Catholics are in a state of social and political degradation. Now, Sir, that statement I entirely deny. I do not allow there is any political degradation—because, with very few exceptions indeed, every political honour, every political distinction, is open to the Roman Catholic, as it is open to the Protestant. The seats in this House have been opened; the highest honours of the State, with one or two exceptions, may be attained by Roman Catholics, who may obtain, on the one hand, the confidence of the electors of the country, or who may obtain, on the other, the favour of the Government. Neither is there, as matters at present stand, any social inequality of which Roman Catholics have to complain. Those inequalities which formerly were, we admit, inequalities which tended to degradation, have been removed in later years. The hon. Gentleman finds fault with those who preceded him—the Roman Catholics of former times—who expressed their gratitude for the relaxations made by Parliament in favour of the Roman Catholics. I own I have been accustomed rather to admire than to blame the fervent zeal and loyalty with which, even in the worst of times, the Roman Catholics came forward to defend this land, knowing they were debarred from its honours and offices, and the generosity with which, in any period of peril, they were apt to stand forward to declare their loyalty to the Crown and their attachment to the country to which they belong, and not merely by words, by, by gallant deeds in arms, to prove the loyalty and attachment. It may have bee a fault, but if so, the hon. Gentleman need not be afraid of its repetition; for, instead of an exuberance of gratitude, the greatest concessions made by Parliament, the largest admissions to our offices and seats in Parliament, have been met by revilings and reproaches, which rather seem to show that some, at least, of the Roman Catholics of the present day wish to prove how much they differ from their ancestors, and that they wish to make up for that exuberance of loyalty and attachment to their country in those former days. My belief, however, is, that the hon. Gentleman, and those who have spoken with him to-night, while they represent some of those who carry to an extreme the political doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, do not represent the great body of the Roman Catholic people. My right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland (Sir John Young), has been misrepresented as saving that indeed it might be desirable to enter into some inquiry upon this subject, if there was a great pressure and agitation upon it: the meaning of my right hon. Friend, I believe, was, that if the intelligence of the Roman Catholic body in Ireland in general—if the intellectual part of the community in England as well as in Ireland generally—complained of a grievance, there would be more cause for inquiry than at present it can be contended there is. But having treated of those political and social inequalities of which the hon. Gentleman complained, I will now come to that which I admit exists—that to which the Motion of to-night relates—namely, the ecclesiastical inequality that exists in Ireland. It is not a religious inequality, because, with respect to religion, the exercise of religious worship is as free to the Roman Catholic as to the Protestant; but, as regards ecclesiastical revenues, there is no doubt a state of law in Ireland, by which, the endowments of the State are given to the minority, and the majority of the people share none of the benefits of these revenues. For my own part I could wish, in treating of this question, that the hon. Gentleman and those who think with him, were entirely free from some of those bars and restrictions which have been imposed upon them in the debate of this night; for my part I could wish that there was nothing in the oaths taken by Members of Parliament which should preclude Roman Catholics from discussing subjects of this kind—from asking, if they thought proper, for the total abolition of the Established Church of Ireland, and voting for its subversal and suppression as a political question as freely as they could vote upon any other question. For my part, I consider that these are matters that ought to be freely debated in Parliament, and I am exceedingly sorry that any oath taken at this table should stand in the way of their free discussion. I think likewise that that argument with respect to the union of Ireland—though, no doubt, it is a matter for consideration—should not be pushed too far in an argument on this subject. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis), says there is a compact between the two nations, and that a bargain was entered into for the maintenance of the Established Protestant Church. I think that, although you entered into that compact, that agreement, if it be clear that the great body of the people of Ireland, if the intelligence and wishes of the people are in favour of a change in that respect, there is nothing in the Act of Union itself which should prevent your making a change in favour of the people of Ireland in respect to an article which was intended for the benefit of Ireland. So much for those considerations which might prevent us from coming to a fair argument and a fair decision upon this question. But I may say further, that, for my part, I do not wish to hear any of those inquiries which the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite alluded to with respect to any relations which may subsist between Roman Catholics and the head of their Church in a foreign country. I am satisfied that Roman Catholics should have and enjoy all the privileges they at present enjoy, and all the funds or endowments granted, whether by Parliament or otherwise, should be maintained to them; and for my own part I do not wish at all to interfere with the freest liberty and enjoyment by them of all the advantages they possess; and when I say this, I do not say anything exceedingly liberal; but I am, at all events, saying more than any Roman Catholic would say with regard to Protestant endowments. But when we come to this practical question, whether or not we should mane some very great change with respect to the Established Church in Ireland, I must own that, with respect to that great subject, the experience we have had of late years should not be lost upon us. It has not been lost upon me. With reference to this question, I thought some years ago it would be of great advantage—that it would tend to peace and concord—if a part of the revenues now given to the Established Church of Ireland had been applied to purposes of education, in which persons of all religious denominations might have participated; but I found in course of the discussions, both in Parliament and in the country, neither side was willing to consent to such a compromise, and, while one side steadily and honestly resisted all that spoliation, as they considered it, of the property of the Established Church, the other as steadily required the total abolition of the revenues of that Church. I was obliged, therefore, to consider what course Parliament should take, how better promote contentment among the people of Ireland; how it could remedy that which was alleged as a grievance; and I am sorry to think, that while I cannot hold that the present state of things is, in its apparent arrangement, satisfactory, I see the greatest difficulties, the greatest objections—more than that, I see no small peril—in the alterations that have been proposed. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last, as I understood him, said, "Let us have equality; whatever mode you please to take to attain that, I shall be content with it, provided it is equality." There are only two modes obviously in which ecclesiastical equality—for that is the important question—can be attained. The one is the total abolition of the revenues of the Established Church of Ireland. I am not prepared to take that course. I never shall be willing to consent to the total abolition of the revenues of the Established Church of Ireland. Putting aside the great change it would make—the violation of engagements it would make—setting aside these matters—I cannot but think that you could not abolish the revenues of the Established Church of Ireland without striking at the root of ecclesiastical endowments, and violating the great principle upon which all our endowments are founded. That may be a wrong principle—I mean the principle of ecclesiastical endowments; but it is one I am in favour of—which has been hitherto maintained by the Parliament of this country, and I cannot believe that you could abolish it in Ireland without leading in other parts of the United Kingdom to a similar abolition. Then let us consider whether the second course is open—whether we can make any new distribution of the revenues at present of the Established Church; and by dividing them according to number, you will give by far the greater part of those revenues to the Roman Catholic Church. In so doing you would be acting according to principle—according to the principle you have adopted in other cases, as the late Mr. O'Connell frequently put the contrast before us—as you have the Presbyterian religion in Scotland, so you would have the Roman Catholic religion endowed in Ireland. Now, if the Roman Catholic Church resembled the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, although it would not he just that the Roman Catholics should have, as the Presbyterians in Scotland have, a national Church entirely devoted to them, yet, I can imagine that a large endowment should be given to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland; but, unfortunately, ecclesiastical equality would not be thereby increased. It has been but too evident of late years, that the Roman Catholic Church—looking to its proceedings in foreign countries—looking to its proceedings in this country—looking to that Church, acting under the direction of its head, himself a foreign Sovereign, has aimed at political power; and, having aimed at political power, it appears to me to be at variance with a due attachment to the Crown of this country—with a due attachment to the general cause of liberty—with a due attachment to the duties that a subject of the State should perform towards the State. Now, as I wish to speak with as much frankness as the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, let me not be misunderstood as saying that this character belongs generally to the lay members of the Roman Catholic Church. I am far from saying so. I am far from denying that there are many Members of this House, and many members of the Roman Catholic persuasion, both in this country and in Ireland, who are attached to the Throne and to the liberties of this country; but what I am saying, and that of which I am convinced, is, that if the Roman Catholic clergy had increased power given to them, and if they, as ecclesiastics, were to exercise greater control and greater political influence than they do now, that power would not be exercised in accordance with the general freedom that prevails in this country; and that neither in respect to political circumstances nor upon other subjects would they favour that general freedom of discussion and that activity and energy of the human mind that belong to the spirit of the constitution of this country. I do not think that in that respect they are upon a par with the Presbyterians of Scotland. The Presbyterians of Scotland, the Wesleyans of this country, and the Established Church of this country and of Scotland, all no doubt exercise a certain influence over their congregations; but that influence which they thus exercise over their congregations must be compatible with a certain freedom of the mind—must be compatible with a certain spirit of inquiry—which the ministers of these churches do not dare to overstep, and which, if they did overstep it, that influence would be destroyed. I am obliged, then, to conclude—most unwillingly to conclude, but most decidedly—that the endowment of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland in the place of the endowment of the Protestant Church in that country, in connexion with the State, is not an object which the Parliament of this country ought to adopt or to sanction. Sir, these opinions of mine may lead to conclusions unpalatable to many who belong to the Roman Catholic Church. They may lead to a persistance in a state of things that I quite admit to be anomalous and unsatisfactory; but I am obliged, as a Member of this Parliament, to consider—and to consider most seriously in the present state of the world—that which is best adapted to maintain the freedom and permanence of our institutions. I must look around me at what is passing elsewhere. I must see what is taking place in Belgium. I must see what is taking place in Sardinia and in various countries of Europe. I must regard the influence which, if not exercised, has been attempted to be exercised, in the United Kingdom of late years. Seeing these things, I give my decided resistance to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman for the abolition of the Established Church in Ireland, upon the principles which I have stated, and which appear to me to be conclusive against the Motion.


said, he was sorry that he had not been present during the whole of the debate, but he was still more sorry at having heard the speech of the noble Lord who had just sat down. He did not know how the noble Lord viewed his past political career in connexion with this great subject, nor what hopes the country were to entertain with regard to his present and his future course. But he must say that no Minister calling himself a liberal Minister, had, during the last twenty years, spoken in that House in a sense so entirely adverse to all those opinions which had been supposed to distinguish Liberal from Tory Governments during that period. He noticed, too, that the noble Lord on this occasion, as on some other recent occasions, had been cheered with great enthusiasm by those Gentlemen who sat exactly opposite to him; and that those by whom he was surrounded—at least those who sat behind him, and who generally supported him—had listened with silence, and he suspected with disapprobation, if not with dismay, to the opinions which he had that night expressed. He knew not whether this question of the Irish Church was to be considered an open question in the Government. A question affecting the Church of England, discussed a few nights ago, was evidently an open question, because several Members of the Government voted against the noble Lord. The noble Lord had not fairly met the question now before the House. The Motion, so far as he had read it, was precisely that kind of Motion which the noble Lord, of all men in the House, might have been expected to support; but he preferred—rather than deal with the Motion in its terms, which was merely that a Select Committee should be appointed to ascertain whether the ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland were advantageous to the Irish people—he preferred, rather than deal with that Motion, to assume that every person who had defended it, was in favour of the total abolition of the Protestant Church in Ireland; and then, instead of agreeing to that which would have led at least to some better arrangement in Ireland, he came to the conelusion not to move the previous question—not to abstain from a total denial of any justice, or any measure of justice—but he boldly declared against the Motion altogether, and met it by a direct negative. The noble Lord had made no defence of the Irish Church. He thought there was no man in the House who differed at all from the opinions of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis) who would undertake to defend the Irish Church; but the noble Lord warned the House, that if it allowed these principles to be mooted, and still more to be adopted and established on the other side of the Channel, it would be very difficult to maintain the principle of Church Establishment in England. Well, they all knew that to be true; and they knew, of course, that that was one great reason why many persons in the House and out of it refused to do justice to the Irish people on the question. But what a miserable picture was thus drawn of the Established Church of England! Upon what a rotten and decaying foundation it must be placed if they were afraid that the concession of a measure of justice to Ireland, would before long involve measures of a similar character with regard to England! The noble Lord seemed to fancy that statesmanship consisted simply in the preservation of institutions. Now it appeared to him (Mr. Bright) that statesmanship of a higher order consisted in the maintenance of institutions which are just in themselves, which are found to work advantageously, which are adapted to the people and the times in which they live, and in which they are discussed. But it might be an act of the most anarchical and revolutionary character to maintain institutions which are not just, and which the whole nation have over and over again expressed their absolute opinion against. Now, if the noble Lord's argument should be adopted by the House—and it was so cheered by hon. Gentlemen opposite that he presumed they would adopt it—that the Irish Church must not be touched, lest it should endanger the permanence of the Church of England—he would ask was there ever, in that House or out of it, from the platforms of Ireland, from the newspaper press of Ireland—was there ever, in the most agitated times in that country, a more powerful argument used in favour of a proposition which had been supported in Ireland heretofore, that the Union between this country and that should be abolished? If this kingdom of Great Britain, powerful in population, in wealth, and in the combination of all its people, was to inflict upon a smaller island and its smaller population a great injustice like this, and to maintain that injustice on the ground that it would affect some of the institutions of this country, were he an Irishman, nothing but the impracticability of carrying the proposition would for one single moment keep him from being as zealous a repealer of the Union as that island had ever produced. He should be ashamed of being a citizen of a nation united with a more powerful nation, with institutions thrust upon his country, which that country, if left to itself, would reject—he should be ashamed to bow to those institutions merely for fear some other institution in that more powerful country might possibly be endangered if justice was done to the weaker country. When the Canada Clergy Re-serves Bill was discussed in that House during the present Session, the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of the Board of Works (Sir W. Molesworth) and other speakers urged that we were bound in no small degree to concede that measure to the Canadian people, because repeatedly in the Canadian Parliament, by the votes of the Canadian representatives, the opinions of the Canadian people had been declared in favour of that Bill. Hon. Gentlemen who represented Ireland were not now, it was true, sitting in an Irish Parliament on College-green—If they were, two-thirds of them would vote in favour of this Motion. But if they were sitting here instead of there, was it not incumbent on English Members, and on a Government affecting to govern Ireland equally as well as Great Britain, to take into consideration most seriously the evident opinion of the Irish people, as represented by the Irish Members in that House? The noble Lord talked of there being something or other—he did not clearly describe what—which indicated that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were not altogether so attached to the Crown of this country as they might be; but he (Mr. Bright) would point the noble Lord to a country where Catholics were as loyal to the constitution as the Protestants were in this country. Instead of going to Belgium, to Sardinia, and to Austria, he would ask the noble Lord to look at the United States of America, and to point out any single fact, or any single opinion, tending to show that the Catholics of the United States are not as strongly attached to their republican institutions as the Protestants of this country are to their institutions—and for this simple reason—that there Catholics and Protestants were not known in the State and by the Government as such, but were treated all alike, as citizens of the same country equally obeying the same laws, looked upon precisely with the same favour, and treated in every way with the same measure of equal justice. The noble Lord had adverted to the Catholic prelates in Ireland, and to the fact that some persons there and elsewhere in that Church were not favourable to freedom of thought. But he should like to know what was the case with the noble Lord's own Church? Did not the noble Lord recollect that through the whole of his political life, almost up to this hour, he himself had been contending against the political opinions and political combinations of the prelates, and clergy, and professors of his own Church; and that if he, and those who acted with him, had conceded everything that the prelates and the clergy of the Church of England had wished, there would have been in this country no measure of liberty of which we could for a moment have boasted to the world. The noble Lord said that the proposition to redistribute the ecclesiastical revenues of Ireland, and to endow the Roman Catholic Church, was a question of a very serious character. He (Mr. Bright) was not one of those who advocated the endowment of any Church; but the noble Lord, and a portion of those who now acted with him, had expressed opinions different from those they now held, and in favour of giving stipends to the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. Whence, therefore, arose the inconsistency which was so apparent in the noble Lord? No doubt because he was associated in the Government with Gentlemen who would find it extremely difficult to agree upon a question of this kind:—but the noble Lord's political character and reputation ought to be dear to himself, and he (Mr. Bright) said, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland would be worthy of the contempt of the world if, with such an ecclesiastical arrangement in Ireland, they did not attempt to correct it. He would say that the Roman Catholic liberal Members of Ireland would be unworthy of a seat in any senate in the world if they did not protest against the monstrous injustice inflicted on their country. He suspected that all Churches, if the truth were known, were not particularly favourable to civil liberty; and he did not think that any Church hound up in union with the State ever encouraged that State or any State to grant increased civil liberty to the people. The reason why in this country the Church appeared to be, and was to a large extent, more tolerant than many others was, because the people had gained greater civil power, and had by slow degrees and incessant conflict subjected in some measure the Church and the clergy to a more wholesome public opinion. If any man complained that in Ireland Catholic prelates and priests had too much power over the people, he (Mr. Bright) attributed that entirely to the fact that for a long period the legislation of that House had bound priest and people together in one bond, and had done much to subject the people to whatever there was of unwholesome influence on the part of the priests. At the present moment it was impossible for any impartial person to travel through Ireland, and not perceive that there was one question which poisoned all the social relations of that country. Whether in the elections or in any other matter, political or social, this one question of the Church Establishment was the pestilent and poisonous question in Ireland, and made it as impossible now as for the last 200 years that that country should be in the possession of tranquillity and contentment, which every man, he hoped, in that House would wish to prevail there. The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) said they might have a long, an arduous, but he believed it would be a successful, struggle. Now, if he (Mr. Bright) might give a piece of advice to Irish liberal Members, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, it would be that they should make this question of religious equality in Ireland the cardinal question in their political movements. Were he a Roman Catholic, he would not come into that House and let any occasion slip of denouncing the insult offered to his Church and his country. He said to the Irish Members, Let their measures be practical—let them bring all the information they had on the question before the House and before the people of England; and though at present there existed a feeling adverse to giving complete liberty to the Roman Catholics of Ireland and England, yet they might rely on it these fevers would pass away, and calmer and better times would come. Let the Irish Members still join the English liberal Members in all they attempted to do for the common liberties of England and Ireland, and they might be sure, despite of the noble Lord, and despite of the Government, which could not agree probably on a question like this, there was goodness and there was greatness enough in the people of this country yet to consent to a measure of full justice to Ireland.


said, that as a Roman Catholic Member, he could not permit the speech of the noble Lord the leader of that House to pass without observation. He had felt the deepest disappointment at that speech; for he certainly had not expected to hear the tone and arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside) adopted to some extent by the representative of the Government. He had heard from the noble Lord that which he conceived to be an insult to the venerated clergy of his Church, and also to a considerable extent to the Roman Catholic Members of that House. The noble Lord had argued that the Irish Church Establishment was not to be interfered with, not because it was wise, just, or beneficial to support it; but because there was a spirit abroad which the noble Lord-alleged induced Roman Catholics and the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church to give political power to a foreign Sovereign, and to interfere with the constitution of this country. He felt called on entirely to deny that statement; and, in support of his denial, he appealed to the experience of the twenty-four years during which Roman Catholics had been Members of that House. He did not deny that the Roman Catholic clergy exercised in the election of Members of Parliament considerable influence; but judge of the mode in which that influence had been exerted by the conduct of Roman Catholic representatives. He appealed to twenty-four years' experience in the House, and if the noble Lord the Member for the City of London had remained in his place, he would have appealed to him, and asked whether, since the year 1829, when Roman Catholics were first admitted into the House, every Roman Catholic vote had not been invariably given in favour of civil and religious liberty? If he was wrong in that opinion, his argument would fail; but, recollecting the history of the last twenty-four years, he made the appeal with confidence, because he felt assured that the Roman Catholic Members of the House had ever been supporters of civil and religious liberty; and he defied hon. Members to contradict that assertion. He did not understand what fanciful fear haunted the mind of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, or what, caused him to hold the opinion that the Roman Catholics should be deprived of any political privilege, for fear of that privilege being used to serve the purposes of some foreign potentate. He was well persuaded that no subjects of the Crown would be more ready to resist any attack upon our constitution, or to prevent any undue or foreign political influence being exercised. Their past consistent career fully justified the expectation. He had listened attentively to the whole of the debate—at first without any intention of himself taking part in it—and he must say that he had not heard one single argument against; the Motion before the House, while he had heard a great many in favour of it. In the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen, he had not only heard no argument against the Motion, but he had heard a most powerful one in favour of it. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated that from the time of Bishop Boulter down to a recent period, the Protestant Church in Ireland had been a scene of virulent corruption. Bishops had been appointed on account of their ignorance or stupidity, or as a political reward. He appealed to the Protestant Members of the House if a stronger argument could be brought forward against the continuance of a system which had led to such results? What, he would ask, was it that had brought degradation upon the Church in Ireland? It was—and he spoke without any feeling of hostility—the existence of that enormous and corrupting Establishment that could not be in reason supported. Hon. Gentlemen adverse to the Motion, had advanced another argument which required to be noticed. It had been said that by the articles of the Union they were prohibited from raising this question; but that surely was not a well-founded argument—nor could it be truly said that Parliamentary action was in any way trammelled. There were many other points which had fallen from the noble Lord and from hon. Members on the other side, to which he should have wished to reply; but seeing the lateness of the hour, he would no longer trespass upon the attention of the House.


said, that although the hon. Member for Meath and the hon. Member for Manchester had not left anything unanswered which had been stated in opposition to the Motion which he had ventured to bring before the House, still, as allusion had been made to him, he hoped that he might be permitted to say a few words in vindication of his Motion. However hon. Members had disagreed in their views upon this question, there appeared to be an unanimous impression, that to institute an inquiry into the Irish Church Establishment would be synonymous with the subversion of the establishment. Now, he was not prepared to say that that might not be the result of his Motion, but he denied that any such consequence was necessarily implied. It had been asserted that his proposition was to leave the inquiry to twenty-four Roman Catholic priests and Archbishop Tuam; whereas what he proposed really was that the matter should be left to the consideration of ft Parliament containing a majority of Protestant Members; and if that resulted in the subversion of the Church Establishment, it would surely be allowed that that establishment was considered undesirable even by Protestants. He did not consider that it necessarily followed that because he was seeking to reform the Church Establishment in Ireland, he was therefore seeking to overturn the Church in this empire. Many persons believed that the corruption of the Church in Ireland actually endangered the existence of the Church in these realms; and it was not to be said that because he was endeavouring to purge it from that corruption he was seeking to impair the Established Church. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University said, that the Church in England and the Church in Ireland ought to be considered as two parts constituting a whole. He quite agreed with that opinion; but at the same time he considered that the Irish Church was the diseased part, and that by curing it or eradicating it altogether, the whole would be considerably improved. The hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen had advanced one of the most extraordinary arguments he had ever heard. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that the voluntary system was a source of evil to the community; and yet he proposed that that system should be retained for seven-eighths of the population. With regard to the observation of the noble Lord, that the Irish people had not only proved ungrateful for services rendered to them by the people of this country, but that they had repaid them with abuse, he would only say that, according to his judgment, such was not the case. The noble Lord had libelled the whole Catholic population of Ireland, and then he presumed to insult them by paying them a compliment at the expense of their clergy. He told them that the Catholic clergy were not the friends of religious liberty; but he (Mr. Moore) should like to know how religious liberty ever would have been attained in Ireland without the Catholic clergy? If it was true, as had been said, that the Irish Liberal Members were returned by the Catholic priests, he asked whether they had ever shown themselves to be the enemies of civil and religious liberty? Was there a question affecting civil and religious liberty that they and the Catholic clergy had not supported, and that the Protestant established clergy had not sternly opposed? He trusted that as the state of facts admittedly called for inquiry, an investigation would be granted.

Question put. The House divided:—Ayes 98; Noes 260: Majority 162.

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