Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [13th June],
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to alter and amend the Laws relating m tile Temporalities of the Church in Irelan4, and to increase the means of religions instruction and church accommodation for Her Majesty's Irish subjects.
§ Question again proposed. Debate resumed,
§ SIR JOHN YOUNG
said, he deeply regretted that the hon. and learned Gentleman had thought proper to drag this question again into the arena of debate in 1139 that House. It was one which had for nearly ten years occupied the attention of parties in Parliament and throughout the country, and with regard to which differences of opinion had run to great length, the controversy having been carried on with animation, and even acerbity. In the Course of these years various Acts of Parliament had been passed, and various concessions made, and compromises entered into, with the full approval of the leading statesmen on both sides; and he had therefore hoped that the settlement thus arrived at would have lasted for one generation at least. However, it seemed that no concessions and no adjustment of mooted points were to be allowed to stand in the tray of the constant, fruitless, and mischievous agitation of this question. The hon. and learned Gentleman had commenced his statement in favour of his Motion by quoting the opinions of several high authorities (Lord Grey, Lord Althorn, and others), who had at various periods expressed opinions extremely unfavourable to the existence of the Established Church in Ireland; but it must be observed that the opinions in question were expressed, many of them, at a very distant date, and given under a totally different state of things from that which now existed, and, therefore, they did not apply to the Established Church in Ireland in its present altered position. In fact, the learned Serjeant had dug up, as it were from the grave, Opinions upon a state of things which the authors of those opinions had themselves proposed and carried through Parliament measures for remedying. He repeated exaggerated statements of the opulence of the Irish Church—now, when we possessed most accurate statistics on the subject, while those statements referred to guesses, rather than calculations mad, when no such statistics existed—and he entirely ignored the deductions which had since been made from the church revenues. These authorities, in reference to present circumstances, had no weight whatever in this argument. He (Sir J. Young) now came to the plan proposed by the learned Gentleman, which was this. The learned Gentleman stated the revenues of the Irish Established Church at 622,000l. a year, comprising:—The in come of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, derived principally from the revenues of suppressed sees, suspended benefices, tax on bishoprics, &c., 95,000l..; income of 1140 archbishops and bishops, 68,000l.; parochial clergy, 438,000l.; revenues of dignitaries, 12,000l.; prebendaries and canons, 10,000l.: making a total of 623,000l. The learned Serjeant proposed to take from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners 35,000l. a year, now applied to cost of sacramental elements and salaries of clerks and sextons, formerly defrayed front the vestry cess. He also proposed to gain from the incomes of bishops 32,000l. He next proposed to suspend 395 benefices in the provinces of Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam, because they contained but a small number of Protestants, and expected to realise front this source 50,000l.; and by the reduction of the salaries of clerks in the Commissioners' office, a further stun of 2,000l.; making altogether a reduction of 229,000l. Out of this, he would relieve the parochial clergy from the charge for maintaining their own curates, which would make a deduction of 60,000l., thus leaving 169,000l. to be distributed in certain proportions between Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. Now, if he (Sir J. Young) could show that the learned Member had greatly overstated the property of the Irish Established Church, and likewise that in respect to other resources which he proposed to economise he was well nigh 160,000l. wrong in his calculations, he thought he should have pretty well disposed of the hon. Gentleman's plan—and that he need not go much further. Statements were made many years ago in that House, that the income of the Irish Church amounted to millions annually, and that representation was generally credited. But when Lord Althorn brought in his plan, in 1838, he disabused the House and the country of the erroneous and exaggerated impression, said he felt ashamed that error should have prevailed to such an extent, and that the House would be surprised when he told them, after careful inquiry, that the revenues of the Church in Ireland, on an outside estimate, were under 800,000l. a year. The amounts he enumerated as follows, namely:—
From this was subsequently deducted about 70,000l. formerly leviable and levied as church cess, but which was abolished, and 1141 a substitute given out of the bishops' revenues, out of the ten sees suppressed. Afterwards, when the payment of tithes was charged on the owner of the land, 25 per cent of their amount was struck off—say one-quarter of the tithe composition, or about 121,696l. 5s. Without adverting to other charges, taxes, and deductions, which are numerous, the burthen of poor rate has been added since Lord Althorp's calculation was made; on a moderate estimate it is not less than 2s. in the 1l., or 10 per cent on the tithes and glebe lands:—
Bishops' revenues £130,000 Deans and chapters 23,606 The value of other benefices, tithes, &c., say 600,000 Making together £753,606
instead of 622,060l. as the learned Serjeant assumed, being a difference of no less than 105,000l., a sum which would go far to mar his calculations, and render his scheme valueless, that scheme being to endow the Homan Catholic Church with a large, and the Presbyterian with a small sum, both deducted from the Established Church. But, on this showing alone, the learned Serjeant fell short of the endowments proposed by 105,000l. a year—about two-thirds of all he calculated upon. He must remark, the learned Serjeant, like many other persons, appeared to confound the church lands with the Church, but this was a great mistake; the two things were perfectly distinct. The lands were in the hands of the tenants, and the Church had really no more interest in them, except the fines and the rents. This also was a question which some years ago had been fully debated in Parliament, and adjusted, and in consequence laws had been passed, under which many tenants on church lands had bought perpetuities, and all were enabled to buy perpetuities, which entirely barred the claims of the Church. He had thus argued, taking the statement on Lord Althorp's calculations, and on the basis on which in past time it had been argued in the House, and on which, after long debates and great heats, a settlement had, it was supposed, been arrived at. But now to deal with the plan of the learned Serjeant more in detail, and en his own data: he grasps a revenue, disposing of a small part of it for Presby- 1142 terian, a large part for Roman Catholic uses, in the following manner. He proposes to gain—
Taking, then, the amount of church income as stated by Lord Althorp £753,606 Deducting in lieu of church cess abolished £70,000 25 per cent of tithe deducted 121,000 Poor rate, &c 45,000 236,000 There remains an income of £517,000
1st. By a saving on the income of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; he would lessen the amount of their disbursements by throwing on the congregations the cost of providing the sacramental elements, books, surplices, clerks' and sextons' salaries, and in this way economise 35,000l.
2nd. By further reducing the incomes of the bishops lie would gain 32,000l.
3rd. He would gain 80,000l. in the provinces of Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam, where the Protestant population is small; but from this source he only estimates an eventual available surplus of 50,000l., leaving 30,000l. for stipends for the ministers of contiguous benefices, consolidated into groups, for curates in certain cases, and for repairs. He would still have left 50,000l.
4th. He proposed, after the death of the present incumbents, that no clergyman, except in a large town, should have a larger income than 4001.; and no beneficed clergyman in the rural districts a larger income than 300l. free of all taxes and deductions, and in addition to his glebe house, and twenty acres of land. He called attention to these conditions because they would show how egregiously the learned Serjeant was mistaken, and how absurdly he miscalculated when he hoped for a large income from this source, and calculated on so great an amount as 50,000l. a year. Lastly, he proposes to reduce the remuneration of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by 2,000l. a year. In this mode the learned Serjeant calculates on reinforcing the disposable resources in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners—
1st. By saving 35,000l., now expended on sacramental elements, &c.; by deductions of bishops' incomes, 32,000l.; abolishing certain benefices, 395 in number, 50.000l.; reducing livings to 400l. and 300l. respectively, 50,0001. a year more; and cutting down the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' incomes by 2,000l., making a total saving or gain of 169,000l. He would proceed to make some remarks on each of the heads stated, and endeavour to show, he trusted to the satisfaction of the House, how loosely the learned Serjeant's estimates had been made, how small were the grounds for calculating the surpluses he had assumed, and how mani- 1143 festly in some features the plea assumed the aspect of open violation of faith and direct spoliation. In dealing with these items, he would remark, 1st.—When the hon. Serjeant proposed to take part of the funds from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and throw upon the Protestant parishioners the burthen of making good the money so deducted, it appeared to him that a fairer proposition would have been to leave the funds in question untouched, and to ask Parliament to sanction the taxing the Protestant portion of the community just so much for Roman Catholic uses. That was in truth and reality the effect of the learned Serjeant's proposal; and it was exactly the same thing, whether you took money directly out of a man's pocket, or took the money devoted to special purposes, and told the man he must make it good out of his own purse as he best could. The learned Serjeant seemed to forget that when church cess was abolished, and the Roman Catholics relieved of the impost, it was thrown on the Church. Now, he proposed to take away the very funds which were originally allocated from the Church's own property, for the relief of Roman Catholic church cess payers, and leave the Protestants to make them good out of their own pockets. This seemed scarcely a fair proposal; it was a spoliation of the property of the Church—a fixing a fresh tax for Roman Catholic uses on the Protestants of Ireland, and a violation of the arrangements and trusts entered into under the Church Temporalities Act, many of whose objects had not yet. been completed, or ever commenced. From this source, without breach of faith, the learned Serjeant could derive no supplies.
2ndly. As to a further reduction of the incomes of the bishops, the learned Serjeant overstated that income. The actual income of the sees settled by the 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 37, is 54,358l. The learned Serjeant proposes to leave to the archbishops 4,000l.. a year each; to the bishops 2,500l.; in all 33,000l. a year: so that his total gain under this head would be 21,358l. a year instead of 32,000l. or 11,000l. less than he assumes.
3rdly. He would gain by suspending, or suppressing, the Protestant ordinances in 395 of the smaller livings. Now, throughout his argument, the hon, and learned Member professed that his proposition was not hostile to the Established Church in Ireland, and that his intention was to 1144 maintain that Church in an efficient state; but how did he intend to do this? Why, by depriving these 395 parishes of any means of ecclesiastical instruction. [Mr. Serjeant SHEE: No!] True, the hon. Member said that these were livings in which the Protestant population was very small in extent. Well, but for that very reason they were exactly those livings which, if their revenues were taken from them, would be the least able to subscribe for the support of the clergy, or the obtaining religious instruction for the Protestant inhabitants. Now he (Sir J. Young) must say that if the hon. and learned Gentleman were really a friend to the Established Church, and desirous of making it efficient for its objects, he could not conceive how that Church could receive a more fatal blow than would be sustained by the withdrawal of all means for affording religious instruction from these 395 poor parishes; and the most inveterate enemy of Protestantism in that country could not inflict a heavier injury on the Established Church than by adopting such a sweeping measure of mutilation. But would the learned Member gain the large sum he anticipated from these suppressed livings? If any provision at all was to be made in those parishes for religious instruction, it would be impossible to gain any such sum. But the hon. Member proposed to gain 50,000l. a year by reducing all benefices in certain parishes to 400l. a year, and in another class of smaller parishes to 300l.; but then he made no provision for the stipulation made in the Irish Church Temporalities Act of 1834, that all the small livings under 100l. a year should be augmented. Even before the deduction of 25 per cent and the imposition of the poor rate there were 200 such livings. So that by his proposition there would be a manifest breach of agreement; for up to the present moment he believed that none of these livings had been augmented. Besides, on other grounds the hon. Gentleman's calculations were erroneous, because throughout his statement he had taken the gross and not the net income as the basis of his calculations. For instance, he stated the parochial income at 438,000l., whereas it actually amounted to 357,000l.. Thus he was about 81,000l. short of his estimate in this particular alone. This he (Sir J. Young) asserted on the authority of Archdeacon Stopford's book, which he must 1145 say afforded a conclusive refutation of the hon. and learned Serjeant's statements. In order to show that the Irish Church was not so wealthy a body as it had been represented, he (Sir J. Young) would take the cases of five of the largest livings in Ireland which had fallen vacant since the establishment of the Board of Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The first of these was the union of St. Mary's, in the diocese of Ferns. The gross yearly value of the rents and glebe lands amounted to 1,080l. 8s. 7½d.; but after deducting visitation fees, payments for diocesan schools, masters, county cess, poor rates, and other charges, the net income was 637l. The next living was that of Kilmore, diocese of Armagh, of which the gross income was 1,824l., and the net income only 1,051l. The next case was the rectory of Armagh, where the gross income was 1,271l., and the net 766l. In a fourth case, the gross income was 1,370l., and the net only 850l.; and in the fifth case the gross income was 1,279l., and the net income only 720l. In these cases the deduction amounted to from 40 to 45 per cent; and if they applied the same scale of deduction, or even a scale of 30 per cent, to all other livings of 500l. and 600l. a year, what would become of the hon. Member's suns of 50,000l., which was to be obtained by fixing the incomes at a net 400l. and 300l. a year respectively? He (Sir J. Young) doubted if more than 7,000l. a year could be really saved by the hon. Member's proposition; and even this amount could not be obtained without the violation of the pledge given to increase the small livings under 100l. a year—a pledge which had never been redeemed. Accurately stated, the learned Serjeant's account would stand thus: From No. 1. The funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, without breach of faith—nothing! 2. Reduction of bishops' incomes, 11,000l. 3. From suspending or suppressing Protestant observances in 395 parishes—if the learned Serjeant's own statements and professions as to no wish to injure the Church are not to be wholly contravened—nothing. 4. Reductions of livings to 400l. and 300l. respectively, probable gain, 7,000l. 5. The salary of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners—their clerks not adverted to—there might or might not be a saving there, but let it be assumed at 2,000l., making in all 20,000l.; a rather meagre result, but the total and outside 1146 result of all the learned Serjeant's fond imaginings—and this on his own showing. The learned Member calculated that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners received 96,000l. a year, but that included the taxation on benefices, and other charges, which amounted to 47,000l. a year; which 47,000l. he might observe, the learned Serjeant had taken credit for twice over. He had also overstated the incomes of the bishops by 14,000l., and also overstated the incomes of the parochial clergy by 80,000l. This would reduce the hon. Members 169,000l. of estimated saving by 150,000l. It was easy, by dwelling on an income or a dignitary here or there, to raise the cry against the Established Church in Ireland; but all that such a proceeding really proved was that it was desirable that powers should be intrusted to the Church for the more equal distribution of its revenues, and for their more efficient management. But taking the scale, the moderate scale of remuneration which the learned Serjeant—an opponent and dissenter from the Church—was willing to leave to its ministers, it would be found that all the possessions of the Church were not more than adequate to afford that remuneration, and when the various charges, taxes, and deductions were correctly estimated, and fair, and only fair, allowance made, it would be found that the net income afforded little scope for hostile declamation or covetous demand. In the eyes of all but those who think a Church should not exist at all, it affords but scanty hire to a body of clergymen sufficiently numerous to supply the exigencies of so wide an area of parishes. He (Sir J. Young) must say, that he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman had chosen a most unpropitious time for bringing forward this Motion, especially considering the present state of public feeling and some of the votes recently come to in that House. He thought that Parliament ought to wait and see the full working and effect of the Acts passed between the years 1830 and 1840. He believed that parties generally in this country had expressed their final opinion upon this question, and he did not think that the learned Gentleman could anticipate any successful result to emanate from a proposition which went to upset and entirely annul the arrangements that had been made under the sanction of the highest authorities and the leading statesmen of the time—which also had been assented to by the Irish 1147 Church upon conditions which had not yet been fulfilled. The measure was, in his opinion, wholly uncalled for, and its tendency, if adopted, would only be to weaken the position of the Established Church, without satisfying the demands of anybody, whilst it must fail to ensure peace for a single hour.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
said, he would deny that there could be any finality in partial legislation upon this subject. No man knew what calamities the present war might not bring forth; and his belief was, that the moment a great calamity occurred, a very different tone would be adopted on this subject, and the doctrine of finality would be upset. If he voted at all, he should give a vote directly against the Bill of hon. and learned Member (Mr. Serjeant Shee), for he had never given a vote in that House to endow in any way whatever his own Church. He was a thorough voluntary in religious matters, and always should be. At the same time, he was willing enough to strike down the monstrous abuse of an Irish Protestant Church. The only measure he wanted on this subject was, that the Irish Church Establishment should cease to exist, and he wanted no modification of it, although he was willing to preserve all existing and inchoate rights and interests.
§ MR. NAPIER
said, that the Bill of the learned Serjeant proposed to transfer somewhat more than 100,000l. a year from the Established Church in Ireland to the Church of Rome, of which the hon, and learned Gentleman was himself a member; and he had told the House that by such an arrangement they would secure great blessings to the empire, attach the members of the Church of Rome to the Constitution of England and the Protestants of Ireland, and that nothing but peace, order, and good-will would be known for the rest of our lives. Surely, if the loyalty of the Roman Catholics of Ireland were a loyalty of principle—the loyalty of a Christian Church dependent upon Christian principle—it would not be brought into the market and converted into a mere money merchandise. But. the real object of the learned Serjeant was the gradual subversion of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland, and not the settlement of a. matter of finance. A murder might be committed by the stiletto as well as by the sword, by slow as well as by violent means. He (Mr. Napier) regarded the question not as 1148 a question of numbers, figures, or finance, but as a question of principle and of truth. He held the Church in Ireland to be established on precisely the same basis as the Church in this country—that was, on the ground of truth. It taught the reformed religion which the State held to be the true religion. It was bound by its own principles to give the fullest and amplest toleration to all who dissented from it. It had its own property, its own government, and its own privileges; and we were bound by the Constitution of the country to abide by and maintain it. The clergy of the Irish Church complained, and he thought complained with great force, of the gross and shameful exaggerations that were made with regard to their temporalities. They said that they had a right by law to their reduced incomes; that they had discharged their duties with fidelity and correctness; and they ought not to be subjected to this kind of inquisitorial proceeding. On a former night, when the learned Serjeant introduced his Motion, be (Mr. Napier) told him that his statements had been completely answered in the main parts by the excellent pamphlet of the Archdeacon of Meath. To this the learned Serjeant replied, that the Archdeacon's book only pointed out errors in the whole of his figures to the amount of between 15,000l. and 20,000l., of which one-half was in favour of the Church; and, he added, that objections having been made as to large over-statements of income, he would take population rather than income. Well, having shifted his ground from the case of income, which was exposed, to the case of population, what was the source to which the learned Serjeant referred for his data? He (Mr. Napier) mentioned this for the purpose of showing the deliberate unfairness of the course which the learned Serjeant had adopted. The House would agree with him when be said that they ought to take figures which represented the population of Ireland as it now really is, and not as it was said to be in 1834; but it was the return for the year 1834 from which the learned Serjeant had taken his account. Now, he would not discuss the question whether that return was accurate or not, although it had been often much doubted and questioned; and he believed it to be very inaccurate. But twenty years had elapsed since it was made; and had there been no change in the population in the interval? Why, a Roman Catholic 1149 clergyman who went to America recently to collect funds for a new college, stated that within the last twenty-five years the Church of Rome in Ireland had lost upwards of 1,900,000 of its people by means of emigration to America and change of religion there. So much for nearly 2,000,000 of the learned Serjeant's figures. But the entire population of Ireland was less at the present moment than the learned Serjeant stated the number of Roman Catholics to be in the year 1834. He mentioned this to show the unfairness and injustice of now quoting such statistics as these. But when the hon. and learned Gentleman called the condition of Ireland anomalous, what was that condition? In page 74 of the Archdeacon's book, there was an analysis of forty of the most unfavourable parishes, which showed that since 1834 there had been an increase of members of the Established Church amounting in number to 8,048, or nearly fourfold. In 1834, there were, in these parishes, in the proportion of orate to sixty-nine and one-third of Protestants to the Roman Catholics; now they were in the proportion of one to fourteen and one-third; and there was a reduction of one-third of the whole population. In the very last return, furnished by the Bishop of Tamil, the increase in some of those parishes since the publication of the Archdeacon of Meath is still more remarkable.
The numbers of the members of the Church were as follows, in four parishes. In—
These are given as samples of a general progress in this most interesting diocese.
1834. 1851. 1853. Omey 157 2,235 2,394 Killaurin 94 375 500 Moyrus 106 256 356 Kilcummin 138 400 480
Then, again, the Nation newspaper, edited by a Roman Catholic Member of Parliament, admitted that Ireland was ceasing to be "Catholic." These were the words of that journal—The Irish tuition is fast dissolving, as the Jewish nation dissolved before the curse of God—as the Carthaginian nation dissolved before the sword of Rome—as the Red Indian race silently dissolves before the face of the white man. Ireland is ceasing to be a Roman Catholic nation.The same organ adds—in many parishes at present the priest gazes on his empty chapel, and thinks of the tempting offer of a pension fro the Crown—a graver peril 1150 to religion than a thousand Ecclesiastical Titles Bills. With the remnant of the Catholic priesthood of Ireland lost in the purlieus of the Atlantic cities, with the youth of Connaught reared up to hate the faith of their race and nation, with the priest fed upon English bounty, the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland will need a defence association of guardian angels to save it from extinction.The Evening Post also, of the 11th of November, 1851, and even the Tablet admit that the same change was in operation in Dublin; and Dr. Wilde, in his Irish Popular Superstitions, further states—One of our most learned and observant Roman Catholic friends has just written to us, in answer to some queries relative to superstitions—'The tone of society in Ireland is becoming more and more "Protestant" every year; the literature is a Protestant one, and even the priests are becoming more Protestant in their conversation and manners.'Dr. Wilde agrees in this, that the tone of society in Ireland was becoming more Protestant every year. He (Mr. Napier) had in his own possession a curious document illustrative of the remarkable change in the province of Connaught; it was furnished, at his request, by the Bishop of Tuam, in 1850, when a debate was expected on the Irish Church, which did not, however, take place. He had asked Ids Lordship for an account of his diocese in that respect from 1839, and his Lordship had made a return, by which the course of events might be estimated. This return comprised four parishes or unions; and it was accompanied by a letter from his Lordship, stating that the periods taken were 1839, 1846, and 1850. His Lordship stated that he considered it satisfactory and convincing, and that he could vouch for the accuracy of the statements. This was his Lordship's letter—Old Connaught, Bray, June 10, 1850.My dear Mr. Napier—I regret very much being from home when your letter of the 23rd of May reached the palace. I was absent in the county Mayo looking. after some missionary business, and on my return to Tuam, it was too late to have the return von wished for in time to be useful on the debate on the Irish Church. I herewith send you a statement of tarts showing the relative condition of the Established Church in four parishes in my united diocese in the years 1839, 1846, and 1850. I consider them to be very satisfactory, and convincing to every unprejudiced mind. I can vouch for the correctness of these statements. I trust they may be of use to you in the coining debate. I entirely concur in the view you have taken as to the ground on which our Church ought to be defended.Your very sincere and faithful,THOS, &c.
§ These were the facts as contained in those returns—
§ "Statement of Facts showing the Relative Condition of the Established Coach in some Parishes in the Diocese of Tuam, in the Years 1839, 1846, and 1850.
§ "Sixteen years ago there were no resident Protestants in this wild parish, with the exception of a few coast-guards, who may be said to have constituted the only feature of civilisation in the island. The reports taken from the personal inspection of the rural deans, for the years entered in the columns following, will show the great change which has taken place since the first attempts were made to introduce true religion and education by means of the Established Church.
§ "Comparison of the Years
|Number of Protestants||0||600||800|
|Number of scriptural schools||—||7||—|
|Children in attendance||0||270||1,800|
|Places consecrated or licensed where divine service is held||0||2||4|
|Number attending divine worship||11||250||1,000|
§ "BALLINAKILL UNION.
§ "In the year 1839, there were but two clergymen employed for this vast union, which is forty miles long by twenty-four miles broad. Now there are eleven, chiefly supported by funds altogether independent of the church revenues, the rent-charge of the unions being only 202l. per annum. In 1839, there were but two churches there are now four churches and two in progress, besides several licensed houses for celebrating divine worship.
§ "Comparison of the Years
|Number of Protestants||523||2,834|
|Number of clergymen employed||2||11|
|Number of children in scriptural schools||18||1,976|
|Number of churches built and in progress||2|
§ "(Perpetual Cure near Westport).
§ "In this district, within the last few years, the members of the Church have increased so rapidly (as may be seen from the following return) that it has been found necessary to raise funds to erect another church within the curacy, where a new congregation has sprung up, and an additional clergyman has been recently ordained and sent down to assist in the discharge of the increased duties which have devolved upon the incumbent."
§ "Comparison of the Years
|Number of Protestants||85||500|
|Number of children attending schools (scriptural)||20||200|
§ "KILCOMMON, ERRIS.
§ "This, the largest parish in Ireland, compre- 1152 hending nearly the entire barony of Erris without the Mullet, is a wild mountain district. In the year 1839 there was no church within the parish. Divine service was held in a licensed school-house in Belmullet, where a congregation of about fifty persons attended. There were no schools with the exception of the one in the town of Belmullet. There are now two new churches, where service is held; one in Belmullet, and one about nine miles distant; two others are being built by private subscriptions, and a gentleman who has recently offered a donation of 300l. for building a church wherever it might be shown to him that it was most needed, has fixed on a wild spot in this parish as the most promising and desirable locality. Thus it is hoped that within the next few years there will be in this hitherto uncivilised and neglected district five consecrated places of worship and four ordained ministers.
§ "Comparison of the Years
|Number of Protestants||100||261||450|
|Number of schools visited by the parochial clergy||1||2||3|
|Number of children in attendance||40||70||2,086|
|Number of clergymen employed||1||2||3|
|Number of places of divine worship built or about to be built||—||1||5|
|Number attending divine worship||—||54||250"|
In Ballinakill, which was a parish or union forty miles by twenty-four, there were now eleven clergymen, and the rent-charge for their support was only 202l. The bishop wished that the income of the deanery of Tuam should be applied to the augmentation of their stipends, they were so exceedingly inadequate; but the Ecclesiastical Commissioners could not afford to allow this to be done, he (Mr. Napier) had returns showing also the condition, tinder the same aspect, of several other places, but these would suffice for the present. He had asked his Lordship if the conversions which had taken place amongst the adult population had been for the most part genuine; and his Lordship stated, as a proof at the time of their reality, that of one group of 401 persons whom he had previously confirmed, only one had then gone back to the Church of Rome. His Lordship also alluded to the corresponding improvement which had taken place in the social and moral condition of the people—a fact in which he (Mr. Napier) could bear him out, as, to his own knowledge, there had been no crime even laid to the charge of any of the converts in the worst districts, where crime had abounded. In the parish of Belfast, there were more than 30,000 members of the Established Church, in a
population of 120,000; and the income of the vicar was only 300l. a year. derivable from rent charge and glebe land. The return of 1834 gave only about 17,000 Episcopalians. In many parts of Ireland there was a great want of income for the clergy; so that, in point of fact, if a surplus anywhere existed, there was plenty of use for it in other places. The learned Serjeant,, however, did not show any real surplus; he exaggerated the income of the Church up to his point of appropriation, and then he set about inflaming unjust prejudices with a view to effect its gradual subversion. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew very well that the surplus he hail suggested was all moonshine; but he thought, by exciting and inflaming popular prejudice on the subject, that he would instil a slow poison, and so destroy the Church Establishment in Ireland, which his oath as a Member of Parliament commanded him to abstain from injuring. The hon. Member for Meath had stated that he would not be deterred from voting for the extinction of the Established Church, or disregarding what he considered to be the general interests of the empire. The hon. and learned Serjeant was moving in the same line, though he might not express himself so boldly. He (Mr. Napier) would leave it to the House and to the country to judge the motives and design of these hen. Members. The clergy of the Established Church in Ireland had now to complain of, in the matter before the House, the great and unjustifiable exaggeration of their income which had been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman, who represented them as wallowing in wealth, where as, in point of fact, the very contrary was the truth. The hon. and learned Serjeant had said that the Archdeacon of Meath hid actually called to compliment him for his fairness, and also for his respect for his oath. What. however, was the fact? When this statement appeared, the Archdeacon wrote to him (Mr. Napier), and would read his letter to the House—
41, Ebury Street, Chester Square,
June 19, 1854.
My dear Sir—Having heard that Serjeant Shee, in order to gain credit for his book on the Irish Church, and to weaken the effect or my reply to it, has referred to nay having called on him and complimented hire upon his book, I beg to say to you, that my having called on Serjeant Shee was merely on account of an intimacy with a mutual friend; and further, that I did not see Serjeant Shee when I called, and that I have never spoken to him. Anything which I have said complimen-
tary to Serjeant Shee is contained in my printed answer to his book.
I did pay him the compliment of expressing my conviction that Serjeant Shee did not himself write the book to which he gave his name.
I also expressed my hope that when Serjeant Shee should have seen the proof; born public documents of the gross mis-statements which had been imposed on him in his book, he would not again put forward those statements as true.
In this I am disappointed. Serjeant Shee has now done the very thing of which I fondly hoped that he was incapable. All that I have said in my book of a nature complimentary to him therefore fiats to the ground of itself. He has made it inapplicable, and I with regret must ask to have it considered as withdrawn.
I remain, clear Sir,
Very sincerely yours,
EDWARD A. STOPFORD,
Archdeacon of Meath.
Right Hon. Joseph Napier.
So much for the compliment paid to the hon. and learned Serjeant, and so much for the accuracy of his speech and his book. Any one who took the trouble to look into the admirable reply of the Archdeacon would find that the most complete exposure and refutation had been given to the statements of the hon. and learned Serjeant. The hon. and learned Serjeant nude out a surplus which in round numbers was more than 200,000l., but how did he produce this? He produced it in a mode which would have made him invaluable to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by converting deficiency into an available surplus. He took, for instance, the returns of the incomes of the clergy as they stood in 1836–7; whereas, since then, the tithe composition had been commuted into a tithe rent-charge, at a reduction of one-fourth the amount, the incomes of the clergy, so far as derived from tithe rent-charge, being only three-fourths of what they were at that period, and they were further subject to otter deductions which cut off in many instances another fourth. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, when he did deduct a fourth, sometimes made the remaining three-fourths greater than the original sum. Again, he included the rents of the glebe lands, some of which paid quit-rents to the Crown—and many of which, moreover, paid a rack-rent to the landlords of the soil. All this the hon. Gentleman converted into clerical income. Again, benefices in Ireland were heavily taxed under the Church Temporalities Act by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. That, too, was charged twice over; first as part of the income of the clergy, and also to the Commissioners as part of their annual income, by the hon. Gentleman. Again,
there were perpetual curacies, and their income was also charged twice over. This is but a sample of what may be collected from the answer of the Archdeacon of Meath. Building charges and other matters payable out of their income were stated as additional property of the clergy. Therefore he (Mr. Napier) was justified in saying that to make the hon. Gentleman's case many things were charged twice over. There were a number of these changes pointed out in the Archdeacon's book, which could he referred to at any moment. The publication by the hon. and learned Serjeant, to which this was a reply, was not his first publication, for he was before the public on the same subject in 1845, in 1899, and also in the last year. He said, in the last work, that it was a book of authentic reference for those entering into holy orders, and also for church reformers, and it professed to be founded on public documents. But the Archdeacon of Meath showed that the hon. Member's figures were discreditably inaccurate, and many of his facts were fictions. The hon, and learned Serjeant bad since published his speech, and by asterisks referred to the documents. At all events he (Mr. Napier) now impeached the authority of the hon. and learned Serjeant, as regarded both his facts and his figures. But the clergy complained greatly, and with much justice, of the manner in which they had been treated in statements of this kind in Parliament. The Archbishop of Dublin, referring to the debate of July 10, in the House of Commons, in his charge of 1849, said of the speech of the Secretary of the Admiralty, whose authority was now adopted by the learned Serjeant—
In reference, for example, to the condition of our Church in this country, you will most of you remember to have seen statements made in Parliament and elsewhere, some of them not long some, more widely at variance with facts than any one probably would venture to make, even concerning the circumstances of the most remote corner of the British empire.
He also made on another occasion another very just and appropriate remark—
There are two circumstances which seem to have had a great effect in misleading many persons in their calculations in this case. One is, their looking only to the number, in a given district, of members of the Church, as compared with the endowments existing within that district, and taking no account of the extent over which the population may be scattered—as if, for instance, the revenue which is sufficient to maintain the minister or ministers who have the care of 1,000 families living within a single town would
be sufficient for the ministers of perhaps ten extensive parishes, with an average of 100 families in each. The other source of error, or of misrepresentation, is, that as there are parishes in hardly any Protestant population, but whose churches arid revenues cannot be transferred to places where they are perhaps much wanted, these parishes are continually pointed out as evidences of not merely a local, but an absolute superfluity. There are, for instance, in the diocese of Dublin, about three churches, which are nearly or altogether useless from the above cause; and there are about as many besides, which, though not useless, are much larger than there is need for; and there are, on the other hand, about three times as many parishes in which the church accommodation is so greatly insufficient that there is a distressing want of either an enlargement of the existing churches, or of the erection of chapels of ease, or, in some places, of both the one and the other. Yet these parishes are often wholly overlooked and passed over, as if they did not exist, by some who are continually calling attention to the opposite cases—to those of empty or half empty churches. They seem to proceed in the way that Balak did with Balaam:—'Come now, and I will bring thee to another place, where thou shalt see but the uttermost part of them, and shalt not see them all; and curse me them from thence!
That was the course now taken by the hon. and learned Serjeant on this question. The Archbishop had also made a valuable statement as regarded what was urged to be Dr. Arnold's opinions on the subject at issue, as quoted by the Secretary to the Admiralty, Mr. B. Osborne—
I am far from concurring in many things said by Dr. Arnold," observed the Archbishop, "but it may fairly be required that those who adopt any principle of his should fairly follow it out, and not take half of it and patch it up with a half of something quite different. Now I can safely appeal to his works as proving his principle to be that in each country all persons should be required to belong to the Established Church of that country, on pain of being debarred from all political rights; so that in Ireland he would have had the Roman Catholic religion not only established, but so established as to exclude from the rank of citizens all but Roman Catholics. Those who adopt his views, therefore, must be prepared to go that length; and also to exclude, in England, all who are not members of the English Protestant Church from citizenship. 2. But Dr. Arnold had a very slight knowledge of Ireland, and had an incorrect notion of the facts connected with it. It can be proved from his writings that if he had been aware of there being in Ireland even half the number of' Protestants that there are, he would not only not have called it 'a Roman Catholic country,' bin would even have advocated the continuance of the Roman Catholic disabilities. For he strenuously defends (see his 'preface to Thucydides') the practice of the Greek States in keeping the numerical majority of the population in a state of helotage; even when (as in Lacedæmon) the helots bore a far greater proportion to the Spartans than the Irish Roman Catholics to the Protestants.
§ That was the comment on Dr. Arnold's views by one who knew him well; and it would show how entirely he had been misled by the prevailing mis-statements on the subject. In former times the church property was set down as above 3,000,000l. In 1837, however. the exaggeration was reduced to 1,725,000l., while now it was much less than 1,000,000l. Such a system of misrepresentation was utterly unworthy of any man of character to trade upon. He (Mr. Napier) could respect those who differed from the Church, and held that the voluntary system was better; but he would point out to them that the Established Church, tolerant to all, did not obstruct the voluntary system, which could not consistently seek to force itself compulsorily on the Church. With regard to the Presbyterians in Ireland, who were offered a share in the spoil, the Established Church had no difficulty; they lived on terms of friendship, they had full toleration, and they raised no cry against the Church. As regarded them, therefore, they would not be disposed to join in this unprincipled crusade, or for filthy lucre so to be obtained, to accept the advocacy or the pillage of the hon. and learned Serjeant. About two years since he (Mr. Napier) had got returns from certain dioceses of Ireland, from which he would read a few passages. One of them was signed by three rural deans and the Archdeacon, and all verified by episcopal authority. In one return it was stated that to promote a poor clergyman to a benefice, for which he might be in every other respect peculiarly eligible, would be in many instances to consign him to helpless insolvency on account of the many charges he had to meet out of his slender income. These liabilities were set down as additional income by the learned Serjeant. Thus the building charges for their glebes, paid for out of their income, are charged on the wrong side of the account, to swell the surplus. Could anything be more disingenuous or discreditable? The returns showed the gross and net incomes of the clergy in the respective dioceses, and illustrated how shamefully the possessions of the Church had been exaggerated, the resources at the disposal of each incumbent for the support of his family and the maintenance of his station scarcely averaging in one diocese 190l.. In the diocese of Killaloe it was only 120l. The returns of some of these dioceses were as follows—1158
§ BISHOP OF LIMERICK'S RETURN.
|Diocese of Limerick—|
|Average for each incumbent||£160||0||0|
|But if for incumbents and curates||137||0||0|
|Diocese of Ardfert—|
|For each incumbent||171||0||0|
|For incumbents and curates||118||0||0|
§ BISHOP OF KILLALOE.
|Average for each incumbent||120||0||0|
|(Only twenty-one curates from inability to pay for more).|
§ BISHOP OF TUAM.
|Diocese of Clogher—|
|Incumbents and perpetual curates||175||0||0|
§ (This does not include the tax to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners).
§ Net income in 1849 in many instances is not more than one half of what it was in 1835, in consequence of the deductions since allowed, and several cases in which the clergyman is in advance largely to the parish out of his private resources.
§ In Clogher diocese, which is one of the best and most Protestant—
|Net income in 1849||£12,089||10||11½|
|Net income in 1835||24,334||9||11½|
|Gross income in 1849||22,586||16||3½|
§ On this gross income the clergy are charged full poundage for poor rate.
§ In Armagh, in several cases, the net income in 1849 was not more than half of the net income in 1835, and yet Armagh may be taken as one of the most favourably circumstanced dioceses in Ireland. But by the deductions and abatements since the returns of 1836 and 1837, the dissolution of unions and other changes, the condition of the clergy was entirely changed, and their income reduced as shown by the returns.
|Protestant population, about||90,000|
|Average net income||£201||0||2|
Cases were selected from the return, in several of which the net income is considerably less than half the gross. In one of the most important benefices the incumbent was actually 15l. out of pocket. It required the aid of two efficient curates. This was the wealthy Church, therefore, against which such accusations had been trumped up in that House by the hon. and learned Serjeant—a Church in which the beneficed clergymen did not get on an average 200l. a year. Did the learned Serjeant think that too much? Did he mean to deprive them of any part of it? The learned Serjeant had borne his testimony to the blameless and useful lives of the clergy of the Church of Ireland in his pamphlet of 1845. What had occurred since to deprive them of the benefit of that testimony? The learned Serjeant said that an Established Church in Ireland should be found-
ed only upon public utility. Here, then, were men of blameless lives, charitable, benevolent, and just. What did he desire further? The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, desired to work out a surplus of above 100,000l. a year out of their incomes. To show how absurd this plan would be if there were not a secret object in view, take 1,500 benefices, and there are more at present in Ireland. The learned Serjeant proposed to take 395 of these and group them into 100. This would leave 1,100 benefices, which, with the 100, would make 1,200. The learned Serjeant proposed to give 400l. a year to more than 400 of them, and 300l. a year to at least 800 of them. That would take more than 400,000l. a year. But the net amount of the existing benefices of the clergy in Ireland did not nearly come up to that figure. The learned Serjeant then turned to the bishops' incomes, and, referring to the return ordered by the House of Lords, stated it at 68,000l.; but here again he was in error. In fact, the whole of his case was one of exaggeration and inaccuracy. He proposed to give the incomes of the bishops as they would be under the 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 37; but, in the very first item, as to the See of Armagh, two deductions must be made which exceed 6,000l. a year. He then referred to the case of the Bishop of Cork, who, he stated, had 2,300l. a year, but his available income did not much exceed 1,700l.—a fact to which he (Mr. Napier) called, in passing, the serious attention of the Government. It so happened that the Bishop of Cork was a single man, most amiable, and upright; but a man with a family would never be enabled to keep up the dignity of the See with that income. The learned Serjeant, however, feeling no doubt that his calculations would not stand the test of examination, endeavoured to insinuate unsound principles, to sap the foundation of the Established Church in Ireland. He set out by quoting Paley and Warburton on that point. But he quoted them on a former occasion, thus—
We find in the writings of Warburton and of Paley a great difference of opinion respecting the grounds and the principles on which the maintenance of a Church Establishment rests. The former held that the Church was naturally the ally of the State—the latter that the theory of the alliance of Church and State was wholly indefensible. But both these eminent men were agreed that a Church Establishment, to be at all justifiable, must be the Church of the majority of the people. Catholics, Churchmen, and Dissenters are, fortunately, equally opposed to the application
of that principle in its integrity to Ireland. But when it is considered that the State, out of the ecclesiastical revenues of that country, has yet provided church accommodation for 367,750 persons only, out of a population of 7,0 l3,940, it surely may be hoped that no insuperable scruples could be raised to the supply of so great a deficiency.
Now, the hon, and learned Gentleman endeavours to prove that an Established Church should he tested by its civil utility; and, in a certain sense, he (Mr. Napier) admitted it. But the Church should be based upon something deeper and holier than civil utility, and he (Mr. Napier) denied that its primary object was any other than the preservation and dissemination of religious truth. The Church of Ireland had its title on that ground; it had also its title by the common law, by the ecclesiastical law, by the Statute law, and even by the canon law of Rome it was admitted that it was entitled to its temporal possessions. In 1825, the late Dr. Murray was asked, "Have you any reason to think, that in the minds of the Roman Catholic clergy there exists any hope or any wish to interfere with the temporal possessions of the Established Church?" and he replied, "Not the least. There is no wish on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy to disturb the present Establishment, or partake of any part of the wealth that it enjoys." By his very language he shows that to interfere with the temporalities, is to disturb the Established Church, and, therefore, the oath guards them. In 1826, Dr. Slevin, Professor of Canon Law in Maynooth, said—
I consider that the present possessors of church property in Ireland, of whatever description they may be, have a just title to it. They have been bonâ fide possessors of it for all the time required by any law for prescription; even according to the pretensions of the Church of Rome, which requires 100 years. Those who might be supposed to have any claim to it have repeatedly, and in the most positive manner, declared that they freely cede any right which they might have, or might be thought to have, to the same; this cessation, or rather declaration, that they have no claim, is expressed in the (Roman Catholic) oath of allegiance. It follows that the present possessors have a just right to that property, even on the ground of the express consent of those who might have any pretension to it.
But the learned Serjeant joined issue on the ground of its civil utility, and quoted his authorities. He (Mr. Napier) would give him authorities, at least of equal weight, on the subject. He would give the House the opinion of Dr. Chalmers, for instance. Dr. Chalmers knew Ireland; he visited it, and lived there for a season;
and his son-in-law said that his sentiments on this point remained unaltered up to the hour of his death—
I hold,' says Dr. Chalmers (Life, vol. p. 219), "I hold the Established Church of Ireland, in spite of all that has been alleged against it, to be our very best machinery for the moral and political regeneration of that country. Were it to be overthrown, I should hid it a death-blow to the best hopes of Ireland. Only it must be well manned; the machine must be rightly wrought, ere it, can answer its purpose; and the more I reflect on the subject the more I feel that the highest and dearest interests of the land are linked with the support of the Established Church, always provided that Church is well patronised. I know not what. the amount of the Government patronage is in the Church of Ireland, but in as far as in the exercise of that patronage, they, instead of consulting for the moral and religious good of the people, do, in the low genie of party and commonplace ambition, turn the Church livings into the bribes of political subserviency—they, in fact, are the deadliest enemies of the Irish people, and the most deeply responsible for Ireland's misery and Ireland's crimes.
Dr. Chalmers was a great friend of Catholic emancipation. He contended that, after it should be granted. the Protestant religion would have then fair play; but he always insisted that the granting of emancipation was to secure, and not to endanger, the existing Establishment. He thus speaks of the Irish Church—
Even the Irish, which is held the most vulnerable of the three, being capable simply, by a right exercise of the patronage, of being turned into machine of prodigious power, and, if only well wrought, far more effective than any which can be substituted in its room for the regeneration of that unhappy land. One of the best features of the Bill is, that there should be no national provision for the Catholic clergy. I accept of this as a pledge that they will leave untouched the existing national provision for a Protestant clergy. I should hold it a false and ruinous step to alienate one fraction of the revenue of that Establishment, convertible, in the hands of faithful and pious and philanthropic men, into a mightier instrument for the moral and political good of the country than any other which the united wisdom of statesmen can possibly devise.
Again, what did a great living authority, Sir James Graham, say on the subject. Sir James Graham said, in 1844—
I must still contend, that, without casuistry, which it would be unworthy of the House of Commons to apply, the proposition of depriving the Protestant Church of its revenues is utterly inconsistent with that Article of the Union—that is my deliberate opinion.
Again, on June 12, 1844, Sir James Graham also said—
It has been the object of the Government, and will continue to be its object, to remove all the abuses which exist in connection with the Irish Church—to purify it to the utmost; but after
having removed these abuses, and after having thus purified it, it is the intention of the Government to use its best efforts resolutely to maintain it as the Established Church of Ireland. I believe its ministers may now challenge comparison with the ministers of any other Church in Europe. I am bound to say, that to a proposal for transferring its revenues in any shape to any other party, I will never give no consent. For my part, I can only repeat, that the attempt—I will not say to subvert die Church, that might be disavowed—but to take a large portion of its revenues, either for Roman Catholic endowments or for secular uses, is forbidden by justice, forbidden by the compact entered into by the united Parliaments, and forbidden by the sanction of the highest moral obligation.
The hon. and learned Serjeant had referred to the appropriation Resolution of the noble Lord opposite; but that Resolution only pledged the House to appropriate the surplus—if any existed—after full provision for the wants of the Church itself. In that respect it was a safe Resolution, for the learned Serjeant himself had stated that the whole church accommodation of Ireland was only for 369,750 persons; so that, in point of fact, if the Roman Catholics were altogether blotted out of the returns of the population, there would not be sufficient church accommodation for more than a mere fraction of the Protestants. The Roman Catholics said they did not want endowments—they did not want public money; they said it by the mouth of Dr. Murray; but the hon. and learned Serjeant said they wanted our money, but not our life. The hon. and learned Serjeant relied much on civil utility, and supported himself by a quotation from Mr. Macaulay. He (Mr. Napier) would quote Mr. Macaulay also; but he would quote his History, the product of calm reflection, rather than his political speeches, on which he might have been led away by the bias of party; but as Mr. Macaulay was an authority with the learned Serjeant, he (Mr. Napier) would give him the benefit of this passage from his History of England, vol. p. 48—
Whoever, knowing what Italy and Scotland naturally are, and what, 400 years ago, they actually were, shall now compare the country round Rome with the country round Edinburgh, will be able to form sonic judgment as to the tendency of Papal domination. The descent of Spain, one of the first among monarchies, to the lowest depths of degradation; the elevation of Holland, in spite of many natural disadvantages, to a position such as no commonwealth so small has ever reached—teach the same lesson. Whoever passes in Germany from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant principality; in Switzerland, from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant canton; in
Ireland, from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant county—finds that he has passed from a lower to a higher grade of civilisation. On the other side of the Atlantic the same law prevails. The Protestants of the United States have left far behind the Roman Catholics of Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. The Roman Catholics of Lower Canada remain inert, while the whole continent around them is in a ferment with Protestant activity and enterprise.
So much for his views as to civil utility. Looking over Dr. Chalmers' lectures, however, on this point, he (Mr. Napier) further found the following passage—
The lesson may be learned by us nearer home. Literally he who runs may read it in Ireland, and that on a cursory glance, and in the course of a few days' rapid travelling. It is patent as the light of day that the same geography which marks off the distinction between the two faiths also marks off the distinction between, on the other hand, a land of industry and peace, with a population of thriving families, anti, on the other hand, a land teeming with all moral and all political disorders—a land of mendicity anti midnight tumults, where violence is abroad in their streets and their highways, and at home in their wretched hovels there are found, and almost invariably, the filth and the squalid destitution of perhaps the worst-conditioned peasantry in Europe. Let us have but the names of the Popish and Protestant countries, and we could learn from the map which is the region of grievous and general distress, of unequalled turbulence, of fierce and incessant agitation, and which the region of prosperous industry, of peaceful and orderly habits, and of decent respectable sufficiency, even down to the lowest labourers of the soil. This truth is open to us through many channels and by various statistics. As the amount of crime and the number of commitments in the province of Ulster, when compared with the rest of Ireland, the proportion of military required in these two great departments to protect from outrage, and maintain the authority of Government—the vagrancy that meets us everywhere in the one territory, and is comparatively rare in the other—these all speak for themselves; and if our statesmen are afraid of the theological question, we ask them to take it up as a question of polity, and tell us, in the name of all that is dear to patriotism, whether it were better to have a nation of Papists or a nation of Protestants in that unhappy land.
He (Mr. Napier) had very recent returns beside him on each and every of the heads to which Dr. Chalmers referred, and they conclusively made out the cases as stated, so as to dispose of this issue beyond question. This matter had been forced on hint (Mr. Napier); he had been called on to defend the utility of his own Church, and he hoped he had now disposed of this part of the question, and shown that, if there was to be an Established Church, there was every warranty for the present Church Establishment. He admitted, however, that in past times a heavy charge lay
against the Church, but a still heavier case existed against the English Government. It sought to uphold Protestant government, but never laboured to extend the Protestant religion. Archbishop King, in 1724, said—
It is plain to me by the methods that have been taken since the Reformation, and what are yet pursued by both the civil and ecclesiastical powers, that there never was or is any design that all should be Protestants.
The Statute of Elizabeth, to which the learned Serjeant referred, provided that the minister should speak English, and that if his flock did not understand bins the service should be in Latin. This was at direct variance with the principles of the Reformation, which provided for an intelligent worship; an appeal to the Word of God, and praying with the understanding. And he admitted that, if die Irish language had been used, and not an unknown tongue, at that time, there was no reason to suppose that the people of Ireland would not have accepted the Reformation. The Irish were an intelligent and affectionate people, and could be made much of, if approached through their own warm feelings. But the learned Serjeant complains that they had not Latin Mass and Vespers; what signified it whether it was Mass or Common Prayer, if it was in a language which the common people could net know or understand? It was not fair to charge upon the Irish Protestants of the present day the neglect and corrupt policy of the English Government in former times. At that day the ruling powers had got the notion into their heads that English habits as well as the English language could be forced upon the Irish people by the pressure of Acts of Parliament. What had been the cause of the great success which had attended the efforts of later times? The cause was, that proper means had been used to effect proper objects. At the time when Catholic emancipation was being contended for one of the arguments of the supporters of the measure was, that penal laws against Roman Catholics hindered the efficiency of the Established Church and the spread of Protestantism. He thought the fair plan was not to compare the state of the two Churches previously to that time, but to take the time when they may be said to have had a fresh start. It was from a recent period that the Church could claim anything like a fair start. The hon. and learned Serjeant, however, had taken up his figures at the opening, whereas he
ought to have taken them up at the end. If the Established Church had of late done its duty, and carried out its purposes, that would he shown by recent results. He had made careful inquiry, and was happy to tell the house that great progress had been made. The hon. and learned Serjeant, however, chose this very time to come forward in order to raise the question about the expediency of leaving only a certain amount of church property for the Protestant Church, and of bestowing the rest on the chapels and clergy of his own Church. He did not think that the present was the period when Parliament or the country would be likely to accept his project. The hon. and learned Serjeant referred to his own parish, and said while church accommodation had been augmented that the attendance had decreased. He found, however, from recent inquiry, that while good accommodation had been provided for 120, the average attendance was 109; on one occasion it had been as high as 147, and the number of communicants had increased from 13 to 38; indeed, he found that within the last fifteen years the number of Protestant communicants had in many cases more than doubled. With reference to the parochial system, he thought that it was a duty to provide instruction in Christian truth, that there should be a permanent provision, and that these matters should not be dependent on the fluctuation of population. The title of the Church was not to be like a track on the sea-shore, which the returning the effaces, but to be graven on a rock for an abiding testimony. With reference to the basis of the Established Church and its utility, it was impossible to put the matter in a stronger or clearer light than had been done by Dr. Chalmers. In the very places where the worshippers were few and scattered, the duty of maintaining church provision for then was more peculiarly obligatory. The laity had vested rights in this parochial agency, which belonged to themselves and for their children's children. He had now disposed of the case of the hon. and learned Serjeant against the Established Church; all his proposals involving questions of finance had failed; his objections as to utility had failed, and his statements as to principles had failed. When they remembered how the Established Church and its property were guarded by the Act of Union, and by the oath taken by the Roman Catholic Members, they would be able to understand the peculiar character of the hon. and learned
Serjeant's Motion. The oath taken by Roman Catholic Members could not be explained away by any casuistry. The terms of the oath provided that it should be taken without evasion or mental reservation, and according to the plain meaning of the words. The terms of that oath required that they (the Roman Catholic Members) would defend to the utmost the settlement of property, and that they would not use their privilege to weaken or disturb the Protestant religion or government. But did not the hon. and learned Serjeant, in spite of his oath, propose to disturb the settlement of property—above all, the settlement of ecclesiastical property? Roman Catholics got their privileges on certain conditions, which they adopted and ratified by an oath. The hon. and learned Gentleman, when not a Member of that House, published a book irreconcilable with the plain construction of the oath; but he told the hon. and learned Gentleman that the plain language of that oath was alone to be regarded. that the construction put upon it by any private interpretation to explain it away was not the proper construction—the only construction was that put upon it by the country and the Legislature. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he did not mean to subvert the Established Church, for subversion meant turning upside down, and that he did not want to do. Would the hon. and learned Gentleman venture to tell the House that a proposition to take 100.000l. of the property of the Protestant Church, in order to hand it over to the Roman Catholic Church, had not a tendency to subvert or weaken the Established Church. Out of his own mouth it would be easy to convict the hon. and learned Gentleman. In a pamphlet he published in 1849 he stated that it was contrary to the 5th Article of the Act of Union merely to convert into money the mensal lands, &c., of the suppressed sees, and yet now he would appropriate some of this very money to Roman Catholic endowment. How much more contrary to the Act of Union thus to transfer the fund, and apply it to alien uses. Is not this disturbing the property of the Church? Is this the way to defend to the utmost the settlement of property, not by conversion only, but by spoliation also? The learned Serjeant quoted Lord Campbell; let him hear Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough. On the 13th of May. 1805, Lord Ellenborough, then Lord Chief Justice of England, had occasion, in his place in the House of Lords,
to comment on the 5th Article of the Act of Union.
By the fifth article of the Union," said his Lordship, "it is declared that the continuance and preservation of the said United Church, as the Established Church of England and Ireland, shall be deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental part of the Union. By fundamental is meant, with reference to the subject-matter, such an integral part of the compact and union formed between the two kingdoms as is absolutely necessary to the support and sustaining of the whole fabric and superstructure of union raised and built thereupon; and such, as being removed, would produce the ruin and overthrow of the political union founded upon this article as its immediate basis. The words, 'The Established Church,' import that there shall be only one Church of that description, and which shall alone have the privileges, character, and denomination of an Established Church annexed to it. These terms necessarily exclude any other co-ordinate and concurrent establishment. Every other Church, which has anything beyond what we commonly understand by the word 'toleration' allowed to it, may be considered as so far established within the meaning of this article, and the union, of course, in virtue of such allowed establishment, not only to a degree impugned and violated, but, by the express letter of the precise and peremptory provision referred to, absolutely deprived of its very essence and foundation; other words, substantially destroyed and subverted.
The maintenance of the Established Church of England and Ireland was thus understood by this great authority to be an essential part of the Union. Now, the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to take a portion of the property of the Established Church, and give it to the Roman Catholic Church—he proposed to have also the Roman Catholic bishops and priests incorporated. But why incorporate? There was no Statute to that effect for the Established Church. It was an established fact, that the Established Church of Ireland had a clear historical title, an unbroken continuity which he defied the learned Serjeant to disprove. He equally defied him to show either a historical, a scriptural, or utilitarian title for the Church of Rome, which he now sought to partially endow and to incorporate by Statute. The authority of Edmund Burke comes in aid when he tells us that—
The most able antiquaries are of opinion, and Archbishop Ussher, whom I reckon amongst the first of them, has, I think, shown that a religion not very remote from the present Protestant persuasion was that of the Irish before the union of that kingdom to the Crown of Eng, land.
Thus is it shown to have been from the first scriptural, and therefore Protestant: and assuredly the Church which is most
scriptural in its creed has the best claim to he called Catholic and Apostolic. And T. Moore (himself a Roman Catholic) says—
Neither by France, nor by Catholic England, was the interference of Rome more effectually excluded than by Ireland herself during the times of her native monarchy.
§ Indeed, by asking for a Parliamentary title, the Serjeant admits that the Church of Rome has not a corporate title either historically, or by any law which our Constitution could recognise. But to return to the explicit language of the oath, the first sentence of which is a solemn pledge to defend the settlement of property. Why then did he begin by appropriating a portion of the revenues of the Church? Church rates had been abolished in Ireland. The Church supplied its own wants out of its own property. This being so, the Roman Catholics had no right to complain of the burdens of that Church. He heard the declaration of the hon. Member for Meath with respect to the oath. That hon. Member said, would not be deterred by his oath from going the whole length of utterly subverting the Protestant Church in Ireland. After professing to take this solemn oath, and calling God to witness that he would keep it, the hon. Gentleman has declared that he would not hesitate to vote for the subverting of the Established Church. This ought to be told to the people of England. that they might see what dependence was to he placed on the oaths of such men. He would never consent to have such views put forward without at the same time expressing his indignant and solemn denunciation. He would say, that in the Established Church—based on Divine truth, and interwoven as it was in the Constitution. guarded by law, and widely and sociably useful—was to be found the best security for the maintenance of peace and order; and would go further, and say, that even if in Ireland it was inferior in numbers, it was not inferior in any of the great elements which made a nation. He warned hon. Gentlemen against arousing the Protestant feeling into awakened action. The Protestants of Ireland were and desirous of living in harmony with the Roman Catholics—they did not want to provoke angry collision, but, when assailed, they would stand up and acquit themselves like men. And he would tell; the hon. and learned Gentleman, if at tempts were made to touch one farthing of 1169 the revenues of the Established Church. or in any way to attack the Protestants Ireland, supported as they would he by the sympathies of their brethren in the other parts of the empire, that the struggle would a harder one than he might calculate. The Protestants would co-operate with the Roman Catholics in all social and peaceful iniprovements—they would promote with them all industrial objects, but their religion they would maintain as a religion of truth its secrets were in the Bible, and, when assailed in the way they were now assailed, they would meet the foe on high ground, not merely on figures and fictions, but on the solid and substantial ground of principle and sacred truth. On each and all of these, he defied the learned Serjeant and his confederates.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
would bring forward facts and figures which would disprove some of the assertions of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The right hon. and learned Gentleman alluded to the representation of Ireland, and said that forty Protestant representatives were returned to that House. He would ask whether that fact told in favour of or against the Roman Catholic religion. He could assert that no constituency in Ireland was averse to a Protestant candidate. Religion made no difference, and Catholic constituencies were as ready to avail themselves of Protestant candidates ns Roman Catholics. The Act of 1833 was not considered final, and never could be considered final. The noble Lord (Lord Russell) once said the Reform Bill was final; but had not the noble Lord brought in a new Reform Bill? The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Napier) had attempted to introduce an invidious distinction between Roman Catholic and Protestant districts in Ireland with respect to the prevalence of crime. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman had selected the year 1847, when the Roman Catholic localities were generally affected by the visitations of famine and fever, and when Protestant districts were free. It was an established fact that the crimes of 1847 were solely referable to the tremendous destitution of that period. He certainly was surprised to hear that there was an unbroken continuity in the Irish Church from St. Patrick to the present bishops of the Protestant Church. Had the right hon. and learned Gentleman forgotten the Act of Uniformity, which drove the Catholic bishops and pastors from their dioceses 1170 and parishes? Had he forgotten the Catholic prelates who were put to death because they would not acknowledge the Royal Supremacy? Had he forgotten that in the time of Elizabeth the Catholics were persecuted, and that their possessions were torn from them, and handed over to those who conformed to time Established Church? He contended that it was impossible to support a Church whose members were so decidedly a minority of the population. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Serjeant Shee) had not acted as unfairly as represented. In his statements he had made due deduction for changes and reduction in population. His hon, and learned Friend had also been charged with not making fair allowance for rent of glebes and quit and Crown rents. He (Mr. Maguire) was ready to make the right bon. and learned Gentleman a present of all be could make out of that. He asserted there were 5,000,000 of Roman Catholics in Ireland at this moment. More than that, the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) was ready to prove that the number of Protestants was not increasing, but diminishing; and that even if Ireland did cease to be Catholic, it was not likely to become Protestant. No better test of the efficiency of an Established Church could be conceived than the esteem in which it Was held; nor could that be better shown than by the attendance at those solemn festivals of the Church which were held in honour by all Christians. Now, he was prepared to show, from the attendance of the Established Churches in Easter, 1853, that so far from there being any want of increased church accommodation for Protestants, the existing places of worship were not filled In various parishes in Ireland the attendance of Protestants at church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday was exceedingly small; and the result of his investigations proved that while there was church accommodation for 369,000 Protestants in Ireland, not half of it was availed of by them. It was impossible that. with such a state of things as these figures disclosed, the Established Church could be much longer maintained. If the hon. and learned Serjeant persevered in taking a division upon this Motion, he (Mr. Maguire) should certainly not support him, because he was in favour of the voluntary principle. He was in favour of it as to his own Church, and he was therefore quite consistent in demand- 1171 ing its application to the Protestant Church. He thought the hon. Gentlemen who made impassioned speeches in defence of that institution, and beat the boxes on the table when any attack was made upon its temporalities, did not do justice to their own Church. He would say of his own Church, "Strip it bare, as you have done before; plunder it of its ornaments and possessions; and yet that Church would rise in glory above all your persecutions." Were Protestants able to say as much for their Church? He would tell hon. Members that they were ready to throw back to them with indignation and contempt the paltry Maynooth grant, if they would assist them in doing justice to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. But while upon these grounds he could not support the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kilkenny, and while he was sure the Roman Catholics generally did not ask for any portion of the spoils of the Protestant Church, he thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman was entitled to their thanks for the service he had rendered in laying bare the anomalies of the present system, and in exposing an abominable injustice. He trusted he would not go to a division, for many would assist him in endeavouring to expose the wrong who would not consent to accept a single farthing for the endowment of their Church.
§ MR. G. A. HAMILTON
said, that perhaps it would be better that he should leave the case and the statement of the hon. and learned Serjeant to the complete refutation and exposition of it that had been made by his right hon. Friend and Colleague (Mr. Napier). Nevertheless, there were some facts and statements in the speech of that learned Serjeant, upon which he was desirous of making some remarks. He had not had the advantage of hearing the speech of the hon. Member, but he had been favoured with a copy of his published speech. He was glad he had revised and published it, because it afforded him (Mr. Hamilton) the opportunity of commenting upon it more freely than perhaps he might have felt warranted in doing, if he had to deal with a speech reported in the newspapers, and with expressions which, perhaps, might have fallen inadvertently in debate. He had a charge to make against the hon. and learned Member—he did not wish to put it offensively, but he would put it distinctly. His right hon. Friend and Colleague had stated 1172 that the hon. and learned Serjeant had published a book on the revenue of the Irish Church: that book was not noticed in the speech of the hon. and learned Member; and his (Mr. Hamilton's) charge against him was this, that whereas in his speech he stated distinctly and professed to quote from Parliamentary documents as regards the income of the Established Church, instead of quoting from the Parliamentary documents, he had quoted from his own book, and that the figures in his book did not correspond with the figures in the Parliamentary documents. He would undertake to prove this in a variety of cases; and that the hon. and learned Member had been guilty of most extraordinary exaggerations and misstatements. He would begin With the statements made in his revised speech in reference to the diocese of Ossory, Cashel, and Limerick. The learned Serjeant in his speech (p. 13), states—I select three dioceses, with the circumstances of which I am well acquainted by personal observation, and by the study of their ecclesiastical statistics:—1. Ossory, &c.; 2. Cashel, &c.; 3. Limerick, &c.; for the statistics, see Fourth Report of Commissioners of Inquiry, 1837, pp. 186, 234, 280.As regards the first of these, the diocese of Ossory, &c., the learned Serjeant states in his revised speech, that the members of the Established Church "have their spiritual interests attended to by a bishop and 192 beneficed clergymen, who share among them, and some ninety-two curates, an episcopal and parochial church revenue of 60,000l.," and that "they officiate in churches erected at an ascertained cost of 105.000l." Now, if any one will take the trouble of examining the returns to which the learned Serjeant refers. and from which he professes to quote, it will be seen that the episcopal and parochial church revenue, instead of being 60,000l., is just 50,307l., giving an exaggeration in this case of 9,693l.; and the cost of churches, instead of being 105,000l. defrayed by a public board, was only 99,5.59l., of which 8,878l. was derived from donations and 7,015l. from assessment. H. Cashel diocese, &c.—Mr. Serjeant Shed's statement—episcopal and parochial church income, 42,000l.; statement in returns from which he professes to quote, 35,173l.; exaggeration, 6,527l.: cost of churches—Mr. Serjeant Shee's statement, 51,000l.; statement in returns. 47,609l.; of which, by donations, 4.571l.; assessment, 9,540l. III. Limerick diocese, &c.—Mr. Serjeant 1173 Shee's statement—Episcopal and parochial church income, 31,500l.; statement in returns from which he professes to quote, 26.215l.; exaggeration, 5.285l.; cost or churches, Serjeant Shee's statement, 53,098l.; statement in returns, 45,935l., of which, by donations, 7,078l.; assessment, 6,994l. Subsequently the learned Serjeant tikes up the case of what he calls Protestant Ireland, and he states that—The bishops and beneficed clergy of the diocese of Armagh; &c., Derry, &c., and Down, &c., divide among them a church income of 170,000l. (See Third Report, Commission of Inquiry, pp. 96, 140, &c.)Statement in returns from which he professes to quote. 129,686l. Exaggeration in the above three dioceses, 30,314l.!—this for the twelve dioceses would 20.000l., being about the excess out of which he proposes to carry out his plan, so that, as his (Mr. Hamilton's) right hon. Friend and Colleague had stated, the surplus required is made up by exaggerations. In reference to all these he states, p. 21—"It is from the returns of the dignitaries and benefices of the Irish Church I have taken the statistics with which I have troubled the House:" though in point of fact he has quoted from his own hook, which he never mentions, and not from the public returns. which he professes to quote from. Parochial revenue—(p. 27), speech, 438,000l.; real amount in returns which he professes to quote, 403,2.48l.; exaggeration, 35,000l. Summary of exaggerations in cases referred to:—1, Ossory, 9.639l.; 2, Cashel, 6,827l.; 3, Limerick, 5,255l.; 4, Armagh, Derry, and Down. 30.314l.; six dioceses,52,146l. Parochial income—exaggeration, 35,000l. General income he makes. speech, p. 27, 622,000l.; it really is, not deducting income tax. 510,675l.—exaggeration, 111,325l. He (Mr. Hamilton) would challenge the hon. and learned Member to explain these exaggerations. They were incapable of explanation, and he would ask the House whether any confidence could be placed in statements so full of exaggerations and mistakes. Having now proved the extraordinary exaggerations of the hon. and learned Member in the instances to which he had referred, be (Mr. Hamilton) would advert to another branch of the subject. The hon. and learned Member had proposed a plan for the adjustment of the Church question. It was impossible to make out from the statement of the hon. and learned Member how he had arrived at his results. He proposed 1174 in his plan to allocate alert he conceived to be necessary for the maintenance of the Established Church; but he (Mr. Hamilton) would take Lord Morpeth's scale of 1836, as to the requirements of the Church. The hon. and learned Member could not object to this scale, for he says in his book (p. 2[...]6). in reference to this scale—This arrangement could hardly give satisfaction to the friends of the Church, or be approved of by a just judge of the requirements of its members.He presumed, therefore, the learned Member could not object to that scale. It was as follows—
making no allowance for deans, archdeacons, &c, nor for increase of Protestants since 1836. It was therefore obvious that, even according to the lowest calculation that hall ever been made, the revenues of the Church are not only not. superfluous, but are actually inadequate to its requirements. He ( Mr. Hamilton) had not intended, and was unwilling now to enter more at large upon the subject which had been so fully treated by his right hon. Friend and Colleague. But, behind all this, and in the speech of the learned Serjeant, there are much lacer considerations and principles involved than the accuracy of his statements, or than the income of the Established Church in Ireland, or its prescriptive rights, or its antiquity, or even its utility as an establishment. There is a considerable body of earnest and conscientious men sitting on the opposite benches, who are opposed to all emoluments and church establishments. He (Mr. Hamilton) gave those Gentlemen full credit for the ability they unquestionably possess. He had no prejudice against them; on the 1175 contrary, he could say sincerely, he admired the earnestness with which they act upon their convictions, and he fully be lieved that in advocating the voluntary system, they consider they are promoting interests of religion. He had heard, he would say with gratification, the speech of the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) on the Church Rates Bill, though he differed with him in his arguments and conclusions. That speech was characterised by his usual vigour of intellect and force of argument. It was characterised by even inure than his usual earnestness, and in arguing in support of the voluntary principle, he (Mr. Hamilton) would add that the hon. Member indicated a feeling with regard to the interests of religion, and a toleration with regard to the opinions of others, which was to be appreciated and admired. He (Mr. Hamilton) was willing to admit that the question of State interference and endowments, and the obligations of a State, in these respects, was one of great difficulty, as well as of great importance. He would state at once that he felt most sincerely that the promotion of the interests of religion and religious truth is paramount to every other consideration—that it is the great duty and business of man to arrive at, and promulgate, and make known the truth—truth in everything—and pre-eminently troth in religion. and that not merely because truth is in itself excellent, but be cause everything that is good and to be valued—happiness, freedom, toleration, industry, contentment, charity, morality. and every social virtue—flows from, and are associated with, the appreciation and maintenance of truth; and if he believed, as the hon. Members to whom he referred do believe, that truth would be better promoted by the voluntary system than by church establishments, however much the State might suffer. however much the Church as an establishment would suffer, by the separation of the Church from the State, he would rank himself among the supporters of the voluntary principle. But, he was bound to say, he entertained a different opinion just as earnestly and as conscientiously as hon. Members opposite held the contrary opinion. He (Mr. Hamilton) believed that collectively, as well as individually, we are bound to seek after and to acknowledge truth. He was firmly convinced that, as a homage to truth and religion, every State was bound to recognise and acknowledge some defi- 1176 nite system of religion. It could not be denied that under the former dispensation this was the case. Not only under that dispensation was there an established Church, and the greatest blessings attached to its faithful maintenance, but the greatest penalties were denounced, not merely upon the favoured nation, but upon all nations in their collective capacity, who did not recognise and acknowledge religious truth. He did not mean to push the argument too far, or to argue that the same obligations rest upon us or upon the State under the present dispensation, but he did think that a strong argument in favour of established Churches was to be found in the fact that under the older dispensations an established Church existed, and States were held responsible for their maintenance of religious truth. He was quite ready to admit that there was a difficulty in the question—how is it to be determined what is religious truth? But is the difficulty confined to religion? If hon. Members will look into the question. they will see that the same difficulty exists in other matters, and that this difficulty is not insurmountable. Religious truth—the most important species of truth—is not the only kind of truth, and the State does take upon itself to pronounce what is truth in other matters, and it acts upon its convictions. Take the instance which is likely to be admitted most readily by hon. Members opposite—take the case of truth or sound policy, which is truth in other words, of commercial intercourse. After long discussion. after great conflicts of opinion, the State has arrived at the conclusion that truth, as regards commercial intercourse, is to be found in the principle of unrestricted competition; and it has acted upon that conviction. There may be some dissentients—they are the dissenters in this particular; but, unlike hon. Gentlemen opposite, they are satisfied to submit to the tow established rule. It was on this ground, principally, that he defended the Established Church. He was not insensible to the arguments founded upon its utility. Because he regarded the Church as an instrument for the promotion of truth, he would make it as efficient and useful as possible. But he thought the Church was to be defended on the higher grounds of the obligations of the State to acknowledge what we as a State hold to be religious and truth. But above all things he deprecated a plan like that of the hon. Serjeant, under which the State could 1177 endow two opposite systems of religion. He could not but feel that there was a principle involved in that subversive of all religion; it involved the supposition that differences in matters of religion were material; it was calculated to create that supposition, and to any such plan, therefore, he should offer his earnest and conscientious opposition.
750 parishes, with Church members under 500, salary £200, £143,000 249 parishes, with Church members under 1000, salary 300, 65,700 185 parishes, with Church members under 3000, salary 400, 74,000 44 parishes, with Church members over 3000, salary 500, 22,000 £304,700 1,163 glebes, of 30 acres, at 30s. per acre 61,335 £366,035 Serjeant Shee's allowance for bishops (speech, p 29) 33,000 Serjeant Shee's allowance for Curates (p. 31) 50,000 Serjeant Shee's allowance for suppressed parishes 30,000 Serjeant Shee's allowance for Ecclesiastical Commissioners 55,000 £534,035 Net income of Church as proved by Archdeacon of Meath 510,675 Deficiency £23,360
SIR JOHN FITZGERALD
said, he should support the Motion, because he attributed much of the evil under which Ireland had suffered to the existence of a Church maintained for the benefit of the few at the cost of the many.
§ MR. LUCAS
said, he had stated on a former occasion, that his opinion was very much at variance with the greater part of the Bill of his hon. end learned Friend. He did not approve of his plan, or of the principle upon which he undertook to settle this question in Ireland. He did not believe that if the Bill which he proposed should be permitted to be introduced, and should eventually pass into a law, it would settle the Church question. or allay that feeling of grievance which gave rise to these annual discussions. He was not about to put himself on the defensive against such charges as had been made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Napier), in reference to the oath which he and other Members of that House bad taken. He had at least as good a right as the right hon. Gentleman had to put an interpretation on an oath which was to bind his own conscience, and he had put an interpretation upon it which he believed to be the only one that it would fairly bear. He was not about to state what that interpretation was, for he would not admit that he was bound to offer any explanation to the House, or to any Member of the House, upon the subject; but he believed the oath left him free to take any course which appeared to himself to he consistent with the best interests of the community. In the case of the Church of Ireland. he considered the interests of the community and his own duty in relation to those interests to be clear, and he should not allow any interpretation that might be put upon the oath to interfere with the discharge of that duty. He believed that nothing could settle this question in Ireland but the entire destruction by law of the Church Establishment; and he thought that the best course for Roman Catholics to adopt would be, to take their stand upon the voluntary principle, and, 1178 renouncing all grants from the State for their own Church, to make a simple demand for justice. He believed that the grant in favour of Maynooth stood in the way of having justice done to Ireland in reference to this question, and that as long as that grant remained there would be no chance whatever of obtaining justice either in that House or out of it. He wished Gentlemen in Ireland who were interested in this question to consider whether, as a matter of expediency, and with a view of obtaining justice towards the Established Church, it would not he wise to make a sacrifice and renunciation of this grant, which had been so long bestowed upon them. and to which, until this question was settled on a principle of justice, they were indubitably entitled. The hon. Member for Manchester was very nearly succeeding in removing this grant from the Consolidated Fund to the Estimates. He believed that he had failed only in consequence of the hour at which the division had taken place; and if he had been successful, with the strong feeling entertained upon the subject on the Opposition side of the House, and with the strong feeling of other hon. Gentlemen, and of the constituencies which they represented, in favour of the voluntary principle, there could be no doubt whatever that the grant would have been removed from the Estimates very soon after it had got there. He had listened without interest to the greater part of this discussion. He thought it a matter of no consequence whatever what was the actual amount of the revenue of the Established Church, or whether a particular bishop or a particular diocese had less or more. He would give up the whole argument, so far it as t turned on the amount of revenue. Take it at the smallest possible amount, he wished to have it all removed. He wished no part of it to be given to the Catholics. He had no desire to see the Catholic Church established or endowed; but be wished to remove from the Constitution of Ireland a blot which stood in the way of justice to the Catholics of Ireland, upon every question that came before that House. The most obvious measure of justice towards Catholics was refused because, it was said, they had recognised the principle of an Established Church, and were hound to act in conformity with that principle. He wanted to get rid of the principle from which such consequences were deduced, if it were only backed up to the amount of five shillings a year. He denied, 1179 however, that the charge of exaggeration with respect to income had been made out, that poor and county rates ought to have been deducted, or that the rents of the houses in which the clergy lived were not fair items in the account. He thought that those who had made this charge of exaggeration against his hon. and learned Friend must have deducted the butchers' and bakers' bill of the clergy, and retained nothing as income except the surplus which a man may be able to find at his banker's at the close of the year. He was inclined to admit that the relative proportions of the Catholic and Protestant population of Ireland—of which they had heard so much—had indeed undergone a change since 1834; but he believed the proportion of Catholics to Protestants was larger now than it was then. If the Catholic population had diminished, the Protestant population had diminished still more. The hon. Gentleman proceeded to show, by a reference to the last Census return, that in fifty-one parishes in the counties of Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, and Kilkenny, while the decrease in the general population had been only 30 per cent. the decrease in the Protestant population had been 54 per cent. He added that he was persuaded that the decrease of the population had been not merely caused by the famine, but by the altered circumstances of society in Ireland, and that that decrease had fallen just as much on the Protestant as on the Catholic population. He contended that, in making oat that decrease in the Protestant population, he had been establishing the case of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Young). inasmuch as he had made out for the right hon. Gentleman that there was an immense necessity for the Established Church. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin had an opposite theory, for he said the Protestant population had increased, and, therefore, there was an increased necessity for the Established Church. He should leave the two right hon. Gentlemen to settle between themselves which was the true theory of the Established Church in Ireland. He was glad, in one respect, that a Member of the Government had spoken out on this question, for the speech of that right hon. Gentleman showed that, will regard to the greatest grievance of which the Catholic population of Ireland had to complain, there was no hope of redress.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, he wished to cor- 1180 rect an historical inaccuracy of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. He had told the House that that portion of the property of the Irish Church acquired in the twelfth century was chiefly landed property, which had been conveyed away to laymen. He (Mr. M 'Mahon) begged to remind the right hon. Gentleman that tithes, which formed the chief support of the Irish Church, were never known in Ireland before the twelfth century. In 1172 Henry II. convened a council of prelates from three provinces of Ireland, and the third decree which that synod made was—that all the faithful do pay the tithes of animals, corn, and other produce to the church of which they are parishioners.In 1185 an English archbishop presided over a synod held in Dublin, made a similar decree, and the ninth canon enforced the payment of tithes under pain of anathema. It was clear, therefore, that under the ancient church of Ireland tithes were not paid. It was said of Giraldus Cambrensis, by a high authority (Lonegan, page 282)—That on an occasion of abusing the whole Irish nation, and representing them as uninformed in the very rudiments of faith, he gives, as one of his arguments, that 'they do not as yet pay tithes or first offerings." This was, according to him and the clergy of his country and times, a violation of an article of fifth. I allow that the ancient Irish did not pay those dues, nor were they in general paid in Ireland during his time, except where the English influence predominated, notwithstanding the decrees of the councils of Kells and Cashel. Giraldus did not know that such dues were not paid in the best times of the Church, and that it was not until very long after the days of St. Patrick they were introduced, and, indeed, first into France, where they are now extinct. In Italy, they are scarcely known.It appeared, therefore, that if the Established Church in Ireland claimed any connection with the ancient Church of Ireland, they ought to relinquish tithes, which had been a great grievance to that country in Catholic as well as Protestant times, and which had always been deemed a badge of foreign dominition.
* said, he naturally felt great interest in this question, as he possessed Irish property, though he did not represent an Irish constituency; and he thought the learned Member who had brought forward the subject now under their consideration, stood in much need of exercising the right of reply, which, in accordance with the rule of the House. he possessed, for the learned Member's Mo- 1181 tion was the only one which, since he (Mr. Stafford) had had the honour of a seat in that House, had, during an adjourned debate, not found one single Member to address the House in its favour. Irish Members, on both sides of the House, had spoken, and it appeared, that those even of the learned Member's co-religionists who advocated the destruction of church property in Ireland had objected to the present Bill. All the assertions of the learned Member (Serjeant Shee) had been contradicted—all his statistics overthrown—and his plan universally scouted; yet they had been told that this was a Bill which, if passed into a law, would produce peace and tranquillity in Ireland! The hon. Member who spoke last (Mr. M'Mahon), declared that, during the twelfth century, tithes were difficult of collection in Ireland, though a cardinal in person enforced their payment; but he (Mr. Stafford) could name a more recent period in which the difficulty was as great, if not greater; but as that difficulty had vanished altogether now, he hoped some progress had been made in Ireland since the remoter period alluded to. He (Mr. Stafford) agreed with the hon. Member for Meath, that the real question they had to consider always practically resolved itself into this, namely, the entire destruction of the property of the Church, as at present established; and, though the hon. Gentleman did not say what he would do with that property, he (Mr. Stafford)recognised the plain and open statement he had made just now to the House. The hon. Gentleman acted on the voluntary principle in religion, and he (Mr. Stafford) must say, that the destruction of the Irish Church and the alienation of its revenues would, of course, give a gnat stimulant to the principle of which the hon. Gentleman was the advocate. The hon. Gentleman referred to a class of religionists, whose beast it was that their communications were perpetual throughout the globe, that their discipline was uniform, and their authority central; and, therefore, he (Mr. Stafford) should have been glad to hear the hon. Member extend his observations to nations more completely under the influence of that central power. He (Mr. Stafford) wished the hon. Member had extended his arguments, for example, to the banks of the Rhine, and to the two great peninsulas of southern Europe, where the voice of the Protestant might never circulate, where the body of the Protestant could scarcely obtain the 1182 rites of sepulture: was anything to be found there which evinced that the Papal Church was ready to aid the cause of religious freedom, or to give assistance to that of rational reform? On the contrary, the past shows how her melancholy system maintained despotism without tranquillity, and suffered convulsion without progress. It was impossible to affirm that, in the great cause of Rome versus Christendom, equality was the issue raised—reconciliation with Rome meant submission. She, according to her own claim, could not negotiate, she could only pardon. Now, there is in Ireland another Church, claiming the same Divine origin, equal antiquity, catholic doctrine, apostolic succession—asserting herself to be the Church of St. Patrick and St. Columba in that country. That Church could not he otherwise than a most formidable foe to the adherents of the Papacy throughout the world, and any blow struck against that Church would be welcome to the Vatican. Assuming, therefore, that the destruction of the Irish church property would be one of the greatest boons which they could grant to Rome, was it desirable for the sake of such a system that such a concession should be made? Never, perhaps, had the Church, whose property the learned Member was so anxious to seize upon—never had it exercised so great an influence upon the minds of the Irish people as at the present moment, and no institution had been so strengthened by the events of the last few years. The Irish clergy had been chastened by the tithe persecution—they had been brought into closer sympathy and intercourse with all denominations of their flocks by the terrible famine visitation, and never were they so blameless in their conduct, so forbearing in their politics, so catholic in their charities, as at present. If, therefore, the learned Member succeeds against the Irish Church, he will despoil her, not in her worst, but in her best day. There are no other religionists in Ireland, except some members of the Papal Church, who wish for this spoliation, and it is all very well to use high-sounding words about religious equality and universal toleration, but when the Legislature came practically to legislate on this subject, it had hitherto simply transferred the property of the Church to the pockets of the laity. Take the case of church cess: that impost upon property was abolished—the Anglican Church was so far impoverished; but was the Papal 1183 Church enriched? Were education fund enlarged? Were even the poor benefited? No, the whole went to the possessors of property. Again, the twenty-five per cent of tithes. Did the Papal Church obtain that portion? did any other religious body? No: again the possessors of property profited by the cry of religious liberty. Lastly, take the case of ministers' money. That burden being, in a great degree, removed froth town property, the person who will be most advantaged is no clerical member of the Roman communion, but the present Secretary at War, who was the owner of large house property in Dublin; and, as it has been, so would our further progress in such legislation be. He, therefore (Mr. Stafford), would say, in the words of the poet—You will not win, tho' we be forced to yield,Nor reap the harvest, tho' you spoil the field.He voted against the Motion, because he desired earnestly to maintain the principle of our Established Church, and because he did not wish, by the destruction of a Protestant Establishment, to give a fresh victory—an added stimulus to Rome. The Established Church in Ireland was to the poor man, who did not disturb himself with theories, as a grievance impalpable as the atmospheric pressure; and if, leaving the poor, you come to the upper classes, the argument from numerical majority not only fails on the side of the learned Serjeant, but may be powerfully used against him. He (Mr. Stafford), in giving an unqualified opposition to the project of the learned Serjeant, in resisting even the question of disturbing the property of the Church as at present constituted, as one resident among a Roman Catholic population, as earnestly hoping for and believing in better days for Ireland, was fully conscious that he could give that vote without, in the slightest degree, infringing the religious liberty of one of his fellow subjects.
§ MR. KENNEDY
said, as it was so late (twenty minutes to six), he would move the adjournment of the debate, in order that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kilkenny might thus be afforded an opportunity of replying.
§ MR. SERJEANT SHEE
said, it had been his intention to let this Motion go to a division that day. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stafford), however, had, without saying anything to the purpose, spoken long enough to prevent him exercising his right 1184 to reply, and had evidently done so for that very purpose. It was his wish that the debate he again adjourned, in order that he might have an opportunity of replying to the disgraceful misrepresentations which the hon. Gentleman had made in the face of all he (Mr. Serjeant Shee) had said and written on this subject.
§ Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.
§ The House adjourned at seven minutes before Six o'clock.