§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee, Mr. BOUVERIE in the Chair.
§ (1.) 250.000l., charges formerly paid out of County Rates.
said, he begged to call the attention of the Committee to the inequality of taxation with respect to Ireland, which he considered was very little in accordance with the conditions of the Treaty of Union between the two countries. He could not allow the present opportunity to pass without calling attention to the inequality which existed in almost every Vote as regarded the taxation of Ireland and England. He had been repeatedly told by gentlemen of high standing, that the charge for the police of Ireland, which had been taken upon the Imperial Treasury, was in lieu of all injury which Ireland received in respect to other branches of taxation. Now, he had been otherwise informed, that the boon of the police payment had been given in consequence of the repeal of the Corn Laws, which had caused Ireland—an agricultural country—to suffer more than England, which might be termed 1388 a manufacturing country. Sir Robert Peel gave half of the expense of the police to Ireland as an equivalent for this alteration. The Irish police force could hardly be said to be a police force in the ordinary sense of the word, for the sum to defray that expense was not voted year by year, and it was doubtful whether the same system would be tolerated in England. But he had been told that the time would soon arrive, when the expense for police in Ireland would be very much lightened, and that a large reduction of that old force might be practicable. When the repeal of the Corn Laws was decided upon, Sir Robert Peel admitted the burden of local taxation, and pointed out equivalents in that direction for the loss which the proposed change would inflict on the agricultural interest. Those equivalents were comprised in charging on Government the expenses of the support of convicts charged with felony and misdemeanor. The expenses of prosecution were also granted to England, but not to Ireland. Expenses of medical officers of poorhouses and schoolmasters were also conceded. England had received compensation in every one of these items, as would be proved by the returns of local taxation which had been moved for, these returns showing that England had obtained remission from local taxation to the extent of between 800,000l. and 1,000,000l. But although Sir Robert Peel had recognised the justice of the same remissions to Ireland, not one of them had been granted. The principle, however, Was recognised on the Votes of 1847, for there it would be found that a sum of 9,000l. had been granted towards the expenses of prosecutions. He thought Ireland was fairly entitled to the compensation promised by Sir Robert Peel when he repealed the Corn Laws. No case had been made out for depriving that country of the sums formerly granted for the expenses of prosecutions. In Crown prosecutions the sums granted to witnesses were paid out of the Consolidated Fund; but in all other prosecutions the payment to witnesses was charged on the county rates. It was unjust to place on the county rates in Ireland expenses which were not charged in a similar manner in England. He hoped the Government would agree to a Committee to inquire into the whole subject.
§ Vote agreed to, as was the next vote, 17,306l., Prisons in the United Kingdom.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding 371,933l., be
granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Government Prisons and Convict Establishments at Home, to the 31st day of March, 1855.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he wished to have some information on one or two points connected with this subject. Under the law which had lately been superseded, a prisoner who had been sentenced to transportation passed the early period of his sentence in separate confinement. He wished to know whether that period of separate imprisonment was still kept up, and if so, whether the period of separate imprisonment was abridged in the same way as the general period of punishment was abridged in comparison with the old punishment a transportation? On the question of tickets of leave, also, he wished for information. He understood that some returns connected with this subject were to be presented to the other House; and he asked if the noble Lord the Home Secretary, had any objection to lay the same returns before the House of Commons?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that by the Bill of last year no change whatever was made in the manner in which the first period of a convict's imprisonment was passed. That remained exactly as it was; and a convict on being sentenced passed the first period of that sentence in separate confinement. The period of that confinement used generally to amount to twelve months, sometimes more. But it appeared to him, from information he had received from various quarters, that separate confinement continued for that period was too long, and was, generally speaking, injurious both to the bodily and the mental health of the prisoners. It had been reduced now to nine months as the maximum, but in cases where, from the peculiar constitution of the individual, it appeared that even that period would be injurious, there was a power to shorten it still further. It was right to say that two opposite opinions were entertained with respect to the separate system by those persons who had the superintendence of prisons. Some persons, whose opinions were entitled to great respect and weight, contended that the system was attended with a very beneficial effect—that it gave opportunities for reflection, and for listening to the exhortations of the chaplain, and thus facilitated the work of reformation. There were other persons who thought that the separate system laid, generally speaking, too great a strain upon 1390 the mind, and that, except for short intervals, it ought not to be followed. He believed that the truth lay between the two—that those persons who were strong-minded might turn the period of their separate confinement to good account, and that in the cases of those who were not so circumstanced the period ought to be shortened. With regard to the returns, he believed there would be no objection whatever to furnish that House with all the information that was laid before the other.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, since the alteration of the law with respect to secondary punishments, and indeed for some time before, there had been a tendency to sentence criminals for long periods of imprisonment in the county gaols. Now, in many of these the separate system of confinement was in force, and in others preparations were made for enforcing it; and from this circumstance he thought that any information which the noble Lord could furnish as to the working of the system would be of great value to the visiting magistrates of these gaols. It was true, as the noble Lord stated, that upon some constitutions the effects of separate confinement were detrimental; but the approach of the change was in most cases so gradual that the convict might remain subjected to its influence for months before his condition would justify an application to the Crown for a remission of the sentence, which, however, when it was made, was always sure to be answered.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman was in some misapprehension as to what he had stated. He was speaking of the cases of persons sentenced to a punishment equivalent to the old penalty of transportation, not of the case of persons sentenced to one or two years' imprisonment. What he meant to say was this—suppose a convict was sentenced to an imprisonment. equivalent to seven years' transportation, time first nine months of that period would be passed in separate imprisonment, where be could have communication only with the officers of the prison. After that period he would be removed to what was called the association ward, where he would have intercourse with the other prisoners; and after being, there for some time, he would be sent to Portland, or seine other public works. Now, the discretion of shortening the first period of imprisonment did not he with the Crown, but with the governor of 1391 the gaol, who could, when he saw fit, remove the man at once from the separate cell to the association ward.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he understood that; but what he meant to say was, that many county gaols built under Government superintendence had been constructed on the separate system, and had not, he believed, sufficient accommodation for associated confinement. He still thought magistrates and others would feel a difficulty in dealing with persons sentenced to imprisonment for a year or eighteen months, and it was with reference to that point that he had asked the noble Lord to produce his information.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he agreed that the earlier period of the sentence should be passed in separate confinement. He had always regarded the punishment of separate confinement with great apprehension, and thought that it ought to be undergone for a very limited period. He was glad, therefore, to learn that the noble Lord had decided on reducing the maximum period to nine months. Perhaps, the noble Lord would state how long that reduction had been in force.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that Dartmoor was set apart for those convicts whose constitutions unfitted them for the severe discipline undergone at Portland and other places, and therefore there was, of course, some difference between them. With respect to the separate system, his opinion was, that it was, upon the whole, a beneficial one, and essential to any fair trial of reform. The prisoner was left in the cell with the books that were provided for him, and where he could see only the chaplain and the other officers of the gaol, all which tended to produce a proper impression upon his mind, so that he had no doubt the general effect was good, if it were not carried too far.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, that the statement made by the noble Lord would give rise to alarm in Ireland, where the prisons lately built had been built on the separate system. Through the misconduct, 1392 he might say, of the Irish Government, they had had prisoners kept in prisons in separate confinement for four years and seven months, but had never received any evidence of such men being injured, either mentally or bodily. He considered that the system had worked well, and that the Government ought to fairly investigate and try it before they called upon counties in which prisons had been built on the separate system to alter and provide accommodation for the association of prisoners.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he agreed with the noble Lord that the separate system was good, but might be carried too far. He rose, however, to ask a question with respect to a case that had been mentioned to him. It appeared that a gross malefactor had been released from prison on the promise of his friends to find him employment. But that employment lasted only for a short time, and he was informed that the man was again resorting to his former licentious and dangerous mode of living. He wished the noble Lord would inform the Committee when convicts were released on the promise of their friends to find them employment, what security was taken that that employment would be permanent?
said, he wished to say a few words upon the general subject of transportation, and for that purpose he would take the five Votes relating to prisons and convicts together. It appeared that these Votes had a constant tendency to increase; for last year their total amount was 898,000l., this year they amounted to 988,871l. They were told last year that transportation was to cease; but last year the Vote under that head was 69,000l.; it was now 92,000l. For the same reason, he expected that the home charges would have increased, but, on the contrary, they appeared to have diminished; last year the charges for prisons was 407,000l.—this year it amounted only to 371,933l. It would be very unfortunate if, after all that had been done, they should be obliged to return to the old system; but from all that he had seen in the newspapers of the misconduct of some of the liberated prisoners, he was much alarmed and afraid that that would be the case. He wished, therefore, that the noble Lord would tell the Committee what the present working of the system was, and what was its prospect of success.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, before the noble Lord replied, he wished to ask 1393 him how the present remnant, if he might so call it, of transportation was carried out? Last year it was explained that it was intended to send a certain portion of convicts to Western Australia, and he inferred from the Votes that the Government was now sending out a portion of convicts to that Colony. He wished to know, likewise, on what principle it was determined who were to be sent to Australia, and who not? Was it considered a more severe punishment than penal servitude in England? or was the selection arbitrary and accidental? He also wished to ask whether the Government intended to increase the number of prisons in England, and, if so, whether the new prisons would be established on the same plan as that at Dartmoor?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, with respect to the question of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), he had to state that when a prisoner was in a condition to find employment it was difficult to obtain any security that his professed intentions would be followed out; but sometimes application was made for the pardon or release of a prisoner, whose offence was not serious, on the condition that his friends or family would employ him. They in such cases acted on the probability that the condition was well founded, and took the chance of the prisoner being employed by his friends. But in the case of leave, they had a hold upon the prisoner, for, if they heard that a prisoner who had been released misconducted himself, the very condition of the leave was, that he would be liable to be called back again and compelled to serve out his sentence. He was glad to state, however, that, out of a considerable number of prisoners so sent out, a very small proportion had been reported as misconducting themselves, or deserving to be called back to prison. In a few cases steps had been taken to bring persons back to the public works from which they were released, but the number was greatly diminished. With regard to the question put by the noble Lord (Lord Seymour), the excess of expenditure arose from the increased price of provisions in Australia; but they had reason to think that, on the whole, the substitution of retention at home for transportation would be attended in the end with a considerable diminution of expenses. It certainly was intended to increase the accommodation, if he might so call it, in the means of lodging prisoners at home; 1394 and there was no likelihood of any deficiency of public works on which to employ profitably for the public the actual number of prisoners who might be kept in this country. A few were still sent to Western Australia—he believed about 900 had been sent over—and the selection was necessarily left to the officers in command at the depât for prisoners. A selection was not made of the worst offenders, but of those who were most likely to be useful in the colony to which they were sent. Whether they called it a more severe or less severe punishment than retention in England, they were not selected with reference to the gravity of their offences, but rather with a view to their fitness for employment in the colony.
§ COLONEL SCOBELL
said, the increase in the Estimates to which the noble Lord the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour) referred related chiefly to salaries, and would have little to do, therefore, with the increased price of provisions. He was of opinion that the new system of secondary punishments would break down, and he was surprised that the world was not large enough to allow of places where they could send their convicts to.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he found one item of 9,000l. for clothing and for travelling expenses to prisoners on their liberation. From the noble Lord's remark, it appeared that the greatest rogues were not sent out to the Colonies, but were retained at home; and it appeared from this item that the number of prisoners so retained could not be small. He did not think this was a pleasant subject to contemplate.
said, he should be happy to set the right hon. Gentleman's mind at rest with regard to this subject. In the course of last year 1,194 convicts had been liberated in England with tickets of leave, and of that number only three had had their tickets of leave revoked. For the purpose of saving them from the temptation to which they would be naturally exposed if let loose upon the world in a state of destitution, with their names utterly branded and unable to provide for their sustenance by honest means, it was thought desirable, and more especially since the Government had endeavoured to make their labour productive, to set apart a portion of their earnings weekly, to be given them on leaving, the amount varying according to classes, the first class being 9d. a week, the second 6d., and the third 3d. These several sums, small as they were in weekly divi- 1395 sions, in the course of years amounted to sums sufficient to procure sustenance during some days; but of course it would be trifling with the promised accumulation if they were put to the expense of conveyance to the place of their destination out of this small sum; therefore their fare to the places they chose to name as the most likely in which to find employment has been paid in addition: and it was thought right to give them a small allowance of clothes, that they might not attract observation, but reach their destination in a proper state. It was to meet these different sums that the Vote of 9,000l. was taken; and as in the course of the year 3,000 persons would be discharged, exclusive of those discharged in Ireland, he did not think that amount excessive. With respect to the increased expenditure in Australia, it arose from the necessity of raising the salaries of the officers employed, in consequence of the high price of provisions; and with respect to additional accommodation, a new wing had been built at Portland Prison, and Brixton Prison had been purchased and fitted up for 700 female convicts, which would leave that additional accommodation for males at Millbank.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he agreed that the amount was not excessive, and that it would be extremely cruel to send these men out without some fund for their maintenance for a short time. He wished to know whether the 1,194 ticket-of-leave men included any whose sentences had expired?
said, the 1,194 men were those to whom tickets of leave were granted as a commutation of punishment, upon the scale of three years' imprisonment for seven years' transportation, and four years' imprisonment for ten years' transportation, and whose conduct had been sufficiently meritorious.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he wished for an explanation of an item under the head of special service, "provision for Roman Catholic priests, 550l." He would like to know what special services were performed, and whether the charge, which was perfectly new, was intended to be a continuous charge or not?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I suppose the hon. Gentleman wishes to know why Roman Catholic priests were allowed to attend prisoners.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
That item of 550l. is payment for Catholic priests attending convicts in Government gaols.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Yes; in the Government prisons. It is an estimate of the sum for the current year for Catholic priests who attend those convicts in Government prisons who are of the Catholic religion.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he must confess that the explanation of the noble Lord was perfectly unsatisfactory to him. He believed it would not be satisfactory to the Committee, and he was quite sure it would not be satisfactory to the country. This was a new Vote. They had never yet been asked to pay Roman Catholic priests, and if the Roman Catholic priests were paid, there was no reason why Dissenting ministers of every class should not be paid. He wanted to know why the distinction was made that Roman Catholics were the only class to be recognised by the Government. He felt that the plan of the noble Lord was totally unjustifiable, and ought not to be introduced to the Committee without being fully explained. Why was the Roman Catholic priest to be paid for attending to what he considered to be his duty? It was not a question of toleration, for as the law stood, every person who dissented from the established religion of the country had a right to be visited by the priest or clergyman of his persuasion. On entering the prison he was asked to what sect he belonged, and he was then told that if he wished to have the spiritual instruction of a minister belonging to the denomination to which he belonged, he had only to apply to the governor, and the governor was under orders immediately to send for him. The Committee would recollect that was to be on the special application of the prisoner himself, and that was as large a limit of toleration as the most tolerant could expect. He was surprised that a Minister of the Crown should ask them to pay priests for instruction in a religion which the Sovereign had declared, by Her assent to the Articles of Religion, "an idolatrous fable and a dangerous deceit." It was perfectly inconsistent with the Protestant Constitution, and with the terms on which the present family held the Throne. Were they to go on thus by degrees and abandon the whole principles of Protestantism? He called upon a Pro- 1397 testant House of Commons to desist from such a course, and would certainly move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of 550l.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding 371,383l., be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Government Prisons and Convict Establishments at Home, to the 31st day of March, 1855.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Though I may not be so vehement a Protestant as the hon. Gentleman opposite, I flatter myself that I am as good a one. If violent speeches in this House, hard words, and cutting off Estimates could convert all our Catholic fellow-subjects into Protestants, I should join with the hon. Gentleman opposite, subscribe to his speeches, and vote for his Motion. But, unfortunately, neither his efforts nor mine, nor both combined, could have the effect which he desires; and therefore, as it happens that we have a large portion of our fellow-countrymen who are Catholics, I think that it is better to treat their religion with respect, and to give to those who are of that faith the means of becoming better Christians than they may happen to be in the condition to which they have been reduced. The hon. Gentleman is mistaken in thinking that in principle what is now proposed by this Vote is new; because the system which I wish to extend to all the Government prisons has for several years been in practice at Millbank. There has been there a regular allowance to Catholic priests for attending those convicts who are of the Catholic religion. Upon the admission of convicts, they declare the religion to which they belong; and those who declare themselves to be Catholics are regularly attended by the Catholic priest, who performs divine service upon Sundays, Good Fridays, and Christmas-day, and who attends once a week for the male and once a week for the female prisoners, to discourse with them collectively, and to give exhortation individually to those who may require it. At Millbank, also, when a convict is so ill as to show that he ought to have religious consolation, a priest is sent for, if he is a Catholic, and he gives him his ministration. That system was established before my time. I think that it is a good and proper one, and it is my intention that it should be extended to all the Government prisons, and for that purpose this Vote is proposed to the Committee in the Estimates of this year. It 1398 really does not occur to me that the Protestant succession to the Throne is likely to be endangered by that treatment of Catholic convicts, and I cannot seriously, therefore, share in the alarm of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman is of opinion that we should wait always until a convict wishes to have a priest, and then that the priest should come at his own expense, and, from a proper sense of duty alone, should perform the service which is required of him. Now, in the first place, I observe, in answer to that, that the man who most wants spiritual exhortation and assistance is the man who is least likely to ask for it. But what is the object we are aiming at by prison discipline? It is not merely punishment, but it is a combination of punishment with reformation. We want to avail ourselves of the period during which a man is confined in prison to alter his mind, to give a new turn to his thoughts, and to inspire him with ideas and feelings which probably never entered into his mind before. We wish to turn him out a better man, less dangerous to society, and more likely to become a useful member of the community. How are we to accomplish that? The Protestant has the ministration of his clergyman. The Catholic, of course, cannot advantageously receive the ministration of a clergyman of a religion not his own. You cannot expect that the exhortation and admonition of a Protestant clergyman can have a great effect upon the mind of a Catholic convict, any more than you would expect that the exhortation of a Catholic priest would have much effect upon the mind of a Protestant. If the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, for example, were to be addressed by a Catholic priest—I am sure it is not likely—I am quite aware there is nothing in his tone of mind to be mended—I do not think he would derive much advantage from the exhortations of a priest of the Catholic religion. If you want to get at the mind and the heart of the man, you must employ somebody who can reach that mind and teach that heart, and therefore I say that the purpose for which the man is confined in prison will be marred and defeated if you do not give him during the time the assistance of the priest or clergyman—call him what you will—of the religion to which that man belongs. Well, Sir, I think the system established by my right hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Sir G. Grey) is as good as can be devised. The priest has weekly access to the con- 1399 victs, and any convict who declares himself a Catholic is not at liberty to refuse to attend Catholic worship. He, like the Protestant, is obliged on Sunday to attend according to his faith; but if a Catholic wishes to become a Protestant, or a Protestant wishes to become a Catholic, a fortnight is allowed for reflection, and according to his ultimate conviction he may change from one to the other. The Catholic priest does not come in contact with the Protestants, and therefore the hon. Member need not be alarmed that prisons will be turned into places of conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism. I am sure the Committee will feel that, on the other hand, your prisons are not to be employed for the purpose of turning Catholics into Protestants. That is not the purpose for which prisons are established, and such conversions would be no advantage to persons who pretend to gain from such a change of religious opinion. I cannot persuade myself that the Committee will feel any doubt of the propriety of such a provision. What we want is, to give to men who have committed crimes, who have been sentenced to punishment for those crimes, the opportunity, while undergoing sentence, of having their minds mended and their sense of right and wrong either created or improved, and that can only be done by affording them the opportunity of religious instruction from the minister of religion whose doctrine is their own, and who can therefore appeal to those feelings which either education or nature has implanted in their minds.
§ MR. SCHOLEFIELD
said, that the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) amounted to this, that provision should be made by the State for those inmates of gaols who happened to be members of the Church best able to pay its own ministers—the Established Church of England—but for those who happened to be members of one of the poorest Churches, the Catholic Church, no State provision should be made. Nothing, in his opinion, could be more monstrous or unjust than such a proposition. His hon. friend used the old argument that Protestantism was all truth and Catholicism was all error. [Mr. SPOONER: Hear, hear.] His hon. Friend might be right, and perhaps, as a member of the Church of England, he did not very widely differ from his hon. Friend as to what were the errors of the Catholic Church; but he thought that neither his hon. Friend nor any one else 1400 had a right to dictate to any person in this country, what was truth or what error. Last of all, should such dictation be allowed in a country, whose very Protestantism was a standing protest on behalf of the right of private judgment. With respect to the subject immediately under the consideration of the Committee, it was either the bounden duty of the State to provide for the religious instruction of convicts of all sects—in which case the State should entertain no exceptions—or such religious instruction ought to be left entirely to private benevolence; and if the latter alternative were adopted, the Church of England must, of course, withdraw from any ultra pretensions in this respect altogether. The hon. Member's statement as to this being the first time the proposed system of employing Roman Catholic priests had been proposed to the country was incorrect, as the Estimates themselves proved that there already existed several votes for this purpose. He regretted to recognise the hon. Member for North Warwickshire as again pressing forward to raise the religious bigotry—he could find no better word for it—of the Committee, and the injudicious course adopted by the hon. Member in this respect went far to prove how this unhappy spirit of bigotry could blind the eyes and abuse the judgment of even excellent and sincere men, and force them to resort to the exposition of all kinds of harsh and unnecessarily bitter views on these religious questions. He hoped the Committee would be liberal enough to sanction this Vote, and do so by a large majority.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he would remind the hon. Member for Birmingham, who had given notice of an Amendment to discontinue the payment of the salaries of the Church of England chaplains and assistant chaplains of gaols, in the event of this Vote, which the hon. Member intended to support, being, contrary to his wishes, struck out, that this was a Vote for Roman Catholic priests only. He (Mr. Newdegate) could not understand how, on principles of religious equality, which he professed, the hon. Member could vote for this grant to Roman Catholic priests only, and consent to the exclusion from similar assistance of all other Dissenting ministers. He (Mr. Newdegate) wanted to know why the clergy of the Presbyterian denomination were not to be provided for—why the clergymen of the Scotch Church were not to be provided for—why the ministers of 1401 all the sects dissenting from the established religion in this country were not to be provided for—and why it was for clergymen of the Roman Catholic Church only that this provision was to be made? He thought the noble Lord the Home Secretary had left that point completely untouched. The noble Lord had told the Committee that hitherto Roman Catholic prisoners had had the opportunity of demanding the attendance of Roman Catholic priests whenever the prisoners requested their attendance. But the noble Lord was not content with this. He wanted that the system which had been adopted recently at Millbank should be extended to all the Government prisons, that Roman Catholic clergymen should be paid regular salaries to attend, and that Roman Catholic prisoners, whether desirous of the ministration of those priests or no, should be compelled, nolens volens, to attend them. He maintained that this, so far from being a tolerant system, was a system of coercion. Why were they to enforce upon the prisoners attendance upon these Roman Catholic priests, when the prisoners did not wish to attend them? Were they so convinced that their teaching would be advantageous as to be justified in making the attendance on it compulsory? Was the noble Lord quite sure that he was warranted in assuming that these Roman Catholic priests would reach the hearts of the prisoners, and inspire them with a reverence for law and order? He much doubted the noble Lord's authority upon that point. He thought that when the Home Secretary acted on the principle that if a prisoner desired the attendance of a priest, or of a minister, of whatever religion he himself professed, that priest or minister should be sent for, and should attend the prisoner demanding his assistance, he had gone the whole length which the principles of toleration could require. But he was prepared to admit further, that if the priest or minister incurred expenses in responding to the call, it might be quite right that those expenses should be paid, because the prisoner being confined and unable to go to the priest or minister himself, and there being no right to deny him the attendance of a priest or minister when he desired it, there might be a fair case made out for the payment of the expenses of a journey undertaken in compliance with his wish. But that was not the system proposed under this Vote; that was the system which the House was asked to 1402 abandon by adopting this Vote. The object of this Vote was to compel prisoners, who declared themselves Roman Catholics on their entrance into the prisons, to attend to the ministration of the Roman Catholic priests contemplated by the Vote. This would not be toleration; it would be coercion. There must indeed be some religious instruction, and in England we had an Established Church—the truth of the doctrines taught by which the State acknowledges; and he (Mr. Newdegate) thought that if a prisoner did not dissent from that Establishment, he should be obliged to attend religious services in connection with it. When a man had forfeited his liberty, and did not deny the truth of a religion which the State believed to be true, the State had a right to compel his attendance upon that religion; but it was different with a religion which the State did not believe to be true. The State had no right to exercise the coercion, which, in the case of Roman Catholic prisoners, it was now proposed to exercise. Although the noble Lord said a fortnight would be allowed to a convict to consider to which clergyman he would be transferred, the system was a system of unjustifiable religious coercion, not of toleration, and moreover identified the Government with a religion which was not the State religion. The noble Lord introduced this as a slight change; but surely he might have received a warning from the letter of priest Oakley, who wrote to the noble Lord that he and other Roman Catholics would consider that by this Vote there would be established Roman Catholic chaplaincies, which would be a long step towards, if not at once equivalent to, the establishment of their religion. He (Mr. Newdegate) was of opinion that one established religion was enough for a State. Hon. Members need not suspect him of intending to vote for the establishment of another and conflicting Church connected with the State. There were the strongest reasons why there should be no difference in dealing with Roman Catholics and Dissenters. The Church of Rome alone aimed at supremacy. The Roman Catholics professed that they would be satisfied if they obtained toleration. Was that the case? The priests of the Roman Church have full toleration, but they are not content; they are seeking establishment for their Church, and if you grant them establishment, they will at once claim supremacy. It is an old story, a large item in the history of this and every European 1403 country, that the ambition of the Roman priest is everywhere and always the same, always insatiate and insatiable. It is hopeless to appease such ambition by concession; each concession is treated but as a stepping-stone to further aggression. There was no limit to that Church's ambition or demands. In this respect Rome differed from all other sects. She attempted in this country not only the establishment of the Church of Rome, but a separation into a distinct community of the professors of that faith. Cardinal Wiseman might be said to be an exponent of the polity of the Church of Rome in England. ["No, no!"] If hon. Members disputed Cardinal Wiseman as an authority, it might be doubted whether they were good Roman Catholics. What said Cardinal Wiseman, however? That the Roman Catholics must not be confounded with other Dissenters. In a lecture delivered on Sunday, December 22nd, 1850, at St. George's, Southwark, Cardinal Wiseman said—There is at present clearly a religious conflict going on in this country. The Catholics here are not, and never have been, merely a collection of persons holding certain opinions in common, but are a systematised organised religious community, representing here the Catholic Church of the universe.In his next lecture the Cardinal still further explained this matter—Wonderfully, indeed, has our little Church recovered and righted itself, and established all that was essential for the great ends of religion. But still all that has been done could only be as preparatory to the final completion of its restoration. Unity of purpose, of methods, of laws, is an essential characteristic of our Church. Varieties of discipline, uncertainty in modes, diversities of practice, necessarily remain after such an anomalous state as our forefathers lived in, and the effectual remedy can only be found in the combined action of the Church's rulers, which has existence solely in a regularly constituted hierarchy. For in a country divided into vicariates, however numerous, each has a perfectly free and independent action, as much as if each were situate in a different country. There is no organic bond of union between them, no one who can convoke them into synod, no power to give their joint acts a general authority.Again, Cardinal Wiseman said that a uniformity of method and laws was essential. He added—Hence great diversity in matters of practice might prevail among them without any regulating and adjusting power. But in a hierarchy this is at once corrected. The bishops of the see are connected together through a metropolitan, or primate, if there be more than one archbishop; he can unite them, and from their combined decisions, canonically approved and sanctioned, emanate rules and principles of conduct which bind all and secure uniformity.1404 Now, considering the principles thus laid down, he (Mr. Newdegate) certainly did not think this the time for picking out Roman Catholic priests for special promotion in derogation of all other Dissenters. For it was clear that, although under their former organisation, under the ancient and comparatively free religious organisation of the Roman Catholics in this country, under the ancient usages by which the canon law of Rome had been limited in its operation upon the Roman Catholics of England, matters had gone on tolerably; that now there was an attempt on the part of the Pope, his cardinal, and his priests, to separate the Roman Catholics of this country into a distinct community, governed in all things by foreign laws and principles alien from the State and from the rest of the community. This was of all times that at which it was most dangerous to admit of any distinction between the Roman Catholic priests and the ministers of other religious bodies dissenting from the Established Church. To do so, would be to sanction the Papal aggression of 1850, by fulfilling the objects of it. These, however, were not the only considerations that condemned this Vote. He would ask the noble Lord, also, to consider whether recent evidence went to prove that these Roman Catholic priests have within the last year manifested such subordination, such reverence for the law, or such obedience to authority, as would lead to the belief that they were likely to inculcate these duties of obedience and reverence to the law upon prisoners committed to their teaching, or as would encourage any prudent man to advocate any increase of their power? Why, in a case which had been tried in Ireland, before Judge Torrens, one Roman Catholic priest (the Rev. Mr. M'Loughlin) called as a witness for another priest (Mr. Campbell), then upon his trial on a charge of violating the marriage law, had distinctly stated his opinion that the law which called upon the Roman Catholic priest to ascertain that neither of the two parties coming to him to be married had been a Protestant within twelve months was an unjust law, which he should be justified in evading by every means in his power, and that he would, if he had the opportunity, do all in his power to evade and defeat the law. Judge Torrens, in his charge, thus commented upon and condemned the conduct of these two Roman Catholic priests—That, with regard to the aspersions which 1405 had been cast on the law under which Mr. Campbell was prosecuted, not so much by the prisoner's learned counsel, who had, perhaps, only complained of the Statute in the ordinary tone of an advocate, as by the language of one of the witnesses, who, although in the garb of a clergyman, had declared, on his oath, that he considered it his duty to evade the law in question—God be praised that the court and jury were in a different frame of mind! God be praised that they had no consciences which taught them to act contrary to the law! It was their duty not to endeavour—not to struggle with themselves to evade the law, but to exert themselves in order that the law should be properly administered. In the course of his judicial experience, extending over a period of fifty years, he had never heard so daring a denunciation of the law as that pronounced by the clerical witness to whom he had alluded.Again, towards the conclusion of his charge, the learned Judge repeated that his experience of half a century afforded no parallel instance of defiance of this law in open court as had the conduct of these two priests. He (Mr. Newdegate) humbly submitted that such conduct was not calculated to inspire confidence in the priesthood as examples of obedience to, or reverence for, law. But this was not all. There had been within the last year melancholy evidence of how little the teaching of the priests of Rome was calculated to bring malefactors to contrition even for the grossest and the foulest infractions of the law. Nothing had produced a deeper or more melancholy impression upon the public mind than the accounts of the condition of mind to which wretched criminals had been brought when on the very verge of eternity—when about to expiate their guilt under the just operation of the law. The circumstances attending the execution of the murderers of Mr. Bateson (Grant, Quin, and Coomey) had produced a deeper impression upon the public mind of this country than almost anything that he ever remembered. These men, after a long delay and protracted search, had been arrested and convicted of one of the basest, most cold-blooded, and vindictive murders ever committed, and when they were brought to execution all who were present were shocked by the fact that these men were induced, by the Roman Catholic priests who attended them, to consider themselves as martyrs and heroes. [Cries of "No!"] He (Mr. Newdegate) would not have made that statement without having adequate proof of it, but as hon. Members chose to question the authenticity of the fact he had stated, and it was too grave to be trifled with, he trusted the the opportunity; and in the other they had 1406 Committee would hear the evidence in support of it. He had read three reports of this melancholy transaction; he would now read an extract from the account given by the correspondent of the Times, who was present at the execution—In the course of the conversation which ensued, Coomey particularly entered into religious topics, remarking that he never, in the whole course of his life, felt so happy as he did at that moment, with the confidence before him of, in a brief time, meeting his Saviour. Quin said that if a reprieve should come, he would not accept it, as he should never be better prepared to die than he was at that time.Here was another extract from the same account—The last rites of the Church having been administered to them in the chapel of the gaol by the Rev. Messrs. Hughes and Smith, the procession was formed to the press room. In passing from the yard to the press room an accident occurred which, though trifling in itself, tended to show Quin's state of mind. Clothed in their dead dress, the two men passed through the yard, each in company with his spiritual adviser, and during the time they were shaking hands with some of the officers of the prison, the Rev. Mr. Smith had passed some distance in advance of Quin, when the latter came skipping after him like a school girl, threw his arms round his neck, and drew him on with a lightsome, hurried pace for a short distance.This was in accordance with the account of what had happened that morning. Mr. Swanzy, the sub-sheriff, called upon them in the morning, and on going up to them said, "he was sorry to see three men in their position." "Sorry!" said one of them, in a tone of surprise, "why it is glad you should be, sir!" He then asked them whether they had any statement to make to him in relation to the offence for which they were about to die? "No," said Coomey, "Our Saviour said nothing when he was executed!" The circumstances of the execution, as narrated in the public journals—and none of the three reports which he had read varied in any material point—certainly justified him in saying that, under the ministration of these priests, these miserable murderers had been brought to consider themselves as martyrs; and, when the noble Lord opposite expatiated upon the probability of the Roman Catholic prisoners finding their hearts touched by the ministration of these priests, he thought they had a right to point to these two instances which had occurred within the last year. In one of these a Roman Catholic priest had broken the law, and another in his evidence, had defied it, declaring that he would break it if he had 1407 seen men, brought to the verge of eternity by their own misdeeds, persuaded by their spiritual advisers, in that solemn hour, that they were suffering martyrdom. This Vote, he believed, was not only not consistent with the principle of toleration, but it was peculiarly misapplied to the circumstances of the present time, because it tended to encourage the ambitious and aggressive projects of the Church of Rome, and because recent facts had shown that the Roman Catholic priests were not in a temper of mind to promote among the prisoners in our gaols those feelings of reverence for the law and contrition for its infraction which were the objects of all punishment and all penal establishments.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
Sir, I think that this debate, which no one regrets more than I do, has been altogether occasioned by the ill-advised form in which the Vote has been proposed. If this Vote had been proposed as a general arrangement for the advantage of all classes of prisoners, let them belong to what denomination they might, it certainly should have had my reluctant support, because I think that the true principle is, that you should not give public money to any sect but that which the State supports. I am speaking of an abstract theory, but you cannot stand now in your present circumstances upon that theory. You have gone too far. It is needless to quote the Queen's Coronation Oath with respect to the Roman Catholic Church. You must remember what her oath also says with respect to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland; and you must recollect, also, what the Presbyterian Church of Scotland says to all your episcopacy—Whene'er you see a Bishop, Jock, The Pope's nae far awa'.Now, Sir, I found only this morning, oddly enough, in a provincial paper sent to me, a letter which appears to me a very proper letter, signed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary at War, with respect to the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergymen, and the clergymen of all religious sects, who are to attend our soldiers in their different cantonments; and it seems to me that this principle ought in justice to be applied to our gaols. You cannot put aside or make a distinction between one sect and the other. It is all very well for one hon. Gentleman to say, "I have a particular objection to this," and another, "I have a particular objection to that," but it will not do for the State to act on any such objections. The 1408 State must act on some plain, honest, recognised, intelligible principle. Then, again, it is not because I have the smallest doubt that Roman Catholic priests will do again just what they have done for a thousand years, that I take this view of the question. I do not shut my eyes to all the danger which they will produce in the State; but I say that this is not the way to meet them. You are reverting to the old error, which was to meet political danger by theological tests. If you find the Catholic priests misconducting themselves in gaols, punish them for so doing, but do not enter into the question of their theological tenets. Here, however, is a great practical difficulty. I would like to be informed how the Government are to know Roman Catholic priests. [Laughter]. Hon. Gentlemen may laugh, but the fact is at the present moment you have no means of knowing them. Will any hon. Gentleman give us a clear and legal definition of a Roman Catholic priest? You have no legal evidence of what constitutes a Jesuit. You brought a Jesuit into the House of Lords and you could not prove it. I revert, then, to the very first words I pronounced in this House—you ought long ago to have redeemed your pledge and established the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, and then you would have had a clear means of knowing who were and who were not Roman Catholic priests, and you would have had some security that they should be respectable men. Certainly I think there is very great danger likely to arise from persons calling themselves priests being employed in connection with your army and gaols ad libitum, but until you have some authoritative means of knowing what they are, you must incur that risk. You have such means with respect to Presbyterians, because you have a Presbyterian Church established in Scotland, and you have the same security with respect to the various dissenting bodies in England, which have all distinct and recognised heads to whom you can apply; but you have no such means of information in the case of the Roman Catholics. But then my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) says, that in the oath taken by the Queen, the Roman Catholic religion is described as an "idolatrous fable and a dangerous deceit." Why, you may make an idolatrous use of anything. I have known many sailors who would not sail on a Friday. Is Friday an idolatrous day? For my part, I think it as harmless as any other 1409 day in the week. Some sailors are particularly anxious to sail on a Sunday. Is Sunday an idolatrous day? The truth is you may make an idolatrous use of what you please; and, after all, I very much fear that, if we were to come to close quarters, my hon. Friend would say that was idolatrous, which I believe to be the most holy rite exercised in Great Britain at the present moment, I mean the holy sacrifice presented on the Catholic altars. But there is no occasion to introduce theology into this question; and what I say that unless you can prove some misconduct on the part of Roman Catholic priests, of Presbyterian clergymen, and of all persons dissenting from the Church of England, you are bound, in the present state of society, having gone so far as yon have gone in what you call toleration, to put them all on the same footing of equality, whether you agree with them or not.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he fully concurred with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, in thinking that the State should act upon some simple, uniform, and intelligible principle in its dealings with the various religious denominations of the country; and it appeared to him that the State fully met that condition when it established one religion as the national religion, and gave all others complete toleration. In his opinion, the only object of an Established Church was, that the nation, on great public occasions, and in national institutions, should have a public and national organ of religion; and that in such establishments as prisons, when a chaplin was appointed, he should be a clergyman of the Established Church. If they were to maintain the connection between the Church and State, they should take care that the religious officers of all national institutions and establishments should be connected with the Established Church. In all cases the prisoners were asked on their entrance what religion they belonged to. The noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) said they had a precedent for the present Vote at Milbank; that the precedent had been established by his predecessor; but there was no knowing what changes might not be introduced under the argument of precedent. If they were to have chaplains in their prisons, they certainly ought to be of the established religion, or they ought to have no chaplains at all.
§ MR. CROSSLEY
said, he rose in consequence of the remark made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, that if 1410 this Vote were passed in favour of the Roman Catholics, there ought to be a similar Vote in favour of Dissenters of all denominations; now he begged to observe that the Dissenters objected to the endowment of ministers of all persuasions, not excepting those to which they belonged. He altogether repudiated the word "toleration," for he believed that God had given to no one the power of tolerating his reliaion and he could neither ask a favour nor receive one from a fellow-creature with regard to it.
§ MR. HORSFALL
said, he was as anxious to treat the Roman Catholic Members of that House with as much respect as the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) himself; but lie trusted they would not be too sensitive, and that they would not take offence at the bare statement of facts by any hon. Member. The noble Lord said he was as good a Protestant as the hon, Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner); but there was this remarkable difference between the Protestantism of the noble Lord and that of his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire, that whilst the noble Lord advocated what he himself believed to be error, the hon. Member at least advocated what he believed to be truth. Looking at the Vote they were called on to make, and to the consequences of it, he must say he could not be a party to doing in his public capacity what he would not do in his private capacity. They were told that the same rule ought to be applied to all sects; that would be undoubtedly true, as soon as they ceased to acknowledge a National Church; but so long as they upheld a National Church inculcating Protestant principles, let them not adopt the strange and startling inconsistency of paying those whose views were antagonistic to it; and who were bound, if they could, to overthrow that Church. That at least was an inconsistency to which he would not be a party, and, therefore, he should feel it his duty to vote against this grant. The sum, indeed, was a small one—only 550l.—and, therefore, he ran the risk, perhaps, of being charged with niggardliness. That, however, was not so, for if it were a Vote of 500,000l. for any other purpose than that of inculcating what he believed to be a religious error, he would cheerfully assent to carry it; but in its present shape he could not support it, as it involved a principle in violation of the Constitution of the country. He remem- 1411 bered when Sir Robert Peel proposed the additional grant to Maynooth, hon. Gentlemen who intended to vote against it were told that there was no principle in their doing so, as they had already voted for the smaller sum, and it was, therefore, evident that they only regarded the question in a financial point of view. Well, on the present occasion, he, at all events, was anxious to view the question before the Committee as one of principle, and not of finance; and he could not conceive how any hon. Gentleman who supported the Vote of to-night could hesitate, if Her Majesty's Ministers were to propose to-morrow the endowment of the Roman Catholic priest-hood, to support that proposition also.
§ MR W. J. FOX
said, that the Protestantism of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down seemed to consist of a desire to allow no portion of the public money to go in support of any but his own Church. The hon. Gentleman seemed to forget that Protestantism originally was a protest against any man's authority over the conscience of another, and therefore that it implied fair and impartial dealing, equal rights and privileges, to all who chose to exercise their own judgment in religion. He confessed that his own Protestantism led him to regard all sects and Churches with impartiality. He thought it must be consolatory to the Nonconformists to find in this debate no serious mooting of any question as the payment of Nonconformist ministers for attending Christians of their denomination who were so unlucky as to get into gaol. It would almost seem, from what had passed in the course of this discussion, that whilst those who did not conform to the rites and observances of the Church of England were a very large majority of the population, more numerous, even, than both the Episcopal and Catholic Churches taken together, the criminality of the country was wholly divided between those two denominations. He would not, of course, assume that as a certainty, but he believed that, when it did so happen that persons belonging to the various Nonconformist denominations were entangled in temptation, and plunged into crime, there was a disposition always, so far as their ministers were allowed to do it, to attend them in their prisons, and to make every effort to recall them to penitence and to the paths of integrity and honesty. He should be surprised indeed if it were otherwise. That volume which all Christians agreed in 1412 reverencing was so full of precepts both to visit the prisoner and to reclaim the erring, that he held the ministers of every Church whatever who were deficient in that duty to be so far unworthy the name of Christian ministers, priests, clergymen, or by whatever appellation they might he called. He believed there would be in this country, if the matter were left entirely free, an ample disposition in the Churches of every name, character, and denomination, to provide for the religious instruction of those who had unhappily become tainted with criminality. He believed that Christian charity, as it existed in all Churches, would be sure to inspire zeal in this great work, which would be done all the more effectually from its being undertaken spontaneously, and without any view to remuneration. He believed that disposition existed not only in the various Protestant sects, but he must claim for the Roman Catholic Church the simple justice of acknowledging that her priests and her missionaries had ever been distinguished for the readiness with which they braved dangers and privations, and endured everything that humanity could in their devotion to the sacred functions of their calling, and in their attention to the poor and miserable prisoners, and even to the most abandoned. He thought the history of the Roman Catholic Church was replete with such noble examples, and therefore it was that he regretted to find the Roman Catholic Members of that House, instead of taking equal ground with the other Dissenters from the Established Church, rather striving as it were to compete with it, and to get a miserable pittance out of the public money which was devoted to ecclesiastical purposes. He coincided generally with the opinions which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield), and should certainly vote for the Motion of which he had given notice if the Committee came to divide upon it; but he could not agree with him as to the vote which he had announced his intention to give upon the Amendment of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). He for one felt himself pledged by his own principles to oppose every endeavour to bestow the public money for religious purposes; and he would feel, in so doing, that he was only dealing by the Roman Catholics as he would deal with the Protestant Dissenters or with any other denomination. In fact, be would as readily vote for the 1413 abolition of the whole of these grants of the public money for providing religious instruction to the inmates of gaols, as he would vote against any portion of that money falling to the Roman Catholics. Allusion had been made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) to the sort of extraordinary enthusiasm under which certain Roman Catholic criminals had met their fate, but cases of that sort could be easily matched in the records of Protestantism, from which it would be seen that criminals of the deepest dye had made such professions of repentance that they had been almost canonised as saints, and had attracted enthusiasm and admiration on account of their miserable professions of conversion under the very shadow of the gibbet. He believed that without employing men under the direction of the State, the Church of England could find men better fitted for the task, and who would accomplish their work much more effectually, than was now done under official appointments, which, successful in a few cases, were lamentable failures in the great majority. Acting on the principles which he had laid down, he felt bound to vote with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Spooner), and on the same grounds he should give his support to the Motion of the hon. Member for Birmingham.
§ MR. J. BALL
said, the question before the Committee was simply this—whether, if from motives of public policy it was deemed desirable to retain the services of ministers of religion, they should have the means of subsistence given them or not. The Committee were now asked to vote against a payment on page 15 of the Votes, and to leave untouched payments for the same objects in pages 28 and 29. It was said that Dissenting congregations would not accept remuneration. Now, the Dissenters from the Establishment in Ireland did receive salaries as chaplains when their services were required in that capacity. If the State required their aid and their time, the State ought to pay them. In Spike Island the services of the Roman Catholic chaplains had been most valuable, and having established the principle in that case, it ought to be extended over the United Kingdom.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he was desirous that his vote should not be misunderstood. He must say the explanation offered by the noble Lord the Home Secretary was wholly insufficient to justify the placing the Vote at all upon the paper, but 1414 more especially in the shape in which it had been brought forward. The noble Lord failed to explain how the money was to be distributed, whether upon some fixed principle or otherwise. Another part of the noble Lord's explanation was very unsatisfactory to him, and he thought it must also have been so to the Roman Catholic Members of the House—he meant that part of it already adverted to by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. W. J. Fox), in which he seemed to assert that every rogue who got into gaol must be either a member of the Church of England or of the Church of Rome. They heard a good deal in that House of the large body of Dissenters throughout the country—of the Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, and others; but the noble Lord seemed really to think that all these people were so very virtuous that there was no chance of any of them ever becoming inmates of a gaol, and therefore that there was no necessity to provide for their spiritual instruction. Now he wished to make the admission—to make it broadly and in a manner impossible to be misunderstood—that he held it to be necessary to provide for the spiritual instruction of all inmates of goals; and he had already asserted that principle in the Juvenile Reformatory Act for the county of Middlesex. The provisions of that Bill, however, rested upon a very different basis from the grant now proposed. In providing spiritual instruction for the inmates of gaols, the noble Lord must proceed upon one of two principles, either he must appoint chaplains of the established religion of the country, and say "every unhappy person who becomes an inmate of a gaol becomes subject to the general law of the country," and be spiritually instructed by the chaplain; or else he must take the more tolerant course, saying, "although these unhappy, people have entered here, I will do violence to no man's conscience, but will allow him to be instructed according to his peculiar religious opinions." He believed the latter to be the more generous, as it was the wiser course, and it was the course which he was prepared himself to adopt and recommend. But the plan of the noble Lord Accomplished neither the one nor the other, for the Vote seemed to him to be founded upon no principle whatever—it had only the character and appearance of being dictated by the pressure of one particular denomination of Christians. He wished it, therefore, to be well understood that he objected, not to the amount proposed, but to the shape in which it was proposed. He 1415 agreed with an hon. Friend of his, the Vote ought to have been a Vote for the spiritual instruction of those inmates of gaols not members of the Church of England. He objected to this money being voted for distribution amongst Roman Catholic chaplains only, because, in many of the gaols, none of the inmates might be of that religion, while many of them might belong to other dissenting bodies. Were the Vote brought forward in the shape suggested, he would have no objection whatever to it, provided the money was distributed fairly amongst all classes requiring aid. But he would most distinctly vote against the grant in its present shape, assuming it to be unwise, invidious, and bearing the appearance of providing for one class of Dissenters alone.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he was one of those who repudiated State pay altogether. The hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. J. Ball) had remarked that the Dissenters in Ireland pursued a different course. It was a great grief to the Protestant Dissenters of England, that the public money should be touched by the Dissenters of Ireland. He deeply regretted that they should come to Parliament like common beggars, and apply for stipends to the disgrace of their own principles. He, as a Dissenter, required no assistance from the State, and, acting on that principle, he should vote against the proposed grant.
§ MR. LUCAS
said, it was unfortunate that the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) had been placed by the facts of the case in such a position that be was sure to incur blame from somebody. The case was just this, that the noble Lord had done the only thing possible to be done. He had proposed a Vote for Catholic priests, because it appeared to be required. He had not proposed a Vote for Protestant Dissenters, because it did not appear to be required. The hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. W. J. Fox) had twitted the Catholic Members for making a demand of this kind. He said, why did the Catholics not imitate the Protestant Nonconformists, and go and visit such of the members of this communion as were unfortunate enough to get into prison, from pure Christian love and benevolence, and without pay? That was a beautiful theory. There was something romantic in it; but unhappily it was not borne out by experience. For example, he held in his hand a return which showed that at Dartmoor Prison there were 998 prisoners, 761 of whom were members of the Church of England. Among the 1416 prisoners, there were 88 Dissenters, who were not visited by any dissenting minister at all. The theory of the hon. Member was romantic, but the practice at Dartmoor did not seem to carry it out. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic clergyman at Dartmoor did the work without payment; it was not his theory that the servant was not worthy of his hire. But he did the work; and if the money was not forthcoming, he did the work without the money. Again, at Millbank, besides the prisoners belonging to the Church of England, there were 115 Presbyterians, 85 Dissenters of all classes, 292 Roman Catholics, and 4 Jews. The Jews sent an assistant rabbi to attend to the 4 members of their communion confined there; but the Nonconformists, who had this sublime theory of never taking State money, allowed their 200 prisoners to languish without any religious consolation whatever. That was really an answer to the question why the noble Lord proposed this Vote. The Catholics rendered the service, and they came to the noble Lord and asked him that they might have payment for the service which they rendered. The hon. Member for Oldham advised the Catholics not to take money, but to perform the service gratuitously. The truth was that the Catholics did perform the service, and that gratuitously; but the Nonconformists neither performed the service nor did they take the money. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) ought really, in common sense, to strike out of this Vote everything of which he did not approve. Did he approve of the Vote for Roman Catholic priests in Ireland? [Mr. SPOONER: No, no!] Part of the sum which the hon. Member now proposed to the Committee to vote went to the payment of Catholic priests at Philip Town, Spike Island, Mountjoy Prison, Newgate Prison, and two or three other places. He (Mr. Lucas) was anxious that the hon. Member should not persevere in his Amendment without a full knowledge of the facts, and that they should have the benefit of so illustrious a convert with his eyes open. The hon. Gentleman was actually proposing a Vote by which he asked the Committee to pay 150l. a year to the Roman Catholic chaplain at Mountjoy Prison; and 150l. a year to the Roman Catholic chaplain at Newgate Prison; and 200l. a year to the Roman Catholic chaplain, and 100l. a year to an assistant Roman Catholic chaplain, at Spike Island. If we had the blessing of a national Church Establishment, nothing 1417 would be paid except to those who professed the Roman Catholic faith. If that was so, they could not pay Presbyterians. The hon. Member must strike out the sums for Presbyterian chaplains. He must not violate the sacred principle of an established religion—he must not contaminate the national faith. In Scotland the Presbyterians was the established religion— but in Ireland the Presbyterians were Dissenters, and therefore they must be excluded from the Vote, if the Nonconformist Members really believed the principles which they professed, and on which they asked the Committee to deprive the Catholics of the benefit of this very meagre vote. There was another point. Already, with respect to the reformation of criminals, a Committee upstairs were considering the example furnished by Mettrai and other kindred institutions, because they said that an effect was produced in those establishments which they wished to produce in the reformatory prisons in this country. In fact, we founded institutions on the basis of those establishments, and then paid public money to carry out a faint shadow of the example so set, and yet there were those who professed to believe that Roman Catholic priests could not produce that effect on the minds of those submitted to them, which was ascertained by Committees upstairs to have been produced whenever the experiment had been tried. This was partly a question of justice; but it was not so much a question of justice as it was of common sense. They professed to believe that religious training was necessary to the reform of the criminal, and the question was whether they would adopt the means which they professed to believe necessary. Professing as they did on other occasions that these means were necessary, hon. Gentlemen who desired that the Vote now in question should be struck out of the Estimates declared that they would not have the means, and they did so upon the inconsistent ground which he had pointed out, and which he was persuaded the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) would reform before the voting on the coining division.
said, he could not suffer the observations of the hon. Member for Meath to pass without some little notice. The hon. Member seemed to have mystified, as was usual with him, the object of religious instruction. He (Mr. Miles) quite agreed with the hon. Gentleman that in this Vote was included the prisons in Ire- 1418 land who have Roman Catholic and Presbyterian chaplains. But they were now discussing a perfectly new Vote, applicable entirely to England. ["Hear, hear!"] He should be glad to hear what was the special service for which this 550l. a year was to he paid. He was sure that the noble Lord the Home Secretary did not state exactly his ideas upon the subject. He, however, understood the noble Lord to say that this Vote was for England. Therefore, as a Protestant country, professing Protestant principles, they were asked to legitimatise Roman Catholic chaplains in gaols. This, though a small Vote, carried with it a great principle—namely, the toleration of the Roman Catholic religion in our public establishments. He wished to know how the noble Lord intended to carry out his proposition. The noble Lord did not explain whether this Vole was to be entirely for convict establishments. He wanted to know, with the present means of information, how the noble Lord proposed to place the Catholic chaplain in communication with the Scripture reader, for time Scripture reader, he took it, went through every denomination of prisoners for the purpose of reading the Scriptures to them? This was truly a Protestant question. If the vote upon the Middlesex Reformatory Schools was looked upon as such, this vote would be looked upon doubly as such. He hoped and trusted that not only the ordinary Members of the Established Church, but also the Dissenters, would cordially unite in opposing this Vote.
§ MR. MIALL
said, that the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) had done great injustice to the position taken up by his hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. W. J. Fox). The hon. Member for Oldham put the argument thus—that if you were to throw the care of the prisoners upon the spontaneous liberality and Christian charity of Churches in general, the liberality and charity of every Church—not merely of Nonconformists, for he gave full credit for similar liberality and charity to the Roman Catholic Church—would furnish the instructions and ministrations which were needed. He (Mr. Miall) hoped that the hon. Member for Meath did not intend to imply that Nonconformists were alone wanting in this charity and liberality, and he would remind him as a reason which might account for the non-attendance of Nonconformist ministers in the cases to which he referred, that a minister other 1419 than the chaplain of the gaol only attended prisoners upon their making a special request that lie should do so.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, it was only justice to allow him to offer some explanation in reply to the observations of the hon. Member for Meath. He would first refer to the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) who accused him of using hard words. He (Mr. Spooner) could only say that the only hard words he used were those contained in these Articles to which the noble Lord must have signed his full, complete, and cordial assent. With regard to the hon. Member for Meath, he (Mr. Spooner) was perfectly aware that there were other Votes besides this one of 550l. included in the present proposition. His hon. Friend (Mr. Miles) having fully answered that point, he (Mr. Spooner) would not think it necessary to add anything more. This was a new Vote—a Vote for England. Hitherto the Vote upon this subject was confined to Ireland. Much as he disapproved of that Vote for Ireland, he thought it a great deal better to get at more tangible ground, and to say, "You shall go no further, for it is not because you have been allowed to do a wrong already that you shall lie permitted to extend it." He had only simply to state that he did not agree with much that had been said even by those who were about to vote in favour of his Amendment. His simple object in opposing this Vote was to raise the Protestant voice in that House against the proposition of the noble Lord. He believed that for Parliament to give its sanction to the propagation of the Catholic religion would be a national sin. [Ironical cheers from the Irish Members.] Hon. Gentlemen might laugh if they pleased, but this was his honest opinion—an opinion which he had always professed since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, and an opinion which he meant to carry out so long as he was permitted to sit in that House.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 158; Noes 136: Majority 22.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Barrow, W. H.|
|Alexander, J.||Bateson, T.|
|Anderson, Sir J.||Beckett, W.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Bell, J.|
|Bailey, Sir J.||Bennet, P.|
|Bailey, C.||Bentinck, G. W. P.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Beresford, rt. hon. W.|
|Bakes, rt. hon. G.||Berkeley, hon. C. F.|
|Barnes, T.||Bernard, Visct.|
|Blair, Col.||Lennox, Lord A. F.|
|Booker, T. W.||Liddell, H. G.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Lockhart, W.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Loveden, P.|
|Buck, L. W.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Mackie, J.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||MacGregor, Jas.|
|Butt, G. M.||MacGregor, John|
|Campbell, Sir A. I.||M'Taggart, Sir J.|
|Cecil, Lord R.||Malins, R.|
|Challis, Mr. Ald.||Mandeville, Visct.|
|Chambers, M.||Miall, E.|
|Chambers, T.||Miles, W.|
|cheetham, J.||Milligan, R.|
|Chelsea, Visct.||Mills, T.|
|Child, S.||Michell, T.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Montgomery, Sir G.|
|Collier, R. P.||Moody, C. A.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Morris, D.|
|Crossley, F.||Mowbray, J. R.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Mullings, J. R.|
|Dalrymple, Visct.||Mundy, W.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Murrough, J. P.|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Decries, W.||North, Col.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Dod, J. W.||Packe, C. W.|
|Duncan, G.||Paget, lord G.|
|Dundas, G.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Dunlop, A. M||Palk, L.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Pellatt, A.|
|Ellice, E.||Percy, hon. J. W.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Portal, M.|
|Ewart, W.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Farrer, J.||Robertson, P. F.|
|Fellowes, E.||Rolt, P.|
|Fergus, J.||Rushout, Col.|
|Ferguson, J.||Sandars, G.|
|Flover, J.||Sawle, C. B. G.|
|Forbes, W.||Scobell, Capt.|
|Fox, W. J.||Smijth, Sir W.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Smith, W. M.|
|Galway, Visa.||Smith, A.|
|George, J.||Smollett, A.|
|Gilpin, Col.||Stafford, A.|
|Goddard, A. L.||Stanhope, J. B.|
|Greenall, G.||Stirling, W.|
|Grogan, E.||Taylor, Col.|
|Gwyn, H.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Hadfield, G.||Tollenmehe, J.|
|Hardinge, hon. C. S.||Tomline, G.|
|Hustie, A.||Tudway, R. C.|
|Henley, R. hon. J. W.||Vance, J.|
|Hildyard, R. C.||Vane, Lord A.|
|Horsfall, T. B.||Vyvyan, Sir R. R.|
|Hudson, G.||Walcott, Adm.|
|Hume, W. F.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Jones, D.||West, F. R.|
|Keating, H. S.||Whiteside, J.|
|Kendall, N.||Whitmore, H.|
|Kerrison, Sir E. C.||Wickham, H. W.|
|Kershaw, J.||Wigram, L. T.|
|King, J. K.||Wise, A.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A, F.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Knatchbull, W. F.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Knightley, R.||Wyndham, Gen.|
|Knox, Col.||Wynn, Major H. W. W.|
|Laing, S.||Wynne, W. W. E.|
|Langton, W. G.|
|Langton, H. G.||TELLERS.|
|Lascelles, hon. E.||Spooner, R.|
|Leo, W.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|List of the NOES.|
|A'Court, C. H. W.||Fitzgerald, W. R. S.|
|Atherton, W.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Forster, J.|
|Ball, J.||Fortescue, C. S.|
|Bass, M. T.||Fox, R. M.|
|Beamish, F. B.||French, F.|
|Bothell, Sir R.||Geach, C.|
|Biggs, W.||Gladstone, rt. hon. W.|
|Bland, L. H.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Goodman, Sir G.|
|Bowyer, G.||Goold, W.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Greene, J.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Gregson, S.|
|Brotherton, J.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Greville, Col. F.|
|Bruce, H. A.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.||Hankey, T.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Cavendish, hon. G.||Henchy, D. O.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Heneage, H. W.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Cogan, W. H. F.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Heywood, J.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Higgins, G. G. O.|
|Dashwood, Sir G. H.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Denison, J. E.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Dent, J. D.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Drumlanrig, Visct.||Ingham, R.|
|Duff, G. S.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Duff, J.||Keating, R.|
|Dunne, Col.||Keogh, W.|
|Elcho, Lord||Kirk, W.|
|Esmonde, J.||Lacon, Sir E.|
|FitzGerald, Sir J.||Layard, A. H.|
|Fitzgerald, J. D.||Locke, J.|
|Lowe, R.||Ricardo, O.|
|Lucas, F.||Rice, E. R.|
|M`Mahon, P.||Sadleir, Jas.|
|Maguire, J. F.||Sadleir, John|
|Marjoribanks, D. C.||Scholefield, W.|
|Massey, W. N.||Scully, F.|
|Moffitt D, G.||Scully, V.|
|Molesworth, rt.hn.SirW.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Monck, Visct.||Seymour, W. D.|
|Monsell, W.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Shee, W.|
|Mure, Col.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Oakes, J. H. P.||Smith, J. A.|
|O'Brien, Sir T.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|O'Connell, D.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|O'Connell, J.||Swift, R.|
|O'Flaherty, A.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Osborne, R.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Palmer, Round.||Thornely, T.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Thornhill, W. P.|
|Pechell, Sir G, B.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Peel, F.||Whitbread, S.|
|Perry, Sir T. E.||Wilkinson, W. A.|
|Philipps, J. H.||Williams, W.|
|Phillimore, J. G.||Wilson, J.|
|Phillimore, R. J.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Phinn, T.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Pilkington, J.||Young, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Portman, hon. W. H. B.||Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.|
|Price, W. P.||Berkeley, C. G.|
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ House adjourned at Two o'clock.