HC Deb 03 March 1854 vol 131 cc314-30

said, although the subject which he was about to submit to the notice of the House was one of very great importance, he should have been glad not to have interrupted the progress of business on a supply night if a suitable opportunity had been otherwise appointed of bringing forward the question. At the same time he was most anxious that both the House and the Government should understand that, in thus laying bare the grievances under which Catholic soldiers and sailors had laboured for so long a time, he had no wish whatever to excite a feeling of discontent in the minds of those whose claims he was submitting to consideration. He believed that the effect of his Motion would be to produce a feeling the very opposite of discontent, and that its tendency would be to show those who were hazarding their lives on behalf of their country that their reasonable interests were not left uncared for by the House of Commons. The question he was about to raise was not one in any way connected with the military or naval service of the country in a time of war, for the grievances complained of had been experienced in time of peace as well as in time of war. No less than fifty years ago, at a meeting of the Roman Catholic bishops held to take cognisance of the grievances under which the Roman Catholic portion of the community laboured, the most prominent grievance put forward was that felt by Roman Catholic soldiers and sailors in being debarred from the proper exercise of their religion. Fifty years had now elapsed since that date, and, though the subject had been repeatedly brought before Parliament, and though some move had been made in the proper direction, still it was not to be denied that the grievance substantially remained. It would be, therefore, his duty to-night to call upon Her Majesty's Government to make some effort for its effectual and final removal. And let it be remembered that he and those who were acting with him were contending for no new principle; for the principle that the Catholic soldier and sailor were entitled to the same justice—to the same adequate provision for their religious wants as the Protestant soldier and sailor—had been already fully recognised by Her Majesty's Ministers, from whatever side of the House they had been chosen. The only thing wanted, then, was to carry into practice the principle already acknowledged, and to give that fair and reasonable justice which it was admitted ought to be conceded. He believed, however, that, even amongst Roman Catholics themselves, there were those who were not aware of the full extent to which the inequality complained of prevailed. According to a return which he had obtained last year, showing how a sum of 18,000l., included in the estimates for the religious services of the Army—had been divided, it was quite evident that, taking into consideration the number of Catholics in the Army, a real hardship was inflicted on the soldiers and sailors of that persuasion. Last year the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War was kind enough to furnish him with a statement giving the proportion of Protestants, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics in the Army on the 3rd of June, 1853; and it appeared from that return the Protestants numbered 74,335; the Presbyterians, 12,765; and the Roman Catholics, 41,400—total, 128,495. According, therefore, to that statement, the Catholic soldiers formed about one-third of the Army. That being so, it was a matter of very great importance, especially at a moment when they were engaged in hostilities, that one-third of the Army should have no reasonable grounds for complaint—that one-third of the Army should feel that they were really treated with equality—that they were looked upon—not, indeed, with any peculiar favour—but with complete impartiality. Under any circumstances they were entitled to this; but he considered that a great augmentation would be supplied to their claims by a reference to the facts stated in the last report of Colonel Jebb, Inspector General of Military Prisons, as to the conduct and discipline of Catholic soldiers. That report stated that, in the nine military prisons of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the proportion of Catholic military prisoners was only 28 per cent, while the proportion of Catholics in the Army amounted to 32 per cent of the whole; there was, therefore, a balance of 4 per cent in favour of the conduct of the Catholic soldiers. Now what was the proportion of the fund devoted by Parliament for the necessary religious worship to the Army which he should expect to find allocated to the service of the Roman Catholics? He believed it was impossible to place their claim upon a lower footing than that they should have a proportion of it equal to their numbers. He did not mean to say that a Catholic clergyman should receive as much as a Protestant clergyman, because he did not believe that their necessities were equal; but he thought that the duties of the Catholic priest were very much more arduous in their nature than those of the Protestant clergyman, and that one Catholic clergyman was not able to meet the spiritual wants of as many soldiers as the Protestant. On that account he believed there ought to be a greater number of Catholic than Protestant clergymen in proportion to the number of Catholics and Protestants attached to the Army, and that the fund voted by Parliament should be divided in some approximation to the numbers. Now, how was that fund of 18,500l. divided? 500l. of it went to supply books for the soldiers, and, therefore, of that he should take no account. But of the remainder, 14,436l. went to the Protestants, 865l. to the Presbyterians, and 2,702l. was devoted to the Roman Catholics. That is, while the Catholics formed one-third of the whole Army, they only received one-seventh of the grant for religious purposes. The grievance, however, by no means stopped there; for this sum of 14,000l. was by no means the whole amount dedicated to Protestant services in the Army. Thus, he found that to the chaplain general, who was a Protestant, of course, and who certainly was not an officer who could or ought to be entrusted with the spiritual superintendence of Roman Catholic clergymen—a man who, from his position and functions, would naturally, on any question affecting the spiritual wants of the Roman Catholics, be a partisan against them, though he wished to make no charge whatever against the present holder of the office—on the contrary, He had heard of one or two instances where he had opposed the manifestation of a bigoted feeling. Well, he found this gentleman with a salary of 500l., and an allowance for a clerk of 80l. a year. Then there were chaplains and assistant chaplains, with salaries varying from 200l. to upwards of 400l. a year, stationed at various garrisons at home and abroad. And then came a class of items to which he should beg the particular attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War—items which altogether yielded a larger amount than the entire provision made for the spiritual wants of the Catholics of the Army. He alluded to the al- lowances for half-pay to regimental chaplains, and allowances to chaplains' widows. He found that the sum of 2,911l. 5s. 10d. was allotted for the non-effective religious service of the British Army. He found also that there were twelve prison chaplains, with an allowance of 54l. 10s. each, included in the estimates for the Army. Summing all the various items together, he found that a further sum of 10,000l., quite distinct from the original 18,000l., was given for Protestant service in the Army. So that, while a sum of 2,700l. was all that was allotted for Catholic service, no less than 26,000l. was allotted for the religious purposes of the Protestant soldiery. Coming now to the Navy Estimates, he was unable to determine whether any effectual spiritual aid whatever was provided for Roman Catholic sailors afloat. He must admit that he had no data to go upon, on which he could form an opinion as to the proportion of Roman Catholics to Protestants on board our fleets; he was told, however, that this could not amount to much less than one-fourth of the whole. The whole amount voted for the promotion of Protestant religious service in the Navy was, he believed, about 22,000l., distributed among about 69 chaplains, stationed on board our ships, in the naval yards, and the marine barracks—a certain portion being allotted for half-pay and widows; while the only money which he could find voted for Catholic purposes, was four miserable stipends of 20l. each, divided amongst the 4tospitals at Plymouth, Greenwich, Chatham, and Woolwich. Now, the result of all this was, that there was scarcely a station either at home or abroad where adequate provision was made for the religious wants of the Catholic soldiers; and, even where they were permitted to attend religious worship in the Catholic chapels of the district, the arrangements to enable them to do so were perfectly scandalous. Now, the Government must accept one of these two alternatives if they persisted in maintaining the present system, namely, either that a sum of under 3,000l. was miserably inadequate for the wants of one-third of the Army, or that it was monstrous to expend 26,000l. upon the remaining two-thirds. He would illustrate this system by one detail of it:—The sum of 968l. was allotted for the Protestant service of the troops at the Cape. He did not know precisely what the proportion of Roman Catholic soldiers there was, but he saw no reason to suppose it was different from the Proportion elsewhere. Now, what sum did the House suppose was given for the Roman Catholic military service in that colony? Two sums of, respectively, 30l. and 40l.—one to the priest at Fort Hare, the other to the priest at King William's Town. How arduous were the duties of these priests the House might learn from the statement in a letter he held in his hand, from the priest at Fort Hare, who mentioned incidentally that, after riding twenty-eight miles that day, on his spiritual duties, he was, after writing the letter, about to ride other fourteen miles, in the darkness of night, to visit a dying man of his flock. Yet, for these arduous duties, this gentleman received only 30l., having no horse and no forage provided him, an assistance given only to the Protestant chaplains. Such a state of things as this was scandalous. The Protestant chaplains at the Cape received 200l. a year, and there were four of them, while the Catholic clergyman only got 40l., and there were but two of them. Passing from the Cape to Scotland, he found that the clergyman, who travelled a distance of twelve miles to attend the spiritual wants of the Catholic soldiers of Fort George, only received last year 10s. a visit—a sum which would not pay his expenses. In the previous October this clergyman stated that he was treated better, and received 30s. a visit. When he (Mr. Lucas) had brought this subject privately under the attention of the Government, he was told that the Catholic soldiers in a great number of stations were in a minority, and it was much more difficult to provide for this minority than it would be for a large body of soldiers. He wished to show, though this was a plausible objection, and one that was very often put forward by official men when they had what they considered a troublesome grievance to deal with—it was still an objection which they found it very easy to get over when they had a very strong motive for getting over it. How, he asked, did they deal with the lowest refuse of society when they got them in gaol? How did they deal with burglars and ruffians, who happened to be Protestants, when they were placed in a gaol? These men were very often lodged in gaol in very small numbers; in Ireland the Protestant criminals were in a constant minority; but, without going to that country for examples, how, he would ask, were the religious wants of criminals provided for in England? By a return laid upon the table of the House there were, on the day the return was made, in Exeter city gaol 21 prisoners, and the Protestant chaplain was allowed 60l. a-year; in Ilfracombe, 40 prisoners, with 61l. for the chaplain; in Lancaster, 39 prisoners, and 380l. for the chaplain; in Walsingham, 29 prisoners, and 200l. for the clergyman; in Middlesex, 30 prisoners, and 300 for the chaplain; in York Castle, 37 prisoners, with 300l. for the chaplain, and so on. The result was, that the total number of prisoners in the English gaols on the day of that return was 21,626; that 16,077 of these belonged to the Church of England; and the salaries of Church of England chaplains were 23,129l.; while for 40,000 Catholic soldiers the Government could not afford 3,000l. The estimate formed of the religious wants of the Catholic soldier was, therefore, very much under those of the Protestant convict; and while 11. 8s. per head was allowed to the Church of England prisoners, only ls. 6d. a-head was given for Catholic soldiers. Take, again, the case of Chatham. There he understood the Catholic soldiers were at certain periods of the year in a majority. At Chatham also there were considerable establishments connected with the Navy; there were the garrison, the dockyard, the marines, two hospitals, and the Military Prison at Fort Clarence. As far as he could make out, the soldiers in the garrison were in equal numbers—say 2,000 Protestants and 2,000 Catholics. Of the marines, dockyard artificers, people in hospitals and in the prisons, there would, of course, be a Protestant majority—say 3,000 Protestants and 500 Catholics, making altogether 5,000 Protestants and 2,500 Catholics. What were the respective religious allowances made? In the first place there was the Protestant garrison chaplain, with a salary of 2921., and allowances which made his salary 4081.; then there was a chaplain in Fort Clarence, with 205l.; a dockyard chaplain, with 350l.; and a chaplain to the Marine Infirmary, 160l.; making altogether a sum of 1,123l. at Chatham paid for Protestant clergymen in these various establishments. To this must be added additional pay of chaplains, half-pay of chaplains, and widows' pay, a due proportion of which must go to Chatham, with the outlay upon the chapels and repairs, so that altogether there could not be less spent than 1,200l. annually upon the Protestant service in that garrison. Now, what was the allow- ance for the performance of Catholic service? There was but one priest, who had a congregation to look after besides, and who received 20l. on account of the Navy, and 80l. on account of the Army, which was paid him for religious services to 2,500 Catholics, while 5,000 Protestants had allowed them something like 1,200l. Then the Protestant clergyman got all sorts of extras, while the Catholics had a chapel rent to pay; the priest had no pension, and when he had worn out his health in performing the duties which devolved upon him, He was allowed to live as he could in his old age. The priest, living at Brompton, had to attend the military prison at Fort Clarence, which was five miles from Brompton Barracks; be had to attend Fort Pitt, which was three miles distant; had the spiritual wants of a large congregation to attend to besides; and, to make the whole complete, he had to attend the cavalry barracks at Maidstone and the county gaol there—a distance of eleven miles—for which he had no allowance. Then look at the chapel room at the disposal of the two communities. The Protestants at Chatham had the dockyard chapel, which would hold 2,000; the chapel in Brompton Barracks, 1,500; that at Fort Pitt, 150; and the Fort Clarence Chapel, 150 more; making a total of 3,800 sittings. On the other hand, the Catholics had only one chapel, every inch of which was wanted for the accommodation of the ordinary congregation, and only 200 soldiers could attend mass there on the Sunday. Thus, it was ten weeks before the turn of a Catholic soldier to hear mass came round at Chatham, it being an obligation of his religion that he should hear mass (whatever else he missed) every Sunday morning. Again, while there were Protestant schoolmasters, there was not one Catholic schoolmaster anywhere. Another grievance had arisen at Chatham out of the difficulty which the Catholics had there in getting ground for a new chapel. Three or four years ago repeated applications were made for a piece of ground at Brompton, close to the garrison hospital, but those applications were refused instead of a proper piece of ground for the erection of a chapel, the Roman Catholics were offered a piece of land situated in a swampy marsh, about two or three miles beyond Brompton Barracks, perhaps with the idea that malaria was considered beneficial to the Roman Catholic soldier. At Chatham there were many pieces of ground vacant, and one very suitable piece was pointed out; but the commandant objected, on the ground that, if a chapel were erected and the place became shut in by buildings, it would be dangerous as affording an admirable cover to the enemy in case of invasion. He thought, however, that the commandant feared the spread of Roman Catholicism more than any invasion. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War had had the case under consideration, and he had endeavoured to make an arrangement, under which a large room, which was appropriated to the performance of the Protestant service, should be allowed to be used alternately for Roman Catholic and Protestant worship, but to that arrangement objection was taken by a Protestant bishop. The Bishop of Rochester objected to it, not on the ground that the building was consecrated, but—he objected to the alternate performance of the two services. What, then, did the Secretary at War propose? He proposed to take away the chapel from both, and to build a chapel school, to be used alternately for both services. He had seen the plan for the erection of that school, and it appeared that it was to be a very handsome edifice, built like a church, and containing a communion-table and everything required for the convenience of the performance of the Protestant ritual, but nothing for the convenience of the Roman Catholic service. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War sincerely desired to do what was right in the matter, but that the fear he entertained of exciting against himself all the existing bigotry would prevent him from carrying out any change to its full extent. It appeared to be almost impossible to obtain adequate justice for the Roman Catholic soldier. At Kilmainham Hospital, this year, for the first time, it was proposed to give an allowance for a Roman Catholic priest. He would just call the attention of the House to the proportion which the Roman Catholics bore to the Protestants in that institution. There were 139 inmates in that hospital; of that number 100 were Roman Catholics, 35 were Protestants, and there were 4 Presbyterians; so that the vast majority were Roman Catholics. Now, what provision was made for the spiritual wants of the Roman Catholics? Last year no provision at all was made, while there was an allowance of 250l. for a Protestant chaplain, and of 18l. 5s. for a clerk. This year there was, in addition, an allowance made of 50l. for a Roman Catholic priest; but, instead of his being described as a chaplain, he was described as a Roman Catholic clergyman officiating to the prisoners. Such a state of things was manifestly most unjust—that 268l. 5s. should be allowed for the spiritual wants of 35 Protestants, and only 50l. for those of 100 Roman Catholics. It was absolutely necessary that the salaries and allowances of Roman Catholic chaplains should be increased, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War would state to the House whether he proposed to make any such increase, and, if so, to what extent. It would not be advisable to tell the 40,000 troops of the Roman Catholic persuasion in the British Army that they would not be treated with justice and impartiality. There must also be some reform in the hospitals with the view of preventing the Roman Catholics there from being interfered with by the Protestant chaplains. With regard to the schools, it appeared to him that the proper principle to be adopted was, that children who were entered as Roman Catholics, should be ipso facto exempted from attendance at any Protestant place of worship. The present system, which amounted to compelling a soldier to proclaim himself a Roman Catholic and to object to attend divine service, was a serious hardship, as it exposed him to the bigotry of his commanding officers, who might use the power with which they were entrusted for what they might deem a proper, but which would, in reality, be a most unjust purpose. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War would give this subject his consideration, and that a principle so objectionable would be done away with. He was sorry that he was compelled to trespass at such length upon the time of the House, but the subject was one of the utmost importance, and, although it was most necessary to correct any deficiency in the administration of the Army in time of peace, it became doubly necessary to do so with war impending. He would now advert to similar grievances which existed in the Naval Department. The first complaint he had to make was that, in the Navy as well as the Army, the provision to supply the spiritual wants of the Roman Catholics was utterly insufficient. The provision for the support of Roman Catholic clergymen was only 80l., while for Protestant chaplains it amounted to a sum of 22,000l. A question was asked, a few evenings back, as to whether the Roman Catholic priests in Kilkenny urged their congregations not to enlist in the service; but he could tell Her Majesty's Ministers that, if it were announced that such a disproportion as he had mentioned should still continue to exist, it would not be the Roman Catholic priests who would prevent the people from entering the Army or Navy, but the voice of warning would proceed from the Treasury bench. For his next grievance, he quoted a letter written to the late Board of Admiralty by a priest at Portsmouth, named Kelly, who objected to the practice of Roman Catholic boys being taught the Protestant Catechism on board Her Majesty's ships; and that, whilst Protestant chaplains were regularly provided for the Protestant sailors on board ships at Spit-head, the Roman Catholic sailors were prevented attending mass on shore en Sunday, unless they happened to be off duty on that day. All the notice that was taken of this communication by the late Board was a mere acknowledgment of its receipt in a letter signed "Augustus Stafford." On the accession to office of the present Administration, the priest renewed his application to the Board of Admiralty, requesting it to restrain all naval commanders from compelling Roman Catholics serving on board the Queen's ships to attend the Protestant worship or read Protestant books. But the only answer received from the present First Lord, dated 22nd January last, was, "their Lordships do not think it necessary to adopt your suggestion "—that suggestion being that Roman Catholic sailors were not to be compelled to attend the Protestant worship or read Protestant books. When he had such facts to lay before the House, he had a right to the most serious attention of the Government, and he had also a right to demand that the two right hon. Gentlemen who represented the two services in that House, should both pronounce that a very great change should be made in the arrangement for the performance of divine service for the Roman Catholic soldiers and sailors in Her Majesty's service. He did not believe that that could be refused, and he was sure it was not their interest to refuse it. When the Government found that the very services on which they relied to carry on the war in which they were now about to engage were embittered by grievances of this kind, it behoved them to adopt a similar policy to that which they Lad already pursued that night in respect to the Reform Bill, and to withdraw that which was a constant source of animosities, disputes, and jealousies between Roman Catholics and Protestants in both services. He believed that the Catholic population of the United Kingdom were with the Government, heart and soul, in the cause in which they were engaged. Every one whom he knew was of opinion that the war about to commence was one in which all classes of the community were equally interested. It was a war which concerned the people as well as the prince, the Catholic as well as the Protestant, the Celt as well as the Saxon; it concerned all who did not wish that Europe should be overrun by the irruption of a barbarous Tartar empire, and who were anxious to uphold the honour and the glory of this nation. Some three or four years ago, there were those who expressed themselves indignant at a document which had come from Rome, dated from the Flaminian Gate, and which was attributed to the influence of a Cardinal who was the Archbishop of this metropolis and the neighbouring counties. It so happened that at this very time the same Cardinal was again in Rome, and a document had just come over again to this country, dated at the Flaminian Gate. It was a charge addressed to the Catholics of this metropolis, in which Cardinal Wiseman enforced on them the duty of cordially supporting the honour of the Crown and the interests of the people of this realm, and in which he called upon them to bear cheerfully the additional burdens which the war might impose on them. The document concluded by saying that he felt it necessary that there should be inserted in the prayer for Her Majesty on Sunday that clause which for forty years had been omitted, "That she may conquer her enemies." Such was the document addressed by the Cardinal Archbishop of this diocese to the Catholics of this metropolis, but it was matter of seine importance that there should be reasonable ground why he should teach those entrusted to his spiritual direction that they could have confidence in the Crown that arrangements would be made by the State for the support of which so many of them were required to shed their blood, for their spiritual instruction and religious consolation. He had not made this present address to the House from any feeling of hostility to the Government, but in the conscientious discharge of his duty. He would sit down by earnestly calling upon the two right hon. Gentlemen who represented the two services in that house, to give a promise that every consideration would be bestowed on the subject to which he had now called their attention.


said, he could not pretend to follow the hon. Gentleman through all the details into which he had entered in his speech, because he frankly confessed he felt himself unable to do it, and because, not having had notice of the particular instances to which he intended to call attention, he was not in a situation to state precisely at that moment what were the facts of each case. He thought it better, therefore, to state to the House what had been the practice, and what changes had been effected, and then to leave the House to judge how far he had acted in a spirit of fairness towards the Roman Catholic soldiers of the Army, and how far the hon. Gentleman was justified in many of the observations which he had addressed to the House. It was perfectly true, as the hon. Gentleman had stated, that the Roman Catholic soldiers amounted in round numbers to about one-third of the whole Army. He had gone on to state that he was not aware of the numbers as they existed at particular stations. This, however, had nothing to do with the matter, because, in the relief which annually took place, and the shifting of regiments from one station to another, the relative proportions of Protestants and Roman Catholics at each place must, of course, be constantly shifting also. At one time there might be a Highland regiment, composed in greater part of Presbyterians, and in the next year the same station might be occupied by another with a large proportion of Roman Catholics; and therefore any argument founded upon the particular numbers occupying a particular station at any given moment would be entirely fallacious, because the numbers themselves were fluctuating and temporary. With respect to the case which the hon. Gentleman had mentioned, of a Roman Catholic priest at the Cape of Good Hope, who had not received the stipend to which he was entitled, and who said that the amount was so small that he had been ashamed to ask for it, it might be that his not having asked for it accounted for his not having received it—at any rate he would inquire into the circumstances, and endeavour to ascertain the reason of what at this moment he confessed himself unable to explain. But he was sorry to say that, if this miserable pittance shocked the Roman Catholic priest, it must also shock the Protestant clergyman; because, although it was true that at the large stations, where permanent chaplains existed, the salary was of higher description, yet the payment per head in many instances—as well in the case of Protestants as in that of Roman Catholics—was as low as 5s. per week for fifty men. It was perfectly true, that where there were fewer than thirty men, no chaplains were appointed; but this did not justify the inference that the Government had no care for the soldier's soul, for the fact was, that when the number was so small there was accommodation for them in the place where they were—either in church or chapel, as the ease might happen to be—and he would not do so much injustice either to Roman Catholic priests or to Protestant clergymen as to suppose that they would refuse, for the sake of so small an addition to their flocks, to minister to the soldiers in their parishes or in their neighbourhoods, even though they would receive no stipend from the State. The hon. Gentleman must recollect that they were dealing, not so much with large masses of men, as with an Army distributed according to the exigencies of the public service, at a vast number of stations, and that if they were to extend their arrangements so as to include the appointment of a chaplain for every small detachment, they would swell this sum of 18,000l. to an amount so large that the House would refuse to grant it. Coming now to the case of Chatham, with which he happened to be acquainted, the hon. Gentleman had, first of all, complained that the Government had not consented to give the ground, and to build a chapel for the Roman Catholic soldiers. This was true, and he could not give him any hope that the Government would ever consent to that arrangement. He did not think it was the duty of the Government to give ground or to build chapels for congregations of any description. They were building, however, out of the public funds, what was called a chapel school. This, however, stood upon a very different footing. It was built, as he had said, out of the public funds, which were contributed by all denominations. It was built as a school, and it was not consecrated, although it was true that it did, in its external appearance, somewhat resemble a chapel, and that it had, what were said to be peculiar to Protestant places of worship, a pulpit and a font. It was open, however, as a school throughout the week without religious distinction, and on Sun- days he thought it perfectly just and fair that the clergyman of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic should perform divine service in it in turn, to such portions of the troops as were attached to their respective communions. With respect to prisons he was entirely of opinion that when persons were confined, and were unable, on that account, to have access to the ordinary ministrations of religion, care ought to be taken to provide them with spiritual instruction and advice. He had put himself in communication upon that subject with his noble Friend at the head of the Home Department, and he hoped that, in concert with him, such regulations would be made as would ensure that object being properly carried out. The hon. Gentleman complained that the Roman Catholic was not put upon the same footing as the Protestant. He admitted, as far as it was possible for any man to do, the necessity of giving to the soldier, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, every facility of access to religious instruction, and to such religious instruction as his own conscience would approve. But the hon. Gentleman said that the Roman Catholics would not put themselves under the restrictions which were imposed on an Established Church. They refused to submit to the advantages which such restrictions would subject them to, but they asked, at the same time, to have all the advantages of an establishment.


What I say is, that if you build chapels for Protestant soldiers, you ought to build them for Roman Catholic soldiers also.


had explained exactly what had been done. No doubt, in some old garrisons there were consecrated chapels, which could not be diverted, and ought not to be diverted, from the purposes for which they had been set apart; but with respect to the buildings which had recently been erected, they were schools, built as schools, and used as schools on week days, and on Sundays available for the purpose of religious worship to members of the Church of England, Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians, in turn. He did not think he need detain the House with any further observation. The hon. Gentleman had himself admitted that he did not think the Roman Catholic priest required the same amount of salary as the Protestant clergyman, because the fact of the one being generally married, and charged with the maintenance of a family, while the other was bound to a life of celibacy, placed them in very different circumstances. He (Mr. Herbert) had been endeavouring to put this matter on a better footing; he had been anxious, wherever it was possible, to arrange for fixed stipends, not only in the case of Roman Catholic clergymen, but in reference to those of other religious denominations. He was desirous to make every concession that was just and fair, and to give to the soldier every means of religious consolation which it was possible to secure to him. He should continue his exertions for that object; he should endeavour, also, to put the prisons and schools upon a sound footing; and, although he despaired of satisfying the hon. Gentleman opposite to the extent which he asked him to go, he did not despair of making his efforts acceptable to the great body of those who took an interest in the subject.


said, perhaps it might be convenient that he should follow his right hon. Friend in replying to the observations which had been made by the hon. Gentleman with respect to the sister service—the Navy. With regard to the Navy, the hon. Gentleman had not entered into many details; and as to his facts he (Sir J. Graham) should not pretend to offer any observations. The hon. Gentleman had talked of going to the root of the evil. The root of the evil, with respect to the naval service, was, that the established religion of this country was the Protestant religion; and that, inasmuch as on board ship it was not possible to make provision for more than one form of religious worship, the provision made in all Her Majesty's ships was for the established religion of this country, being Protestant. It was well understood, therefore, why 50,000l. should appear in the annual estimates for payment of the clergy of the Protestant religion, and why the provision was so small for the priests of the Roman Catholic religion; the fact being, that provision was only made for one chaplain on board each ship, it being utterly impossible to admit on board one ship two ministers of two opposite religions, for the purpose of administering religious instruction to the sailors on board. Until, therefore, Parliament should enact that the religious service on board ship should not be according to the principles of the Established Church, he could not hold out any hope to the hon. Gentleman that any such provision as he had proposed would be made for the Catholic religion. He was well aware of the good-will, and, he would say, cordial feeling that existed on the part of the Catholic population towards the Sovereign and the Government of this country, at the present time more especially, and he was fully sensible of the valuable services which the Roman Catholics had rendered on board Her Majesty's ships; but, while be willingly and cheerfully made these acknowledgments, there was one thing which he could never do—he could not hold out expectations which he believed were delusive, and he could not hold out hopes which he knew would be disappointed. The hon. Gentleman had referred to an order which had been issued by the Board of Admiralty soon after he (Sir J. Graham) came into office with respect to the form of objections to be stated by Roman Catholic parents, in order to exempt their children from being taught in the Protestant schools the same as in the Army, which required that the objection should proceed from the parents of the child, otherwise the child would be taught in the Protestant school. The hon. Gentleman objected to that provision; but the principle on which it was formed was obvious. From the earliest period there had never been any difference made in the religious creed of men on their first entry into Her Majesty's naval service. The question was never put as to what was the creed of those who voluntarily entered the naval service. He conceived, therefore, that the objection to the children being educated in the Protestant religion ought to be made by the parents. It was not right that any provision should be made by previous inquiry into the creed of those parents, but which, if made, would render any objection on their part unnecessary. He felt bound to tell the House that in harbour sufficient facilities were not afforded to Roman Catholic sailors for attendance at divine service on Sundays according to their own religious faith. At Malta full provision had been made by the Board of Admiralty that on every Sunday morning the sailors of the Roman Catholic creed should have facilities afforded them for attending chapel. He was now in communication with the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, for the purpose of considering whether arrangements might not be made in the principal naval arsenals of this country—Portsmouth, Plymouth, Queen's Town, and Sheerness—for the purpose of providing facilities of attending, if not on shore, in the harbour, religious worship by the Roman Catholic sailors on Sunday mornings. With respect to hospitals provision had also been made for the attendance of the priest on the sick Roman Catholic inmates of the four principal naval hospitals in this country; but in regard to hospitals abroad no such provision had yet been made; but he was also at this moment in communication with the head of the Roman Catholic Church as to the best means of providing such religious service in those hospitals. He could not conclude his observations without begging the House to remember, that the question brought forward by the hon. Gentleman was surrounded with many and great difficulties; and that, whilst the religion of this country continued to be Protestant, and until the Legislature decided that the Protestant service should not be provided in Her Majesty's ships for Protestant sailors, the hon. Gentleman could not hope to accomplish his wishes in favour of the Roman Catholic sailors.