§ Order for Committee read; House in Committee.
§ SIR J. YOUNG
said, he would now propose the Resolution to which he had directed the attention of the House yesterday.
Motion made, and Question proposed"—
That the Chairman be directed to move, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Laws relating to Ministers' Money and the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Act.
§ MR. FAGAN
said, he should move to substitute an Amendment in the spirit of his observations of yesterday. He had no wish to act in a factious spirit as regarded the present Government, but after the division of last night he felt fully justified in proposing this Amendment and pressing it to a division.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words it is expedient that a Bill be brought in for the total abolition of Ministers' Money in Ireland, and for providing a substitute therefore out of the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners"—instead thereof.
§ MR. MIALL
said, he wished to ask the Government whether they would not consider it advisable to withdraw a proposition which the vote of last night proved would be distasteful to the great body of their supporters, and which the Roman Catholics in Ireland would not receive with any satisfaction? It was utterly futile to propose a compromise in religious questions. He understood the great difficulty in the 616 way of the settlement of this question, which involved a sum of not more than 15,000l. a year, was simply the principle of the inviolability of church property. Now if that was the principle which was to guide the Government in the decision of all outlaying questions, then he supposed they must come to the conclusion that the church-rate question would be decided upon exactly the same principle. He would earnestly entreat the Government to consider the propriety of acceding to the Amendment of the lion. Member for Cork.
§ MR. BRIGHT
said, he also thought, with the hon. Member for Rochdale, that the Government ought to have some reward to the division of the previous night, when they proposed to deal with this question. Had the question been left an open one with the Members of the Government, there was but little doubt that the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork would have been carried. The opponents of that Motion were composed principally of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, but if Ministers desired to carry on the Government by the aid of those who sat on the same side with themselves, they ought, when they saw their opinion clearly manifested as it had been upon the previous night, and upon a point in which they did not differ from them in principle, to make some concession. He would also appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite—he spoke not as a Dissenter, but if he was as firm a Churchman as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) himself—and was as anxious as he was that the Established Church in Ireland should be preserved, and not as a political but as a religious and a Protestant institution, should increase in influence, he should desire to see as a step in that direction, this question of ministers' money settled for ever—and settled, not on the basis of any compromise, but in a way which should effectually prevent the Irish Roman Catholics coming forward at any future time and saying, "justice has not been done us." As he understood, the Government now proposed to take away a portion of the tax, and thus make some inroad into the principle of the inviolability of this portion of the resources of the Church the only difference between their proposition and that of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan) being, that whereas he wished to take away the whole of the 15,000l. a year, which was the produce of this impost, and transfer it to some other source, they 617 proposed to deal with only a portion of it. Was it, then, worth their while, for the sake of this paltry sum of a few thousands a year—was it worth their while, looking at the position which it was desired the Established Church should occupy in Ireland, to insist upon a settlement which could not be permanent, but which would operate as an encouragement next Session and every succeeding Session while it existed to Irish Members to bring the question before the House? Would it not be far better to get this question—trifling as to its pecuniary importance, but great as a matter of principle—out of the way altogether? What was the use of taking another division, in order to show that there was a larger minority on the one side than on the other? There could be no doubt, supposing it was thought necessary, for the sake of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland, to keep up this payment of 15,000l. a year, that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland might soon find the means, from the funds at their disposal, of providing for it, in order to put an end to a grievance which, while it continued, must necessarily occasion ill feeling and dissatisfaction on the part of the Roman Catholics of that country. He trusted that the right hon. Secretary for Ireland would consent, under the circumstances, to go one step further than he had gone last night, and consent to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 136; Noes 93: Majority 43.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said that the Committee had now confirmed the principle for which he contended by conceding a part of the tax, and it was now more necessary to press for its total abolition. He wished to give notice that to the best of his ability he should on every stage endeavour to throw out the Bill.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolution for Bill reported.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Bouverie, Sir John Young; and Viscount Palmerston.
§ Bill read 1°.