HC Deb 22 May 1860 vol 158 cc1618-31

said, he trusted it was not necessary for him to disclaim any hostile or unkindly feelings towards those persons who were the recipients of the grant to which the Motion he was about to make referred. He should be the last man in the House to say a word against a body of ministers whose religious opinions were largely identical with his own. The House would be aware that this grant was made to Presbyterian and Unitarian ministers in the north of Ireland, and amounted to nearly £40,000 per annum. It differed from all other grants to religious bodies, inasmuch as a fresh claim was created whenever twelve families were gathered together who were able to raise £35 yearly, which at once became chargeable on the Estimates for the ensuing year Consequently, the grant went on increasing and extending just in proportion to the ability of any clergyman to collect a certain number of people, and to raise a small sum of money. It had often been to him a matter of astonishment that a large, wealthy, and respectable denomination should continue to receive these grants, to which much odium attached, and, in regard to which, even charges of imposition and fraud had been made. He objected to the grant on three grounds. First, he held it to be financially wrong and a waste of public money; and, next, he objected to it on principle, believing that as long as this grant went on, the House could not consistently stop short of carrying out a principle which the English nation had distinctly repudiated—that of subsidizing the ministers of all denominations. He had a third objection to the grant that it had been productive of disastrous consequences to the recipients themselves. It had been a drag on the Synod of Ulster, and was the main cause of the complaints of inadequate remuneration made by the ministers. He might, perhaps, he told that the grant had been given in lieu of tithes to the Presbyterian ministers of Ulster, and that they had, therefore, a right to it as a part of a compact between themselves and the Government of the day. But he had investigated the matter, and the result he had come to was that no facts existed to warrant the conclusion. In fact not a particle of evidence existed to support the allegation. Dr. Reid, the historian of the Church, said not a word about it. The truth was that it was not as Presbyterians but as clergy men of the Established Church, that the ministers enjoyed the tithes. The Marquess of Londonderry, in the memoirs of his brother, Lord Castlereagh, gave the true explanation of the matter. The Scottish colony," said he, "was accompanied by its ministers, who, by a comprehension and connivance, dictated by the necessity of the times, were put in possession of the tithes of the parishes of which they were ordained pastors. It does not appear that their title to the tithes was ever strictly legal; but they certainly enjoyed them with the consent of the bishops, and continued to be thus supported until after the death of Charles I., when they were deprived of them by the Commonwealth. At the restoration of the monarchy the Presbyterian Ministers were deprived of all pay, and from that time to 1672 they were wholly dependent on the free-will offerings of their people. William and Mary, no doubt, renewed the gift, and placed it on the Irish establishment; but then it was only for £1,200 a year, and even should they admit a contract, it was only one for that amount and not for £39,000. But this was not all; in little more than a year after the new patent was granted the Irish Parliament passed a Resolution declaring "that the pension of £1,200 per annum granted to the Presbyterian ministers in Ulster, is an unnecessary branch of the establishment." The Queen, Dr. Reed informed them, continued the grant in spite of this parliamentary vote against it; but that she had no great zeal in the matter was proved by the fact that for some time before her death the Regium Donum was actually discontinued by the Irish Government. And further, even so recently as the year 1729, a deputation was sent to London, for the purpose of inducing the Government of George II. to restore the English, or additional bounty, as well as pay up the arrears for the years during which it had been suspended. Archbishop Boulter, who seems to have been very friendly towards the Presbyterians, gave the deputation a letter of introduction to the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, which was alike creditable to his candour and liberality. As the Archbishop would, no doubt, be well instructed by those whose cause he was advocating, as to the real state of the case, there was one sentence in his letter which was of great importance. Speaking of the arrears due to the Presbyterian ministers, he said, They are sensible there is nothing due to them, nor do they make any such claim, but as the calamities of this kingdom are at present very great. … it would be a great instance of his Majesty's goodness, if he would consider their present distress. Well, then, it might be asked, what was the nature and reason of this payment? He replied that the history of all the transactions in regard to it, the deputations, and memorials, and increases from the reign of Queen Anne to the death of George III., most conclusively prove it to have been neither more nor less than a reward for political services. Or, as the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the University of Dublin, last year more mildly stated, it was given "on the ground of public policy." Did any one doubt this? Then let him ask why, when Charles II. renewed the grant in 1672, it was placed in the annual Estimates, under the head "secret service money?" Why did Lord Castlereagh, in endeavouring to alter the mode of distribution in 1799, entitle his scheme "A Plan for Strengthening the Connection between the Government and the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster?" Why, even Dr. Killen himself, the eloquent defender of this Vote, used these remarkable words:— In proposing this new scheme of endowment for the Irish Presbyterian Church, it would seem that Government was chiefly actuated by those purely secular considerations which ordinarily have weight with prudent and calculating statesmen. Presbyterian ministers were now, to a great extent, dependent for subsistence on the voluntary contributions of their flocks; and, to maintain their popularity, they were sometimes strongly tempted to take the lead in political movements of very questionable expediency. An increase of the Royal grant would place them in more independent circumstances in relation to the people, so that they would be less likely to give any countenance to the spirit of faction or sedition. It was expected that the State, at the same time, would thus increase its own direct influence over the spiritual guides of an important section of the population of Ireland. In their arrangements for the augmentation of the grant, it is plain that the leading statesmen of the day aimed at the political subserviency of the Presbyterian ministers of Ulster, and, when impartially estimated, their motives were as destitute of piety as of patriotism. He held in his hand a very curious little pamphlet, one extract from which would save his troubling the House with statistical memoranda of his own. He begged the particular attention of the House to it, and he made no apology for doing so; for he felt confident those who did him the favour to listen to the sentences he was about to read would admit that his case, as far as the failure of the present system was concerned, really required not another word of argument on his part. The pamphlet to which he alluded was entitled, "Pastoral Provision; or, the Income of the Irish Presbyterian Clergy Shown to be Insufficient; with the Proper Means to be Adopted for its Augmentation. By the Rev. William Oliver, of Dunluce." The following was the contents of one of the chapters, and it was not a little suggestive:— Evils of Insufficient Support: Large Proportion of our clergy unmarried—Dangers. Imperfect attendance on Church courts—Effects. The almost total extinction of original literature in our Church. Secularization of the clergy—Effects. Poverty originates suspicion of dishonesty—Efforts to maintain integrity. Danger of the cessation of the ministry among us. Removal of the gentry to other communions. Pulpit services want in variety of information, from inability to procure books. Temptation to relax in discipline. The following extract was one of the most remarkable, and it was the only one he would read. Mr. Oliver, himself a Presbyterian minister, said:— In looking over the Government Return for the year ending 31st March, 1854, what an extraordinary picture does it exhibit of the depressed state of our ecclesiastical revenue! And this evil originates directly in the cause already assigned. This document, I would remark, is one of those yearly returns required of every minister, with a view to his being entered upon the Parliamentary estimates for endowment. It is a certified record given by him of the number of families that compose his congregation, and of the amount of stipend and other sources of emolument enjoyed or received by him during the previous year. It is, therefore, in the highest sense, authentic, and of the greatest value in ascertaining the exact sums contributed by our Church. In analyzing this document, a very painful exhibition of parsimonious dealing towards the clergy at once flashes upon the eye. The facts disclosed are so discreditable, that it may be thought highly imprudent to publish them. …. I know that in dissecting this document, I will appear odious in the sight of many. Be it so. Are we to allow the gangrene to fester for ever; and is there no man to rise up, sufficiently fearless and honest, to probe it to the bottom, though it should touch the unfortunate victim to the quick? Presbyterianism is now, if ever, in a position to do its duty. It has remained in this land over two centuries; and, if in its infancy still, I ask, when is it likely to be released from its leading-strings? I will avoid making long comments. Let facts speak for themselves. And if parties get angry, let them disprove my statements, or turn their wrath into the right direction. If they have been guilty of causing this actual state of matters, that is no fault of mine, and why should they be ashamed of their own production? These tables tell us that, in connection with the General Assembly, apart from Unitarians, Covenanters, and other minor sects, there are about 450,000 adherents, paying, as nearly as I can reckon up, £18,748 11s. 7½d. Now, we have a perfect right to consider each individual as the object of ministerial attention. Infants have to be baptized, and attended to when sick; youths catechized and trained in the Sabbath school, and the aged prayed with and exhorted; and, what is the amount contributed by each individual? Exactly 10d. a year, or considerably less than one farthing per week, and this, be it observed, even including the large-hearted, and, in many instances, princely liberality of Belfast, Dublin, Londonderry, and other influential towns. That is, for every week's service, preaching on the Sabbath, and pastoral duties on other days, congregational visitation, catechizing, celebration of marriages, attending funerals, visiting the sick, addressing public meetings, and numerous other minor requirements, we are presented by each person with the munificent sum of one-fifth of a penny weekly. Here is the brand of disgrace engraven upon our foreheads, that has made us a gazing stock to the English Voluntaries, the Irish Roman Catholics, the noble spirits of the Free Church of Scotland, and, in short, to every denomination of Christians on this and the other side of the Atlantic. But I grow sick of these calculations; and I merely introduce them to expose the palpable absurdity, that our people give as much as they are able toward the maintenance of their pastors. In looking over the same document, the following facts appear:—The average stipend of each minister is £40 per annum. In the whole assembly, consisting of 467 congregations, there are but 69 self-sustaining. Besides, there are no less than 146 congregations that pay their ministers from £40 to £30 a year; 127 that contribute between £20 and £30, or little over the keep of his horse, notwithstanding the Government screw of the £35 qualification, and 39 that actually give below £20 a year! We have thus arrived at the astounding conclusion, that, in a Church composed of 467 congregations, on the most liberal view of the case, there are 357 that only give a partial support, leaving their pastors to eke out the necessary means by farming, merchandise, or any other wordly employment they please. The extract was quite sufficient, in his opinion, to show the result which had been brought about by the system of giving a State subsidy. He asked the House to compare that result with the case of Scotland. Seventeen years ago there was a disruption of the Presbyterian Church in that country, and since that time the Free Church had contributed a sum not very far short of five millions sterling for religious purposes. On the other hand, since 1799, the sum contributed in Ireland for the support of the clergy had positively decreased. By the terms of his Motion, he did not ask the House to take any extreme or unusual course. On the contrary, he submitted that he was asking the House to act in accordance with precedent. For generations there had appeared on the Estimates a Regium Donum Vote for dissenting congregations in England. That Vote had produced the same disastrous results as were now produced in Ireland. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London, when Prime Minister, at length removed it from the Estimates, and he believed the congregations affected by it had had occasion to thank the noble Lord ever since. Within the last few years the House had abolished the Regium Donum for the Independents of Scotland, and that body had benefited by the transaction. He was not, however, asking the House to do for Ireland what had been done for England and for Scotland. What he asked was that the Presbyterian clergy in the north of Ireland should be placed on the same footing as the clergy in British North America—namely, that the grant should be gradually abolished, and should cease with the lives of the present recipients. This was a very moderate and justifiable proposal; it had the recommendation of interfering with no vested interests, but would simply provide against any increase of the grant, and for its final extinction. An hon. Friend of his had objected to the Resolution as it then stood, adding that pensioners never died; but that only showed the moderation of his proposal. He submitted it with confidence to the consideration of the House. If they adopted it they would take a course which would strengthen Presbyterianism in the north of Ireland, and have, he believed, the immediate effect of raising the salaries of the clergymen connected with that body, besides putting an end to a system which, he believed, no statesman in the House imagined would be permanent.

Motion made, and Question proposed,— That this House is of opinion that the Grant now annually made to Non-conforming Ministers in Ireland (commonly called the Regium Donum), should cease and be extinguished as speedily as is consistent with the just expectations of the recipients thereof: and, with this view, that no further Grant be made on account of 'New Congregations,' nor to any existing Congregations after the present Ministers thereof shall have ceased, by death or otherwise, to be the Ministers of such Congregations.


said, he had great pleasure in seconding the Motion. He believed it was the very best mode of settling the long-vexed question of the Regium Donum. It did not interfere with any rested interests; it simply provided that after the deaths of the present recipients no further grants should be made. His hon. Friend had clearly shown that it was not to the advantage of the Ministers themselves that the grant should be given, and that by doing so, the House said, in fact, to the congregations, that it was not their duty to provide for their pastors, although every one admitted that it was their duty to provide for their own household. He believed that by removing the grant the House would throw the duty where it ought to be. He would ask what right had the House, as representing the United Kingdom, to tax the whole people in order to provide salaries for a small portion of the inhabitants of Ireland? They could not set up the plea that they belonged to the Established Church of Ireland, or to that body which included the largest number of the inhabitants. Looking at Dod's Parliamentary Companion, he found that, although many hon. Members were against interfering with regard to what had been already done for the State support of religion, there was almost an unanimous opinion against new grants of money to any denomination whatever. Under these circumstances, he trusted that a large majority would assent to the Motion, and that the House would stand by the broad ground of not voting any further sums out of the public purse for the support of any religious denomination whatever.


said, he rose to move an Amendment that all the words after the words "regium donum" should be omitted, and that the following words should be added to the Resolution: — Should no longer be exposed to the annual criticism of this House, but having been duly sanctioned by this House for a lengthened period of time, it ought now to be placed upon the Consolidated Fund. [Derisive cheers.]—He hailed with some pleasure those derisive cheers, showing as they did the scant knowledge of this subject of those from whom they emanated, and, as applicable to it, the small amount of their Parliamentary law. In proposing that Amendment he relied on the revered precedent of the late Sir Robert Peel, who, years ago, in answer to the late Sir Robert Inglis, said he intended to proceed by Bill in placing the establishment of Maynooth on a permanent footing; and he added—adverting to the Irish Regium Donum—that he thought it unadvisable that any of the Protestant institutions of the country should be subject to the annual criticism of that House. He therefore treated with contempt the derisive cheers that had pro- ceeded from the Parliamentary ignorance of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. He begged to remind the House that the Resolution of the hon. Member for Montrose came with very small authority before the assembly to which it was addressed; for, first of all, the lion. Member himself represented a Scottish borough; and next, the Seconder of the Resolution represented an English constituency, although no doubt it was one of the most distinguished in the kingdom. Those hon. Gentlemen came forward, however, to interfere with the affairs of the Presbyterians of Ireland, a matter which they knew very little about. He (Mr. Conolly) claimed to have a better opinion as to what was good and fitting for the people of that religion in Ireland, and he must say that the lion. Members who had spoken took a singular way of augmenting the revenues of the Presbyterian ministers when they expected to do so by the withdrawal of this grant. The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) had quoted a dictum of the late Lord Castlereagh against the grant; but he would remind him that the father of that noble Lord was a Presbyterian, and a zealous supporter of the Regium Donum, and his motives for being so were those of high policy as well as for the benefit of the Presbyterians themselves. No man could entertain greater respect for the Presbyterian body in Ireland, for their noble and consistent Protestant feeling, than he (Mr. Conolly) did, although lie himself did not belong to it, and he felt confident that if hon. Members would look into the actual position of affairs they would not accede to this Resolution. He denied the authority of the hon. Mover and Seconder on this question, and he would confidently appeal to the judgment of the House to vindicate the claims of that most respectable and respected body. [Cries of "Divide, divide!"] He understood that cheer, and therefore he would not prolong the argument, but merely add that the Presbyterians claimed this grant as a right. From the time of William III. till now they had never failed to maintain the honour and dignity of the Crown and the interests of religion, and the justice and policy of the grant had, in consequence, been recognized by successive statesmen of the highest order in that House.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the words 'Regium Donum' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'should no longer be exposed to the annual criticism of this House, but, haying been annually sanctioned by the opinion of this House for a lengthened period, it ought in future to be placed upon the Consolidated Fund. —instead thereof.


said, that the hon. Member for Montrose had readily kept the promise that he made last year, that not only should there be a yearly discussion upon the merits of this endowment, but that besides the opportunity for debate to be expected in the Civil Estimates, that House should be treated, usque ad nauseam, with another anticipatory contention upon the same subject. He had no hesitation in meeting the Resolution of the lion. Gentleman with a direct negative, and he trusted that the House would establish, by a large majority, the full principle of justice which had maintained that grant for so many years. Its origin was almost coeval with the settlement of Ulster, and some years before 1655, Presbyterian ministers had participated in the tithes of Ireland, as in that year the tithes were transferred to the public treasury, and they, in common with the clergy of other Protestant Churches, received their share, and were recognized by the State. Though discontinued during the last years of the reigns of Charles II. and James II., almost the first Act of King William III., in 1690, was to order a payment of £1,200 annually for the maintenance of the Presbyterian clergy in the North of Ireland, and the very terms of this grant implied that it was not as a consideration for political services, but as a compensation for losses they had suffered in the withdrawal of their proportion of the tithes, that this charge was placed for payment upon the funds of the Irish Exchequer. Thus a deliberate compact was made with the Presbyterian Church for the partial support of its ministers, and though subsequently increased at different periods, the State has thus continually admitted its obligations, and the successive additions to this endowment have been made in reference to the growth of Presbyterianism and the requirements of religion. It is generally conceded that, as a matter of bargain, the State has been a great gainer by this grant to sustain the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, for whenever the annual attack is made upon it by those Gentlemen who represent the voluntary system in that House, the Irish Chief Secretary of the day, and those Gentlemen who have formerly held that high position, are found to advocate its retention by recognizing the superior morality, the orderly demeanour, and the loyal and patriotic sentiments which distinguished the Presbyterian population of Ireland. They tell us, and they tell us truly, that where the congregations of that Church are most thickly placed, the public expense of police is lessened; that the gaols and workhouses are comparatively empty; that not only is there a great diminution of crime, but that there is also a very considerable economy of cost in the administration of criminal justice. He had lately a personal proof of this honourable distinction in watching the proceedings of the Spring Assizes of the county which he had the honour of representing in Parliament, for though the calendar of the County of Londonderry was more than usually over-burdened, and the Presbyterian population of that county exceeded 100,000 souls, one Presbyterian alone was prosecuted to conviction, and that for an offence of a most trifling character. Credit must, therefore, in common fairness, be given to those Ministers of the Gospel who were answerable for the moral culture and superior religious training of their people; nor could he consider it would be advantageous that, by the suspension of State assistance, the Presbyterian clergy should become wholly dependent upon the precarious provision afforded by their congregations. They ought to be secured in an independent position, and the present arrangement for their sustentation, partly by a State endowment, and partly by congregational subscription, appeared equitable, and had been found to work beneficially for the public advantage. It should be remembered also that the present modest grant of £69 4s. 8d. to each minister is only given by the State after a minimum sum of £35 has been annually secured by the congregation; that the chapel must have been built, and that the minister must have received a salary for two years at least before the application in his individual case for the Regium Donum can be complied with. Objections have been made to this grant on account of its expansive character, and to the indefinite number of now congregations that it is alleged might be created under its operation, but he would remind that House that the Church Courts of the Presbyterian body were responsible for each new congregation, and that the honour and dignity of religion itself was concerned in the scrupulous administration and observance of this great trust. No abuse had ever yet been proved, and it would be more ge- nerous and only just that no imputation should be made that could not he sustained. So entirely did he differ from the views enunciated by the hon. Member for Montrose that he considered that the foundation of this grant should be strengthened and the separate amount of royal bounty to each minister should be augmented and amended. He could not derive satisfaction from the present insecure establishment of a State provision which depended upon an annual Vote, and might be withdrawn by accident or the caprice of circumstances. Constant majorities in that House had affirmed its retention, and he would appeal to the Government whether the time had not come when, like other religious endowments, it ought to be placed beyond the danger of these periodical assaults by a transfer from the annual Estimates to the more confirmed position of a charge upon the Consolidated Fund. Such a proposition, proceeding from the Government (as he yet hoped to see) would, he felt certain, be acceptable in Ireland; for, in looking over the lists of the division in last year's Civil Estimates, he found that out of 105 representatives of Ireland, two only had recorded their votes against this endowment. The Roman Catholics of Ireland do not regard this grant with disfavour. All parties there are favourably inclined to its continuance, and he believed that its further consolidation Would be received as a graceful act of conciliation. He thought that in consequence of the great change in the value of money, and the increased cost of all the necessaries of life, the sum of £100 should be substituted for the present allowance of £69 4s. 8d. to each minister as a suitable provision, and he felt certain that circumstances would justify this extension of the national generosity. Were the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum placed upon the same secure foundation, it would be more difficult to endanger either; for he fairly owned that so long as he held a seat in that House, he should be prepared to support and defend those endowments, as well as all the other religious establishments of the nation. He therefore most heartily deprecated those religious discussions, whether proceeding from the hon. Member for body were responsible for North Warwickshire or the hon. Member for Montrose, for he believed that much injury to social good will and contentment was engendered, and that sectarian rancour and animosities were thereby fostered, and most especially in Ireland. He would, moreover, preserve these grants as tokens of justice to Ireland, for, subjected as Ireland now was to equal imperial taxation, and disproportioned as her public debt was to that of England at the time of the union of the two countries, she could fairly claim that her existing institutions should be maintained intact, and that the religious requirements of her population should be supplied.


—It seems to me that the House is desirous of coming to an early division on this subject. In the first place, I appeal to the hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. Conolly) not to persist in his Amendment, for which he could scarcely find a seconder, and which is not calculated, I think, to advance the cause he has at heart. I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) will not think me disrespectful if, in compliance with the wish of the House, I observe great brevity in answering the argument he has brought forward. I think that argument was of the fairest and most candid description, and raised the whole question in the plainest terms. But I must add that none but those who are prepared to carry out the voluntary principle to the utmost can give their support to the Motion of my hon. Friend. He states that the objection to the grant was based upon three grounds—the first being finance. That speaks for itself, and if the public consider that the benefit derived from the grant is not worth the moderate sum of £40,000, then I must admit that part of the argument. But it appears to me that weightier considerations ought to prevail. My hon. Friend urges, in the second place, that this is a matter of universal endowment. The shortest reference to the history of this grant shows that if there is a case in which a grant ought not to be withdrawn the present deserves the serious consideration of the House. It is admitted by my hon. Friend that when these parties originally went to Ireland, in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., they were in the actual enjoyment of the tithes of the benefices they served. But during the Commonwealth, when they refused to change the oath of allegiance, they were sentenced to what was then considered to be a severe punishment—they were going to be transported to Tipperary, and vessels were in readiness at Carrickfergus to take them off. According to the historian of the age, in the time of Henry Cromwell's lieutenancy—Henry Cromwell being himself of a mild temper—they had an easier time of it. But he remonstrated with them for not changing their religion, on the ground that they were receiving £100 a year from the Government. They said, "We have to give you no thanks for that, for it is a very poor compensation for the tithes you have deprived us of." Changes took place in the position of the Presbyterians in both countries. Suffice it to say that Charles II. originally gave them this Regium Donum, which on the first landing of William III., and before the Battle of the Boyne, was confirmed to them by that Sovereign. It was increased by George I., for loyal services performed, and so went on until 1803, when it came under the special consideration of this House, and when the arrangement now in substance acted upon was made. That was reviewed in 1831, and under strict rules it was administered, as I believe, with great advantage to the country. I think that a sufficient answer to the second part of my hon. Friend's argument—that this is a branch of a universal endowment. In not disturbing what has existed in substance from the time of the Commonwealth to the times of the Restoration and the Revolution, you can hardly be said to be consenting to a universal endowment. You cannot upset things that have been established by a precedent of that kind without involving serious consequences, which the House would do well to consider before it takes this step. The third argument of my hon. Friend was that the grant, in his opinion, was very injurious to the recipients. I have had the honour of communicating on that subject with the Moderator of the Synod of Ulster, who appears to me to be a better judge than my hon. Friend of what will be the result of the withdrawal of the grant to those whom it concerns. The Moderator entertains a very different opinion as to the consequences of such a course to that of my hon. Friend. My hon. Friend spoke forcibly of the extreme poverty of many of the ministers; but, surely, the worst remedy for poverty would be to take from them the only part of their annual income which is drawn from a permanent and reliable source, and leave them utterly dependent on that small part which is fluctuating and uncertain. My hon. Friend also pointed in the course of his argument to the Free Church of Scotland. Now, I do not believe that that institution, for which I have the highest respect, holds the voluntary principle. I had the honour of being well acquainted with Dr. Chalmers, who delivered eloquent lectures in this Metropolis in favour of endowments, and I believe he held that principle to the end of his days. Although that excellent body of men, the clergy of the Free Church, have been compelled to sacrifice endowments in their own case for the maintenance of a principle, they still hold the principle that they are legitimate for religious purposes. Then, as to the Maynooth Grant, at an earlier period of the Session the House showed its determination to maintain that grant by refusing to enter into a debate upon it, and we may reasonably hope that in the present case as well, the House is prepared, stare decisis, to adhere to the established practice, and not to open the question of general ecclesiastical establishments.


said, he had no objection to withdraw so much of his Amendment as referred to the allocation of the grant hereafter, but at the same time he should pledge himself in the most distinct manner to bring the matter to a decision by introducing a Bill for the purpose.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 58; Noes 217: Majority 159.