HC Deb 04 March 1862 vol 165 cc1027-32

said, he trusted the House would allow him to avail himself of that opportunity to put the question which stood in his name on the paper, and which was, to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he took any and what means to ascertain whether the Address of Condolence lately presented to Her Majesty, purporting to emanate from the President, Superiors, and Students of Maynooth College, did in fact emanate from those persons? The address to which he alluded appeared by the public journals to have been presented to Her Majesty. He confessed that it did occasion in his mind great surprise that such a document should either have emanated from the college, or that it should have been presented to Her Majesty if it did not emanate from it. Since that time he had received various communications respecting that address; and much surprise had been expressed that an address of condolence should have been presented to Her Majesty, making it appear that the College of Maynooth was in fact a loyal institution, which would be entirely at variance with the statements that he had felt it his duty on former occasions to make to the House, and which had also been made to the House on authority so much greater than his. [Cries of Name, name!] The hon. Member for North Warwickshire. Now, if the House would allow him, he would give better authority for his statements than his own or that of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. He had put the notice on the paper in consequence of the rumours which had reached him, and which he had endeavoured to verify before he put the question. Those rumours had been embodied, and to some extent confirmed, by a declaration contained lately in a newspaper called the Nation. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not quote that paper on account of its authority, but for the convenience of quotation. The declaration purported to be written on behalf of the students of Maynooth. The writer stated, speaking of the address, that the framers of the address had no authority whatever from the students to speak their sentiments, and they had gone in direct opposition to the wishes as well as to the sense of the community. The students therefore thought it proper to dissociate themselves from the framers of the address; and though it was not their province to condemn, they might be permitted to withhold their approbation of an act which, as far as it included them, they utterly disavowed. The address, the writer went on to say, was read before the entire body of students had re-assembled, and also at a time and in a place of solemn character which secured it from a reception which otherwise it would assuredly have met with. As it was, it was received with the strongest marks of disapprobation that piety or decorum would permit. The letter concluded with the expression that with these convictions the students could not so far give the lie to their conscience, or be capable of such meanness as to declare they felt sympathy when in fact they felt none. [Cries of Name!] "Maynooth Student." [Renewed cries of Name!] He had no name to give, If the right hon. Gentleman doubted that the letter did truly represent the state of feeling at Maynooth, which was one of utter disloyalty—in fact, the very hotbed of disloyalty—he could assure him that he would not have read it unless he had taken means to satisfy himself that it did truly represent the sentiments of the students at Maynooth. In proof of that he would read an extract from the evidence given before the commission appointed at the instance of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire to inquire into the teachings, &c, of the college. That evidence showed that at the College of Maynooth the very keystone of the whole system was direct and positive disloyalty to the Sovereign of these realms. That was embodied in the evidence of four or five witnesses. One witness (Mr. W. J. Burke) said, that both open and disguised disloyalty were inculcated at Maynooth. He (Mr. Burke) used, when there, to be thirsting, and desiring and praying for the destruction of the British Empire, solely because it was Protestant. He added that those were not only his own feelings, but the feelings of all the students. This teaching even pervaded the amusements at Maynooth. He (Mr. Whalley) would read to the House a song which was sung, "Columbia's Banner," [laughter.] He thought it necessary to read this in justification of the question which he wished to ask. [Cries of Sing, sing! and laughter.] Any hon. Gentleman who desired to sing the song could have the book. Columbia's banner floats on high, Her eagle seizes on its prey; Then Erin wipes her tearful eye, And cheers her hopes on Patrick's Day. There were only two more lines. The toast we give is Albion's fall, And Erin's pride on Patrick's Day. Such were the amusements of Maynooth. The evidence of the disloyalty of the institution was before the right hon. Gentle man, and he wished to ask him whether he took any care to ascertain that the address of condolence did really emanate from Maynooth, or whether it was not an actual forgery, a mere pretence, an insult to Her Majesty, and calculated to deceive the public?


wished to say, that as the hon. Gentleman had stated that he had put his question partly on his authority, he would excuse him for saying that although he was prepared to abide by all that he had ever stated on the subject of Maynooth, and although he would not dispute the grounds on which the hon. Gentleman had put his question, yet he knew nothing of the matter that the hon. Gentleman had brought before the House.


said, he had not alluded to the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, but to the other hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner).


was sure it was unnecessary for the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) to disclaim having anything to do with the question before the House. He was not aware that it was the intention of the hon. Gentleman to inaugurate a new debate on Maynooth, but he was prepared to answer his question. He would only say that the Address of Condolence was forwarded from Maynooth to the Home Secretary, and dealt with in the usual manner. The rumours which had reached the hon. Gentleman had not come to his ears, and he had no reason to doubt the loyalty of the students of Maynooth. In proof of the authenticity of the Address of Condolence, he held in his hand a letter from Dr. Russell, written from St. Patrick's College, and addressed to his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary— I have the honour to transmit to you by this post the dutiful Address of the Scholars of the College to Her Gracious Majesty the Queen—an Address of Condolence on the death of the Prince Consort, and to request that you will present it to Her Majesty on their behalf. That letter was, he thought, a complete answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman,


—Sir, I will say nothing about the good taste which has induced the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) to drag before the House any Address of Condolence offered to Her Most Gracious Majesty. Sir, that is a matter which the hon. Gentleman will settle between himself and his followers, who are about to attend at that tower which he has built in a corner of his leased premises in the county of Denbigh. But I roust warn the House that the hon. Gentleman in quoting this evidence has been playing one of those old tricks which I heard him play the other day in Ireland at the Rotunda meeting, and which he afterwards followed up in Scotland. He goes about with that blue-book, and he is continually quoting that song. We had that song read at full length at the Rotunda in Dublin. I was fortunate enough to obtain a ticket to attend an assembly at which Mr. Whalley was advertised in red letters in the bill to appear. He appeared there, and taxed not only the Roman Catholic priests but also the Roman Catholics of Ireland with disloyalty; and I should say there could be no greater proof of their good humour than the fact that the hon. Gentleman walked out of the building in the Catholic city of Dublin with a whole skin. The hon. Gentleman thought proper to read that song, and there was of course tremendous cheering and some laughter—such laughter as that which I am glad to see predominated in this House; because I think the British House of Commons is far too sensible to let a subject which has descended from the hands of that otherwise highly respected Member for North Warwickshire be now dragged through the kennels of Peterborough. I do hope, Sir, that as there is a great lack of business this Session, if we are to have this Maynooth debate revived, the noble Lord will give the hon. Member to-morrow after two o'clock, to discuss this question. But what I do deprecate is, that insulting questions should be put with respect to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and, above all, that they should be dragged before the House by means of the stale arguments and forgotten songs which the hon. Gentleman is in the habit of using when he stars it in the provinces.


said, that as one of the trustees of the College of Maynooth, he protested against the language just used by the hon. Member (Mr. Whalley), and he had to state that the statements contained in that anonymous letter which the hon. Gentleman had just read were quite untrue. He had the best reason for making the assertion that the statements in that letter were not founded on fact.


said, he rose merely to explain. The statement of the hon. Member for Liskeard was not in accordance with the fact.


—The explanation must be confined to anything which the hon. Member has said himself. He must not reply to the hon. Gentleman.

Motion agreed to; House at rising to adjourn till Thursday.