MR. GRANT DUFF
said, Sir, I think it is quite natural that hon. and right hon. Members on the Treasury bench should feel towards my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea pretty much as Cornelius Agrippa may be supposed to have felt when, on returning to his laboratory, he found that his idle apprentice had raised the Devil in his absence. There is, however, this difference between the case of the enchanter's pupil and my hon. Friend—namely, that he and those who are acting with him have raised the devil not wantonly, but of set purpose. We are perfectly aware that we are stirring the gravest of all our internal questions. We are perfectly aware that many of our opponents will treat this not as a political, but as a religious controversy, and use every weapon of sectarian animosity to keep what they have. We know all this; but we also knew that the present state of Ireland is, I will not flay a disgrace to the Liberal party, but almost a negation of the existence of any Liberal party, in the true sense of the term; and we take comfort from the words of the First Napoleon, when a clamour, was raised against him 1676 for infringing revolutionary equality by instituting the Legion of Honour—We have reason on our side; and when one has reason on one's side, one should have the courage to run some risks.Sir, the Irish question was stated with singular force and perspicuity by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire in 1844. After describing the state of the country, he asked what was the remedy. His answer was, "A revolution." "But you cannot," he said, "have a revolution, because the strong grasp of England makes it impossible." What, then, is the duty of on English Minister? To effect by his policy all that a revolution would do by force. The continued existence of the Irish Church for a period of nearly thirty years in undiminished power and prosperity, after having been condemned by many of our foremost statesmen, is a sad, though, alas! not an unusual phenomenon in the history of politics; and it is the more monstrous and intolerable, because during these thirty years we have been everywhere busy in exposing the scandals of other Governments. Like the Americans of the once United States, we have been boasting of the perfection of our own institutions in spite of this great unredressed wrong, which may, if we are not wise in time, one day be to us what slavery has been to them. We have been assured, again and again, that Catholic emancipation has been a failure; that it has not realized the vision of those who thought that it would inaugurate a period of perfect peace and prosperity. Of course it has not. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hertfordshire said in 1835—You have no right to stop short of any concession to the Irish people, as long as you leave them one hardship which is not shared by the people with which they are united.Catholic emancipation was the beginning; of a reform which should have been ended ere now, but in which we have hardly yet had courage to take a second step. But it is said that the Irish people care little about this question of the Irish Church, since the tithe grievance has come to an end. Those who think so, need only be reminded, in the words of Mr. Charles Buller, "That in almost all oases national revolts have had their immediate cause in some offence to the feelings, not to the interests of a people." The truth is, that for some years Ireland has seen no hope of effecting anything in this direction, and 1677 she has been playing her old game, waiting for our necessity, which, alas! she has often had too good reason to know, is her opportunity. When this subject was last discussed in this House, if I omit the Motion of Mr. Miall in 1856, which came at an unlucky time, too soon after the fever fit of 1851, the alarm which resulted from the repeal agitation of Mr. O'Connell had not yet died away. Times have now changed. No one can accuse the statesmen who, obedient to the voice of justice, seal the fate of the Irish Establishment, with yielding either to internal clamour, or to the fear of foreign foes. But this state of things will not always endure. The day can hardly fail to arrive when you will again have differences with France, and differences with America; and again, Ireland, if her just demands are unsatisfied, will absorb and neutralize a great portion of your force. Now is the time to yield peacefully; to take those precautions which may allow you to be "calm in danger, because you have trembled in repose." We have heard from the hon. Mover and others that many of the startling statements with which the country became familiar thirty years ago, are still applicable, and that, on the whole, the position of the Irish Church, in respect to its hold upon the population of Ireland, is no better. Is there any country in the whole wide world where so few people have so much expended upon their religious instruction? And with what result? I never heard that the members of the Church of Ireland were, morally, either better or worse than then English neighbours. If they were as much a better as they are a more costly product than English Churchmen, Ireland would obtain a new right to the title of "Island of the Saints." But perhaps it will be said, that this Irish Church is doing some special work, which entitles her to being paid at a higher rate than other churches. Well, let us hear what she is doing. It has been asserted that she is a missionary Church; that she exists for the purpose of extending Protestantism. I grant that she was founded to be a missionary Church. We shall hear something I hope, before the debate ends, about those gentlemen who stop travellers in search of the picturesque at Achill, to discuss the number of the beast, but these missions are not specially Irish Church Missions; indeed, the good man who circulates pamphlets about them is, I an informed, a Cornish vicar. A German 1678 political poet of our own day has described the great Frederick gathering around him in the other world the most famous warriors of the Prussian monarchy, and addressing to them some uncommonly strong observations upon the state of Germany. I think, Sir, that if Queen Elizabeth could summon around her once more her wise counsellors, they would be rather surprised by the failure of their missionary experiments, and would, I am afraid, in the reaction of their surprise, be very likely to advise that the Irish Church should be improved off the face of creation. A Church whose action is governed and limited by the Liturgy of the Church of England, has, it appears to me, neither the faults nor the merits which are requisite to enable it to deal with a Celtic people, as Celtic peoples now are. Look at Wales; look at Cornwall; look at Brittany; look at North Western Scotland. Is there not in the religion of all these districts an impulsive, passionate element which is quite alien to the religion of a Church which has almost taken for its motto—for it is the motto of its typical work—'In quietuess and in confidence shall be your strength.' I never will believe, Sir, that the united Chinch of England and Ireland can conquer Connaught. I beg pardon, Sir, I do believe it; and I will tell you when it will conquer Connaught. It will conquer it on the day on which the freeholders of Buckinghamshire are converted, by the study of not the least characteristic work of the most brilliant living advocate of the Church of England, to the worship of—the Syrian Venus. But perhaps she is a learned Church. We have heard that there are many clergymen in Ireland whose leisure, judging from the smallness of their flocks, must be nearly unbroken. Do these men occupy themselves with literature or theology? If so, why do we not hear more about them? Have the great works of Biblical criticism, and ecclesiastical history, and religious philosophy come to us from the west or from the east? But perhaps she is particularly famous for the examples of extraordinary holiness of life which she exhibits in her high places. She has, I presume, a whole roll of Leightons and Fenelons and Pascals, and men like the author of the Imitatio Christi to show. Although many of us have met the type of Irish clergymen whom Mr. Kingsley has celebrated as Mr. O'Blareaway, far be it from me to say that the Church which is illustrated by the names of Archbishop Wheatley 1679 and Bishop Fitzgerald is no better than the Church of Stone and of Boulter. Still, as the right hon. Member for the University of Dublin, or some equally fervent partisan, will, I dare say, rise in this debate and celebrate the pure apostolic succession of the children of that Protestant gentleman, St. Patrick, I may be allowed to prepare the House by reminding it of the forcible lines in which Swift, himself thought good enough for an Irish Dean, described the Irish Bishops of his day—Of whom there are but four, at most,Who know there is a Holy Ghost;The rest, who boast they have conferred it,Like Paul's Ephesians, never heard it.And when they gave it, 'twas well knownThey gave what never was their own.But perhaps she is a Church associated with great historical recollections. If so, what are they? Those which come back most easily to the mind are the atrocities of 1793, which a recent English historian, after comparing with the proceedings of Robespierre, Couthon, and Carrier, decides to have been rather the more diabolical of the two. But, Sir, if the wrong is established, what is to be the remedy? Not, I say, a half remedy like that which finds favour with my hon. Friend the Member for Poole. The only remedy which meets the case is that which Cato proposed for Carthage. I am quite aware of the arguments that can be brought against the voluntary system; and a quarter of a century ago they were powerful enough to induce Sir George Lewis to give his verdict in favour, not of general disendowment in Ireland, but of endowing all sects alike. But whatever may have been the case then, the set of the current of the age, the stream of tendency is now distinctly the other way. I have no wish to exchange for a voluntary system the arrangements of any Established Church which is working reasonably well; all I say is that the future of Christian societies belongs to the voluntary system. In the words of a great religious writer "Our religion will become less and less Jewish, more and more it will tend to reject everything like political organization in the concerns of the soul." Of course, I would respect all vested interests. Of course, I would preserve all Irish Church property for Ireland; but I would remember, that while the State has a deep interest in the people being moral and religious, she has no interest whatever in their being taught this or that doctrine. The same measure that I meted out to the 1680 Church of Ireland I would mete out to the Roman Catholics, and to the Presbyterians of Ulster. Slowly and gradually, with a scrupulous respect for vested interests, the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum should be diminished, till at last they vanished away. England and Ireland, Sir, have many mutual injuries to forgive, and I verily believe at this moment England is more prepared to be just and reasonable towards Ireland, than she is to be so towards us; but if so, it is only what is to be expected from our much higher civilization. Let us do this great and righteous act, which will benefit us and Ireland enormously. In doing it, we shall not have settled the Irish question, but we shall have settled incomparably the most difficult part of it, and ere long we shall have a country as loyal as Scotland, and we shall have done more to increase our power for good in the councils of Europe than we could do by twenty victories over any foreign foe.
said, he thought he could take no better opportunity of expressing his deep regret that the attention of the House had been latterly so much taken up with discussions bearing upon polemical questions, which, though often originating in the best intentions, might probably set man against man, and bring even the very name of their holy religion into disfavour and disrepute. He was much averse to these debates, for though he greatly preferred his own religion, he had invariably given support to the endowment of other religious bodies. It was no doubt impossible to deny that anomalies existed with regard to the different religious endowments in Ireland; and, indeed, that necessarily arose from the fact that there was no country where there was a more complete divergence of religious opinion, and where there was a more complete disinclination to agree in a uniform advocacy of a religious system. He felt, however, that all these anomalies were so indissolubly bound together, that if they touched one of them, the rest would fall, and in that fall would be involved the whole religion of the land. Believing that no present alteration would meet the requirements of Ireland, he would resolutely resist such propositions as had been made, whether they came from the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley), or the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. G. Duff). He would beg to remind the House that 1681 the position of the Church was secured by the Act of Union; and so long, therefore, as the United Kingdom remained there should be one undivided Church. The Church had accepted the provisions of the Church Temporalities Act, by which its four archbishops were reduced to two, and its twenty-one bishops to ten, and by which a fourth part was withdrawn from the receipts of every clergyman. The nominal Church revenue was £580,418, but it was subject to certain deductions, which reduced it to £370,681, or about 12s. and not £1, as had been erroneously stated, per head of the Church population of Ireland. There might be disproportions which ought to be redressed, but he could not admit that Church benefices ought to be measured out on the same Procrustean bed. He would never consent to the alienation or appropriation for other purposes of the property of the Church, which belonged to it upon the faith of the Act of Union, confirmed by repeated Acts of Parliament. That there was a surplus could hardly be maintained when it was considered how many poor livings there were, and he thought that some of the larger emoluments should be retained for the purpose of attracting men of character and ability to the service of the Church. He felt certain from the first that the groundwork of the debate would be a numerical calculation, yet such a foundation was fallacious when it was borne in mind, that though the population of Ireland had much decreased, the numbers of the Church of England had relatively increased; for whilst the diminution of the numbers of Roman Catholics was nearly one-third, that of the Church of England was less than one-fifth. He submitted that the position of the Church in Ireland was stronger now than in 1834, or than at any time between then and now. It had gained in the character of its clergy, for the clergy were almost all resident, and in the disastrous years following the potato famine of 1846 the clergy of the Church set an example of self-sacrifice that secured for them the appreciation and gratitude of the whole country. Until the subject was recently disinterred from oblivion, he did not think that there was any disposition in Ireland to re-open the question of Irish endowments. They all wished to prevent the landlords, who were mostly Protestants, from living out of Ireland; but would that end be promoted by attempts to weaken their Church? The advantage of having in a parish a resident clergyman 1682 and his family who would be always accessible to the claims of charity was self-evident; but it certainly would not diminish absenteeism to deprive landlords of the presence of the clergy. In his opinion, the question of the integrity of the Irish Church involved the whole structure of society, and the very existence of Ireland as a component part of our established nationality. That the feeling in favour of the Church was strong in Ireland, was shown by one or two facts that had come under his observation during the last year. In Londonderry the time-honoured cathedral had recently been restored, chiefly at the expense of local subscribers; only six weeks ago the parish church of Lurgan was re-opened for the accommodation of a double supply of attendants, who now numbered 1,600 people; and lately, in Belfast, a sum of £7,000 was promised in one day for the purpose of building and endowing five new churches. Those facts afforded abundant and tangible evidence of the vigour and vitality of the Church in the north of Ireland. The older Members of the House would not have forgotten the movement, extraordinary for its non-results, which induced so many Members of the present Government to force the resignation of the first Administration of Sir Robert Peel in 1835. The House had a right to require, notwithstanding the able speech of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a more thoroughly explicit declaration of the policy of the whole Cabinet on this question. By a reference to Hansard, he found that in 1835 the resolution for the secularization of Irish Church property was supported by no fewer than six Members of the present Government. The names were—the Duke of Somerset, Earl Russell, Lord Stanley of Alderley, and the right hon. Members for Morpeth (Sir George Grey), Wolverhampton (Mr. C. P. Villiers), and Halifax (Sir Charles Wood). The present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the right hon. Members for Hertford (Mr. Cowper) and Gateshead (Mr. Hutt) voted on the same side. Again, in 1856, the position of the Irish Church was similarly assailed by Lord De Grey, the right hon. Member for Ashton (Mr. Milner Gibson), the noble Lord the Member for Kerry (Viscount Castlerosse), and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Chichester Fortescue). He could only hope that the influence and example of the Chancellor of the Duchy of 1683 Lancaster, who was himself free from any inconsistency on this subject, had been sufficient to convince and convert so many of his noble and right hon. Colleagues. An assurance to that effect would be received with satisfaction by all the friends of the Irish Church. The Presbyterian Church had been indirectly attacked by the last speaker, but it was a notorious fact, that wherever Presbyterianism flourished, there the people were distinguished for their intelligence and enlightenment. The condition of the north was superior to that of any other part of Ireland, and he had no hesitation in saying that the Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches had been the chief instruments in effecting this local superiority. Regarding Protestantism as the sheet-anchor of British power and prosperity, knowing that it had always inculcated principles of loyalty and patriotism, he trusted that despite such attacks as the present it might long be sustained, with vigour unimpaired, and with a sphere of usefulness undiminished for the advantage and consolation of remote posterity.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
Sir, before this debate closes I am anxious to address a few observations to the House. I thoroughly concur in the remark which has been made by a previous speaker with reference to the importance of the subject now under discussion, and I hope that in dealing with it I shall say nothing calculated to give umbrage—such, at least, is not my intention—either to those who agree with me or to those who may differ from me in religious opinion. There can be no doubt that circumstances have greatly changed since this question used formerly to be discussed. Then it too frequently led to strong party demonstrations, or it was the signal for stirring up in the minds of all classes the most serious religious differences. It is recorded that at one period Ministers themselves were terrified at the approach of such discussions as the present, and we know that the debate on Mr. Ward's Motion had to be postponed in order that the places of four Members of the Government, who had resigned, might be filled up. What are the circumstances now? The tone and temper in which such questions as this used to be treated are completely altered; indeed, so strong is the influence in soothing religious animosities and producing harmony among opposite religious communions which has sprung up, that this subject can be debated in these days with 1684 hardly any excitement, except such as is the result of the ability of those who take part in such discussions. I must, however, say that I think my hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard hardly did justice to the question he brought under the notice of the House. He made, undoubtedly, a very clever speech. We all know he is possessed of superior parts, but I cannot help thinking that the general tenor of his remarks was too jocose for the gravity of the subject. As for his facts, they were so voluminous that he positively overdosed us with their superfluity. I hope, at the same time, presently to show that he drew to such an extent on his imagination that he almost altogether spoilt the effect which he intended to produce. I do not find fault with my hon. Friend for the length to which he went, but I cannot help saying—looking upon him as I always shall with a warm feeling of regard, so far as political sentiments are concerned—that I thought he was somewhat unfair towards me in introducing into his speech a matter of private feeling which had nothing whatever to do with the Motion before the House. I do not think, for instance, that my hon. Friend had any right to operate on me in the way he did for attending the meeting to which he alluded. I had, however, one satisfaction in listening to his speech, because, although he drew a most terrible picture of the state of the Irish Church, although he endeavoured to show that it was prejudicial to the interests of the Protestant faith and most mischievous in its tendency, as a political institution a blunder, and as a national religion a pious fraud, still he expressed no desire that it should be uprooted. Now, I thank my hon. Friend when he tells us he does not intend to destroy the Church, and I must confess that he would not, in my opinion, even if be did intend to do so, succeed. I may, however, remark, that as I sat upon the bench behind watching the pious tears chasing one another down his theological cheeks as he wept over the position of the Irish Church, I could not help looking on in wondering admiration. The hon. Gentleman who addressed the House last but one spoke of the Hottentot Venus. [An hon. MEMBER: The Syrian Venus.] Well, I suppose all Venuses are pretty much alike; but the hon. Gentleman, as you say, talked of the Syrian Venus, and also of Carthage, and I can well figure to myself Dido weeping over the ruins of her deserted city, or Niobe lamenting according 1685 to the fiction of the antique; but my hon. Friend, with the Rev. J. Bolster, rector of Killaspugmullane, and the cobweb fonts of which he spoke, standing around him, present a tableau vivant worthy of the pages of Punch or the department of Science and Art.
My hon. Friend entered very largely into the debate on this subject, which some nights previously took place, and criticised at considerable length the observations made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. Indeed, he not only criticised his observations, but said his history was bad, and threw some doubt on his opinions at to the virtue of Elizabeth. Now, I am not at this moment going to deal with that question; but I ask the indulgence of the House if I refer to a debate which my lion. Friend—inasmuch as it took place only about three weeks ago—touched upon somewhat in violation of the rules of the House, carrying out, no doubt, the doctrine of what he culls a "pious fraud." My hon. Friend, in the course of his remarks, was constantly alluding to the Liberal party. He asked why the Liberal party did this, and why they did that? He said this question was the stumbling-block or the stalking-horse of that party. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: I referred to the Whigs.] Well, that is the Liberal party. ["No, no!"] We are all Liberals in these days. There are no party distinctions of that kind. Be that as it may, my hon. Friend contended that this question was the stumbling-block or the stalking-horse of the Liberal, or, if he likes it better, of the Whig party. But the fact is, they could not proceed with it. The sense of the country was against them, and then they wisely gave it up. The question has often been made a battlefield. After being quietly interred in 1833, it was revived in 1856 to no purpose. Mr. Ward brought forward his Motion on the subject, and so did Mr. Miall; but neither was an Irishman, and as to the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), he told us he never was in Ireland; and, indeed, there was no necessity for his doing so, because everybody who listened to his speech must at once have seen that he knew nothing whatever of the country, one remark of his being, that the Irish Church was supported by an army of 21,000 soldiers and 12,500 police. The question, however, has at last been taken up by my hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard, who is no more an Irishman than St. Patrick, 1686 and I would place him in the same category of Protestants.
Now what, let me ask, is the Motion before the House? My hon. Friend asks fur a Select Committee—a Select Committee in the month of July. That, in my opinion, is hardly the way to treat a great question of this kind. If you want a Select Committee, you cannot limit its inquiries to the Established Church in Ireland, which is only part and parcel of the United Church of England and Ireland. If you deal with the one, you must deal with the other, and, indeed, with all endowments—with the Church established in Scotland, and with the endowment to Maynooth. To enter into an inquiry so extensive, after the great labours and abundant legislation of the Session, would, I contend, be impossible. My hon. Friend, indeed, says that we only passed a Vaccination Act for adults, but he evidently has not read the Bill, because it was a measure for the vaccination, not of adults, but of babies. Indeed, I think the only inducement which my hon. Friend could, with any success, hold out to hon. Members to sit on the proposed Committee would be that he should himself take the chair. At all events, the House will, I am sure, admit that there has been on the part of the Government no hesitation in affording the fullest information on this subject, Numerous Returns have been moved for, and I have been always anxious that they should be as soon as possible produced. It should, I may add, be borne in mind, in dealing with this question, that our Parliament in 1828 consisted exclusively of members of the Protestant Church; whereas now it admits indefinitely gentlemen hostile to the Establishment. The discussions on the question stand now, therefore, upon a very different footing from that which they did formerly. I approve the liberal measures which have been passed of late years, and to those hon. Members who differ from the Church I give every credit for the benefits which they have conferred in promoting sound religious instruction. But it is not inconsistent with the respect which I feel for those bodies to assert, that in the interest of the country and the feelings of the country, it is right that we should have a State establishment. There are three different establishments—one in England, one in Scotland, and one in Ireland. The Church establishment in Scotland, as in Ireland, is in the midst of a population differing from a great part of the population. 1687 The Church establishment of Ireland is united to the Established Church of England and Ireland, and I contend that when the question is considered it must be by concert and combined action by the members of the Church establishment in both countries, not with a view of opposing wise reforms, but of preventing and parrying measures of a novel and dangerous character.
I think it is an error to attribute the state of society in Ireland to the state of the Established Church. I think the Church Temporalities Act of 1833 did a vast amount of good, and, I frankly admit, I shall be very willing to see the action of that measure judiciously extended by the House, though not by a Select Committee upstairs, to which I am opposed. Let me briefly show the vast benefit that Act was to the Church establishment. It abolished two archbishoprics, suppressed eight sees, and reduced the income of the remaining bishops. All sinecures were abolished; livings in which no duties were performed for three years were not filled up; first-fruits were suppressed, and Church cess levied on Catholics and managed by Protestant vestries were discontinued. The repairs of the churches were provided for, and provision was made for the augmentation of small livings, under the superintendence of a Commission. Nothing could be wiser than those arrangements for the amelioration of the Established Church; and I entirely differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard in his observations on that Commission. He spoke in strong terms of the Commission, but I do not think, that considering the large sums which they have disposed of for the benefit of the Church, they are in any way open to the accusations which were brought against them. The hon. Member for Swansea made an extraordinary statement the other night. He said that the disturbances in Ireland were to be traced to the existence of the Church establishment; that, instead of producing harmony, it prevented unity, and destroyed all chance of peace and goodwill. That statement alone is sufficient to show how utterly ignorant the hon. Gentleman was of the country and the people with whom he was dealing. What said Sir George Lewis, that profound thinker, whose loss we all deplore? He wrote a book on this subject, and he said, "The disposition to outrage in Ireland springs from causes wholly independent of religion, and it cannot be said that Roman 1688 Catholicism leads to crimes and disturbances." What said Mr. O'Connell? In 1825 he made use of a remarkable expression to show that persons of different religious persuasions could live together in peace and amity. "I always perceive," said Mr. O'Connell, "that when Catholics and Protestants of a liberal class come to know each other personally, animosity diminishes by their personal knowledge." What said Bishop Stanley? In a pamphlet which he wrote he said—How often has it been asserted in England that by the entire Catholic population of Ireland Protestants are held in abhorrence, so that their very lives are in jeopardy. But I am certain nothing is more fallacious. On the contrary, left to their own warm-hearted feelings, they are inclined to live on the best of terms with their Protestant brethren.Those are the opinions of three distinguished men, and they entirely confute the remark of that stranger to Ireland—the hon. Member for Swansea. The hon. Member for Tipperary (The O'Donoghue), in the course of the remarks which he addressed to the House the other night, said that the people of England would not endure such an application of ecclesiastical revenues in this country as was made in Ireland. Many Protestants felt it to be a monstrous grievance, and he went on to say that the proposition for which he contended was, that Ireland being a Roman Catholic nation, it was unjust to compel her to contribute to the support of a Church in whose doctrine she did not believe, and whose teachings she practically rejected. If the complaint were well founded, I should agree that it is well worthy the serious consideration of the House. But what said Sir George Lewis, who was so much referred to the other evening by the hon. Member for Liskeard?It is commonly said that the Catholics feel aggrieved at being compelled to contribute by the payment of tithes to the support of a Church from the creed of which they differ. But, in fact, the Roman Catholics contribute nothing, inasmuch as in Ireland the tithe is of the nature, not of a tax, but of a reserved rent, which never belonged either to landlord or tenant.The argument of the hon. Member for Tipperary, then, falls to the ground. As I understand the hon. Member for Liskeard, he wishes to apply the surplus revenue of the Established Church to all classes of Her Majesty's Irish subjects, and, in fact, to open up that wide question which was settled when the Appropriation Clause was abandoned in 1838. It is quite evident that no Committee would agree to such a 1689 proposal, and there is therefore no use in having a Committee.
The hon. Member made certain statements the other night which are really unfounded, and I wish to call his particular attention to them, because I am sure he will regret having used them. He said the income of the Irish bishops was £80,000 a year. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: This book says £79,000.] That book is not correct. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: It is the Church Directory.] It is as well we should state fairly what the case is. The Irish bishops receive a net income of £57,604 2s. 6d., and the hon. Member makes that into £80,000 a year by adding the £21,621 which they pay to the Commission. I will not enter on the question whether they receive adequate payment, but the truth is that the bishops do not receive £80,000 a year, but £57,604. Another statement made by my hon. Friend according to the report of his speech in The Times, was that the united dioceses of Kilfenora and Kilmacduagh had a bishop with £4,000 a year, and only 686 Protestants. There is no united diocese of Kilfenora and Kilmacduagh. The former has been joined to Killaloe and the latter to Clonfert from time immemorial. Clon-fert and Killaloc and their subdenominations are united in one bishopric. The income is £3,310 a year, and this bishopric extends overall Clare, one-third of Galway, and parts of Tipperary, King's County, and Roscommon, having a population not of 686, as the hon. Gentleman alleged, but of 15,906 Protestants. There is another statement of my hon. Friend which I will notice. He held up the Commissioners to the contempt of the House, and he told us that their pay was £6,000, but the fact is that there are two paid Commissioners at £1,000, and the £4,000 goes in paying the secretary, treasurer, architect, and clerks. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: No, no!] That is the fact, but my hon. Friend by his remarks intended the House to infer that these Commissioners received for their own sole purposes this sum of £6,000. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: I did not.] There are many other mistatements, which, if I had spoken earlier in the night, I should have been able to refute. I am quite sure my hon. Friend made them unintentionally. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: No, intentionally.] I know enough of my hon. Friend to be assured, that if I showed him he was wrong, he would be the first man to say that he regretted having made them. It 1690 is rather important that I should go a little into the statistics of the matter, for so much has been said of the dying-out of the Protestant religion in Ireland. In 1834 the population of Ireland was 7,941,000, but in 1861 it had sunk to 5,770,000—that is, there was a diminution of 2,165,000 in that time. But it is a singular fact that the great diminution took place in the numbers of the Roman Catholics. The number of Protestants, of course, diminished also; but the great falling off was in the Roman Catholics. In 1834 the Roman Catholics were 80 per cent of the whole population, and in 1861 they were only 77 per cent. The Established Church in 1834 was but 10 per cent of the whole, but in 1861 it was nearly 12 per cent, showing a relative increase in favour of the latter of 2 per cent. I do not think that that is any argument for interference in a question which we settled in 1834 and 1838. My hon. Friend referred to the number of bishops. In 1834 there were twenty-two, and the whole amount of their incomes was £150,000; but by the action of Lord Stanley's measure the number was reduced to ten, and their income is £57,000. My hon. Friend also referred to church accommodation, and, quoting from that book of his, he endeavoured to show that there was a great deal more Church accommodation than was requisite. I have gone most carefully into this point, and I find that while you have in Ireland 691,000 members of the Established Church, you have only accommodation for 372,427—that is to say, there is really not church accommodation for half the population. My hon. Friend said also that the clergy in Ireland were too highly paid, and he drew a comparison between the clergy and their respective congregations in the two Churches of England and Ireland. In England, he says, there are 2,612 people to every clergyman, while in Ireland there are only 325 people to a clergyman. But the truth is that my hon. Friend, in taking the English population, included the Protestant dissenters of all denominations, who are more than a third of the population; and the real state of the case is this:—In England, you have 10,620 parishes, and the number of persons to each parish is 598, while in Ireland it is 431. Therefore, in reality the difference is not so great as my hon. Friend would lead the House to infer. But he says the clergy in Ireland have too large revenues at their command. The total sum given to the working clergy of 1691 that country is £320,000 a year. Your armour-plated Warrior cost you from £360,000 to £400,000; and surely it is not too much to give to the ministers of your establishment in Ireland a less sum than one of your vessels of war costs you. You must recollect, too, that in Scotland where the voluntary system prevails, the clergy are absolutely paid more than in Ireland. [Mr. HADFIELD: Hear, hear!] I am not an advocate of the voluntary system—far from it; but it is a fact that under it in Scotland the clergy get more than the clergy of the Establishment in Ireland. Does the hon. Gentleman know what the revenues of the Establishment in England are? The revenues of the Established Church in England exceed £4,000,000, and that for 9,000,000 to 10,000,000 of worshippers is certainly a large sum to expend. It is unjust, therefore, to urge this charge against the Establishment of Ireland. You cannot separate the two branches of the Established Church; and if you wish to deal with the endowments and with the revenues of the Irish Church, you must, enter into a wider field, and deal with all endowments given by the State.
It is very desirable that in a matter of this kind you should endeavour to obtain the opinions of those who, from their position, are best able to give an opinion upon it. We have had the opinions of hon. Members of this House. We have had the opinions of gentlemen in Ireland, and I wish to draw the attention of the House to the opinion of those who are at the head of the Roman Catholic Church. On the 6th of May, the chief authority of that Church in Ireland, Dr. Cullen, published a letter to his clergy in reference to this debate. After stating that the Protestants have dwindled away since 1834, whereas in reality they were more in 1861 with reference to the entire population, he goes on to make this remarkable statement—The income set apart for this declining church is probably ten times as large in proportion as what is allowed at present for the maintenance of the clergy in any country on the continent of Europe.He goes on to say that both Earl Russell and the Earl of Carlisle have denounced the existence of the Establishment in Ireland as a standing insult to sense and reason; and farther on he says—Can we reconcile ourselves to the existence of an establishment which proclaims the Bible and 1692 nothing but the Bible as its rule of faith, and grants to every one the right of thinking and acting as he wishes in religious matters?Now, that is precisely the ground on which we stand by the establishment. I know no stronger answer that can be given to this observation of Dr. Cullen on the Protestant Church than the language of the late Prince Consort. In one of his addresses, His Royal Highness said—I have no fear, however, for her (the Church's) safety and ultimate welfare, so long as she holds fast to what our ancestors gained for us at the Reformation—the Gospel and the unfettered right of its use. I feel persuaded that the same earnest zeal and practical wisdom which has made her political constitution an object of admiration to other nations, will, under God's blessing, make her Church likewise a model to the world.I set the opinion of the late Prince Consort against that of Dr. Cullen, and I am quite sure that the Prince Consort's is the correct one. Dr. Cullen attacks the Church Establishment in Ireland, because, as he says its revenues are ten times greater in proportion than the sum allowed for the maintenance of any clergy on the continent of Europe. Directly I heard that statement I sent to Rome, and I sent to Naples, to ascertain whether it was founded on fact. The result is most remarkable. I find that the population of the Neapolitan State is 7,060,618, and to watch over the spiritual welfare of this population, there are twenty archbishops and seventy-seven bishops. This is exclusive of Sicily. I find also that there are 1,020 establishments for men, containing 13,611 monks and laymen; that there 276 convents; and, in fact, from authentic, information which I have received, I find that the Neapolitan Church in 1860 had in its service 70,000 individuals. And yet Dr. Cullen tells us that the Church in Ireland has a revenue ton times larger than any church on the Continent. Rut I will take the case of Rome itself, which is still more remarkable. I have not been able to obtain information of a later date than 1840, since which, as we all know, three-fourths of the Pope's subjects have thrown off his temporal authority and transferred their allegiance to King Victor Emmanuel. But in 1840 the population of Rome was 153,000. The number of ecclesiastics, monks, nuns, and seminarists, was 5,273, or one ecclesiastical person to every twenty-nine of the population; while, in what were then the States of the Church, there were 1,824 convents 1693 for monks and 612 convents for nuns. In fact, when Archbishop Cullen made that statement, evidently with the intention of lowering the Irish Church Establishment in the eyes of the world, he could not have been aware that in the Neapolitan States, as they were then called, and in the States of the Church, there was such a state of things as these facts disclose.
I am unwilling, Sir, to prolong my observations, and I apologize to the House for having taken up so much of its time; but there is one other remark which fell from the hon. Gentleman to which, with the permission of the House, I am desirous of adverting for a moment. I refer to his allusion to my attendance at a meeting in London with respect to the Church in Ireland. I trust I shall always be prepared, frankly and fairly, to give explanations as to my personal and political conduct, whenever they are legitimately called for. I consulted my noble Friend at the head of the Govermment as to whether he thought I had done wrong in taking the course I then pursued, and he assured me that in his opinion I had not. I may further tell my hon. Friend, and other hon. Gentlemen who may agree with him, that when I went to that meeting, with respect to which he sought to throw blame upon me, accusing me of going there for the purpose of making converts, I went solely to listen to the speakers whose names had been announced. And when I saw in the list sent to me the name of one of the most eminent Members of this House, who certainly would not have laid himself open to the charge of being a bigoted and intolerant man—I mean the hon. and learned Member for Belfast (Sir Hugh Cairns), coupled with the names of the primates of England and Ireland—I felt that there could be no possible harm in my attending a meeting in which such men were to take a part. What I did on that occasion I am prepared to stand to. What I then said had more particular reference to the working clergy of Ireland, and I remarked, that although, as my hon. Friend ob served, there are many of the clergy of that country who have not sufficient scope for their abilities, yet, nevertheless, as every man must acknowledge, there are among them many shining lights, and many who are doing that missionary work out of which the Church has grown, and that will be admitted by all who are conversant 1694 with the efforts of the Irish clergy. But I must say that I would infinitely prefer to sit below the gangway or in any other part of the House in order that I might advocate, according to the true feelings which I entertain, that which I believe to be for the interests of morality and the prosperity of the country, rather than that by occupying a place on these benches I should be supposed to surrender one iota of that legitimate influence and independence in regard to politics which every man in this country is free to hold and exercise, and which our Parliamentary system of Government was never intended to diminish. I will not, however, further allude to the subject than to say, that I am sure that the feeling of the House will be with me when I say that my going to listen to that which I thought might he for the benefit of Ireland can in no way be construed into an offence against the Government or the country with which I am politically connected.
Sir, in my humble judgment, the revenues of the Irish branch of the United Church are not more than sufficient. I think the clergy of Ireland are not less deserving than they used to be either of the consideration of Parliament or of the revenues they possess. I feel, therefore, satisfied that the House will concur with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor for the Duchy, when he asserted that the Government could not give its assent to the Motion of my hon. Friend. It is impossible upon public grounds—to say nothing of the time at which it is made—to agree to that proposition. But I must tell my hon. Friend, if he be in earnest, and I presume he is, that he is dealing with a subject the magnitude of which he does not appear to have sufficiently contemplated. In dealing with the Established Church of Ireland you are not dealing with a mere excrescence or a growth of yesterday, but with an institution which has existed for ages in that country. We all know that you may transplant the tender sapling, and it will still thrive in the soil to which it has been removed. But to upheave the deep-rooted oak, or to lop it of its fair proportions and giant limbs without detriment to its vigour, is a work to which the skill and ingenuity of man cannot easily attain. So it is with the Established Church of Ireland. It was founded by the zeal and the piety of our ancestors; it has been sanctioned by Parliament and by the Coronation Oath of the Sovereign; and, above 1695 all, it has been confirmed by the attachment and veneration of many generations. But I will tell my hon. Friend, in conclusion, that an attack upon the Church Establishment in Ireland is but a necessary preliminary to an attack upon the Church Establishment in this country; and I maintain that any successful attempt to divide the revenues of the Irish Church among all classes of Her Majesty's Irish subjects ought to be immediately followed by a Motion for the alienation and secularization of the revenues of the Church Establishment in England. Indeed, to be consistent, you ought to go further and do away entirely with Church Establishments. You ought to adopt that voluntary system which prevails in America, but which I would not prefer to the system which has so long flourished in this kingdom. And I must say, that if this question is to be agitated again, either in the present Session or in the next, it is time for us, no matter on what side we sit, frankly to declare our opinions and to choose our party for this struggle. I, for one, unhesitatingly affirm, that if that moment has come, I shall be found—ay, and acting under the advice and guidance of the noble Lord at the head of the Government—I shall be found contending on behalf of those principles which for two centuries and more have ever been—and God grant they may long continue to be!—the centre of loyalty to the Throne and the bulwark of civil and religious liberty.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, the right hon. Gentleman had just made a statement which would attract great attention in Ireland, and which ought to be of some interest to the House. He had told them, that when he attended the recent meeting, about which he had said very little, but which was an event of some importance in his political career, he had consulted the noble Lord at the head of the Government before doing so.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
What I said was, that after I had seen my attendance at that meeting called in question, I asked my noble Friend if I had done wrong, and he said "Certainly not."
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he presumed, then, that the noble Lord gave the right hon. Gentleman absolution. The noble Lord and the Government generally, then, were responsible for the conduct of the right hon. Baronet on that occasion. What had been the result of that conduct? Why were the benches on both 1696 sides the House so full that night? Why was it that, as had been said in the course of the debate, a warfare was springing up between the two great religious bodies in Ireland. The Chief Secretary attended that meeting, and moved a resolution of thanks to the chairman and the committee who conducted the operations of that society in London. Let the House remember that that chairman was Mr. J. C. Colquhoun, and bear in mind what was the language in which that friend of peace, speaking in Exeter Hall, addressed the people of Ireland. In his speech the gentleman, using a military phraseology, said, "We must have a plan of the campaign, a regular scheme, munitions of war, and, above all, strong places from which to march, and on which to fall back again." He spoke of the artillery which would be required for the work in which they were engaged, and described the work as a great scheme of controversy against the Church of Rome. He said that the Irish Church, from being passive, had taken the field of controversy, and the result was that a "furious warfare was now going on between the Church of England and the Church of Rome." But in spite of the military language of the chairman, and in spite of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, the West Connaught Society was a doomed one. No less an authority than the Irish census had struck it a blow from which its balance-sheet showed that its funds had not recovered. In a book called Good News from Ireland, Mr. Garrett, the Secretary of the West Connaught Society, gave an account of its progress, which account was of itself a condemnation of the whole system. Speaking of a place called Palnathomas, Mr. Garrett said that it had been "a painful scene of uncertainty." The same remark applied to the various missionary stations to which that gentleman referred. Making an appeal for Bullnahinch, he said, that even if £50,000 were required for the mission there, he must call on his friends to come forward with an endowment quickly, solemnly, and generously. He could imagine the right hon. Baronet coming forward quickly, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) coming forward solemnly, and his hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham coming forward generously with the £50,000 to endow Bullnahinch. That book showed nothing but wreck and ruin, empty churches, and dilapidated 1697 school-houses. The question of Irish Church missions, banished for some years from the arena of that House, was re-introduced on account of the support given by the Chief Secretary for Ireland to that which was worse than an imposture, and which led to breaches of the law and of order. It was said that the schools were full, but how wore they filled? Lord Plunket, the president of the West Connaught Mission, established missionary schools on his property, and compelled his tenants, on threat of eviction, to send their children. And Mr. Townsend stated at the trial which took place that the object of these schools was to bring up these children as Protestants. To justify himself, Lord Plunket published a list of tenants evicted, and the reasons for evicting them; and among them were the names of several persons evicted for assaulting Scripture readers. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) cheered that statement; but had he read the severe condemnation passed on Lord Plunket for his conduct on that occasion, by the leading organ of public opinion? All these missionary schools were failures, and had led to violence. He had never joined in any attack upon the church of England, and he rejoiced to say that on one occasion, when the Speaker gave a casting vote against the Church Rates Abolition Bill, one Roman Catholic Member did not vote, and that was the hon. Gentleman who was then addressing the House. At the meeting which had been alluded to, it was said that the converts might be counted by tens of thousands, and Dr. Wordsworth, in his Irish Mission, spoke of 30,000 converts in West Connaught. Now, what was West Connaught? It comprised the western part of the counties of Galway and Mayo, and part of the diocese of the Bishop of Tuam. He found, however, that in that district the Returns showed that the Protestant population had fallen off 25 per cent, from 22,765 in 1834, to 17,156 in 1861, while the total diminution of the Protestant population, in all Ireland, in the same period, was but 19 percent. Again, the Protestant marriages in the counties of Galway and Mayo had fallen from 203 in 1851, to 104 in 1861, or nearly 50 per cent. During every year that these missionary societies had been at work, the Protestant population had fallen off; and how could that fact be reconciled with the astounding statements of conversions by tens of thousands? 1698 The Protestant gentry of Kilkenny had shown their opinion of those societies by addressing a memorial to the Bishop of Kilkenny, praying him to have the missionaries withdrawn from the town of Kilkenny, because their presence created ill blood and provoked disorders. The operations of these societies had been described in the Church Review, a review edited by a distinguished dignitary of the Church of England, as tending to religious rows and broken heads—that placards headed "Rome the Babylon," "Rome the Mother of Harlots," &c., necessarily provoked retaliation, and the usual result of a missionary appearance in a town was the calling-out of the military, while the crowning triumph was the condemnation of a certain number of Roman Catholics to fine and imprisonment. He appealed to the common sense and justice of England, whether it would maintain a system that resulted in figures, fighting, and a shriek for money.
§ SIR HUGH CAIRNS
Sir, the hon. Member for Tipperary (The O'Donoghue), in the course of his observations on Friday, deprecated the idea that a speech upon this question should provoke the laughter or excite the amusement of the House. I could not help thinking that the hon. Gentleman directed his observations to the speech that immediately preceded his own—that of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. B. Osborne). But I must say I entirely agree that the question is one of gravity and importance, and that it should be treated with all the seriousness that such a subject deserves. If I must mention another important ingredient which I think is required in the consideration of the subject, I should say that ingredient was precision and accuracy as to facts. If the House will indulge me with as much of its time and patience as the importance of the subject deserves, I will satisfy them, that conspicuous as the speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. B. Osborne) was as a fund of hilarity, it was still more conspicuous for the absence of that precision and accuracy which such a subject demands. The first point is to ascertain precisely what is the end aimed at by the different propositions that have been made. The hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), whose Motion on this subject was withdrawn in order that the House might proceed with that now under consideration, proposed to affirm that there was a surplus of revenues belonging to the Church of Ireland, and that it ought to be appropriated 1699 to secular purposes or to the general purposes of the State. The hon. Member for Liskeard said that he did not wish to take away any part of the revenues of the Church, but only to re-adjust or re-adapt those revenues; but he had scarcely sat down, when the hon. Member for Tipperary got up, and returned thanks to the hon. Member for Liskeard for rendering such effective service towards the overthrow of the Irish Church, because the Irish people would not be satisfied without perfect equality in regard to all endowments in that country. An hon. Gentleman also on the other side (Mr. Grant Duff) has to-night reminded us of the saying with regard to a celebrated city of antiquity, and he wanted to apply the same rule to Ireland.
Now, it is important for the House to know the real facts of the case, and I will take the view of the hon. Member for Liskeard, who says that the revenues of the Church in Ireland are excessive in amount, having regard to the duties the clergy have to perform. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: Hear, hear!] I am glad, as there are so few points of agreement between us, that, at all events, we agree on the basis of the argument. With reference to the revenues of the Church of Ireland, let me remind the House that a Return laid on the table, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea, would very much mislead the House. It says that the revenues of the church amounts to £580,000 in round numbers. But from that sum a great number of deductions have to be made. The Return includes the taxes which the various benefices and bishoprics have to pay to the Commission, and which are laid out in other parts of the various dioceses. In this way the Return is some £30,000 or £40,000 overstated. There are some minor deductions to be made besides, and the effect of these deductions we shall see in a moment. I will illustrate this by two statements, neither of which admits of dispute. With reference to the financial state of the Church of Ireland the hon. Member for Liskeard quoted the authority of Archdeacon Stopford; and what does he say? In his larger work on the Irish Church he made a calculation in this way—he takes the whole revenues of the church, the whole value of glebe lands, of the rent-charges, and the income of the various bishoprics, and after making the proper deductions, he comes to the conclusion that the net sum from every possible source available for expenditure on the part of the Church in Ireland is 1700 £510,000 a year. Now, a gentleman, formerly a Member of this House, Mr. Serjeant Shee, whose name should always be mentioned with respect for the many excellent qualities he possesses, wrote on this subject, and he said, "I do not wish to despoil the Established Church, I wish to pay every beneficed clergyman and bishop a proper remuneration," and he laid down the scale on which he would pay them. What will the House suppose was the total to which the payments Mr. Serjeant Shee would make to the various clergymen and bishops of the Irish Church amount to? The total was £589,000 a year—exactly £78,000 a year more than the whole net income of the Established Church of Ireland. Therefore, on these two calculations—one coming from a gentleman whose accuracy the hon. Member for Liskeard justly extols, the other from Mr. Serjeant Shee, whose authority cannot be disputed—instead of their being a surplus of revenue beyond what is adequate for the remuneration of the ministers of the Established Church in Ireland, there is a deficiency of £78,000 a year.
I will give you another calculation. The number of incumbents in Ireland is 1,530, and the net parochial income of all the clergy in Ireland is exactly £370,000 a year; and without deducting the sums paid for curates, the sum given to each incumbent is exactly £210 a year. That is not the whole of the case. Reference has been made to England; but if you take the number of square miles in England, and the parishes in which there, are incumbents, there is an average for every benefice of five square miles; but in Ireland the average is twenty square miles to each benefice. So that you pay in Ireland an average of £210 a year to a clergyman for doing duty, not over five square miles, as in England, but over twenty square miles.
The hon. Member for Liskeard says £210 is not a large sum for a clergyman, but what he objects to is that this clergyman has no flock. Now, what are the facts of the case? Let me compare England and Ireland in that respect. You have not a Census for 1861 of religious denominations in England, and hon. Gentlemen opposite know very well to whom we are indebted for that. Sufficient is known, however, for the purposes of this discussion. But what is the number of Episcopalians in the towns of Ireland. In 17 towns in Ireland there are over 10,000 inhabitants; the Episcopalian population is 114,295. 1701 72 parishes out of 1,572 belong to these towns. That gives 1,590 Episcopalians to each parish. As far as these towns are concerned, it is incorrect to say that there is not in each parish a sufficient number of Episcopalians to require the services of a minister. In the rural parishes of England, by the Census of 1851, out of those attending public worship on a particular given day, 9 out of 19 were Episcopalians; in Wales 6 out of 25; and applying this ratio, we get for each country parish in England 387 Episcopalians; in Wales 248. In Ireland there are 1,500 rural parishes for 564,576 Episcopalians, or 376 for each parish. Ireland, therefore, stands middle between England and Wales, very far lower than England, and higher than Wales. That puts an end to the argument of the hon. Member for Liskeard; but he says that may be the average; but there are individual parishes in which there is a very much smaller number of Episcopalians. Then I say you find the same thing in England. The hon. Member is very fond of looking at clergy lists. Let him go to the English Clergy List. He will find 500 parishes where the gross population is just over 100 souls, and, taking three-fifths to be members of the Church, between 50 and 60 Episcopalians.
The House should understand, that being anxious for the well-being of the Church of Ireland, I do not desire to resist alterations in the finances of the Established Church in that country. I say, where there are inequalities to redress—where, from change of circumstances, a different adjustment of ecclesiastical property is desirable, just as you do every day in England, the same rule ought to be applied in Ireland. The same rule has been applied in Ireland since 1833 or 1834, and I do not see why the same principle should not be continued. But as the hon. Gentleman talks of inequalities, I ask you to go further than the right hon. Baronet has gone, lest the inaccuracies he has overlooked should be considered as facts. The hon. Member for Liskeard stated that the archbishops and bishops of Ireland have an income amounting to £80,000. The House will find their net income falls very far short of that. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: I said their gross income.] The hon. Member says "gross" now, but the hon. Member did not say "gross" on Friday night. The difference between their gross and their net value is exactly £22,000 a year. Upon the same principle, he might as well say that the 1702 Bishop of Durham receives £25,000 or £28,000 a year. The Bishop has a gross revenue of that amount, but he pays more than half of it to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; and the incomes of the Irish bishops are subject to deductions of exactly the same kind. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: Where do the deductions go to?] I will tell the hon. Member where they go to; and I am very glad he puts the question, because the hon. Member is in the act of acquiring information which otherwise he would never have obtained. The deductions go to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and are by them applied to the augmentation of small livings. I put it to the House whether, in their judgment, it was a fair representation to hold up the archbishops and bishops of Ireland as dignitaries who were receiving and spending £80,000 a year. That is not all. The hon. Member said, "Look at the thousands to whom every English bishop attends, who are under his jurisdiction and under his care, and contrast that with the case of Ireland." What did the hon. Gentleman do? There are in England twenty millions of inhabitants; it is not exactly ascertained how many of them belong to the Church of England. Some say twelve millions, some ten, and some even less. The hon. Member took the whole twenty millions, and divided the bishops of England into that; he then divided the bishops of Ireland not into the gross population, but into the Episcopalians of Ireland, and he instituted a comparison between one and the other. I pass to another inaccuracy of the hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary referred to the point, but I must ask the House to look at it a little more closely. The hon. Member for Liskeard said, "The united diocese of Kilfenora and Kilmac-duagh, in which there are about 686 Protestants, have a bishop at £4,000 a year and the usual staff." The Chief Secretary has told the House that no such diocese exists; it is the name of some former diocese which has been united with Clonfert and Killaloe; and the total number of Episcopalians in the diocese for which the Bishop receives £4,000, are not 686, but 15,907. As the hon. Gentleman is deriving great information from these facts, he must allow me to give him one or two more. He went on to say:—"In the diocese of Waterford and Lismore, with which I am intimately acquainted, there is a population of 134,336, of whom 5,000 belong to the Established Church;" and he asked, "Why should 1703 5,000 people make a diocese, with a bishop receiving £5,000 a year?" This is the hon. Member's own diocese, and surely he ought to have some personal knowledge of the facts. But what do I find? Waterford and Lismore are united to Cashel and Emly, for which the bishop receives £4,600 a year, the Episcopalians being in number, not 5,000, but 13,853. Let me go a little further. He said—and this was a striking statement—in England you have a clergyman for every 2,612 persons; in Ireland one for every 325. Let me first correct him as to Ireland. I have shown the House that in towns the number is one for every 1,590, and in the country one for every 376. But how did the hon. Member calculate with regard to England? I commend it to the House as an arithmetical exercise of the most ingenious description. There is a gross population of 20,000,000, and there are in the Church in England, in round numbers, 18,000 clergymen. The hon. Member divided 18,000 into the 20,000,000; but even that was not enough, for it would only bring out a quotient of somewhere about 1,000; so he doubled the quotient, and added 600 more to it. I commend that to the House as the most wonderful feat in arithmetic that was ever performed for its enlightenment. I cannot conceive how the hon. Member, having the Returns before him, can ever have arrived at such a result.
I come next to a statement, which, proceeding as it did from an hon. Gentleman having some acquaintance with Ireland, surprised me very much. In the diocese of Meath, he said, the population is 110,000, of whom but 6,500 are Episcopalians. Now, will it be believed that he has made this mistake. He has taken the county of Meath, and he is under the impression that it is co-extensive with the diocese. If he had looked at the Return of the diocese, he would have found that the Episcopalians were not 6,500, but 16,300, being a slight difference of nearly 10,000. These are the data upon which that very interesting and amusing statement was founded, which delighted the House so much, and must have given to many hon. Members who were not aware of the real state of the case a very singular impression with regard to the state of the Church. But I have not done yet. The hon. Member said he would go into detail with regard to the see of Meath. He took the living of Kells, held by Archdeacon Stopford, and he made out, from the Irish Church 1704 Directory, that the parish church contained 500 sittings, that there were only thirty-one Episcopalians, and that the living was of £1,151 a year. I will own I was a little startled by that assertion. It seemed to me not very probable; but, of course, I thought the hon. Member looked into the Returns. Will the House believe the series of blunders which are involved in this statement? In the Return made to Parliament, which deals with towns in Ireland having more than 1,500 inhabitants, the hon. Member finds Kells mentioned—not the parish of Kells, but the town of Kells. Even then he cannot quote the Return accurately, for he puts the number at 31 Episcopalians, whereas the Return says 331 Episcopalians. But that is not all. The town of Kells has nothing to say to it. The church is the church of the parish of Kells, and the parish of Kells goes round the town for square acres or square miles, and every one knows that in Ireland the places where the Protestants live are in the town parks and green fields, upon property immediately adjacent to the town, not in the houses of the town, where the numerical majority is always in favour of the Roman Catholics. The question, therefore, is not what does the town of Kells, but what does the parish of Kells contain? and that point the hon. Member never touches at all. Then, as to the value of the living. The hon. Member said this was the living of Archdeacon Stopford; and he praised his works, and said they were most instructive to any one who read them. I wish to goodness the hon. Member had read them—because he would have found that the living of Kells was one of those upon which the Archdeacon commented, and not without a little bitterness of feeling, for he shows very clearly, that although returned as being of the value of £1,151, after making the deductions which have to be paid the value is exactly £491 a year, and out of that he has to pay a curate besides.
I now come to a nucleus of errors. The hon. Member takes Cavan, Cahir, Carrick-on-Suir, Ballinrobe, Westport, Killaloan, Kilrush, and other towns; and he goes to the Irish Church Directory and says, "I find in each of these towns so many sittings, 300, 400, or 500, and so many Episcopalians, sometimes 50, sometimes 60, and sometimes 150, but in every case the number of sittings quite disproportioned to the number of Episcopalians." He has fallen into the same error in every one 1705 of these cases of taking the town or place for the parish, though, of course, it is for the parish that the churches are built. I will give the House one instance I have been able to lay my hand upon in the short time which has elapsed since the hon. Member's speech, and it will illlustrate the inaccuracies of the whole of his statement. I take the case of Tuam. The hon. Member said it contained 257 Protestants, the value of the living being £623. The fact is, that in the parish of Tuam, where there is church accommodation for 300 or 400, there are 640 Episcopalians; and the net value of the living, in place of being £623, is fixed by the Commission at £320 a year. I have yet another mistake to point out, and, as it has been alluded to to-night, I am bound to set it right. In the diocese of Cork he takes five clergymen—the rectors of Rahan, Mourne Abbey, Clenore, Carrigamleary, and Clon-meen, and he says he finds all these living in pleasant, nice Mallow, away from their parishes. To use his own words, "That is the picture presented by this book." Let us see what are the facts. Mallow is down in the Directory as the post town of these five parishes. As to four of these parishes, there is no glebe on which the rector could live, and so he lives in the town; and that is the great case of non-residence which the hon. Member found in the diocese of Cork. Then there was the case of Mr. Bolster, of a place which I hardly like to trust myself to pronounce—Killaspugmullnne. The hon. Gentleman said, it was the hardest name in Ireland, and that was almost the only correct statement in his speech. He said Mr. Bolster resides at Glanmore, which is a great way off. The fact is, that Glanmore is the post town; it is only a mile and a half distant, the parish has no glebe, and Mr. Bolster lives in the nearest house to his parish. The hon. Gentleman said, "I agree to your averages." He does not deny that every rector has only £200 a year, and that he has a certain number of Episcopalians in his parish; but he says, it is ridiculous to suppose that there is any call in Ireland for a Church at all. I believe I am right in saying, that nine out of ten of the hon. Gentleman's alleged facts are erroneous, and I do not doubt that the tenth is erroneous too.
The hon. Gentleman, assuming that there are changes in the population of Ireland, asks us why we oppose this Motion? I will tell him exactly why. I 1706 say his Motion is not made to amend or improve the Church of Ireland. The other day the hon. Gentleman had a Motion to destroy the parochial system of the Irish Church, and change it to a congregational system. Let me point out the powers which now exist for the reform of this Church. The Lord Lieutenant in Council has two remarkable and important powers. When a sinecure falls vacant, he may suppress it; and when any parish of more than £800 a year value is vacant, the Lord Lieutenant may divide it. That is the kind of measure the Church requires. In the parish of Belfast there are 30,000 Episcopalians—about one twenty-third of the whole number in Ireland—and what are the parochial endowments of that parish? They do not exceed £500 a year, or one eight-hundredth of the whole endowment of the Church. That is not an excessive endowment, and I should be very glad to see a proper method of dealing with such cases. But the proper way of doing so is with the advice, the cooperation, and the assistance of the heads of the Church, and they are anxious to give their co-operation. It might be done, also, by means of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and their powers might be advantageously enlarged for this purpose.
I must not leave the hon. Member for Liskeard until I have corrected his statement about the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who are very respectable men, and who have done their work exceedingly well. The right hon. Baronet referred to the salaries of the Commissioners. There is a Return of their salaries before the House. There are only two Commissioners in the receipt of salaries, and they receive £1,000 each. The hon. Member for Liskeard, who had the Returns in his hand, said there were three Commissioners who received salaries, and that they were proper and discreet men. He told the House they received £6,000 in salaries, and that they managed the Church property under their control in the most expensive and extravagant way. But what does the Return, which the hon. Gentleman had in his hand, say? It shows that this sum is for the salaries of the Commissioners, the secretary, the treasurer, and all the clerks of the establishment. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: I read that.] No, I beg pardon, the hon. Member did not read that. He must excuse me. He could not have read it even to himself, for he said they received £6,000 in salaries. Did he read the next 1707 Return? He said that for rent and coals the Commissioners paid £909 a year. I was astonished that this sum should he paid for the rent of a house in Dublin, and I looked at the Return, and what did it say? That this sum of £909 covers rent, coals, supernumerary clerks, repair of house, taxes, insurance, and other incidents. In fact, the establishment expenses of the Commission, which manages nearly 150,000 acres of land, spread over the whole of Ireland, are £7,000 a year in all—a sum as moderate as I have ever known spent by a Commission of the kind. Then the hon. Member said, "Just look at the next item, £36,000 for the ceremonials of the parish churches." Some one asked, "What are these ceremonials?" And the hon. Member for Liskeard replied, "Organ-blowing and things of that kind." What is the fact? There are no church rates in Ireland, vestry cess is abolished, and the care and working of the organ and the fuel are thrown upon the central fund in the hands of the Commissioners. The expenses are £36,000 in all, and this gives an average of £22 10s. a year to each parish to pay the sexton, the clerk, the care and working of the organ, and the fuel. I should like to know in what church in England all this is clone for so little money.
The hon. Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff) tells us that the Church of Ireland has not answered the purpose for which it was established, and ought therefore to be abolished. But what is the test of a Church having answered the purpose for which it was established? I will not indulge in any flights of imagination; it is by facts this matter should be judged. We have got a Return moved for by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dublin University in regard to population. We are told that the numbers of the Episcopalians have diminished, and we are asked to accept this as a proof that the Church has not acted up to its duty. But this Return puts the matter very shortly and very clearly before us. According to the Census of 1834 there were 100 Roman Catholics to 13¼ of the Established Church. In 1861 to 100 Roman Catholics there were 15½ of the Established Church. So that the members of the Established Church are relatively a larger body than they were in 1834. If we suppose that the ratio of 1834 had continued, there would be 70,000 fewer Episcopalians than there actually are, or, in other words, there has been a relative 1708 increase of 72,000 members of the Established Church. In the Census of 1834, 40,000 Methodists were reckoned as members of the Established Church. Add them to the calculation, and you have relatively 110,000 more Episcopalians than you had in 1834. The hon. Member says that the Church of Ireland has failed as a missionary Church. But does the hon. Gentleman mean to say that all the endowments of the Irish Church ought to be taken away, because she has failed to convert the Roman Catholics; and then that in due time all the endowments are to be taken away from the Roman Catholics if they do not convert all the Protestant population? If the Church endowments are to be taken from one religion and given to another, accordingly as they succeed or fail in this respect, let us understand it clearly, and then the various bodies will know what they have to do.
I was very much surprised to hear this House made the field of discussion of the merits of the West Connaught Society; but I will say that those who object to the operations of the Society could not have done it a more beneficial service than to bring it under the notice of the House of Commons. I am sure it will do the Society more good than twenty meetings in London, even though the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary were to attend all of them. But what are the facts? I do not care about the 30,000 converts. West Connaught is 100 miles long and 30 broad, and twenty-five years ago there were in it 13 congregations, 7 churches, and 11 clergymen. There are now in it 57 congregations, 27 churches, and 35 clergymen. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: What are their numbers?] The numbers of some of the congregations are 50, of some 100, 200, and 300, and they meet regularly in the week and on the Sunday from one end of the year to another. The hon. Member for Liskeard, though he did not challenge the purity either of life or doctrine of the Irish clergy, said they were inferior in manners and learning to the English. I do not know what opportunities of associating with the clergy in Ireland he had, for he said he had never seen the clergyman of his own parish. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: He has never been near it.] Has he got a house? [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: No.] I have no doubt, if the hon. Member provides one, he will live there. [Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: I will, if he pays for it.] But the hon. Member 1709 accounts for the Irish clergymen not being on a par with the English in this way—that the Irish bishops ordain men who have not received a University education. But is that the rule, or the exception? I know it is a matter of frequent occurrence in England; and when it cannot be avoided, a man who has not got a University education is ordained just as often in England as in Ireland. The hon. Member had the good taste to refer to the schedule of the effects of a bishop who died fourteen years ago, and who held one of the sees that have been since suppressed. But that bishop was a gentleman of large private fortune. The hon. Gentleman said, when he saw that schedule, it was in one of the famine years, and it made a deep impression on his mind. But I wish he had referred to the case of the head of the Irish Church, who, for upwards of fifty years, deriving a large income from the Church, and possessing a princely fortune in his own property, expended both upon the Church of which he was the head, and which will never cease to mourn his loss. And if matters connected with the famine are referred to, I wish the hon. Gentleman had thought of the part taken by the members of the Established Church—how they shared to the last shilling with their countrymen, and created a bond of affection among the people around them which will last long after the memory of the famine has passed away.
Some who support this Motion would desire to see the Established Church transfer, either the whole or a part of her revenues, to the Roman Catholic Church. [The O'DONOGHUE: No, no!] The hon. Member for Tipperary says "No!" but he said on Friday night that he would never be satisfied, nor would the people of Ireland, until something of the kind was done. [The O'BONOGHCE: I said nothing of the kind; I said I never would be satisfied, nor would the people of Ireland, until there was religious equality.] Of course, I cannot ask what he means by religious equality; but I want to know what symbol of religious inequality is there in Ireland except the Establishment, and what is the sign of that inequality except the possession of property? I am not going back now to the age of St. Patrick, although the hon. Member for Liskeard has something to learn about him; but, putting aside the question of antiquity, I say that Church has got the title of prescription, which is as good as the title of the Church 1710 of England, or as good as that by which any hon. Gentleman holds his property. I would ask Gentlemen connected with the Nonconformists, upon what grounds do they support this Motion? Upon what principle did the House pass the Dissenters' Chapel Bill, when a far less period than 300 years sufficed to make a title to which Parliament felt bound to give effect? There is a pas sage in the speech of Lord Macaulay at that time which I would like to read to the House. He says—I could never have imagined," said he, "that in an assembly of reasonable, civilized, and educated men it would be necessary to offer a word in defence of prescription, as a general principle. I should have thought it as much a waste of time of this House as to make a speech against the impropriety of burning witches, or of trying a right by wager of battle, or of testing the guilt or innocence of a culprit by making him walk over burning ploughshares. It is in every known part of the world, in every civilized age; it was familiar to the old tribunals of Athens; it formed part of the Roman jurisprudence; it was spread with the Imperial power over the whole of Europe; it was recognised after the French Revolution; and when the Code Napoleon was formed, that very principle of prescription was not forgotten. We find it both in the East and in the West; it is recognised by tribunals beyond the Mississippi, and in countries that had never heard of Justinian, and had no translation of the Pandects. In all places we find it acknowledged as a sacred principle of legislation. We have found it among the Hindoos, as well as the Mexicans and Peruvians; in our own country we find it coeval with the beginning of our laws. It is bound in the first of our statutes; it is close upon our great first charter; it is consecrated by successive Acts of Parliament; it is introduced into the Statute of Merton; it is found in the Statute of Westminster; and the principle only becomes more stringent as it is carried out by a succession of great legislators and statesmen down to our own time…. Is it not clear that the principle of prescription is essential to the institution of property itself, and that if you take it away, it is not some or a few evils that must follow, but general confusion?I repeat that the title of the Established Church of Ireland by prescription, even if we go back no further than the last 300 years, is as good as the best title by which any estate in this country is held. But the hon. Member appeals to Lord Plunket. He was no bigot, he was not hostile to the Roman Catholic Church, and his name would be remembered with gratitude by the Roman Catholics of Ireland as long as any name can be borne in mind. Well, Lord Plunket said—With respect to the Protestant Establishment of Ireland, he considered it necessary for the security of all property. He thought that there should not only be an established Church, but that it should be richly endowed, and that its dignitaries should be enabled to take their stations in 1711 society with the nobles of the land; but speaking of it in a political point of view, he had no hesitation in stating that the Protestant establishment was the great bond of union between the two countries; and if even that unfortunate moment should arrive when they should rashly lay their hands on the property of the Church to rob it of its rights, that moment would seal the doom of, and separate the connection between, the two countries.And what did Mr. Serjeant Shee say on the same subject? These are his words—The Church by law established is the church of a community everywhere considerable in respect of property, rank, and intelligence; it is strong in a prescription of three centuries, and in the support which it derives from the supposed identity of its interests with those of the Church of England. Nothing short of a convulsion tearing up both Establishments by the roots, could accomplish its overthrow.The hon. Member for Elgin, and those who think with him, desire that establishments should be put an end to. But I desire the House to observe that that is not a question that concerns the Irish Church, but the Established Church of England and Ireland. And though I quite agree that there is nothing in the articles of Union to prevent you from amending the Irish Church, yet if you go upon the abstract principle of endowments, you will be obliged to deal with both Churches on the same footing, and that was what Lord Castlereagh meant when he pointed out the advantages to be gained from uniting the two Churches. He said that the Church of Ireland was a colonial Church; but once the two Churches were united, the Irish Church was put beyond attack, except upon grounds upon which the Church of England might be attacked also. The hon. Member for Swansea told us the other night that he had observed in the history of British parties, that when once the Whigs ceased to attack the Irish Church, they became a failing party. He perceived that there might be an attack on the Irish Church, and he thought that it would be very inconsistent to make that attack, when his party should be in Opposition, unless they made it while their party was in office. That was as refreshing a frankness and as candid a confession as I ever heard. The hon. Member referred to the Appropriation Clause, and we cannot help going back for one minute to that measure, and contrasting the present state of Ireland with its condition at that time. Then you had disturbance, riots, and I might also say rebellion in Ireland, if not caused, directly connected with the state of the law as it stood with 1712 respect to the revenues of the Established Church. You altered the law, and where are the riots in Ireland? You have occasionally agrarian disturbances, but there is not an instance for twenty years of disturbance in Ireland which you can connect in any way with the revenues or existence of the Established Church in Ireland. I will tell the House why. The House commuted the tithe charge in Ireland, which may be taken in round numbers at £400,000 a year, and a calculation has been made which shows that the amount of the rent charge payable by Roman Catholics in lieu of tithes is under £30,000. With regard to the tenants of Church lands and glebes, a wife and mild legislation was introduced in 1833 and 1834, in pursuance of which two-thirds of the tenants of Church lands have bought out their farms. They hold them in fee simple, having paid the purchase-money to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. That money is in the bank, and the income is applied to the benefit of the Church, and there is no grievance attaching to Roman Catholics in connection with the Church. We are now at the last day of June, and this discussion was begun on the 19th of May. An hon. Member, in moving the adjournment of the debate, said, wait a fortnight and see what Petitions on the subject would flow in from Ireland. Here we are at the end of six weeks, and I find that the number of Petitions from the beginning of the Session to the present day, complaining of the existence of the Established Church in Ireland, is twenty-two, and the number of signatures 7,000 from 4,500,000 people. The war of the Appropriation Clause has answered its purpose, but I feel satisfied that the Irish Church would never deprecate or shrink from any attempt at amendment or re-adjustment for the purpose of improvement; but I hope the House will always resist any proposal which, under the transparent cloak of aiming at improvement, seeks to destroy and overthrow an institution which I believe to be indissolubly connected with the best hopes of Ireland and the true principles of Christianity.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
The noble Lord the Member for Leicestershire on a former evening desired, after the speech of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, that some other Member of the Government should declare what course the Government intended to take in reference to the present Motion: but I should have thought that the declaration made by 1713 the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was explicit and clear enough to render any statement from me unnecessary. He stated that the Government felt it their duty to oppose the Motion, and in that declaration I cordially concur. The noble Lord said that my right hon. Friend in announcing that decision showed but little enthusiasm in his defence of the Established Church in Ireland, and I am afraid I shall be subject to the same reproach if the noble Lord expects me to rise to any high pitch of enthusiasm in defending a system, by which in any country an exclusive Establishment is maintained for the benefit of a small minority only, while at the same time no provision is made for the clergy of the great majority. That is an opinion which I have before expressed, and to which I deliberately adhere. At the same time, I have never said or given countenance to the opinion that the Established Church in Ireland should be subverted, and it is because I concur with the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, that the present Motion, though clothed in vague and indefinite terms, aims at, not the reform or Amendment, but the destruction of the Irish Established Church, that I give my opposition to it. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Bernal Osborne) said that he merely wished to remove some of the anomalies in the Irish Establishment, and to transfer the Church revenues from parishes where there are no Protestant inhabitants to other parishes, or to inquire into the operation of the Ecclesiastical Commission in Ireland. To a proposition of that kind there might be no reasonable objection, if brought forward in a practical shape; but what has been the course of this debate? The hon. Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff) did not conceal the fact that in supporting the Motion his intention was to destroy the Church of Ireland, and declared that the doctrine and liturgy of that Church were unsuited to any people of Celtic origin. The hon. Member for Tipperary, in an able and temperate speech, put the same construction as the hon. Member for Elgin on the Motion of the hon. Member for Liskeard, and supported it on the ground of the right of all persons in Ireland to religious equality. As he disclaimed any desire to appropriate any portion of the revenues of the Church in favour of the Roman Catholics, the only alternative which the hon. Member had in view must be that which the hon. Member for Elgin also aimed at—the sweeping 1714 away of the Protestant Establishment. The Motion before us, ambiguous and vague in its terms, has been supported by two hon. Members in speeches which clearly indicate that it is directed to the total abolition of the Church. Whatever I may think of the wisdom and policy of establishing an exclusive Church of the religion of a minority in a country, without making any provision for the religion of the majority of the inhabitants, it is impossible to get rid of the fact, that this Church has existed for centuries, has become interwoven with the institutions of the country, and could not be subverted without a revolution. That revolution I, for one, am not prepared to recommend. I deeply regret that at the beginning of the century, at the time of the Union, the wise policy proposed by Mr. Pitt and those who acted with him was not carried into effect, and that when the Irish branch of the Establishment was incorporated with the English some provision was not made for the clergy of the mass of the people. I believe it would have been accepted at that time, although the time appears to have gone past for it now. There are now these two great obstacles:—First, the progress of the feeling of hostility among the people of this country to any such measure, which would prevent any Government from proposing it, and would lead to its rejection if it were proposed; and secondly, the repeated declarations made on behalf of the Roman Catholics that they would repudiate any such provision. We now have an Established Church of Ireland, and, I believe, it has been the means of effecting much good. I fully concur in what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said as to the learning, piety, and devotion of the clergy, who relieve suffering without regard to creed. At the same time, I cannot agree with him in saying, that because the tithe rent-charge is on land, which is chiefly held by Protestants, there is no ground for complaint. I can understand that there is ground for dissatisfaction, notwithstanding that beneficial change in the law which prevents the clergyman from coming into collision with his parishioners in the collection of tithe, because this question is, after all, one of feeling rather than money. I think good may be done by such reasonable reforms in the Church as may be deemed practicable. As to the appeal made to myself and some of my Colleagues who voted twenty-five years ago for the Appropriation Clause, on that 1715 account to support this Motion, I may say that the Motion is of a totally different character. It goes far beyond the object of the Resolution supported by majorities of the House at the time I hare mentioned. The party with whom I acted then, as I have done during the rest of my political life, with the view of removing some ground for dissatisfaction in Ireland, proposed that if a surplus should be found to exist in the ecclesiastical revenues after providing for the reasonable wants of the Protestants, it should be applied to the general education and improvement of the Irish people. I believe that was a sound and salutary principle. A controversy arose regarding it between the two Houses of Parliament, and after it had been repeatedly affirmed by this House, the Government, with the consent of the leaders of the Irish party, abandoned the clause, in order to remove an obstacle to practical legislation. The Tithe Act was then passed, which has been productive of great advantage to Ireland. Afterwards the Whig party, then in Opposition, instead of attempting to reverse that decision, gave their cordial support to the Bill of Sir Robert Peel, then at the head of the Government, the object of which was to provide for greater equality in the religious institutions of Ireland, by supplying the means of education for the Roman Catholic clergy. That was, I believe, only an act of justice, and we have always, at the loss of some popularity and the sacrifice of some friends, given it a hearty and consistent support. Now, to revive the discussion is only to excite acrimonious feelings without the possibility of any satisfactory result. I feel myself totally free from the obligation to support the Motion, on account of the part I took a quarter of a century ago. My hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard has himself justified me in that course. For several years he sat on this bench as one of my Colleagues; and when Mr. Miall brought forward his Motion, he acted the part of a mute, and neither by his Voice or his vote expressed his dissent from the policy of the rest of the Government. For these reasons I cannot support the Motion of my hon. Friend.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he would appeal to the House to give fair play to advocates of the Motion, and, by adjourning the debate, to permit of a reply to the three defenders of the Church—the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the right hon. and 1716 learned Member for Belfast, and the Home Secretary.
§ MR. SCULLY
said, he rose to order. He submitted that the Speaker had never put the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Greville), who had moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ Motion made, and Question put. "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Colonel Greville.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 67; Noes 228: Majority 161.
§ Original Question and Amendment again proposed.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he should offer no opposition to that Motion, because its effect would be to put an end to the debate by getting rid of the Amendment to the Motion for going into Committee of Supply.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that as so large a majority of the House were anxious to terminate the debate, it would be unwise not to accede to their desire. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, was sufficiently answered by the cheers which greeted it from the Opposition, and the indignant silence with which it was received on that side of the House. The right hon. Baronet said the object of the Motion Was to destroy altogether and to abolish the established Church of Ireland, but the hon. Member for Liskeard had distinctly stated that he only desired to have a Committee to investigate the present ecclesiastical establishment of Ireland, and he did not even say how the surplus revenue, if there was any, should be applied. He (Mr. Monsell) disclaimed all idea of supporting the Motion from a desire to overthrow the Established Church in Ireland. That, he admitted, could not be accomplished without a revolution, and he was not prepared to face a revolution for such an object; but, without being overthrown, its revenues might be reduced, and the surplus appropriated to other purposes. Every argument in favour of the Established Church in England told against the Establishment as it now existed in Ireland. Would the English people submit to the exclusion of the large majority of 1717 Englishmen from a participation in the funds dedicated by the piety of their ancestors to provide for the spiritual wants of the whole people. If neither England nor Scotland would endure the appropriation of their ecclesiastical revenues to a small and rich minority, could they expect the Irish people to be contented so long as the present ecclesiastical settlement there remained unchanged. The Secretary of State was not accurate in saying that the subject had slept since 1834, because in the debates of 1843 and 1844 the leaders of the Whig party condemned the Church of Ireland, and attributed to it most of the evils from which that country suffered. Did the right hon. Baronet forget the strong language used by Lord John Russell, Lord Grey, and Lord Macaulay, the latter of whom declared, notwithstanding his respect for the rights of property, that the Church of Ireland was an intolerable abuse, and ought to be swept from the face of the earth. Did he forget the emphatic words of the noble Lord now the Prime Minister, that it was impossible that the present ecclesiastical settlement of Ireland could be permanent? What had caused the difference between the opinions of right hon. Gentlemen at that time, and their opinions in 1834? The only difference was, that there was then in Ireland a powerful agitation headed by a powerful man, and they yielded to fear what they now dented to justice. In every other respect, every change of circumstance had been unfavourable to the Irish Church. The course pursued with regard to the question by the Government would be most injurious to their own party and could not fail to strengthen their opponents.
§ MR. SCULLY
said, he must protest against the debate being closed that night. The House had had no opportunity of hearing the Prime Minister, who would, no doubt, adhere to his already expressed opinions; nor was the leader of the Opposition present, who had himself strongly condemned the Irish Church.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That this House do now adjourn,"—(Mr. Lanigan,)—put, and agreed to.