§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Sir George Grey.)
§ MR. R. LONG
, who was imperfectly heard, was understood to say that he rose, pursuant to notice, to move that "the House will, upon this day six months, resolve itself into the said Committee." It was hardly necessary for him to assure the House that he felt the greatest reluctance in addressing them on that occasion—a reluctance proceeding from an apprehension of his motives being misunderstood or misconstrued. He hoped that in any observations he should find it necessary to make he should avoid everything that could in the slightest degree give offence 1316 or occasion pain to the members of the Roman Catholic persuasion, or of any other religious denomination, either inside or outside of that House. He was only induced to take the course he proposed to take from a sense of duty which impelled him to resist to the utmost of his power the further progress of the measure. He contended that the Bill openly attacked those principles which had ever been jealously and strongly held, not only by the great majority of that House, but by the great mass of the population of this kingdom. In proof of that fact, he need only point to the 500 Petitions, which without any organized attempt to obtain an expression of public opinion, were presented to the House in the course of the last week, and which had been signed by upwards of 50,000 persons. Amongst those Petitions was one from the Corporation of the City of London, another from the City of Edinburgh, and another from the Wesleyan body, signed on their behalf by the president. Now, he thought that it was impossible to deny the importance of the Petitions emanating from such respectable corporations and religious bodies. He wished, in the next place, to refer to the arguments by which the measure was supported. He would first ask what really was the grievance which the measure was intended to correct. The grievance as regarded Roman Catholic prisoners, as he understood it, was thus illustrated by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department. What, said he, would be thought by the members of the Church of England, if they happened to be living in a Catholic country and that some of their unfortunate brethren had been put into gaol, if the Government of that country refused to appoint a Protestant chaplain to visit their prisoners? But he (Mr. Long) denied that the Roman Catholic prisoners suffered such a grievance. It was true that the State did not appoint a Catholic chaplain and pay for such a functionary to visit Roman Catholic prisoners in gaol, but that was a necessary consequence of the constitution under which they lived. He did not wish to touch the question whether the doctrines of the Church of England were right or wrong, but so long as they bound themselves to the principles of a State Church, and recognised that Church as the great exponent and teacher of morality, he did not see how any remedy could be applied to the supposed grievance complained of. If they followed out the 1317 principle of the Bill, it seemed to him that the remedy proposed for the relief of Roman Catholic prisoners was equally applicable to all cases where prisoners other than those of the Church of England were concerned. The members of every religious sect had an equal right to a chaplain of their own particular persuasion appointed and paid by the State. According to the language of the measure such a principle would be correct and logical, but to what extent would such a principle lead them? It was certainly compatible with the principle observed in France, where the Government paid and endowed the ministers of all religious persuasions. But that principle he hardly thought would be acceptable to the Government or people of this country. Let them see how such a principle would work. In Wales there were large bodies of Dissenters. The greatest portion of the population belonged to other religious denominations than that of the Church of England. Was, then, the Government prepared to appoint and pay, in addition to the ministers of the Established Church, the chaplains belonging to the various religious sects to be found amongst the population of Wales? Were they prepared, for example, to pay the ministers of the Socinian and the Mormon sects, and those that preached every other doctrine however absurd, if they found any members of those bodies in any of the prisons? Why, such a principle was utterly abhorrent to that of the constitution under which they lived.
But there was another alleged grievance. It was alleged that it was the duty of the chaplains of the Established Church to select and distribute amongst the prisoners of the gaols such books only as they thought fit. He ventured to deny that assertion. That was not the law. The power of distributing books amongst the prisoners did not lie with the Protestant chaplains, but with the visiting justices. And he would prove that statement by reading a brief extract from a letter of the Rev. G. Maclear, chaplain of the county prison in Bedford, addressed to the editor of The Record on the 28th of April. The rev. gentleman wrote thus—In the late debate on the Romish Chaplains in Prisons Bill Sir George Grey seems to have fallen into a very great mistake. He is reported to have said, 'To him [the chaplain] is committed the responsibility, or right, or duty, whatever it may be called, of prescribing the lessons which are to be taught, and the books which are to be read, by the prisoners for their moral and religious in- 1318 struction. Roman Catholic prisoners equally with Protestants, subject only to one modification, are committed to the care of the Protestant chaplain.' This is altogether a mistake; the law on the subject is as follows:—'He [the chaplain] shall superintend the distribution of books to be read by the prisoners belonging to the Established Church, and inspect all books proposed for the use of prisoners of the Established Church, and reject such as he may deem improper.' Surely these rules and regulations must have escaped the recollection of Sir George Grey when he made the statement above alluded to.He (Mr. Long) could not allow that the Roman Catholic prisoners suffered any grievance so long as the law permitted them to see any of their chaplains when they expressed a desire to see them. Where, then, was the grievance? If it were a grievance that those Roman Catholics who had committed mal-practices, and were suffering the penalty of their crimes in prison, were to be left without the visits of a chaplain forced upon them and paid by the state, surely those of the same1 persuasion who had committed no such wrongs to society, but who were struggling hard for a bare subsistence outside the prison walls, had a much greater grievance to complain of. If the Legislature adopted the principle involved in the Bill, he did not know where they could stop. He would mention a single fact, to show the position taken up by Roman Catholic chaplains in Ireland, and he wished to ask the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary whether it was not true. In Ireland, Roman Catholic chaplains to the gaols and workhouses were appointed and paid by the State. In 1860, the Rev. Mr. Fox, a Roman Catholic priest, appointed to the South Dublin Workhouse, was dismissed by the Poor Law Commissioners for what they considered very strong reasons. Archbishop Cullen, however, refused to transfer his spiritual authority to another, thus declining to defer to the opinion of the Commissioners; and the upshot of the whole proceeding was, that Mr. Fox had been re-appointed. If that were so, he should like to know how it was possible for the Government to contend that they possessed the necessary control over those whom they appointed as chaplains in Roman Catholic prisons. The Roman: Catholic Archbishop, no doubt, in the course he had taken, was only acting up to the principle of his Church—never to recognise any right in the constituted authorities to interfere with the appointment of its ministers. And that was one great reason why those with whom he (Mr. 1319 Long) acted felt strongly upon the proposed measure.
Again, had the Government well considered the effect of the Bill upon the ratepayers? It was impossible for them to concede the point of giving the Roman Catholic prisoners paid chaplains, without going much further. They must give them separate rooms for the performance of their religious rites, and all the paraphernalia necessary for the celebration of mass, and the other ceremonies of their Church. They must also give them schools. Well, he asked whether the Government were prepared to throw all that additional expense upon the ratepayers? It was impossible, he might add, not to perceive, that in assenting to the Bill, the House would be dealing a heavy blow at the Church of these realms, in which the vast majority of the English people recognised the organ of order, morality, and reformation, and which Parliament would, as it were, be declaring to have failed in its mission if it were to agree to the proposed change. What were the facts upon which they founded this measure? Was there any case shown in which the chaplains of the Church of England had abused their position by attempting to proselytize members of the Roman Catholic Church? He denied that there was the slightest evidence of any such conduct on the part of a minister of the Church. But were there not, he would ask, a number of well-ascertained cases in which the influence of the Church of England had hitherto been used —not to proselytize within the prison walls, but to appeal to those principles which were found in all hearts, in order that the unhappy prisoner might go forth from confinement so instructed as to be prepared to occupy an improved position in society? Considering the mass of ignorant Irish people who come over to this country utterly uninstructed by the clergy of their own Church, he could never believe that by forcing upon them the visits of their own priests, when suffering the penalties of their crimes, they would change their character.
He would next meet the argument advanced from another corner of the House in favour of the Bill; and, in doing so, he was desirous of speaking with all deference of the opinions of that eminent man to whom he was alluding. They were told by the authority of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) that the privileges of the Church 1320 of England were based upon popular rights, and that those popular rights were the sources of her strength. The right hon. Gentleman, however, failed to inform the House how or in what shape those privileges or popular rights were assailed by refusing to allow the State to appoint a paid Romish priest to enter the prisons for the instruction and enlightenment of the Romish Catholic inmates who asked not for their ministration. The right hon. Gentleman, however, seemed by his language to make this charge against the Church of England. He (Mr. Long) heard the words of the right hon. Gentleman with great astonishment. It was a grave charge to make against the Church, and he expected that the right hon. Gentleman would have stated some facts in support of it. But there was no evidence whatever adduced by the right hon. Gentleman to sustain his allegation. He (Mr. Long) was not aware that the Church of England had ever claimed or exercised the right to deprive prisoners of the Roman Catholic persuasion of the consolations or instructions of their priests. A prisoner, whatever religious denomination he belonged to, had the fullest and fairest rights to obtain the spiritual consolations of his minister, should he so desire it. But when the right hon. Gentleman spoke of popular rights, which, he very truly said, were embodied in the Church of England, and were the sources of her strength, he (Mr. Long) would ask him, did he forget the character of some of those popular rights? The right hon. Gentleman doubtless considered that one of the most important of them was the right to meet in public vestry, and to propose measures for the management of matters connected with the Church? Popular rights! No, Sir, the Church could take her stand on a wider foundation, or she would not have been able to stand so well—could not have withstood the assaults of that creed from which she separated herself three centuries ago, nor the arguments of that new system of popular German theology—had she not a better basis to stand upon. The great principle of the Church of England was that every man had the inalienable right of opening the Bible. That was the principle upon which the Church of England took her stand. That was the principle of which they would deprive her, if they said that the Roman Catholic priest should alone have access to the Roman Catholic prisoner. It was that which they 1321 all believed to be the foundation of morality and true reformation of character. He would not trespass any longer upon the attention of the House. He hoped that they would pardon him for the warmth with which he addressed them. Before sitting down, however, he would appeal to those hon. Members opposite who professed nonconformist principles, and ask them how they could vote in favour of the Bill consistently with their notions of voluntaryism? He therefore counted on their support to his Motion, to defer the Committee on the Bill for six months. He would also entreat hon. Members on his own side of the House to consider whether a grievance of such a pressing and urgent character existed, that they were bound to support the Bill. If it were left to the Government and to the Roman Catholic Members, it would meet with such a fate as would prevent any more of these painful debates, which otherwise would recur annually. If the Bill passed, they would have similar demands made on behalf of workhouses. He therefore entreated his hon. Friends to hesitate before they re-affirmed, by going into Committee, the decision at which the House had some evenings before arrived.
§ SIR LAWRENCE PALK
said, he rose to second the Amendment. He must decline to treat the question as a religious matter, because it was a sound principle that every prisoner should have the best ecclesiastical advice and assistance it was possible to confer upon him. He was, however, totally opposed to the view of the measure taken by his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), because he could not see in it that great principle and progress of civil and religious freedom which his right hon. Friend had described as its characteristic. To him (Sir Lawrence Palk) the Bill seemed to be, on the face of it, a miserable compromise between contending opinions. It was called a "Prison Ministers Bill;" but did any hon. Member ever hear of a Roman Catholic priest calling himself a "minister." There was no Roman Catholic priest who would not consider himself affronted if styled a "minister." Again, if the Bill involved a great principle, why was it made permissive? And he would further ask, if it involved a principle, why was it to be confided to a body of men who were not elected by the people, and did not represent their opinions; who, in many instances, did not know them, and who were ap- 1322 pointed chiefly on account of their consideration in towns, or because they owned large properties or estates? If the measure involved a great principle, the House of Commons ought to affirm the principle, and by it they ought to stand or fall, and let the country decide whether they were right or wrong. But the Bill was a miserable compromise, because it placed in the hands of the county magistrates in quarter sessions a power which hon. Members were afraid to use, and threw on the justices the odium of taxing the people for an object for which the House dare not tax them. Every hon. Member, whatever his religious opinions, deprecated constant and acrimonious disputes between Churchmen and Dissenters, and Protestants and Roman Catholics; and if in that House they were so disagreeable and distasteful as to deter hon. Gentlemen from entering on them, why were they to inflict these nuisances on the county magistracy? They might say it was a matter of trifling importance, but let them remember how much depended on the good feeling and friendliness which prevailed among them. There was no earthly reason, that he could discover, for importing so fruitful a source of ill-feeling and debate into the courts of quarter sessions. Had any court in the whole country asked for the power which the Bill proposed to give them? Again, did they suppose that the court of quarter sessions was the best court for determining a question of the kind? Year after year they were placing in the hands of county magistrates a power they never had in olden times, that of taxing the people without the people being represented, and that taxation had assumed such a magnitude that it was already attracting the attention of the country at large. In the county of Devon the county rates formerly amounted to about £15,320 a year. Seven years ago a lunatic asylum, the provision of which was compulsory, added £3,380. The total assessment, including the police rate, now amounted to £28,641; and of that £4,986 was on account of the lunatic asylum. In addition, they were going to give the magistrates the power of appointing chaplains totally irrespective of the wishes of the ratepayers, who were to be taxed for the support of those "ministers," who ought to be termed priests. The principle of the Bill, if admitted, must be extended a great deal further than prison chaplains; they would have to appoint chaplains to schools, reformatories, and work- 1323 houses. Roman Catholic priests were generally highly educated and honourable men, and no difference could be made between their salaries and those of clergymen; and it therefore became a matter of importance how much it would be necessary to raise to pay the additional incomes. He regretted exceedingly that the matter had been submitted in the form of a compromise, because he should have liked to have seen a fair argument as to the means by which the endowment was to be provided. The plea was made that it was merely a permissive Bill, and that there were only a few counties in which it would be put into operation. In fact, they were legislating for about twelve prisons, in which there were an average of 145 Roman Catholic prisoners; but if the principle of appointing a Roman Catholic chaplain held good in regard to 145, could they refuse to apply it to a prison having only four or five Roman Catholic prisoners who might require the services of the priest still more than any of the 145?
The fifth clause of the Bill could hardly have been duly considered. It was to the effect that no prisoner should be compelled to attend any religious service held or performed by any chaplain, minister, or religious instructor, of a religious persuasion to which the prisoner did not belong. If there were a certain number of Roman Catholic prisoners, a priest was to be appointed; if there were not the number, no priest was to be appointed, arid the rogues would have nothing to do but to say that they did not belong to the Church of England, and then they would be excused from attending chapel at all. They all knew that one of the greatest elements in the reformation of prisoners was the influence that was brought to bear upon them during their attendance upon Divine service, and yet this very means of influencing them for good would be placed in jeopardy. Inconsistent as the Bill was, the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman (the Home Secretary) was still more so; for at the very time he was pressing the Bill upon the House in the name of the Government, he had suspended a chaplain at Dartmoor prison, and declined to give the grounds on which he acted. He should be sorry to oppose the Bill on religious grounds, and he did not do so, because he did not think there was any religious principle in it; but he opposed it because it was a miserable compromise; because it would create ill-feeling, contentions, and 1324 disputes in courts of quarter sessions; and because it would increase the taxation of the country by those who were irresponsible. It was doubtful whether, in all maters of local taxation, appeals should not be made to the taxpayers themselves.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day six months, resolve itself into the said Committee,
§ MR. MORRITT
said, that was the firs occasion on which he had had the honour to address the House, and therefore he begged the indulgence of hon. Members while he made a few remarks upon the Bill before them. No man was more attached to his own Church than himself. No one was a more thorough-going Protestant than himself; but it was because he saw no new principle in the Bill, nor anything whatever of which a Protestant need be afraid, that he gave it his support. He had listened attentively to the arguments on both sides, and with some of them he had been astonished. Certainly, some of the arguments which had been used in opposition appeared to him to bear rather in its favour. An hon. Member had said that there were a good many "wicked Irish" now locked up in our gaols, and, not being good enough themselves to send for ministers, it was said to be wrong that priests should be sent to them. That appeared to him to be just the reason why priests should be provided for such persons; and as for its undermining the Church of England, he had no such puerile fear. Another argument used against the Bill was, that if Roman Catholic priests were paid, Mormonite priests would also have to be provided for the gaols; but he could not agree to that. The matter would be under the control of the magistrates, and therefore it would be very unlikely that any Mormonite priests would be appointed. It seemed to be forgotten that the Roman Catholic soldiers had the services of paid priests in their hospitals and prisons; and having been himself, in early life, a soldier, he had never heard of any difference between the Protestant and Roman Catholic priests in any regiment. On the contrary, they had always harmonized and been very good friends. He thought the Government were exercising a wise discretion in allowing the magistrates to appoint a paid Roman Catholic priest to attend regularly to instruct those 1325 "wicked Irish" in the prisons, and thus enable them to leave this country better men than they entered it. If every Roman Catholic prisoner was left to send for his own priest, and there were forty or fifty such prisoners in a gaol, there might be a whole flock of priests walking about the prison. They were told that in one case a priest was sent to a Roman Catholic prisoner, and that was when he was under sentence of death, and consequently on the verge of eternity. But how could any man tell how near he was to the verge of eternity? Any Roman Catholic prisoner who was not good enough to send for a priest, might have a fit and die in his cell without any of those religious ministrations which were requisite. He did not think the Church of England would be injured by this Bill, but rather thought that by liberality and kindly dealing towards others she would strengthen her position. There was but one real objection to the Bill, and that was, that the Bill ought to have provided that the salaries of the proposed Roman Catholic chaplains should be paid, not by the ratepayers, but by the State. He hoped the House would allow the Bill to go into Committee, in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have an opportunity of informing them that instead of requiring the ratepayers to pay the salaries, he would appropriate part of his surplus to that purpose. There might also be some difficulty in dealing with such a question as this, namely, the desirableness of appointing a Roman Catholic chaplain to a gaol in which there were scarcely any Roman Catholic prisoners. His opinion was that the priests might be paid in proportion to the number of Roman Catholics. If there were only three or four, the magistrates could say to the local priest, "If you choose to attend these persons, you may do so, and you shall be paid according to your work." However, that point, as well as some others, could be considered when the Bill passed, as he trusted it would, into Committee.
§ MR. KENDALL
said, it must be gratifying to a stanch Protestant like the hon. Gentleman to find that his remarks were received with such loud cheers from the Roman Catholic Members. For his own part, he held the Bill to be the mistake of the Session—a great mistake on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers, and a greater one on the part of those who, without considering its consequences, supported it merely because it was a Ministerial Bill. But the 1326 greatest mistake was on the part of those who, although leaders of the Conservative party, the supposed champions of the Church of England, were giving their countenance and support to a Bill in every way hostile to the Protestant religion, and that, too, at a time when the most perfect Roman Catholic organization existed in that House to support that thoroughly Roman Catholic measure. The feeling outside was very strong against the Bill; but the astonishment that it should receive support from the Opposition bench was stronger; nay, more, those without, in their excitement, perhaps their ignorance, did not hesitate to say that there was a bid from both sides for Roman Catholic help in the coming hour of need. Far be it from him to say such was the case; but he would say that it was so like it that those who were without the House might be forgiven for the suspicion, if not for the assertion. The Bill was a dangerous Bill. It was not a simple Bill of toleration or for the supply of spiritual wants. In that case he would be most liberal, however illiberal the Roman Catholic was to him; but the Bill was one of encouragement to the Roman Catholic religion, and one of oppression as regarded the Protestant religion. A case had come to his knowledge of a gaol where there were sixteen Roman Catholic prisoners. Nine sent for the Roman Catholic priest. The other seven were asked by a visiting magistrate if they would have the priest or continue under the care of the Protestant chaplain. The answer of the seven was, with impatience, "No, no; we don't want the Roman Catholic priest. The Protestant chaplain is very kind to us, and we are content with his visits." It was open to these men to take their choice, and they chose the Protestant chaplain. Now, by the Bill there would be no free action. They would be compelled to see the Roman Catholic priest, and would be debarred from seeing the Protestant chaplain. There would consequently be encouragement, facility—nay, compulsion in favour of Roman Catholicism, but discouragement and direct hostility to the Protestant faith. So much for encouragement within prison walls. Now, for encouragement without. The stipend for work within the prison walls would be a nucleus for pay for work without. If the priest received help from the public funds, he would acquire a status which, if it had not been for the Bill, he never would have obtained. He had never given a factious 1327 vote in this House, but he would avail himself of any opportunity which presented itself for opposing the Bill, and he did not know anybody with whom he would not go into the lobby. He had never given a more hearty vote than that which he hoped to record against that most obnoxious Bill.
MR. GRANT DUFF
Sir, as a majority of Scotch Members voted against this Bill upon the second reading, I wish to explain, in a very few words, why I have given, and shall give, my vote without the slightest hesitation in favour of it. I lay but little stress upon the fact, that it has been proved that there are the most abundant guarantees for things remaining after the Bill has passed in much the same position as they are at present. I vote for it not because it is, but although it is, only a scanty instalment of justice to the Roman Catholics, and to the other non-established sects of this country. The ground on which I shall place my vote is a higher, and, as I venture to think, a much more really Protestant one. I hold, Sir, that the State is a community existing for temporal objects, and that it has no right to show more favour, or to give more facilities to one body of religionists than it does to another. Either establish all, or establish none; either pay all or pay none; that is the true principle. Of course, I do not advocate the logical carrying out of this principle in all our arrangements, because in this world one must be guided, to a great extent, by what is possible and expedient. One must submit to the influences of time and place. I hate that theory which, as has been said of theory in France, is born all-armed, and which does not care how much confusion it produces, if only it makes one step towards its own realization in practice. In all minor questions, however, where you can try to carry out a true principle, without doing more harm than good, I think you should try to carry it out, and this seems to me just one of those minor questions. What seems to me the true doctrine upon this subject was never better put than it was in a less tolerant day than ours by a great King, who said, "In my dominions there is no one heterodox who obeys the laws." The name of that great King ought to have some influence with Protestants, seeing that when Protestantism wanted help he gave it help. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire, himself the hero of a hundred Protestant fights, will hardly claim to be a better Protestant 1328 than Gustavus Adolphus. Sir, the Protestant Churches have no chance against Rome, unless they once and for all break with Roman principles. If they inscribe "absolute toleration" and "unlimited freedom" upon their banners, they will succeed; if they do not, they will never get much beyond their present position. Torquemado, Sir, knew his business better than many Gentlemen in this House, who would be very much insulted if they were not called thorough-going Protestants, seem to know theirs. Let them show themselves as thoroughly friendly to freedom of thought as he showed himself hostile to it, and I do not think we shall hear much more about the machinations of Rome. Sir, there is one contingency from which I do see peril. If ever there comes a time when the rulers of the Church of England, forgetting that the corner-stone of Protestantism is the right of private judgment, shall attempt to put down opinion by authority; if ever, I say, they shall imagine that the descendants of those men who depised the thunders of the Vatican are to be dismayed by ignorant twaddle from Rochester, or forcible feebleness from Durham, then there will be great danger, not to the Protestantism of the country, for that, thank God, is impregnable, but, assuredly, to the Church of England as now by law established.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
Sir, I am unwilling a second time to give a silent vote on the principle of this Bill, but I think that principle lies in a small compass, and therefore much time need not be occupied in discussing it. I hold this Bill to be one upon which every man is bound to vote according to his sense of Christian duty, and I am quite willing to believe that it is only under a sense of Christian duty that this Amendment has been moved and seconded. I confess that it has been, with some regret that I heard from the hon. Member for Cornwall (Mr. Kendall) the imputation that the Bill was supported in order to please and conciliate a certain class of hon. Members of this House. For myself, I entirely and distinctly repudiate that charge, but my sense of Christian duty forbids me to oppose this Bill. I am not aware that I have ever in this House given a vote in opposition to any measure which could tend to strengthen or to defend the Church of England, to which I belong. But I have the strongest conviction that by giving a vote against this Bill I should not be doing anything to the honour of the 1329 Church of England. If there is one characteristic of our Church which more than another strengthens her hold upon the affections of the people, it is that toleration by which she is distinguished. I think this is just one of those cases in which we are called upon to act in a spirit of toleration, and it is upon this ground that I would extend to the class of persons who more than any other require spiritual instruction and assistance the benefit of such a Bill as this. I have heard no answer to the argument that it is especially the inmates of our prisons who most stand in need of spiritual assistance, and who are themselves the least likely to claim the benefit of that assistance. I think it was my right hon. Friend (Mr. Henley) who said in a former debate that his vote would be given upon the broad and simple principle of doing as he would be done by. Sir, I have heard no answer to that argument. Even my hon. Friend (Sir L. Palk), who has spoken so well in opposition to this Bill, must admit the force of this argument. For let us reverse the position of this country. Let us suppose that we were living in a Roman Catholic country, with a Roman Catholic established religion. Would my hon. Friend be content if, with a small minority of Protestant prisoners, the rule was that they should have no Protestant spiritual guidance or consolation unless they themselves individually demanded it? I believe that my hon. Friend would be the first to contend that they should have that assistance offered them. He says that this is a Bill of compromise. I do not so consider it. I see no compromise at all. It is a Bill of charitable concession. But then my hon. Friend objects to call this a permissive Bill. Now, I confess that I agree here in the general principle advocated by my hon. Friend. I am not fond of permissive legislation, and I think that this House, with a view to escape from difficulty, is rather too much inclined to adopt permissive legislation. But here is a case in which I think we are obliged to resort to permissive legislation, on account of the well-known fact that there are counties where the number of Catholics is so small that this provision need not be acted upon. There are others in which, to my mind, it is imperatively necessary, in common Christian charity, that it should be acted upon. I think therefore, under the circumstances, that there is no weight in the objection which at first I was 1330 disposed to entertain, hat this is a permissive Bill; I look on it as a charitable concession, and on this ground I shall give the Bill my support.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, that having been challenged by the hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the Bill, and representing, as he did, a constituency in which the Church of England was especially favoured and almost predominant, he wished to state the reasons which had induced him to give the Bill his cordial and unhesitating support. He did not intend to follow hon. Gentlemen around him through the eloquent generalities in which they had indulged that day. Nevertheless, he was desirous of stating shortly the reasons which guided him in the vote he was about to give. He had examined the state of the existing law, and found that there was a practical grievance under which Roman Catholic prisoners in this country were suffering. It was, no doubt, perfectly true, as had been represented to the House, that Roman Catholic prisoners in the gaols were not forced to attend the Protestant worship; but, if they did not, what was the alternative? The Protestant worship in the gaols occupied ten or twelve hours a week, and these hours were admitted to be agreat mitigation of solitary confinement. There were conscientious Roman Catholic prisoners, not yet so deeply steeped in sin as to have forgotten entirely the lessons of their early youth. If a prisoner of that class resolved to adhere to his early teaching, he was forced to inflict upon himself twelve hours of additional solitude in each week. An argument had been used against the Bill which, to his mind, was perfectly conclusive in its favour—namely, that of the hundreds of prisoners who on their entry into some of the prisons had avowed themselves Catholics very few objected to attend the Protestant worship. It was generally admitted that the days of marvellous conversions had passed away; and he did not think, therefore, that the fact to which he had just referred was to be accounted for by any sudden admiration on the part of those prisoners for the Protestant worship. He believed it would be more correct to account for it by concluding that they shrank from imposing on themselves twelve hours solitary confinement. Hon. Gentlemen who opposed the Bill were constantly saying that Roman Catholic prisoners could have their priest if they called for him. He would 1331 appeal to his hon. Friends who represented rural districts, and ask them what would be the state of a parish in any of those districts—and it must be remembered that the population of a rural family was composed of comparatively innocent people— if the rector was never allowed to cross the threshold of any cottage except when the occupier had thought fit to send for him. He believed, that if such were the case, the ginshop would be better attended than the church. Again, it was said, that if the Bill passed, the thin end of the wedge would be introduced. Such an argument as that might have been applicable in 1829, when the Catholic Relief Bill was introduced; it might have been applicable at various stages in that path of toleration which this country had happily for so many years been pursuing; but when they had arrived, as they almost had, at the end of that course which had added such lustre to the history of England, he hoped the House of Commons would not pause, but would assist in wiping away this, one of the last stains of intolerance and bigotry.
§ MR. WHALLEY
, who spoke amidst much interruption, said, he should support the Amendment. The grievances which the Bill was proposed to redress were purely imaginary. At all events, beyond the speeches of the supporters of the measure, there was no evidence of any grievance, no reliable data in the shape of a report from any governor or chaplain of a gaol, or any other authentic document whatever. Nor had there been any answer given, or attempted, to the objection of the hon. Member for Devonshire, that in the measure the Government were introducing a new principle of taxation, by giving to the magistrates, who did not represent the taxpayers, the power of imposing a rate upon those taxpayers for the purposes of the Bill. There would be, in short, taxation without representation, a principle of legislation that ought not to be sanctioned, Then, again, the Returns on the table showed that scarcely 5 per cent of the Roman Catholic prisoners had desired to are a priest, whereas he would now be forced upon them, and they would be prevented from seeing a Protestant clergyman. Moreover, the managers of the Perth prison stated in effect, in their report to the Home Secretary, that the proposal he had made would not be favourable to prison discipline; and that, apart from the religious question, the prisoners 1332 derived a secular advantage from the visits of scripture readers, of which it was not desirable to deprive them.
LORD ADOLPHUS VANE TEMPEST
said, he did not dispute the passing of the measure on religious and sectarian grounds. His feelings were in favour of complete toleration and Christian feeling towards all denominations; but he did not think the Bill would afford the redress which was assumed, or relieve the grievances alleged to exist. Petitions had been received against it from the justices of the following counties and places:—Suffolk, Norfolk, Hull, Swansea, Lancaster, Sussex, Surrey, Bury St. Edmunds, Devon, Southwell, Northumberland, Derby, Durham, Somerset, Nottingham, Dorset, Leicester, Warwick, Lancashire, Leeds, Lincoln, Stamford. Yet the magistrates were the parties at whose discretion it was to be carried out. The conclusion, therefore, to which he came was that the Bill would be a dead letter; so that, instead of being an act of Christian toleration, it was a mere farce and piece of clap-trap—an indication of the political storm which might shortly be expected in the political horizon. If it was desirable that these prisoners should have a minister of their own faith, let those ministers be appointed, and the money be voted by that House. That, he thought, was a fair principle, which he was not at all prepared to dispute. It was because he believed that the measure would be productive of strife that he felt bound to vote against the second reading; but in pursuing that course he was anxious to disconnect himself from any imputation of being actuated by sectarian feeling.
said, that as a Scotch Member, he wished to remind the House that at the county meetings recently held in Scotland the measure had met with unanimous disapproval. He had further to observe, that as he read the third clause of the Bill, a clergyman of any denomination might be called in at the express wish of the prisoners. If that were so, the members of any sect might have their peculiar services performed at the expense of the county. In Scotland there was a sect called the Jumpers, and under this clause respectable people going to church some Sunday morning might be treated to the spectacle of the national dance of Scotland performed before the gaol; or if it were in Wales, were Mormonism was said to be on the increase, they might be met by a file of Mormon ladies proceeding to 1333 worship in the gaol in their peculiar costume. In fact, under that clause, it was quite on the cards that a party of thieves and blackguards might go into gaol for the express purpose of securing a sum of money to one of their own "pals." Under these circumstances, he felt it his duty to vote against the Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that as he had on a former occasion fully stated the grounds on which he had been led to bring forward that measure, he felt that it would be unwarrantable on his part to trespass again at any length, in reference to that question, on the time of the House. There was one observation, however, made by the hon. Baronet the Member for Devonshire (Sir L. Palk) which he did not wish to let pass unnoticed. The hon. Baronet had objected to the Bill on the ground that it was one of a permissive character. Now, he (Sir G. Grey) still believed that it was desirable that such a permission should be embodied in the measure. But he wished to remind the hon. Baronet, that if he was anxious that the view which he took of the subject should be carried into effect, he had only to vote for going into Committee on the Bill, and afterwards to support in Committee the Amendment of which the hon. Member for Petersfield (Sir W. Jolliffe) had given notice, for making the action of the magistrates compulsory. He had not heard the greater part of the speech of the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Long), but he thought the speech of the hon. Member for the North Riding was a sufficient answer to it. The principal objection to the Bill seemed to be the fear that it would give rise to dissensions among the magistracy, but he believed those fears would never be realized.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 172; Noes 141: Majority 31.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.1336
|Acton, Sir J. D.||Bazley, T.|
|Adam, W. P.||Beamish, F. B.|
|Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G.F.||Beaumont, S. A.|
|Andover, Viscount||Beecroft, G. S.|
|Anson, hon. Major||Bellew, R. M.|
|Atherton, Sir W.||Beresford, D. W. P.|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Berkeley, hon. C. P. F.|
|Bailey, C.||Blake, J.|
|Baines, E.||Blencowe, J. G.|
|Baring, H. B.||Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.|
|Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.||Bouverie, hon. P. P.|
|Barnes, T.||Bowyer, Sir G.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Layard, A. H.|
|Brown, J.||Lawson, W.|
|Browne, Lord J. T.||Leader, N. P.|
|Bruce, H. A.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Buckley, General||Legh, W. J.|
|Buller, J. W.||Lennox, Lord G. G.|
|Butt, I.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Buxton, C.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Locke, J.|
|Castlerosse, Viscount||Longfield, R.|
|Cavendish, hon. W.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Lygon, hon. F.|
|Clifford, C. C.||M'Cormick, W.|
|Cochrane, A.D.R.W.B.||MacEvoy, E.|
|Coke, hon. Colonel||M'Mahon, P.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Maguire, J. F.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.|
|Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.||Martin, J.|
|Cox, W.||Massey, W. N.|
|Crawford, R. W.||Miles, Sir W.|
|Davey, R.||Moffatt, G.|
|Denman, hon. G.||Monsell, rt. hon. W.|
|Dent, J. D.||Northcote, Sir S. H.|
|Dering, Sir E. C.||O'Conor Don, The|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||O'Donoghue, The|
|Douglas, Sir C.||O'Ferrall, rt. hn. R. M.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||O'Reilly, M. W.|
|Duncombe, hon. W. E.||Osborne, R. B.|
|Dunne, Colonel||Padmore, R.|
|Elcho, Lord||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Ellice, rt. hn. E, (Cov.)||Palmer, Sir R.|
|Ennis, J.||Palmerston, Viscount|
|Esmonde, J.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Peel, rt. hon. F.|
|Ewart, J. C.||Pilkington, J.|
|Fergusson, Sir J.||Pollard-Urquhart, W.|
|Forster, C.||Portman, hon. W. H. B.|
|Foster, W. O.||Potter, E.|
|Fortescue, hon. F. D.||Powell, J. J.|
|Fortescue, C. S.||Price, R. G.|
|French, Colonel||Proby, Lord|
|Gavin, Major||Puller, C. W. G.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Gladstone, rt. hon, W.||Robartes, T. J. A.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Robertson, D.|
|Gower, hon. F. L.||Russell, A.|
|Greene, J.||St. Aubyn, J.|
|Greenwood, J.||Salomons, Mr. Ald.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Scholefield, W.|
|Greville, Colonel F.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Seymour, A.|
|Hadfield, G.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Sidney, T.|
|Handley, J.||Stacpoole, W.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Stanhope, Lord|
|Hartington, Marq. of||Stanley, Lord|
|Hartopp, E. B.||Stansfeld, J.|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.||Stirling, W.|
|Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.||Stuart, Colonel|
|Henley, rt. hon. J. W.||Sullivan, M.|
|Henley, Lord||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Hennessy, J. P.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. H. A.||Thompson, H. S.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Vandeleur, Colonel|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Howard, Lord E.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Hutt, rt. hon. W.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Ingham, R.||Waldron, L.|
|Jervoise, Sir J. C.||Walter, J.|
|Jolliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H.||Watkins, Colonel L.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Knight, F. W.||Williams, W.|
|Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.||TELLEES.|
|Wood, W.||Mr. Brand|
|Wyvill, M.||Colonel White|
|Adderley, rt. hon. C. B.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Knatchbull, W. F.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. Gen.||Knightley, R.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Langton, W. G.|
|Astell, J. H.||Langton, W. H. G.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Lefroy, A.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Leighton, Sir B.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Leslie, W.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Lovaine, Lord|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Lysley, W. J.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Macaulay, K.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Mackie, J.|
|Bernard, hon. Colonel||Malins, R.|
|Black, A.||Manners, Lord G. J.|
|Blackburn, P.||Martin, P. W.|
|Botfield, B.||Matheson, A.|
|Bovill, W.||Matheson, Sir J.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Miller, W.|
|Brooks, R.||Mills, J. R.|
|Bruce, Major C.||Montgomery, Sir G.|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Morgan, O.|
|Butler, C. S.||Morris, D.|
|Cairns, Sir H. M'C.||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Clifford, Colonel||Mundy, W.|
|Cobbett, J. M.||Mure, D.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Cole, hon. H.||North, Colonel|
|Cole, hon. J. L.||Onslow, G.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Packe, C. W.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Packe, Colonel|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Papillon, P. O.|
|Du Cane, C.||Parker, Major W.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Paull, H.|
|Dundas, F.||Pevensey, Viscount|
|East, Sir J. B.||Phillips, G. L.|
|Edwards, Colonel||Pigott, Serjeant|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Powell, F. S.|
|Egerton, E. C.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Ellice, E. (St. Ands.)||Scott, Sir W. W.|
|Ewart, W.||Scourfield, J.H.|
|Ewing, H. E. Crum-||Selwyn, C. J.|
|Farquhar, Sir M.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Seymour, W. D.|
|Finlay, A. S.||Shelley, Sir J. V.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Shirley, E. P.|
|Gard, R. S.||Smith, Augustus|
|Gordon, C. W.||Smith, Abel|
|Gore, J. R. O.||Somes, J.|
|Gower, G. W. G. L.||Spooner, R.|
|Greenall, G.||Stanhope, J. B.|
|Grey de Wilton, Visct.||Stewart, Sir M. R. S.|
|Grogan, Sir E.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Haliburton, T. C.||Stun, Lieut. Col. N.|
|Hamilton, Major||Sykes, Colonel W. H.|
|Hardy, G.||Tempest, Lord A. V.|
|Hardy, J.||Tollemache, J.|
|Heygate, Sir F. W.||Traill, G.|
|Horsfall, T. B.||Trevor, Lord A. E. H.|
|Humberston, P. S.||Turner, J. A.|
|Ingestre, Viscount||Vance, J.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Vansittart, W.|
|Johnstone, J. J. H.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Jones, D.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Kendall, N.||Warner, E.|
|Kerrison, Sir E. C.||Watlington, J. W. P.|
|King, J. K.||Way, A. E.|
|Welby, W. E.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Wemyss, J. H. E.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Whalley, G. H.|
|Woodd, B. T.||Mr. R. Long|
|Wyld, J.||Sir L. Palk|
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Application of Act).
§ MR. MURE
said, he rose to move an Amendment in the clause to the effect that the Bill should not extend to Scotland. He believed that in making that proposal he was not violating the great rule that we should do unto others as we would wish that we should be done unto. The decisive argument, on which it was proposed that the Bill should be introduced into England was, that under what was known as the "special request" clause prisoners frequently abstained from asking for the services of ministers of their own persuasion, and that Roman Catholic and other clergymen were thus excluded from prisons in many cases in which their attendance would be desirable and beneficial. But that argument would not apply to Scotland, because there was in that country no such rule as the special request clause. Rule 98, sanctioned by the Secretary of State in 1854, under the powers of an Act of Parliament, provided that a prisoner who was not a member of the Established Church might be visited by the minister of his own persuasion, under such restrictions as might be imposed by the County Board to guard against the introduction of improper persons and to prevent improper communications. He had ascertained what in practice was the operation of the rule. In Dundee full permission was given to any clergyman to visit prisoners belonging to his own denomination, whether requested to do so or not. In Glasgow any clergyman applying to see prisoners of his own denomination was permitted to visit them without being specially sent for; but if any prisoner professed a wish to be under the ministration of the gaol chaplain, he was allowed to exercise his own option in that respect. All that could be expected by persons differing in opinion from the Established Church was already given, and he had never heard of the slightest complaint. He believed that the rule was not acted upon very extensively, but that was not the fault of the rule, or of the ministers 1337 being ignorant of who were in prison, because a register was kept similar to the one proposed by this Bill. The working of the Bill in Scotland would, he thought, be found to be most prejudicial, inasmuch as it would introduce the religious element into the County Boards in Scotland, with whom it would lie to grant admission to the local prisons to clergymen of the Bo-man Catholic faith. Great heart-burnings and much agitation in the event of their refusing such admission would be the result, and he was therefore desirous to see Scotland excluded from the operation of the Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he would admit that the hon. and learned Gentleman was correct that the rule which prevailed in Scotland was different from that in England; but if he would refer to the 23 & 24 Vict., c. 103, sec. 15, he would find that it contained a provision to the effect that County Boards in Scotland should have the superintendence of the local prisons in their counties, and should have power to appoint the chaplains, provided always the chaplains so appointed should be ministers or licentiates of the Church of Scotland. That being so, it was clear that the omission of the word "Scotland" from the Bill would entirely defeat its object, and would preclude the local Boards from granting a remuneration to any other chaplains except those who were members of that Church. There were, he might add, according to a Return which had been presented to the House, 173 Roman Catholic prisoners in Glasgow gaol, and it appeared that only three out of the number had received the ministrations of a clergyman belonging to their own faith. It was clear, therefore, that legislation on the subject was required, while, he might observe, the legislation proposed would not be introducing the religious element into the local boards for the first time, inasmuch as the appointment of lay teachers who were not members of the Established Church of the country had formed the subject of discussion at those Boards, such teachers having been, in more than one instance, appointed.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, it would be no doubt much against the feeling of the 1338 Scotch people if the Bill were forced upon them. But unless there was some union among Protestants, they would infallibly see the object of Cardinal Wiseman accomplished, that of having the Church of Rome established in this country; and he thought the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) and the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) might congratulate themselves that from year to year the designs of Cardinal Wiseman were advancing nearer to accomplishment, designs which had been openly and honestly avowed by their chief promoter. The question of a repeal of the union with Ireland had been advocated, and he did not say that there were not reasons which might justify it, but he never heard any sane man propose a repeal of the union with Scotland, and he was not going by his vote to give countenance to any such idea. Why were they to establish a different principle for the two countries? He respected the feelings of Scotland, he honoured her Established Church, and was ready to defend her interests whenever they were attacked, because he rejoiced in knowing that there was no real difference between her doctrines and those of the Church of England. It was on that ground that he could not support the Amendment. Conceal it as they might, great progress had been made towards the establishment of the Church of Rome in this country. If she received the concession under consideration, they would soon be called upon to appoint Roman Catholic chaplains to the navy, and to workhouses; and the next demand would be for their establishment in each parish, and for payment out of the rates, where there was a certain number of Roman Catholics in the parish. The right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) supported the Bill on the principle of doing as he would be done by; but that principle might be carried to an absurdity, for by the same argument they might do away with the Protestant character of the Constitution. In deference to the wishes of a Roman Catholic minority, they might cancel the security, that the throne should be held only by a Protestant sovereign. Such an argument might be carried to the length of positive absurdity; and as he did not see where the principle was to stop, he should vote against a separation of the Protestantism of Scotland from the Protestantism of England in this matter of prison establishment.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, that the practice in Scotland, with regard to the matter under consideration, was much, more liberal than that which prevailed in England, while the feeling of that country was extremely strong against the measure. The priests were not wanted in the prisons there, even at Glasgow. He hoped the hon. Member would take the sense of the House on the Amendment, for it would be most unjust to Scotland to force the present Bill upon that country.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, he intended to vote against the Amendment, for so many persons from the north of Ireland went to Glasgow as to make it necessary that religious provision should be made for such of them as might be so unfortunate as to get into prison. He felt convinced that many of the fears expressed would not be realized if the Bill passed. As far as proselytizing was concerned, he believed that the mere fact of delegating to a reverend gentleman a particular charge induced him, from a sense of moral propriety, to confine himself strictly to the duties of that charge. Speaking from an experience of twenty-seven years, and having seen the good effects in the poor-houses and lunatic asylums of the north of Ireland of appointing three chaplains, the Churchman, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic, he thought the same system would work well when applied to prisoners in gaols. Did hon. Members, he would ask, consider the supplying of spiritual neans a privilege or a penalty? The principle of legislation was that all should be treated equally in the eye of the law. He thought the principle of the Bill should be extended to all parts of Her Majesty's dominions.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he had voted in favour of the Bill, believing that it effected a simple act of justice, and he certainly would not have supported it if he had thought, with the hon. Mover of the Amendment, that it dealt a heavy blow at the Protestant Church of Scotland. He could only understand opposition to the Bill proceeding from those who, with the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) represented the blind bigotry and intolerance of an extreme party, and who believed that the Roman Catholic priests taught and inculcated everything that was wicked. On what possible grounds could priests be excluded from those who held the same religious faith with themselves, when clergymen of other 1340 denominations were admitted? He held it to be an act of duty to enable priests to have access to the Roman Catholic prisoners wherever there was a sufficient number of the latter. In Scotland, especially on the west coast, there was an enormous number of Roman Catholics, and it was a delusion to suppose that their number would not be still more increased if the Bill to amend the law relating to the removal of destitute poor should pass, for that Bill provided that six months' residence in England or Scotland would give the Irish poor a settlement. There was no reason why Scotland should be exempted from the operation of the Bill; for though the prison regulations in Scotland and England with regard to the admission of Roman Catholic clergymen were somewhat different, the practical working of the law was the same in both countries, and the priests really did not get access. There was undoubtedly a strong feeling in Scotland on the subject; but though he had great respect for the religious opinions of his countrymen, he nevertheless objected to anything like dictation to their representatives. Now, the Scotch Reformation Society had published an analysis of the division which took place upon the second reading of the Bill, and they divided the Scotch Members of that House into three categories—first, a black list of those who voted for the Bill; secondly, those who stayed away, of whom it was said that their absence on such a vital question ought to be held by the electors as equivalent to voting in favour of the Bill, unless some satisfactory explanation was given; and thirdly, those excellent gentlemen who voted against the Bill. But another paper accompanied that analysis, and in it some very strong language was used, to the effect that if the Bill passed, the Roman Catholic prisoners would be left to be taught in a manner contrary to the Word of God. And on the other side of that paper were certain resolutions passed by the Scotch Reformation Society. The first expressed regret at the second reading of the Bill. The second expressed regret that the leading persons in the State should have supported so obnoxious a measure. And the third—which almost amounted to a breach of the privileges of that House— called attention to the fact that "no Gentleman from Scotland rose to give utterance to the strong indignation felt against this new system of Popish endowment," and expressed a hope that "this 1341 unsatisfactory state of matters will engage the serious attention of the constituencies of Scotland when a new Parliament is to be elected." If that was not dictation to the Scotch Members as to the course they should pursue, he did not know what was; for if any hon. Gentleman from Scotland should act as he thought it his duty to do by his country and all classes of his countrymen, he was to be held up and denounced to his constituents. He regretted that he could not support the Amendment of his hon. Friend, because it would not be just to have one state of the law for one part of the kingdom and another for another.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he wished to state, in a few words, his reasons for voting in favour of the Amendment. He agreed with his hon. Friend (Mr. Newdegate) in thinking that the Bill was part of a scheme which had been at work for centuries for the establishment of a system for promulgating the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion. He also thought it was a Bill that was made use of for party purposes and party cabal, and that the result of these cabals would be anything but agreeable to those who had engaged in them. But agreeing, as he did, strongly with his hon. Friend as to the mischievous effects of the Bill, he was at a loss to understand the state of confusion at which he had arrived on the subject. Agreeing with him that the Bill was bad and mischievous, he could not understand how his hon. Friend could justify himself in refusing to relieve one portion of the United Kingdom, at all events, from the operation of the measure. They were always anxious to uphold the Protestant institutions in the country. He did not think that the promoters of that Bill were very anxious upon that point. Nevertheless, many of those who professed those principles with the greatest energy were found voting for the measure, which was wholly inconsistent with such professions. All he would say was, that he would cordially vote in favour of the Amendment.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he could not concur in the exceptional legislation which the Amendment would involve. He had voted for the second reading of the Bill in the firm belief that the House was called upon to make some change in that part of the law which applied to the admission of ministers of religion to members of their own flock. Being of that opinion, he thought the rule 1342 should apply as well to the northern part of the kingdom as to England. If proper facilities were offered, and certain days set apart, he was convinced that a desire to receive the ministrations of the Roman Catholic chaplains would be manifested by the prisoners of that persuasion. With regard to the payment of these chaplains, he should prefer, if they were paid at all —of the necessity of which he had some doubts—that they should be paid by the State, and not by local bodies.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that he had always understood that it was the practice of a Government and of a free Parliament to legislate as far as possible in conformity with the wishes of the majority of the people. But, as far as Scotland was concerned, Her Majesty's Government, by passing the Bill, was about to legislate against the wishes of the majority of the people of that country, as well as, he believed, against the wishes of the majority of the people of England. He denied that there was any wrong or grievance existing in relation to the subject, inasmuch as the fullest access was given to the ministers of all religions to visit the prisoners, if the latter desired their visits. It was only on the previous day that he had heard that it was the practice of the minister of the Roman Catholic Church who was in the constant habit of visiting the inmates of the prison of Edinburgh, to baptize children in spite of the objections of the authorities of the prison, if he found that one of the parents was a Roman Catholic. Now, that was a wrong done by the priest which should not be allowed. His principal objection to the measure was, that it imposed a new religious endowment upon the country. He should vote in favour of the Amendment.
§ MR. BLACK
said, that although no one had more warmly opposed, on former occasions, any attempt at intimidation on the part of the society to which the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) had referred, than himself, he should upon principle vote against extending the operation of the Bill to Scotland. He was in favour of carrying religious toleration to the fullest extent; but men were put into prison for punishment. It was impossible, in the nature of things, to carry out toleration and freedom in a prison. He doubted whether much good was done either by Roman Catholic or Protestant ministers in gaols. The prisoners, he feared, came out very much what they were when they went in. They 1343 received more good from the visits of benevolent persons who sat and read with them, and in whom they had confidence, than from the ministrations either of Roman Catholic or Protestant clergymen. He feared they were about to cut off a great deal of benevolent visitation by the Bill. In Scotland the Prison Boards were not restricted in respect to teachers; they could send in a Roman Catholic as well as a Protestant if he were a good teacher. He asserted confidently that no Roman Catholic would ever be elected as a chaplain to a gaol in Scotland. Some obstreperous individual might take the opportunity of making a "flare-up," and plaguing his neighbours by proposing the appointment of a Roman Catholic chaplain, but he would know all the time that he could not succeed. He opposed the Bill, because he believed it would sow dissension in. every Prison Board in Scotland.
§ MR. STIRLING
said, it would be unfortunate if the Bill should sow dissensions in the Prison Boards of Scotland; but religious dissensions could not always be avoided, nor was it desirable that they should never occur. It was surely fit and proper that the inmates of prisons should be supplied with religious instruction by those belonging to the same form of worship. Whether religious teaching was to be considered, as it had been put by the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone, as a penalty or punishment, if one portion of the prisoners had a right to it, so had the others. It had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Grey), that out of 173 Roman Catholics in Glasgow gaol only three had been visited by a priest of their own persuasion within a period of three months. If that were so, it was a very unfortunate circumstance. His hon. Friend the Member for Perth suggested that that circumstance showed great luke-warmness on the part of the priesthood in Glasgow; but he thought he had at other times heard a very different argument from his hon. Friend—namely, that the very fact of a religious instructor not being asked for was a proof that his services were all the more required. He regretted very much having to differ on this or any other question from his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Mure); but he could not support his Amendment. He was quite aware that many in Scotland were opposed to the provisions of the Bill; but they had to consider in that House not only the wishes of the majority, but the 1344 claims of justice. He therefore thought that Roman Catholic prisoners had a right to be placed on an equal footing with others, and he should support the clause in its present shape.
§ MR. BAXTER
said, he should vote for the Amendment, because in Scotland clergymen of all denominations had already freer access to the members of their own communion who were inmates of gaols than the Bill would give them. Not only clergymen, but all Christian readers and instructors, had at present perfect liberty to attend upon prisoners in Scotland, and he perfectly agreed with the hon. Member for Edinburgh that in many instances the labours of these lowly readers and instructors were much more acceptable than the labours of ordained clergymen. The Roman Catholic priest most zealously visited the Roman Catholic prisoners in the gaol of Dundee. He therefore objected to the alteration of the law in regard to Scotland, as it would prevent the visits of missionaries whose assiduities had often been found most useful. He was glad the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) had drawn attention to the extremely improper circular from the Scottish Reformation Society. In his humble opinion, that society was doing a great deal of harm to the cause of Protestantism, not only in Scotland, but in this country. That society seemed to be kept up for the special benefit of one particular clergyman, who, instead of attending to his own duties, went about lecturing on his favourite topic throughout the country. He should support the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Bute, but without being influenced in the slightest degree by any fear for the Protestant institutions of the country.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, he was rather surprised at the conclusion of the speech which he had just heard from the hon. Gentleman. He thought it calculated to play into the hands of those clerical agitators whose influence the hon. Member for Montrose had deprecated. He could not believe, that if this measure were applied to Scotland, no Catholic clergyman would be appointed in the large towns. The best results had arisen from the constant communication and influence of Roman Catholic clergymen upon prisoners, and he believed that public opinion would be too strong for bigotry. He could not agree with the hon. Member for Edinburgh that no good could result from religious teaching in prison. The influence of re- 1345 ligion was powerful even on the most depraved. When good results had followed from the ministrations of Roman Catholic clergymen among Roman Catholic prisoners belonging to the army, he did not see why persons should object to similar clerical attendance upon the unfortunate inmates of gaols. There were 100,000 Roman Catholics in Glasgow alone. These were amongst the poorest of the population, and consequently most exposed to temptation, and a number of them would sometimes be found in the prisons. The question was whether these prisoners were to be improved or not? He was as anxious as any one could be for the advancement of the Church to which he belonged, but he denied all knowledge of a "gigantic conspiracy" to press the Roman Catholic system upon the people of England. Was this a free country or was it not? Had the Roman Catholics been emancipated or had they not? If they had been so emancipated, why should the State deny to the prisoners belonging to that denomination the same means of improvement and the same agencies for reformation which were accorded to professing members of all other religious bodies? Fears were entertained of proselytism by the Roman Catholic priests. He had no hesitation in saying, that if a Roman Catholic clergyman attempted to interfere with the religious belief of Protestants or Presbyterians in the institution of which he was a paid officer, he would vote for his expulsion from office. He thought those gentlemen, who for the most trifling causes were always declaiming about danger to Protestant institutions, showed very little confidence in the stability of their own religion, and did much towards shaking its foundations.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
said, his reason for supporting the present Bill was, that he regarded it as a complement to past legislation. The House had, on many occasions, affirmed the principle of supporting the College of Maynooth. They had also voted large sums for education, parts of which were notoriously applied in support of Roman Catholic schools. It would be an extraordinary thing if, while they were educating Roman Catholic youth and the Roman Catholic priesthood, they were now to grudge a pittance for the spiritual instruction of criminals undergoing sentence in gaols. He could not consent to the proposal that England should, in regard to this measure, be separated from Scotland. The western coast 1346 of Scotland swarmed with Irish Roman Catholics, who in some districts constituted one-fourth of the population. He protested against the view that this measure would introduce agitation into Scotland, or that it was not likely the prison boards would sanction the appointment of Catholic chaplains. The electors of the prison boards were for the most part men of property connected with the counties, and not at all likely to be influenced by public clamour.
§ MR. CRUM-EWING
said, he should support the Motion of the hon. Member for Buteshire, because he was opposed to all legislative endowments. He thought there must be some mistake in the statement that in Glasgow only three prisoners had been visited by Catholic priests, because he was well acquainted with the Bishop of Glasgow, and knew him to be most zealous in the discharge of the functions of his office.
§ MR. MACKIE
said, he should also vote for the Amendment. At the same time, he must deprecate the dictatorial tone towards Scotch Members which had been assumed by the Scottish Reformation Society.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he should, as he had already stated, vote against the Amendment, actuated by no unfriendly feeling towards Scotch Protestants, but simply because their only chance of retaining their present freedom was by making common cause with the Protestants of England against the principle of the Bill. The Scottish Reformation Society, which had been disparaged and calumniated that night, had only exercised an undoubted privilege in commenting on the conduct of Scotch Members. Was the House to proceed as though its acts did not concern the public? The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) seemed so sore about the comments that had been made upon his conduct and that of other Scotch Members, that he almost thought it necessary to claim the protection of the House, but really asked them to silence that society. Had there not been the Synod of Thurles, and was there not throughout Ireland interference with elections on the part of the Roman hierarchy and priesthood? Was the House about to declare that those who entertained opposite opinions should he silenced, or would they deal with equal justice to the adherents to two classes of religionists holding different opinions? They might 1347 say that that was a question of mere religious opinion; but the House was asked to vote money; and were those who objected to the endowment to be silenced, in the House and in the country, by those who were pursuing a course which was known to be adverse to the feelings of a great part of the population? The noble Lord had condemned an hon. Member who had spoken truly of certain distinctive features of the religion he objected to endow, but did the noble Lord understand what he was speaking about? Had he ever read the standard works of the Church of Rome? [Lord ELCHO: No] The noble Lord rejoiced in his ignorance, and, happy in his ignorance, he was willing to vote money for the propagation of a religion of which he knew as little as he did of Bhuddism. The hon. Member did not believe that the doctrines he was about to enforce on prisoners were true. The Committee was asked not only to vote money for the teaching of these doctrines, but to compel the teaching of these doctrines, by excluding certain prisoners from all other teaching. If once a prisoner declared himself a Roman Catholic, he was to be placed at the mercy of some priest, whatever his remonstrances or objections. By the existing law a Roman Catholic could be attended by a priest if he liked, but there was no compulsion; and he knew that there were many who prayed that they might be spared the visits of the priest and the teaching of the doctrine which the Protestant Members of the House did not believe. But the House voted that they should not be spared these visits, and it voted more; it voted that the chaplain of the Established Church should not have access to these prisoners if once entered as Roman Catholics. They voted more than that. Believing as they did, that the Bible contained saving truth, they voted that these prisoners should not be allowed to see it. Did they call that civil and religious liberty? He knew that hon. Members did not like the purport of the Bill, and yet they voted for it. He respected the conscientious scruples of the people of Scotland, and he believed that their feeling against the measure was so strong, that if it were extended to Scotland, it would remain inoperative; but he refused to separate the legislation for England and Scotland upon this subject, and for that reason only should vote against the Amendment. He would not play into the hands of those who would enforce the teaching they did not believe by dividing 1348 the elements of resistance, and thus encouraging miscalled toleration, which was not toleration at all, but disguised tyranny. It was mealy-mouthed declamation to talk of liberty, when hon. Members were promoting intolerance by this departure from the principle of true liberty, which could only he maintained by continuing to support, and by giving free scope to the religion which the State had established, and which was founded upon the great principle of toleration.
§ MR. MURE
said, that his position was that the existing law of Scotland so far differed from that of England as to render unnecessary the application of the provisions of this Bill to that country. So far was he from having acted under the dictation of the Scottish Reformation Society, as the noble Lord seemed to suppose—[Lord ELCHO: I never said so.] —that the only communication which he had received from that society was a civil letter, stating that his Amendment was an injudicious one, and asking him to withdraw it.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that according to his view, the existing law of Scotland precluded the appointment of any Roman Catholic priest as chaplain to a gaol. A Return showed that at one time there were in Edinburgh gaol sixty-one members of the Established Church of Scotland, thirty members of the Free Church of Scotland, and fifty-seven Roman Catholics; there was an Established Church chaplain, who had a salary of £160 annually, and a Free Church missionary teacher, who had £65; but there was no provision for the Roman Catholics, In the Glasgow gaol, out of 173 prisoners, there were only three who made the "special request" for the attendance of a priest.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 96; Noes 55: Majority 41.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 3 (Additional Ministers in Prisons, and Regulation as to Admission of Minister).
§ MR. HUNT
said, he had voted against the second reading of the Bill with considerable hesitation, and did so only because of the provision for payment of the ministers to be appointed under it. If that provision were struck out, he would 1349 gladly give his support to the Bill. He proposed, as an Amendment, to strike out the whole of the clause to the third paragraph, and to alter it so as to make it read to the effect that the justices, county board, or other persons having the appointment of chaplains in any prison might, if they thought fit, without special request of any prisoner, allow the minister of any church or persuasion to which any prisoners might belong to visit them at proper times. The clause thus amended would enable the magistrates to allow ministers to visit prisoners of their church without any special request from them. If he, a Protestant, were in a Roman Catholic prison, in a Roman Catholic country, he could not expect the people of that country to furnish him with, and pay for a minister of his own religion. There was no instance of any provision made in this country for the payment by law of ministers of another persuasion than the Established Church, except in the case of Roman Catholic chaplains for the army, who stood in a peculiar position, because Roman Catholic soldiers were often sent abroad, where ministers of their own persuasion could not possibly have any access to them.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 1, to leave out, at the beginning of the Clause, the words "Where the "
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the object of the Bill was to enable local authorities to make specific provision for the spiritual wants of Roman Catholic prisoners and those of other denominations; but the effect of the Amendment, if adopted, would be to assimilate the law of England with that of Scotland, and the House had just decided that the law of Scotland should be altered; it would also, in effect, prevent the magistrates from engaging the services of a Roman Catholic minister, however numerous might be the prisoners of that persuasion, and it would, indeed, be tantamount to a rejection of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman was not accurate in stating that there was no other provision, by law, for the payment of Roman Catholic priests except that made for the benefit of Roman Catholic soldiers serving abroad. The fact was, that provision was made fur the payment of eighteen commissioned Roman Catholic chaplains, exclusive altogether of the provision for troops serving abroad; and besides this, the religious instruction of Roman Catholic military prisoners was duly cared for.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that no instance had been given of any injustice which, for want of the proposed power of payment, had been done under the law as it stood. He had no wish to deprive Roman Catholic prisoners of any religious consolation which they might desire; but while the Roman Catholic religion, of itself, was entitled to the same respect which he desired for his own, he could not forget that associated with it was a policy which in every age and in every country had been found inconsistent with social order and happiness, and with political independence. If the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Robert Peel) and the Government would grant him a Committee, he would undertake to show that the Riband societies of Ireland could only be explained by the fact that they were organized by the priesthood of Ireland; and the difference between the condition of the north and that of the south of Ireland could only be explained by the incessant activity in the south of the Irish priests. He was accused of being a blind bigot; and if it were bigotry to have a strong and unswerving attachment to the Constitution and the laws of this country, with which were bound up the welfare and the prosperity of the country, he willingly accepted the compliment. No results had followed the attempt of the Government to conciliate the Roman Catholic priests. There was no evidence of increased loyalty on their part. On the contrary, there was evidence that these priests, and the system which they represented, were an organized political conspiracy in this country —that they were associated, here and elsewhere, with political designs which were inconsistent with loyalty and with self-government. They had it on the authority of Sir George Grey, Governor of NewZealand, that wherever he went in that colony he found the Roman Catholic priests working in opposition to him; and there could be no doubt that in Canada also evidence would be found to show that England's difficulties were the priests' opportunities. He found that at a Roman Catholic festival at Brentford, Lord Petre in the chair, and Cardinal Wiseman on his right hand, the health of the Pope was the first toast, and that of the Cardinal the second. The health of the Queen was omitted, as was also the case at gatherings of Roman Catholic young men's societies in Liverpool and other places. At other Roman Catholic festivals "The Queen" was given, 1351 but only after the health of the Pope. At Kilrugh, Cork, and other places in Ireland, there were disloyal disturbances and outrages on the occasion of the marriage of the Prince of Wales. If it was the part of a bigot to denounce a political system that led to such practices, he was a bigot.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, he must protest against the hon. Gentleman referring so often to him. He must also express his opinion that the hon. Gentleman ought not to make such a charge against the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland as that they were connected with the Riband societies, when every one who had taken the trouble to make the least inquiry on the subject must know that, so far from those associations being encouraged by them, there was no organization so strongly condemned by the Roman Catholic bishops and priests as that of Ribandism. So far from Riband societies being prevalent in the south, he regretted to say that on the very last occasion that one had been discovered, it was in the county of Donegal. He begged the hon. Gentleman, therefore, to be more accurate in his facts.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he congratulated himself on having succeeded in getting the right hon. Baronet to speak on that subject. He had not been able to do so before. He distinctly charged the right hon. Baronet with knowing, or with failing in his duty if he did not know, that within the House of Commons were records sufficient to afford reasonable ground of belief that the Riband societies were not merely organized, superintended, presided over, and directed by the priests, but that those societies were a settled and deliberate court, established by the priests for the purpose of giving effect to the canon law of Rome in Ireland. Since the date of the Papal aggression the Riband societies had been more efficiently organized for the purpose which he had described. Evidence to that effect had been accumulated at an institution not many hundred yards from that House. ["Name."] The name of the institution was the National Club. If the Secretary for Ireland granted him a Committee, he would bring forward evidence to establish his charges.
SIR MINTO FARQUHAR
said, he regretted the digression by which the Committee had been led away from the subject immediately before it, and almost drawn into a Maynooth debate. He had voted on two occasions against the Bill, not from any intolerance towards Roman Catholics, 1352 but because he thought the measure utterly unnecessary. A slight amendment in the wording of what was called "the special request clause" in an existing Act of Parliament was all that was really required to enable the Roman Catholic or Dissenting ministers to visit prisoners of their respective persuasions. The Government had not acted as they ought to have done on the question. It was essentially an Executive measure, and the Government should have undertaken the whole responsibility of appointing these ministers. In almost every instance in which the matter had been mooted before a bench of justices, the majority had determined to petition against the Bill. The measure as it stood would create dissensions at the meetings of magistrates, and therefore he would support the proposal of the hon. Member for Northampton.
§ MR. PULLER
said, he thought the third section of the third clause of the Bill objectionable, because it made that which ought to be the privilege of the prisoner the privilege of the minister to whose persuasion he belonged. The prisoner, if he desired to see a priest or minister of his own faith, ought to have the power of doing so; but it was quite a different thing to say that a priest or minister who was not a regularly appointed officer should have the right of forcing himself upon a prisoner. In those exceptional cases where there were a great number of Roman Catholic prisoners, and a minister of their persuasion devoted his time to their benefit, it was only reasonable that the authorities in whose hands the whole of these matters were placed by the Constitution should be empowered to pay him. It would be wholly inconsistent with the object of the Bill to leave out the first two sections of the third clause; but the measure would be materially improved by the omission of the third section of that clause.
§ SIR LAWRENCE PALK
said, he objected to the measure because it was permissive and not compulsory. The power it gave ought to be vested in the Secretary of State, who would be amenable to public opinion for the manner in which he exercised it. A Minister of the Crown ought not to throw upon the Court of Quarter Sessions a duty and a responsibility which should properly devolve upon himself.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, be had not, up to that time, made any observations on the measure under consideration. The subject involved the greatest difficulties, but after 1353 the best consideration that he could give to it he had come to the conclusion that the Bill would introduce greater evils than any it was intended to redress. While there was on the one hand great force in the argument that where Roman Catholic prisoners were very numerous in our gaols a Roman Catholic minister could not reasonably be expected to give up his time to their service without some remuneration, on the other hand there were a great many cases in which they might have, and would have, a proper attendance given to prisoners of that persuasion where they were much less numerous, just in the same way as they now had in regard to other Nonconformists. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Grey) had compared this case and the case of chaplains in the army. He thought, however, that there was no fair comparison between them. The ground for the payment of Roman Catholic chaplains in the army was this—that they had Roman Catholic soldiers, as well as Protestant soldiers, employed by the State, and they taxed the people of this country out of the public revenues for the purpose of giving those soldiers spiritual assistance, whatever their opinions might be. The same thing was done with regard to the chaplains of prisons in charge of the Government. But when they came to deal with county and borough gaols, instead of acting upon that principle, they introduced by the Bill an entirely new principle, and one most difficult to work. They were, in fact, transferring to every county in the kingdom that agitation which existed in that House. The working of the Bill no man could accurately foresee at that moment. What was to be the measure of relief given? What was to be the number of prisoners which required a Roman Catholic minister who shall be paid? What were the principles upon which the magistrates were to act? Were they to carry their private opinions and feelings into the question, they would have an agitation going on in every court of quarter session, and they would see one set of magistrates determining one thing, and another set of magistrates determining another. And were they to allow, or rather compel and require, the magistrates to tax the people of the county, whom they did not represent, for any such purpose and did they think they would be able do that without exciting a great agitation in the counties? The only conclusion he had been able to come to was, 1354 that if the thing was to be done, it ought o be done on the responsibility of the Executive, who would lay down the rule under which the system should be applied; it should be done by taxation upon the people generally, assented to on the part of that House. No doubt it would be difficult to frame a measure for that purpose, but looking at the objections urged against he Bill, and at the arguments in its favour, he had arrived at the conclusion, which he believed was a sound one, that as then drawn it would occasion much greater inconvenience than it was designed to remedy. If they were to have legislation on the subject, the rules ought to be clearly laid down when the minister was to be employed, and how and when he was to be paid. Let the executive Government undertake that responsibility which ought to rest with them, and not with county magistrates, and then he believed they might frame a measure which would be acceptable.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that if the county magistrates were not competent to decide when it was expedient to make special provision for the spiritual instruction of the prisoners, neither were they fit to discharge their other duties of local administration; and if they were disqualified from voting £40, £50, or £100 a year for the salary of a chaplain, neither were they fit to be intrusted with the levying and expenditure of the tens of thousands of pounds which they were required by law to levy and administer for other purposes.
§ SIR BALDWIN LEIGHTON
said, that discussions were often more violent in that House than they were at quarter sessions, and yet it would be absurd to say that therefore the House was incompetent to tax the people and vote public money away. The truth was, that the clause would throw an apple of discord among the magistrates. He wished to defend the county magistrates from the imputations cast upon them, and also to remind the Committee that the real question raised by the Amendment was, whether ministers other than those of the Church of England should be paid for their attendance at prison?
§ MR. WYKEHAM MARTIN
said, he considered, that if Roman Catholics were to be admitted within prisons, it would be mean on the part of the Legislature not to pay them for the duties which they performed.
§ MR. HUNT
said, he proposed two things: first, that there be no regular appointment 1355 of a particular minister; and, secondly, that there should be no payment. The effect of his Amendment, however, would be, that the justices would have power to allow the minister of any persuasion to visit a prisoner without the special request of that prisoner.
§ Question put, "That the words 'Where the' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 96; Noes 80: Majority 16.
SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE moved to omit certain words, and to add the following to the clause:—
Whenever the number of such prisoners shall exceed twenty, the justices or other persons having the appointment of chaplain in the said prison shall appoint," &c.
He thought it would be an improvement to make the Bill apply absolutely upon some fixed principle, and thus avoid the constant heartburnings which would be excited by a discussion of the question at every sessions. They were told the Bill would be inoperative in Scotland, and he believed it would scarcely, if ever, come into operation in England. They might well suppose, from the character of the discussion that night, that the Bill would introduce elements of strife in the discharge of business, which was now conducted satisfactorily in every part of the kingdom. He could not see that there could be any objection to the adoption of the Amendment, fixing upon an average number of prisoners upon which the Bill should be applied.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he would admit that it would be a great advantage to have an absolute rule laid down, if possible, in order that angry discussion might be avoided. Unless, however, the law as it prevailed in Ireland were adopted—namely, that Roman Catholic as well as Protestant chaplains should be appointed to each prison in the country, he did not see how the difficulty could be got over; and that, of course, could not be thought of. The adoption of the Amendment would lead to great inconvenience in this way—that there might be twenty Roman Catholic or dissenting prisoners in a prison during one month, and but ten during the next, so that chaplains would be constantly appointed and as constantly dismissed.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1356
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he wished to move the omission of the words, "or other persons," in that part of the clause which referred to the parties having the appointment of the chaplains. He feared that the retention of the words in question might be construed into an acknowledgment by the Legislature of the right of the Roman Catholic bishops to interfere in making the appointments, as they had done in Ireland. In one case, an Irish grand jury appointed a Roman Catholic chaplain to a prison, and the titular bishop of the diocese appointed another; the court confirmed the appointment made by the grand jury, and then the bishop threatened the priest with excommunication if he acted as chaplain to the prison. The grand jury of Waterford appointed a Roman Catholic chaplain, whereupon the titular archbishop wrote to them a letter, in which he charged them with having usurped his office, stated that he had appointed a Rev. Mr. Prendergast, and that no other priest should dare to officiate. If such a right were claimed by the Roman Catholic bishops in this country, what would become of the Bill? He did not wish to afford any sanction to the assumption of such a power, and he had therefore moved the omission of the words.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that the hon. Gentleman had put a wrong construction on the words objected to. The hon. Gentleman thought that the words "or other persons having the appointment of the chaplains to prisons," would recognise the authority of a Roman Catholic bishop to appoint a chaplain; but such a construction of the words was impossible. The way in which the words happened to be inserted was this:—The county justices in England, and the county board in Scotland had the appointment of a chaplain to a county prison, and to avoid a long enumeration of the persons who appointed chaplains in borough prisons, the words "other persons having the appointment of chaplains" were inserted in the clause —the "other persons" being the magistrates in certain boroughs, with the addition of the sheriff, and in his absence the sheriff substitute, who was an ex-officio member. It was not thought worth while to insert the names of all these officials. He could understand the Roman Catholic Members of that House objecting to the appointment of the priest as chaplain being vested in Protestant magistrates, but he could not understand the hon. Member's 1357 object in making the objection for them. He saw no danger of the kind referred to by the hon. Member.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood his objection. Was the right hon. Gentleman prepared to take any steps by which the present inconsistency of the law might be removed?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, it was impossible to meet the case. It must be left to the good sense of the Roman Catholic dignitaries not to offer an unreasonable objection to any particular appointment, as they might in that manner defeat the object of the Bill.
said, he wished to point out, that as the Bill was simply permissive, it would be in the power of the justices to stop the supplies, and thus annul the appointment of a chaplain whenever they had reason to be dissatisfied with the conduct of a Roman Catholic bishop in the matter.
thought the clause was framed in the way which would best meet the difficulties of the question. If the magistrates had the misfortune to be brought in contact with a wrong-headed bishop—and bishops were sometimes wrong-headed as well as other people—they might very well say they would let the responsibility of depriving Roman Catholic prisoners of the advantage of the ministrations of a clergyman of their own faith rest upon his shoulders. If, he might add, that mutual forbearance were exercised on both sides which ought to prevail, there need be no difficulty in arranging the matter.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that cases like those to which his hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk had alluded were not old. On the contrary, the Roman Catholic priests and bishops, in synod in 1859, had assumed a temporal authority to which they were by no means entitled, and had made unjustifiable remarks upon the conduct of the magistrates in the performance of their duty. If the Bill passed, the authority of the magistrates would be nominally increased, and the aggression of Roman Catholic priests would lend to many painful discussions at quarter sessions. It was perfectly clear that the right hon. Gentleman was throwing upon the quarter sessions a responsibility the weight of which was felt in Ireland, and was beginning to be felt here; and the appointment of those Roman Catholic chaplains would create such ill-feeling, that if they were to be ap- 1358 pointed at all, the right hon. Gentleman ought to take the responsibility of appointing them upon himself.
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he objected to the ratepayers being taxed for such an object as that proposed by the Bill, by those who were not their representatives. He held that the Roman Catholic clergy ought to give their services to the prisoners gratuitously, and would not do them the injustice to suppose that they would refuse unless they were paid. He therefore moved the omission of the words —And they may, if they think fit, award to him [that is, the Roman Catholic chaplain] a reasonable sum as a recompense for his services, such sum to be deemed a part of the expenses of the prison to which he is appointed, and to be paid out of the funds legally applicable to the payment of such expenses.
§ Amendment proposed, in line 11, to leave out the words "and they may, if they think fit."
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he supposed the hon. Member meant that the magistrates ought not to tax the ratepayers, as they were not elected by them. Even, however, if his Amendment were carried, the magistrates would still have authority to impose rates for the general expenses of the prison, although not for that small item. He did not think that was a fair way of raising so important a question, which was, in fact, whether there should not be county boards for the purpose of managing the county rates.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, he would recommend the hon. Member for Norfolk to begin by applying the principle to his own clergy. When Protestant ministers served without payment, those of his Church would follow the example.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he was glad the hon. Baronet had let the cat out of the bag. After his admission that what the Roman Catholic clergy were seeking was to be placed on a footing in all respects with ministers of the Established Church, he hoped the House and the country would 1359 understand the true significance of the present measure.
§ SIR MORTON PETO
said, that as a Dissenter he held that no clergyman ought to be paid by the State for the performance of his duties, and on that ground he must support the Amendment. He warned the Committee, that if they adopted the clause, they would be opening a dangerously wide door. If they acknowledged that prisoners were entitled to be attended by ministers of their own sect, they could not exclude Secularists, who might then demand that an infidel should be paid for visiting them. Again, if they opened the prisons to paid priests, how could they refuse to open the workhouses also? The fact was, that the Government on one side and the Opposition on the other were bidding for the votes of an important section by sacrificing what they had hitherto regarded as a sacred principle. He was astonished to find the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, who had proclaimed the Church as the leading feature of his policy, and the rallying cry of his party, now throwing overboard his principles for the sake of political support.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he wished to remind the Committee that the magistrates who were to impose the tax were not the representatives of the people, but the nominees of the Crown. As for those who supported the measure, while professing to be friends of the Church, he could liken them only to those treacherous soldiers in India, who, while wearing British uniform, turned their arms against England.
§ MR. KNIGHTLEY
said, his hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk had been misunderstood. He did not mean to say that county magistrates ought not to impose taxes for purposes such as roads, asylums, &c., in which the whole community benefited, but only that a rate ought not to be levied for an object such as that proposed by the Bill, to which a large portion of the ratepayers objected.
LORD ADOLPHUS VANE TEMPEST
said, he would move that the Chairman report Progress. The Bill had been considerably hurried; and if its principle were correct, it ought not to be introduced as a permissive Bill, but the question should be decided, in the first instance, on the responsibility of the executive Government.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."1360
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, that the hon. Member for Finsbury (Sir Morton Peto) had, in a very un-parliamentary manner, imputed motives to him for his public conduct, which no one had a right to impute to another Member without having some evidence for his statement, and some data to go on. He was not, however, inclined to treat with any seriousness the observations of the hon. Baronet, being perfectly willing to let his conduct in that House be judged by the general tenour of his behaviour; and if anybody supposed that he had in that House or anywhere else said that he meant to make the question of the Church of England the means of obtaining power or of advancing the prospects of the party with which he had the honour to act, such person would on reflection find it difficult to find anything which he had said or done to authorize that notion. He had on many occasions taken the opportunity of supporting the status of the Church of England as it at present existed in this country; and if he thought that in the Bill brought in by the Government, but which had in fact been planned in the previous year by his right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), there was anything hostile and injurious, or likely to be hostile and injurious to the Church, he should give it an uncompromising opposition. He thought that the opinion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Finsbury originated from an entire fallacy in respect to what the hon. Member called endowment. Now, he did not understand or admit, that because Parliament might remunerate a servant employed for a public purpose by some public payment that involved the question of endowment. On the contrary, it was not only not an endowment, but it was a payment founded on a principle opposed to that of endowment. The Church of England was not paid by the State; it was not a stipendiary of the State; and it did not require Ministers to come forward annually, or Parliament, by acts of legislation, to supply remuneration to those who administered its services and offices. It was the pride and glory of the Church of England that it was an independent corporation, and that was a great security not only for the spiritual welfare but for the political liberty of the people. If the State called on any individual to perform a public service, it was just that the State should fairly remunerate that individual, and the same rule applied to a person of an ecclesiastical cha- 1361 racter. It might as well be said when a chaplain of the Church of England was supplied to the army that that was an endowment to the Church, as that the appointment of a Roman Catholic under the Bill was endowment to the Roman Catholics. The very fact that the remuneration to be received by the Roman Catholic priests would be paid by Parliament proved that it was not an endowment, and that there was no analogy between the endowment of the Church of England and this payment. He denied that a chaplain of the Church of England officiating in a prison was endowed; he simply received a payment for a public service on the same principle as the payment to be made according; to the proposition in the present Bill. What the House had to consider was whether the service it called on these individuals to perform was a proper and necessary service. During the whole of that lengthened debate no one had pretended that the Roman Catholic prisoners were not entitled to the exercise of their religion and to the spiritual administrations of their clergy. Some hon. Members opposed the mode of remunerating those clergymen, on the ground of its constituting an endowment, and being therefore hostile to the State Church by placing the Roman Catholic chaplains on an equality with the chaplains of the Church of England. He had, however, shown that that was a fallacy, and he asked whether the service contemplated by the Bill was one which ought to be performed or not. Had any one risen to say that it ought not to be performed? They all knew that no position was now more fully and absolutely accepted by every hon. Member in that House, than that the principle of religious liberty should be completely developed. That was not a principle that could be then repudiated by the House of Commons after the legislation of the preceding thirty years. If, then, that principle was to be completely accepted, they were bound on that account to provide with regard to all those who were in prison by the operation of the laws that they should not be debarred from the full enjoyment of their religious rights; and, at the same time, they were bound to take care that the officers they called on to perform those spiritual duties should be remunerated. The hon. Member for Finsbury assumed that the chaplains of the Church of England in gaols were endowed. They were not—and that was the hon. Member's first fallacy. The hon. Member then 1362 said, that if the Roman Catholic priests were admitted to the gaols and paid, they would be endowed like the Church of England chaplains. That was the hon. Member's second fallacy. But the greatest fallacy of all was for the hon. Member to suppose that the Church of England was a stipendiary of the State. The Church of England, in these matters, was totally independent of the State, and there existed no analogy whatever in the circumstances which led the hon. Member to so false a conclusion. There was no question of endowment in the Bill brought forward by the Government, which was only the complete development of that principle of religious liberty which was universally accepted by the House; and if Roman Catholic prisoners were entitled to the free exercise of their religion, that House was bound to secure to them the free enjoyment of it. That could not be done without providing that they should be attended by their priests, and the payment of those who were accepted as public servants for a public service was not endowment but remuneration; and the whole of the objections to the present Bill were founded on the fallacy of confounding those two things together. The strength of the Church of England was this:—That not being a stipendiary of the State, it was not afraid of being just, and, while professing to be entirely in theory, and actually being very greatly in practice, the Church of the nation, it could still favour the complete development of the principle of religious liberty.
said, he could not but protest against the Church principles of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. The fact was, the only title which the Church of England had to her possessions was a Parliamentary title. The wealth and estates which the Church of England was in possession of, and the right which she had to tithes, were all given by Act of Parliament at the time of the Reformation. The question of payment to Roman Catholic priests involved in the Bill was a most important one; as he could not see, if they were to pay Roman Catholic priests for ministering to the necessities of Roman Catholic prisoners, how they could refuse to endow the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland.
§ SIR MORTON PETO
said, he accepted the statement of the right hon. Gentleman as an admission of everything which he had alleged. The right hon. Gentleman 1363 said that the ministers of the Church of England were not endowed. Well, then, accepting that statement, he (Sir Morton Peto) affirmed that they were about to place the ministers of other denominations in precisely the same position as those of the Church of England. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, had given up the principle of an Established Church as regarded the prisons of the country. How, then, could he refuse to follow up the precedent by throwing open the workhouses of the country to the Roman Catholic priests? By the last clause of the Bill every prisoner was made the judge whether he would have religious instruction or not.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had assumed the same position that he did on the second reading. He said the Church of England did not hold her endowments from the State. The truth was that the Church of England held her endowments by a title sanctioned by the State. The right hon. Gentleman said the Church of England was a corporation standing beside the State; and if he followed that argument to its conclusion, he must hold that the Church of England was nothing to the State. If the Church of England was only an endowed Church, and the State did not accept her ministrations, the Church of England was not the Established Church of this country. The payments which it was sought by the Bill to establish, would become analogous to the endowment of Maynooth, and therefore he held that the hon. Member for Finsbury was right. He lamented that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire should separate the action of the State from the action of the Church; if he did not directly invalidate the right of the Church to her endowments, he directly invaded the position of the Church as the Established Church of the realm.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he hoped the Committee would not agree to report progress. The statement of the noble Lord that the Bill had been hurried through was without foundation. It was brought in on the 17th of February and it was then the 7th of May.
LORD ADOLPHUS VANE TEMPEST
said, he would not press his Amendment. However, he found himself in this unpleasant position, that while opposed to the Bill, he could not refuse to vote a just remuneration for services that might be required. He thought the Government 1364 ought to withdraw the Bill, with a view to its re-consideration.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. BOVILL
said, the clause under consideration involved a very important question to the ratepayers of the Country, and one which would be sure to give rise to heartburnings at every quarter sessions. What would be the feelings of the ratepayer when asked to contribute to the support of Roman Catholic chaplains, when he had no voice in the imposition of the rate, or the appointment of the chaplains? The Bill would give rise to the greatest anomalies. There would be differences of opinion in different places as to whether chaplains should be appointed, as to the number of prisoners for which a chaplain ought to be required, and as to the question of payment. At every quarter session, four times a year, the question would probably be again and again mooted, and the whole country would be put into a state of ferment. He should support the Amendment, if only to prevent these heart-burnings. But there was a more serious question involved. The hon. Baronet (Sir Morton Peto) had justly reminded the Committee, that if they passed that measure for gaols, they could not refuse a similar measure for union workhouses. If the claims both of gaols and workhouses were admitted, how could they refuse the religious provision to the destitute portions of the population who required the consolations of religion? Where was Parliament to stop? If the Committee were prepared to follow the principle to its natural termination, let them say so; but he, for one, would give the proposal a decided opposition.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, there was so curious a mixture of parties at the last division, that he wished to state his reasons for opposing the Bill. He objected to force upon the ratepayers a payment over which they had no control. He gave no vote against the Roman Catholics, for the measure applied equally to the payment of Dissenting ministers.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 101; Noes 71: Majority 30.
§ MR. W. E. DUNCOMBE
said, that he thought a line ought to be drawn as to the number of Roman Catholic prisoners for whom a chaplain should be provided. He 1365 proposed after the word "persuasion" to insert "provided the number of such prisoners amount to thirty."
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he hoped they would be allowed to dispose of that clause. The number of prisoners was constantly varying in every prison. There might be thirty to-day and thirty-five tomorrow. It would therefore be impossible to insert the words.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.