HC Deb 14 February 1865 vol 177 cc239-51

rose to call attention to the recent exercise of public patronage with reference to the benefices or parishes of Clonpriest, Farrahy, and Carrigrohane, in the county of Cork, and to move for certain Returns in reference thereto. The facts which he was about to state furnished a very fair illustration of the position of the Established Church in Ireland, on which, however, he wished to make no attack. He had not selected the three instances, but had taken the three last presentations to vacant benefices in the county he represented, as offering very fair samples of the general condition of the Established Church in Ireland, and for what purposes an institution was kept up of which the Irish Secretary said a single stone should not be disturbed. There were some who wished the Irish Church to be abolished, such as the voluntaries in England; and others who only wished to see it reformed, and its revenues re-distributed. An Irish rector, writing in a Dublin newspaper, complained that the parishes of Grangegorman and Booterstown, near Dublin, each containing more than a thousand Protestants, were endowed with less than a curate's stipend, whilst parishes in the country, with less than twenty Protestants, gave their rectors £1,000 a year and upwards. In Kilfenora, a diocese in Clare, there were 22,789 Roman Catholics and 251 Protestants, but the members of the Established Church were provided with three churches (including a cathedral) capable of holding 560 persons, and with eight clergymen, including dignitaries, and an official called a vicar general. Kilmacduagh, another Irish diocese, with similar endowments, contained 24,333 Catholics, and only 434 Protestants. From Thorn's Almanac, the Census Returns, and the Church Directory, he collected the facts upon which he based his Motion. Clonpriest, the first of the parishes referred to in his Notice, contained, in the year 1834, 3,559 inhabitants, of whom 35 were Protestants. In 1861 the total number had been reduced to 2,005, of whom 14 only were Protestants. The proportion of males (men and boys) among these was five, consisting probably of the clergyman and his family, the "dearly beloved Roger," and his family, and a stray policeman. The glebe was 14 acres, and the revenue was differently valued at from £500 to £750 a year, being probably worth over £600, so that the incumbent got about £40 a year for each of the fourteen men, women, and children, including his own household. The benefice was in the gift of the Crown; but at the time, in September last, that it fell vacant the late Lord Lieutenant was in his last illness, and during the interregnum the Chief Secretary, of course, was master of the situation. A gentleman was nominated to the living whose name he had been unable to find in the Irish Clergy List— a matter at which he was not the only person who felt surprise; for the Cork Constitution, an orthodox Protestant paper, plainly expressed its opinion that the appointment ought to have been given to some hardworking Irishman, and not to an immigrant from a foreign country. In the English Clergy List he found the name of a Rev. P. Hartley, which appeared to be the same in all respects as that of the gentleman appointed to the benefice in Cork; and assuming that he was right in his surmise as to identity, this gentleman came from a place called Tamworth. "The Rev. P. Hartley" was the name given, so that whether it was "Patrick," "Peter," "Paul," or "Peel," did not appear; but this gentleman, it seemed, had been appointed in 1854 to a curacy at Tamworth, with the magnificent stipend of £72 a year. At Tamworth Mr. Hartley had a congregation of 466, and a salary equal to 3s. 1d. a head, but when he got to Clonpriest, he was paid at the rate of £40 a head, or, in other words, he was paid in Ireland 250 times more for doing 100 times less work. The population of Tamworth was 10,287; there were four or five clergymen; and the total annual revenues of the clergy in that borough were returned as £690. Anybody, therefore, who went through the process of mental arithmetic so highly recommended by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, would probably find that clergymen in England were paid 1s. 4d. per head, while in Ireland a clergyman was paid at the rate of £40 per head. Some gentlemen in Ireland, and particularly Mr. ex-Chancellor Napier, were calling for an union of the two Churches in England and Ireland, but here was union with a vengeance! He made no charge against any Member of the Government. The facts which he had given to the House he had taken from public documents, and whether the Rev. Mr. Hartley was a troublesome opponent or a supporter of the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland he really did not know. The right hon. Baronet, of course, had his own reasons, and no doubt would give these to the House in an honest, straightforward, English manner, as English an answer as the noble Lord at the head of the Government would give to a question from his friend Mr. Rowcliff at Tiverton. He came now to the next case in the same diocese—that of Farrahy. According to the Census of 1834 the population there had been thirty-eight, but in 1861 it had dwindled down to fifteen. [An hon. MEMBER: The Protestant population?] Of course. The law did not recognise any other. He had shown that in Clonpriest the State provided £600 a year for the spiritual wants of fourteen Protestants, whilst for the 2,000 Catholics the State provided only proselytism or persecution. In the parish of Farrahy there were belonging to the Established Church only four males, men and boys. They were, however, very strong in females, for there were eleven, so that in this respect they were well provided for. The Roman Catholics of the parish were 1,008, and the whole population were 1,023 in number. The net value of the benefice was stated in the Irish Church Directory to be £356 a year, and there were twenty-two acres of glebe land. Looking at Thorn's Almanac for 1865 he found that at the end of last year the Rev. John Westropp Brady had been appointed to this living of Farrahy, and there was no objection that he knew of to this excellent Whig appointment. The Chief Secretary having had his turn in Clonpriest, did not get the next turn, for Lord Wodehouse having come over as Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland got his share of the patronage, and a son-in-law of the Lord Chancellor was appointed. He (Mr. Scully) had been asked, in the streets of Dublin, by a Catholic friend who had a large property in the county of Cork, whether he had influence in getting Crown livings in the county? He replied that he had nothing to do with appointments of that kind, but that in times past he was allowed to recommend to situations worth about £3 a year in the Post Office. His friend told him that he cared little about it, but that he paid the rector £80 a year, and that all he wanted was a good neighbour. He told his friend that if he would send in a memorial in favour of any friend he would forward it, and then he had no doubt it would be treated with all the respect, or contempt, it deserved. He kept his eye upon the living, and he found that the Lord Chancellor put his son-in-law into it. No doubt he was an excellent man, but this showed what the Church establishment of Ireland was kept up for. He might be told that the Rev. J. W. Brady was not now rector of Farrahy, and that some one else had been appointed to this living. A paragraph had been going the round of the newspapers, stating that the Rev. John West-ropp Brady, late curate of Aghadoe, Killarney, had been appointed by the Crown to the rectory of Slane, in the diocese of Meath, and that the Rev. Brabazon Disney had been appointed by the Lord Lieutenant to the rectory of Farrahy, diocese of Cloyne, of which parish he was formerly curate. He believed the fact to be that Mr. Brady was appointed to Farrahy, but a Crown living of greater value having fallen in he was sent to a place nearer Dublin, and Mr. Disney was sent to Farrahy. To unite the two cases of Clonpriest and Farrahy, it appeared that their joint revenues amounted to about £1,000 a year, and that their joint populations were 3,028 persons, of whom 29 were Protestants, and 2,999 Catholics; being in the proportion of about 1 to 105. The third parish was not quite so good, or so bad, a case, whichever it might be called. Carrigro-hane was not a Crown living, but was in the gift of the Bishop. The Protestants were in 1834, 48 in number—22 males and 26 females; the Catholics were 532; and the total population was 590. About two years ago the Bishop himself was appointed to the see, and now he had presented his own son to this living of £697 a year. Here were three livings—one of which was given to the curate of Tam-worth, a second to the son-in-law of the Lord Chancellor, and the third to the son of the Bishop; and this was the way in which the public patronage was exercised. It might be argued that if these livings were not sinecures, they were trusts for the public. He did not say that they were not filled by good men, but it certainly looked extraordinary that the clergymen presented to them were so closely connected with the patrons. The last parish to which he had referred had a substantial congregation of forty-eight Protestants, and the clergyman received about £700 a year for looking after them. He wished to have these facts placed by Government authority on a half-sheet of paper, so that he who ran might read them. He trusted that the Secretary for Ireland would either admit the facts candidly, or give them a plain denial, which could be substantiated by the Return now moved for. He had that morning received a letter from Dublin, not written with any reference to this Motion, but relating to the manner in which the Government patronage was exercised in Dublin. The writer was a well-to-do gentleman, who had the advantage in this world of being a Protestant, and he wrote as follows:—"Be first to declare against the Lord Lieutenancy and the Castle." He did not say he agreed with the writer, but he added— Like the Bastile of Paris, have the building itself removed—its very materials, the brick and mortar I mean—as well for the moral benefit of Dublin as of all Ireland, The whole concern has dwindled until it is something like a competition between rogues. Consanguinity is the path to public posts of emolument and honour. And then his friend referred to certain recent appointments, adding— All this may be equally bad in England, but there the corruption is distributed over a wider surface. Here the social servility of the professions—legal, medical, and clerical—acts and reacts on each other, while all our sycophants in law, or physic, or divinity coalesce together against superior minds. The hon. Gentleman then read extracts from the Manchester Examiner and other English newspapers strongly condemning the anomalous position of the Established Church in Ireland, and said, that with regard to the appointment of the Bishop's son there had been complaints on the part of the Protestant clergy, and several letters on the subject had appeared in the Cork Constitution. The Protestants in that House had often professed to assist the Catholic Members, where the temporal affairs of His Holiness the Pope were concerned, by giving advice and making representations or misrepresentations. Well, he (Mr. Scully) had now returned the compliment. He did not intend to bring any charge against the clergymen appointed, or to raise any question as to their fitness. The Bishop of Cork, no doubt, knew his own son best, and the pious parishioner of Tamworth knew his clergyman best. In bringing this matter before the House he had no personal object in view, and hoped the hon. Baronet would give the House a clear and candid denial in his usual manly and straightforward way, or admit the facts and make a clean breast of it. The hon. Member concluded by moving for Returns, in tabular form, showing, as to each of those benefices or parishes; the date of the last presentation; the name or title of the patron; the name of the present incumbent; the annual value (including any glebe or glebe house); the church accommodation; and the population according to the Government Census of 1834 and 1861 respectively; distinguishing as to each parish the number of Protestants from the number of Roman Catholics.—(Mr, Scully.)


said, the hon. Gentleman has been longer than I expected in making his statement. It was not at all necessary for him to urge upon me the propriety of making a straightforward answer, for I will ask the House whether I have not always endeavoured as far as I can to answer him with distinctness. But while I was listening to my hon. Friend—if he will allow me to call him so—I could not help remembering that I had observed a remarkable silence on the part of the hon. Gentleman during the long vacation, and I now see to what it is to be attributed. During the long vacation he has been evidently studying mental arithmetic, and the earlier periods of the French revolution. But, at all events, I am quite ready to admit all the facts connected with the parishes if, as he says, they are taken from the Census Returns. The Census Returns are quite accurate. But it is not necessary, in alluding to those three parishes of Cork, to enter into a review of the position of the Established Church in Ireland. I can only attribute the eagerness which the hon. Gentleman as a Roman Catholic takes in promoting the interests of the Protestant Church, to the fact that he is desirous of contradicting a statement which I saw in the Irish newspapers some weeks ago, to the effect that the hon. Gentleman was not going to stand again for the county of Cork, but was about to transfer his services to Cashel, and he is naturally anxious to recommend himself to his old constituency. I will now very briefly allude to the three points to which the hon. Gentleman has directed the attention of the House. The hon. Gentleman complains that there are great inequalities in the distribution of Church patronage in Ireland; and no doubt there are. In some instances the population may have diminished, while the Church revenues nevertheless remain the same; while, on the other hand, a large increase of population may have taken place without sufficient provision being made for its spiritual wants. Inequalities of that kind exist in England as well as in Ireland, and in both countries they are equally to be regretted. But the exercise of the patronage in respect of Crown livings is another question, and the hon. Gentleman has made that question a serious one to me personally. From what he said, one would almost infer that the Lord Chancellor and myself were fighting for the distribution of patronage, and that when I had been accommodated, then it was the turn of the Lord Chancellor. Nothing can be further from the truth than such a representation. With regard to the living of Clonpriest, it is perfectly true that, with the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant, I did appoint the gentleman named by the hon. Member; but I beg to say that, during the whole period of my administration, I have never sought to distribute such patronage as was placed in my hands upon grounds of personal favour or family interest, and I have never made an appointment without honestly believing it to be for the public good, I repeat it is true that I recommended the appointment of Mr. Hartley; but he had no such claims on me as the hon. Member seemed to contemplate, and on a recent remarkable occasion, having promised my support to a gentleman for the representation of Tam-worth, and afterwards made good that promise, as an honest man would, to my own personal detriment and the interruption of several friendships, Mr. Hartley refused to vote for the person in whom I was interested. Certainly, therefore, it was owing to no personal favour that I appointed or recommended the appointment of this gentleman. A living became vacant, and the late Lord Carlisle most kindly consulted me respecting the appointment, and, as he did on more than one occasion, placed it at my disposal. The fact of the Lord Lieutenant not being in Ireland at the time, did not tend to place the patronage in my hands. The patronage of the Crown livings rests exclusively with the Lord Lieutenant; but in this instance, as I have explained, he gave me the privilege of recommending a clergyman for the living. I naturally selected one with whom I was acquainted, and recommended a gentleman who, not only in his own parish, but far beyond the limits of his own parish, was conspicuous for his many virtues. I venture to say that you could not find a man more humble, more conciliatory, or more tolerant than that gentleman, and I am quite sure he will do his duty honestly and properly in his new sphere. It is true that the number of his Piwtestant parishioners maybe very small; but that has nothing to do with the question at issue; for, until Parliament otherwise determines, when a Crown living becomes vacant, the appointment to that living must be made in the regular course. In his statements as to the emoluments of that living, the hon. Gentleman has gone far beyond the proper figures. Instead of being £600 or £750, the net income of the rectory of Clonpriest is £415. There is a vast difference between that amount and £750. As regards the living of Farrahy, I am authorized to say that Mr. Brady was appointed to that living from no recommendation of the Chancellor. Although he bears the" same name, I am informed that he was no connection of the Chancellor's until he married his daughter. It might, perhaps, naturally be supposed that the Chancellor exercised some influence in procuring this appointment; but he did not. The Lord Lieutenant recommended Mr. Brady to the living of his own free will, and afterwards, as is frequently the case, a transfer being made between one living and another at the request of both parties, Mr. Brady was transferred to Slane, and Mr. Brabazon Disney to Parrahy. There remains the third living, Carrigrohane, where the Bishop of Cork appointed his chaplain, who happened to be his son. Now, the Bishop of Cork is a distinguished Prelate well known in Dublin, and he naturally took his son, who was also a distinguished minister, as his chaplain. It was nothing surprising, when a living within four miles of Cork became vacant, that the Bishop should appoint his chaplain. Thus I hope I have shown that the hon. Gentleman has no right to call in question the exercising of patronage in any one of these three instances. The Bishop of Cork did what would have been done in this country. The Lord Lieutenant did not act at the request of the Lord Chancellor; and the living of Clonpriest was given on my recommendation, which the Lord Lieutenant most kindly accepted and confirmed. That is all I have to offer upon the observations of the hon. Gentleman. The Government will be quite ready to give the Returns for which he asks, except that part referring to the glebe or glebe-house. The hon. Gentleman is not aware that according to the 3 amp; 4 Will. IV. c. 37, s. 18, we have no power to ascertain what the value of glebe-houses is. Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to amend his Motion, by the omission of the words referring to the glebe, I shall be quite willing to grant the Return he has called for; and I am quite sure that my hon. Friend will agree that I have now given him a straightforward and perfectly satisfactory answer as to the exercise of this patronage.


, before referring to one of the cases which the hon. Member for Cork had brought before the House, begged to thank him for the interest which he appeared to take in promoting the advancement of the Established Church in Ireland. He had gone beyond any Gentleman of his own religion in touching upon the affairs of the Church of Ireland. He could not understand what had inspired the interest of the hon. Member, or what had induced him to occupy the time of the House for nearly an hour in commenting on the mode of administering the internal affairs of the Church in the diocese of Cork. If the hon. Gentleman had intended to hand over the revenues to his own Church, he could understand it; but at present he was at a loss to know what could have led him to take such a course. The right hon. Baronet, in respect to two of the livings to which reference had been made, had given a satisfactory explanation, and he (Mr. Lefroy) would now state a few particulars respecting the appointment made by the Bishop of Cork; not that he thought the case a very important one, but because when an opportunity presented itself of meeting any specific charge against the Irish Church he thought it right and proper to do so. The Bishop was most distinguished for his conduct as a Christian minister and for his preaching. He never sought for patronage. The archdeaconry which he previously held was forced upon him by Lord Carlisle, and his appointment to the bishopric was unsought by him and was quite unexpected. With respect to the appointment in this particular case of the Bishop's son. Was he a youth brought by the Bishop from the University, appointed his chaplain, and then appointed to a living? By no means. He was a hard-working curate long before his father was made a Bishop. While his father was a minister in Dublin, he was ordained, in 1857, for the curacy of Glon-mire, in the diocese of Cork. In 1859 he was appointed by the trustees to the incumbency of Christ Church, Belfast, in the diocese of Connor, with a salary of £350 per annum, because it was thought that being an eloquent preacher he would fill the Church. This appointment was due, not to favour, but simply to his own talent and efficiency as a minister. The House would observe that the rev. gentleman was not appointed to this living by the Bishop, but by the trustees. He discharged faithfully and zealously the duties of this appointment until April 1862, when his father, being appointed Bishop of Cork by the late lamented Lord Carlisle, made him his chaplain. Could it be said that he ought not to have been appointed to this living by his father, after having proved himself worthy of the promotion as a well qualified and useful clergyman? Judges were in the habit of appointing their sons to their official secretaryships, and were Bishops' sons to be disqualified merely because they were Bishops' sons? Before this appointment the Bishop had appointed six curates to valuable livings in his diocese, and it was not until the proper time came that the Bishop gave his son this appointment, which he had since filled to the general satisfaction both of the parishioners and the public. The hon. Gentleman had, however, overstated the value of the benefice of Carrigrohane. It was not worth £675 per annum; but he (Mr. Lefroy) was authorized to state that its net value was only (after deducting house rent, curate, income tax, poor rate, and visitation fees) £459 15s. He had, he thought, said enough to show that the appointment had been made upon the merits of the man, and the Bishop had an undoubted right to appoint any properly qualified person to the vacant living. Under these circumstances, he hoped that the House would be of the same opinion, and that the hon. Member (Mr. Scully) would see that his exertions to benefit the Established Church—if that was his intention—were thrown away, and the time of the House occupied in vain.


said, that he wished the House to inquire what was the cause of these bitter discussions which arose from time to time as to the affairs of the Irish Church? Was it not a fact, that in a population of 5,700,000 less than 700,000 belonged to the State Church? Was it not the fact that £650,000 a year was given to its clergy for the spiritual care of the minority, while the majority were wholly unprovided for? He was glad to say that in every sense there were five millions of their fellow subjects in Ireland who were not cared for by the State Church in the slightest degree. That was not a very popular subject in the House, and was generally got rid of as soon as possible; but that was like damming up a mighty river which, nevertheless, would overflow its banks very shortly. It was high time to meet the question of the Church of Ireland in the face. They might put it aside for a time, but it would are long force itself to be heard. He thought the people of Ireland had just cause to complain that this mark of conquest yet remained to cast a gloom over their noble country. He trusted the time was approaching when the Government would seriously attempt its removal, and that the House would be tormented no more with the complaints of the hon. Member for the county of Cork, or in any other way. He (Mr. Hadfield) would earnestly support any attempt to get rid of this mischievous Church, which he did not regard merely as a political, but as a religious question. If it were done away with, the greatest hindrance to the best interests of the people of Ireland, in a religious sense, would be removed. He objected to the Church of Ireland, not so much as a political institution, but as a grievous obstacle in the country to the spread of Christian principles and benevolence.


protested against the question of the Church of Ireland being brought before the House by a side-wind. Let the question be brought fairly before the House, and it would be fully met and completely answered. Neither in this country nor in Ireland were the incomes of clergymen regulated by the exact number of their congregations; and with regard to the clergy in the south of Ireland, who at great inconvenience to themselves devoted their energies to the small congregations, endeavouring to extend their numbers, which he was happy to say were gradually increasing, deserved credit at the hands of the House, and not the disparagement they were continually receiving. These clergy being resident formed the very best country gentlemen; and if they were withdrawn from their dupes there would be still more absenteeism amongst the Protestant proprietary than there was at present. The subject of the Irish Church was the other day brought forward at a great Roman Catholic meeting in Dublin, under the presidency of the Lord Mayor, but the only speakers in favour of the overthrow of the Established Church were the Romanist prelates. The laity showed it no favour, and evidently thought any advantage would be dearly purchased by the ill-will and annoyance that would result from raising the question. They knew that the constitutional disturbance which would be caused by such a movement would not in any way be compensated for by depriving a few clergymen of their stipends. It was quite capable of proof, that there was, in many instances, as much disparity between the revenues of clergymen and their congregations in this country as in Ireland, and he saw no necessity for continually bringing forward the question of the Irish Church when the inhabitants were generally satisfied with the present state of things. It was only to the Dissenters in England, who attempted to keep up an agitation on the subject, that any discontent which might exist in Ireland as to the Established Church was to be attributed. The Roman Catholic population of Ireland had not generally expressed any dissatisfaction with the present state of things, the tithe-rent charged, by which the Clergy was supported, being paid nearly exclusively by the Protestant landlords, whose interest it was to treat their tenantry with kindness and indulgence.


, in reply, said, he had no intention whatever of giving personal offence to either the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, to the Bishop of Cork, who was a very good Bishop for a Protestant, or to the right hon. Baronet, as he was sure they had no reason to be ashamed of what they had done, and he individually was perfectly satisfied with the explanations of the latter, who had got rid of a troublesome opponent. If the figures he had laid before the House were wrong, he could not be held responsible for the mistake, as he had taken them from public documents. He should be willing to take the Returns in the form offered by the Chief Secretary.

Motion amended and agreed to. Return orderedIn a tabular form, showing, as to each of the benefices or parishes of Clonpriest, Farrahy, and Carrigrohane, in the county of Cork, the date of the last presentation; the name or title of the patron; the name of the present incumbent; the annual value; the church accommodation; and the population according to the Government Census of 1834 and of 1861 respectively; distinguishing as to each parish the number of Protestants from the number of Roman Catholics."—(Mr. Scully.)