HC Deb 03 July 1867 vol 188 cc941-62

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now rend a second time, said, that its object had been much misunderstood, judging from the comments in some newspapers and from the contents of a Circular which had been sent round against the Bill this morning, signed on behalf of the Scottish Reformation Society. The Bill merely extended the present law, which enabled parties to make grants or leases of lands for sites for the Roman Catholic Churches and Schools, and to make grants or leases for Roman Catholic glebes. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) supposed that this Bill repealed the statutes of mortmain; but those statutes did not extend to Ireland, and therefore the present Bill did not in the least interfere with the law of mortmain. In fact, it did not introduce any new principle beyond that already sanctioned by Parliament. It was, moreover, a purely voluntary Bill; it simply enabled owners to make the leases or grants in question if they thought proper, and there was a proviso that the site of a church or school under the Bill should not exceed five acres, and that a glebe should not exceed twenty acres. With regard to glebes, he might explain that under the present law an absolute owner might either grant or devise land for glebes, and, indeed, for any other purpose, connected with the Roman Catholic Church. This power was given by the Charitable Donations and Bequests Act of Sir Robert Peel, passed in 1844, at which time the matter was very fully discussed, and the policy deliberately sanctioned. But though an owner in fee might make a grant for glebes, a limited owner did not possess this power, and the object of the present Bill was to confer upon limited owners the same power, or rather a more restricted power, than was conferred upon the absolute owner under Sir Robert Peel's Act. Under that Act an absolute owner might grant any number of acres for a Catholic glebe; but under this Bill twenty acres would be the limit, and every lease made by a limited owner for a glebe was to reserve the best rent that could be got for the land, and the grant, would be void if the land were used for any other purpose except that stated in the lease. If the law allowed the absolute owner to grant a glebe, he did not see why the limited owner should not have the power to make a lease or even a grant for the same purpose, with the sanction of the successor or of the Landed Estates Court. There was a strong feeling among both Protestants and Roman Catholics in Ireland, that there would be a great advantage in having glebes and fixed residences provided for the Roman Catholic clergy. Lord Lifford, a Conservative nobleman and a supporter of the present Government, a man of strong political opinions and living in the North of Ireland, had recently published a pamphlet, in which he not only warmly advocated the establishment of glebes for the Roman Catholic clergy, but also argued that the State should apply a sum of money to buy glebes for them. Lord Lifford spoke in the highest terms of the genial kindness of the Roman Catholic clergymen to the poor, and of their charitable and self-denying lives; and he drew attention to the fact that in every attempt at rebellion, the Roman Catholic priesthood had loyally given their assistance in the cause of the Queen and of order. In Ireland most of the land—not less perhaps than eleven-twelfths—was held by limited owners, and thus it happened that the Act of 1844 was almost inoperative, and so few grants of glebes had been made. With respect to sites for churches and schools limited owners had the power under an Act brought in by Mr. Justice Keogh to make these grants to a certain extent. Under that Act, the 18 & 19 Vict. c. 39, the limited owner had the power of making a grant of not more than five acres for churches, school-houses, and residences for clergymen and schoolmasters, and the present Bill only extended a power already enjoyed. That Act required that the lease should reserve the best rent that could be obtained; but by the present Bill a limited owner might make a lease for a site of a church or school at a nominal rent, when the site did not comprise more than two acres. The present Bill also proposed to authorize the lease to be made direct to the Roman Catholic Bishop and his successors instead of to trustees in trust for the Roman Catholic Bishop and his successors. The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland would thus hold land in the same way as the Protestant Church held land. He thought that if the law permitted a thing to be done indirectly it was much better that it should be allowed to be done directly, and he should be glad to see the position of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland fairly acknowledged. The Bill contained a clause empowering the Board of Works in Ireland to lend money for the purchase of glebes; but this he proposed to strike out in Committee, in deference to the objections of some hon. Members. No hon. Member had given Notice of any opposition to the Bill; but no doubt the hon. Member for North Warwickshire and the hon. Member for Peterborough would rise and with fervid zeal deprecate the passing of the Bill. He hoped they would argue the Bill on its merits, and not talk about the Czar of Russia or the Pope of Rome, or enter into other questions which had no bearing on this measure. The days of bigotry and intolerance had passed away; France and Austria had set examples of liberality by permitting Protestants to fill exalted positions in their Governments, and England should follow their example by doing away with all invidious distinctions between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant subjects of Her Majesty. He hoped he had said enough to induce the House to sanction the principle of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Colman O'Loghlen.)


Sir, I thought it necessary, as no other Member had giver Notice of his intention to oppose the second reading of this Bill, that I should do so; I therefore gave Notice soon after the meeting of the House this morning. It was my wish that some other Member of the House should give this notice, because, unfortunately, since the removal of Sir James Whiteside from this House and his elevation to the Bench in Ireland, and the promotion of Lord Cairns to the position of Lord Justice of Appeal and to a seat in the House of Peers, I remain, I am sorry to say, almost the only Member of my own standing who seems prepared to discuss these questions. This House has suffered a very great loss on such occasions as the present by the removal of those two learned persons. I trust that the other hon. Members, who, without being intolerant, still respect the Protestant constitution of their country, will not leave me alone to meet the constantly aggressive action, which the Papacy is carrying on in this House through the agency of the Roman Catholic Members from Ireland. The hon. Baronet who has just spoken (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) has commented upon my conduct, when this Bill on a former occasion stood for the second reading. I then objected, Sir, to the postponement of the Bill, because the intention to postpone it was not announced until we found ourselves literally in the middle of the day, for which it stood on the Notice Paper for second reading. I had spoken to many hon. Members, and they came down to the House expecting the Bill to be debated. On that occasion we were all here, and I hold, that when an hon. Member means to postpone the second reading of a Bill, he is bound in courtesy not to delay, until the time that the Bill is called on, to announce the postponement. We felt, therefore, that there was a want of courtesy in the fact, that summoned by the Notice on the Paper, we attended in our places, and when the Order was called, we were suddenly told that we were not wanted and might go about our business, since the hon. Gentleman could not attend, so that our presence was of no use whatever. I divided the House to mark our remonstrance against such a practice. Now, however, the hon. Member has appeared, and, I admit, argued in favour of the Bill with legal acumen and some astuteness. At the conclusion of his speech he made the admission that there is a vital difference between the principle of the Bill and that of Sir Robert Peel's Charitable Bequests Act of 1844, having at an earlier period broadly stated that the law of mortmain does not apply to Ireland. I happened to be a Member of the House in 1844, and I thought I correctly remembered the provisions of the measure of that year, and upon referring to them I find that it is so. It may be said that some of the statutes of mortmain do not apply to Ireland; but I hold that the principle of the law against mortmain applies to the whole of the United Kingdom, and most careful were Sir Robert Peel and his legal advisers to constitute a Commission, by that Act empowered, and directed by that very Act to secure, that the principle of the law against alienation in mortmain should not be abused. It is a quibble to say that the principle of the mortmain law does not apply to Ireland; for the precise object of the Act of 1844, as shown by the appointment of the Commission and the instructions given to the Commissioners, is, that the principle and objects of the law of mortmain shall be enforced in Ireland by a competent body, appointed under that Act for the purpose of preventing abuse. The House will forgive me, if I detain them for a few minutes, while I explain the true effect of this Bill. There is one provision in it which characterizes the whole measure and shows the quarter whence it emanates; and here I beg to say, that I claim to speak not merely as a Protestant and a member of the Church of England, but as a Catholic, and on behalf of no small part of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, particularly the educated Roman Catholics, who repudiate the objects sought by Dr. Cullen. I see in 1859 he signed the address of the Roman Catholic Bishops to the people of Ireland; as "apostolic delegate"—that is to say, as Legate. I have obtained an authentic copy of that document, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer raised a doubt as to Dr. Cullen's being a Legate, and the hon. Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer), when I was speaking in this House upon another but cognate subject, Went so far as to contradict my assertion. As I have studied these subjects more perhaps than the majority of hon. Members, I trust the House will permit me to show how important is the fact that Dr. Cullen is an apostolic delegate, that is a Legate appointed by the Papacy to perform the functions of his office in Ireland, and how the performance of the functions of that office by Dr. Cullen bears upon this Bill, and especially that provision of it, which is a direct invasion of the principle of the law against mortmain as it is operative in Ireland under the machinery created by Sir Robert Peel in the Bequests Act. Hon. Members are now occupied with the consideration of the Reform Bill during the present Session; it has, in consequence, been difficult to attract their attention to other subjects. Certain hon. Members for Ireland, not embarrassed by having to consider a Reform Bill for Ireland, have introduced several Bills of a like nature to this. The hon. Mover of this Bill has been among the most active of these Members. By these Bills, and by this Bill itself, were it to pass, an actual revolution in the position of the Churches in this country, and of the Constitution of this country, as repudiating the interference of the See of Rome in our internal affairs, is in process of being carried out. It is painful to me to trouble the House so often; but knowing this fact, I feel bound, whatever may be the difficulty, to attempt to direct the attention of the House to what is going on. Now, what is the proposal contained in the Bill? I will not go at any length into the method it proposes for securing the appropriation of property—but what is the chief intention of the Bill? It is this—the Bill would empower all owners of property, even owners with limited titles, who would be dealing with reversionary property—property which is not their own—by means of leases—some of them leases for 900 years, granting possession almost equivalent to freehold tenure—and by actual sale and by bequest of freeholds, to provide, that whatever property can be obtained through the influence of the Roman Catholic clergy, to the extent of sites for building of five acres each, or glebes of twenty acres each anywhere, shall, whether this property be given or sold, vest, not in the parish priests, as they call themselves—the incumbents of the Roman Catholic chapels—not in any Roman Catholic laymen, but solely in the Roman Catholic Bishop, officiating in the district. It appears to me that the Bill is drawn up on the presumption that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act has been repealed; for it is proposed to vest whatever property can be obtained for the purposes of this Bill in no trust, which might include laymen, and not in any of the inferior clergy, but solely in the Bishops, who, by the very terms of this Bill itself, are for the purpose of holding this property created a corporation sole, that is, with succession; and are described as Bishops of certain districts or dioceses. It is an infraction of the principle of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act to recognize Roman Catholic Bishops as the Bishops of any particular diocese; and this is directly done by the Bill before the House. The object of the Bill is, I repeat, to vest the whole of the property that can be acquired under its provisions by the influence of the Roman Catholic clergy at the bedside of the sick man, or however otherwise it may be obtained, from the dying, from the feeble, or from the timid, in the Roman Catholic Bishop of the district or diocese, as it is called, and in him only, virtute officii. That is a new principle; and if the Mouse sanctions this principle, it will, in the persons of the existing Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland, and their successors, formally and by law establish the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Such, then, is the principle of the Bill. The leading spirit in all this is Dr. Cullen, apostolic delegate in Ireland from the Holy See. I have Roman Catholic authority for saying this—a pamphlet, entitled Freedom of Education, What it Means, written by Mr. James Lowry Whittle, a barrister, of Gray's Inn, who appears to be a person very well informed with regard to the position of the respective parties that exist in the Church of Rome, throughout the world generally, and particularly in Ireland. This pamphlet explains the conduct of Dr. Cullen and the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, whom he controls as apostolic delegate in that country. I hope the House will excuse me if I read an extract or two from this pamphlet; because I do not wish to be told that I am an ignorant Protestant and know nothing about these subjects, whereas, I do not find myself more ignorant than some Roman Catholics, with whom I have conversed, for I find that some of them literally feel themselves precluded from examining these questions for themselves, notwithstanding that they are of the deepest importance to them and to their position with respect to the Roman Catholic religion and to the Papacy, as an operative power in Europe. "Irish Catholics," writes Mr. Whittle— May be now divided into three broad classes. First, the Ultramontanes. This consists of the Bishops and their political mouthpieces in the press and in Parliament. I do not mention the clergy as a distinct element, for they do not deserve to be so considered. Church discipline, unchecked by any considerable body of lay opinion, has reduced them—a hard-working, conscientious, partially educated class of men—to unlimited submission to the Bishops. Neither are the country voters a separate element. They give the Bishops their political strength, but what with their poverty and ignorance on the one hand, and on the other their distrust of the Government and the higher classes, they are ready to follow the Bishops without reserve. In England there is a certain section of the Catholic laity who have a predilection for the more subtle forms of Ultramontanism, but in Ireland such a party has no existence, Secondly, there are the dissentient opponents of Ultramontanism. This, class embraces the Catholic gentry, the professional and literary classes, and the leading Catholic merchants. At present their bond of union is chiefly the natural repug- nance of free citizens to the destructive theories Ultramontanism now openly professes. Thirdly, there is the great mass of the Catholic people who are too busy or too ignorant to understand the struggle going on within the Church. It is this mass of practical Catholicism, that the example of educated members of their own faith and the current events are preparing every day to accept sound constitutional opinions. It is to check this process that the Ultramontanes are bestirring themselves, and it is against the Government assisting them, that, on behalf of independent Roman Catholics, I now protest. I shall endeavour to show, not merely the hardship such action on the part of the Government will be to us educated Catholics; but the mischief and danger it will occasion to Ireland and the Empire at large. This Bill, Sir, permit me to say, affords another illustration of the modern Ultramontane action of the Papacy, which, as regards this country, commenced in 1850. When, in the year 1850, the Pope issued his brief, for what he called the organization and establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England (acting upon the advice of that Ultramontane body, the Propaganda, and of Dr. Ullathorne, the Bishop of Birmingham, as he called himself; for Dr, Ullathorne has stated this in a published letter, which I have here); by that brief, by that act of Papal aggression, the Pope broke up all the customs which had acquired the force of canon law in Great Britain — customs whereby, after they had become the canon law, the charitable and religious property of Roman Catholics in this country was held, whether that property was in the possession of the priests who performed these duties in the several localities, or in the laity, who, by creating trustees, asserted their claim to this, as their own property. I do not state this upon any vague authority. If hon. Members will take the trouble of referring to the debates of 1851, you will find that I quoted a petition from the priests of the Hexham district, to the effect that they had prayed Dr. Wiseman, not to enforce upon them the Ultramontane principles of that brief; not to take away from them the chapels, which some of them had been the means of building; the property which had been given to them by the Roman Catholic families of this country — property which they had lawfully acquired; afterwards they appeared before the Mortmain Committee of this House in 1852 and 1853, and showed the House that they needed the protection of the law, whether as laymen or as Roman Catholic priests, to prevent the property that was their own or that of their congregations being seized by Cardinal Wiseman on the Ultramontane principle, that every atom of property, real or personal, belonging to Roman Catholics for charitable and religious purposes, shall vest in the Bishop only, and in no other individual whatever, but be under his absolute control. I earnestly supported the appointment of that Committee, and the hon. Member for Cambridge, who, notwithstanding the opposition of the hon. Member for Dundalk in particular, and the Ultramontane section of the Roman Catholics, carried the Roman Catholic Charities Act, which so adapts the law as to afford the requisite protection, I had the satisfaction of seeing the Roman Catholic Charities Act passed by both Houses of Parliament in 1860, whereby we secured to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects all we could secure in such a case, a fair and rightful appeal to the Courts of this country, without the fear that their charitable property would be alienated on account of the deeds under which it was held violating the Superstitious Uses Act, without the necessity for appealing to Rome, or to any foreign intervention, that Act secures for them an appeal to English Courts, which are not likely to decide in favour of the Ultramontane principle, that the whole thing shall be vested in the Bishop, but in favour of the rights of individuals. Sir, I object to this Bill, then, because it goes directly in contravention of the provisions in the Roman Catholic Charities Act, and because it would give the sanction of law to the vesting, solely in the Bishops, the whole of the charitable property of the Roman Catholics. This is not the old principle of the Roman Catholic Church. The old principle is still exemplified in the parochial system of England; and the parochial system was established in Roman Catholic times, and has ever maintained the independent right of the parish priest. Yet we now find an hon. Member, who calls himself a Liberal Catholic, proposing a Bill conceived, not in that ancient Catholic sense, but for the promotion of the power of that Ultramontane Legate, Dr. Cullen. Now, although I am a Protestant, I have read enough of the Papal laws to know, that when the Roman Catholic Bishops are convened, or are liable to be convened, into a provincial synod by the authority of a legate apostolic, that is by a representative of the Court of Rome, they can originate no action as to property without his consent. It is not merely that the legate has a veto, but they cannot originate any proposal whatever without his consent; and if they were to come to any resolution without that consent, it would be instantly abrogated by Rome. Thus with regard to all these temporalities, all these properties, and matters, by the regular constitution of the Church of Rome, the Bishops have no separate will and discretion, separate, that is, from the dictation of the delegate apostolic, as the deputy of the Holy See. What does this Bill do then? It proposes to give the opportunity and the means; nay, it even proposes to use the public money to create masses of property throughout Ireland, which shall be at the disposal, not of Irish laymen or the Irish priests, but of Roman Catholic Bishops, who are in all such matters the mere tools and instruments of the legate apostolic, who is the direct representative of the Papacy—a foreign Power. Well, is this a small principle, a principle of no importance? Sir, this principle is not to be found in any Act relating to property within the United Kingdom; yet that is the principle which the hon. Baronet recommends to our adoption by his Bill, as though it were nothing more than a mere matter of detail. What, then, is the character of the person who, by this Bill, would become invested with this enormous power? By permission of the House I will give you, in a few words, the description of Dr. Cullen, as sketched by Mr. Whittle. Cardinal or Dr. Cullen is, no doubt, according to this description, a very able man; his manners are probably attractive; but he is a man thoroughly imbued with Ultramontane opinions. Mr. Whittle shows, that formerly in Ireland Ultramontane opinions, which are those of the Propaganda, of the Jesuits, and of the present Pope, did not prevail; but he shows that they sprung up with the advent of Dr. Cullen in Ireland. "Archbishop Cullen," he observes, "ably availed himself of the crisis" (that is of the public excitement in 1851, produced by the Papal brief of the previous year in this country)— And won so much popularity, that on the death of Dr. Murray, in 1852, his name was sent to Rome as dignissimus, and he became 'Archbishop of Dublin,' as Mr. Whittle calls him. It is a singular fact, that when Dr. Cullen was originally appointed a Roman Catholic Bishop in Ireland he was appointed contrary to the express wish of the Irish Bishops, by a process then new to the Roman Catholics in Ireland. The Pope set aside the three names, which were by canonical custom recommended to the Pope by the Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland, and insisted upon appointing Dr. Cullen. Mr. Whittle continues— He was appointed Papal delegate, an office which gives him controlling power over the whole Church of Ireland. Since that period he has used his immense powers unsparingly to promote the most extreme Ultramontanism. He is an able administrator, and may be taken as the representative of Ultramontanism in action. He has pursued his course, standing aloof from his flock, whom he ignores; from his clergy, whom he has made his mere machines. If the resolution and energy of fanaticism make a man great he has certainly some claim to that appellation. That is the description of Dr. Cullen, given by a Roman Catholic barrister, who entertains the same views as those which, to a great extent, prevail in Italy and in France. His are the principles upon which the Code Napoleon is founded, and which prevail in the Government of France, and of every other country where the Code Napoleon is in operation. They are adopted now in Italy, since she has at last discovered, that allowing the Roman Catholic Church to hold enormous masses of property, free from the restrictions of the law of mortmain, is incompatible with the welfare of the country, with social and political freedom, with morality and peace; for Ultramontanism tends to revolution. And here I must say, that I cannot comply with a recommendation which the hon. Baronet has made to me with respect to a certain document which is in the hands of hon. Members. I cannot refrain from alluding to the circular despatch of Prince Gortschakoff; that document gives an account of the relations between Russia and the Holy See, extending over a period of forty or fifty years, and I can well understand why a Member of this House, especially if he be an Irishman, who comes to ask the House to pass Bills in the sense of Ultramontanism—that is, of the policy of the Jesuits, the present masters of Rome—should feel very sore indeed when the attention of the House is directed to the history of Poland and to the circumstances which rendered it impossible for Russia to continue relations with the Holy See in accordance with that ample toleration and security, which since the days of the Empress Catherine, Russia has extended to Roman Catholics, and Roman Catholic property in every form, whether held by bishops, priests, or communities of monks or nuns. What is the history of Poland in this respect? There was a time, towards the close of the last century, when this Ultramontanism, this exaggeration of Roman Catholic fanaticism by its excesses aroused the Roman Catholic monarchies and peoples of Europe to such a degree, that Pope Clement the XIV. was induced to denounce the principles and suppress the order of the Jesuits, the authors of these Ultramontane doctrines. Well, Roman Catholic Europe prevailed, the order was suppressed; but the Jesuits acted on the dictum of their general, who told the Pope that they were unchangeable in their constitution and objects. The general of the Jesuits, when a captive in the hands of the Pope, rejected every proposal for the reformation of the order or of their practices, in the emphatic words, Sint ut sunt aut non sint. "Let them remain as they are, or let them perish." On this declaration the Papacy decreed the suppression of the order; rejected by Roman Catholic Europe on account of their inordinate ambition and covetousness, which had caused tumults and civil wars; on account of their breaking in upon the peace of families, and grasping private property to an enormous extent, which they held in defiance of the laws against the principle of mortmain; for mortmain means the dead hand of those who have no successors, except by appointment. Strange to say, when this order, thus condemned, was rejected by Catholic Europe, it was received by Prussia and by Russia. The Empress Catherine was induced to accept their services for political objects; Frederick the Great was induced to accept their services ostensibly for other objects, but really in the same sense; and Frederick was heartily laughed at by Voltaire, his old friend, who had been educated by the Jesuits, for fancying that he could control their action. The result fully verified Voltaire's conclusion. But Catherine harboured them, and encouraged them to collect property, both in White Russia and in Poland. In 1820, however, the Russian Government found them intolerable, and the Jesuits were expelled; the possessions of the Roman Catholic Church, which were very large, were, however, retained to that Church; and in time the Jesuits crept back into Poland and into Russia. Russia was really tolerant; she secured the property of the Roman Catholic Church to the regular orders, other than the Jesuits, and also to the convents. And how has she been rewarded? Because the Emperor could not, dared not, and would not, allow the Papacy to invade the independence of his country, of his Empire, by the issue of edicts, unknown to himself, and without his sanction, a bloody rebellion was stirred up. The gratitude of these Ultramontanes for Russian toleration has been manifested by at least three rebellion. At last, finding himself perpetually deceived and tampered with by the Papacy, the Czar in duty to the independence of his Empire and to the individual, social, and political freedom of his people—the Emperor of Russia, who has dune more for freedom than any man living, by the emancipation of the millions of Russian serfs—found it absolutely necessary to withdraw his ambassador and functionaries from Rome; because his Holiness would not send a Nuncio, whom the Emperor had invited to St. Petersburg—would not send a Legate to Russia—unless the action of this Legate or Nuncio was to be completely independent of the Russian Government, independent to an extent, which the Government of Roman Catholic France will not, dares not, permit; and which no other Roman Catholic country, except, perhaps, benighted Spain, permits. Such is the temper of the men, in whom this House is asked by the Bill on the table to vest property, to an extent, of which we can form no idea, and in accordance with the principles of this very Ultramontanism, which has created so many revolutionary disturbances throughout the Continent. It is reported that the Mexicans have murdered the Emperor Maximilian. What is the character of Mexico? Why that Ultramontanism has had a hold there, which, for the sake of peace, of commerce, and of civilization, the Emperor of the French has endeavoured to loosen. I ask the House, then, not to give to the Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland the power, which this Bill would give them, of holding in mortmain, and of disposing of the property. I ask the House not to give them these extraordinary powers, in violation of the principle of the law against mortmain, for the purpose of establishing, not only in power but in property, Ultramontanism in the persons of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland, and of their commander and head, the apostolic delegate, Dr. Cullen. I beg to move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time this day three months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Newdegate.)

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part, of the Question."


, while declining to follow the hon. Member for North Warwickshire into the history of the Papacy from the beginning of the world, expressed it to be his intention to support the Bill, as calculated to effect in a plain and straightforward way that which was now done by a process which amounted to something like a sham. He objected as much as the hon. Gentleman to having large tracts of land vested in the Roman Catholic Church in mortmain, but it was making a mountain of a molehill to regard the present proposal as likely to lead to such a result. The Bill was not a revolution but a reform—it merely provided for the appropriation of small plats of ground for Roman Catholic churches and schools, and of twenty acres of glebe to each parish. It was, he thought, most desirable that the clergy of that persuasion, who received the education of gentlemen, should be placed in a better and more independent position, for this would tend to make them more attached to the laws under which they live. He thought that, at no distant date, they would find Government coming forward with a proposal of this kind instead of leaving it to a private Member; but in the meanwhile he felt assured no hon. Member who had the welfare of Ireland at heart could reasonably object to the steps which his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Clare suggested should be taken for that purpose.


said, no one could more strongly than himself desire that the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland should be placed in a comfortable position, and that they should have every facility for administering their services; but he objected to the concessions which the House was so repeatedly invited to make to the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, on the ground that they only led to fresh demands on the part of a body whose organization was entirely hostile to the maintenance of those principles of civil and religious liberty which happily prevailed in this country. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) had, he added, referred to him as being fresh from Bir- mingham, and he was glad he had done so, because it gave him an opportunity of stating that all that hon. Members might have heard or read on the subject was entirely at variance with what had actually taken place. The fact was, that those who were present at the meetings which he had attended at Birmingham asked with one voice what the meaning was of all those concessions which Parliament was making to the Roman Catholics, and whether the Government had, acting as the representatives of the Queen, changed their views as to the position which they ought to occupy in reference to the claims made by the hierarchy of that Church—["Question!"]—one of whom, Dr. Cullen, did not hesitate to declare that the descendants of James II. were really the persons entitled to the sovereignty of this country.


intimated to the hon. Gentleman that it was desirable that he should confine his remarks to the Question before the House.


Why was it that the House should be occupied Wednesday after Wednesday in the consideration of applications of this sort, which they were called upon to assent to on the ground that they were concessions which ought to be granted to the Roman Catholic people of Ireland? Both the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, in reference to the Roman Catholic Relief Act, and also to the Act of 1845, declared that they supported those measures as experiments, with a view to the conciliation of the people of Ireland, and to put a stop to agitation in that country. But so far from those objects being attained, they seemed to increase agitation as well as the discontent and disaffection of the Roman Catholics. It appeared to him that those bit-by-bit concessions placed the relations between this country and Ireland in a worse position than they were before they were granted. The applicants in the present case were the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, who now asked persons of limited estates to grant to them in perpetuity a certain amount of land and other concessions embodied in this Bill. There was no case of any grievance whatever made out. There was a very general feeling abroad that Fenianism was still smouldering, and ready to break out again when a more favourable opportunity for its advocates and promoters occurred.


rose to order, and asked whether the observations of the hon. Member were pertinent to the Question before the House?


said, if he were permitted an inquiry, he would be willing to forfeit his right ever again to address that House, if he failed in proving the connection between Fenianism and the Roman Catholic hierarchy. He protested against granting any more power to a party who were essentially inimical to the principles of civil and religious liberty in this country. He opposed the Roman Catholic hierarchy not on account of their religious principles, but solely on the ground of their being an enemy to this country. They ought, no doubt, to be tolerated, but at the same time to be regarded with the utmost suspicion. He should certainly do the best he could to afford the people of England every opportunity possible to express their opinions upon their character and conduct.


said, he thought it would be advisable to hear the opinion which was entertained of the Bill by the Law Advisers of the Crown in Ireland before they assented to the second reading. It might be either a very small or a very large measure; but it was one to which, if taken in its fullest scope, he thought it would be hardly wise in the House to assent, There were three main provisions in the Bill. It proposed, first, to provide for the granting of leases; and secondly, the making of grants in perpetuity; and thirdly, to give borrowing powers. [Sir COLMAN O'LOGHLEN said, he proposed to withdraw that portion of the Bill.] Now, he did not suppose that within reasonable bounds any one would contend that it was not right that proper opportunities should be afforded to Roman Catholics of acquiring sites on which to build places of worship, as well as schools for the education of their children. He had, however, looked into the Bill to see what conditions it imposed, and he found that power was to be taken by it to give a lease of land for those purposes to the Bishop of the diocese. Now, the first question which arose upon that point was whether the powers sought for under this Bill were sufficiently guarded as to constitute the Bishop, to whom the lease was granted, as what was in common form in this country known as an official trustee. If that point were not already provided for, perhaps an assurance would be given that it would be made so; as well as that it should be laid down that the Bishop holding land under these circumstances should be made amenable to the ordinary legal tribunals as to the administration of his trust. That was a point on which he desired to have the opinion of the Attorney General for Ireland. There was also a clause in the Bill which set forth in general terms that a grant should be held to be void if it were not applied to the purposes named; but it was so vaguely worded that he was afraid it would hardly operate to preclude the Bishop from applying that which was intended for one place to meet the want of another. The next point to which he wished to invite attention was the machinery by which it was proposed that persons having a limited interest in lands should be empowered to give leases or make grants. He doubted whether the Act of 1860, which bound the successor sufficiently, furnished a sufficient safeguard in the matter; because there the word "successor" was defined to be the man immediately interested after the grantor, whereas he thought it desirable that these transactions should not be carried into effect without the full consent of all those who might be fairly held to be entitled to a voice in the matter. He did not think that the Bill, as it was drawn, provided the proper safeguards. He confessed that to his mind it would be a wiser thing if the hon. and learned Member for Clare had selected a layman to act in respect to the objects which he had in view, as it was not desirable to expose persons in the position of Bishops to the danger of being dragged into Courts of Law, in the event of there being any dispute about the specific objects of the trust No doubt, the Courts of Law ought, and he hoped would, take every security that the trusts so created under this Bill would be properly executed. He further wished for information as to the object of enabling persons possessed of a fee-simple interest to grant lenses in perpetuity instead of granting in foe. Without some satisfactory explanation, that was a provision which persons might not unreasonably regard in an unfavourable light; for the title in a grant of a lease might not be so fully inquired into as in the case of a grant in fee. These were points which he admitted might be discussed with greater propriety in Committee. If they could be satisfactorily settled he saw no reason why a Roman Catholic minister should not obtain those objects sought for as readily as the minister of any other Church. He therefore hoped his hon. Friend behind him (Mr. Newdegate) instead of voting against the second reading would, if a satisfactory explanation were given, withdraw his Amendment and afford his assistance towards rendering the measure as complete as possible in effecting the objects desired.


expressed a hope that the House would not allow any prejudice to stand in the way of this measure advancing to the stage of Committee, where he should be as ready as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire to remedy any defects that might be found in it.


gave his cordial support to the Motion for the second reading of the Bill.


objected to the Bill, because it referred to one religious denomination alone. Parliament should legislate for the Queen's subjects of all classes, sects, and parties; and any Bill professing only to grant a favour to Roman Catholics, or any other sect, was wrong in principle, and should not be passed. The preamble of the Bill was objectionable, showing that it was merely introduced for Roman Catholic purposes, and therefore he thought it was altogether wrong. When the disruption took place in the Church in Scotland, several congregations wanted places for worship, and experienced the utmost difficulty in getting sites for the purpose. The clergy had to preach on the sea shore, and on the turnpike roads, because the owners of land would not give them sites for places of worship. If ever there was a case that would justify the passing of a special Act of Parliament for the purpose of giving sites for churches, it was the case that had occurred in Scotland. The Roman Catholic clergy had existed in Ireland for centuries, and no doubt facilities should be afforded them to improve their condition; but this was a Bill for them alone, enabling them alone to get grants of lands for houses, glebes, and schools. In everything it was a Bill to favour the Roman Catholics. There was nothing so small as not to be taken in. Even after getting the deed, the parties were to be favoured on registering the deed. It was provided that they should only he charged a fee of 5s. Why should a Roman Catholic deed be registered for 5s. any more than a Protestant deed? He recommended the framers of the Bill to withdraw it, and bring in a measure affording to all denominations facilities for obtaining sites for places of wor- ship. Otherwise, though he never yet gave a vote in that House against Roman Catholics or against Ireland — he must vote against the second reading of this Bill.


observed, that the promoters of the Bill would be willing to consider the objections raised in Committee with the view of making it applicable to any other religious class which suffered from grievances similar to those of which the Roman Catholics of Ireland complained; but at the present moment the want of proper accommodation for celebrating Divine worship was felt by Irish Roman Catholics alone. His hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh talked about some persons having to preach upon the sea shore; but in Ireland they had been obliged I to perform Divine service in caves and holes from want of churches. In reply to; the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), who had asked why grants in fee should not be given instead of perpetual leases, he observed that grants in fee were unknown in Ireland, and that perpetual leases amounted to the same thing. He hoped the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) would confine the expression of his opinions to the walls of that House, and, in that case, no danger would result from giving utterance to them; whereas, outside of that House, they were calculated to foment bitter animosities and disturbances.


said, he had heard with great astonishment that, before he came down to the House, the learned Baronet who had charge of the Bill had stated that the law of mortmain did not apply to Ireland. That was a misapprehension that ought to be removed. The 9 Geo, II. c. 36 was very often in our Law Courts erroneously referred to as the statute of mortmain; but it was not so, but only an Act to prevent dying or languishing persons from making wills, devising lands for religious or charitable uses; and this Act did not extend to Ireland. Mr. Shelford, in his work on Mortmain, states that— Alienation in mortmain, in mortua manu, is an alienation of lands or tenements to any corporation, sole or aggregate, ecclesiastical or temporal; and the law of mortmain was intended to prevent this, and that applied to Ireland as much as to England. He further found that, in one of the later years of the Irish Parliament, an Act was passed to empower the Crown to grant licences to alien lands in mortmain, 32 Geo. III. c. 31, and yet they had been told that the mortmain law did not apply to Ireland. It might be right to do for the Roman Catholics in Ireland what had been done with respect to other religious bodies in England, where certain exceptions from the mortmain law had been recognised in favour of churches and schools; but he thought it was going too far to give, as was proposed by the present Bill, to a man who might purchase at a small price an advanced life interest in an incumbered estate, the power of making a lease of it for many years against all the real owners. That was certainly going a great deal further than they had yet gone in favour of the English Church, or of our Colleges and Universities. The Bill was open to three objections—first, that it would in effect repeal the law of mortmain, which extended to Ireland, and would recognize the Roman Catholic Bishops as capable of holding lands in perpetual succession, as ecclesiastical corporations sole; secondly, it would give power to tenants for life in Ireland to do what could not be done in England—that of giving away the property of others for these purposes; and thirdly, that the alleged object of the Bill might be attained in a more simple manner.


considered it his duty to ask the House to pause before sanctioning the second reading of the present measure; for, with one single exception, everything proposed to be effected by it was already provided for by law, and that exception might be remedied by a single clause of five lines. The Bill must be considered under two heads—one to enable persons to grant leases for ever for the purposes specified in the Bill; and the other referred to charitable donations and gifts as there set out. He was not unfavourable to the object of providing, under proper regulations, the means of obtaining moderate quantities of land for suitable residences for Roman Catholic clergymen; but he feared that something more was intended by the Bill, because there existed already efficacious machinery for attaining that object. By Sir Robert Peel's Act of 1844, which related to charitable donations and bequests, every person and body corporate in Ireland could hold land for places of worship and schools, and suitable residences for the clergy, as proposed by this Bill, through the official trustees, the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests, subject to the reasonable limitation that the deed should have been executed three calendar months before the death of the person who made the gift. This Bill, however, proposed that, instead of these donations and gifts being vested in official trustees, they should be directly vested in the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland; and that he thought objectionable. The Bill proposed that five acres of land might be granted for the site of a church, chapel, or school, or residence attached thereto, and twenty acres for a glebe. This object, however, was already provided for by the 18 & 19 Vict. c. 39, by which powers were given to any person to grant a lease of land not exceeding five acres for a place of worship, school-house, residence, and glebe for a term of 999 years. If therefore the objection was that five acres of land were not sufficient, a very simple Bill could be framed by which the quantity might be extended to twenty acres, and, consequently, the present Bill was not required. The Bill provided that a lease made to a Roman Catholic Bishop of a diocese or district and his successors should enure to the Roman Catholic Bishop for the time being of such diocese or district, and he contended that the passing of such a provision would be an acknowledgment as a corporation sole of a Roman Catholic Bishop and his successors, though they derived their authority from a source not recognised by the law. He thought it would be better to vest these endowments, if they did it at all, in the parish priests than in the Bishops. He could not consent to the second reading of a Bill which would take from the custody of the present official trustees the lands and endowments that were vested in them for the benefit of Roman Catholic charities, and place them in those of the Roman Catholic Bishops. Deeming the Bill totally unnecessary, he recommended the House to consider well before agreeing to it, as it appeared to contemplate something not openly avowed.


, in reply, said, he wished expressly to state, in reference to the objections taken by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), that he should be most willing, if the Bill went into Committee, to extend its provisions to all religious denominations. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland objected to the Bill as recognizing the perpetual succession of Roman Catholic Bishops but, in point of fact, this was already done by the Act creating the Charitable Bequests Commission in Ireland. He denied that the Bill was unnecessary, or that what was in it was already in the law of the land, and, in point of fact, the measure would give the most valuable facilities to limited owners. The Legislature had already sanctioned the principle of giving leases of 999 years by limited owners for religious purposes, which was the point objected to by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Selwyn); but it had not sanctioned the granting of glebes or glebe lands by such owners, which this Bill did to the extent of twenty acres to Roman Catholic clergymen, and it would therefore be a valuable boon. He admitted the clause was an important one in the Bill which made the Bishop a trustee. He had put in that clause because, according to the canon law of the Catholic Church, all glebe lands vested in the Bishop of the diocese; but he was perfectly willing to consent to substitute the parish Priest if it were desired. The proper trustee for leases or grants for Roman Catholic purposes was the Bishop of the diocese; but he should be ready to have the matter examined in Committee, and the Bill modified. There were several minor provisions in the Bill, which would have a most beneficial effect, and for the sake of which he should much regret the loss of the measure. The main object he had in view was to give facilities to limited owners of making moderate grants of land for glebes, and if not done now, it ought to be done in some future Session.

The House divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 119: Majority 44.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Bill put off for three months.