HC Deb 07 May 1867 vol 187 cc96-185

in rising to move— That this House will, on Wednesday the 29th day of this instant May, resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Temporalities and Privileges of the Established Church in Ireland, said: Sir, I regret that it again devolves upon me to bring forward the subject of the Church as by law established in Ireland. But I hope I may not unreasonably assume that the House will feel that the time has come when the people of Ireland may expect that, in justice to its own character, in justice to the honour of this great Empire, the House should distinctly express their opinion upon it. I trust, Sir, that whatever opinion the House is determined to express, it will express it in a manner that will leave no doubt as to its meaning—that there will be no uncertain utterance—that whatever opinion is given expression to will before long become a matter of practical action, and that the House will rapidly proceed to settle this long-vexed question upon a broad and comprehensive basis, settling it once and for ever. It is now, Sir, nearly thirty-three years since this question was practically taken up by a powerful party in this country— a party the names of whose leaders have since become national property — and I am bound to say on looking back to the manner in which it was then taken up, that much consideration must be shown and much allowance must be made for the peculiar circumstances of the time, and that if we are now disposed to look upon the proceedings of that party at that period as indicating a smallness of grasp, we will be prepared to make allowance for the difficulties with which they had to contend, rather than be disposed to charge them with insincerity or want of zeal. But, Sir, it is to be regretted when they did take up the question, and when they asked for a small and moderate reform— that when they met with the first diffi- culty which stood in their way they weakly abandoned the subject. It would seem as if the leaders at both sides of the House shrunk from dealing with this question, which is, no doubt, one of peculiar difficulty — it would seem as if they were anxious to avoid dealing with it at all. The leaders on the other side of the House do not seem disposed to take it up, possibly because they feel that they are too short a time in office. The leaders upon this side of the House do not seem disposed to take it up, possibly because they feel that they are too short a time in opposition; and thus between the unwillingness of those who feel that they are too short a time in power, and those who feel that they are not long enough out of office, the question has been placed in abeyance; and though on both sides the position of the Church must have been long since and often carefully considered, the great probability is that both sides have placed the Irish Church question, carefully sealed and labelled, in some of those musty pigeon-holes of which we have heard so much during recent debates. It therefore devolves upon unofficial and independent Members sitting below the gangway to endeavour to draw those documents out of the pigeon-holes, and to put the matter plainly before the House, asking the House, for its own credit sake, and for the safety and well being of the country—if the leaders at either side will not take it up—to take it up for them, and finally and for ever to settle it. I was, Sir, through the indulgence and forbearance of the House, allowed, on a recent occasion, to enter very largely both into the financial and historical details of this question, with a view to place its past action and its present condition fully before the then newly assembled Parliament. There were many reasons why I felt desirous to take that course. A principal reason was this, that immediately after notice had been given for bringing the question under the consideration of the House, a large number of publications were issued from the press of both countries advocating the Established Church in Ireland, taking the Church view of the question, and endeavouring to sustain the principle that the present emoluments and privileges enjoyed by that Church should be continued and maintained intact. I then thought it necessary, after consulting with some of my Friends, to trespass somewhat more largely on the patience of the House than was perhaps fair or reasonable, in order to anticipate the arguments to be put forward in defence of the Church. For the indulgence kindly granted to me on that occasion I feel a deep sense of gratitude, and I think I shall best evince that gratitude by avoiding as much as possible the details which I then brought forward, and going at once to the deductions to be drawn for them, asking the House, dealing with those deductions, to say whether there is not a case for adopting the Resolution I submit, and going into Committee to consider the whole question. Sir, perhaps the House will permit me to recapitulate in a very few sentences the deductions which I think are reasonably to be drawn from the details, both financial and otherwise, to which I have referred. They have never been answered or attempted to be answered. I think we cannot fail to arrive at the conclusion from these details that the Church Establishment was legalized in Ireland before a Protestant congregation existed in that country. They also, I think, establish the fact that the endowments belonging to the ancient Church of Ireland were allocated to the newly Established Church before one single Protestant sermon by either Bishop or minor ecclesiastic had been delivered to a thoroughly Protestant audience in Ireland. I think they further led to the conclusion that that Establishment was planted in Ireland under the guns of a conquering race—a great powerful race—a race that all who come in contact with must respect for its intellectual, its physical, and its great moral qualities. But still it was a conquering race in Ireland, and it was under the guns of that race that the Church as now established was first planted in that land, and by the soldiery and by the power of that race it is still maintained in its position in that kingdom. I think there will be no difficulty also in admitting that those details show that the Nonconforming Catholics in Ireland had their lands and their property confiscated; that they had their liberties annihilated; that they were denied education; that they were shut out from civil offices, from the army, from the navy, and from all professions; that they were not allowed in the municipal towns to become apprentices to trades; and that they were not allowed in the rural district to become leaseholders or proper farmers of land. Under such circumstances, the House would not be surprised—such being the manner in which that Church was established—such being the manner in which that Church was maintained—that 88 per cent of the population were discovered at the last census to be Nonconformists to that Church, and that the small remnant only of the population were in apparent conformity to the practices of the Establishment. Now, Sir, such was the Church—such is the Church as established by law in Ireland—and this House will have to determine very shortly—much more shortly, perhaps, than some hon. Members imagine—whether or not you will maintain that Church in its present position for the future. Sir, the greatest statesmen, the most brilliant orators of this nation, have described that Church as unjust, as unholy, and as altogether indefensible, because of the political persecution and the arbitrary power which was used for the purpose of planting and maintaining it. During the thirty-three years to which I have alluded the Irish people have been amused by a repetition of the utterances of those great men. They have been told from those Benches—not often from the Benches opposite—and in language which went home to their hearts, of the evils which that Church had inflicted; but, although told so in words, no real, no substantial, no practical effort was made from either Bench to put an end to the evils so well and forcibly described. Sir, it is not my intention to trespass at any length upon the patience of the House; but I hope it will permit me to repeat a few sentences which will briefly express and indicate what the opinions I have referred to are. Lord Brougham said of the Church that it was the foulest practical abuse that ever existed in any civilized country. Lord Grey spoke of it thus—"Nothing like them"—meaning the abuses arising from the establishment of that Church—"have ever been known in any country in the world." Sidney Smith, speaking of it, said— There is no abuse like it in all Europe, in all the discovered parts of Africa, in all we have heard of Timbuctoo. Lord Campbell, having reviewed its past career in Ireland, said that it was "one of the most mischievous institutions in the world." I will not multiply quotations. It would be unduly trespassing upon the indulgence you have granted me; but I may say that Lord Althorp, Hallam, the great constitutional historian; Macaulay, Burke, Plunket, Grattan, each of them have described in nearly similar, strong, and energetic language, the evils resulting to Ireland from that Church, and the unjust grounds upon which it was based and maintained. Some of these distinguished men whom I have named went for reform, others went for total abolition; but all of them admitted and declared that it was one of the chief grievances of Ireland imposed by this country, and a grievance which it was the paramount duty of the people of this country to remove. If, then, the leading statesmen of this country, if the men who held the highest offices and position in the State—if the men who were most respected and best recognised as the Leaders of the great Liberal party have uttered these opinions, and have sincerely held them, how does it come that this large, this grave, this most grave question—this most important and comprehensive question, connected with the Government of Ireland by England, is not taken up by one of the Leaders at one side or other of the House, but is left to us below the gangway to endeavour to drag from them some expression of opinion, and to get from the House some indication of the course which should be adopted in reference to it? Do the Leaders mean to intimate to us who sit below the gangway that we are to get up an agitation somewhat analagous to the angry agitation which carried Catholic Emancipation; or like that free trade agitation, whereby the removal of a tax on the people's food was practically carried by men who sat below the gangway before the doctrine was accepted on the Treasury Bench? I hope, Sir, that that is not the course which either party intend we should adopt. I hope it is not the course which is resolved on by Government now in power; I sincerely hope it is not the course resolved on by the leaders of the Opposition. I wish to say a word of warning to both parties, and it is in a kindly and friendly spirit I offer the warning. Although the rival leaders may be inactive, and continue to be inactive, there are those outside who are moving, and this question, I tell them, must be taken up and must be settled. Sir, I do not mean to indicate the details of a settlement or the mode in which the question can be best settled. That will be the duty of the House in Committee—it is certainly not the duty of a private Member. One thing, however, I will point out, and it is this:—That there is one basis which can alone be recognized as the basis of a settlement—namely, the principle of perfect religious equality between all sections of Her Majesty's subjects. A distinguished statesman now no more—the mention of whose name is certain to elicit an expression of deep regret at his loss—I mean Sir George Lewis—stated, in one of his most recently edited publications, that— No improvements in the material economy of the Established Church, in the distribution of its revenues, or the discipline of its clergy, tend to lessen the sense of grievance arising from this source; the objection is of principle, not of degree, and nothing short of perfect equality in the treatment of all religious sects will satisfy the persons whose discontentment springs from this source. The effect of the reference in question is that the whole body of the Roman Catholics in Ireland are more or less alienated from the Government, the author of their wrong, and filled with jealousy and ill-will towards the more favoured Protestants. I trust that that sentiment so well, so clearly, so reasonably, so inoffensively expressed by Sir George Lewis, will receive from all sides of the House the hearty approval which I was glad to hear it received on this. Sir, I alluded, in the earlier portion of my observations, to the fact that thirty-three years since an effort was made to do something towards reforming the Established Church and lessening the asperities which it produces in Ireland. That effort was made in 1834—at a time when there was great agitation in Ireland, and much anxiety in this House, as to the possible result of that agitation. At that period a compact was entered into between this House, the House of Lords, and the then reigning Sovereign. That compact was distinctly stated by the late Premier, then Lord John Russell, to be a compact between the three Estates, King, Lords, and Commons, that this great Irish grievance should at once be redressed. In pursuance of that compact efforts were made in this House, and made successfully so far as they went; the compact was remembered by those who entered into it, but remembered only for a very short time. Like the compact entered into by Pitt in 1800 to obtain emancipation for the Irish Catholics, it was feebly attempted to be carried out, and on the first appearance of difficulties was as feebly abandoned, and never since resumed. Well, what has been the result? Have we had peace in Ireland? Have we had prosperity? Have we had contentment? Do we not all know that since the period, when the carrying out of that compact was abandoned, we have had to encounter two revolutionary movements in Ireland, and at this moment we have all the paraphanalia of State trials in action there. We have the hangman's rope called into requisition; we have the headsman's axe about to be used, and a special presentation to Her Majesty—pursuant to solemn sentence—of four human quarters to be placed at Her disposal. Sir, these are the results. These are the consequences of neglect to carry out the compact entered into between the King, Lords, and Commons, for the immediate and perfect redress of the grievance of which the people of Ireland then and now complain. I have undertaken, Sir, not to enter into the details which the House generously allowed me to lay before them last Session; but I am anxious to place one or two points prominently before the House. The rule of re-organizing the Church of the people of the country is acted on in every portion of the Empire save Ireland alone. Scotland has an Established Church, but the Established Church there is Presbyterian—the church of the majority. England has an Established Church—the Episcopalian Protestant Church—the church of the majority. In Lower Canada the majority are Roman Catholic, and there the Catholic Church is fully recognised. In Malta, where Catholics are a majority, the Catholic Church is established. If you go to India, or any of your dependencies, you will find that Hindooism, Mahomedanism, every form of idolatry is recognised, while it is sought by law to trample out Catholicity in Ireland. In Ireland alone is the Church of the people ignored. The church of the rich is Established—a church for the rich paid for by the poor, who are left to pay for their own church as well. The Church Establishment in Ireland has been again and again called the church of the rich. It has been even boasted in this House that the Church in Ireland numbered among its members all the wealthy inhabitants of the country, and that it is maintained by them. I was reading a recently published book on the subject, in which this theory was referred to by a distinguished member of the judicial bench, the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, who so long and so honourably occupied a seat in this House, and whose absence we all deplore on such an occasion as this. It was stated by him—[Mr. BRIGHT: Who?]—Mr. Whiteside, that £400,000 of the tithes annually paid in Ireland was contributed by the Protestant landed aristocracy, and that only £30,000 of the tithes paid in Ireland was paid by the Roman Catholics, and that therefore the Catholics had no just cause of complaint. In the census of Ireland it was shown that there were 8,412 landowners in Ireland. In a book recently published it is computed that the number of landowners in Ireland who belong to the Established Church is 7,000; but I think a more careful analysis shows that that is not quite right, and probably the analysis made by the Rev. Mr. Hume, a Protestant clergyman in Liverpool, who has made a great reputation as a statistician, and has published a book on the subject of the statistics of the Established Church in Ireland, may be accepted as much nearer the truth. Mr. Hume sets down the number of Catholics at 42 per cent, which would represent 3,554 Roman Catholic landowners in Ireland, and 4,884 Protestant landowners in Ireland. I have taken those figures from Mr. Hume's book for the purpose of placing one fact prominently before the House. Nearly all the clergy of the Established Church are, directly or indirectly, connected with, and generally spring from, the owners of land in Ireland. It may be stated, as a matter of fact, that nearly all the clergy of the Established Church, with some very few exceptions, are the sons of landowners in Ireland, and that most of them are the sons of the landed gentry in Ireland. This gives a remarkable illustration of the position of the Church in Ireland in relation to the landed gentry in Ireland. Now, 4,884 landowners in Ireland of the Protestant persuasion represent so many heads of families; and if you divide the whole of the revenue of the Church by that number of 4,884, you will find that the Protestant landowners in Ireland have a direct special vested interest in the Church to the extent of £163 per landowning family per annum. The result of that state of things is that there is a most rigorous opposition on the part of the landed gentry in Ireland to this question being properly settled. It is even stated that many of the large properties of the landowning families in Ireland have been created out of the funds of the Church. Churchmen have first acquired considerable properties in the Church. Thus families have been founded, and then each family in return maintains the Church for those who are to come after them. I will not enter into that vicious circle. Any person who examines the condition of Ireland will see that this condition of affairs produces feelings and sympathies which mutually act and react upon one another. The landed gentry have £163 per head of each family as their direct personal interest in maintaining the Church; and it has been shown by statistics that all the leading Protestant ecclesiastics in Ireland have become founders of families; that they have been enriched and become opulent out of the funds diverted from a more numerous people, the Catholic people of Ireland, to the few Protestant ecclesiastics who are in the sole enjoyment of this wealth. Some difference of opinion exists with regard to the actual amount of revenue of the Church in Ireland. Some have set down £586,000, some £633,000, and others, again, £700,000, as the actual gross revenue. Now, all that money is absorbed by less than one-twelfth of the population. And what do we find as the result of this distribution of the public funds, of all the ecclesiastical funds of the nation being given to this small minority? They are not disposed to do one single thing for themselves. The very necessaries for the celebration of Divine service are paid for by the State to the extent of £6,700 a year. The clerks are paid for; the sextons who bury them are paid for; the organist is paid for; the organ blower is paid for; the tuner of the organ is paid for; the very fuel that is used to keep the Churches aired is paid for by the State; and the rich landowners who boast that they pay £400,000 per annum in tithes, whilst the Catholics pay only £30,000 per annum in tithes, will not supply themselves out of their private purses with even a brush to sweep their own churches and keep the cobwebs from accumulating in their pews. The items I have enumerated are all paid for, not by the worshippers in the several Churches, but by the distributors of the public fund, and the annual Report shows that the cost amounts to £36,146 a year. The social effects produced in Ireland by the ascendancy of the State Church are very disastrous in their influence on the Irish people. I have taken thirteen counties, three from the province of Ulster, three from the province of Munster, four from the province of Leinster, and three from the province of Connaught. These represent in the aggregate a Catholic population of 78.8 per cent, and the total Catholic population of Ireland is 77 per cent, thus showing how fairly the population of these thirteen counties represents the population of the entire island. What is the state of affairs with respect to the public offices in these thirteen counties? Why, that every single lord-lieutenant or governor of a county is a Protestant, and that not one is a Catholic. There are altogether 2,586 offices held in these counties by Protestants, whilst there are only 700 held by Catholics. There are not less than 1,402 magistrates who are Protestants, and only 306 Catholics. And whilst there are 221 deputy-lieutenants, there are only 43 who are Catholics. When, however, we turn to another class of the population—to men who acquire their positions by intellectual work—when we turn to the bar, we find their trammels being removed, that the Catholic members of the bar take the first places in common with their Protestant brother barristers. At this very moment the larger proportion of the Judges of Ireland are Catholics; and by a recent act of the Gentlemen sitting on the opposite side of the House they have converted the Court of Common Pleas into a court which is generally known in the Four Courts now as the Court of the Holy See, no Protestant having a seat on the bench of that court. The question will naturally arise, what is the nature and character of that proposition which I have to submit to the House? The Resolution which I propose is, that the House should go into Committee to consider the whole question of the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland, and the whole question of the privileges of that Church, without pledging the House, however, to any particular course—without pledging it to any particular mode of settling the question, but merely pledging the House to go into Committee for the purpose of considering the whole case. I feel that I should not be doing justice to the Resolution if I did not bring under the notice of the Members of this House—if they will kindly give me permission to do so, and I promise to do it briefly—some of the facts which indicate the state of Protestant opinion in Ireland on the subject. Within the last six months a very remarkable book has been published in Ireland by Messrs. Hodges and Smith, the publishers to the University of Dublin, That book contains five Essays; two written by one clergyman, and the other three by three other clergymen. The writers are all men of high position in Ireland, holding indeed a remarkable position in connection with the settlement of the question of the Irish Church. These gentlemen have prepared each an Essay—one of them have written two, as I said—all of which deal with the question of the necessity of some settlement being arrived at in reference to the present Church Establishment. The name of one of those gentlemen is familiar to all who take any interest in the Church question in Ireland, or who have publications which have been circulated in this country on the subject, for the purpose of persuading English Churchmen that the Irish Church question and the English Church question are one and the same. This rev. gentleman, the Rev. Dr. Lee, a rural dean of the diocese of Clogher, often does me the honour of making me the subject of comment in some of his publications; but I do not complain of that, though perhaps he has often given me just cause of complaint. He takes a deep interest in the Irish Church revenues; and was, because of his publications, recently put forward by the Church party as their candidate for a vacant bishopric. Scarcely a month passes that some remarkable publication on the subject from his pen is not issued; and with the permission of the House I will read eight or ten lines from his last publication, entitled The Irish Church; its Present Condition and Future Prospects:The Irish Church question cannot long remain in the position which it now occupies; neither is it desirable for the Church's sake that it should do so. It must be determined in one way or the other, and the settlement when it comes should, as far as possible, be final. Especially I would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to remark the following quotation:— It is most injurious to the interests of the community that such a fundamental question should be left in a state of uncertainty. It keeps agitation alive, while it distracts the attention and weakens the energy of the clergy. Here, then, we have the authority of one of the most remarkable, certainty the most prolific and self-support advocate of the Church Establishment in Ireland, for stating that it is to the detriment of the Church that this question should not be settled. He tells you that it is to the detriment of the Church that it should not be settled promptly and finally—settled so compre- hensively that there shall be no re-opening of it again; and he tells you also that the effect of leaving it unsettled, and keeping it in that condition, "distracts the attention" of the clergy, and "weakens their energies" for carrying on the natural and proper functions of their office as clergymen. Of a different character is another extract which I will read to the House from a venerable Dean of the Church Establishment in Ireland—I allude to the Rev. William Atkins, the Dean of Ferns. He deals very largely in his pamphlet with the whole question of the Church, and the necessity of having something done to get rid of its present anomalies, and those cases of scandal which, he says, arise from the agitation within and without this House, and here is his description of his own condition. He says— I am a Dean, therefore, without a Cathedral. I have no title either to the ruin of St. Aidan's Chapel or to the modern building at Ferns, and as to the duty of mine office, I was once summoned to a provincial synod, when I made my bow respectfully to my Metropolitan, but not a word was spoken, not a particle of business was transacted. Once also it happened during the three years that I have enjoyed this sinecure office that I was asked to attach the seal of the Dean and Chapter of Ferns to a deed that was valid as an act of council, I firmly believe, whether I put the seal to it or not. Such is the description by the Dean of Ferns of his own condition in the year 1866. One of the clergymen who published the Essays to which I have adverted wrote a small pamphlet, which he addressed to the Leader of the Opposition in this House. In that pamphlet he enters largely into the several modes which have been suggested for settling the Church question, and his suggestion is—I speak of the Dean of Clonfert, the very Rev. Dr. Byrne—that the State should give an endowment equivalent in amount to the endowment now enjoyed by the Church Establishment to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. His words are— But what would be the inequality if the Roman Catholic Priesthood were in the assured possession of an endowment equal to the Ecclesiastical income of the established clergy? For less could hardly be offered to them than the very modest sum to which this on an average amounts. I have thus placed before the House, I think clearly, the views of some of the leading minds in the Establishment, and of the leading clergymen who have directed their attention to the subject. I now ask permission to call the attention of the House to a still more remarkable publication—a publication by the Venerable Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, the Honourable and Right Rev. Dr. Knox. This publication is dated from the Palace at Holywood, Belfast, February 1867, and I will read a short extract from it to the House. The Bishop says— As I showed in my speech (referring to a speech which he made in the other House of Parliament), there were in the Irish Church 'anomalies calling for redress and endowments requiring re-adjustment.' I annex a synoptical table carefully prepared by the Venerable the Archdeacon of Connor, which to every unprejudiced mind will bear out the truth of my remarks, and I trust lead all the real friends of the Church to desire that those abuses should be redressed, the first step to which is full and accurate information from reliable sources, which I in part endeavoured to procure, but which a shortsighted policy, no doubt conscientiously, but in my judgment most unwisely, succeeded in preventing my obtaining. This table shows the extraordinary fact that there are in Ireland 114 parishes, being one-thirteenth of the whole parochial area of Ireland. Assuming each parish to be of the same extent, and that the total number of Church of England Protestants in these 114 parishes amounts upon the average to fourteen individuals per parish. [Mr. BRIGHT: That includes the parson, I suppose.] My valued friend says that that includes the families of the parsons, and we know that, generally speaking, they are not of the smallest. But it also includes the families of the clerks and of the sextons, and if we take the number of each family at five, I leave hon. Members to consider how many out of the fourteen there would be left if we deducted five for the incumbent, and five each for the other paid officials—the clerk and the sexton. Taking, however, the Bishop's own figures, the amount per head for each of these persons in these 114 parishes is £11 15s. 9d., and this is the sum paid by the State, giving a total of £58 18s. 9d. to each family in these 114 parishes of Ireland, including the three official families. But even this sum does not represent the real cost, it only represents the net average sum received by the incumbent, after making all deductions, and these deductions include whatever is paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, whatever is paid to the curate, and for occasional duty, and some other charges. Therefore, the absolute sum paid—the gross amount by the public for each of these parishes—is £290, and if we deduct the family of the incumbent who receives it, and of the clerk who is paid for saying "amen," there is actually £290 a year paid by the public for the one remaining family, which may be the sexton's family. In such a state of things as this I think the House will scarcely refuse to go into Committee on the subject. Some Members of this House have a strong objection to the voluntary principle. Irish Conservative Members think Protestantism would die out if left unsupported by the State; but I would ask these Gentlemen, who are acquainted with Ireland, is there not such a church in Dublin as the Bethesda Church? Is there not the Trinity Church; the church connected with the Magdalen Asylum; the church connected with the Molyneux Asylum; Harold's Cross Church; Sandford Church; and the Rev. Maurice Day's Church; and several others of the same class. These churches give accommodation to one-half of the Protestant population of Dublin, and all these churches are supported upon the purely voluntary principle, and these very churches have recently given three Bishops to the Protestant Establishment. One of the most remarkable illustrations of what might be effected by the voluntary system has been readily afforded by the manifest conduct of my respected Friend the hon. Baronet the representative of Dublin (Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness). He has recently expended no less a sum than £130,000 out of his private purse for the renovation of one of the ancient cathedrals of Dublin. We may not find many such men who are able to afford such munificence; but there are many men of moderate fortune who would be proportionably liberal if this House would consent to allow the Established Church to rely upon the voluntary efforts of those parties who receive the benefit of its instruction. I think there are abundance of means, and open and generous hearts to distribute those means in a suitable and proper manner. If the doctrines of the Church be true, its members ought to rely on their truth for this support. The hon. Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly), in a recent publication, has shown the sums expended within the last sixty years by the poorer Roman Catholic population of Ireland, and I find that they spent £3,061,000 upon 1,805 churches. They built 217 convents at a cost of £1,058,000. They gave to forty colleges and seminaries £308,000, and they built forty-four hospitals, asylums, and refuges for the poor, on which they expended £147,000, making in the aggregate a total sum expended of £4,575,000, all the produce of voluntary contributions. Those persons did not belong to the aristocracy or the landed gentry, but were of the poorer classes, and they gave this out of their means to the fabrics of their Church and its institutions in addition to supporting the clergymen of that Church in respectability and comfort. Why have not the rich—the aristocracy—the landed gentry equal faith in this Church, and equally liberal hearts to administer to its support instead of demanding that the Catholic public shall build their churches, pay their clerics, their sextons, and their grave-diggers, and even supply fuel to keep them aired? I feel that I have trespassed even longer than I intended upon the patience of the House. ["No, no!"] I have put the naked facts before hon. Gentlemen, and I ask on these facts to sanction the Resolution which I move. That Resolution is simply to go into Committee to consider the question. I do not ask the House to adopt the voluntary principle in which I am myself a firm believer, and my Resolution is one not in favour of a general endowment system. It does not ask for £1 per head for the Catholics as the equivalent of the sum now given to the Episcopalian Protestants. It simply asks that the House will redeem its pledge by settling the question on the basis of perfect equality. Let me ask, will the House endeavour to set itself right before England and Ireland upon this subject? Will it set itself right with the Protestant Bishop of Connor and Down? Will it set itself right with the eminent gentlemen whose pamphlets I have quoted? Will it go into Committee to examine the merits of this question, and upon that examination will it adopt one of these two principles? The great object this House ought to seek to attain is perfect equality between all sections of the community. I am in principle a voluntaryist as a member of the Church of England, but I do not ask this House to pledge itself to that principle. I only ask it to pledge itself to the principle that all parties shall be placed upon a system of perfect equality, no matter to what sect or religion they belong. I do not ask that there should be any ascendancy or any superiority. I only wish that Irishman may meet Irishman upon a platform of perfect equality. When in Committee, we can determine and settle whether we are to obtain equality by leveling up or by leveling down. In conclusion, I will only add my solemn assurance that until there is perfect and absolute equality in Ireland there never will be contentment, and there ought not to be peace in that country. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given notice.


in seconding the Motion, said, he believed it to be hopeless to expect from the House, as it was now constituted, what could be considered a settlement of the question, which was one which affected the welfare of Ireland and the security of the Empire. It was a question of such vast importance that it ought to be undertaken by the Executive Government, and not by a private Member, and until that was done it never would be properly settled. It was the existence of this grievance and others that gave discontented agitators their influence over the people of Ireland, and if it were not for them their agitation would be without effect. For his part, he must say that the Established Church in Ireland was the most anomalous and the most unjust in the world. It was universally condemned on the Continent. Nothing like it ever existed in any other country, and certainly never would. He did not object to Protestant ascendancy in particular, but he objected to any ascendancy of a small number over an overwhelming majority of a nation. In Ireland the Established Church was the religion of a small minority, while the large majority were treated as a sect, forgetting it was the nation. And under such circumstances it ought not to be matter of surprise that permanent dissatisfaction and discontent existed in Ireland. They did not treat England and Scotland in the same manner; yet when they treated Ireland in a totally different manner from England and Scotland, they professed surprise at finding a totally different result. Let them treat Ireland as they treated England and Scotland, and they would find the people of Ireland as loyal and as desirous to uphold the laws of the country as the people of England and Scotland. When the laws were unjust the people would not respect or support them; make the law just, and the people would be on the side of the law. He did not attend public meetings in Ireland on the subject—he did not agitate; but as a magistrate he endeavoured to uphold the law. In that House, however, he felt it to be his duty to express his opinion. It was often said that the land in Ireland for the most part, belonged to Protestants; and therefore that it was right that the Established Church should be Protestant. But supposing the upper classes of this country were to become Roman Catholic, and to pass a law making the Romish Church the Established Church, what would the bulk of the nation say? Yet this would be in England precisely the position of the people in Ireland at present. In Ireland the landlords had churches and ministers provided by the State, they went into your parish church and there they would find a few of your neighbours; but just over the way was another church filled by their servants, and tradesmen, and labourers, who had to build for themselves and pay their minister. In point of fact, the ecclesiastical revenues, intended for the benefit of all, were appropriated to the exclusive advantage of the small minority, and the injustice was apparent to all. He could scarcely trust himself to speak on the subject. Such a state of things was intolerable; and as a Protestant of the Church of England living in Ireland, he felt bound to protest in the strongest manner against the continuance of this gross injustice. He agreed with his hon. Friend (Sir John Gray) that there never would be peace in Ireland —he believed there never would be security for the Empire in time of danger— while this abominable and monstrous injustice existed. He believed in the Protestant religion, and did not wish to see it placed in a false position. He would neither say nor do anything against the Established Church of England in England; but he did think that the maintenance of the branch of the Church of England, as it was called in Ireland, was most injurious to the Church of England herself, and a greater mistake could not be made than to endeavour to identify the interests of the Established Church of England with the interests of the Established Church in Ireland, and those who wished well for the Establishment here would do well not to present her in so unamiable, unjust, and injurious a light. Of late years there had been a great increase of taxation, and Ireland was told that she would be taxed equally with England and Scotland. But along with equality of burdens there should be an equality of privileges and an equality of rights. They began with imposing an equality of burdens on a poor country like Ireland, weighed down by a variety of circumstances owing to English legislation in former times; but the equality of rights and privileges remained un-granted. Some remarkable words were uttered last year by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone). He said— There are many questions in regard to which in England, in Scotland, and in Ireland, the interests of England, or Scotland, or Ireland, predominate over those which are common. These are the questions which, when they relate to Ireland, I apprehend we ought to call Irish questions, and with respect to all questions that fall under that category we ought to apply the same principles on which we act in the other countries, not making the opinion of one country govern and rule the opinion of the others; but dealing with the subjects and interests of each as nearly as we can in accordance with the views and sentiments of the natives of that country. These were words which ought never to be lost sight of; and he believed that if the House would look upon this question, which was an Irish question, and regard it as the Irish did, and as the Scotch also looked at the question of an Established Church—if the House would only do that for Ireland which had been done for Scotland with such good results; — if they would only do that for Ireland which had been done for England, there would be peace, and contentment, and loyalty in Ireland. There was not a more generous people on the face of the earth. It was said they were difficult to manage; but human nature was pretty much the same all over the world. If men were ill-treated they would turn again; if well-treated, and if they had more confidence, they would in return give their sympathy and support. Then it was said, "It is all very well to say the Established Church is an injustice and ought to be abolished; but in what way are you going to do it?" To this he replied, "It is not the place of an independent Member to produce a remedy for an injustice." The remedy must come from the Executive Government. It was sufficient for Members to place a grievance before Parliament, and to show its injustice and the wrong it inflicted on the people and the Empire at large. It was quite out of the question for an individual Member to produce the remedy, and he should not attempt the task, although he had his own ideas on the subject. He did not think that in this unreformed Parliament anything could be done with this Irish Church question. He supposed the House would be told that the Reform Bill would oc- cupy too much of the time to permit this; but he rose to second the Resolution from the feeling that in so doing he was discharging a duty to the House, to his constituents, and to himself, in expressing the strong feeling which he entertained on the question.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House will, on Wednesday the 29th day of this instant May, resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Temporalities and Privileges of the Established Church in Ireland."—(Sir John Gray.)


in rising to move the Previous Question, said, that if any justification was required to his taking that course it was furnished by the statement of the hon. Member for Kilkenny. He had just complained to the House that he found it impossible to persuade any of the great statesmen on either side of the House to take up this question. Doubtless, they were fully convinced of the difficulties which surrounded the subject; and he would himself congratulate the hon. Member upon the changed tone in which he had this year brought forward the question. He had discovered that it was of no avail to make use of exaggerated statements to that House, but that the truth and real facts would make their way, and the case of the Irish Church would raise impartial consideration in the country. He (Sir Frederick Heygate) would remind the House that the right hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) and the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had last year stated that the Church of Ireland was not a new institution, but one that had existed for ages. He would add, that it was one intimately connected with the property and education of the country, and that if it had some anomalies they had been pretty closely scrutinized, and the Church itself had been subjected to the severest test of criticism. He did not stand up to defend anomalies; on the contrary, he believed that no one connected with that Church would object to a fair and impartial examination of the Church's position, if conducted by a Royal Commission, or by a competent tribunal, with a view to the correction of abuses and anomalies, and without having come to a foregone conclusion. He had himself paid a great deal of attention to this subject; and, upon examination, he found that the anomalies were much less than they were supposed, and admitted of an easy correc- tion. However, considering the position of public business, that the House was engaged altering the Constitution of the country by a Reform Bill, that Ireland had hardly escaped from the throes of a rebellion, this was surely not the time when so serious a subject could be properly undertaken by the House. It should not be forgotten that in all the disloyalty that had prevailed during the last two years not one member of the Church of Ireland had been even suspected; but they formed, together with all that was respectable in property and education of the other religious denominations, that loyal class which constituted the real strength of the country. The hon. Member for Kilkenny addressed his Motion to the "temporalities and privileges" of the Church. With regard to the first, he had no objection to inquiry at the proper time; but as to the second, he could not comprehend what was intended by the word. He had also heard a great deal of Protestant ascendancy; but, though he had lived in Ireland fifteen years, he could not discover the signs of this obnoxious ascendancy. He observed Irishmen of all creeds exercising their religion with perfect freedom, possessed of equal civil and religious liberty, and the Roman Catholics were certainly on the Bench and in the Senate admitted to a fair share of those honours to which their ability and position at the bar and in the country entitled them. He rejoiced himself to see ability rewarded, without regard to religious distinction, and he had even himself endeavoured to act with perfect justice and impartiality to every religious denomination. But surely the House had enough on its hands at the present time; he observed no less than eight Bills before them, connected with religious and educational subjects, which surely ought to satisfy the hon. Member that the interests of Ireland were not neglected in that House. He had come to the question in which he totally disagreed with the hon. and gallant Member for Longford—namely, the necessity on the part of those who proposed to abolish the Church of being prepared with a scheme for the employment of its funds. He maintained that those who wished to tear up by the roots an institution that had lasted for ages were bound to provide a remedy. What, then, was to be done with the Church property? It would hardly be proposed to apply it to education, which was provided for al- ready out of Ireland's share of the Consolidated Fund; and, besides, there would arise at once questions and difficulties of a religious nature to this course. The landlords had no right or wish for it, and he had been always informed that Roman Catholics would be the last to desire to appropriate it. No one would propose to apply the funds of the Church to paying off the National Debt or to a purely secular purpose. What, then, was to be done with them? And this question must be answered before the House went further in this matter. He (Sir Frederick Heygate) did not intend to argue the matter upon the ground of the right of the Church to its property, although he held these rights to be undoubted, but rather upon these practical grounds upon which he thought this question would be ultimately decided. The title of the Church to its property had been so often and so exhaustively proved by the distinguished Member (Mr. Whiteside), now Chief Justice, and as his arguments remained in the pages of Hansard, he need not call them to the memory of the House. It had been said that the Church of Ireland was the Church of the minority, and should therefore cease to be the Established Church of the country. He repudiated such an argument, which, besides ignoring the existence of truth, was inconsistent with what prevailed in this country. In Wales, for example, the Dissenters outnumbered the Church; in Scotland he believed the Free Church was in excess of the Establishment; and in England itself, although the Church was far in excess of any other religious denomination, still it was stated that it was not a large majority of the whole population. He was especially astonished at the quotation given by the hon. and gallant Member for Longford from a speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire to the effect that, in matters of religious endowment, "regard ought to be had to the wishes of the natives of the country." This was a most remarkable argument, and in India would simply lead to the endowment of "Hindooism." The hon. and gallant Member for Longford had stated that he urged the Motion because he believed its adoption would tend to the promotion of religious peace in Ireland. Such a result might, or might not, be desirable; but he thought the abolition of the Established Church would be more likely to lead to renewed efforts at pro- selytism, and that funds would publicly be collected in England and Scotland for the purpose of religious discussion. Religious equality was the favourite remedy proposed, but he would ask how far that was ever likely to be practised in Ireland; and in England the great object of the opponents of the Church really was the abolition of all religious endowments whatever. It was a mistake to imagine that the disturbances which had recently occurred in Ireland had for their origin religious grievances. It had been over and over again stated authoritatively that the Fenian movement had no connection with religion, and that the Fenians themselves, as a body, were dead to all religious considerations. He did not think it necessary to say anything in favour of the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland, because the fact that they had been subjected to so much abuse in that House, and that they had passed through the most searching inquiries without suffering from the ordeal, was testimony sufficient. There could be no doubt that, to the Irish themselves, the services of a body of men who resided among them—men of high motives and pure lives, who distributed their kindness and charity without attending to religious distinction—were of great value. In fact, the grievance was, he believed, one of purely English manufacture. He heard nothing about it in Ireland; but directly he came to England he was told that the Established Church in Ireland must be abolished. He warned the House that the destruction of the Irish Church, far from promoting peace and prosperity, would simply stir up religious strife and convert the whole country into a hot-bed of polemical discussion. In the place of existing institutions the hon. Member for Kilkenny urged the adoption of the voluntary system; but, although that system might be very valuable in large towns, it would, he thought, be found almost worthless in poor and remote country districts, where neither religion nor education was much regarded by the people. He believed that the Established Church of Ireland was one in which few abuses of a serious nature existed; that when those abuses could be detected they were capable of correction if inquired into in a calm and deliberate spirit—an object which he believed would in no way be thwarted by interested or private motives on the part of those concerned.

Whereupon Previous Question proposed, "That that Question be now put."—(Sir Frederick Heygate.)


rose to second the Amendment. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had moved for a Committee of the Whole House to consider not only the temporalities but the privileges of the Irish Church, without stating what he assumed those privileges to be. He (Mr. Vance) considered that the undoubted privilege of the clergy was to inherit the property consecrated to their use, and to teach the pure doctrines of the Reformation in churches open to the rich and the poor of all denominations. The privilege of the laity is to hear those doctrines taught by educated and accomplished gentlemen who are enacted to do their duty independent of all prejudice or clamour. The proposition of the hon. Member for Kilkenny somewhat resembled one brought forward by Lord John Russell, who, in 1835, proposed that £200,000 of the property of the Established Church in Ireland should be allocated to purposes of education. The assumption on which this proposal was founded was incorrect, and the revenues of that Church had been largely over-estimated. Its gross income amounted to £586,000, and its net revenue £448,000—not more than was now received by a single nobleman in this country—and there were deductions which brought it down to a still lower sum. But at that time there were grave causes of discontent, which no longer existed. The tithes were collected in kind, and the Church Temporalities Act had only been passed a year or two—not long enough to allow of its coming satisfactorily into operation. But the case was at present entirely different. He should be glad to know what portion of the Church property the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) proposed to confiscate. Did he propose to confiscate the glebe lands of Ulster—lands which had been devoted to Protestant purposes from the time when the plantation of the country was undertaken? Did he claim the Church lands? They were altogether out of the hon. Member's reach. The lands of the Church are not in the same condition they were at the time of Lord Russell's Motion. Four-fifths had been sold under the Church Temporalities Act; but did he wish to seize upon the tithes? They no longer existed — they had been commuted into the tithe rent-charge which amounted to £300,000, of which £260,000 was paid to the Church by Protestant landlords, and the lay impropriators had all the rest. He presumed the hon. Member did not intend to confiscate the property of the lay impropriators; and the property of the Church was not excessive; it amounted to no more than £250 a year for each benefice. But what had they on the other side? They had £30,000 for Maynooth now that their population was but 5,000,000, while the Irish Parliament gave them only £6,000, when the population of Ireland was 8,000,000; and they had almost exclusive use of the grant of £300,000 for education; of £240,000 of it they certainly had the use. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) had said he would not go into the question of right; but the question of right was the strongest part of the case of the friends of the Irish Establishment. It was an essential and fundamental part of the Articles of Union that the English and Irish Church should be one and indivisible; and Pitt recommended the Union for this among other reasons—that it would strengthen the Church of both countries. Lord Plunket, who was selected by the Roman Catholics to obtain emancipation for them, had said that if their prayers were granted he would give an undertaking that the property of the Irish Church would never be assailed; he had also said— The Protestant Establishment is the cement of the Union; if it were destroyed, the foundation of public security would be shaken, the connection between England and Ireland destroyed, and the annihilation of private property must follow the ruin of the property of the Church. This he believed, and he could assure English Members that if they allowed the Irish Church to be attacked, they would find that the outworks of their own was undermined, and that the citadel would very soon have to surrender. The Church holds its property as a corporation; its title to that property is indefeasible. Once this House makes any inroad on the rights of corporate property, which is held by so sacred a tenure, private property is no longer safe; and all the security that attaches to its possession is scattered to the winds. A good deal had been said of a re-arrangement of the property of the Church among itself; but he desired to urge the importance of proceeding in such an undertaking with the utmost caution, for it was one that required much more delicate handling than appeared at the first. Even in those districts where the Roman Catholics are many and the Protestants few it would be a most dangerous experiment to remove the beneficed clergyman; his utility is not altogether measured by his sacred functions. The absence of the gentry in Ireland for at least a great portion of the year renders the presence of a highly-educated gentleman, whose conduct must be unimpeachable, of the highest value. He and his family attract the gentry back to their homes. Having then a common interest and common tastes it would be impossible to fill the void which his absence would create. He could quote many living authorities to illustrate these arguments, but he would only trouble the House with a quotation from a speech delivered by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire on Lord John Russell's Motion in 1835. ["Oh, oh!"] He admitted that it was a long time ago; but the right hon. Gentleman was Member for the University of Oxford at the time, and he presumed he held the same opinions as that he would quote until 1865, when he ceased to represent the University. The right hon. Gentleman said— He thought Church property was as sacred as private property, but between private property and Church property he saw a difference. He should say, that the former were sacred in persons, and the latter to purposes.…. Until the legislative union should be dissolved, until the representatives of the Catholics constituted the majority in that House, he, for one, should raise his humble voice as a Protestant against the principle involved in the Motion before the House."—[3 Hansard, cxxvii. 507.] It was to be hoped that the House would hear, not the right hon. Gentleman's humble, but his powerful voice, raised against the Motion of to-night. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) had rightly said that Fenianism and the Church question had nothing to do with each other; and an unhappy Fenian prisoner had stated the other day that as long as the British flag covered an inch of Irish ground, so long would the people continue to conspire and rebel. If this, then, were the acknowledged opinion of the Fenians, he asked how was it possible to suppress the Fenian or any other rebellion by such an act of injustice as transferring the possessions of the Church from one party to the other? He believed the Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny aimed at nothing but a transfer of the temporalities of the Established Church to the Church of Rome, which was perfectly ready and prepared to receive them. It has its bishops, its deans, its cathedrals, and its whole Ecclesiastical staff exactly prepared for taking the place of the Protestant Church. It was on a piece with the object of every Tenant Right Bill—that of confiscation — for, however speciously disguised, they all arrived at the transfer of property from the landlord to the tenant. He therefore warned the House that if it trifled with the rights of property it would lose the fidelity of the wealth and intelligence of the country; and if it tampered with the Established Church it would forfeit the allegiance of the most loyal subjects in Ireland. He seconded the Motion for the Previous Question.


I feel a difficulty, Sir, in supporting the Motion which has been brought forward by the hon. Member for Kilkenny—not in the slightest degree because I question the soundness of the main proposition which he has urged, but because, perhaps—like the hon. Member who moved it, and certainly like my hon. Friend who seconded it—I question whether the time has come when a practical plan upon this subject can with advantage be submitted to Parliament; and individually I feel that were I to vote for going into a Committee of this House for the purpose of considering the temporalities of the Irish Church, I should hold myself bound to be prepared, in giving that vote, to submit a practical mode of dealing with it in that Committee. I therefore am not sorry that the mode has been offered to us by the Motion of the hon. Member opposite (Sir Frederick Heygate) which, without in any degree questioning the general proposition that the subject of the Irish Church might fitly be considered in Committee, relieves us from the necessity of confirming a proposition that would excite hopes and expectations which I fear we should not be able to fulfil. It certainly would not be satisfactory to me—it would hardly be satisfactory to the character and credit of this House—that we should exhibit to the country the prospect of legislative action on this subject until, in our minds, we are convinced that the time for legislative action has arrived. It is with reluctance that I arrive at this conclusion because my opinions are in conformity, to a great extent, with those of my hon. Friend (Sir John Gray); and I may say, with respect to the speech of my hon. Friend who seconded the Motion, that, with the exception of one, or perhaps two epithets that I heard in one portion of that speech—and which I must be permitted to designate as florid epithets—I should be prepared, I think, to subscribe to every word he uttered. And I must say after listening to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Vance), that it would convince me, if materials for conviction were wanted, of the justice of the sentiments of my hon. Friend. What are the arguments the hon. Gentleman has made use of? The issue between him and me is a real one, because the speech that he has made is not one applicable merely to the question whether we should now proceed to legislate on this matter or not. The hon. Gentleman, with perfect consistency, and in a manner perfectly creditable to himself, takes his ground upon principles of the highest and most permanent character. And he flings in our face the threat that if we venture at any time to entertain the question with respect to the temporalities of the Church in Ireland we tamper with the Union, we lose the loyal attachment of the well-behaved persons in Ireland—which he says are dependent on the maintenance of this system — we assail the foundations of private property, we throw away the Established Church in this country along with that of Ireland. In point of fact, we become the precursors and harbingers of revolution. That is a very good speech not in favour of the Previous Question alone—it would be just as good a speech in the year 1967 as in the present year, if the question should remain unsettled until then — which God forbid. But now, are these general menaces—is what I must call this vague and wild declamation—to be treated as an argument bearing on this subject? No, it does not contain the elements of argument; it is that kind of threat which in the worst and most threadbare case, as sometimes in the very best case, is capable of being launched against your antagonists. As to the facility with which, in the worst case, it can be used, the hon. Gentleman to-night has given us an example. He quotes the engagement given by Lord Plunket that the Roman Catholics would respect the property of the Church in Ireland. Well, I think, on the whole, they have respected it, and with very great patience. The course they have pursued for between forty and fifty years, speaking of them as a body, has been a course eminently moderate. But, at any rate, I am not bound by the engagements of Lord Plunket. I say to Members of this House, and not to Irish Members alone, that we have something to consider besides the particular wishes they entertain; and the feelings and convictions I entertain myself as a member of the English Church impel me in the very direction they wish to move—and that, as a Member of this House, and as a member of the English Church, I refuse to give my countenance to that strange, anomalous, and most injurious state of things which prevails in Ireland. I hold myself free to enter on the consideration of this question; and the only doubt and scruple I entertain is that I think mischief might be done by a premature attempt at legislation. Therefore I dismiss the engagements of Lord Plunket. But what else does the hon. Gentleman say? He says that the Church Establishments are open to the people of other denominations as well; and the hon. Gentleman positively offers that remark to the Roman Catholic Members of this House as a topic of consolation. Allow me to turn the tables. Suppose that the result takes place which he, I think most incorrectly, predicts — namely, a similarly exclusive endowment of the Roman Catholic Church. Let me suppose that result achieved, and the Roman Catholic Church in possession of the ecclesiastical property of the nation; what would he think if, when he was bringing forward some complaint upon the matter, one of my Roman Catholic Friends were to get up and tender to him this answer—"The Roman Catholic Churches are perfectly open to you and every other Protestant whenever you may wish to go into them?" Nothing could be more ridiculous or preposterous than such an argument. I am sure not one of those Gentlemen could be found to advance any such proposition. I ought almost to apologize for having supposed it possible that one of them could have used such an argument. But that is the very topic on which the hon. Gentleman dwells, and he pleads the fact that these Protestant Churches are open to the Roman Catholic community as a reason and justification for the exclusive possession of Church property by the Protestant clergy. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that the amount of the Church revenues is only £448,000 a year; and what is that? why, it is only the income of a single nobleman. The hon. Gentleman flies very high—his acquaintance probably lies among the most opulent members of the community. I do not know whether he said this £448,000 was the average income of the Members of the House of Lords. [Mr. VANCE: No; I said of one Peer.] I am glad I was cautious enough to make the inquiry. It was not, it seems, the average, but only the occasional income of Members of the Upper House. But that was his only comment on the £448,000 which the hon. Gentleman insists on withholding from the mass of the poorer population of Ireland. How different are the measures not only of justice but of arithmetic, which he applies to a different portion of the community! When he spoke of £448,000 as the endowment of the Protestant Church, he could see nothing but the contemptible insignificance of such a sum. But when he came to deal with the provision made for the millions of the Roman Catholic community in Ireland, he said, "Oh, don't be discontented—see what you have got—£30,000 a year! Formerly it was only £6,000, but it has been raised to £30,000 and continued at that amount, although the population have fallen off from 8,000,000 to 5,000,000. You have still been left in unrestricted enjoyment of this magnificent provision." Such are the spectacles—I was about to say such the microscope and such the magnifying glass—which the hon. Gentleman alternately uses according to the figures at which for the moment he is looking, making things look small where Protestant interests are affected, large where they relate to the Roman Catholics. Again, he says that they have the almost exclusive use of the education grant. Have they? Is it distributed according to their will? Are the ecclesiastical authorities of the Roman Catholic Church so well satisfied with the conditions on which the grant is given? Does it not happen from year to year that Roman Catholic Members come to this House and call for alterations in the conditions under which the system is administered? To be sure it does. And who opposes them? Why, the hon. Gentleman himself, who is found disputing continually—I do not say disputing unjustly—the application of educational grants to purely Roman Catholic purposes, and asserting constantly that the educational grant is not given to Roman Catholics as members of a particular religion, but to the whole country. But the hon. Member, although he thus claims the right continually to interfere with the conditions upon which this grant is given, now comes forward and asserts that Roman Catholics have the exclusive enjoyment of the education grant. Again, the hon. Member asserts that by the instrumentality of the Irish Church you have in every parish throughout the country a highly-educated gentleman, and he insists upon the importance of that circumstance. I hope that not one word I have ever said in this or any other debate has been capable, or will be capable, of being construed to imply insensibility on my part to the zeal, eloquence, or admirable conduct of the Irish clergy. I have always found Gentlemen on this side of the House willing to pay them every possible respect and consideration, and therefore I do not object to the hon. Gentleman's description of them as highly-educated gentlemen. I think it is a very great advantage to have those highly-educated gentlemen liberally sown and sprinkled about Ireland, or England, or any other country. But it is a totally new view of the matter when we are told that in order to get these highly-educated gentlemen, and to scatter and sprinkle them about the country, we are to endow them from funds which, for the benefit of the mass of the community, ought to be applied in another direction. The class of highly-educated gentlemen should subsist on their own means and not on means supplied by the public from sources which are not legitimate. Then I come to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved the Previous Question (Sir Frederick Heygate)—a speech delivered in the temperate manner in which we should all wish to see this question discussed. But what does the hon. Member say? He began by stating that he could not perceive in Ireland any real remains of the system of ascendancy. But he went on to say that during the present Session eight Bills had been introduced into this House for affecting divers important changes in the law, most of them supported from this side of the House, few of them receiving any countenance from the Government, but all of them, I should have thought, bearing testimony to the fact that in one shape or other some remnants of ascendancy do really exist. Because what are these Bills? They are not Bills for establishing any superiority on behalf of Roman Catholics; they are Bills for redressing or cancelling inequalities affect- ing Roman Catholics. And yet the same Gentleman says he can perceive no remains of ascendancy.


I stated that those Bills were brought in to remove any traces yet remaining.


At any rate, it is clear that traces sufficient to afford materials for eight Bills do remain. And as the question of the Established Church is not included in any of those eight Bills, we might carry our researches still further. Then the hon. Gentleman says—and his remarks were cheered—"Don't suppose that by altering the present ecclesiastical arrangement in Ireland, so far as the temporalities are concerned, you are about to secure religious peace. On the contrary, you will have more religious strife than ever." That threat is very often used in these discussions; but what is the meaning of it? It seems to me to mean this. There are at present a large body in Ireland who have not obtained equality, and, because they have not, there is an absence or a partial absence of religious peace; but there is another party in Ireland who have got more than equality — who have got advantages and privileges—and if they are put on an equality they will protest against it and make more disturbance because they are to have equal treatment with their neighbours than is made by those who have not now got that equal treatment. I must be permitted to doubt that there are such a party. I do not believe that equality of treatment has that effect—at any rate after the momentary excitement has subsided. I think there is a natural sense of justice in communities and classes which, even though they may feel sore at the instant, induces a party who have been in possession of undue privileges to acquiesce in a system of equality of treatment. Consequently, I am not moved by the threat of the hon. Gentleman as to the increase of religious strife in Ireland. Then the hon. Gentleman said, "Don't leave the Established Church in Ireland to the voluntary system. It may do very well for the towns, but it won't do for the country." But the hon. Gentleman forgets that at present we apply the voluntary system to the Roman Catholics of the towns and the Roman Catholics of the country also. I want to know whether the Roman Catholics of the country are so extremely rich and the Protestants of the country so extremely poor that a State endowment is necessary for the Protestants who cannot bear a burden which is now borne by the multitudes of Roman Catholics who are dependent upon the sweat of their brow for their living? There was another menace which the hon. Gentleman launched, and which I think was a singular one. I presume it was directed more against hon. Gentlemen connected with the Roman Catholic Church than against us who are members of the Established Church. He said, "Beware of doing away with the present state of things, because, if yon do, there will be more Protestant proselytism. There will be more religious zeal and a more active movement from the Protestant side against the Roman Catholic." I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman succeeded in carrying into the minds of Roman Catholic Gentlemen that terror which he intended to produce—at all events, that threat can have no effect of the kind on me; and in what I am about to say, if I alarm my hon. Friends, I at least hope I shall not offend them. I am going to challenge the hon. Gentleman. He said that the true ground for maintaining the Established Church in Ireland was its truth; but if it ought to be maintained because it teaches the truth, how is it possible that he can demand our vote in favour of his Amendment on the ground that if we remove the Establishment the truth will spread more rapidly? I leave to the recollection of the House whether the hon. Gentleman did not make the two statements. I am guilty of no exaggeration. It might not have been in the same sentence he used the two arguments. The hon. Gentleman might not have considered the bearing of his speech as a whole, and there were perhaps a few sentences between the two statements to which I am referring; but bring his two arguments together, and when you have them in juxtaposition you find this—that the Established Church ought to be maintained because it teaches the truth, but if we do away with it there will be more of religious aggression against those not in possession of the truth. Again, I think I understand the hon. Gentleman rightly when I understand him to say this—that he is not prepared to withdraw the property of the Established Church, but he is prepared to grant a full and searching inquiry, with the view of doing away with certain anomalies which may be found to exist in regard to the distribution of the revenues of the Establishment. Now, from his point of view, that proposition appears to me to be sound. He thinks we might re-distribute the Church property and take tithes from Connaught for the purpose of applying them to Dublin and Belfast. He would do this to enable the clergy in the latter places, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) says, to put fuel in the churches to keep them warm, while the people of Connaught have to find fuel for the Roman Catholic churches in that province by the sweat of their brow. My hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny said that the State was finding fuel for the Protestant churches in Ireland. Sir, I am afraid the State is not only finding fuel for the Establishment, but feeding a great many other flames. But, generally speaking, re-distribution and re-adjustment are what are promised by the hon. Gentleman as resulting from a searching inquiry. If his bases were right—if his bases were sound—nothing in the world could be more satisfactory. If the circumstances of Ireland were such as the hon. Gentleman and I might wish—if the people of that country shared in our religious convictions, nothing could be more proper than that those anomalies to which he refers should be removed; though, perhaps, under such circumstances, those anomalies would not be found to exist; but, unsatisfactory as those anomalies are, they are anomalies of detail. My hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny has stated that there are 114 parishes in which the spiritual provision for each family is £58 a year. That is an anomaly of detail; but, suppose those anomalies to be removed, there would yet remain one great and vast monopoly—the monopoly of principle would remain, and the more you remove and mitigate those anomalies of detail the more offensive in the minds of the Irish people would be that monopoly of principle. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Previous Question intimated that in those cases of the rural districts to which my hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny referred some of the revenues of the Establishment might be taken for the use of other places; but on that point he is entirely in conflict with the hon. Gentleman who seconded his Amendment, because the latter hon. Member told us of the enormous advantage to the country of scattering those educated gentlemen all over Ireland. The real question is whether the existence of the Irish Church as an establishment in exclusive possession of Church property, supposing every anomaly and detail to be removed, is tenable and defensible. Now, what are the grounds on which a Church Establishment may be maintained? I think there are three such grounds. In other days, when other views of social and political subjects prevailed, the Established Church in Ireland was maintained on the ground of truth. That is one ground on which an Established Church may be maintained; but if you maintain the Established Church in Ireland on the ground of truth, you cannot at the same time maintain and educate a priesthood who teach the people that the truth is not to be found in that Church. You cannot, then, maintain the Established Church in Ireland on the ground of truth. What are the other grounds? You may maintain an Established Church if it is the church of the bulk of the population. And here I must say that I feel very little obliged to the hon. Gentleman who moved the Previous Question. In his zeal for the Irish Church I think he said the great majority of the people of this country do not belong to the Established Church. Now, I am ready to break a lance with him on that point. I believe that the majority of the population of this country are members of the Established Church, and I am prepared to join issue with the hon. Gentleman. But let me say that while I wholly and entirely believe that the question of the Established Church of England cannot be drawn into the arena of conflict in debating the question of the Established Church in Ireland, I must state my conviction that we must deal with the Irish Church, not on the principles of political expediency, but on the broad principles of civil right and justice. We must recognise these, let the conclusion which is involved in our doing so be whatever it may. But there is a third ground. Even if a Church were not the Church of the mass of the people, you might perhaps maintain, it, if it were the Church of the mass of the poorer portion of the population. Is that the case in Ireland? No; there the religion of the Established Church is the religion of the few. You cannot, therefore, maintain the Established Church in Ireland on the ground of truth—on the ground that it is the Church of the mass of the population—or on the ground that it is the Church of the mass of the poorer portion of the population. That being the case, is it really to be supposed that the Irish people will bow to such a principle as now unhappily subsists in our policy towards that country in this respect? The Irish people have shown great patience in tolerating its existence for so many years. I put this question — Would we tolerate it ourselves? For instance, would the Scotch Members in this House tolerate the endowment of the Episcopal Church in Scotland in the way the Established Church prevails in Ireland? I have long resided in Scotland, and was in communion with the Episcopal Church in that country; and, being interested in its fortunes, I should be one of the first to resist any movement in that direction—supposing it to be possible that any one should attempt it. I repeat that neither Englishmen nor Scotchmen would tolerate in their respective countries such a state of things as exists in Ireland. Let us therefore give to Irishmen their due, and let us deal to them the same measure which we require to be meted out for ourselves. If we look to Irishmen for the same allegiance, if we call upon the community of Ireland to support and sustain us in applying restrictive measures to the disaffected, as the hon. Member for Longford (Colonel Greville-Nugent) has well said, and if we ask Ireland, as I have asked Ireland upon more than one occasion, to bear her full share in the burdens of the country, do not let us forget that reciprocity is the essence of justice itself. On the contrary, let us admit that the Irish themselves, if they wish to claim and establish a plenitude of brotherhood with the people of England and Scotland, must establish that claim by pursuing the same conduct and the same course in regard to questions of Irish policy as the people of England and Scotland pursue in matters of English and Scotch policy, and by being determined to be satisfied with nothing short of a just, a fair, and an equal application of the same principle. I think the hon. Member for Longford is correct in his anticipation that the time is not far distant when the Parliament of England, which at present undoubtedly had its hands full of other most important business and engagements, would feel it its duty to look this question fairly and fully in the face; and I confess that I am sanguine enough to cherish a hope that, though not without difficulty, a satisfactory result will be arrived at, the consequences of which will be so happy and pleasant for us all that we shall wonder at the folly which has so long prevented it being brought about.


said, the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had complimented the hon. Member who brought this question forward (Sir John Gray) on the moderation of his language. He regretted that he was not able to offer the hon. Gentleman the same compliments, because a speech more full of the Socialist and Communist element he had never listened to, and it was with the greatest astonishment he had listened to the compliments which were paid to it by the right hon. Gentleman. It was with the greatest astonishment that he had listened to such sentiments in that House. But he thought that when Gentlemen came to analyze the speech of the right hon. Gentleman himself, they would see that every argument which he had brought forward for the spoliation of the Established Church in Ireland applied equally to the confiscation of private property. It was an odd argument to say that there must be a grievance because men complained of want of equality. If that were admitted there was no one who might not complain of the inequality of the distribution of property; and this was an argument which would apply with equal force to any kind of property, and was a direct approach to socialism and communism. The private property of any Gentleman in that House was not more his own than were the temporalities of the Church of England and Ireland the property of that United Church. The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) had stated that he brought forward his Motion in no spirit of hostility to the Established Church in Ireland, but that his sole desire was to have an impartial inquiry into the state and condition of that Church; but he had declined to tell the House what was to be the result of that inquiry, or with what object it was to be instituted. Now, could any hon. Member suppose that the object of the hon. Member for Kilkenny was friendship to the Establishment—cheered as he was by the hon. Members near him? On the contrary, could any one doubt for a moment that the Motion was directed against the existence of the temporalities of that Establishment, respecting which he now proposed merely to have an inquiry? It was an absurdity to say that the temporalities of the Irish Church were only two or three centuries old. They were appropriated and dedi- cated to the use of that Church nearly ten centuries ago. [An hon. MEMBER: What Church?] It was the Church which was then, as it still remained, in hostility to the Church of Rome. No one who was acquainted with the history of the Church could be ignorant of the fact that till the year 1172 that Church was not in subjection to, nor even in communion with, the Papal see, and that that subjection to Rome was imposed upon as a consequence of the English invasion. But at the time of the Reformation the Irish Church threw off that yoke of bondage. He would not, however, revert to abstruse questions of ecclesiastical history, but would deal with the question in its bearings on the present state of society. He thought he could show that the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, based on equality, applied still more to the Established Church of England than of Ireland; because the Established Church of England did not admit of the appropriation of her revenues for the benefit of the sects that had sprung up around her. The argument based on numerical majority, he admitted, did not apply to the Church of England, for he believed that the Church of England was the Church of the majority of the country. But he would ask hon. Gentlemen whether the advocates of the Irish Church were not entitled to rely upon this—that the Irish Church was an integral part of the United Church of England and Ireland? The right hon. Gentleman had railed at the argument based on the compact which was entered into at the time of the Union between England and Ireland. That argument had been scouted—he supposed would be laughed at if it were tried now. But he asked the House whether they would refuse to listen to the authority of that great and eminent statesman the Duke of Wellington on this subject. The Duke of Wellington, speaking in the House of Lords, on a Motion referring to the Church in Ireland, on the 23rd of March, 1846, said— The noble Earl has spoken throughout, in his consideration of this part of the question, as though it were an open question—as though Parliament had done nothing on this subject—as though it were a question on which a measure could be adopted without the smallest difficulty, without a breach of former arrangements and former compacts. My Lords, if ever there was a point which was made a subject of compact by Act of Parliament, it is the maintenance of the Church of England in Ireland. It is an institution which the two Parliaments at the time of the Union resolved should be perpetual; they styled its pre- servation, in the Articles in which it was most particularly mentioned, a fundamental part of the engagement.…. My Lords, the Irish Parliament was a body capable of legislating on this subject; competent to frame and agree to this Treaty. That Parliament entered on the consideration of the question under the auspices of the Government of George III. They had the power of either agreeing to or dissenting from the Act of Union; and they stipulated for the Sixth Article, by which it was provided that the two Churches of England and Ireland were to be united for ever, and to be governed by the same laws. You cannot replace the Irish nation or the Irish Parliament in the situation in which they stood at the time that the compact was signed; and I say that you cannot depart from the compact without a positive breach of engagement. I say, then, you have not a case before you for the accomplishment of this object—you cannot make the arrangement proposed; and I therefore recommend to your Lordships not to agree to the Address moved by the noble Earl."—[3 Hansard, lxxxiv. 1384.] Were similar sentiments to those which that extract from the speech of a great and eminent man conveyed to be treated at the present day with ridicule in that House? Or would they say that they were at liberty to recede from that contract, taking all its advantages, but receding from its obligations? The object—though, perhaps, it was not avowed—of the proposition under discussion was to subvert an institution which had subsisted for centuries, edged round by the most solemn engagements. And was no case, he would ask, to be made out before an inquiry in furtherance of that object was granted? Was such an inquiry to be instituted on the bare word of an hon. Member rising in his place in that House and making certain statements? Was it not necessary that a case—aye, and a convincing case—should in the first instance be established? Where was that convincing case? Where the grievance which had been proved? He challenged any man acquainted with Ireland who spoke his mind honestly to say that the Church Establishment constituted a real grievance among the mass of the Roman Catholic people of that country. Apart from the Roman Catholic clergy and agitators, who sought to make for themselves political capital, there was, he believed, no feeling of hostility to the Established Church in Ireland. In the outlying districts every one of the people knew that they did not pay a penny out of their pockets towards the income of the clergyman and gentleman who was at once their neighbour and their friend. With the exceptions to which he had just alluded, there was not a farmer or a labourer throughout the length and breadth of the land—at least, there were very few—who would come forward and say that he looked on the burden of which complaint had that evening been made as a grievance. ["Oh, oh!"] A grievance! Yes—there might be a sentimental grievance, but not one from which such persons suffered in their pockets; and when the mass of the population did not suffer in that respect the grievance to them must be regarded as being very light. ["Oh, oh!"] He was not speaking of men of education, who could afford to come to that House and discuss the matter as a political grievance, but of the great majority of the people of Ireland, with regard to whom, he maintained, the observations which he had just made were perfectly well-founded. And as to the feeling towards the Established Church, by which the people at large were animated, was it not true, he would ask, that the Protestant clergyman of the parish was one of the first to whom they had recourse in sickness and in poverty? When they had any little matter of business to settle, was it not to him that they were ever ready to apply for his assistance? He, for one, must thank the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, and other hon. Members opposite, for the tribute which they had been good enough to pay to the worth and merit of the clergymen belonging to the Established Church in Ireland. It was a tribute very gracefully paid; but then it was one which could scarcely have been withheld; for if those hon. Members were to speak in a contrary sense, there was not one of the mass of the population in that country by whom they would not have been contradicted. The conduct of the Protestant clergy during periods of great poverty and destitution in Ireland, and their devoted exertions in the midst of the severest trials, had also been mentioned in terms of just praise. The incumbent of the parish, in the remotest districts especially, was ever the foremost in the relief of distress. Yet it was said to be a grievance because the landlords of the country had to pay for the maintenance of such men; for was it not the fact that seven-eighths of the amount of the tithe rent-charge, which went to pay the clergy of the Established Church, was paid by the members of that Church itself? Numbers of Roman Catholics, too, had become purchasers of their estates subject to such an outgoing, for which, of course, they took cave that due allowance was made in the price. It was idle, then, he maintained, to talk of the charge as a tax. It was no tax. It was a property which had existed for centuries; and by whom, he should like to know, was that property to be enjoyed? Was it to be enjoyed by that Church by whose members, as he had just observed, seven-eighths of her revenue was paid? Or was it to be taken away from her and applied to he knew not what? No two Members on the other side were agreed on that point. Some hon. Gentlemen were in favour of its application to education, some to other objects; but the idea of giving the property back to the landlords was scouted on all sides. The Roman Catholic clergy, he believed, scorned to become the recipients of the bounty of the State. It was difficult to say, then, to whom it was proposed that the property of the Church in Ireland should be transferred; and that being so, it would seem to be a very natural conclusion that its present application was just. And what, after all, did the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite come to? To the simple statement that there were so many millions of Roman Catholics in Ireland, while the number of Protestants was comparatively small. Such was the only plea which could be advanced in support of a measure of spoliation which could be warranted only by the most conclusive and imperative political necessity. But was there such an inquiry held? Who demanded it? What was the grievance? How did it arise? From what quarter did it come? That no such necessity existed in the present instance was clearly shown by the fact that, although it was said the inheritance of the Church ought to be taken away, those who had a right to succeed to it could not be named. Turning for a moment to the minor arguments—he did not wish to characterize them by any harsher epithet—which had been urged in support of the Motion before the House, he must say he never heard a more unjust paraphrase of a statement than that made use of by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire in dealing with what had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) with reference to the re-distribution of Church property. He spoke of what his hon. Friend had said as, forsooth, amounting to a proposal to take Church property from Connaught and apply it for the benefit of Dublin or Belfast. The hon. Baronet had not however, uttered a single word which afforded the slightest foundation for such a construction. He might also observe that he was somewhat surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman endorse the statement of the hon. Member for Kilkenny to the effect that the trifling requisites for the performance of Divine service in the Protestant Church in Ireland were paid for by the State. The right hon. Gentleman, dwelling on that point, thought it worth his while to fasten on the word "fuel;" but that and other requisites were paid for out of the revenues of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in Ireland, every shilling of which was obtained from the property of the Church, derived from Sees which were appropriated when church rates were abandoned in Ireland, and contributed by a tax of 10 per cent on the incomes of the clergy over £300 a year. Yet such were the funds which were described as belonging to the State, and paid, forsooth, out of the public purse! When, he should like to know, were the Church revenues of England regarded as a portion of the public purse, upon which the Chancellor of the Exchequer might rely when forming his financial combinations? Do not let them confound with the public purse contributions made by their ancestors to the Church centuries ago—["What Church?"]—founded, too, in many cases, by private individuals. ["What Church?"] He would answer at once—the Roman Catholics, whose descendants had in time come to see the error of their ways—aye, they saw the error of their ways, as they thought, and as he thought, and then of themselves altered the constitution of the Church. ["Oh, oh!"] He cared not for these interruptions; but he would rather that the hon. Members who made them got up and answered him by argument. He argued that the property so appropriated was not in any sense of the word part of the public purse of this country, and therefore he denied the allegations made, which he was astonished to hear from a person of the learning and experience of the right hon. Member opposite. He had gone into the question irrespective of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Londonderry, because he was not afraid of meeting and dealing with the question—because the advocates of the United Church did not shrink from investigation or inquiry, if it were undertaken with the object of finding remedies for anomalies which did exist; but he opposed a Motion, no matter how colourably and speciously made, which had its root in the desire to subvert the constitution of the Established Church. Whether it was to be met by the Previous Question or by a direet negative, he grappled with it on that basis; and, whichever way the question was put to the House, no case had been made out, or could be made out, to show that such an attempt as that which the Motion indicated ought to be allowed to succeed.


Sir, I cannot congratulate the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down upon either the tone or manner which he has adopted in his attempt to reply to the powerful and statesmanlike observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. It is neither my desire or intention to imitate, but much rather to avoid that tone, and I trust that I shall bring to the consideration of this most important subject a moderation both of manner and temperament befitting it. The question is one which I would propose to treat essentially in a social and political, as contradistinguished from a religious or polemical, point of view. In fact, the real question is, whether a policy of political and social ascendancy, inaugurated two centuries ago or more by England with respect to Ireland, warranted, perhaps, by the principles of State policy then prevailing, and by the supposed necessity of the period, but totally repugnant to the state of things at present existing in Ireland, and ignored by the principles of modern legislation and enlightenment, should be still continued towards that country. Sir, it needs but a very cursory reference to the history of Anglo-Irish affairs to demonstrate what, indeed, has never been seriously denied—namely, that the establishment of the Anglican Church in Ireland was mainly, if not altogether, in the nature of a political rather than of a religious or missionary institution; that it was planted there with other institutions expressly for the purpose of maintaining the political and social ascendancy of the few over the many; and that although this policy of exclusion and inequality has been theoretically, at least, repudiated by modern legislation, yet that the Establishment still continues, and is considered as the type of that same political and social inequality. Most naturally the territorial proprietors in Ireland, who are, for the most part, members of the Anglican Church, have accepted this state of things as part of what I may be allowed to term their political religion. It has been handed down to them by their predecessors, and they desire to transmit it to their descendants, and they hold it as a matter of pride and personal honour that every means and appliance of political power within their command or influence should be used for this purpose; and some, as underlying the entire question of land and tenure in Ireland, and, in fact, in great part the cause of it, have those proprietors for several years been using their power as landlords by withholding leases in order to influence the electoral vote of their servants. Now, Sir, this is a state of things which requires the earnest consideration of statesmen at both sides of this House. It is one which cannot possibly receive justice at the hands of any private Member. It is one which lets in an inquiry as to the whole state of circumstances (as arising out of this original mis-legislation) in which Ireland is placed, and which must result in determining for once and all, whether the country is or is not to be any longer governed by ascendancy laws. For my own part, I cannot understand how any one can defend a state of things under which the great bulk of the people of Ireland feel that they are placed in a position of social and ecclesiastical inequality, and which must continue so long as the present anomalous condition of the Anglican Politico Ecclesiastical Establishment exists. Sir, I am entirely in favour of ecclesiastical equality in Ireland. I do not desire—nay, I emphatically repudiate the doctrine, that any one particular form of religion or sect in that country should enjoy an ascendancy over another; and I believe that until the ascendancy which at present exists in that respect is done away with, we shall not have peace, contentment, or prosperity in the land. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, the hon. Member for Armagh, and other speakers have offered two objections to the consideration of the question involved in the Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny. One is grounded on the Articles of Union with Ireland, by which they contend that the temporalities, &c., of the Irish Church have become inseparably united to, and blended with, those of the English Establishment, and that you can no more interfere with the one than you can with the other, and the other objection, as well as I can understand it, is that the temporalities of the Irish Church are as sacred as private property, and that to appropriate them to any other purposes—sanctioned as they have been by the lapse of ages—would be an act of spoliation or confiscation. Now, Sir, I have read the Act of Union, and although I cannot pretend to place my judgment or opinion in competition with that of the right hon. and learned Gentleman in the construction of an Act of Parliament, yet I confess it does not appear to me that the effect of the Articles of Union has been to unite the temporalities of the Irish Church with those of the English. The two Churches are certainly united in "doctrine, worship, and discipline;" but I cannot discover how any dealing with the Irish temporalities can even remotely be considered under that Act as a dealing with the English temporalities. But I shall not depend upon my own judgment. I shall offer to hon. Gentlemen an authority which they cannot doubt, an authority which the hon. Member for Armagh has himself used—that of the late Lord Plunket—the great Lord Plunket—once Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who was an honour to his country, and whose name should be venerated by every true lover of his native land, and every admirer of genius. But, Sir, to listen to the observations of the hon. Member for Armagh and of the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, any one might suppose there was a sort of sanctity about the Irish Church temporalities which must for ever interfere to prevent their being in any manner dealt with, and the more especially in consequence of the Act of Union. Lord Plunket, however, has completely disposed of this argument, and, with the leave of the House, I shall quote his words— He had heard a great deal of vehement declamation, but not a single argument to show that this (i.e. the partial appropriation of Irish Church property to educational purposes), would be in the slightest degree a violation of the principles of Protestantism, or of the Act of Union. By the Act of Union the Churches of England and Ireland were consolidated. By the fifth article of that Act, they were identified in doctrine worship and discipline, but was there anything in that article which identified the temporal possessions of the Church of Ireland with those of the Church of England? There was nothing of the kind. The Irish temporalities were altogether distinct from those of the Church of England. If they were not, they had been violating the Articles of Union ever since they were passed. The whole system of composition of tithes in Ireland was a violation of those Articles. Now, Sir, I trust that hon. Gentlemen who have been so very ready to appeal to the authority of Lord Plunket will seriously consider this view of the question, and reconcile their minds to the inevitable necessity of a change which must be made, and which cannot be far distant. But, Sir, it is, as I have said, also asserted that the Church temporalities form an old institution, consecrated by the lapse of ages, and therefore that they cannot now be interfered with. On this point I shall ask the leave of the House to refer to another authority—that of an eminent statesman, now no more, whose calm, clear intellect and practical sagacity have been appreciated and recognised by his contemporaries, and fully confirmed by the judgment of the nation. I mean the late Lord Melbourne. In a debate on the Irish Church in the year 1835, when this very objection had been taken, Lord Melbourne dealt with it thus— Why, my Lords, it is probable that if those who we condemn were here to defend themselves, it is probable, I say, that they would be able to show in one sentence, perhaps in one word, that we know nothing about the matter. … They would say, 'a Roman Catholic population and a Protestant establishment is a state of things which we never either contemplated or intended. Our policy might be violent, our measures might be cruel, our objects might be impracticable, but we had definite and reasonable objects in view. We intended the eradication of the Roman Catholic and the substitution of the Protestant faith. Such was our end—such our means from the reign of Henry VIII. down to the enactment of the Penal Code. If you abandon our policy as you have done, you must abandon it entirely, and you must adopt, not only a different, but precisely the opposite course.'"—[3 Hansard, xxx. 725.] Now, Sir, it is impossible, after the exposition of the views of the eminent statesman I have ventured to lay before the House, and the known and authoritative expression of feeling on this subject in Ireland, and I may add in England, it is impossible, I say, for one moment to contend that those who are desirous of removing this odious grievance of politico-ecclesiastical ascendancy, in connection with the Anglican Church in Ireland, are to be estopped from doing so by any of the arguments which hon. Gentlemen opposite have used. The entire of this question is simply reducible to the point whether ecclesiastical ascendancy should continue to exist in Ireland. It is not so much a question as to the temporalities of the Irish Church, as it is a question as to how the political, ecclesiastical, and social inequality at present existing can be most effectually banished from the land. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland has referred to the revenues of the suppressed bishoprics, now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Ireland, and, in doing so, I can scarcely think he has been wise, having regard to his argument as to the inviolability of the temporalities of the Irish Church, and his comparison of their position with that of the owners of private property. Why, Sir, the very Act to which he referred, the Irish Church Temporalities Act, is in itself the most conclusive proof, if any such was wanting, of the power of Parliament to deal with this subject. Ten bishoprics were suppressed, and their revenues handed over to Commissioners. What further proof is necessary? But, Sir, that Act affords a most striking and pregnant proof of what the real title to those revenues actually is, and disposes perfectly of the chronological or patrician pedigree which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has conferred upon those estates. That Act in effect asserts, and confirms, if necessary, that so far as the opinion of Parliament is concerned, the title to those revenues is in the Crown and not in the Irish Church. I shall only read the recital or preamble of the 32nd section of that Act to prove the case in this respect, and then leave hon. and learned Gentlemen to ponder on it. Here it is— Whereas His Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify that he has placed at the disposal of Parliament his interest in the Temporalities, and custody thereof, of the several bishoprics and archbishoprics mentioned in this Act and the Schedule B thereunto annexed. Be it therefore enacted, &c., &c. I trust therefore that we shall hear no more about the doctrine of Church property being private property. But now, Sir, this property having been referred to let us see what it is, and what has been done with it. By Parliamentary Returns issued in 1833 and 1835, we find the following facts:—That the gross number of acres in Ireland, belonging to the see lands alone, amounted to 669,247; and the number of tenants thereon was 1,922. The number of profitable acres was 485,532; and of these 138,341 belonged to the suppressed sees. The value of the see lands attached to the suppressed bishoprics (calculated in 1833), which subsequently became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, was £38,229 per annum. By a calculation made in 1835, they were estimated at £50,000 a year, and by the Returns of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, taken for ten years past, it is found that they average nearly £60,000 a year. This is for the land alone, and over and above the tithes of the suspended benefices, amounting to £19,000 a year, the tax on benefices, &c., &c. Now the gross estimated value, or rather the rental of the see lands in Ireland, in 1835, was £503,131; but out of this the rent and renewal fines receivable was but £124,553, leaving to the Church tenants a profit rent of £378,578 per annum, held by them on leases principally of but twenty-one years. The Commissioners were empowered to sell to the tenants the reversion or perpetuity of their holdings, which reversion was estimated by Mr. Finlaison, the actuary, to be of the value of £1,507,000, or something less than four years' purchase on such profit rent; and of this sum the Commissioners have actually received £650,000 since 1835! Now, Sir, the revenues vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were made applicable to supplementary church rates which had been abolished in Ireland, and which, notwithstanding such abolition, are still so applied. Thus, church rates are still substantially continued in a Catholic country—while in this very Session this House has declared by a large majority of votes that such rates should not be compulsorily levied in this Protestant country of England. What pretence therefore can there be for any longer applying those revenues in the hands of the Irish Ecclesiastical Commissioners to church rates and Church requisites. But, Sir, there is really a great misconception—a great ignorance, I should say—as to what the real value is of the see lands in Ireland, and it would form a very curious, and I have no doubt a very interesting, subject of inquiry. I may perhaps be allowed to give a fact by way of example which has come under my personal observation and is within my own knowledge, and which, I think, will tend to illustrate the subject. A very reverend Prelate, at present presiding over four united dioceses in the South of Ireland, was appointed Prebendary of the Holy Trinity in the city of Cork in the year 1808–9. The revenues of the prebend at the time of his induction were under £100 a year—namely, annual rent £30, and annual fine about £70, late Irish currency. A lease of nineteen years was subsisting against him at the time. In the year 1824, the Prebendary renewed the lease for twenty-one years in consideration of an annual additional fine of £400. But, Sir, this was not all. The Prebendary received the round sum of £10,000 sterling paid into his private bankers for his own use, and if this sum had been added to the Church property in the shape of rent according to the value of money at that day, it would have increased the rental to £1,000 a year. Now, Sir, with this state of facts before us, with an income in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in Ireland applied to purposes in that county which in this Protestant land have been declared by this House to be inapplicable and inexpedient, what difficulty can there be in dealing with that income if necessary in aid of any measure calculated to produce ecclesiastical equality—at least, in externals—amongst the ministers of all religious denominations in Ireland. Sir, I have already stated that I desire to treat this question altogether in a political and social point of view, and I may beg leave to add that I would take no part in it if I thought it was intended as an aggression upon the Anglican religion in Ireland, or as an aggrandisement of the religion of the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, or any other denomination. I am decidedly in favour of adopting a broad and comprehensive plan by which you would equalize the position or ecclesiastical status of the ministers of all religious denominations in Ireland. Let Parliament so legislate that the Established Church, the Roman Catholic, the Presbyterian, the Unitarian, and every other religions communion can endow their respective Churches with real and personal property to a limited extent and subject to certain conditions, and at the same time let all Church distinctions be abolished, and complete ecclesiastical equality established as regards the personnel of ministers of religion. Let every clergyman in Ireland have his glebe house and land attached, and subject to this allow the voluntary principle to have full action, and the personal wants and requirements of the clergy to be supplied by their own flocks. Unless you have some such tangible and appreciable sign or type of equality throughout the land, you never can persuade the great mass of the population of Ireland that their Church or its ministers have as good a position as the ministers of the Church of England or the Presbyterian body. Let Parliament show that by legislation such as this they are anxious to deal with this important and all absorbing question, not as a sentimental grievance, but in a spirit of impartiality and goodwill, and the mere evidence of such an intention, bonâ fide entertained, will do more to win the affections of a warm-hearted people and produce more real benefit than all the penal laws and restrictions that can be devised. Act on the principle of ecclesiastical equality and you will have peace instead of disaffection and discontent in Ireland.


said, he admitted the moderate terms of the Motion and the temperate way in which it had been brought forward on the present occasion by the hon. Member for Kilkenny but the House were bound to look a little further, and contrast this with the language which had been used by the hon. Gentleman on former occasions, as well as with the language of the Roman Catholic clergy in speaking upon this question; and then he feared it would be found that the object was the same—the destruction of the Established Church in Ireland. The Roman Catholic Bishops at the National Association passed a resolution demanding the disendowment of the Established Church in Ireland as a condition without which social peace and stability and unanimity of sentiment for national objects could never exist. Cardinal Cullen had held similar language, denouncing the Church Establishment as a badge of national servitude, offensive and degrading; and Dr. M'Hale also declared that the Catholic people would not be content until the Irish Church was abolished. But such was not the language of Dr. Doyle when the Roman Catholics were asking for Catholic Emancipation. It was the opinion of Dr. Doyle that the removal of the disqualifications from Roman Catholics would lead to peace, and remove the jealousy which was entertained against the Established Church. What right had Parliament to break in on the Church Establishment which already existed? Lord Plunket, in one of his speeches, said he would not assert that the property of the Irish Church should never be interfered with, but the property of the Church and of individuals stood upon the same footing; and Lord Plunket emphatically said, "Let the landholder look to himself, and the fundholder take care of himself if Parliament began by taking the property of the Church;" and he added that he had no hesitation in asserting that the existence of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland was a bond of union between the two countries. The greatest authorities had declared that the Irish Church could not be disturbed without danger to the general security of property in the two countries. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire thought it desirable to postpone action until a future time; but he had expressed opinions that night which had, indeed, astonished him, and which were in direct opposition to those laid down in the right hon. Gentleman's remarkable book on the State and its Relations with the Church. The House might reasonably have expected to hear the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Grey) rise to reply to the right hon. Gentleman, for they could not have forgotten the speech of the right hon. Baronet in the Session of 1865, in which he said— Her Majesty's Government have no hesitation in saying that they are not prepared to undertake the responsibility of proposing to Parliament a Bill calculated to effect that object. They believe that this object cannot be obtained except by means which must inflict great injury upon Ireland, and involve the country in the risk of very great dangers. The object can only be effected by exciting the bitterest animosities in that country, by producing a conflict of opinion—and I do not say that matters would stop even there—which must throw back the improvement of Ireland to a great extent, and must retard to an indefinite time the arrival of the period that we are sometimes inclined to hope for, when Irishmen, irrespective of creed and politics, will combine together with unanimity and energy to promote the moral, social, and material well-being of their country."—[3 Hansard, clxxviii. 398.] With regard to the revenues of the Irish Church, they had been grossly exaggerated, as had been pointed out by Lord Althorp; and although reflections were sometimes cast on the clergy, Lord Brougham and other authorities had testified to their exemplary conduct, and to the valuable services which they had rendered towards Ireland. With reference to the observation of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Murphy), that the Church in Ireland was distinct from the Church in England, he had only to say that the Act of Union left no doubt as to the intimate union between the two branches of the Church, which was, in fact, "the United Church of England and Ireland." He hoped the House would duly consider the importance of this question, and would not allow itself to be committed to a rash attempt to overthrow the Irish Establishment, but that it would preserve inviolate, rights which were indisputable and which ought to be held sacred.


said, he would not have risen to take part in this debate were it not for the strong appeal which had been made to Scottish Members to support the Motion on the ground of doing to others as they wished to be done by. If there was any body of Gentlemen who were bound to give an unqualified approval to the Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, it was, in his opinion, the Members from Scotland, because the peace, contentment, and goodwill which prevailed in their country were mainly to be attributed to the fact that, owing to the exertion of their forefathers, the religious establishment there was in harmony with the feelings of the people. If the attempt which had been made by the Stuarts had succeeded, he had no doubt the condition of Scotland now would be similar to that of Ireland. There might now be in Scotland perpetual discontent, perhaps insurrection, perhaps assassinations. ["Oh, oh!"] There had been such things in Scotland for many years during the 17th century, while the attempts to which he had alluded were persisted in, and if, as he had said, those attempts had been successful, there might be now in Scotland, as in Ireland, general discontent and martial law. Believing that the Established Church was the primary cause of the evils which prevailed in Ireland, he would cordially support the Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny.


The Motion in reference to the Church Establishment in Ireland has been so often debated in this House that it would be impossible even for the most ingenious mind, or the most eloquent and inventive genius, to add any novelty to it, or to present it in a new and original aspect. The arguments in support of the Church Establishment in Ireland are so bound up with religious prejudice and passions—so interwoven with the unfortunate history of that unhappy country—so knit into the hateful spirit that still animates the ascendancy party in Ireland that, instead of argument, they have become irrational and blind, convictions and instincts against which it is in vain to argue, for they offer nothing to a reasonable mind to argue upon. The Church Establishment must be maintained, it is said, to keep down the power of the Church of Rome, to preserve the existence of the Church Establishment in England, and to maintain union between the two countries. Every Protestant who is opposed to the Establishment is called a Papist in disguise. Every Protestant clergyman who does not defend it, or who argues against it, is denounced as a Jesuit in disguise, and every Roman Catholic who calls for its modification or disendowment, as a necessary condition for the peace and prosperity of Ireland, is hunted down as a traitor and a rebel, who wants to set up the Roman Catholic Church in its stead. I oppose the Church Establishment in Ireland because, in my opinion, its continuance will produce with certainty the very results its blind, and selfish, and interested votaries prophecy from its overthrow. Nothing, to my mind, is more calculated to keep up the spirit of hostility to the Act of Union than to make it an argument for the maintenance of the Irish Church. Nothing is more likely to bring the Church of England into odium, and to provoke hostility to it than to bind it up with, and make its existence depend upon, the domination of the church of a small minority in Ireland. Nothing can tend more to add to and increase the power of the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland than to endeavour to uphold by State power, unsupported by conscience, an establishment in Ireland, merely as a rival, set up by the State against the people. It has been the fashion to call this and other questions connected with Ireland sentimental grievances, as if all grievances were sentimental that could not be measured by pounds, shillings, or pence. In my opinion the greatest and most intolerable grievance to a free and high-spirited people is the insulting badge of inferiority. But if there are sentimental grievances, are there not sentimental privileges. If the Church Establishment is a sentimental grievance to the people of Ireland, is not its existence merely a sentimental privilege to the few Protestants of the Establishment in that country? Of course, I exclude the future recipients of the income of the Church. I admit that is not sentimental. But I suppose nobody will argue that the Church Establishment is to be maintained merely for the future Bishops, deans, and clergy who are to receive £700,000 a year. Now, if for the sake of laying the foundation of tranquillity, order and union of classes, and prosperity in Ireland, a sacrifice should be made, which ought to be first sacrificed —the sentimental grievances or the sentimental privileges? I say, at once, the sentimental privileges, and I therefore call upon the educated classes of the Protestants in Ireland to make a willing sacrifice on the altar of their country of those shadowy and imaginary and sentimental privileges, or rather prejudices and passions of a bygone age, that separate them from the rest of their fellow-countrymen, and prevent a complete fusion and union of the Irish people Catholic and Protestant. It has been sometimes said by the advocates of the Church Establishment that the Roman Catholics are estopped by the Act of Emancipation, and the evidence of the witnesses examined before the Committee of the Lords, and also by the arguments and promises of Mr. Plunket and others at that time, from seeking for a change in the Irish Church, or using any constitutional means for that purpose. In the first place, I deny that the arguments or evidence of our ancestors half a century or a century ago can in any manner bind us; secondly, I deny that those arguments and that evidence had any reference to constitutional changes; thirdly, the change in the oaths prescribed by the Emancipation Act is a conclusive declaration by this House that the Emancipation Act was not final; and fourthly, I assert that it is a constitutional principle not to be denied or qualified, that Acts of Parliament are founded upon expediency and utility, to be altered, amended, or repealed according to the circumstances of the times. So it is with Reform; and as the Act of 1832 is no longer considered final, so the Act of 1829 cannot be so considered, unless there is a difference made between the English and Irish subjects of the Queen, and that the rights and liberties of the former are to be extended, while the disabilities of the latter are to be continued. I do not think any person in favour of the union of the two countries will advance that argument. If any person does so he immediately agitates for a repeal of the Act of Union. The Irish people ask for and demand civil and religious liberty—their right to do so is not qualified or controlled or limited or taken away by any Act of Parliament. It is inalienable—they have it under the Consti- tution, and they have not and cannot forfeit it by any act of their ancestors, any more than their British fellow-subjects, "Until men," said Fox, "have obtained all they have a right to ask for, they have obtained comparatively nothing." Another argument is advanced, which I may as well get rid of and put out of the way before I come to the discussion of the real questions connected with the present Motion. It is what may be called the argument founded on orthodoxy. It is alleged by some ignorant, unscrupulous, self-interested Churchmen and their advocates that the Irish Church Establishment is entitled to the temporalities on the ground that it is the successor of the primitive Catholic Church in Ireland. Now, if this were as true as it is false (and as any man thoroughly acquainted with the ecclesiastical history of the country can prove it to be), in would not in the least help the Irish Church Establishment. All the Protestant Church authorities who have written or spoken on the subject have prudently and wisely laid down this fundamental principle as the basis of a State establishment—"Its utility in giving religious instruction to all classes of the people." Warburton, Paley, Whateley, are the leading Protestant Church authorities on that head. In fact, it is an admitted principle, disputed by no Protestant authority, lay or clerical. Bacon, M'Intosh, Brougham, Macaulay, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Palmerston, Sir George Lewis — all Protestant authorities—state the question to be, "Not whether religion be true, but whether it is the religion of the country." And they have done so very wisely, for they all knew that the Protestant Church Establishment was founded on the Acts of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. And so Bacon says, in reference to Acts of Henry and Elizabeth—"As the realm once gave tithes to the Church, so the realm since again has taken away tithes from the Church." Of course by the realm he means the Parliament, which as far as Ireland was concerned was not the realm, and did not represent the realm. Now what an Act of Parliament did in the time of Henry and Elizabeth an Act of Parliament may do now. But, in truth, the argument was overruled in the time of William IV., for the Irish Church Temporalities Act of that reign, the 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 37, dealt with the Church Establishment as too large, and destroyed several archbishoprics and bishoprics. The same argument which enabled Parliament to disendow a part enables it to deal in the same manner with the whole if public utility required it. It is a question of degree and convenience, and accordingly in the present reign 25 per cent of the Church property has been taken away. The truth is these arguments deceive nobody—they are not believed in—they are the mere pleadings of advocates intended to colour and set off an untenable case; and accordingly whenever the Church property of other countries is concerned (say Spain or Italy) these advocates cry out that the church property is public property, and ought to be dealt with as such. Yes, the argument of Exeter Hall platform in this House is, that the property of the church of the people in Spain and Italy is public property, and may be dealt with by Parliament as such, but that the property of the church of a small minority in Ireland is private property — is something sacred, and beyond the reach or power of Parliament. The argument requires only to be stated to be answered. It answers itself. It is simply ridiculous, and only suited to the religious temperament of one or two Members of this House and the atmosphere of Exeter Hall. But the strong fortress in which the Church Establishment of Ireland shuts itself up as a garrison, and behind which it entrenches itself and defies the people, is the Act of Union. They call that Act a treaty—final and irrevocable—to be enforced against the people of Ireland by the wealth, the power, and the army of England. Now, I ask between whom was the Act of Union a treaty? If it was a treaty, the people between whom it was made were free and independent to make it and are now free and independent to maintain it or to violate it as may best suit their honour and their interest. Is that so? Every constitutional lawyer knows that it is not so as a matter of constitutional law—and every intelligent man knows it to be false as a matter of fact. The Act of Union is a public Act of Parliament—carried by force, fraud, corruption, by £3,000,000, and an army of 50,000 men. I do not wish, unless forced to do it, to stir up the embers of national animosity—I wish to let bye-gones be bye-gones, to bury, if I am allowed, all cause of national hostility in oblivion—to endeavour in this House, and out of this House, to create more amicable relations between England and Ireland—to make the union a reality—a union of interest, of honour, of glory, and not a one-sided measure of power and advantage and gain on one side, and of poverty, misery, and shame on the other. It is for this House to declare that they will aid us in that result. What was the opinion of one of our greatest statesmen upon this argument of treaty and finality? The late Sir Robert Peel said— If we are convinced that the social amelioration of Ireland requires an alteration of this law—a departure from that compact—are our legislative functions so bound up that we must maintain the compact in defiance of our convictions? I, for one, am not prepared to contend for that doctrine. If the Imperial Parliament is not competent to deal with the Act of Union, then you must remit the question back to the people, and if the people of Ireland pronounce that this Act was never binding as a treaty, and ought to be repealed, what will the advocates of the Church say? I hope the House now sees the consequences of the arguments of the supporters of the Church Establishment in Ireland, and that it will now take decisive steps to assert its power, and remove the source of so much danger, not only to the peace of Ireland, but the integrity of the Empire. But, then, an appeal, ad misericordiam, is made to the Church of England. It is said they are called the United Church of England—support us, or an attack will be made on yourself. This appeal from the Church of Ireland to the Church of England is like that of the owner of a banking concern to a solvent man in some trade—that unless the bankrupt was saved the trade would suffer. If the solvent man is a rational being, he answer my customers are not your customers, and my trade will not in the least suffer. So, if the Church of England is wise, it will say—my supporters are the English people—my churches are the churches of the English people, and I will not join in your bankrupt concern. I do not believe that any such false movement will be made by the Church of England, or that it will be so rash, so insane, so reckless as to place itself in the same boat with the Church of Ireland, and resolve to sink with it. But if it does—if it attracts to itself the scandal and the odium of supporting the Irish Church through good and ill in its anomalous position—however it may prop that church for a short time, it weakens its own position with the people, and perhaps ultimately endangers it. In my opinion, the disendowment of the Irish Church would be the source of strength to the English Church, inasmuch as it would for ever remove a perpetual and unanswerable argument against a particular establishment that is continually made an argument against itself. The Church of England is the Church of the people, and the removal of the Church of the few in Ireland would strengthen its position as an establishment. If the Church of England had been forced on the Scotch people, I firmly believe that the consequences would be that it would cease to be an establishment itself. But then it is called a missionary church, and it is argued that it has discharged its duty as such, and should be maintained to proselytise the Irish people. Now, let us see how this missionary church has discharged its duty? Two centuries ago, it found the population of Ireland 800,000 Roman Catholics and 300,000 Protestants, or in the proportion of two-fifths; and if the same proportion had been maintained, the Protestant Church population would now be 2,400,000 instead of 693,000. This missionary church has, therefore, succeeded in reducing Protestants from 2,400,000 to 693,000, while the Roman Catholics have increased from 800,000 to near 5,000,000. It would appear, therefore, that this missionary church has been providentially the instrument of adding to the members of the Roman Catholics, and of making no converts to itself, but, on the contrary, of making converts to the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, I do not complain of that. I rejoice in it; but one need not pay £700,000 a year to produce that effect. It cannot be said that it was for want of power it failed, because for 300 years it had all the power of the State in its hands. The Church of Ireland had been, I may say, the Government of Ireland for three centuries; the Penal Laws were all passed for the "good of the Church," to use the words of Dr. Marsh. In his History of the Irish Church Dr. Mant has admitted all this. And yet the fruit of all this power—the result of all the persecution against the Roman Catholics for the good of a State Church has been that the Roman Catholics have "increased and multiplied," and the Protestants have withered away under the curse that a just Providence has pronounced against tyranny and injustice in every age and nation — whether that tyranny was temporal or spiritual, or both. Oh, but it is said, the proportion of Protestants to Roman Catholics has increased from 10 to 11.7 per cent, or 1 per cent from 1834 to 1861. I must say that I am humiliated, pained, ashamed of such an argument in the mouth of Christian churchmen. How has this increase been obtained? I will tell the House — by famine, pestilence, eviction, and emigration. 2,000,000 of Catholics have been swept away, and a Christian Church exults over their destruction as a gain by conversion of 1 per cent! It calls plague and death its agents, and cries out behold our converts! Behold the increase of 1 per cent by the agency of a missionary church! Oh, shame on such arguments. Shame on the spirit, worse than that of Attila, that dictates them. But has the Protestant population increased from 1834 to 1861? No; it has diminished by 114,000. Possessing the wealth and fat of the land, and commanding the power of a State Church, it has diminished, and that diminution is an answer, final decisive, unanswerable to this argument in behalf of a missionary church. But it is still asserted by the advocates of the Church Establishment that they have made a few converts—where and how? Among the famine-stricken population of the Connemara highlands of the Western coast, by the material agency of soup and bread to a starving family, who, the very moment they can get food elsewhere, return to the creed from which they have been shamefully proselytised. These are not my words; I do not state this on my own authority. I give it on Protestant authority—Dr. Bicheno, an English traveller, Dr. Webster, Protestant Archdeacon of Cork, and the very able pamphlet on the subject by an Irish Protestant Peer in 1865. I think I have sufficiently proved that the Irish Church Establishment has totally failed both as a State Establishment or a Missionary Church; and if reason and argument and sound policy are to decide this question, there can be but one opinion, and that is—its disendowment. I may be allowed to add that the funds for the purchase of soup and bread to proselytise the abandoned characters or the starving peasantry (to use the words of Dr. Bicheno) are not subscribed by the Irish Church Establishment. Oh, no! it is too wise, too prudent, to waste any of its £700,000 a year on anything so foolish, so useless. The English Missionary Society subscribes the funds, and the Irish Church Establishment applies them; it buys the soup and bread and distributes the tracts. It leaves the part of the "simplicity of the dove" to be played by its gullible and wealthy dupes in England, and it keeps "the wisdom of the serpent" to itself. I now come to the main part of this question which has been so fully, and, I may say, so exhaustively treated, by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny as to require no lengthened development from me. I shall confine myself to answering the fallacies of the hon. Members who endeavour to answer my hon. Friend and to a concise summary of the figures which prove the anomalous — the monstrous and indefensible position of the Irish Church. The gross receipts of the Irish Church, exclusive of Trinity College, are £711,162 according to the heads of the Church itself—the Primate and Archbishop of Dublin. I will come to their mode of making out a net income presently. There are 1,510 benefices altogether, and let us see how the revenue and population is distributed amongst them. 615 benefices possess a revenue of £257,000, or about £31 per family; 229 possess a revenue of £83,071, or £131 12s. per family, and 114 a revenue of £36,365, or £178 per family. If among these benefices you include the rector's family, you will not have one family for each. There are, therefore, nearly 1,100 benefices out of the 1,500, where the average Church population is only one family (exclusive of the rector), and the income of each of which varies from £100 to £400 a year. There are 199 parishes in which there is no church population at all. And the Irish Church, in order to get over the scandal of having an income out of a parish without any church member in it, has recourse to the original mode of uniting to it two other parishes in which there may be one or two families of the Church Establishment, and thereby forming what they call a benefice. I have read of a Roman tyrant who tied the living and the dead bodies together, and so the Irish Church ties the living and dead parishes together. But this is not the only device the Irish Church has recourse to in order to make out a church population. Its advocates in this House and elsewhere endeavour to make us believe that each benefice has a church population of about 400. How do they make that appear? Very simply and very conclusively for their Exeter Hall dupes. They take the whole church population of Ireland and make a dividend of it, and they take the number of benefices and make a divisor of it, and the quotient, they say, is the church population of each. It becomes an abstract arithmetical proposition, and they endeavour to make it appear a concrete arithmetical fact. Thus—if you divide 1,510 benefices into 600,000 Protestants, the quotient number will be 400. But do the 400 really exist in each benefice? No; they are purely imaginary creations—they are the men of buckram of Falstaff—they are the Ulster Protestant and the Connaught Protestant joined together to make a Churchman in a parish where there is none. This is the mode in which the Irish Church advocates make out a congregation. But the matter does not stop here—after all their ingenuity they cannot succeed in making each benefice contain a churchman in the South and West. In a pamphlet written by Rev. P. Dwyer, Vicar of Dromcliffe, he is obliged to admit that there are seventeen benefices without any Churchman, and yielding an income of £100 to £300 net, and I will presently come to show how the net is made out. And the Primate Beresford admits one, which in all makes eighteen benefices without a Churchman, notwithstanding the ingenious mode of overcoming the difficulty I have referred to. Now I come to the ingenious manner in which the Irish Churchmen make out an income of only £420,000 a year instead of £700,000 a year. They deduct the curates' salaries—they deduct all fees for all ecclesiastical purposes whatever, and make out a net income of 30 or 40 per cent less than the gross—that is, they allow 30 or 40 per cent for doing the little that is to be done, and call the revenue that only which they have to spend on themselves personally or to save. Perhaps the House would wish I to know the amount of personal property alone left by twenty Bishops from 1822 to the present (as extracted from the Registry of Court of Probate), it amounts to £861,868, or £43,093 for each Bishop. And this is exclusive of the real property which may represent as much more. The late Mr. Grattan, in 1842, produced statistics on the church debate of that Session extracted from the probates of will in the Registry Office, which showed that ten prelates left £1,575,000 to their descendants. I am not surprised that there should be such a stand made in some quarters for the maintenance of the Irish Church. One more fact and I shall cease to trouble the House with statistics, and that will be the percentage of the church population in Connaught and Munster. In Connaught it is as follows:—Tuam, 3 percent; Achonry, 3 per cent; Killala, 5 per cent. In Munster, Limerick, 4 per cent; Cork and Ross, 3 per cent; Cloyne, 2 per cent; Cashel and Emly, not entirely 2 per cent; Waterford and Lismore, 1½ per cent; Killaloe, 5 per cent; Kilfenora, 1 percent; Clonfert, 4 per cent; and Kilmacduagh, 1 per cent. Thus, in Connaught and Munster, the percentage of the Church population is only from 2 to 3 per cent for a revenue of £170,000 gross or £122,000 net. One only argument remains to the advocates of the Church, when they are driven out of their other assumptions, and that is, that the proprietors in Ireland are Protestant, and that the rent-charge is paid by them. In the first place the statement is not true, for 42 per cent of the Irish proprietors are Roman Catholics. If the rent-charge is the property of the proprietors there may be some force in this argument. But is the rent-charge the property of the Protestant proprietors? Of course it is not. In the words of Grattan, "it is the salary of prayers and not the gift of God independent of duty." It is public property to be used by the State for the support of the Church of the people, and if there be no such Church, then to be applied by the State as Parliament may direct. I say it is the property of the Irish people, and to be applied for their benefit by Parliament. It has been the habit to taunt us with bringing forward no scheme for the appropriation of the revenue of the Irish Church. I deny that it is the duty of any private Member of this House to propose any such scheme. That duty and that responsibility rests with the Government, and after the eloquent denunciations of the Irish Church by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, one would expect that such a scheme should come from a statesman of his great ability, daring originality, and vast resources. I know no statesman that could deal with this question with more advantage to the Empire or more likelihood of success, than the right hon. Gentleman. But the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has denounced the Irish Church in equally eloquent terms, and when I see those two right hon. Gentlemen both agreeing in their condemnation of that Establishment, I am naturally surprised that no attempt is made by either of them or by both to settle this question, the settlement of which would give peace, order, and stability to the Empire at large. It is a melancholy reflection if those great intellects that were given by Providence for the attainment of great objects should be turned from the great end they should have in view, and "give up to party what was meant for mankind." On the question of the Church our ancestors by twenty lines of an Act of Parliament gave peace to Scotland. Twenty years ago the late Sir Robert Peel followed that great example and settled the clergy reserve fund by appropriating it for the benefit of Canada. Mr. Canning said— It is worth our consideration whether, after we have removed the chain from the limbs of the Catholics of Ireland, we ought to leave a link or two behind them, to remind them that they were once in fetters. I tell the House that this is the link that will continue to gall the limbs of the Catholics of Ireland until the pain becomes intolerable, or the link be removed. These are great authorities and great examples worthy of our imitation. Let us then rise to their level; let us act worthy of the occasion; let us adopt a bold and enlightened policy suited to the subject before us, and the growing greatness of the Empire; let us place before ourselves Some vast and general purpose To which particular things must melt as snow, and all difficulties and opposition will cease, and the nation will applaud our act, and recognise us as the Parliament that laid the foundation of the complete union of Ireland, and the permanent consolidation of the Empire.


I might have been well content to rest the matter on what has been said by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Dublin University (the Attorney General for Ireland), for I think the reasons he gave for his opposition to the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) are conclusive and satisfactory. The Motion, as I understand it, is not one to reform or get rid of anomalies in the Irish Church, but is directly intended to disendow that Establishment altogether. There can be no misunderstanding on the subject; the remarkable speech delivered to-night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire has entirely confirmed me in that opinion, for his speech pointed to the absolute and complete disendowment of the Irish Church, and if it did not point to that object, it pointed at nothing at all. The right hon. Gentleman said that the position of the Irish Church was indefensible, and ought not to continue, because it was the Church of the minority; and therefore we must dismiss from our consideration to-night any of those anomalies and inequalities which may be found in the Church of Ireland, and devote our attention to the question whether she ought or ought not to continue to exist. If the arguments that have been used against the Irish Church by hon. Gentlemen opposite are right that Church ought no longer to remain; but if our view of the question is right, the Irish Church ought to live, as it has for centuries, as a National Establishment. The issue is plain. While listening to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire it struck me that his arguments tended very much, if not altogether, to the principle that all Establishments should rest on the principle that a National Church must be the Church of the majority; and I defy him, with all his talent and all his power of argument, to maintain that principle, and at the same time support the Establishments of this country and Scotland. The more this question is looked into the more we shall find that hon. Gentlemen who take that line of argument must declare hostility to all religious endowments. I do not wish to weary the House by going back to matters of history in connection with the Church of Ireland, but I will take its position as we now find it. I must, however, remind the House that the Irish Church is an Establishment that has survived changes of dynasties, and the effects of revolutions. Solemn contracts with regard to her safety are spread over every page of our history. Her existence has been guaranteed and sanctioned by Stuart Kings and Williamite Generals, and made the subject of treaty and Parliamentary contract. The right of the Irish Church to possess her property is based upon a foundation that is the same as that of any estate in the kingdom. I do not wish to go back to history; but I would remind you of agreements and compacts by which in our own time that property has been secured. The maintenance of the Irish Church was made part of the great settlement which took place at the Union between the two countries. It was an implied contract in the time of Emancipation. When in 1829 the claims of the Catholic subjects of this realm were fully recognised, all those authorized to speak in their behalf expressed their desire to enter into the most solemn contract with regard to the maintenance of the Church; when the Temporalities Act was passed Parliament again sanctioned the contract, and expressed in a broad and distinct way its opinions that its existence should be maintained. Therefore, whether you look at the question of the property of the Church of Ireland as a matter either of ancient prescription or modern Parliamentary contract, I maintain that the possession of property by that Church rests upon a basis which has been more repeatedly sanctioned by the Legislature than any other property in the country. If this be so, let me ask you can this property be touched or taken away by any other process than that of confiscation? I state boldly that it cannot. I admit the right and power of Parliament to deal with any property in the country. That cannot be denied. Parliament is all powerful. But, at the same time, that right does not prevent an Act of Parliament from being an act of confiscation. That is a rude remedy. The confiscation of property has always been the favourite resource of the despot and revolutionist, and there is no country in the world that has suffered more in this respect than Ireland. It is therefore with some surprise that I see so many Irishmen in favour of what is as gross an act of confiscation as ever was perpetrated under Cromwell or William. Under what circumstances is this confiscation to take place? I apprehend nobody will deny that the revenues of the Church of Ireland are a charge upon the land, and not a tax. I confess I listened with astonishment to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire when he described the property of the Irish Church as payments made out of the public purse. How one of the greatest financiers of this country should have described a charge upon land which has been in the possession of the Church for many centuries as a payment out of the public funds I am at a loss to understand. I believe there never was so gross a mis-statement of the real facts of the case than is involved in such an assertion. In no sense or degree do I believe it to be a payment out of the public purse. The Church property is not a tax but a reserved rent. I shall quote an authority upon the point which I do not think hon. Gentlemen opposite will dare to impeach. The words are those of Sir George Lewis, one of the closest reasoners who ever sat in this House. He spoke thus of the exact position of this property, and the terms in which it should be described— The tithe grievance is commonly stated to be that Roman Catholics are compelled to contribute, by the payment of tithes, to the support of a Church from the creed of which they differ. But, (and this was before the passing of the Church Temporalities Act) in fact, although they may pay tithes, they contribute nothing, inasmuch as it is in Ireland tithe is in the nature not of a tax but of a reserved rent, which never belonged either to the landlord or the tenant. This high authority, at all events, shows that to characterize the property of the Irish Church as being a payment taken from the public purse is as far removed from the real truth of the case as anything that could be imagined. But let us suppose that the proposition brought forward tonight should be sanctioned, whom, allow me to ask, ought we in the first instance to consult? Recollect what the real nature of this property is. If it is desired to alienate this property surely we ought in the first instance to consult those persons who pay it. But we find that these persons are certainly not averse to its present disposition and do not desire its confiscation. You therefore propose to alienate this property altogether, in defiance and in opposition to the wishes of the great majority of the very persons who pay it. I think that the position of this property has been erroneously described in more quarters than one. The whole of the arguments connected with the subject rests, I think, upon this basis—what is the nature of this property, and what are the sources from which it is derived? I read, the other day, a very able letter written by a right rev. Prelate with whom I am acquainted, and for whom I entertain great respect—Dr. Moriarty, Roman Catholic Bishop of Kerry, and I was astonished to find in a letter which discusses the subject with great force and ability, and at the same time with great temper—a letter containing strong views, but which are not stated offensively—in that letter I was astonished to find so acute an arguer as the right rev. Prelate make use of the old and oft-refuted statement that the Irish Church was the forced maintenance of the religion of the minority by the vast majority of the people. That right rev. Prelate states that the Roman Catholics as a body contribute to the support of the Protestant clergy and the Protestant Church. Now, I maintain that that statement is entirely incapable of proof. I admit that in Ireland Roman Catholic occupiers are by far the largest majority of the occupiers of land, and that Roman Catholics constitute the numerical majority of the people; but do the Roman Catholic occupiers of land or the Roman Catholic people of Ireland pay for the support of the Established Church? I want to have that question answered. Any man who stands up in this House and tries to prove that they do, will entirely fail. Would the Roman Catholic occupier have his land a penny cheaper if the Established Church were swept away tomorrow? I answer, No. In old times the Roman Catholic occupiers were obliged to pay a certain tax for certain purposes in connection with the Established Church, but Church cess has long been swept away, ministers' money is abolished, and it cannot be said that the people of Ireland are called upon to support the Established Church. The property of the Church is a charge on the land, and nine-tenths of the land belongs to Protestants. We have heard a great deal tonight about the question of religious ascendancy. Now I have never, either in this House or elsewhere, stated that I considered religious ascendancy was a thing that was good. I believe that no such thing practically exists in Ireland; and I was astonished to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire say that in Ireland there was an ascendancy of one class over the other. He has dilated in eloquent terms upon the terrible evils of this supposed ascendancy; but if these really exist, how came it about that he and his party never sought to remedy such gigantic grievances? The party opposite sat upon the Benches we now occupy with little intermission for the last thirty years, and I have always observed that when the question of the Irish Church was brought forward they were the first to say that the time for considering the proposition was inopportune. It there- fore ill becomes them to come forward now, the first moment they are in opposition, and declare that such a grievance as that of religious ascendancy exists along with its concomitant evils; seeing that for years they sat here, not only without making any protest or taking any steps to have those evils redressed, but they almost invariably openly opposed or indirectly thwarted Motions brought forward on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire complimented the hon. Member for Kilkenny upon the Motion he has brought forward. He said to that hon. Gentleman that the change he proposes was most wise and beneficent, and that he hoped the hon. Gentleman would live to see his suggestions carried out. But how, let me ask, were the intentions of the hon. Member for Kilkenny regarded by a most distinguished Colleague of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire in the year 1865? What did that Colleague, sitting in the same Cabinet, and equally responsible for the action of the Government, then say? He said— We have the Irish Protestant Church established as an existing institution in Ireland. It is not of recent creation; it rests upon the prescription of centuries. The firm belief of the Government is that it could not be subverted without revolution, with all the horrors that attend revolution."—[3 Hansard, clxxviii. 490.] That was the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey), who, a Secretary of State, sitting at that time on the same Bench as the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, declared that the change which the right hon. Member for South Lancashire considers wise, desirable, and beneficial, was a change that could not be carried out without bringing all the horrors of a revolution in its train. What can be said of a party who changes its opinions so soon, and which now repudiates the principles which they adopted two years ago? But there is another point worthy of observation. Hon. Members opposite have made up their minds to disendow the Irish Church, and to confiscate her property; but they have been unable to determine to what purpose they will apply the funds so obtained. Some say they ought to be taken for national purposes; but it is hard to see what these purposes are. Others have gone the length of saying that the revenues of the Irish Church ought to be devoted to what are called national purposes, that is to say to the poor, to lunatic asylums, and to prisons, or to lighthouses; but this notion has not received much support. Others, again, think that the money might be applied to the purposes of education. Considering the difficulties raised in the way of deciding disputed points raised on the question of education, the House would certainly find extreme difficulty in deciding in what manner the revenues of a despoiled Church shall be dispensed for the purposes of education. Another proposal has been made, that the property should be capitalized and divided among all the sects. That proposition has been put forward in a very able manner by Mr. de Vere. All I can say is, that with regard to this mode of distribution I believe there would be difficulties very nearly as great as would take place in the distribution for educational purposes. And you will find among Roman Catholics the widest differences of opinion as to the way in which the funds ought to be applied. Stipends to Roman Catholic clergy have been entirely repudiated by the Roman Catholic Church; and the difficulties that would arise among the Roman Catholics themselves as regards the distribution of their own share would be as great as with regard to a distribution for educational purposes. That being the case, it appears to me that the position of the Irish Church is this—a great number of persons want to pull the Church down—to overthrow it altogether; but that they have found it impossible to make up their minds as to the partition of the spoil. I beg leave altogether to disclaim anything like a wish that the Roman Catholic clergy, or the clergy of any other Church, should remain in an impoverished state, and anything that could be suggested for improving their status would receive from me the best consideration. I should be very glad to see the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church in the enjoyment of incomes larger than they enjoy at present. But I do not admit that the poverty, the want of sufficient means in one Church, is any reason why you should impoverish the other. If pulling down the Irish Church would not enrich the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church or of the Presbyterian Church, why pull it down? The rector of the parish may have £200 a year, with a large family; and the Roman Catholic priest might have only £100 a year; but how would it improve the position of the priest, if the Protestant clergyman were deprived of his £200 a year? I have listened with considerable astonishment to many of the remarks which have been made to-night by hon. Gentlemen opposite professing the Roman Catholic religion, or speaking in the interest of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. I cannot understand how any Roman Catholic, looking back to the history and action of his Church, can declare himself an enthusiastic admirer of the voluntary system. The whole history of that Church, from the earliest ages, is the history of endowments. It is a Church of gorgeous rite and costly ceremonial. She has, I admit, often worked in poverty and obscurity, but her normal state is one of riches and of splendour, and endowment is the very life-blood of her existence. And when I see what has taken place in Italy, and read the denunciations of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to the seizure of endowments, I cannot understand how hon. Gentlemen can profess to represent Roman Catholic opinion, and recommend these changes upon the voluntary principle. That course appears to me, looking to the position of their own Church in Ireland, to be a most dangerous one; and this is a view of the case which I would specially commend to the consideration of the Roman Catholics themselves. The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is acquiring a vast amount of property. I do not look on that circumstance with any fear or jealousy; but, at the same time, I would remind hon. Gentlemen that in advocating this confiscation of the Irish Church property, they are advocating a course which may by-and-bye be adopted against themselves. I have seen with admiration the great sacrifices which have been made by the Roman Catholic population of Ireland within the last few years in building churches for providing means for the support and maintenance of those churches, and for religious purposes generally. I believe that no people have made greater sacrifices in order to provide for the proper observance of religious ordinances; but I do maintain that as this goes on, as the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland becomes richer, as inevitably it will become—those who now advocate confiscation are using an argument that may be used against themselves at no distant period—and that, as has been the case in Italy, their accumulated property may ere long excite the cupidity and the jea- lousy of many an influential party in the State. I believe that instead of promoting peace and unity in Ireland, this proposal is likely to create much dissension; and I believe that there is nothing more likely to produce ill-will and ill-feeling in Ireland than a struggle commenced against the existence of the Established Church. That opinion does not originate with me. If hon. Members will turn to the speeches of Lord John Russell they will find that more than once that statesman has declared that any attempt to alienate the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland will be hailed as a signal of dissension, and will be the commencement of a long struggle of which no man can possibly foresee the end. It is for these reasons that I oppose the Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, believing, moreover, that the existence of the Church in Ireland does not constitute any practical grievance. I make that statement deliberately, as the result of daily and constant communication with all classes of the Irish people. I have lived among the people as long as any Gentleman opposite. I have conversed with all classes and creeds in the country. I have spent hours discussing the question with persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, and I never heard one of them say that he looked on the existence of the Established Church as a practical grievance. I put my own knowledge of the country against that of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I deny that the Irish Church is regarded in Ireland as a symbol of oppression or as a practical wrong.


said, that with respect to the question whether the Established Church in Ireland was regarded as a practical grievance, with all respect for the opinion of his noble Friend, he preferred the united and unanimous authority of the Roman Catholic clergy and laity of Ireland in a case in which they themselves were parties concerned to the assertion even of his noble Friend. He had been surprised to hear his noble Friend commence his speech by saying that he was content to rest his case upon the arguments put before the House by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Chatterton). Giving that right hon. Gentleman full credit for sincerity and ability, his argument appeared to be little suited to the atmosphere of the House of Commons or to the stage at which this great discussion had now arrived, and was adapted rather to an ecclesiastical meeting in the Rotunda than to the Parliamentary arena. The learned Attorney General had produced, and his noble Friend to his surprise had enlarged, upon the stale and utterly worn-out argument that the property of the Established Church in Ireland, or any such institution as an Established Church, was to be treated on the footing of private property. The House was told that to make any change in the distribution of Church property in Ireland was the same thing as to deprive a landowner of his private property. The noble Lord must know that this argument had been dealt with, repudiated, and disposed of over and over again by all the highest authorities for the last fifty years. What did the noble Lord mean by private property?


said, he had never used the words "private property."


said, the noble Lord had spoken of Church property being on the same footing with regard to right as that of private persons.


admitted that he had spoken of the "property of the Church;" but repeated that he had never mentioned the words "private property."


said, the words had probably been used by the Attorney General, whose argument the noble Lord had adopted. At all events, the noble Lord had revived the favourite assertions on the other side that the fact of the owners of landed property who were in a great proportion Protestants being in the first instance liable to the payment of tithes, was an argument for the maintenance of the present condition of things in Ireland. Without following out the quotation to its proper conclusion, the noble Lord had quoted the language of a very high and justly esteemed authority, the late Sir George Lewis, who denied that the tithes of Ireland were or ever had been the property either of landlord or tenant, but viewed them as a reserved rent which had never belonged to either. In that Sir George Lewis was perfectly accurate. But who did his noble Friend suppose Sir George Lewis to consider the owner? Did he mean to imply that the body which, by accident or the course of events, happened to be the Established Church for the time being, no matter what its numbers, whether 60,000 or 60, was to be the indefeasible owner of that property? No; what Sir George Lewis meant to infer was, that in point of equity the tithes were the property neither of landlord nor tenant, but of the Irish people, and that not for any imaginable purpose, but strictly for the ecclesiastical and religious purposes of the nation. Then, again, the stale and threadbare argument that the Act of Union debarred Members from even looking at this question had been revived; and if authority was appealed to, they were told to look to the late Lord Plunket. He was perfectly ready to consult the opinions of the late Lord Plunket, not only because he was a great and liberal Irishman, but because he, though a defender of the Establishment in Ireland, had supported the Appropriation Clause thirty-five years ago. In all probability had that eminent Irishman lived a few years longer he would have been found supporting the course taken at this moment by the Opposition. In one of his speeches, Lord Plunket treated with the greatest contempt the assertion that the Act of Union had debarred the Legislature from dealing with the temporalities of the Irish Church; on the contrary, he held that the Act dealt only with the doctrines and discipline of the Church, and left Parliament at liberty to deal with the temporalities. The best proof that such had been the general understanding of the country was that a former Government, under the guidance of a noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) whose name must have weight with Members at the other side of the House, carried a measure dealing in a most stringent though inadequate manner with the temporalities of the Irish Church. Coming to the great question, so properly brought before the House by his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray), he agreed with his right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire that the question had not yet reached a stage at which it could be practically dealt with, though its vast and pressing importance was becoming every day much clearer to the mind of this country. The circumstances of Ireland, the intolerable and continued presence of sedition and disaffection in that country, called for a conscientious examination by Parliament, and for the making of all needful sacrifices; and few could doubt that as soon as the great question of Reform upon which the country was now engaged had been disposed of, the ecclesiastical condition of Ireland would come forward for prominent consideration. It was most important to keep steadily in view the real condition of the case. It would be a misfortune to treat this as if it were a new question whether a certain Establishment was legitimate at the present moment or not; or whether, as in the case of England or Scotland, one out of many Protestant denominations ought to maintain its pre-eminence. The Protestant Established Church in this country was surrounded by many Protestant Dissenters, who declined, on conscientious grounds, to avail themselves of her ministrations. But her influence extended far beyond her own pale, and her position was still one of great national strength—a state of things which he hoped would long continue. But in Ireland matters were totally different. Every argument put forward in support of the Establishment here amounted to a condemnation of it there. It was the peculiarity of the Irish Establishment that it was not one among many Protestant denominations; but an Establishment of a small Protestant minority in a country which, for the most part, might be fairly called a Roman Catholic country. Let it be remembered that the Roman Catholic body was in no true sense of the word a body of Dissenters. Arguments, no doubt, had been drawn from the ecclesiastical pedigree of a certain number of Bishops—and to his surprise that point had been imported into the debate by the learned Attorney General—with a view of proving that the Anglican Church of to-day was the veritable Church of St. Patrick. But the truth was, that it was the Roman Catholic Church of to-day which represented the ancient pre-Reformation Church of the country. The Anglican Church never had been, and was not now, the National Church in Ireland. It possessed, no doubt, all those privileges and endowments which a nation conferred upon a Church with a true national character; but it possessed I those endowments, not in consequence of the will of the people of Ireland, but owing to the pressure of external power. It had been truly described as a colonial Church; and so long as it possessed the disadvantage of enjoying exceptional and unequal privileges, and was supported by extraneous power on the soil of Ireland, that character would belong to it. He dared say hon. Gentlemen would remember some characteristic and acute words on this point spoken by the late Lord Melbourne, than whom there never was a more clear-seeing man. That noble Lord said that their ancestors had been unjustly blamed for their conduct in establishing in Ireland the Church of the minority, because he believed that if their ancestors could now speak for themselves they would say— A Roman Catholic population and a Protestant Establishment is a state of things we never either contemplated or intended. Our policy might be violent, our measures might be cruel, our objects might be impracticable, but still we had definite and reasonable objects in view. We intended the eradication of the Roman Catholic, and the substitution of the Protestant faith. Such was our end—such our means from the reign of Henry VIII. down to the enactment of the Penal Code. If you abandon our policy as you have done, you must abandon it entirely, and you must adopt, not only a different, but precisely the opposite course."—[3 Hansard, xxx. 726.] And he went on to say, with respect to the statement that disaffection in Ireland was a result of the exclusive privileges of the Protestant Establishment, that there was one great institution in Ireland, patent to all, which, it was admitted by all the greatest authorities, could only be defended on the principle of injustice, and which perpetuated the memory of ancient wrong, and that was the Established Church in its political character. It was this condition of things which produced the sense of an inevitably coming conflict between classes in Ireland, which poisoned almost all the relations of life, creating divisions between Protestant and Roman Catholic, landlord and tenant, magistrate and suitor, in Ireland. It had been said by a great and wise man that the truset patriotism in Ireland was forgetfulness; but it was impossible that there could be forgetfulness of the past so long as there existed in every parish and town in Ireland a state of things which practically and visibly stereotyped all those old distinctions which every true patriot would wish to obliterate, and which struck the imagination and wounded the self-respect of the great mass of the population. Bishop Moriarty, whose recent conduct in the South of Ireland they were all aware of, in a document addressed to Roman Catholics, after pointing out the extent to which Catholics of the educated and propertied classes in Ireland had become reconciled to the laws and institutions of the country, proceeded to say— It is not so with the millions, for whom emancipation has had no practical or appreciate result. For them the past still lives in the present—they think they are an oppressed race. England is for them an enemy's country. Patriotism, which elsewhere means a devoted love of the laws and institutions of one's country, here means hatred of them. Political sense is all awry. Men live in the hope of what they call a deliverance of their native land.…. Now, is there any patent wrong which can account for this most unhappy state of national feeling? There is one, and that is the Church Establishment. This is the clear proof of an unjust ascendancy still maintained by the conquering nation. This makes the Catholic Irishmen still believe that he is ruled as of old for the benefit of a few English settlers.…. Take this wrong away, causes of complaint may still remain, but they will be such as may be found among the most loyal; they will not furnish just grounds for national antipathy or revolutionary longings. There are other grievances, the Bishop states; those, for instance, connected with the land question or education— But neither these nor any other that we suffer indicate the oppression of one nation by another. When those who defend the policy of English rule in this country think they have answered every other objection of the disaffected, one remains unanswered and unanswerable—namely, the Church Establishment. The object, then, which they should have in view was the establishment of real and substantial religious equality in Ireland. The present state of things appeared to him unjust, and he thought that for the peace and safety of the Empire anything was almost better than the existing condition of affairs. Yet in proposing any new settlement of the Church property in Ireland, he thought that they should endeavour to bring it about with as much consideration for the feelings and even the prejudices of those who had been long in the exclusive enjoyment of that property and of their co-religionists in England and Scotland as was compatible with the substantial justice of the case. In the next place, they ought to treat it as an Irish question. It was no doubt also an Imperial question and an international question of the gravest character; but it should be decided upon its own merits in its connection with the past history and the future condition of Ireland. It would, in his opinion, he a great misfortune if it were treated by Gentlemen on either side; of the House with a view to ulterior political objects. [Ministerial cheers.] If that cheer meant that hon. Gentlemen opposite thought that such should be the mode of treating the question, he heartily agreed with them, and he would entreat them to approach the consideration of the subject with the single purpose of taking the last step to heal the old wound which still rankled in Ireland. He was an advocate not for the secularization of the ancient revenues of the Church, but for their impartial and fair distribution. He was not prepared, if it could possibly be avoided, to leave the Anglican Episcopal Church in that country unendowed, while he was ready and willing to throw on it the necessity to a considerable and large extent of calling in aid the voluntary contributions of its members. On the other hand, he desired to see the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland enjoying some fair and legitimate share of the ancient ecclesiastical property of the country, while still depending, as it must largely, on the voluntary principle. He saw nothing better calculated from his point of view to embody a just settlement of the question than that contained in the Resolutions moved in the other House last Session by Earl Grey— That the application of the whole income derived from Church property in Ireland to the support of a Church Establishment, for the exclusive benefit of a small minority of the people of that country, is unjust, and ought not to be continued. That, with a view to the correction of this injustice, it would be expedient to vest the whole property of the Church in Ireland in the hands of Commissioners empowered to manage it, and to divide the net income derived from it, in such proportions as Parliament may prescribe, between the Protestant Episcopal, the Roman Catholic, and the Presbyterian Churches. He confessed that the general outline of that mode of settlement of this great question appeared to him to be the soundest, and he believed that on proper inquiry it would be found that the ecclesiastical revenues of Ireland would go very much further than many hon. Gentlemen supposed in conferring advantages on the religious bodies in that country. When so divided, they would not supersede voluntary support, but they would greatly aid it. He thought the great use of discussions such as this was to bring home to the minds of people the increasing necessity of doing something in the matter, of making up their minds to a great change, and to show them that they must be prepared to make sacrifices of prejudices and of opinions. He was in the habit of hearing complaints that what had already been done in the way of remedial legislation for Ireland had not been attended with beneficial results; but he could not concur in that opinion. He did not admit that Parliament had not reason for satisfaction and for hope. Injurious to the country as the Fenian movement had been, he asked the House to compare it with the civil and religious war of 1798. Again, let them compare the state of Ireland now to what it had been some thirty years ago, when the savage conflicts took place at Carrickshock and Rathcormac. As compared with the state of feeling which existed at those periods, the House could look with satisfaction at the support received by the Executive from the middle and upper classes during the Fenian disturbances. It was impossible to look at these things without recognising the fact that the policy of justice and wisdom on which the House entered a few years ago had borne fruit, and that its results ought to encourage Parliament to proceed in the same direction. He knew well enough the difficulties under which honest and high minded Protestants laboured in bringing their minds to consent to a great change in the temporal and worldly condition of their Church. There was a religious feeling springing out of the belief in the truth of the teaching of the Church—a feeling that was entitled to every consideration; but which must yield to the higher necessities involved in dealing justly with the Irish people. There was also the natural feeling of hereditary pride—a natural and even pardonable, though a mistaken feeling—which induced men to uphold the Church because their fathers had done so before them. But, on the other hand, they must remember that the present ascendancy of the Church was not one of a religious character, but merely a political ascendancy, founded in force, and maintained by the external power of the Government. For his part, as a member of the Established Church of Ireland, he wished to cast his lot in with that of the great body of his countrymen. He desired for his religion no privileges not consistent with the self-respect of others and with the peace and prosperity of Ireland. He, for one, should hail the day when they could arrive at a settlement of this question. He admitted that day had not arrived; but he would use his freedom as a private Member of Parliament to give his vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny as an expression of his individual opinion, and as a humble contribution to the settlement of a great question.


said, that he must insist upon his right to be heard on this question. He must remind the House that last year the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. C. Fortescue) was so impeded by the shackles of office, that he had felt himself unable to give his vote to the hon. Member for Kilkenny, and had confined himself to wishing his Motion a hearty "God speed." He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman upon the recovery of his freedom, but regretted that he had not been able to offer the House more convincing arguments in favour of the present proposal. Indeed, when the right hon. Gentleman attempted to touch upon what he conceived to be the ultimate settlement of the question, the indistinctness of his views afforded a very decisive proof of how completely the mind of the right hon. Gentleman was in the dark on the subject. Last Session, Earl Russell, the head of the Administration of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member, declared his opinion that the destruction of the Irish Church Establishment would be politically injurious, and would be the commencement of a political war; but the right hon. Gentleman was now an advocate for the proposal, and he deserved to be congratulated upon his rapid and complete conversion. The right hon. Gentleman had told them what was the feeling of the Roman Catholic population and of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland upon the subject. He would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he was prepared to set up his opinion in the House as the organ and mouthpiece of the Roman Catholic feeling in Ireland in opposition to the newspaper called The Tablet. He apprehended that every one interested in the Roman Catholic question knew that The Tablet was the recognised Roman Catholic organ, and truly represented the sentiments of the Irish Roman Catholics. The Tablet said that— The wound of Ireland is, that whereas the great majority of the people of Ireland are Roman Catholics, such a large proportion of the soil belongs to Protestants; and it stated further— We are convinced, and that upon evidence than which demonstration could scarcely be more conclusive, that if the Legislature were to confiscate to-morrow every acre of land, every shilling of tithe rent-charge now belonging to the Protestant Church of Ireland, and were to deprive the Protestant Bishops and clergy of every privilege they now possess by virtue of their position in the State Church, they would not have abated the Irish grievance or cured the Irish disease. They would only have made a change in the form of words and in the name of things. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of any allusion to the Act of Union as a "stale and threadbare argument." Perhaps he entertained some respect for the views and opinions of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire; and he (Lord Claud Hamilton) invited the House to listen to a remarkable document that emanated from that right hon. Gentleman. Two years ago that distinguished statesman was a candidate for the representation of Oxford, and a friend of his, who had always voted for the right hon. Gentleman previously, before tendering his vote for him wished to know his opinion with regard to the Established Church in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) thereupon wrote a letter, in which he said— The question of the Irish Church Establishment is remote and apparently out of all bearing upon the practical politics of the day. I think I have marked strongly my sense of the responsibility attaching to the opening of such a question. One thing I may add because I think it a clear landmark. In any measure dealing with the Irish Church, I think (though I scarcely expect ever to be called on to share in such a measure) the Act of Union must be recognised, and must have important consequences, especially with reference to the position of the Hierarchy. This is the stale and threadbare argument to which the late Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland refers in such contemptuous terms. The letter proceeds— I hope you will approve my reasons for not wishing to carry my own mind further into a question lying at a distance I cannot measure. The right hon. Gentleman got his friend's vote on the strength of that. Now, he should like to know from those who had heard the speech of that distinguished statesman this evening, what their opinions were concerning this fixity of view on this or any other subject. In his remarkable speech the right hon. Gentleman did not propose any half measures, but said that if all anomalies were removed the case would only be rendered still more offensive. He gave them various reasons why the Establishment was condemned by all classes, and said they must be fair and equitable. But he (Lord Claud Hamilton) wished to know what equity, justice, or fairness was involved in the subversion of that Establishment? He contended that there could be no equality between the two parties, for how stood the case? One party—the Roman Catholics—have over and over again repudiated any State provision for their Church and clergy; on the other hand, the Protestant party only required to retain what had been secured to them by the most solemn engagements—rights that they had inherited through many generations—privileges that had been secured to them by the valour and blood of their forefathers, who had thus secured the inestimable blessings of civil and religious liberty. For his own part, he held that the maintenance of a Church based on the principle of freedom of conscience and the right of private judgment was in itself a great advantage to any community which was subject to the rigid enforcement of ecclesiastical discipline, and in Ireland, were it not for the Established Church, there would be a state of things such as existed in Spain. He invited the attention of the House to a circumstance that had come within his knowledge. In the North of Ireland an institute, called the Catholic Institute, was established by a number of laymen of education, for the sake of mutual improvement, and having reading-rooms, lectures, newspapers, and magazines. It was formed for literary purposes, and was equally free from anything political or religious; but a Roman Catholic Bishop, a gentleman of high respectability, became a member for a subscription of £5, and he immediately claimed for himself the power to set up any rules he chose, and to set aside any that he did not approve. The 4th rule which the Bishop desired to enforce made it imperative on the institute to obtain— The approval by the Bishop, or one appointed by him, of all books and newspapers to be admitted for reading into news room or library; and the like approval of any lecturer to be invited to lecture to the members. If these orders were not obeyed, the Bishop refused the Sacraments to every member of the Institute. His words were these— If these conditions be not made the basis of the Institute, I wish to give fair notice that by whatever name the new association may be called…. I shall consider it my duty, for the protection of my people, to debar from Sacraments all and every one who may become a member, or aid in its construction. He would confidently ask the House, in conclusion, whether they were prepared to destroy the Established Church in Ireland in order that such mandates might come into force, and such a system of spiritual despotism be established by the votes of a free Parliament of British subjects?


said, that having attended the House since its meeting, and having listened patiently and without interruption to every Gentleman who had spoken on the question, he considered he had, as an Irish Catholic, some claim to attention. It was not his intention to attempt, at that hour, to speak at any length; but there were one or two points—especially one—on which he desired to offer a few observations. He must, however, first refer to the taunts which had been thrown out against the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire with respect to his having changed his opinion on the important subject then under discussion, and having, in fact, gone so far in the direction of his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny. The taunts came with a bad grace from the other side of the House, from Gentlemen who, he thought wisely, were imitating the policy of the late Sir Robert Peel, and adapting themselves to the altered circumstances of the times. There was this difference, however—that what Sir Robert Peel did after much deliberation they did rapidly; for had not the House within the last week witnessed "vital" questions cheerfully abandoned. ["Oh, oh!"] For his part he would not be surprised if he found that in a year hence, or two at the farthest, the very Gentlemen who now regard the Act of Union as a barrier to all concession—nay, even to the consideration of this question — would themselves propose a measure more sweeping than that contemplated by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, even as the ultimate result of this agitation. There was one material point on which he felt it to be his duty, as a Catholic representative, to express a distinct opinion, and he was mainly induced to do so in consequence of the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Louth, who shadowed out his scheme for distributing the revenues of the Church Establishment. I express my solemn belief that it is not the desire of any but a very small section of the Members of the Catholic Church to touch a single shilling of the revenues of the Protestant Church. On the contrary, that it is the conviction of the great Catholic body of Ireland that any attempt to confer on the Catholic Church any portion of those revenues would be dangerous to her independence and fatal to her influence. Recently it was made manifest that the Roman Catholic clergy had stood between the people in Ireland and the counsels of violent men, thus compromising, to a certain extent, their influence with their flocks. Let them, however, receive State assistance, or rely upon any aid but the volunteer offerings of the people, and the result would be dan- gerous, be believed, not only to the peace of Ireland, but to that of the Empire at large. He, for one, repudiated the idea that the Roman Catholics wished to appropriate one shilling of the present Church endowment in that country. The Attorney General for Ireland had made a statement that evening which surprised him not a little. The right hon. Gentleman had been only a short time in the House, and he owed his position to the circumstance that he was a successful lawyer. ["Oh, oh!"] He meant no disrespect to the right hon. Gentleman; but he did not know Ireland as well as the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for that country, otherwise he would not have thrown out the taunt to which he had given expression. The right hon. Gentleman went so far as to deny that the Established Church in Ireland constituted anything beyond a mere sentimental grievance; adding that the only persons interested in keeping up excitement with respect to it were priests and agitators. Now he, who knew the feelings of all classes of Roman Catholics in Ireland on the subject, from the highest to the lowest, could positively state that there was no question upon which they were more unanimous; so that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman on that head was entirely erroneous. Among all classes of Catholics in Ireland—let them be the most exalted in rank or the humblest in position—there was but one feeling on this question of the Established Church. From the Catholic nobleman to the tenant on his estate—from the Catholic Bishop to his youngest curate—all classes, all ranks—the landed gentry, the merchants, traders, artizans—all entertained the same sentiment of hostility to the present state of things, and were justly indignant at its continuance. Catholic landowners perhaps differed from the mass of the people with respect to the land question; but there was no difference of opinion whatever on the question of the endowed Church. And if Catholics held other opinions, or cherished other feelings than they did on this question, the right hon. Gentleman might justly hold them in contempt, as unworthy of respect. The right hon. Gentleman, moreover, sought to prove that the revenues of the Established Church were really derived from a Protestant Church, because, as he asserted, the Church in Ireland had always been antagonistic to the See of Rome. He would, however, recommend the right hon. Gentleman to open, when he next entered the library of Trinity College, a volume called The Book of Armagh, from which he would learn that the injunction which St. Patrick laid down was to refer all difficult questions arising in the Irish Church to his successors, but if their decisions should be unsatisfactory, then to the See of Rome—the Church of all Churches. And if the Canons of St. Patrick, to which he thus referred the right hon. Gentleman, did not convince him that there was a direct connection between the early Irish Church and the See of Rome, he could only then say he did not know what was sufficient evidence to satisfy a lawyer on such a subject. Catholics derived nothing from the State for their Church, and the vast majority of them held the opinion that nothing would be so fatal to their Church in Ireland as any attempt to link it with the State, especially by the fetters of pecuniary assistance. They thus had no selfish motive in their desire to settle this question on principles of common justice. They had no hostility to Protestants, to Protestant clergymen, or to the Protestant Church. ["Oh, oh!"] Had the House ever heard a single word uttered by a Catholic Gentleman against the religion of Protestants? Never; whereas, on the contrary, night after night Catholic Gentlemen had heard the most outrageous attacks on their Church and their faith. Catholics considered that religion was too sacred a thing to be interfered with, and that it should be a question solely between a man and his conscience. It was idle to represent the existence of the Church Establishment in Ireland as a sentimental grievance. It was at once a grievous national wrong, and a standing insult to the pride of every Catholic in the country. And so long as it and other grievances were allowed to remain rankling in the heart of the people there could be no abiding peace. He did not mean to exaggerate this question, or express his belief that it was the greatest of the grievances from which Ireland then suffered; but it was one which could not be defended in justice or in policy, and it should be removed. No such institution existed, nor would be allowed to exist, in any of the colonies; in fact, if such an institution were attempted to be imposed upon any one of the colonies, or were sought to be maintained in it against the wish of the colonists, England could not hold it for a twelvemonth. Then, why try and maintain in Ireland an institution which was opposed to the feelings of the mass of the population? Irish Catholics only asked of Protestants that they should imitate their example by doing what they had done, and were willing to do—namely, to sustain their own Church. He should offend the Protestants of Ireland if he said they could not do what the poorer Catholics had done and were doing. They, the poorer though the most numerous, supported their own Church sufficiently; and if the richer and more powerful Protestants could not do likewise, they passed a terrible condemnation on their own Church, their own pride, and their own honour.


Sir, as no Member for an English constituency, except the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, has addressed the House on this great and important question, I desire to be permitted to make a few remarks before we proceed to a division. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Louth (Mr. C. Fortescue) gave us the whole substance of his speech in the first few sentences. He said that the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Roman Catholic people, whom he spoke of as a sort of accidental adjunct of the priesthood, desired that the Church of Ireland should be disendowed; that a part of its revenues should be applied to Roman Catholic objects. In this respect the right hon. Gentleman only follows the doctrine promulgated by the Rev. Dr. Moriarty in his recently published letter which seems to have charmed most of the speakers who have taken part in this debate. In that letter Dr. Moriarty is good enough to say, and in this the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) adopts his teaching, that it is totally impossible for the Roman Catholic hierarchy to accept anything like a stipend from the State, inasmuch as that would imply a connection with, if not an obligation to, the State of England; but Dr. Moriarty adds that it would be agreeable to the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, if the property of the Established Church of Ireland were sold and a large part of the produce of the sale were applied to the building of Roman Catholic cathedrals, seminaries, and monasteries. The modesty of this demand I do not comment; but observe the effect which the sanctioning of such a proposal would have upon England. The connection of England with Ireland is represented by a branch of the United Church of England and Ireland, of which the Sovereign is necessarily a Member; but if you disestablished that Church, and applied its property to the purposes described by Dr. Moriarty, so long as the Union existed there would be a direct connection between the Sovereignty of England and the Roman Catholic Church so established in Ireland. On the part of the people of England and Scotland I beg to repudiate this proposal most emphatically. The hon. Member for Cork, in putting forward this proposal, is only echoing the declaration of Archbishop Cullen or Cardinal Legate Cullen. [Sir GEORGE BOWYER; Divide!] The Cardinal Legate says he will never accept a compromise. [Sir GEORGE BOWYER: Divide!] The hon. Baronet the Member for Dundalk is always uneasy whenever I mention Cardinal Legate Cullen's name coupled with his title. It seems to make him wince. Being himself an office-bearer in the Court of Rome, no man knows better than he the significance of that title; no one better understands the importance of the functions which are exercised by Cardinal Legate Cullen. He is not only an ecclesiastical but a temporal officer of the Court of Rome—it is in these capacities that he refuses to be a stipendiary of the English Crown. Why, Sir, if we applied any portion of the property of the Established Church in Ireland to the building of Roman cathedrals, churches, chapels, seminaries, and monasteries, the next step would be that England would have to sue for diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome. Sir, we have lately had an example afforded us, in a document which lies upon the table of the House, of the happy effects which attended the connection recently dissolved between the Empire of Russia with the Court of Rome—a connection which was entered into with the object of pacifying Poland. And now that that document is in the hands of hon. Members, I have a right to allude to it, and I may appeal to any man who has read that document whether a more connected history has ever been of insidious attempts at usurpation, of deception, and at last of direct encouragement of rebellion, on the part of Rome than has been the fruit of the attempt on the part of the Russian Government to recognise the influence of the Papacy in the government of the Roman Catholics in Poland through their Church? Hon. Members may see from that document what have been the effects of such a connection; culminating as it did in a bloody rebellion. I hesitate not to say that a more startling record was never laid before the British Parliament. What I see in this proposal of the hon. Member for Kilkenny is the disendowment of the Established Church in Ireland, against whose ministers no man has ventured to bring a single charge, and who stand blameless in the discharge of their duty as the representatives of the tolerant religion of the United Church of England and Ireland. It is foolish to attempt to evade the issue. The object of the Resolution moved by the hon. Member for Kilkenny is to prepare the way for depriving the Established Church in Ireland of her property. There can be no question about that. A good deal of circumlocution has been resorted to. The hon. Member for Kilkenny, indeed, reminded me of the Irishman at a fair, who, having a mind to hit some acquaintance unawares, went about feeling on the canvas of a booth from the outside for the head of his acquaintance. Then, uprose the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, and taunted the hon. Gentleman the Member for Armagh (Mr. Vance) with his folly in supposing that the proposed inquiry might be for the mere purpose of removing anomalies in the Irish Church. What said the right hon. Gentleman? If the House desired to perpetuate the Established Church you would do well to seek out those anomalies with a view to removing them? But, no! Turning round to the Members below the gangway, he said, "that is not the object," and then added, "But there is a good time coming;" but continued the right hon. Gentleman, "Don't be impatient." "It may be inconvenient now;" and then the right hon. Gentleman affected to paint the possible future, and raised a kind of prismatic mirage which confused the House without telling us one word about the character of the measure he intended. Sir, on the part of a great English constituency, on the part of the English people themselves, so far as I am acquainted with their opinions, and on the part of the Scotch people, I distinctly repudiate the proposal which lies beneath the surface of this Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny. Emphatically, I declare that it would be an act of gross injustice to deprive the Established Church in Ireland of her property. In the next place, I deprecate the idea of promoting the domination of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland by the disendowment of the Irish Church. It is a curious and suggestive circumstance that, just at this moment, when we are about to pass a Reform Bill which will admit a vast popular element to representation in this House, certain aristocratic Members of this House are seized with such a fit of nervousness as to bethink themselves of seeking aid from the Cardinal Legate and the Romish hierarchy in Ireland, as though they desire to lean upon these officers appointed by the Court of Rome. I do not believe that the people of England will much value the liberalism that shrinks from contact with their enlarged constituencies and seeks to lean upon officers appointed by the Papacy for the government of Ireland. As I said before, I repudiate this Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, as involving a gross act of injustice towards the Irish Church; but also, as a measure of Imperial policy, I condemn it; for if any portion of the property of the Church is given to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and they are once established, we shall be called upon to open relations with the Court of Rome; and what has happened to Russia may befal England. After trusting Rome we may find ourselves deceived; until, plunged into internal strife, we find that we have been a mere tool in the hands of the Papacy.

Previous Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 183; Noes 195: Majority 12.

Adam, W. P. Bright, J.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Bruce, Lord C.
Allen, W. S. Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.
Amberley, Viscount Bryan, G. L.
Andover, Viscount Buller, Sir A. W.
Anson, hon. Major Buller, Sir E. M.
Armstrong, R. Calthorpe, hn. F. H. W. G.
Ayrton, A. S. Candlish, J.
Aytoun, R. S. Carington, hon. C. R.
Bagwell, J. Carnegie, hon. C.
Baines, E. Cave, T.
Barclay, A. C. Cavendish, Lord E.
Barnes, T. Cavendish, Lord F. C.
Barron, Sir H. W. Cheetham, J.
Barry, A. H. S. Childers, H. C. E.
Barry, C. R. Clay, J.
Bass, M. T. Clement, W. J.
Baxter, W. E. Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F.
Bazley, T. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Beaumont, H. F. Collier, Sir R. P.
Blake, J. A. Colthurst, Sir G. C.
Blennerhasset, Sir R. Colvile, C. R.
Bowyer, Sir G. Corbally, M. E.
Brady, J. Cowen, J.
Bright, Sir C. T. Cowper, hon. H. F.
Crawford, R. W. Mills, J. R.
Crossley, Sir F. Milton, Viscount
De La Poer, E. Moffatt, G.
Denman, hon. G. Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.
Devereux, R. J. Monk, C. J.
Dillwyn, L. L. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Dodson, J. G. Moore, C.
Duff, M. E. G. Morris, G.
Dunkellin, Lord Morris, W.
Edwards, C. Morrison, W.
Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E. Murphy, N. D.
Esmonde, J. Neate, C.
Evans, T. W. Nicol, J. D.
Eykyn, R. O'Beirne, J. L.
Fawcett, H. O'Brien, Sir P.
Fildes, J. O'Conor Don, The
Finlay, A. S. O'Donoghue, The
FitzGerald, rt. hn. Lord O. A. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Oliphant, L.
Fitz Patrick, rt. hn. J. W. O'Reilly, M. W.
Forster, W. E. Osborne, R. B.
Foster, W. O. Otway, A. J.
Fortescue, rt. hon. C. S. Padmore, R.
Fortescue, hon. D. F. Parry, T.
Gavin, Major Pease, J. W.
Gilpin, C. Peel, A. W.
Gladstone, W. H. Peto, Sir S. M.
Glyn, G. G. Philips, R. N.
Goldsmid, J. Platt, J.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Gower, hon. F. L. Potter, E.
Graham, W. Potter, T. B.
Gregory, W. H. Power, Sir J.
Greville-Nugent, A. W. F. Price, R. G.
Gridley, Captain H. G. Price, W. P.
Hadfield, G. Rearden, D. J.
Hardcastle, J. A. Robertson, D.
Harris, J. D. Roebuck, J. A.
Hartington, Marquess of Russell, A.
Hay, Lord J. Salomons, Alderman
Hay, Lord W. M. Samuelson, B.
Henderson, J. Scholefield, W.
Henley, Lord Seely, C.
Herbert, H. A. Shafto, R. D.
Hibbert, J. T. Sherriff, A. C.
Holden, I. Simeon, Sir J.
Hughes, W. B. Smith, J.
Ingham, R. Smith, J. A.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Stacpoole, W.
Kennedy, T. Stansfeld, J.
King, hon. P. J. L. Stock, O.
Kinglake, A. W. Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Kingscote, Colonel Synan, E. J.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Taylor, P. A.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, E. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Labouchere, H. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Layard, A. H.
Lamont, J. Vandeleur, Colonel
Leatham, W. H. Vanderbyl, P.
Leeman, G. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Vivian, H. H.
Lusk, A. Weguelin, T. M.
MacEvoy, E. White, J.
M'Kenna, J. N. Whitworth, B.
Mackie, J. Williamson, Sir H.
M'Laren, D. Young, R.
Maguire, J. F. TELLERS.
Milbank, F. A. Gray, Sir J.
Miller, W. Greville-Nugent, Col.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Anstruther, Sir R.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Antrobus, E.
Archdall, Captain M. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Arkwright, R. Guinness, Sir B. L.
Bagge, Sir W. Gwyn, H.
Bagnall, C. Hamilton, rt. hon. Lord C.
Barrington, Viscount Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Barttelot, Colonel Hamilton, I. T.
Bateson, Sir T. Hardy, rt. hon. G.
Beach, Sir M. H. Hardy, J.
Beecroft, G. S. Hartopp, E. B.
Bentinck, G. C. Hervey, Lord A. H. C.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. Pack- Hay, Sir J. C. D.
Heathcote, hon. G. H.
Booth, Sir R. G. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Brett, W. B. Henniker-Major, hon. J. M.
Bridges, Sir B. W.
Bruce, C. Herbert, hn. Colonel P.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Bruen, H. Hodgson, W. N.
Burrell, Sir P. Hogg, Lieut.-Col. J. M.
Campbell, A. H. Holmesdale, Viscount
Capper, C. Hood, Sir A. A.
Cartwright, Colonel Hornby, W. H.
Cave, rt. hon. S. Horsfall, T. B.
Chatterton, rt. hn. H. E. Hotham, Lord
Clinton, Lord A. P. Howes, E.
Cobbold, J. C. Huddleston, J. W.
Cole, hon. H. Hunt, G. W.
Cole, hon. J. L. Innes, A. C.
Conolly, T. Jervis, Major
Cooper, E. H. Jones, D.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Karslake, Sir J. B.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Kavanagh, A.
Cox, W. T. Kendall, N.
Cremorne, Lord Kennard, R. W.
Curzon, Viscount Ker, D. S.
Dalkeith, Earl of King, J. K.
Dawson, R. P. King, J. G.
Dick, F. Knight, F. W.
Dickson, Major A. G. Knox, hon. Colonel S.
Dimsdale, R. Lacon, Sir E.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Laird, J.
Dowdeswell, W. E. Lanyon, C.
Du Cane, C. Lefroy, A.
Duncombe, hon. Adm. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Dunne, General Leslie, C. P.
Du Pre, C. G. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Dyke, W. H. Lindsay, hon. Col. C.
Eckersley, N. Lowther, J.
Edwards, Sir H. M'Lagan, P.
Egerton, Sir P. G. Mainwaring, T.
Egerton, E. C. Malcolm, J. W.
Egerton, hon. W. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Fane, Lt.-Col. H. H. Manners, Lord G. J.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.
Feilden, J. Montgomery, Sir G.
Fellowes, E. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Fergusson, Sir J. Morgan, O.
Floyer, J. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Foley, H. W. Naas, Lord
Forde, Colonel Neville-Grenville, R.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Newdegate, C. N.
Galway, Viscount Newport, Viscount
Goddard, A. L. Nicholson, W.
Gore, J. R. O. Noel, hon. G. J.
Gore, W. R. O. North, Colonel
Gorst, J. E. Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.
Graves, S. R. O'Neill, E.
Gray, Lieut.-Colonel Paget, R. H.
Greenall, G. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Greene, E. Parker, Major W.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Grey, hon. T. de Percy, Mjr.-Gn. Lord H.
Griffith, C. D. Pugh, D.
Read, C. S. Taylor, Colonel
Repton, G. W. J. Thorold, Sir J. H.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Torrens, R.
Robertson, P. F. Treeby, J. W.
Rolt, Sir J. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Royston, Viscount Trollope, rt. hn. Sir J.
Russell, Sir C. Turner, C.
Schreiber, C. Verner, E. W.
Sclater-Booth, G. Verner, Sir W.
Scourfield, J. H. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Selwyn, C. J. Walrond, J. W.
Severne, J. E. Walsh, A.
Seymour, G. H. Walsh, Sir J.
Simonds, W. B. Waterhouse, S.
Smollett, P. B. Whitmore, H.
Stanhope, J. B. Williams, F. M.
Stanley, Lord Wise, H. C.
Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W. Woodd, B. T.
Stronge, Sir J. M. Wyndham, hon. P.
Stuart, Lieut.-Col. W. Wynn, C. W. W.
Sturt, H. G. Wynne, W. R. M.
Sturt, Lt.-Colonel N. Yorke, J. R.
Surtees, C. F. TELLERS.
Surtees, H. E. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Sykes, C. Vance, J.