HC Deb 03 April 1868 vol 191 cc837-946

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [30th March], That this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee to consider the said Acts,"—(Mr. Gladstone:) And which Amendment was, To leave out from the word "House" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "while admitting that considerable modifications in the Temporalities of the United Church in Ireland may, after the pending inquiry, appear to be expedient, is of opinion that any proposition tending to the disestablishment or disendowment of that Church ought to be reserved for the decision of a new Parliament,"—(Lord Stanley,) —instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


Although I have meditated on the subject of to-night's debate from time to time as long as I have had anything which I could call a mind, and although for a great number of year I have maintained one and the same conviction, and that as strong a conviction as can be formed upon any subject, I do not know that I should have asked for the attention of the House in this debate were it not for some of the observations which have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India. I agree with a great many of the principles, as far as they may be called Church principles, stated by those right hon. Gentlemen; and I am not disposed to quarrel with the terms which those right hon. Gentlemen used in stating those principles. And, yielding, as I do, to them in every other respect, but not yielding to them in the slightest degree in dutiful and humble allegiance to the Church, of which we are all members—[Laughter]—I mean all three of us—I desire to show how this matter can be approached from an English Churchman's point of view, and what a fallacy there is in the suggestion which is made that there is any inconsistency whatever in a man who hopes to die as he has lived, in full and undoubted communion with the Church of England, nevertheless desiring with his whole heart, and striving with his whole strength, to bring about the total abolition of the Establishment in Ireland. No doubt it is a common notion, which we have heard repeated several times in the course of the debate, that any man who touches or presumes to deal with the political condition and the social status of the Church, thereby deals with or touches the Church herself, and must needs be her enemy. And yet I venture to say a more baseless, groundless, utterly unhistorical notion it is difficult to conceive. Why, the Church existed and flourished ages before there were any such things as Establishments at all; she exists and flourishes at this moment in many countries—some of them colonies of our own, some of them foreign countries—in which there are no such things as Establishments. She is destined, in my belief, to survive for long ages their universal overthrow. With the doctrine, with the discipline, with the inner life and divine character of the Church, Parliament has, and can have, no claim whatever to intermeddle. Parliament did not create these things, and Parliament cannot alter or destroy them. But with the social condition, with the political surroundings, with the temporal accidents of the Church—with all that goes to make up the complicated idea which we express by the word Establishment, as it seems to me, the State has just as clear a right to deal as it has to deal with any other great institution of the country. Not more right, not less, but just the same. And wherever else this proposition may be disputed, and by whomsoever else this statement may be questioned, it cannot, I think, be questioned by any English lawyer, or disputed in an English Parliament,—and for this reason. Those of us who have the misfortune to be familiar with the text of our statute book know that the statute book opens with Magna Charta; but the first real Parliaments, and the first real statutes, date from the early years of Henry III. In the very infancy of our Parliaments—in 9 Henry III. and 7 Edward I., and in long succession afterwards — are to be found statutes of Mortmain. Read in their literal acceptation, those Acts forbid, in terms, the creation of any religious endowment in the future. No doubt there were political and feudal reasons for that interference with the rights of private property; and no doubt, also, those statutes were from time to time evaded, as they were enacted and re-enacted again and again in even stronger, more elaborate, more stringent terms. But I maintain, and I defy it to be denied, that they were from the earliest times notice to all mankind that the State of England and the Parliament of England claimed to have this matter of endowments in their own hand; that they claimed to deal, and did deal, with this kind of property more freely and more peremptorily than with any other kind of property whatsoever. Any man, therefore, in England who gave property for religious uses, whether in his lifetime or after his decease, gave it with full notice that the holding of his gift would be interfered with, if it should turn out that the holding of it by ecclesiastics was prejudicial or inconvenient to the interests of the State itself. I submit that this is the very least weight which ought to be given in any fair argument on this subject to the long succession of statutes of Mortmain. But to pass away from the statutes in the English statute book, the smallest consideration of general principles would lead one to the same conclusion. Persons who deny the right of the State to interfere with matters of this kind, do not attend sufficiently to the meaning of the words they use, and forget the very objects of society and the reasons and purposes for which States exist. I have read in a work of good authority that in Sweden, at the time of Gustavus Vasa, more than half of the real property of the kingdom was held for religious uses. Such a proportion would at once be a reductio ad absurdum of the argument for the sacredness of property so held; but I care not whether the amount was so great as one-half, because no man of sense would deny that a far less proportion would justify and, indeed, compel, the interference of the State to redress the evils which such a condition of things would, of necessity, engender. Therefore, the consideration in this case will be whether the condition of things is such as the State can approve. If not, the State has a perfect right to interfere. I apprehend that if this be the proper consideration in such cases generally, it applies with particular force to the case of the Church of England, or to the case now under discussion, that of the Church of Ireland, because both those great communities hold a large amount of property on new terms imposed at the time of the Reformation. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was quite correct in saying that there were no statutes which, in terms, transferred the ecclesiastical property in Ireland from one Church to the other; but in 1560, under the Lord Deputyship of Lord Sussex, there were passed the Act of Uniformity and the Act of Supremacy; and, at that time, the Prayer Book was set up instead of the Mass. Therefore, though, as the right hon. Gentleman said, there were no statutes transferring the possession of the property in substance, it was transferred by the statutes to which I have referred, because those statutes changed the terms on which the property was to be held. Further, the representatives of the great English families, whether in this House or the other, can scarcely dispute the fairness of the proposition which I have laid down, because there is hardly one of them who does not hold from the State grants of Church lands, not, perhaps, among the oldest, but certainly among the best and most valuable, of his title deeds. It is plain, then, that in dealing with these questions you must be guided by considerations of degree, of circumstances, of prudence, and of common sense. Arguments drawn from these considerations must be used if the Church of England were before us; and it is upon arguments such as these that, in my opinion, she could be irresistibly defended. But it is not the case of the Church of England which is before us. It is the case of the Church of Ireland; and on arguments such as those to which I have referred she is utterly and absolutely indefensible. But when we proceed to apply these principles to the case of the Church of Ireland, we are met by two objections, which, if they are well-founded, go to the root of the matter; which, therefore, with the leave of the House, I will endeavour to examine. It is first said that the principle of Establishments is attacked, and that if you give up the Church of Ireland you must give up the Church of England also. Next, it is said that there was a compact made at the time of the Union, and that a sort of understanding was come to at the time of the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act; and that what is now proposed to be done is in direct violation of what was, at all events, a moral compact between the great parties of the State. As to the principle of Establishments being attacked, I deny it altogether; because I do not admit in the sense, in the only sense, in which the words can be used so as to be any argument in a discussion of this description, that there is any such thing as a principle of Establishments at all. One can understand the principle of justice or the principle of love of your neighbour; or, taking a lower example, the principle of Free Trade, or the principle that taxation and representation ought to be correlative. These are things which are true in themselves—true in the abstract. They do not depend on time, or place, or circumstance; they are principles which ought to be observed everywhere and always. But in respect of Establishments, time, place, and circumstances, are the very essence of the question. What is fit here may be unfit there; what is tolerable here may be intolerable there; what is fit in one age may be unfit in another; what may, perhaps, be particularly suited to the condition of things in England may be particularly unsuited to the condition of things in Ireland. If all this talk about principle means only this—that, supposing an exactly analogous state of things exists in England to that which exists in Ireland if you give up the Irish Church you are bound to give up the English Church also—why, then in fairness and candour I grant it you at once. But while the condition and the circumstances of the two countries are wholly different, what minutest step in the argument have you gained—if it is to be argument of fact and common sense—by the concession I have made? Take, again, the arguments founded on the compact at the time of the Union and the understanding at the time of Catholic Emancipation. I want to know in what sense the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, who—if I may take the liberty of reminding him of it—was not so long ago a good and successful lawyer, put to the House that there was a compact at the time of the Union? He does not mean to say that anything could be done by one Act of Parliament which another Act of Parliament could not undo. He cannot gravely mean to contend that there is anything in the Act of Union which makes it different from any other Act, so as to put it beyond the competence of the Imperial Parliament to repeal it. He quoted a passage from Lord Ellenborough; but I should be very glad to know whether it was from a speech or from a judgment of Lord Ellenborough. I believe that, however sincere in his convictions, Lord Ellenborough was a thoroughly narrow-minded politician; and I have not the same respect for him as a politician that I have for him as a lawyer delivering a judgment in the Court of King's Bench. It struck me that the passage quoted by the right hon. Gentleman sounded much more like one from a speech in the House of Lords than one from a judgment delivered in a Court of Law. At all events, I am quite sure that the great men who passed the Act of Union—Mr. Pitt, Lord Castlereagh, and Lord Cornwallis—were the last men to put forward the argument that what they were doing was to tie the hands of Parliament in future. Taking the matter however, on lower ground, if it is said that touching the Establishment was no part of the measure of the Union, that is quite true. It is quite true, also, that those who passed the Union were firmly determined in this matter to keep things as they were. Again, as to what passed at the time of Catholic Emancipation, if all the authors of that measure, especially the great Lord Plunket, said, over and over again, that they believed the position of the Established Church in Ireland would be strengthened by Catholic Emancipation, I venture to think they said what was quite correct; because I believe that, but for the mitigating effect of the Act of 1829, the Irish Establishment would long before this have been swept away from off the face of the earth amidst the universal indignation of the people. So much for those preliminary objections. The question as to the Irish Church endowments is in its nature like that as to any other great features of the Constitution; for example, the law of primogeniture, the law of hereditary legislation, the law of wills, the law of entail, the law of marriage and divorce—all important laws which have been enacted within historic times, which have been altered and may, perhaps, be altered again, but which ought not to be altered without great and overwhelming necessity. They are laws as to which a heavy onus probandi rests on those who would alter them; but which it would be, nevertheless, the duty of Parliament to alter at once if, in the opinion of the great majority of the people, they came to work badly instead of well. But then it is said that we ought to abstain from applying this principle to the case of the Church of Ireland, because it is alleged that the Church of England and the Church of Ireland are part and parcel of one another, and that if we touch the one we must necessarily touch the other. Now, even if this were true, it would be no good plea in Parliament; for Parliament has already dealt with this question, and is in consequence perfectly competent, if need be, to deal with it again. I respectfully maintain, however, that the allegation is not correct. When have the Churches of England and Ireland been united? If the word "Church" be understood as signifying a religious body I apprehend that the 5th Section of the Act of Union could not unite the Irish to the English Church; and if it could unite the two, what an Act of Parliament has done an Act of Parliament can undo. If you speak of the Churches as religious bodies, I want to know when they were united, for certainly no Convocation or recognized organ of the Churches was ever consulted on the matter. Then, it is said there is a want of generosity on our part, and that we have no right in this unfair and unhandsome way to desert a weak ally. Again I say that I do not quite realize or understand this language. Rhetoric and metaphor are admirable and excellent things in their way, but they form exceedingly bad premises for practical conclusions, and we have no business whatever to look at this matter as a matter of generosity at all. The question at issue is this:—"Has the maintenance of the Irish Church Establishment always been, and is it now, a grave and great injustice to the vast majority of the people of Ireland?" If it is we have no right whatever to be generous at their expense; for it is a mighty poor sort of generosity which is founded on injustice, and it argues some confusion of thought to use such an argument on such a subject. I venture to say that this case must be tried by the ordinary rules, and that if the Irish Church is to be defended at all it must be defended by ordinary arguments. Now, can the Irish Church be so defended? Whether it can or not, at all events, this debate has given us mighty little means of more satisfactorily answering that question; for, with the fullest recollection of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, I yet venture to say that in the course of the three nights' discussion no one has put forward a defence of the Irish Establishment on principle, and with a due consideration of the facts of the case which he had to defend. Certainly, no one has put forward a defence of the Establishment with anything like force or heart, no one above all occupying the position of a responsible Minister of the Crown. We have listened, indeed, to excuses more or less fair for not defending the Irish Church, and to reasons more or less good why the Irish Church cannot be defended; but I venture to say that we have heard nothing from any Member who has yet addressed the House which can be called a real defence of the Irish Establishment as it exists in 1868. That being so, I feel it would be a waste of time to enter at any length upon the miserable history of this strange and utterly indefensible Establishment. Those who care for it and who wish to make themselves masters of that wonderful and disgusting chapter in the history of human nature may turn to Hallam, or Burke, and to the latter volumes of Mr. Massey's History, where they will find an account of the foundation and maintenance of the Establishment in Ireland. It is, perhaps, worth while to turn merely for a moment to those pages in order to see by what force and fraud it was originally set up. We have had letters referred to in this debate, some of which were anonymous, and most of them recently published, but I will take the liberty of reading an extract from a very old letter, which is not anonymous, and which has not yet been published. The letter was written by Mr. Edward Waterhouse, Secretary to the Irish Government, and in it he communicates his opinions on the subject of the Irish Church to Sir Francis Walsingham, afterwards Minister to Queen Elizabeth. The date is June 14, 1574, some years after Lord Sussex's Lord Deputyship. Waterhouse says— I am bold to tell your honour what I hear of these things, because it is meet you should know them, and because you must be the instrument to redress them. But whensoever any alteration shall happen, let all offices be given to soldiers of experience, and to none others. I would the Queen would also so bestow her bishoprics; for here is scarcely any sign of religion, nor no room for justice till the sword, hath made a way for the law. That is an interesting document, which will probably see the light before long in one of those curious volumes which are in course of publication under the direction of the Master of the Rolls. In the histories to which I have referred you may see also how, after the battle of the Boyne, the Church Establishment was supported by that long array of penal statutes which have been described as the wonder and the disgrace of this nation, and to which, as far as I know—and I am not speaking rhetorically—the history of mankind affords no kind of parallel. Let no man say it is a waste of time to recall these things because they have passed away and are forgotten. It is, indeed, quite true; and let us be very thankful for it that they have passed away; but they are not forgotten. And it is well that we, the Imperial Parliament of this country, should be reminded now and then to what ferocious lengths of cruelty political fanaticism is capable of going under the name of religion and with the sanction and applause of a whole bench of Christian Bishops; and with what infernal and persistent malignity the forms of freedom and the machinery of Parliamentary institutions may be employed to corrupt and degrade a whole people. You may read in the correspondence of Lord Cornwallis, not so very long ago, what frightful cruelties were wrought upon the fathers and the near relations of many nun who are now alive, and who have heard their fathers relate them, in spite of the earnest and repeated remonstrances of that excellent and humane Viceroy, in defence of Protestant ascendancy and in the name of the Protestant Church. We do not like to hear these things talked about now, and we are heartily ashamed of them; but we keep up the institution which was their cause and is their symbol. Depend upon it, that as long as we choose to keep up that Church, so long we must expect it to cripple and interfere with our influence and prosperity both at home and abroad. Abroad it works in this way: England is the chief Protestant Power of Europe, and although, as the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) has pointed out, the country is withdrawing, with the general assent, under the wise counsels of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, from that intermeddling in foreign questions which was formerly the rule, still, as an independent, an impartial, and a wholly disinterested country, a great and commanding influence might belong to her in favour of toleration and liberality abroad. But no one who knows foreign people and foreign countries can be unaware that the Irish Church and the condition of the Roman Catholics in Ireland are flung in our faces with irresistible force when we would plead in favour of tolerant measures, and that the sincerity of our preaching on such matters is sorely discredited by the extraordinary contrast afforded by our practice. The first Napoleon, who was no bad judge of such a matter, considered that the state of Ireland operated to divert 30,000 or 40,000 from our army in time of war. And in more personal and more internal matters the failure of the system is the same. We know that the Church Establishment has failed altogether as a preacher of Protestantism. We have heard enough of the scandal of churches without congregations, pastors without flocks, the absence of an Irish Bible, and of a professorship of Irish, and of any attempt to educate, or instruct, or elevate the people during the long centuries which have elapsed between the time of Lord Sussex until now. All these things are traceable, directly or indirectly, to the Irish Church. They have been insisted upon again and again, with overwhelming force, by many illustrious men, and by no one more forcibly than by the late Lord Macaulay. The statements made by these men have not elicited even the semblance of an answer, because they are irrefragably true. It can hardly be denied—indeed, it is admitted by her worst enemies—that the Church of England is, upon the whole, a liberal and a tolerant institution, and that she has stood up for freedom and breadth of opinion in this country. But by the cruel necessity imposed on her by her position, the Church of Ireland must needs be as intolerant and as bigoted as she can. The reason is obvious. It is only by insisting on her difference from the Roman Catholic Church, by refusing to acknowledge a common Christianity between herself and the religion of the majority of the people, and by enhancing all the evils of that system and minimizing all the good in it, that she is able to maintain her position. And any attempt like that made by the admirable and excellent Bishop Berkeley to approach the Roman Catholics on the ground of common Christianity, and to treat them with Christian charity does but bring out in more revolting outline the glaring injustice of their relative political positions. And this is an evil for which nothing but total disestablishment can be a remedy. That being the state of the case, upon what grounds are we asked not to disestablish the Irish Church? It has been said, and gravely said, that this is a sentimental grievance; that it is not a thing of which the Irish people have any right to complain at all; that Ireland is flourishing; that the laws are fairly administered; and that the Government is not conducted in anything like a hostile or oppressive spirit. The last statement is no doubt perfectly true. Further, it is suggested that this is hardly a real agitation; that it is got up by English agitators for factious purposes, and that in the main the Irish people do not share it. Sir, if that last assertion be true, it is about the strongest argument in favour of our case which the wit or ingenuity of man could by possibility devise. As Burke says, in one of his papers on this subject, human nature must be degraded before it can be safely insulted. If it were really true that the Roman Catholics of Ireland felt the English Establishment in Ireland to be no insult and no injustice, this would show that the iron had indeed entered into their soul, and that centuries of humiliation had at last done their work. But, Sir, nobody believes this. At least, whatever else they are, the Irish are brave and high-spirited. In this, if in nothing else, they are like ourselves. Make the case our own. Should we endure it for a single year? Should we ever rest until we had got rid of what the First Minister of the Crown, not in heedless rhetoric, but with excellent reason, has called an "alien Church?" Suppose it had pleased Providence that the first Napoleon, with the whole power of Europe at his back, had at last worn us out and, instead of dashing himself against the rocks and snows of Russia, had succeeded in annexing us as a subject kingdom to his almost universal Empire. Suppose he had installed Catholic bishops in our cathedrals, placed Catholic priests in our livings, created a Catholic nobility, and governed us by a great Catholic ascendancy. Do you suppose that the people of this country would have rested before they got rid of what I find the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) in 1849 called—and I adopt the term—"a badge of slavery?" Of course we should not. And what should we have thought if some one like the noble Lord the Member for Londonderry (Lord Claud Hamilton) had got up in the House of Assembly in Paris, and said, "This is a pack of stuff. The English are flourishing; they have got their commerce and their agriculture; the law is well administered; they have toleration for their religion; nobody really complains in England; it is a thing got up by a crew of French agitators in this country for the purpose of worrying, for factious objects, the patriotic Government of His Majesty the Emperor." Of course it is idle to waste time upon arguments of this description; and I want to know why we are to stay our hands from plucking up by the roots this system—of course with the tenderest regard—[Ironical cheers]—I say with the tenderest regard to the vested interests of those many admirable and excellent people who now adorn the Irish Church, and of whom it may be said, in the language of truth and without the least admixture of flattery, that their faults are faults of the system and that their virtues are their own? We have had answers to that question, and I will deal very shortly with them. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government (Mr. Disraeli) writes a letter upon this subject—a letter which, says my noble Friend opposite (Viscount Cranborne), greatly re-assured him, and which he looks upon as the charter of the Irish Church. Now, I cannot help thinking that, though that letter has been criticized already from many points of view, the author of that composition is so myriad-minded that it admits yet of a new view. I remember that long ago, in 1852 or 1853, in the days of the Papal aggression, the noble Earl then at the head of the Government wrote a letter which was called the Durham letter, and I well recollect that the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of the Government alluded to it. I suppose he had then gone from below the Gangway, and had censed to use "heedless rhetoric," but he had taken to epigram. At any rate, I remember as a mere out-sider—being excessively tickled and amused by the vigorous and epigrammatic onslaught which he made upon that letter. He said of the Government of the noble Lord—and if he was here I am sure his "historic conscience" would bear out my quotation—that they were about to collapse "from a union of epistolary rashness and financial imbecility." These were memorable words. The right hon. Gentleman does himself great injustice in saying that he is heedless. Heedless is the very last thing that he ever was or could be; and I cannot help thinking that this letter, which reassures my noble Friend so much, was not a rash epistle, was not carelessly, but carefully written for an object—namely, for publication and as a manifesto. Now, will you find one single word from the beginning to the end of that letter about the Irish Church? There is a great deal about the crisis in England. There is a great deal about Church and State—I suppose in England; but of the Irish Church, which was the matter in hand, not a single syllable. There is not a word, not a letter, to justify any Gentleman on either side in accusing the Prime Minister of a breach of faith if he brought in a Bill to disestablish the Irish Church to-morrow. I do not say that the right hon. Gentleman is going to do this. All that I can say is that I think my noble Friend is a little too easily re-assured. Well, then came the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary. Did he say that the Government were not going to disestablish the Church? Nothing of the sort. He spent his time in a great deal of verbal criticism which, considering his high position in this House, I rather wondered he should condescend to. But there was nothing against disestablishment. Next came the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Did the right hon. Gentleman say that his Government were not going to disestablish the Irish Church? No. He said that he would not have a hand in disestablishment. He said nothing should induce him to touch it, and I quite believe him. If done at all, he said, it should not be done while he was upon the Ministerial Bench. But though from his strong feeling and manifest sincerity it would have done his heart good if he could have said, "The Government are determined under no circumstances to disestablish the Irish Church," he was too honest, too truthful, too high-minded to give utterance to a word of the sort.


Pardon me, I said, and said most distinctly, that the Government would offer every opposition to such a Resolution as that of the right hon. Gentleman; and that they would not take any part in the disestablishment or disendowment of the Irish Church.


I still understand the right hon. Gentleman as I understood him before—namely, that they would offer every opposition to these Resolutions; and that, as a Government, they would take no part whatever in disestablishing the Irish Church. Of course, I have too much respect for the right hon. Gentleman not to accept his assurance that, as long as he remains a member of the Government, no such step will be taken. But I do not see in anything he has stated a contradiction of the statement I have made—that there is no guarantee in anything he has said to the House that the Government of which he is a member may not by-and-by disestablish the Irish Church. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, I shall not enter into a struggle of assertion with the right hon. Gentleman, and probably the fault is mine in not understanding his explanation. We were then enlightened by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India. Did he do more than criticize the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, give a great many reasons why we should not go into Committee, and express an opinion which is, no doubt, perfectly true—that when we get into Committee we shall have to deal with a great many extremely difficult points of detail. On the part of another Member of the Cabinet the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Mayo) there has been hitherto not a little reticence. One would have thought that in his position as Chief Secretary for Ireland he would have been put in the front, but perhaps he will favour us with his views before we have done. I want to know upon what grounds you ask us to stay our hands, and say that we should not proceed to vote upon the question before us? Do you really want information? Is there any information you will have twelve months hence which you have not now? Are the 300 years which have elapsed since the time of Lord Sussex not enough? Are the sixty-seven years which have elapsed since the Act of Union not enough to give you information, and to determine your judgment? It is perfectly true that in February or March next you will have been twelve months longer in office. But what sources of information will be open to you in 1869 which do not, if you choose to look at them, now lie open before your eyes? Upon what grounds, then, do the Government of Her Majesty, the Leaders of the House of Commons, and the leaders of public opinion in this country withhold a declaration of their opinion on this subject, and object to go into Committee on a question of this kind, on which not only every Member of this House, but every reasonable and thoughtful man in the country, has long ago made up his mind one way or the other? If I am asked what I expect to get from these Resolutions, my answer is extremely short. I expect to show to Ireland that we have at last begun to look at Irish questions from an Irish point of view; that we are, at least, endeavouring to do the Irish people justice; that, if a great injustice is pointed out to us, we will have nothing to do with maintaining it because it may be accordant with real or supposed English interests or English ascendancy. I say, at all events, little enough as it may be and must be; if vested interests are, as they always ought to be, protected, it is, at least, notice to the whole population of Ireland that the days of English ascendancy are coming to an end. For when the garrison dismisses the chaplain and pensions him on full salary, it is notice that the members of the garrison are about to abandon their fortifications and come out and mingle upon equal terms with the peaceful inhabitants of the surrounding country. What may be the direct and immediate effect of the measure, he would be a very much bolder man than I pretend to be who would undertake to predict in anything like detail. I should think, in all probability, nothing very marked, decided, or striking; because I do not pretend to put this matter forward to the House as by any means a panacea. Though not yet exactly an old man, I have lived long enough and have had experience enough of life to doubt as to the merits of what is called a political panacea. Supposing the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire were passed to-night, and if a measure framed on them could be made law in the present Session, I should not be much disappointed if no immediately great effect were wrought in the condition of Ireland, or in the temper and feelings of the Irish people. It is the vice of political controversy that measures which become the subjects of it are exceedingly apt to have their immediate value and practical importance extravagantly exaggerated both by those who resist and by those who recommend them. And it is one of the commonest mistakes of youth and inexperience to expect to see the results of our labours—a fault which a few added years and a wider acquaintance with affairs sternly but inevitably correct. We learn in time, sorrowfully but surely, how little good can be effected by the highest genius and the greatest virtue in the lapse of even the longest life which is commonly accorded to mankind. But this ought to be no reason to us for a dull and stupid acquiescence in a state of things which is admitted to be bad; still less is it a reason for our doubting as to the ultimate triumph of truth and right, or any slackening in our own efforts to advance them. To us who believe in the Divine Original of Christianity, and who remember how mysteriously small a part of the habitable globe it has as yet affected, and how inadequate a proportion of the population of even Chirstian countries it has directly and practically converted—to us it is and can be no kind of argument at all against the truth and justice of any system, that in itself, and by itself, it fails to work any sudden miracle of change. Rather, surely, if we rightly consider it, this ought to be a motive to us for unceasing energy and untiring effort, for going on—as I believe the great German phrased it—"unhasting, unresting," in the path of what we know or believe to be equity and uprightness; keeping fresh—if we can keep them fresh—that earnestness and enthusiasm without which nothing really great was ever yet wrought upon the stage of human affairs; keeping them fresh and tempering, but not quenching them with common sense and reasonable judgment; and being content to cast the good seed into the ground in faith, and to leave to a far higher than any human power to fix the season for the ripening of the grain, and the time for reaping and gathering into barns.


I am conscious, Sir, that I am rising at a disadvantage after the gorgeous eloquence of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge); still, I venture to occupy the House for a short time while I endeavour to recall it to some practical considerations of common sense, which seem to me to have been too much overlooked in the previous portion of this debate. Preceding speakers have approached the subject either as absolute Englishmen or absolute Irishmen. I venture to do so as belonging to a class which may, I hope, multiply every year, if the good estate of the Commonwealth is to be maintained—those whose affinities are partly English and partly Irish, and who can therefore deal with the question as themselves sympathize with either portion of the realm. More especially can I claim a personal interest in both branches of the United Church, identified as I am with one of the chief seats of education for the English Church, and also as representative of an illustrious Relative in a foundation created for the benefit of the Church of Ireland by his thoughtful munificence. In the name, then, of our common country and of our common Christianity, let me ask, what is the use of ripping up those miserable old sores connected with the times of Lord Deputy Sussex, and Waterhouse, and Oliver Cromwell? What have they to do with the Ireland of the present day—with Ireland of the steamboat—Ireland of the railroad—Ireland of the Incumbered Es-states Court? Why call us back to a cautionary and separatist policy, just at the moment when the experiment of the sub-stantia amor of two portions of the kingdom can really be tried under mutual conditions which never before existed? The legislation of Parliament, of the Parliament in which Ireland no less than England is represented, tends, and ought to tend, to the unification and consolidation of the Empire. It ought to be based on what Grattan would call the "con-corporation" of Ireland with England. But whenever an Irish grievance rises up, Irish patriots talk as if Ireland were a separate country, with interests diverse from those of the remaining realm. I ask those Gentlemen, what would Ireland gain by being separated from the United Kingdom and becoming—for that is the real drift of their agitation—a separate commonwealth, whether as kingdom or republic? How would she stand with a limit set by the sea on all sides, with little scope for manufactures from the absence of coal, and with so large a portion of her small area occupied by mountains and bogs? As far as her own means of advancement carry her, would Ireland have been more than a third-rate Power of Europe—something no better than, if so good as, Denmark, or Portugal, or Greece? Instead of that she has been consolidated with Great Britain, and she has taken her ample part in all the internal and political advantages of the Empire. No man who looks over the list of our Colonial officials can fail to have been struck with the prevalence of Irish names upon the roll. We find there Irish Governors, Irish Judges, and Irish Ministers. To come home to England itself: out of our twelve puisne Judges, one-fourth at this moment are Irishmen. A few months ago Irishmen formed one-third of the members, and the one whom we have lost was a member of that Church whose grievances are being brought so prominently forward on this occasion. The Lord Chancellor at this instant is himself an Irishman. We find Irishmen conspicuous among the merchant princes of Liverpool and Manchester. In return for this enormous balance of advantages which Ireland reaps by being one with England, we have only asked it to concede one further mark of identity — the unification of the Established Church. The fact being that the Monarchy is one, the Peerage one, and the Parliament one, so the Established Church should be one. But it is said that this would be an intolerable grievance. I ask, whose grievance would it be? It must be the grievance either of the educated man, or of the peasant, or of the Roman Catholic priest. I have disposed of the educated man. As to the peasant—supposing for him to be aggrieved—where would the aggravation be? It must be found in something which pretty continually forces itself upon his perception. Well, then, it can hardly arise from the presence each Session in the House of Lords of a Archbishop and of three Bishops of whose names he has probably never heard, and of whose existence he is not likely to be reminded once in ten years. No one would be absurd enough to contend this, although the Peerage of the Irish Episcopate is a main element of the Establishment. His grievance, if any, will be found in what he sees—the superior standing and comfort of the Protestant clergy with their houses and glebes, and churches over that of their priests—or of the Presbyterian Ministers. But this is just the point which the proposal before the House will not touch; for my right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire—and herein alone do I agree with him — purposes to reserve those churches and glebes for their present occupants. There remains the grievance of the Roman Catholic clergy—and that I desire to treat with all respect. I can understand their feeling aggrieved because they do not occupy the position of social comfort and independence to which, as the clergy of so large a portion of the Irish community, they have an equitable right to expect. I admit their grievance so far. It is to be regretted that they cannot enter into possession of parsonages and glebes. But what has that to do with the disestablishment of the Irish Church? Supposing that they were claimants for its endowments I should understand the argument; but they do not demand to be raised to the position now occupied by the clergy of the Established Church; they prefer no claims for its revenues—they merely demand that the Church should be disestablished, and then that all the tithe and other revenues should be appropriated by the Government, returned to the landlords, or otherwise disposed of not to their own benefit. How can the House, so long as the Roman Catholic clergy are in this mind, take cognizance of their opposition to the existence of the Establishment as a serious argument for its downfall, when, by their own confession, their feelings are only those of disgust at seeing other people in a better position than themselves, without a purpose of bettering their own condition by the injury of their neighbours? Still, it may be argued that, in reality, they would not be coy about accepting the glebes and residences when the offer comes to be actually made, and the corollary is that these can only be provided out of the resources of the Establishment. Against this dictum I emphatically protest. It is absurd and unworthy to contend that a great country like ours is unable to do one act of justice towards a handful of clergy — some hundreds, and these celibates, and therefore easier to deal with, for their requirements must be smaller—without plundering somebody else in the process. Why, in the fervour of the first Reformed Parliament, we were able to find £20,000,000 to compensate the slave-owners in the West Indies, and yet we now haggle over the smaller sum which will be necessary to place the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland in that position of comparative ease and comfort to which they are certainly entitled at our hands. But it is urged that there is no necessity for seeking the money elsewhere, since it can be so easily obtained by despoiling the Irish Church. But besides the patent injustice of this proposal, there is a fatal practical objection to it. If we succeed in contenting the Roman Catholic clergy by this plan, we do it at a cost which will far outweigh its political advantages; for we shall equally succeed in discontenting the Protestant minority in Ireland, while we shall excite and terrify the whole Protestant population of England. We shall do all this mischief owing to the manner in which we provide a small scintilla of endowment which might, with the greatest ease, be procured from other sources. It is said, however, that the disendowment will content the larger part of the Irish people, and make them evermore loyal, and this assertion stands for all argument. But is this the fact? Has it not been made apparent that those who are most clamorous for the disestablishment of the Irish Church are also those who are most clamorous for the repeal of the Union, and who regard the one change as the stepping-stone to the other—and both, it may be, as contributions to the dismemberment of the Empire. So the concession which we are asked to make, will be a concession made to that very class of the Irish population who wilfully shut their eyes to the advantages of the incorporation of the two countries, who prefer municipal to Imperial considerations, and who rather chose to regard themselves as members of a conquered race, than of a triumphant and united Empire. If by such means we contributed to the contentment of any, it would be to that of the very class whose contentment is most dangerous to the common weal, because it means separation from England. But the advocates of disestablishment have recourse to abstract arguments, and plead that no comparison can be instituted between the Church of England and the Church of Ireland, because, while the former is the Church of the majority, the latter is the Church of the minority. But, if the Churches united, considerations of comparative numbers become local questions, and should be treated as municipal matters with a view to the varying circumstances of each district. The Church of Munster is not the Church of Leinster, nor is that again the Church of Ulster, as none of them is the Church of Middlesex or Surrey. Let the Church of Munster, then, be considered with a view to the spiritual benefit of Munster, and the Church of Ulster with one to that of Ulster. The proportion of Churchmen to Nonconformists varies in every part of England and Ireland; but the Irish Church is a part of the United Empire, and if we permit it to be disestablished, what guarantee have we for the safety of the Establishment in those parts of England where the Church happens to be unpopular or out-numbered? The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, in his pleasant way, pointed to the analogy between Ireland and Wales as both conquered countries. But, as in Ireland, so in Wales, the Anglican communion is not in the majority. It may be said that the unpopularity of the Irish Church had arisen from its having been of yore too aristocratic, and having too exclusively drawn its supply of ministers from the upper classes; while the weakness of the Welsh Church proceeded from a totally different cause—namely, the peasant extraction, the insufficient education, and the too homely ways of the clergy, which had prevented their acquiring the influence which a higher rank of men would have done as the recognized leaders of public religious opinion. But from different causes like events have accrued. The over-aristocratic Irish and the over-peasant Church of Wales had both been distanced during former generations, and now that both have awakened to a better future, each is threatened with vexatious punishment for the shortcomings of past days. The general praise accorded to the actual energy of the clergy of the Irish Established Church shows, I repeat, that, if they suffer, it will be for the faults of their predecessors. What safeguard, then, was to be found, that at no distant time the Welsh Church will not be called to a similar account. The day the Irish Establishment has gone, the Welsh Church will be trembling in the balance; and after the disappearance of the Establishment from Wales, how long does the House think that the English Church will be able to withstand the assaults of her enemies? Eager eyes are already scanning the comparative statistics of Churchmanship and Dissent in such counties as Cornwall and Lancashire. I utter this warning more as a son of the Church than as a member of the Establishment. I should belong to the Church of England even if she ceased to be established, as I should belong to the Episcopal Church of Scotland, in communion with the Church of England, if I were a resident in that country. I am attached to the Church of England apart from all question of Establishment, because of her apostolic orders and her reverence for the antique traditions of pure and primitive Christianity. I shall belong to her because I venerate and love her beautiful form of service by which she pleads her kinship to the Universal Church. But, because my attachment to the Church of England is independent of her being established, I am the more convinced that, as she possesses that great advantage, all who love should be ready to make every sacrifice in order to maintain it. There is no doubt that the whole question of Establishments will soon be ripped open. My right hon. Friend the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) has contended that the defenders of the Irish Church were arguing in a circle, and had brought forward no argument which ought to convince a Roman Catholic. I now venture to produce one which has not been used before, and which I think ought to carry conviction to Roman Catholics. I appeal to their own regard for their safety; and I desire to remind them that they may be pulling about their ears more than they expect when they assail the Church of England. Christendom has, unhappily, shaped itself into many organizations—some of them more or less aristocratic or despotic, and others of a more or less democratic complexion. The Roman Catholic Church represents most completely the aristocratic or despotic form of Church organization; while the Presbyterians, and, to a still greater degree, other Dissenting Protestant bodies, are democratic. The Church of England, however, while partaking of both characters, pursues a middle path, happily removed from either extreme. A very distinguished, and certainly devoted, Roman Catholic writer on ecclesiastical matters—De Maistre—in the early part of this century dwelt upon this characteristic in a striking passage, which was once quoted by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire, in one of his pamphlets on Church questions. His assertion was in effect that the Church of England was, so to speak, the general pacificator—the middle term among the different Christianities of the world; and that if ever Christendom was happily to be restored to unity, it must be by the agency of the English Church. Weaken, then, that communion—disestablish the Church of Ireland—what do you leave? There would be several hundred thousand discontented persons let loose from that bond of cohesion which their connection with the State has created. Do you suppose that all these people would again voluntarily coalesce in a moderate episcopal communion upon the well-balanced traditionary platform of the Church of England? At all times the pre-fervid Celtic intellect is too apt to run into extremes, particularly when face to face with such a grievance as these Protestants would undoubtedly possess. Is there, then, no risk that many of them will, from antagonism to Rome, rush into some development of strong democratic Christianity, whlie a fresh and furious "No Popery" cry from a mass of unchained partisans may teach the Roman Catholics that they had done an unwise thing in urging on the demolition of the Irish Establishment for the sake of a fleeting political advantage? When the insensate animosity against those dioceses of the Established Church which happen to stand on the other side of the Channel has accomplished its purpose, the Roman Catholics of England, as well as of Ireland, will be grievous sufferers; for they will have broken the breakwater which stands between them and the excesses of popular prejudices. I warn them in time that they will to their cost substitute the rampant "No Popery" cry for the dignified mobilation of the Anglican Church. For these reasons I intend to vote against the Motion for going into Committee in any form; for I have no wish whatever to discuss the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire. If the House shall go into Committee and consider those Resolutions, I will say "No" to them. If by any chance the ambiguous and unsatisfactory Amendment of the noble Lord should become the Main Question, nothing whatever will induce me to vote for it.


thought the issue between Her Majesty's Government and themselves had by this time become sufficiently clear. It was true the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary of State for India, and some of his Colleagues, alluded to the Resolutions of his right hon. Friend as vague and unsatisfactory; and if he remembered rightly, the right hon. Baronet went so far as to say that those Resolutions proposed the minimum of that which would be sufficient if they were successful to oust the Government, and intimated ex cathedrâ that to oust the Government from office was the first and great object of those Resolutions. Now, he (Mr. Stansfeld) did not understand how the right hon. Baronet could put himself forward as able impartially to decide that the main object of those Resolutions was to oust the Government from office; and, in his (Mr. Stansfeld's) opinion, if these Resolutions, and the action of his right hon. Friend in propounding them to the House had one characteristic more than another, it was that they were specific, straightforward, and definite, and, as far as time and the practical competence of this Parliament admitted, they were Resolutions of a practical character. The Resolutions, in the first instance, laid down the principle that, for great reasons of policy, it was necessary to disestablish the Irish Church. Members of the Government had chosen to confound disestablishment and disendowment; but the House perfectly understood that it was with the political question of disestablishment that they had in the first instance to deal; and that, as his hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham (Mr. Bernal Osborne) had said, the question of the application of the funds which might be at the disposal of the State if the Resolutions were adopted, was secondary and subordinate. The purport of the Amendment, too, had become clear, if it was not so originally. The Amendment rejected the notion of action; and so far it formed the one little bit of common slippery ground upon which the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary had been struggling for foothold before the House. But it did more—it not only rejected action—it refused discussion. It was an Amendment which, if adopted, would have the effect of preventing the Resolutions of his right hon. Friend being read at that table, nor would any Member of the House have been able to record his vote in respect to any one of these Resolutions. And yet, though it was not, apparently, for this moribund Parliament to have an Irish policy, or to express an opinion on the Irish Church Establishment. Her Majesty's Government had an Irish policy, and that Irish policy they had propounded before these Resolutions were tabled by his right hon. Friend. And in spite of the appearance of suspended animation in the speech of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he thought he might say that the Irish policy of Her Majesty's Government had been revived. Now, what was that policy? As far as he could judge, from the statements made by different Members of the Government, it might be described in these few words, "Catholic endowment as the purchase money of Protestant ascendancy." If that description was not correct, he knew not what meaning to attach to the words, "levelling up." Besides this, there was nothing but some poor manipulation, for the benefit of the Protestant State Church in Ireland, of the funds and revenues of that Church. The announcement of that policy was followed by the now notorious Dartmouth letter—a cry on the part of the First Minister of the Crown appealing to all the old bigotries and buried sectarian frenzies of the country to support the Government in perpetuating, if they should be able, the injustice of the Protestant State Established Church in Ireland. When hon. Gentlemen voted to-night they would vote upon a distinct issue. Those who voted for the Resolutions would do so because they were convinced that, whatever uses might afterwards be found for her revenues, the disestablishment of the Irish Church was a great measure of political justice and of urgent necessity; and because they were determined—and he trusted no others would record their votes in favour of the Resolutions—that, as far as their influence went, this Parliament should not pass away until they had recorded the expression of that conviction as well as a pledge of their sincerity in entertaining it. In order to justify the right hon. Gentleman for bringing forward these Resolutions it was necessary to satisfy themselves in the first place of the justice and the wisdom, and he might even go further and say the urgent and immediate necessity of the proposals he had brought forward; and in the second place, it was necessary to justify the method and occasion of the presentation of those proposals to the House. The first of those questions was not only the prior but the larger question. The policy of disestablishment was a policy of justice. As had been said by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) the Protestant State Church in Ireland was an institution indefensible in argument. It fulfilled none of the essentials of a State Church. He could, he hoped, understand and appreciate the feelings and sympathies of the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope), when he spoke of his attachment to the principle of a State Church, to which the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Viscount Cranborne) had the other night so feelingly expressed his devotion. He (Mr. Stansfeld) thought, however, that he could say something which might more or less relieve the minds of the noble Lord and of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge. It seemed to him that so far from their principle of an Established Church being at stake in the case of the Establishment in Ireland all their arguments were so many condemnations of that Establishment. Statistics in detail were impertinent upon such a question, and inquiries as to the appropriation of the revenues were utterly irrelevant in presence of the fact that the Church in Ireland was the Church of a wealthy minority of about one-ninth of the population. In virtue of that broad fact the Irish Establishment was doomed. If there were a theory upon which, in these days, they could justify an Established Church, what could it be but this, that in some sufficient sense the Church summed up the collective faith, and ministered to the religious needs of a community. Tried by that test the Established Church in Ireland stood condemned. There could no longer be a perpetuation of churches without congregations, and cures without souls. It was said that if the Church of Ireland were disestablished the Church of England would be in danger; but in reference to the English Church there were two things which he might be allowed to say. In his opinion the immediate future of the Church of England would depend upon what took place within, and not upon what took place without her pale; save that if those who resisted the disestablishment of the Irish Church should succeed in raking up the old embers of sectarian and of race enmity, in making of this a prolonged, a painful, and a severe struggle, then he thought it was possible that they might achieve that which they had before this achieved; that they might conduct their defence in such a manner, and for such a time, as to bring down ultimately ruin upon the principle and the institutions which they most valued, as well as upon themselves. Disestablishment was not only a policy of justice, but of absolute and of urgent necessity, because it became a part of the large and dominant, and, to the Irish, all-embracing question—the condition of Ireland. The Secretary of State for the Home Department had asked the other night, completing the quotation of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, if they could "minister to a mind diseased;" and there was some truth in the statement that Ireland was in a morbid condition. But what was the malady of Ireland; for, whatever it was, they must remember that they were bound over in the heaviest recognizances to find a cure for it. It was impossible to allow Ireland to be what she had been called—the Poland of the West; and there were only two courses, absolutely diverse and divergent, upon which they could proceed in dealing with the malady of Ireland. The one was that of entire suppression; while the other was diligent, impartial, and untiring search after what should be a complete remedy for the condition of the Irish people. It was said that the Irish were an unsatisfied nationality. He ought to know something upon the subject of unsatisfied nationalities, and he believed it was quite possible from present appearances, and, in spite of existing dissatisfaction, to bring the promise of future peace and union. It was a mistake to suppose that when symptoms of the spirit of nationality arose they must either succeed in suppressing them, or else must give them full sway, and allow them to lead to absolute separation and independence. What was nationality but individuality? We might respect the individuality without having to sever ourselves from the nation. We had done so in the case of Wales and Scotland. We lived in harmony with the Welsh and Scotch, because we had not imposed our Church on Wales or Scotland. And if we followed the same plan with regard to Ireland, we might expect a similar result to follow in the course of time. In the eloquent speech of the Home Secretary the other night, he had said— If I could do anything to bring back love and concord, Heaven knows how many sacrifices I should be ready to make to attain so desirable an object. If justice required that I should give up my dearest prepossessions, and I saw any certainty of arriving at success, I would stand aside. Well, the right hon. Gentleman must know that the Irish nation had asked this measure of justice at their hands, and he hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues would consider whether the time had not come when the concession should be made — when they should remove their restraining hand, and allow the people of Ireland to do that which they would do for themselves if they had the power—namely, get rid of an Establishment which, if Ireland were a separate nation, there was no sane man who could defend. It was urged that, if they removed the Establishment, they would run the risk of losing the attachment of that small minority of the people who supported them. If there was that risk, it must be encountered; for they must remember that, as the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) had said on the previous evening, the disestablishment of the Irish Church was a conditio sine quâ non to the loyalty and satisfaction of the great bulk of the Irish people. He could understand that the small minority who had enjoyed privileges at the expense of their fellow-countrymen might be reluctant that the latter should be put on a footing of equality with themselves, and that religious ascendancy should cease; but the Imperial Parliament ought not to be actuated by a consideration of that feeling, if it existed. He believed that, when the temporary irritation involved in the disestablishment of the Irish Church had passed away, we should have the whole population of Ireland reconciled to our rule, and the two countries would be made one, in fact and deed, as well as in name. Of the motives attributed to his right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) he would say nothing in his presence; but would apply himself to the objection which had been made as to the time of bringing forward this Motion. The Motion was brought forward now because the times were ripe for it. Events in America and Ireland had pressed the subject upon their minds—showing them their danger, pointing out their duty, and giving them an additional motive for endeavouring to fulfil it. Recent events in this country had also done much to forward the question. Within the last few years, the minds of most men on political questions had advanced half a generation; and the present Prime Minister was the first to reveal to them the hollowness of Conservative resistance, and thereby to stimulate the hopes and courage and consciousness of power of "truly Liberal" politicians. But more than that—a consequence not contemplated as within the range of probability by the right hon. Gentleman — he had raised and stimulated the conscience of the country, which, when appealed to, would not respond to the old Shibboleths of party, or sectarian, or race antagonism, but would be true to the simple ideas of justice and of the equality and brotherhood of the Irish people. Another reason for their bringing the subject forward was, that they had been challenged to do so by the Government; for they were told before these Resolutions were laid on the table that Government had an Irish policy of their own, distinctly opposed to the principle of disestablishment, and he did not see why they were to be precluded from challenging that policy. He had desired to see the suffrage increased to a large extent; but he should be sorry to say that the last Parliament under the Constitution of 1832 was not competent to deal with this question as far as time would permit. If the Amendment should be carried, they would pronounce their own incompetence even to leave the legacy of their convictions to the next Parliament. When his right hon. Friend read at the table the words of his Resolutions, he spoke the doom of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland, and gave the assurance of future pence, concord, and union. Every Irishman—whether dwelling in Ireland, in the homesteads of Canada, or in the Western States of America—would feel that the day of justice too long delayed had dawned at last for the country of his birth, and that a great and crying injustice and persistent evil, the last relic of centuries of oppression and misrule, was about to pass away.


The language with which the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down concluded his speech, is the same as was uttered thirty-three years ago in this House on the same subject. Then, as now, this question of the Irish Church had become a great party cry; then, as now, the parties in the State were ranged on either side, and the same words were used as now—namely, that the Irish Church is doomed. Since then the party opposite have been for a long time—during twenty-eight years — in Office, with majorities sometimes large, sometimes moderate; but, either from a disinclination to interfere with the matter, or from a feeling that the line laid down and the principle adopted in 1835 were untenable, no action has been taken in the matter. I am rather reluctant to prophecy, but I believe it will be found in future times, when this question comes to be discussed and better known than it is now, the same result will follow; and the Protestant Church in Ireland, though it may be reformed, improved, and amended, and rendered much more in harmony with the requirements of the country and the feelings of the people, will nevertheless remain in its strength and in its purity. I am glad the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down did not repeat in the same terms the charges of inconsistency which have been brought against the Government by former speakers. He seemed to admit what I think must now be patent, to all, that the policy of the Government on this question is clear and defined, and that they believe it to be consistent with their duty, with the principles they profess, and with what they think useful and good for the country, that they should oppose any proposition for the disestablishment or disendowment of the Irish Church. I heard, with some surprise, one of the ablest dialecticians in this House endeavour last night, apparently with great pains and labour, to fasten upon the Government the charge of inconsistency in this matter. He argued that our course had been uncertain and vacillating. From the various speeches delivered on the part of the Government, he tried to argue that the Government had put forth an uncertain sound. Now, I am not going to follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) through all the various events, speeches, and circumstances to which he referred; but I maintain that he utterly failed in proving that there was the smallest particle of inconsistency in the course adopted by the Government since the question was first mooted in public last year, when the Earl of Derby, in the other House of Parliament, resisted the addition proposed by Earl Russell to his Resolution in favour of a Commission. Since then the conduct of the Government has been invariably the same, and they have never lost an opportunity of declaring that it was their duty to maintain the Church of Ireland as an Establishment, and to resist all attempts to disendow it. As a proof that they entertained this opinion, I will adduce the fact that the noble Lord lately at the head of the Government agreed to the Commission moved for by Earl Russell, in the other House, on the distinct ground that the Commission was to inquire into the position and revenues of the Establishment, with a view to see how any anomalies and inequalities could be removed, and how the property of the Church could be made more beneficial than it is at present. With that view a Commission was appointed, which, notwithstanding all that has been said against it, is, I think, a perfectly impartial one. Nobody, I imagine, supposes that we ought to have selected to serve upon it avowed enemies of the Establishment, and gentlemen who had strongly declared their adherence to the voluntary system. That would have been directly in opposition to the principles on which the Commission was appointed. So the Commissioners selected were five Gentlemen professing Conservative opinions, and four Gentlemen professing Liberal opinions, all of whom had then a considerable interest in the question, and all of whom, I believe, are perfectly competent to deal with it. Sir, I feel convinced that the Report of that Commission, in its amplitude, in its importance, and its interest, will hardly ever have been excelled by the Report of any Royal Commission that Her Majesty has ever appointed; and, I believe, that all that has been said with regard to the sufficiency of the information now at the disposal of the House upon this subject is an entire mistake, and that you will find in the Report of this Commission an amount of information, and a number of facts which are perfectly new, and which I maintain this House ought to be in possession of, and have time to consider before they can possibly proceed even to deliberate upon this important question. The next event which took place was the speech which I made, and the words—imperfect words, I admit, but admitted to be quite sufficient for their purpose—used by me when the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork was before us. I then showed distinctly that, not only my own opinion, but the opinion of the Government, was in favour of maintaining the Irish Church, and that it was part of our policy and principles to resist any Motion for disendowment. I strictly guarded myself against opposing reforms or alterations which might tend to the improvement of the Establishment, or to a more useful application of its revenues; but I distinctly stated, with the assent, I believe, of every one of my Colleagues, that we should resist any attempt to interfere with the fundamental principle of the Establishment. It seemed to me that the allegations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) were entirely contradicted by his own words. He said, "Your conduct was vacillating;" yet, he adds, that my words seemed to challenge the step now taken by the party opposite. Now, what I said was not meant as a challenge; but, if it was to be taken as a challenge, and as an expression of opinion, which it was the duty of the party opposite immediately to controvert, and obtain the judgment of the House upon, surely, it cannot be described as in any respect vacillating or uncertain. Well, a Notice of Motion was given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone). It was met by an Amendment which, as I think, was perfectly clear and intelligible. That Amendment embodies a statement which, I think, nobody will be able to controvert, which, I believe, events will prove to be true—namely, that it is not only improper but impossible that the present Parliament can deal with the question. Surely, no one can say that such an Amendment is proof of vacillation. Well, then, I come to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which, if anybody could have had the smallest doubt on the subject, was quite sufficient to convince any candid mind what the opinions of the Government are upon this question. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) is not in his place, because, when he makes these charges of inconsistency, I cannot but recollect that, while he has been loudest in his protestations against everything in the shape of Parliamentary Reform, he yet sat in two successive Governments which were pledged to the principle of Reform—nay, more, which were always bringing in unsuccessful Reform Bills; and, I cannot but recollect, too, that while he has always declared himself a strong enemy of the Irish Church, he still was, for many years, a Member of Governments, one of whose cardinal points of policy, as regards Ireland, was invariable resistance to the overthrow of the Irish Church. I say, then, that it comes with an extremely bad grace from the right hon. Gentleman, when he tries to fasten upon the Government an inconsistency which does not exist; while, looking back upon his career, we see in it an amount of inconsistency which can hardly be attributed to any other public man. There is only one other point to which the right hon. Gentleman referred the other night, and I will notice it in a few words. He stated that there was a gross inconsistency in the conduct of the Government; because, while resisting the attempt to overthrow the Irish Church, we propose to grant a charter to a Roman Catholic University. The right hon. Gentleman gave a description of that charter wholly contrary to the facts. He said that the Government proposed to place at the disposal of the Roman Catholic Bishops the whole education of the Roman Catholic laity in Ireland. Now, I contend that my proposition bears no resemblance whatever to the description thus given of it by the right hon. Gentleman. It is very easy to describe a thing as it is not; to state a thing as it was never intended to be, and then proceed to demolish it. That is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman did. The proposal made by the Government was one to establish a University in which the lay element would not be only strong but preponderant; in which the only ecclesiastical element was to be four prelates; and I must say that I think the right hon. Gentleman paid a very bad compliment to the independence and intelligence of the Roman Catholic laity of Ireland if he thought that, because four Roman Catholic Bishops were placed upon a certain body, therefore the whole education of the Catholic laity was to be placed in the hands of the Catholic prelates. I repeat, therefore, that the description of the institution which we proposed to found, as given by the right hon. Gentleman, was an entire misrepresentation, and that nothing of the kind was intended under this charter. A great deal has been said to-night as to the power of Parliament to deal with the present question; and in the eloquent speech of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) I think a great deal of time was—I will not say wasted, because no time can be wasted in listening to anything which falls from him—but at all events, I think he expended a great deal of unnecessary force in proving that Parliament had the power of dealing with the Irish Church. Now that power, as I understand, has never been denied; but we do say that the proposal now made is one greater, perhaps, than any that has ever been submitted to Parliament. When we remember that it is now proposed for the first time to leave a considerable portion of the United Kingdom without an Established Church; that it is proposed, in addition, to confiscate property and revenues which for 300 years, at the very least, have been in the possession of this body; when we remember that these revenues have been guaranteed to the Irish Church in a manner more solemn, I believe, than that in which property has ever been guaranteed to any other body corporate or any other private individual in this country; when we see that this Establishment has been guaranteed by the Oath of the Sovereign, by Acts of Parliament spread over the whole course of the statute-book, by contracts made, and repeatedly made, with leaders of great political parties on great political emergencies; remembering all this we say that a proposal to confiscate property and disestablish an institution guaranteed and sanctioned by all these securities is, perhaps, the most momentous step ever taken by the English Parliament. Without denying the right of Parliament to deal with the question, we say that it is a duty which, though not beyond its powers, will tax those powers to the very utmost. One word now as to the mode in which this proposal is to be carried out. The right hon. Gentleman certainly claims for a Committee of this House greater power, and wishes to impose on it larger duties, than ever before were entrusted to it. His first Resolution, as I have said, embodies a proposal which, in its fundamental principles, subverts the Constitution of the country. Now, if the Constitution of the country is to be subverted, perhaps a preliminary Resolution is as good a mode of effecting that object as any other. As to the second Resolution, however, though I am no lawyer, and do not feel competent to discuss it, I should be very glad to hear some Gentleman of the long robe get up and tell us how a Resolution of a Committee of this House can control and prevent the exercise of the Prerogative of the Crown. As to the third Resolution, it is the first time that the Chairman of Committees has ever been invited to put a Motion for an Address to the Crown from the table; and I think if the Resolutions were carried it would puzzle you, Sir, to know how to deal with it. These, however, are points of comparatively slight importance. But the right hon. Gentleman, besides the disestablishment of the Church, proposes at once to establish the voluntary principle in Ireland. Now, I maintain that the voluntary system does not exist in Ireland in any shape or form, and that the three Churches there—the Established, the Roman Catholic, and the Presbyterian—are to a great extent in receipt of endowments from the State. The Established Church is fully endowed. If the Government had not thought some alteration in respect of her endowments necessary, they would not have consented to an inquiry. The Presbyterian Church is also endowed to a considerable extent by monies voted by this House, and the Consolidated Fund bore a large portion, if not the whole, of the cost of the education of those who are destined for the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland. Now, I believe it was very much at the desire of the members both of the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches that money was granted out of the Consolidated Fund and voted in this House for the purposes of both these Churches, and therefore it does not lie in the mouths of hon. Gentlemen, who desire now to advocate the voluntary system as the rule for Ireland, to try to weaken the principle of endowments. But I will go further, and say that the voluntary system, as applied to religious purposes, is most unsuited to the state of things in Ireland. I am sure no hon. Gentleman will attempt to contradict me when I say that, of all Christian people on the face of the globe, the people of Ireland are the most religious, and that there are none among whom religious feeling and religions observances enter more deeply into the habits of their daily life. There is no coldness or want of zeal among them. It is always stated by the advocates of the voluntary system that there is nothing winch so much promotes religious zeal, but the voluntary system is not likely to be wanted in Ireland on that account. On the contrary, I believe that any system which would have the effect of bringing before the minds of the Irish people peculiarities of doctrinal teaching and controversy would not have a good effect upon the peace of the country; and if you establish the voluntary system in Ireland, so far from promoting the interests of true religion you will do nothing but increase religions rancour and strife, and make doctrinal differences a greater subject of controversy than they have been hitherto. Sir, we want nothing in Ireland which will increase the violence of controversy. What we want is a system, both in religion and Government, that will soften those asperities and heal those animosities which have so long prevailed. I believe that there is nothing which would so much tend to intensify all the prejudices which exist and increase all the animosities which we deplore as the establishment of a complete voluntary system. The hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) the other night quoted a very high authority on this subject, and I would advise hon. Gentlemen who doubt the truth of my remarks to turn to one of the ablest books which has been written on the Irish Church—namely, the work of Sir George Lewis—and he will find there the same opinion put forward in language far more powerful and eloquent than I could command. I do not remember his exact words, but they come to this—that the tendency of the voluntary system is to reflect on the clergy the prejudices and antipathies of the most violent of their congregation; that in every country where it has been tried it has had this effect, that it has produced in the Protestant fanaticism, in the Catholic superstition, and intolerance in both. And the same opinions have been most ably advanced by Dean Stanley in a work published not long ago. I would remind the House that this voluntary principle, which it is contemplated to extend to Ireland, is sanctioned by no experience or authority whatsoever. It does not exist at this moment to any extent in any country in Europe. It is quite true that it does exist to some extent in America, and that, no doubt, will be quoted as a precedent against me. But I would remind the House that the voluntary system there was coincident and coexistent with republican institutions; it grew up with them, and became part and parcel of them. But because it has succeeded in America, that is no reason why it is likely to succeed here. I would ask Roman Catholic Gentlemen whether the voluntary system, as far as regards the payment of their parochial clergy, has been altogether satisfactory or successful? I should be sorry to give any opinion of my own on this point; but I have often spoken to Roman Catholic gentlemen of high authority, and they have constantly admitted that the voluntary system in one respect has not worked well. The fact is that the parochial clergy in Ireland are entirely drawn from one particular class of people. Now, I should be very sorry to say that a clergy taken from the lower ranks of the people are not as useful, as devoted, and as pious as those drawn from a higher rank; but this I do say, I should think it a very great misfortune if the clergy of my own Church were to come from one class, and one class alone, and if there were not to be found in its ranks representatives of all classes. In Ireland the clergy are recruited principally from the sons of small farmers, small merchants, and traders in towns; and if the son of a Roman Catholic gentleman takes orders he is almost always to be found in the ranks of the regular clergy. Now, that which is admitted to be an evil by almost all Roman Catholics is, I believe, to be attributed to the voluntary system; and if you had a system of endowments you would find men sprung from a higher class in the ranks of the parochial and secular clergy. But when Roman Catholic Gentlemen and those who profess to speak for them stand up in this House and profess themselves, in eloquent and almost violent terms, strong advocates of the voluntary principle, I confess I listen to them with astonishment, because I cannot conceive how anyone who has made himself acquainted with the history of the Roman Catholic Church can imagine for a moment that the voluntary principle forms any part of the fundamental system upon which that Church has been established. Sir, I would remind the House that the Roman Catholic Church is a Church of costly rite and gorgeous ceremonial; a Church whose votaries and disciples have thought it their duty to give to their religious worship everything that wealth could bestow or art devise. A Church of gorgeous and stately ceremonial can never be a purely voluntary Church, and I believe that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is in a totally exceptional position. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church has been a Church especially of endowments. What has been the course of this Church in Ireland with regard to this particular question of endowments? Everybody knows that, at this moment, that Church is acquiring property with a rapidity I believe unexampled in her history, and perhaps in the history of the world. We Protestants cannot but admire the piety and devotion which, in many instances, have thus been shown, but I would warn Roman Catholic Gentlemen and those who profess to speak the sentiments of their Church, that they are running some danger in advocating principles of disestablishment and confiscation as they do now. I look forward to the day when the Irish Roman Catholic Church, if she goes on amassing property for the next 100 as she has done in the last fifty years, will be endowed and gifted with great wealth; and if that takes place is it not probable that those great riches and endowments may at some not distant time attract the jealousy of a large and powerful party in this country, whose assistance you are now asking for the disendowment of the Irish Protestant Church, and who have always been the first to advocate and uphold the confiscation of Church property? I cannot conceive anything more probable than that, at a time not very remote, not only the possessions of the English Church may prove very attractive grounds for putting in practice the principles of that party, but that they will also be applied to the possessions of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. We shall then hear precisely the same arguments—that these endowments are dangerous to the State; that they are in the hands of men who do not use them for the good of the people; and, therefore, that Parliament has a right to step in and do what is called an act of justice in order to make a better disposition of their funds. Sir, I am not ashamed in this House to advocate the principle of religious endowments. In that respect I follow in the footsteps of Mr. Pitt, Lord Plunket, Mr. Grattan, Earl Grey, Sir Robert Peel, and Earl Russell. Every one of these advocated the principle of religious endowments in Ireland, as specially requited by the circumstances of that country. Every one of them constantly opposed the extension of the voluntary system to Ireland. That was admitted in the Appropriation Clause and in every great scheme ever brought under the attention of this House. Having thus stated my opinion as to the utter unsuitableness of the voluntary system to Ireland, I would ask your attention to the proposal which the right hon. Gentleman has made. I admit that the right hon. Gentleman in his speech stated he did not think himself bound to submit to Parliament any detailed plan by which his proposals should be carried out; but he did to a certain extent shadow forth what, in his opinion, that plan should be. There was one particular, however — an essential one—on which he gave us no information. He did not state what would be the proximate amount of the surplus on which he calculated. Now, it always struck me that in proposing and agitating this great scheme of confiscation those who advocated it are bound in the first instance to show the disposition they intend to make of the enormous property it involves. This has been valued at a sum ranging from £10,000,000 to £14,000,000; and they are bound to make a disposition of it more useful and likely to do more good than the present arrangement. The right hon. Gentleman has not vouchsafed to us his opinion on that subject; but we have had various opinions put forward. According to some this surplus should go to education in Ireland. Now, if there is one thing more likely than another to raise bitter and violent contention in that country it would be the throwing down a large sum of money to be scrambled for under the head of education. The battle that would take place for this surplus to be devoted to education would in intensity and acerbity be fifty times greater than now exists in regard to the Church. There is no subject on which there is a greater difference of opinion, or on which that difference has been expressed with more acrimony, than that of public education. Then it has been suggested that the money should be devoted to the police of the country; but I apprehend that such a proposal would hardly be seriously entertained. The next proposal is to give it in aid of the poor rates, and that would relieve local taxation to a certain extent. Another proposal put forward by some of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church is that these funds should be capitalized and given to clergy of various denominations to be disposed of in what they call alms. I cannot conceive any proposal that would be more fatal to everything we desire to esteem or preserve in Ireland than such a proposal. Then another proposal was made, I think, by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. M'Cullagh Torrens) that this large sum should be disposed of in the improvement of land; and this seemed to meet the approval of the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill)—that a large sum should be laid out in the purchase of estates, to be afterwards cut up into farms — that they should be improved, and the loss should be borne by funds to be derived from the revenues of the Established Church. The Government was to enter into a large speculative scheme connected with the land, and it was admitted at the outset that it would prove very unproductive. These were the various schemes which have been broached; and I believe that every one of them would create more heart-burning and ill-will than the existence of the Established Church is alleged to have produced. The scheme of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone), though rather hazily shadowed forth, was still sufficiently precise to enable us to understand its meaning, and it really is nothing more nor less than a great scheme of confiscation. The effect of the plan would be to leave two-thirds or three-fifths of the property to the Irish Church. That would not be less than £8,000,000. By whom was this great sum to be disposed of? Under whose care was it to be placed? Was it to be allocated to the parishes or put into the hands of commissioners? Or was it to be distributed among the clergy of the Church? If the right hon. Gentleman leaves £8,000,000 in the hands of the clergy, what becomes of his principle of equality? There is another question on which great anxiety must be felt by those who wish to know how this scheme of confiscation is to be carried out. If instantaneous in its operation, the compensation to living interests must swallow up the great portion of the revenues. If you are to allow existing interests to die out and to effect changes on the death of those who now hold office, by then sequestering the property of the Church, you will get into almost greater difficulty. You profess to begin the voluntary principle in Ireland, and allow the members of the Protestant Church to make such arrangements as they may see fit for the celebration of worship; but, at the same time, you allow revenues to go to incumbents during their life-time, and so you render impossible any voluntary arrangement, because that necessitates a large consolidation of parishes. It would be perfectly impossible, according to the proposal made by the right hon. Gentleman, that this voluntary arrangement could be carried out; for it would be impossible in the many districts where the number of Protestants is small, to secure clergymen of the character and education they desire. Therefore, it appears to me that, in this respect, the right hon. Gentleman's plan is not only cruel, but most ill-advised, and would prevent the coming on of that voluntary system of which he is the advocate. The right hon. Gentleman's scheme also contemplates a large system of compensation; and experience has taught the House to look with suspicion upon these great systems of compensation. I quite admit that if this scheme is carried you must propose compensation, otherwise you would do the grossest injustice. Let me remind the House what this compensation will amount to. There are about 450 curates, most of them young men, who ought to be compensated for the loss of their future prospects. The lay advowsons are nearly one-sixth of the whole number of livings in the Church, and include some of the richest; and these would swell the compensation to an enormous sum. On what principle the right hon. Gentleman can reconcile compensating the lay proprietors of livings with forgetting the interests of the Church at large, I cannot understand. If the Church of Ireland is to be got rid of, on every principle of justice you are bound to get rid of it at once. If you do not make the members of the Church at once enter into voluntary arrangements, you will commit the greatest possible injustice. As a member of that Church, I say, if you are determined to destroy it, it would be much better to execute it at once than to put it to death by a lingering process. I have never used the "garrison" argument, and have never treated the Church as a garrison in the midst of the people. On the contrary, I believe that it is a position it has never assumed; it is one it never ought to assume; but the overthrow of the Church will in many districts eradicate everything in the shape of Protestantism. No doubt that result would recommend itself to many hon. Members, and to many people in Ireland; but who are the Protestant population? They are few, but they belong to a peculiar class—one or two squires and a few large farmers in each district. These men are not able out of their own means to establish the voluntary system, and the effect will be that these men will withdraw themselves from the country, and will abandon their estates. We have heard much of the evils of absenteeism; but the immediate effect of disendowment and disestablishment will be to create such an amount of absenteeism as never has been seen before. Landowners will not sell their estates, because they will not for many years sell at their nominal value, which will be further depreciated by this change; but they will leave them to be managed by agents. They have families to bring up, and they have settled in those districts on the faith that Parliament would maintain the Church that has been established so long; and those who know them best say that they would almost immediately withdraw from their estates. This class above all others is on terms of amity and good-will with the Roman Catholic population. The most ardent Catholic will not say that these men have in any way made themselves offensive to the mass of the population. On the contrary, their influence has been salutary and good, and they have done more than any other class to reconcile the people to British rule. The removal of this class under the proposed arrangements must inevitably result in serious evil. The other day a dinner was given to the right hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Brand), in testimony to a course of conduct in this House which, I am sure, everyone on this side of the House highly appreciates, and on that occasion the hon. Member spoke about the Irish Church. I quote it as a specimen of the extraordinary misconceptions which prevail in this country on this subject. Describing the Irish Church, he said— It is established against the will of the great body of the people; it is mainly supported by the labour of the many, who are poor, for the benefit of the few who are rich. It has no parallel, so far as I know, in the history of the world. I challege the hon. Member to show that the labour of a single poor man in Ireland is charged a single halfpenny for the support of the Irish Church. The property of the Church is not the property of the clergy or of the laity, but of the Church at large. It is derived entirely from the estates of the rich, and if the Irish Church were taken away to-morrow not a single tenant in Ireland would have his land cheaper, and not a single labourer would be called upon to pay a penny less than he does now. The hon. Member also said the Irish Church has no parallel in the history of the world. I suppose he means it has no parallel because it is not the Church of the majority; but in Wales a precisely similar state of things prevails. The hon. Member's third statement is that until this question has been settled, disaffection will continue to exist in Ireland, and the country will remain in a chronic state of insurrection. [Mr. MONSELL: Hear, hear!] The right hon. Member for the county of Limerick cheer that statement. No one knows the present state of the country better than I do, and I maintain that Ireland is not in a state of chronic insurrection. Insurrection has been tried, and has utterly failed. There is no sympathy with actual insurrection. I believe it will be impossible to prove that that amount of disaffection and discontent which I admit does exist to a great extent among certain classes of people can be traced to the existence of the Irish Church. The opinion that it can has been challenged over and over again in the course of this debate, and no one has taken up that challenge. No one has attempted to prove that Fenianism and disaffection have any connection with the Irish Church, although there have been many repetitions of the assertion that such is the case. No one has attempted to connect the Irish Church with Fenianism; for the latter comes from America. If you take the speeches of the Fenians you find that strong feelings of nationality pervade them all; the past wrongs of Ireland and the neglect of the Government are eloquently and forcibly described; Republican sentiments and principles are put forward; hatred to England is expressed in every shape and form, and even war with England is enforced as a duty. But it is nowhere declared that the demolition of the Irish Church is one of their objects, or that its existence was one of their grievances. I would merely refer to a remarkable document which was issued by the Roman Catholic clergy of the county of Meath, and in which it is declared that the Church question is not so important as the land question — that the Irish Church might be useful for a party manœuvre, or for displacing a Government, but that as for thinking that the Irish Church was one of the standing grievances of Ireland, it was an entire mistake. It has been said during this debate that the existence of the Established Church is a standing grievance to the Roman Catholics, inasmuch as it brings to the recollection of the Irish the times of the penal laws, and when oppression reigned from one end of the country to the other. But let us see what Mr. Mitchell says— But this, also, is all past and over. The very penal laws, last relics of that bloody business, are with the days before the Flood. And, though it be true that the mode of planting this Established Church of Ireland — first enthroning a whole hierarchy of Archbishops and Bishops and then importing clergy for the Bishops, and parishioners for the clergy — was of all recorded apostolic missions the most preposterous; though the rapacity of those missionaries was too exorbitant and their methods of conversion too sanguinary; yet now, among the national institutions, among the existing forces that make up what we call an Irish nation, the Church, so far as it is a spiritual teacher, must positively be reckoned. Its altars, for generations, have been served by a devoted body of clergy; its sanctuaries thronged by our countrymen; its prelates, the successors of those very Queen's Bishops, have been among the most learned and pious ornaments of the Christian Church. Their stories are twined with our history, their dust is Irish earth, and their memories are Ireland's for ever. In the little church of Dromore, hard by the murmuring Lagan, lie buried the bones of Jeremy Taylor; would Ireland be richer without that grave? In any gallery of illustrious Irishmen, Usher and Swift shall not be forgotten; Derry and Cloyne will not soon let the name of Berkeley die; and the lonely tower of Clough Oughter is hardly more interesting to an Irishman as the place where Owen Roe breathed his last sigh than by the imprisonment within its walls of the mild and excellent Bishop of Kilmore. Sit mea anima cum Bedello! When Irishmen consent to let the past become indeed history, not party politics, and begin to learn from it the lessons of mutual respect and tolerance, instead of endless bitterness and enmity, then, at last, this distracted land shall see the dawn of hope and peace, and begin to renew her youth and rear her head among the proudest of the nations. Now, Sir, we are told this proposal is made in the interests of peace. The whole country sighs—members of all classes and of all creeds — for nothing so much as peace; and I agree with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department that there is no sacrifice of opinion that he, or I, or any Member of the Government would not be prepared to make, short of an absolute abnegation of principle, to secure even partially a result so much desired. But we do not believe that these Resolutions are calculated to carry peace to Ireland. I believe that the struggle which the right hon. Gentleman has initiated in renouncing all his former opinions will be both fierce and long. I believe that no one will benefit by it but the bitterest enemies of Ireland; and that its effect will be to divide the country into two hostile camps. It will tend rather to the aggravation of the animosities, ill-feeling, and religious rancour which are already too rife, than to the promotion of contentment and peace. The right hon. Gentleman says that the hour has arrived, and that he is only obeying the call of duty. I can only say that it is most unfortunate that that call of duty should have sounded at the precise moment when of all others, for the first time during thirty-five years, it is physically impossible that any advance can be made in dealing with the question. There has been no moment, perhaps, in our Parliamentary history when, it was so entirely impossible to deal with the Irish Church. There is already so much business before the House, business that must be transacted, if at the early part of next year you wish to appeal to the new constituencies, that there is scarcely sufficient time left for us to get through it. Nor can I believe that this Parliament, which is so soon to cease to exist, is a body that can satisfactorily deal with this question. I do not deny that it possesses the right; but I maintain that the time is most inopportune, and it will be impossible for a Parliament with so much already to do to deal with a question of this sort with any probability of success. A question of such magnitude cannot be settled without an appeal to the people, and your expression of opinion will in no way be binding on the next Parliament. I oppose this Motion because I believe it to be premature, because I think it will lead to much strife, and because I know that you have not the information necessary for the discussion of a subject which, in my opinion, could not in any case be satisfactorily settled during the present Session. I feel it my duty, therefore, in common with my Colleagues, to give my opposition to Resolutions which I cannot but regard as factious and mischievous.


said, he did not think that the proposals of the Government were at all adequate to meet the serious state of things that existed. The great evil in Ireland was the religions ascendancy of a small minority over the rest of the nation. The only cure was the establishment of religious equality. When it was stated that the existence of the Irish Church was not regarded by the Roman Catholic population as a grievance, and when it was sought to prove this assertion by showing that there was not much complaint made in Ireland against the Establishment, it should be remembered that the Irish people had not forgotten what took place thirty years ago, when they attempted to agitate the question. The fact was, that the Irish people believed that if they agitated they would be punished; and though they also knew that if they remained quiet their attitude would be construed into indifference, they preferred the latter alternative to the former. The Church Establishment in Ireland violated the very principle of an Establishment, for it had nothing in common with the great body of the people, who refused to receive its teaching. It had not answered the purpose for which it was intended. It had not converted the Irish people to the religion which it taught; but it had the effect of alienating their minds from the State, and from the belief which was supported by the aid of the State. In fact, while it had not made them Protestants, it had made them bad citizens. The noble Earl the Chief Secretary for Ireland (the Earl of Mayo) had said that they must beware lest they alienated an influential class, bound to this country by a sacred tie; but he should like to know what peculiar tie bound that class more than any other to this country? It appeared to him that if the Government evinced a disposition to do justice to all parties, they would hear few Complaints from Ireland. Lord Cornwallis, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time of the passing of the Act of Union, had left on record his opinion of the party which the noble Earl had said had such peculiar claims on the country. Lord Cornwallis's opinion was, that if the Minister of the Crown mistook that violent and prejudiced party for the people, and threw himself into their hands, no advantage would be derived from the Union. Justice must be done to all, and no one had a right to complain when equality alone was asked for. In the Quarterly Review of January there appeared an article upon Ireland, one passage in which made a great impression upon him. The writer observed that Ireland was the problem of problems to the English statesman. In its future, the future of our Empire, of our race, of our civilization was wrapped up; and it was to be feared we did not sufficiently estimate the enormous interval between our relations to Ireland and those towards the dearest and most favoured dependency of the British Crown. What Parliament had refused to Ireland it had fully granted to Canada. The Irish Church was an institution for the preservation of which the penal laws had been enacted, and it was consequently associated in the eyes of the people with oppression: and as long as that Church remained it was impossible for them to turn their backs on the past—which they all desired to forget—or look with hope to the future. The postponement of Parliamentary Reform for Ireland would be a misfortune; but to postpone dealing with the question of the Irish Church would be a calamity; for such a course would convince the Irish people of the insincerity of British statesmen and of the indisposition of that House to do them justice. It would strengthen the hands of the enemies of England, add to the hopes of those whose eyes were turned towards the West, and increase ten-fold the difficulties of those who had some influence with the people, and who endeavoured to keep them within the lines of the Constitution, and to persuade them to look to that House for the redress of grievances. It was necessary that the House should act in this matter now; for unless something was done in the present Session the people of Ireland would not be convinced of the determination of the House to do them justice. It had been said that there were Leaders in that House "who would not lead, and followers who would not follow;" but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had shown himself to be a Leader who would lead, and he believed that the right hon. Gentleman would find the great party on the Opposition side of the House to be followers who would follow. But if that were not so, the right hon. Gentleman at any rate, would in the next Parliament, elected by the new constituencies, be supported by a large majority, who would triumphantly carry this question of the disestablishment of the Irish Church to a successful issue.


said, he was unable to express to the House with what indignation the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) had been received by his constituents, and in the North of Ireland generally. Belfast had long been remarkable for its loyalty and its endeavours to put down sedition. Could it be that the House would recompense that attachment to the Throne by the destruction of that which those loyal people valued so highly? Viewing the question without the violent political prejudices of some persons, he sincerely believed it was merely a sentimental grievance. The Resolutions would substitute for it a substantial grievance. The destruction of the Protestant Church in Ireland was merely another step gained in the ladder of Roman Catholic ascendancy, and would be followed by other agitations. In 1826 Dr. Doyle said that, if Roman Catholic Emancipation were conceded, Ireland would become contented and happy; but what had been the history of the country over since? What did the famous Limerick Declaration say? He could not refrain from reading one or two extracts— A land tenure will accomplish something; removal of the Protestant ascendancy, by placing the Protestant Church in the same position before the State as the Catholic Church, will accomplish much; equality in education, and the removal of the anomaly of giving a freedom of education on the condition of people giving up freedom, will do its share, and we will hail any and all of them with thankfulness; but we feel bound to say that, when all of them have been granted, safety from foreign danger, perfect development of home resources, and we repeat, above all, the heart of this country will require nationality. The explanation of that nationality was given in a concluding paragraph, as follows:— The very nature of the remedies required to make Ireland rich and contented renders it impossible for a British Parliament to adopt and apply them; and, besides that, home aspirations and the plea for Irish intervention from abroad can never be met unless by restoring Ireland her nationality, re-establishing the Sovereign and the Lords and Commons of Ireland. No concessions, he maintained, would satisfy Ireland except the granting of this nationality. In 1826 the Roman Catholic hierarchy declared on their oaths that they would not exercise any privilege to which they were or might become entitled to weaken or disturb the Protestant religion and Government established in Ireland; but now their Bishops demanded the disendowment of the Established Church of that country as an indispensable condition of "social peace and stability." Could any one doubt that the result of passing the Resolutions now before the House must be the repeal of the Union between England and Ireland? Under such circumstances, was it well to destroy the "garrison" that had been so often referred to, and which had hitherto succeeded against all assaults in maintaining inviolate that Union between the two countries, on which their prosperity depended. Earl Russell said it would be politically injurious to destroy the Established Church, because it would alienate from England many of the most loyal men, who were fondly attached to that institution. It was often urged that the feelings of the majority should regulate the action of that House, but it should be remembered that a very large majority of Protestants existed in the North of Ireland. In the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Derry alone, which formed the principal portion of Ulster, there were 1,400,000 inhabitants, of whom 825,000 were Protestants and 575,000 Roman Catholics; so that in those six counties the former were 45 per cent in excess of the latter. He admitted that many of these Protestants were Presbyterians; but they sympathized with the Episcopalians, and were as much interested as they were in the present Resolutions. Having quoted the opinion of the late Mr. Justice Shee, a Roman Catholic, in support of the rights and position of the Established Church, the hon. Gentleman next cited the authority of Lord Plunket, the greatest Whig lawyer that Ireland ever produced, and the able advocate of the Emancipation Act. Lord Plunket said— If the Protestant Establishment of Ireland were destroyed, the very foundations of public security would be shaken, the connections between England and Ireland dissolved, and the annihilation of private property must follow the ruin of the property of the Church. The two countries must be separated before the Establishment can be abandoned. Again he said— I consider the safety of the State as essentially interwoven with the integrity of the Establishment. The Established religion is the child of freedom. Our civil and religious liberties would each of them lose much of their security if they were not so deeply indented each with the other. The Church need not be apprehensive. It is a plant, the growth of 300 years; it has struck its roots into the centre of the State, and nothing short of a political earthquake can overturn it. While the State is safe, it must be so. The Protestant religion in Ireland was perpetually incorporated at the Union. It forms a part of the fundamental, unalterable law of the Empire. The possessions of the Protestant clergy are their absolute properly, secured to them as sacredly as the private possessions of any individual are secured to him. To subvert the Protestant Establishment is to subvert the State. I will maintain that the property of the Church is as sacred as any other. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Captain White) the other night attributed to the ascendancy of the Irish Church the riots which he said periodically made the streets of Belfast flow with Irish blood; but that was a great exaggeration, and the true cause of those disturbances was the partial administration of the law by Liberal Governments. Let him contrast the expense incurred in maintaining the peace in two counties of nearly equal population, the one situated in the North, the other in the South of Ireland. He would refer to the county of Down with 237,000 inhabitants, and the county of Tipperary, with 249,000. In the first-named county there were 262 constabulary, who were maintained at an annual charge of £15,000, whereas in Tipperary the number of constabulary was 1,009, and the sum required to support them was £50,000 per annum. He solemnly trusted that, for the honour of the country, no such injustice would be inflicted upon the Protestants as was proposed in the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire.


said, that he did not regard this question as one of party, and no party consideration would influence his vote. It was an undoubted fact that the Irish Church was felt in Ireland as a grievance; and if he did not believe that Mr. Gladstone's Resolutions met that grievance or thought that they were framed to attain personal objects, he would not vote for them. An analogy had been attempted to be drawn between the Irish Established Church and the Established Church in Wales, but, speaking from his own experience, he could inform the House that no such analogy existed, because in his part of the kingdom the Nonconformists supported their own churches only, and those who belonged to the Church of England were content to worship in chapels which they built themselves. The Nonconformists were very numerous in Wales, but the Church of England was respected by the great majority of the people of that country; moreover, the Established Church and the Dissenters were connected by the bond of a common reformed Faith. With respect to the observations of hon. Gentlemen that the existence of the Irish Church was a sentimental grievance, he reminded the House that nothing was stronger than a sentiment of nationality; and they had recently seen in foreign countries peoples who had been ground down for centuries, animated by a spirit of nationality, rise and assert the independence of their country. As a Welshman, he felt he owed a debt to the people of Ireland. It was from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire—a county with which he was specially connected by property and ancestry—that Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, started upon the conquest of Ireland. The badge of conquest would, he hoped, to-night be effaced. He would say to the people of Ireland "Let there be no strife between you and us, for we be brethren." In his opinion, the disestablishment of the Irish Church would be a concession which would be gratefully received in Ireland; and on that ground he should vote with the right hon. Gentleman.


said, that with a few words by way of explanation, he should support the Amendment of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The time was inopportune for any such a measure as was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone). A Commission of Inquiry was at present sitting upon the subject of the Irish Church. The Report of that Commission was anxiously looked forward to, and would shortly be before the House; and to such modifications and improvements as were suggested by the Commissioners he would be prepared to give his most earnest consideration. He would, however, listen to no suggestion for the destruction of one of our most venerable institutions. Whether he looked at the time or the circumstances, the matter or the form, the spirit or intention of the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, he should give them his inflexible opposition. The question was one of universal importance to Ireland; but connected, as he was, by property, residence, and feeling with the North of Ireland, he might be excused if he confined his observations to the province of Ulster. He asserted that the English Church in Ireland was a blessing to the community at large, and an advantage, instead of an injury, to the Roman Catholics. That this was their opinion was proved by the cordiality and good-will which the warm-hearted peasantry of that country—even the poorest man in the land—showed to the clergy of the Protestant Church. It had been argued that Protestantism was a failure in Ireland; but facts proved the very reverse. Hon. Members might remember in the last chapter of Mr. Froude's History of England a picture of the state of Ulster at the period to which his history referred—the savage manners and barbarous condition of the people, the bloody feuds of rival chieftains, and the general insecurity of life and property. The regeneration which had taken place had been the result of the beneficent influence of Protestantism. It was untruly said that England instituted one set of laws for herself and another for Ireland. The first Parliament summoned by James of Scotland consisted of 220 members, 100 of whom were Roman Catholic Gentlemen. How did the Church of Ulster obtain the bulk of the property which formed its glebes and estates? By the same grants and title-deeds by which the nobility and gentry of Ireland obtained their property. The latter would consider this assault on the rights of the Church as a direct attack upon their own property and rights. All the conditions imposed by the Commissioners for the plantation of Ulster had been fulfilled. Houses had been built, the land had been cultivated, and the Gospel had been preached. The country did not then possess more than fifty civilians; it supported at the present moment more than 200,000 industrious people. By what right or law did the right hon. Gentleman propose to seize the property of the Church? For himself, he would make common cause with the people and gentry of the North of Ireland in resisting so revolutionary a proposal. At the same time he was ready to give to the Roman Catholic clergy the same advantages in regard to glebes which the Protestant clergy possessed. The right hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Brand) was reported to have said, on a recent occasion elsewhere, that the Church of Ireland was the Church of an insignificant minority. If the right hon. Gentleman had read the history of Ireland, he would have found that this insignificant minority included men who had ruled in the Councils of the State, who had led armies to battle, and turned battles into victories. A great deal had been said about the Act of Union, and he wished to add something about the Act of Settlement. In the great conflict in which Strafford was concerned, the Roman Catholics combined with the Puritans for the purpose of impeaching Strafford. The Puritans and the Roman Catholics afterwards quarrelled, and Cromwell, who overthrew the State and the Church, crushed the Roman Catholics to the earth. Their nobility were turned out of Parliament, were banished, and became wanderers over the face of the earth. The Protestants passed the Act of Settlement, and these expatriated Roman Catholic noblemen were restored to their properties by the first Cavalier of the day, and the staunchest Protestant in the land — the Duke of Ormond. And while the properties of individuals were restored, the property of the Church was also replaced. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire now proposed to do what no revolutionist had yet succeeded in doing — to repeal the Act of Union, to break down the Act of Settlement, and to uproot the plantation of Ulster. That plantation could not be charged with failure. The towns there had never lost their population, though in other parts of the country the population, unhappily, had fallen off. And yet it was from these successful districts that the right hon. Gentleman wished to take away a cherished institution. Fenianism had existed in Ireland for the last four years; but it found no congenial soil in Ulster. The loyalty and quietude of the population there enabled the Government to take away both troops and police, and send them South to the disaffected districts. And what had been their reward? Why, the right hon. Gentleman, basing his proposals upon the existence of this very Fenianism, proposed to strike down the Church to which those loyal men were so deeply attached. Our policy for Ireland should be, not to destroy, but to build up. We should not inflame and enrage the minds of one section of the community against another. He trusted that the commotion that had been excited would soon cease; that one party would vie with another for their country's good; that rich absentees would return to the land which nourished them; and that we should hear no more of absentee landlords. He hoped that the coming auspicious visit would be the commencement of a new era, and that we might soon find Ireland united and happy, and forming as contented a people as could be found in any portion of Her Majesty's dominions.


At a much earlier period of this debate, Sir, I should have attempted to catch your eye, and, with the permission of the House, to have put forward some arguments on this great and most important subject. I was prevented, however, by one of those accidents to which we are all liable, and which makes it impossible now that I can long trespass on the attention of the House. But, having had the privilege of taking some part in the government and administration of the affairs of Ireland, I feel that I should be wanting in what a sense of duty prescribes to me if I were not to express briefly the opinions which I entertain upon this question. I am anxious, also, with the permission of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, to address to him a few observations. In the recent speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India, he called upon us very emphatically to join in putting a clear and intelligible issue before the body of our countrymen who will have the decision of this question in their hands at the hustings; I am most desirous to close with that proposal of my right hon. Friend. But if the First Lord of the Treasury had been present when the powerful speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) was delivered, he would have heard in the most perspicuous form from him, what, indeed, he could not have failed to gather from some speeches upon his own side of the House as well as ours, that there is something wanting in this debate, in order that the new constituency—to whom, we are told this question is to be relegated—may have before them a clear and decisive issue upon which they can pronounce. We had the pleasure, in this debate, of hearing my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and likewise—to me it was a great pleasure—of hearing from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, arguments and sentiments which, though I differ from his conclusions, and dissent from his arguments, I yet rejoiced to hear expressed with all the eloquence which sincere conviction imparts, in language of clearness, of spirit, and of power. We have also heard a speech from my noble Friend who is principally responsible for the government of Ireland, to which we listened with the respect and attention that belong to his high character, and to the office which he holds. Well, have we gathered from these three voices any clear and intelligible issue? From my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs we understood that the policy of the Government consisted in the re-distribution of the funds of the Established Church of Ireland, not within the circle of the Established Church, but beyond and outside of it. We understood from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in that clear and emphatic language which he possesses, that he, at least, would not consent to anything but re-distribution within the circle of the Established Church; while, from the noble Earl, who is chiefly responsible for the Irish Government, we understood that the Government have a policy which consists in "levelling upwards." The precise meaning of that phrase I do not understand; but I presume it means the preservation to the Church of all its existing property, and the application to other sources—and those, I presume, the usual sources—for the funds out of which other endowments are to be provided. Now, these three statements are irreconcilable with each other; and I venture to place them before the right hon. Gentleman, in order that before the debate closes, we may have the advantage of a statement from the highest authority as to what is the real policy and view of the Government. In an earlier debate, which we had upon this subject, the right hon. Gentleman, although he did not adhere to the language of his memorable speech in 1844, yet declared that he adhered to the general sentiments which that speech expressed. I was glad to hear that expression; for that speech contains sentiments in which we cordially concur, and shall be delighted, if the right hon. Gentleman now adheres to them, to give him all the support and assistance in our power. But that speech appears to me to be directly at variance with the recent letter addressed by the right hon. Gentleman to the noble Earl, who is the Chairman of the Constitutional Association, and we, therefore, think we have a right to ask the right hon. Gentleman to favour us, in the remarks he is about to make, with a clear and intelligible statement as to what really are the intentions of the Government. If the House will allow me, I will very briefly indicate the view which I am desirous of giving effect to. I think that no one can take any part in the administration of affairs in Ireland, if he has before been a stranger to that country, without feeling that the moment he crosses the Channel, he is placed in circumstances for which all his acquaintance with England, and it may be with Scotland, leaves him entirely unprepared. Whether his duty be the conduct of public affairs, or whether he mixes in private society, there is the broadest contrast between what he left behind him and what he finds in Ireland. The Rhone and the Arve are not more marked in their channel by the blue waters of the one, and the snow-coloured waters of the other, than are the Roman Catholic and Protestant populations of Ireland. Do what you will you cannot fuse them; and if you will ask yourselves what is the cause of this difference, you immediately perceive that to which you are perfect strangers in this country — an uneasy sense of superiority before the law on the one side, and an equally uneasy sense of inferiority on the other. Does this arise from the possession of property? You have Catholic landlords and Protestant landlords, Catholic tenants and Protestant tenants, Catholic merchants and Protestant merchants. The difference, then, does not arise from any division in the ordinary pursuits of life. Does it arise from any determination on the part of the Government to show favour to the one and withhold it from the other? No; I fully agree with my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Mayo) that the present Lord Lieutenant is a popular Lord Lieutentant, and that his administration is free from partiality. I do not charge on Gentlemen opposite any more than I should accept such a charge with regard to us, that favour is shown to the Protestants at the expense of the Catholics. What, then, is the cause? Trace it back to its origin, and you will find that the Established Church of Ireland is at once the symbol and cause of the division. It was established as a mark of superiority by Henry VIII. Protestant historians record that, at that time, it was regarded by the higher classes as a mark of the invaders' superiority, while by the lower classes it was regarded as anti-national. Protestantism, in defiance of one of its first and most important principles, offered its ministrations to the people in a language they could not understand. Then, in the time of Elizabeth, the Church was established by a Parliament in which the Catholic Peers, who were in the majority in the Upper Chamber, were overcome by Protestant Bishops; while in the Lower House we find representatives summoned for ten counties only. The rest, which made up the number seventy-six, being citizens and burgesses of those towns in which the Royal authority was predominant That being its origin, what has been its course and history? It has had able and eminent men; and of late years, I freely admit, for I have the honour of an acquaintance with many of them, nothing could exceed the virtue and excellence of their character. But whether in the evil time, or whether in the time when a more active spirit has prevailed among the clergy, its history is one and the same—it remains the Church of the few for whom it was established, and the many who were without its pale at the commencement are without it still. Is this just, or politic, or necessary? Semi-persecution cannot be wise; real persecution, however odious and detestable, may accomplish its object. It has rooted out Protestantism from Spain and other countries, and by that course you might succeed. But is it reasonable to suppose that you can admit Roman Catholics to the highest offices of the State, that you can conduct the Government through Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, that Roman Catholic Judges and jurymen may administer the law, and yet that in the most important respect of life you can refuse them the privilege of equality? Why, the thing is impossible. It has been eloquently asked whether we should submit to it, or whether any of our colonies would do so? Now, we have a case in point in our most important colony. There was a Church Establishment in Canada, and when you gave Canada a free Government you endeavoured to retain that Establishment. Did you succeed? No; after a very few years you were compelled to make over to Canada the power of dealing as they pleased with the provision for their clergy. Then we hear arguments about the Act of Union. Now, what is that but to tell Ireland how much better it would be if she were a colony; for then the government of the Church would be made over to her? Who can doubt that an Irish Parliament elected by such a constituency as you have given to Canada and Australia would soon put an end to this institution? Are you prepared to tell Ireland that by virtue of the Act of Union, and that alone, this institution is maintained? Would Scotland endure it? Remember the eloquent language in which Lord Macaulay describes the effect of the Union with Scotland. He tells you that if you had carried into Scotland the principle you adopted in Ireland, the Union, instead of being a source of strength, would have been a source of weakness, and that the power which Scotland possessed would have been not an addition to the power of England, but a deduction from it; in which case England would not have held her present high place in the estimation of the world. He closes with these memorable words,—"One such Church" (as the Irish) "is enough for the energies of any Empire." I think it was not right to raise this question until the time had arrived when there was a possibility of arriving at a satisfactory conclusion, and I believe there is now that possibility. The noble Earl the Chief Secretary for Ireland said there was never an occasion since the Reform Bill when there was so little prospect of bringing a question of this kind to a satisfactory conclusion. I venture to differ from him. We are told, if not that we are not competent to settle it, that at least we ought not to settle it, because the constituencies were not alive to it when we were elected. But what we are now debating is whether we shall have a clear and intelligible issue. Let us go into the Lobby on a clear issue, so that the constituencies may know what are the sentiments of each party. We think it is our duty not only to express our opinions in this Parliament; but also to take the steps necessary to secure to our successors a complete jurisdiction over the subject in the state in which we find it. We all agree that the final and permanent settlement of the question is to be referred to a new Parliament and the new constituencies. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government told us recently that he had spent half his life within the walls of the House of Commons, having entered this House in 1838. Many of us have had the same privilege and honour, and it is no small honour, for no other Legislative Assembly upon record has inscribed on its roll so many great measures as those which we have passed during the last thirty years. The first of those measures was the abolition of slavery in every part of the dominions of the Crown, and I earnestly hope that the last will be a decisive step in the course of that legislation which will tell the Queen's Irish subjects that, whether they be Catholic, Presbyterian, or members of the Anglican Church, they shall for the future be equal in the eye of their Sovereign and of the Law.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire has moved that we should go into Committee of the Whole House upon the subject of the Irish Church, in order that he may propose Resolutions which he has placed upon the table. We have not at present to discuss those Resolutions, which would lead us into matters of great detail, of constitutional interest, and of legal difficulty, which might divert us from the general topic which now engages our attention. I apprehend that, so far as the right hon. Gentleman is concerned, there is no mistake as to his general meaning; for, although he has not yet had an opportunity of moving his Resolutions, he has expressed the outline of the policy which he proposes that this House and the country should adopt. I apprehend that I am not in any way misrepresenting his meaning, or misinterpreting his expressions—a thing most foreign from my intention—when I say that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to terminate the connection between the State and the Church, so far as Ireland is concerned, which, in neological phrase, is styled disestablishment; and that he proposes a policy, which first partially, and in the end completely, would accomplish the disendowment of the Church in Ireland. I believe I have correctly expressed what the right hon. Gentleman has stated—or rather intimated—and what, if opportunity offered, he would in more detail bring under our consideration. Well, Sir, this question having been brought before the House and the country somewhat suddenly, as all will admit, the Government had to consider what was the proper mode in which to encounter it. They might have moved the "Previous Question" to the Motion for going into Committee. That is a course which upon the same subject was, I believe, adopted by our predecessors three years ago, and it is a course which is much approved by those who have experience of Parliamentary life when they deal with difficult questions. It might have been prudent three years ago to meet this Motion by moving the Previous Question; but I think myself, considering the circumstances under which this question is now brought forward, not by an isolated and independent Member of Parliament, but by a party of considerable power, by the Leader of the Opposition in this House, and under circumstances, as it appears to us, of precipitation, and, consequently, being a question which attracts, and even alarms, the public and the House—it would have been unwise of us to have taken refuge in a course at all times ambiguous, and not altogether satisfactory. Well, Sir, a Motion to consider the condition of the Irish Church, or, strictly speaking, to go into Committee for that purpose, we might have met with a direct negative; but what would have been the inevitable inference which would have been drawn from such a course on our part? It would have been said we were of opinion that no change, no improvement, no modification, was necessary, expedient, or desirable, in the condition of the Church in Ireland. That was not the conclusion we wished to express; that was not our Opinion; and I will meet in due course the demand of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down on this subject that, so far as we are concerned, there shall be a clear and intelligible issue. But, if it were our opinion that the condition of the Church in Ireland was susceptible of beneficial changes, how could we, without exposing ourselves to the grossest misrepresentation of our views, have met the Motion with a direct negative? Who can doubt what would have been the inference drawn? In their speeches, hon. Gentlemen would have asked, "Is the old reign of bigotry never to cease? Are you resolved to oppose all improvements? Are you prepared to deny that there are any anomalies to be corrected in arrangements which were somewhat hastily settled at a period of great political excitement forty years ago? Are you doggedly determined to say that there is no possible room for improvement in the condition of the Irish Church?" We know that that would have been the general tenor of the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite; and, Sir, not only to avoid those reproaches, but because we are of opinion that considerable modifications may be made in the temporalities of that Church, highly to the advantage of the Church herself, we could not take the course of meeting a Motion of this kind with a direct negative. What was the third means open to us? To move an Amendment. An Amendment has been moved by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which has been the object of much criticism, as has been every Amendment moved since I have sat in this House; but I am prepared to maintain that this Amendment is drawn in strict accordance with Parliamentary experience and precedent. We took that course, acting on the example of the most eminent men that ever guided the deliberations of the House of Commons; and we took it believing that it was the one most advantageous to the public interests. Now, Sir, when Sir Robert Peel was the Leader of the Opposition, of that long Opposition—the Opposition of seven years—a "seven years' war"—when the circumstances of the House were not very different from those which now prevail — when there was, as there has now been for many years in this House, a balanced state of parties; and when every year there was not one but more than one struggle for power between the great parties — on any occasion when, as on the present occasion, a Motion was to be met by an Amendment, the invariable advice of Sir Robert Peel was this:—"If you are obliged to have an Amendment, never attempt to express your policy in an Amendment. If you attempt to express it fully, you will produce a long and cumbrous document, which will open an immense number of issues, and which must bring about very protracted discussions. If, on the other hand, you adopt concinnity of expression and condensation, you will be accused of ambiguity and equivocation. The province of a party is to express and vindicate its policy in debate. Your Amendment should never be inconsistent with your policy; but you should fix on some practical point which, if carried, would defeat the Motion of your opponent." Now, Sir, I think that very sound advice, and it has been invariably followed, not only by Sir Robert Peel's friends, but by his distinguished opponents. If you look to all the Amendments drawn up upon all great occasions by Sir Robert Peel and his party, and by Earl Russell and his party, you will find that that rule has been invariably observed. Well, with this view, in drawing the Amendment, Her Majesty's Ministers fixed on two points, which they thought essentially practical—which, if the House accepted them, would defeat the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, and which are perfectly consistent with the policy which I am prepared to explain, expound, and uphold. These two points had already been mentioned to the House in the observations which I took the liberty of making when the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) brought forward his Motion on the State of Ireland. I mentioned then that in our opinion, so far as the Church in Ireland was concerned it was most expedient that we should await the Report of the Royal Commission which has been recently appointed, and which has been extremely industrious, as we have reason to believe, in its labours. That Report we believed would be in our possession, I will not say in an early part of the Session, but in the spring of this year. That was one position I took up. There was another: I denied the moral competence of this House of Commons to enter on a discussion of this question with a view to its settlement. I did not, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen) the other night stated—I did not resist the Motion on the ground that this was what he called a moribund Parliament. Nothing of the kind; Although this might be the last Session of the present Parliament; and although when an election takes place for a future Parliament the appeal may be made to a larger constituency, I do not for a moment bring forward those circumstances as the basis of the argument that this House was not morally competent to deal with the question. I rested it precisely on another reason. I said that when a fundamental law of the country was called into question—though technically and legally this House had a right to do anything within the sphere of the House of Commons—it was not morally competent to decide such a question, if those who had elected it had not, in the constitutional course of our public life, received some intimation that such a question was to come before it. That is what I said. It is very different from the misrepresentation—unintentional of course—of the right hon. Member for the City of London. Well, now I ask, had the country the slightest intimation during the last few years—previous to or during the period of the political existence of this House—has it had the slightest intimation that this important, this all important question—not only from its specific nature but also from the ulterior consequences which it may induce—would be brought under discussion in Parliament? I appeal to the programme of the Prime Minister of the time, which recommended a dissolution of Parliament and explained his policy to the country. There is not the slightest allusion to the state of the Irish Church in that programme. We know very well from the correspondence which has taken place between a prelate of the Irish Church—himself a man of eminent abilities and accomplishments—and the right hon. Gentleman—although the letter appeared to take the right hon. Gentleman by surprise the other night—we know that the right hon. Gentleman at the time of the dissolution had not the remotest idea that the Irish Church would become a great subject of discussion. Sir, it is impossible to suppose that the right hon. Gentleman is not sincere in anything which he writes at the moment he writes it, and I have not the slightest doubt that that was as honest a letter as even the right hon. Gentleman ever wrote. I do not throw the slightest suspicion on that letter. But, after all, what was the character of it? Is it not a record of the fact that only three years ago the right hon. Gentleman treated the question of the Church in Ireland as one which was totally without the pale of modern politics—that he thought it could never be revived or restored; that, if it were, he saw the immense difficulties arising from the Articles of Union; but that if it were revived or restored, and if these difficulties were mooted, his imagination could not conceive the possibility that in such a subject he should be mixed up. Well, that is evidence of what our leading men—men who guided the opinion not of their party only but of the country—thought of this great question. If that is not complete evidence of the view taken by Lord Palmerston and one of his chief Ministers in this House with regard to the question of the Church in Ireland and its political position, I say that no evidence can satisfy any person. Notwithstanding all this, the question is suddenly brought before us. Now, Sir, I take no exaggerated view of even the Articles of Union. I have not for a moment pretended that the Articles of Union between the two nations are irreversible. I have not for a moment pretended that the Articles of Union and the great Acts of Parliament which were passed to carry them into effect cannot by the consent of the Sovereign and of the Estates of the Realm be changed or modified. But this I will venture to say, that the Articles of Union and the great Acts of Parliament which were passed to carry them into effect are, as I think all must acknowledge, among the most solemn muniments of the nation; and I do say that it is preposterous that we should be asked to reverse such solemn muniments at eight days' notice. In the course of this debate I have heard hon. Gentlemen, referring to the Articles of Union and these Acts of Parliament, make remarks which seemed to me to strike at the root of all social security and political stability. We have been told that these Articles were negotiated between a Protestant Parliament in Dublin and a Protestant Parliament in London. Sir, we cannot trifle with the history of our country in that way. What was the Bill of Rights? Are you prepared to give up the Bill of Rights because it was passed by a Parliament of borough-mongers? If you adopt the principle of analyzing so finely the constituent elements of the public bodies that have negotiated and agreed to the great documents which are the charters of the people's rights, you may invalidate our prime liberties and level a blow against the security of property and order, which has hitherto been the pride and the boast of this country. Well, taking these two points we endeavoured to comprise them in the Amendment. We expressed in the Amendment the opinion that, until we had the Report of the Royal Commission, it would be inexpedient for the House to enter into the consideration of the Church in Ireland; and, at the same time, we expressed our opinion that the decision upon these great points should be reserved for the new Parliament. And then we are told that because we used the word "reserve"—a strictly Parliamentary word—we invited the next Parliament to enter into a discussion of this question. Now, you may depend upon it that the next Parliament will not much care for our invitation. If we think we are going to hookwink or lead the next Parliament, or to deprive it of its fair privileges or prerogatives, we shall commit one of the greatest blunders ever committed by man. Why, Sir, in the free and frank expression of Parliamentary language, it is perfectly open to me or to anyone else to contest the moral competence of this House to do a particular act; but surely hon. Gentlemen would hardly have such language used in a formal Resolution. Therefore, in that Amendment, we did not state that the House was not competent to enter into the discussion of this matter; but, instead of using such explicit language we put it in a quieter and softer phrase, and said that the discussion ought to be reserved for a future Parliament. These are the two points which were intended to be conveyed in this Amendment. According to all Parliamentary rule and precedent nothing can, to my mind, be more unjustifiable in argument than the captious criticism which has been directed against this Amendment—criticism founded on an assumption which no one had a right to form.

Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman, in his opening speech, anticipated some of those criticisms, which it is unnecessary for me to notice. Perhaps I ought to notice the remarks which were made by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford. The noble Lord saw in this Amendment, of which I have given the House the plain history — I say the plain and true history — the noble Lord saw in the language of the Amendment great cause for mistrust and want of confidence. He saw immediately that we were about to betray the trust with which he deems us to be invested. The noble Lord is at no time wanting in imputing to us being influenced by not the most amiable motives that can regulate the conduct of public men. I do not quarrel with the invective of the noble Lord. The noble Lord is a man of great talent, and he has vigour in his language. There is great vigour in his invective, and no want of vindictiveness. I admit that now speaking as a critic, and perhaps not as an impartial one, I must say I think it wants finish. Considering that the noble Lord has studied the subject, and that he has written anonymous articles against me before and since I was his Colleague—I do not know whether he wrote them when I was his Colleague—I think it might have been accomplished more ad unguem. There is one thing which the noble Lord never pardons, and that is the passing of the Reform Act of last year. But I put it to the House what would have been the general state of affairs if the counsels of the noble Lord upon that subject had prevailed, instead of the suggestions which I made and which the House adopted? Now that we are free from the heat and the great difficulties and perplexities of the last Session, and can take, I hope, a fair view of what occurred, I would express my opinion—and I think it is not peculiar to myself—that we passed last year a most beneficent and noble Act. I have not the slightest apprehension—and I do not speak of my personal connection with the matter—but as the First Minister of the Crown I look with no apprehension whatever to the appeal that will be made to the people under the provisions of that Act. I believe you will have a Parliament returned to this House full of patriotic feeling and national sentiment, whose decision will add spirit to the community and strength to the State. Sir, the only objection which I have to these attacks of the noble Lord is that they invariably produce an echo from the other side. That, it seems to me, is now almost a Parliamentary law. When the bark is heard from this side the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) emerges, I will not say from his cave, but, perhaps, from a more cynical habitation. He joins immediately in the chorus of reciprocal malignity— And hails with horrid melody the moon. The right hon. Gentleman has been extremely analytical upon the Amendment of my noble Friend—the Amendment, that is, of the Government, moved by my noble Friend; and his "zig-zag" commentary, founded on the assumption of circumstances that never occurred, and motives that never influenced us, was amusing at the moment. But how far does that commentary agree with the statement—the real statement — which I have given of the cause and origin of this Amendment? The light hon. Gentleman was extremely exuberant in his comments upon my character and career. I will not trouble the House with a defence of that character and career. I have lived in this House more than thirty years, and can truly say that during that time comments upon my character and career have been tolerably free and plain. But the House has been the jury of my life, and it allows me now here to address it, and therefore here is not the place in which I think it necessary to vindicate myself. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne is a very remarkable man. He is a learned man, though he despises history. He can chop logic like Dean Aldrich; but what is more remarkable than his learning and his logic is that power of spontaneous aversion which particularly charaterizes him. There is nothing that he likes, and almost everything that he hates. He hates the working classes of England. He hates the Roman Catholics of Ireland. He hates the Protestants of Ireland. He hates Her Majesty's Ministers. And until the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire placed his hand upon the ark, he seemed almost to hate the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. But now all is changed. Now we have the hour and the man. But I believe the clock goes wrong, and the man is mistaken.

Let me now ask the attention of the House to the present proposition before us. If I have for a moment trespassed upon their attention they will allow me to say that it has been in fair self-defence. I have never attacked anyone in my life—[Loud cries of "Oh!" and "Peel"]—unless I was first assailed. Now, Sir, no one can deny this, that the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman are very considerable propositions. They are vast and violent. All will admit that. ["No, no!"] Well, hon. Gentlemen say, "No;" but to disestablish an institution that has existed 300 years; that is in the possession of property; that is certainly supported by the sympathies of a great portion of the population of the country—surely to propose to subvert such an institution—without now going into the merits of the case—surely that is a vast and violent change. Well then, the first question I will ask is, "Why this change?" and upon that point we have had no satisfactory answer. We are told that there is a crisis in Ireland, and the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) the other night, with, I must say, one of those characteristics which he invariably displays, but in an agreeable manner, that of misrepresentation, said that I denied that there was anything critical in the state of Ireland, and that Ireland was, so far as my opinion was concerned, in a perfectly satisfactory state. Why, Sir, I never said that Ireland was in a satisfactory state. In a great debate like this the House will, I am sure, be indulgent tome if I touch upon some of these topics. I denied that there was an Irish crisis according to the interpretation of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire. The right hon. Gentleman, when the late Parliament was dissolved not four years ago, was of opinion that the Irish Church was a question totally out of the pale of modern politics. He seemed to shrink from the profanation of the idea that he or any human being could ever disturb it; and yet he is the man who now comes forward to abolish that institution. Well, I must look to the grounds upon which he founds such a violent proceeding. He said there was a crisis in Ireland; and, as I thought at the time, with dangerous candour, he analyzed that crisis and gave its causes and its elements. And what were they? Fenianism was one. Fenianism when he was a Minister was rampant and mysterious, and the more dangerous because it was mysterious. Fenianism now is not rampant; I think we have gauged its lowest depths, and we are not afraid of it. That is one of the evidences and elements of his crisis. Does it not seem rather strange that though Fenianism was so critical when he was a Minister we heard nothing of the crisis; but when I am a Minister, and Fenianism is so subdued, it is made the principal argument for a revolution. Well, what was the second element of the right hon. Gentleman? He said there was a startling and dangerous emigration from the country. I never liked the emigration from Ireland. I have deplored it. I know that the finest elements of political power are men; and therefore I have not sympathized with the political economists who would substitute entirely for men animals of a lower organization. I never heard an opinion of that kind from the right hon. Gentleman. I have always understood that the light hon. Gentleman and his friends looked on "the depletion" of Ireland not without satisfaction. But this I know, that the emigration from Ireland has lasted now for a considerable number of years, dining most of which the right hon. Gentleman was a leading Minister of the Crown, and yet he never said that in consequence of that emigration the state of Ireland was critical. And I know that now when I have the honour to be a Minister of the Crown, and view still with anxiety the emigration from that country—though I have the satisfaction of seeing that it is reduced—the right hon. Gentleman says this also is an element in the crisis of Ireland. Well, then, how am I to understand that the second element of the crisis is one which can really be advanced as an argument in favour of a great revolution? Then, Sir, another element of the right hon. Gentleman was education. The people of Ireland were so educated that you must destroy the Irish Church. Well, the people of Ireland have been educated a great number of years, thank God! and I wish the people of England had been educated as well during that period. I am not aware that the education of the Irish people during the two short years we have sat upon this Bench has created the Irish crisis. I believe that the education of the Irish people has been very advantageous to them; and I am not aware that I have been one of the Members of this House who have done anything to restrict that education, As for the fourth cause of the crisis, I should have thought that having passed a Reform Bill last year, that was a reason why we should have lost no time in passing a Reform Bill for Ireland. Instead of doing that we are to acknowledge a crisis. I say, under these circumstances, I was certainly justified in utterly repudiating the principle upon which the whole policy of the right hon. Gentleman is founded—namely, that there is a crisis in Ireland; but the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) is not justified in saying, from my adoption of that argument, that I assert that the state of Ireland is perfectly satisfactory, that nothing need be done, and that the whole agitation is a delusion. As I cannot admit that there is a crisis in Ireland, according to the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, I will state my view of the condition of Ireland. I do not think there is an Irish crisis; but if there be one, it is not occasioned by any of the causes mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman. But I say, and I have said it very often, that the condition of Ireland is, on the whole, not entirely satisfactory. The general proposition the right hon. Gentleman has placed before us is the foundation of what I look upon as a great change, and I may say a revolution in our policy; and the circumstances on which he based it ranged over 700 years. The promises from which the right hon. Gentleman drew his deductions were 700 years. Well, how can we, when a great statesman comes forward on a sudden, like a thief in the night, and recommends a course so vast and violent that as yet we have got as it were only into the antechamber of the great discussion it will involve—I say when the right hon. Gentleman brings forward such vast premises, and draws his conclusions from them, what can we do, in the first instance, at least, but take general views? If a man tells me that my country is in a critical state, in consequence of the misgovernment of 700 years, as a sensible and prudent man I must take general views; but I form those general views within a limited range. I do not take for comparison the state of Ireland and its people when they were under the tender mercies of Fitz-Stephen's knights, or of those other ancient, historical characters, whom I may have to touch upon, with the permission of the right hon. Member for Calne; but I take a more limited and practical view. Is the condition of the Irish people now worse than it was before the Union? So far as my researches inform me, I find the people of Ireland are in a much better position. They are in the enjoyment of social and political rights they did not then possess; they are better fed, better clothed, and better paid than they were. So much for the working population. The middle class are more wealthy, and more enterprizing; and the landlords, upon whom such attacks are made, have an advantage which English landlords do not always have—they get their rents paid. Is the condition of Ireland worse at this moment, when we are called upon precipitately to take this serious step, than it was during the revolutionary war? Were the people, then, better clothed and better fed? Were their wages higher or as high? We know they were not. Take the time when the tithe-proctors were fighting the people. Was the condition of Ireland then to be at all compared with its condition now? Is it not an absolute fact that the population of all classes in Ireland at this moment are more prosperous, wealthier, in the enjoyment of political and social rights which their ancestors and predecessors did not enjoy fifty years ago? Is it not true that the working population are at this moment in the enjoyment of a higher rate of wages, and consequently in a higher state of social enjoyment, than at any previous period of their history? Well, Sir, that has been urged — it has never been answered. The Chief Secretary of the Lord Lieutenant, in a statement full of accurate information and weighty argument, placed that before the House, and not a single Gentleman opposite, for a moment, impugned the accuracy of his facts, or the soundness of his conclusions. Well, how are we met? A statesman who, in this position of affairs, makes the enormous sacrifice of all the convictions of his life, tells us that the state of Ireland is so critical that he must do that which, only three years ago, when mentioned, struck him with such inexpressible horror, he said the question was without the pale of political debate. I want to know on what ground he does this. The candid ingenuity of several Gentlemen opposite gives us the ground—the evils of Ireland. We have proved that the country is richer, the people more prosperous, the landlords have their rents, the middle class are perpetually engaging in speculation and shares, and the working population have doubled their wages. Since that has been proved and acknowledged even, by hon. Gentlemen opposite, because it could no longer be denied, the whole thing, this wide-spread discontent, this constant disaffection, and the perilous position of the Church in Ireland, is explained by the fact, the recent discovery, that the evils of Ireland are not material evils—that they are moral evils, that they are sentimental evils. We are called upon now to argue the question not as, in recent times, when we had to discuss the political and material condition of Ireland, but we are asked to take a vast and violent step, because the people of Ireland are suffering under a moral, or, as it has been styled, a sentimental grievance. Well, Sir, I am not the man to despise a sentimental grievance. I think he takes a very contracted view of life and of human nature who despises the sentimental grievances of a nation; but when we have to deal with sentimental grievances, and when, in consequence of sentimental grievances, we are asked to make very material changes, I think every candid mind will agree that we ought to proceed with caution. Though we may be ready to make great sacrifices to soothe the pride and gratify the feeling of race, still to take some precipitate step and fail in accomplishing our desire would be disastrous to the State and humiliating to the statesman. Now, what are those sentimental grievances of the Irish people? I am not conscious that I have ever been deficient in sympathy for the Irish people. They have engaging qualities, which I think every man who has any heart must regard. But I must say nothing surprises me more than the general conduct of the Irish people on this subject of sentimental grievances. They are a race who are certainly among the bravest of the brave, most ingenious, witty, very imaginative, and therefore very sanguine; but for them to go about the world announcing that they are a conquered race does appear to me the most extraordinary thing in the world. Every one of us, nations and individuals, are said to have a skeleton in the house. I do not say that I have not one—I hope I have not. But if I had I would turn the key upon him. But for the Irish ostentatiously to declare that they are a conquered race is very strange. If they really are a conquered race, they are not the people who ought to announce it. It is the conquerors from whom we should learn the fact; for it is not the conquered who should go about the world and announce their shame and humiliation. But I entirely deny that the Irish are a conquered race. I deny that they are more a conquered race than the people of any other nation. Therefore, I cannot see that there is any real ground for the doleful tone in which they complain that they are the most disgraced of men, and make that the foundation for the most unreasonable requests. Ireland is not one whit more conquered than England. They are always telling us that the Normans conquered Ireland. Well, I have heard that the Normans conquered England too, and the only difference between the two conquests is that, while the conquest of Ireland by the Normans was only partial that of England was complete. But then they tell us that was a long time ago, but since then there was that dreadful conquest by Cromwell, when Cromwell not only conquered the people but confiscated their estates. But Cromwell conquered England. He conquered the House of Commons. He ordered "that bauble" to be taken away, in consequence of which an hon. Member, I believe of very advanced Liberal opinions, the other night proposed that we should raise a statue to his memory. But Cromwell not only conquered us, but he forfeited and sequestrated estates in every county in England. Well, Sir, then we are told that the Dutch conquered Ireland, but, unfortunately, they conquered England too. They marched from Devonshire to London through the midst of a sullen population. But at least this must be said for the Irish they fought like gentlemen for their Sovereign; there is no disgrace in the battle of the Boyne, nor does any shame attach to the sword of Sarsfield. I wish I could say as much for the conduct of the English leaders at that time. Therefore, the habit of the Irish coming forward on all occasions to say that they are a conquered race, and, in consequence of their being a conquered race, they must destroy the English institutions, is a most monstrous thing. Then we are told that the Church in Ireland is a badge of this conquest. Well, Sir, I will not go into the question as to the origin of the Irish Church. I hope that nothing shall induce me to enter into a controversy as to whether St. Patrick was a Protestant or not. But I ask this plain question from this conquered race—who attain an eminent position in every country where wars are successful—why is the Church of Ireland more a badge of conquest to the Roman Catholics of that country than the Church of England is to the Dissenters? There is this difference, that, according to their own story, countless generations almost have elapsed since the Roman Catholics were in possession of these churches in Ireland, while in England there was a great change within comparatively modern times; the fact being that one may meet almost any day in England the descendants of some one or other of the ejected ministers; but we never meet a burly Nonconformist who tells us that he is a member of a conquered race, and that he regards the Church of England as a badge of conquest. The Dissenter disapproves of the Church, and he hopes some day to terminate its existence as an Establishment, but he considers himself to be on perfectly equal terms. As far as their relation to the Church Establishment is concerned, what difference is there between the Roman Catholics of Ireland and the Nonconformists of this country, who are among the most wealthy, influential, and intelligent of Her Majesty's subjects, scores of whom, moreover, occupy seats in this House at the present moment? If there is any difference, the feelings of the English Dissenter ought to be more bitter than those of the Roman Catholic. That is, therefore, another point—namely, so far as sentimental grievances are concerned, of which I really do hope we shall hear no more.

Now, Sir, I come to a more practical part of the question. [Cheers.] I understand that cheer. But we shall never come to a solution of any of these questions unless we first arrive at clear ideas of what we mean. You wish to convey in that cheer that I have been speaking on subjects not germane to the question in hand. My answer is that it is impossible for anyone to grapple with the real points before us unless we clear the atmosphere of these nebulous illusions. Unless we get rid of "conquered races," of "badges of conquest," and things of that kind we cannot realize what it is we have to do. We must be very cautious in respect to the great question now before the House and the country when we find it started by a man so eminent as the right hon. Member for South Lancashire on premises so utterly and absurdly fallacious. I say that it is not right to disestablish the Irish Church; and of this I am quite certain that it never can be right to argue that question on an assumed and fallacious crisis, which any man who has any knowledge of life knows has no existence. I have brought the discussion to this point, and I want now to ask the House to consider how we who sit on this Bench have dealt with those grievances of Ireland on which I have touched. I say that during the period when I have had any lead in public life—now, I am sorry to say more than twenty years ago—I have acted conscientiously on one principle alone, and there has not been a Gentleman on this Bench, or on the opposite Bench, when we were Opposition, but gave me on that point unswerving; and complete sympathy and adhesion. In what I recommended to be done I had the sanction and support of all my Colleagues now in the present Cabinet, of all who sat in a responsible position on the Bench opposite, and, I can say, even the sanction of the noble Viscount the Member for Stamford (Viscount Cranborne). What was the policy we pursued with respect to Ireland? Our policy was one of Conciliation. Most of us entered public life when there had been the fiercest acrimony between Irish parties. Some hon. Gentleman now sitting in this House can hardly realize the sentiments then entertained towards one another by Irish Members of different religions, and English Members of different parties who sympathized with their co-religionists. But about twenty-five years ago English statesmen had arrived at a conclusion, advantageous both for England and Ireland, that we should have a policy of conciliation, and that we should endeavour, as far as we could, to remove anomalies, soften asperities, and encourage between the two religions and races a more living and direct sympathy. The principles of our policy were, first, in Ireland to create and not to destroy; and, secondly, to acknowledge that you could not strengthen the Protestant interest in any more effectual way than by doing justice to the Roman Catholics. On those principles we acted. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) in a speech which he made last night, and which the House heard with that interest with which it always welcomes the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, alluded with pride, and with justifiable pride, to what he had done with regard to the appointment of Roman Catholic chaplains in the army. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman, though he took that course spontaneously, did so entirely with the sympathy of his Colleagues. The House will remember that much discussion occurred on a recent occasion respecting the appointment of Roman Catholic chaplains in gaols. That measure was not proposed by us, but the Government of that day were in great stress concerning it; and we supported them although they were opposed by many of their own party, and although many on this side of the House disapproved the course they took. We, however, were convinced that course was based on right principles, and it would not have been adopted but for our assistance, to which a speech of unrivalled power by the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) largely contributed. On a subsequent occasion we had before us the oath to be taken by the Roman Catholics. I have seldom considered a question which occasioned me more anxiety and pain; but it was brought to a satisfactory conclusion greatly by the influence of hon. Gentlemen on these Benches; and the oath which was ultimately adopted, with slight variations, by Parliament was drawn by the present Lord Chancellor of England, who, I believe was never suspected of being false to the principles of Protestantism. Through all these endeavours to carry out a policy of conciliation I have invariably been supported by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. In the same spirit we have brought forward a proposition to grant a charter to a Roman Catholic University. I need not comment upon the "zigzag" criticisms of the right hon. Member for Calne; but I understand our proposal has been commented upon during my absence this evening. Sir, I believe that proposal was perfectly consistent with the principle we have laid down that in Ireland the wise policy is to create and not to destroy, and to strengthen Protestant institutions by being just to the Roman Catholics. Sir, I believe the proposal to grant a charter to a Roman Catholic University was conceived entirely in that spirit. Hon. Gentlemen opposite say "Take hold of Trinity College; appropriate its property, destroy its constitution, tear its charters to shreds: that is the way to conciliate the people, that is the way to reconcile parties and creeds in Ireland." But that is not the policy which I and my Colleagues conceived. We have determined to create and never to destroy in Ireland. There has been too much destruction, I say; therefore, we shall maintain all we have said in supporting our proposition for a charter. I do not wish to conceal that it is one which I believe responds to the legitimate demands of the Roman Catholics. It will, at the same time, maintain that great University of Dublin, which is one of the greatest Universities in the country. No one will question for one moment but that there is a want of educational means for the higher classes of the Roman Catholic population in Ireland, though people may differ as to the way by which it should be satisfied. I say it is wise to satisfy that want by a mode which creates and does not destroy. That is in accordance with our uniform policy, and in conformity also with the policy which hon. Gentlemen opposite have hitherto pursued with the same integrity of purpose and sincerity of feeling as we believe we are able to claim for ourselves. And why have hon. Gentlemen opposite pursued this policy with us? Because the experience of the past has taught us that it was wise to do that which would of all things tend to effect a reconciliation between creeds and classes, and put an end to the unsatisfactory state of feeling in Ireland. We have been subjected to the usual taunts; nothing is so easy as to say that we do this thing to gain the Catholic vote, that we do another to obtain a majority or maintain a position. But whether in Office or in Opposition it has been the same; and these taunts pass by us without the slightest effect upon our course. The same taunts, indeed have been levelled at our opponents, but never by me. Well, let us look at this policy as applied to the Church in Ireland, which is the question before us. We have attempted to conciliate creeds. We have endeavoured to bring about a state of society by which every man in Ireland should feel that he was in a position of the same equality as he would enjoy in England. Whether the measures were proposed and passed by us or by our opponents, I do not think that policy has hitherto been unsuccessful. There has been a difference in the tone even of the Members of this House as compared with what it was a quarter of a century ago. Out of this House there has been a very great change. But what is the policy of the right hon. Gentleman? He comes forward to propose a change which will at once outrage the feelings, and touch in their dearest sentiments and interests a large and very influential portion of the population of Ireland. Year after year we have in this House endeavoured to secure to the Roman Catholics, and especially to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, the full and free exercise of their religion. There is not a Gentleman opposite, however he may vote, who does not in his heart know that is true. I am not referring to a Session. I am not referring to a Parliament; but I am referring to the long, and patient, and continuous policy which we have pursued even under the unfavourable circumstances and discouragements of Opposition — the policy that the Roman Catholics should have a full and free exercise of their religion; and although it entailed upon us much prejudice and misapprehension among friends whom we respected and regarded, we were firm to that policy, because we believed it to be right and wise, and that it would lead to that general sympathy and conciliation to which I have adverted. But what does the right hon. Gentleman propose? Have the Protestants of Ireland no interest in their faith? Have they no regard for their Church? Has their history not identified them with that institution? Have the Protestants of Ireland no sentimental feelings which are to be regarded? And what are we to think of the statesman who, having, as I suppose, sanctioned the policy which I have indicated, comes forward at this moment to introduce to us not merely a measure but a policy which must restore all the acrimony of which we had hoped to get rid—which must revive all those inveterate and rancorous feelings which we have sought to eradicate — which places all classes and creeds in an adverse position, and renders that country again the scene of every hostile passion, of every sentiment which is opposed to that political tranquillity which all great statesmen have striven to produce? Now, I say with regard to the Church in Ireland, that if this policy of conciliation had been pursued, I cannot doubt that we might have come to conclusions which would have greatly facilitated the objects that we wished to accomplish. The reform in the Irish Church, which took place in the year 1833, was effected by the Earl of Derby. It has been criticized of late years as a measure the arrangements of which were deficient in completeness. But in my mind it was a measure which showed the vigour and determination of a real statesman. When we consider the state of affairs at that time as regards the Church in Ireland with which Lord Derby had to deal, I think we must admire the determination and the grasp of his conception. But there is no doubt that some forty years have elapsed since that period, and those forty years have brought not only with reference to the Church in Ireland but to the Church in England and many other institutions, very instructive results. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne the other night—I just mention this in passing—said there was an inconsistency—that was the gravest charge which he brought against my noble Friend—an inconsistency between my noble Friend's Amendment and his speech, because my noble Friend stated that he was ready to alter, or was prepared to consider the alteration of, the status of the Church in Ireland. I was informed to-day by a Friend that when Lord Derby proposed his great change for the reformation of the Church of Ireland it was opposed, because it was said he had altered the status of the Church in Ireland. But now we know better than they did forty years ago. We know that Lord Derby never in that sense altered the status of the Church. The Church, as an Established Church, was not at all affected by the legislation of Lord Derby; and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) will just remember that the use of the word status may be such as he might not adopt. I myself said the oilier night, as I say now, that I think you might elevate the status of the unendowed clergy of Ireland. But I do not mean by elevating their status that revolution in their position which the right hon. Gentleman chooses to fix upon my noble Friend. My opinion is that if this system of conciliation, founded on the principle that in Ireland you ought to create and not to destroy, had been pursued, you might have elevated the Irish Church greatly to its advantage. You might have rendered it infinitely more useful—you might have removed circumstances which are not favourable to its reputation; and, at the same time, I do not think it impossible that you might have introduced measures which would have elevated the status of the unendowed clergy of Ireland, and so softened and terminated those feelings of inequality which now exist, so that you might have had the same equality in the State in Ireland which you have in England. There is perfect equality in the state of the Dissenter in England, although his is not an Established Church. That state of things might exist in Ireland if you had taken measures which would, among a sensitive people, have prevented a sentiment of humiliation. Saying thus much, allow me to add that the policy recommended by the light hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire involves issues in my mind much more important than the government of Ireland. And I would ask the House for a moment to consider what would be the effect of the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman upon the property of the country? Now, I am not going to impress upon the House the importance of respecting a prescriptive title of 300 years. I recognize fully that there is a difference, so far as the State is concerned, between public and private property. But the various shades between them, although they are numerous, blend, and dangerously blend; and it is of much importance that when you deal even with public property you should deal with it in a manner so thoughtful, so learned, and so wise that you should not endanger the principle of private property. All that I pass aside, and I leave it to Gentlemen on both sides well to weigh what may be the consequences of interfering with a prescriptive title of 300 years. What effect it may have on the estates of the great City companies I stop not to inquire. What effect the principle by which it is recommended in Ireland may have even upon the estates of private individuals whose property has arisen from the plunder of the Church I stop not to ask. I believe there are abbeys in Ireland, and there are many in England, that are no longer enjoyed by abbots. I do not dwell upon these things. I remind the House on the general consideration not to forget them. I view with great jealousy the plunder of a Church; because, so far as history can guide me, I have never found that Churches are plundered except to establish or enrich oligarchies; and although it may be a very Liberal movement to attack an ecclesiastical institution, I have never found that the consequences were in favour of liberty or enlightened feeling. But what I want to impress upon the House is this—that there is a new view of the case with regard to the question of property in the course adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. The principle of property is contested in the age in which we live. I am not alarmed by that, because I think the principle of property may be established on the strongest and soundest arguments that the human intellect can conceive. But we cannot shut our eyes to what the hon. Member for Birmingham calls "the spirit of the age," and which entirely influences him in the advice which he gives to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. In the present day the principle of property, even of private property, has been contested, and Ireland, unfortunately, is not an exception to the countries in which that political dogma has been promulgated. Observe what the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman involves. I can understand a man, for example, taking up this position—"Three hundred years ago the Churches of Ireland were ministered by priests of the Roman Catholic faith, and were filled by communicants of the Roman Catholic creed. You ejected our ministers 300 years ago; you expelled our congregations and drove them to a distant part of the island—now our opportunity is come, the hour and the man have both arrived; now we will regain what we have lost, and the Protestant populations and the Protestant ministers shall leave the churches." That, undoubtedly, would be a violation of properly, the prescription of the Protestant population of three centuries' duration would be violated; and to that degree the principle of property would be outraged. But, then, the principle of property would be vindicated in a much higher degree by the principle of restitution, and so it might be contended that there was no violation of property at all. These persons might say, "We are only restoring property to the original owners, and we announce it as a principle so sacred that even 300 years of abuse shall not prevent us from acknowledging its sacredness." But the right hon. Gentleman does nothing of the kind. He goes to the Church of Ireland, he takes all its properly, and he does not tell us what he is going to do with it. There is no restitution to palliate or excuse the proceeding; it is sheer confiscation. And, therefore, I say that the principle proposed for your sanction in this scheme, by which the right hon. Gentleman can pounce upon all the property of the Church in Ireland, and not tell you what he is going to do with it, is an outrage and a violation of the principle of property, than which nothing greater or more enormous can be conceived. In a parenthesis the right hon. Gentleman told us that the property would be preserved and only used for Irish purposes. Well, as was truly said by my right hon. Friend, what are those Irish purposes? Reduction of the duties upon whisky would be an Irish purpose; is that what he means? I hope the House of Commons will not consent to move in the dark on such an important subject as this. I say that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman as explained in his speech does involve an attack on the principle of property, which never yet has been—I will not say mooted in Parliament, but which has scarcely found a place in the speculations of the most abstract philosophers. For, although there have been propositions before now to attack the property of national institutions, no proposition of this kind has ever been made by a Minister of the Crown, or one standing in the responsible position of Leader of the Opposition; no one has ever yet attempted to attack the public property of this country, who has not at the same time indicated to the country with what intention he lays hands upon the property which he was thus appropriating. Knowing what we all know, that the plunder of Churches, which are the property of the people, has never yet produced anything for the people, I say that we ought to look carefully at this proposition, which leaves us entirely in the dark. I say we ought to look with the greatest jealousy on such a proposition. I cannot under any circumstances—whatever you may do with the property of the Church of Ireland, which I hope we shall succeed in preventing your touching at all—I cannot under any circumstances agree that it should be appropriated to what in Liberal language is called a secular purpose. A "secular purpose" is always a job. Church property is the property of the people, set apart for a specific purpose—namely, their spiritual instruction. There is a great lack of funds for spiritual instruction. The religious education of the people has been much neglected in this country, owing to the great plunder of the Church, and the plunder of the Church has invariably been the appropriation of public property to private individuals. I trust, therefore, that we shall hear no more of that.

There is another subject to which before I sit down I must call the serious consideration of the House. I feel that I have unfortunately somewhat trespassed upon their attention; but the House is generous, and it feels that this is an occasion on which it is scarcely an intrusion on my part to crave their indulgence. I have to place before them one of the greatest issues ever offered to their consideration, and that somewhat suddenly. The conflict has come upon us when we little expected it, and it is necessary that the House and the country should understand what they have to decide. The right hon. Gentleman who preceded me (Mr. Cardwell) was nervously alive upon that subject. He said, "We must have a clear and intelligible issue before the country." Well, so far as I am concerned, the issue shall be clear and intelligible. I have touched upon this question with regard to Ireland by itself, and I have shown how completely contrary to the policy which the wisest statesmen have pursued, even at great personal sacrifice, for quarter of a century is the policy suddenly recommended to us by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. No more conciliation; no more hope of reconciling creeds and classes; no more hope, by prudent arrangement, of securing in a country of anomalies, no doubt, and full of historical difficulties, what I thought we were arriving at, by achieving that equality in the State which the subjects of the Queen enjoy in England. All that is past. The great philosophers and physicians of the State are of opinion that such equality can only be accomplished by outraging the dearest feelings and invading the interests of a population not inconsiderable, very influential, and the most important portion of the Irish people. The policy of conciliation, sanctioned by Peel, supported with admirable eloquence by Graham, from which Palmerston did not recoil, to which Lord Russell gave his adhesion, and in which I once thought the right hon. Gentleman opposite would have worked with me—it is gone. For Protestant ascendancy, which really no longer existed, is to be substituted, I suppose, Papal supremacy. All that we have attempted for years to accomplish is to be obliterated, and Ireland is still to be the scene of faction—is still to be the difficulty of England. That is what you are bringing about at a moment when we seemed on the verge of accomplishing what for a quarter of a century we have been labouring for. I have asked the House to consider the altered circumstances of the case, and I have begged the House to reflect for a moment on what might be the influence on property of the policy recommended by the right hon. Gentleman. I now come to another and more important ulterior consequence. If that policy is carried into effect, the connection between the State and the Church in Ireland ceases; the Government of Ireland is divorced from the principle of religion, which hitherto has been acknowledged as a part of our national policy. Now, what is meant by the union between Church and State? In this crisis, I say, it is of great importance that we should fully understand what we mean by a connection between Church and State. I will give my version of it. I understand by it that authority is to be not merely political; that Government is to be not merely an affair of force, but is to recognize its responsibility to the Divine Power. Sir, we have discarded the divine right of Kings, and properly discarded it, because the divine right of Kings led to the abuse of supernatural power by individuals; but an intelligent age will never discard the divine right of Government. If Government is not divine, it is nothing. It is a mere affair of the police-office, of the tax-gatherer, of the guard-room. Now, Sir, any man who has had any experience of affairs knows this—that every year Government becomes more difficult. It is its connection with the religious principle — it is not the guardroom, it is not the police-office, it is not the tax-gatherer—which enables it to rule the nation. You must educate the people; you must reform the criminal; you must establish asylums to meet all the wants of injured and suffering society. These are the duties of Government. In their performance, the Government is perpetually applied to, is perpetually called upon, and how are we to perform those offices unless we are in connection with religious bodies? It is the principle of religion which makes a Government sensible and conscious that it has to perform these duties, and, having to perform these duties, it requires an agency by which it can accomplish them. I am totally at a loss to see how we can connect Government with religion except by an Establishment. One of the things which the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me wanted was an intelligible issue. I give him a clear and intelligible issue. I want to know how we can connect the Government with religion except by an Establishment. It is very true that, in a country like England, where we have the advantage of complete toleration, we may have an Establishment which is not the Church that represents the entire majority of the country: but we cannot judge of the influence of an Established Church by the mere influence of its ministers or by the number of those in communion with it. We must recollect the influence which the existence of such an Establishment has on those who are not communicants with that Church. The great sectarian parties of this country, so full of learning and spirit, so highly disciplined and organized—what would they have been without the Church of England, the archetype which produced that great competition of charity which is the characteristic of the age and the century in which we live? Well, if you admit this principle you ought to hesitate very much as to the course you are taking. What are you doing as regards Ireland? Are you prepared to say that the Government in Ireland shall be a Government disconnected from the principle of religion! Are you prepared to say that? If you are not prepared to say that, how is Government in Ireland to be connected with the principle of religion? Tell me that. Will you endow the Presbyterian Church in Ireland? Why, all the objections which you allege against the Anglican Church will equally apply to the Presbyterian Church. Its population is not more considerable. Well, will you connect with the State the Roman Church? ["No!"] You say "No!" We know there are some persons who say "Yes!" But you are right in saying "No." There is no doubt it is utterly impracticable. The United Kingdom is a Protestant kingdom. The people of the United Kingdom are a Protestant people. They defend and cherish a Protestant Throne: and any attempt in Ireland to establish a Roman Church in connection with the State is a dream which no practical man would allow himself to indulge in. Well, if you cannot establish the Kirk, if you cannot establish the Church of Rome, then, if you are going to destroy the Protestant Episcopal Church, you come to this point—you will have a Government in Ireland that is not connected with the religious principle. This appears to me to be a logical consequence; and, at this moment, if you believe with me that the union between Church and State is a great security for civilization and for religious liberty ["No."] I say if you agree with me in this—I am only trying to do as the right hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) asked, to arrive at a clear and intelligible issue—you must acknowledge that there is no possible means by which you can maintain that union but by maintaining the Church in Ireland. Reform or modify her if you will, make her more efficient if you can, but unless you are prepared to give up the connection between Church and State, which is the connection of authority tempered by the civilizing power of religion, you must maintain the Church. You cannot stir from that position; you must accept one of these two alternatives. Sir,—in connection with the point—comments were made in the course of this varied debate, by, as I understand, the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) to-night, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne, and by the right hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen) who sits opposite me, to a letter which I wrote, and to which I will draw the attention of the House, if it will permit me. The right hon. Member for the City of London said I wrote a letter to the clergy, telling them that the Church was in danger; they have all preached in consequence, and this has produced a considerable effect. Now, there was a letter written once by a Prime Minister to a clergyman. He did not say the Church was in danger. The letter was written to the Dean of Durham, and it called out "No Popery." I think that must have misled the right hon. Gentleman. My letter was not written to a clergyman, but to a layman. It was not sent to The Times newspaper, as the right hon. Member for Calne said, nor to any other newspaper.


The Member for Calne never said so.


The right hon. Member for Calne said it was sent to The Times, and that he read it in The Times.


I said it appeared in The Times. I never said that the right hon. Gentleman sent it to The Times.


No; you only said that it appeared there the same morning as the Amendment of my noble Friend.


I did not say that. On the contrary, I said it appeared the morning before the Amendment appeared.


You mis-dated the letter, you mis-quoted the letter, and you misconceived the letter. I am now speaking upon the connection between Church and State. That letter exactly expresses the feelings which influence me at this moment; and when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne says that I wrote a letter trying to excite the Protestant feelings of the country, let the letter be judged by what it contains, and by nothing more. What was said by the right hon. Gentleman was totally inconsistent with what was said by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter respecting this letter. There is nothing about Protestant feeling in it; and with regard to the right hon. Member for the City, who says I wrote a letter declaring that the Church was in danger—the City churches may be in danger—but he totally misunderstood what I wrote. I did not say that the Church was in danger. I said the State was in danger. Terminate the connection between the State and the Church; divorce authority from the religious principle; you will find the State in danger, not the Church, when it thus loses the high sanction and the high influences which animate a nation. I ask again, is it or is not true that if the policy of the right hon. Gentleman is adopted you terminate the connection in Ireland between Government and the Church? Is it or is it not true? Let us have a clear answer to that. [Opposition Cheers.] You admit it. Can you resist the consequences of your admission. [Cries of "Hear, hear!" from the Opposition.] Your "Hear, hear!" will some day be remembered by yourselves with astonishment and perhaps remorse. There is more in that "Hear, hear!" than you, or than England conceives. You will terminate the connection between Church and State in Ireland;—why should you stop there? If the "hear-hearers" are to have their way, I can completely understand the policy that is brought before us. But what I want is that the House of Commons and England should understand what is the clear and intelligible issue the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford is so anxious to ascertain. Well, if you adopt the principle of separation between Church and State in Ireland, there is no reason why you should not adopt it in Scotland. [Mr. CRAUFURD: Hear, hear!] I like to hear that cheer. There is nothing that advances discussion more than the spontaneous sympathy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. The Church of Scotland has in its communion only a minority of the people; and I want to know upon what principle you can maintain the Kirk in Scotland if you do not maintain the Church in Ireland; Well, then, it is admitted that the majority not being within the pale of the Scottish Kirk, Scotland also may follow the policy of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire. Why stop at Scotland? Are you prepared for the ulterior consequences of this policy? That is what I want to have thoroughly understood by the people of this country. Let there be, as the right hon. Member for Oxford says, "a clear and intelligible issue." Well, the Church falls in Ireland, it falls in Scotland; but it is never to fall in England, because the right hon. Gentleman says there are millions upon millions of Churchmen in England. That is rhetoric, it is not reason. Why, the hon. Member for Birmingham, that great master of the mind of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire—we have heard of "educating," why he, too, can educate—that hon. Gentleman will take the Census Returns, and with that analysis which his shrewd intellect is so well able to regulate and control he will prove that it is a very clear conclusion from the statistical documents in his hand that the union between Church and State—that union between authority and religion which has humanized authority, civilized this country, and secured to us civil and religious liberty — cannot be maintained. I am sure that hon. Members will not object to my stating at some length my opinion upon this subject. The question is only now at its commencement. Years will elapse before it is decided. It is very easy for the right hon. Gentleman to propose Resolutions; but he must allow us to try, especially as I was challenged on the subject to-night, that a clear issue should be put before the people of England. Now let us look at the case of England. Here I have a letter written to me by a dignitary of the Welsh Church, a proctor in Convocation, one who I think must be a respectable and cultivated gentlemen, because he is a friend of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire. He has been a great supporter of the right hon. Gentleman at Oxford and in a county with which he is intimately connected, and, though in a state of great distress on account of the state of affairs, he still regards the right hon. Gentleman with feelings of affection. In this communication he begs to call my attention to the immediate effects of the policy of that distinguished statesman, whom he still regards with feelings of personal affection. He begs to call my attention to a Welsh Reform meeting—[Cries of "Where?"]—held in Hope Hall, Liverpool, attended by delegates from twenty-two places. ["Oh, oh!" and a laugh.] Oh! I assure you it was a real meeting. It was a Liberal meeting—perhaps on that account the hon. Gentleman opposite doubts whether it could be a real one—and it was numerously attended. The writer of the letter is a dignitary of the Welsh Church, a most respectable man, an M.A. ["Name!"] The right hon. Gentleman may have the name; but in discussion we have agreed not to give the name of every gentleman who sends us information. The meeting was called in consequence of the new policy, and the chairman, Mr. Owen Williams, in the course of his speech, maintains that the Welsh have a grievance to be redressed almost as great as this of the Irish Church. "It was absolutely necessary," he said— That they should step aside and form a solid front. They had a Church question to deal with as well as the Irish people; and he did not see why Wales should be contented any longer to carry the burden put upon her. The Welsh had their Church question also; and it would be impossible for" myself, "Mr. Gladstone, or Mr. Bright to settle the Irish Church question without feeling at the same time that the present state of things in Wales could no longer exist. He ends in this way—"The Welsh had also to deal with a land question." This shows the progress of the public mind— It was almost impossible to obtain freehold land in Wales, where the population had doubled itself during the last thirty years. He could see no justice in that state of things. He could not see why the great landowners should become the possessors of all the improvements effected by commerce, industry, and skill. At the close of an excellent speech, the chairman intimated it was probable the next meeting would be addressed by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire. This was the letter sent to me. I will not pass it over to the right hon. Gentleman because he had one handed to him the other evening, and he will not desire another. I have quoted it to show you the consequences of the new policy. Whether the policy is right or wrong is another question; but do not let the House misconceive the crisis which has arrived. Well, then, we come to the question of England. I believe in Wales there are very few benefices in which there is a majority of Churchmen; and I ask the House, on what principle can you refuse to apply to Scotland and to Wales the same principle you are applying to Ireland? I ask you, how can you meet the question of England? Let not hon. Members around me say there are millions and millions in England who are members of the Established Church. That does not answer the stern conclusion from the Census Returns—namely, that in England the majority of the people are not members of the Church. Well, then, are you prepared to say, notwithstanding that, that the civil authority shall not be divorced from religion? I know very well the difficulties we have to contend with now. I know very well what are the powers that are now, and have been for some time, meeting together and joining to produce the consequences which some anticipate, and which I hope may yet be defeated. No man can have watched what has taken place in this country during the last ten years without being prepared, if he be of a thoughtful mind, for the crisis of this country. I repeat the expression that I used in my letter to my Lord Dartmouth, that the crisis of England is now fast arriving. High Church Ritualists and the Irish followers of the Pope have been long in secret combination, and are now in open confederacy. [Laughter.] Yes, but it is a fact. It is confessed by those who attempted to prevent this combination, to mitigate the occurrence, to avoid the conjuncture which we always felt would be most dangerous to the country. They have combined to destroy that great blessing of conciliation which both parties in the State for the last quarter of a century have laboured to effect. I am perfectly aware of the great difficulties that we have to encounter. I know the almost superhuman power of this combination. They have their hand almost upon the realm of England. Under the guise of Liberalism, under the pretence of legislating in the spirit of the age, they are, as they think, about to seize upon the supreme authority of the realm. But this I can say, that so long as, by the favour of the Queen, I stand here, I will oppose to the utmost of my ability the attempt they are making. I believe the policy of the right hon. Gentleman who is their representative, if successful, will change the character of this country. It will deprive the subjects of Her Majesty of some of their most precious privileges, and it will dangerously touch even the tenure of the Crown.


Mr. Speaker, I cannot help, Sir, making the observation—and I trust it is one at least as much within the bounds of Parliamentary courtesy as some to which we have recently listened—that there are portions of the discursive speech of the right hon. Gentleman of which, with every effort on my part, I fail to discern the relevancy; and that there are other portions of it of which it does not seem to me a severe judgment to say that they appear to be due to the influence of a heated imagination. Sir, I can assure the House that, at this hour of the morning, I shall endeavour to confine myself to the main issue, and shall dismiss with a very few words of observation subjects that in the treatment of the right hon. Gentleman occupied a considerable time. His elaborate justification of the Motion of the noble Lord by reference to precedents, I think, does not call for detailed reply, inasmuch as he was mistaken in all the references that he made. He said it was intolerable to meet a Motion on the Irish Church by the Previous Question, but he forgets that he met it so himself last year. And when he said it had been met in that manner on the part of his predecessors he forgot that, on the three successive occasions on which, during the Government of Lord Palmerston, the Irish Church ques-was advanced it was met by that Government concurring in the precept of the right hon. Gentleman, but avoiding his practice—by the direct negative which he seeks to avoid. I will not enter either into the elaborate personal invective delivered by the right hon. Gentleman against the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) and against the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne. The right hon. Gentleman says that his pacific character is well established, and that he never in his life attacked a man by whom he had not been attacked before. Sir, I leave these observations of the right hon. Gentleman to speak for themselves, and I do not for one moment envy him whatever benefit he can derive from them. Then, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has an extensive knowledge of history; but the whole of the historical portion of his speech I shall succintly and cursorily dismiss, because the right hon. Gentleman deals in such propositions as this—that the Norman conquest of England was similar in its operation and effect to the English conquest of Ireland; and not this only, but likewise that as Ireland was conquered after the Revolution of 1688, so England itself was conquered in order to bring about that Revolution. It would be an unpardonable abuse of the time of the House if I were to suppose it could be necessary to enter for one moment into a detailed analysis and confutation of a statement like that. Before I proceed to co-operate with the right hon. Gentleman, as I shall most cheerfully do, in endeavouring to attain that clear and satisfactory issue which he so much desires, and to which I will try a little to contribute, I will say a few words with reference to what has occurred in the course of the debate. I am bound to admit the general fairness and moderation with which the debate has been conducted. I think that I who appear here as what is called the assailant of the Irish Church, after having in my early days held opinions strongly in favour of its maintenance, cannot in fairness do less than allow that, with the exception perhaps of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who threw a few stones at me out of the glass house in which he dwells, nothing could give less ground for complaint than the tone which hon. Gentlemen have adopted in referring to the inconsistency of my present as contrasted with my previous career. Naturally, however, there has been criticism upon the Resolutions, and in the debate one point in particular has been dwelt upon on which I conceive that I ought to have previously given an explanation, brief, but important in its nature. In the speech that I made in proposing that the House should resolve itself immediately into a Committee, I ventured to express an opinion that so far as I could forecast the shape which a measure for the disestablishment of the Irish Church was likely to take, it would issue in something like this:—that of the total actual present value of the entire property of that Church at the moment when the change took place no less than three-fifths, and possibly between that proportion and two-thirds, would remain in the hands of the members of the Communion now established by law in Ireland, and would remain in their hands with the perfect good-will of the whole of those among whom they dwelt. Now, Sir, if the House will forgive me, I will give in a very words the sort of rough computation upon which I founded that statement. These will not be supposed to be official figures. Official figures do not exist; and although I do not possess the means of comparatively accurate investigation which are at the disposal of the Government, still in dealing with these large sums I have availed myself of data which I believe are worthy of credit. I believe that the value of the whole capitalized revenue of the whole Established Church may be not unfairly stated at £13,000,000; that the value of the outstanding perpetuities not yet purchased up by the lessees would be about £600,000; and that a fair estimate of the value of churches and parsonages, with the immediate appendages, would be no less than £2,500,000. If that be so, it gives a total of £16,100,000 of which three-fifths would be £9,600,000. Now, Sir, if the clerical life interests were recognized, that, I believe, could not be done at a charge of less than half of the capitalized revenue, or £6,500,000. I ought to have stated that by clerical life interests I refer to incumbents, to beneficed clergymen, inasmuch as there are life interests of a minor character which would have to be considered. There are many lay interests of a minor kind, such as those of organists, clerks in possession of freeholds, and so on, which would not be extravagantly estimated at £500,000. The price of advowsons belonging to members of the Church might be fairly taken at another £500,000; and if the churches and parsonages were left—although it is not part of my duty to propose anything on the subject—in the hands of the present possessors, that would be £2,500,000 more, making a total of £10,000,000, which would be £400,000 more than three-fifths of the whole value of the property. I have said this to show that I did not speak altogether without consideration. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India threatens me, when we get into Committee, with an indefinite number of what he calls categorical questions. My right hon. Friend is perfectly at liberty to put to me as large a number of those questions as he pleases; only, I hope he will allow me to exercise a certain amount of discretion, as to the answers I will give him. It appears to me that I have gone far in the declaration I have made, and further I do not intend to go. But it is requested that I should make an explanation on a point which has been misunderstood in a manner which appears to be singular — I mean the nature of the third Resolution. The strange construction appears to have been put, and put even by Gentlemen in office, on these Resolutions, that they were intended, by the sole act of the House of Commons, to arrest the action of constituted legal powers, such as those which the Irish Church Commissioners exercise, and such, above all, as the Crown makes use of in the exercise of its patronage. Now, if hon. Gentlemen will take the pains to refer to the Irish Church Temporalities Act of 1833, they will find that my third Resolution is little more than a copy of words there used; but on account of my determination to proceed in the most scrupulous and respectful manner, it is not simply a copy, but an expansion of the words contained in that Act, and which recite the surrender by the Crown of its interest and patronage as being the ground on which Parliament proceeded to enact the suppression of several bishoprics. Therefore, admiring as I do the salutary rule and practice of this House—to decline entertaining Bills affecting even to the extent of a hairbreadth, the interest and Prerogatives of the Crown, without the Crown's consent; I, on that account, proposed a Resolution, which forms, as I conceive, the only manner in which I, as a Member of the House, could constitutionally signify my respect for the Crown, and which invites the House to address the Crown to give that consent, without which we do not and cannot, under our salutary rules, act in our legislative capacity in matters affecting the Crown's interest and Prerogatives. The third Resolution is simply a preliminary to the introduction of a Bill, and nothing else in the world except such preliminary. A complaint was made by the Secretary of State which surprised me; for he said I had not stated what whould be the legal condition, except as to property, of the Irish Church, if the plan I propose were adopted. I certainly did say, in terms the most definite that I could use, that the Established Church of Ireland was to be placed in a state of freedom as entire and absolute for the regulation of its own religious concerns as any Dissenting body. I hope that that explanation is satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman, who, not having heard any observations on that point, gave vent to his imagination, and supposing that something of the kind was meant, called attention to the horrible consequences which would follow such a state of freedom. "What a state of things will follow," said he, if there be no Royal supremacy, no jurisdiction of the Crown or of the Courts, these people will actually, if they think fit, alter their own articles of belief." But that was not all, and I call the particular attention of the House to what follows, because I think it is one of the most striking parts of the whole debate. My right hon. Friend said that if the people of England, now members of the Established Church, and under the coercion of the State, could only get sight of the Irishmen altering their articles of belief, the desire to do the same would become so violently infectious that all the members of the English Church would be crying out to be disestablished that they might follow the example of the Irish Church. [Sir STAFFORD NORTHCOTE was understood to dissent from this.] My right hon. Friend at least said that enough of them would follow the example to cause the ruin and fall of the Established Church in England. The ancient poets have represented that when the followers of the god Bacchus, in a state of violent excitement, went dancing into a country, the whole of the population were invariably smitten with the contagion, and began dancing too. Now, it appears that my right hon. Friend is afraid that all the Irish Churchmen will immediately begin to cut their capers by making new Church constitutions; and so delightful will this process be found that the English people, with all the substantial advantages of Establishment, will not be able to resist the soft infection, and in this way it appears my Motion is to lead to the downfall of the English Establishment. I think that argument of my right hon. Friend sufficiently answers itself. I am bound to say that I think the Irish Protestant Churchmen have been exceedingly ill-used in this debate, and, worst of all, they have been most ill-used by their friends. The noble Lord who spoke last night (Lord Claud John Hamilton) said the Protestants of Ireland were now loyal, but if their Church were disestablished there was no saying what they might do. Their loyalty, then, is a conditional loyalty, dependent on possession of special and exclusive privileges. That is the loyalty of the Irish Protestants, as described not by me but by their friends; but. Sir, I must not say all their Friends, for I feel bound to make an exception in favour of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (the Attorney General for Ireland), who asserted the direct contrary, and said the loyalty of the Protestants would continue, no matter what befell. Perhaps we may take this as a sign that the contagion imagined by the right hon. Baronet is not as catching as he supposed. Still, we are told by some of the Friends of Irish Protestants that if they are put on an equality with their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen in matters of religion we are not to count on their loyalty. My answer to that allegation, argument, imputation, calumny, or call it what you like, is simply this: I do not believe it, I am bound not to believe it—courtesy permits and justice compels me to state with plainness my utter disbelief in it. Sir, the true answer to these apprehensions of my right hon. Friend is this—that there are in the world, known to history, known to experience, known to every man of common sense, plenty of those bodies who have undergone the process of disestablishment. There are the Episcopalians in Scotland, there are the Episcopalians in America, there are the Episcopalians in all, or nearly all, our colonies, who, strange to say, have gone through all these horrors which are described to us in such lively terms. "Disestablishment! a portentous word, describing a thing still more portentous!" says the right hon. Gentleman. Yes; and what is he doing in Jamaica? Why, his Government is under a pledge at this moment to introduce a Bill to Parliament for the purpose of disestablishing, as far as depends on the Imperial Parliament, the Church now established in Jamaica. Such disestablished bodies not only now exist, but they exist in comfort, they exist in prosperity; they pursue their way calmly and peaceably; they meet their religious controversies and difficulties not as well as we do, for the right hon. Gentleman, in the last flight of his imagination, has given us one of the most doleful descriptions of the Church of England which I ever heard in all my life, with his "combination between High Church Ritualists and Roman Catholics." I here will say that I must retort on the right hon. Gentleman the charge that our arguments and our statements are dangerous to the Church of England; for if the result of the Establishment of the Church of England is that she is at this moment in the position which he pictured in that last most highly-coloured passage of his speech, I must say, I think, that a stronger argument for her disestablishing and for sending her forth into the free air of the wilderness of voluntaryism cannot possibly be conceived. It is the Government, therefore, who, by their arguments, are throwing doubts on the principle of religious Establishments. Then, the right hon. Gentleman says that there is no crisis at all in Ireland; that there is nothing at all to warrant special action at this time; and, by the way, there is one doctrine of his which, although it touches history, I cannot pass by without notice, and that is his doctrine of fundamental laws. He says that when an alteration of a fundamental law is submitted to Parliament, then it is necessary that it should first go to the people—that is to say, that there should be a dissolution—in order that a new Parliament may be elected with the subject of that fundamental law in its view. Well, I believe. Sir, that the fashionable phrase to describe the party of the right hon. Gentleman, who, a few years ago, were Protectionists, who since then have been Conservatives, who, dining our first Reform Bill, were Tories, and who, last year, were, I think, neither Tories, Protectionists, nor Conservatives—I believe that the fashionable name for them this year is "Constitutionalists," and it is under that name the right hon. Gentleman produces this most extraordinary doctrine. I recommend the right hon. Gentleman, in his Irish studies, to read the debates on the Act of Union with Ireland, and he will find that Mr. Sheridan vehemently opposed the Act of Union, and set up this doctrine: he said, "You have no right in entering into a Union with another country to alter the fundamental laws;" and he got a pretty setting down from Mr. Pitt. I wish it were in my power, but the lateness of the hour prevents me, to exhibit in its true colours the ultra-democratic — the more than democratic—the anarchical nature of the doctrine. The First Minister of the Crown asserts that subjects of secondary magnitude may be dealt with by Parliament, but that when there is any subject which touches the fundamental laws, then it is their duty to go back to the people before they have the moral authority to deal with it. I do not think it necessary to dwell upon that statement of the right hon. Gentleman. I was sorry to hear it once in the speech of a Prime Minister—twice, I am sure, it will never be. [Mr. DISRAELI: I said it before.] Yes; but I had not the opportunity of following the right hon. Gentleman on that occasion, because, unfortunately, he followed me, or I would have done the very limited justice to his opinion which I have now endeavoured to do. The right hon. Gentleman says that there is nothing distinct in the present political condition of Ireland at the present moment in a sense and of a nature to justify the Motion which I have made. When I presented to the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, and to the mind of the House, that aggregate and combination of circumstances which, taken altogether, constituted the political situation of Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman pursued the process of pulling them as under, and then arguing from each singly that it does not constitute a crisis, leaving it to be inferred that nothing in the nature of a crisis can result from their combination. He says, with regard to Fenianism, "Why, did you not deal with this crisis in 1866, when you were in the Government? That reminds me that the right hon. Gentleman has been too liberal to me in the historical notice which he has given the House of my life. He stated, not very long ago, that for a quarter of a century during which I had been in power, and in power for the purpose of dealing with the Church in Ireland, I did nothing towards that object. Well, for nine years out of the last twenty-three, I held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, and during one only of those nine years—namely, in 1866, I had the responsibility of being the Leader of this House. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Why did you not deal with the Irish Church in 1866, when you asked for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act?" My answer is, "For a perfectly plain and simple reason." In the first place, circumstances were not ripe then as they are now. [Ironical cheers from the Ministerial Benches.] Circumstances, I repeat, were not ripe, in so far as we did not then know so much as we know now with respect to the intensity of Fenianism. Nor was there any Member of that Government who would have been for one moment justified in giving the official account of Fenianism which has been given within the hearing of us all during the last few weeks by the noble Earl the Chief Secretary for Ireland. But while that was the first reason, it was not our only reason. A second was, that we were occupied with the Reform Bill. ["Oh, oh!"] I say it was totally impossible for us, situated as we were in respect to Reform of the Constitution of Parliament, to apply ourselves to a consideration of the Irish Church. And not only was it totally impossible, but it would have been an insult to the common sense of the noble Lord, who seems to jeer at that statement, if we had requested him, even with his great capacity of mind, to apply himself at the same time to the question of Reform and to that of the Irish Church. The situation of Ireland is this. We have had the guarantees for personal liberty suspended for three years; and the country is in the occupation of an army and of a police organized as an army with reference to that suspension. Now, that is a state of things which, in itself constitutes and proves the existence of this critical condition. It is a state of things which, as I have heard said, is next to war; and in which the enormous power of this country keeps down and suppresses the elements of disaffection. What those elements are I take from the statement of the Minister of the Crown who represents the Irish Department. I have not added one syllable to them; I have not sought to colour them. But if the power from without keeps down the principle of disaffection, sedition, and disloyalty in Ireland, I want to know whether that is a condition in which it is safe for this country to continue? The right hon. Gentleman says, "Oh, but their material condition is improved." Certainly, their material condition is improved; and it is the very fact that, while their material condition has improved to such a degree that it can be perceived—I do not say to a great degree, but to a sensible degree—the political disaffection which lies beneath has become more deeply rooted and more widely extended among the classes described by the noble Earl the Chief Secretary for Ireland; it is this very fact, I say, which makes the picture of Ireland so formidable, and which imposes upon Parliament the duty of no longer flinching from looking the circumstances in the face, and meeting them. When we examine the condition of Ireland, what do we see? We see the religionists of the country divided into three classes. There are the ministers of the Established Church, who have, not for their fault but their misfortune, much pay and little work; there are the ministers of the Presbyterians, who have little pay and much work; there are, lastly, the ministers of the Roman Catholics, and of the minor Protestant sects, who stand in precisely the same category, and these have no pay at all and much work. That is the religious condition of Ireland. Is that a satisfactory state of things? Are we prepared to take the political chances of the future with that state of things staring us in the face? Of course, if a Gentleman has a conscientious belief that the maintenance of a certain Church Establishment is, under all circumstances, an unconditional matter of duty, to him I do not address myself. But that is not the belief of the great majority of the House. The great majority of the House believe, I apprehend, that the connection of the State with religion is necessarily modified by the varying condition of men's minds from time to time and from age to age, both as regards the advantage of the connection, and likewise as regards the divisions of religious belief. And it is, in my opinion, impossible to justify the maintenance of an Establishment which we have ceased to maintain as the exclusive representative of religion, and which we maintain now, I fear, on the far narrower ground of a kind of traditional monopoly that never can be understood, and that always will be resented by the people of Ireland. Well, Sir, I want to know how the Government propose to meet this serious wrong, as I am sure the large majority of the House believe it to be. The right hon. Gentleman wished for a clear and intelligible issue. Now, I will first take the side of the picture presented to us by the right hon. Gentleman, before showing the reverse of the picture. The right hon. Gentleman terrifies us by pointing out that if we disestablish the Church in Ireland we shall dissociate the State from the principle of religion, and lead to disestablishment in Scotland, in Wales—as he assures us on the authority of Mr. Owen Williams—and lastly in England. Now, there is no concealment about our intention. We do propose to sever the Establishment from the State; but if I am asked whether we shall thereby sever the principle of religion from the State, my answer is, that when you have a state of things such as that existing in Ireland, an Establishment cannot be maintained without a violation of what the bulk of the people believe to be the principles of civil justice, and that in that case the extinction of the Establishment and not its extension is the way to give a true religious character to a country. The right hon. Gentleman threatens us with the progress of this devastating principle in other countries, but my answer is that we must judge the case of each country upon its own merits. We do not say—and I certainly do not think—that the cases mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman are in substance analogous to the case of the Irish Church. No argument from a country where the maintenance of an Establishment seems to be just can for a moment avail to warrant it in a country where it is unjust; and I believe the worst enemy of the Church of England, or of the Church of Scotland, or of the Church in Wales, could not suggest a course more detrimental to the interests of those Establishments than the line of argument taken by the right hon. Gentleman and his friends, who really seem prepared, if the Irish Church is disestablished, forthwith to lead an attack against Established Churches elsewhere. Such is my answer, and I hope it is a clear one to the objections of the right hon. Gentleman. I now proceed to ask what, in the face of this state of things, is the position of Her Majesty's Government? And this is open to manifold constructions; for, judging from the speeches of Gentlemen opposite, there is an appearance of considerable discrepancy. Let me first, however, refer to what the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department called a letter of mine, which he was pleased to read. Sir, I have done my best to obtain the original of that letter from which the right hon. Gentleman read the extract. The editor of the newspaper (The Morning Herald) to whom it was addressed has, in a most courteous manner, done what he could; but I am sorry to state that he has not yet been able to send me the letter. All I can now say is, that it does appear to me to have been rash of the right hon. Gentleman to trust himself to found a Parliamentary attack on a few lines extracted from a letter, he himself never having seen that letter, and having no opportunity of judging of the rest of its contents. As to the matter of the letter, I will simply say that the portion of it which refers to the Act of Union has reference also to an idea which I did entertain at the time it was written, and only abandoned with reluctance. It was not the idea which hon. Gentlemen opposite suppose. Those hon. Gentlemen—if they will forgive me the expression—appear to be under a gross delusion as to the Act of Union. They always talk of it as if it assured to the Irish Church the possession of its property; but there is not a syllable about property in the Act of Union. I had in my mind—I am not ashamed to confess it—the last fragment of the Irish Church which I was inclined to preserve. Notwithstanding the sneer pronounced by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) on ecclesiastical Establishments—and I think there was truth in it—I am not ashamed to avow that I regretted the diminution in the House of Lords of the number of those who were there by merit—some of my friends now near me know that such was my feeling—and I did think it would be desirable to keep in that House a certain number of the Irish Bishops. If asked when the Irish question would assume the importance it has now assumed, I would have said, perhaps not for five, perhaps not for ten years. Therefore, though this question had not then entered the domain of politics, I thought it my duty to give notice to my constituents of my feeling on the matter. Was the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary prepared to give notice in 1865 of his sentiments on another subject? [Mr. GATHORNE HARDY made some observation across the table which was inaudible in the Gallery.] The right hon. Gentleman says he has been elected since. That is perfectly true, and let him take the benefit of it. [Mr. GATHORNE HARDY made another observation, which also was inaudible in the Gallery.] That is a matter which I think would admit of some little discussion; but if he says that he thinks he could have been elected for the University of Oxford in 1865 as the advocate of household suffrage, with my knowledge of that constituency during a period of sixteen years, I must say that such a supposition is contrary to my experience. The right hon. Gentleman says that it is the glory and the privilege of the State to maintain the light of the Reformation in Ireland. That sounds all very fine, but that is not the only glory and privilege of the State, because we are paying some £30,000 a year for the maintenance of Maynooth College, whence something like 100 priests are sent forth annually to teach the people that the Reformation is no glory and no light, but that all the glory and the light are in the Roman fold and the Human pastor. The anxiety of the right hon. Gentleman to maintain this glory and privilege of exhibiting the light of the Reformation is not in the slightest degree incompatible with his seeking another glory and privilege in 1868 by proposing to endow from the purse of the people of this country a Roman Catholic University in Ireland. There are considerable deductions from that kind of glory and privilege which the right hon. Gentleman has described. However, glory and privilege is the motto of the right hon. Gentleman; but what is the motto of the Prime Minister? I must refer to that which was pointedly brought into view by my right hon. Friend near me, the Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell), and which was, I will not say sedulously, but unfortunately and accidentally avoided by the Prime Minister in his speech. There is no injustice at all in referring to the speech of the Prime Minister in 1844, for the plain and simple reason that the right hon. Gentleman, I think with great courage, considering by whom he is surrounded, has distinctly stated twice over in 1868, in the midst of many apologetic expressions, that the sentiment of that speech was right. Now, what was the sentiment of that speech? I have read it lately, and have not forgotten it. Many hon. Members may have read it, but those who have not have a treat to enjoy. I speak seriously. The right hon. Gentleman disparaged the speech; but a more closely woven tissue of argument and observation has seldom been known in the debates of this House; and the right hon. Gentleman does not now shrink from the substance of it. I will not quote from the speech, but I will describe it in a single word. The whole of that speech referable to the Church of Ireland may be fairly summed up in the single word "Destruction." Now, I appeal to any man, and to any of the Colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman, if they have that speech in their memory, whether that is not a fair description of it. Here, then, are two undoubtedly important declarations separated by an immeasurable interval; but there is also a third. There was the declaration of the noble Earl the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he said in his official statement on behalf of the Government— There would not, I believe, be any objection to make all Churches equal; but the result must be secured by elevation and not by confiscation. Therefore, in the midst of glory and privilege, on the one side, and destruction on the other, there comes the equality of Churches by elevation. In my desire to contribute to this plain and intelligible issue, I should like to invite the attention of the House for a few moments to the meaning of that word "elevation." Then came the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who, applying ice from Wenham Lake to the sentiments which, like lava from Vesuvius, flowed from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, surveyed us mortals from Epicurean heights, and described, with the most perfect absence of passion—I will not say of enthusiasm — the destinies, one more deplorable than the other, which might befall the Irish Church. Perhaps the noble Lord, when we come to discuss the first Resolution in Committee, will more fully develop his views. But there is a mode of harmonizing the three statements which have been made upon this question, though they are apparently remote from one another. The right hon. Gentleman is enigmatic; but, like the hieroglyphics and cuneiform inscriptions on ancient monuments, his meaning yields to faithful comparison and research. Tonight the right hon. Gentleman discusses the principles on which the Irish Government has been carried on, and by which it appears he was about to obtain some astonishing result, if he had not been stopped by my Motion, and by a conspiracy, I think he made out, between the High Church Ritualists and the Pope. The principle is this—to strengthen Protestants by doing justice to Roman Catholics. He quotes as an instance of his anxiety to assist in this work the passing of the Roman Catholic Oaths Bill in 1865. He did not prevent the passing of the Bill. No; and I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman in that year repented of what he had previously done. It was a tardy concession after long and repeated resistance by the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends; and now, forsooth, they claim some special credit for the passing of a measure with regard to which all that can be said is that, at a given moment, they ceased to resist it. The right hon. Gentleman says that our measure is destructive, and that he wishes to create. Will the right hon. Gentleman allow us to translate into plain and simple language the whole of these dark and ambiguous declarations, in order that we may place the views of the right hon. Gentleman and the Government beside ours, and upon that juxtaposition we may raise the satisfactory issue so much desired? There was a principle which the right hon. Gentleman once called "the Pantheistic principle." In the speech in which that expression occurs the right hon. Gentleman said— You and your Erastian principles are crumbling into dust. Will you adopt the Pantheistic principle? I have unfaltering confidence in the stability of the Church; but the dancer which threatens it is—What? Nonconformity? No. It is the connection between the Church and the State. This places it under the control of the House of Commons, which is not necessarily of the same communion. Leave the Church to itself, and it will shrink from no contest. The right hon. Gentleman went on to sny— I believe the question to be, Will you sever the Church from the State, or will you endow the Roman Catholic Church? For my own part, I believe the Protestants of Ireland would say, 'Sever the connection between Church and State, and do not endow the Roman Catholics.' "Then we come," says the right hon. Gentleman, "to this further consideration—are we to recognize the Pantheistic principle?" It is fair to interpret a man's language by other language of his own, and what I understand the right hon. Gentleman to mean when he says he wants to create, and not to destroy, is that he wants Parliament to adopt the Pantheistic principle. That is a very hard word for some of our constituents; but its meaning is clear, beyond dispute. The intention and desire of the Government, including the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, who stands up so strongly for the glory and privilege of defending the Church, is to set up alongside of the Establishment other Established Churches — Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, and lesser bodies, all endowed out of the Consolidated Fund. That is the only intelligible policy I can ascribe to the Government, and I ask, Is the country prepared for such a policy? Something of this kind might have done at the time of Mr. Pitt, or even at a later period. It was earnestly desired by the Liberal policians of that day. But look at the singular fact that seems to cling to the party of the right hon. Gentleman—that they always endeavoured to adopt and wear the cast-off robes of the Liberal party. That which the Liberal party desired and strove for a generation ago, and that which they prevented that party from passing, they afterwards took up and strove for when it had been abandoned by the Liberal party and by the people. That policy of the Government is one that cannot and will not be adopted by the people of this country. It is detested by Scotland; it is not desired by England; it is repelled and rejected by Ireland. Were we to join him in giving effect to such a policy, the only result would be, that we, in common with them, should be involved in the shipwreck of the plan. The sentiments and convictions of the Three Kingdoms are so opposed to it that it is a vain scheme, to be entirely dismissed. This is the point at issue—that the Church in Ireland shall cease to exist as an Establishment, though with every softening measure that a due regard to proprietary and vested interests, and I would add even to feelings, can suggest. It is totally impossible to proceed only by way of internal reforms, which may diminish abuse, but will really increase the great abuse. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) spoke of the value of the clergy to Ireland as a resident gentry. But supposing that true, such are the essentially false elements in the position of the Irish Church radically considered that efforts at reform will only deteriorate in one sense what they may mend in another. I recollect the solemn appeal made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, and I have not striven in any way to depreciate the gravity of the question. It is impossible that any person not having official responsibility can take upon himself a greater charge than when he presumes to recommend to the House a change such as this. Will the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) and the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Osborne) allow me to offer them some apology for the conduct of the Liberal party on this question? They have hardly done justice to the Liberal Government and themselves, and those who have acted with them. The Liberal party did make one very limited, but very serious and earnest effort to deal with the Irish Church. It was on an exceedingly narrow issue—that of the Appropriation Clause; but narrow as it was it was too wide not merely for their Parliamentary interests, but for the then feeling of the country. Let us consider what happened from 1834 to 1838. They fought that question steadily. It is quite true that they put Sir Robert Peel out of Office because he would not adopt it; but it is not true that they dropped it in consequence of obtaining his place. The very first effect of their taking up that question was the secession of a powerful section of the Cabinet. Their opponents in this House, of whom I was one, were sustained by the House of Lords, and not only by the House of Lords, but by the constituencies. Therefore, in that they were fairly beaten, and, having been fairly beaten they are not justly to be blamed because they have not incessantly renewed the agitation of that question. But we agree that the memory of that defeat should make us cautious in again taking to so serious an engagement. I quite agree with my hon. and learned friend (Mr. Roebuck) that it is of vital importance that, entering into this matter, we should to the best of our power go through with it. I quite agree with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India that the great question should not be huddled up into the form of an abstract Resolution; and if he and also my learned Friend reply to me as he may justly, that mere words are but light and trivial and may well beget suspicion rather than remove it, I point to the second and third Resolutions as unequivocal proofs and guarantees that as far as we are concerned, and so far as those with whom I have had the honour and privilege to Communicate are concerned, it is our intention not to mock the people of Ireland with idle words, but, while avoiding any unreasonable demand on a Parliament which has but limited time at its disposal, we do ask from that Parliament so much at least of action as shall serve to show its sincerity by practical proof, by clearing the ground for decisive action in the next. That is my answer to my hon. and learned Friend in reply to a question which I admit to be just and warranted by the circumstances—an answer which I hope he will appreciate. I am myself jealous of all professions in this matter which cannot be accompanied by that which shall be a substantial earnest of my intentions. So viewing the proposal, so avowing that we think that the time has come for this great and beneficial change to be brought about in Ireland, we commend it most earnestly to the acceptance of this House, as a step that is alike needed for the honour of Parliament, for the satisfaction and contentment of Ireland; and even if Ireland were likely to be satisfied and contented without it yet required for the purpose of removing a stain from the name and good fame of the State, of the Law, and of the people of this country.


stated that he should vote against going into Committee. He wished it to be understood that he would not consent to the transfer of any portion of the Church property for the benefit of any other religious body.

Question put. The House divided:—Ayes 330; Noes 270: Majority 60.

[Division List No. 19 contains 331 Names of Members who voted with the Ayes.]

Acland, T. D. Bright, Sir C. T.
Adair, H. E. Bright, J. (Manchester)
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Bright, J. (Birmingham)
Agnew, Sir A. Browne, Lord J. T.
Akroyd, E. Bruce, Lord C.
Allen, W. S. *Bruce, Lord E.
Amberley, Viscount Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.
Andover, Viscount Bryan, G. L.
Anson, hon. Major Bulkeley, Sir R.
Anstruther, Sir R. Buller, Sir A. W.
Armstrong, R. Buller, Sir E. M.
Ayrton, A. S. Burke, Viscount
Aytoun, R. S. Butler, C. S.
Bagwell, J. Butler-Johnstone, H. A.
Baines, E. Buxton, C.
Barclay, A. C. Buxton, Sir T. F.
Barnes, T. Calcraft, J. H. M.
Barry, A. H. S. Calthorpe, hn. F. H. W. G.
Barry, C. R. Candlish, J.
Bass, A. Cardwell, rt. hon. E.
Bass, M. T. Carnegie, hon. C.
Baxter, W. E. Carter, S.
Bazley, T. Castlerosse, Viscount
Beaumont, H. F. Cave, T.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Cavendish, Lord E.
Biddulph, M. Cavendish, Lord F. C.
Biddulph, Col. R. M. Cavendish, Lord G.
Bingham, Lord Chambers, M.
Blake, J. A. Chambers, T.
Blennerhassett, Sir R. Cheetham, J.
Bonham-Carter, J. Childers, H. C. E.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Cholmeley, Sir M. J.
Bowyer, Sir G. Clay, J.
Brady, J. Clement, W. J.
Brand, rt. hon. H. Clinton, Lord A. P.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Grosvenor, Earl
Clive, G. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Cogan, rt. hon. W. H. F. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Grove, T. F.
Coleridge, J. D. Gurney, S.
Collier, Sir R. P. Hadfield, G.
Colvile, C. R. Hamilton, E. W. T.
Corbally, M. E. Hankey, T.
Cowen, J. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Hardcastle, J. A.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Harris, J. D.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Hartington, Marq. of
Crawford, R. W. Hay, Lord J.
Crossley, Sir F. Hay, Lord W. M.
Dalglish, R. Hayter, A. D.
Davey, R. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Henderson, J.
De La Poer, E. Heneage, E.
Denman, hon. G. Henley, Lord
Dent, J. D. Herbert, H. A.
Dering, Sir E. C. Hibbert, J. T.
Devereux, R. J. Hodgkinson, G.
Dilke, Sir W. Hodgson, K. D.
Dillwyn, L. L. Holden, I.
Dixon, G. Holland, E.
Dodson, J. G. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Doulton, F. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Duff, M. E. G. Howard, Lord E.
Duff, R. W. Hughes, T.
Earle, R. A. Hughes, W. B.
Edwards, C. Hurst, R. H.
Edwards, H. Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.
Eliot, Lord Ingham, R.
Ellice, E. Jervoise, Sir J. C.
Enfield, Viscount Johnstone, Sir J.
Erskine, Vice.-Ad. J. E. Kearsley, Captain R.
Esmonde, J. Kennedy, T.
Evans, T. W. King, hon. P. J. L.
Ewart, W. Kinglake, A. W.
Ewing, H. E. Crum- Kinglake, J. A.
Eykyn, R. Kingscote, Colonel
Fawcett, H. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Fildes, J. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E.
FitzGerald, rt. hn. Lord O. A. Labouchere, H.
Laing, S.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Lamont, J.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W. Lawrence, W.
Foley, H. W. Lawson, rt. hon. J. A.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Layard, A. H.
Fordyce, W. D. Leatham, E. A.
Forster, C. Leatham, W. H.
Forster, W. E. Lee, W.
Fortescue, rt. hn. C. S. Leeman, G.
Fortescue, hon. D. F. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Foster, W. O. Lewis, H.
French, rt. hon. Colonel Lloyd, Sir T. D.
Gaselee, Serjeant S. Locke, J.
Gavin, Major Lorne, Marquess of
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Gilpin, C. Lusk, A.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. MacEvoy, E.
Gladstone, W. H. Maguire, J. F.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. M'Kenna, Sir J. N.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. M'Laren, D.
Gower, hon. F. L. Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.
Gower, Lord R. Marsh, M. H.
Graham, W. Marshall, W.
Gregory, W. H. Martin, C. W.
Grenfell, H. R. Martin, P. W.
Greville-Nugent, A. W. F. Matheson, A.
Melly, G.
Greville-Nugent, Col. Merry, J.
Gray, Sir J. Milbank, F. A.
Mill, J. S. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
† Miller, W. Samuda, J. D'A.
Mills, J. R. Samuelson, B.
Mitchell, A. Scott, Sir W.
Mitchell, T. A. Scely, C.
Moffatt, G. Seymour, A.
Moncreiff, rt. hon. J. Shafto, R. D.
Monk, C. J. Sheridan, H. B.
Monsell, rt. hon. W. Sheridan, R. B.
Moore, C. Sherriff, A. C.
More, R. J. Simeon, Sir J.
Morris, G. Smith, J.
Morris, W. Smith, J. A.
Morrison, W. Smith, J. B.
Murphy, N. D. Speirs, A. A.
Neate, C. Staepoole, W.
Nicholson, W. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Nicol, J. D. Stansfeld, J.
O'Beirne, J. L. Stock, O.
O'Brien, Sir P. Stone, W. H.
O'Conor Don, The Stuart, Col. Crichton-
O'Donoghue, The Sullivan, E.
Ogilvy, Sir J. Sykes, Colonel W. H.
O'Loghlen, Sir C. M. Synan, E. J.
Onslow, G. Talbot, C. R. M.
O'Reilly, M. W. Taylor, P. A.
Osborne, R. B. Thompson, M. W.
Otway, A. J. Tomline, G.
Owen, Sir H. O. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Padmore, R. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Paget, T. T.
Parry, T. † Traill, G.
Pease, J. W. Trevelyan, G. O.
Peel, A. W. Vanderbyl, P.
Peel, J. Verney, Sir H.
*Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Vernon, H. F.
Pelham, Lord Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Philips, R. N. Vivian, H. H.
Platt, J. Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Waldegrave-Leslie, hon. G.
Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Potter, E. Waring, C.
Potter, T. B. Warner, E.
Power, Sir J. Watkin, E. W.
Price, R. G. Weguelin, T. M.
Price, W. P. Western, Sir T. B.
Pritchard, J. Whalley, G. H.
Proby, Lord Whatman, J.
Rawlinson, Sir H. Whitbread, S.
Rearden, D. J. White, hon. Capt. C.
Rebow, J. G. White, J.
Robartes, T. J. A. Whitworth, B.
Robertson, D. Winterbotham, H. S. P.
Roebuck, J. A. Woods, H.
Rothschild, Baron L. de Wyvill, M.
Rothschild, Baron M. de Young, G.
Rothschild, N. M. de Young, R.
Russell, A.
Russell, F. W. TELLERS.
Russell, H. Glynn, G.
Russell, Sir W. Adam, W. P.
St. Aubyn, J.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Baillie, rt. hon. H. J.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Baring, T.
Antrobus, E. Barnett, H.
Archdall, Captain M. Barrington, Viscount
Arkwright, R. Barttelot, Colonel
Baggallay, R. Bateson, Sir T.
Bagge, Sir W. Bathurst, A. A.
Bagnall, C. Beach, Sir M. H.
Bailey, C. Beach, W. W. B.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Bective, Earl of
Beecroft, G. S. Goddard, A. L.
Bentinck, G. C. Goldney, G.
Benyon, R. Gooch, Sir D.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. Pack- Goodson, J.
Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.
Bernhard, hn. Col. H. B. Gore, J. R. O.
Booth, Sir R. G. Gore, W. R. O.
Bourne, Colonel Gorst, J. E.
Bowen, J. B. Grant, A.
Brett, Sir W. B. Graves, S. R.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Greenall, G.
Briscoe, J. I. Greene, E.
Brooks, R. Gray, Lieut.-Colonel
Bruce, Major C. Grey, hon. T. de
Bruce, Sir H. H. Griffith, C. D.
Bruen, H. Guinness, Sir B. L.
Buckley, E. Gurney, rt. hon. R.
Capper, C. Gwyn, H.
Cartwright, Colonel Hamilton, Lord C.
Cave, rt. hon. S. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Hamilton, I. T.
Clive, Lt.-Col. hn. G. W. Hamilton, Viscount
Cobbold, J. C. Hardy, rt. hon. G.
Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B. Hardy, J.
Cole, hon. H. Hartley, J.
Cole, hon. J. L. Hartopp, E. B.
Connolly, T. Harvey, R. B.
Cooper, E. H. Harvey, R. J. H.
Corrance, F. S. Hay, Sir J. C. D.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Heathcote, Sir W.
Courtenay, Viscount Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Cox, W. T. Henniker-Major, hon. J. M.
Cremorne, Lord
Cubitt, G. Herbert, rt. hn. Gen. P.
Curzon, Viscount Hervey, Lord A. H. C.
Dalkeith, Earl of Hesketh, Sir T. G.
Davenport, W. B. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Dawson, R. P. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Dick, F. Hodgson, W. N.
Dickson, Major A. G. Hogg, Lt.-Colonel J. M.
Dimsdale, R. Holford, R. S.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Holmesdale, Viscount
Dowdeswell, W. E. Hood, Sir A. A.
Du Cane, C. Hope, A. J. B. B.
Duncombe, hon. Adml. Hornby, W. H.
Duncombe, hon. Colonel Horsfall, T. B.
Dunne, rt. hon. General Hotham, Lord
Du Pre, C. G. Howes, E.
Dutton, hon. R. H. Hubbard, J. G.
Dyke, W. H. Huddleston, J. W.
Dyott, Colonel R. Innes, A. C.
Eaton, H. W. Jervis, Major
Eckersley, N. Jolliffe, hon. H. H.
Edwards, Sir H. Karslake, E. K.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Karslake, Sir J. B.
Egerton, E. C. Kavanagh, A.
Egerton, Sir P. G. Kekewich, S. T.
Egerton, hon. W. Kelk, J.
*Elcho, Lord Kendall, N.
Fane, Lt.-Col. H. H. Keown, W.
Fane, Colonel J. W. King, J. G.
Feilden, J. King, J. K.
Fellowes, E. Knight, F. W.
Fergusson, Sir J. Knightley, Sir R.
Finch, H. Knox, Colonel
Floyer, J. Knox, hon. Colonel S.
Forde, Colonel Lacon, Sir E.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Laird, J.
Freshfield, C. K. Langton, W. G.
Galway, Viscount Lanyon, Sir C.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Lascelles, hn. E. W.
Garth, R. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Getty, S. G. Lefroy, A.
Gilpin, Colonel Legh, Major C.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Seymour, G. H.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Simonds, W. B.
Leslie, C. P. Smith, A.
Lindsay, hon. Col. C. Smith, S. G.
Lindsay, Col. R. L. Smollett, P. B.
Lopes, Sir M. Somerset, Colonel
Lowther, Colonel Somerset, E. A.
Lowther, J. Stanhope, J. B.
Lowther, W. Stanley, hon. F.
† M'Lagan, P. Stanley, Lord
Mainwaring, T. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.
Malcolm, J. W. Stopford, S. G.
Manners, Lord G. J. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Stuart, Lieut.-Col. W.
Matheson, Sir J. Stucley, Sir G. S.
Maxwell, W. H. Sturt, H. G.
Mayo, Earl of Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.
Meller, Colonel Surtees, C. F.
Mitford, W. T. Surtees, H. E.
Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R. Sykes, C.
Montgomery, Sir G. Thorold, Sir J. H.
Mordaunt, Sir C. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Morgan, hon. Major Torrens, R.
Morgan, O. Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C. G.
Mowbray, rt. hn. J. R. Treeby, J. W.
Neeld, Sir J. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Neville-Grenville, R. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Newdegate, C. N. Turner, C.
Newport, Viscount Vance, J.
Noel, hon. G. J. Verner, E. W.
North, Colonel Verner, Sir W.
Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H. Walcott, Admiral
Walker, Major G. G.
O'Neill, E. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Paget, R. H. Walrond, J. W.
Palk, Sir L. Walsh, A.
Parker, Major W. Walsh, Sir J.
Patten, rt. hon. Col. W. Warren, rt. hon. R. R.
Paull, H. Waterhouse, S.
Peel, rt. hon. General Welby, W. E.
Pennant, hon. G. D. Williams, Colonel
Powell, F. S. Williams, F. M.
Pugh, D. Wise, H. C.
Read, C. S. Woodd, B. T.
Repton, G. W. J. Wyld, J.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Wyndham, hon. H.
Robertson, P. F. Wyndham, hon. P.
Royston, Viscount Wynn, Sir W. W.
Russell, Sir C. Wynne, W. R. M.
Saunderson, E. Yorke, J. R.
Schreiber, C.
Sclater-Booth, G. TELLERS.
Scourfield, J. H. Taylor, Colonel
Selwin-Ibbetson, H. J. Whitmore, J.
Severne, J. E.

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 328; Noes 272: Majority 56.

*Lord Ernest Bruce, *Sir Robert Peel—Voted with the Ayes on Question, "That the words, &c.;" did not vote on Main Question.

*Lord Elcho—Voted with the Noes on Question, "That, &c.;" did not vote on Main Question.

†Mr. William Miller, †Mr. George Traill—Voted with the Ayes on Question, "That, &c.;" voted with the Noes on Main Question.

†Mr. Peter M'Lagan—Voted with the Noes on Question, "That, &c.;" voted with the Ayes on Main Question.

Viscount Cranborne, Mr. G.M.W. Sandford—Did not vote on Question, "That, &c.;" voted with the Noes on Main Question.

Mr. Whitmore—Was Teller for the Noes on Question, "That, &c.;" voted with the Noes on Main Question.

Hon. G. J. Noel—Voted with the Noes on Question, "That, &c.;" was Teller for the Noes on Main Question.

Acts considered in Committee.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday 27th April.