HC Deb 30 April 1868 vol 191 cc1583-679

Acts considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) Question again proposed, That it is necessary that the Established Church of Ireland should cease to exist as an Establishment, due regard being had to all personal interests and to all individual rights of property,"—(Mr. Gladstone:)

Amendment again proposed, To leave out from the first word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "so long as the Union between Great Britain and Ireland continues to exist, it is just and consistent that the principle of the Established Church should be maintained in Ireland, and its endowment on a scale suitable to the wants of the population,"—(Sir Frederick Heygate,) —instead thereof.

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


said, that even at the risk of wearying the Committee by a reiteration of arguments which had already been used, he should prefer to apply himself to points raised in this debate rather than to ransack volumes of Hansard or files of newspapers in order to establish charges of inconsistency against those who now advocated the destruction of the Irish Church. He did not think that the question before the Committee would be advanced by showing that any Member of that House had changed his opinion. It had been advanced on the Opposition side that those who opposed the Resolutions had not brought forward arguments in support of the existing ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland. He submitted, however, that those who proposed to make a great change in the relations between Church and State in the United Kingdom were bound to show that such a change was desirable, rather than hon. Gentlemen on his side were bound to prove that the existing state of things could be defended. A state of things being in existence was primâ facie an argument for its being continued; unless, indeed, they were to accept the paradox of Mr. Spurgeon, and argue that because the clergymen of the Irish Church were among the best of their order therefore the distinguished favour of disestablishment should be conferred upon them. Therefore, unless a good case were made out for the Resolutions, the Committee ought not to agree to them. In this matter there were two questions—one of establishment, and the other of endowment. Now, it must be remembered that the same reasoning which would justify the disendowment of the Established Church would also justify the disendowment of any other sect or religious body. With regard to these glebe lands of the Irish Church, which were given to it by the State, it might be argued that the State had a right to deal with them; but the main part of the revenue of that Church was derived from tithe, which never belonged to the State except as a fund which might be devoted to religious purposes; and since the payment of tithe was transferred to the landlords in 1834 he could not see that the impost was any grievance to the Roman Catholic people. The tithes formed a fund which had been devoted to religious purposes from the earliest period; and so long as they continued to be so applied neither the State nor the landlords had any right to them. He believed that the decrease of the Church revenues in Ireland, owing to the change made in 1834, had been more than commensurate with the decrease of the Church population in that country. If the revenues of the Church were to be taken by the State, the State ought to show, first, that in being devoted to the Church they are devoted to a bad object; and secondly, that they are capable of being applied to a better object. Now, he was unable to understand how any hon. Gentleman who was a member of the Established Church could consider that the funds of the Church in England were devoted to a good object, and that the revenues of the Church in Ireland were devoted to an object purely bad; although, of course, any one might argue that the revenues of the Church of Ireland were disproportionate, and that that Church ought to be content with less. But how could the surplus revenues be more beneficially expended? To apply them to the diminution of the poor rates would in reality be a benefit to the landlords and not to the people of Ireland. If, as had also been proposed, they were devoted to the purchase of land and the creation of a peasant proprietary, a certain amount of benefit might no doubt be conferred on the persons who were fortunate enough to become purchasers of the land; but would not such a proceeding tend to injure those who depended for their income on their manual labour, and who would have less chance of being employed if a peasant proprietary supplanted the large farmers? As to the suggestion that the Church revenues should be applied to secular education, he did not know of any proposal more calculated to set one class of the people of Ireland against another. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had proposed that something like three-fifths of its revenues should be left to the Church; but, although no doubt the right hon. Gentleman was serious in this intention, it certainly appeared to him to be a bribe for the purpose of keeping the Church dignitaries and clergymen quiet during their lives. It should be remembered, however, that the incomes of the clergy were not like the revenues derived from ordinary freeholds, but were paid for the performance of certain services, and it was from that point of view only that the vested rights of the clergy could be recognized. It was said, however, that the State had power to deal with this property because it frequently dealt with private property. But there was no force in this argument, as the State never interfered with private property without awarding ample compensation, which was not proposed to be given in the present instance. It was true the State had in many cases interfered with corporate property in order to provide for its better management, or to render it more efficient for purposes to which it had hitherto been devoted; and he saw no reason why the revenues of the Irish Church should not be dealt with in like manner, and for a similar object, after the Royal Commission had presented their Report. For his own part he extremely regretted that no action had been taken some three or four years ago by those who were interested in the Irish Church of correcting the anomalies that undoubtedly existed. Since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, the question had been brought forward several times by Members on the opposite side, and more than once he had experienced great difficulty in determining how he should give his vote, on account of his thinking that the present distribution of Church property in Ireland was indefensible. But when the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) brought forward his Motion, and declared himself in favour of disestablishment and disendowment, he felt it his duty to vote against it. The Establishment of the Protestant Church was said to be a relic of ascendancy; but in general there was not much harm in relics, and it would be difficult to show that this particular relic had done any real harm to anybody. The fact of the Church being Established in Ireland gave a right of precedence to the Archbishops and Bishops of that Church; but there was nothing whatever to prevent the Roman Catholic prelates from exercising their functions and assuming what titles they pleased, nor was there anything to prevent them from attending any public ceremonial. He could not see, therefore, how the Roman Catholic prelates were injured by the existence of the Establishment. The special correspondent of The Times stated, that on the occasion of the recent visit of the Prince of Wales to Ireland, the only reason which prevented Archbishop Cullen from being present at the grand ceremony in St. Patrick's Cathedral was the circumstance of St. Patrick's being a Protestant Cathedral. But it would be a far greater spoliation than was proposed or anticipated by the Member for South Lancashire if that cathedral were transferred to the Roman Catholics. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington) had remarked that a grievance, though a sentimental one, might be a very great one notwithstanding; but surely it could not be said that a grievance existed unless some definite harm was done, and he believed that the Irish Church had not done any harm to a single individual. Now, when it was considered that the Roman Catholics did not contribute a penny to the revenues of that Church, and that that Church did a great deal of good even beyond its own pale, he thought it might be fairly said that a sentimental grievance was the only grievance remaining. If the property of the Church were confiscated, how could it be expected that capitalists would be encouraged to invest their property in Ireland? As to the argument that the disestablishment of the Church would secure peace in Ireland, he would advert to the fact that the discontented portion of the people wished to deal with the land and not with the Church question, which was purely a priestly and not a popular grievance. Those who talked of the Irish grievance should think of the population of Ulster, and of the large proportion of the Roman Catholic laity who did not care in the slightest degree about the disestablishment of the Church. There was no doubt that disestablishment would be a great gain to the Roman Catholic religion, which would be placed in a position of greater power and influence in Ireland. Now, such a result would certainly not be conducive to the material prosperity of that country. It was said that the Irish Roman Catholics must be conciliated; but what was to become of the Irish Protestants? Were the loyal to be punished that the disobedient might be rewarded? The cause of Protestantism in Ireland could not be maintained apart from the Irish Establishment. If the Establishment were abolished in Ireland and the parochial system to be changed to a congregational system the greatest bulwark of Protestantism in the South of Ireland would be at once removed. The few Protestants who now maintained their faith in that part of the country must inevitably succumb and be merged in the Roman Catholic population around them. Those who voted for the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire appeared to be opposed to the principle of the Establishment not only in Ireland, but in England as well. They did not propose to disestablish the Protestant Church in Ireland merely for the sake of placing it on a footing of equality with respect to the Roman Catholic Church in that country, but in order that they might strike a blow at the Established Church in this country. They proposed, in fact, to leave the country without an Establishment at all. Well, that might do in a new country, such as America, where all sorts of novelties prevailed; but it certainly would not suit England, with its ancient Constitution and its traditional social system. The existence of the Established Church was inseparably bound up with the welfare of Ireland. If the course proposed in the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman were to be adopted towards Ireland, what course was to be pursued with respect to Wales, where the Dissenters were more than two to one? Not that he would himself argue for an Establishment on the ground of number. That might justify the preponderating influence of a sect, but not its monopoly of the favours of a State. He preferred to rest his support of the Established Church on the ground that it was for the interest of the State and for the interest of religion. He supported the Established Church of England because he believed that it embodied the true and tolerant principles of Christianity. It might be thought that this argument was inconsistent with the support of the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum; but he thought those grants might be defended on the ground of expediency, and he would even go so far as to say that in cases where a sect was willing to accept that favour of the State, and which did not amount to establishment and endowment, it would be lawful and right so to help them. He would quote a few words from the right hon. Member for South Lancashire—not for any change of opinion they might indicate, but because they expressed the ground upon which the Established Church ought to be maintained. The right hon. Gentleman had said— There was no principle on which the Church Establishment could be maintained or permanently upheld but that it was an Establishment that ought to be. … The Government, as a Government, is bound to maintain that form of belief which contains the largest portion of truth and the smallest admixture of error. But it was not only on that ground he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) would support the Established Church. It was the greatest possible security we could have for the independence of our clergy. In short, the existence of the Establishment was inseparably bound up with the peace and prosperity of the country. The other night the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington) had expressed a hope that the cry of "No Popery" might not be raised. It was not an uncommon thing for the Whigs to discourage "cries" when they were likely to prove injurious to their party interests, though they never scrupled to raise a popular cry when it was to serve their own turn. Without going back to the old cry of "Cheap Bread," what party was it that the other year got up the cry of "Reform," a cry that culminated in worse riots, and more dangerous to the Constitution and to the country, that had ever been produced by the cry of "No Popery." He must say he regretted that, upon that occasion, censure had not been more freely bestowed upon those shameful proceedings from the right hon. Gentleman sitting on the front Opposition Bench. For himself, he was not in favour of extreme cries of any kind; but he believed the people of this country did entertain a dread of the extending power of the Church of Rome. It seemed to him that even in the present Parliament they were likely to ascertain the existence of that feeling. Within the last few days elections had been held in various parts of the kingdom, and in all these elections the Irish Church had been the prominent question. He would not speak of such counties as Radnorshire or South Lincoln, where candidates of the same opinions with the late Members had been returned without opposition, but they had lately seen two boroughs—Cockermouth and Grantham—reject those candidates who were opposed to the Irish Establishment. [Laughter.] They might laugh at Cockermouth; but he would remind them that Cockermouth had always returned, up to this time, a Liberal Member. Look at the great city of Bristol, with its free and important constituency! That chosen resort of eminent Nonconformists had hitherto been a stronghold of the Liberal party, but now an eminent Nonconformist had been defeated there. At the last election the Conservative candidate was defeated by a majority of nearly 1,000 votes, and yesterday the Conservative candidate was returned by a majority of 196. It was useless to attempt to deny the significance of these facts. Next came East Kent, one of the largest and most independent counties in the whole of England. A Conservative Member was returned at the last General Election by a majority of 289, and he was speaking within bounds when he said that, on the present occasion, the Conservative would carry his election by a majority of more than 500. These events foreshadowed still greater changes when the great question before the House should be fairly considered by the country. Whatever might be the result of the divisions upon the Resolutions—whether carried by larger or smaller majorities—no one could say that this question would be finally settled in the present Session of Parliament. The question, he trusted, would be considered in a calm and dispassionate manner, and be thoroughly sifted; and he hoped and believed the result would tend to advance the interests of truth and unity, not only in Ireland, but in every part of the United Kingdom.


said, that before the Recess two modes of dealing with the Irish Church were suggested; the policy of procrastination recommended by the Government, and the policy of action proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. The latter policy was adopted by a majority unexampled in modern times for numbers and weight; and the right hon. Gentleman now proposed this Resolution not as Leader of the Opposition, but as Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentlemen who occupied the Treasury Bench were in fact not Her Majesty's Government but Her Majesty's Opposition. Whether the position which they occupied was one consistent with their dignity was a point which he would not now touch upon, for probably another opportunity would be afforded of discussing it. With regard to the Resolutions he did not admit that their adoption by the Committee would amount to an act of "foreign conquest;" but he could not deny but that it would be a most important step, more particularly as it would altogether alter the policy hitherto pursued towards Ireland. It was an attempt to do by justice what England had failed to do by arms—namely, to acquire the friendship of the Irish people by laying down the principle that there should be no ascendancy in this land founded upon any particular form of religious belief. He contended that the vote for going into Committee did not, as had been said, involve an uncertain issue; the question raised was really one of Establishment or no Establishment. Nor was the majority an English, a Scotch, or an Irish majority; it was a majority of representatives of the three nations. In a House of nearly 600 Members there voted for going into Committee 240 English Members, and 212 in favour of the Government; of the Scotch Members 37 voted for going into Committee and only 13 in favour of the Government; of the Irish Members, who were more peculiarly interested in the question, 55 voted for the Motion and 45 supported the Government. A majority, therefore, of the Members of the three kingdoms had voted in substance for the disestablishment of the Irish Church. The hon. Baronet (Sir John Hay) had called the Roman Catholic religion a superstition, and said that the Scotch people would not be "the slaves of a dominant superstition, or the subjects of an infidel State." Such sentiments as these were certainly not calculated to promote good-feeling throughout the Empire; and he hoped that the example of the hon. Baronet would not be followed. Nearly every Member of the Treasury Bench had now spoken upon this question. Secretary after Secretary, Under Secretary after Under Secretary, Law Officer after Law Officer, had addressed the House, and the other night even the Household had pronounced its opinion; but not one of them had ventured to defend the Irish Church upon its merits, or to maintain that, if it had not existed, it would be for the interest of the country to establish it. If one might judge from the speech of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), he was not strongly in favour of the Irish Church — volo non valeo seemed to represent his mind—and he had no doubt but that the noble Lord would, if he could, have expressed his opinion, in language which the noble Lord would recognize, no doubt, "that the Irish Church was a stain upon the conscience of England and a disgrace to the civilization of the Empire." Every historian and every politician when not in Office had condemned the Irish Church. Hallam, Macaulay, Lord Lytton, and the present First Lord of the Treasury himself had denounced it. Sidney Smith, a dignitary of the Church, had compared it to the institution of butchers' shops throughout our Indian Empire; because, although the natives did not want meat, a stray European might pass through the villages and require to be supplied, and had written of it— There is no abuse like it in all Europe, in all Asia, in all the discovered parts of Africa, and in all we had heard of Timbuctoo. It was, indeed, difficult to conceive upon what grounds the Irish Church should be retained; for it had never fulfilled the first duty of an Establishment—that it should be in accord with the feelings of the Irish people. Ireland had hitherto been governed for the Establishment, not the Establishment maintained for the benefit of Ireland. That was not the case in this country. In England the Establishment was maintained for the benefit of the people, not the people governed for the good of the Establishment. Whenever any measures had been proposed for Ireland, the question always was, not whether they were right, just, and proper, but whether they would be favourable to the Protestant Establishment; and every amelioration was opposed on the ground of the Church in danger. Catholic Emancipation was resisted on that ground, so was the Oaths Bill of last Session; and when he had himself proposed to throw open the office of Lord Lieutenant to Roman Catholics it was opposed, because the Lord Lieutenant had thirty-six chaplains, and if he were a Roman Catholic, what would become of the thirty-six chaplains? The true position of an Established Church was to stand up for the rights and liberties of the people. That the Church Establishment in Ireland had never done. On the contrary, it had always opposed every effort that had been made to emancipate the people, or to extend their liberties, and it kept alive that spirit of bigotry which still existed in Ulster. Although Catholic Emancipation was passed forty years ago it had passed only for three-fourths of Ireland. A Roman Catholic had not the smallest chance of obtaining municipal or other honours in the Northern province. Now, what were the arguments in support of the Establishment? The first was that it was based on the Act of Union. But that argument had been completely answered by his hon. and learned friend, the Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge). No lawyer would venture to say, as the hon. and learned Member for Colchester (Mr. Karslake) admitted the other night, that Parliament was not competent to alter the Act of Union; otherwise it would be held that the living ought to be bound by the dead. Another argument, he was sorry to say, had been made to rest on the Coronation Oath; as if that Oath rendered it impossible that the Church in Ireland could be disestablished. [Colonel STUART KNOX: Hear, hear!] The hon. and gallant Member for Dungannon cried "Hear, hear!" but that was a dangerous argument. It would be in fact placing the Queen in opposition to that House, if it were to go forth that justice was to be denied to the Irish people, forsooth, because of the Oath taken by Her Majesty at her coronation. That argument was one of the strongest that could be used in favour of Fenianism; for he could not imagine any Fenian using a stronger argument than this:—"The disestablishment of the Irish Church has been declared essential by a majority of 60 in the House of Commons, and yet it cannot be done because of the Queen's Coronation Oath—you have no remedy now except to join us." He thought that the argument of the Coronation Oath had been long ago buried in the vaults at Windsor. They all knew how much it had cost the country. The great statesman who had passed the Act of Union had intended really to unite the two countries, by emancipating the Catholics and placing their clergy on something like a footing of equality with those of the Established Church; but he was prevented from carrying out his object by the troubled conscience of George III., owing to his Coronation Oath; and they all knew what misery the obstinacy of that monarch had occasioned to Ireland. Another argument was that the Established Church was only a sentimental grievance. The hon. Baronet who had spoken last (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had adopted that argument, and said that the cry for disestablishment was a mere priestly cry; that the laity did not care about it, and that the only question they cared about was the land question. Well, in that case, he hoped when next the land question was brought forward the hon. Baronet would be found voting with these who represented the opinions of the Irish people on that subject. But what was the fact? The noble Lord near him (Viscount Castlerosse) and the right hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) had set on foot a declaration that the Catholic laity of Ireland regarded the Established Church as a great grievance, and that declaration had been signed by Catholic Peers, Baronets, deputy-lieutenants, magistrates, and all who were entitled to speak for the Catholic laity of Ireland. And then let them look to the meeting of Limerick, one of the greatest and most imposing that had ever been held in Ireland, while in Cork only last week there had been another which was worthy of the county in which it was held. But he utterly denied that it was by mere meetings, but by the votes of the Irish Members that the opinions of the Irish people were to be judged. In the recent division he found that the whole of the 29 Members from Ulster had voted for the policy of the Government, the policy of procrastination. Though times changed those hon. Gentlemen never changed, and no "education" that the First Lord of the Treasury could give would ever alter their views. But as to Leinster he found that 23 Members voted for disestablishment, and only 12 against. Of the Members from Connaught 10 voted for disestablishment, only 3 against; and of the Munster representatives, 22 voted for disestablishment, and only 1 against. Of those three provinces 55 voted for disestablishment, and only 16 the other way. He asked was not that the most constitutional declaration that could be made that the Irish people felt the Established Church a real grievance? Another argument was that the Fenians did not want disestablishment. Very true. If the Fenians were consulted, they would say—"Keep up the Establishment; repeal the Emancipation Act; give us no Reform Bill; keep open all the festering sores of the country; for everything you do to remove grievances only binds the two countries together. We wish to separate them, and to establish a republic in Ireland; and if we had our will we would keep the Established Church as it is." No stronger argument could be used in favour of the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. But then it was said, if you disestablish the Church in Ireland, you must also disestablish the Church in England. No argument was more absurd. There is no analogy between the two Churches. A proof that there was no analogy between the two Churches was to be found in the fact that Lord Derby brought in a Bill thirty years ago, abolishing a number of Irish bishoprics, whereas no proposal had been made with regard to English sees except for an increase of them. As to the allegation that disestablishment was a revolutionary policy, he admitted that it was revolutionary, inasmuch as it was counter to old traditional feelings; but it was, nevertheless, a sound policy, and aimed at making the Union of Great Britain and Ireland a union of heart and soul, instead of a mere parchment bond. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury should, moreover, be the last man to object to it on this ground; for he declared, in a speech which had often been referred to that a statesman should govern Ireland in the spirit of revolution. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman had since stated that that was heedless rhetoric; but he (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) preferred the "heedless rhetoric from below the Gangway to the studied platitudes of the Treasury Bench. No one admitted more than he did the genius and ability of the First Lord of the Treasury, and it was therefore with regret he had listened to the speech made by him the night before the Recess. It was a speech which reminded him more of the letters of "Runnymede" than of anything else. The right hon. Gentleman in that speech—a speech which the necessities of party could alone have compelled him to make — said he had lately discovered that a conspiracy existed between the Irish Romanists and the Ritualists of this country to overthrow the Constitution. He might have passed over that observation, if it were merely made in the heat of debate; but the right hon. Gentleman had reiterated the calumny upon the Irish Catholics in a letter which he had deliberately written. That letter was a model letter in style and finish. It was dated "Maundy Thursday, 1868." If he could ascertain it, he should like to know how many of the letters the right hon. Gentleman wrote that day were so dated. He thought there was but one — that written to the High Church correspondent of the right hon. Gentleman. From first to last the letter was in keeping. Beginning with "Maundy Thursday," it ended with "Your faithful Member and Servant." In the letter he spoke of parties in the Church being an advantage. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman founded his opinion upon the existence of parties in his own Cabinet. However that might be, he went on to say— I have reason to believe that they (the High Church Ritualists) have been for some time in sceret combination, and are now in open confederacy with the Irish Romanists, to destroy the Church of this country. He would not pause to speak of the good taste of speaking of the Roman Catholic Members of that House as "Irish Romanists." Out of the 658 Members of that House there were only thirty-two Roman Catholics. There were none from Scotland, two from England, and thirty from Ireland; and, this being so, what becomes of the allegation that they were sufficiently strong to overturn the Constitution of this country? The right hon. Gentleman's letter was a most finished composition; and it had taught him (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) to introduce a statement for which no authority could be given by the phrase, "he had reason to believe." If he were asked where the right hon. Gentleman got his information as to the alliance between the "Irish Romanists" and the Ritualists, he could only answer "I have reason to believe he must have got it from Mr. Home." He (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) had reason to believe that the right hon. Gentleman, wanting a policy, consulted Mr. Home, and that during the séance certain loud raps announced the presence of the spirit of Titus Oates, who warned the right hon. Gentleman that the Constitution was endangered by a conspiracy between Ritualists and Romanists, and advised him to consult or take into his Cabinet the hon. Members for Peterborough and North Warwickshire (Mr. Whalley and Mr. Newdegate). This was the source he "had reason to believe" from which the right hon. Gentleman had got his information, and he told it in confidence to the House. The "Maunday Thursday" letter was not the only letter the right hon. Gentleman had written. They had all heard of the Dartmouth letter. It had puzzled many. Lord Salisbury, whose loss to that House every one regretted, had given it one meaning. The hon. and learned Member for Exeter had given it another. Both, it appeared, however, were wrong. When the right hon. Gentlemen came to explain it, he said—"I did not mean to say the Church was in danger. No legislation could endanger it. What I meant to say was that the State was in danger." He (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) could not at first understand the right hon. Gentleman. The State in danger by disestablishing the Church in Ireland! He (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) looked across the broad Atlantic, and he saw Canada, in which an Established Church did not exist, peaceful, prosperous, and loyal. He looked across the Southern Ocean, and he found that, although in their colonies in that quarter of the globe, the Church was separated from the State, yet that the State was not in danger there. He should have been at a loss to know the right hon. Gentleman's meaning if he had not remembered the saying of a celebrated French sovereign—L'etat c'est moi. He then felt that the right hon. Gentleman had used allegorical language; and that, when he said "the State was in danger," he had identified himself with the State. The right hon. Gentleman meant, "I am in danger; my party is in danger; therefore, Constitutionalists, rally round me, to preserve the State — that is, to preserve my Government." The right hon. Gentleman had appeared in many characters—having been a novelist, a poet, a biographer, and a statesman — and he had certainly adorned them all. His recent allusions to the conquest of England by the Normans, by Cromwell, and by William of Orange, served to indicate that he was contemplating the preparation of a history of England. Now, in that case, he ought not to omit a chapter on the Caucasian conquest, which was a more extraordinary one than any other. In other conquests, the majority triumphed over the minority; but in this the minority triumphed over the majority; and it had been so far successful that the present Cabinet had for more than two years maintained their present position. The hon. Baronet who last spoke (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) justified the raising of the "No Popery" cry on this question—though it had nothing to do with Roman Catholicism — and affirmed that there was a strong feeling against the extension of the Papal power. He would warn the right hon. Gentleman, however, that such a cry would be a signal failure. It was in vain to attempt to rekindle the flame of expiring bigotry, or to hope to retain power by stigmatizing those who advocated the disestablishment of the Irish Church as Irish Romanists, for the people were now too enlightened to be influenced by such tactics. Public opinion expressed through the Press, was in favour of the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire; and he had no doubt, notwithstanding the Conservative victory had at Bristol and at the pocket-borough of Cockermouth, that, when the appeal was made to the new constituencies, the decision pronounced by the House on the eve of the Easter holidays would be ratified by the country.


said, that the hon. Baronet who had just sat down had alluded to the effect which the present Motion might be supposed to have on the party sitting on that (the Ministerial) side of the House. He (Sir William Heathcote) entertained such strong constitutional objections to the continuance of Government by a minority, which amounted in fact to an irresponsible Government from the other side of the House, and his objections were so much exasperated and increased by finding that the opinion which he cherished suffered most by that state of things, that he certainly did not feel excessively sensitive as to the effect of that Motion on the fate of the Ministry. That being his opinion he claimed, so far as a party view of the case was concerned, to be considered impartial if he expressed an adverse opinion as to the manner and the time in which it was brought forward. It appeared to him to be beyond the legitimate use of the weapons of party warfare, to resort to a great constitutional question which by the right hon. Gentleman's own statement, could not be setttled in the present Parliament for the purpose of dislodging the Government. He did not dispute the legal competency of the present Parliament to deal with that subject, and he thought that Parliament was morally and intellectually as competent to do so, if it was to be done, as the future one was likely to be. But the point was this—that hon. Gentlemen opposite were raising a great question which they could not settle, and raising it in general terms; whereas the main part of the defence of their case must rest on the manner in which they meant to carry it into execution. Therefore, looking at the manner and the time in which that Motion was brought forward he, he should be disposed to vote against it, even if he had less doubt as to its substance. They were discussing the first Resolution, and therefore he would not enter upon questions of detail; but he might be allowed to refer to the second and third Resolutions as throwing some light upon the first. The third Resolution he regarded as nothing more than a respectful request to the Crown to permit them to discuss a subject which they could not otherwise discuss. But the second Resolution appeared to him to call, in very distinct terms, upon the Queen to anticipate legislation by abstaining from the performance of acts which were not only legitimate but which she was required by law to perform until an Act of Parliament to the contrary was passed. It had been argued that the Coronation Oath affected Her Majesty's legislative capacity. He was not a believer in that doctrine, and thought it would be unfortunate if it were universally accepted. But if there was anything that the Coronation Oath was aimed at by its framers, it was the dispensing power over existing statutes; and, if he understood the second Resolution rightly, it was precisely that power which they would invite Her Majesty to exercise, But, coming to the substance of the first Resolution, the one immediately before them, it in distinct terms affirmed the necessity of disestablishing the Church; and it implied, as they learnt from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the confiscation of her property, subject to what were called life interests and to the retention of the churches and the parsonages. But it should be remembered that they were not dealing merely with the lives of individuals, the value of which could be calculated by an actuary, but with the life of a nation, and that though they might pay certain sums to clergymen now in the enjoyment of incomes from the Church till their death, that did not provide for the rights of the reversioners, who were the laity. When Henry VIII. confiscated the property of the monasteries, he gave the inmates pensions, which according to the scale of the times were liberal, and which appeared in the main to have been carefully paid; but did anyone hesitate to apply to that transaction the name of confiscation? But the case of the monasteries was far less strong than that of the Church, because those institutions existed chiefly for the benefit of their own inmates, whereas the Church held her property in trust for the laity, who were to derive the advantages arising from it. But the present proposal was defended on the ground of gratifying the Irish people, and, negatively, as not leading to any revolutionary consequences in the rest of the kingdom. He contended that, by that proposal, they would not remove the dissatisfaction of the Irish Roman Catholics, nor on the principles they were laying down, could it be so removed. They told the Irish Roman Catholic they would give him entire religious equality; but when he looked to other parts of the United Kingdom what would he find? The Roman Catholics outnumbered other religionists in Ireland in a much greater proportion than other religionists outnumbered the members of the Established Church of England and in Scotland; and yet it was not proposed to endow the Church of the Roman Catholic, but to leave him to pay his own priest as heretofore. Did they not think his next step would be to say, "Either establish my religion in Ireland, or else proceed to let us have real religious equality all over the United Kingdom by destroying all State Churches?" They were told the Irish Roman Catholics did not desire endowment. That might be the feeling of the higher clergy and the richer Roman Catholics; but it was difficult to believe that the poor man would not wish to have a great part of the burden of maintaining his priest taken off his shoulders and placed on realized property. But even if he did not ask for that, he would at least ask for the other alternative, and when that question was raised again, the Irish Roman Catholic, they might depend upon it, would be a strong ally of the Liberation Society. It might be said that would not affect the Church in England, which stood in a different position from that which it occupied in Ireland. Although the two Churches were united, he did not contend that they were so identical that they might not deal with the temporal accidents of the one without necessarily involving both. He did not approach the subject in the spirit of a partizan; but he believed they were letting out waters which would before long swamp the Church of England, and if they dealt with the question in a reckless manner and in hot haste, instead of correcting anomalies and rendering the Church more useful and acceptable, their legislation would prove most dangerous. Suppose we were going to dethrone the English Church from her position in Ireland and to substitute the Roman Catholic Church for it, whatever other difficulty and objection there might be, there would not be that of discrediting the principle of an Established Church; and practically there would be no more difficulty than there was in arranging the Union with Scotland. But in this case it was proposed to bring about religious equality by the total abolition of the Establishment. In England there was no single religious communion that could claim to be set up as a rival to the Establishment; but the advocates of abolition had always claimed the right—and he did not see how they could avoid granting it—of counting all Dissenters as opponents of Establishment when the question was its maintenance or abolition. The ranks of the abolitionists would be swollen, and their cry made louder by what was now proposed, and Parliament must therefore look at home as well as at Ireland. When he saw the violent inroad which was made on vested rights; such disregard of the rights of the laity as well as of the clergy of Ireland—and that without a question whether a position that had been held 300 years could not be retained on other terms—he saw little reason to expect the pacification of Ireland; and when, above all he saw the danger which the proposal involved to the institutions which pervaded the whole of England, and which formed an integral part of the Government of this country, the rending of which would produce effects to which they now blindly shut their eyes, he felt constrained to give his vote against the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman.


said, that the hon. Baronet (Sir William Heathcote), notwithstanding his well-known candour, had totally misrepresented the second Resolution, which, however, it was inconvenient to discuss at present. The hon. Gentleman, like other speakers, had appealed to their fears; and, like others, had not shaken the solid foundation upon which the Resolution stood—namely, that the Establishment of the Reformed Church in Ireland was an injustice, and a real ground of offence and discontent to a large portion of the Irish people. Though sympathizing with hon. Members, who felt that it was a strong measure to deprive an ancient Church of the privileges and the emoluments which it had enjoyed for 300 years, yet, he did not share their apprehension that it would affect the safety of private property. The privileges of the Established Church in Ireland, and the tithes, which were the public property of the nation, were to be considered in the light of a public trust; and the question was, had that public trust been exercised rightly, and for the benefit of the people, or had circumstances prevented it being so exercised? It was necessary to look at the origin of the Church Establishment in Ireland. When the Reformed Church was established there, Queen Elizabeth was in hostile relation with the Court of Rome, she having denied the supremacy of the Pope, and the latter her legitimacy and her right to reign. The Irish chieftains, who were at war with the Government, clung to the Pope as an ally, and the people regarded the Establishment of the Reformed Church as a political and diplomatic weapon of attack upon the Papal supremacy, and as a means of exercising the Royal authority over the spiritual affairs of Ireland. Whatever might have been the motive of Queen Elizabeth and her advisers, the Irish people regarded the Church as a political institution. They would not pay obedience to the Bishops, or accept the ministration of the clergy or adopt its Articles of faith; and it became the Church of the governing classes only. It was national only insomuch as it acknowledged the headship of the Sovereign; but it was not national in the higher sense of being a blessing to the nation at large. Born amidst political strife, the Establishment was nurtured and matured in discord and violence; and whatever may have been the beneficent disposition of its members, it was denied the character of an olive branch of peace, and was received as a brand of discord and a sceptre of ascendancy. It blew the trumpet, but the people would not assemble; it piped, but they would not dance; it preached, but they would not hear. Set up for political ends, it had proved a failure, and it had been really an additional cause of antagonism. Though designed to unite the people of England and the people of Ireland, it had widened the separation between them, and made it more difficult to pass than the Channel which ran between them. If designed to unite together the people of Ireland itself, it had only added a new source of discord and strife to those previously existing; and it had introduced disunion into all the institutions of Ireland municipal, parochial, professional, and political. The very name of Protestant and Catholic had a meaning in Ireland different from that they had in England and America. In Ireland, the terms did not designate mere differences of creed and in modes of worship, but they rather indicated two hostile camps, two rival bodies, contending one for the support and the other for the destruction of ascendancy. The Church had become a fortress to be attacked and defended. Under these circumstances, was it generous or wise to cling desperately to that Establishment, which had failed to become a blessing to the country? — the noblest course for the Church to adopt was to descend voluntarily to a position of equality with the Roman Catholic and Dissenting bodies, and trust to its divine mission. Its high position was considered by its friends a platform of security, and by its opponents a pillory of disgrace; it would be nobly transformed into a scaffold of voluntary martyrdom. He (Mr. Cowper) felt sure that the loss of the Church in temporalities would be a gain in efficiency and vitality. It was not national de facto, and why claim to be so de jure? The Church in Ireland was willing to administer its rites to all the people; but the people would not have them. That had been tried for 300 years—in times of prosperity and of famine, under Penal Laws and under civil equality, and there was no prospect of a change in this feeling. But there might be a change in the external position of the Church; and its present duty appeared to be voluntary abdication. Difficulties had been dwelt upon; but what were difficulties for, except to be overcome? Was the House to be overwhelmed by a difficulty which would attend the transition state of the Church from an established to a disestablished one? Surely the House would have sufficient power, ingenuity, and intellect to overcome any difficulty of the sort which had been suggested. If the Church in Ireland was, as he contended, an injustice, no difficulty should prevent the House from removing it. In Scotland the episcopal Church had been disestablished and disendowed, under circumstances of war, violence, and cruelty; but that Church was now in a position acceptable and satisfactory to the members of it. Its laws were obeyed, its organization was effective, and its offices filled by men of capacity and distinction. In Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church, though not established, had laws and regulations which were observed as punctually and obediently as if it were established. He was persuaded that there existed among the Bishops, the clergy, and the laity of the Established Church in Ireland, sufficient wisdom, moderation, and zeal, to adapt their arrangements to the altered state of things which disestablishment would produce, and to secure everything that could be necessary for the true vitality of a religious body. But the great objection to the proposal was that disestablishment in Ireland would ultimately lead to disestablishment in England. This was an unworthy argument. Irish questions were not to be settled on English grounds. The cases of the two Churches were not similar, and were even diametrically opposed. The English Church was a truly national Church, and the Irish Church was not. The Establishment of the English Church was the spontaneous growth of the feeling of the country. The Reformation was a national movement; the Sovereigns led, and the people followed. It was not imported from a foreign land, and there was no rival community to dispute its claim. It included within its ranks every class, from the Sovereign on the Throne to the humblest of her subjects. In Ireland, all those conditions were reversed, and the Establishment was the Church of a small minority. But Parliament must deal with the question as one of justice or injustice; and they should remember that if it was an unfortunate circumstance for a civil institution to be based upon injustice, such a foundation was ten-fold worse for a religious association. A Church founded in injustice must also involve hypocrisy, by not acting out the righteousness it taught. In that, as in other matters, they should adhere to the old Norman motto, Fais ce que doit advienne que pourra.


said: I will detain the Committee but a very short time, partly because much that I might have urged has already been better said by others, and partly because some of my opinions may appear somewhat old-fashioned and out of date in these days. It is somewhat remarkable that, when this question, or rather a portion of this question, was discussed in 1835, the line of argument which ran through the whole debate was one which has been scarcely used on this occasion. The position then maintained by the various defenders of the Irish Church, including the right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), was that the Church of England taught truth, and that the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church was founded on error; and, though I should be sorry to say a word which could give the slightest pain or offence to any Roman Catholic, or imply the smallest disrespect for those who, I am well assured, are as sincere in their opinions as those who do not share them, yet this must necessarily be the creed of every honest Protestant, otherwise he would not be a Protestant at all. If, then, this be so, how can any true Protestant—for I do not speak of those who are indifferent to all forms of religion—assent to the overthrow of what he believes to be the upholder of truth, however conscious he may be that there is much in it requiring reform? Surely on one ground alone—namely, that what may be put in its place will be at least as powerful in upholding the Protestant Faith. The Protestants who vote for the proposed measures will doubtless rely upon the presumption that this will be the result. But, if so, how remarkable that Roman Catholics should be found fighting in the same ranks. No one can doubt that the success of the measure will be hailed as a triumph in every Roman Catholic country in the world. The Tablet, I believe, congratulated its renders the other day that every Roman Catholic Member on both sides of the House voted straight on this question. Did they so vote because they thought the Protestant cause would not suffer anything from disestablishment? The truth is, that this fatal Motion has the peculiar advantage, in a strategical point of view, of enlisting the support of three parties without the slightest cohesion or sympathy — indeed, violently opposed to each other—each of whom sees in it an instrument for furthering its own widely dissimilar objects. Without talking of conspiracies, there can be no doubt of unity of action. The Roman Catholic votes with the honest, and, I may say, the avowed intention of rearing up the Established Church of Rome on the ruins of the Established Church of England. ["No!"] The truth of this allegation time alone can prove. The extreme Ritualist would gladly get rid of that legal restraint which curbs his enthusiasm, and is the only protection of the laity against the wildest extravagance. And I may remark on this point that the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House (Mr. Cowper) has stated that the Episcopal Church in Scotland is in as good a position at present as that which it held during the time that it was established. But the right hon. Gentleman appears to have entirely forgotten that the Scotch Episcopal Church has lost that power of enforcing discipline which is so valuable to the Church of England. The Dissenter is willing to hazard everything in his anxiety to destroy all Establishments, forgetting that the Roman Catholic Church cannot be disestablished because it owes allegiance to a foreign State; and that therefore you would still have an Established Church in Ireland, though of that Church the Queen would not be the supreme head. The Protestant Dissenter thinks it worth some risk to gain such a step in advance as to make a third of Ireland such as he is himself, and he at least honestly and avowedly considers it a prelude to disestablishment in England and in Scotland. A well-known Member of that body, bitterly hostile to the Church of England, said triumphantly the other day that these Resolutions gave them at one stroke what he expected would have required ten years' hard fighting. I cannot but be suspicious of a measure which obtains the support of such conflicting interests on grounds so irreconcilable. But there are others who vote with the right hon. Gentleman, who, like himself, can be influenced by none of these motives. They say they aim at the pacification of Ireland. But does any one believe that the disestablishment of the Church would pacify Ireland? Certainly it would not. Ireland, or rather that portion of Ireland which it is hoped to conciliate by this measure, objects to our civil supremacy quite as much as to our hierarchy. Like the Poles under Russia, the Celtic Irish do not want to be well governed by Great Britain, but to govern themselves, and to get rid of us altogether. I presume, however, that by this time none in the House, and few out of it, are unaware that the real object of these Resolutions is less the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland, than the displacement of the Government. It is proverbially easy to quote Scripture for any purpose. I suppose one must not criticize too closely the manœuvres of party warfare; but I cannot help thinking that, some day or other, there will be many on both sides of the House who will regret that this issue was not fought out on some other battle-ground. Is there any justification in the state of Ireland for this unparalleled proceeding of interposing in hot haste, after years of indifference and while a Commission on the very subject is still sitting, such a Motion between the Reform Bills, the completion of which has been on all sides acknowledged to be the business of the Session? Does anyone imagine that Fenianism has anything to do with the Church question? We have, indeed, been told at the commencement of these debates that there is no Fenianism in those colonies in which the Church is not established. Has not the credibility of that statement been rudely shaken by recent events in Canada, in Australia, and in New Zealand? But, even if it be so, is it wise to exalt those atrocious filibusters into heroic protesters against an alien Church, and to give them throughout the world the prestige of a purpose and a victory which must far transcend their wildest anticipations? Surely it would have been safer and more statesmanlike to do one thing at a time; to copy the policy of Queen Elizabeth in crushing rebellion before inquiring into the causes of grievance, and to wait till the Habeas Corpus Act was again in force, and the last spark of Fenianism extinguished, before bringing forward a measure which might be plausibly represented as a concession wrung from England through apprehensions which that Fenianism had created. I do not myself despair of Protestantism in Ireland, even if the Church were disestablished. [Opposition Cheers.] No; provided it has fair play. [Counter Cheers.] But can any one suppose, notwithstanding the conciliatory tone of the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue), that the Roman Catholics would be more tolerant to a Protestant Missionary Church than to a Protestant Established Church, or that every means would not be taken to root it out of the land? Equal moderation of expression has been heard in this House on more than one occasion, and hon. Members know what has followed. The House has been told that the Roman Catholics would be content with toleration; then with the removal of all disabilities. It is now said that equality would satisfy her; but on some future day she may demand supremacy, and, eventually, perhaps, that she may stand alone in the land. No one acquainted with the past history of that Church can say that this is not within the bounds of possibility. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire may except from his measure the glebes and parsonage-houses; but how long will this exception last? At no distant date the traveller may probably be shown in many an Irish village how vain was such a reservation— There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. For my part I cannot but think that in future days, when the history of these transactions is read, and the motives which actuated statesmen are, perhaps, forgotten, men will not cease to wonder that the first blow at the Established Church was dealt by one of her apparently most devoted adherents; that the Church of England, which sprang out of a revolt against ecclesiastical tyranny, and has been regarded throughout the world as a bulwark of civil and religious liberty, should have been sacrificed by an English Parliament to another Establishment still more widely known as hostile to freedom of thought, and intolerant of the right of private judgment; and that this sacrifice was consummated by the hands of the great Liberal party.


said, that this was one of the most remarkable of debates, because neither before nor after Easter had any who took part in it said anything in defence of the Irish Church on its merits. Hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House had framed all manner of excuses for postponement, and had suggested an equally large number of reasons, mainly based on considerations of convenience and difficulty, why the matter should be postponed altogether. He had waited patiently night after night in the hope that some hon. Gentleman would assume the courageous position that this Church of Ireland was a wise, just, and beneficent institution. He hoped the time would come when hon. Members would think it beneath their dignity to attack the religious opinions of anyone in that House. He had been sorry to hear the Secretary for the Poor Law Board (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) make a quotation from the writings of Macaulay hostile to the Roman Catholic religion. He had hoped the time when men would be attacked on the ground of creed had passed away. But, as the hon. Baronet had thought fit to quote Lord Macaulay, he would do the same. It should, however, be a quotation of a different character. Three or four and twenty years ago Lord Macaulay asked this question in the House of Commons— What foreigner reading over British politics does not always express his amazement that such an institution as the Irish Church should ever be permitted to exist among civilized men? All foreign politicians had singled out the Protestant Establishment in Ireland as one of the greatest blots in the national escutcheon. And could it be contended that a Parliament which had swept away one bad law after another would maintain a system of giving State aid to the religion of one-eighth of the Irish nation, a religion with which three-fourths of the people of that country had no sympathy whatever. He wished to be perfectly candid to the House, and would state at once with reference to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that he was not a defender of Established Churches at all. The day for them had gone by, and he could not understand how any man of observation—having regard to what went on ecclesiastically in the United States of America, in the colonies, in Scotland, and even in the Church of England itself—could fail to see that writing on the wall which indicated that State Churches had had their day, and that in the future they must give place to voluntary Churches. This, however, was not the question now before Parliament. The Prime Minister and those who followed him had raised the cry that the Church of England was in danger, but in doing so they had raised a completely false issue. All who had studied this question knew that Paley and all the moralists had laid down that if it was right that the State should support religion, the Church which was supported should be the Church of the majority. The Church of England established in the affections of the English people could be defended as an Establishment, and he could not help thinking that the great statesman who attempted to tie up the Church of Ireland in the same bundle as the Church of England, was the greatest enemy of the Church of England. As a moderate, not a rabid Dissenter, he had no desire to pull down any institution before the sympathies of the people were enlisted in that course. But as the admission of the Roman Catholics to Parliament had given the Protestant Church in Ireland thirty years longer to live, so he felt that the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland might strengthen for a long time to come the position of the Church of England. There was probably no greater master of the English language than Mr. Goldwin Smith, and he, in one passage, had described the position of the Church in Ireland in words which could not be surpassed. He said the great and insuperable difficulty which the Church in Ireland had to contend against was this, that Christianity could not be propagated by un-Christian institutions, and the Church of a dominant minority being unjust, could not be Christian. Members on the Opposition side of the House vied with Gentlemen opposite in appreciating the Protestant clergy in Ireland as an active, intelligent, devoted body of men; but the State aid which our forefathers believed would so greatly assist them had proved but a millstone round their necks, preventing free intercourse between them and the people. Statesmen on both sides of the House had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to establish religious equality. His right hon. Friend had come to the conclusion that this should be done by disendowment. And what was the alternative to this course? He was surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that the proposition of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire was tantamount to the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church. Why, had not the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland in the most distinct manner indicated his wish to endow the Roman Catholic clergy by levelling upwards? What did that mean but an impartial endowment of all sects and creeds? The alternative, therefore, was between simple endowment and indiscriminate disendowment; and he did not know any proposition more repugnant to the feeling of religious men, more utterly opposed to the spirit of the time, more calculated to light up the fires of religious discord from John o'Groat's to the Land's End than the proposition to endow all Churches alike. The endowment of all Churches would intensify and exaggerate the difficulties against which they now contended. He had been sorry to hear the argument in some quarters that disestablishment would prove a great blow to the Protestant Faith. There was no portion of the United Kingdom more likely than Scotland to resent any proposition calculated to injure Protestantism, yet what response had Scotland given to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman? During the last three weeks nearly every city and almost every small town throughout the country had held crowded meetings, at which the Resolutions were warmly supported and adopted, and not a single meeting had been held upon the other side. Some petitions were presented against the disendowment of the Irish Church; but if ever an exception proved the rule this did, for these petitions came from the presbyteries of the Established Church of Scotland, and even those in some cases were carried only by the casting vote of the Moderator. He had paid a great deal of attention to Scotch politics and Scotch affairs, and he never remembered to have witnessed so much unanimity as he did during the last few weeks on this question; and that not alone among Dissenters, but also among Episcopalians. If the poor in Ireland could support their priests, surely the Protestants, with their great wealth and great liberality, could support those who ministered to them. With the permission of the House he would read an extract from a Protestant publication, which showed what the Roman Catholics had done— It has nearly 2,400 chapels, of which more than 2,000 have been built since 1800, at a cost of £3,500,000. In the same period it has established about 300 convents, monasteries, hospitals, colleges, &c., at a cost of £1,500,000, besides building 600 parsonage houses, 2,990 school-houses, and 70 Christian Brothers' schools, at a further cost of £650,000, and endowing these institutions and others, so that the total expenditure since the century opened cannot be much less than £7,000,000. The maintenance of the 28 Bishops, 2,527 parochial, and 500 regular clergy is estimated at £400,000 a-year; the maintenance of the Church at over £100,000; and of hospitals, orphanages, Colleges, &c., at £250,000. So that this Church of 4,000,000, confessedly poor, taxes itself for its annual support at £750,000, besides large contributions to the Pope, the Propagation Society, and various minor missions, and without reckoning the considerable annual outlay upon new buildings. Chapels, indeed, are rising up on all hands, not from increase of worshippers but to replace older and poorer structures; and where mass was celebrated in some miserable shed, or behind the shelter of a friendly rock, it is now performed under a Gothic roof and the full tones of the organ. He would say to the rich Protestants of Ireland, "Go you and do likewise." Hon. Members opposite asked what was to be done with the temporalities of the Irish Church in the event of its disestablishment? This difficulty had never appeared very great, to his mind; for he believed the money belonged to the Irish people, and he did not care what was done with it, provided always that we were never placed in the same scrape by giving it to any denomination. The money at present was doing harm instead of good — [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!]—and he would give the money for any really useful purpose. There were schools to erect, harbours to improve, and roads to make, any one of which would be a legitimate channel into which to turn this money. He hoped and believed that this religious grievance, called a sentimental grievance—this Church which separated the landlord and tenant—would cease to exist, and that, as soon as the people were convinced that Parliament meant to do justice with a bold, fearless hand, they would turn away from the memories of the past, and become as loyal subjects as any of the inhabitants of England or Scotland.


said, that these Resolutions proposed to govern Ireland by exceptional legislation, which would be a most vicious principle to adopt. The object of this attempt to destroy the Irish Church was not to benefit that country, but to meet the exigencies of the disunited party.


denied the truth of the accusation which had been brought against the Liberal party by hon. Members opposite, that by attacking the Established Church in Ireland they were endeavouring to bring about a dissolution of the connection between Church and State in this country. Hon. Members occupying seats on the Opposition Benches were equally sincere and warm admirers of the Established Church in England as those who sat on the other side of the House. Until recently many hon. Members who sat near him believed that some compromise upon this subject might be arrived at; but since the remarkable address of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, declaring that the Irish Church must cease to exist as an Establishment, their eyes had been opened, and they felt that the time for compromise had passed, and that they must make up their minds to vote either for or against the Resolutions of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire. He was not, however, one of those who thought that the Liberal party possessed a monopoly of good feeling towards Ireland; for he believed that the sympathies of the Conservative party in favour of that nation were deep and sincere. He could not help expressing his regret that, under these circumstances, this question of the disestablishment of the Irish Church had been made the subject of a party contest. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire was blamed for making this a party question; but he thought that the blame was undeserved. During last autumn and winter the Irish question occupied a prominent position, and the Government must have known that it would be brought forward as soon as Parliament assembled; and when, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), the whole subject of Ireland was introduced, there existed on the Opposition side a just anxiety to know what would be the policy of Her Majesty's Government. So sincerely desirous were they for the welfare of Ireland that they hoped it would be such as they could cordially support. But it turned out that the Government were going to await the result of a Commission, while the feeling of the Liberal Members was that it was useless to try to touch the case of Ireland without dealing with the Established Church. Therefore he held that blame could not be imputed to the right hon. Gentleman if this had become a party question. Well, how had he been met in the course of this debate? Results had been foretold on the other side which he, for one, should deeply deplore to see follow from the disestablishment of the Irish Church. They had been told that if these Resolutions passed the inevitable result would be to secure Papal supremacy in Ireland; they were told it would be impossible to sustain the Protestant Church in Ireland if it ceased to be an Established Church; and they were told that the destruction of the Irish Establishment would be a death-blow to the Established Church in this country. As those arguments were put forward by men of whose sincerity there could be no doubt, they were entitled to respect; but he did not think they were by any means well-founded. He had always held the opinion, though it might be considered an illiberal one, that the existence of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland had been a great misfortune to that country, and that the dependence of the priests upon the Papal hierarchy had been prejudicial to some of her best interests. The power of what the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) called a Papal hierarchy was, he believed, in many respects an injury to Ireland; but one could not shut one's eyes to the fact that the Established Church had existed for 300 years as a missionary Church, and had entirely failed. He believed that it was impossible to combat what Protestants believed to be the errors of the Irish Roman Catholics by a Church supported at the expense of those whom we wished to convert. And when we looked at this question of Papal ascendancy, it was impossible not to remember the alternative to the policy of he right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, proposed by the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. That noble Lord spoke of a policy of "levelling up." What could that mean but endowing the Rowan Catholics? Again, the Government proposed to endow a Catholic University in Ireland. He asked, could any measure be better calculated to secure Papal ascendancy in that country than to intrust to the Roman Catholic clergy the education of the middle and upper classes of the Roman Catholic laity? As to the alleged impossibility of maintaining the Protestant Church in Ireland without a State endowment, though it might be difficult to do so in some places, he could not think that, taking the country generally, the Protestant Church would be weaker than other Churches, which for a long time had depended on voluntary contributions. He would recommend hon. Members to read what had been written on the subject by Lord Dufferin. He had great doubts as to what would be the precise results of disestablishment. Time alone would prove that; but, for his part, he believed that when the day of battle did come against the Established Church of this country—as assuredly it would come—it would be all the stronger for being disencumbered of the indefensible position of the Irish Church. The arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had remained unanswered up to that time, and he ventured to think they would continue to remain unanswered. In fact, there could be no answer to arguments against maintaining a State Church for 12 per cent of the population of a country, and that 12 per cent not the poorest, but the richest portion of the entire. He regretted to bear it stated that the removal of Church endowment in Ireland would make the people bitter and determined enemies of the English Crown; for he believed that their loyalty rested upon something more than mere pecuniary considerations; and anyone must be shortsighted who did not see that this question must soon be settled. The right hon. Gentleman had entered upon the subject in a true spirit of conciliation, but his power was limited, and the result of the passing of this measure must depend upon hon. Gentlemen opposite and the Protestants, landowners, and gentry, who must decide whether they would reduce Ireland to anarchy and revolution, or, when further resistance was hopeless, would join in conciliating the Roman Catholics and Protestants, and making this a real boon to Ireland.


, while complimenting the noble Lord who had just sat down on the liberality of his speech and the fair manner in which he had treated the arguments of his opponents, was surprised that the noble Lord should have arrived at the determination of supporting a measure the results of which he admitted to be so very doubtful. He did not see why solemn compacts made with the Irish Protestants and their ancestors should now be broken. He could not see why the Established Church in Ireland was not only to be swept away, but insulted and reviled as if it had been a source of injustice. If these arrangements had been made by the Irish Parliament, and were supposed to be antagonistic to Imperial interests, there might have been some excuse for putting an end to them; but they were the solemn engagements of the Imperial British Parliament, and forced upon Ireland for the general good of the Empire. Who were the people whom it was now proposed to deprive of rights which they enjoyed by a prescription of three centuries? They had not been disloyal, nor had they weakened the Empire. They had shared in all the great struggles of England—in her adversities and in her glories; how, then, could they deserve this insulting repudiation of their rights? The Irish Protestants had on all occasions shown themselves loyal and anxious to maintain the Union, and they were naturally indignant at the extraordinary act of injustice which it was now proposed to perpetrate. Were they to be treated as outcasts who were not entitled to the legitimate results of their constitutional bond with this country? The Protestants of Ireland were told that they had forfeited the rights secured to them by the most solemn obligations; but, in the present debate, not a single argument had been adduced for the course it was proposed to take. He did not mean to say that Parliament might not, under certain circumstances, be justified in destroying the Irish Church; but he did maintain that it never could be justified in doing so at the exclusive cost of one portion of Her Majesty's subjects, and in defiance of the protest of those with whom the compact had been made. The power of Parliament to perpetrate such an act of injustice he, for one, did not deny, although some hon. Member had rashly declared that Parliament did not possess that power. He admitted that the Legislature had the power to commit any act of infamy, robbery, fraud, and oppression; but all its power could not efface the stigma attaching to a dishonourable action. The only historical parallel which bore any resemblance to the sudden announcement of the intended destruction of the Irish Church was the act of outrage and villany committed by Louis XIV. when he revoked the Edict of Nantes. By that infamous proceeding, not only were the Protestants of France deprived of their rights, but they were immediately afterwards subjected to a fierce persecution and driven out of the land. A similar result might be expected if Parliament sanctioned the present proposal, which, like the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, emanated from the Court of Rome. Its hand might be traced in the present movement, which, if successful, would tarnish the national character and good faith of England, as the act of Louis XIV. had injured France. The argument alleged in justification of the policy of confiscation was that a system of oppression and injustice had prevailed for three centuries in Ireland; but if England felt that she were culpable, why did she not herself perform penance for her past misconduct, instead of transferring all the penance to the Irish Protestants and making them the scapegoats, to be driven into the wilderness of disendowment on account of English transgression? When negro slavery was abolished in our West Indian possessions the Government of the day acted honestly and taxed the country in order to indemnify the slaveowners; whereas here it was proposed that a peaceful population, who did not sympathize with Fenianism, and who would not be driven into disaffection, should be vicariously punished, and be the only sufferers. It had been asserted that the disestablishment of the Irish Church would be an act of justice which no one would dispute. It was very easy to make such an assertion, but it was not quite so easy to prove it. It was an idle statement, and he should give one or two authorities to prove it. Dr. Slevin, formerly at the head of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, said the present possessors of Church property in Ireland, of whatever description, had a just title. They had had bonâ fide possession of it for all the time required for prescription, even according to the Roman Catholic Church, which required 100 years. He might even appeal to the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill): he did not know to what Church he belonged, but he was an authority recognized on the subject, having shown great genius and taken great pains to investigate public questions. That hon. Member described the "alien Church" as no longer supported by revenues drawn chiefly from the Roman Catholic population, but by a rent-charge paid mostly by the Protestant landlords. The confiscations had not been reversed, but the hand of time had passed over them; they had reached the stage at which, in the opinion of reasonable men, the reversal of an injustice is but an injustice the more. It was also said that the Church was a badge of conquest; but that argument had been altogether imported from England, and had not been at all used in Ireland. Could anyone say that the Church in Ireland had been any more a badge of conquest than the coin of the country and the language imported into the country, and the existence and authority of the Sovereign herself? Again, it was said the Church should be done away with on the ground of expediency; but the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath had lately said the great and sole question for Ireland was the land question, and that other agitations, such as that against the Established Church, were calculated to introduce a bitterness of feeling between the landlords and tenants of Ireland, and to precipitate that social catastrophe the friends of Ireland were all anxious to avert. The Tablet newspaper also said if the Established Church were abolished, and if the Roman Catholics were put on an equality with the rest of the religious denominations, only one cause of discontent would be removed. The late Mr. Justice Shee said that the Church in Ireland had the prescription of three centuries; and the right hon. Anthony Blake, another Roman Catholic gentleman, said the Church in Ireland could not be destroyed without danger to property and order, and to all the blessings they derived from living under a lawful Government and a free Constitution. The right hon. Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey), speaking on behalf of the late Government, said the Established Church existed upon the prescription of centuries, and could not be abolished without all the horrors of a revolution. Earl Russell, in one of his pamphlets, said that to abolish the Church in Ireland would be politically injurious to the country, and would be the commencement of a religious war. No doubt one pamphlet from that noble Lord's pen succeeded another so rapidly that possibly a new edition might be in the press correcting what had appeared only a fortnight ago; but when clothed with the responsibilities of Office he held very different language from that he had lately uttered. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire was once a most ardent supporter of a state of things very different from that which he now proposed to establish. When did his conversion take place, and when did the scales drop from his eyes? Was it only when he went to the Opposition side of the House? This was an important consideration; for one of the right hon. Gentleman's Colleagues (the Duke of Argyll) lately stated that public men were obliged under the responsibilities of Office to modify some of their opinions, and to intensify other opinions in Opposition. Now, as an Irish Protestant, he denounced this system of treating Irish questions, and especially an important Motion like the present one, which really tended to the disseverance of the Union. He had quoted the opinions of men allied to the party now in Opposition, to show that there was really no argument to be found in favour of the assertions that the existence of the Church was an injustice and that it ought to be abolished on the ground of expediency. The only attempted justification for this step was the blowing down of the wall of the House of Detention at Clerkenwell by the Fenians. But the Fenians utterly repudiated having anything to say to the disestablishment of the Irish Church. What the Fenians wanted was the destruction of the power of England in Ireland, and the establishment of a free republic. Another allegation was that the Catholic party, not having been represented in Parliament at the time the Act of Union passed, were not bound to accept the settlement of the Established Church. But he submitted that at the time of the passing of the Union it was intended that the Establishment of the Church in Ireland should be permanent and inviolate. He considered it to be a very dangerous argument to deny the obligation of a solemn compact, because a certain set of persons were not consenting. Might not this be applied to the repudiation of the National Debt? How can one generation bind another, if this method of reasoning is adopted? Another allegation was that the proposed change would establish equality among all parties. Would that be the case? In England the majority had a Church provided for them by the State. In Ireland the Roman Catholics formed a considerable majority; but the proposition of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire would not provide a Church for them; and it would, moreover, place the Protestants of Ireland, who were members of the United Church of England and Ireland, on a footing of inequality with their Protestant brethren in England. It was commonly stated that this much-maligned Church of Ireland had totally failed to discharge its functions. That he denied. He was perfectly prepared to acknowledge that, for two centuries, the English Government made use of the Irish Church as a political engine; but that was no fault of the Church, which resisted as much as it could the steps taken to employ it in such a capacity. For political reasons, it was not allowed to publish Prayer Books in the Irish language; so that fair play was not allowed the Church in its endeavours to reach the hearts of the Irish people. That state of things had now altogether ceased; but it was most unfair to charge the Irish Church with making no progress, when, for political reasons, that Church was treated in the way he had described. There was infinitely more attachment in the Irish mind to the rites and ceremonies and services of the Church than existed in England. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) had based one of his arguments for the disestablishment and disendowment upon the fact that the Protestants in Ireland did not number more than the population of Manchester or Liverpool; but the hon. Member ignored the fact that those people were scattered over the whole country, and therefore required a number of people to provide for their spiritual wants. It was the greatest mistake, therefore, to say that there was a superfluity of revenue and of clergy in Ireland. Those who lived in Ireland and were constantly applied to for subscriptions for church building and additional curates, were fully aware of the real state of the case. There were anomalies in connection with the Irish Church which everybody acknowledged, and which everybody was anxious should be removed; but the existence of these anomalies afforded no argument whatever for the destruction of the Establishment. In times past, the Government of this country had treated the Irish Church unfairly—had treated it for Imperial and not for Irish purposes—and the country was now reaping the fruits of that policy. The Penal Laws, which were not a Protestant institution, but existed before the Reformation, had been used for political purposes in the same unfortunate direction. The most puzzling part of the question now under discussion was to know what good end it could possibly serve to break the sacred contract between the Irish branch of the Established Church and the State? Could it be expected that henceforward persons would have the slightest confidence in their institutions and enactments, when they saw justice, honour, and good faith sacrificed in this effort to obtain a party triumph and political power? There were no solid grounds for such a step; and, if the step should unhappily be taken, it would inflict on the Irish Protestants a grievous wrong, and cause a lasting injury to the Empire at large.


said, he would recommend to the attention of the House the following quotation from a satirical work published by Thomas Moore more than forty-five years ago, which aptly applied to the intense hostility, existing then as well as now, against the monstrous injustice of maintaining the Established Church incubus upon the Catholic people of Ireland:— As long as millions shall kneel down, To ask of thousands for their own; While thousands proudly turn away, And to the millions answer 'Nay!' So long the merry reign shall be Of Captain Rock and his family. But the death-knell of that Establishment had been sounded by the vote before Easter on the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire; and it must be admitted that it had not only utterly failed as a missionary Church, but, as shown by the following list of the various titles by which the religious denominations were returned to the Irish Registrar General at the Census of 1861, proves that it had ludicrously failed to hold its own: — "Unitarians, Covenanters, Reformed Presbyterians, Moravians, Seceders, Christian Brethren, United Presbyterians, Evangelical Unionists, Separatists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Non-subscribing Presbyterians, Dissenters, Free Church of Scotland, Protestant Dissenters, Christians, Plymouth Brethren, Catholic Apostolic Church, Primitive Methodists, High Church, Latter Day Saints or Mormons, Christian Israelites, Orthodox Presbyterians, Greek Church Brethren, Arians, Disciples of Christ, Calvinists, Congregationalists, Evangelical Church, Freethinkers, Secularists, Deists, Evangelical Protestants, New Lights, New Jerusalem Church, Nonconformists, Darbyites, Swiss Protestants, Seceding Presbyterians, Members of the General Assembly, Kellyites, Believers in Jesus, Protestants of no particular Sect or Denomination, Welsh Methodists, Swedenborgians, Sinners saved by Grace, Old Lights, Universalites, Independent Presbyterians, Reformed Church, Dissenting Presbyterians, Bible Christians, Trinitarians, German Protestants, New Connection Methodists, Calvinistic Methodists, Members of Christ's Church, Anabaptists, Churchmen, French Protestants, Swiss Church, Eastern Reformed Presbyterians, Free Churchmen, New Church Socialists, Church of Denmark, Arminian Methodists, Lady Huntingdon's Connection, Walkerites, Morrissonians, Episcopal Church of America, Palatines, Remonstrants, Brethren in Christ, Church of Christ, The Word of God Alone, Seekers, Materialists, Rationalists, Cromwellian Protestants, Puseyites, French Church, Italian Protestants, Swedish Protestants, Swiss Reformed Church, Welsh Church, Prussian Evangelical Church, French Evangelical Church, Evangelical Waldensian Church, Primitive Seceders, Arminian Presbyterians, Baptist Presbyterians, Free Church of Switzerland, Cameronians, Association Methodists, The Bible Alone, Self Opinion or the Church of God, Saint of No Sect, Non-Sectarian Orthodox, Theist, Philanthropist, Positivists, Political, Nonconformists, No particular Persuasion, Undecided, Doubtful, Hindoo, Unbeliever, Atheist, No Religion, Christian Teetotalizing, Christian Temperance, Peculiar People, Recreative, Religionists, Christian Israelites." He should oppose the disestablishment of the Church of England, as it is the Church of the majority of the British people; but, in Ireland, the Church of 500,000 Protestants, for the cure of whose souls ecclesiastical property to the amount of £13,000,000 sterling was appropriated, was the greatest injustice ever perpetrated. He had a better opinion of the Protestants of Ireland than to believe that their souls were in such a hopeless condition as to require the application of enormous revenues arising from such endowments to cure them. As for his countrywomen, he was proud to think that they did not stand in need of it—and certainly the babies did not require it—and the men were not so incorrigible as the mistaken friends of the Church, who insisted upon maintaining the monopoly of its endowments, would lead us to infer. As to the men, he ventured to say they would not feel complimented by the zeal of their friends endeavouring to make the House believe that their souls were in so totally incurable a state as to need the expenditure of a revenue of £900,000 per annum to restore them. The monopoly of such a revenue by so small a minority of the people, to the total exclusion from its advantages by the millions of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in Ireland, was too intolerable to be any longer endured. He would put a case to the House — Suppose England and Ireland were at war with each other, and we were now engaged in arranging the preliminaries of peace, and that one of the conditions proposed by Great Britain was, that the Catholic people of Ireland should recognize the Protestant Church Establishment, and submit to the appropriation of all the ecclesiastical property and endowments for the exclusive use and benefit of the Protestant portion of the population, could the House suppose that those who represented the Catholic people of Ireland would, for an instant, entertain a proposition so unreasonable and insulting? He assured the House that he expressed the sentiments of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland in stating that the disendowment and disestablishment of the Irish Church, and separate and independent legislation for Ireland, and the expenditure of her revenue in the development of her resources, were sina quâ non conditions to the consolidation of the connection between the two kingdoms. The annual drain of at least £12,000,000 in revenues and in absentee rents; and of not less than £3,000,000 in profits, arising from the monopoly held by British traders and manufacturers of the manufacturing and trading markets of Ireland, which for the most part are employed in the enrichment of Great Britain, to the manifest injury of every interest in Ireland and the utter ruin of her artizan and other labour markets. These were amongst the main sources of the contrast between the wealth of England and the poverty of Ireland. The disendowment and disestablishment of the Irish Church, and the concession of separate legislation to Ireland would unite, strengthen, and consolidate the connection between the two countries, and promote, develop, and secure the power and resources of the British Empire: with such essential concession—less than which the people of Ireland would never be content with—the entire power, strength, and resources of Ireland would, whenever necessary, be at the service of Great Britain; and Ireland would thenceforth look upon the honour and glory of England as her own, as she would have no grievance left unredressed. From 1782 to 1800, when the Parliament of Ireland regulated her affairs, and had the control and expenditure of her own revenue, the progress of her trading, manufacturing, and agricultural prosperity equalled, if it had not exceeded that of England, in the same space of time. Let the Irish Church be disendowed and disestablished and the other primary measures be granted, and the Roman Catholics of Ireland would vie with each other in doing acts of kindness to their Protestant friends. They would make them forget the annoyance they must naturally feel on being deprived of a monopoly which had been in their possession for 300 years. He believed that such a course of conduct which might be confidently anticipated on the part of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland towards their Protestant friends and neighbours would unite them cordially in promoting and maintaining peace, law, loyalty, and order, would secure the welfare and enrichment of Ireland, and the honour and prosperity of the United Kingdom.


Mr. Dodson—I should be sorry if this debate were to close without some one rising to express the views which I confidently believe are held by my countrymen North of the Tweed. I am far from assuming that I can speak with any sort of authority; but connected as I am with Scotland, and knowing as I do the great interest felt by many on this subject, I shall ask the indulgence of the Committee for a few minutes whilst I state, so far as I know it, the feeling entertained on this subject in Scotland. In Scotland there exists a strong religious sentiment, and that religious sentiment is expressed in general by various forms of Presbyterian worship. Three principal bodies exist, with no difference whatever in creed, and only slightly differing in forms of Church government. First, the Established Kirk; second, the Free Kirk; third, the United Presbyterian Kirk. These three Churches, and the less numerous Presbyterian Churches which exist in Scotland, as well as a large proportion of the members of the Scotch Episcopal Church, have one common bond of union, stronger even than their nationality—and that is a strong Protestant feeling; a feeling that nothing would tempt them, in any way, to assist or countenance the Roman Catholic Church. They think her belief erroneous; they are distrustful of her promises; they hate her tenets; and are jealous of her power. Those of whom I now speak comprise more than five-sixths of the Scottish people, and their opinion is surely entitled to some consideration at the hands of this Committee. The first three Churches I have mentioned—namely, the Established Kirk, the Free Kirk, and the United Presbyterian Kirk, constitute the worshipping assemblies of a very large majority of the Scottish people. They all have the same form of Church government; they all have the same form of worship; but only the United Presbyterian Church differs from the others in this—that it disapproves of the Union between Church and State. The principal, and indeed the only subject of difference between the Established and the Free Kirks is the question of lay patronage; and would that I could live to see the time when that small point could reasonably be conceded to those who otherwise are so closely united to each other — united in the strong bond of Christian love, and of a bold and unshrinking antagonism to superstition and to infidelity. Those who are in the communion of the Free Kirk prefer to elect their own pastors; whilst the Established Kirk prefers to have their pastor chosen by the patron who may be legally entitled to perform that duty. But both these Churches believe that it is advantageous for the realm that the State should be Christian and Protestant. The Established Kirk, after a noble contest for freedom in what are still known in Scotland as the "old persecuting days," became legally the State Church, and faithfully performed its mission of civilizing and educating the people. The Free Church in our own time, on the question of patronage, also made a noble and spirited sacrifice; and, rather than yield its conscientious convictions, preferred to separate from the Established Church. Since then it, too, has performed a noble mission, and the rancour inseparable from the first strife having long passed away, these two Churches work hand in hand for the spiritual and temporal good of the nation. But the Committee must remember that both the Established Church and the Free Church are not only favourable to the principle of connection with the State, but they are both endowed Churches. The Established Church has an endowment settled on it by the Act of William and Mary; the Free Church has an endowment settled on it by the generous sacrifice of its congregations. But this endowment of the Free Church of Scotland is entirely opposed to the voluntary principle. The voluntary principle, as I understand it, is that the existing congregation or its representatives shall, from time to time, appropriate certain money for the support of the clergy, and for the decent performance of religious rites, but that no permanent endowment shall be guaranteed by law. The sustentation fund of the Free Kirk of Scotland, its churches, its manses, are an endowment subscribed for, appropriated, set aside by persons in our own time, with a heroic denial and self-sacrifice, but the capital of which is legally appropriated to the service of the Free Church and on the interest of this endowment the services and the ministers of the Church are assisted in decent and honourable maintenance. Well, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire turns his attention to Scotland, and proposes to disestablish and disendow the Established Kirk and to disendow the Free Kirk, what will be the feeling of Scotland? The right hon. Gentleman has become the apostle of the voluntary system, a recent convert, no doubt, and perhaps a dangerous one, were he not "everything by turns and nothing long." If the right hon. Gentleman ventures to lift his hand against the endowments of the Established and Free Kirks of Scotland, he may perhaps find out to his cost the meaning of our old Scottish motto—Nemo me impunè lacessit. But if it be so dangerous to meddle in Scotch affairs, let me ask my countrymen, Can they supinely look on whilst the right hon. Gentleman commences his Church robbery in Ireland? I maintain, without fear of contradiction, that it is as unjust and as illegal to apply the endowments of the United Church of England and Ireland in Ireland to secular uses, as it would be to seize the revenues or endowments of the Established and Free Kirks of Scotland, and I sincerely advise my countrymen to look out for squalls. But it has been said by the hon. Member for Surrey that the United Church of England and Ireland is not the Church of the Irish nation. If he means The Irish Nation newspaper I suppose he may be right; but if he means the Irish people as represented in this House, he is greatly in error. I only know of one legitimate way of judging of the wishes of a people—that mode is by attending to the votes and speeches of their representatives. Well, I have heard as much Irish eloquence on one side as on the other; and as for the votes, 46 voted with us, and 55 with the right hon. Gentleman. Now, is a majority of 9 sufficient—suddenly, and without notice—to reverse the policy of ages, and to destroy, subvert, root up the Protestant Church of the majority of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland? What the right hon. Gentleman is doing is getting up a faction fight—Ulster against Munster, and Leinster against Connaught. Well, if that is to be our policy, let us withdraw the police and the soldiers and leave them to fight it out. I have every esteem for the people of Cork; but I believe that in Ireland, as elsewhere, the North will probably be victorious. It has been said, in the course of this debate, that even in Ulster the Presbyterian Church had found some of its members to join in the cry for disendowment. Well, I wondered that the Ulster Presbyterians, who have something of the Scotchman in them, should any of them have been found willingly to sacrifice the Regium Donum; but I find the solution to this anomaly in a letter written by a noble Friend of mine, who has considerable estates in the North of Ireland. The letter is a very remarkable one. Its writer, Lord Dufferin, is one of the best of landlords, and we all know his public worth. He, at least, I am sure always acts under the feeling of noblesse oblige. Well, my noble Friend has written a letter in which he says, in effect, to the clergy on his estates—"Give up your endowments and vote with the Whigs. I will make up your losses; I will endow you again; under my ægis you shall be safe, and like Job your last state shall be better than your first." A tolerable bid for a Whig vote. But what of the poorer landlords whom it will ruin to be as generous, and what of the poor parsons—or rather congregations—on estates which have no margin left for a second endowment. Now, I remember before the days of Italian unity and railways, when Italy had a monopoly of brigands and assassins, a story of an old English traveller who, with a young artist, was making a tour and gathering pictures for an English collection. They were stopped by brigands, and the more youthful traveller wanted to fight; but the elder said, "Oh, no, rather give up all we have than have our throats cut; there is plenty more money to be got from Torlonia when we get safe to Rome." Now, it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman, the Captain of the Band, has stopped the Church coach, and that some of the Ulster Presbyterians are willing to be robbed only on the ground that there is plenty more endowments to be got from Lord Dufferin; or, perhaps, when the Irish Establishment, under its Whig guides, succeeds in getting safely to Rome. I do therefore earnestly desire to call upon my Scottish countrymen not to join in this robbery of endowments. Depend upon it, if they do, they will be the next to suffer—or, if not, this will happen, and soon. A very strong party exists in this country who are in favour of endowments, who will not willingly see things sacred applied to secular uses. At present my Roman Catholic friends are on the side of the Liberation Society: they are for pulling down the Protestant Church and its endowments. But when the Church is down and the scramble ensues, they will know how to take advantage of the crisis, and claim in Ireland for the sacred uses of the Church of the majority the funds which our forefathers had piously dedicated to the service of the Church. When that time comes, let my Protestant friends beware. There are many men who will be in great difficulty then in deciding how to act; and the result may be—nay, probably will be—that, from fear of sacrilege, from fear of the injury to the endowments of England and Scotland, Popery may yet be endowed in Ireland. We know that Earl Russell has expressed his conscientious desire to endow Popery with a third of the Irish revenues of the Established Church. From that evil and mischief I fervently pray "Good Lord, deliver us." But in order to prevent it, the Protestant people of these countries must rally round the Conservative party; and whilst encouraging all freedom of conscience, must resist this insidious attack upon the faith we hold, and which cost our fathers so dear.


said, he thought that the complaint of the hon. and gallant Member (Sir John Hay) that no representative from Scotland had taken a part in the discussion, might have been made to justify in some measure the desire of the Government to protract the debate. In his opinion there was no reason why this question should be regarded by Scotch Members in a different point of view from that in which it was regarded by English Members. Scotland was a Protestant country like England, and the only ecclesiastical difference between them was that the majority of the people of England were Episcopalians, while the vast majority of the people of Scotland were Presbyterians. That was the reason, as they all knew, why the Episcopalian Church was established in England and the Presbyterian Church established in Scotland. In both countries the Established Church was in reality the Church of the people. He demurred to the proposition that the union of Church and State was a question of principle, and maintained that it was altogether a question of expediency. There were in Scotland, as in England, great varieties of opinion on ecclesiastical matters; but in Scotland they related, in a great measure, to matters of comparatively inferior importance; and, notwithstanding those differences, the people of Scotland, as a whole, regarded the Established Church in that country with affection and pride, because of the purity of its doctrines, the simplicity of its worship, and its freedom from excesses and extravagance, and also because it had fulfilled, and was still fulfilling, its mission as a national Church; and were it attacked its defenders would be found far more numerous than its assailants. It was not disputed that the Irish Church was the Church of only a small fraction of the Irish people. In his letter of Maundy Thursday the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government referred to what he called "the sacred union of Church and State." He demurred to the word "sacred" so used. That union might exist for a sacred purpose; but it differed in no respect from any other contract having a religious end. It was in no respect different from the compact between a private individual and his domestic chaplain, or between a Dissenting congregation and its clergyman. As in the other cases he had stated by way of illustration, it was a compact on the one side for services to be rendered, and on the other for the acceptance and the remuneration of those services. In its nature it was a civil contract, and the question whether it should be made or continued was not a sacred question, nor even a question of principle, but one of mere expediency. They were not precluded from considering at any time whether it had answered its purpose or not, or from putting an end to it if it had not. The question as to the wisdom of having an Establishment might be answered differently at different periods and in different places. It was expedient in England and in Scotland, because it had answered its purpose; it was not expedient in Ireland, because there it did not answer its purpose. The only danger to which he could perceive that the Establishments of England and Scotland were exposed arose from the course taken with regard to this question by the hon. Gentleman opposite. It was very dangerous to say that they must have Establishments everywhere, because they were matter of principle, or have no Establishments anywhere; that if they had no Establishment in Ireland, they could not continue to have one in England. Why, the argument about a "sacred union" and a matter of principle would be equally valid as applied to Ireland if there were not a single Protestant in that island. He supposed that hon. Gentlemen opposite would hardly go that length. In every question of expediency they must regard the whole circumstances. Surely it was not expedient to have an Established Protestant Church in a country where the Protestant inhabitants were only an infinitesimal part, or an eighth, a ninth, or a tenth of its entire population. Her Majesty's Government not only admitted that religious equality did not exist in Ireland, and that it was expedient there; but they proposed to produce it. But how? By levelling, and levelling upwards. Let them mark the import of the word "levelling." He supposed they were to put all religious denominations in Ireland on an equal footing with reference to what the Foreign Secretary called an "empty title," with reference also to what the hon. Member who re-opened the debate that night (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) called a "barren precedence," and with reference likewise to endowments—for that was the substantial matter—so far as was necessary to produce a level among the various denominations. Thus, they were to have a "sacred" union upon "principle" with the Episcopalians, with the Presbyterians, with the Roman Catholics, and all other denominations in Ireland! For his own part, he should be at a loss to express the principle, sacred or profane, which would lead to that result. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), in that remarkable speech which he delivered at the close of the debate before Easter, announced that "The policy of the Government with respect to Ireland is to create, and not to destroy." If any hon. Gentleman was able to attach any definite meaning to those words, as so used, he had, he confessed, greatly the advantage of himself. If the Irish Church, as an Establishment, was an evil in Ireland, among other things, to the Protestant cause, as he contended, what answer was it to the proposal to disestablish it—that was, to abate the evil—to say that the policy of the Government was to create, and not to destroy? Was it the policy of the Government to create evils, and not to destroy them?—to create anomalies, to create confusion, to create mischiefs, and not to destroy them? If it was merely intended that they wished to create that which was good, and not to destroy it, that was a very wise, but not a very profound policy, and one hardly worth announcing. Every Government, he supposed, would profess, not only with respect to Ireland, but to the whole Empire, that its policy was to create that which was good and not destroy it; but that was little to the purpose upon the question whether the Irish Church should be maintained as an Establishment or not. Whatever might be the policy of the Government, he supposed that that of the House would be to destroy the evil of the Irish Church, if it was found to be an evil; and not to attempt to counteract—which he believed to be an impossibility—its influences by "creating" other Establishments, and raising them up to the same level. He had said that the Irish Church had been injurious to the cause of Protestantism. That was only a part of the case against it; but it was a material part. The fact of its existence for 300 years—of which so much was said by hon. Gentlemen opposite—was a strong feature of the case against it. It had existed—as a Protestant Church planted among a Roman Catholic population must exist — as a missionary Church; and yet, according to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church was increasing, its members multiplying, and its churches rising everywhere, while the Protestant Established Church had the greatest difficulty in holding its ground. Having more confidence than the hon. Member in the truth and power of the Protestant Church, he believed that if it had a fair field it would prevail. The Committee had been told over and over again that this was a party move; that it was brought forward suddenly, and without due notice; and that it was inopportune, because it interrupted other business. With respect to the suddenness of the move, it was impossible that those on the Opposition side of the House could have announced their policy until that of the Government was stated. During the debate on the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), it was promised that the policy of the Government should be revealed, as it ultimately was, by the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland; the right hon. Member for South Lancashire stated his dissatisfaction with it, explaining wherein he thought it positively amiss, and where dangerously defective, and he further signified his intention, if the Government did not see fit to bring forward some proposition with reference to the Irish Church, to bring before the House Resolutions of the nature of those which they were now considering. Well, let it be a party move if they pleased. Might not a party move be a proper move—that was, a Motion which united the whole party in the House? They were certainly entitled to object that that was not the character of the present Motion; but upon that subject an appeal had already been made to what the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had happily called "the unerring instincts of Parliament." Now, what he had to ask was this—were they to go on with this talk for ever; were all these topics to be debated over again? He, for his part, was content it should be so; but they must admit that the appeal had already been made to Parliament, and Parliament had answered with no uncertain sound that this was not a party move to be reprobated, but one to be encouraged. The question of the sufficiency of notice depended upon the opportunity that had been afforded for discussion, and surely that had been ample. There could be little doubt that the subject had been deliberated upon by the Cabinet even before it was brought forward in the House; and after the interval that had been afforded for the consideration of this Resolution, it might be safely assumed that it would be carried by as large a majority as was the Motion to go into Committee. It had been urged that the decision of the House had not yet been given upon any certain or definite issue; but he thought that at his hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) had sufficiently explained that the question formerly decided had been, not whether the House should or should not go into Committee, but whether the Irish Church should or should not be disestablished. That they were now engaged in deciding the same question was shown by the fact that no new matter had been imported into the debate, which was solely a repetition of arguments formerly employed. There was one other topic. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, at an early period of the Session, said that the country ought to have an opportunity of considering this question, and of being educated in its bearings. What he should like to know was this—what better way was there of agitating this question, and of enlightening men's minds upon it, than by discussing it in this House? It was a subject that would occupy men's minds for some time to come, and the people of this country ought to know the opinion of this House upon it, and the ground on which it rested.


Without following the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. G. Young) into those collateral topics with which he concluded his speech, I think I shall best consult the feelings of the House by confining myself as closely as possible to the real issue now before the House, and that issue is the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman. Much has been said of that Resolution; and though it is true that in terms it is confined to Ireland, and to Ireland only, yet it can hardly be doubted that in principle, if not in intention, in its inevitable tendency, and if not in its immediate yet in its ultimate consequences, the whole question of Church Establishments is at issue. Gloss the matter over as you will, the maintenance of Church Establishments, and the placing these Establishments under the guardianship, control, and superintendence of the State, is really the issue we have to try. I venture to think that the hon. and learned Gentleman who has addressed the Committee with great ability and ingenuity, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter), who has also spoken with great ability and ingenuity, have in their arguments confounded two matters which are distinct in themselves, and ought therefore to be determined on distinct considerations. Those two matters are, first, the circumstances under which you might or might not deem it advisable to establish a national Church where none was previously in being; and secondly, the grounds upon which you would be justified in disestablishing a national Church where one already existed. If, indeed, we were now discussing for the first time whether we would establish a national Church in Ireland, I admit there are various reasons which would press upon us the consideration whether we ought to establish it in the form in which it at present exists. But the same considerations might be pressed upon us if we were considering the question with regard to the hon. Member's own country of Scotland, or of Wales, or even England itself. In each of these countries questions differing in degree, but not in kind, might require us to give a similar answer. You must look at the views, at the feelings, the wishes of the inhabitants, and at the means provided for the maintenance of such an Establishment. In that case some might think it prudent to recognize simply and solely the voluntary principle; some might think it advisable to provide for the support of different sects of religion; but there is one thing which no one, I think, would propose, and that is when the property of the country was in the hands of persons of one way of thinking, and the great mass of the people were of another way of thinking, no one would deem it just to charge the property for the support of a religion which its owners did not profess. But the question is not now one of establishing a national Church — it is the question of disestablishing a Church, and with this question yon have to consider the length of time during which it has existed, the compacts under which it has been continued, and Parliamentary engagements of which it has been the subject. These compacts and these engagements, have, I think, been treated in the course of this debate with greater levity than they deserve, and I was astonished the other evening to hear the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Surrey (Mr. Buxton), plainly and deliberately assert that they were imaginary agreements made by unknown parties. I had thought that if there could be an agreement which was anything but imaginary in its character, and which was entered into by parties perfectly well known to Parliament and the country, it was the agreement and the compact made at the time of the Irish Union. I do not deny that Parliament has the power, as was said by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) the other evening, of undoing now what any other Parliament has done; but there may be circumstances connected with such a compact as to render imperative, in proposing its repeal, a consideration of what happened at the time when the compact was framed. We have, therefore, to consider, in the first place, what circumstances were existing at the time the compact was entered into; and, secondly, whether there are sufficient reasons for doing away with it. Now, I ask the Committee to consider the nature of that compact. We are standing here as the representatives of three distinct and separate Legislatures, formed into one by the two Acts of Union. These Acts of Union are the very charters of our existence. It is by them, through them, and under them that we are now deliberating. In these Acts of Union there are many Articles, some of them relating to trade, some to the representation of the people, some to the Peerage, some to the proportions of the National Debt which are to be borne by the nations respectively, but there is only one Article—namely, that with reference to religion—that is made binding by obligations which are declared to be fundamental, essential, and inviolable. That obligation was insisted upon because our ancestors knew too well the evils resulting from the religious conflicts in which the different parts of the kingdom had been engaged. Those conflicts related to Church government and the Reformation, and it was to prevent any recurrence of those disputes that our ancestors put into these Acts of Union clauses of such stringency that they intended to restrain Parliament from making any alteration, unless the reasons in favour of the change were strong, cogent, and irresistible. There are three or four circumstances which give additional force to those reasons. First, there is the peculiar manner in which that compact is drawn up; secondly, the fact that the Coronation Oath was altered in order to make it more binding; and thirdly, when you emancipated the Roman Catholics, and admitted them into this House, you distinctly recognized in the body of the Emancipation Act the strong and inviolable character of the agreement made at the time of the Union. To tell me that this is an Act which does not require greater consideration than other Acts, and that it may be repealed with as little ceremony as other Acts, is to make an assertion utterly untenable; and bear in mind that these contracts have been made by two parties, one superior to the other, at least in point of numbers in Parliament; and although that is no reason why you should not on sufficient grounds alter the contract, it is a reason why you should be very careful before you deprive the inferior party of the advantages you intended it to give them. What reasons, then, would justify you in altering that contract? The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham) quoted a passage from Archbishop Whately, which will try this question, when he said that— In order to alter such laws as these there should be a manifest inutility or a manifest hurtfulness in the institution which made it essential and important for the public welfare that it should be abolished. Let me apply that test. Is the institution either manifestly useless or manifestly hurtful? I have heard it said to-night that it has failed as a missionary Church, and has no merits of its own. But I find that, in point of fact, it has increased in a greater ratio than either the Presbyterian or the Roman Catholic Churches. ["No!"] Of late years it has. And when I ask myself "Is it a useless Church?" I answer, "Is it, or has it been, useless as regards the learning of its prelates, or the purity of its doctrines, or the good it has done?" Are not these fair tests? I should be loth to believe the Church of Usher, Bramhall, and Bedell in the 17th century, or the Church of King, Leslie, and Berkeley in the 18th century, or of Jebb and Magee of later times, could be described as a useless Church so far as regards the learning of its prelates. And when I look to the good it has done and the purity of the doctrine it has maintained, I ask the British House of Commons — Is it nothing to you that that Church has been the firm friend of Imperial rule, the steady ally of British freedom, and a faithful witness of religious truth? Is it nothing to you that the members of that Church have constituted a resident educated tolerant gentry, forming a nucleus of civilizing influences, and that, too, when those who ought to have set the example have absented themselves from its soil? And is it nothing to you, when open foes and secret conspirators have led their attacks upon your institutions, that you have always found a faithful and devoted people in the members of that Church? I am not going to contend that the Church has no shortcomings. That there are in it many anomalies, many irregularities, and many abuses which ought to be corrected I do not deny; but, speaking in a British House of Commons, I say that, when we talk disparagingly of that Church, we should ask ourselves whether its fault did not lie less with the institution than with ourselves. We had better ask ourselves whether we, in fact, did not do too much to make it a political institution rather than an instrument of religion. Nothing can be more disgraceful than the way, during two centuries at least, in which its revenues were taken from it, and in which lay impropriations were permitted. Anglican prelates were sent over from this country to Ireland and fed with the best benefices, and their sons and their brothers were, of course, in due time provided for. As a natural consequence the Church suffered immensely, and the Native clergy were left in a beggerly state. [An hon. MEMBER: And so some of them are now.] Yes; but the hon. Member who says that knows things have materially altered since then. He knows perfectly well what was then the state of the churches, the glebe houses, the benefices, the number of the clergy, and everything connected with the Church down to the time of the Union; and he knows what has been done since. Immense exertions have been made to remedy the state of things which previously existed. The benefices have been increased, 600 glebe houses have been built, churches have nearly doubled, and the clergy have actually risen from 1,100 to 2,200. It might be said these were material improvements only; but let the Committee think of the conduct of the Irish clergy. The testimony of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) is strong upon this point. He has spoken of their devotedness and zeal as equalling that of any clergy of any Christian Church in the world. Not only the friends but the enemies of the Church give similar testimony, and testified to their zeal in propagating Evangelical truth. Then, I say, can you abolish this Church as a useless institution? And if you cannot break the contract on the ground that the Church is useless, can you break it on the ground that the influence of the Church is hurtful? There were times indeed when the vestry cess and the tithe were extracted from the people, they had a grievance of which they could legitimately complain; but when these were abolished, and the payments were thrown on the Church's funds or the Protestant landlords, no practical grievance remained; and so you began to set up the sentimental grievance — and by some extraordinary hocus-pocus you tried to connect it with the disaffection of the people. I admit a sentimental grievance may be more galling than a practical grievance; but before you cut off that sentimental grievance by a violent measure you should satisfy yourselves of two things—first, that in doing away with a sentimental grievance as bearing on the mind of one class you do not a practical wrong, resulting in greater injury to another class. Secondly, you are bound to show that the dissatisfaction which you allege exists could be remedied by the removal of that sentimental grievance. Would a prudent physician amputate the limb of a patient suffering from a malady of the mind? Yet that is the very thing you propose to do. I ask any one, whether Irish or English, Catholic or Protestant, layman or ecclesiastic—can you, in the smallest degree, connect the present dissatisfaction and discontent with the sentimental grievance of the Irish Establishment? The truth is, the discontent of the present day differs from the discontent of nil former times. What you now see is external, and fomented from abroad. It is, in fact, a wanton, wicked, and foul conspiracy—not against the Established Church — but against all law, order, and government; but the discontent you had before arose from some civil disability or practical wrong which you could redress, and if I wanted proof of that I would appeal to the remarkable pamphlet of the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill) — where, both in the beginning and end, it is there pointed out that we have done for Ireland all that a British Parliament can do. In the face of this the hon. Member solicits not merely to get rid of the Irish Church, but of every kind of religious endowment, and in the very last page he tells us that even if we do this we shall have done nothing to allay the disaffection and discontent unless we also settle the land question. For these reasons I think I have shown that, according to the terms laid down in the pregnant sentence of Archbishop Whately, you are not justified in breaking this solemn compact. You have not shown either the manifest inutility, or manifest hurtfulness of the institution you propose to destroy. Having said so much, let me advert very briefly to two or three other points. ["Oh, oh!"] I am in the hands of the House. One part of the subject has been but briefly alluded to, and with reference to this I desire to have some information from my right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire. In plain words, I mean this:—By the form of proceeding you have adopted you are proposing to abolish a sacred institution, and you have not intimated to us in any manner which we can understand, what other institution you are going to substitute for the religious instruction of the Irish people? My right hon. Friend has, indeed, pointed to several topics connected with the subject which are of great importance—namely, the total value which he puts on the whole of the Church property, and the particular value which he puts on that part of the Church property which he thinks ought to be given to the life-holders of its revenues. He is, however, entirely silent with reference to the surplus or difference. And though he tells us what the condition of the Church and the clergy is to be after these valuations are made, and this property is re-distributed, I will venture to say that nobody who examines that part of the case will find that the substitute he intends to provide for it, is either a substitute in fact, or a substitute which the people of the United Kingdom will ever sanction. The value of property my right hon. Friend puts at £16,000,000, including in that valuation the parsonage houses, the churches and advowsons, the tithes, and the lands belonging to dignitaries. But he has not told us how this valuation is made up. He has not told us whether the property is to be brought into the market, and the value ascertained there; he has not told us whether the State is to hold it, and, if so, on what trusts; and he has not told us—which is the most important part of all—how much of this property has been made up of private benefaction. Nor has he alluded, even in the briefest manner, to that which has hitherto been considered the most important statute on the statute book of Ireland—namely, the Act of Settlement. When you come to examine that portion of the subject, I believe you will find—I give no positive opinion till we have the facts before us, and what I am now complaining of is that we are dealing with this question without having the facts before us—I believe you will find that the Act of Settlement secured to the Church one-fifth of the whole of its property, which property never belonged to the Church of Ireland while Roman Catholic. Nay, more, I believe you will find that the security given for that property to the members of that Church is precisely the same as that given to laymen taking under that Act of Settlement. I ask, therefore, not merely whether your valuation is correct, but whether the same principles can be applied to other portions of the property, secured by the Act of Settlement, which you are going to apply to the property of the Church? Then, with regard to the existing holders, there are two or three questions which I should like to put;—first, whether you are going to capitalize those revenues; and, if not, then whether you are going to pay the life-holders out of the revenues which the State has so taken possession of. If the former, how will you leave anything for those who come after? If you pay them out of the revenues taken possession of by the State, then when the lives of these different life-holders come to an end, I should be glad to know what is to become of the surplus. I ask this, bearing in mind one of the most important observations made by my right hon. Friend—namely, that these gentlemen would enjoy, no longer amid an alienated and discontented people, the property which had so been secured to them, but they would enjoy it with the perfect cordiality and good-will of all sects, of all persons, and all persuasions. How will this statement apply to the successors of the present incumbents, who, according to one of the alterations, will have no property at all? It is a mockery to talk of their enjoying the property with the cordiality and good-will of people of all persuasions, when yon are taking away that property and applying it, possibly to some miserable secular purpose. Then I come to the more important question of the total silence of my right hon. Friend—a total silence as to what he is going to do with the surplus, or the difference between £16,000,000, which is the total estimated value of the Church property, and £9,600,000, which is the estimated interest of the life-holders, What is going to be done with that, and to what purposes is it to be applied? My right hon. Friend has been pressed by questions which made him admit that he is going somehow or other to put an end to the grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum. But is the grant to Maynooth to be redeemed out of the Church property? If it is to be redeemed, what are the terms upon which that redemption is to be effected? Are you going to give them merely the life income which our clergy are to receive, or are you going to give them the full value of the £30,000 per annum in perpetuity? If you intend to adopt the latter course you are going to treat the priests of Maynooth in a different manner from what you are going to treat your own clergy. Would that be just? But perhaps you are going to redeem this grant out of the Church funds. If that be the course that it is intended to adopt, let me tell the right hon. Gentleman that he will get no support from those who are now his most able and powerful allies. From what I read of the proceedings at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, I find that Mr. Spurgeon wrote a letter to the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright)—dealing with him almost as a Minister of the Crown—and putting it to him whether he was going to give as douceur to the Roman Catholics any portion of the Church property; for, if he was, nothing on earth would induce the Dissenters to agree to such a course. But if you do not intend to redeem the Maynooth Grant in that manner are you going to resort to the principle laid down, I am sorry to say, so often by the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), of applying this property to secular purposes? I contend that that which was given for the purposes of religion ought still to be preserved for purposes of religion. Are you going to act upon the docrine so often inculcated by the right hon. Member for Calne, that there is a broad distinction between property held by corporations and property held by individuals? ["Hear, hear!"] "Hear, hear," says the hon. Member opposite. Has he considered upon what the rights of property depend—has he fully considered that upon the preservation of the rights of property depend all the improvement, all the progress, and all the civilization of mankind—that hitherto it has been supposed that the rights attached to property give to its owners the fullest powers of accumulation and the freest power of transmission and disposition, subject only to the qualification that it may be regulated and restricted beforehand by laws dictated by public policy? Unless property held by corporations is forfeited and abused, it stands upon precisely the same terms as property held by individuals, and the only difference between property held in these two ways is that the one is sacred to persons and the other to purposes. In dealing with property sacred to purposes you will find that more care is required than in dealing with that sacred to individuals; for it must never be forgotten that persons are fluctuating and transitory, while purposes may be and often are of the highest moment and of a permanent character. Now, Sir, having dealt with this part of the subject, I will next advert to the condition in which the Church will be left in the event of its disestablishment. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to leave the Church with the fullest power of self-management, with the fullest power of development, and entirely uncontrolled by any laws external to itself. By placing the Church in that position the right hon. Gentleman will strike at most of the objects for which Establishments have been founded, and at the means by which the doctrine and discipline of the Church is to be maintained. The objects for which an Establishment is founded are these—that in every nook and corner of the kingdom there should be provided for the people the ministrations of religion, religious instruction, public worship, and pastoral superintendence; and if you take away from any portion of the kingdom the right to these things which the laity have hitherto enjoyed, you strike at the very root, not only of an Establishment, but at everything which the people and the country hold most dear, and which are to them full of permanent advantage. Talk of securities! The securities the people are entitled to ask for are the securities which connect the Church with the State, and the placing the Church in due subordination to the civil power. Those are the securities which have given to the people the perfect knowledge of the worship and liturgy to be used, and the doctrines which are to be taught in their churches. What does the supremacy of the Crown consist of? Two sets of laws—the one negative, the other positive. By the negative laws you deny the right of any foreign Prince to have jurisdiction or to exercise authority within this realm. By the positive laws the appointment of Bishops was vested in the Crown as well as a great portion of the temporalities; and the liturgies read and the doctrines preached in the Church are settled by Courts of which the Crown is the head. Take away the right which the people of this country now possess, and I ask you, what becomes of the supremacy of the Crown? You will then have two Church organizations in Ireland — one of them Roman Catholic and the other Episcopalian — both entirely independent of the Crown. Now, I ask, is that a favourable state of things for the stability of the British rule? Will that strengthen the union between these countries? Will that tend to the harmony and peace of which we have heard so much? Will that secure to the people of this country their primary rights? They claim at your hands perfect freedom from sacerdotal tyranny on the one hand, and from wild fanaticism on the other. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) quoted with effect more than one passage from Mr. Burke, who is full of instruction, and other passages from the opinions of the same statesman were quoted by the late Solicitor General for Ireland. But there are passages which neither my right hon. Friend nor the hon. and learned Gentleman thought of quoting, though they are the most important on this subject which Mr. Burke ever published. They are not only his general notions of Church Establishments, but they are his particular reasons for maintaining the Church Establishment in Ireland. I therefore commend them to the attention of my right hon. Friend. Mr. Burke did not, it is true, approve of the condition of the Church in Ireland. He found fault with its anomalies; but he says he wishes well to that Establishment for several reasons. He wished well to it because it is the link which holds fast religion to the Government of the country, and which forms a sensible connection between England and Ireland. He wished it well because it is the Establishment of the religion of the great majority of the proprietors of land, with whom all Establishments ought to be connected. ["Oh, oh!"] An hon. Gentleman interrupts me; but, if he inquires, he will find that at this moment, I believe I may say, nine-tenths of the land of Ireland are held by Protestant proprietors. Mr. Burke says further that the Protestant Church of Ireland is the only one of the Churches in that country which could be connected with the Crown, such connection being the mainstay of the Constitution. I think those reasons are just as applicable now as they were in the time of Mr. Burke. With regard to that which was urged so frequently the other night by the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington)—and it is the only topic, if a true one, which ought to have a material bearing on this part of the question—I allude to the pacification of Ireland, or as he called it, a message of conciliation and peace—I wish to ask you whether, if this Resolution is interpreted as a message of peace by one party, it will not be interpreted as a message of war by the other, when they feel the wrong you are about to inflict upon them. We all of us wish — it is our most anxious wish — that disaffection and discontent in Ireland should be brought to a close. But you never will bring them to a close by irritating and attacking those who have been truest to you in all your trials. I believe that both sides of the House might adopt a policy which would enable all classes in Ireland to join amicably and cordially in endeavouring to effect the happiness of their common country; but if you wish to enable them to do this, you must not agree to a measure which savours of class legislation, which will drive them more than ever into hostile factions, and strengthen and perpetuate rivalry and ill-feeling between race and race and creed and creed. Remember the famous saying of Baxter—"That religious freedom should be volcano's heat; and on the lava and ashes of former eruptions there should grow the peaceful olive, the cheery vine, the sustaining corn." Ireland, to our shame and sorrow be it spoken, has been torn by convulsions which were not sent as corrections from Heaven, but were scourges inflicted by the hand of man. But a new era has been recently coming upon her. Better days for her appear to be dawning; and, down to the time of this wicked Fenianism, and even in spite of that wicked conspiracy, there has grown up on the lava and ashes of former convulsions more order, more tranquillity, more industry, and more employment, kindlier feelings, warmer sympathies, higher hopes, and brighter aspirations than Ireland has ever enjoyed before. If, then, you wish this better state of things to continue, I am perfectly confident the way to realize that object is not by passing any measure which will break down fundamental laws and break through the most solemn compacts, but it is by continuing those institutions which have been the result of wise legislation, and which ought to be maintained in strict conformity with our Parliamentary engagements.


If this were the first night of an important debate such as this, I should feel that it was an act of the grossest presumption on my part to obtrude myself upon the House; but, Sir, as you will do me the justice to admit, I endeavoured to catch your eye at an hour of the evening when the attendance in the House is usually very small. Having said this much, I protest against the tone of apology adopted by the hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He apologized for speaking at all upon this subject. Now, I hold that, be the debate long or be it short, Members of this House who have strong opinions on this question of the Irish Church have a right to express their opinions. I say this as a matter of principle, and not as a matter affecting myself personally; and I say it because I have observed that throughout this debate there has been an attempt made on this (the Opposition) side of the House to prevent discussion. ["No, no!"] The tone has been this—that the debate on this important subject ought not to be prolonged. Why? Lest it should interfere with the other business of the Session. But if it does interfere with the other business of the Session, who is to blame? I maintain that this question is now brought before the House in an entirely new light and position. Thirty years have passed during which this question has been, more or less, brought before the House; but this is the first time it has been brought forward by a person occupying the prominent position of the right hon. Gentleman, and the first time a proposition has been made from that Bench for total disestablishment. It is now neither more or less than a majority which is strong attempting to force a question through this House. When hon. Gentlemen on this (the Opposition) side talk of prolonging the Session and interfering with the course of business, it is something like knocking a man down and then kicking him for falling. Or their conduct might be compared to that of the wolf who complained of the disturbance by the lamb of the waters below the spot where he was standing. Having entered this protest, I wish to express briefly the strong feelings I entertain upon this question. I wish to enter my protest against the time and the manner, and the thing proposed to be done. The time and the manner have been apologized for by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Young) on the ground that it was a party vote, necessary to re-unite the Liberal party. I do not in any way question the right of this side to take that course. It is the traditional policy of the Liberal party to force on in Opposition measures they oppose or allow to slumber when they are in Office; as it appears to be, I am afraid, the traditional policy of the other side to carry in Office measures they oppose in Opposition. Now, that such is the traditional policy of this side of the House cannot be disputed. I well recollect the year 1848. I was a Peelite. There was a strong body of Peelites then. We had an organ in the press. [Cries of "Name!"] It was The Morning Chronicle. I well recollect an article in The Morning Chronicle of that day—the year of revolution and Chartism—which said— We ought to be most thankful that the Whigs were in office, because if they had not been in office the Charter would have been the law of the land, and we should have seen an ex-Whig Minister, in order to enforce it, breaking the windows in Pall Mall. I do not know who wrote that article. We have two right hon. Gentlemen, then Peelites, who are at present Members of the Whig party — the Members for South Lancashire and the City of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Cardwell). I do not know whether either of those right hon. Gentlemen wrote that particular article; but it was their newspaper at the time. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) shakes his head; but I deliberately assert that The Morning Chronicle at that time was the political organ of the Peelite party. ["Question."] I am coming to the question, but it must have an introduction. The question is this—Suppose at that time anybody had hinted to either of those right hon. Gentlemen that they, in twenty years, would in their own persons and acts exemplify this traditional policy of the Whig party, how would they have repudiated the insinuation? But I leave both sides of the House to judge what would have been the feelings of indignation of those right hon. Gentlemen if anyone had then ventered to assert that the special way in which they would exemplify it would be by the one proposing and the other supporting the disestablishment of the Irish Church—both being the devoted pupils of Peel and Graham—of Peel, who, when he passed the Emancipation Act and the Maynooth Act, thought he had taken every necessary security for the permanent establishment of the Irish Church; and of Graham, who thought it necessary to leave the Liberal party in consequence of their measures in connection with that Church. I now come to the other point—I oppose this measure not only on the question of time, but because of the thing we are asked to do—to disestablish the Irish Church. What is the reason given for this? It is said to be a great act of atonement for misgovernment. We are to offer up as a victim that Establishment which was planted among other things to maintain English interests and English connection. I, for one, am not prepared to clothe myself in a penitential sheet, and throw ashes on my head for the misgovernment of Ireland. I do not wish to rake up history and refer to the Cromwellian severities of the massacres of Protestants, for which these measures were the reprisals. We are not responsible, I boldly assert. This generation and the last generation of statesmen have nothing to bring home to their consciences the blame of Irish misgovernment. If there were time I would show that, in respect to civil Government, Ireland was more favourably treated than any other part of the United Kingdom. When an hon. Gentleman behind me talks of the sums of money taken from Ireland, I may mention that there is a Return on the table showing that, while the revenue in Scotland arising from taxation is double that in Ireland, the public money spent in Scotland is not one-half or one-fourth of what is spent in Ireland. When it is said that this is to be a great measure of atonement to pacify Ireland, I beg to say that it is not the religious question which agitates that country. Sir George Lewis, writing in 1833, said that the Whiteboy organization was not the result of the Irish Church. In the six years before the passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, what was the number of murders committed in Ireland? 600 and odd; and in the six years after the passing of that Act the number of murders was 1,200 and odd. As a measure of pacification at that time the Act of Emancipation completely failed; and will any man now stand up and say that at the present moment the state of Ireland would be pacified by the passing of this Motion for doing away with the Established Church? Was the murder in Ireland caused the other day by any religious cause? Was it a religious cause which in Canada brought about the death of the Roman Catholic D'Arcy M'Gee, or which guided the hand of the assassin in Australia? I say that we cannot find any cause for blame in the civil government of Ireland; and I go further and maintain that there is no cause for blame in reference to the religious government. Our policy in a religious point of view has been a policy of toleration, concession, and conciliation; and what has been the result? Every possible conciliation has been offered to a Church which never will be satisfied — never will be satisfied without total and complete supremacy. Those who now demand the disestablishment of the Irish Church are they whose forefathers accepted Roman Catholic Emancipation on the condition that permanent safety was to be secured to that Church. I have always felt the greatest sympathy for Ireland. I have Irish blood in my veins. ["Oh, oh!"] I am not aware that that is a circumstance to be ashamed of. I have always supported every concession to the Roman Catholics. I voted for Maynooth, and the night before I stood for my election I was told that if I gave my vote in favour of the grant I should lose my seat. I voted for Roman Catholic chaplains in gaols and in the army; and in spite of the celebrated "Durham letter," when "No Popery" was chalked up and somebody ran away, I was one of the twenty-one Members who resisted the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. On this very question of the Irish Church I am one of those who have talked loosely. With regard to it I have hitherto felt and said that there appeared to be a great and grievous anomaly; but that it was a question so remote in its nature that it was not likely to come before us in our time. What conclusion must I come to? Why, that I cannot follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. And why? Because this is not an Irish question. It goes a great deal farther than that. What is the principle upon which we are called to act! We are two parties in this State, and both of us are bound to do what is best for the interests of Ireland. Both advocate the principle of religious equality. I deny that that principle is in existence in the Constitution. And I further deny that if you follow this principle of religious equality absolutely or necessarily, whether you "level up" or "level down," it leads to one or other of these two conclusions—the repeal of the Union as the total disestablishment of all Established Churches. When I say that, do not mistake me when I say religious equality as it exists in our Constitution—I do not mean religious toleration—that to the fullest extent is indeed the great principle applied by the State to all religions in all parts of the country. Let me take this principle of religious equality—as it binds the Church of this country to the Irish Church—first on the "levelling up" principle. What the "levelling up" principle means I do not understand. We have had no explanation of it; but, so far as I can understand it, it must mean this—sooner or later, in some way or other, the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church a Roman Catholic University, and the giving a social position and status in Ireland to the Roman Catholic priests, which we should all rejoice to see has already been given to Archbishop Cullen at the Vice regal dinner. Will this go beyond religious equality? Certainly not. Were it a religious equality unless the Roman Catholic Bishop is to sit in the House of Lords as well as the Protestant Bishop? Where is the religious equality of Ireland unless the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland is a Roman Catholic? I apprehend it will be consistent with our Constitution. There will be Roman Catholic Bishops sitting with the English Bishops in the House of Lords, if it is consistent with the present Constitution. Now as to the "levelling down" principle. Will that go beyond religious equality? We know what the "levelling down" principle means, at any rate. It means the total disestablishment of the Irish Church. I maintain that as long as the Union is maintained the total disestablishment of the Irish Church—putting all Churches in that respect on an equality—will not give religious equality to the Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom. It was an argument of the right hon. Gentleman to-night that it was not a question of voluntaryism, but a question of the majority of a certain persuasion. What I distinctly maintain is that logically you cannot get out of that position; and that the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland logically means the disestablishment of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. I know I shall be met with this remark — "That is all very well in theory, but we are practical people. It is expediency." We had that word to-night from a distinguished Member of this Bench—"It is expediency that demands the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and there is not the slightest chance of the Established Church in Scotland or in England following the Church of Ireland." A word upon that. What is it that has brought about the present state of the question? ["Order."] I have no hope that hon. Members on this (the Opposition) side of the House will allow those who are in the minority to give an expression of opinion, especially upon a question respecting a cause which they think is bad. How is the present position of the Irish Church brought about? By three causes. We have here, as it is in America—["Oh, oh!" and "Order!"] It has been brought about in this way. You have in this country a Roman Catholic party united as one man; you have here two parties who, without the aid of that Roman Catholic party, cannot maintain their position in this House. I must specify the measures that are resorted to in order to maintain that position; but as in America, at the present time, certain measures are taken in the Presidential election in order to win the Irish vote, so in this country there are certain measures proposed from one side of the House in the hope of gaining the Irish vote. That is one influence at work to bring about this state of things. Another is the power in this country of voluntaryism and the Liberation Society. The House appears to forget that these are days of reconciliation upon this (the Opposition) side of the House, and that this is a general measure of reconciliation. Well, the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) is a distinguished member of this powerful Liberation Society.


I beg to say that I am not a member of the Liberation Society.


I congratulate the hon. Gentleman upon this—that, being one of the most determined opponents of Establishments in this House, he is able to say that he has not joined a society with which he entirely sympathizes. Now, what is the programme of the Liberation Society? ["Question!"] Their programme consists of four parts—church rates, Ireland, Scotland and England. The first of these acts is played out. The second is being played out, and the members of the Liberation Society are too honest, and, indeed, too confident, to deny that they look with something like certainty to the completion of this programme. The other cause which has brought about the present state of things is the exigency of party. Will any man tell me that these causes, which are in force now, will be diminished by the passing of this measure? Does any man doubt that, in the course of a few years, some right hon. Gentleman will get up, and, pointing to some one whom he had previously opposed, will say in reference to the Scotch Church, "Now is the hour! Behold the man!" Am I speaking without book of what is before us? I know there are many Gentleman on this side of the House who, if they thought that by the vote they are about to give they would eventually disestablish the Church in Scotland and in England, would shrink from giving that vote to-night, and I wish to point out to those hon. Gentlemen what is marked out for them by the head of the voluntaries in this country. The aim and end of the voluntary movement was sketched by Mr. Miall ten years ago; and it is clear from what he said that the application of this principle to Ireland will re-act upon the Churches of Scotland and England. Now, I think I am justified in saying that we shall see the same state of things brought about in this country that is now proposed for Ireland. ["Divide!"] I trust the House will pardon me for thus giving expression to my opinions, feeling, as I do, that this is a question to be argued not upon expediency but upon principle; for if argued on expediency, we know not how soon expediency may come to the conclusion that it is desirable to do in Great Britain what you are now doing in Ireland. I hope in the remarks I have made I have said nothing which can give offence to my Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen. I have done all in my power—saving always this great question—to promote their views for the extension of their religious liberty; but when I am asked to give my vote to root up that which has been established for three centuries, when I see that, logically, and, I believe, practically, it will lead to the same results in this country, I regret that I must give my vote against the Motion of my right hon. Friend.


I waited, Sir, until the last moment in the expectation that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would address the House, and in the belief that I was acting conformably to usage, as the person who proposed the Resolution that is now before the Committee, in desiring not to offer any remarks that I might feel necessary until the rest of the discussion had been wholly concluded. But as that is not to be so, I take occasion to observe that during this debate, which has ranged over a wide field, and now at the end of the eleventh night—and I, for one, do not grudge the time bestowed upon so important a question—the discussion has turned in general upon accessory and secondary matters, and not upon the merits of the Irish Church itself. But, after all, at this we can hardly wonder, for the case of the Irish Church is simple enough. The hon. Baronet who commenced the debate this evening (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) in a very attractive speech stated, and laid great stress on the statement, that the Irish Church at present exists. Well, Sir, that is an admission to which I attach great importance. It is an admission which we are constrained to make, and I think it is almost the only admission with respect to it that can possibly be made. For when we are asked to show cause for the removal of the Irish Church, assuredly it is enough to say, in recommending that the existence of the institution be brought to its term, that it never has fulfilled—that it is demonstrated it never can fulfil any of the objects for which a religious Establishment is constituted. It is not the Church of the nation, but the Church of a fraction of between one-eighth and one-tenth of the nation. It is not the Church of the poor, for my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole) has just told us that nine-tenths of the land of Ireland is in the hands of its members. It is not a Church supported and propagated by us on the high ground of truth, because, along with the magnificent endowments that we allow to continue in the hands of the Established Church in Ireland, we take care to vote, inconsistently from the public funds of this country, a sum for the support of that College whence go forth the pastors of the Irish people, who receive an education supplied at our expense. It is not even a Church maintained for the support and propagation of the Christian Faith, for it is clearly demonstrated by figures which no man can dispute that for that end it has entirely failed. The Home Secretary, indeed, thinking to pass lightly over this subject, said he knew of no figures except those of the last thirty years; but, whether the right hon. Gentleman chooses to know of them or not, it is an undoubted fact that there are Returns which have always been thought to come from trustworthy persons and persons of authority, such as Sir William Petty. Moreover, as I have told the right hon. Gentleman—and he may satisfy himself if he pleases—that about 140 years ago a careful Census of the religious persuasions of the people of Ireland was made, under the authority of the Government of the day, and that Census, concurring with Sir William Petty and every other investigator, stated the proportion of Roman Catholics to Protestants as much lower than that which now exists after three centuries of Protestant ascendancy. For what purpose, then, does the Irish Church Establishment exist? Not for any of the religious purposes that should consecrate the existence of a religious institution. It exists, unfortunately, for other purposes—for the purpose—I freely admit the merits of its governors and ministers—of keeping alive in Ireland the remembrance of bitter animosities, and for still establishing and maintaining, in a form palpable to the people, the principle of religious inequality and religious ascendancy. It is not wonderful, under these circumstances, that the debates of this year have taken a course very different indeed from those of thirty years ago, and that the defence of the Irish Church has been based mainly and almost entirely upon grounds extraneous to that Church itself. Now, Sir, we have before the House and the Committee—before Parliament and the country — not one policy but two. It is admitted by Her Majesty's Government, as much as by us, that the present state of things cannot be maintained; that, in the face of official responsibility, you cannot confront the people of Ireland and contend that the present condition of religious endowments in Ireland ought to remain unchanged. There is the policy of the Government, which may be said to consist mainly in the first instance of procrastination. Now, that is a policy which in our judgment is, I think I may say, almost inadmissible. We contend—and I shall presently endeavour to show—that if ever there was a moment calling for decisive action on the part of the Legislature, that moment is the present. But, although the policy of procrastination is adopted, the Government have given sufficiently clear indications of the course they would pursue. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government has told us—not this year only but last year—in terms not to be mistaken, that we are to create and not to destroy in the matter of religious Establishments in Ireland; while the noble Earl the Chief Secretary, the person next in authority with respect to Irish questions, has stated in terms still more distinct and with more detail, that the Government have no objection to the establishment of religious equality in Ireland, provided that equality be brought about not by taking from the existing Establishment, but by giving to those who receive no public endowments, and by increasing the unworthy and inadequate endowments now enjoyed by the Presbyterians. Thus the policy of the Government is the policy of joint Establishments. I know, indeed, that the notion of paying Roman Catholic priests is disavowed by the right hon. Gentleman. He contemplates more than that. He contemplates a greater solidity of position for them than as the mere stipendiaries of the State; he evidently concurs in the remark of the noble Earl (the Earl of Mayo) that equality is to be established not by taking away from those who have, but by giving from the resources of the State to those who have not. Such is the policy of the Government. It was presented to us at the very outset of these discussions by the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary (Lord Stanley), and it was presented to us the other night by the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works (Lord John Manners). The noble Lord (Lord Stanley), whom I have not seen present for a single moment during the later stages of the debate, treated the subject in a manner indicating perfect readiness to deal with the Established Church in Ireland in any way that might be found convenient. By the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works we were assured that Her Majesty's Government only occupied these Benches in order to be of use to the Church Establishment of Ireland, and that the moment they found they could cease to serve its interests there they should withdraw. It was impossible to conceive a more violent contradiction than the contradiction between the whole tone and substance of the speeches of those noble Lords; and I am sure that neither the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works nor anyone who heard those speeches will contradict me when I say that between the speech of that noble Lord and that of the Foreign Secretary who first announced the policy of the Government in this matter, a wider divergence could not exist. But, Sir, the policy of joint Establishment is not admitted even by the followers of the Government. The hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Colonel Barttelot), who opened the debate on Tuesday evening, avowed at once that for himself and for the generality of those with whom he communicated in his own part of the House he entirely repudiated that policy, and he then went on to lay down a policy, perfectly different in the sketch, of a mode of proceeding which he drew for himself, and which was nothing else but the revival of the old Appropriation Clause. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that you ought first to provide for the wants of the existing Church Establishment of Ireland, and then to dispose of the surplus property of the Church in some other manner, and that if you gave it to general education it would not be much amiss. That is precisely a revival of the plan of thirty-three years ago, which was then contended for by the Whig and Liberal party, and which was defeated by the Conservative party, and I must say by the public opinion of England; but whichh as now passed, like many other forgotten and abandoned ideas of the Liberal party, into the hands of hon. Gentlemen opposite. This is the position of the Government: divided among themselves—divided in the whole character and tone of the addresses which they make to the House, and repudiated expressly by important supporters of their own from behind them in respect to that they think essential for Ireland— namely, a departure from the present ground of simply maintaining the Irish Church Establishment, and an attempt to alter, as the right hon. Gentleman called it, the status of the other religious bodies in that country. With respect to those who sit on this side of the House, I must tell my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) that he will in vain address to me a series of questions belonging to the construction of a plan necessarily most elaborate and difficult—and most unfit and improper, in my judgment, to be introduced into this House by any person except the Executive Government of the country. It is from no disrespect to my right hon. Friend that I decline to enter upon an answer to those questions. He is perfectly at liberty to argue as he pleases upon them. I know very well the responsibility which I undertake in the endeavour to move this question. It has not been done lightly; nor shall I shrink from meeting its demands, whatever they may be. But I will not put to hazard what I think are great public interests, nor will I step beyond the limits of the province that belongs to Independent Members of this House, by undertaking that which would be a most arduous task for persons armed with the necessary means of information and authority; but the attempt to undertake which, without those means of information and authority, and before the proper time had come, would be indeed an act of the gravest imprudence. But, Sir, the first object of the policy that we profess is justice to the Irish people — to the whole people of Ireland; but especially, no doubt, to those who are the great majority of the people of that country, and upon whom the burden of all that has been corrupt, and all that has been oppressive in its Government has principally weighed—I mean the Roman Catholic population. But although our policy has for its aim the giving of justice to that country, I must also say it has commended itself to the Protestant opinion of this country. I will venture, as the shortest and simplest way of laying before the Committee the point of view from which it is so regarded, to read a part of a very short Petition from a congregation at Newport, in Pembrokeshire, which I think states, intelligibly and clearly, the view which most thoroughgoing Protestants in the stricter and even narrower sense of the word may take, and is taken, of the Resolutions now before the House. The extract is as follows:—"Your Petitioners" — [An hon. MEMBER: How many signatures?]—I am not going to read the signatures, nor do I rely upon the signatures. There is such a thing as argument, and statement, apart from signatures. It is altogether as a rational statement of opinion I am about to read a part of this petition, and not in the least on the ground of the signatures attached to it. It is as follows:— Your Petitioners are convinced that the maintenance of the Protestant Establishment in Ireland, being in itself a manifest injustice, and a constant source of irritation, has been and still is a great hindrance to the reception of the Protestant Faith by the Irish people. That your Petitioners view with alarm and regret the various concessions to Popery which have been already made in the shape of Maynooth endowments, and the recent proposal of Her Majesty's Ministers to create and endow a new Roman Catholic University in Ireland. That your Petitioners observe that all these concessions to Popery are justified on the ground that they are a kind of set-off against the injustice of maintaining a Protestant Establishment in Ireland. Your Petitioners therefore, pray"— I think very naturally, as the sequence of the considerations they have set forth— that your honourable House will take such steps as may be necessary to disestablish and disendow the Established Church in Ireland. If it were at an earlier period of the evening I should have been desirous to refer to an accusation made against us of coalition or conspiracy amongst certain parties—accusations which proceeded from the right hon. Gentleman under circumstances of a character that made me think it more befitting to pass them by at the moment in silence—but which has assumed a more serious complexion since, in consequence of his having adopted them in a written correspondence. My desire and my temptation is to enter upon that subject and to show that not only that statement of the right hon. Gentleman was not true, but that it was the exact reverse of truth, and that the very perons whom he indicated as favourers of the plan and the policy we have laid before the House were at that moment his own favourers, busy doing everything that could be done to discredit our propositions and to strengthen his hands. With the materials of that proof, I think I am abundantly furnished; but I pass from the subject in consequence of the lateness of the hour. Only this I will say, while we admit the existence of no conspiracy, we claim, I hope—at least I claim—to be in spontaneous concurrence with that party over all the world, by whatever name it may be called, which in any country is endeavouring, for the sake of social justice, to break down the system of religious ascendancy. Perhaps I may be permitted, in illustration of what I have said, to read a passage, not unworthy of the notice of this House, from a speech delivered a few days after our last debate in the Austrian Chamber at Vienna. The House knows that there, as well as here, there is a battle against religious ascendancy; but there the Protestants are in the minority, and are struggling for liberty; here the Roman Catholics are in the minority, and are struggling for equality; but the principle is the same, and the speech to which I refer was delivered by a gentleman who is now endeavouring to obtain by law in the Austrian Chamber, along, I believe, with the great majority of the representatives of the country, the relaxation of the severe restrictions imposed under the recent laws of that country in consequence of the Concordat with Rome. Mr. Kuralter, to judge from the tenour of his speech, is a Liberal Roman Catholic. He says— The Liberal party in England has introduced a Bill into Parliament by which the tyranny of the State Church in Ireland is to be brought to an end. ["Oh!"] Well, Sir, I cannot be surprised that Gentlemen in this House, and particularly Gentlemen on that side of the House, should use their freedom of indulging in audible exhibitions of their dissent from the sentiments of this Austrian speaker. But I wish to point out to them that which has been said before, and that which they may depend upon it is no unimportant element of this controversy—namely, that out of tit is country, among educated, liberal, and enlightened men, there are not two opinions; there is but one opinion on the great controversy with respect to religious ascendancy between England and Ireland. He continues— That party has determined that the Emancipation of the Catholics carried in 1829 should at least become a reality and a truth, and that one further step in advance should be made. It demands that this Church, with its oppressive privileges, that this Established Church—this English State Church, which in Ireland claims rank above the Roman Catholics, should cease to exist. Gentlemen, that is the demand of the Liberal party in England; as the law before us is the demand of the Liberal party in Austria. It is for you to draw the parallel. In England the Roman Catholics, in Austria the Protestants and other minorities are to be relieved. There is the Catholics, here it is the Nonconformists; but the principle is the same. That is the alliance to which, if it is charged upon us from the other side of the House, we are ready to plead guilty. Now, the objections which have been made to the proposal before the Committee are, in point of fact, mainly two. One of them is founded on the effect which the adoption of the proposal will have upon the Church of England, and the principle of Establishments in general, and the other refers to the time at which the proposal has been introduced. Now with respect to the Church of England. I have not troubled the Committee at any length on former occasions; but I think it right I should hold explicit language on that subject; because I know quite well that if I were to say that this is not the time for its consideration, and that the question of the Church of England was too remote, that would be an insufficient answer. Some years ago—three years ago—and even, perhaps, two years ago, but certainly three years ago—I believed the question of the Irish Church was remote; but that which then made the question of the Church of Ireland appear remote was simply this—that the state of opinion in the English mind was not ripe for its entertainment. No one will find that I ever stated that the case of the Irish Church at that period was not ripe for legislation; but the indifference which pervaded the public mind on the subject was, in my judgment, such that any man who had endeavoured, in a responsible position, even to direct the action of a party against the continuance of the Established Church of Ireland at that time would have been guilty, in point of prudence, of an error calculated to be highly injurious to the public interests. It would not have been an act of prudence to have attempted to deal with the question until a period had arrived at which there was a likelihood of closing it. I feel the responsibility of opening it now; but I have not been backward in bearing my share of the responsibility, because I am convinced that the time has arrived when the hope of closing it is offered to our reasonable expectations. Now, Sir, with respect to the Church of England; I remember very well at the time of the debates on the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, when I think I last had the opportunity of voting with the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), that it was stated and felt that the dangers to the Church of England were great and serious. Well, those dangers have continued; but along with her dangers and her divisions have continued also her life, her progress, her increased and increasing efficiency and efficacy in the discharge of her duty, and I own I cannot see how her national foundations, which are sufficiently broad, can be weakened by submitting her to the test of all the principles which go to justify a national Church, every one of which condemns the Church of Ireland. No doubt she has many enemies, and I shall, I know, only draw forth a responsive and sarcastic cheer from the other side of the House, when I say that, unhappily, many of the enemies of the Church of England, though not in intention, are to be found amongst her own friends. Who they are may be matter of dispute between us. I am not one of those who think that because the Church of England is a State Church that it is not therefore the business of those in authority within her borders to make any provision for the increasing exigencies which every day brings upon her, and which can only be satisfied by the exertion of her own voluntary energies. The assailants of the Church of England are various. There is the Liberation Society, which is a perfectly open manner of assault; but she unhappily incurs other dangers. Those men tend to weaken the foundations of the Church of England who push their principles so far as to deprive her of all dignity by forbidding her to be the teacher of a defined and substantive religious system. It seems to me, likewise, that those friends of the Church of England, if they may be so called, greatly weaken her, who are in the habit of picturing her condition, supposing she was deprived of State endowments, as one altogether to be deplored. Sir, it is a satisfaction to me to do an act of justice to an opponent, and I have pleasure in saying that the course I have described has never been pursued by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government; but there are a class of persons attached to the Church of England who contemplate the change of condition that would carry her over into a state of a voluntary society with feelings of extreme alarm, and they immediately raise most disparaging comparisons as to the moral effect of Establishment and endowment, so that, accepting them as a fair example of what Establishment produces, its result seems to be to emasculate the mind of those who are connected with bodies receiving support from the State, and to deprive such bodies of those better energies which were their own original and indestructible inheritance. Then again I must own that the extravagant claims made upon the part of the Establishment are, in my opinion, among the most effective modes of inflicting injury upon her; threats and menaces have been used regarding measures that have nothing to do with the religion of the Establishment, but touch only its temporal incidents. We have been told, and that not many days ago, with reference to discussions now going on in the walls of this House, that there are 20,000 pulpits in England, and if we do not take care what we are about those 20,000 pulpits will be used for some unknown and undefined but most formidable purpose, and that the day will return which was described by Hudibras— When pulpit, drum ecclesiastic, Was beat with fist instead of a stick. I do not know what infatuation—for such it appears to me—induces people in authority or out of authority to believe such things; but I would not undertake to be responsible for the amount of injury which may be inflicted upon the Church of England through these vain and idle imaginations. But it is hardly vainer to assert that upon every sound and rational view there is any ground for saying that the course which we are taking tends to weaken the Church of England. We are attempting to remove what we think a bad Establishment, and to remove a bad Establishment is not to weaken but to strengthen a good one. And now, Sir, will the Committee allow me to read a few words in which I think Lord Russell recently stated the conditions under which, according to the modes of modern thought and feeling, a religious Establishment may fairly, hopefully, and beneficially exist in a country? He says in his second letter to my right hon. Friend— It is, in my opinion, a great benefit to a country when it can have its civil government and its prevailing religious opinions in alliance; the State ruling all orders of men in cases spiritual as well as temporal, according to certain articles of belief, and a State form of worship on which the pastors of the Church have come to an agreement with the governors of the State. Nor is it enough that the articles of belief and the form of worship adopted should be those of the sect which is a majority as compared with any other communion; they must be such as are not repugnant to the general sense of the community, such that the minority may be satisfied with their position and unwilling to break in upon the general harmony on account of the Church Establishment. Such has been in its outline the history of the Church of England. I believe that to be the most discriminating and the most judicious delineation of the position the Church Establishment may usefully and beneficially occupy, either in relation to the present tradition of the Church of England or for a very long time to come. But, if I am to be charged with displaying hostility to the Church of England, let me just ask Gentlemen to consider for one moment how many men there are in this House who would venture, supposing there was no difficulty in doing it, to disestablish the Church of England? I presume, of course, if the Church of England were disestablished, that her members must be dealt with upon principles not less favourable than those which there seems to be a general disposition to apply to the Church of Ireland. I am bound to say that Mr. Miall, who has been referred to by the noble Lord (Viscount Galway), is disposed to go to such an extraordinary length in the tenderness and liberality of his dealings with the Church of England in the event of disestablishment—["Oh, oh!"]—well, but why so impatient? Have you read Mr. Miall? Has that Gentleman who interrupts read Mr. Miall? No, he has not; and yet—


I know Mr. Miall well; I have heard him in this House, and I know that he is the enemy of all Establishments.


The noble Lord has not read Mr. Miall's proposals; but if the noble Lord sets any value upon the information, the principle upon which Mr. Miall proposes to deal with the English Church Establishment are far more liberal than those which I have endeavoured to sketch in the proposal to deal with the the Irish Church Establishment. I will, in one moment, present the view I wish to bring before you. It is, upon any rational calculation, quite plain that the Church of England, if I am to go into regions so visionary to satisfy suspicion—[The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Oh, oh!] The Chancellor of the Exchequer may not consider them visionary. He may be prepared to deal with the question at once, and considering the rapidity with which his political evolutions have been executed on certain occasions, there is very little doubt that he would be prepared. But the effect of the disestablishment of the Established Church, so far as I can estimate it, would be this — It would amount to saying to that Establishment, "You are to go forth free to do what you please; a perfectly organized religious body, with the value of about £80,000,000 or £90,000,000 in your pockets to start with in the world." I believe that would be very nearly the form which, mutatis mutandis, the plan for the disestablishment of the Church of England would assume. But I am not so ambitious, even disclaiming any other grounds, to think of such a plan. Much has been said with respect to the time at which this Motion has been introduced, and that was a point dwelt on by my hon. Friend the senior Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote), who treated this subject with a candour, and a fairness and justice of mind which are as conspicuous in him as his sobriety and clearness of judgment. There are, in my opinion, three distinct grounds that marked out the period for dealing with the Church of Ireland, any one of which would have been sufficient to open the opportunity, and by opening the opportunity to constitute the obligation. My hon. Friend seemed to think that it was enough to condemn a proposal such as that now before the Committee, that you could say that it was admitted on the part of the promoters that the subject could not be finally settled and disposed of during the present year. Now, that is no objection whatever to a proposal, that it cannot be finally settled and disposed of during the present year, provided it be true that during the present year some real and effectual progress can be made—that something can be done which, if you do it, will give you a starting-point more advanced next year; whereas, if you do it not, you must begin twelve months hence at the point where you now stand. The state of opinion in this country, in my view, amply justifies the attempt which we are now making. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wigton Burghs (Mr. Young) was entirely misapprehended by some one who understood him to say that this was a measure brought forward to unite the Liberal party. Well, it may be all very well for Gentlemen who sit opposite to say that—that is the charge, and they may believe it or not, as they like. They may assume—or some among them may assume, for I am far from believing it to be the case universally—some of them, I say, may assume, and perhaps it is not unnatural that they should do so, that it is for party purposes that this great public question has been brought forward. But it is one thing for the noble Lord and men of his way of thinking to make that assumption with which, coming as it does from him I can find no fault; and it is another thing to say that admissions have been made by us. We take the liberty respectfully to disclaim having made these admissions. We claim to be guided by the public interests involved in the question. We have done nothing in this matter to make it difficult for the Government, as far as we are concerned, to continue in their offices; but undoubtedly I, for one, have proceeded upon the principle that the interests involved in the condition of Ireland are of such a character and such a magnitude as entirely to throw into the shade any question connected with the continuance in or dismissal from Office of any Government. I certainly will not be the hypocrite to contend that I view the existence of the present Government in many of its Departments with any special satisfaction. But I say that the state of opinion which exhibited itself in that union of the Liberal party, both within this House and through the country to the remotest corners of the three kingdoms, and in spite of the attempts that have been made to import religious bigotry and animosities, go to demonstrate that we have the hearts and minds of the people in our favour with regard to this great question. But it is not that alone; it is the conduct of the Government themselves. I do the Government the justice to say that they themselves opened the question of religious differences in Ireland. Who had asked them to do so? My hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) as an individual. But it was the Government themselves who declared that they had a policy for Ireland, and who, having in the sketching and drawing of that policy told us that it included the ecclesiastical element, put forward, with a strange maladroitness, that extraordinary scheme for a new Roman Catholic University to be charged upon the Exchequer of this country, and them went on to say that they had no objection to a religious equality accomplished through the medium of new endowments. The Government having brought forward this question themselves, are not in a position to find fault with us because we have said that we shall oppose that policy, which we think to be impracticable and mischievous, with a policy of our own, which we believe to be wise and beneficial. But I am bound to say that even if the Government had not done this, and had we been as much divided on this question as I believe we are united, I for one, speaking as an individual, could not look at the state of Ireland in connection with the general security of the Empire, and hesitate to say that I did not see in my own mind how, even independent of the hope of party combination or effectual action, we should have been justified in refraining from pressing our convictions with regard to the Irish Church upon the notice of Parliament. The question of the state of Ireland is one upon which it is difficult to enter or to dwell. How was it treated by the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works (Lord John Manners)? It was the business of the noble Lord to draw a rosy picture, and a rosy picture he drew. He described the Fenian conspiracy as foul, hateful, abominable—so far I am not indisposed to agree with him; but the noble Lord added that it was contemptible, that its existence was now terminated, and that it was terminated by the overwhelming loyalty of the great mass of the people of Ireland. The latter part of that description was in flat contradiction to the official account given us by the noble Earl the Secretary for Ireland. The noble Earl described the feeling of the population of a part of Ireland, and their latent sympathy with Fenianism, in terms that no ingenuity can reconcile with the less-informed and more distorted statement of the First Commissioner of Works. We well know which of those statements is the true one. It suited the purpose of the debate, no doubt, to make out that the condition of Ireland was a satisfactory one. But what is the real state of the case? You have obtained in that country by the exercise of your gigantic power external peace and order, but it is only on the surface. Do you recollect the speech of Sir Robert Peel when he proposed the Maynooth Grant? Do yon recollect the comparatively trifling character of the questions that then arose in the relations between Great Britain and America; and do you recollect that, notwithstanding the trifling character of those questions, he told you of the little cloud that was in the western skies, not bigger than a man's hand, but which might grow into gigantic dimensions, and from which the storm might burst? Sir, I am not going to enter into that subject. It is one on which words should be few; but they must find their way to willing minds and hearts. I can only say that, in my opinion, the present state of Ireland, where peace is secured only by the exercise of the overwhelming power of England, and where the Minister tells us—rightly and justly tells us—there exists in a large portion of the country a wide amount of sympathy with Fenianism, and a disposition to join in it on the first emerging hope that it may succeed, is not satisfactory. I am not willing to be responsible for the continuance of that state of things, or to run the risk of our being involved in those conflicts which, though remote, may be possible, till I use every effort in my power to clear the conscience of this country with regard to Ireland, so that, confident in right and justice, this nation may meet with hereditary valour and perseverance whatever exigencies may hereafter arise. Sir, it is time for us to abandon this doctrine of exclusive loyalty secured by exclusive privileges. As to what has been said by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) in the way of warning to us not to turn into enemies men who have been the nucleus of British feeling and attachment, I protest against the whole of that doctrine. I will recognize no distinction between one class of the population and another, except the distinction of obedience and disobedience to the law. I decline entirely to admit—I deny that you have a right—I mean a moral right—to draw a distinction between this and that religious persuasion; to cover one with privileges and to doom the other to exclusion, in order that the minority may be liable to the reproach of purchased loyalty, while the mass of the people may see themselves condemned to be held in less estimation. This is a policy of which we have had examples enough. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) knows enough of it. He knows it was the old orthodox practice of Downing Street long ago to govern the colonies through knots of men, each of which assumed to itself the glorious appellation of "British party." Some thirty years ago every colony had its British party, and that British party was always in a woeful minority; but whenever it was proposed to legislate in a broad and comprehensive way in the interest of a colony we were told, "Oh, you will ruin the British party." "You will exasperate the men who have been always loyal, and who have adhered to you in all your difficulties"—no doubt they did, for they were the chief instruments in creating them—"and you will fail to conciliate a set of fellows under the influence of demagogues who have always been in opposition to your Government, and who, do what you may, will always continue so." That was the experience of the colonies. Let us apply that experience to the case of Ireland. I always contended that those who call themselves the friends of the Protestants of Ireland do them a gross injustice. We have got this British party in Ireland, unhappily, for their misfortune and for ours. In the colonies we have now a British party. But the British party is not the little knot or clique of former days—it is the whole community. It is in the East, the West, the North, and in the South, and so it will be in Ireland if we do them justice. Apply to your laws, as well as to your administration, the principles of equity and equality, and our British party, instead of disappearing, will unfold and enlarge until it comprises within its borders every sane and intelligent and right-minded man in the country. With the state of Ireland which is now before me—by one stage, and by one stage only, removed from open civil dissension, I, for one—apart from every question with regard to the union of parties or with regard to political expediency as between the sections of this House—can never be responsible, and will not be responsible for its continuance. Our duty here is to strengthen the foundations of the Throne, to consolidate the institutions of the country, and to pursue those glorious ends by means that are not less pure,—namely, by striving to bring about a union of all hearts and minds among the subjects of Her Majesty. Upon that work we have entered, and in the prosecution of it I trust we shall not be arrested. But, Sir, although no attempt has been made in this House to arrest us in the prosecution of that work; yet, unless the ordinary channels of information be singularly insecure, there have been declarations made elsewhere which it is impossible to pass by. We have been told that "elsewhere" these propositions have been laid down—First, it has been said that the Resolutions now before the House of Commons call upon Her Majesty to decline the performance of duties imposed upon Her Majesty in her Executive capacity by Acts of Parliament. Well, that is by much the least important of these accusations, because it happens that there is not a syllable of foundation for it. The Resolutions now before the Committee have not the smallest reference to anything to be done by Her Majesty in her Executive capacity, except simply the concession we pray may be graciously made to us of permission to enter on the consideration of a certain legislative measure with respect to the Church of Ireland. That, therefore, I pass by as an assertion of small importance. The next announcement is that, if this House should think fit to take a certain course, it will produce an irreconcilable hostility between the two Houses of Parliament. Sir, in my opinion, that is neither a wise nor a decorous intimation to be made even by the youngest, even by the least experienced of all the Members of either House of Parliament; and that it should proceed from the quarter to which it is ascribed—that from that quarter is to proceed the gratuitous supposition that something is to be done here which is to produce this irreconcilable hostility—appears to me to betoken a woful aberration of judgment. But, Sir, this is not all—furthermore, a power is set up which is to direct the Government and to direct the Crown in the discharge of their duties; and the Ministers are told that if the House of Commons—not for actual offences that we have committed, but for offences it is supposed we may commit—if the House of Commons pass any Address to Her Majesty in conformity with the Resolutions before us, the duty of Ministers—as they are compassionately informed by this presiding genius—will be to advise Her Majesty to withhold her assent. And then, lastly, supposing that even that should not be found a measure completely successful—supposing any "factious" opposition to Government should appear—that is to say, supposing the majority of the representatives of the people should think it their duty to claim their privileges—the privileges and the powers which are inseparable from them, and which they have inherited from their forefathers as much as any Peers of Parliament have inherited theirs, then Her Majesty's Government are on no account to resign before the year 1869, because an immediate dissolution is impossible, or nearly impossible. Sir, detailed comment on these propositions is not necessary. But I think the right hon. Gentleman opposite knows enough of this House to be aware what effect they will produce upon its mind. One thing I must observe—the whole of these propositions, which I have cited in unexaggerated language, were delivered in the face and hearing of Ministers of the Crown, and by those Ministers of the Crown were either approved or unrebuked. Now, Sir, in these circumstances, though, as I have said, many words are not necessary, a few may be useful; and I, for one, speaking as a Member of Parliament, and not presuming to commit any other man, give fair notice that, in the discharge of those duties which the Constitution assigns to me as a representative of the people, I will not on any conditions consent to receive from "another place" the word of command. Sir, I earnestly hope that the Resolution before the Committee will be accepted by a large and decisive majority. We are engaged in a great and solemn work. We are about to confer, as we, at least, on this side of the House, hope, a great boon on the people of Ireland—yet a boon strictly their due, because strictly confined within the limits of equity and justice. It is a mistake to suppose. Sir, that we ever stated or thought that the settlement of the Church question in Ireland was to be a panacea for the evils of that country. The word has been charged on us, though I know not that it has ever been used by any one among us. We are well aware that the evils of Ireland are inveterate evils. Even in the case of a battle or a conflagration the mischief which a moment may do it may take months or years to repair. But here for centuries perverse ingenuity has been at work to deprave and disturb the social condition and political State of Ireland and long must be the time, even after the application of the requisite remedies—and in the list of those remedies I admit progress has been made—long, I say, must be the time before the full and happy result which is desired can be obtained. But upon that work we have entered, and in it I trust and believe we shall persevere, asserting that the measure we now contemplate, and the acceptance of which we urge on Parliament, though it may not be the whole of the policy, yet is a vital and essential member of the policy which is needed in order to bring Ireland into the condition of being a great part of the strength and a great part of the glory of this Empire, instead of being, as hitherto, in respects neither few nor small, our danger and our reproach.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman, I think, was somewhat unreasonable in expecting that I should have risen to address the Committee, because I am in the recollection of the House that at the time he was preceded by two distinguished Members, and both of whom had spoken at great length—one being no less than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), and both speaking in support of that view of the question which I now rise to support. Nevertheless, in the then state of the debate I was prepared to go to a division, and therefore I do not think that I am at all open to the charge of the right hon. Gentleman. But I have no wish whatever to pursue that point further on this occasion. I rise now only to make a few observations, although there are some remarks made by previous speakers which I cannot altogether pass without notice. And I wish the House to be able to put a clear interpretation upon what we are now going to do. I shall confine my observations to that which is before us—the first Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman in the early part of his speech entered at some length into the consideration of the second and third Resolutions. No doubt that was a very interesting subject. I shall, however, only remark that the intepretation the right hon Gentleman put upon them was of a more satisfactory kind, so far as I recollect, than hitherto has been accepted by the House, or was prevalent in the country. If, indeed, as the right hon. Gentleman says, all that he desires is that Her Majesty's Ministers should advise Her Majesty to commit to the consideration of this House a measure in which her Prerogative is interested, that was a proposition which I cannot reconcile with the description which the right hon. Gentleman gave us of his Resolutions when he first introduced them—namely, that the object was, to use his own words, "to prevent the creation of any further vested interests." But, Sir, at this late hour of the night, it is unnecessary for me to dwell further upon that important topic. I should not have touched upon it had not the right hon. Gentleman introduced it in his speech this evening. But I think, before we are called upon to discuss the second and third Resolutions, it would be well if he were to confer with his habitual advisers, and endeavour to arrive at some conclusion more consistent with the declaration made this evening. We object, Sir, to this Motion of the right hon. Gentleman on several grounds. I will only mention the most important, and I will endeavour to express myself in the most condensed form. In the first place, we object to the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland because we think it will be most injurious to Ireland. We believe that such a measure will revive and exasperate all those religious animosities which the wiser legislation of the last thirty years attempted to subdue. The right hon. Gentleman says — and several Members who have spoken have made the same observation—that we have said nothing in defence of the Church of Ireland; but what we complain of is, that you who come forward and propose its destruction really urge nothing against it. [Laughter.] I repeat that observation. I listened this evening to the speech of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Cowper). I do not quote it as remarkably original, but as a representative speech. It represented all the objections made to the Church of Ireland; and what were they? They all concluded with this charge—that the existence of the Church in Ireland is an injustice to the Irish people. That is the charge. Well, I say that is a charge which it is, of course, very difficult to meet; because we naturally, in practical politics, do not think that we advance towards the truth, or towards a solution of difficulties, or towards the establishment of a policy superior to the one which we may have pursued, by dealing only with abstract qualities, with justice or injustice. At the beginning of this century an eminent philosopher wrote a well-known book on the Principles of Political Justice; and Mr. Windham said of that book that when he read it there was not a page to which his heart did not respond; but when he concluded it he came to this conclusion—"That if it were applied to the condition of England it would produce universal confusion and endless anarchy." So when we are called upon to destroy a great institution in Ireland on the plea that its existence is an injustice to the Irish people—try that plea. Is it an injustice to the whole of the Irish people? Everyone admits that a considerable portion of the Irish people are either in absolute union with this Church, or view it with extreme sympathy. If that is the case, its existence cannot be a complete injustice to the whole of the Irish people; it can only be a case of partial injustice. Well, if it is only a case of partial injustice, everyone must admit that such a question is not susceptible of so easy a solution as the total destruction of an institution on the plea of its absolute injustice to the Irish people. This is the first consideration. The existence of the Irish Church not being an injustice to the whole of the Irish people, its destruction would be an act of injustice to a portion of the people. It would also be an act of injustice to a great portion of Her Majesty's subjects who may not live in Ireland, but who entirely sympathize with the religious principles of that institution. It may be an act of injustice to another and a larger portion of Her Majesty's subjects, who believe in the necessity of preserving the connection between Church and State, and the supremacy of the Sovereign. These are considerations at which, at this late hour in the morning, I only glance, to show how absurd it is to argue a subject of this difficulty and importance upon the broad abstract assertions which hon. Gentlemen opposite have made the material of the debate. Therefore, in the first place, we do oppose this sweeping Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman, because we believe it would be a very great injury to Ireland, and that the plea upon which it is recommended is one which will not bear analysis.

We object to the sweeping Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman on another principal ground — namely, that it will very much shake the security of property. I will now instance a case which has not been put before—and it is something to make an observation which has not been made during so prolonged a debate. So far as I can collect from the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who have advocated this act of confiscation—because an act of confiscation it is now admitted to be, whatever may be the motive—it is recommended on this ground, that the Church of Ireland has not fulfilled the purposes for which it was instituted. [Opposition Cheers.] I am glad we are agreed on that. But if that be the principle upon which you are founding your new system of confiscation, how can you stop at the Church in Ireand? Are there no other institutions—and very rich institutions too—that do not fulfil the purposes for which they were instituted? Look to the great companies in the City of London. Look to the Fishmongers' Company, or to the Drapers' Company, or to the Company of Merchant Taylors. They have large estates; but the Company of Fishmongers does not fulfil the purposes for which it was instituted. They no longer take care to provide us with fresh fish. The Drapers sell no cloth; and I have often dined with the Merchant Taylors, and I have never, I believe, met my tailor. Yet these are societies in possession of vast estates and in Ireland; and they are societies which have been instituted for particular purposes—that we might have excellent cloth and fish, and that our clothes should be cut in the proper fashion. They do not fulfil any of those purposes; and I want to know, therefore, if you confiscate the property of the Irish Church, on the ground that it does not fulfil the purposes for which it was instituted, on what ground can you oppose the attempt to confiscate the estates of those great guilds and companies? Therefore, we believe that if this Resolution be carried it will aggravate the animosities of the Irish people, and injure Ireland. We regard it as a retrograde act and a retrograde, policy. And we believe, too, that if this Resolution be carried you will shake the principle of property throughout the kingdom. We oppose the Resolution, in the third place—omitting many reasons of importance, but of a secondary character—because we believe that the necessary consequence, if this policy be carried into effect in Ireland, will be to make the connection between Church and State in England impossible. Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman admits that Mr. Miall, who has been so often quoted in this debate, is an eminent man, and he fairly represents the Liberation Society. Well, Mr. Miall does not for a moment disguise his views on this subject, and it would be impossible for him to do so, because I have here in my hand an extract from the last number of The Nonconformist, and I will briefly refer to Mr. Miall's language, who, I have no doubt, conscientiously holds the opinions he expresses, and desires to propagate them. I wish to show what is the view of the party Mr. Miall represents. He says— The Irish Church question will not be finally disposed of before the public mind will be prepared to entertain proposals in reference to the Scotch Kirk and the Church of England. As it has been with one Establishment, so, probably, will it be with others; their time is fixed. An impulse will be given unexpectedly, and from an unexpected quarter. Mr. Gladstone is treading on the verge of a wide region of change. I am not introducing these remarks for the sake of controversy, nor because I wish to thrust Mr. Miall's name into the debate; but his name having been quoted every night during this discussion, I refer to his remarks as a commentary on the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that no man sitting in this House can think for a moment of proposing the separation of Church and State in England. I wish to show what the authority you have been referring to thinks in reference to the present proposal. The right hon. Gentleman says that "Mr. Miall's views are of the mildest character. He would rather enrich than plunder the Church. He is prepared to let them keep £80,000,000 of their property." Now, in my view of the necessity and advantage of the connection between Church and State, I am not reconciled to the change by the information of the right hon. Gentleman that the Church, dissociated from the State, is to be a very rich Church. In the first place, I cannot bring myself to believe that the people of this country would ever consent to the severance of that tie, and at the same time agree that the Church of England should retain the property which it now possesses. It would be an imperium in imperio, which to my mind would render the Government of this country almost certainly difficult, perhaps impossible. Therefore, I think we must dismiss from our minds the notion that any such arrangement could ever be tolerated by a British Parliament. But we may have a very powerful and very disturbing element in our society by means of an Established Church, even without the £80,000,000 which Mr. Miall and the right hon. Gentleman opposite are quite ready to concede to the Church free from its connection with the State. That is exactly the point to which, had the time been more opportune. I should have called the serious consideration of the Committee. Hon. Gentlemen have spoken as if a free Church in a free State were a very progressive act; but it should be remembered that the Church has been free before this; and hitherto those who have preceded us in this country have thought that our civilization was advanced and secured rather by preventing the Church from enjoying that absolute and unrestricted freedom which we are now told will be the source of so many blessings. It was because we wanted something which should save us from what my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) called "fanatical enthusiasm and sacerdotal tyranny," that the wise men who built up the Realm of England devised the doctrine of the Royal supremacy, which is, in fact, giving the control of ecclesiastical affairs to laymen, and which is, at present, the only security for our religious liberty, and a great security for our civil rights. This is a point which has scarcely been touched upon in this debate, but it is one, I believe, gravely affecting the interests of the people of this country. Now, the right hon. Gentleman has appealed with great confidence to what he describes as the sympathy of public opinion with the policy which he recommends. Sir, he is a very bold man who can, off-hand, or without very laborious pains, decide what is really, on a subject of this grave import, the public opinion of a country like England. It is not to be ascertained in a moment, because it is not formed in a moment. What public opinion is to most individuals is the opinion of the circle in which they move; and we in this political life of ours, who have the advantage of living in at least a considerable circle, have some means, no doubt, of ascertaining what general opinion may be. But we are also apt to be wonderfully warped in our conclusions by the particular sphere of observations in which we habitually exist. But I differ, with diffidence, from the right hon. Gentleman in his estimate of the general feeling of the country on this question. No doubt, if you take rattling articles in newspapers and the conceited conclusions of coteries as public opinion, all is very easy for a public man, whether he be a Minister or a Leader of the Opposition. But when questions of fundamental interest in the Constitution of this country arise, it is not in our power to ascertain what the opinion of a nation like England is in such haste and by such superficial means. I believe that the supremacy of the Sovereign is a doctrine deeply fixed in the convictions and in the conscience of England. The more this subject is agitated the more that principle will come to the surface; and it is upon conclusions like that, and not upon some alleged abuses, local abuses of an institution, that grave questions of this magnitude must be finally decided. Sir, I would willingly have sat down this moment only that would be discourteous to an hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke early in this night's debate, and spoke too at some length. I refer to the hon. Baronet the Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen), who, in an agreeable and clever speech, which I may describe as an amiable invective against myself, offered some very severe but courteous comments on my life and career, and made some observations which I ought perhaps to answer. But there was one which I am particularly desirous of noticing, because it was founded on what I think he will find that I am correct in characterizing as a misconception on his part and on that of his friends. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to be offended because I described some hon. Gentlemen in this House as "Romanists." [Sir COLMAN O'LOGHLEN: Hear, hear!] And an hon. Gentleman who spoke last night (Mr. Rearden) said that I had given him a nickname because I had called him a "Romanist." I certainly had no intention in using that word, to say anything that should be in the least degree offensive; and I rather think that the hon. Baronet, who has literary acquirements and powers of literary research, will find that he is under a mistake. I myself have read most of the great writers in magno certamine utriusque Ecclesiæ, and I believe I remember the time when the word "Romanist" was first introduced. It was introduced as a phrase of conciliation, because there is another word which is connected with odious associations, and has been for a long time, with the people of this country, which might describe his creed. When the word "Anglican" was introduced early in this debate, adopted for the first time, and repeated every night in the nature of a correlative expression, it naturally occurred to me—as I did not choose to avail myself of a word of which I confess I should not be ashamed were I of that religion—to use the correlative word "Romanist." Therefore I can assure the hon. Baronet that no offence was meant. I will not refer at any length to the observations he has made upon a statement with which I closed my remarks before Easter. I made those remarks advisedly. It is my belief that there is in the English Church a party of extreme opinions, who advocate the disunion of Church and State. I was informed by an authority upon which I place implicit credit, that some leading members of that party had been in habitual communication and combination—I never used the word conspiracy, but I will not fight about words—with those I described as Romanists, and for the rest of the statement, that they were in open confederacy, I leave the House to judge of it for itself from the late division; and when the right hon. Gentleman comes forward with a new policy, proposing, rightly or wrongly, a revolution in the country, the dissevering of the Church from the State, and boasts of the majority with which he can carry it into effect, the House must judge whether, under the circumstances, it was unfair for me to say he represented the combination which I described.


said, to save the time of the Committee he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 330; Noes 265: Majority 65.

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

Sir, the vote at which the Committee has now arrived has altered the relations between Her Majesty's Government and the present House of Commons; it is, therefore, necessary for us to consider our position. I propose, with the permission of the House, to move that the House, at its rising, adjourn until Monday next.


I naturally, in common with other Members of the House, regret very sincerely any obstruction or interference with the general course of business; but I cannot possibly object to the Motion made by the responsible Ministers of the Crown under the circumstances of the case.


then moved that the Chairman report Progress.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.