§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
, in rising to move the second Resolution, said: Sir, now that I am on my legs, let me say one word in answer to the Question of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Verner). ["No. no!"] I did not wish to answer that Question at the moment, because I own I thought it was beyond the line of Parliamentary practice; but, at the same time, I think the substance of the Question of the hon. Gentleman was such that, if he choose to put it to me in Committee, it would be a perfectly proper one from his point of view; and therefore, as I do not wish to be guilty of any discourtesy, I will answer it. In a free country like this, when the minds of men are deeply stirred and actively at work on a question such as the one now before us, I am not surprised that some men of eminence and excellence should not agree in, but, on the contrary, should disapprove the course which, impelled by a sense of public duty, I feel called upon to take; but I cannot on that account be discouraged when I see that the majority of this House, in the course they have adopted with respect to the Irish Church, are supported by the warm and very general judgment of the country. I intend to say not one word in regard of the general discussion. I only rise now because, though the Resolution which I am 1887 about to propose—the second Resolution—is a perfectly practical one in itself, it depends no doubt on the first Resolution, and therefore it is right that I should state the political and practical reasons which induce me to think the Committee will have no difficulty in accepting it. With respect to the political reasons I will be brief. In the beginning of these discussions my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India (Sir Stafford Northcote) said he objected—and I thought at the time with great reason—to any attempt on our part to close up this subject in the form of an Abstract Resolution. Undoubtedly my right hon. Friend cannot estimate too highly the objection to dealing with important questions by abstract Resolutions alone. Nobody can feel greater objection than I do to dealing with a matter of this great importance in such a way. I never have been a party to such a proceeding, and I hope I never shall be. I say this on high grounds of public policy; and the grounds in this case are special as well as general. We cannot but recollect that, without any justice, as I think, but with some show of plausibility, the charge was made against us that we have not dealt sincerely with this matter, but have been using it merely for party purposes of our own. I do not in a matter of this kind wish to enter into the game of bandying assertions and negations. No one is convinced by those assertions or negations, and for the most part they are of a futile character, so far as such matters are concerned; but I think we ought to give the best proof in our power that we are dealing with this subject as men ready to be responsible for what they do. The only proof we can afford of that readiness is to give effect to our intentions, so far as the time requires and demands, in the shape of a practical measure. I fully admit also that the lengthened period during which this question, as a party question or a great political question, has slumbered since it was brought before us in 1838, enhances that consideration. I hope that in what I have said I have given no offence to anyone; and I now proceed to submit reasons of a practical character for passing such a Resolution as that which I am about to propose. If I said that the object of the Resolution was to save a large sum of money I should be saying what was perfectly true, but what would be very far from the whole truth. Take, for instance, the lapse of a bishopric of £3,000, £4,000, or £5,000 a year, or it might be of a 1888 considerably larger amount. Now, if the House should adopt no measure to put into a practical shape the abstract Resolution on the subject of the Irish Church, it would not only be within the province, but I will go further and say it would be the duty, of the Executive to make an appointment to any bishopric which might become vacant, just as if no such Resolution had been adopted. That being so, even as a question of money, the question is whether, in the view of the probability of such vacancy, life - interests of the value of perhaps £30,000, £40,000, or £50,000 are to be taken out of the discretion of Parliament, and brought within the category of vested interests, which completely secures them from being handled by our legislation. It is not only this, but many appointments must take place in Ireland, not only of an episcopal but of a parochial character; and I wish to bring this clearly to the mind of the Committee, for I must confess that I am not unconscious of how ineffectual the operation of the Church Temporalities Act of 1835 has been to prevent the recurrence of cases of scandal. In that Act there was a provision made that where Divine service was not performed a certain number of times in the year there should be a suspension of parochial appointments; and it was thought that that would prevent the recurrence of things which I, and indeed a great many of those Gentlemen who sit opposite to me, will admit to be scandals. I will state a few cases to show the great preponderance of Roman Catholics in some parishes in proportion to the members of the Church of England, and the amount of the benefices. In the parish of Tullagh, diocese of Emly, the number of Anglicans is 44; that of Roman Catholics. 3,723; and the gross annual value of the living £573. In Kilmichael, diocese of Cork, the number of Anglicans is 34; that of Roman Catholics, 4,485; and the gross value of the living £746. In I Derrymacross, diocese of Cloyne, the number of Anglicans is 14; that of Roman Catholics, 1,991; and the gross annual value of the living £565. In Shandrum the number of Anglicans is 23; that of Roman Catholics, 2,973; and the gross annual value of the living £615. Though, as a matter of course, I must wish the incumbent of that parish a long, happy, and prosperous life, yet, as the rev. gentleman has been in his present position for the last forty years, it is only natural to expect that something must occur there before a very 1889 distant date. In the parish of Kilkerry, in the diocese of Tuam, there are 36 Anglicans; 9,300 Roman Catholics; and the gross annual value of the living is £524. In Orradown the number of Anglicans is 46; that of Roman Catholics 5,745; and the gross annual value of the living £477. I think, therefore, it will be felt by all those who contemplate extensive modifications in the temporalities of the Irish Church that these are motives of very considerable force for arresting during a reasonable time—and certainly I only ask it for a reasonably short period—appointments that could not be made without continuing evils which many Gentlemen opposite admit, and appointments that, in some instances at least, all of them must feel would be injuries and scandals to the cause of religion. I need not enter into the question in what manner cases of this kind have arisen. Some of them may be owing to the dissolution of unions in instances where the authorities could not interfere. Other cases might be added; but those which I have cited to the Committee are strong ones, as showing that, in view either of the partial changes contemplated by one portion of the House, or the sweeping changes contemplated by the majority of the House, there are many places in which no new appointment should be made pending the ultimate decision of Parliament on the position of the Irish Church. Another argument I would make use of is also one which addresses itself to both sides of the House. It is quite evident that, if the plan which we have recommended in principle should be adopted, considerable difficulty will attend the transition period. While prelates and incumbents will be in possession of their benefices under the old order of things, a system of voluntary offerings will be growing up around them. Therefore, two systems may be in operation at the same time. Possibly that may be avoided; possibly it may not be avoided; but I have already indicated enough to show to hon. Gentlemen that, with the views we entertain, it is not unreasonable to say, even if there is to be this transition period, yet in the passing of a law containing a provision for stopping the growth of new vested interests, no difficulty can arise; but, on the other hand, it must prevent the unnecessary prolongation of that transition state. Perhaps my next argument is one to which I have no right to expect the assent of hon. Gentlemen opposite, though it will weigh considerably with those 1890 who desire a settlement of this question in one general sense, and it is this—Were we to stop with an abstract Resolution, we might, probably next year, be in the predicament of having to re-commence the necessarily lengthened and laborious process in which we have been this year engaged. There would be a great loss of public time and an undoubted inconvenience in the shape of the interruption of the course of Public Business—a circumstance which I do not for a moment hesitate to to conceal, although I freely admit I think that, at all times, secondary public objects must be sacrificed to those which are of primary importance. I do not, however, deny the inconvenience, and I say that the rational course for us, having advanced to the point we have now reached, is, as far as we can, to make good and fortify our ground, and especially in this point of view—that when it shall once have been the pleasure of Parliament to adopt, in the shape of a legislative Act, provisions which shall put a stop to new appointments in the Irish Church, from that moment forward, there will, I think, be a very general, or, at all events, a very extended, opinion among our opponents, as well as among those who support us, that it will be for the interest of all parties to accelerate the final settlement of the measure. I have no doubt that by giving this practical shape to the design and proceedings on which we have entered we shall practically bring our side of the House, and even many among those who may have differed from us originally, to the conclusion that, after the decisive proceedings of Parliament, their best course will be to give their aim to procuring the best and most satisfactory settlement of the question upon such a basis as may be open. These are the arguments which I have thought it necessary to lay before the Committee in respect to the reasons for this Resolution; but I will also take the liberty—and I am quite sure I am now speaking for my right hon. Friends, and, indeed, for this side of the House generally, as well as for myself—of asking hon. Gentlemen opposite to believe that, in making this proposal, we do so with a firm conviction that it will not entail any serious practical inconvenience in regard to the government, the discipline, or the spiritual offices of the Irish Church as a religious community. This, however, I am bound to show, and I will do so in the course of two or three minutes. First of all, I admit there is a presumption of inconvenience 1891 from suspending appointments. Perhaps I had better state, in the first instance, that there is no true ground, and that it would not be fair to ask the Committee for anything like an indefinitely prolonged suspension. What I propose to ask, when the proper time conies, is that the suspension should last only until the 1st of August in the year 1869—that is, practically, for one year, with the small margin necessary to allow for the contingencies of Parliamentary discussion a little later or a little sooner. My point is that no inconvenience of a serious or severe character will arise from this suspension during the period that I name. The suspension extends to episcopal appointments, to capitular appointments—which in Ireland are commonly called "sinecures," though I do not use the term, because it is capable of an invidious interpretation—and lastly to all such parochial appointments as are not in private patronage. It may be asked why I leave out the cases of private patronage and incur a great inconvenience by the creation of new vested interests as far as benefices in private patronage are concerned. My answer is this—The benefices in private patronage are comparatively few in Ireland, though they are very numerous in England. In a long list which I have here of the most remarkable cases with respect to the anomalies to which I lately referred, the name of a private patron occurs in a long column but thrice, Crown occurs as patron six or seven times in the same column, and all the rest of the livings are in the hands of the Bishops. The bulk—at any rate, the large proportion—of the appointments, are in the hands of the Bishops. Now, were I to attempt to deal by means of a Suspensory Bill with benefices in private patronage in Ireland, I should immediately come across the question of injury to proprietary rights; and it is quite plain, I think, on sound principles of general policy, that we ought not to touch those proprietary rights at all until we are prepared with definite and final provisions to convert them into money and dispose of them for fair compensation. It is evident that could not be done by a Suspensory Bill, and upon that clear and broad ground we shall ask the House to make no provision with regard to benefices in private patronage. But the bulk of the benefices in Ireland are in public patronage, and most of them in episcopal patronage. Let me consider these cases. As respects the appointments to bishoprics in Ireland, I 1892 am very far from saying there are not many important duties performed, and beneficially performed, by the Irish Bishops; but I think it is admitted that even the present number of Irish Bishops is larger than is necessary for the adequate performance of those duties — admitted, I mean, by those who are favourable to the principle of Establishment in Ireland, such as the Bishop of Down and Connor, who is a very competent judge. [An hon. MEMBER: "Oh, oh!] Well, I "will leave the hon. Gentleman to settle that point with the Bishop of Down and Connor, who, if I am rightly informed, will be perfectly capable to hold his own in a controversy with the hon. Member. Primâ facie, however, I may say that if I find an Irish Bishop stating that for the present two Archbishops and ten Bishops one Archbishop and five Bishops might well be substituted, I need not be more squeamish than the Bishop of Down and Connor, although I have no desire to go on limiting or prescribing the number of Archbishops, Bishops, or other dignitaries whom our fellow-Churchmen in Ireland may like to have, if they choose to pay for them. I think, therefore, I may fairly say that no practical inconvenience is likely to arise if such lapses of bishoprics as may occur within fourteen or fifteen months from the present time are left to be dealt with by the general provisions of the ecclesiastical law. Having made inquiries on the subject, I apprehend I am not wrong when I say that, both as to the temporalities and the spiritual offices of the bishoprics, the present law is completely sufficient for that purpose. All that is requisite with regard to the temporalities will be the introduction into the Suspensory Act now proposed of a provision contained in the Church Temporalities Act of 1833. As regards the spiritualities, provision is actually made by the existing ecclesiastical law, and it therefore would not be necessary for Parliament to make any new enactment. As to capitular appointments I will not enter into a discussion, for I think no objection of a, practical character is likely to be raised respecting them. In regard to parochial appointments the case is thus far different. There must be in Ireland, and I have no doubt there are, a large number of parish clergymen who have their hands full of legitimate parochial duties. Now, what I wish to point out is that there are also in the Church Temporalities Act provisions which, either as they stand or with slight modifications, 1893 will enable us to make perfectly satisfactory arrangements for the discharge of duties which will include the cure of souls; and will be perfectly respectable and efficient as far as temporal provision is concerned, but which will not in any manner create a freehold, and thereby lead to a vested interest. I think the words used in the Church Temporalities Act are these—That, in certain cases where appointments to Benefices are to be suspended under the Act, it shall be in the power of the Commissioners, together with the Bishops, to appoint to the parish a curate, and to assign to the curate such moderate remuneration—'moderate' is the epithet used—such moderate remuneration and allowance as shall seem becoming.Now, I think that, in a case of this kind there is no reason at all why a person appointed to a provisional and temporary charge should be placed in the position of a mere curate as far as emolument is concerned. It may be very proper for the stipend to be small in cases where the parishioners are very few and the duties chiefly ceremonial. But in all parishes where there is real and extensive work to be done, I think the workman who comes to do it is entitled to fair remuneration, and the Bill I shall propose, if it be my duty to bring in such a Bill, will contain a provision allowing of an adequate remuneration, so that the Bishop and the Commissioners shall not deem themselves to be bound by the scale of pay generally given to curates. Under these circumstances I submit that the small amount of inconvenience which can arise under the plan which I have sketched out in principle; in the Resolutions before the House is as nothing compared with the greater objects we have in view. I may be asked, perhaps, whether I have a precedent for this course of procedure. Well, Sir, I have a precedent for it as far as any circumstances in which Parliament has ever been placed could by possibility afford a precedent. Parliament has never been called upon before to deal protectively, as it is now called upon to deal, with a great mass of absolute freehold interests; but it has been called upon to deal with interests which approximate in their character to freehold interests—namely, with the vested interests acquired by public officers in offices held during good behaviour. And when there has been a case in which legislation affecting such offices has been contemplated, and when at the same time for any reason it has been necessary to postpone either 1894 the whole or part of such, legislation, Parliament has wisely provided against the growth of vested interests, properly so called. The principal example of this is the Act 6 & 7 Will. IV., c. 77, which was to carry into effect the recommendations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England; and the 25th section provided that, in case the office of Judge, registrar, or other officer of the Ecclesiastical Courts became vacant during a period prospective, but defined by the Act, the person who might be appointed to such office—Should accept and take it subject to all the regulations and alterations affecting the same which might be afterwards made and provided by and under the authority of Parliament, and should not by his appointment acquire any vested interest in such office, or any title to compensation in respect thereof.I think it is evident we could not allow the existing law to confirm freeholds, and afterwards deprive parties of them even upon conditions, or even with compensation; that is a proceeding I should be slow to recommend. I think the plain and simple course is that the law should step in and intercept the creation of any freehold interests from this time. Although I do not say the precedent I have quoted is upon all fours with the case before the Committee, I think it is one which in substance supports the recommendation I make. I said I would confine myself to points of a practical character. I think I have sufficiently stated the object of this Resolution, and the grounds on which I recommend it; and I hope that it will be accepted by the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution as follows:—2. That, subject to the foregoing considerations, it is expedient to prevent the creation of new personal interests by the exercise of any public patronage, and to confine the operations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Ireland to objects of immediate necessity, or such as involve individual rights, pending the final decision of Parliament."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
I will follow the example of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, both in the brevity of my remarks and in the freedom from any acerbity which he has displayed on the present occasion. But I wish to explain in a very few words the position of the Government with respect to the Resolution now before the Committee. The two sides of the House appear to me to have totally different objects in this matter. The right hon. Gentleman 1895 and his Friends desire to disestablish and disendow the Irish Church; and the Government and its supporters wish to deal with abuses which may exist in the Irish Church with a view to insuring its efficiency and its permanence. That being so, of course we cannot give our assent to this Resolution. We admit that, upon the first. Resolution, we have suffered possibly as great a defeat as we could expect to suffer upon a question of this kind; and, although I think there are many objections which might be taken in detail to some parts of these Resolutions, I would rather say at once, with a view to bringing to an end the business of the Session, as we have professed our wish and intention to do, that it is not desirable we should protract the discussion upon them; but it must be distinctly understood that the Government give no assent to these Resolutions and do not assent to the Bill which is to be founded upon them. The course they may think proper to take upon it will not be declared until the Bill is before the House. It is not necessary until we see it to declare the manner in which we would deal with it. I will only remark that, in these Resolutions, it strikes me there is a reservation or rather a restriction put upon the Church in Ireland which is not put upon other persons or other bodies in that country. As I understand, if these Resolutions are carried into effect by legislation there is no intention to apply the same rule which is applied to the Established Church to other bodies also. I do not observe that there is anything in these Resolutions to restrict the appointment of any new professor at Maynooth, or to restrict any further gifts under the Regium Donum. This, however, is a matter on which I need not dwell now; I merely remark it in passing. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, that be has taken the correct course in asking for legislative sanction for the object he has in view. I quite agree also in the statement the right hon. Gentleman has made—I could not have stated it in stronger language myself—that it would be the duty of those who have the patronage—the public patronage—in their hands not to be guided by the Resolution of one House of Parliament, but only by an Act that had been passed by both Houses and had received the sanction of the Crown. That was the observation of the right hon. Gentleman, and it was a perfectly just one, and shows that he is not attempting in any 1896 way to over-ride, by the action of one House, those who have reposed in them the duties as well as the rights of patronage. Therefore, on the part of the Government, I recommend that there should be no division taken upon these Resolutions, and that we should meet them with a simple negative, without putting the House to the trouble of dividing.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he admitted that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire was necessary in order to relieve him from, the imputation of attempting to legislate by means of the House of Commons, without consulting the House of Lords. If the right hon. Gentleman succeeded in passing the Bill founded upon the Resolutions, the result would be to forestall the action of the next Parliament, by imposing upon it the duty of repealing a statute, passed by the present Parliament, nominally temporary in its character. The Bill which had been foreshadowed would involve the principle of rendering the tenure of those clergy who would do the duty of the incumbencies affected by the Bill temporary, and would establish a precedent in part of the United Church dangerous to the freehold tenures of the incumbents of the Church in England. This principle was that of a clergy salaried by the State, holding their functions and cures at the pleasure of the Government. Such is the position of the curés in France; and to that position the principle of the Bill would, if used as a precedent, reduce the position of the clergy of the Established Church. The present movement was owing to the action of Dr. Cullen and Dr. Manning, the latter of whom, in the introduction to the second edition of his work entitled Essays on Religion and Literature, published by Longman in 1847, wrote in the same sense in which, in 1859, previous to his elevation by the Pope, he preached that the task of the Papal Church in this country was "to subdue and to subjugate an Imperial (meaning the English) race." The passage was as follows:—Now, I have made the remarks as a ground for the assertion with which I shall conclude. The return to faith, which we have traced from the middle of the last century—that is, for now about a hundred years—steadily ascending, doctrine after doctrine, first within the Anglican Establishment, then reaching beyond it into the regions of antiquity and of Catholic truth, has now received its complement in the full re-entrance of the Catholic Church, and the authority of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. It is no longer a question of fragmentary doctrines or isolated truths; of a 1897 little more or a little less of this devotion or that opinion, but of the whole Catholic faith upon the principle of Divine certainty and of Divine authority through the Church and in its head. And it is visibly providential that at this moment the supremacy of the Crown, which is the Reformation in concrete, has literally come to nought… The Providence of God has poured shame and confusion on the Tudor statutes. The Royal supremacy has perished by the law of mortality which consumes all earthly things. And, at this period of our history, the supremacy of the Vicar of Jesus Christ re-enters as full of life as when Henry VIII. resisted Clement VII., and Elizabeth withstood St. Pius V. The undying authority of the Holy See is once more an active power in England; the shadow of Peter has fallen again upon it.He begged pardon of the House for thus detaining them; but he saw the Liberal party of England thus opposing themselves in feeling and action to the Liberals of the rest of the world, inasmuch as they were accepting a policy dictated from the Vatican; and he hoped that his hon. Friends whom he saw opposite would excuse him if he warned them that they were entering upon a dangerous course.
§ MR. WHALLEY
wished to say, in answer to the appeal of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, that speaking for himself, and for, he believed, the Liberal party, his vote was given against the Church of Ireland because it had not done its duty on the subject-matters to which the hon. Gentleman referred; and he was prepared and anxious to record a like vote against the Church of England, believing that, while it was established and endowed to resist Popery, it had, in the words of the Prime Minister, been long in secret combination and was now in open confederacy with that power.
§ SIR FREDERICK HEYGATE
said, he could not allow this Resolution to pass without recording his protest with regard to what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) said about the Irish Bishops; he must say he thought it was rather unfair to quote the authority of one Irish Bishop and to take no notice of the opposite authority of all the other Bishops. Mr. Spurgeon, at a recent meeting, said that, if the Irish clergymen were turned into the streets to-morrow, it would only be an act of stern justice, avenging the past; and added that the object in view in this movement was the disestablishment of all Churches. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to assume that vacant parishes might easily be supplied by curates; but he must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that, for a number of years past, there 1898 had been a great difficulty in obtaining curates; and, if the ordinary inducements to their profession were to be withdrawn from them, very few of those gentlemen would remain in the country; and he was afraid the result would be that many of the parishes would be left altogether destitute. He had only to say further that he thought the Government had done wisely in declining those discussions, which were not upon the merits of the question, but were political discussions and intended for a political result. ["No, no!"] It was right in such a case not to go on dividing; but he hoped the day was not far distant when there would be a different result.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ 2. Resolved, That, subject to the foregoing considerations, it is expedient to prevent the creation of new personal interests by the exercise of any public patronage, and to confine the operations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Ireland to objects of immediate necessity, or such as involve individual rights, pending the final decision of Parliament.—(Mr. Gladstone.)
I am only anxious, in proposing the third Resolution, to explain what is a point of form, but, at the same time, a point of form by no means unimportant. I am aware, and many Members of the House must be aware, that, according to the rules of the House of Commons, it would be competent to a Member to introduce into the House, with leave from the House, a Bill which might affect the rights of the Crown without the previous Assent of the Crown having been obtained. Such things have been done on certain occasions by a Government when it has happened, from the smallness of the subject-matter or from inadvertence, that notice has not been taken of the fact previous to the introduction of the Bill; and, again, Bills of that nature have been introduced by individuals not belonging to the Government, even when they were Bills to which the Government did not assent, and have been passed through certain of their stages without the giving of that Assent on the part of the Crown—it always being understood, however, that neither this House nor the House of Lords would ever consent to pass the Bill, or to part with it, until, at one of its stages, that Assent had been received. But, Sir, in this instance, the case is different. The interest of the Crown is in this case not merely a proprietary interest, but one of wide and farreaching import; and also this is a Bill which, although it is not proposed by the Government, would be, I may say, proposed 1899 on behalf of a very large proportion of the Members of this House, acting together generally in its support. Now, that being so, I have felt, with the advice and concurrence of others, that it was my duty not to claim the entire liberty which the House; has accorded to its Members; but to ask the House to present an Address requesting the Assent of the Crown, and allowing us to deliberate upon this subject before any Motion be made in the House for the introduction of the Bill. I should have been very sorry to set in my own person the precedent of one who, acting in any manner on behalf of a party in this House, endeavours to force a discussion on a Bill involving very important rights of the Crown without having had the Assent of the Crown previously obtained to the introduction of the Bill, though precedents in abundance might be found for such a course. I wish to make that explanation; but I need not trouble the Committee on other points, because the Resolution is simply consequent on the second Resolution. The Members of Her Majesty's Government are perhaps aware, and other Members of the House may be also, that in substance the words of this third Resolution are taken from the Church Temporalities Act of 1833—Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament her interest in the temporalities of the Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, and other Ecclesiastical Dignities and Benefices in Ireland, and in the custody thereof.The only difference is that in the Church Temporalities Act the words only include certain of the bishoprics and the archbishoprics. I have never understood why, because other temporalities were affected, though not extinguished by the Act. But here I think it is better to request the Assent of the Crown with respect also to benefices and dignities, including everything which it is possible to bring within the scope of the Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by proposing—3. That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly to pray that, with a view to preventing, by legislation during the present Session, the creation of new personal interests through the exercise of any public patronage, Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament, Her interest in the temporalities of the Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, and other Ecclesiastical Dignities and Benefices in Ireland, and in the custody thereof."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. LEFROY
said, that as representing a constituency including a large number of the members of the Irish branch of the United Church, he could not allow this 1900 Resolution to pass without observation. At the same time he would imitate the wise and dignified conduct of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and meet it with a negative. If he could by any means prevent that Resolution from passing he did not hesitate to say that he would persevere to the utmost. But he candidly confessed that the opinion of the House had been so fully expressed by the majority that it would be a vain effort to continue the opposition. He thought they would rather weaken than strengthen their case by doing so. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had, however, clearly stated the only terms on which the sense of the House was not taken by a division on that occasion. He would, therefore, reserve his opposition for a future day, and would content himself for the present with a protest. He would only advert to one observation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, who had quoted the gross revenues of certain parishes in Ireland. The amount certainly surprised him (Mr. Lefroy); but all he could say was that they must be subject to very heavy charges; for be was certain that the net amount of these parishes would equally surprise the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, that this was one of the most important and solemn occasions on which the Crown could exercise its functions; and he wanted to know, whether it was to be taken for granted that Her Majesty's answer to the Address must be favourable, or whether she might not return such a reply as she might think proper? Referring to what had been said on a previous occasion, that Mr. Pitt had dissolved in 1784, when he had been beaten by a majority of 1, the hon. Gentleman pointed out that it was not until Mr. Pitt had been beaten several times, and the majorities against him had dwindled down from 59 to 1, that he had dissolved, and he did so then because the mind of the country was prepared to respond to his appeal. He wished to know what there was to prevent the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government from doing the same? He called upon the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, and also the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, to say, whether they thought the Assent of the Crown to the Address a mere matter of form; or whether, having protested against the introduction of the name of the Sovereign into the debate, they were now by a combination 1901 of both sides to prevent Her Majesty from exercising an independent judgment on this eventful occasion?
§ MR. DISRAELI
It is unnecessary for me to make any statement to the Committee; but in consequence of the inquiry of my hon. Friend, who has just addressed us, I must say that I do not think there was any assumption on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire as to the character of the answer he will receive, or whether he will receive any answer at all to that Address. What I understood the right hon. Gentleman to do was this—to propose certain Resolutions, one of which was an Address to the Crown. When these Resolutions have been properly passed they will be dealt with after due consideration by the Government, and Her Majesty will be properly advised with respect to them.
The right hon. Gentleman has represented me with perfect truth. I adverted to the liberty which, as I said, the House frequently gives to its Members, but which I did not, I added, intend to claim; but I never made any assumption whatever as to the particular nature of the advice which the Government might think it proper to give to Her Majesty, or as to the answer which the Crown might give to the Address, and it would have been highly improper had I done so.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ 3. Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly to pray that, with a view to preventing, by legislation during the present Session, the creation of new personal interests through the exercise of any public patronage, Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament, Her interest in the temporalities of the Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, and other Ecclesiastical Dignities and Benefices in Ireland, and in the custody thereof.—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. LAING
rose to move the following Resolution:—That this House is of opinion, that while the principle of disestablishing the Irish Church has been affirmed by this House, the question is too important to be settled without an appeal to the constituencies created by the new Reform Acts; and therefore that it will be the duty of the Government to arrange the course of Public Business so as to enable this appeal to be made at the earliest practicable opportunity.The hon. Member said, he did not intend to trouble the Committee by dividing, because the course of events had brought about the exact state of things which it was the object of his Motion to produce. 1902 He understood the position of affairs to be this—Her Majesty's Government proposed to wind up the Business of the Session as early as possible, with a view to bring about a dissolution under the new constituencies, and with regard to the Scotch and Irish Reform Bills, to leave the same liberty to the House which had been left to it in the case of the English Reform Bill of last year; but that, with the exception of those Bills, the ordinary business only of the Session would be brought forward. It was for the Leaders on both sides, under such an arrangement, to see that the business should be wound up so as to enable an appeal to be made to the new constituencies in October or November next at the latest. But, if it was the opinion of the Opposition that there was any constitutional objection to such a line of action, then it would be their duty to propose a Vote of Want of Confidence, which, if carried, would lead to an immediate dissolution. He had a very strong opinion, which was shared by many hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, that the former course would be the most desirable. As far as he could form an opinion, the country was in favour of the decision come to by the House, and he believed that an appeal to the new constituencies would result in a large majority for disestablishment; but he should be sorry if an impression went forth that the question had been perverted to party objects, and that fair play had not been given to the Government in order to facilitate their recourse to that appeal. It was very desirable, moreover, that two General Elections should not occur within a very short period; and he believed that if the new constituencies decided unmistakably against the Irish Church, the more reasonable portion of the Conservative party would acquiesce in that decision. He could adduce other reasons for the course he had suggested; but there were occasions when the objects in view were promoted rather by silence than by speech, and he should be sorry to say anything which might revive those angry feelings which had happily to a great extent subsided. He wished, therefore, to withdraw his Resolution, trusting that calm reflection would lead to the adoption of the course it proposed.
§ MR. AYTOUN
, in rising to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice, said, he had voted in favour of the Resolutions, and hoped they would tend to the 1903 pacification of Ireland; but he must say that considerable doubt existed throughout the country whether any portion of the secularized revenues of the Irish Church was to be given to support the Roman Catholic religion. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had declined to enter into details as to the application of those revenues, and he was no doubt perfectly justified in giving that answer; but people out-of-doors were naturally anxious to know what course would be adopted by the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends in the event of their accession to Office. There might, at least, be an assurance given as to what was not intended to be done with these funds; but the right hon. Gentleman had said nothing to preclude the notion of their application to the furtherance of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland. An influential meeting had been held at the Tabernacle, under the presidency of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), in favour of the right hon. Gentleman's Resolutions, and at that meeting a letter, addressed to the chairman by Mr. Spurgeon, was read, containing the following passage:—The one point about which the Dissenters of England have any fear is one which I trust you will mention tonight. We fear lest any share of the Church property should be given to the Papists. To a man we should deprecate this. Bad as the present evil is, we would sooner see it let alone than see Popery endowed with the national property. Not one single farthing ought any religious denomination to receive, and the whole matter will be imperilled if those in power are not quite clear as to any douceurs to the Pope. We are not agitated by the dead horse of 'No Popery,' which knaves would raise that fools may be their instruments: but we are very determined that it never shall be said that, under the guise of removing the grievances of Ireland, we made an exchange of endowed Churches, and put down the Anglican to set up the Roman image.Mr. Spurgeon, who was likely to be a fair judge of the feelings of English Dissenters, believed the whole matter would be imperilled "if those in power are not quite clear as to any douceurs to the Pope." The House, however, did not give the assurance requested, and since, in one of his speeches, he had recommended that the glebes and glebe houses should be retained by the Protestant clergy, he must have contemplated the possibility of some equivalent to the Roman Catholics. The principle of religious equality on which this movement was based would manifestly be violated if the Episcopalians retained these endowments while the Roman Catholic priests received no equivalent. He was 1904 not saying whether any particular course would be right or wrong; but he thought it essential that no doubt should exist as to what would be done. He would leave the English Members to speak for themselves; but the people of Scotland were most strenuously opposed to any endowment of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, either in the shape of grants to Maynooth or to Roman Catholic schools or Universities in Ireland. The Roman Catholic body in Ireland were to a great extent Ultramontane, and Ultramontanism was altogether opposed to the feelings of the great mass of the people of England and Scotland. So long, therefore, as Ultramontanism existed in its present state in Ireland, it would form a political barrier to the union of the people of Great Britain and Ireland. He believed that the peculiar nature of the priesthood educated at Maynooth College had greatly developed the Ultramontane feeling in Ireland. There was not a more powerful priesthood in Europe; for they were mostly drawn from the lower classes of the people, and their power was thereby greatly increased. He felt confident that the people of Scotland would withhold their support from any Government which intended under any shape or form to give a grant to Maynooth, either in the nature of an allowance from the Consolidated Fund, or any sum by way of the capitalization of the Irish Church property. With regard to Roman Catholic denominational education, one Member of the Government stated that he approved it, and although in the late Government the then Secretary for Ireland said that no charter for a Roman Catholic University would be granted without giving the House an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon it, yet such a charter was, in fact, granted. His Resolution, upon which he should venture to take the sense of the House, would be good against any misunderstanding of this kind. The question embraced by his Resolution was of the greatest importance, and it was desirable it should be settled as speedily as possible. As a necessary means to such a settlement he trusted that the House would receive a definite assurance from the Government that they would not appropriate any portion of the property of the Irish Church to denominational education.
§ MR. LAMONT
, in seconding the Resolution, said, that if he had thought there would be the slightest hesitation or difficulty on the part of the right hon. Gentleman 1905 (Mr. Gladstone) in assenting to this Resolution, he should have voted against the right hon. Gentleman's Resolutions.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That when the Anglican Church in Ireland is disestablished and disendowed, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued; and that no part of the secularized funds of the Anglican Church, or any State funds whatever, be applied in any way, or under any form, to the endowment or furtherance of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, or to the establishment or maintenance of Roman Catholic denominational schools or colleges.—(Mr. Sinclair Aytoun.)
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. WARREN)
said, he had attentively listened to the speeches made during the Irish Church debate by Members representing Irish constituencies, and he had not heard from them a single disclaimer of the Maynooth Grant, or an expression of willingness on the part of the Irish Roman Catholic Church to give up that endowment.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that, previous to the first division on the Resolutions for disestablishing and disendowing the Irish Church, he had objected to the idea of appropriating any portion of the property of the Irish Church to the purposes of any other religious denomination whatsoever. He (Mr. Newdegate) believed that a very long and wide latitude ought to be given to the first word of the Resolution "when" the Church is disestablished; the hon. Member was, however, looking to an eventuality, which he was compelled to contemplate, and deserved great credit for his foresight. As he (Mr. Newdegate) was obliged also to look forward to that eventuality, he could not refuse to support the Amendment, if the hon. Member should press it to a division. The anticipation of the hon. Member, that some portion of the property of the Church would be sought by the Roman Catholic hierarchy was perfectly reasonable, because in a published letter, Dr. Moriarty had distinctly stated that some of the funds ought to be applied to schools, the erection of churches, and various other purposes of the Church of Rome; while the same expectation was elaborately set forth in the last number of The Dublin Review, in a most remarkable article headed "The Case of Ireland before Parliament." He thought the hon. Member was justified in meeting, as far as possible by anticipation, expectations of that kind. But if he (Mr. Newdegate) were asked whether the protest made by 1906 the Amendment would be effectual if the disendowment was carried? he must say that he did not think it would, because the power which actuated the majority of the House to disestablish the Protestant Church in Ireland would be sufficient to endow all denominations, the Papal included, after the disestablishment had taken place. He had deprecated the idea of chartering and endowing a University in Ireland. The Dublin Review approved of the policy of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, and attributed his conduct entirely to the apprehension with which the Fenian outbreak had inspired him; and that article, emanating from the most Ultramontane publication in Ireland, closed with a distinct claim to endowment for the Roman Catholic University, after it was chartered, which the Roman Catholic hierarchy, who patronized The Dublin Review, expected as the inevitable consequence of the course which the House had taken, supposing, of course — which he (Mr. Newdegate) thought a very erroneous supposition—that the Reformed Parliament would confirm the declaration of the present House of Commons. Seeing, then, that that expectation and claim had been put in already on the authority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland—although he did not believe that this country would sanction the disestablishment and disendowment of our religion in Ireland—he should certainly divide with the hon. Gentleman, if he went to a division. He felt convinced that, if the Church of Ireland was disendowed, the power and influence which now commanded the Liberal party would most surely carry out the anticipations expressed by Dr. Moriarty, and in the last number of The Dublin Review, that some portion of the funds which were to be wrested from the Protestant religion would be appropriated to the purpose of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he wished to know, whether, in point of form, practice, and usage, when they were in Committtee on the Established Church of Ireland, they could suddenly convert themselves into a Committee upon the Presbyterian or Roman Catholic Church in Ireland? The Resolutions which they had gone into Committee to consider were limited to the Irish Established Church; and he should like to know, whether it was regular for that Committee to take up Resolutions relating to a totally different subject? If any hon. Member desired to consider the position of 1907 the Roman Catholic Church or of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, it would be much more convenient to move for a Committee on the particular Church he wished to refer to ["Oh, oh!"], and they could then consider whether any legislation was necessary with regard to that Church. Whatever might be the decision of the Chairman on the point he had raised, he, himself, would vote against this Resolution, as he would vote for the Previous Question, on the ground that it was quite irrelevant to the subject before the Committee.
§ MR. WHALLEY
rose to order. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets had risen to a point of Order, but had departed from that, and was explaining what he would do, in spite of any decision which the Chairman might give on the question be had raised.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, the hon. Gentleman was not quite accurate. He had not risen to a point of Order, but because, the previous speaker having concluded, an opportunity was afforded him to address the Committee. It was true he had intimated his wish to ask the Chairman's opinion whether the course now being pursued was usual? but, to save the Committee the inconvenience of his rising again, he had gone on to say, before he was interrupted, that, whatever might be the Chairman's decision on the order of proceeding, he would object, as an individual, to enter into the discussion of a question which he thought irrelevant to the main purposes of that Committee. He would, therefore, vote against the Resolution without desiring to express any opinion on its subject.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
wished to say, before the Chairman rose to answer the question put to him, that the question they were then discussing was the disendowment as as well as the disestablishment—because the two things could not be separated—of the Irish Church. Well, what would weigh very much in the minds of a number of men in determining that question was the after applications of the funds to be obtained by the process of disendowment, and to say that point was not relevant to the question seemed to him to be wholly to misunderstand the great subject of the present discussion.
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, he was rather surprised at the objection taken by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets. Although himself not so skilled in the rules of the House as that 1908 hon. Gentleman, who was also, no doubt, more acquainted with the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, and much more in that right hon. Gentleman's counsels than he had been, and who, probably, had a place already carved out for him in any new Administration, still, he thought, it was very natural they should have a distinct understanding as to what they were going to do in the matter. Unless he had understood the right hon. Member for South Lancashire to say undisguisedly that none of those funds were to be applied to the Roman Catholic Church, he would not have voted with him. It was highly important they should enter into that subject at once; and if a Standing Order stood in the way, as suggested by the special pleading of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, it should be set aside for that purpose. They ought not to proceed further, in regard to the Bill that was about to be brought in without, having a distinct understanding on that question. The people of England, he believed, were opposed to giving the money of the Irish Church to increase the Regium Donum; and he felt sure they would rise as one man against the proposal of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, if in disendowing the Irish Establishment, they were going to endow the Roman Catholic Church.
, as to the point of Order raised by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, must remind the Committee that, by the Order of the House, they were then in Committee on the Acts relating to the Irish Church, and therefore they were not in Committee on the Acts relating either to Maynooth or the Regium Donum. The Resolution moved by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) referred, mainly, to the Anglican Church in Ireland, and the application of the funds belonging to that Church in the event of its being disestablished and disendowed; and therefore the Resolution, as a whole, seemed to him sufficiently within the terms of the Reference to the Committee to enable the Committee to entertain it. Such part of it as related to the Anglican Church in Ireland and the application of its funds was plainly within the Order of Reference to the Committee.
Sir, I wish to make this observation in regard to this Resolution, that it is one of a very different character—I am not now expressing an 1909 opinion as to what it proposes to effect—from those which have already been agreed to by the Committee. The three Resolutions which have already been agreed to were necessary for the purpose of laying the foundations of a measure which it is hoped the House will pass during the present Session. Therefore, there was nothing in them that was of the nature of an abstract Resolution; and nothing that pretended in any way to bind Parliament or any parties hereafter. Now, the present Resolution is of a different character; because it has nothing whatever to do, and can have nothing what ever to do, with the Bill which it is understood is about to be introduced into the House. It has this great objection, that although it may express the opinion of this House as to what should be done at some future time, yet as a General Election usually leaves out about 200 Members who had sat in the previous Parliament, and a new Parliament is a body of Gentlemen often of different sentiments and acting from different motives, and often under a different set of circumstances from the one that preceded it, there seems to me no use whatever, as regards any purpose of legislation, in passing the Resolution just moved by the hon Gentleman behind me. To the first part of the Resolution, as far as the word "discontinued," I presume everybody in the House would agree; because it has been stated over and over again, in the course of these discussions, that if the Irish Church were disestablished, the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum would be withdrawn. That is a matter about which I presume there should be no question and no dispute whatever. But I object to the words in the latter part of the Resolution, because they purport to bind the Committee to what, in my opinion, it is quite impossible for the Committee to bind itself to. I ask hon. Gentlemen, if they have read the clause, just to read the latter part of it again. It says—And that no part of the secularized funds of the Anglican Church, or any State funds whatever, be applied"—mark the words—"in any way, or under any form, to the endowment or furtherance of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, or to the establishment or maintenance of Roman Catholic denominational schools or colleges.Well, but seeing that you have in England a system of education almost altogether denominational, and also seeing that there is a system that I do not approve of, and never have approved of, but which still exists, and has been sanctioned by Parliament 1910 for thirty years, the hon. Gentleman wishes the next Parliament to decide that that system is wholly inapplicable to Ireland. You have adopted that system in Ireland, and practically your system must be denominational to a large extent; because in three-fourths of the country, or more than one half, at least, the schools being in districts where there is no population but a Roman Catholic population, must, as a matter of course, be denominational. But then if you pass this Resolution, the result would be this—no, there would be no result whatever; I am quite in error, because no future Parliament would feel itself bound in the slightest degree by this Resolution. We are not about to legislate upon it. We are merely asked to pass this Resolution for the purpose of expressing the opinion of hon. Gentlemen who happen to be sitting in the House this evening. But it might be that, in a future Parliament, my hon. Friend, or some other person, might refer to this Resolution as a kind of pledge which Parliament had passed and agreed to. Of course a future Parliament would not care a single farthing about a Resolution of this nature which had been proposed in a previous Parliament. I therefore put it to the hon. Gentleman who has moved the Resolution that he should stop at the word "discontinued." After the repeated declarations which have been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire there is no necessity for adopting the first part of the Resolution. But with regard to the latter part of the Resolution, I, for one, could not give it my support, and if it is put to the vote I shall certainly divide against it, and on the grounds, that, first of all, it has no reference to any legislation which is proposed to be introduced during the present Session; and secondly, that I will not have my hands, or my vote, or my voice tied up against any proposition that may be made hereafter for assisting schools for general education in Ireland, which may be, and I believe must practically be in a large portion of that country denominational schools, and to which denominational schools this clause strongly and emphatically objects. On these grounds I shall vote against the latter part of the Resolution, while to the first I have no objection to offer except that it is unnecessary.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
said, the Committee had now to deal with some of the evils of the recent precipitate Resolutions; 1911 for upon the first occasion of a supporter of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire proposing a Resolution, which was its natural consequence, he was told by his friends that it was ill-timed, inconvenient, and useless, so for as it regarded the future. He had taken no part in the debates on the three Resolutions, not because he did not regard the question as being of paramount importance, nor because his constituents did not take great interest in it, but because — seeing his way so little into the future — he was unwilling to offer opinions which must necessarily be crude, and which he might hereafter deem it to be his duty to modify. But when the House was told, a sit had been by the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, that a Resolution dealing with the branch of the subject immediately under its consideration was useless and ill-timed, he should like to be informed how it was more useless or ill-timed than those other Resolutions which had already been pressed upon their acceptance? It was clear, he thought, after the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Bright), that the consideration of those Resolutions had been so pressed from party motives—["Oh, oh!"]—and not because the House was in a position to deal with the question with advantage. He did not for a moment believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, in taking the course which he had pursued, was not acting from most sincere conviction, and with an earnest desire to remove all causes of discontent in Ireland. But he could not help thinking that advantage had been taken of the state of things which unhappily prevailed in that country to press the question forward at a time when Parliament could not legislate upon it. The consequence was, that, instead of being content with taking the opinion of the House on the eve of a dissolution, he had gone further, and sought to pledge the House to steps of which he and his followers could not see the legitimate consequence. And now he would ask how the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was likely to be affected by those proceedings? The Committee had expressed its opinion in reference to the patronage of the Crown in Ireland, and now they were told that any attempt to say how the funds should be dealt with would be futile. The noble Earl who was the Leader of the Opposition in the other House, giving up the plan which he first proposed with respect to the disposal of the revenues of the Irish Church, 1912 was now in favour of the proposal that there should be no endowments at all in that country. That being the deliberate opinion of the noble Earl and his followers, how, he would ask, could they refuse to support the Motion of his hon. Friend opposite, who contended that the necessary sequence of the disendowment of the Established Church must be the withdrawal of all State aid from the Roman Catholic religion? The question was one, he might add, of the utmost interest to his constituents. He had altogether declined to join with those who sought to do away with the grant to Maynooth on the ground that the matter was settled; but now that it would seem that the endowments of the Established Church were about to be withdrawn, the question with regard to the Maynooth Grant would be re-opened. He would ask, how were they going to deal with Maynooth College? Were they going to give any of the proceeds of the Established Church to the Roman Catholics? That was a question which presented itself to him with great force, and it should be one of the questions to be considered by the Committee. He, for one, should not shrink from giving his vote in favour of his hon. Friend's Resolution should he press it to a division. Those who had lent their aid to rob the Irish Church were already quarrelling over the spoils; and he should, notwithstanding what had fallen from the hon. Member for Birmingham, vote as he had stated. Before he sat down, he desired to ask the Chairman, whether it would not be necessary, as it had been ruled that the Resolution could only refer to the Anglican Church and the application of its funds, to strike out the words, "it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued; and that?" The Resolution would then read—That when the Anglican Church in Ireland is disestablished and disendowed, no part of the secularized funds of the Anglican Church be applied in any way, or under any form, to the endowment or furtherance of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, or to the establishment or maintenance of Roman Catholic denominational schools or colleges.He should vote with the hon. Member who had moved the Resolution, with no intention of joining him in an attack upon the Roman Catholic Church; but only to be consistent to the principles he had always upheld, as well as to the Resolutions to which the House had been content to come.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he agreed with the hon. Baronet (Sir James Fergusson) that the present Resolution was a precipitate one, and an agreement with it would be attended with most embarrassing consequences. ["Oh, oh!"] The hon. Baronet, and those who supported it, were anxious that no State funds should be applied to the maintenance of the Roman Catholic religion, or of denominational schools; but the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) had shown that many of these now supported by public money were exclusively denominational; but this Resolution was not confined to Ireland. There were Roman Catholic schools in this country, and this Resolution, if agreed to, would affect them, and it would tie up the hands of the Government in regard to them. Further, it would affect the Roman Catholic chaplains in the army and the navy and the gaols, and, indeed, all cases in which public funds were applied to Roman Catholics. Seeing the embarrassment this Resolution would create in the cases of Roman Catholic chaplains of gaols and garrisons, he was surprised that any Member of the Government would support it. He trusted the Committee would not entertain it for a moment.
§ MR. FAWCETT
rose to order. He wished to know whether, as a matter of Order, the words "State funds" must not be left out of the proposed Resolution? If they were left out it would relieve many hon. Gentlemen in coming to a conclusion.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
asked whether, in the event of the Irish Church being disendowed, the proceeds of the endowments would not lapse to the Crown? because, in that event, they would be State funds.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, he could not vote for the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Aytoun) as it stood. If the Resolution were affirmed and carried out by Parliament, and the Irish Church disestablished and disendowed, they should lose the Irish Church as an Establishment, without gaining the only advantage which those who were in favour of the proposal said they would obtain from it. If money were settled on the Anglican Church in Ireland, independently of State interference, and they bound themselves under no circumstances whatever not to extend the same principle to other religions, the fate of the Irish Church would soon be followed by the disestablishment of the English Church.
said, the hon. Member 1914 for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) rose, as he had a right, to a point of Order. He could only repeat what he had already stated. The Reference by the House to the Committee was, that the Committee should take into consideration the Acts relating to the Established Church in Ireland; and, therefore, the House was now in Committee not on the Act relating to Maynooth College, or on the Regium Donum, or State funds. At the same time the Resolution, as a whole, had reference to the application of the funds of the Anglican Church, in the event of its being disendowed, and incidentally dealt with Maynooth and the Regium Donum as a condition or consequence of such disendowment. He therefore could not say that the Resolution as a whole was, in consequence of its reference to Maynooth College and the Regium Donum, out of order, or that the words adverted to must necessarily, as a matter of Order, be omitted from the Resolution, in order to bring it within the terms of the Reference made by the House; but he again stated that the Reference made by the House related to the Acts concerning the Established Church in Ireland; and it was for the Committee to judge whether it was within the spirit of that Reference to enter into any discussion with respect to Maynooth, the Regium Donum, or the application of State funds; and whether the present was the convenient time or opportunity for doing so.
My hon. Friend who moved this Resolution (Mr. Aytoun), made an appeal to Her Majesty's Government which was not answered, and in consequence of that appeal I did not rise to address the House, because I did not consider that I am in a position which renders me principally responsible for the conduct of the business of the House. Though that may be so, yet I have undertaken, I must tell my hon. Friend, a very great responsibility in the face of the House and of the country. There is no man who will be more deeply disgraced than myself if, owing to any weakness, rashness, or cowardice on my part, this great undertaking should break down. But, on the other hand, my obligation extends to this point — carefully to separate myself, at whatever risk of misunderstanding, from any proceeding which appears to me deliberately to alter injuriously the due course and order in which, if we are to have any successful dealing with a question so great and complicated as this, we 1915 must necessarily approach its various parts, and all attempts of any Members to pledge the House before the proper time to opinions, however important, or however right, should fail to receive the support of the House, as being likely, as I think, to lead us into confusion. I therefore most humbly decline to be a party to such attempts. It appears to me most important that we should consider the great distinction between opinions enunciated, however solemnly, by Members of this House and the decisions of the House itself, whether in its ordinary form or in a Committee of the House. The order in which this matter presents itself to my mind is this—When I look to Ireland I see a great system of State endowment. I see that system interwoven with many social arrangements, possessed of great power, supported by the Ministers of the Crown, and carefully identified—most honestly, I have no doubt—by a large number of influential persons, with the interests of the Church of England. That being so, it appears to me to be the dictate of common sense that when you have arrived—when anyone has arrived at the conclusion that this great system of State endowment and Establishment should be brought to a close, he should very carefully consider the order of his proceedings. Now, in considering the order of these proceedings, I have not hesitated to touch the question of the grant to Maynooth, and have said explicitly that, in my opinion, the Maynooth Endowment Act must be repealed. I have also spoken explicitly with regard to the Regium Donum, and have said that, in my opinion, that must come to an end. I cannot blame myself for having dwelt too little on those matters, considering that the position I occupy is simply that of an Independent Member of Parliament, without official responsibility. Yet I have not, furthermore, hesitated to say that I am firmly convinced that this operation must include and involve as its basis the total cessation of any attempt to maintain an endowed or salaried Church or clergy in Ireland. That being so, I have not presumed to ask the Committee to vote upon such proposals as that contained in my hon. Friend's Resolution. I am compelled to look to the mode in which this House, having before it a very great and difficult enterprise, may most successfully make its approaches to the fortification it wishes to take. The Establishment as a fortification has been zealously defended, and we wish 1916 to take that fortification and to raze the Establishment to the ground. That being the case I have called upon the House, in the first instance, to take those matters which deal with the main principle primarily in hand. But the hon. Member (Mr. Aytoun) demands, and the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) who cheers him, demands to know completely what is to be done with all those important principles which shall arise in the consideration of this question.
I also beg pardon. But my hon. Friend distinctly stated at the close of his speech that he wished to know completely my views upon this question.
§ MR. AYTOUN
I beg to say that my right hon. Friend misunderstood me. It is quite possible I may have expressed myself in such a manner as to lead him to misinterpret me; but what I meant to say was that it is desirable we should have a complete issue before us. I do not mean that the details of the plan of the right hon. Gentleman should be made known; but that we should have a clear understanding as to whether or not any portion of the funds of the Anglican Church should be given to the Roman Catholic Church.
My hon. Friend does not ask me to give a plan. In the place where I stand it is not competent for me to form one; it would be the height of rashness for me to do so. There is no grant at present that I know of to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, except that conveyed by the Maynooth Act, and that Act I have already said, in my opinion, must be repealed. My hon. Friend asks me—Whether it is part of my plan, as an equivalent to the glebes and glebe houses proposed by me to be reserved to the future incumbents of the Anglican Church, to give glebes and glebe houses, or any other equivalent, to the parish priests of the Roman Catholic communion?Why, Sir, I have never asked the House to vote that any glebes or any parsonage house or any church shall be reserved or given to any communion. The House remains totally uncommitted on that subject. When a proposal of that kind—with respect to which I have my own opinion—is made to the House, let it then consider whether that proposal will entail any proceedings with respect to the Presbyterians or the Roman Catholics which it deems objectionable, and if so, let it decline to give those 1917 churches or glebe houses to members of the Anglican communion. My hon. Friend appears to me to be taking a course adverse to the furtherance of his own views. The House has voted this, and this alone—First of all, that in our opinion, it is necessary that the English Church in Ireland should be disestablished, subject to a due regard to vested interests and proprietary rights. To that extent, and to that extent alone, the House has pledged itself. It has then gone on, by a second and third Resolution, to lay the basis for the introduction of a Suspensory Act. It is best that I should consider the Motion of my hon. Friend, first with regard to that part of it which you, Sir, have declared to be within the spirit of the rules which guide the Committee; and, secondly, with regard to that part of it which you have apparently intimated is not within the spirit of those rules. The first portion is that relating to the grant of Maynooth and the Regium Donum. Now, I am at a loss to know why these subjects can be brought within the jurisdiction of this Committee. It appears to me, looking at the regular order of the question, that the Secretary of State for the Home Department was perfectly in order when, in the course of his speech this evening, he observed that I had said nothing respecting the creation of new vested interests in connection with the College of Maynooth and the churches of the Presbyterians. The reason I said nothing on that subject will, I hope, be satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman. I feel some difficulty as to the form in which cases of that kind can be dealt with by legislation, because there are no vested interests in either of those cases of a nature known to the law. But, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend that both as regards the final arrangements and the Suspensory Act, the same principles ought to be applied first to the Established Church and then to the Regium Donum and to Maynooth. The only question now remaining for our consideration is in what manner it is most convenient to deal with the matter in detail, and that I hope to have time to consider. I presume my hon. Friend will be disposed to drop from the Resolution the matters that are not within the spirit of the rules that govern this Committee. I refer to that part of the Motion relating to Maynooth and the State funds. I apprehend that the Motion will then stand in this form—That when the Anglican Church in Ireland 1918 shall have been disestablished and disendowed, it is right and necessary that no part of the secularized funds of the Anglican Church be applied in any way, or under any form, to the endowment of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, or to the establishment or maintenance of Roman Catholic denominational schools or colleges.The last proposition not being limited to Ireland at all. I cannot vote for the Resolution. It would, in my opinion, lead to great misapprehension. I have no intention whatever of circumventing the House; and if I have any proposal to make which is likely to go against the conscience of any man I shall take care that the proposal is clearly laid before him. I contend that this is a very solemn matter. We have not for years adopted words more historic than are those of these Resolutions, and they must be qualified to stand the test of the severest examination. I hope my hon. Friend will not think me hypercritical when I remark with reference to the opening phrase of his Motion that I have never used in these debates the word "disendowed," and for well-considered reasons. If I had used it I am perfectly certain that in our debate upon the particulars of the plan we should be involved on every possible occasion in a dispute as to whether faith had been kept or not. There are some endowments of the Irish Church that have been given by individuals; still they are endowments in every sense of the word; they have become part of the national endowment. I would not give a pledge that will subject me to the taunt of any man; but if I were now to propose disendowment and afterwards to propose to leave untouched the endowments of Primate Robinson, Primate Boulter, or Lord Herbert, or any others who have given large sums to the Anglican Church, I should be justly open to the charge of having broken faith. I will not bind myself to take such endowments from the Church. I will use no ambiguous words, and these Resolutions which we have voted do not contain a syllable, as far as I know, which we shall be unable to fulfil in the spirit and in the letter. I am therefore, not ready to vote for the Resolution of my hon. Friend. Then with respect to the opinion that parsonage houses as well as churches should be left in the possession of members of the Irish Church Establishment. Parsonage houses, I believe, in law are endowments. But I will not attempt to shut the door or limit the discussion of the House upon matters of this kind. If the price I am to pay for the position I am now assuming is to be misunderstood out-of-doors, 1919 I will cheerfully pay that price. I will accept no Resolution which pledges me to a course of conduct which I may afterwards be unable to carry out. The Resolution of my hon. Friend would pledge the Committee never to maintain a Roman Catholic denominational school in England. How, then, can he ask us to vote for it? Probably, my hon. Friend may wish to amend his Resolution, and say that he does not want to have any denominational schools supported in Ireland. Let me in all earnestness ask my hon. Friend whether he really feels so confident in his own legislative strength that he does not feel that we have got enough upon our hands at present? I am very sanguine with respect to this great question; but I am very certain of this—that a very few errors in the conduct of affairs, a very few innocent mistakes, will go far to prejudice all we have done. I will tell my hon. Friend explicitly one more conclusive reason why I will not vote for his Motion. I must leave to the hon. Baronet (Sir James Fergusson). I must leave it to any Gentleman, if such there be who sit with or behind Her Majesty's Ministers, to vote for it; I will not, as I never have voted for any Motion which selects from all forms of religion among my fellow-countrymen one particular form of religion and stigmatizes it by making it the subject of a special condemnation or special renunciation by Parliament. Disestablishment of the Church is what we have primarily in view; general disendowment as a rule and as an ultimate aim, with respect to bodies of religion in Ireland and without any odious distinction, must evidently follow, and is plainly involved in the plan. About this there can be no doubt; but no consideration of policy will induce me for one moment to take advantage of a particular state of feeling which may prevail on some of these Benches opposite, to purchase momentary favour by an act unjust to a portion of my fellow-countrymen, and which I feel to be incompatible with my position.
§ MR. J. HARDY
hoped the Motion would be pressed to a division, in order that Independent Members on both sides of the House might express their opinions. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had not been quite fair to the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun), because the pledge given was that none of the endowments of the Established Church should go to the Romish Church; not that no endowment was to go to the schools of Ireland. The whole 1920 proceeding foreshadowed what would come from the ill-advised Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman. For his part, one Resolution was as good as another. ["Oh!"] One was just as binding as the other. In somewhat vulgar phrase, "what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the gander." One of these Resolutions was objected to as binding the House to some particular course, it might be twelve months hence, yet three Resolutions at least equally binding had been passed without any similar objection. Those three mischievous Resolutions, as he ventured to call them, bearing the seeds of the dissolution of this House, and probably of a future House of Commons, were put forward as binding. Then let it not be said that the Resolution of the hon. Member opposite was in any way less efficacious. He knew that among the Scotch Members, at all events, if it had been supposed for a moment that any portion of the endowments of the Protestant Church of Ireland were to go to the Roman Catholic Church the majority on the Opposition side of the House would not have been nearly what it was. He only hoped that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy would not be mystified by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, but, having come forward as an Independent Member, he would give Members of the House an opportunity of giving an independent vote.
§ MR. COGAN
said, that, in the present position of the question, Members were in some difficulty, and probably the Liberal party were in a position of some danger. [Cheers.] That, of course, was gratifying to Members opposite, and the opportunity thus afforded to them had been eagerly turned to account. The speech of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Home Department (Sir James Fergusson) he presumed might be taken to some extent as indicating the course which the Government intended to take. The Government, he believed, were actuated by feelings much more intelligent than those of the hon. Member who had brought forward this Motion. They knew full well that this Motion was calculated to be of very material injury to the cause which the Opposition had at heart, and for that purpose, and that alone, the Motion was supported by Her Majesty's Government. He deeply regretted that a Motion attended with such effects should have proceeded from the Opposition Benches. It would have been much more in character and much more seemly if a 1921 Motion calculated to defeat, to weaken, and to injure the Liberal party had proceeded from the other side of the House. He had said that the Liberal party was in danger, and his reason was this — The position of the party would, indeed, be one of danger if they were to debase from the position of Leader the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, and to erect in his stead the hon. Member the mover of this Motion. He appealed to Members of the Liberal party, he appealed to their common sense as Englishmen, anxious to curry this great question to a successful issue, to be guided by the wisdom, the courage, and the sterling honesty, of the right hon. Gentleman who had proved those qualities by many years' service. He appealed to them not to degrade themselves, or to justify the epithet but a few days ago applied to them by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. E. P. Bouverie), when he said that they presented the appearance of "a rabble." If those sitting on the Opposition side of the House were not prepared to act together as a party under the guidance of trusted Leaders, it was hopeless to look for the settlement of a question so difficult as this. And if any man, no matter how great or how small he might be, was to set himself up to guide the deliberations of a great party in carrying this question to a successful issue, and if a considerable number, or even any small number, sitting upon the Liberal side, so far forget the dictates of common sense—["Oh, oh!"]—yes, he repeated it—they would be forgetting the dictates of common sense in forgetting the allegiance which was due to the gifted Member for South Lancashire, who had led them to so great a triumph as they had witnessed that evening. They had seen the second and third of his Resolutions carried in a triumphant manner, and the discomfited Government and the discomfited party opposite were afraid even to divide against them. With the prestige of victories like that, was it to be tolerated for one moment that any individual, for the purpose of gratifying his own peculiar opinions, was to come forward as an apple of discord into the ranks which without union could never be led to victory? He objected to the Motion on the broad ground that it was wrong to embarrass themselves with more than one question at a time, or to attempt to tie the hands of Parliament with regard to matters not immediately before it. Still, let him not be misunderstood. 1922 As an Irish Catholic Member, he was not in any way offering an opinion in favour of the continuance of the Maynooth Grant or of the Regium Donum to the Presbytery of Ireland. And, in saying this, he was authorized to say that he did not speak for himself alone. He begged to declare for himself, and those whose sentiments he conveyed, that they fully recognized the necessity, when religious equality was established in Ireland, that the Maynooth Grant should ceased to exist. They were prepared for it, and quite able to do without it. They were quite prepared, also, for the discontinuance of the Regium Donum; and he and they believed it would be a very small price to pay for securing the peace and prosperity of Ireland, and the establishment and maintenance of religious equality in that country.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
begged to compliment the hon. Member for Kildare (Mr. Cogan) upon the vigour with which he had applied the Papal thong to the party opposite. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun), who had moved the Amendment, was, however, a Scotchman, representing a Scotch constituency, and, however he might suffer under the infliction of the Papal thong, he (Mr. Newdegate) believed that he would persevere with his Amendment from a sense of duty. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire said—"I have declared that the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum shall cease. It is my will that all endowments shall cease, because I am unwilling that any denomination shall remain under the stigma of being unendowed." But the right hon. Gentleman refused to confirm these declarations by his vote; and then was it not a stigma on the Church of Ireland that she should not only be endowed but disendowed? The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), who had said that the Resolution was objectionable because it prospectively bound the House, would excuse him (Mr. Newdegate) for saying that that was an objection which applied with no less force to the Resolutions which the Committee had adopted, and with still greater force to the Bill that was to be proposed. He hoped the hon. Member would adhere to his Motion, because, if he and others were to be bound by the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, they had a right to know what those Resolutions meant. On the first night of these debates he was confident that the Scotch Members and the representatives 1923 of voluntary principle did not see the real bearing and intention of these Resolutions, and were not aware that in an authoritative publication, which had been the organ of Cardinal Wiseman, there was a distinct declaration that the Roman Catholics supported the Resolutions with the view of appropriating to themselves the funds of the Irish Church. He hoped that in justice to his constituents, to the Nonconformist body, and to the advocates of the voluntary system, the Member for Kirkcaldy would press his Motion to a division.
§ MR. CLAY
presumed that it was impossible to find a subject on which both sides of the House would be in perfect accordance; but if there was one subject more than another on which Gentlemen opposite agreed with the Liberal party, it must be that if the Irish were disendowed the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum must follow. There were scarcely half a dozen Members who would controvert that proposition. If that were so, what purpose could be served by the Resolution of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) the first half of which was out of order, and the other half of which involved legislative difficulties so great as to be almost impossibilities? More than that, the Resolution would introduce difficulty and confusion in the great work which the House had set about. The Resolution would stand as an isolated insult to Roman Catholics.
§ MR. WHITBREAD
said, he had no doubt that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy meant that his Resolution should be a supplement to the first Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman. He would venture to propose an Amendment on the hon. Gentleman's Resolution—that was to say, to leave out all the words of his Resolution after the word "that," in order to add these words—When legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued.
To leave out from the first word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "when legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued,"—(Mr. Whitbread,)
I have already more than once, in answer to appeals that have been made to me, pointed out that I could not decide that a reference to the grant to Maynooth, the Regium Donum, and the other matters in this Resolution, conditional upon the Resolutions connected with the Irish Church, were beyond the purview and duties of this Committee. But I did venture to point out that it was a matter for the consideration of the Committee, whether an Instruction upon such questions was within the spirit of the Reference made by the House to the Committee. I venture to think, though I cannot pronounce, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread), moved as it is upon a Resolution which I cannot hold to be out of order, to be itself out of order. That Amendment is a further illustration of the inconvenience of discussing, in a Committee on the Acts relating to the Irish Church, subjects which are not strictly within the terms of the Reference.
§ MR. AYTOUN
said, he was not willing to withdraw his Resolution; but, as there was a difference of opinion on the subject among some of his Friends, he proposed to amend it by leaving out the words, "or any State Funds whatever," and also the words "Roman Catholic" at the end of the Resolution, and inserting other words, so as to make it apply generally to "other religious bodies," and to the maintenance of any "denominational schools."
said that, when the hon. Member for Bedford moved his Amendment, the Question to be put from the Chair became this—"That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question." Until the opinion of the Committee was taken on that issue, it would not be competent to the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy to move to amend the words of his Resolution.
§ MR. PIM
said, he objected to both the Resolution and the Amendment. There was nothing about disendowment or secularization in the Resolution which the House had adopted. There was no parallelism between the endowments of the Established Church and the grant to Maynooth, so that the continuance of the one should depend on that of the other. There was a parallelism as respects the Regium Donum; but the grant to Maynooth must be compared, not with the endowments of 1925 the Established Church, but with the endowments for the education of the Protestant clergy in Trinity College.
§ MR. FAWCETT
wished to know, whether it would be competent for the hon. Member for Kirkealdy, in the event of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) being lost, to alter his Resolution as he had proposed? The answer would probably affect the votes of many hon. Members, who might be inclined to support the Resolution in its altered form, though they were indisposed to agree to it as originally proposed.
The Question which has been put from the Chair is—"That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Resolution." If this be affirmed, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy has no power to alter it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Resolution."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 85; Noes 198: Majority 113.
That the words 'when legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued' be added,
§ MR. LAMONT
rose to move to add the following words:—And that no part of the secularized funds of the Anglican Church be applied in any way or in any form to the endowment or furtherance of the Roman Catholic religion or any other religious body in Ireland; or to the establishment or maintenance of any denominational schools or colleges.
said, the Question was, that the words moved by the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) be here added. The hon. Member for Buteshire (Mr. Lamont), however, has moved words which are substantially the same as the words of the original Resolution; therefore, the Question I have to put is, "That these words"—namely, the words moved by the hon. Member for Bedford—"be here added."
proposed to add a few words, which he believed would be accepted on all sides, "due regard being had to personal interests." He said it was with the greatest regret he had seen a Motion introduced, the subject-matter of which was of a kind to make it doubtful 1926 whether it were really within the spirit of the Reference to the Committee. In the most explicit manner he owned that it was to him quite a question for consideration whether it would not have been wiser to have reported Progress, and to have reported to the House the Resolutions passed in this Committee, and then had the Reference to the Committee on the Maynooth Grant framed in such a way that a Resolution like this might have been originally passed. He should not, however, press that point now. As to the Resolution itself, he could not object to what exactly corresponded with his own repeated declarations. It amounted to this. The Committee were dealing with a very great subject to which there were minor accessories, and the Resolution was simply to the effect that those minor accessories should be dealt with in the same manner as the main subject. He concluded by moving the addition of the words, "due regard being had to personal interests."
§ Amendment proposed to the said proposed Amendment, by adding the words "due regard being had to all personal interests."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
wished to know the meaning of the words proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. The Resolution condemned the Maynooth Grant; but was it intended to continue that establishment in spite of the Resolution? Was Maynooth College, being a corporate body, to be kept up as long as the last Professor there happened to live? If so, he doubted very much whether the course proposed would meet the approval of the Scotch and Dissenting Members. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would make a clear explanation of the exact meaning of the Amendment.
§ MR. WHALLEY
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not insist upon the addition of the words, which would merely involve the whole question in doubt. He had voted on this question on the principle of fair play and "free trade;" and if the right hon. Member for South Lancashire was not going to prosecute his great work upon that principle, he had not suggested any other. The House and the country were waiting to know on what principle the measure was to be based; and the great difficulty of the right hon. Gentleman would be to induce the country to go much further with him until he had been more definite as to his intentions.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. WARREN)
said, that the Committee, before accepting this Resolution, ought to insist upon having a clear notion of what its meaning was. Resolutions had been passed with, they were told, a view to legislation. He wished to know what legislation the right hon. Gentleman meant to found upon this Resolution. What were the existing personal interests which were to be preserved? Were they those of the professors and students at Maynooth? Was it, however, not a delusion to introduce these words into the Resolution; and were they not words which had no meaning whatever?
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he did not wish to discuss the merits of the Motion further than to say that, as he had always opposed the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum, he could have no difficulty in voting for it, except that it might possibly have the effect of postponing a decision of the question to a distant day. The Committee had been discussing and deciding a very important question in the absence of the whole of Her Majesty's Ministers. From the gravity of the Question put from the Chair, he should have expected that, before the division, some Member of the Government would have risen to address the Committee and to explain the views of the Ministers. It was always pleasant to Members of the House to find there was what was called conventionally a Leader of the House. There was, as they all knew, a Leader of the Opposition, and it was always pleasant to have the Leader of the House present when great questions were being submitted for decision. As Ministers had not been present to take part in the important division, he was afraid they had not returned to hear the admirable views expressed from the Chair and the suggestion inside by the Chairman for the consideration of the Committee. It was that it might be desirable not to depart further and further from the recognized and ordinary usage of Committees of this character. When he first addressed the Chair on the point of Order he did not rely upon it; he extended his inquiry to the question of usage and convenience. The Chairman had suggested, for the consideration of the Committee, the expediency of not enlarging the scope of the Committee's deliberations, so as to include new topics which were not necessarily identified with the subject referred to the Committee. He was anxious to know what were the views of Her Majesty's 1928 Ministers with reference to that suggestion, and also upon the substantive proposition before the Committee. Before coming to a final decision upon this proposition the Committee might be assisted by the expression of the views of the Government.
§ MR. KENDALL
thought that while Gentlemen opposite were quarrelling amongst themselves, they ought to feel very much obliged to the First Minister for absenting himself. The question before the House was a very simple one, though the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had a way of mystifying things that he (Mr. Kendall) had really to shake himself before he could be certain what the actual state of the case was. The question was, would they pledge themselves not to apply the proceeds of the Irish Church property to the endowment of the Roman Catholic religion? He did not wonder that Gentlemen who were doing so dishonest a thing as to rob a Church should wish to shy that question; but the country would understand what it all meant.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
understood the words to mean the preservation of the existing interests of the president and students at Maynooth and also the Regium Donum. He hoped the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) would not go about saying that he (Mr. Newdegate) voted for the Maynooth Grant. By stopping short in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) they reserved a power of applying every shilling obtained by the disendowment of the Irish Church to Roman Catholic purposes. If it was not intended to endow the Roman Catholic Church out of the spoils of the Protestant Church, why did not they say so? He regretted that Ministers had been absent during the discussion, and that any ambiguity should be allowed to exist on the subject.
§ MR. J. STUART MILL
The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) has stated that we, who sit on this side of the House, have by the vote we have just given, declared that we intend to retain the power of bestowing the whole or part of the property taken from the Irish Church upon the Roman Catholic body. For myself, and I know for a great portion of those who surround; me, I utterly deny that statement. I will resist to the utmost of my power any proposal for giving one farthing of the property to the Roman Catholic or to any 1929 other religions body in any shape whatever. I had no motive whatever in voting against the Motion of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun), except that it had been declared by you, Sir, not properly to come within the spirit of the Reference to the Committee; and also because it had been declared to be contrary to the Orders of the House—very strangely, I think — for the hon. Gentleman to alter his Resolution from a form in which I could not vote for it, to one in which I could have done so.
§ MR. DISRAELI
As I re-entered the House I heard some comments being made upon the duties of the Leader of the House. The duties and the privileges of the Leader of the House are very considerable; but I think they ought to be exercised with moderation, and, perhaps I may presume to say, with some degree of modesty. If I were to take every opportunity of speaking upon every subject, and were to thrust myself forward against the view of the House, in order to give them my opinions upon every possible topic, perhaps I should by so doing not altogether fulfil the duties of the Leader of the House, and should not retain the regard and respect of those among whom I sit. I have no doubt that when the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) has arrived at the position of Leader of the House, this House will find in him a more rigid regulator of their destinies than they have in the Gentleman who now humbly endeavours to fulfil the duties which it falls upon him to discharge. With regard to the point before the House, I can only say that I entirely oppose the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. I am against the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland. What has recently occurred has amounted to what I have always contemplated would take place, and what will be repeated. There has been a quarrel for the plunder among the hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I do not think that it was my duty to give an opinion upon such a subject. With regard to the particular Motion before the Committee—that of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy—had the important principles which it in some degree involves been placed simply and plainly before the House, I should not have shrunk from discussing them, or from giving my opinion upon them; but those principles are mixed up in this Motion with details of an impracticable character, which, if we 1930 had agreed to, would have disturbed arrangements of a very ancient date in this country, and which the public had long recognized as conducing to the convenience of the country. Therefore I was silent. I must say with regard to the observations of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, that I am still of opinion that the manner in which I attempt to perform my duties as Leader of this House is preferable to that ideal which, on several occasions, he has offered to the admiration of this Assembly.
I am not about to defend the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, who is perfectly capable of holding his own, neither am I about to discuss at large the conduct of Her Majesty's Government to-night. But if I do not proceed to discuss that conduct at the present moment, it is because I do not think that it is desirable to mix up that subject with the one before us, which is already sufficiently difficult and intricate. I must say, however, that I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has been successful in the explanation he has given. The right hon. Gentleman says that the Motion of the hon. Member for Kirckaldy would, if carried, have disturbed, in a remarkable manner, the arrangements of a very ancient date, in consequence of the mode in which it was drawn up, and notwithstanding this assertion the Minister did not choose to record his vote against it. With the whole of his Colleagues, he left the House, seeking refuge in that small apartment which is appropriated to him. His absence has reminded me of one of his many witty sayings. At the time when my noble Friend (Earl Russell) was Paymaster General, the accommodation of his office was very limited, and the right hon. Gentleman said, "I object to the system of shutting up great men in small rooms." Upon this occasion we have had a most complete exemplification of the system of shutting up in a small room, not one, but many great men, and under circumstances which it may, perhaps, be proper at some future period to enter into. In answer to the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Darby Griffith), I must inform him that I am not responsible for the Resolution which is about to be adopted. I have no difficulty—except the formal one I have already mentioned—in acceding to it; but I am not its author. It appears to me that the time has now arrived when it would be satisfactory to the Committee if the minor 1931 subjects connected with this question were stated with the same precision with which the major subjects have been stated; and that, therefore, we should make our meaning clear by applying to the minor subjects the very words which we have used with regard to major ones, so as to regard everything in the nature of a just personal interest.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had not yet expressed any opinion with regard to the Question. It would, therefore, be desirable if, before the Committee came to a division, he would favour them with the views of Her Majesty's Government upon the subject.
§ Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. GREENE
then proposed, as a further Amendment, to insert the words—And that no part of the Endowments of the Anglican Church be applied to the endowment of the institutions of other religious communions.This was a subject upon which he had been seriously challenged by his constituents. He had no desire to say a word against Roman Catholics; but he felt strongly that they should speak decidedly in the matter, although he must at the same time say that he thought the disendowment of the Irish Church—if it ever occurred—was a long way off.
Amendment proposed to the said proposed Amendment, as amended, by adding; the woids—
And that no part of the Endowments of the Anglican Church be applied to the endowment of the institutions of other religious communions."—(Mr. Greene.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be added to the said proposed Amendment, as amended."
§ MR. WHITBREAD
wished to know, whether the Amendment proposed by the last speaker was not out of order, as being substantially the same as that of the hon. Member for Buteshire (Mr. Lamont)?
said, that there was an obvious difference between the two Amendments, seeing that one proposed to prohibit the application of any part of the funds of the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholics, whereas that now proposed proposed to prohibit their application to any institutions of other religious communities.
I think it is a great misfortune that a question of this difficulty and perplexity should be brought before the House in this way. I think that the hon. Member opposite and myself hold very much the same opinions upon this subject; but I object to the word "institutions," as contained in his Amendment, as being a very wide one. I do not know what it includes or what it excludes according to the interpretation of the hon. Member; but I think it is sufficiently wide to include schools. I objected to the Motion of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy very much on the ground that it would prevent any sum of money obtained by the disendowment of the Anglican Church in Ireland or any portion of the State funds being applied to any denominational schools in Ireland. I said that, in Ireland, it was utterly impossible to have schools which were not denominational, and therefore I was unwilling to vote for a proposition so wide, and, as I thought, so injudicious. The same thing is proposed to be done by the present Amendment, and therefore I cannot vote for it. If any hon. Member is desirous of proposing any Resolution or Amendment upon this subject, he should take care that his Motion should be couched in terms which are not liable to be misunderstood, and will include just what he intends to be included and will exclude just what he intends shall be excluded. When Amendments are brought forward in this hasty way it is absolutely impossible for the Committee to discuss them with satisfaction. If the right hon. Gentleman opposite had exercised his influence on his side of the House as the right hon. Member for South Lancashire has done on this side, we should have settled this difficult matter long ago, and the Resolutions would before this have been reported to the House. I hope the hon. Gentleman, seeing the difficulty which I have raised, and which I think he will not easily meet, without further consideration, will withdraw his Amendment.
I am persuaded that hon. Members are desirous of giving to every Member a fair opportunity for considering any proposition which he has to make, and I would point to him that he cannot, and I feel almost persuaded that he will not expect us to bind ourselves to the terms of that which he regards as ft vital and fundamental proposition on one of the greatest national settlements or unsettlements—call it which you like—ever proposed, without our having first seen the 1933 words of the Amendment — without our knowing exactly what they are, and of out being compelled to ask you. Sir, to read the words over and over again as we proceed to discuss them. I therefore ask that these words might be distinctly put before us in print before we are called upon to discuss them—that they should be printed in the Votes, in order that we may have an opportunity of fully considering them. That course, I feel convinced, will commend itself to every Member of this Committee.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
There is one expression which has just fallen from my right hon. Friend which exactly touches the point. He first spoke of this as a great national settlement, and then immediately corrected himself by saying it was a great national unsettlement.
I said no such thing. I did not want to be interrupted by my right hon. Friend and others of his mind, and to avoid it I said "unsettlement," knowing the view he takes of the question.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
Precisely so. The question before the Committee is the settlement or the unsettlement of the Irish Church. If it is to be a settlement of the question we ought to know what is to be done with the funds of the Church; and, if the object is to be unsettlement, it is an unstatesmanlike proceeding which we were told before was a desire to be in a position the better to settle it. It is hardly to be wondered at now that we have arrived at this point, that hon. Members who now begin to see the practical bearing of these Resolutions should begin to ask some questions, so as to endeavour to arrive at a clear conclusion as to what it is that is really to be done. It may be necessary to take a little further time to consider this Resolution. As the Amendments grow out of that which has already been passed. I do not see that any reproach attaches to those hon. Members who have been called on to consider Resolutions for the disestablishment of the Irish Church, for putting forward Amendments on which to test the sense of the Committee.
Considering that the right hon. Baronet rose to reply to me I take the liberty of saying that he has not attacked one word that I said. I cast no reproach on the hon. Gentleman for proposing this Amendment; but I merely asked for time to consider it. And the demand for time is so equitable that even the right 1934 hon. Baronet cannot decline to recommend it. I ought to recollect that the right hon. Gentleman's mind must be filled with the questions which he gave us distinct intimation he had within him, and which he intended to propose in Committee. He said he would oppose the first Resolution; if that was carried he would oppose the second Resolution; and after the second he would oppose the third Resolution; but the political exigencies came upon him which made the redemption of those pledges inconvenient, and we need not be surprised if a little of his pent-up matter has irregularly spent itself.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) complains that there is a disposition on the Ministerial side of the House to support Amendments not previously placed on the Paper; but is he not going to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) which has not been put on the Paper, and which was only placed in the Chairman's hands, in writing, a few minutes since? Allow me to point out also that, by the course adopted, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) has been precluded from altering his Resolution in a manner that would have commanded the support of the hon. Members for Brighton and Westminster (Mr. Fawcett and Mr. Stuart Mill). It does not, therefore, lie in the right hon. Gentleman's mouth to tell the hon. Member that he is improperly seeking to ask the Committee to vote upon an important Amendment that has not been placed on the Paper. It is of the greatest importance that the Committee should be pledged on this point if we are to deal with the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland; because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Louth (Mr. Chichester Fortescue), who filled the important office of Chief Secretary for Ireland told them, in an elaborate speech which he delivered the year before last, that the revenues of the Irish Church ought to be divided amongst other religious communities.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
I thought, from what the right hon. Gentleman the first Minister of the Crown stated early in the evening, that it was the desire of the Government to avoid discussion on the main subject in order that the evening might be devoted to the progress of business which it was essential should be transacted; but the conduct of the Government during the last two hours has entirely negatived that supposition. 1935 I have no reason to complain of the general way in which the right hon. Gentleman conducts the business of the House; but with all due deference to him, one of his duties is to support the Chairman. A Resolution was moved to-night and an objection was taken in point of form to its being proceeded with, because it did not fall within the terms of Reference. The Chairman stated very fairly that he had some doubt whether it fell strictly within the terms, but it was certainly contrary to the spirit of the Reference. Now, if the right hon. Gentleman, instead of withdrawing with his Colleagues from the House and leaving it to find its own way through the difficulty that had arisen, had supported the Chair, and advised hon. Members not to enter on discussions which did not come within the spirit of the Reference, much time would have been saved, and we should have been spared the exhibition that has just taken place. Instead of that a Member of the Government stood up and staled that he intended to support the Resolution; and not one syllable was uttered in opposition to the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayrshire (Sir James Fergusson), and when the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) was put every Member of the Government withdrew. I have listened with great attention to the discussion that hits taken place, and I am the more and more convinced that if we had taken the advice of the Chairman, and declined to continue the discussion, as not being within the spirit of the Order of Reference, we should have avoided embarrassing the Committee, and the progress of business. We are discussing a question that can have no practical effect in the present Parliament, with a view to legislation. We are called on to deal with a mere abstract Resolution, which cannot in the slightest degree be binding on the future Parliament. With regard to the question of Notice, I must say that that part of the Resolution which embodies the Motion of the right hon. Member for Bedford has been on the Paper for some length of time, though it has been altered to make its intention perfectly clear. I would remind hon. Members who oppose the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum, that by what is now proposed they are giving a now lease to both; for what is proposed is practically saying that until you disendow the Irish Church the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum shall continue.
§ MR. DISRAELI
The right hon. Baronet has, unfortunately for us, been for a long time absent from our discussions, and that is really the only way in which I can account for the wild observations he has just made. He has made charges against me which I am sure the Committee, after calmly considering, will say are without foundation. ["Oh, oh!"] Now, I beg to say that those sounds I hear are neither logic nor language. The right hon. Baronet first accuses the Government, so far as I can follow him, with preventing the Committee from coming to a conclusion on the Resolutions proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. Now, I thought that, so far as I could control the business of the House, that I had come to a clear understanding with the right hon. Gentleman, that so far as I could influence the conduct of my Friends, without in the slightest degree compromising their political action, that the course of business should be facilitated; and with reference to that there is not the slightest charge that can be made against me. The right hon. Baronet accuses me with sanctioning Amendments from this side of the House; but that is not so. They have come from Members on the other side of the House, and that fact must surely have occurred to the right hon. Baronet when he was making charges which have no foundation. The right hon. Gentleman says I ought to have been present and supported the Chairman in his decision against the Amendment. Now, I was in my place, yielding to the decision of the Chairman, as I always do to the decisions of the authorities of this House. I must frankly confess — though no doubt I was wrong — I did not agree with the Chairman; still the decision of the Chairman permitted the discussion of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, and it was not for me to question it. I am not responsible for the Amendments that have been made, because they come from the other side of the House, and I am not guilty of not having supported the Chairman. He, no doubt, gave an opinion which he thought right, but with which I do not agree, and I must say that it is no part of the duty of a Leader of the House of Commons to prevent the independent expression of opinion. Both sides of the House will not agree in the reflection of misconduct on my part, and will be of opinion that the observations of the right hon. Baronet are unfounded and uncalled for.
§ MR. POWELL
said, that whatever might be the result of this conversation, it had cast a broad light upon previous discussions respecting the Irish Church, and had shown that the further they advanced the greater were the difficulties in the way. There were various modes of conducting public proceedings, and the plan pursued by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire was to carry his Resolutions and then with draw the explanations which had accompanied and recommended his Resolutions. The explanations which the right hon. Gentleman had given had illustrated his meaning, and he had shadowed forth with more or less fulness various schemes. They had a denunciation of levelling up and a commendation of levelling down, and they had been told what portions of the Irish Church property should be retained and what would be required for other than existing interests. When, however, the Committee proceeded to carry into effect the spirit of the explanations by which the Resolutions were accompanied, then a different voice came from the other side, and they were told that they were not to proceed any further. If they disestablished the Irish Church they must disendow her, and they must also deal in a corresponding manner with the grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum. He was one of those who had never given a vote on the Maynooth question; but if the Irish Church was to be deprived of its revenues, then the question of Maynooth must be gone into, and, much as he should regret that the Presbyterians should lose their annual grant, the lesser must share the affliction of the larger denomination, Having passed these Resolutions it was plain that our difficulties had not come to an end. In fact, they had not yet been discovered, and as the House went into the details of the disestablishment of the Church they would find their difficulties increase and their embarrassments multiply.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, this was the first real and substantial bonâ fide discussion which they had had on the subject of disestablishment, for it had really brought out the merits of the question for the first time. It may be said that this was an attempt to obtain an indefinite and abstract Resolution by impulsive speeches, and to obtain powers over the funds of the Church without the House or the country knowing what was to be done with them. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had declined to intimate anything with any certainty on the subject. Who knew what was 1938 meant to be done? He had spoken of retaining the churches and the glebes for the Protestant Church. But how would that satisfy his followers who advocated total disendowment? Would the Gentlemen below the Gangway follow him in this? What distinction did he make between tithe and glebe? In some cases the glebes formed a large part of the income of the parsons; in others he spoke of tithes where there was scarcely any glebe. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I never said anything of glebe.] Then the right hon. Gentleman probably drew a distinction between the glebe and the glebehouse; but how would he separate the house from the glebe? On each side he was led, unintentionally, of course, into an appearance of disingenuousness. The right hon. Gentleman had given a sound of so uncertain a character that his supporters outside the House would to-morrow, when they read the debate, find themselves in a very anomalous position. They would see that the right hon. Gentleman, having taken away the revenues of the Established Church, still retained in his hands the power of distributing them among other denominations. The hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill) had just said that, if the funds of the Church were to be applied to the endowment of the Roman Catholics he would have voted against the Resolutions. The hon. Member was equally in error on the point of Order. He supported that part of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy which the Chairman said was out of order; but he felt a difficulty in supporting that which was in order. In fact the hon. Gentleman appeared to have been entrapped, by the course which this discussion had taken, into supporting a proposition, the tendency and results of which he did not approve.
said, that the House was landed in a confusion which was becoming still more confused already. He had always abstained from saving or doing anything which might excite religious animosity, and had always voted for the continuance of the Maynooth Grant, though opposed to the wishes of the constituency which he represented. There were two modes of disturbing the religious peace of a country—the one was by transferring the Church revenues from one denomination to another, the other by levelling downwards. But he contended that there was a third and better course for the House to follow, and that was to have a religion established which would exercise a perfect 1939 toleration towards other religions. That was the best arrangement for the preservation of religions peace. But now they were beginning to quarrel over the spoils. His idea was that, if there was money to be had out of the Irish Chinch the lawyers and Commissioners would get the greater part of it. And, after all, how much did this money amount to? If he was not mistaken, it was only £447,000 a year, of which £380,000 alone was devoted to pa-rochial endowments. But, in order to show how small a sum that was, whether absolutely or relatively, he would remind the Committee that the cost of the printing and stationery for Parliament this year was estimated at £395,000. He hoped, therefore that, in whatever spirit they discussed the question, it would not have reference to money. He had also a great objection to the use of the word "doomed." He could not bear to hear people speak, as if they were Pagans, about things being "doomed."
§ MR. HIBBERT
appealed to the hon. Member (Mr. Greene) to withdraw his Amendment. ["No, no!"] He begged to direct the hon. Gentleman's attention to this fact, that whatever words he might introduce into the Resolution, or whatever Resolutions might be passed by that House, it was the next Parliament that would have to say what was to be done.
§ MR. SCHREIBER
said, he hoped his hon. Friend would not comply with the request of the hon. Member, as his Amendment would have exactly the same force as the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, which might express the opinion of the existing Parliament, but could not pretend to bind that which was to come. He remembered in the Session of 1866, when the right hon. Gentleman, at that time the Leader of the House, had not thought it inconsistent with his position to say of those sitting on the opposite Benches that they had exhibited "a perfect mastery of the arts of ambush." The time had come when he might retort, and congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon his perfect mastery of the "arts of ambush." Now, when some one came behind him stealthily, and in the dark, and tried to stab him in the back, he would catch at the first weapon that came to his hand and try to knock him down with it. The Amendment of his hon. Friend was suddenly presented to him: he caught at it in his need, and would use it against the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. GREENE
said, that if there was a Gentleman to whose appeal he would yield it would be the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), and if he had thought with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire no party ties would have prevented him from supporting the Resolutions. The Motion of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) had been objected to on the ground that it was pointed against one sect; but his (Mr. Greene's) Amendment was wide enough for all. As to this discussion being unexpected—who expected at the opening of the Session to be called upon to vote on the disestablishment of the Irish Church? Indeed, be challenged a single Member to say that he was asked a question on his election about the Irish Church. He much regretted that this had been made a party question, and he said this out of no disrespect to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), to whom he was much indebted for being known at all in the House, for the right hon. Gentleman, on a former occasion, challenged him to speak. He felt bound to press his Amendment.
remarked, that on his election, be was questioned respecting the Irish Church, and gave a decided opinion upon it.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
hoped the Amendment would be pressed, since the division upon it would be a test of the feeling of the Committee; but if the question had come upon Members by surprise the debate should be adjourned.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again." — (Mr. Whalley.)
§ MR. DISRAELI
hoped a decision would be at once arrived at, for, considering the state of public business, adjourned debates ought to be discouraged.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put, "That those words be added to the said proposed Amendment, as amended."
§ The Committee divided:—
§ Before the Tellers reported the numbers, Mr. Holden, Member for Knaresborough, came to the Table and staled that he had been in the House when the Question was 1941 put, but not having heard it he had not voted:—Whereupon the Chairman again stated the Question, and the Honourable Member declared himself with the Ayes:—Ayes 97; Noes 132: Majority 35.
That the words 'when legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued, due regard being had to all personal interests,' be added to the word 'That' in the Original Question,
—put, and agreed to.
§ 4. Resolved, That when legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee, respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued, due regard being had to all personal interests.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, I do not rise to oppose the reporting of these Resolutions; but I think that what has occurred to-night will indicate to the House what will occur in future, and will show the country that those who have introduced these Resolutions to the House have only introduced into this country the elements of confusion.
Mr. Dodson, I am not aware, Sir, that anything has been said which could have afforded the right hon. Gentleman the opportunity of which he has availed himself of fifing a parting shot against the Resolutions. But the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman himself, as shadowed forth by his Irish Minister, was that he should pay the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, and that he should increase or double the Regium Donum. I think the right hon. Gentleman may learn, from what has passed to-night, how small a chance he would have had in this House of passing a measure for the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy. If he had brought that question fairly before the House, possibly he would not have made very great confusion, for in all probability he would not have been able to induce ten men of his own party to follow him. At any rate, so far as we are concerned, we have taken an opposite course. A large majority of the House—the largest that has ever voted on any great question since 1841—has sanctioned the Resolutions that have been introduced 1942 by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. And we find that, notwithstanding a good many Archbishops and Bishops—I am not familiar with all the gradations of dignity in the Established Church, but deans, rectors, vicars, curates, and other clergymen of every order—notwithstanding they have met and made a general protest against the policy that has been pursued by the House, yet I suspect—although there are many honest people throughout the country who would support them—the great preponderating opinion of the people of the United Kingdom will be in favour of the course which the majority of this House has adopted. I will undertake to say that, apart from the prejudices and convictions that arise from association, and training in a particular Church, you will find few thoughtful men on public questions in this kingdom who are not in favour of the great measure of justice to Ireland which we are endeavouring to advance. There is no man on either side of this House who will undertake to say that he will find any men, by any species of selection or any microscopic investigation in any country in the world, who have a claim to intelligence and knowledge on public questions, who would not give their sanction and approval to the policy which the House has pursued. Sir, I am as much interested in the peace and prosperity of Ireland and of the United Kingdom as any Gentleman on the opposite side of the House can be, and I have for more than twenty years taken a strong interest in Irish questions. I have deplored the condition of that country. I have felt it to be a scandal to English statesmanship. I have said so here often and often. I have held consistently for twenty years the conviction which the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government himself held then, and which, if it were possible now to put him under an accurate examination from which he could not flinch, he would be obliged to say that he holds now; because, on a recent occasion, he admitted that the main sentiment of that speech which he delivered twenty-five years ago was right. But I am in a different position from the right hon. Gentleman. I have not been endeavouring to climb the Ladder of Parliamentary promotion and notoriety. ["Oh!"] No, Sir, I have only had the single object—so far as I have had anything to do with Irish questions—to promote what appeared to be just to that country, and which would tend to the advantage 1943 of the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman the other night, with a mixture of pompousness and sometimes of servility talked at large of the interviews which he had had with his Sovereign. I venture to say that a Minister who deceives his Sovereign is as guilty as the conspirator who would dethrone her. ["Oh!"] I do not charge the right hon. Gentleman with deceiving his Sovereign; but if he has not changed the opinion which he held twenty-five years ago, and which he has said in the main was right, then I fear that he has not stated all that it was his duty to state in the interviews which he had with his Sovereign. Let me tell hon. Gentleman opposite, and the right hon. Gentleman in particular, that any man in this country who puts the Sovereign in the front of a great struggle like this into which it may be we are about to enter—who points to the Irish people, and says from the floor of this House — "Your Queen holds the flag under which we, the enemies of religions equality and justice to Ireland, are marshalled"—I say that the Minister who does that is guilty of a very high crime and a great misdemeanour against his Sovereign and against his country. And there is no honour, and there is no reputation, there is no glory, there is no future name that any Minister can gain by conduct like this that will acquit him to posterity of one of the most grievous offences against his country which a Prime Minister can possibly commit.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) is in the habit of praising his own patriotism, his own virtue, and self-denial; but, Sir, I think that when the hon. Gentleman relieves his mind with reference to those virtues which he thinks he possesses, he might have allowed to others some portion of those virtues which he ascribes to himself. And when the hon. Gentleman interprets, or rather misinterprets, the language in which the Prime Minister communicated to the House his interviews with the Sovereign, I, for one, cannot forbear to remind this Committee that the time at which those observations ought to have been made has long since passed. It is obvious that the observations with which we have just been favoured by the hon. Member for Birmingham were carefully prepared to suit that occasion, and had no relevancy to the occasion on which they were made. Sir, the hon. Gentleman says that the discussion and 1944 the vote of this evening will show to the Government that the scheme which he says—but which I certainly was not aware—had been shadowed forth at an earlier part of the Session for the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church will find no favour in the House. ["Oh!"] Well, I think the House will recollect what was the decision at which the Committee has just arrived, and how the hon. Member for Birmingham voted upon it. The Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Greene) was a Motion which would, as far as any Resolution of this House could do, put it out of the power of the Members who took part in it to vote any portion of the funds of the Irish Church to the sustentation of any other religious communion. How did the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham vote on that occasion? He voted against the Amendment, and therefore he voted in favour of reserving to himself the power to vote hereafter any portion of the funds of the Irish Church to the sustentation of the Roman Catholic Church. ["Oh!"] That is the absolute fact of the matter; and, inviting public attention to that fact, I leave the issue with the greatest confidence in the hands of the House and the country.
I am extremely sorry, Sir, that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government has thought fit to provoke this discussion. We have been busied to-night upon practical matters; and, although towards the close of the evening we came upon subjects necessarily exciting some feeling, yet it was much to have been desired that we should have kept off the ground of mere party recrimination; and, undoubtedly, it is unfortunate that those who continually reproach us—a reproach which we, the majority, have, I think, borne with some patience—with having no motive in this great cause excepting that of our own party advancement, could not suffer the formal Motion, Sir, which I submitted to you to pass without using language in regard to the votes arrived at deliberately by a great majority of this House, of which I will not say whether it is respectful or not to the House, but I will say that I never heard such language used by a Prime Minister. And then, Sir, after my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) had felt himself unable to forego a protest against that language, the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works (Lord John 1945 Manners) rises in his place and confesses to an innocent forgetfulness of the plans which the Government shadowed forth for concurrent endowment in Ireland. The noble Lord knows nothing of them, he never even heard of them; they were never mentioned, I suppose, in the Cabinet; and that compels me to refresh his memory with the words which have not perhaps been supplied to him by the noble Earl (the Earl of Mayo) who sits next to him. I suppose the noble Lord knew nothing of the intentions of the Government at the time, when that noble Earl rose in his place and on behalf of the noble Lord and in the name of the noble Lord no less than in that of any other Member of the Cabinet, not in declaring his own opinion, not in dealing merely with the affairs of his own Department, but in redeeming a formal pledge given in both Houses of Parliament that he (the Earl of Mayo), should declare the unanimous judgment and opinion of the Cabinet, used these words, of which the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works has not, forsooth, the slightest idea—There would not, I believe, be any objection to make all Churches equal; but this result must be secured by elevation, and not by confiscation.And, Sir, upon this occasion I enjoy a rare advantage; for it is not often permitted to a humble Member of the Opposition to enlighten a Cabinet Minister as to the intentions of his own Colleagues, which have been declared in his name and in his hearing. So much, Sir, for that part of the noble Lord's speech. And now I come to his truly candid representation of the vote at which we have just arrived; and I think I shall contrive to put upon it a colour different from that which the noble Lord has attached to it. We have just voted. Sir, that we would not add, to a proposal that was before the House, words which forbade us to give any portion of any money that might be realized from the property of the Church in Ireland to any institution connected with any religious communion whatever. That is to say that, if there were a school in Ireland under the patronage and guidance of a particular religious community, to that school—and I believe even its mere connection with a religious communion, even if it did not teach their tenets, would have been enough to bring it under the prohibition—to that school we should be forbidden to vote a single shilling. But what would have been the case of the Established Church? And 1946 now we shall see the dispassionate impartiality of the noble Lord. We have passed a vote with regard to the Established Church which excluded the word "disendow," because we have reserved to ourselves the power to deal liberally on every question of construction and interpretation as far as the Established Church is concerned. And then the noble Lord, having obtained from us our solemn pledge for that liberal mode of dealing in regard to the Established Church, endeavoured to obtain from us a vote by which, for every other body, the strictest and most iron application of this most rigorous rule should be secured, so that he should still be able in some form or other to maintain in Ireland his beloved religious inequality. And that was the system and method of proceeding against which my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, with the courage of an Englishman, recorded his fair and manly vote.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, the right hon. Gentleman says that he heard from me language which had never before been used by a Prime Minister. Well, Sir, what was that language? I said — as a summary of the debate, the materials of which must be familiar to almost all now present—that when the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman were reported, it was my opinion that, from what had occurred tonight, we might judge what elements of confusion had been introduced into our proceedings. I will only say this, that if that be language which, under the circumstances, has never been used by a Prime Minister, a Prime Minister has never used for the occasion appropriate and sensible language. If anyone had been present at these debates, and had heard the various propositions that were made in consequence of the passing of the right hon. Gentleman's Resolutions, so contrary to one another, so considerable in their operation and in their influence, and indicating the opinion of various sections of this House, representing, I have no doubt faithfully, the opinion of large portions of the population of this country—I say, if anyone had been present, and had heard those propositions, and would not admit that they indicated the confusion of the public mind, in consequence of the right hon. Gentleman's proposals, he would refrain from making an admission which I am sure every frank and candid nature would willingly allow. More than this, I say that what has occurred to night is an 1947 indication of still further confusion on the subject; and I cannot doubt that long before we can arrive at anything like a settlement of this question, we shall have among the propositions made in this House — and made from different sides of the House — some that will much affect the present discipline and disposition of parties, because they will more faithfully reflect the conscience and the convictions of the country. Sir, I shall not condescend to notice at length the observations of the hon. Member for Birmingham. He says that when it was my duty to make a communication to the House, of the greatest importance, and which I certainly wished to make—as I hope I did make it—in a manner not unbecoming the occasion—I was at once "pompous and servile." Well, Sir, if it suits the heat of party acrimony to impute such qualities to me, any Gentleman may do so; but I am in the memory and in the feeling of Gentlemen on both sides of the House—and fortunately there are Gentlemen on both sides of this House—they will judge of the accuracy of this representation of my conduct. It is to their feeling and to their sentiment on both sides of the House that I must appeal; and no words of mine, if the charge be true, can vindicate me. The hon. Gentleman says that he will make no charge against me—and then he makes insinuations which, if he believes, he ought to bring forth boldly as charges. I defy the hon. Member for Birmingham, notwithstanding his stale invective, to come down to this House and substantiate any charge of the kind which he has presumed only to insinuate. Let him prefer those charges; I will meet him; and I will appeal to the verdict only of Gentlemen who sit on the same side of the House as himself.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that he should not notice the observations of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), nor the personalities which had been bandied about between the leading Members of the House. He desired to recall the attention of the Committee to the main issue—to the discovery of that night. From the statement last made by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), it was clear that, in his opinion, the difference between the two parties was this — the right hon. Member for South Lancashire declared that Her Majesty's Government intended to endow the Roman Catholic Church and other denominations in Ireland, but not out of the property of the Irish 1948 Church. He (Mr. Newdegate) did not believe they had any such intention. This, however, was now clear: the right hon. Member for South Lancashire himself proposed to take the property of the Protestant Church, and to give it to the Roman Catholics. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had voted against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Greene), because he might wish to apply part of the property of the Irish Church to denominational schools. There were schools in Ireland belonging to monastic and conventual establishments connected with the Church of Rome. It was probably for the purpose of endowing these Popish schools or establishments that the right hon. Gentleman sought to rob the Church of Ireland.
§ House resumed.
COLONEL STUART KNOX
rose, and asked Mr. Speaker whether, the last Resolution, as it stood, was within the scope of the Order of Reference which had been given to the Committee, the Resolution referring to other things besides the Established Church? He put the question because the Chairman seemed to have some doubt on the point.
§ MR. SPEAKER
begged to remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the Resolutions had not yet been reported to him.
§ On Question, "That the fourth and last Resolution be agreed to,"
COLONEL STUART KNOX
again appealed to the Speaker to say whether it came within the Order of Reference.
§ MR. SPEAKER
replied, that the Chairman of Committees was the proper judge of those matters which came under his notice while in Committee. He could not interfere with the decision of the Chairman at the suggestion of an individual Member. To authorize him to do so the Question must be brought before him by direction of the House.
COLONEL STUART KNOX
begged to move that the Question be raised, and that the Chairman be requested to state his opinion. ["No, no!"]
§ Resolutions reported;
- 1. "That it is necessary that the Established Church of Ireland should cease to exist as an
1949 Establishment, due regard being had to all personal interests and to all individual rights of properly."
- 2. "That, subject to the foregoing considerations, it is expedient to prevent the creation of new personal interests by the exorcise of any public patronage, and to confine the operations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Ireland to objects of immediate necessity, or such as involve individual rights, pending the final decision of Parliament."
- 3. "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly to pray that, with a view to preventing, by legislation during the present Session, the creation of new personal interests through the exercise of any public patronage, Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament, Her interest in the temporalities of the Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, and other Ecclesiastical Dignities and Benefices in Ireland, and in the custody thereof."
- 4. "That when legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee, respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued, due regard being had to all personal interests."
§ Resolutions agreed to.
§ Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly to pray that, with a view to preventing, by legislation during the present Session, the creation of new personal interests through the exercise of any public patronage, Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament, Her interest in the temporalities of the Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, and other Ecclesiastical Dignities and Benefices in Ireland, and in the custody thereof. — (Mr. Gladstone.)
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors.