HC Deb 22 May 1868 vol 192 cc720-813

Order for Second Reading read.


, in rising to move that this Bill be now read a second time, said: Sir, I cannot do otherwise than re-cognize the great courtesy of hon. Members universally in refraining from occupying the time of the House with preliminary discussions, and also the justice of the remark made by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) with reference to the anomalous position in which I stand as the mover of a Bill upon a great question of national policy, which, under all ordinary circumstances, if entertained by the House at all, would be in the hands of the Government of the day. I do not propose to enter upon any explanation of that anomaly, because it would lead to a discussion of deeper matters extraneous to the debate that is now about to take place, and which, whether they require to be discussed or not, I am very anxious to keep apart from all debate on the merits of this Bill. I think I shall not have occasion to detain the House at any great length; but so much interest is felt on this subject, and it is so difficult to possess the public mind clearly, even with propositions which one has endeavoured to state in the most explicit form—and of that difficulty I receive such constant testimony—that I should wish to remind the House, and those who may become acquainted with its discussions, of the exact position in which I, at least, and I think others on this side of the House, conceive the question to stand. It appears that at the commencement of the present Session Her Majesty's Government were of one mind with those who sit on this side of the House in the opinion that it was not possible—or, at least, that it was not politic or desirable—to maintain the existing religious and ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland. Accordingly, when Her Majesty's Government proceeded, through the mouth of the noble Earl (the Earl of Mayo) to state to Parliament their policy for Ireland, they intimated that they were disposed to favour extensive plans of change. An earnest of these plans was given in the shape of a proposal with respect to a Roman Catholic University, and their general character was indicated in two parts of the speech of the noble Earl—one in which he stated i that the Grant now made to the Presbyterians, under the name of Regium Donum, was miserable in its amount and inadequate for its purposes, and would re-quire to be considerably or largely increased in order to make it worthy of its aim; and the other in which, going beyond the case of the Presbyterians, he recognized fully, and, of course, in the main—though not exclusively—with reference to the Roman Catholics, the doctrine of religious equality for Ireland, and said there would be no objection on the part of Her Majesty's Government to establish that religious equality, provided it were done by giving, and not by taking away. Of course, any construction put upon the words of the noble Earl is put by me, and I have no right to make him responsible for my assumption of what those words import; but I apprehend there can be no serious division upon the meaning of those very grave and important words to which I have referred; the, meaning was that the Government recommended us to proceed to the removal of anomalies in Ireland, but to proceed by the method of concurrent endowment—of establishing, by means of public funds, other endowed Churches in addition to that which now exists; and the position of Her Majesty's Government may fairly be considered as thus defined. Sir, to that method of proceeding it appeared to us that there were insurmountable objections. We are entirely at one with Her Majesty's Government—though I do not know how far we are at one with the bulk of those who sit behind them—in adopting the principle of religious equality for Ireland. But we think that the attempt to found a variety of endowed Churches in Ireland at the public charge, or even if it had taken a different form, to which I need not refer particularly—I mean by the division of the ecclesiastical property—that the attempt to found a variety of endowed Churches for Ireland is a plan that would be found to be diametrically and fundamentally opposed to the sentiment and conviction of the great mass of the population of Great Britain, while on the part of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, who form the great bulk of those whom it would be intended to aid, such a plan has been generally and emphatically repudiated. We, Sir, therefore, proposed to proceed by a method opposite to that of Her Majesty's Government, and to attain the great aim of religious equality for Ireland, which we have in view in common with the Members of the Cabinet, by that other process which is commonly known, and with a sufficient accuracy of phrase for popular purposes, as the method of disestablishment and of general disendowment. The House, therefore, has been asked to vote, and has voted, that the Church in Ireland now established should cease to exist as an Establishment. It has also voted that all personal interests and all proprietary rights should be carefully respected; and an opinion certainly has been given, and I think has met with considerable acceptance, that, in addition to strictly defined interests and rights, in every question of feeling the House would be disposed, in contemplating so serious and extensive a change, to mitigate its operation, to soften the period of transition, wherever it could be done consistently with the attainment of the principal and fundamental objects. It has also been understood and has been voted by the House—not at my instance, but certainly with my concurrence—that the Maynooth Act should be repealed, and the Regium Donum discontinued. There are certain other propositions which I have presumed to state as opinions of my own, and they are briefly these—In the first place, that all the principles of consideration and equity upon which Parliament has distinctly shown its intention to treat the present Established Church should be fully and fairly applied, in consonance with the spirit of a just analogy, to the settlement of any other question affecting other religious bodies in Ireland; because if these principles were not so applied we should not establish the religious equality which we have in view as the main purpose that is to be accomplished. Then I have ventured to say, and I believe it is the deep conviction of all those who sit on this side of the House, that in proposing generally to disendow the Established Church of Ireland we emphatically renounce all idea of endowing in its stead any other religious communion; and, as I ventured on an early occasion to express it—perhaps, with no great precision, but still, I hope, with sufficient clearness to make my general I view well known—that we finally and entirely abandon for Ireland the maintenance in any form of a salaried or stipendiary clergy, whether that clergy be supposed to be maintained out of public funds voted by this House, or out of the pro- perty which is now given for ecclesiastical purposes in Ireland. I also ventured to say, and I thought it was right and fair to say, that, so far as I could judge, either by my own sense of justice or by the opinions of others, there was certainly no intention that the Established Church of Ireland should he disestablished for the benefit of the Consolidated Fund; but that, whatever might be the final judgment of Parliament as to the wisest application of those funds when they came to be realized, they should be devoted, and that we should understand from the first that they should be devoted, exclusively to Irish purposes. As to the Irish Church itself, I expressed the opinion—which is an opinion only, but it appears to me a just one—that, having been itself deprived of legal privilege and position, it should be invested with perfect freedom. I own that, speaking as an individual, I cannot for a moment share the apprehensions—idle and visionary apprehensions they appear to me—which are entertained on this subject in high and dignified quarters, and among persons of great authority in the Church. I am astonished to find them so devoid of faith in the religious principles they profess, as to entertain the altogether idle and visionary apprehensions that those who hold our faith and religion in Ireland are not competent to direct themselves in their religious affairs, and that the moment those persons are released from restraint they are to astonish the world by their pranks and caprices in matters ecclesiastical. This I take to be the general position of this question, so far as regards the 1st and 4th Resolutions, and so far as regards the illustration that I may say they have received either from myself or, I think from the generality of those who, in the discussion of this question, have taken an active or leading part in favour of the Resolutions. Then we come to the Suspensory Bill, of which I have now to move the second reading, and I own it is to me matter of some disappointment that we have failed to obtain from the Government any recognition of the justice and propriety of this Bill, considered not as an original proposition, but as a natural sequel to the measures we have adopted. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government went so far on a former night as to state that he considered, not the 3rd, but the 2nd Resolution to be a corollary of the 1st. I entirely agree in that doctrine. I think it was a most just and wise view of the case which prompted him to say that if the House was of opinion that the Irish Church should he disestablished, it ought to give effect to that opinion so far as the time and the circumstances permit. But what disappoints me is that when the right hon. Gentleman, on the part of the Government, has thus allowed that the 2nd Resolution was a just consequence of the 1st, he should now refuse to allow that the Bill is a just consequence of the 2nd Resolution. Why, for the House to have passed the 1st Resolution and to have rested content with an abstract declaration of opinion might have been impolitic; but for the House to have passed the 2nd Resolution, and declared that it was expedient to make a legal provision against the growth of new vested interests in the Church of Ireland, and then, forsooth, to have halted in its career and declined to pass a Bill on the subject, would have been not only impolitic, but nothing less than ridiculous. The importance of this Suspensory Bill I am very desirous to carry home to the minds of all who hear me. It is no abstract sense of its propriety, no eagerness to give immediate effect to an opinion merely because we have expressed it and made ourselves responsible for it, that leads me, for one, to urge this Bill upon the House. It is because the passing of this measure lies at the root of all dealing with the practical difficulties of the case. Now, if we were content to proceed in approaching the question of the Irish Church—and I am satisfied that we are not content so to proceed—in the manner which has been in fashion in various continental countries, and in our own in former times, when Churches have been disestablished, religious orders abolished, and the members of them turned out-of-doors—if it were our national manner to proceed in a mode like that, nothing would have been simpler than the way to deal with the Irish Church, and we should not need to preface our proceeding by a Suspensory Bill. I do not disguise from myself or any others that the working difficulties when a definitive Act is passed will be very great; they must be very great. To effect by form of law the transition of a considerable religious communion, from the condition of an Established Church to that of a voluntary society, is a most grave and serious matter; and when it is not done by a mere act of violence, but with the recognition of proprietary rights, and, above all, of vested interests, which the House, I am certain, regards as fundamental in any honourable or satisfactory arrangements, it is then the difficulties arise. Because vested interests carry with them the question not only of a certain amount of money, but of the continuance of a certain state of law; and it is conceivable—nay, probable—that in the beginning you would have two kinds of law in operation in the same country. You would have parishes and dioceses where the Bishops and clergy now in possession would be alive, and you would have other dioceses and parishes which had been voided, and where consequently people had come in under a new system perfectly different. Now, it is evident that the continuance of any mixture of that kind, which seems inseparable, at least at first view, from the case, would be a matter of considerable public embarrassment and inconvenience. Therefore, it appears to me the most natural thing in the world—indeed, I do not know how-anyone can hesitate to admit it—that we who have concurred in the Resolution to disestablish the Irish Church should not be disposed to allow the prolongation of that period of embarrassment. It is a period which, when the time comes, I think the good sense of all parties concerned will seek to curtail and to bring to a close by some arrangement which may be then found practicable. But, in fact, nothing can be plainer than that it is the duty of a House of Commons which intends to disestablish the Irish Church, and at the same time to respect existing vested interests—that is, to preserve the Bishops and clergy, not only in their pecuniary receipts, but in their social position—nothing can be plainer, I say, than that in a matter of such complicated conditions, entailed by the necessity of the case, it is our imperative duty to prevent the unnecessary prolongation of these inevitable embarrassments by putting a stop to the growth of new vested interests. I must confess I should have gone one step further. I should have hoped, if this matter had not assumed a polemical aspect in consequence of its association with our debates upon disestablishment, that Her Majesty's Government, and even many of those who sit behind them, might have been disposed to acquiesce in the reasonableness of a suspensory measure, Undoubtedly if there be Gentlemen, and there may be some, who contend that the exist- ing ecclesiastical condition of Ireland calls for no legislative measures, then they would be perfectly consistent in opposing such a Bill as I have submitted to the House. But such is not the position of Her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Government have themselves submitted to us a Motion in which it was distinctly declared that in all likelihood "considerable modifications" in the temporalities of the Established Church in Ireland might result from the inquiries of the Royal Commission. Well, what is the meaning of these words "considerable modifications?" They mean the extinction of some bishoprics, or the reduction of the income of some bishoprics, or both. They mean the withdrawal of the parochial machinery from those portions of the country where there are few or no Protestants. Every one will admit that this is the only natural and rational meaning of these "considerable modifications." But if there are to be those "considerable modifications," if you are going to reduce the income of bishoprics, or even, as it is reported, to extinguish a great number of them, if you are going to do away with what are commonly called "the scandalous abuses'' of the Irish Church—a phrase by which I would be unwilling to describe the case of tolerably or even well-endowed clergy who have no duties to perform or parishioners to look after—if these things are to be brought to an end, and you think it your duty to do so, I ask, why do you nut concur with us in passing this Suspensory Bill? At least the public evils, the public waste, and public scandal which will be caused if you continue to appoint new rectors to unnecessary parishes, new Bishops to unnecessary sees, and with unnecessary incomes, would be prevented. Why do you not consent, nay, why do you resist the proposition to put a stop to the growth of those new vested interests which will endure for twenty, thirty, or forty years hence? If my 2nd Resolution be a corollary of the 1st, and if this Bill be a corollary of the 2nd Resolution, I ask, speaking of its principle and not seeking to commit Gentlemen to its precise terms, is it not a corollary of any honest deliberation of the principle that there are to be "considerable modifications" in the temporalities of the Irish Church? Sir, I do not think that I need muck longer detain the House, but I am anxious not to sit down without giving an answer to an appeal which was made by the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. Liddell) a few days ago to this effect—"Why proceed with a Suspensory Bill when you must be, in fact, aware that there is no chance of its becoming law?" Now, any appeal proceeding from the hon. Member, who adheres with unfashionable strictness to political principles in a day when they are not in vogue, has a special claim to respectful attention over and above what applies to his position in this House and the assiduity and ability he displays as a Member of it. I will answer that appeal most explicitly, and I think he will admit that, from our point of view, my answer is not an unreasonable one. The substance of his argument rested upon the supposition that, though a Suspensory Bill might pass this House, yet it would not receive the assent of the House of Lords. My answer is, in the first place, that I do not think it compatible with the dignity or even the duty of this House that, with regard to questions profoundly involving the highest public interests, we should be governed in the adoption of this or that particular measure by doubts or misgivings which any among us may entertain as to the judgment which may be passed upon it by another branch of the Legislature. We are the representatives of the people, having distinct and definite duties of our own to perform; and I am persuaded that the safest course for us is temperately and deliberately to perform those duties, and to rely upon the wisdom of others, who have also their duties to perform, to direct them in the right path. And I must admit that I am very unwilling on this particular question to entertain the supposition that the event will happen which the hon. Member anticipates as likely to occur. I certainly will not charge that upon the House of Lords. If I have seen in the course of a lengthened career instances in which I have thought that House somewhat rash and precipitate, I certainly have seen more instances—and conspicuous instances, too—in which it has acted upon the dictates of an enlightened prudence. Were it true that this Motion had been made by us merely as a Motion intended for the purposes of party—[Cheers]—I assure hon. Gentlemen that I do not in the least need those cheers in order to make me cognizant of the fact that such is their conviction devoutly entertained; but, still, we have another view of the matter. It is possible in this free country that there may be two opinions upon the subject; nay, it is even possible that the opinion entertained by those hon. Gentlemen may be wrong; but I, for one—though I have sat very patiently, in common with those who sit on these Benches, under the imputation of party objects—will never cease to maintain, now that the proper time for doing so has come, that, so far from being ashamed that this proposal has been made, or of the time at which it was made, I should have been ashamed of myself if at such a time, under such circumstances, with such facts as the condition of Ireland has presented to us, and such necessities as the whole relations of the Empire to them inwardly and externally involve—I say I should have been ashamed of myself if at such a time the Motion had not been made. With that conviction, I do not abandon the belief that in "another place" likewise these urgent facts and necessities may be recognised. But, Sir, even were I to descend to the lowest ground, were I to assume that the hon. Member is right in his unfavourable anticipation, and that this Bill on reaching, as I confidently trust it will reach, the House of Lords, backed by the authority of a commanding majority of this House, will nevertheless be doomed to rejection,—even then, though for myself I repudiate that anticipation, I say it could not act upon us in the least, for experience has shown us, with regard to, I had almost said a thousand measures, that the sooner you begin to knock at that door the sooner you will open it. I will not detain the House by entering upon any considerations of detail in connection with this Bill. In fact, as far as I know, there is but one subject which is not distinctly intelligible upon the face of it, and that is the question of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The Bill has been framed in the belief that its provisions, when combined with those of the Church Temporalities Act of 1833 and of the general Ecclesiastical Law, are sufficient to enable every function and operation of the Established Church in Ireland to go forward, in different hands, indeed, but just as really and efficiently as they would go forward if the Bill were not passed. I refer to the subject because an opinion has been expressed by some that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction as a whole, or that portion of it which is exercised through the Spiritual Courts, would lapse under the Bill. I contest that opinion, and I think we shall have no difficulty in disproving it. But even were it true the matter could be easily arranged in Committee on the Bill; and it would be idle to magnify it into the importance of a cardinal consideration upon the present occasion. With regard to the Bill itself, I think I have said enough on this and on former occasions to justify us not only in proposing it; but in strongly urging it on the acceptance of the House; as being, in fact, a full acquittal and discharge of our immediate duty; for while we admit that the magnitude of this question is such that it cannot be definitively dealt with except by a Parliament approaching it, I might almost say, in the first days of its youth, yet perceiving that it is in our power materially to settle the limits of the question for the Parliament that is to come, we recognize that operation as a duty incumbent upon us, and accordingly I propose that the Bill be now read a second time, in the hope and belief that it will pass into a law.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Gladstone.)


The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) began his address on this occasion by laying the foundation, as he said, in the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. Now, I do not intend in the outset to accept the statement which he has made of our intentions, nor the interpretation he has thought proper to put upon words used on a former occasion by my noble Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that religious equality was put forward by my noble Friend as the basis upon which we were going to act. I venture, however, to say that throughout the whole discussion that occurred, and in which I took part, religious equality was argued upon as a thing which could not be made the groundwork of measures like these without its being also made the groundwork of an attack on the English Establishment, and that therefore it was a thing we did not recognize nor make the basis of our policy. Moreover, the only measure which we brought forward in this House indicative of the policy of Her Majesty's Government with respect to any religious institution in Ireland was with respect to a Roman Catholic University. It was proposed to charter a Roman Catholic University in Ireland, and, the Correspondence on the subject being on the table, the House will have an opportunity of judging of our conduct respecting it. As to the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy, my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government stated most distinctly that no such intention had ever existed, and I may add, speaking in the presence of my noble Friend, that neither the increase of the Regium Donum nor the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy was ever discussed by the Cabinet, or brought forward in any shape or form before the House. [A laugh.] The hon. Member (Mr. Layard) laughs; but I venture to call upon him to support his incredulity by facts, if he can do so. So far, therefore, from being at one with the right hon. Gentleman upon the question of religious equality, I say it is impossible that we who have contended for religious Establishments in connection with the State can be at one with the right hon. Gentleman or the party he represents on that particular groundwork of religious equality which he has laid down for us. I have never concealed my belief that religious Establishments in connection with the State are to the interest both of the State and of the Church itself; but, I think, of greater interest to the State than to the Church. I do not at all agree with the right hon. Gentleman that because we support endowment and connection with the State we therefore manifest fear of the religion which we profess not being able to maintain itself without them; but I wish to put this to him—if Establishments be of no use for the support of religion, but rather a hindrance and impediment, I presume he will think it right to cast them away in this country as well as in Ireland; and, in support of that religious equality of which he has become so fervent an apostle, to let all religions in England and Scotland, as well as in Ireland, fight their battles without any assistance from the State, or, indeed, without any assistance from the pious endowments of those who have given them on the faith of their being protected by the State. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), in the discussion last night, which had no real bearing upon this subject, and I therefore did not then reply, said we ought to take the opportunity of making a concession on this question in order that we might receive concessions upon some other subject; and the right hon. Gentleman has told us to-night that he thought or expected that we, who have ourselves admitted that modifications might be required in the position or condition of the Church in Ireland, ought to jump at the opportunity of a Suspensory Bill, and ought not to oppose or show ourselves hostile to what would serve our own purpose as well as his. On that I will say something presently. This is the first Bill introduced into this House, within the recollection of any of us, avowedly for the purpose of confiscating Church property and devoting it to secular purposes. Yet we are called upon, in the discharge of the duty which we owe to our principles, to our friends in the country, and, as we believe, to the interests of Church Establishments, to accept such a Bill as this without discussion, to allow it to pass through this House as if it were not opposed, and then, no doubt, to be charged with having deceived and defrauded the right hon. Gentleman, when those who sit with us in the same Cabinet oppose it on its reaching, if it ever does reach, the House of Lords. Now, there is a Commission sitting upon the question of the Church in Ireland, and when that Commission issues its Report, it will be received with the respect and consideration due to those who form that Commission; but to tell me that I am to assume beforehand what their recommendations will be; that I am to suspend the operation of the ordinary law in Ireland, to effect a purpose of which I know nothing—that I am to prevent the appointment of clergymen to benefices of a class and character, for instance, which it may be the intention of the Commission to foster and encourage and support even more than they are supported at present—this is a proposition so unreasonable in itself that were it not put forward by such great authorities as the hon. Member for Birmingham and the right hon. Gentleman, I should certainly not have thought it worth while to notice it. Now, it is not my intention to go much into the details of this Bill, though I think the right hon. Gentleman would find, if he were to consult some of those who are well acquainted with ecclesiastical affairs in Ireland, that in some respects it will not carry out the intentions which he professes. First of all, let me take exception to the Preamble of the Bill. It states what I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not have wished to state, for it states that which is not the fact. It says— Whereas Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify that She has placed at the dis- posal of Parliament for the purposes of legislation during the present Session Her interest in the Temporalities of the several Archbishoprics, Bishoprics, and other ecclesiastical dignities and benefices in Ireland, and in the custody thereof. Now, Her Majesty has not made any such statement. Her Majesty has stated her willingness to waive any oposition which she might have made to the consideration of measures by Parliament; but does the right hon. Gentleman mean to tell me that the Queen has assented beforehand to legislation proposed by this House, and that she has for the purposes of legislation, whatever that legislation may be, abdicated any right she may possess in the future? [Mr. GLADSTONE: No!] The right hon. Gentleman says "No"; but I say that the recital of the Preamble presumes that it will be so, and I say that if a recital was necessary there should have been recited the Address of the right hon. Gentleman, and the Answer given to that Address, in the terms which Her Majesty was advised to use, and which she used advisedly, with reference to this subject. Her Majesty has no constitutional right to abdicate that part of her Prerogative which entitles her to put a veto upon any measure she thinks fit. The Preamble, then, is inconsistent with the fact, and states that which is not a legal or constitutional doctrine. Again, the right hon. Gentleman asks us to pass by without remark the statement that it is expedient to do certain things, and he says that statement is founded upon what we did with respect to the Resolutions. But it should be recollected that, when I stated to the House the course Her Majesty's Government would adopt with respect to the Resolutions, I did it in the most distinct terms, and I informed the right hon. Gentleman that he was not to regard our waiving a division on them as any sign that we did not entirely repudiate and oppose them. I told him that when a Bill was brought before the House, we should announce how we should deal with it. Well, the right hon. Gentleman, in consequence, I presume, of that statement, put a question to my right hon. Friend, and was answered at once that we should give our opposition to the Bill. In conformity with that reply I put a Notice on the Paper, and I am now discharging the duty I undertook in opposing the second reading. But, Sir, I do not think, with the views I entertain with respect to this Bill, that it is any part of my duty, or any part of the interests of those with whom I act, that we should attempt to amend this Bill in any respect. It is, in my opinion, a Bill bad in its construction, bad in its principle, bad in its expediency, without precedent, and entirely without justice. The Irish Church has defects, and many defects, as I am afraid there are in every Church; but for those who consider that the Irish Church is in itself good, that it has done good, and that it is doing good—for those who believe with me that in the truth which I believe that Church to hold there is in it the element of progress, which, although it may for a time be stayed, will yet eventually prevail—for those who are of opinion that the Irish Church is not injured by connection with the State, it is impossible to assent to the principles and the statements laid down in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman on a former occasion took me to task for speaking of the State as upholding the Reformation in Ireland, and he said, with a taunt, "Why, you support Maynooth and give money to a Roman Catholic University, to Roman Catholic schools, and a variety of other things of that kind." That is true. But Maynooth was endowed long before I had a seat in this House; and with regard to the Roman Catholic University as a place of education, I shall be glad to give my reasons when that is discussed for what has been proposed by the Government for establishing a University in Ireland. With respect to education, it is true that denominational education prevails, and that money is freely granted by the State for the education of the children of all creeds. But, Sir, is France, or is it not, a Roman Catholic country? In that country payments are made for other religious purposes than those of Romanism. Does, therefore, the Emperor of the French not deserve the name of the eldest son of the Church, and does he not uphold the Roman Catholic religion? When we speak of these things we speak of ourselves as a nation. It is true that the logical position which State Churches used to occupy may have passed away, and that means are provided to educate and instruct those who hold different creeds and opinions. But this nation, as a nation, upholds the Reformation, and although these lesser things are done, I have a right to say that the State of England does uphold the Reformation, although I am sorry to say there are those who are anxious to put an end to it. I do not deny for one moment, nor have I ever denied, the power of Parliament to deal with these great questions; it is the moral not legal right which is disputed. I have spoken on former occasions with respect to the Union, and its bearing and weight on this great question; but am aware that Parliament has the power, which must reside somewhere, to deal with these matters. And there can be no other power than that of the Imperial Parliament in a country which is not a federation, but an incorporation of two States. If it had remained a federation, the Parliaments of the two countries would have had to agree together to rescind a Union solemnly established. But with an incorporated Parliament there is no other body but the Imperial Parliament which can alter the arrangements existing between the two countries. But by the stop which you take in this Bill, and which you hope to perfect in a future Bill, you are, in fact and in law, repealing the Union. ["No!"] I say that, having consulted a very eminent lawyer on this subject, he told me, and I believe him, that unless you put in such a Bill as that which you project, for the destruction of the Establishment in Ireland, (a fundamental and essential part of the Union) a saving clause reserving the Union, it is doubtful if the Union will not be ipso facto repealed. ["Name!"] I am willing to adopt that statement, and therefore, as far as I am concerned, I make myself responsible for it. Much has been said, but not by me, with respect to the Coronation Oath. I will say that Mr. Burke, in the strong opinion expressed by him, never made a distinction between the Legislative and the Executive capacities of the Crown with respect to the Coronation Oath. And even in later years that great authority so frequently cited in this House, and respected by no one more than the right hon. Gentleman himself—I mean the late Sir Robert Peel—in speaking of the Coronation Oath, treated it as binding on the Monarch to a certain extent in his Legislative as well as in his Executive capacity. The passage is so short that I will read it to the House. Sir Robert Peel said— He had never thought that Oath bound the King to maintain the Church and all its members in possession of every right and privilege which they might have possessed in 1688. It did bind him to consult all the essential interests of the Church, to provide to the utmost of his power for its security; but it left a discretion to take the course which the King in his conscience might believe best for those interests and that security. And, therefore, the position of Sir Robert Peel was that the Monarch was not bound by that Oath as to every single thing connected with the Church which might be modified, but yet that modification must not be for the destruction, but for the advantage, of the Church. I said before that I regarded this Bill as inexpedient, and I consider it inexpedient on the ground which the right hon. Gentleman, by the almost contemptuous terms in which he spoke of the other House—["Oh, oh!"]. Then let me say—with reference to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman with respect to the House of Lords that it is inexpedient, with the views which I entertain of that independent branch of the Legislature, that a Bill of this importance should be advancing to that House before it has been called upon to give any vote on this subject. I think it is most expedient that when you are dealing with a great institution such as this that the House of Lords should have been consulted by means of a Resolution, or by means of a joint Address to the Crown; and then we should have ascertained whether those prognostications which the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. Liddell) has made were likely to be verified or not. I object again to this Bill because it seems to me to be an attempt to paralyze the action of the Church of Ireland before any real deiscion has been come to with respect to it. It is like the method of some of those animals we see in the Zoological Gardens, which have the power of numbing their prey before they proceed leisurely to devour it. I think that this is an attempt to do something of the same kind, to paralyze the Church in Ireland, to create alarm, and to throw it into confusion, in order that its disconcerted adherents may not be able to resist the further progress of measures of this description. I say it is inexpedient in the House to pass a Bill which, for the first time in my recollection, enacts that money to be derived from the suspended bishoprics, archbishoprics, livings, and benefices, shall be paid into a separate chest by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and that they shall keep this money distinct from all other, to be afterwards disposed of in such manner as Parliament shall direct. I decline to entrust to the chance of any future Parliament the disposal of money which we are in a position to vote upon, and to say what shall be done with it. For the first time, and in distinct language—for it was never distinctly said before—we have had a strong disavowal from the right hon. Gentleman that there should be any part of this money employed for the endowment of any other religion. But I should like to ask something further. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of endowments to Maynooth, to a Roman Catholic University, and for Roman Catholic education. I should like to know what he includes in the term "endowment." I would ask whether he means merely to disavow payment to the priesthood or ministers of such and such religions; or that the money shall not be devoted to the purposes of any other religion in any way whatever, but devoted to purely secular purposes? We have had no authoritative statement on that subject. We are told that the Roman Catholics have absolutely repudiated having anything to do either with endowments from the State or with the proceeds of the money derived from the present Church of Ireland. Far be it from me to suppose that these statements are made without meaning and without the determination so to act. But I cannot help looking back on former pledges and promises—to those statements which prelates in Ireland were authorized to make about never intending either to attack the Church in Ireland or to alienate her revenues; and I cannot help thinking that there is at times an action from without upon the prelates of that Church, and upon those under their guidance, which may leave it to be said afterwards that those promises and pledges apply only to the present time, and that when there is a difficulty as to the disposition of the funds some will be found of a different religion from the Established Church who will not shrink from taking them. I object again to this as an inexpedient measure, because it is an absolutely hap-hazard proposal. Where the blow may fall nobody knows. It may fall on Belfast, with its crowds of worshippers belonging to the Church of England; or it may, and it no doubt will, fall on some of those smaller places to which the right hon. Gentleman has adverted. He says, "Why will you not adopt this Bill? The Commission may wish for such alterations as it proposes, and you yourselves will find it very useful." Now, if we knew, as was known in 1833, what was to be done in respect to every part of the Church Establishment in Ireland, you might lay down your rules by a Bill, and apply suspension in cases where stops were to be taken for alterations. But this Suspensory Bill hits right and left in every direction. Last year 138 benefices became vacant, and in ordinary years we may take-about 120 as the average. Of these 138 vacant last year, about 127 were in what is called public patronage. Well, Sir, these livings, many in most important places, would fall into the hands of the Commissioners for the undisclosed objects of this Bill. This Suspensory Bill may be valuable for the purposes of destruction, and that is the object of its promoters; but it may affect just those places which those who wish for the stability of the Church desire to maintain, and cannot therefore meet our views. Why, Sir, is it expedient that a poorly endowed curate should be placed in a parish where even the regular incumbent had not been overpaid—for few are overpaid—in a large parish with schools and charities to conduct, most of them owing almost their whole existence to the rector or vicar, and that for the year in which this Bill is to take effect you should have one unable to assist in their maintenance? He will have small interest in the parish, and he does not know how long he may be there; and during that year the schools may fall into decay, and the charities may come to nothing, even although you ultimately destroy the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. Now, Sir, besides that, I say, as I said on former occasions, it is not the Church people only who are concerned in this matter. As regards the temporalities the clergy are indiscriminate in their charities. They do not confine them to Church people. The blow you aim would fall as heavily on the poor of Roman Catholic and Presbyterian faiths as on those of the-Church of England. Is this necessary: Is it necessary to the scheme you have in view? Is this just and generous Parliament so hostile to the Church in Ireland that, despite of, if not vested interests, yet good and well-founded expectations, you will interfere to check the course of promotion of the miserably paid curate, who has been working his way up for many a trying year under great difficulties. Should it happen that in the course of the coming year some remuneration for his services should be in immediate prospect, will this great Parliament of England step in and say, "We won't allow you to get it?" Is the sum you are taking worth saving? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire told us on a former occasion, in the first speech he made on this subject, that he will have regard not only to the vested interests now in existence, but to the vested interests coming into existence. I will ask him, is this the fair, generous, considerate treatment which he held out as a lure? Again, let me ask him—as no doubt some will reply for him who can answer the question—what his Bill means by the words "trustees acting in a public capacity?" In Belfast there is an endowment, which I believe amounts to £20,000, made up by subscription, and managed by trustees, for the benefit of the Church. Are they public trustees, or are they not, for the purposes of this Bill? Are you going to prevent them from using the money furnished by the exertions of themselves and other subscribers? If so, nothing so iniquitous was ever attempted by Parliament. I should also like to know whether the livings under Trinity College, Dublin, are within this Bill? [Mr. LAWSON: No!] Then you treat the interests of Trinity College, Dublin, as private interests, I hope that will be considered when we come to talk of throwing open that College. We must bear in mind, then, that you treat it as a private institution administering private funds. Well, now, I say of this scheme that, first of all, you are not clear in your definition. You cannot tell us how far this Bill extends. Is it one just to the clergy? If it would be unjust to the Fellows of Trinity College to thwart their just hopes, is it not unjust to the clergy at large? Those favoured clergy who are connected with private proprietors, their chances are not impeded; if they be on the road to preferment, their promotion is not stopped; but those who have been rising by merit, those who have been watched by the Bishop of the diocese, those who have been rising by ability, learning, and devotion to their duties, it is their promotion you are about to stop. To those who may be fortunate enough to be connected with gentlemen exercising private patronage there will be no difficulty; but those whom the Crown, the Bishops, or the public may deem to be worthy of promotion will be stopped on the road. What do you do this for? In order to effect a miserable saving, to put a little more into the sacrilegious coffer which you have provided by this Bill for the funds of the Church which you propose to seize. I wish to ask another question. It appears that throughout Ireland there are many parishes situated like one respecting which I have received a statement, A Fellow of Trinity College succeeded to a living; on doing so he had to pay £1,000, which was a charge on it. The trustees of his marriage settlement advanced him the money to do so, on the understanding that the £1,000 would be a charge to be paid by his successor. If that gentleman dies; during the continuance of this Bill, who is to pay his relatives back the money which he advanced on the living? I wish to ask that question. I know that the Bill contains these words in reference to benefices seized by the Commissioners—"subject to all charges legally affecting the same." [Mr. LAWSON: Hear, hear!] The right hon. and learned Gentleman may cheer; I have read his Bill, and I think it a very bad one. It does not meet the case I have put. Might the Ecclesiastical Commissioners between this and the 1st of August next year pay £1,000 to the family of that gentleman, they being in ignorance of what you ultimately intend to do with the living, or what may become of your grand scheme of confiscation? You must remember, that, in the case of a successor to the present incumbent, that successor would be expected to pay the money over at once; and every one knows, in the case of the widow and children of clergymen, how important it generally is that they should at once be put in possession of money which that clergyman has advanced for the benefit of the parish. Nothing can be more monstrously unjust than to arrest the action of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners before you come to any decision as to what you are finally about to do. I hold in my hand a statement received from Ireland, and vouched for on the authority of one of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I applied for information on the subject, and I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Portarlington (Mr. Lawson) does not think that there has been any breach of trust in furnishing me with it. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland increase small livings, and I should assume that some of those livings would come under the benefit of the operations of the Commissioners during the next year. There are many greatly needing it. I find that, in the diocese of Armagh, the benefice of Annaghmore has a present income of £105, and a Church population of 1,200; the benefice of Brackaville, a present in- come of £100, and a Church population of 1,375; the benefice of Milltown, a present income of £130, and a Church population of 2,340; the benefice of Portadown, a present income of £175, and a Church population of 3,800. In the diocese of Clogher, the benefice of Newton-Saville has a present income of £120, and a Church population of 1,300. In the diocese of Connor, the benefice of Ballymena has a present income of £129, and a Church population of 1,500. I might cite other cases equally strong, but those I have quoted will serve for an illustration. I ask the House, I ask hon. Members opposite, whether in their zeal—I may admit their honest zeal—for getting rid of what they may deem to be abuses, they ought to interfere with the action of the Commissioners in the case of these small benefices. Speaking of the Church in Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) said, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" I say, "Let it alone for this year also; let it alone under such circumstances as those figures disclose, and do not tell those working clergymen that their prospects are to be destroyed, and all chance of even a moderate remuneration for their services to be for ever cut off." These unfortunate men may be told to starve on with the miserable pittance they now receive for their work; but I trust in the honour of English Gentlemen. It not being necessary for their purpose that they should suddenly arrest all those clergymen who are now on their way to preferment, I hope they will not interfere with the really vested interests of those who have so small a pittance in a prospective increase. I was taken to task by the right hon. Gentlemen opposite for proposing to use the Church funds in the different parts of the country where they might be most needed, taking from Connaught to use in Leinster; but you are going to stop the flow of this money, in its local channel, and take it into your own hands, for I know not what purpose, except that it is to be an Irish one. You are going to dry up the sources of charity. ["No!"] Yes, you are going to stay the hand of those almoners, the endowed clergy, and to put curates in these suspended parishes instead of permanent ministers. And this you propose to do without telling us to what purpose you intend to apply the funds. We know, at least, that you are not going to spend them on the spot; but, while you will not tell us what you are going to do with them, those who are now interested in them are to be deprived of their interests, both donors and receivers, and that without any provision for compensation to either. While on this point I may remark that the right hon. Gentleman, on a former occasion, said that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland had the power of creating new benefices, No doubt he has since discovered his mistake. What he referred to is known as an episcopal union. [Mr. GLADSTONE admitted that he had been mistaken.] I will not, then, dwell further on that point. Now is there any precedent for the course which the right hon. Gentleman asks us to adopt? We have been told a good deal about the Church Temporalities Act. Let me allude to it. I find in the Resolutions adopted previously to the passing of that Act what the object of those Resolutions was, for what object the Bill founded on them was intended, and what course was taken at that time in reference to the Irish Church. I need not read those Resolutions at length; but one of them states that the course to; be taken was— Such as may conduce to the advancement of religion, and the efficiency, permanence, and stability of the United Church. Moreover, that was recited in the Preamble of the Church Temporalities Act, so that it is clear that that Act was not intended to destroy or injure the Church in Ireland, but to conduce to its stability and permanence. There are, I believe, present in this House Members of that Government who know that that, was the course then adopted. In order to carry that plan into effect, certain things were done by the Bill, which cut, down the bishoprics in Ireland, and also contained a clause supposed to bear some resemblance to the present measure, with respect to suspending certain benefices. But those benefices were benefices where there had been no services in the church for three years, and anyone who takes the trouble to examine the; 116th clause will see what ample provisions were made for providing officiating ministers to look after the spiritual interests of the people in those thinly-peopled scattered districts. Care was taken that, if money were taken away, it should, at all events, I be applied to better purposes within the Church and for the maintenance of the Church, and it was with such objects and for such legislation that the King placed his interest in the temporalities at the disposal of Parliament. Now, although the object of this Bill is not disclosed on the face of it, yet we know from the Resolutions which hare been passed that it is the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church. Its funds are to be taken away absolutely and entirely, never to be returned; and we know everything about what is and is to be proposed, except on the most important point of all—namely, the purpose for which we are gathering all this money together. Why the House does not demand an explanation on this point I cannot understand. The Church Temporalities Act then affords no precedent whatever: for there was no suspension except in those cases where there had been no service for three years, and power was vested in f he Commissioners to restore the minister in any such district, should such restoration be deemed necessary. But will not the measure now under discussion be a heavy blow and a great discouragement to these scattered populations. I have already spoken of the blow falling upon the great centres of population. There it would fall heavily enough; but how much more severely would it fall on the scattered populations: A clergyman in the county of Cork has sent me an account of the large district in which he resides. He has no parsonage, and but very small endowment; but the Church population, which at one time seemed to be absolutely dispersed, has been gradually got together again. There is now a Church population of 240, and there are seventy-nine children in his school. Instances like these show how much good is being done by these gentlemen; and until you are prepared to deal permanently with the question of the Irish Church, it is unjust to cut off the supplies. As we have heard the fatal words in his sense of them, "religious equality," again to-night from the right hon. Gentleman, I will not be prevented from expressing that which I deeply feel—namely, that this is an attack, not upon the Irish Establishment only, but upon the United Church of England and Ireland. Not long ago, Sir, the noble Lord who has been the Prime Minister, and who has been conspicuous in the annals of Parliament ever since the time of the Reform Bill, and I may say long before—I mean Earl Russell—took the chair at one of the meetings held in support of the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, and by whom was he supported? Let us see whether the support- ers of the noble Earl stop short at the Church Establishment in Ireland, or whether their intentions have not a far wider range. Why, the noble Lord the Leader of the Whigs appeared upon the platform, surrounded by Mr. Mason Jones, Mr. Miall, Mr. Beales, and Mr. Potter; and the "troops of Friends" who should "accompany old age," where were they? Where were the Whigs who once surrounded him, and who brought him to the high position of Prime Minister of England? At that meeting the noble Lord gave up his prejudice in favour of Establishment. He said, "I have my plan and you have yours, but we are both aiming at the same object—religious equality." And there was made the last bow of effete Whiggism at the shrine of Liberationism and Radicalism. The idea that this so-called religious equality can be confined to one part of the Empire is perfectly absurd, and the men who have theories on this subject, and who have agitated them honestly, uprightly, and in a manly manner, as Mr. Miall has always done—these men, though they do not prominently put forward upon all occasions their ulterior views, yet they would, if pressed, admit that what they have at heart is the destruction of all religious Establishments, and the absolute separation, or, as they I call it, the freedom of religion, from the control of the State. These men speak of what is being done, not as you do who assert that it will increase the safety of the Church of England, but as supplying a vantage ground on which they may plant their batteries with the certainty that the principles which you are establishing will insure the fall of the Church. Some gentleman sent me a few days ago a speech delivered by the late Bishop of London in the year 1835, and I cannot express in more forcible terms the feeling I entertain in regard to the present measure than he used respecting the measure then before the House of Lords. He said— What would be move calculated than the passing of such a, measure to inspire with fresh coinage and confidence that hostile band of men, neither few in numbers nor contemptible for talents and influence, who view the Protestant Establishment in both countries with feelings of malignant hostility, who meditate its destruction, who, either by storm or sap, by force or fraud, by open and manly hostility, which it is easy to encounter and resist, or by insinuations and inuendoes and false reproaches, with which it is painful and difficult for honourable men to contend, are bent upon effecting the subversion of the Protestant Church of England, but who know, nevertheless, that it is hopeless to attempt it while the Protestant Church of Ireland stands. [Mr. BRIGHT: What measure was that?] It was the Appropriation Clause in 1835. We are told that these are theories which are made use of for Tory and party purposes; but I read them in the Nonconformist, in the speeches of those who hold the opinions promulgated by the Nonconformist, and in the accounts of the proceedings of the Liberation Society. If I were to put to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) the question whether he did not consider that by a successful attack on the Irish Church he would not obtain a vantage ground from which an attack might be made on the Churches of England and Scotland, I should feel that I was offering an insult to him, because he has so consistently and so honestly proclaimed his hostility to all religious Establishments. I maintain that by this Bill you interfere not only with the position of those who have vested interests, but likewise with, the progress of individuals who ought not to be stopped by a measure of this kind in the promotion which they deserve. Thus you will not merely effect the existing, but stop the supply of clergy in the Church, of Ireland; but also impart distrust to the mind of everybody connected with it, and all this is to be enacted suddenly and at a few weeks' notice. The clergy will see that you are stopping them in their career before you have proposed to deal with their interests on a large basis, and they will consequently believe that you will deal with them harshly also in the future. Is it no degradation that men of learning, ability, and devoted to their duties—as all admit—and who have hitherto occupied a position independent of their congregations, and who have relied on the funds of the Church for their support, should hereafter be the stipendiaries of a congregation? Is this desirable in the interests of truth, in the interests of right, and in the interests of religion? I believe it is not, and therefore I have taken this opportunity of opposing this Bill. I oppose this Bill because, when it comes into operation, it will have been practically announced by the Parliament of England that in Ireland the Imperial Government is for the future to be purely secular. In that case, I do not know what course you are to adopt with respect to your gaols, your workhouses, and your hospitals—how far this absolute disestablishment is to go, and whether you are to leave to the voluntary system the inmates of these unhappy places. When, however, you deal with the criminal and the pauper population and the inmates of hospitals, you must find means of affording them religious consolation and instruction, unless you neglect one of the first duties of the State. If, therefore, you are to be logical you ought to maintain a religious Establishment. The hon. Member for Birmingham in a speech which he delivered a short time ago remarked that the Church population in Ireland was not a large one, and he proceeded to cut it down to 500,000. The Census, however, was taken with too much accuracy in Ireland to admit of that, and I will, therefore, take the Church population as it appears in the Census at 693,000—or close upon 700,000. The hon. Member proceeded to say,—"Suppose all those persons were gathered together in one town, it would only be about the size of Liverpool or Manchester." Now, I will take that illustration. If there were such a consentaneous and homogeneous mass of men collected in one town, having one religious interest, and an Establishment supporting their religion, I should like to see this or any other House dare to attack it. It is because the Irish Churchmen are scattered, and as you suppose from that cause, weak, that you are attacking them. I will take the Corporation of London, which represents, I suppose, some 100,000 people. The Corporation of London has been reported against by a Commission, and spoken against by the, hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) for many years, but it still stands, and you can do nothing with it, because its members are all banded together to resist any attack made upon it Do not suppose that everything is to go against the Church of Ireland so smoothly as the right hon. Gentleman seems to imagine. There are 700,000 people in Ireland interested in the maintenance of the Church; there are in this country large masses of people, increasing day by day as this question becomes understood, who will be more and more prepared to stand by their Irish brethren. I believe there are in this country and in Ireland many Roman Catholics who, in accordance with the principles of their own Church, favour the union of Church and State, and are reluctantly following the right hon. Gentleman, while some are turning round and refusing to do so. There are some of that religion in this country who, desiring to maintain the principles of their faith, object to see the funds of the Irish Church secularized, and who, believing in, and contending boldly for the faith which belongs to thorn, hope that some day it will be in the ascendant; they, therefore, will not see that which our wise forefathers gave for religious purposes thrown away for ever by such a measure as is contemplated. I have said that in honour and duty the members of the English Church are bound not to forsake their Irish brethren. You who are urging on this scheme have before you measures by which you can obtain speedily that which you profess to desire—an appeal to the people. We desire it also; we desire that this great question shall be laid before the new constituencies, if you will enable us to reach them. We are prepared to appeal to them on this great question, and are not afraid of the answer. It is a remarkable thing that Gentlemen who have been always praising the legislation of the last thirty years, and telling us that the House has so admirably represented the country, seem to think that with a change in the constituency there is to be an entire change in the policy of the county; which seems like an admission that they have been for thirty years misrepresenting the working men, doing that which is injurious to their interests; that there is all at once to be a sudden turn of the wheel; everything uppermost is to be put under, and everything we esteemed is no longer to be admired, If you put boldly, honestly, straightforwardly before the people the interest they have in the Church Establishment—and for them it exists as such—I do not hesitate to say that, especially as a Reformed Establishment, they will stand by it, to the last. I quoted just now the Bishop of London in 1831, and, perhaps, addressing brother churchmen, I may be permitted to conclude what I have to say in his language— By the gratitude you owe to that Church from which you have imbibed your Christian principles and knowledge, in whose consolations I trust you delight (and may you experience all their efficacy at the closing hour of your existence), I implore you not to give your consent to a measure which will destroy the Protestant Church in Ireland without benefiting the poor Roman Catholic population; which will starve the meritorious dispensers of God's truth without adding to the comforts of those who are engaged in diffusing religious knowledge under. I different form; a measure of which it is not too much to say that it commences with spoliation and sacrilege, and must end in ruin and confusion. I move that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.

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

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


said, he desired to call the attention of the House to some statements made by the right hon. Gentleman, which he thought were the most remarkable that had ever proceeded from a Cabinet Minister in that House. His right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) had justified himself in propounding a policy with respect to the Church of Ireland, on the ground that a policy of a different character had been proposed by the noble Earl the Chief Secretary for Ireland on an occasion when he must be supposed to have spoken the well-considered opinion of his Colleagues. It would be remembered that, after the change in the Ministry, a noble Duke in "another place" stated that the next evening the noble Earl would explain the policy of Her Majesty's Government with respect to Ireland. The noble Earl then said— There would not, I believe, be any objection to make all Churches equal in Ireland; but the result must be secured by elevation, and not by confiscation. Our policy is to make, and not to destroy. The noble Earl commented on the insignificant character of the Regium Donum, and intimated that there would be no objection to increase it. How could that be reconciled with the statement just made that the increase of the Regium Donum and the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy were never discussed in the Cabinet at all? The Government was in this dilemma—either a Cabinet Minister was instructed to come down to that House and make statements calculated to raise expectations amongst the people of Ireland for which he had no warrant from the Cabinet, or else he spoke the sentiments of that Cabinet; and yet the right hon. Gentleman ventured to tell them that these important subjects which formed the staple of that speech were never even discussed in the Cabinet of which he was a Member. He left the right hon. Gentleman to choose which horn of the dilemma he would. The right hon. Member for South Lancashire had argued that, as the Government themselves admitted that important changes would be recommended by the Commission, his Bill was wise and expedient in anticipation of such changes; but the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary would not assume that such changes would be made. Yet the right hon. Gentleman must have been cognizant of the Amendment which the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs moved on behalf of the Cabinet, and which on the face of it admitted that changes must be made.


I said I would not assume what changes might be made; and that therefore this Bill might not be at all suitable to them. I did not say that no changes would be made.


thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the admission. Then the right hon. Gentleman left the argument of the right hon. Member for South Lancashire entirely unanswered. It was admitted that the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs spoke the sentiments of the Government when he said that considerable modifications in the temporalities of the Irish Church might, after pending inquiry, be found. Did the House remember the language of the noble Lord, who said he would not for a moment justify the abuses and anomalies which existed in the Irish Church? If considerable modifications were to be made—if bishoprics and benefices were to be reduced, what was the argument against the Bill? The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the case of the poor curate; but he left the Bishops out of his calculation altogether. Seeing that in Munster and Connaught only 3 and 4 per cent of the population were members of the Established Church, was it not worth while to prevent the creation of new vested interests by the filling up of vacancies—even in anticipation of the correction of those abuses the existence of which was admitted by the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary? There were several bishoprics in those provinces; and if one of those fell vacant and this Bill had not passed, there would be created a new vested interest of a Bishop to administer to the wants of a few scattered Anglicans in that district. The right hon. Gentleman was now trying to disconnect himself from the policy of increasing the Regium Donum—of endowing a Roman Catholic University and the Roman Catholic priesthood—in order that he might be able to raise a Protestant cry in the country at the coming elections; but he could not disconnect himself and his Government from the offers on this subject which had been submitted to the Cabinet of the Earl of Derby, and approved by them. But the right hon. Gentleman almost admitted the case he was attempting to disprove by his reference to the Emperor of the French and his remark that there was religious equality in France. [Mr. GATHRONE HARDY: I did not say anything of the sort.] Well, in France, Protestant and Catholic ministers were alike paid by the State; and that was the very kind of religious equality which the noble Earl announced to this House. Then the right hon. Gentleman added that he had been advised by an eminent lawyer that, if this Bill passed, it would have the effect of repealing the Union.


The right hon. and learned Gentleman misrepresents me so frequently that I am obliged to interrupt him. ["Order!"] I shall not be put down in stating that I have been misrepresented. I was misrepresented with respect to France. I did not say anything about religious equality in France. ["Order!"] I wish to make a personal explanation simply.


The right hon. Member is aware that the rule of the House is that it is at the option of the Member in possession of the House to give way or not to an immediate explanation.


The right hon. and learned Member did give way.


Then the explanation should be confined to the single point.


said, the right hon. Gentleman rose to explain with reference to the opinion of an eminent lawyer on this Bill.


Then all I have to say is that it was not upon this Bill that I referred to the opinion of an eminent lawyer; but upon the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to introduce for the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland.


asked, whether the House had understood that to be the assertion of the right hon. Gentleman with reference to the opinion of this nameless lawyer; and whether, if so, it was germane to the matter now in hand? The right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, saw the absurdity in what such an argument would involve him, because if this measure amounted ipso facto to a repeal of the Union, the right hon. Gentleman was in the happy condition of a Minister of the Crown, who had advised his Sovereign to sanction the introduction of a measure having that effect. In spite of his criticisms, the right hon. Gentleman had not succeeded in pointing out one single blot in this Bill. The Preamble was quoted from the Church Temporalities Act, and in the proper and legal form stated that Her Majesty had been pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament during legislalation her interest in the temporalities. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Queen had given no such Answer to the Address; but he (Mr. Lawson) maintained that Her Majesty's Answer did, in fact, amount to that. She graciously desired that her interests should not stand in the way of the consideration of the question by Parliament with a view to legislation during the present. Session. What did this mean if it did not support and warrant the wording of the Preamble? And what was the value of the special pleading of the right hon. Gentleman on this point? The right hon. Gentleman asked whether the advowsons belonging to Trinity College were included in the Bill? Certainly not, The words of the Bill were carefully framed with a view to prevent any such construction. They were limited to any advowsons of which certain Archbishops, Bishops, and dignitaries of the Church, as such, had the disposal. Many of the advowsons of Trinity College had been bought in the market, some of them for considerable sums, and were as much private property as any advowsons in private hands. Then the right hon. Gentleman asked what was the meaning of the words referring to trustees acting in a public capacity. Well, there were certain advowsons in Ireland in the gift of certain persons acting in a public capacity—namely, The Lord Chancellor, the Master of the Rolls, the Archbishop of Dublin, and certain of the Judges—and it was to meet that case that the words were introduced. No one who had read, the Bill could be, for a moment, under the delusion that trustees, acting for a private congregation, or for persons who had subscribed to build churches, would come under the clause. Would they be trustees acting in a public capacity? A more outrageous supposition could not be imagined. With regard to the charges upon the rents and profits which became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners under this Bill, the Commissioners would, of course, take them subject to the liabilities, and the claims of the representatives of the deceased incumbent would be satisfied much more quickly than if they were left to be dealt with by his successor, who would not be compelled to pay until six months after entering on the living. Much stress had been laid upon the inconvenience which would arise from the want of any adequate provision to meet the case of a living which became vacant in a populous parish; but his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) had called attention to Section 116 of the Church Temporalities Act, which made a careful provision for the discharge of the duties of such a cure so suspended. The provision was that the Commissioners were to authorize the appointment of a minister if necessary, or confide the duties to the minister of an adjoining parish; and were to give him such moderate stipend as they thought proper. But his right hon. Friend, in considering this Bill, that this was not a sufficiently liberal provision; and accordingly at the close of Clause 2 in this Bill inserted a proviso— That in regulating the salary of the officiating minister regard should be had to the nature and extent of the duties to be discharged. So that the largest possible discretion was given to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He conceived that the right hon. Gentleman spoke rather disrespectfully of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners when he talked of their sacrilegious coffers. The right hon. Gentleman said that they were trying to prevent the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from augmenting the incomes of benefices where there was a large Anglican population, and only a small amount paid to the minister; but he did not allude to the amount of the augmentations that had taken place in the instances to which he referred. Under the voluntary system which the right hon. Gentleman condemned there was no doubt that the minister of such a parish would not be left with an income of £120 a year to be augmented by doles of £10 or £20 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. That House by large majorities had affirmed the principle of the Resolutions, and he therefore declined to follow the right hon. Gentleman into his argument on the merits of Establishments; but when the right hon. Gentleman told the House that the effect I of this Bill would be to dry up charity in the country, he begged leave to say that it would be directly the reverse. For what was the state now of the Protestant parochial population of Ireland? They were in this condition. They had everything done for them by the State. Their church was built for them, it was warmed for them, it was kept in repair for them; their sexton was paid, their organ-blower was paid, their minister was paid for them there was no demand upon their purses. But, instead of such a population being left to depend upon the State, they ought to be taught to do something for themselves. They ought to learn to walk alone. When he said that the very elements of the most sacred rites of the Church had to be paid for out of the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners he need add not another word. He believed that a much healthier state of things would result if the measures of his right hon. Friend were carried into effect, and that the ministers who were really deserving the good-will of their congregations would find their positions vastly improved. Instead of languishing on small stipends, with scarcely any duties to discharge, they would then find a much wider sphere of usefulness. The Home Secretary had charged the Opposition with a design to take away private endowments; but he challenged the right hon. Gentleman to show any grounds for the accusation; and the statement was opposed to the right hon. Gentleman's assertion that, while those who looked for advancement in the Church to public patronage would be for a time deprived of all promotion, the friends of lay patrons would enjoy all the advantages of the existing system. The fact was that the Bill would necessarily and properly reserve all private rights. Again, it was said that there would be danger to the English Church if the Church in Ireland were disestablished; but to his mind they were not the friends of the English Church who propounded that argument. No one could believe that the abolition of the State Church that was kept up for the benefit of a small and wealthy minority of the people of Ireland, involved the destruction of the State Church that was deeply rooted in the affections of the people of England. They were no friends of the English Church who advised them to confide its fate to the same bark which the Irish Church was now sailing in, even though it might for the moment carry the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his fortunes. This Bill had been brought forward, not by the enemies of the Church, but by some of its best friends—by men who had a conscientious conviction that the time had come when religious equality ought to be established once and for ever in Ireland. For that reason he had supported the measure. It had commended itself to the understanding of Parliament and—notwithstanding the prophecies of the right hon. Gentleman opposite—to she sentiments of the country, in which he and his friends had entirely failed to evoke the spirit of a "No Popery" cry.


contended that those who sat on that (the Ministerial) side of the House were justified in the resistance which they were prepared to offer to the Bill. No battle was hopeless until it was lost, and if the decision of the House was against the Irish Church that decision would be reversed by the country. He believed that the main reason which had induced the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) to bring forward the measure was the emergency of party, he confessed that it was with surprise he heard the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State say that the question of the Regium Donum had never been considered by the Cabinet. For himself, he was prepared to stand by the Irish Church, and he was equally prepared to affirm that the Regium Donum was justly granted to Presbyterians in Ireland, and that they would have a, fair claim to compensation if it were withdrawn. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) had spoken strongly against the anomalies of the Irish Church, on the ground that it was highly paid, that its members were few, and its abuses great. But on more than one occasion he had ventured to bring under the right hon. Gentleman's notice that, whatever might be the case in some parts of Ireland, in Ulster, at all events, the state of things was very different, and to that he had never received any answer. He had got a detailed account of the revenue from every source of every parish in Ulster, and the number of the Church population in each, and he would state to the House the results in the several dioceses. In the diocese of Armagh and Clogher the total revenue of the Established Church in 1861 was £82,922, the Church population 150,778. In Derry and Raphoe the total revenue was £56,252, the Church population 65,951. In Down, Connor, and Dromore the total revenue was £44,783, the Church population was 153,467; and ' in Kilmore the revenue was £27,277, and: the Church population 31,196. Summing up these figures the result was that in Ulster the revenue of the Established Church amounted altogether to £211,234, the Church population to 401,392, the number of clergy was 684, the average endowment £308, and the average flock of each clergyman 580. That did not include the Presbyterians. These facts had not been and could not be answered. Why, then, should Ulster be included in this Bill, and appointments to livings in that part of Ireland suspended? As to the compensation to be given to the clergy, were not the congregations also interested, and ought not every individual who enjoyed advantages from the present state of thing to receive compensation? How the right hon. Gentleman could estimate the amount of compensation for life-interests at three-fifths of the value of the capital of the property he could not understand, for in twenty or thirty years the bulk of the property would be altogether diverted. If, indeed, he had proposed to allocate a certain portion of the revenues in accordance with the wants of the population, and that where adequate congregations existed there should not be total disendowment, he could have understood the estimate. With regard to the voluntary system, it was very well in theory; but it would not work except in the large towns and where there were numerous congregations. The members of the Established Church scattered here and there over Ireland would not be able to keep up their congregations, and a Protestant family placed among a population to a certain extent unfriendly, and having little chance of communication with clergymen or members of its own faith, would either remove to the large towns, or, which was more likely, would be absorbed among the Roman Catholic population. It being agreed on nil hands that the question was to be definitively decided by the country and by a new Parliament, it was not just to suspend the entire operations of the Church, and to condemn it by anticipation, when the ultimate verdict might be different. It was not worth doing this for the sake of, perhaps, one bishopric and a few small livings, for the Report of the Commission, when it appeared, would show how miserable the great proportion of the livings were, and would surprise those who had heard of the wealth of the Establishment. He did not believe the measure would be productive of peace, and he protested against it because it would substitute Papal supremacy for the supremacy of the Crown; because it would unjustly confiscate the property of the Church; because it would excite illusory hopes on the part of the Roman Catholic population, leading to disappointment and disaffection; because it would virtually abrogate the Union; because the voluntary system was an impossibility, being inadequate and unsuitable to the wants of Ireland; and, lastly, because so sweeping a scheme ought to be accompanied by a definite plan showing how the confiscated property was to be dealt with,


admitted that there was some force in the ingenious argument that the Bill might be supported by those who wished simply for modifications in the Irish Church; but, its avowed purpose being disestablishment and disendowment, he must strenuously oppose it. The right hon. Gentleman had expressed a hope that the other House would be guided by an enlightened prudence in dealing with this Bill. Now, he hoped they would be guided by the dictates of principle, and would not forget the duty they owed as an important branch of a Protestant Legislature to a Protestant people. The right hon. Gentleman was a distinguished disciple of a distinguished school of politicians, against whom his (Mr. Liddell's) only complaint was that they had shown themselves at times too apt to sacrifice principle to that species of political prudence called expediency, and he thought the latter consideration had weighed with the right hon. Gentleman and had made him forget Protestant principles. Nobody believed that this question would be finally settled by the present Parliament. All admitted that it must be remitted to the new constituencies. Surely, then, these discussions were a sheer waste of time, and this charge, he thought, the right hon. Gentleman had quite failed to rebut. The right hon. Gentleman had restated to-night an argument already used by him—he had said that he was surprised at the friends of the Church expressing alarm at the prospect before them in the event of disestablishment. But, was it surprising that apprehension should be felt that the Church of a scattered minority should be unable to maintain itself? He opposed this measure on three clear and distinct grounds, that the separation of the Irish Church from the State would be unjust, unwise, and unnecessary. It was unjust, because nothing would persuade him that, under the specious pretext of doing justice to Ireland, they ought to in- flict an act of gross injustice upon a very considerable portion of the inhabitants of Ireland. No man, and no body of men, were entitled to do evil that good might come. If it was wrong to maintain the Established Church in that country, it was a wrong which had been sanctioned and consecrated by the traditions of 300 years. He believed that the Bill was unwise, because the action of certain leading statesmen opposite could not fail to evoke among the people of England a feeling of hostility against their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. It was all very well to accuse the Ministry of raising a "No Popery" cry, but those who really evoked that cry and the evil passions which accompanied it were the promoters of the Bill. He maintained, in the third place, that the measure was unnecessary. He had lived in Ireland, and he did not believe that the people of that country—and he spoke more particularly of the peasantry—had any strong feeling in their minds against the Established Church. It was no doubt very easy for their spiritual guides to get up a momentary feeling, and cause strong expressions to be used against the Establishment, but there was no deep-rooted sentiment of animosity, such as was sometimes assumed to prevail. The Opposition were exceedingly unanimous in supporting this first attack upon the Irish branch of the Protestant Establishment, but did they expect their unanimity long to continue? What were they going to do with the endowments when they got them? That question had never been answered. The right hon. Gentleman had been very cautious in his statements on this subject; but the Opposition were like an army who were attacking a strong fortress—to succeed in the assault they were compelled to stand shoulder to shoulder—but who would find it difficult to maintain their discipline when the fortress was carried, and the troops disposed to divide the plunder. He regretted that the great party to which he (Mr. Liddell) belonged were in Office when such a measure was before the House, because he believed their power of obstruction would be much greater if they were in Opposition. He must express the doubt he felt that if hon. Gentlemen opposite had been on those Benches, the question would ever have been introduced in its present form, or the present sweeping proposals enunciated. He was one of those who held that extensive modifications were necessary in the Irish Church, and the Government unquestion- ably entertained a similar opinion, as appeared from the Amendment and the speech of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He did not believe that the Government would propose to retain anything which could be culled an abuse in the Established Church of Ireland. If the clergy failed in their duty, which he did not believe, let them be recalled to a sense of it, or if in certain places there were no congregations, then let its limits be contracted. But why destroy the Irish Church because our co-religionists were in a minority, and were scattered far and wide over the country? On these grounds he cordially opposed the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and he regretted that a different mode of settling this exceedingly difficult question had not been attempted. It was perhaps rather late in the day to talk of the endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood, because it was assumed by Gentlemen on both sides that the Roman Catholics would not accept it for their clergy. But the offer had not yet been fairly made, and he must question whether if an offer had thus been made it would have been refused. If that had been done thirty years ago it would have brought peace to Ireland and to England. But the dissensions that prevailed in both countries would only be aggravated by the present measure. When be remembered that the band which had joined in the attack on the Church was composed of parties who entertained widely different views amongst themselves, and who were only united to accomplish, from various motives, a work of destruction, he could not doubt that when the question of dealing with the endowments came—if it ever came—to be considered, the unanimity which was now so remarkable would disappear at once, and perhaps for ever. He should cordially record his vote against this measure, regarding it as the first step in a violent, unscrupulous, and unnecessary attack on the Irish Church.


I cannot but feel, as every Member of the House must by this time feel, that it is very difficult to offer anything new on the subject under discussion, and that it is most wearisome to hear the same statements, the same expressions of opinion, and the same arguments repeated. I shall, however, in the little I have to say confine myself as much as possible to observations in reply to the hon. Member for Londonderry, and the hon. Member for Northumberland, and perhaps I may commence with the concluding statements of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He said that if Her Majesty's present Government had remained in their old places in the Opposition they could have defended the Irish Church more effectually than they could now that they were opposite. Well, if on the Treasury Bench they can offer a less effectual resistance to the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire than they could in Opposition, the evident conclusion is that the sooner they go into Opposition the sooner will their defence of the Church become effective, which it is not likely to be so long as they prefer remaining on the Treasury Bench. I think that is a fair conclusion from the argument of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman said further that he believed Her Majesty's Government had the interest of the Irish Church so deeply at heart that they would be ready to make for it any sacrifice they consistently could. Well, if they are prepared to make a sacrifice for the Irish Church, what sacrifice could be less for patriotic men than to cross the floor of the House, for the sake of being able to make a vigorous defence of the Church from the Opposition Benches? I am sorry that not more occupants of the Treasury Bench were present to hear that advice tendered to them; but perhaps they may nevertheless be convinced by an argument whose strength I have never known surpassed. The hon. Gentleman has supported his argument on the present occasion by something which, to me, at all events, partakes of the nature of a paradox. He says that the Church Establishment in Ireland ought to be maintained because it is the Church of a poor minority. He tells us, also, that having lived for some time in Ireland, he is very intimately acquainted with that part of Her Majesty's dominions. I am sorry the hon. Gentleman knows so little of Ireland, as he shows he does; but I, coming from Ireland, and certainly knowing my country and my countrymen well, know that the Irish Church is the Church of as rich a minority as any minority of any country in the world. It is the Church of a minority; but the minority comprises nearly all the lauded interest of the country, and to a great extent the proprietors of the mercantile wealth of Ireland. The Irish Church had been described as the Church of a small minority; but admitting the facts as peculiarly distinguishing its members, it is paradoxical that it should be urged as an argument in favour of an Establishment. But that is not the only argument the hon. Gentleman has addressed to us; for he, ns well as the hon. Member for Londonderry, has rested his case upon this, that the Irish Church is at all events the Church of a scattered population—and the principles upon which Church Establishments were to be supported now and hereafter is this, that wherever there is a scattered population, be it rich or be it poor, there it is the duty of the Government to establish a Church to teach its religion to the scattered population. May I ask the hon. Member for Londonderry what is to become of the scattered Presbyterian population of the North of Ireland? Why has not the Government provided a Church for them to teach the tenets of their religion? And what is to become of the scattered Roman Catholic population in England? Why is there not a separate Establishment for the purpose of teaching them also? Well, then, I think I may leave this argument to answer itself. Church Establishments are evidently not founded on any reasons of such a nature. They were institutions the expediency of which was to be determined by every people for itself; that people fully represented in its Government, expressing their opinions deliberately and freely, and saying whether they wished to have a Church for the teaching of a particular religion or not, or whether they are so earnest, so zealous, and so religious in their sentiments themselves that they would support their religion and their pastors. I say, then, let the zeal of the Protestant Church supply the means for providing its own religions teaching, and let not the zeal of the other religious denominations be called upon to supply it. The argument which the hon. Gentleman has used is not an argument that ought to be addressed to the House as the foundation of a Church Establishment in any country whatever. But the supporters of Her Majesty's Ministers are not satisfied with indulging in the paradoxical arguments to which I have referred; but they adduce others from which there ensues a perfect reductio ad absurdum. Thus the hon. Member for Londonderry refers to the case of Ulster, and asks what is to become of the Protestant population of that province, where, he says, there is only a sum of £50,000 available for the religious requirements of 100,000 persons, or an average of 10s. a head to support religious teaching in the province? Why, if the same amount per head was allowed to the Protestants of England the sum which they would have at their disposal annually for religious purposes would be £10,000,000 instead of £3,000,000. If then, as the hon. Member for Londonderry contended, the Protestants of Ulster had not funds of adequate amount at their disposal for religious purposes, it followed that the funds of the English Established Church ought to be increased to at least £10,000,000 annually, and that instead of being, as it was, something like 2s. 6d. per head of the Church community, it should be increased to 10s. The favourite remedy which the Government advocates in these circumstances is that known as "levelling up;" but how much would the Catholics of Ireland be likely to receive under the operation of any such principle? How much was paid by foreign countries for religious purposes where the "levelling up" principle had been adopted? Why, in France the amount was 1s. a head, and in Saxony it was 6d. There was little probability, at any rate, that they would, even in a financial point of view, be so well off as the Protestants of Ulster, whose 10s. a head for religious purposes the hon. Member for Londonderry thought not excessive. Well, when we see such arguments as those adduced in support of the Church of Ireland, is it not clear to the comprehension of any man of common sense, of any disinterested person who has not allowed himself to be influenced by the "No Popery" cry, that the cause is really indefensible whose advocates resort to arguments so ridiculous? And here I would leave the case that has been attempted to be set up on behalf of the opponents of the Bill; but that I desire, before doing so, to advert to the appeal which has been made to one's feelings by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. Several hon. Gentlemen turn on the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire with the charge that it is we (the Opposition) who have evoked this "No Popery" spirit, that has set class against class and sect against sect in this country. Well, in reference to this charge I will say this—that if the demand for justice causes those who maintain injustice to excite the spirit of "No Popery" for the purpose of defeating the claims of justice, those are the men who evoke the mischievous spirit, and not the men who demand that the injustice shall cease; it is the spirit of evil, ever ready to prompt to animosity and violence, that is responsible, and not the spirit of good, which calls for the performance and fulfilment of what is just, and commends itself to the appreciation of honest men. But that the "No Popery" spirit has been evoked I do not believe; nor do I believe that it will be evoked with success, ns it has nothing to support it but the intense bigoted feeling which exists in some parts of the country, and which at one time manifests itself in burning down of houses and chapels, and at another in the sale of obscene publications, upon which the condemnation of a tribunal has been pronounced. It is yourselves that you ought to charge with any kindling of religious animosity. If it has been aroused at all it has been aroused by you; and upon your own heads will be the consequences. But I believe that this feeling which you say has been evoked is only an alarm, got up for the purpose of frightening those who, whether in this House or out of it, support a just cause against formidable opponents. As the great English poet has said, "the fear of death is most in apprehension;" so I believe just in the same way that this fear of the destruction of the Irish Church exists most in apprehension, and if you did destroy it there would be no ground for the fear, the alarm, or the apprehension which you profess as the result of such a measure; but, on the contrary, that there would be laid in Ireland the foundations of peace and order. And that brings me to another argument used by the hon. Member for Northumberland—namely, that the peasantry of Ireland did not feel any interest in this question whatever.


I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. What I said was, that they cherished no antagonism to the Church.


In that opinion I can fully agree with the hon. Gentleman. I know my country well; and he is right in saying that no class in Ireland felt animosity against the Church Establishment. What they do feel, however—and what they would be the veriest slaves on the face of the earth if they did not feel—is the inferiority of their position. That they do most deeply feel; and if they did not feel it, the iron of slavery would have entered their souls. They feel the rule of Protestant ascendancy above them; the foundation of that ascendancy is the Established Church of Ireland, and until you throw that barrier that separates one class of the population from another you cannot lay the foundation of peace and prosperity in Ireland. The Irish Church Establishment is the root of many of the social ills that afflict the country; it is the cause of its present insecurity and the origin of class hatred; and I say that the first step to be taken for the purpose of getting rid of the difficulties of the Irish question is that of disestablishing and disendowing it, while the first step to disestablishment and disendowment is to pass the Suspensory Bill now before the House. In conclusion, let me only say further that I am astonished, after the debates which have taken place and the Resolutions that have been passed in this House, Her Majesty's Government should be opposing, by all means in their power, a Bill which was the necessary consequence of steps already taken. Upon what principle is it you adopted the first Resolution niter it had been carried by a large majority of this House? Upon what principle is it that you adopted the second and third Resolutions without a division, and as the natural and necessary corollary of the first—and yet refuse to allow the Suspensory Bill, which is merely intended to carry out the object of the second Resolution, in the same manner as the second and third Resolutions carried out or flowed from the first—and yet, I soy, refuse to allow the Bill to receive a second reading? Will you answer that plain and simple question? Upon what principle I say do you oppose it? Surely it is as much a corollary of the Resolution which was carried in the House by a majority of 65 votes as the second and third Resolutions were; and on what grounds, on what principle can you justify your hostility to a measure which appears to those out of the House to be a matter of course following necessarily upon the proceedings which we have already taken? Sir, I can only account for the opposition to those proceedings, taken as they have been for the pacification of Ireland, by the supposition that the Government are depending upon the chapter of accidents. Her Majesty's Government have given opposition to every step taken in this matter, not because they think they can stop that which they know must necessarily pass—not because they believe they have any hope of defeating the Bill or resisting successfully the spirit which is now abroad, and which calls for the disestablishment of the Irish Church; but for the purpose of taking advantage of anything that may arise to trip up those who are carrying on these proceedings, and for the purpose—in case a General Election should take place—of appealing to the bigoted feelings of a class of people in this country, and of raising the "No Popery" cry throughout the length and breadth of the land. But, Sir, I am satisfied that in this House no chapter of accidents will enable them to avail themselves of that advantage for which they look; and I hope the good sense of the English people is too strong to be influenced by appeals to the "No Popery" cry of former days, which did sufficient mischief in its time, and which alienated not alone one portion of the people of this country from another, but placed the people of England and of Ireland in direct antagonism. Sir, I tell hon. Members opposite that this is not a safe line of action and of argument for them to adopt. It is not safe for them to tell the Irish people that it is their fears for the English Church that leads them to maintain the Church Establishment in Ireland. It is not safe to tell the Irish people that it is for the purpose of preserving the Protestant Church in this country that a wrong is to be perpetuated in Ireland, and that the justice which they demand is to be denied them. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Liddell) said that a wrong was not to be done in order that good might come from it. Is not the hon. Gentleman running in the face of his own argument? [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] Is he not saying that a wrong must be done to the Irish people in the maintenance of the Church Establishment—the Church of a rich minority—in order that there may be no attack made upon the Church of England? Is that not doing a wrong in order that what the hon. Gentleman thinks is a good may come from it? Well, if it is, upon what ground can such a course—even upon the arguments used at the other side—be justified?. You have often charged the Roman Catholic Church with doing wrong that good might result from it. The charge was false—but now you are admittedly doing that which you condemn, and you are telling the Irish people that you are doing so. And do you think when you are sowing the wind in that fashion that you will not reap the whirlwind? I tell hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is their duty not to sow the wind, and their interest not to reap the whirlwind; and I call upon them from considerations of interest, and above all, of duty, to join with us in doing an act of justice to the Irish people, and to aid us at this side of the House in carrying a measure which will have the effect of establishing peace and tranquillity in Ireland.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) appeared to have given himself over to the Ultramontanes and the voluntaries, who arrived by cross roads at one point—namely, the disestablishment of the Irish Church. It had been for centuries the object of the Church of Rome to humiliate England, because of the high and honourable position assumed by her as the champion of truth against error. He knew that for saying this he should be put down—as a noble Lord expressed it in a late debate—as an uncivilized being using the bludgeon of argument. As such he was prepared to stand there. He contended that at present religions equality was enjoyed in Ireland. Practically, there was no prohibition to the entertainment and exercise of the peculiar views of every religious sect in that country. Would Roman Catholic ascendancy be equally tolerant? If they did away with the privileges pertaining to the outward position and manifestation of the Protestant Esablished Church, would they not at the same time do away with the fundamental principle of the Monarchy, and up heave the pillars of the Constitution? He might quote the testimony of Roman Catholic laymen upon this point. That given by the late Right Hon. Anthony Blake was peculiarly strong. He stated before a Committee of the House of Commons that the Established Church was rooted in the Constitution, being established by the fundamental laws of the realm; and that, in his opinion, it could not be disturbed without danger to the general securities for liberty, property, and order in this country. He could not regard this measure as other than an infringement of the Act of Union—a positive breach of faith, unjust to English as well as Irish Protestants. But the Church of Ireland did not rest on the Act of Union alone, for it had been united ecclesiastically with the Church of England ever since the year 1172. There appeared to be many on the Benches opposite anxious to prove that the proceedings of Parliament were a farce; for they had been told that the most solemn Acts of the Legislature were little better than waste paper, and nothing was binding to-morrow that was done to-day. But this was a two-edged sword, which it was dangerous to use. Apart from what might be called the statistical argument, what else was relied upon by the supporters of the Bill might be condensed into the convenient phrase of "Justice to Ireland." That was the cry of the Liberals; and what did they intend to do? They had done wrong to Roman Catholics in former times, and they now thought they could wipe out that stain by doing injustice to the Protestants of Ireland, who numbered 1,250,000, and were the best educated, most energetic, and most truly loyal portion of the community. It was said that the Irish Church, as a missionary Church had been a failure. But what had been its history? Conflicts had arisen between the priests and missionaries; Scripture readers were assaulted, and fights and riots had occurred even over the graves of converts. The Protestant incumbent was not a missionary among a hostile population; but a minister devoting his time to the interests of his own flock, and being, at the same time, respected by the Roman Catholics of his district. A proof that the clergy of the Irish Church had well performed their duty was to be found in the fact that the number of Churchmen in Ireland was greater now, in proportion to the population, than in 1834, If the clergy had not succeeded in converting the Roman Catholics, at least they had guarded the Protestant population of the South and West from the proselytizing activity of the Irish priests. If the present blunder should be completed, and the Church should be disestablished, the people would still hear the sound of the Church bell; and the minister, converted into a missionary, would be in their midst, And the expectant peasant would not be one penny the richer, for the machinery which the Church of Rome had placed in the hands of the priest would compel the peasant to pay for the support of his Church as he did at present. If the Irish Church was disestablished what would follow? It had been said that the liberality of Protestants would keep the lamp lighted even when the number of Churchmen was too small to support a church and a clergyman. He endorsed that opinion, and believed that if the Bill were to pass, those societies which undertook missionary work in Ireland would receive £1 where they now received only 1s. In every parish in the South and West a missionary would be placed. This result, considering how missionaries were treated in Ireland—one having been stoned and almost murdered—would hardly be agreeable to those who declared that they desired to see religious peace. What the people of Ireland really wanted was some substantial measure of justice, which would relieve their condition and elevate their character; but beneficial effects of that nature were not to be obtained by making the country the battlefield of party, or by the action of those who had brought it to its present state of degradation. If hon. Members desired to promote peace in Ireland, he called on them to beware of adopting a measure which, while it stung and outraged the feelings of every true Protestant, could not but disappoint the Roman Catholic population, and prove a fertile source of irritation and heartburning on all sides.


said, that, in reply to the hon. Member for Lisburn (Mr. Verner), he would advance two or three reasons for supporting the second reading of this Bill. He maintained that nothing could be more unsound, in the apprehension of every lawyer who had studied our Constitution, than the view of those who held that the Church of England and Ireland formed any part of that Constitution. That Church was as distinct and separate from the Constitution itself as was the army and navy, or any other institution of the country. The Established Church in England and in Ireland was nothing more than an experiment with the view of encouraging what he might call a religion of home growth instead of a religion connected with and recognizing an external authority. The principle of our Constitution was that no foreign Prince, prelate, or potentate should exact tithe, or toll, or exercise any interference in this realm, and to that the Crown was pledged; and, but for the weak props and buttresses by which, after the Revolution of 1688, it was sought to bolster up that artificial and anomalous institution, the Established Church in England and in Ireland, that institution could have no position or strength in the country. In confirmation of his statement that the Church was separate from the Constitution, he would refer to the fact that, in 1405, 1410, and 1414, the House of Commons declared that it was contrary to the Constitution that money should be applied by the State for the purpose of supporting any religion; and they also declared that all ecclesiastical endowments should be devoted to the service of the State. In 1423, household suffrage was done away with, and the 40s. freeholds came into existence. The wars of York and Lancaster followed; and during that period the House was muzzled. Then came the Reformation, which was a compromise between the people and the clergy; and a portion of the ecclesiastical property was applied to secular purposes, and another portion was given to the Established Church, which was founded as an experiment, merely for the purpose of maintaining the clergy who would recognize as their head the Sovereign of the country. Now, that experiment broke down in the time of Charles I., again in that of William III.; and it had broken down in these times. In the words of the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), he said, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" If they could not withstand foreign authority, if they could not prevent Popery—the greatest curse of humanity—from assuming power, he said—Give way, and fight with these weapons no more. He wanted no Establishment; the Protestant Church could support itself. He believed that there would be no difficulty in providing for Protestant worship in even the most scattered and remote parts of Ireland—no more difficulty than was found in Wales, and there every nook and corner had its church or chapel of ease. He had come to the conclusion that, as the system of the priests had failed to protect this country against the Roman Catholics, the Church ought to be a voluntary institution under the banner of free trade. The Church in Ireland was no grievance to Ireland; and he, for one, regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had brought forward the measure for the abolition of the Irish Church to meet the attacks of assassins. But they must now depend on the people and the system of free trade, which had been so successful in our other national affairs. The parsons were dumb dogs that barked not; and the time had come when it must be seen what the people could do. The clergy of the Established Church in Ireland had failed in missionary work, which was done in that country by men like the Rev. Mr. Campbell, who went forth as a voluntary, armed only with the sling and stone of his own conscience, and who was knocked down and nearly murdered on account of his attempting to read the Bible to the people. Let them, in regard to this matter, as to several others, rely upon the mass of the people of these realms, and let the Church stand apart from artificial aid. If this were done, not only would the on flowing waves of Popery be prevented from overspreading this country, but the Church of England would go on prospering, and moulding in higher and nobler form the thought of the people. The hon. Gentleman who had recently spoken with so much vehemence against Protestant ascendancy was very much mistaken if he thought that Protestants were not going to insist on Protestant ascendancy. Protestant ascendancy was one thing, Church ascendancy another. They were certainly not going to submit to anything short of Protestant ascendancy, which meant a right to resist, even to the death, any attempt to interfere with the Government of this country on the part of any foreign Prince, prelate, or potentate; and to resist what was even more powerful than an enemy's sword, priests in their slippers, with their confessionals, and encyclicals, and all the paraphernalia of priestcraft. It was because England had, from time to time, made a stand against such attempts that she was now pre-eminent among the nations. He should be ashamed of his countrymen if he could suppose that they required State aid or support to maintain the great principle of Protestant ascendancy, civil and religious liberty. There must be some limit to the attempts which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) was making to keep together what it must be confessed was a somewhat heterogeneous party; and he (Mr. Whalley), for one, could not sacrifice the doctrine of Protestant ascendancy even for that object.


said, he must enter his protest against the Bill. It professed to aim only at the disestablishment of the Irish Church; but it was the opinion of many hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House that a disestablishment of what was inaccurately called the Irish Chinch must lead sooner or later to a disestablishment of the English Church. The truth of that warning was conclusively shown by the words uttered by the great defender of the faith who had just addressed the House. The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) had told the House that he was going to vote for this Bill, because it was time to put an end to parsons of all denominations, and to establish free trade in religion. The hon. Member was an instance of the strange supporters that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had gathered around him in his attack upon the Irish branch of the United Church of England and Ireland, The speech of the hon. Member showed how enormous was the power which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had obtained over those opposite; and it would appear that his "Open sesame!" to the heart of the hon. Member was "free trade in religion." It was asked how those who had permitted the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions of the hon. Member for South Lancashire to pass as corollaries upon the first, could object to the second reading of this Bill. But the answer was obvious. The Resolutions were mere expressions of opinion, whereas this Bill would be a positive act. It was an act which, as it seemed to him, would paralyze not only the Irish Church, but the new House of Commons. He (Mr. Karslake) did not, however, entirely agree in the opinion of the Prime Minister, that the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions should be treated merely as corollaries of the first. The 3rd Resolution was something more than a corollary of the 1st, because it tended in the direction of action. There was a difference between the present House of Commons expressing its opinions, and going so far as to prejudge a question which would have to be decided by the Reformed Parliament. He asked hon. Members, and legal Members in particular, to adduce a precedent for this Bill—a precedent for an expiring House of Commons, in a provisional state of existence, not only expressing an opinion upon a matter to be decided by a new Parliament, but prejudging it by taking legislative action. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that this Bill should pass; was it worth while, for the purpose of saving an undefined but very moderate sum, to attempt to prejudge this question, which might be decided in an opposite direction by the new House of Commons? It was singular to see the anxiety of hon. Gentlemen to deal with the question. How was it that, though they had been in Office for years, it had never occurred to them before to bring the subject forward. It the grievance was one that required such a hasty remedy, why had that remedy been delayed till now? He could quite under stand the position of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone). That right hon. Gentleman might to a certain extent have been trammelled by his party relations. He had always been a great admirer of the right hon. Gentleman, and he had proved his admiration, not in words but in deed; for, at the expense of great personal inconvenience, he had gone down to vote for him as the very best Member that could be selected for his honoured University, When the right hon. Gentleman was the right hand of the most Conservative Prime Minister that had ever borne rule in this country, he might naturally abstain from raising such a question. But other Members who sat on the Opposition Benches had not been trammelled like the tight hon. Gentleman. For instance, there was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), Ever since he (Mr. Karslake) had known him, his views were destructive rather than Conservative. How was it that he, a man respected for his abilities by all, never discovered till last Easter that this was a question of urgency which demanded immediate legislation; that "the hour and the man" had arrived? Although hon. Gentlemen had sat here for ten or twenty years without doing anything, they were going to pass a Bill before the 1st of August. This would be for hon. Members opposite to pass a vote of censure on themselves. He thought they were bound to pay more attention to the eloquent language of their Leader. He (Mr. Karslake) was not going to blame a man for honestly changing his opinions. A man who changed his opinions, and declared openly that he had changed them without party feelings or bias, and from no desire of aggrandizement, was a far more honest man, and one more to be respected than the man who shrank from avowing the change through the fear of being charged with vacillation or with motives which were too often imputed in such cases. But he had been struck with the coincidence between the observations of the Secretary of State for the Home Department made early in the evening, and those of the right hon. Member for Smith Lancashire, published in a certain well-known work. He had not got by heart, as perhaps he ought, a passage from the excellent book of the right hon. Gentleman, so he had put it down— The union is to the Church of secondary, though great, importance; her foundations are on the holy hills; her charter is legibly divine. She, if she should be excluded from the precincts of Government, may still fulfil all her functions, and carry them out to perfection. Her condition would be anything rather than pitiable should she once more occupy the position which she held before the reign of Constantine. Now, Sir— But the State in rejecting her would actively repudiate its most solemn duty, and would, if the connection is sound, entail on itself a curse. Now, Sir, an hon. Member asked what was the point? The point was that from such noble sentiments, expressed in such noble language, it followed that this was a question which required consideration, and that it should be kept until next year at least. This question was plainly one that ought not to be hastily decided. They ought to have full time to consider and deliberate upon it, and to bring it first before the leading men of their constituencies, and afterwards before the electors, and then they ought to determine the question with more care and consideration, if possible, than they did any others which came before them. But even were the matter ripe for legislation, the state of business was such that there was no time for entertaining a Suspensory Bill this Session. The title was happy, for its provisions kept Members on all sides of the House in a state of suspense, preventing other and more necessary legislation, while precious time was flying— Sed fugit interea, fugit irreparabile tempus, Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore. There was first the Boundary Bill, then the Reform Bills, Scotch and Irish, besides the numerous little Bills of the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Clare. Only that morning at one o'clock they had given a good deal of time to a Bill to prevent playing at pitch and toss in rustic districts. He appealed to the House not to waste further time on fruitless discussions in this most important Session.


said, he hoped the House would not be induced to defer legislation on this subject to another Parliament. It was of vast importance that the hopes which had been excited in Ireland should not be disappointed by the barren result of mere abstract Resolutions. As an Irish Roman Catholic, and speaking for his Catholic fellow-subjects, he declared that, in supporting the present Motion, they were not lending themselves to any attack upon the Protestant Church or Protestant institutions of England. He had never heard of such a suggestion coming from any body or from any individual; nor had he, indeed, ever heard any argument adduced by an Irish Roman Catholic in favour of the disestablishment of the Irish Church which would apply equally to the English Establishment. He believed that the present condition of Ireland impaired the influence, lowered the prestige, enfeebled the strength, and, in certain contingencies, might endanger the stability of this Empire. He deeply deplored that the Premier should have lent the weight of his name to a statement so startling and unfounded as that of the alleged conspiracy for the severance of Church and State between the Irish Roman Catholics.—[An hon. MEMBER: Irish Romanists.]—Irish Romanists he called them, but he had afterwards disclaimed using the word offensively—and some nameless party in the Church. It was unfortunate that the Prime Minister of this country had been unable to give any satisfactory reason for making such a statement. If there had been such a combination Cardinal Cullen must be a party to it. The only evidence he had seen of any extraordinary combination was when the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with faces in which personal admiration was artistically blended with religious reverence, conducted the Prince of Wales to the Catholic University, where he was received by Cardinal Cullen—regarded in England as a Jesuit of the Jesuits. Why at one part of the Session was a Catholic University dangled before the eyes of the Catholics, and then, when it suited the party in power to get up a "No Popery" cry, why was the idea abandoned? But when he heard one Cabinet Minister denouncing the opinions expressed by another on an important question, he lost the faculty of being surprised. One section of the Cabinet had spent the Easter Recess in ostentatious adulation of Popery, while the Premier directed his efforts to raising the "No Popery" cry. It was inaccurately stated by the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. Dyke) that Fenianism had not been put forward by anyone in debate as a reason for the Irish Church policy of the Opposition. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had distinctly put Fenianism forward as a ground for adopting a remedial policy, and rightly so, for the man would be undeserving of the name of statesman who would attempt to deal with the condition of Ireland and ignore such a question as that. Irish discontent in the hands of Gentlemen opposite was a very elastic substance. When Arms Acts and measures of repression were under discussion the situation of the country was represented as desperate; but when remedial measures were suggested Irish discontent shrank to the most limited proportions. It was alleged that the Fenian ranks were composed merely of adventurers find Socialists, finding sympathy only among the very dregs of the Irish population. Some two or three years ago that might have been the ease, but it was not now. Some of the outrages which had happened, must indeed, have been the work of ignorant, violent persons. The Clerkenwell explosion, for instance, and the attempted assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh; if, indeed, the latter were a political offence. He believed it was not. ["Oh! Oh!"] Well, he would not discuss the matter; but he believed there was not sufficient information before the country to enable them to judge. Nobody, however, to whom an opportunity had been afforded of watching the Fenian conspiracy, and the amount of discontent in Ireland, could have failed to observe that the Fenian sentiment was spreading widely and had extended into a higher grade recently than it had reached before. Among those who abstained from actively taking part in the organization, there was a wide and increasing sympathy with the principle which it avowed. Passing from the subject of Fenianism, there was a symptom of the times about which he wished to say a few words—namely, the declaration of the Limerick priests. That was a remarkable document, drawn up by a man of conspicuous ability, and was daily receiving adherence from those who avowed their belief that the Imperial Parliament was either unable or unwilling to cope with the difficulties of Ireland. But Irishmen who had confidence in Parliament looked with intense anxiety to the result of that debate, aud with unspeakable alarm to the prospect of this Session terminating as other Sessions had done, without the passing of any measures, but measures of repression, such as the suspension of the Habeas Corpus. The suggestion that they ought to wait for the Report of the Commission on the Irish Church was regarded by Irishmen with ridicule not unmixed with contempt. For what were they asked to do but to wait for the result of a Commission, the members of which were invested with no power to deal with the evil, and who, if they were, notoriously would not exercise it? But then it was said the Established Church in Ireland had no connection with the unhappy political and social condition of the country. All he would say on the subject was that the Irish Church was best described as the monster grievance of Ireland. Other questions urgently demanded a settlement, but the Church question lay deep at the roots of the social system, aggravating and embittering every other source of discontent. There had been on historical quarrel in Ireland between the natives and a colony of invaders; and under these circumstances the devotion of the national Revenues to the exclusive use of the Church of the alien colonists not only kept alive the memory of past feuds, but was a living monument of foreign conquest and native subjugation. It had been said that it was necessary to maintain the Irish Establishment in order to preserve the Church in England. But if that was so, what stronger argument could be used with the people of Ireland in favour of total separation? The Secretary of State for the Home Department stated, on the authority of a lawyer, that the effect of disendowing the Irish Church would be to repeal the legislative Union between the two countries. He (Mr. Serjeant Barry) could only say that he did not envy the Judge who had to listen to the lawyer who made that statement. One of the four canons of opposition to this Bill employed by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister was that in assailing the temporalities of the Church they were striking at the rights of private property. He denied altogether the analogy between the title of a private person to his estate and that of the Church to its temporalities, and for this reason—that in every civilized community every member of that community, as the very condition of his existence, acquired certain rights; but the Church had only an existence derived from the law; it was not, in fact, a corporation, and, even if it were, a corporation had no existence outside the law, and the law which had created could destroy—which had given could take away. He hoped that Parliament would adopt that Bill, which would he a first step towards ameliorating the political condition of Ireland. He did not menu to say that it would remove all the sources of discontent in that country; but it would strike a deadly blow at the root of that discontent. He believed that the passing of the measure would go for towards creating in Ireland a healthy tone of public opinion. It would inspire the people of that country with confidence in the United Parliament, and it would be a large advance towards making the Union between the two countries, not as it was at present, a forced political connection, but a real Union, maintained by a mutual sense of equality, by reciprocal good-will, and a community of interests.


said, that the right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) had argued that the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions were corollaries of the 1st, and that this measure ought to be accepted as a corollary of the Resolutions. But it was one thing to pass an abstract Resolution and another thing to introduce a measure of active legislation. A Suspensory Bill assumed that the other House of Parliament as well as that House would disendow and disestablish the Church of Ireland, but he trusted that was an event which never would occur. The Government did not believe that the people of the United Kingdom would consent to the disendowment or disestablishment of the Established Church in Ireland, and were quite prepared to appeal from this moribund House of Commons to a higher tribunal—the Commons of the United Kingdom: and he was sure this appeal would not be in vain, whether it were made to the present or the new constituencies. Burke, writing to Sir Hercules Langrish upon the Union, said— The people of Great Britain might be depended upon in cases of any real danger to aid the Government of Ireland against any wicked attempts to shake the security of the happy constitution in Church and State. He, as an Irish Member, now confidently appealed to the Protestants of Great Britain for protection against this wicked attempt. He would not on this occasion argue the question as to the desirability of continuing or ending the Irish Establishment; he merely wished to show how impolitic it would be to pass the Bill precipitately. It behoved them to remember the safeguards which the wisdom of our ancestors had placed as buttresses for the Irish Church. He referred to the Act of Settlement, the Coronation Oath, and the pledges which were given when the Emancipation Act was passed. He did not pretend, however, that these were beyond the power of the Legislature to touch. He conceded that Parliament was able to rescind its enactments, and that the Coronation Oath was in the nature of a contract, But these were important and solemn considerations in another point of view, and he asked the House to pause before it scattered to the winds all that the wisdom of statesmen such as Mr. Pitt and Sir Robert Peel had devised for the protection of the Irish Church. Another point he wished to impress upon the House was that the move- ment against the Irish Church was, indeed, a direct attack upon the Established Church of the United Kingdom. It was only necessary to think for a moment who supported the right hon. Gentleman, to be assured of this. First, there were the Friends of the voluntary system, who were opposed to all Establishments; then came the Roman Catholics, who were unquestionably opposed to the Protestant Establishment of England. ["No, no!"] Who could deny that when Roman Catholic Members were continually asking for religious equality, in calling for religious equality they really called for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church of England. If religious equality were attempted in England, it must be either by levelling up or levelling down. Were they going to level up by raising the Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country? If not, they must level down and disendow the National Church of this country. The right hon. Member for Portarlington (Mr. Lawson) had once said upon this subject— We should never lose sight of this, and it is the very corner-stone upon which the Establishment rests, that it is not the 'Chinch of Ireland' at all, but that it is the United Church of England and Ireland—and that, is such, it is to be dealt with. And let no man dare to bring forward in Parliament any Motion relating to the revenues or property of the Church without including in it that of which we are a part—the Church of England. But the right hon. Member for South Lancashire had dared this very thing, and his right hon. Friend was strongly supporting him. Another reason for postponement was the state of complete darkness in which the House was left as to what was to be done with the funds of the Church when they had been taken possession of. The author of the Bill had said they were to be applied to Irish purposes and not to the clergy of Ireland of any denomination. The Bishop Moriarty differed from the right hon. Gentleman, and claimed the spoil for the Roman Catholic clergy, and he himself could not see what should be done with the money if it were not applied to the Roman Catholic Church. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) seemed to have rather a curious opinion on the subject, and his view appeared to be different from that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. Speaking on the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) he had said— I will go no further, but to say that whatever is done, if a single sixpence is given by Parliament in lieu of the Maynooth Grant or in lieu of the Regium Donum, it must be given on these terms only—and on that matter I think Earl Russell has committed a great error—that it becomes the absolute property of the Catholics, or the Episcopalians, or of the Presbyterians; it must be as completely their property as the property of the great Wesleyan body in this country, or of the Independents, or of the Baptists, belongs to those bodies. It must be property which Parliament can never pretend to control, or regulate, or withdraw."—[3 Hansard, cxc. 1660.] Thus the several Churches of Ireland would, in fact, become endowed Churches, with property to be held by them exempt from the control of Parliament. This sounds like an admission that ecclesiastical property might exist, be that Parliament could not withdraw it. He should like to know what securities more solemn, binding, or effectual could be proposed for Church property than the Act of Union with Ireland; yet the hon. Member was joined with his Friends in endeavouring to set it aside. If property might be held by a religious community exempt from the control of Parliament, there was no such body with claims equal to those of the Protestant Established Church of Ireland. It had been chained against the supporters of the Ministry that they had offered no arguments in support of the Irish Church; he replied that none against it had come from the Opposition, All the assertions of the Opposition depended on one proposition which had never been established; he referred to the statement that Irish discontent arose from the existence of the Irish Establishment. The hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Serjeant Barry) had said that was the root of Irish discontent. This he denied: but he allowed that the cause as stated by the hon. and learned Member was historical. The cause of Irish discontent was that the races had not mixed, and that the conquering race held not only the property of the Church, but had divided the property of the Irish chieftains. And indeed the complaint on the ground of the Church property seems futile when it was remembered that it was taken from the old priests of Ireland in the time of Henry H., and not at the time of the Reformation. On these grounds, he counselled the House to post pone legislation until the country had had an opportunity of declaring its opinion on the subject.


said, that, as a Roman Catholic Member representing a not unimportant constituency, he was anxious to express his views on the subject. He wished to treat it in its political and social aspect, as distinguished from its polemical and religious side. He could assure the House that he expressed the views of every Roman Catholic gentleman of education in Ireland when he said that the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Ireland was not supported by them as an aggression on the religion of their fellow-countrymen, or for the aggrandizement of any Church. The question, as it presented itself to their minds, was, whether the Anglican Establishment was to be continued in Ireland as the Church of the minority of the nation, and as a type of hereditary political ascendancy, created by statesmen in days gone by, altogether for political purposes, and without reference to the religions feelings of the people, the only real basis of such an institution. That Church created a discontent which was widely spread amongst the masses, and permeated every stratum of society in Ireland; and for that reason all the soundest politicians and deepest thinkers of this and preceding times had come to the conclusion that all its political and sectarian ascendancy should be abolished. The stock argument against this proposition was, that the Irish Church had been so inseparably united with the Chinch of England by die Act of Union, that if you attempted to infringe the temporalities of the Irish Church, you necessarily must deal with those of the Church of England. The late Lord Plunket—a man of whom every Irishman might be proud—expressed, in the year 1835, when the same question was raided upon the Appropriation Clause, the opinion that the partial appropriation of the Irish Church property to educational purposes was not in the slightest degree a violation of the principles of Protestantism, or of the Act of Union, and that the 5th Article of that Act, while it identified the Churches of England and Ireland, with regard to worship, doctrine, and discipline, did not identify them with respect to temporalities, for otherwise the whole system of composition for tithes was in violation of it. It had been urged that this Church, having been consecrated by ages, should not be disturbed; but the House would recollect that Lord Melbourne once said that it was never contemplated to have in Ireland a Roman Catholic population and a Protestant clergy; that the intention was the eradication of the Roman Catholic and the substitution of the Protestant faith; and that that policy having been abandoned by the repeal of the Penal Laws, an opposite course ought now to be pursued. It was said that the Protestant people of England and Ireland were unanimously opposed to any meddling with the revenues of the Irish Church; but he could not agree in that opinion, and as an instance that the assertion was not true, he might refer to a meeting in favour of the disestablishment of the Irish Church, held three weeks ago in the city he had the honour to represent—Cork. The meeting was called in compliance with a requisition signed by upwards of 10,000 persons. A Protestant Lord Lieutenant of the county was chairman, and the speakers (amongst others) were Protestant noblemen and persons of the highest position in the county. It was not true that all members of the Established Church in Ireland believed the present position of the Church subserved the interests of true religion. With respect to that, he might state he received a letter recently from an eminent Protestant clergyman in Ireland, in which he said— I have no desire to see the connection between Church and State in Ireland continued for one week longer. In conclusion, he trusted the House would inaugurate a new and happy era in Ireland by passing the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire.


I can assure the House that I shall trouble them but for a few moments, and in doing so I shall not attempt to follow the hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Serjeant Barry) in his argument as to whether there is a crisis in Ireland sufficient to justify the course of policy pursued by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), or whether the policy of the right hon. Gentleman will or will not put an end to dissatisfaction in Ireland, or will maintain or do away with the Union. On that point I hold a very strong opinion, which I have ventured to express before—that logically this Bill leads to the disestablishment of all Churches or to the repeal of the Union. Now, I am opposed to this Bill, because it appears to me to be a stretch of the power of a majority to force this legislation through this House. It is a stretch in this way—I do not believe it to be necessary, and, certainly, such a course is unprecedented; it is logically the result of the circumstance that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire has spoken so strongly against the policy of bringing forward an abstract Resolution. Having so spoken, Sir, it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman feels himself bound to bring forward this Bill, lest it should be said that he had moved an abstract Resolution which could produce no results. I shall oppose this measure with my vote on the same ground that I opposed the Resolutions which were brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman. Both the Bill and the Resolutions have been brought forward on the ground of religious equality. Now, I deny the possibility, under our present Constitution, of establishing the principle of religious equality. You may have the principle of religious toleration, to any extent; but the principle of religious equality, I maintain, directly, logically, and I believe practically, does lead, and will lead, to the disestablishment of the Church in Scotland and in England, and, as I have stated, to the repeal of the Union. I have but a very few words to say upon this subject, but I hope they will be very much to the point. The hon. Member for Dungarvan, with a view to calming the apprehensions of those who desire to see the continuance of the connection between Church and State, says that the party with whom he is connected—the Irish Roman Catholics, and, as I take it, the Roman Catholics of England also—do not look in any way to further legislation on this question of Church Establishment—that no ancillary measures are intended—that they do not wish to attack the Established Church of England or our Protestant institutions. Now, Sir, that is language which has been heard within the walls of Parliament before, and from the same quarter. It was heard forty years ago. It was heard on the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, at the time of Maynooth, and it will be heard in this House again and again till there is that religious equality which those Gentlemen who represent Roman Catholic constituencies contend can lie only in the supremacy of their Church—["Oh, oh!"]—if not in its supremacy, at any rate in its perfect equality. Now, what does perfect equality mean? When the House was kind enough to hear me on the Resolutions I said that to establish perfect religious equality in Ireland you must throw open the Lord Lieutenancy to Roman Catholics, I said that in England you must have the Woolsack open to Roman Catholics, and I said—or, if I did not say it I intended to say, that you must go further—you must repeal the Act of Settlement, and that the Throne of this country, if you were to have perfect religious equality, must be thrown open to Roman Catholics as well as to Protestants. That statement was no doubt laughed at at the time. It was regarded as a day-dream; but what has occurred since? This question now stands before us in a very different light from that in which it appeared last time I addressed the House. A Notice which has been given since that discussion may have escaped the attention of some hon. Members, inasmuch as it was handed to the clerks at the table instead of being publicly announced. It is a Notice given by an hon. and learned Gentleman who has been most prolific in his attempts at legislation—an hon. Gentleman who the other night brought forward a Motion with reference to a residence for Her Majesty in Ireland, and to show that this hon. Gentleman is not a mere enthusiast, to show that he is not an unreasoning and unreasonable man, I will appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, who on the occasion of the Motion being brought forward by the hon. Gentleman, who is a Baronet, gave him a character, and said that his hon. Friend was "remarkable for his intelligence and his moderation." Now, Sir, what does this Roman Catholic Member, this "intelligent and moderate" Roman Catholic Member, propose? Here it is— Sir Colman O'Loghlen,—In Committee on Promissory Oaths Bill:—To move the following Clause:—(Sovereigns of Great Britain and Ireland, after the passing of this Act, shall not be required to take the Declaration against Transubstantiation, &c. at their Coronation or at any Other time.) It goes on to say— After the passing of this Act no Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland shall be required to take, make, or subscribe at his Coronation, or on the first day of his first Parliament, whichever shall first happen, or any other time, the Declaration commonly called the Declaration against Transubstantiation and the Invocation of Saints and the Sacrifice of the Mass as practised in the Church of Rome, anything in the Bill of Rights or Act of Settlement to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding. Will the hon. Member for Dungarvan now say that there is nothing ancillary to this measure, at least in the mind of one "intelligent and moderate" Roman Catholic? With that Declaration on the table of this House this question assumes a different light. Why is this measure brought for- ward? It is brought forward as a euro for Fenianism; it is brought forward to produce content in Ireland; and here we have before this measure has passed the second reading a Motion on the table which says that those whom it is sought to satisfy by this policy and by this measure will not be satisfied at all until they have complete religious equality—an equality that can only be obtained by repealing the Act of Settlement. I stand here as an independent Member of Parliament. ["Oh, oh!" and laughter.] Those Gentlemen who make those pleasant noises behind me—I would ask any one of those Gentlemen who indulged in the sound to get up in his place, and to show me, by words uttered by me in this House, or printed in addresses to my constituents, how I have ceased to be an independent Member. For a time I gave my support to Lord Palmerston. I owe no allegiance to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, and if there were cross- Benches in this House, I should sit upon them. There are no cross-Benches in this House, and, upon the whole, my sympathies being more with the Liberal side, I sit upon the next thing to the cross-Benches. I repeat I stand here as an independent Member. The consistency of the right hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House or on this side of the House is a matter of indifference to me. I do not care whether the one says, "We will attain religious equality by levelling up," or the other, "We will attain that object by levelling down." To-night the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has denied that there ever was any question in the Cabinet of levelling up by endowing the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland. As an Independent Member of this House, I see that the Government are prepared to the best of their ability to resist this course of legislation, and to maintain the Constitution as secured by the Act of Settlement. On the other side, I see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire—I give him credit for sincerity in the matter. ["Oh, oh!"]—I am sorry that it is offensive to hon. Members near me that I should give the right hon. Gentleman credit for sincerity, but, nevertheless, I do give him credit for sincerity—embarked in a policy which I honestly and conscientiously think sooner or later will end in the results to which I have already referred. Feeling and believing that these results will surely follow the policy of the right hon. Gentle- man if it be adopted, I shall give my cordial support to the policy of the Government in preference to that of the right hon. Gentleman. I know not what is going to happen. I know not whether we are or are not to have an appeal to our constituencies; but I think it desirable that the country should clearly and intelligibly see what possibly may be in store for us should the policy of the right hon. Gentleman be adopted; and I only hope that the Motion of which I have read the words, and which has been put upon the table of this House, will he written in big letters in every borough and in every county in this great country. No doubt, if we are to have a dissolution upon this question, it will be a great inconvenience and a great expense to every Member of this House; but all I can say is that in such an event, I shall go to my constituency with a clear conscience and with a full confidence as to the result,


said, the noble Lord who had just sat down had taken great pains to prove his right to the title of an independent Member, but he could assure him that he had put himself to unnecessary trouble. The noble Lord had stated that his sympathies were generally on the Liberal side, but if that were the case, he certainly exercised a most remarkable control over himself by not yielding to those sympathies. He could assure the House that he would detain them but a few minutes while he made a few observations on the Bill before them. Although feeling deeply upon the question of the Established Church in Ireland, he had not taken part in any of the debates which had occurred upon the subject, and he should not have risen upon that occasion had it not been for one remark which fell from the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Warren) just before he sat down, in which he expressed his surprise that hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House could suppose that they were doing anything by this course of legislation to stay the discontent which existed in Ireland. In that remark lay the whole drift of the question, and he would shortly state why he thought they were doing a great deal to still the discontent in that country. A great deal had been said about the Act of Union. The noble Lord who had just sat down said, he believed the Union would be in danger if this legislation were carried into effect; but he, on the contrary, believed that the Union would be in the greatest possible danger if this legislation were not carried out. Why had we this discontent in Ireland? Hon. Gentlemen told them they were pandering to the Fenian agitation. He supposed hon. Members on that side of the House had as great a contempt for the Fenian agitation as hon. Members opposite could have, and as great a determination to put it down, but they saw very well that behind that agitation there was a feeling in Ireland which alone made it possible for that agitation to take any hold. And whence arose that feeling? It arose from what he was compelled to believe was a reasonable and natural feeling on the part of Irishmen at this moment. Much had been said about religious equality, but something should also be said about political equality. What were the real conditions of the Union between England and Ireland? Upon what conditions would an Irish patriot desire to preserve that Union? Certainly not upon the condition of the absorption of Ireland into England, but upon as fair conditions of political equality between England and Ireland as between England and Scotland; that there should be a common Legislature for Imperial purposes, but that the special legislation for each country should be in accordance with the feelings and with the interests of the country affected by that legislation. Was there any patriot in Ireland who would ask for the preservation of the Union on any other ground? Was there anything that came more nearly home to a man's interest and feelings than his religion? The feeling of the enormous majority of the Irish people was against the Irish Church Establishment. If Parliament wished to preserve the Union, it must do one of two things—either trample down the feelings of Irish nationality or admit Ireland to union with England on terms of equality. It was said that the Irish Church was an Imperial question, and that the condition of the Union was that the Established Church should be maintained in that country. But was that the condition of the Union between England and Scotland. Was it to be said that the influence and interests of the English Church were so great that, whatever Irish patriots might demand, Parliament could do nothing for them? He did not believe that an argument fraught with greater danger to the Established Church in England could be devised. He wished for the preservation of the English Church, He was not brought up in it. He was born and brought up as a Dissenter. But he believed that the English Episcopal Church as an Established Church was a great blessing, and that this was the feeling of the English people. But on what other ground, except upon this feeling, could the English Church be maintained? If the English people wished it to cease would it be continued? The people of Ireland did not wish the Irish Church to remain. He trusted that those who felt it to be necessary to the stability, and almost to the existence of the Empire, that Ireland should be contented would not be told that they must choose between the English Church and keeping up a Church in Ireland which the majority of the people disliked. It was impossible, as he had said, to inflict a greater blow upon the English Church than an argument of that kind. In the one case the great majority of the people of England, and even the Dissenters, wished for the preservation of the English Church, The strength of the English Church was not in her hierarchy, or in the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords, but in her parochial system, and in the feeling that this ideal was not always, but was still fairly fulfilled, that there was a man in every parish of good character, more or less devoted to the high objects set before him, and in a position to look after, not only the spiritual and moral, but also the temporal welfare of the people of his parish. There was no such state of things—no such parochial system was possible in at least three of the provinces of Ireland. A right rev. Prelate, for whom he had the highest respect, had threatened them with 20,000 parsons using their pulpits for election cries if the Irish Church question should be settled according to the wishes of the Irish people. There was no one for whom he entertained greater respect than for that right rev. Prelate; but he was sure when he came to consider what were the real interests of the Church, of which he was such an ornament, he must feel that was scarcely the kind of argument he should have used on this question. He had not intended to trouble the House with any remarks on the present occasion; but, being on his legs, he would venture before sitting down to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown what was the real opinion of the Government with regard to the question of religious equality on which his noble Friend who last spoke seemed to differ from them, his sympathies being, as he said, with that side of the House while he always so efficiently supported the other. The words of the noble Earl (the Earl of Mayo) had been quoted this evening; they were alluded to by the Secretary of State for the Home Department in a particularly marked manner. He said he did not accept the interpreta-which his right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire put on those words; but he very carefully avoided in any way disowning those words; and, after having simply stated that he did not accept his right hon. Friend's interpretation, he went on to say what he himself was or was not responsible for. He said he never used words implying religious equality, and nobody on that side of the House ever charged him with having done so. All they ever charged him with was this—that evidently entirely disbelieving in religious equality in Ireland—having before, and again tonight, stated how futile, how absurd in his mind was religious equality, he sat quietly by while that one of his Colleagues who was specially responsible for the affairs of Ireland, in a speech in which he was expected to state the policy of the Ministry in regard to Ireland, brought in that remark, not as a personal or casual observation, but at the close of a chain of argument, when they were all looking anxiously to know what the policy of the Conservative Government would be as to keeping up the Established Church in Ireland. The noble Earl spoke with great definitiveness when he said that there could be no objection to religious equality, provided it was not effected by confiscation. What he wanted to ask was, how did the Premier explain that allusion of the noble Earl to religious equality? There was nothing that had been said by the Premier that contradicted that allusion; on the contrary, it was clear that the allusion appeared to fill up the programme of the Premier. He said his policy in Ireland was to create, not to destroy. With his great power of language the right hon. Gentleman was fond of using words which appeared to mean a great deal more than he explained at the time, and the meaning of those words he had never explained. The House had a right to ask the Premier whether he disagreed with the words used by the noble Earl; or, if he did not disagree with them, what interpretation he put on them. It was not fair, as this question was to be brought before the new constituencies, that Gentlemen opposite should go to the hustings with two cries—that they should raise in the presence of the strong Protestant followers of the hon. Member or North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) he would not say the "No Popery" but a strong Protestant cry; and that, on the other hand, they should go before the Roman Catholics of England and Ireland and say, "You had better not take your advice from the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, but take your advice from Rome, and Cardinal Antonelli will say, 'Don't be so excessively earnest to disestablish the Irish Church—rather have faith in that great man, the present Premier of England. He has never listened to the cry of a Free Italy, and has always opposed the Member for South Lancashire, who, though he appears to be on your side, has done the cause of Ultramontanism no good in past days. Don't be afraid; it is true the Premier will not disestablish the Irish Church, but something very prosperous for the Roman Catholics of Ireland will follow from his action if you will allow him to remain in power.'" It was not fair to lay too much stress upon one speech of any Minister of the Crown; but he thought they had a right to ask the Premier at this last moment to say, whether he disavowed the statements of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and if not how he explained them.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman who moved the second reading of the Bill this evening seemed to complain very much that I should offer any opposition to his Motion, on the ground that the Ministry had not opposed the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions, which he previously moved. We did not oppose those Resolutions, because, as I described them, we looked on them as being corollaries of the 1st Resolution; and the right hon. Gentleman admitted the justness of that description. It does not follow that, when you oppose a policy, you are bound to oppose it on every stage. Common courtesy and the common sense of the House teach us that such a way of conducting public business would be utterly impracticable. We had taken on the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman two divisions in full Houses, and, therefore, I only followed Parliamentary custom in announcing that though we objected to the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions as strongly as to the 1st, yet we should be content not to take any formal division on them, expressing only our protest against them; but that we should reserve our Parliamen- tary right, when the Resolutions assumed the shape of a Bill, to express our dissent from the measure. I apprehend that the course we took was not only convenient to the House, but consonant with common sense. To say that because we did not take further divisions on the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions we are therefore estopped from opposing the Bill is a proposition which every person, on reflection, will feel to be one that cannot be sustained. But the right hon. Gentleman, not content with maintaining that we are unreasonable in opposing the Bill, because we did not oppose, except by protest, the 2nd and 3rd Resolutions, says that we ought to support the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said— Not only am I astonished that you oppose the Bill, but I had every reason to believe that you would deem it your policy and an advantage to support it; because you have consented to the appointment of a Committee to investigate the condition of the Irish Church, and as you yourselves admit the possibility of the Committee proposing considerable modifications in the temporalities of the Irish Church, what could be more convenient than that in the meantime you should pass a Suspensory Bill which would prevent the creation of any new vested interest, which it would be very inconvenient for you to have to deal with by after legislation. Well, Sir, I am perfectly willing so far to agree with the right hon. Gentleman, that if he will undertake in Committee to propose clauses providing that all the resources which may accrue from the suspended bishoprics and rectories should, when our ultimate legislation is decided upon, be apportioned and secured to the Established Church in Ireland I will consider his proposition of supporting the present Bill with feelings very much inclined to accede to his request. But the right hon. Gentleman forgets that he introduces to our notice a Bill which contains no provisions of that nature. He does not secure that the results of the suspension of these benefices will be apportioned hereafter to the benefit of that Establishment which we seek to uphold; but, on the contrary, he has to-night given a new version of his policy, and, alarmed by an impression in the House that led to the proposal of a very awkward Motion—an impression that he was prepared, when the results of suspending these benefices had accrued, to allot the sums thus acquired to the advantage of another Church—that is, the Roman Catholic Church—the right hon. Gentleman comes down to-night and tells us most distinctly that his policy is that none of the sequestered revenues of the Established Church in Ireland shall be apportioned to the maintenance of the religious institutions of any other creed whatever. Well, what is the consequence? The right hon. Gentleman has come down to-night to give us a new expression of his policy, to propose that Church revenues—that funds which have been consecrated to religious purposes—shall in future he applied to secular uses. Therefore, the question has assumed quite a different aspect to-night. Sir, I am as much opposed to the new scheme of the right hon. Gentleman as to the one that he was accused of holding during the late debate, and which this evening he has repudiated. I am myself entirely opposed to applying any property which has been once devoted to spiritual purposes to what are called secular uses. I know of no instance in which appropriations of that kind have ever occurred in which they have nut ended either in the advantage of some individual or of some family; or, if there has been some more plausible appropriation for a public purpose, it has been applied with the utmost wastefulness, and ultimately with complete misapplication. On these grounds, then, I vindicate my opposition to the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman, and I cannot agree to support it. But, Sir, these are the two main arguments that were brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman. The rest of the discussion, as far as his own observations and those of his principal supporters tonight are concerned, has consisted in references to an extract from a passage in the speech of my noble Friend the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. We have heard that speech referred to on every occasion on which this subject has been brought under the consideration of the House. Gentlemen opposite have a passage cut out of that speech, and I have observed it passed along as they speak in turn. Sometimes it is in the possession of a noble Lord, then of a right hon. Gentleman, and then it gets into the hands of a Gentleman with a humbler title. It is well thumbed and well worn; and now I am called upon to explain it. In the first place, before I explain it, I wish to know what is the charge that is made against my noble Friend, because it has been expressed in such various terms—it has assumed on different nights such different forms that, before I reply I would like distinctly to ascertain what the precise charge is. We have had it to-night, with candid precision, from the right hon. and learned Member for Portarlington (Mr. Lawson), and I must do him the justice to say that he made the charge distinctly; and, as one who was the principal Law Adviser of the late Government, I take it for granted that he had well considered the terms—that he had made himself master of the case—that, being a practised master of the forensic art, he placed it before the House most favourably to the views and interests of his Friends. I take it, therefore, from his showing, because the House must have observed that when the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and others have spoken on the subject they have made vague insinuations and inuendoes, calling upon me to explain expressions of my noble Friend without distinctly alleging them; but, while making a certain appearance of urging some odious charge, they have avoided giving any distinct expression of what they meant. In this case that cannot be said, I am bound to admit, of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portarlington. What are his charges? He said that the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant came down with an Irish policy, and that he proposed, in the first place, to endow a Roman Catholic University. Well, we have heard that charge before, and it has been contradicted. I myself have said over and over again that it never was proposed by us to endow a Roman Catholic University. ["Oh, oh."] What is the use of saying "Oh, oh!" now that the correspondence is on the table and you yourselves can judge for yourselves whether there ever was such a proposition on our part? On the contrary, there was from others a proposition that a Roman Catholic University should receive an endowment, and that endowment was refused by us. Well, so much for that distinct charge. What is the second charge? That the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant proposed to pay the Roman Catholic clergy. I must say that I myself listened with great attention to my noble Friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, and I heard no proposition of the kind. I myself took part in the debate. I do not know whether I spoke the same night as my noble Friend, but if I did not I spoke the second night of the debate; and I said then, most distinctly, that we, as a Government, entirely disapproved paying the Roman Catholic clergy. I stated our reasons for that disapproval, and expressed our opinion that the Roman Catholic clergy were sincere—certainly at present—in rejecting any proposition of the kind. Now, these are the two most considerable charges—the endowment of a Roman Catholic University and the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy. I say that we did not propose to endow a Roman Catholic University, not to pay the Roman Catholic clergy; and that when I announced the policy of the Government in detail, I stated that as a Government we were adverse to paying that clergy. But then it has been strongly urged that my noble Friend used an expression of which I have never yet, either in the references to the speech of my noble Friend or the more general observations of hon. Gentlemen, obtained a distinct idea. The particular expression charged against my noble Friend—supposing him to have used it, though I do not believe he ever did—the supposed expression of my noble Friend as referred to by the hon. Member for Bradford, was "religious equality." Now, that is a very vague phrase. What do you mean by religious equality? I myself, notwithstanding the observations which my noble Friend (Lord Elcho) has addressed to the House, am of opinion that we have religious equality in England; but I attach to the phrase a different meaning from that given to it by my noble Friend. I conceive that where a man has complete and perfect enjoyment of his religion, and can uphold and vindicate his religious privileges in the Courts of law, that state of things is religious equality. I admit that other persons may associate other ideas with the phrase religious equality; but because a Minister of State mentions the words "religious equality"—if he did mention them—are you to assume that he intends thereby to found on the part of the Government a political system composed of two parts—one the endowment of a Roman Catholic University, and the other the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy? To do so in the very teeth of the repeated statements made by myself in debate appears to me to be practising the arts of Parliamentary representation in a manner characterized by extraordinary dexterity. Well, Sir, what is the third charge? My noble Friend is said to have announced another policy which he never did announce—namely, an increase of the Regium Donum. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department properly mentioned to-night that the Regium Donum had never been brought before the Cabinet. I think I can give as clear an account as was ever given to the House of what my noble Friend said on that subject. What my noble Friend said was that in his opinion the Regium Donum was a miserable pittance. Well, I have myself, as some others in this House have done, received deputations on the subject of an increase in the Regium Donum: and I must say it requires a great command of countenance to describe the Regium Donum as a grant of great munificence. But I had always said, as my noble Friend said, that though I might not consider the Regium Donum as a grant of great munificence, it was utterly impossible in the present state of feeling that we could propose an increase of the Regium Donum. This being the view, how could the Regium Donum be brought before the Cabinet had there not been a proposal to increase and re-constitute the Regium Donum? Such an idea had never occurred to us, whatever may be our opinions as to the amount of the Regium Donum and the manner in which it is administered; and I dare say many members of the Cabinet, and of the late Cabinet also, have not concealed their views upon that subject. Now, because my noble Friend considered and could not resist saying that it is a miserable pittance, it is immediately inferred that one of our propositions was to increase the Regium Donum. There is not the slightest foundation for the inference, nor is there the slightest inconsistency in the statements of my noble Friend and of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State. [An Hon. MEMBER: Levelling up,] Well, "levelling up" is a phrase which has been used in this debate very frequently, and which seems to be a very favourite one with hon. Gentlemen opposite. I should very much like to have their views as to the distinct meaning they attribute to the phrase "levelling up." That in a country like Ireland there may not be various modes by which you may raise the clergy of the different denominations in a manner more consonant to their feelings of self-respect than you could in a country like England, where the same circumstances do not prevail, no man would for a moment pretend to deny. You have been doing things year by year by which the status of the Roman Catholic clergymen in Ireland has been improved and recognized; and no doubt there are many things which might still be done—without violating the principles of our Constitution, and without indncing you to agree to revolutionary proceedings which may have the most injurious consequences upon the population of the country generally—to soften the spirit of society in Ireland and effect very beneficial results. And if my noble Friend expressed on that and other occasions his desire to support a policy of that kind, he only expressed a desire which is common to every Member of the Government. Now, Sir, the hon. Member for Bradford has made a speech to-night about "Justice to Ireland." Starting with one or two convenient assumptions which no human being can prove or disprove, and to which no human being can ascribe any definite meaning, he, of course, rapidly arrives at conclusions on the strength of which he recommends the violent policy which it is now attempted to thrust upon the nation. "We must do justice to the Irish people," says the hon. Member for Bradford. Who are the Irish people? The Irish people consist of several races and of several religions, and the hon. Member wants us to do something to satisfy a portion of the people who may be, and probably are, the majority. But it does not follow that because you do something which you assume may please the majority that you will not offend a very large and very powerful minority of the people, and in your accounts and your calculations as to the character and effect of your policy it is the most unwise thing in the world to disregard the feelings and the interests of powerful minorities. For what will be the consequence of disregarding the feelings and the interests of powerful minorities? Why, that your scheme of conciliation, your attempt to pacify a country and to establish what you call "Justice for the people" would probably end in your creating among other classes who are now satisfied and content the same discontent and dissatisfaction which you allege to prevail in that portion of the nation which you describe as, and which may be, the majority. Now, Sir, I say there is not that similarity between the cases of Ireland and Scotland which the hon. Gentleman, as is common, assumes to exist. In the first place you must as wise and practical men deal with what exists. Here is a Church established for centuries in Ireland with a very powerful and numerous body in direct communion with it, and supported also by the sympathies of another numerous body, who, though not in direct communion with it, look upon it with respect and reverence. And you must remember that a mass of population like the Protestant population of Ireland never existed; in Scotland as opposed to the Presbyterian form of worship. It never existed; and, therefore, there is no real similarity between the two countries, And even if there had been, we must remember that what we have to deal with in Ireland exists at present, has been settled for a great number of years, and is now part of history, having settled itself by the force of circumstances, over which we ourselves have no control. We must as practical men consider the position of Ireland with reference to existing circumstances, and, therefore, when the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford comes forward and says the thing is perfectly simple—that all you have to do is to do justice to the people of Ireland, and to do in Ireland what was done in Scotland two centuries ago, and you will then find everything perfectly quiet and everybody perfectly content. [An hon. MEMBER: Hear, hear!] The hon. Gentleman opposite, who seems to think that everybody will be perfectly content, will probably not be responsible for the legislation which will arise, and, therefore, his mind need not be disturbed. But I say that the statesman who embarks ill such a crusade, and who, without the slightest regard to the feelings and interest of the great body of the Protestant population in Ireland, acts in complete disregard of those feelings and interests, but yet supposes that he is going to establish a system in Ireland which is to cure all evils and to satisfy all persons, is embarking in one of the wildest enterprises that ever the disordered imagination of man conceived. But, Sir, notwithstanding what the hon. Member for Bradford says, I cannot refrain from considering this question with reference to the larger issue which is at stake; and any one who does consider it with a total disregard to consequences is not taking that sound view of the circumstances with which we have to deal, which the necessity of the case requires. I say this act is the first step to the disestablishment of the English Church. You may draw distinctions; you may say it applies only to Ireland; you may say that the Church as established in Ireland is different from the Church as established in England; but you have not proved that, Sitting opposite to me are many Gentlemen who on other occasions have proved just the reverse, and have alleged all the charges they have made against the Church in Ireland agains the Church in England also. The most that could be urged by those who dissent from me on the other side of the House is that it is a difference in degree; but I say the principle involved is the connection of a religious Establishment with the State, and the question is whether you will have it or not. I have heard some comments made to-night upon observations I made early in the controversy. I made none that I regret, or did not make advisedly; and I do believe most solemnly, so far as the policy which is the consequence of the alleged crisis in Ireland is concerned and can influence us, it is one that will bring about a crisis in England—["Oh!"]—that is my opinion—and which, if pursued, will disturb the social system of this country to its very centre. I believe that this is an opinion very prevalent in the country, and that every day it grows stronger and wider among those classes who think and reflect, and who never act until they have thought and reflected. An hon. Gentleman accused me of raising a "No Popery" cry. Allow me to say I have not heard that cry, but I hare heard a cry raised in this country now that I never heard before, and that is the cry of "No Protestantism." ["Where?"] I have heard it frequently, and read of it in various places. ["Where?"] It is not for me to refer to expressions which are not used in this House; if I had heard them here I should have noticed them before. That is the only cry I have heard connected with this matter, and it is one extremely novel in this country. I am not here to impress upon the House my views of what the public feeling is upon this all-important question. I know nothing more idle than to go out of your way to give your own opinion as to the public sentiment of the day; that will and must declare itself, not from what we state in this House, but from the deep and earnest feelings of the people; and I only make use of these observations in answer to those who have alleged a view of the public sentiment of the country of a very different character. When I am told we have attempted to raise a cry—when I am told that the country disregards any appeal to it upon this all-important subject—when I am told that there is only one opinion in the country, and that is in favour of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, I am bound to assert that the result of my observation, information, and experience is of a totally different character. I do not wish to dwell upon that now; but I say that my experience and my conviction upon that subject are of a totally different character. I believe in this country there is a very great agitation upon this subject. I believe there is a strong feeling that the right hon. Gentleman has embarked in a most dangerous policy; that its consequences may be most serious to the country; that they may dim the splendour of the British Crown, and lower the character of the people of England. I believe that to be the opinion of powerful classes in this country—of classes powerful not from station merely, but from the possession and exercise of virtues, and who never interfere in political affairs except from the strongest motives of public duty. If this be a right view, or even an approximately correct view, it is most unwise to disregard or affect to despise it. It is not by managed majorities—["Oh, oh!" and Cheers]—it is not by such means that you can change the opinion of a country. I do not say that we are right; I do not say that you are wrong. The observation I have made is a general and a true one. Whatever is the opinion of the people of England upon this great question—whether they will maintain the connection between Church and State, and whether they believe that such a connection is necessary for the happiness of the people and the security of the realm—whatever may be their opinion upon the subject rest assured that that opinion will be asserted and will be triumphant.


Sir, I think I may say, without fear of contradiction, that no criticisms of any moment have been made upon the mere form, expressions, and particulars of the Bill that is before the House. ["Oh!" and Cheers.] Some of the Gentlemen who differ from that sentiment have not been here during the debate; but I hardly think that they would differ from the sentiment if they considered its terms. The objections that have been made have traversed a wider field, and have gone to the root of the principle of the measure. We have been involved—and it was natural that we should be involved—in a discussion upon the main points of the policy of the question now before us, and I only made that opening observation to clear myself from any apparent disrespect if I did not feel that, especially at this late hour, it was necessary to enter into minute details. But the hon. Baronet the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) made an appeal to me, and appeared to be aggrieved because I had never, as he said, taken notice of a peculiar argument founded by him on behalf of the Irish Church upon the state of things in Ulster. He said, "Look at the case of Ulster! You cannot deny that that is quite different from the case of other provinces in Ireland;" and, in fact, the argument of the hon. Baronet seemed to be this—that if we were to part with the United Church of England and Ireland, at any rate we ought to have a United Church of England and Ulster. But what is the case of Ulster, which the hon. Baronet thinks so strong? Why, it is this—that in Ulster the members of the Established Church absolutely amount to one-fifth of the population; and Ulster, thus strong in its proportion of the members of that communion, is thus apparently capable, not only of answering for itself, but even of carrying on its back the whole case of the Irish Church. Now if I am to look at the case of Ulster with 20 per cent, I must look at the case of Connaught with 3 per cent, and I cannot say that, examining the minute distribution, which varies greatly in different parts of Ireland, the complexion of the case is at all altered. There was another remark made in the small hours of the evening by the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Liddell), who said that the power of those who are now in the Government to oppose the Bill proposed on this side of the House with reference to the Irish Church, would have been much greater than it is, if, instead of being in Office, they had been in Opposition. To that opinion of the hon. Gentleman I entirely subscribe. I am perfectly aware that if we had sat upon that (the Ministerial) Bench, whatever efforts we might have made we should not have been able, with the utmost exertions, to achieve the progress which we have actually made. And when I hear discussions upon the general condition of this House, upon the strange and anomalous relations between the Government and the Parliament, and when I hear taunts from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is mighty valiant in speech, and challenges us to move a Vote of Want of Confidence, I am aware that the responsibility of acquiescence in that stale of things is serious; but one capital and determining motive, at least with me, for so acquiescing, has been this double conviction—in the first place, that the question which presses for the welfare of the Empire at this moment is the state of Ireland; and in the second place, that we have been enabled, through the fortunate and happy circumstance of the tenacity with which those (the Ministerial) seats have been held to make such progress in the settlement of this great question as, had the position of parties been reversed, it would have been impossible for us to make. But questions of the greatest interest have been raised—and it was no wonder they should be raised—with respect to our relative position and policy in relation to the Irish Church. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Prime Minister have referred to the declarations made by me in an early part of the evening, which in their view alter the position I had previously endeavoured to occupy, and which they have described in terms of their own. Sir, I do not intend to repeat those declarations; I do not intend to vary from them; I regard them as making no change in what I had formerly said beyond an explanatory addition. And I only refer to the subject because I wish to say that I desire to be bound by the language I have used myself, and not by the glosses, however ingenuous, of the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite. ["Ingenious."] No, I said ingenuous. But we have had a discussion upon that which is more important, the policy and the declarations of Ministers of the Crown. And to that subject it is necessary that I should advert particularly, because the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford gave the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity for frank and full explanation; and because I wish to fix, as far ns I can, in the face of the House and the country, the point to which by the use or the non-use of that opportunity he has brought us. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, adverting to words that had been used by the noble Lord near him, made to us the interesting revelation that the question of the increase of the Regium Donum, and the yet more important question of a general system of concurrent endowment in Ireland, never had been the subject of consideration in the Cabinet. Sir, it is not usual, as far as my recollection goes, for members of a Cabinet to excuse or defend themselves by stating in this House what subjects have or have not been brought under the consideration of the Cabinet. But permit me to say with that matter we have nothing whatever to do. It is a very interesting disclosure; it provokes our curiosity to know the relation that prevails between Minister and Minister; but that curiosity we must restrain. We have nothing to do with such a defence of any Member of the Government. What we have to look to are the official declarations of Ministers, made in their own name, made on behalf of their Colleagues, and, above all, heard by those Colleagues, acquiesced in by those Colleagues, left to abide uncontradicted and unqualified by those Collegues till weeks and months have elapsed. The right hon. Gentleman in vain endeavours to escape from the difficulty. He says that the words of the noble Earl have been handed up and down this Bench till they are hardly recognizable. Aye, and they will be handed up and down, not only here, but in other places in this country before the question is settled. He seems to think that there is nothing that presses on him except the words "religious equality," and he does not think that those words were ever used. But the noble Earl has never contradicted the use of that phrase. And whether it was used or not, the intentions of the noble Earl and the intentions of the Government—for whom, if ever man was authorized to speak the noble Earl was authorized to speak—were declared with a copiousness, a fulness, and a variety of expression which left nothing to be desired. And if the noble Earl, as we think, used the words "religious equality," I am quite sure he did not use them in the farfetched—I will not say much more than farfetched—sense which the right hon. Gentleman has just assigned to them. He said, "I do not pretend to say that justice and policy may not depend to a great extent on the equalization of ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland." ["Order."] I hope the words were heard. They were spoken on behalf of the right hon. Gentleman by the Secretary of State for the Home Department; the right hon. Gentleman heard them, and he suffered them to remain without contradiction from the 10th of March to the 22nd of May. But the noble Earl then went on to quote those other words that have been quoted again and again, and of which, in the early part of this evening, I understated the effect— There would not be, I believe, any objection to make all Churches equal; but the result must be secured by elevation and not by confiscation. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to observe that his subtle—I will not say sophistical, for that might give offence—his subtle explanation of the character of "religious equality," even if it has an application under the exercise of his forcible ingenuity to the case of an individual, certainly does not avail to explain this remarkable expression—"there is no objection, I believe, to make all Churches equal." If individuals can be equal when one belongs to an endowed and the other to an unendowed communion, I think the right hon. Gentleman himself will hardly tell me that Churches are equal when one of them enjoys the ecclesiastical property of the country and another has no share whatever in that property. What we have said on former occasions upon this question, and what will be said both here and elsewhere throughout the country, is this—I do not speak for myself; for myself individually, I have not scrupled to own that, with the opinion I entertain of the circumstances of Ireland, I should have thought it or might have thought it my duty to raise the question absolutely—unconditionally, and even without a hope of party support; but taking the facts that have occurred during the present Session, I say that in the enterprize upon which this party has entered with respect to ecclesiastical policy in Ireland, even if we are banded together by common opinions and by common votes, those opinions and those votes have reference to a policy which has been, in point of fact, forced upon the House and on the country, and which has by no means gone in advance or anticipation of the views of the Government. It is the counter plan which we have proposed to the project of the Government—which, if there be meaning in words, was a project of concurrent endowment. It can hardly be thought unfair to put that construction upon the speech of the noble Earl, for the noble Earl himself has never disclaimed the construction put upon it. It will bear but one construction. The noble Earl knows that perfectly well, and he has stood the brunt of it like a man. Moreover, the noble Earl does not stand alone. The declarations of the right hon. Gentleman have been in concurrence with those of the noble Earl. The right hon. Gentleman says he expressed his disapproval of paying the priests. No doubt he said he disapproved of what was called paying the priests. Now, what is called "paying the priests?" Why, the giving them an annual stipend from the State, But there are other ways of dealing with the priests; there are other ways of fulfilling the objects that the right hon. Gentleman has expressed, far more agreeable than the giving them that stipend, dependent upon the annual will of Parliament, which is called "paying the priests." Am I justified in saying that the right hon. Gentleman has contemplated a resort to those methods or not? It is important that the country should be well informed upon this point. What did the right hon. Gentleman say both last year and this year was the key of his ecclesiastical policy for Ireland? He said, "You must create, and not destroy." Had those words a meaning? Yes, they had a meaning, and if illustration were wanted there is abundance of illustration from other quarters. The right hon. Gentleman, twenty-four or twenty-five years ago—[Laughter, and "Oh, oh!"]—That is premature derision—The right hon. Gentleman, twenty-four or twenty-five years ago, made a speech the sentiment of which he has adopted and made his own in pith and substance within the last six weeks. ["Oh, oh!"] Is it not fair to refer to the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman made during the present Session? He said, "In my conscience the sentiment of that speech was right." [Mr. DISRAELI: The historical sentiment.] I have not so gathered it, but I accept the addition. The historical sentiment of that speech was right. Why, undoubtedly; the whole speech was historical, and a remarkable speech it was. What was the historical sentiment of that speech? That the true policy for Ireland was to be found in the state of things that was in force in 1636, and that at that time there was a recognized equality between the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches. That was the historical sentiment of that speech, adopted by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Home Secretary and all his Colleagues, and announced to us as the policy of the Government. Well, it is in opposition to that policy that we have proposed a plan which contemplates, not the erecting of a variety of endowed Churches in Ireland, but the doing away with that endowed Church which now exists there. There is another point which, as was to be expected, has been imported into this debate. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department and other hon. Gentlemen have urged strongly their opinion that, if not the intention, yet the effect of these proceedings must be to undermine and destroy the Church of England. Well, that is a very serious matter. I do not say who is right and who is wrong, but. I will venture to state the opinion which I believe to a great extent we entertain on this side of the House. It is idle to tell us that there are in our ranks some Gentlemen—not, I believe, very numerous, whatever their weight may be in other respects—who have declared themselves to be the determined foes of the principle of Establishments in whatever country and under whatever circumstances. I know no reason why those Gentlemen, differing from the most of us upon the abstract principle, yet agreeing with us—or rather, perhaps, I should say, we agreeing with them upon the actual measures that ought to be applied to the peculiar case of Ireland—I know no reason, I say, why, because they are associated with us in the votes they give, we are to be held more responsible for their peculiar opinions than the right hon. Gentleman is to be held responsible for the opinions of every Gentleman who may happen to sit behind him, and who may chance to be connected with an Orange Lodge, or of every foe to the concession of Roman Catholic Emancipation, or of those who would gladly go bock if they could in every measure of beneficial legislation in this country of late years. The real difference between the two sides of the House, as it appears to me, is this:—What we hold is that the Church of England is in the main—I use the word roughly—good, that is to say it is an Establishment which exists under circumstances which enable it to perform all the duties of an Establishment; and that, secondly, it performs those duties. And that it is acknowledged to perform them, appears first of all by the warm and devoted attachment of a very large portion of the nation, and in the next place by the willing acquiescence of a very large portion also of those who actually dissent from its tenets. And if I use again a monosyllable for the sake of brevity, and say that the Church of Ireland is a bad Establishment, I do not mean to cast a slur upon the character either of its ministers or its members. I mean that it is bad as an Establishment, because, as tested by the experience of three centuries, it has proved its action to be hopeless in fulfilment of the work for which an Estab- lishment exists. And here allow me to say that the right hon. Gentleman takes an undue liberty when he says that our proceedings are in avowed disregard of the feelings and interests of Protestants. They are no such thing. ["Hear!" and "Oh!"] Gentlemen may be perfectly entitled to say, either in that or in any other way, that our proceedings are in disregard of the feelings and interests of Protestants; but they have no right to say that they are in avowed disregard of those interests and feelings if we disavow that intention; and I claim my right to state that in my conscientious conviction the existence of the Established Church in Ireland is hostile and injurious to the interests of Protestantism. It may seem to some Members who sit in this House a very strange opinion, but it is an opinion that you may just conceive it possible for men to entertain; for, after all, it is the characteristic of a civilized age that people do at length bring into their minds some conception that it is possible for other people honestly and conscientiously to differ from them, and until we have learnt that lesson we have made but little progress in true civilization. Now, the opinion I have stated is one which I believe to be very widely entertained on this side of the House, and much more widely out-of-doors. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen say "No;" but, as I am informed, nine-tenths of the people of Scotland—speaking roughly—think that the existence of the Established Church of Ireland is hostile to Protestantism. But I will not dwell merely upon testimony of that kind. I happen to have in my hand a speech of the Bishop of Ripon, whose name and character are well-known, and, as I believe, are highly respected by all who know him, made at a meeting for the promotion of the Irish Church Missions, on the 20th of April, 1868. In that speech the Bishop expressed very strong disapproval of the movement in which we are engaged; but what did he say about the interests of Protestantism in the event of the Established Church being removed? He said they would flourish more than ever. Here are his words:— Let the State, if she will, break the most solemn contracts. Let her violate the Act of Union, let them call on the Queen to violate her Coronation Oath. All this proves to you what an excellent judge in this matter the Bishop of Ripon is. You may rely on everything he says. I will continue to read— Let the Church be disendowed and disestablished. The State did not make the Church, and the State could not un-Church. If this did unhappily take place, she would attract to herself the sympathy of the Church of England, and by such an agency as that society, which would become more than ever necessary, the truth of God would be more and more diffused through the length and breadth of the land, and many valuable souls would be brought to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And, with great respect to Gentlemen sitting opposite, we think we are quite entitled to agree in this view of the matter if we think fit. Disregarding imputations which the right hon. Gentleman is pleased to favour us with, I take leave to declare that the opinion prevailing with us is, that these two Establishments—the one which is good of its kind and the other which is bad of its kind—must not be considered as identical in quality; our doctrine is, that by extinguishing the bad you will increase, and not diminish the good; your opinion seems to be, that an Establishment should be upheld because it is an Establishment; that, whether it be good or bad, is a matter of secondary importance, and that the destruction of what is bad in the Establishment puts what is good in danger. This to me is a paradox contrary to all human experience. But, whatever be the justice or injustice of these respective opinions, one thing is certain, and that is—that if the Church of England be constantly, fervently, enthusiastically associated in the speeches, in the minds, and in the thoughts of a large party with the Church of Ireland, that association, which might have been fanciful, will have become real, and that danger, which should be imaginary, will become formidable. Now, Sir, this is possible from the two controversies between us. One is, whether the Irish Church should cease to exist as an Establishment; the other is, whether the the fall of the Irish Church will tend to draw after it the fall of the English Church? My belief is that, as to the first of these controversies, its end is near, and that those who sit opposite to me, though they may deprecate that contingency, do not doubt its early arrival. But this may happen, that the first of these controversies—namely, that which involves the question of the Established Church of Ireland—may be decided in our favour; the second of those controversies—namely, whether the Established Church of England is to be decided by the fall of the Church of Ireland—may be decided in your favour by these persistant declarations that religious equa- lity in one quarter of the kingdom absolutely means religious equality in all, and that it is impossible to draw distinctions between the Church which is the Church of the people in the main and the Church which has not the smallest pretentious to be considered as the Church of a majority. Take care, I beseech you, lest by persistently declaring these things to be truths you make them truths, and by your own imprudence induce consequences that we have never intended and that we profoundly deprecate. Sir, these are contingencies I do hope will receive the careful consideration of Gentlemen opposite. It is not the first time we have seen such things happen in history. It may be that after public; opinion has brought about the disestablishment of the Irish Church, those very Gentlemen who are now asserting the impossibility of those consequences will be found standing at this table deprecating their advent; and they may be liable to have the very principles which they are declaring for the purposes of to-night quoted against them. For my own part, I am reluctant to reiterate again and again professions which I own are of very little value. That statement may not unnaturally be received by the noble Lord (the Earl of Mayo) and by other large-minded men with a certain amount of suspicion, and it is far better to be moderate in declarations of this kind; but I must own I have stated the general grounds upon which our argument or contention proceeds—namely, that the removal of an Establishment which does not do its work is in the end, if not a positive advantage to an Establishment that does, yet, at all events, is in the nature of the removal of a very great disadvantage. I think that there is not a man who would deny that the cause of the Church of England against her antagonists, if she has them, is made more arduous and difficult by the existence of the Church Establishment in Ireland. [An hon. MEMBER: No.] Did I hear an hon. Member say ''No?" I think the sound proceeds from an hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Stuart Knox) whose courage I never doubted; but certainly on no occasion has he, I think, given a more signal exemplification of that courage than in challenging that statement. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, if I interpret him aright, contends that the cause of the Church of England is improved for the purpose of argument against its adversaries by its association with the Church of Ireland. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman adopts that argument he is, I am afraid, leading a forlorn hope, for he will not, in my belief, find even in the quarter where he sits any considerable support for that view. Our conscientious belief is that it is for the advantage of the Church of England that this controversy in Ireland should be ended; but at the same time I never desired to conceal my opinion that we must deal with this Irish question as an Irish question, and that nothing could be more impolitic with reference to the highest interests of the Empire than to adopt the course which has been often proposed and which has been proposed by some to-night—namely, that we should tell the mass of the people in Ireland that they have no choice but to endure an Establishment alien to them, and that we have no choice but to force it upon them, lest the making of alterations in the arrangements of the Irish Church should be; the means of bringing the same alterations; upon the Church in England. That is not the way, I hold it, to cement the Union between the two countries; if the Union: between the two countries is, indeed, to be; not merely a Union on paper, but a union of the hearts of men. An argument was used by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department upon which I need not dwell for more than a moment, and it is the last topic to which I shall refer. It was that the House of Lords ought to have been consulted by Resolution or Address before an attempt was made to send to them a Bill of this nature. I presume that the right hon. Gentleman was serious in making that statement, but I am not aware that upon any occasions except the very rarest—and I am certainly not aware of any whatever upon which by any except the Executive Government—an attempt has been made to put the two Houses of Parliament in action simultaneously. But if I were to refer to all the great changes which have occurred during the last thirty-five or forty years, to say that we ought to have referred them to the House of Lords, with a view to having them dealt with simultaneously in both Houses, would be the same as to say that they ought to have been extinguished in the bud, and that the country ought to have been deprived of the enormous advantages which have undoubtedly accrued from that legislation.


I hope the House will permit me to trespass upon their attention for a very few moments, and I am sure that hon. Gentlemen on both sides will acknowledge that, after the manner in which I have been alluded to in the course of this debate, I have a claim to their attention for a short time. Of the sentiments enunciated by me on the occasion referred to, when it became my duty to address the House on the part of the Government on the Motion proposed by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire), I have no reason to be ashamed, and I have no words to retract. I believe that the opinions to which I then gave expression have for a very long time been shared in by the most eminent men, and by the greatest statesmen, and they are opinions of which no man who knows the state of things in Ireland has any reason to be ashamed. I maintained then, and I hold the same opinion now, that the existence of the Established Church in that country does not involve in any way a religions ascendancy in an offensive sense, by which I mean that the existence of the Established Church does not prevent the complete and free exercise by Members of other churches of their religious worship, or prevent them from placing their churches in any position they may deem desirable. The whole of the remarks I made before I used the words which have been quoted were in furtherance of that opinion. I believe a great change has for years been taking place in Ireland, and that there has been a gradual elevation of churches other than those of the Established Church, very much to the benefit of the country at large. Holding the opinions that the process which has been going on a long time was a salutary one, I firmly believe that it should not be stopped. In expressing that opinion I wished to convey to the House that I thought it was desirable that the course of ecclesiastical arrangements which has prevailed for many years should be continued, and that it should not be violently arrested. That was the opinion I expressed, and that is the opinion I still hold. I never did propose that which I am accused of having proposed—namely, an immediate and large endowment by the State for religious purposes. I defy anyone to quote any single expression of mine which would lead him to think that any proposal of that kind was either possible or desirable. With regard to the Regium Donum, I had the pleasure several times this spring of communicating with gentlemen who are anxious that that grant should be increased. I told those gentlemen what I have before stated in this House—that it was a miserable pittance, and was totally inadequate for the purposes for which Parliament originally gave it; but I told them at the tame time that, considering the present feeling of the House and the temper of the country, it would be useless and mischievous to propose an increase of that Grant, so that my opinion upon this point is well known to the persons most interested in the matter. No one who has sat as long as I have in this House could believe that any Government would be wise in proposing a large scheme for the payment of Roman Catholic priests. Looking to the strong feeling in this House and to the repeated declarations of the Roman Catholics themselves as to their acceptance of salaries for their clergy, no man in his senses would think of making such a proposition, and it is impossible to discover from anything that I have said that either I or any Member of the Government ever contemplated such a proposal. But I must remind the House what has been the line of policy adopted by them for many years on this question. I must remind them how the Maynooth Grant has been increased and how the Regium Donum has been over and over again maintained, and how from time to time chaplains of all denominations of Christians have been appointed to public institutions, workhouses, and gaols, and how chaplains of all denominations have been appointed to the Army with the sanction of the House. Throughout my whole speech I intended to convey to the House that I thought that the policy which the Legislature has pursued for some time ought to be continued, and that it might be desirable when the opportunity arose that that policy should be further enlarged. I believe that in expressing those opinions I expressed the opinion of every man who has studied the state of Ireland for the last sixty years, and that I was only enunciating the opinions of Pitt, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby, Sir James Graham, Earl Russell, and opinions that had been repeatedly urged for many years with eloquence and power by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire. I beg to remind the House that I distinctly stated that of all means to be adopted for remedying Irish grievances I thought confiscation the very worst; and I believe that any proposal for the immediate overthrow of the Irish Church would be attended with dangerous consequences, some of which we have already witnessed, and I announced distinctly as the cardinal policy of the Government, that we were prepared to maintain in Ireland and in every part of the United Kingdom the religious Establishments that now exist.


attempted to address the House, but was inaudible in consequence of persistent cries of "Divide!" and "Question!"

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 312; Noes 258: Majority 54.

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

Bill read a second time, and committed for Friday 5th June.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock, till Monday next.