§ (Mr. Dodson, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. John Bright, Mr. Chichester Fortescue, Mr. Attorney General for Ireland.)
§ COMMITTEE. [Progress 16th April.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 3 (Appointment of Commissioners).
said, he rose to move the postponement of this clause, which contained the provision for nominating the members of the Commission. It was the opinion of the Government that both the Government and the House. would be in a better position to judge of the arrangements that should be made with respect to the mode in which the Commission should be appointed after they had gone through the operative clauses of the Bill, and had marked out the duties of the Commissioners.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he had no desire to offer any opposition to the postponement of the clause, provided the right hon. Gentleman was willing to postpone all the clauses, down to Clause 10, having reference to the constitution of the Commission, and especially Clause 7, defining the powers of the Commissioners. Upon that understanding, he would assent to the postponement of the clause.
said, the Government had not taken the view that it would be necessary to postpone Clause 7, relating to the powers of the Commissioners and the following clauses, which prescribed the duties which the Commissioners, were to discharge with respect to the property of the Irish Church. At the same time he was not aware that there would be any great objection to the postponement of the clauses referred to by the right hon. Gentleman.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he thought it would be better to postpone all clauses relating to the Commissioners.
§ Clause postponed.
§ Clauses 4, 5, and 6 postponed.
§ Clause 7 (Powers of Commissioners).
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, it appeared to him to be unnecessary that this clause should be postponed. Whoever might be the Commissioners it would be absolutely necessary that they should be endowed with very large powers, and the powers this clause proposed to confer upon that body were similar to those conferred upon the Incumbered Estates Court in Ireland. It was absolutely essential, in order that the intention of the Bill should be carried out, that the Commissioners should have power to decide questions of law and of fact, to compel the attendance of witnesses, to issue commissions for the examination of witnesses, to punish persons refusing to give evidence, or to produce documents, or guilty of contempt, and to make or enforce any order whatever made by them for the purpose of carrying into effect the object of this Bill. Clause 7 merely proposed to confer these absolutely necessary powers upon the Commissioners whoever they might be.
said, that there was no desire on the part of the Government to resist the wish of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) that the clause should be postponed.
§ Clause postponed.
§ Clauses 8 and 9 postponed.
§ Clause 10 (Prohibition of future appointments).
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that in the absence of his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. 1101 Disraeli), who was too unwell to come down to the House, he begged to move the Amendment of which his right hon. Friend had given notice—namely, after the words "after the" to omit the words "passing of this Act," and insert in their place the words "first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two." His right hon. Friend had given notice to move the substitution of the year 1872 in place of the year 1871 in Clauses 2, 12, 13, and other clauses; but he had thought it desirable that the question should be raised upon this clause. The object of the Amendment was that a longer time should be given for making the necessary arrangements under this Bill. However much he might disapprove the principle of the Bill before the Committee, he would assume that it was to become law; and, under those circumstances, what he con tended was that sufficient time was not given under the Bill for carrying out the arrangements that would become necessary under its various provisions. He did not know that it would be necessary for him to go fully into all those arrangements, because it was evident, upon the face of things, that numerous questions would have to be settled, having reference to the property of the Irish Church and of the interests of the various persons, clergy and laity, interested in it. Under these circumstances, he thought that the period for the operative clauses of the Bill to take effect should be fixed for the 1st of January, 1872, instead of the 1st of January, 1871; and, therefore, he begged to move the Amendment he had already stated.
said, that the course taken by the right hon. Gentleman was likely to lead to some inconvenience—although, of course, that was a matter rather for the right hon. Gentleman than for the Government to consider—because the Committee had already agreed to Clause 2, which provided that the modifications intended by this Bill in the Act of Union should take effect as from the 1st of January, 1871. The Government could not accede to the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman in the case of either of the clauses referred to. Although, in introducing the Bill to the House, he had stated on behalf of the Government that, in their opinion, the particular day from which the disestablishment provisions of the 1102 Bill should take effect would not be a matter of vital principle essential to the success of the Bill; still, he had also stated that while, on the one hand, it was desirable not to fix that day too soon, it was equally desirable that it should not be fixed too late. The Government had advisedly fixed upon the 1st of January, 1871, as being neither too soon nor too late. It must be admitted that, in a matter so vitally affecting the interests of the Irish Church, that body should be regarded in the light of a party to the question; and Her Majesty's Government had been so far fortunate as to have had considerable communication upon this subject with a number of gentlemen who wore certainly among the most competent in Ireland to deliver an authoritative opinion on this question on the part of the Church. He need scarcely say that the opinions he had received upon this point were not merely those of persons who were friendly to the Government proposition, and still less merely those of persons who had approved the Bill from its first inception. On the contrary, among those whose opinions he had obtained were many who, while protesting against the principle of the Bill, had thought, rationally enough, that it was only right they should make suggestions with regard to the details of the Bill, in the event of its being carried through Parliament. He was bound to say that, in the opinion of these gentlemen, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman was not calculated to promote the interests of the Church. Now that the question of principle had been carried, it was, evident that it was the interest of the Church not to endeavour to screw out the last farthing by staving off the evil day for another year, but to make an appeal to the private personal feelings of its members. He owned that it seemed to him to be a reasonable opinion, on the part of those with whom the Government, had communicated, that any prolongation of the time beyond the period required for the necessary preparations would have an inconvenient and probably a mischievous tendency in removing the bracing effect which undoubtedly a stringent measure would have, and in giving every man who was cold, or lukewarm, or stingy, or anything else, an excuse for postponing the consideration of the arrangements which would 1103 be necessary for the Church in her future position.
§ DR. BALL
said, that properly the question of date ought not to have been raised on this clause, but as it had, it was as well to continue the discussion. The object of postponing the date was not so much to prolong the existence of the Established Church from 1871 to 1872, as to afford time to make other arrangements, which would be necessitated by the passing of the Bill. For instance, the Bill would abolish the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts, and would necessitate an entirely new marriage law for Ireland; for, after the 1st of January, 18 71, the matrimonial courts and the right of granting licenses for marriages would cease. He understood that the Lord Chancellor had said the other day in reply to a question asked by Lord Chelmsford respecting the marriage law, that he had not yet considered the subject. It was possible they might not be able to settle the marriage law in the course of next Session, and the Amendment was suggested with the view of giving time for settling that question. The Amendment had a second object. He was not quite certain that in the course of the year the new ecclesiastical body in Ireland would be constituted. The right hon. Gentleman said that they would agree the better the less the time that was given to them. That was the case sometimes, but he did not think that in the present case the time was sufficient. The question of the appropriation of Church, educational and charity funds would also require some time for consideration. On the whole he thought it would be advantageous to the Government that two years should be allowed instead of one.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that the time fixed, in the Bill would give a year and five or six months for the settlement of matters necessary to set the Bill in full operation. He thought if the members of the Irish Church could not make the proper arrangements in the course of eighteen or nineteen months, they would not be likely to do so by having another year added to the time allowed. With respect to the ecclesiastical courts, that was a very simple matter. At present they were troubled with very little business, and a short Bill, which might be passed in three or four weeks 1104 of this Session would transfer that jurisdiction to the present Court of Probate in Ireland. With regard to the marriage Law, all that he understood the Lord Chancellor to have said was, that he was not prepared to legislate entirely on the basis of the Report of the Commissioners. He believed that was a matter not very difficult to deal with; and, if the Bill for disestablishing and disendowing the Irish Church could be passed in one Session, he thought that another Session would afford ample time for passing a new marriage law. It was of great importance that this measure should come into operation as speedily as possible after it was passed.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he wished to know, whether, in 1871, the whole parochial system of the Church in Ireland was to come to an end, leaving some civil arrangements with respect to parishes, and also the arrangements of the Papacy with respect to the organization of Roman Catholic parishes in Ireland?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he thought that the particular Amendment now before the Committee was foreign to the object which those who moved it had in view. It would not change the date at which the Act was come into operation. Its effect would be to limit to the time between the passing of the Act and the 1st of January, 1872, the prohibition of ecclesiastical appointments.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that the Amendment of which notice had been given for changing the date in the 2nd clause had not been moved, because it had been thought more convenient for his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire to at once move the omission of the clause. On Clause 12 an Amendment would be also moved to change the date at which the Bill was to come into operation. If that Amendment was carried the date could be altered in Clause 2 on the bringing up of the Report.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) seemed to think that the whole parochial arrangements would require to be made by the 1st of January, 1871?
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood him. The House was aware that there was what was called a civil rating in parishes in Ireland, while there was a kind of 1105 parochial system established by the Roman Catholic Church. What he wished to know was if the parochial system, quoad the ecclesiastical and parochial arrangements of the Irish branch of the United Church, was to cease in 1871?
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, that from and after the 1st January, 1871, no such thing would exist in Ireland as an ecclesiastical parish, in the legal sense of the word. With respect to the arrangements of the Roman Catholic Church they would remain as they were at the present moment, entirely unaffected by the Bill. With respect to the Anglican Church, no doubt, on and after that date, its ecclesiastical divisions would rest on the basis of compact and not on coercive laws. He had no doubt that the new Governing Body of the Church would have ample time to make all the necessary arrangements before that time.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he would withdraw the Amendment, as the question of date could be more conveniently discussed on Clause 12.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ DR. BALL
said, he wished to draw attention to the words of the clause—Save as herein-after mentioned, no person shall, after the passing of this Act, he appointed by Her Majesty, or any other person or corporation, to any archbishopric, bishopric, benefice, or Cathedral preferment in or connected with the said Church.He thought the wording of the clause much too wide. The words ''no person'' would include not only an individual but any number of persons and might apply to a society. His view was corroborated by two of the Irish Judges, the Master of the Bolls and the Vice Chancellor, who stated that if the clause should pass as it stood it would be illegal to appoint any Archbishop or Bishop at all. In Canada the status of a Bishop was exactly the same as those in this country would be under this Bill. There was a Metropolitan Bishop who had jurisdiction in what was called the bishopric of Montreal, and there were other bishoprics also. He would suggest that they should either omit the word "person, "or introduce some phrase equivalent to saying that no appointment should be made to any archbishopric or bishopric with territorial jurisdiction. He did not want to raise any question as to the intentions of the Government with regard to the 1106 clause, but he thought that the words as they stood required some alteration.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he would propose an Amendment that would raise the question. He believed that there was great reason in the point that had been urged by the right hon. Gentleman opposite; and it appeared to him that the object would be best attained by the introduction, after the word '' corporation," of some such words as "by virtue of any right or power of appointment now existing in law." He concluded by moving the insertion of those words.
said, that the words proposed came with very high authority, and if they had been placed upon the Paper the Government would have had an opportunity of considering them. His Hon, and learned Friend would not, he trusted, feel surprised if they desired to have the opportunity of giving them that consideration, because the matter to which they related was of extreme importance. The object of the Bill was to secure, after the day named in it, perfect religious equality between the various Churches and sects in Ireland, and it would not do to have it said that by this Bill they had recognized archbishoprics and bishoprics that be- longed to one particular Church, unless it could be shown that a similar recognition was given to the archbishoprics and bishoprics of another Church, which would exist side by side with it. He owned that he was not satisfied with the reference that had been made by the right hon. Gentleman (Dr. Ball) to Canada. He doubted whether it would be safe in a very old country, and with a legal terminology adapted with great strictness and accuracy to the relations of a Church and State Connection, to borrow our language from a new country which had never had any system of Church and State at all analogous to our own. The case also differed virtually from ours in this, that for a long period Canada, if it had had any established Church in the full sense of the term as we understood it, had really had two established Churches upon a footing of legal equality. He believed that Acts of Parliament passed in Canada contained distinct recognition, if not with the word "bishopric," certainly with the word "See," of both Roman Catholic and Anglican dioceses. He did not think, therefore, that Canada formed a 1107 safe precedent for us to follow. If we took the Scotch Episcopal Church, we found that no recognition, directly or indirectly, was given by law, except to the personal character of the Bishop. He believed that, by some accident, the expression had once crept into a private Act, and he was not sure whether means were not taken for the correction of it. With reference to the Irish Roman Catholic Bishops, when the Charitable Bequests Act was passed, in or about 1843, great pains were taken to prevent the recognition of anything approaching the shape of a Roman Catholic diocese. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman would see that—at all events from their point of view—this was a matter with which they must not deal too lightly. It was quite clear that there could be no intention of interfering with Episcopal appointments made upon a footing of voluntary contracts. The words proposed by his hon. and learned Friend should be considered before the bringing up of the Report, though he could not consent to the postponement of the clause, as it was essential to the framework of the Bill.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he would remind the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government that, while at the time of the legislation to which he had referred, Scotland and Ireland contained established Churches, this clause would take effect in a country where by the very operation of the Bill the Established Church would cease to exist. He thought it desirable to postpone the further consideration of the clause for the present.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, the Government believed the clause was perfectly accurate. It was impossible that the clause could have the effect supposed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he desired to know, whether Her Majesty was precluded by the language of this clause from undertaking the nomination of Bishops in case she were requested by the new Church Body to do so?
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, that they had been told over and over again by the 1108 supporters of this Bill that Canada was a safe precedent, but that statement had just been contradicted by the Prime Minister.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that, after what had fallen from his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, he would withdraw his Amendment for the present, and place it on the Paper for consideration on the bringing up of the Report. At the same time he begged to assure his right hon. Friend that it would not in the least infringe the principle on which his right hon. Friend insisted. He trusted his right hon. Friend would forgive him for saying that the view which he had taken of the clause was not, in his opinion, a sound one. The clause contained no recognition prospectively of any disestablished body. It was a merely negative clause. It was much too subtle to say that the law generally uses these words with reference to an Establishment. That was quite true, but when coupled with a prohibition the law might give them the largest construction. He would express a confident opinion that if the clause remained as it stood the effect would be to prohibit entirely the appointment of Archbishops and Bishops; especially as it might have to be construed in connection with the Ecclesiastical Titles Act. There might, however, be another way to accomplish the object in view—namely, by defining these words of Clause 10 in the interpretation clause. If that course were chosen, he hoped the Government would put the words they proposed to employ on the Notice Paper, before the Report, so that they might have an opportunity of judging which was the best way of accomplishing their common purpose.
said, the words of the clause must be taken in conjunction with the provision in Clause 58, enabling Her Majesty, in case of a vacant archbishopric, on the requisition of any three Bishops of the province, and in the case of a Bishop on the requisition of the Archbishop of the province in which such bishopric is situate, or of any three Bishops of the same province, to fill up the vacancy. Down, therefore, to the 1st of January, 1871, there might be an appointment by Her Majesty to an "archbishopric" or to a "bishopric." But after the 1st of January, 1871, they must rely upon appointments to "arch- 1109 bishoprics" and "bishoprics" according to the recommendation of the Church Body. Therefore, in that view of the case, the wording of the clause did not require amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 11 agreed to.
§ Clause 12 (Church property vested in Commissioners under Act).
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he would beg to propose an Amendment to substitute the date of the 1st of January, 1872, for the date of 1st of January. 1871.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 4, line 26, to leave out the words "seventy-one," in order to insert the words "seventy-two."—(Mr. Gathorne Hardy.)
§ Question put, "That the words 'seventy-one' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 301; Noes 194: Majority 107.
said, he had an Amendment to propose in the clause. He believed it had already been found by the right Hon. Gentleman opposite that the clause was too large and sweeping, and he had proposed to modify it; but he did not think the modification was sufficient. He thought it would be necessary to bring up a new clause. There was a large class of property of an ornamental and almost sacred character, such as plate belonging to churches, the organs of cathedrals, libraries belonging to Bishops, musical libraries attached to choral services, and pictures. He thought there ought to be some stringent provision for retaining these articles of furniture and works of art in the corporation in the case of the Church not being organized within a very limited time. The right hon. Gentleman might reply that these works of art, ecclesiastical furniture, musical instruments, &c, were covered by the 29th clause relating to private endowments. There was, however, considerable doubt on this subject, and he would beg to move the addition of the words "save as herein-after provided." The Amendment was a technical one, its object being to reserve the power of adding a clause at a future stage.
said, he had no objection to the addition of the words 1110 proposed by the hon. Member. As far as Church furniture was concerned, it was right that some provision should be made for its transfer, as there was no intention to invest it in the Commissioners.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. GLADSTONE moved, in line 30, after the word "person," to insert the word "as." The object of this Amendment was that it might be seen that the private property of ecclesiastical persons was not intended to be dealt with by the clause.
§ Amendment agreed to.
said, he saw no reason for the word "personal." He thought that all real property or quasi real property ought to be included in the clause; but he did not know any other property that ought to be inserted except leasehold.
said, that must come under the private endowment clause. The whole object of the Bill was that that property should pass through the Commissioners, and, in the case of private endowments, the property would be re-transferred. He believed that mode of proceeding would be the most acceptable to the members of that Church, so that they might have a title accruing to them as a private and voluntary body, and not a title which had originally accrued to them when they were an established Church.
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, it seemed to him very hard, if all this property should pass through the Commissioners, that the expense of vesting it in them, and subsequently conveying it to the Church Body, should have to be borne by the owners of the Property. He thought the expense in that case ought to devolve upon the general fund.
said, there would be no expense whatever incurred in vesting the property in the Commissioners. But with respect to the expense of re-investing it in the Church Body, he thought it ought not to be thrown on the parties, but ought to be borne by the general fund.
§ Amendment agreed to.1111
§ MR. GLADSTONE moved the addition of the words "may be entitled" after the word "aforesaid" in page 5, line 3, in order to meet a clerical error.
§ Amendment agreed to.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY moved, in line 4, after the "word "respectively," to add the words—
And such last-mentioned corporeal hereditaments shall, subject to the provision for commutation herein-after contained, continue in such Archbishop, Bishop, or person respectively, for their respective lives, in the same manner as if this Act had not passed.
He proposed this Amendment in order that those persons who had tenants in possession of Church property should occupy the same position during their lives which they now held.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he had no objection to the words, but he thought that the words "subject to life-interests," carried the same meaning.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ On Question, that Clause 12, as amended, stand part of the Bill,
COLONEL STUART KNOX
said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman had assigned as his reason for not agreeing to the moderate proposal to give an additional year for the formation of the Church Body, that he had been advised by some of the best friends of the Church not to do so. Now he (Colonel Stuart Knox) thought it only fair to ask the right hon. Gentleman to state who were those "best friends of the Church?"
said, he thought he should not be justified in mentioning publicly the names of those gentlemen who communicated their opinions to him in confidential conversations. He was not, however, aware that there was any special secresy about the matter, so as to prevent any private mention of those names, and if the hon. and gallant Member wished to communicate with him in private he would make known to him those names, with which he was quite sure the hon. and gallant Member would be satisfied.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, that as that clause went to the root of the question of disendowment, and that many in the House would consent to disestablish- 1112 ment but objected to disendowment, he thought it was very fair that they should have an opportunity of recording their votes against it.
§ MR. VANCE
said, that as that was the principal clause which transferred the property of the Church to a foreign body he should take the opportunity of briefly expressing his opposition to it. That clause reduced the Church to the voluntary system, and he said that that system was contrary to the genius of the Church of England. The very toleration of the Church, and its indulgence to other sects, as well as the high spirit of its clergy, rendered them unfit to run a race with other denominations of Protestants for voluntary contributions. If they deprived the Church of the authority of the Crown, of the supervision of the Bishops, and of the control of the ecclesiastical courts, it would become like a ship without a rudder or compass, and it would undoubtedly drift either into Dissent or into superstition. What was the argument used for reducing them to the voluntary system, and depriving them of the endowments handed to them from time immemorial? It was that their Church was the Church of a minority in Ireland. Now he would not resort to the argument, which had been so often stated, that it was not the Church of a minority of the people of the United Kingdom; but he would say that if it was the Church of a minority it was the Church of a glorious minority. It was the Church of the descendants of the race who had fought at Derry and the Boyne. It was the Church of men who had always been loyal to the Sovereign, who had never entered into any conspiracy, and who had never been known to belong to the Fenian faction. The Establishment which that clause would destroy rested upon prescriptive and upon legislative enactment. It rested upon the Act of Settlement, upon the Act of Union, upon the Roman Catholic Relief Act, and above all upon the Coronation Oath of the Sovereign. The Bill would take possession of the tithe rent-charge, and of the glebe lands of Ulster. Now, he did not hesitate to say that taking away the tithe rent-charge was plunder; that taking away the glebe lands of Ulster was robbery; and that the transfer of the property of the Church to secular purposes or to such institutions as Maynooth was bribery and hush- 1113 money. The effect of the Bill would be virtually to establish the Roman Catholic-religion in the South and West of Ireland. The Protestants in those districts were few in number; their churches were scattered over large spaces, and it would be impossible that they could be maintained out of the means of private individuals. The consequence would be that, in these parts of the country, the Protestants, in almost every instance, would be merged among the Roman Catholics, and in those cases in which that did not take place they would be driven away, and would not be permitted to exist among the rest of the population. England would then lose her best defenders, and her only garrison in Ireland. The question of tithes was well disposed of by the Knight of Kerry, in an admirable letter in The Times. Imagine the law forcing a man to pay poor rates, and obliging him, at the same time, to subscribe for the maintenance of the poor voluntarily; yet that was the case with those who paid the tithe rent-charge. Seven-eighths of the tithe rent-charge of Ireland were paid by the Protestant landlords, and only one-eighth was paid by the Roman Catholic proprietors, who had purchased their property subject to that charge, and who could not, therefore, justly complain of its continuance. The argument that the Church of England had made no progress was quite fallacious. In 1750, that but 800 clergy; in 1867, it had 2,607: in 1750, it had only 430 churches, as against 1,580 in 1867. Its parsonages numbered 140 in 1750; in 1867, they numbered 980. If that Bill were passed, other projects, such as the repeal of the Union and fixity of land tenure would soon be pressed upon their consideration; and on whose cooperation could they rely, except that of the Protestants of Ireland, in opposition to those measures? But when they destroyed the Church of those men, and interfered with their dearest rights, could they have the face to ask their assistance for the purpose of saving them from schemes which would be not less injurious—and worse he could not say of them—than the Bill which they had then before them?
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS, who was met on rising with cries of "Divide!" said, he was anxious to impress on Members opposite below the Gangway that there were Members on his side of 1114 the House who were anxious not to speak at length on that part of the Bill, but to enter their solemn protest against the clause. Although the second reading of the Bill had been carried by a large majority, still the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would find that many of those who formed that majority, although agreed on one or two points, would differ upon other points in the Bill. Many of the Roman Catholic Members also who had supported the second reading would scarcely agree to any propositions to give Church property to secular uses. In the speech of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, as reported in The Times newspaper, it was stated that all the property of the Irish Church would vest in the Commissioners immediately the Bill became an Act of Parliament, and that immediately after the passing of the Act the Irish Church would be, ipso facto, disendowed; but he did not see that those proposals had been carried out in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had further stated that the property of the Irish Church would be put in such a position that it would be impossible for them to again interfere with it; but on that point, again, the Bill failed to carry into effect its promises. Believing that the laity as well as the clergy of the Irish Church had been unjustly treated, many persons would take every opportunity of reopening this question during the next ten years, while the property of the Church remained in the hands of the Commissioners. He regretted that the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) had not submitted certain clauses to the Committee with the view of settling the question whether the vested interests of the large congregations in Ireland should not be respected, and expressed his determination, in the event of no other hon. Member proposing such clauses, to do so himself.
§ MR. H. A. HERBERT
said, that, as an Irish Protestant and Member for a county in the South of Ireland (Kerry), he wished to repudiate the allegation made by hon. Members opposite, that when this Bill was passed the Protestants of Ireland would not pay their clergy. It must be remembered that the greater part of the land in that country was in the hands of Protestants, and surely they 1115 would do as much, for their clergy as the Roman Catholics did for their priests!
§ MR. D'ARCY
said, that, after the remarks made the other evening by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) that he should not be sorry if any Amendment led to the defeat of the Bill, they ought to feel cautious how they agreed to any alteration proposed to be made in it. He (Mr. D'Arcy) confessed that the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman had made him determined to give the strongest opposition to the Amendments. The charge had been brought against hon. Members sitting on his side of the House that they had not spoken upon this Bill; but he would remark that the matter having already been fully discussed in the debates of last year, it was unnecessary to reiterate arguments that had been so often stated. The Bill had been brought in for the purpose of benefiting those who were a vast majority, and whose religion was that of the country in which they lived. The Protestant Establishment had been defended on the ground that it was a missionary Church, so that a religion was attempted to be forced on the people of Ireland, which they had never "cottoned to." It was the fact that even in Ulster and Derry the Roman Catholics formed a large majority of the population.
§ MR. BENTINCK, who was received with loud cries of "Divide, divide!" begged to inform the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government that if his Supporters below the Gangway continued their attempts, by making noises, to suppress all discussion of the details of this measure, hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House had determined to move that the Chairman report Progress, and to press the Motion to a division. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had stated last year that the Church of Ireland was to be treated with, the utmost tenderness, and he got his majority at the elections by that promise; but, before they went much further into the discussion, it would be seen that the right hon. Gentleman had kept his promise only to the ear, and had broken it to the hope. And as regarded the advantages anticipated from the Bill, he feared it would be discovered that the hopes of the right hon. Gentleman would be of the most fallacious kind. He hoped it would be understood that they did not 1116 at all fear the course pursued by Members below the Gangway.
§ SIR HENRY HOARE
said, it appeared to him that the sympathies of hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side were all the stronger because they were voting with a miserable minority. On the Ministerial side a large majority felt that they were supporting the cause of justice towards 4,500,000 people. This made them impatient of obstructive delay. If hon. Gentlemen opposite were not afraid of them, they were not afraid of the Opposition, nor of the verdict of the people of England.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, he must protest against an hon. Gentleman, just fledged with Parliamentary honours, styling a large party in that House a "miserable minority." What was the hon. Gentleman, and what were his antecedents, that he should feel himself warranted in using such language towards a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects? The hon. Member spoke of an "obstructive policy." Did he imagine that the whole duty of a Member of Parliament consisted in obeying the orders of the Government? If, when Irish Members rose in that House to express the opinions of their constituents, they were to be told that was an obstructive course, there must be a repeal of the Union. If hon. Members were not to express their opinions in that House, where were they to express them? If he knew anything of his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, he (Mr. Gladstone) must disapprove the shouting and other manifestations of impatience in which his Supporters were indulging.
said, the discussion certainly had assumed a warmer tone than was desirable for the progress of business; but he thought his noble Friend (Lord Claud Hamilton) must admit that words used on the opposite side of the House had been the cause of the debate growing so warm. His noble Friend was quite correct in maintaining that every Irish Member, as well as every other Member, had a right to express his views fully and freely on any matter before the Committee; and though the Committee were now considering only a clause, there was no doubt that the vote on that clause would be a decision on a very important principle. Again, he must respectfully protest, against the very disparaging view of 1117 Irish Protestantism put forward by some hon. Gentlemen who advocated the claims of the Irish Established Church. After the admirable remarks of his hon. Friend the Member for Kerry (Mr. H. A. Herbert), who had expressed, without heat but with decision, some amount of indignation at those gloomy and continual prophecies, it was not necessary for him to go into any argument in answer to those hon. Gentlemen; but he (Mr. Gladstone) must observe that he did not think anything half so insulting to the Irish Protestants had ever been alleged by their strongest opponents as this most disparaging declaration—that without an Establishment it would be impossible for the Irish Protestant Church to exist in the South and West; or, as some went so far as to assert, in any part of Ireland. It must be recollected that some of the hon. Gentlemen who indulged in those lamentations for the future prosperity of the Protestant Church in Ireland, when they came to another part of their argument, stated that, in their opinion, seven-eighths of the soil of Ireland were in the hands of Protestant proprietors. It was very proper that those hon. Gentlemen should state this latter circumstance; but the statement did not accord very well with the tragic declaration that the Irish Protestants would not be able to support their own Church. In England, for 300 years after the Reformation, the Roman Catholics, though a small sect, kept their religion alive and maintained it. In Scotland and in Wales the members of unendowed Churches had supported those Churches. He must, therefore, protest against the allegation that the Irish Protestants would not support, or would not be able to support, their religion.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
remarked that some hon. Members opposite, below the Gangway, had stated that they were not afraid of the Opposition. This was rather amusing after they had attempted to exercise the power of a tyrant majority. If any conclusion was to be drawn from a newspaper article, it would appear from one in a morning paper, that something like the clôture was to be resorted to. If Members opposite were in a majority in that House, Members on his side represented a majority of the English people. ["No, no!"] Hon. Members might cry '' No, no!" but he was prepared, if necessary, to 1118 prove the truth of his assertion. He felt it to be his duty to resist an invasion of their rights and liberties. So far from obstruction having been offered, the Committee had actually reached in two nights the 12th clause of this important Bill. He believed that where the Protestants in Ireland were collected in sufficient numbers they would maintain their religion; but he denied that the peace of the country would be consequently promoted. On the contrary, history taught them that the times when Protestantism had to maintain itself without the protection of the law were times of trouble and discord. On the other hand, the small Protestant congregations scattered through the South and West of Ireland really required the protection of the law, or their existence, as assailed by the organization of the Roman priesthood, would be imperiled for want of it.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that if anybody could have given a reason why Protestants should vote against the clause, it was surely the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate); but he (Mr. Whalley) saw nothing in the arguments of the hon. Member to justify them in so doing. The fact was the Episcopal Church in Ireland had been a traitor to the country in which it had been established, and not only had it neglected its duty, but it had turned its resources and influence against the very purpose for which it had been endowed. A great deal had been said about the prosperity of Ulster, but Ulster owed its prosperity not to the Episcopalians but to the Presbyterians of Scotland; and how had the members of the Established Church treated their brother Protestants of the Kirk? They had enacted against them penal laws almost as severe as those they had passed against the Roman Catholics.
§ MR. E. W. VERNER
said, he could not allow a division to take place without his making some observations on the conduct of hon. Members opposite. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) attributed that conduct to words of heat spoken on the Opposition side. he (Mr. Verner) had heard no such words; but he had heard the expressions which had proceeded from the other side. As one of the representatives returned, by what the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea 1119 (Sir Henry Hoare) was pleased to call a "miserable minority," he desired to inform the hon. Baronet that the "miserable minority" comprised the most energetic and industrious portions of the community. [Sir HENRY HOARE said, he had intended to imply that the minority were miserable as regarded numbers.] The present condition of Ulster was a standing monument of the enterprize and perseverance of the Irish Protestants, and they were hardly deserving of the epithet of "miserable," in whatever sense it was applied. He would remind the Committee that the Irish Protestants were independent; while the Roman Catholics took their orders from Cardinal Cullen, who, with his Bishops, had exercised an enormous influence in the late elections in the South and West of Ireland. As to the observations of the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) he (Mr. Verner) denied that the Episcopal Church had oppressed the Presbyterians or any other body, though he must admit that that Church had, unfortunately, been used by the English Government of the day for political purposes, and acts had been done which he did not stand up to defend. He was only surprised that the hon. Member for Peterborough, whose zeal for Protestantism was so greatly to be admired, showed it in such an odd way by his votes and speeches against the Irish Church. If they looked to the members of the two Churches in Ireland, they would find that the relative proportion of those belonging to the Protestant Episcopal Church, as against that of the adherents of the Roman Catholic Church, was far greater now than it was in former years.
§ SIR FREDERICK HEYGATE
said, he would appeal to hon. Members opposite whether the course they had adopted in this debate—of drowning the voices of the speaker by clamour and cries of "Divide!"—was dignified or becoming. He thought that it was neither. This clause was one of the most important in the Bill, and yet there was an evident desire to force a premature division on it. Now the Bill was drawn so stilfully—having regard to the object of its promoters—that it was almost impossible to oppose any single clause without entering into the whole principle of the measure. So strongly 1120 did he feel this that he had seriously debated within himself what course it would be best to pursue. It seemed so utterly hopeless to make any improvement in the Bill that, as far as he was concerned, he felt almost inclined to walk out of the House and let the Bill take its chance, rather than engage in the dirty and humiliating task of proposing hopeless Amendments that were sure neither to be carried nor fairly considered or temperately discussed. With the exception of a few isolated clauses, the different portions of the Bill so hung together that it was impossible to improve them in detail. But it was unreasonable in hon. Gentlemen opposite to suppose that the Bill could be passed without at least a protest from the Opposition Benches. Was so great an institution as the Irish Church to be annihilated in a single year without warning or notice of any kind; and were they to be expected to sit silent while the work of destruction was being carried on from stage to stage? It would be neither right nor possible for them to adopt such a course. He must say he was by no means certain that those melancholy forebodings which had been uttered in reference to the future of Protestantism in Ireland would be realized; but he feared that the strong feeling of animosity which had been manifested during the present discussion was only the forerunner of the spirit likely to be exhibited hereafter in Ireland on the question. No doubt the Protestants would take care of their religion; but, in the very act of so doing, and under the very stress of that necessity, they would be compelled to draw themselves closer together in the towns, to separate themselves, for defensive purposes, more and more from their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen; and, in that way, the divisions in Ireland would he aggravated, rather than diminished, by the operation of the Bill, and its immediate effect must be to leave a sense of injustice rankling in the minds of the Irish Protestants. He would only say, in conclusion, that hon. Gentlemen opposite would do generously to abstain from making a tyrannous use of their strength; that they were in a majority, and so great a majority should make them treat the minority with the more consideration and courtesy.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, he could assure the hon. Baronet that by no 1121 Catholic in the House, and by no educated Catholic in Ireland, would the majorities in the divisions on this Bill be received with any feelings of party triumph. They simply regarded the present measure as one calculated to conciliate Ireland, and remove from that country the curse of sectarian differences; they had the same interest that the hon. Baronet (Sir Francis Heygate) as a resident had in the conciliation of the Irish people. Many Catholic Members had refrained from speaking lest by a casual expression they should give offence. With regard to the present debate, no one could object to the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone (Lord Claud Hamilton), long connected with a strong party, and holding strong opinions, expressing them in a strong way, nor to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) explaining the views he sincerely entertained; but he could understand, towards the close of a lengthened debate, interruption being offered to Members not influenced by any very strong or distinct opinions, and who often did not exhibit any very special intellectual qualifications. He could not describe the acting of the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Bentinck)—he seemed to suppose that his mere rising excited terror on that side of the House, and that he possessed in an eminent degree those attributes of Byron's Corsair—There was a laughing devil in his sneer,That raised emotions both of rage and fear;And where his frown of hatred darkly fell,Hope withering fled, and 'Mercy sighed farewell.'He could assure the hon. Gentleman that he was not so terrible. There was not any hon. Member in the House more notorious than the hon. Member for Whitehaven for interrupting individual Members on occasions when it suited him. When the hon. Member was sitting on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, he (Sir Patrick O'Brien) had constantly observed the hon. Member practising that very course that he now so vehemently deprecated.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, that as this clause dealt with £16,000,000 of property, he thought that hon. Members were entitled to discuss it at some length, without being incessantly interrupted by calls for a division. He thought it a gross injustice to take away the property 1122 of the Irish Church, especially without warning. They had heard a great deal about the voluntary principle, and particularly about the voluntary principle in Wales; but, he would ask, what had the voluntary principle done in Ireland? Was it not a fact that the two great voluntary bodies the Wesleyans and the Independents had never flourished in Ireland? He could quite understand that this clause, and the Bill of which it formed so vital a part, would receive the support of Nonconformists and of Ro-man Catholics, but it was difficult to understand the reasons by which hon. Members who adhered to the Episcopal Church could convince themselves that it was wise to destroy the branch of that Church established in Ireland, or how they could fail to see that the fate of Ireland to-day must be that of England to-morrow. He gave full credit to hon. Gentlemen opposite for the rectitude of their motives. As regarded those of them who were opposed to the Church of England, their course was perfectly natural; while, as to those hon. Members who belonged to that Church, he was bound to believe that they had reasons satisfactory to themselves, though he must confess he could not understand them. But as regarded those of them on that side the House who believed that this measure was in its principle a national renunciation of the God who made us great, and that, in its details, it was fraught with the grossest injustice, there was but one clear duty, and that was by every moans in their power to oppose it. However unavailing that opposition might be, they could at least to their dying day be enabled to cling to the consolation that they had not the guilt of sacrilege on their souls; that, in the eloquent words of the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), they had not "been recreant to their country, their Sovereign, and their God."
§ MR. BRUEN
said, he could not allow this clause to pass without entering his protest against it. They were told that Protestants ought not to regard this clause as so important, because Protestants held seven-eighths of the property in Ireland. But he must remind the House that that property was not all in the hands of Protestant resident landlords; and that a great deal of it was in the hands of absentees, man who lived in England, and who, many of 1123 them, the supporters of this Bill, did not offer any encouragement to the Protestants of Ireland to expect any help from them. If the land of Ireland was all in the hands of resident proprietors, there would be nothing to fear for the support of Protestantism; but, as it was, he feared that in the South and West of Ireland Protestantism was doomed to extinction. The hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. H. A. Herbert) had protested against the slur which he said was cast on the Protestants of Ireland by the fears which had been expressed as to the Protestant Church being extinguished. He (Mr. Bruen) was quite sure that in the hon. Member's part of the country no such result would happen, but in the other parts of Ireland, he feared it would be very different. The Bill held out strong temptations to the non-resident landlords to get rid of the poor Protestants on their estates that they might not be burdened with the support of the Protestant worship.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, the First Minister of the Crown had laid down the principle that the Protestants of Ireland ought to be able to provide for the support of their Church. He (Mr. Charley) had no doubt that in the large towns they would be able to provide for the celebration of worship, but what would happen in the country districts of the South and "West of Ireland, where the poor Protestants were scattered in groups of three, or five, or ten, or twenty? These people were very poor, either farm labourers or farmers of the same class with the Roman Catholics. It was said the Protestant landlords ought to provide religious ministration for them; and, no doubt, if all landlords were resident like the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. H. A. Herbert), there might be nothing to fear. But great numbers of Irish landlords were non-resident; and all the landlords, both resident and nonresident, would, no doubt, object to pay twice over—first in the shape of tithes, and secondly for the voluntary support of the Protestant Church.
§ MR. HOLT
said, he wished to call attention to the difference between the terms of this clause and the addresses which hon. Members delivered to their constituents last year. Then the property of the Church was spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman as national property, but in this clause it was desig- 1124 nated as Church property, for the clause was to provide that "Church property" should be vested in Commissioners. He thought the arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) on this point had never yet been answered; and, in his opinion, they were now establishing a principle which they would feel hereafter. There was no difference in tenure between ecclesiastical and lay property. Indeed, the title of an ecclesiastical corporation seemed to him to be stronger than that of a layman, and this House had no more right to interfere with the one than with the other.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 214; Noes 103: Majority 111.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 13 (Dissolution of ecclesiastical corporations, and cessation of right to sit in House of Lords).
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, he wished to call attention to the date when this clause was to come into operation as compared with the date in Clause 12. He made the suggestion rather with a view to the practical working of the Bill than in opposition to it. By Clause 12 it was provided that, on the 1st of January, 1871, the property of the Irish Church should be vested in Commissioners. By Clause 13 the same date was provided for the dissolution of ecclesiastical corporations. Now he wished to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether the effect of the operation of the Act would not be that, when the dissolution of those corporations occurred, the lands, instead of becoming vested in the Commissioners, would rather revert to those who granted the property. If the date for vesting the property was before the dissolution it would not have that effect. With regard to the words respecting every ecclesiastical and cathedral corporation in Ireland, he presumed that the definition was intended to be confined to cathedral corporations, as the interpretation clause was silent as to other corporations. That, however, did not affect the question he intended to raise—namely, whether the effect of dissolving these corporations on the same day as that proposed for vesting the property in the 1125 Commissioners, might not lead to a dispute between the Commissioners and the representatives of the donors of the property. He would also draw attention to the circumstance that the dissolution of ecclesiastical corporations would invalidate debts due to them; and that, under the 14th clause, the compensation to holders of benefices was to be conditional on the performance of their duties, whereas, by the dissolution of the corporations to which they were attached, the performance of their duties in relation to such corporations would cease. In conclusion, he moved to omit the word "dissolved," in order to insert the words "continued until the duties required by this Act be performed."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that the 12th clause, taken in connection with the 13th, provided that as soon as a corporation was dissolved, eo instante, its property would pass over to the Commissioners. If another vesting date were named considerable difficulties might possibly arise.
§ COLONEL WILSON-PATTEN
said, he wished to ask whether the clause did not interfere with the Prerogative of the Crown to create Peers? Its words applied personally to the Archbishops and Bishops; but there had been instances where persons holding ecclesiastical dignities in Ireland had been created Temporal Peers. The right of so creating them would be taken away by this clause.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he would remove the objection by adding the words "as such."
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he wished to know what would be the position of any trust which might be vested in the rector of a parish after the corporation sole was destroyed. Would the trust continue, and, if so, by whom would it be exercised?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
was understood to say that the case was already provided for by some of the clauses in the Bill.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he apprehended that the right hon. Baronet did not refer to trusts for the benefit of the Church, but for other purposes. If so, there was no clause in the Bill to meet the difficulty.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, the 29th clause provided for private endowments.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, it frequently happened that there were charities for the benefit of the poor and other persons, and not for the maintenance of divine worship in the Church. In such cases the trust was not seldom vested in the rector and churchwardens, or in the rector alone; and he certainly thought that charities of this kind were not provided for by the 29th clause.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he would introduce a new clause relating to this subject.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that by the present marriage law of Ireland clergymen of the Church of England could not perform the marriage ceremony unless banns had been published or licenses granted. The whole law on the matter proceeded on a footing which would be put an end to if the present clause came into operation. This was a matter which ought to be attended to, though perhaps it ought not to be dealt with by this Bill.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, it was intended to bring in a separate measure on the subject.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, 'he would withdraw his Amendment, on the understanding that the matter it referred to should be treated in an additional clause.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, he had placed on the Paper an Amendment in Clause 13, page 5, line 8, to leave out—And on and after that day no Archbishop or Bishop of the said Church shall be summoned to, or be qualified to sit in, the House of Lords,and in the earlier part of the evening he had given notice of an Amendment in Clause 58, page 25, line 18, which he thought was necessary to supplement his previous Amendment, to omit "but no" and insert "and every," and in line 19 to omit the words "be summoned to, or be qualified to sit in, the House of Lords, and he shall." He would make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite. They had had one evening for discussing the question of disestablishment, and that evening they had dis- 1127 cussed the equally important question of disendowment. The question he had to bring before the Committee was one of equal, if not greater, importance, involving as it did the privileges of "another place." Considering the crowded state of the Business Paper, containing no fewer than nine Orders in addition to the Irish Church Bill, he would suggest that they should now report Progress, in order that he might bring that question before them tomorrow. ["No, no!"] It might be said that, in proposing. his Amendment and in the course which he took on that Bill, he had assumed a position to which, as a new Member, he was not entitled. But he occupied a peculiar position in that House—a position which he shared with only one other Member, the hon. Baronet the Member for Devizes (Sir Thomas Bateson). He was at once an Irish Churchman and the representative of an English constituency largely composed of the newly-enfranchised working classes, and, therefore, he had a kind of right to speak twice for any other hon. Member's once—first, from an English and then from an Irish point of view. He trusted that on any other question he should always display the modesty which was associated with a new Member. His election was, to a great extent, a protest against the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, who sought to draw a "hard and fast line" between the Church in Ireland and the Church in England, which the constituency of Salford did not choose to adopt. The appointment, on the recommendation of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, of the Dean of Cork to be Bishop of Peterborough was also a protest against that policy, which was a kind of penal law, declaring that if any Irish clergyman remained in his own country he would be debarred for ever from the dignity of the Spiritual Peerage. What had the Irish clergy done that their blood was to be thus, as it were, tainted? The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had pronounced many a warm eulogium upon the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland, and Lord Brougham had said that their conduct had been so exemplary, that the Roman Catholic priests would do well to follow it. The Church in Ireland had produced many illustrious Prelates who had enjoyed the Spiritual Peerage. If 1128 he took up the Oxford Encyclopœdia, it would be found that, of Irishmen who had distinguished themselves in the republic of letters, the very first name was that of Archbishop Ussher, and the fourth was that of another Spiritual Peer—the philosophic Bishop Berkeley. He might refer to others who were still dearer to the hearts of Irishmen—to Bishop Bedell and Bishop Jeremy Taylor; and, coming down to recent times, he need only point to two Prelates who had successively filled the see of Dublin, to Archbishop Whately and Archbishop Trench, than whom none could be found worthier to sit in the House of Lords. The Bishops of the Irish Church were lineal successors of the pre-Reformation Prelates. There might be some difference of opinion as to whether the people and the priests had conformed, though there was authority for stating that the great body of the people did conform down to the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth. Spencer stated that "the priests baptized yet after the Popish fashion," which showed that they had not been expelled from their cures. The Attorney General for Ireland had told the House that barely one Bishop conformed at the Reformation. But his reply was that in the reign of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth the Bishops adopted the Re-formed Creed, and he had proved that in the debate on the second reading. His statements with reference to the Bishops in the reign of Henry VIII. had not been challenged; but what he had said with respect to the Marian Bishops had been challenged by Dr. Mazière Brady, incumbent of Donoghpatrick, who, as he had only thirty Protestants to attend to, devoted his leisure to defending the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Dr. Brady asserted that the document which he (Mr. Charley) had quoted in support of his statement was spurious, because it could not now be found in the Rolls Office, because the name of Lord Devlin appeared in it, though that nobleman had died a month before the meeting of the Parliament, and because the Christian names in several cases were omitted. The eminent antiquary, Mr. James Hard-man, wrote at p. 16 of his "Introduction" to the Statute of Kilkenny, in Vol. II. of Tracts relating to Ireland, (printed for the Irish Archæological Society, Dublin, 1843)— 1129In the Appendix II., at the close of this tract, will be found a list of the Members of the two Houses of the first Parliament of Queen Elizabeth, held in Ireland, A.D. 1560, taken from the original record and not before published.In Appendix II., p. 134, Mr. Hardman wrote—The following list of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the First Parliament of Queen Elizabeth, held at Dublin, A.D. 1560, is taken from a record preserved in the Rolls Office there, furnished by the intelligent officer of Inrolments in that department, George Hatchell, Esq. It is inserted here for preservation, as it has not been hitherto printed, and the original document is in a state of decay, being in some parts intelligible:—'Nomina dominorum Spiritualium et Temporalium ac Communium in quodam Parliamento dominœ Reginœ apud Dublin X1.° die Januarii coram charissimo Thoma Comite Sussex summonito et tento.'"The list included twenty Spiritual and twenty-three Temporal Peers. Mr. Lynch, in his Feudal Dignities, treated the list as perfectly genuine, and mentioned that '' detached portions of the document were lately offered in evidence in the House of Lords." He ridiculed the idea that the original record in the Rolls Office, Dublin, was merely a Pawn of Parliament, that is, a Register of Writs about to be issued—The form, the language, and the contents, prove that it was prepared after the Parliament had assembled, and consequently that it now affords evidence of sittings for the Peers therein named.The original record, which was in a state of decay a quarter of a century ago, might not now exist, but he (Mr. Charley) preferred the authority of the learned antiquaries, Hardman and Lynch, and that of '' the intelligent officer of Inrolments, George Hatchell, Esq.," who saw and copied the list, to the conjectures of Dr. Brady. Archdall, in his Irish Peerage (Vol. I., p. 232), alluded to Lord Devlin's death a month before the meeting of Parliament, but in a foot-note he added—The inquisition post-mortem places his death as in the text; and, if so, it proves that the use of his name in the Roll as one of the Lords present in the Parliament held by the Lord Deputy Sussex. 11th January, 1560, is a mistake.He did not venture, like Dr. Brady, to pronounce the list "spurious" on account of an error with regard to a name! It would be easy to supply the Christian names which were omitted. Thus, the Episcopus Laonensis (Bishop of Killaloe) was Terence O'Brien (Ware's Bishops, p. 595); and Father Courayer (Defence of 1130 the Dissertation, Vol. I, p. 131) mentioned that O'Brien embraced the Reformed Faith. His argument was that the Irish Spiritual Peers, with the exception of two, Walsh of Meath, and Leverous of Kildare, assented in Parliament to the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. The statutes 2 Elizabeth were stated to have been passed "with the assent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled." The Bills introduced by the Lord Deputy must, therefore, have received the sanction of both Houses of Parliament. Dr. Brady had suggested that two, at least, of the Temporal Lords, Desmond and Baltinglas, dissented. The number of dissentient Peers might be largely increased, as appeared from Leland (History of Ireland, Vol. II., p. 224) and Moore (Vol. IV., p. 21). On the other hand, Carte, in his Life of Ormond, (Vol. I., p. 33) said—"In Ireland the Bishops complied with the Reformation." Sir Richard Cox. in his History of Ireland (Vol. I., p. 314), said—"The Popish Bishops complied with the Government and kept their sees." Bishop Jeremy Taylor said—"The Popish Bishops conformed," (Bramhall's Works, Vol. I., p. 59). Father Peter Courayer said—"Most of the Bishops in Ireland embraced the Reformation and kept their dignities;" and he expressly enumerated the three Archbishops and six of the Bishops mentioned in the Roll of 2 Elizabeth. Leland and Moore—the latter a Roman Catholic—both contrasted the firmness of the Temporal Peers with the pliancy of the Spiritual Peers. Moore said that "the changes were acquiesced in by most of the ecclesiastical authorities." Both historians, however, expressly excepted Bishops Walsh of Meath and Leverous of Kildare. His argument, therefore, was briefly this—The statutes 2 Elizabeth were passed by the Irish House of Lords and the Irish House of Commons. The Roll of Parliament shewed that twenty Spiritual Peers and twenty-three Temporal Peers sat in the House of Lords. The former, therefore, were nearly as numerous as the latter. There was evidence that many of the Temporal Peers still clung to the Church of Rome, while most of the Spiritual Peers conformed, two only having been deprived for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy imposed by 2 Elizabeth c. 1, s. 7. The 1131 conclusion he drew was that the Spiritual Peers, as a body, assented in Parliament to the statutes 2 Elizabeth. How otherwise could those statutes have passed the House of Lords, notwithstanding the opposition of so many Temporal Peers? No doubt the Act of Union placed both the Temporal and Spiritual Peers on a different footing. The twenty-eight Temporal Peers were Representative Peers. The Spiritual Peers for the time being were four in number. They were now in a better position than the Temporal Peers, because many of the Temporal Peers could not expect to sit in Parliament, but the Spiritual Peers might do so if they happened to live long enough. The spiritual Peers formed the first Estate of the Realm. There were some people who seemed to think that the Sovereign was the first Estate of the Realm. This fallacy had been well exposed by the historian Hallam, who showed conclusively that the three Estates of the Realm were the clergy, nobility, and commonalty, represented in Parliament by the Lords Spiritual, Lords Temporal, and Commons, and that the Queen ruled the three Estates. Hallam said (Middle Ages, cap. viii., p. 106, note b)—The source of this error is the inattention to the primary sense of the word estate (status), which means an order or condition into which men are classed by the institutions of society. It is only in a secondary, or, rather, an elliptical sense, that it can be referred to their representatives in Parliament or national councils. The Lords Temporal, indeed, of England are identical with the estate of the nobility; but the House of Commons is not strictly speaking the estate of the commonalty to which its Members belong, and from which they are deputed. So the whole body of the clergy are, properly speaking, one of the estates, and are described as such in the older authorities—21 Ric. II., Rot. Part., vol. iii. p. 348—though latterly the Lords Spiritual in Parliament acquired, with less correctness, that appellation. The Bishops, indeed, may be said to represent, constructively, the whole of the clergy, with whose grievances they are supposed to be best acquainted, and whose rights it is their peculiar duty to defend.The object of the clause was to take away from the clergy representation in the House of Lords. Had he known the clause would be under discussion this evening, he would have put a Notice on the Paper to ask the Prime Minister whether he intended to propose the abolition of the penalties the Irish clergy would be subject to if they attempted to gain a seat in the House of Commons? Such an alteration in the law would be 1132 but common justice, considering that one Nonconformist minister, at least, the hon. Member for Merthyr, had been returned. It was an error to suppose the Bishops sat as barons only, they sat in the Saxon Wittenagemote and in the Conqueror's Parliament by virtue of their ecclesiastical position; and Sir Erskine May was of opinion that they had always sat in Parliament by virtue of their Episcopal dignity. The clause was a direct attack upon the privileges of the House of Lords. The House of Commons refused to allow any Bill having reference to the election of its Members to be commenced in the House of Lords, yet the Commons presumed to initiate measures for dealing with the seats of Members of the Upper House. Again, the 62nd clause of the Bill provided that nothing contained in the Bill should affect the Act of Union, except as regards the union of the Churches, which was dealt with in the 5th Article of the Union. But the 13th clause, which the Committee were considering, related to the 4th Article of the Union, which provided that four Lords Spiritual of Ireland should sit in the House of Lords, and that questions relating to their right to sit should be decided by the House of Lords. This 4th Article, then, was directly attacked by the clause under discussion, and was not covered by the 62nd clause. With regard to the precedents for the course proposed, there were only two. The first was with reference to Scotland. But, although the Scotch clergy were not represented by Spiritual Peers, this arrangement had been agreed to before the Union of Scotland with England among the Scotch themselves in Parliament, and the preservation of the Presbyterian form of Church government was a very important part of the Act of Union between England and Scotland. The Irish Parliament, on the contrary, stipulated that their Spiritual Peers should continme to form an integral part of the Parliamentary government of the United Kingdom. The anomalous state of things in reference to Scotland had struck the right hon. Gentleman the present Prime Minister when writing his treatise on the Union of Church and State. He asked—How are we justified in supporting the anomaly? The difficulty," he replies, "is great, but the answer appears to me to be this:—It has 1133 become matter of law, and of compact, and good faith by the law as such. To this extent it may be said, fieri non debuit, factum valet. As individuals, those who hold the unity of the body are bound to endeavour to restore the apostolic system in the national estate of religion for Scotland, and for that end to use every fair means of procuring the alteration of the law. But the Act of Union with Scotland recites an Act of the Scottish Parliament establishing the Church with its Presbyterian discipline, and requiring of the Sovereign an Oath to maintain it, and makes the observance of this Act a fundamental and essential condition of the Union. Thus it has become part of the nation's organic life, and as a part thereof, still under the same contract, it claims that we shall fulfil on its behalf all that belongs to a national Establishment.The other precedent was that of 1641—a precedent of very unhappy memory. In the Remonstrance of 1641, the Commons informed the King that they had passed a Bill for taking away the votes of the Bishops, and asked His Majesty to assent to it, adding that it was far from their wish to let loose the golden reins of discipline. Yet within ten months the Commons passed a Bill for the abolition of Episcopacy, which the Lords passed as "a peace-offering!" On the 5th February, 1642, the House of Lords passed the Bill for taking away the Bishops' votes in Parliament. The King hesitated; but a Roman Catholic Queen persuaded him to assent to the Bill. On the 6th February, 1649, the House of Commons resolved without a division—That the House of Peers is useless and dangerous and ought to be abolished, and that a Bill be brought in for the purpose.On the 7th February, 1649, the House of Commons resolved—That this House doth declare that the office of a King in this nation is unnecessary and burthensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and public interest of the people of this nation, and therefore ought to be abolished.A Bill was ordered to be brought in for this purpose by the same Committee which was to bring in the Bill for abolishing the House of Lords. The sequence was suggestive—first, the Spiritual Peers, then the Temporal Peers, and then the Throne; and there were persons in the country who, in this respect, would wish to see history repeat itself. If any one of the essential parts of the Constitution was assailed, the entire fabric would be shaken; and he should be sorry indeed to see the House of Commons arrogate to itself 1134 again the supreme power in the State. Ireland would not like a repetition of the precedent he had cited. Ireland had no pleasant recollections of the Commonwealth. She looked back upon it with a shudder as one of the darkest pages in her dark and gloomy history. He concluded by moving the omission of the words at the end of Clause 13, providing that no Archbishop or Bishop of the Irish Church should be summoned to or be qualified to sit in the House of Lords.
§ MR. BRUEN
said, he rose to ask the Government whether, if the Irish Bishops were excluded from the House of Lords, it was intended to appoint four other Peers in their place; and, if so, how it was proposed they should be chosen? because, if the places of the Bishops were not filled up, it was clear that the power of Ireland in the House of Peers would be diminished.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he would not follow the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Charley) into former controversies about Irish Bishops, being satisfied of the fact, patent to all, that whether more or less of the Bishops of past days conformed to the Reformed Religion, at all events, the great majority of the people of Ireland did not accept the Reformed Religion, but rejected it; otherwise the House of Commons would not have been engaged in passing this Bill. The proposition that the future Archbishops and Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal but voluntary Church of Ireland should continue to represent the Church in the Upper House was one which he thought few Members of the Committee would assent to. because the presence of the Bishops in the Upper House depended upon the connection of the Church with the State. The argument that, as the Irish clergy could not sit in the House of Commons, they ought to be represented in the Upper House, would apply equally to the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, who were under similar disabilities. As to the privileges of either House, he assumed that the Upper House could, if it chose, without violating the privilege of the Lower House, introduce a Bill affecting the representation of the people in the latter. With respect to the privileges of individuals, the case might be different; but they were dealing, not with individuals, but with a class. The question whether the 1135 present Archbishops and Bishops should retain their seats in the Upper House was not altogether so obvious as the larger one relating to the future Prelates of the Irish Church; but, after much consideration, the Government were of opinion that the reasons which absolutely-prohibited the presence of the future Prelates of the Irish Church from sitting in the House of Lords were of great force and cogency, even as affecting the present respected occupants of those seats. It appeared to the Government that, from the moment the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland ceased to be an Establishment and lost all connection with the State, the presence of even the existing Prelates of that Church in the Upper House would be inconsistent with the then position of the Church, and hardly consistent with the feelings of those eminent persons themselves. The Government had been as careful as possible to preserve individual rights and privileges, and to provide compensations for losses; but there were necessarily changes which did not admit of pecuniary compensation. This affecting Bishops was one, and another was that which deprived incumbents of parishes of their legal status. The incumbent of every parish would retain as good a pecuniary position as he now held for the rest of his life; but he would cease to be a corporation in law and to be the parson of the parish; and he would necessarily lose a, tatus for which he could not be compensated. Similarly, the Government were of opinion that the right of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Irish Church to sit in the Upper House was one which, on the one hand, did not admit of compensation for the loss of it, and the continuance of which, on the other, would be inconsistent with the objects and provisions of the Bill. They, therefore, felt bound to oppose the Amendment of the hon. Member.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, the hon. Member for Salford had argued this question with great learning, ability, and research into the history of the Episcopal seats in the House of Lords, and had shown that, no doubt, both before the Union, and since, the Church of Ireland had been so represented. But, feeling as strongly as he did on the question of disestablishment, he must own it would be an injudicious course to press the Motion to a division. There were 1136 many very peculiar circumstances that would render that extremely inexpedient. Supposing one of the Archbishops to die, the other would sit every alternate year, which would be an absurdity; and so as to the Bishops—one Bishop would be sitting every fourth year. He trusted, after the division the other night on the 2nd clause and under the very peculiar circumstances of the case the hon. Member would not press the Motion.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, he must deny the dictum of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that the House of Lords could initiate alterations in the constitution of the House of Commons; and he might quote the authority of Lord Brougham in support of that denial. Notwithstanding all that had been said, he was still of opinion that his Amendment was a wise one. How otherwise were the Irish Prelates to maintain their precedence? Plain Dr. Trench, for instance, would be nobody at Dublin Castle by the side of a Prince of the Roman Catholic Church like Cardinal Cullen. By thus lowering the social status of the disestablished Bishops a great advantage would be given to the Prelates of the rival Church. Although these opinions had not been shaken by any thing which had been said, he would bow to the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, and withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he was not able to promise, on the part of the Crown, that there would be an increased number of Irish Peers. The present rights, if preserved, would be of a most equivocal and unsatisfactory character.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN) moved to add at the end of the clause the words, "as such."
§ Amendment agreed, to.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
proposed to add at the end of the clause the words— 1137Provided that every present Archbishop, Bishop, and Dean of the said Church shall, during his life, enjoy the same title and precedence as if this Act had not passed.He hoped the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would not object to recognize the precedence of the present heads of the Irish Church during their lives.
said, the belief of the Government was that such was the effect of the Bill as it stood at present. He had intended to insert words for the purpose, but it was thought unnecessary. If it were thought desirable to make assurance sure in the matter, the Government would not object to the addition of the words proposed.
§ Amendment agreed, to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 14 (Compensation to ecclesiastical persons other than curates).
§ Amendment agreed to.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that the relative position of the incumbents and curates rendered it advisable, in the interests of both, that Amendments should be made in this clause. Curates in the Irish Church had almost a certainty of obtaining promotion to a benefice; and it would be a most unwise thing if this position were not recognized by the Government, especially considering the measures they were taking with reference to assistant successors to ministers of the Presbyterian Church. The curates were left in a hopeless position by the Bill. Take the case of a man who had been serving eight or ten years as a curate. He might come under the Act to a very slight extent; but if he were considered a permanent curate his position and that of the incumbent were fixed by the Bill. The incumbent would not be able to remove his curate. He was glad the ground on which the incumbent could be compelled by the Bishop to employ the curate had been denned by the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. It might be that on account of the sickness and incapacity of 1138 the incumbent he might be bound to employ the curate, but not upon the ground of the nature and extent of the duties, because if he liked he might perform these duties himself however imperfectly. The curates had incurred great expenses in their education, and ought not to be treated as men whose incomes were to stop at £100 a year. Nor, on the other hand, ought the House to put a penalty upon the incumbents at a time when great claims were about to be made upon them, and when they would be called upon to contribute towards the maintenance of their churches, their services, and charities, by insisting that because they had employed curates hitherto, they should always be obliged to employ them, or to pay them. He therefore proposed this Amendment, in order that a separate provision might be made for the permanent curates, and that they might be enabled to commute with the consent of the Church Body. He did not propose that they should be at liberty to commute and then to leave Ireland; but it would be a harsh proceeding against both incumbents and curates to tie them so strongly together. He would admit that the Bill was greatly improved by the Amendments of the right hon. Gentleman, and he thought that by the Amendment he now proposed both the incumbent and the curate would be able to render better service than hitherto. He proposed in page 5, line 25 to leave out the words—A deduction shall be made under this section in respect of the salary of a permanent curate, where such curate has been or is serving as a curate on any day between the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine, and the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, both days inclusive.
§ Amendment proposed, in line 16, after the word "taxes," to leave out the words "salaries of permanent curates employed as hereinafter mentioned."—(Mr. Gathorne Hardy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he was glad to hear from the right Gentleman (Mr. G. Hardy) that the Amendments of his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government had improved 1139 their plan. Those Amendments, however, only made more clear and distinct the views which the Government from the first entertained. Undoubtedly one of the most difficult and complicated subjects with which they had to deal was the question as to what might be considered fair and reasonable compensation to the curates of the Irish Church. But he wished the Committee to understand that what the right hon. Gentleman proposed was really to compensate the curates of the Irish Church twice over—first by paying the incumbents and then the curates. Those curates were divided by the Bill into two classes—the one called permanent curates, not answering to perpetual curates, but those who might be described as in a permanent state of employment, from the infirmity, age, or absence of the incumbent. The Commissioners would take into account the time that the incumbent had found it necessary and convenient to employ a curate, and they would be able to decide what curates came under the class of permanent curates, and who would be charged upon the incumbent and the benefice upon which they had served. If it were possible to provide the compensation of the curates from the same funds from which they drew their salaries, it was right and equitable to do so; and in the main the fund out of which they ought to be compensated was the fund out of which they were at present paid—namely, the aggregate incomes of the incumbents. There was, however, another class of curates who could not fairly come under the designation of permanent curates, and their position would be determined by the Commissioners by another mode of compensation, with a description of which he would not trouble the Committee at present.
§ MR. LEFROY
said, that he would not press the Amendment of which he had given notice, but would support that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Gathorne Hardy). He thought that no class had a greater claim upon consideration, indulgence, and a fair remuneration than the curates of the Irish Church.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that the Committee had now arrived at a point when it was apparent the Bill broke down on plain grounds of justice. The Bill professed to treat com- 1140 pensating vested interests as absolutely necessary—as a matter of course and not of favour—but here the principle was violated. The incumbent was wronged that another great wrong might not be done to the curate. The Bill set one wrong against another, because it was not thought worth while to do justice in both cases, and because a larger sum of money would have to be taken from the general fund if full justice were done. The vested interest of the incumbent was to have deducted from it a life annuity, not for every kind of curate, but for a "permanent curate"—a term which had been invented, because it was felt that there was a class of curates whom it would be a gross wrong to turn adrift without any provision except the paltry sum of £200. In point of law, however, there was no incumbent in Ireland whose living was permanently charged with the salary which he paid his curate. No doubt, in many cases, a curate now employed would continue to be employed; but to turn that into a permanent charge upon the incumbent was to take away legal rights and to create new burdens. Its practical operation, too, might be most injurious to the curate and to the Church; it would require the curate to do permanent duty in the same place for the same rector, and he was to have a perpetual living at his rector's expense, unless he by his own choice and without the consent of the incumbent left that particular cure. But were not the Committee aware that it would be absolutely necessary for this poor disestablished Church, which they were about to call into existence, to re-arrange the provisions for the spiritual services to be given to its members. It was impossible that the present parochial arrangements could be maintained as they were at the present time in Ireland. Then, see in what a position the incumbent would be placed. Under the new arrangement, if it should be desirable for the curate to serve elsewhere, and if he left by his own choice, without the consent of his incumbent, he would lose his annuity; but if, on the other hand, the incumbent assented to his leaving, he kept his annuity, but the incumbent would lose the benefit of his services, and might at the same time be obliged, at his own cost, to find another curate. When the existing bond between them was dissolved, in what position would they be placed 1141 with regard to each other? It was impossible that they could be placed in the same relative position as before—their connection must be placed upon a perfectly different footing. As things stood at present, if the harmony which ought to subsist between the rector and the curate should be interrupted, either of them was enabled to dissolve the connection that bound them to each other; but under the proposed system in such a case they would be placed in a most painful position as regarded each other, because the incumbent would have to run the risk of doing an injustice either to his curate or to himself. It was impossible that a system which must necessarily have this result could be right. He had stated the case as far as this, looking at it from the incumbent's point of view; but how did the matter stand as regarded the curates? He had reason to believe, from information which had reached him from different sources, that the case of the curates in Ireland, although not exactly parallel with that of assistant-ministers among the Presbyterians, to whom reference had been made, bore a much greater resemblance to it in that country than in England; and that the supply of curates in Ireland bore such a proportion to the number of benefices that a curate who had done his duty had a moral certainty—subject, of course, to the ordinary accidents of life—that he would, within a reasonable time, succeed to a benefice. A man, in fact, entered into Holy Orders in Ireland, and thus became cut off from all secular employments, with the reasonable expectation—as he (Sir Roundell Palmer) understood—that after having served for a period of not more than fifteen years as a curate, he would succeed to a benefice. For the destruction of that expectation the Bill would afford no compensation whatever. That was not the course which had been adopted when the exclusive rights of the proctors to practice in Doctors' Commons had been abolished. Those gentlemen had received most liberal compensation at the public expense for the prospects which they lost, though the change in the law admitted them to another lucrative profession. But all that it was proposed to give to any curate who did not come within whatever might be the definition put by the Commissioners on the words "permanent curate" was the 1142 wretched sum of £200 as compensation for the loss of his whole prospects in life. The clause proposed to give those who did come within the meaning of those words a life annuity at the expense of the incumbents, and that proposal was justified on the ground that the payment to the curate would come out of the same fund as before. He thought such a proposition was unjust; and he should therefore, without the least hesitation, vote in favour of the Amendment which had been moved by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hardy), in the hope that, if carried, the Government would propose some scheme more just than the one now before the House.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he believed that, upon a close examination of this clause, it would not be found open to the objections brought against it by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), who alleged that it violated one of the principles of the Bill—namely, the regard for vested interests. That the preservation of vested interests was a very important matter everyone must admit, but it was essential for the due discussion of this point that the Committee should accurately understand how matters stood with regard to incumbents and their curates in Ireland at the present time. A rector who had employed no curate would be entitled to his entire income for life. No doubt if, at the period of time mentioned in the clause, a rector had a curate employed, the latter was entitled to an income for life, to be paid out of the gross income of the former; and this proportion was justifiable on this ground—that where, by reason of the extent of his benefice, of the number of services required to be performed, of absence or of infirm health, it was deemed requisite, the Bishop of his diocese had power to compel a rector to keep a curate, and in that case, as well as in the case of his keeping a curate of his own motion, the rector had to pay the curate out of his own income. Now, the question was whether the rector having paid the curate for some years out of his own income, he should not continue to discharge that obligation equally after the passing of the present Bill as before. The best practical answer he could make to the objections of the hon. and learned Member for Rich- 1143 mond was that in every case where the rectors had made returns of their incomes to the Income Tax Commissioners and to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners they had deducted the salaries of their curates. The Church Commissioners themselves, on the face of their Report, had stated that the net income of the rectors was less than their curates' salaries. He would be the last to do an injustice to the rectors; but if a rector by his own conduct had rendered the employment of a curate practically permanent, why should not he pay the salary of the curate as he had always done hitherto? In his opinion, as well as in that of much higher authorities, the law of Ireland upon this point was identical with that of England—namely, that where the employment of a curate was licensed by the Bishop, the rector could not dismiss that curate without the consent of the Bishop. He was aware that there were some rectors in Ireland who wished to have it believed that they could dismiss their curates at pleasure, but he believed that they had no such power under the circumstances to which he had alluded. But what had occurred in Ireland upon this subject was this—By a lax and loose practice, in order to avoid expense, the license of the Bishop was not obtained; and it was for the purpose of protecting curates who were unlicensed that the word "permanent" had been advisedly introduced into the clause—the meaning of the word as it was placed signifying permanently employed. The Commissioners would take into consideration the length of the curate's service, the nature and extent of his duties, and the residence or non-residence or incapacity of the incumbent. It must not be forgotten, in considering this matter, that the Commissioners would not decide whether a curate came under the definition of the word "permanent" without first hearing the objections of the incumbent upon the point. The clause stated that—The Commissioners shall determine the cases in which a curate is to be deemed a permanent curate, after hearing any objection that may be made to the permanency of the curate by the ecclesiastical person under whom he has been or is serving.So that, if a rector had, under certain special circumstances, employed a curate for twenty years, he might come forward 1144 and explain what those circumstances were. By agreeing to the clause, which was framed in the most guarded language, the Committee would put a stop to what he was informed had already been done in several instances—he did not mean to say in many—namely, the dismissal of the curates by their rectors on the simple ground that, if they did not do so, they would have their salaries deducted from their incomes. There was an amount of selfishness about this to which he wished to call attention. The hon. Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Lefroy) was labouring under a misconception when he put the case of a curate employed for a number of years under a very old incumbent. The position of the curates, so far from being injured by this clause, would be improved; because, under the existing system, the salary of the curate was dependent upon the life of his rector, whereas, under the clause, he would have his income for life. A curate had told him a short time ago that he was a most unfortunate man, because on the death of his incumbent, who was eighty-seven years of age, and to whom he had been curate for four or five years, his salary of £100 per annum would cease; whereupon he informed the curate that he was a most fortunate man, because if the Bill passed he would have £100 a year for life. "Oh," replied the curate, "I never understood that; I am well satisfied." He admitted that there was something in the objection of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond that an inconvenience was established by tying the two men together; but surely the hon. and learned Member was wrong in conceiving it probable that the clergy of the Irish Church were likely to pull at sixes and sevens. If the members of the Church did their duty they would organize a Church Body, and that Body would make such an arrangement as would settle any difficulties of the kind that were likely to arise between the curates and their rectors. It was said that the Bill was unjust, because it dealt upon a different principle with those in the Presbyterian body who occupied a similar position to curates. Now, his own experience upon the subject of promotion among the curates of the Irish Church differed somewhat from that of the hon. and learned Gentleman. In many cases these gentlemen remained curates to the end of their days, for pa- 1145 tronage in the Irish Church had not been exercised fairly in this matter; while, in others, their promotion to incumbencies only gave them an increase of income to the amount of the difference between £ 90 or £ 100 and £120 or £130 a year—the higher-paid incumbencies being reserved for the connections and friends of the Episcopal Bench. In the Presbyterian Church there were ministers, assistant successors, and licentiates. The licentiates were nearest to the position of curates, but licentiates got no compensation, and the assistant successor simply got a life interest compensation, calculated upon the probable duration of his own life, if that were better than that of the minister.
§ DR. BALL
said, there were two different points under discussion. The first of them arose on the 14th clause, and was as to whether the payment to be made to the curate was to be deducted out of the income of the rector. The second point was as to how Parliament was to deal with the curates themselves. The proposition now made on his side of the House was that Parliament should not interfere at all between the rector and the curate, but allow the rector to keep the curate and pay him. In another clause they would propose an Amendment, having for its object to give the curate compensation for his loss of promotion, for his uncertain position, and other great disadvantages he would sustain if this Bill passed. He admitted that the curate had no vested interest; he admitted that the curate had no freehold, and that in strict law he had no fixed position within the ecclesiastical body in the sense in which the incumbent or rector had. But the curate had a spes successionis. It had been said that in law the Church, as a whole, was not a corporation but an aggregate of corporations, and this was true; but never the-less it had so much of a corporate character that when Burke described the Church he expressly called it a corporation. Now, though the curate had no freehold or incumbency, he held a position which insured him a freehold or incumbency. There were 500 curates in the Irish Church, and 1,518 benefices, of which latter only 300 were in lay patronage. All the rest were in the gift 1146 of the Bishops. The Bishops could not promote laymen to incumbencies; and therefore the curates, viewing them as a separate order, had a positive certainty that they must succeed to benefices. In no way could they fail to succeed to benefices unless other curates should come in to displace them. Hallam, who made the best defence ever made for the State dealing with Church property, said that the clergy sustained no hardship "unless succession has been designated or rendered probable." In the case of the Irish curates succession was not only "probable," but "designated." Another ground for special consideration of their case had been given by the First Minister in one of his speeches on this Bill when he said that the clergy had adopted an indelible profession, and could not change it. There was not a curate in the Irish Church that had not the "capacity" of being Archbishop of Armagh, just as it had been said, though but one or two barristers became Lord Chancellor, every barrister had the "capacity" of being Lord Chancellor. So also every curate had the "capacity" of becoming an incumbent. How did the Government propose to compensate the curate for the loss of this "capacity?" By paying him £100 a year; that was the largest sum any curate had, while some had only £75—as long as he remained with the rector. That was nothing but a mockery. No gentleman entered upon the duties of a curate for such a sum as £ 100 a year without doing so in the hope of promotion. He hoped the Committee would adopt either the Amendment he advocated, or that of which the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) had given notice.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, he could assure the Committee that the Government would willingly yield to any Amendment made on the other side, if it appeared to them to be essential to justice in the case. He was quite certain that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) saw the matter as they saw it he would agree with them that the Amendment was not necessary. He did not despair of convincing the right hon. and learned Gentleman, for whose candour he had the greatest respect. They were dealing with the question whether a deduction should be 1147 made from the annual income on which compensation was to be paid to the rector of an amount equal to that which the exigencies of his cure of souls had required him to pay for several years to a curate. This latter sum was as much a charge on the rector's income as a mortgage on a man's property, or as a rent-charge, or anything that could be annually deducted from a man's income. An analogous case in this country had been the subject-matter of decision in the courts. It had been decided that where there was a legal deduction, or one which payment for years had shown to be permanent, the incumbent was entitled to take credit for it in the return which he made of his rateable income. That was considered a permanent deduction from a man's income, and was treated like any other charge which, in conscience or in law, he was forced to meet from year to year. Take the case of an incumbent with £800 a year who kept a curate at £100, either because of the amount of the population—in which case the Bishop would insist upon his doing so—or because he himself found it absolutely necessary to have one, in order properly to discharge his duties. It could not be said that that man had £ 800 a year to dispose of. He really had only £ 700 a year. Was it, then, just or reasonable to compensate the incumbent in such a case for an income which, in fact, be had never enjoyed? He could not think that the Bill treated the rector unfairly. But then it was said that some hardship was suffered by the curate. As far as actual compensation went, there was no such hardship, because the curate's compensation was based, not upon the life of the rector, who would be generally an older man, but upon his own life, and therefore he was treated upon a much more advantageous footing than in point of legal interest he had any right to look to. Under the Bill the curate was compensated during his rector's lifetime out of the compensation paid to the rector, and afterwards out of the general fund in the hands of the Commissioners. In no case, therefore, could he be in any worse position that he was at the present moment. It was said that no compensation was given for prospects, and the right hon. Gentleman added that every curate had the capacity of being Archbishop of Armagh. So had every incumbent, and 1148 if the argument was good at all it went to show that every incumbent ought to be compensated for the loss of his chance of one day being a Bishop. No doubt, every curate had the capacity of being an Archbishop as every lawyer had of being Lord Chancellor, though he confessed that he should be very glad to take compensation for his capacity for that office at a very low figure. He did not deny that, in a great change of this kind, every person who had not arrived at the top of the tree, and had any prospects at all, must of necessity be placed in a somewhat worse position. It was so in every great operation of this kind, whether in the Church or in any other institution which for the general benefit was being abolished. In this country it was the universal practice to compensate fully for existing rights; but you could not compensate for prospects, which were in the nature of things uncertain, and could not be represented by any money value. He had heard it said that every curate in Ireland was on the way to a living. If so, a curate in Ireland must be much better off than in England. Here there were many good men working all their lives, spending and being spent, in very disagreeable places, living and dying as curates, without the smallest chance of being anything else. He repeated that the rector was compensated fully, receiving credit for everything which the law entitled him to receive, and the curate was compensated upon existing rights to a much greater extent than, legally, he could expect. As to prospects they were so shadowy and uncertain that they did not admit of compensation. All that could be done, however, was done, and he maintained that the measure was as fair and just as it possibly could be under the circumstances.
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, that from his experience in the North of Ireland, he could say that curates there had a far better chance of obtaining livings than they had in this country, and if the Committee really wanted to do justice they ought to give them compensation for life, whether they remained in the same place or not. With regard to incumbents, they ought to offer to all of them the value of their life interests. How would you deal with the case of a rector temporarily incapacitated and obliged to employ a curate? 1149 His health being happily restored, he no longer wanted a curate, but was he to be saddled with a deduction for having employed one? As to the Irish curates, a great proportion of them intended to migrate to this country, and he thought it would have been much better to give them a certain moderate lump sum as compensation.
§ MR. PIM
said, he thought that, in estimating compensation, nothing ought to be deducted from the rector's income, except in cases where he might be compelled by law to employ a curate. That was the spirit of an Amendment which he had placed on the Paper, and he thought it unfair to found a compulsory deduction upon the voluntary employment of a curate. He regarded what had been called the marrying the rector to the curate as the most unsatisfactory feature in the Bill; and, although perhaps, two clergymen would have sufficient regard to their sacred character not to quarrel, he felt convinced that no two laymen could get on amicably together if they were placed in such circumstances. With regard to the commutation provided for in Clause 23, he very much feared that, if it were not made compulsory, it would not be carried into effect. It seemed to him that the mode he proposed of compensating the curates would be more satisfactory than that provided under the Bill: and, indeed, by the arrangements of the Bill, he thought the compensation to be given to temporary curates would place them in a better position than the permanent curates. How was it to be expected that a young man of twenty-five or thirty, after receiving a learned and costly education, would be content to remain for life satisfied with an annual income of £100 a year? The only disadvantage which would attend the treatment of the permanent curates on the same principle as the temporary curates would be, that the Irish Church might possibly lose their services if they were paid without being bound to stay.
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, in answer to the argument of the Solicitor General, that a clergyman receiving £800 a year and paying £100 out of that amount to a curate ought to be compensated only to the extent of the £700, he would remark that if they were to value the living of that clergyman according to the rules of strict justice they 1150 should ascertain exactly what was his legal position. His legal position was that he had a living of £800, subject to a charge for keeping a curate, if the Bishop thought it right that he should do so. They should also remember that they were dealing with a class of men who gave more away in charity than any other body. Many a clergyman kept a curate, not because he was obliged to do do so, but because he believed that his parishioners would benefit by the assistance which he procured. It was, therefore, nothing short of a robbery to take the measure of his conscience as the measure of Ms legal position. In dealing with a clergyman under such circumstances, if it were shown that the keeping of the curate was not compulsory, compensation ought to be made to the full extent of the incumbent's income. In proof that this doctrine was a sound one, he would simply ask hon. Members whether the advowson, if sold in the market, would fetch a farthing less because a curate, or curates, had been appointed in the manner to which he had referred.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, it would be asking too much to give compensation for the curate twice over, once to the curate himself, and once to the clergyman by whom he was employed. He contended that the just way to value the income of an incumbent who had a curate was to take, not his gross income, but his net income after payment of his curate. The hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) said that a curate ought not to be permanently attached to the incumbent's living. Why, by the present Ecclesiastical Law, a curate might be permanently attached to an incumbent's living. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House argued for giving compensation for prospects on the assumption that there were no prospects of promotion in the new Church that would arise in Ireland after this measure came into operation; but the chances of promotion in that Church would be as great as in the present Established Church.
§ MR. GRAVES
said, he had no wish to delay the progress of the Bill, but at the same time he felt very strongly, and the feeling was shared in by many hon. Members on both sides of the House, that the compensation clauses, if passed in their present shape, would be 1151 most unsatisfactory. Why, he should like to know, should men, educated at great expense for ministration in the Church, who had devoted their lives to their sacred calling, and who would receive compensation under the Bill only so long as they continued their services, be designated as annuitants—as recipients of a nation's alms? The use of that word was, he maintained, unfortunate and unfair; besides, the framework of those clauses was most objectionable. He concurred with the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) in the opinion that it would not work satisfactorily, and he was opposed to a forced alliance between the incumbent and the curate; the annuity to the one ought, he thought, to be dealt with entirely irrespective of the other. He believed the House wished to deal justly with those faithful, zealous men who had sacrificed everything for such advancement as the Church could offer in return. It was unwise to allow those men to be discontented, and he should suggest that the compensation clauses be postponed until the next evening when the Bill came on for discussion.
§ MR. WALTER
said, the hon. Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. Cross) had asked a question which furnished a crucial test with respect to the principle which ought to be laid down in valuing livings when cases for compensation, such as those under discussion, arose. The question was, whether supposing an advowson was to be sold, the having a curate would alter, by a single farthing, its value in the market, and to that question he could give an answer from his own experience. He had been personally concerned, a few years ago, in the purchase of an advowson in his neighbourhood. The living was worth about £ 600 a year, and he bought it from the incumbent to whom it belonged. Among the deductions from the value of that living was set down a charge for £ 80 a year for a curate. The living was purchased subject to that deduction, and the person at whose instigation the deduction was made was the incumbent himself.
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, that his observations did not apply to a ease in which a curate was kept by order of the Bishop, but rather to one in which, for instance, a rector kept half-a-dozen curates, and in which the value of the 1152 living would not be affected by the circumstance of his doing so.
said, he thought the Solicitor General had not stated the law quite accurately when he said that an incumbent who paid the salary of a curate was entitled to make a deduction on that account in his contribution to the poor rate. It was distinctly held in a leading case some eighteen months ago in which he had been engaged, that an incumbent who kept two curates in one benefice and paid them £ 00 a year each—these curates being sanctioned by the Bishop—was not entitled to make any such deduction as that for which the hon. and learned Gentleman contended.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, he would remind the Committee that the case they were dealing with was that of a person having a life interest and entitled to be compensated for that life interest.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, no doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lopes) was correct, and the law as to the deductions in respect of poor rate, as he (the Solicitor General) had explained it, was over-ruled. He had argued two cases in which the law was as he had stated, but the statement he had made was merely used as an illustration and did not affect his argument.
said, he did not intend to detain the Committee by travelling over the ground which had already been trodden by his hon. and learned Friends near him, but wished to say a few words on the point on which the Committee were about to divide. There was some ground for his anxiety, not owing to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), who had proposed the Amendment in terms of great moderation, and with perfect accuracy as to the point at issue. He could not say that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the junior Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) had at all stated the case with the same precision. The Committee naturally felt great anxiety about the compensation which should be paid to curates, and 1153 the mode in which that compensation was to be adjusted, and he should have felt that there was some force in the suggestion of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Graves) that the compensation clauses should be postponed, were it not for the fact that that clause must be postponed which dealt with the compensation to be paid to curates. The right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, he might add, contended that there were two questions at issue—one, the compensation which should be paid to curates; and the other, whether that compensation should be deducted from the income of the incumbent. That statement was, however, inaccurate. The Committee was not discussing in the slightest degree what compensation should be paid to curates. The point which it had been discussing mainly—and on which it was going to vote—was whether the salary of the curate should be a deduction from the income of the incumbent. Then the definition of one of the questions by the hon. and learned Gentleman was really not an accurate statement, as far, at least, as the inference which would be naturally drawn from it was concerned. It was stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman that the Bill would give to the curate a life annuity at the expense of his incumbent, and on the condition of perpetual service. Neither of these statements was accurate. The Bill would give to the curate an annuity for the term of his own life; and that annuity would be deducted from the income of the incumbent during the continuance of his incumbency and no longer. Now, as the lives of curates in Ireland were, on the average, half as valuable again in years' purchase as the lives of incumbents, it followed that somewhere about one-third of the £840,000 payable to permanent curates under the Bill would not be deducted from the salary of the incumbent at all, but would become a charge upon the general funds of the Church. The plan might be liberal or it might be illiberal; but it was not accurate to say that the life annuities of the curates were to be deducted from the incumbents, nor was it correct to say that the annuity was to be given on the condition of perpetual service. In the first place the service of the curate would terminate with the tenure of the incumbent, after which the curate would have 1154 his annuity and be free to go where he pleased. In the next place, the Government had thought that the relative rights of incumbents and curates would be best left to be settled by themselves. They, knowing all the circumstances, could best ascertain upon what terms they ought to dissolve the alliance which the Bill established between them. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) had put the question on very high ground, and asked whether it were just to make the deduction from the salary of the incumbent. Well, justice had two sides in regard to this matter. We must be just to the great national purposes connected with the greatest of human wants among the humblest of the Irish population, to which it was proposed to devote the residue of the ecclesiastical property of the country. Now, let the House consider what justice required. His hon. and learned Friend had urged that justice required that the curate should be compensated out of some other fund than the income of the benefice; and his hon. Friend the Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. Cross) had alleged that it was most unjust that the measure of the incumbent's conscience should be taken as the measure of the law, because the hon. Gentleman supposed it was a general rule in Ireland—and unless the rule were general it would be of very slight importance in the argument—that the Irish incumbents had such extreme sensitiveness and fastidiousness of conscience with respect to the performance of their duties that they employed a multitude of curates who were not required, but who were charged and saddled upon them as permanent curates. He could not, however, accept either of those propositions. In the first place, he did not believe in this great multitude of supernumerary curates. But, supposing the case of a clergyman who held exaggerated ideas as to the amount of work he ought to undertake, and who consequently had a number of curates, it should be borne in mind that these curates would never be regarded as permanent curates at all, but simply as curates employed in consequence of the special views and exigencies of that particular incumbent. The caw would be looked into with regard to the population and the ordinary duties necessary to be done in the benefice, and those extra 1155 curates would come upon the funds of the Church in general and not of the incumbent. Then the hon. Gentleman maintained that, under the Bill, the measure of a man's conscience was made the measure of the law. He ventured, however, to assert that the contrary was the fact. The measure of a man's own practice was made the measure of the law. What better mode could be devised of ascertaining what was really necessary for an incumbent in the discharge of his duties than the institution of an inquiry into what his practice had been? But his hon. and learned Friend had urged that justice required that the curate's salary should be put out of sight altogether. Now, the existing law was not wholly silent on this point. There was a precedent to go by. The Church Temporalities Act provided that, except in the case of the poorest benefices in Ireland, there should be a graduated scale of taxation. The intention of that Act was to tax the income of the incumbent, and how was that income estimated? By saying that from the valuation to be made for the purpose of imposing the rate, tax, or assessment, the Commissioners should from time to time deduct all rents and other charges, including salaries or stipends for the perpetual curates or the licensed assistant curates of any benefice. Now, although the qualifying word "licensed" was introduced into that Act, he believed he was correct in saying that in practice the proof of the license had never been required. All the Government now asked was what the law had already determined and what the parties interested acknowledged to be just. If it were just to deduct the curate's salary for the purposes of taxation, surely it could not be unjust to deduct it when the question of compensation arose.
§ SIR JAMES ELPHINSTONE
said, he intended to move to report Progress, because this clause would inflict a most flagrant injustice. He would mention a case in point. When the affairs of India were settled in this House some years ago, he was one of thirteen Members who stood up for the privileges of the Indian army. It was intended at that time to transfer the army of India, bound hand and foot, to Her Majesty, without taking into consideration the privileges or expectations of the service. He and his Friends argued the question, 1156 and a Resolution was moved to the effect that the pay and expectations of the army of India should be respected. Now, although he did not understand Ecclesiastical Law, he knew something of common justice, and he thought the House ought to take time to consider what was due to the expectations of the Irish curates. He therefore moved that the Chairman should report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress."—(Sir James Elphinstone.)
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portsmouth (Sir James Elphinstone) had brought forward a good illustration of his argument, but at the same time he thought that the consideration of this special point had now been fully gone into, so that the House might decide it without reporting Progress. The question of the curates could be discussed on the next clause. He trusted, therefore, that his hon. and gallant Friend would not go to a division. With regard to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) concerning the Church Temporalities Act, it should be remembered that that Act was passed under special circumstances. Deductions were to be made from the incomes of the clergy for the repair of churches and other similar purposes, and it was only natural, therefore, that those deductions should be made for payments relating to licensed curates. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Sullivan) had asked from what other fund the money could come from in the event of the Government plan being rejected. The reply was that the Government did not hesitate to go to the Commissioners' Fund in order to pay some of the curates, and why, then, should not all the payments be made out of that fund? He thought that, under the Bill, as it stood incumbent and curate would be cruelly treated, and therefore he trusted the Amendment would be agreed to.
§ MR. G. GREGORY
said, that according to the terms of this clause as it stood, not the salaries of curates alone, but the poor rates, taxes, and diocesan 1157 charges would all be deducted from the compensation to be allowed to the incumbent.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 330; Noes 232: Majority 98.
said, that as there was more matter to dispose of in the clause, upon which there might be a difference of opinion, he would move at once that the Chairman report Progress.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress, to sit again upon Thursday.
§ House adjourned at half-after One o'clock.