§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 24 (Building charge to be paid on commutation of annuity).
said, he could not accede to the Amendment. The Government were not seeking to make money out of the glebe houses, and the Commissioners would be no richer on account of them, and would not be reimbursed for the money which would be necessary to obtain possession of them.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 25 (Enactments with respect to churches).
§ MR. DISRAELI
said: Sir, I ask the permission of the Committee to explain the motives by which I have been influenced in proposing the Amendments which stand in my name upon this and following clauses. The Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Sullivan) said the other night that the only object of these Amendments was to maintain the connection between the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland and the State, in order that the character of supremacy which now attaches to the Church might be maintained. Now, I have myself never for a moment attempted to conceal that I thought that a desirable object. I have never for a moment attempted to induce the House 1586 to believe that I had at all relinquished my desire to attain that result as one which I thought highly important to the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland. That Church ought not to subside into a sect, and so partake of the ultimate degradation which I believe will be the fate of every sect in Ireland which has to cope with the Roman Catholic Church, after the passing of this measure, the dominant Church in Ireland. Although I may have to apologize to some of even my own Friends for saying it, I do not think that these sects will be able to compote successfully with the organization, the tradition, the discipline, and. the learning of that powerful Church, and therefore it is that I feel called upon to oppose any arrangement which must result in the Protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland subsiding into a mere sect. That is not, however, the motive which has influenced us in placing these Amendments upon the Paper. That was the motive which induced us to oppose the second reading of the Bill, and which may in all probability induce us to oppose the third reading of the Bill. But when we entered into Committee we assumed that this Bill might pass into a law, and our object was, if possible, that it should pass in a shape as little disadvantageous as could be to the great body of our Protestant fellow-countrymen in Ireland. One object of these Amendments upon this clause and upon the clauses that follow is to assort, and in some degree, if possible, to secure, the vested rights of the laity. It is not possible to define the vested rights of the laity with the same precision as one can define the vested rights of the incumbent in his benefice, which is simply that of a vested right in a freehold. What may happen hereafter I. of course, cannot say, but as yet the opinion of the people of England has changed so little with regard to the sacred character of a freehold, and the constant nature of the rights which arise from it, that when the vested rights of a person in a freehold are before Parliament for compensation no difficulty arises in inducing Parliament to view the case in a spirit of justice and of liberality. But the vested rights of the laity in Ireland, although not susceptible of so precise a definition, are equally valid with those of a freeholder, and, perhaps, if the higher principles of policy are considered, they become even 1587 of greater importance. In all measures of this kind, necessarily revolutionary in their character, the great discontent that is created, and which becomes chronic in the country, generally, or, I may say, always, arises from the vested rights of the laity being disregarded in effecting the settlement of the question. The clergyman, although he dislikes the change, may be satisfied and reconciled to it by the compensation he receives. Even when we abolished the monasteries in this country we gave pensions to the monks. But the great mass of the people, whose principles are disregarded and outraged, and whose privileges and rights are diminished and destroyed, are those who feel discontent, and they are the people whose discontent constitutes the permanent difficulty of the Government and the danger of the State. Therefore it is that I and those who think with me conceived it to be of the utmost importance that if this revolutionary measure—and I use the word "revolutionary" in its true sense and not in an invidious one—if this great measure of unconstitutional change, or of change in the constitution, was to pass, it was desirable that it should pass with such conditions and arrangements as would create as little shock as possible to the feelings of the great body of the laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland. And I am bound to say that, when this policy was first introduced to our notice by the right hon. Gentleman then leading the Opposition, we understood that such was the feeling that influenced him in the matter as well as others who were among the most influential supporters of his Motion. It is only a little over a year ago since the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham addressed the House upon this very point, and I must say that, although I was opposed to the policy which he recommended I entirely sympathized with his view—that if ever that policy were to be carried into effect, it should be based upon the principles to which I have referred. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade on that occasion said that, in matters of this kind where great changes were proposed to be effected, it was necessary that the Government should come forward in a gracious and generous spirit. But he said more than that. He said that, if the ques- 1588 tion of State supremacy should be given up, no reasonable concession ought to be withheld for a moment, and he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman opposite to say whether he did not agree in those views, and in the spirit and policy which he so eloquently expressed upon that occasion. I do not know whether that appeal was arranged; but I know that the right hon. Gentleman the then Leader of the Opposition rose from his place with almost prophetic promptness, and said that he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, that that was the policy, and the only policy, with which an issue of this gigantic character could be proposed. And the right hon. Gentleman did not then refer merely to vested interests and proprietary rights. Respecting these, of course, there could be no question; but the right hon. Gentleman stated that every legitimate claim would be considered in such a spirit as that, if there was a doubt, the benefit of it would be given in favour of those on whom the measure for disestablishing and disendowing the Church would press. That was the policy which the right hon. Gentleman expressed to the last House of Commons when he wished it to adopt a course to which I will affix no epithet—I say I will affix no epithet to it, because I do not want to do anything which could excite the passions of the House in reference to this Bill. But, understand that it was upon the description of his policy to which I have just called attention the right hon. Gentleman obtained the support of Parliament for that policy. Was that policy changed during the General Election? On the contrary, it was repeated; it was reiterated; it was passionately enforced and illustrated. I remember reading one speech of the right hon. Gentleman's, in which he said that when the question of the sacred buildings, the churches and the residences of the ministers came to be considered, he felt perfectly certain that if a bonâ fide wish were expressed on the part of the Protestant Episcopal body in Ireland to retain these churches for the purpose of Divine worship, and the houses as residences for their ministers, there was not a man in England who would grudge that body the possession of them. So the elections occurred under the same expression of policy. There was a perfect concurrence in the views expressed 1589 on the hustings by the right hon. Gentleman and one of the most considerable of his Colleagues and those which they had expressed in this House. The country understood that if this great change was to be accomplished, it was to be accomplished in—to use the language of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade—"a gracious and generous spirit." So that the State supremacy was abolished there was no reasonable concession which might not without difficulty be made. Well, Sir, I ask the House—Has this Bill been framed in that spirit? Is the clause which is before us framed in that spirit? We have had the policy of the Government in reference to this measure expressed by other Members of the Cabinet in this Parliament. When this Bill was introduced, and when I read and sifted its provisions, I felt that there was an extraordinary and glaring contrast between it and the statements of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government and the President of the Board of Trade in the last Parliament and on the hustings of the country. But it was unnecessary for me to call the attention of the House to the matter, because the Government, in an authoritative and official manner, announced that they had entirely changed their policy. The policy we had been led to expect was a gracious and generous policy; but a Cabinet Minister peculiarly connected with the administration of Ireland, the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, took an early opportunity of boasting that the measure brought in by the Government was ''a severe and sweeping measure." Now, I wish some explanation, because I think we have arrived at a point at which explanation is absolutely necessary. How can we reconcile statements so contrary? Then, we are told, as the Committee was told last Friday by the Attorney General for Ireland, that our only object in proposing these Amendments is a sinister object—an object which we dare not avow, and which would not be in harmony with the duty of the Committee. I am bound to vindicate these Amendments, and principally the one I am now going to call attention to. There is, I say, no sinister meaning in them. With the exception to leave out Clause 2, the purpose of which I candidly avowed in this House, the objects of our Amend- 1590 ments have been to carry into effect that which the First Minister of the Crown and the President of the Board of Trade stated in this House and reiterated on the hustings to be their object—namely, that this settlement should be carried out in a "gracious and generous" and not in a "severe and sweeping" spirit. I want to have some explanation of the reasons for a change from a ''gracious and generous" to a "severe and sweeping" policy. A ''gracious and generous'' settlement, indeed! The Chancellor of the Exchequer, with that sympathy with the softer emotions of human nature which always distinguishes him, rose up in his place and said—Generosity? What have we to do with generosity? If we are to be generous, you are asking us to be generous with the money of other folks.Two inferences are to be drawn from that statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It may be very right to sneer at a "gracious and generous'' settlement of this great political question, though we know that on its settlement being a generous one the future welfare and peace of Her Majesty's dominions may depend; it may be very well to sneer at generosity in this matter, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to recollect that he serves under a Prime Minister pledged to a generous settlement. I want to know how he can reconcile that official statement of his with the declaration and engagement of his Chief. The second inference to be drawn from the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that the generosity he disdains is being generous with the money of other folks. If this be so, how can we reconcile that sentiment with his support of the Bill before us, which proposes to take a large portion of the property of the Church and give it to the College of Maynooth? I do not grudge the College of Maynooth complete and liberal compensation; but when the Chancellor of the Exchequer speaks against being generous with the money of other folks, he ought to recollect that the policy he thus disowns is adopted in the Bill now before us. I think, therefore, we ought to have some explanation as to the cause of the change from a "gracious and generous" to a "severe and sweeping" settlement. I believe the reason is notorious. I believe that some influence—that some deleterious influence—has been introduced upon the scene, and has effected that 1591 change; but that is no satisfaction to us, nor do I think it is any satisfaction to the great body of the people of England who were induced to support the right hon. Gentleman by the representations which he made. The clause which we are now considering, and several clauses which follow refer to the churches, the glebes, and the glebe houses. Can any one doubt that when, in the last Parliament, that interlocutory conversation occurred between the Prime Minister and the President of the Board of Trade, and when the other declarations to which I have alluded were made in places scarcely less important and under a responsibility scarcely less clear—the churches and glebe houses were among the concessions which it was then contemplated to make the Protestant Episcopal body in Ireland? In this clause, after one or two alterations which I intend to propose, there is one to which I wish to call the special attention of the Committee; because, while the Government are acting on those political principles which no doubt they conscientiously respect, and to which they wish to give effect by this Bill, this clause affords them one of the first opportunities they have had of carrying out that policy in a "gracious and generous" spirit. The Committee should consider this, or know it, that under the existing system the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in Ireland, out of an ecclesiastical fund known as the Prelates' Estates, bear the annual expense of repairing the churches. The annual expenditure in respect of the churches is, I believe, £30,000; of which £24,000 is for repairs, and £6,000 for heating and lighting. What I propose is, to have that amount multiplied for a certain number of years, in order that the total may form a fund for the uses to which it is now annually applied. I propose fourteen years, because, notwithstanding the discussion on Friday night, I think no reason has as yet been given why that number of years should not be taken in compensation for the Protestant Episcopal Church as well as in those for the other Churches in Ireland. Fourteen years are taken in a subsequent clause in order to estimate the compensation to be given in the case of the buildings of Maynooth, and therefore it will apply completely to this instance. I have now placed before the Committee a vindication on our part of the spirit in which we have prepared these Amendments. We 1592 have prepared them with a view to carrying into effect the gracious and generous policy to which we believe that the Government are pledged. We have prepared them with, no other and no sinister object, and when the right. Hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland next assails us in the fervent rhetoric of which he is a master, he will, I hope, well weigh the charges he makes against us. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the first Amendment of which he had given notice—in page 9, line 36, after "works" to insert "to be preserved."
Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has delivered a very comprehensive speech, including within its scope not only the Amendment which he has moved, but other Amendments which he has not yet moved, and also the general principle of the Bill. He has discussed the subject in a very entertaining manner, though not without some traces of passion which I agree with him we ought all to be anxious to exclude. As regards the principle of the Bill, I believe I can answer the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman in a very few words. I am not aware of having myself employed the particular epithet "generous" in regard to the manner in which we were to approach the consideration of this question; but I own that I sympathize a great deal with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I always begin to suspect something wrong when I hear of generosity in connection with the management of public affairs. Certain words in that direction I may have used—"equitable," "careful," ''considerate,'' and such like. That is very possible, and they may amount to what was meant by the President of the Board of Trade when he used the word "generous." [MR. DISRAELI: Gracious and generous.] Well, gracious and generous. Generally speaking, and subject to the reservation I have made, I adopt those words, and, moreover, I contend that the Bill is framed in that spirit. Then the right hon. Gentleman says that there has been an official announcement of a fundamental change in the policy of the Government, and that we now, instead of being gracious and generous, propose to be severe and sweeping—epithets which the right hon. Gentleman quoted from the speech of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ire- 1593 land. Well, Sir, but I adopt these words also. I adopt them in this sense, which appears to me plain and simple, that after you have done everything that equity and considerateness in a measure of this kind fairly permit, yet still, from its very nature and character, it must be, from the point of view of those who object to it, a severe and sweeping measure. There has been no change whatever in the policy or views of the Government; and the epithets used by my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland are just as appropriate and correct, when you regard the measure from one point of view, as are the epithets of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade when you regard it from another. So much for the general question; but it is a little singular that the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in a speech intended to recommend this exceeding generosity, should have submitted an Amendment for the purpose of preventing the use of certain buildings for the purposes of public worship. I no not, therefore, quite understand the illustration which his Amendment affords. His Amendment, however, does not appear to me to be necessary, for it proposes nothing but what is the intention of the clause. This portion of the clause refers to certain churches—of which the seven churches of Glendalough are the most conspicuous examples—ancient ecclesiastical remains, which are extremely curious and interesting in themselves, and which require to be vested in some public authority for the purpose of being maintained, but which are not suitable to be maintained by any religious body or communion, because not suitable for restoration as places of public worship. That is the intention of the first sub-clause to Clause 25 as it stands, and that I understand to be the intention of the two Amendments to the clause. Those Amendments only show a further development by words of our intention, and we have no objection to them. With regard to the larger Amendment, however, which the right hon. Gentleman announces for another clause, when the proper time comes, we must I am afraid, offer a most decided opposition to it.
§ Amendment agreed to.1594
§ A further Amendment made, after "monument" insert "and not to be used as a place of public worship."
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, he rose to move the following Amendment:—Leave out sections 2, 4, 5, and 6, and after section 3 insert 'all churches, churchyards, schools, and schoolhouses, and all glebe houses and glebe lands attached thereto, which are in the use of and in possession of the Irish Protestant Church at the time of the passing of this Act, shall he vested in the representative body of the said Church, without any conditions being imposed other than are now attached to the ownership of the same.' This to form Clause 25, with sections 1, 3, and 7 retained.The sections he wished to leave out seemed to impose a variety of conditions which appeared harsh and unfair. By this Amendment he proposed to consolidate those sub-clauses into one clause. This Amendment, he thought, was at all events worthy of discussion. The only object he had in view was to defend the interests of those who were not there to defend themselves, the clergy and others who were to be dispossessed of the property they had held so long, and which they had not applied to any evil purpose. There were in Ireland 132,000 acres of glebe land, of which 110,000 had been granted to or purchased by the Church since the Reformation. By the Bill, every acre of those glebe lands was to be consfiscated, which was hardly in accordance with the terms which had been used by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, even if the word "generous" was excluded. It was not fair, or right, or righteous to dispossess men of property in order to give it to others who had no better title to it. They were told, indeed, that the Church Body was to be allowed to buy back ten acres of their own property for the use of every incumbent, and in addition might purchase the site of the glebe houses. The houses themselves would have to be bought back at a cost of £250,000. He did not think that was in accordance with the words of the Address to Her Majesty.
§ COLONEL GREVILLE-NUGENT
rose to Order. Clause 25 did not deal with glebe lands at all, and the hon. Baronet could not, therefore, discuss that question till they came to Clause 27.
ruled that the hon. Baronet was not out of Order, as he was not really travelling out of the subject- 1595 matter of the clause. The second subsection, however, related to churches.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, that his Amendment referred to ecclesiastical buildings, and he was going to read an extract showing the number of churches that had been built.
The hon. Member's Amendment appeared to him to divide itself distinctly into two. First, the hon. Member proposed to omit subsection 2 of this clause, and retain subsection 3; and omit sub-section 4, 5, and 6, and after sub-section 3 to insert the Amendment which stands upon the Paper. That is a distinct Amendment. He will have in the first instance to move the omission of the words in subsection 2; then the insertion of words after sub-section 3 will form a separate Amendment.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the Amendment was connected, and if the hon. Baronet were not allowed to discuss it as a whole, he would be able to discuss nothing but its verbal effect. It was impossible to discuss the subject of this Amendment unless it was discussed as a whole, and unless it was discussed with reference to those subsequent portions of the Bill which related to the same subject.
said, he had pointed out that the Amendment must be moved as two separate Amendments. He had fulfilled his duty in pointing that out to the hon. Member, and it was for him to adopt the course he thought fit consistently with the rules of the House.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, he was willing to divide his Amendment into two parts. What he wished to urge was that the property now belonging to certain individuals, and appropriated to certain sacred purposes, should be retained for them. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government whether he would be contravening the principles of his Bill by doing justice and permitting those who held churches, burial grounds, schools, school houses, or glebe houses and glebe lands, to retain the land, houses, and churches they had always possessed? That they should do so would only be in accordance with the terms of the Address to the Queen and Her Majesty's gracious Answer, and with the declared purpose that the Irish Church was to be dealt with fairly and kindly as regarded all interests involved.
Motion made, and Question proposed, to omit sub-section (2):—
Where any church is in actual use at the time of the passing of this Act, and the representative body of the church at any time within six months of the first of January, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, apply to the commissioners stating that they require such, church for religious purposes, and are willing to maintain the same in good repair, or desire such church for the purpose of taking the same down and erecting another church or churches in its place, the commissioners shall by order vest the church in the said representative body of the said church, subject to any life estate or interest that is existing therein.
said, the Amendment before the Committee pertained to the second sub-section of the clause, and it was not competent, therefore, for the first sub-section to be discussed.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he would confine himself to the third sub-section, which gave the number of such national monuments as the clause permitted to be maintained, and which should not exceed twelve. He wished strongly to press upon the Government the propriety of acceding to the Amendment, and of thus avoiding the infliction of an injury which could not be compensated by money—an injury going to the heart's core of every person holding the Protestant religion in Ireland. It was painful enough to see the institution which they venerated taken down stone by stone; and they could only hope that an Amendment like this, which was founded upon justice, would find favour with the Government. It was a small and miserable thing to ask, but it was a wretched thing to be denied. They asked merely that the churches in which they had worshipped and the glebe lands possessed by their pastors should still remain the property of their communion. He warned the Government that extreme severity—that the exaction of the last pound of flesh would produce a state of feeling which it would take many years to remove. It was a terrible thing to see their churches handed over to a lay Commission, to be composed of unknown members, and it was a terrible thing to see their pastors divested of the gardens and lands upon which their families had 1597 been brought up. It was terrible that the lands of the Church should be handed over to the enemy. This was a hostile Bill, brought in by internecine enemies, and if this excessive severity were persevered in the worst results would follow.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he understood, appreciated, and sympathized with, though he did not share, the feelings of the hon. Member, but he protested against the promoters of the Bill being considered as internecine enemies of the Irish Church, and he claimed to be as good a friend to it as the hon. Member. As to this Amendment, the Bill left the Church the greater part of what was claimed for it. It left to the Disestablished Church all churches, churchyards, schools, school houses, and glebe houses, with the exception that it called upon the Church Body to make partial, and very partial, re-payment to the State of the charges which the Commission would find it their duty to pay. What they would have really to deal with in the subsequent Amendment were the words "glebe lands attached thereto," by which he supposed the hon. Member meant all the glebe lands of the Irish Church, because they were all attached to some benefice. In common consistency the Government would have to resist this proposal, the effect of which would be to leave the Church, which they professed to disendow, with an enormous portion of her property in land. The clause had nothing to do with individual lands; it dealt only with churches; and, setting aside glebe lands, the clause as it stood effected all the hon. Baronet wished.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the right hon. Gentleman had told them that the Bill made no change with respect to churches and glebe houses. That, however, was incorrect, for it made this change—that, although those properties were to be held during the lives of the present incumbents, the title of the parishes and congregations to that property would be afterwards alienated. There had been many sneers when it was said that the Church of Ireland, like that of England, was an aggregation of corporations; but those who had used those sneers had overlooked an important element recognized by the Church of England, and recognized also by the canon law of the Church of Rome. It was most important that each congrega- 1598 tion when formed into a parish should have an absolute title to the property which it had originally created for the purpose of its worship. That was a principle which was characteristic of the Church Catholic throughout the world, and it was a principle which was recognised by all the Dissenting bodies. Let hon. Members consider how little prospect there would be of any provision being made for religious purposes, unless the congregations could be sure that the property which they had contributed, not only for their own use, but for the use of their successors, should permanently belong to the communities to which they were attached. The adoption of the contrary principle would strike at the root of all religious foundations as they had hitherto existed throughout the Christian world. It was often made a reproach to the Church in Ireland that it was a State Church. But if that clause was passed it would, indeed, become a State Church instead of an Established Church; because, the body in which it was proposed that property should be vested was to be a creation of the State, and the local possessors would be deprived of their existing rights. If the property was all aggregated in the hands of one great corporation created by the State, how easy it would be hereafter for the State to destroy all local and congregational titles which were in the nature of personal titles; and then by that means the principle of confiscation would be established, and established in a manner which would act in derogation of the tenure of all property.
said, he could not help flunking that that discussion was somewhat out of place. By the 12th clause of the Bill they had already provided that the property of the Church of Ireland—that was, of the corporations that made up the ecclesiastical body—should be vested in Commissioners, and the clause they wore now upon tended to the restoration of that property to the Church about to be incorporated under the Act. If the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) wished to stop the vesting in Commissioners, they would have to go back to the 12th clause for that purpose. Before the question was put as to the omission of the sub-section of this clause, he wished to take the opportunity of referring to certain Amendments 1599 to it of which notice had been given. It was proposed by the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) that the Church Body should not be called on to declare their willingness to maintain the churches in good repair. Now, the Government did not see such value attaching to the words in the clause as to induce them to desire the retention of them. The effect of the sub-clause so amended would then be—on a simple declaration by the Church Body of its desiring a particular church for religious purposes, or to take the same down and erect another church or churches in its place—to give them the whole churches of Ireland now in use with no other restriction than that declaration. They would be entirely in the hands of the Church Body, subject to the general obligations of law. There would be nothing in the clause to entitle the Commissioners to interfere with each minister, which was very far from what they desired.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he thought the less the Commissioners had to do with the churches or chapels the better. He agreed so far with the hon. Baronet in the object he had in view; but he did not consider it would be advisable that his hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire (Sir George Jenkinson) should press his Amendment in the form in which he had put it. The preceding portion of the Bill vested the property in the Commissioners, and that 2nd sub-section was introduced for the purpose of getting back the different churches. Some misapprehension might be created if they were to vote against such a provision; and he might add that he did not think it desirable they should mix up the question of the glebe houses and glebe lands with the question of the churches. Each of the Amendments should come before the Committee separately, and then they could more advantageously take their decision upon it. He hoped his hon. Friend would withdraw his Motion, allow the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) to be made, and then propose his Amendments seriatim on the different sub-sections of the clause.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, he would not press the point, but was quite willing to leave the matter in the hands of the Committee. At the same time, he must observe that the Chief 1600 Secretary for Ireland had made some very important admissions. It was proposed to remit the condition as to building to Maynooth; why was not the same generosity extended to the Protestant Church. Then, as to the glebe lands, would the Government agree to insert the words "the glebe lands attached thereto?" That Amendment would prevent a poor man's garden being taken from him, or his being compelled to buy it back. That would very much remove the sting of the measure. He would not, however, press his Amendment, but leave the matter in the hands of the Committee.
§ MR. BRUEN
said, he wished to have some explanation of this sub-section. If it were passed as it now stood, and if it continued to the clergy the exclusive rights to their pulpits after they had taken away the power of the ecclesiastical courts, before which clergymen could be cited for any omission of duty or preaching of false doctrine, they would be giving a license to any clergymen to hold his pulpit against all comers and to preach any doctrines he pleased, because there was no tribunal before which he could be arraigned. To give the Commissioners power in such cases to fasten the church doors would be to produce a dead-lock.
said, that the sub-section provided for the case of a clergymen who had not commuted and who would not come to terms with the Church Body; and it was desirable that, under such circumstances, subject to his life interest, the Commissioners should have the power of making the final arrangements with regard to his church so that they might carry it over at once to the Church Body in due course.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he had lost the opportunity on Friday of moving two Amendments on this subject, to which some importance was attached, and which would meet the case to which the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Bruen) had directed their attention. He now begged to give notice that at a later stage of the Bill he would renew those Amendments.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS moved, that in page 10, line 5, after "first," to insert the words "vacancy after the first day of January, one thousand eight 1601 hundred and seventy-one, or within six years after the said date, whichever may first happen." His object was to obtain more time than six months after the 1st of January, 1871, within which the Church Body should declare that they required a church for religious purposes, and. were willing to maintain it in good repair, or desired it for the purpose of taking it down, and erecting another in its place. He had no doubt that the Church Body would, in the great majority of cases, be prepared at once to make such a declaration; but there were some scattered Church populations in the South of Ireland, with respect to which they would not, within so brief a period as the middle of 1871, be able to make up their minds upon the subject; and it was, he thought, only fair that they should be allowed some extension of time for that purpose.
said, that the Government would not be indisposed to make some slight modification of the period laid down in the clause; but the ton. Gentleman, by his Amendment, asked for a large and not a slight alteration of the term. He had to add that he had not before heard a single opponent of the Bill express a desire that the period of six months from the 1st of January, 1871, should be enlarged. He believed that an opinion generally prevailed that the sooner the new Church Body was required to act the more would their energies be called forth, the less likely would they be to fall into habits of procrastination, and the more successful would be their operations.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he understood that the declaration in question was not to be required from the Church Body.
said, an application upon their parts would still be required, and this being so, it was necessary to define the time within which the application should be made.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he could answer for the Church Body in his own person. He had no doubt that within any time that might be defined the Church Body would make an application for every church in the country. He would add that all the churches would be kept up.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, he wished to know what would be the result if the Church Body did not come into existence within the specified time; or, if the 1602 clergymen of the Church refused to give their adhesion to the new body and remained "Christians unattached?" Did the Government propose to insert in the Bill any provision which would meet such a contingency?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, the Government had no right to assume, and it would not be proper to assume, that the Church Body would not be formed by the 1st of January, 1871. The Bill was framed upon the assumption that the new Church Body would come into existence on that day; and, if that should not be the case, the matter would have to be further considered, and additional legislation would be required.
§ MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, he would be prepared to alter his Amendment by requiring the Church Body to make their application within twelve months of the 1st of January, 1871.
said, he did not like to accede to that proposal without being assured that it would be agreeable to the members of the Irish Church generally.
§ Amendment negatived.
MR. PIM moved, in lines 8 to 11, to omit the words—
And are willing to maintain the same in good repair, or desire such church for the purpose of taking the same down, and erecting another church, or churches, in its place.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 15, to leave out from the word "Where," to the word "twelve," in line 32, inclusive.—(Mr. Pim.)
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY
said, he hoped the decision of the Government was not irrevocable. He could conceive nothing more disgraceful than the existance of a number of dilapidated churches in Ireland to be pointed out as the effects of the Bill. It was in no respect unfair to require those who took the churches to undertake to repair them.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he believed the keeping in repair would follow the taking as a matter of course, and he regarded the words proposed to be left out as positively insulting to the Protestant body.
said, he would point out to the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. W. H. Gregory) that the words were redundant.
said, it was as well the Committee should understand clearly what they were parting with by leaving out these words, to which he thought his hon. Friend (Mr. W. H. Gregory) attached too much importance. Of course it was conceivable that they might have said that no church should be handed over except on a guarantee being given by the Church Body, but the objections to that were overwhelming. Then, they might have imposed on the Commissioners the duty of satisfying themselves that the Church Body would maintain the churches if handed over, but for this duty the Commissioners would be ill-fitted. The Government had, therefore, proposed that the Church Body should simply make a declaration of its intention—first, that the buildings were wanted for Church purposes; and, secondly, that they would be kept in proper repair. The Government now proposed to give up this second point, because the maintenance of the church would follow as a matter of honour.
§ Words struck out.
said, that with regard to the 3rd sub-section of this clause, which gave the Commissioners power to hand over money to the Church Body for the maintenance in repair of a certain number of churches not exceeding twelve, as national monuments on account of their antiquity or architectural value, it was a proposal made by the Government under the idea that it would be agreeable to the principle of equity, and would probably be recognized as such by those who were not members of the Established Church of Ireland, and that the Members of the Church itself would think it a valuable provision. He was sorry to say that they had been disappointed in both those respects. This provision had been objected to very much by those who did not belong to the Church of Ireland, and he was also concerned to say it had been objected to very considerably by persons of high authority within the precints of the Church of Ireland itself. The objection of those who did not belong to the Church of Ireland was, that it savoured of inequality to appropriate a portion of that fund to the maintenance of any of the churches that were to belong to a particular voluntary community, and some persons had said.—"If the body now about to be dis- 1604 established cannot maintain those ancient and venerable churches for themselves let them hand them over to us and we will maintain them." That was the objection from their point of view. And from the Church point of view it had been objected that these churches were to be regarded as national monuments, and that if particular monies were to be appropriated for the purpose of maintaining these national monuments, they had the apprehension that that would be understood to entail rights of Parliamentary interference likely to impair more or less the independence of their religious community, the independent prospects of which its members appeared to him to value very highly—and he had no doubt, with reference to these proposals—very justly. In that state of circumstances, the Government did not feel disposed to be responsible for this provision. He should, therefore, propose to drop sub-section 3 out of the Bill.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
confessed he was a little surprised, although not so much so as he should have been a few hours ago, at the proposal made by the Government. He took up at his club, before coming down to the House, a Roman Catholic newspaper, and by that newspaper he was informed that the Liberal—meaning no doubt the Roman Catholic Members of the House of Commons—intended to have this part of the Bill struck out. The Roman Catholic Members of that House were, no doubt, a very important body, and their voice had had a very important effect in reference to this Bill—this gracious and generous Bill—and even in the case of this provision, which was put forward as a concession, their wishes had been followed. He should himself have objected to this provision if the churches were to be treated under it as national monuments to be interfered with by the State; but he had understood that the arrangement upon which the provision was based had been come to upon these grounds—that there being certain grand erections in Ireland upon which the money of Protestants had. been laid out, and it being, under the altered circumstances, difficult for the Church to maintain them, the proposal of the Government was that something should be given for the purpose of maintaining those buildings for a certain time. But it appeared that a section of that House 1605 objected even to this small modicum of liberality; and although large bodies in that House had asked, hitherto unsuccessfully, for something to be taken away from the severity of this Bill, the smaller Roman Catholic body had at once received a favourable answer to their demand. In the newspaper to which he had referred they told the House how they were about to dictate to it, and the Prime Minister now came down and obeyed their behests.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he did not know to what newspaper the right hon. Gentleman alluded—[Mr. GATHORNE HARDY: The Tablet.]—but he could assure him from, perhaps, a greater knowledge of the Irish newspapers than it was the duty of the right ton. Gentleman to possess, that in the Protestant papers of Ireland, so far as he could discover, there had been just as little favour shown, and just as much objection made to that well-intended section of the clause as could be found in any Roman Catholic newspaper. It had been his duty to watch carefully the language of the Irish newspapers of all parties, and the language held at public meetings in Ireland—especially at the interesting assemblages which had lately taken place on the part of the Established Church—and he did not recollect seeing one word of adhesion, whether in leading articles, or in speeches, to this provision of the Bill, but many protests against it. One of those expressions of opinion to which he would allude was a very strong and able speech, delivered the other day by Dr. Alexander, the Bishop of Derry, who positively denounced that proposal in the strongest terms, because he said it was a proposal fatal to the future freedom and security of the Disestablished Church in Ireland with respect to these particular churches. If they were called national monuments, Dr. Alexander said, they had no security whatever for their future position; and Parliament might either impose special conditions upon the Church with regard to the use of the buildings, or might, at some future time, take them away again at its own will and pleasure. He did not attempt to disguise the fact that the Protestants of Ireland were not the only persons who were unfavourable to that clause. The Catholics felt that there was a certain anomaly in creating churches national monuments and at the 1606 same time vesting them not in any pub-he and impartial body, but in one out of the many religious communities in Ireland. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, the. Government believed that the proposal they had made was as little favoured on the one side in Ireland as upon the other, and they did not therefore feel it their duty to press it.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he could assure the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government that the Protestants of Ireland would hear with equal surprise and indignation what the Government had so suddenly put before the House. Their proposal to omit that section of the clause was levelled against the cathedrals. Those cathedrals had been restored in many instances at the expense of private individuals, who certainly never anticipated that they would be forced to keep them up after rebuilding and restoring them. There was the case, for instance, of St. Patrick's Cathedral, both in Dublin and Armagh. The next clause of the Bill provided that if any individual erected a church he might have it if the Commissioners refused to take it. Sir Benjamin Guinness had laid out upwards of £100,000, not in the erection, but in the restoration of St. Patrick's Cathedral; the late Primate expended £27,000 in Armagh; therefore, in spite of the money they had spent, their representatives would not come within the provisions of that clause. They might therefore go to ruin; for whatever means the Protestants of Ireland might have with which to keep up their parish churches they certainly had no superfluous means that would enable them to keep up their cathedrals. He was sure that much stronger remonstrances would have been made against that measure, if it had been known that it was the intention of the Government to leave out this important provision of the Bill; and he hoped that upon a further reflection they would agree to restore it.
§ MR. DOWNING
said, he rose as a Roman Catholic Member to protest against the rather unwarrantable attack made upon Members who were Roman Catholics by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy). He represented a Catholic constituency of something like 400,000; but although four 1607 Catholic Prelates in that constituency exercised a very large, and he might say a paramount, influence on the election of representatives for that county—["Hear, near!"]—Yes, and in consequence he was here—he could assure the House that he had never received from any of those Prelates a single line directing his attention either to the principle of that Bill, or to any clause in it. Reference had been made over and over again on the other side of the House to the influence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster over the Roman Catholic Members of the House, but those references were the reverse of well founded. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Cullen, had, to his knowledge, neither directly nor indirectly interfered with the progress of the Bill, and the Catholic Members had held no meetings on the subject from the moment the measure was introduced by the distinguished Gentleman at the head of the Government—to whom the people of Ireland owed so much—and to whom, on their behalf, he tendered his unmeasured thanks. Hon. Gentlemen opposite first complained that the Roman Catholic Members had not spoken upon this Bill, and now they complained of the part they suggested they had taken with regard to it. As the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had stated on a former occasion, if all the Roman Catholic Members in that House walked out, the Bill would be carried without their votes. It would be carried by the members of the Church of England and the Dissenters in that House. For himself he could state that, he had not read a single article in the Tablet since the Bill was brought in.
§ SIR THOMAS BATESON
said, that the Protestants in the North of Ireland felt keenly on this question, and he must say that they had no confidence in the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. They felt that the right hon. Gentleman had been in communication with the emissaries of Cardinal Cullen on the subject. They believed that the clause was so worded that a coach and six might be driven through it, and that, by means of the clause, the cathedrals might, at a future time, be transferred to the Roman Catholics. The Protestants of Ireland would be perfectly satisfied if the suggestion of 1608 the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) was adopted, and a sum of money was handed over, once for all, to the Church Body for the purpose in question.
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY
said, he was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) should have so strongly objected to the withdrawal of this sub-clause. Hon. Members seemed to fancy that that withdrawal had originated in some plot. The truth was that the sub-clause was regarded with anything but approbation by the Protestant Bishops and the Committees now engaged in considering the provisions of this measure. In the Report of the Details of the Irish Church Bill, published under the sanction of the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, he found it stated that the provision which the Government now proposed to remove seemed at variance with the policy of the measure, the object of which was to terminate as soon as possible the dealings between the Church and State. He had always looked on the section which the Government now proposed to withdraw, as the fly in the pot of ointment. The Bill first proceeded to disendow the Church, and then it went on to endow those cathedrals. That would cause ill-feeling and bitterness in Ireland. He believed there was not one of those cathedrals which had not been taken from the Roman Catholics and converted to Protestant uses.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he thought that if there was one thing more than another in which hon. Members were bound to be fair, just, and candid, it was quotation. When a Member stood up to quote a document, which might or might not be seen by the other Members of the House, it was to be expected that his quotation would not be a garbled one. He was astonished at the manner in which his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. W H. Gregory) had misquoted the Report to which he had referred. His hon. Friend had omitted lines further on which gave another meaning to the passage from that which he had attached to it. The Report stated that the clause proposed to enable the Commissioners to grant a sum of money to maintain these twelve churches as national monuments. It then remarked that this provision seemed to be at variance with the policy of the 1609 measure, the object of which was to terminate as soon as possible all dealings between the Church and the State, It then suggested that an adequate sum for the maintenance of churches should be estimated and paid, or secured at once, to the Church Body, and that it should not be left to the Commissioners to select the churches to which that sum should be applied. That objection was in the spirit of the suggestion now made j on his side of the House; but the hon. Member for Galway misrepresented the nature of the objection of the clergy, and the Prime Minister misrepresented the Irish Protestants, in stating that they were indifferent to a proposal for giving them means to maintain those churches. Of course they wore indifferent to a proposal such as that made by the Government, because they thought it fell short of what ought to be done. But they were not indifferent to having their churches maintained. Gentlemen on his side of the House would be glad to hear from the Roman Catholic Members the views of their constituents expressed in the way the views of constituents should be expressed in Parliament; but it was no satisfaction to the House first to hear from the First Minister of the Crown that he was going to withdraw a section of a clause in deference to the feelings, as he understood, of the Irish Roman Catholic body, and then to learn from the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Downing), who represented the largest constituency in Ireland, and a portion of the country in which there were four Roman Catholic Prelates, that he had received no communication from his constituents with reference to this provision. He thought this matter required explanation after the express statement of the right hon. Gentleman, in introducing the Bill, that it was intended to preserve those magnificent monuments—in which statement he made express reference to St. Patrick's Cathedral, which had been restored by a munificent benefactor. What was to become of such endowments as that of the gentleman who paid the expenses of that restoration? He would call the attention of the Committee to another part of the clause. The Committee had passed one sub-section, by which it was provided that, in case a representative body required a church for religious purposes and considered themselves able to keep it in repair, the church should be handed 1610 over to them, but not otherwise. What was to become of those churches which the body found themselves unable to maintain? They were to be handed over to the Commissioners, to be disposed of as might be thought proper—that was to say their value would be thrown into the surplus. That he believed to be extremely unfair. If the churches were handed over to the representative body of the Church en bloc, with liberty to pull down those they did not want, and apply the proceeds to the sustentation of those they did want, and if some aid were given in support of those whose size rendered it a difficult matter to derive the necessary funds from voluntary contributions, the proposal would be a tolerably equitable one; but what was now proposed was that the body should be compelled to find sufficient funds at once—at the moment of being turned from an endowed and established Church into a, disendewed and free body, and that, too, instead of their being allowed—as they had hitherto had every reason to expect—a little breathing time to consider what they would be able to do in their new position!
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he regretted that the withdrawal of this section should have been imputed to the result of Roman Catholic interference, the more so as an Amendment proposing its rejection had been placed on the Paper by his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), who was certainly not a Roman Catholic, and who could not be accused of entering into any dark conspiracy with the members of that communion. The charge appeared to be founded to some extent upon the fact that objections to this section had been published in a Catholic newspaper; but he would ask if there was any clause in the Bill that had not been discussed and objected to in Protestant as well as Roman Catholic newspapers, both in England and Ireland. Sometimes they were wrong in the conclusions they drew and the objections they made, and sometimes they made a lucky hit. But the section really had not been rightly understood. It was never intended to create a fund for the maintenance of Church property in Ireland as Church property. It was meant that, as the Church in Ireland in its disendowed and disestablished state would not be in a position to pro- 1611 vide for the care of those larger buildings, aid should—if they were worthy on account of their architectural beauty or their remarkable antiquity to be preserved as State monuments—be afforded for that purpose out of the funds of the State. But when the Protestants in Ireland read this sub-clause, they said that it was an invidious attempt to get at this property at some future time, and they rejected it. As the proposal was objected to by all parties, the Government thought it better to withdraw it; but to the statement that that withdrawal was due to interference on the part of the Roman Catholics, he gave a most unequivocal and distinct denial.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he believed the First Minister of the Crown could, perhaps, understand that a gift might be made unpalatable by the way in which it was offered. Within his own recollection, three out of twelve cathedrals had been richly endowed by private benefactors; and the Protestants of Ireland regarded it as monstrous that the Bill should propose that the management of these cathedrals should be taken out of the hands of the representatives of those persons and be handed over to a lay' body. He thought that a sum ought to be secured to the Church Body for the maintenance of cathedrals out of the property now belonging to the Church. The Protestants of Ireland would accept that as a partial restitution, if not as an act of generosity.
§ MR. SERJEANT DOWSE
said, he wished to tender his thanks to the First Minister of the Crown for assenting to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dublin. It was a wise and gracious thing to leave the clause out of the Bill. He could assure the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, and who had spoken as if the Protestants of Ireland were incorporated in his own proper person, that the withdrawal of this section met with the approbation of a large number both of Protestants and Roman Catholics in Ireland, whose opinions were entitled to weight. The effect of supporting those buildings as national monuments would be that the State would still keep up churches upon which, every 12th of July, an Orange flag would float to insult the feelings of the Catholics. A large number of Protestants in Ireland, who, although they were in a minority, ought not on that account to 1612 be thought the less of by the Opposition, were opposed to this clause. They did not wish to worship in national monuments, and they wished to see the principle of the Bill fully carried out, as it would be by omitting this section of the clause. The Presbyterians of Ireland were not satisfied with it; Professor Richard Smith said, at a public meeting in Derry, that it would be a festering relic of Protestant ascendancy, and a blot on this magnificent piece of statesmanship; and the clerk of the Ballymena Presbytery wrote to him that the maintenance by national money of any of these churches for one denomination would create an invidious inequality, and prove a continual source of annoyance. The Catholics in a body, the Presbyterians and other Nonconformists in a majority, and of the Episcopalians a respectable, intelligent, and tolerant minority, were opposed to this clause; and he, therefore, thanked the right hon. Gentleman for acceding to this Amendment. He had intended moving it if it had not been put upon the Paper by the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim); but, if the Government had not accepted it, he would not have divided the Committee, because he had confidence in his Chief. It was of little use for any party to have a Chief if they had not confidence in his sagacity and intelligence, and if they would not trust him in details as well as broad outlines; and he hoped that side of the House would never present the spectacle—which had been lately seen on the other side—of the tail of the party drawing the head of it into the Lobby against his convictions.
§ SIR LAWRENCE PALK
said, he had listened to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down with much pleasure, for it was at least an honest speech. The unmitigated hatred of the hon. and learned Gentleman to the Protestant religion in Ireland was undisguised. He recognized in him a fair and open enemy, but what could they say of those who brought in a measure, as they conceived, to destroy the Irish Church while pretending to be her friends. The question was whether the most venerable and beautiful monuments of piety and generosity should be permitted to remain. ["Divide, divide!"] Hon. Gentlemen were so proud of their majority that they grudged even a few words to those opposed to them. This 1613 measure was so unjust and so disgraceful to Parliament that it might, perhaps, have been the best course to let it pass sub silentio. The Bill could not be amended, but in a spirit of patriotism, they ought to leave the cathedrals. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were proceeding in a spirit of Vandalism to destroy the monuments of a religion that had been great and powerful, and he believed would yet be great and powerful in Ireland. There was one magnificent edifice in Ireland which had been reared by the piety and munificence of one of Ireland's richest citizens, and, if it had no other claim upon the Committee, that was sufficient. Many other churches in Ireland had been built by pious individuals; those churches could not be considered as any badge of conquest, and there could be no sentimental grievance in maintaining them.
§ MR. PIM
said he had not spoken to any Roman Catholic before he gave notice of the Amendment he had proposed, with the exception of one Gentleman who was a Member of this House, and that Gentleman said he wished the clause to be retained. He spoke to several Roman Catholics and Protestants in Dublin, after he had given notice of his Amendment, and he did not find one person, whether he was in favour of this Bill or not, who did not agree with him that this clause ought to be omitted. Under these circumstances he was very glad that the Government had acceded to his Amendment, which he believed would produce great satisfaction in Ireland.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, it was difficult to account for the conduct of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pirn) with regard to his Amendments. Some he had run away from, one he had absolutely voted against, and now, after putting the Amendment to omit that section upon the Paper, he desired to be considered a Protestant champion.
§ Question put, "That the words 'Where any Church in respect of which an application is made as aforesaid by the representative body of the said Church to the Commissioners' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 132; Noes 232: Majority 100.
§ MR. GATHOENE HARDY moved in page 10, lines 39 and 40, to leave out ''within twenty-five years before the passing of this Act,'' and insert'' since the year one thousand eight hundred." He 1614 thought the term of twenty-five years too short, and his Amendment provided a longer time.
§ Amendment agreed to.
MR. GATHOENE HAEDY moved in page 11, Hue 9, after order "to add—
The Commissioners shall ascertain mid certify the annual sum which, on an average of ten years preceding the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine, has been paid and expended by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in church repairs, and in heating and lighting, and providing requisites for the decent performance of Divine Service in churches, other than repairs and requisites connected with the churches mentioned in the third head of the preceding section, and in the salaries of parish clerks and sextons, and shall pay and hand over to the said representative body, if and when formed and incorporated, a sum equal to fourteen times such annual sum, to be held and applied by such body for and in such purposes.
The greater portion of the sum spent on repairs had been from the income of the clergy, and practically therefore the Amendment dealt with private endowments. He did not insist that the sum should be exactly fourteen times the annual sum, but the principle at least ought to be recognized.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said that the Amendment was entirely inconsistent with the principle of the Bill. It would be no act of friendship to the Irish Church if the House by half-measures kept open sores of this description. The Government could not take that view of the question which had been suggested rather than explained or defended by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. They could not assent to the proposition that the payments now made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Ireland for the different churches in that country were in the nature of private endowments, or anything approaching to the nature of a private endowment. On the contrary, it was quite evident that these sums were as much part of the public income and expenditure of the Church of Ireland as any other part of the income and expenditure, and it would be against the principle of the Bill to agree to the Amendment.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, that it was not inconsistent with the ''gracious and generous policy" formerly advocated by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. Such provision was more necessary than be- 1615 fore, and the demand for it was now irresistible.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, that the Chief Secretary for Ireland ignored the fact that the Commissioners insisted that one-half or one-fourth of the sum required should be supplied from private sources before they gave any grant. The sums had been considered to be in the nature of absolute benefactions. He knew where that had been the case within a few miles of his residence. There was a large and populous town in a sea-bathing locality, but no church. The Commissioners were asked what they would do towards building one. The Commissioners asked the applicants what they would do, and they agreed to give one-half if they got the other half. The church cost £2,000, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners contributed half that sum. He maintained that this contribution was in the nature of a benefaction.
said, that when he saw the long list of Amendments which had been placed on the Paper by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), he expected that some of them would be pressed, and that others, mere makeweights, would be thrown overboard when the proper time arrived. He certainly had hoped that the present Amendment was one which had been placed upon the Paper only with the intention of withdrawing it by way of grace. It was extravagant to suppose that they could grant fourteen years' purchase of the cost of providing surplices, doormats, coal-scuttles, and other such articles of furniture. Were these things to be provided for during the next twenty years at the expense of a fund created under a Disestablishment Bill? This proposal respecting church necessaries was different from propositions relating to the education and sustentation of ministers. Above all things, the requisites for Divine worship must be provided by voluntary efforts. Until 1833, these matters had always been provided for by voluntary contributions, but by 1616 an unfortunate arrangement in the Act of 1833 the charge was thrown upon a fund of ecclesiastical property.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, the right hon. Gentleman had ingeniously dwelt on the "also's" of the Amendment with his unworthy taunt about coalscuttles, and so on, and had omitted to mention the most important item in the Amendment—church repairs, which was a very just demand. Funds had been subscribed in many cases at great self-denial, and offered in aid of contributions from the Ecclesiastical Commission, in the belief that the Church was secure from the revolution which now threatened it. He himself was a trustee under such an arrangement of a fund bequeathed by a very distinguished relative for the benefit of the Irish Church. The Amendment did not ask for these things to be provided for twenty years; it only asked for a certain sum which should be capitalized for the purposes referred to, and form a foundation on which to date the structure of private benevolence.
said, he did not consider the sum a moderate one at all, for it amounted to nearly £500,000. The Bill had never contemplated forming a permanent endowment for any such purpose, and that was a conclusive reason against acceding to the Amendment.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he did not think the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) was at all unreasonable, but he should vote with the First Minister of the Crown, in order that he might be able to deal freely with the proposition in the Bill to capitalize the grant for education at Maynooth.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
thought the estimate of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government as to the capital sum required by the Mover of the Amendment exceedingly moderate. The Prime Minister estimated the sum capitalized at £500,000, and the hon. Member (Mr. G. Hardy) thought that calculation an exaggeration. As a matter of fact, the sum so mildly asked for by the clause amounted to more than £857,000. He would give the items which the hon. Gentlemen opposite were so anxious to learn. First, there was for church repairs £24,000; heating and lighting, £6,313 17s. 1d,; parish clerks, £14,513 17s. 10d.; sextons—who were to be 1617 amalgamated with the clerks according to the sage recommendation of the Commissioners—£9,668 5s. 9d.; organists, £1,410; organ-blowers, £139; communion requisites, £2,039, and church requisites, £3,040; making for ''requisites," £37,258 a year; which, added to the £24,000 for church repairs, amounts to £61,258 yearly. Now, if this be multiplied by fourteen, the number of years' income named in the Amendment as the capitalized sum asked, would be found to amount to £857,000 in round numbers.
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had asserted that certain Amendments had been put forward with 'the intention of their being withdrawn. Although he denied the truth of that assertion, he felt bound, after the House had refused to provide for the maintenance of churches of the highest character, to refrain from pressing the present Amendment. He could not, how- ever, allow the matter to pass without protesting against the injustice of taking; away the money for the purposes referred to.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, that, had he been aware of the intention of the Government to withdraw the 3rd sub-section of the clause, which, in his opinion, was about the only specimen of that liberality and generosity of which they had heard so much, but saw so little in the enactments of this Bill, he should certainly not have withdrawn the Amendments which stood in his name at an earlier hour of the evening.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 26 (Enactments with respect to burial grounds).
§ COLONEL GREVILLE-NUGENT
said, he rose to propose Amendments which would have the effect of vesting the control of all graveyards in the Poor Law Guardians of each union. By the earlier provisions of the Bill the whole property of the Church was to be vested in the Commissioners to be appointed under it; and the first part of the present. clause proposed that the Commissioners should hand over the graveyards adjacent to the churches to the represent body of the Church, in all those cases in which the churches themselves had been so handed over, while, accord- 1618 ing to the second part, in all other cases the graveyards were to come under the provisions of the Burial Act (Ireland), 1866, and the statutory amendments thereof for the time being. If the burial grounds adjacent to the churches were exclusively used for the interment of Protestants, he should not have objected to the proposal; but it was clear that the vast majority of those buried in those graveyards were Roman Catholics. The Church having been disestablished and disendowed because it was not the national Church, he was of opinion that the churchyards, as being national burying grounds, should not be given up entirely to the Church Body. To hand them over to the Protestant Episcopal Church would be to maintain that ascendancy which was inconsistent with the principles of the Bill. In some parishes the proportion of Protestants to Roman Catholics was as 9 to 500, and in others there were Protestant families to 300 Roman Catholic families. In his part of the country the Roman Catholics were about 90 per cent of the population. He therefore thought that no Protestant could object to the placing of graveyards under the control of the Boards of Guardians, who were empowered to form themselves into burial boards; which boards were essentially unsectarian, but the members of them were chiefly Protestants. He spoke as an Englishman and Protestant who, having property in Ireland, had lived there for twenty years, and was thoroughly convinced of the injustice of the present system of burials. He could mention cases to show that very disgraceful scenes occurred under the existing state of things. Bloodshed was frequently caused. Some two or three years ago, a sergeant of Militia was taken ill in the town of Mullingar, and was attended by the Protestant clergyman. He, however, in the course of his illness, changed his religion, and having bad the spiritual services of a Roman Catholic priest, died a Roman Catholic. When the adjutant of the regiment, accompanied by the priest, went to the graveyard to bury the man, they found before them the vicar in full canonicals ready to read the burial service. The priest very prudently retired, otherwise—inasmuch as a large mob was assembled—bloodshed would probably have ensued. The vicar had been told by a 1619 dignitary of Ms Church that the graveyard was his property, and that he must insist upon his rights, and thus came about a proceeding which would not for a single moment be tolerated in this country. Another case to which he would refer was that of a Presbyterian woman who died at Belfast, who wished to be buried in the same grave as some of her ancestors. She was conveyed to the graveyard in a coffin, borne on the shoulders of her relatives; but they found the gateway tied with a cord, and the rector of the parish standing inside. Admission being refused them they cut the cord, and, as they entered the gateway, one of those present happened to push against the rector. The coffin was subsequently lowered into the grave, but soon after the rector stepped forward, and having stated that he had sent for the police, expressed a hope that the law would allow him to have the corpse disinterred. Was it fit, he should ask, that such scenes should be permitted to continue? He thought the Committee would be of opinion that it was not. The Belfast Presbyterian Association had already protested emphatically against continuing the maintenance and control of graveyards as at present. He hoped, therefore, that the Government would assent to his proposal, and thus make the Bill more consistent with its own principle of securing complete religious equality. The hon. Member concluded by moving, in page 11, line 16, to leave out "enactments," and insert "enactment."
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, one or two statements had been made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Greville-Nugent) which stood in need of correction. For his own part, he by no means shared those dislikes and bitter antipathies which, in some parts of Ireland, not only extended to individuals during their lifetime, but even followed them to the grave. In every country there had been numerous instances in which individuals exercised their legal rights without discretion. Still those rights were conferred by laws; and this was an answer to such cases as had been adduced by the hon. and gallant Gentleman. He wished, however, to remind the House that these things were not done on one side only. In the North of Ireland members of other religious denominations had done 1620 acts of a similar kind which were very objectionable. For example, there was a parish in the county which he represented (Londonderry) where a majority of the inhabitants were Protestants. To this parish came a body of individuals calling themselves Redemptorist Fathers, who for three weeks, in defiance of all law, took possession of the churchyard, which was the freehold of the rector. Here they erected booths and stalls for the sale of relics, and before their departure they erected on the ruin, which had formerly been the parish church, a large cross, that remained there to the present day. The case was referred to him, and he had some small influence in regard to the decision that was arrived at. He told the rector that, although he had a perfect right to interfere, and although his own parish was chiefly Protestant, yet the wisest course under all the circumstances was to look at the matter in a spirit of Christian charity, and to remember that, however offensive that cross might be to his parishioners, it would do them no actual harm; and accordingly it remained there to that day. Generally speaking, the Roman Catholics had no desire to be buried among the Protestants, and the Protestants disliked being buried among the Roman Catholics. He knew a churchyard where, for about 100 years, it had been customary for Protestants only to be buried; there was in the same parish another churchyard, where it was customary for the Roman Catholics to be buried; and he understood that the best feeling prevailed in the parish. But under this clause, if one churchyard were not to be maintained, the other would be thrown open to all religious denominations. He asked how a Presbyterian congregation would like to have the burial service performed in their chapels according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, which they abhorred?
said, that the cases cited by the hon. Baronet the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) were by no means isolated or exceptional. A case occurred, thirteen years ago, in the diocese of Dublin, in which a clergyman of the Established Church refused, to allow a Dissenting minister to perform the burial service over a deceased member of his congregation on consecrated ground, 1621 thus compelling him to perform it on the roadside, to the great indignation and distress of the mourners. The spirit of bigotry in these matters, which they all lamented, was not yet extinct; and it would be well to take effectual precautions against its manifestation in future.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, that the discussion had opened the whole question of burying grounds, but that clause dealt only with graveyards attached to churches. He thought the present proposal showed singular meanness. It was not enough that they were to be robbed of their endowments, but they must be deprived of their graveyards. He respected the conscientious convictions of all men, but he could not approve of professing Protestants doing the work of the Roman Catholic Church. The Presbyterian Association which had been quoted by an hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel Greville-Nugent) had no claim to represent the Irish Presbyterians generally, being an association composed of supporters of the junior Member for Belfast (Mr. M'Clure), and styled "the Liberal Presbyterian Association." The fanaticism of its members might be judged from the fact that one of them, Mr. David Ross, a barrister, objected to the compensation of life interests, because the Roman Catholics abroad would be dissatisfied! He was acquainted with the parish referred to by the hon. and gallant Member for Longford, having been himself born in the adjoining parish. He knew that its rector, the Rev. Mr. Stewart, was really a man of God; and, although he deplored his refusal of admission to a Presbyterian minister to his graveyard to perform the burial service there, yet he could state that the refusal was not dictated by bigotry, but simply by over-conscientiousness, and by a desire to protect the legal rights of his freehold. The law formerly required the consent of the rector to be obtained in all such cases. His own family had buried for 150 years in one of these graveyards, and he should object to have the graves; of his ancestors secularized.
§ MR. KIRK
said, he thought the argument of the hon. Gentleman who spoke last went to prove the very opposite conclusion to that which it was intended to support. It was a hardship that it should be in the power of a rector to refuse access to a burial-ground. 1622 Dr. Knox, of Belfast, about eighteen months ago, was obliged to read the Burial Service over a deceased person on the road, and not in the graveyard at all. Many Presbyterians had rights of sepulture in these Church graveyards, and were desirous of retaining them. He was happy to say that he himself knew of an instance in which a truly Christian spirit was manifested by a rector living in his neighbourhood, who, upon an application being made to him by a Presbyterian clergyman for permission to officiate at a funeral within a churchyard, not only yielded to the request, but placed at the disposal of the Dissenting minister the church attached to the ground, as the day happened to be wet. But the right of refusal on the part of the rector ought not to exist.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENEBAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that some misapprehension evidently existed as to how the law stood in regard to burials in Ireland. At this moment no Protestant rector in that country, under the penalty of being guilty of misdemeanour, could prevent any parishioner of any other religion from being buried in a Church graveyard, provided that twenty-four hours' notice of the intended burial were given, and that such burial did not interrupt Divine service in the church to which the graveyard was attached. The case that the hon. Member for Longford (Colonel Greville-Nugent) had brought forward could not therefore have occurred under the present law. And not merely was there the right of burial, but also the right of having the burial service of the religious communion to which the deceased person belonged performed at the grave. Any rector who stood before the gate to prevent such interment, whether with his canonical dress or without it, incurred, under the Act of 1868, the penalty of misdemeanour, and it would be the duty of the Attorney General of the day to prosecute him. One such case occurring in a Roman Catholic district in the South of Ireland might be attended with the very gravest consequences. He thought that in cases where there was a wall surrounding the graveyard, and the graveyard was not separated from the church, to do what the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Greville-Nugent) proposed would give rise to angry feeling. The 1623 Amendment of the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan) might, however, be satisfactorily adopted, and. then no churchyard which was separated from the church itself by a highway would be vested in the representative body. It should be borne in mind that this clause as it stood would not only protect the rights of burial, as they existed under the present law, but also such rights as might afterwards be declared to exist by Act of Parliament.
§ COLONEL GREVILLE-NUGENT
said, that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan) would not remove his objection. They proposed to establish religious equality by this Bill, and at the same time they would by this clause make it necessary for those who formed the vast majority of the population to give twenty-four hours' notice to the rector of the small minority before they could bury their dead. Was that religious equality? These graveyards were national graveyards, and ought not, therefore, to be handed over to the possession of the Disestablished Church. Then there was no provision for the due maintenance of graveyards? Why not hand them over to the Boards of Guardians, who would have power to build good, substantial fences round them, and to keep them in proper order? He would, however, leave the matter to be dealt with as the Government thought best.
§ DR. BALL
said, he could not understand how it was there was any objection to either of the sub-clauses of Clause 26. The law had been accurately explained by the Attorney General for Ireland. Persons of every denomination in Ireland had the right of interment in those grounds, with the ceremony of his particular denomination. Surely no one ought to contend that they ought to give the graveyard to one owner and the church to another. He had no objection to some of the suggestions made from the other side, but order, propriety, and decency recommended that they should give the ground around the church to him to whom they gave the church.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, it was common in Ireland for persons dying in one parish to be buried in a distant parish. He wished to know if the friends of persons who died could claim the right to have them buried in another parish. He 1624 apprehended not. If they disendowed the clergyman of everything else, why not disendow him of the churchyard also? The churchyard was supposed to be the freehold of the clergyman; if they deprived him of every other freehold, why not of that?
§ MR. SHERLOCK
said, he did not see that the objections of the hon. and gallant Member for Longford (Colonel Greville-Nugent) had been removed. The hon. and gallant Member's proposal was not to vest them in another sectarian body, but in one wholly un sectarian, in order to prevent those unseemly ebullitions of feeling which sometimes occurred. Graveyards ought to be common ground on which all religious differences ought to cease.
said, the alteration in the law, effected by the Bill of 1868, would absolutely preclude the possibility of the recurrence of an unwise or unwarrantable use of discretionary power, because the right of the parishioner would be absolute; but that everybody who lived in any county should have the right to be buried in any burial ground was a rule which, upon grounds entirely apart from this discussion, it would be most absurd to establish, because it would lead to confusion, and local rights of burial must be confined to persons having immediate local connection. As regarded parishioners, the veto of the clergyman was gone; the Presbyterian clergyman could no longer be required to stand outside the burial ground in the road to perform the burial service. He did not deny there was something in the alleged infringement of religious equality; but he put that against the practical question which had to be considered on the other side. Where a church was entirely surrounded by the burial ground it was impossible to separate the two, and that consideration appeared to have much greater weight than the theoretical infringement of the abstract principle of religious equality. The facts could not be got rid of, and it must be seen that they were not attended with practical grievance, while there would be a grievance to the Church authorities if they had not command of the site in the case, for instance, of their requiring to re-build or enlarge the church. He did not know to what extent there was any reason to apprehend that burial grounds would be 1625 allowed to go to wreck and ruin; but it would not be an unfair thing to carry to the Church representative body the obligation to keep in repair which now rested upon the rector. While he did not deny that the case presented certain remnants of difficulty, he did not think they were to be compared in point of magnitude with the difficulty of tearing asunder the church and the churchyard.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he trusted the House would agree to the clause, which was one of the few he could regard with any sort of favour. This was a subject of very grave importance. He supposed that the same funds out of which the churches would have to be repaired would be called upon to keep the burial grounds in order, but he confessed he was not so sanguine as some hon. Members appeared to be that a sufficient revenue for both could be obtained. It was but a mere act of decency that the burial ground adjacent to the church should be made to go with it.
§ MR. W. VERNER
asked how it was proposed to deal with those churchyards that had been closed by Order in Council of the Lord Lieutenant?
§ THE ATTOENEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, they would be vested in the Boards of Guardians.
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
said, that, in many parts of Ireland, it was not usual to bury the dead in the parish in which the family resided, but in contiguous or sometimes in distant churchyards. They were buried with their ancestors, irrespective of parishes. That right must still be secured to the people of Ireland, or they would not feel satisfied.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that by the clause the rights of family vaults would be preserved.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, that the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel Greville-Nugent) had dug up graves for the purpose of finding a grievance. The hon. and gallant Member had rather congratulated himself on being an Englishman, but in thus getting up a cause of quarrel he had gone far to prove that he must be an Irishman. He hoped the Government would not accept the Amendment. He was glad to find that they were willing to lend an ear to the Church of Ireland in her fallen fortunes, and that they would not permit the 1626 precincts of the sanctuary of the dead to be made the scene of unseemly squabbles. But he must say that, so far from funerals in Ireland being- accompanied by riots, the reverse was the case. Protestants, generally speaking, were happy to join with Roman Catholics in paying the last rites to deceased Catholics, and Catholics were equally ready to attend the funerals of Protestants.
§ MR. SERJEANT DOWSE
said, that the Presbyterian Association of Belfast was of opinion that, the clause would leave the graveyards under the complete control of the clergymen of the Protestant Episcopalian Church, and thus lead to unseemly contests. He thought, however, that this opinion had arisen from a misunderstanding as to the state of the law. It might perhaps be well to insert qualifying words, such as "or in respect of" after "rights of" and before "burials," which would leave the matter entirely under the control of Parliament, and if, at any future time, any necessity arose, the rights of all parties could be effectually protected by legislation on the subject—legislation which would be beyond the scope and objects of the present Bill.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, that sometimes one-half of the graveyard was on one side of the public highway and the other half the other side. He thought that the distinction of "public highway'' was rather an arbitrary one. He trusted that the Government would adhere to the clause as it at present stood.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that if the suggestion of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore) were adopted or not, the churchyards in Ireland would be open to all the inhabitants of the parish, as were the churchyards of Scotland. In Scotland, even though the church stood in the middle of the graveyard, the graveyard no more belonged to the parish church or to the people of the Established Church than it belonged to the Dissenters, or Roman Catholics, or Episcopalians. The area of the graveyard was free to all the inhabitants of the parish. If a person had a right to a private burial ground his relatives ordered the sexton to prepare a grave, and the minister was not consulted about it. In the case of a poor man, in which there was no right to a private burial ground, the relatives of the deceased desired the sexton to bury him. He never 1627 heard of any dispute or any difficulty, and he did not believe there would be any dispute or any difficulty if the Scotch rule were extended to the Disestablished Church of Ireland.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that he considered the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Londonderry was an improvement.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. LOCKE KING
said, he wished to call attention to cases where land was granted for cemetery purposes by private individuals, whose wishes should be carried out. There was an Irish landlord celebrated for liberality, who gave a good piece of land to Catholics and Protestants for cemeteries; and cemeteries given to the Protestants should be kept for that purpose. It was provided by the clause that where any church vested in the representative body of the Church has a burial ground annexed, or adjacent thereto, such burial ground shall be included with the church. He proposed, for the purpose of meeting the case to which he had called attention, in page 11, line 20, after "thereto," to insert—"or that has been granted to, or exclusively used by, the parishioners attending said church."
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he thought it an ungracious thing to qualify the grant by the addition of such miserable words as those moved by the hon. Member for East Surrey.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he would agree to the Amendment on the condition that the words "by a private donor" should be inserted after the word "granted."
§ Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN) moved to insert in the clause the words "not separated therefrom by any public highway."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, it was in the last degree unlikely that a public highway would be made through one of those churchyards hereafter; but if one should be made the churchyard on both sides would belong to the Church Body.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made.
§ On Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill,"
§ MR. AGAR-ELLIS
said, he doubted whether the Boards of Guardians would pay sufficient attention to the burial grounds, which were to be placed under their charge, and whether, owing to the divided authority which the Bill proposed to give to the Boards of Guardians and to the Board of "Works, these two bodies would not occasionally be at loggerheads. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would adopt some means of protecting the monuments in the burial grounds from being defaced or destroyed.
said, he ventured to think that the Bill would effect a great improvement in this direction, inasmuch as it would for the first time intrust to a public authority the duty of considering whether these ancient remains, when not suitable for restoration for public worship, should be maintained as national monuments. It would become the duty of the Board of Works to maintain the buildings when the Commissioners had conveyed them over. He did not see what more should be done.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, that the national monuments referred to were not churches, but ruins of an interesting character.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, he wished to know whether the charge of maintenance would fall upon the poor rate or the county cess.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, the expenses would be paid by the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, who would be supplied with a small sum for that purpose out of the funds in the hands of the Church Commissioners.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, it was impossible to name the whole of the ruins; this duty would be much better discharged by the Commissioners. One of them would be the seven churches of Glendalough.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he feared that the result of this legislation would be largely to increase the number of ecclesiastical ruins, and recomended that the Act should be sufficiently broad in its character to admit them all.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 27 (Enactments with respect to ecclesiastical residences).
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, the Amendment he proposed to move upon this clause was founded upon the representations made by the President of the Board of Trade and the First Minister of the Crown—namely, that the glebe houses should be given to the present incumbents. He could not believe that when they made that statement, they intended that the glebe houses should be given up on condition that the Church Body paid for the land on which they were built. That would, indeed, be keeping the promise to the ear and breaking it to the hope. He could not but believe that, after due reflection, they would carry this measure, if it were to be carried, in the spirit of justice and conciliation. Not only the incumbents, but the whole country, had been under the impression that one of the clauses of this Bill would secure the glebe houses to the incumbents and their successors, and he was sure the Government would feel upon reflection that his Amendment effecting that object was wise, just, and politic. He moved, in page 12, line 14, after "therein," to leave out to the end of clause.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, the Committee would perceive that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) amounted to this, that they should not only hand over the glebe houses to the Church Body, as the Government proposed to do, without asking payment for those houses, but that the Commissioners should, in the first instance, pay a very large sum of money 1630 to private persons who had a claim for building charges against them, and then hand them over to the Church Body without requiring payment on account of those building charges. There were certain charges existing on the glebe and see houses of Ireland, charged not upon the houses only, but upon the profits of the benefices, which the House was about to put an end to, and which it was therefore absolutely necessary, as a matter of equity, that the Commissioners representing the State should undertake to pay to the individual incumbents and dignitaries who had private property in those building charges. The State, through its Commissioners, would pay down sums of money amounting to something like £250,000 before they could get into possession of the glebe and see houses, with a view to make them over to the Church body. All the Government asked was, that when the Church Body chose to apply for any of these houses, and he did not expect they would apply for them all, they would make a certain reimbursement to the Commissioners for the outlay he had referred to. "Where there were no building charges the Church Body would have to pay nothing for the houses; whore there was a building charge which was less than ten times the Poor Law valuation, the Church Body would pay only that building charge; and where the building charge exceeded ten times the Poor Law valuation of the house the Church Body would pay only a sum amounting to ten times the valuation. It was quite evident that the number of glebe houses was considerably beyond what the Church in its future condition would require. Many of them would be a burden to the Church, especially the see houses—palaces such as those of which they had hoard the other night that one had cost for an additional storey, £14,000. Where the Church Body found expensive edifices, it would be their policy to refrain from applying to the Commissioners; but in cases where they felt it advisable to apply they would be called on to make such moderate reimbursements as he had described. The effect would be that, supposing the Church Body were to apply, as they certainly would not, for all the ecclesiastical residences, they would have to pay to the Commissioners a sum amounting to one-half, or not one-half, he believed, of the total building charges on 1631 them; and if they did not apply for the whole, the amount would be considerably less. Moreover, he would remind the Committee that it was intended to provide the Church Body, in common with other denominations, with facilities of no little value for making these arrangements; it would be in the power of the Church Body to make the reimbursements with the aid of loans under the Bill which he had announced on the part of the Government. It appeared to the Government that their proposition was a moderate one, and they confidently recommended it to the Committee.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that one important little sentence slipped from the right hon. Gentleman, to the effect that the building charges were not only laid on the houses, but also on the benefices. A good deal turned on that fact, because the benefices were to be assigned to the Commissioners. There were cases in which houses had been built, and where land had been acquired far beyond the value of the houses themselves, money having been borrowed for the purpose on the security of the tithes of the parish. As the tithes were now to be assigned to the Commissioners, it would seem but reasonable that the charge laid on the tithes should be borne by them. He would state a case in illustration of this view. A few years ago in a small parish in the South of Ireland there was no glebe or parsonage house. The patron or principal landed proprietor and the clergyman combined to build a house, the landed proprietor contributing a sum of £150 and the clergyman £100. The sum of £450 was also borrowed on the security of the tithes. The clergyman had likewise, since the purchase, improved the glebe, which was now worth more than when it was first acquired. The Government now proposed to hand over the tithes, on the security of which the money was borrowed, to the Commissioners, and they told those who expended money in purchasing the glebe, building the house, and improving the property, that they might have the land and house if they chose to pay the charges on the house. That appeared an unreasonable and not a fair way of dealing with persons in their position. The Church would be placed in a trying position during the transition from the state of an endowed to that of a voluntary Church. It was all very well to 1632 say that the voluntary spirit would in time provide the funds wanted. That might be the case; but for a considerable period these charges would exceed the sum acquired from voluntary contributions, and as a matter of grace and policy it would be well to facilitate the transition from one state to another.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
confessed that he had not until that moment given up the hope that the Government would be disposed to re-consider this part of the Bill. Certainly more liberal intentions in this respect were entertained and expressed last year than those which were realized in this Bill; and the reasons that were given did not seem to him to be adequate for the ungracious and sudden departure from the declarations, if not promises, formerly made. He should have thought that, as the charges lay as a whole upon the profits of the benefices, there was nothing unreasonable in this—that the Government in taking the benefices should take them cum onere; and if reasons of equity and fairness—he might almost say compassion—led the Government to give up the parsonage houses, they should give them up in a reasonably beneficial way, and not burdened with this heavy liability. He should have thought so, the rather because he found in the case of Maynooth, that by the 40th clause, it was proposed to release that College from the payment of any sum that was remaining due from the trustees to the Commissioners of Public Works, in respect of advances made by the Commissioners upon the security of the funds payable to the trustees. This was proposed for the fair, just, and obvious reason that they had led those interested in the College to reckon upon the perpetuity of the Parliamentary grant, and so to incur a liability which they would not otherwise have incurred. Now, did not the case hold equally with respect to the glebe houses of the Protestant clergy. He must observe, in reply to the statement of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who said that these see houses and the other houses might be actually burdensome, and not likely to be chosen by the Church Body, that the question was whether or not they would be burdensome independent of the charges. He, therefore, pressed on the Government that it would be more generous if they took the ecclesiastical property, to take 1633 it with this comparatively trifling burden. There was another point, and as it was a small matter, he was the more surprised at the niggardly spirit displayed. The Church Body was to pay for the site of the building, estimated as land, and for the garden and curtilage, which in a common-sense point of view ought to be regarded as part of the house. The fact was that every ecclesiastical residence in Ireland had been paid for by way of deduction from the income of the living, which income had up to the present time been considered the private property of the holder of the living. Where persons had been encouraged to lay out money in erecting buildings upon land, it was only common equity that they should be left in possession of the site, as well as of the building which was on it. He submitted to the Government that it would be no infringement of the principle of the Bill if they amended this portion of the measure.
Sir, my hon. and learned Friend (Sir Roundell Palmer) differs materially from the Government upon the principle of this Bill, it naturally follows that we can attach less than usual authority to his declaration or judgment upon the question what Amendments are, or are not, consistent with that principle. For a judgment upon what is consistent with the principle of the Bill, my hon. and learned Friend will naturally admit that we must look first to those who are friendly to the principle. There are two points upon which I must make a qualification to the statements of my hon. and learned Friend before I endeavour to present the case more generally to the House. I cannot think that there is any parallel whatever between this case and the case of the building charge upon Maynooth. I am sorry to say that the building charge upon Maynooth represents what amounts substantially to the broken faith of Parliament. That is a hard word to use, and I do not mean to say that the Members of Parliament would ever have taken the course they did take with regard to the repairs of Maynooth had they viewed the matter in that light; but there is no doubt that the charge for the repair of the Maynooth buildings are a part of the arrangement made by Sir Robert Peel in 1845, and that they were intended to follow upon the general body of the arrangement as a 1634 necessary consequence. It was never dreamt that, after Parliament had determined that the principal charge should fall upon the Consolidated Fund, there would be any question about the annual repairs. For my part, I know not how to defend, or justify, or apologize for that misconduct, by which we declined to meet the debt of honour which was incumbent upon us for the repairs of the new buildings, taking into view the nature of the settlement of 1845. We all know perfectly well the reason why the Maynooth building repairs were not placed on the Consolidated Fund; it was because the repairs could not be made the subject of a fixed estimate beforehand. On that account they were left to be met by an annual Vote, but with the fullest belief that they would be voted, as a matter of course, as a grant consequential upon the principal grant settled by the great controversy of 1845. Therefore my hon. and learned Friend will not be surprised if I see no analogy whatever between that debt and the debt we have now to deal with. My hon. and learned Friend says, in the second place, that these glebe houses have been raised entirely out of the ecclesiastical revenues. Now, that is not the case, because a very large sum—of which my hon. and learned Friend does not seem to be aware—has been contributed towards them out of the taxation of the country. Much more than we shall ever get for them from the Church has been actually paid for them in the present century out of the taxes of the country.
A very large sum has been paid out of the taxation of the country for glebe-houses. ["How?"] In the way in which other sums are paid out of the taxes of the country. If the hon. Member for Coleraine (Sir Hervey Bruce), who seems to doubt my statement, will move for a Return on the subject, he can have it, and he will then see how—[Dr. BALL: By loans?]—yes, and by grants also. The sum has been paid, I believe, through the Board of First Fruits, but there can be no doubt whatever about the fact. Therefore, the statement of my hon. and learned Friend on this point is defective. Then we are challenged upon a statement of mine, last year, in which I expressed an opinion to the effect that when we came 1635 to the settlement of this question, the ecclesiastical residences would in all likelihood be given along with the churches to the Disestablished Church. Now, there are two modes of looking at this subject. I always contended that the arrangements connected with the close of the existence of the Establishment should be conducted upon principles of great liberality, and that they should also be conducted on the principle of strict religious equality; and therefore, before we attempt to determine off-hand how far we could safely go in gifts to the Disestablished Church, we must, in some degree, endeavour to ascertain how far it is wise or desirable to go in gifts to other religious bodies. There is no doubt that you might, in perfect consistency with what I stated last year, have gone further in the matter of the glebes of the Disestablished Church, provided you had thought it desirable, as a matter of public policy, to do the like for other religious bodies in Ireland. I think, however, the general conviction of the House is that it is not desirable, and consequently I cannot consent to attach the largest and most unrestrained sense to the declaration which I made last year, even if it had been what it never was, that is to say, a promise and an engagement, instead of a mere expression of opinion. But, taking it as it was, I say that we are substantially fulfilling it. We are practically in this condition—that in order to get these glebe houses into our possession we must pay £250,000, and, in my opinion, the Commissioners would stand quite as well in their account if we simply gave the glebe houses over with their sites to the Church and did not pay the building charges as they will under the provisions of the Bill. But then you say the building charge is not laid upon the glebe house but upon the benefice. What has that to do with the matter? Why was it laid upon the benefice? As a matter of convenience; because that was the most convenient mode of securing the money. But it was laid on for the purpose of making and maintaining the glebe houses and, therefore, although technically and in point of law it was laid upon the whole benefice, it is substantially a charge upon the house. Well, then, we have got this charge of £250,000, to say nothing of the sum which was paid out of 1636 the taxes of the country in respect of these glebe houses. The Government have made a provision in the Bill by which we shall recover a portion, and only a portion, of that charge. I think it would be a liberal estimate to suppose that we shall recover one-half of it, and if the sites of the glebe houses bring us the other half it is as much as they will produce—it is more than we expect. Therefore, what is substantially proposed is, as nearly as we can, to square the account in respect to these glebe houses and the curtilages connected with them. We may be losers, we shall not, I think, be gainers, but substantially the property in these glebe houses, which we know to have cost £1,200,000, will be handed over to the Church Body without the Church fund profiting to the extent of one farthing by it. I think that is a substantial fulfilment of the pledge we gave last year, if it were a pledge, which I deny. It was impossible for anyone, like my hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, or like myself, being then in Opposition, without the necessary information as to the particulars of this case, and not knowing what charges attached to the benefices in respect of these glebe houses to give an unconditional and unqualified opinion on the subject. But I submit that the Government are acting with generosity, because, I believe, that we are now in substance giving the glebe houses. We shall not get one farthing by them, and shall scarcely reimburse ourselves the money we must pay in order to come into possession of them. If we are pressed to go further than this we must ask ourselves again upon what principle this Bill is really founded. Are we to fulfil the engagements we have never ceased to give—that in our arrangements we were to bear strictly in view the principle of religious equality, and that we were to take care that the arrangements made for the closing of this great question should not themselves be a new consecration of religious inequality? In my opinion, we have gone to the very furthest point to which we can go, in giving to one body without being justly liable to be called on to give in consequence to another body. The glebe houses are of enormous value to the Church; it so happens that they are of small value in comparison in the market, but we shall 1637 not obtain one farthing for those glebe houses more than, nay, I believe we shall not obtain so much as, we shall have to pay for them.
§ DR. BALL
said, he thought that when the Committee clearly understood the way in which the clause would operate they would think it was not an unfair demand to ask that the Church should have the glebe houses without paying for them. What was the position of a glebe house on which there was no building charge? Why, the incumbents had paid out of the savings of their incomes for the building and repairing of the house, the creation of gardens and offices; and was it fair that the members of the Church should pay over again that which had already been paid out of her funds? In the second case "where there is a building charge "they were to pay such one of two sums thereinafter mentioned as might be the smallest—either the value of the tenement with the curtilage and gardens estimated at ten years' purchase, or the amount of the building charge. Now, on this he had to remark that unless the house was quite new it would scarcely be worth ten years' purchase, and a great many of the houses in question were not new. He admitted that in the case of houses that had no charge the amount to be paid was not large, but to make such charges was a miserably petty mode of legislation. As to the case of the houses with charges on them there was no generosity at all. They charged these houses at the very outside value. He was of opinion that a largo number of these houses were not marketable. He knew that the see house of Killaloe was at this moment used as a poor-house because no private person could be found to rent or buy it. But the Government said that they did not intend to be generous. Such might be their present views, but such were not the declarations which had been made last year by Members of the Government, especially the declaration which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, which appeared in the collected edition of his speeches published within a few months in a most finished and elaborate shape, and in which, when pointing out that changes like the present should be accompanied by munificence, he illustrated his meaning by stating that not only the churches but the glebe houses ought to 1638 be given to the Protestant community. A policy of generosity was, he maintained, more worthy of the Government and of the House than to weigh out and measure everything to the extremest degree. The case of the glebe houses, too, was one in which such a policy might be exercised with peculiar propriety, because, like the churches, they had been created by the Protestants of Ireland, many of whom, particularly in the North of Ireland, would, he felt satisfied, feel greatly grieved, indeed indignant, if they saw the residences which were occupied by their clergy taken from them. He doubted, he might add, very much whether the members of any other religious persuasion would object to the Church keeping those houses. He. for one, had seen no signs that such was the case. The proposal had been introduced into the Bill to support the general principle on which it was framed, in accordance with which it was provided that everything was to be sold and bought, and that the Church was to receive nothing. The right hon. Gentleman said he would get back £90,000, or about half the amount of £ 198,000 laid out on the houses, for the price of the sites; but that which would be of little importance to the Government to give to the Church would be a very large sum to be subscribed at the moment of the transition when the new system must be organized, and when the means must be found by private contributions for maintaining public worship. He would press the right hon. Gentleman earnestly on this subject which was one on which there was more feeling than on almost any other. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see fit to re-consider the question.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, it had been candidly admitted that the object of the Amendment was to hand over the glebe houses to the Church Body without their paying anything for them. It appeared to him and to the Government that it was impossible to do that, regard being had to the principle of the Bill. He agreed that the Roman Catholics and the Presbyterians would not grudge the Church. Body possession of the glebe houses, if they themselves got an equivalent, but the glebe houses—less the life interests in them—were the property of the State; and as long as that property was given to the Church so long would 1639 the evils of an Establishment remain, and the question with which this Bill dealt would be but half-settled. He insisted, however, that where there were no building charges the Government were giving the houses substantially for nothing. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that these houses were of small value; but though this might be in some instances, yet in the North of Ireland they were of great value, and in the Northwest of Ireland they were often the substantial mansions of the country. In giving these houses for nothing, then, he said the Government did act with generosity—as much generosity, he meant, as was consistent with the principle on which the Bill was founded. ["Hear, hear!"] He said that advisedly, for the principle was the principle of religious equality. £151,000 had been obtained from the State towards the building of those glebe houses, and if that money were paid back the Church Body might have the houses. The incumbents were bound by law to spend a certain portion of their incomes in the maintenance of the buildings. It was now only asked that they should pay for the glebe houses either ten years' purchase upon the general tenement valuation or the building charge, which ever was the less. That proposition was fair and just. What, he would ask, could be a greater mark of ascendancy than those buildings scattered throughout the country, and contrasting with the humbler residences of the clergy of other persuasions? The Church Body would not be asked to pay for the glebe houses all at once, because the life interests in them would be respected.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said, he thought the last speaker had wholly failed to prove that the Government were about to deal with the Church fairly in this matter of glebe houses and glebes. Three-fourths, at least, of the glebe houses in Ireland had been built since the Act of Union, and as to the glebes themselves, five-sixths of them had been granted since the Reformation. Some of them had been granted out of private endowments, and others, as Dr. Maziere Brady had shown, out of the confiscated abbey lands, and hardly any portion of them, except the abbey lands, had ever been in the possession of the Roman Catholic Church. Nearly all the glebe houses had been built either at the expense of 1640 the incumbents, or with money borrowed from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. They were built by the then incumbents on the faith of one of the most solemn engagements, and of a most indefeasible title. They were built on the faith of the Act of Union, which guaranteed that the Church of England and the Church of Ireland should be one and indivisible, and which also guaranteed to the Church of Ireland the possession of her property and her income. Prior to 1834 there was, no doubt, a grant from the Imperial Exchequer, but he should be able to show that it bore a very small proportion to the total cost of the fabrics. He would take two instances in support of this statement, his figures being derived from a work written by his rev. friend, Dr. Maziere Brady. The first was that of a living worth £700 per annum in the gross, and which, probably, produced a net income of between £500 and £600. Since the year 1721 there had been £3,540 spent on the glebe house, of which some £2,000 was contributed from the private monies of the original builder; £92 from public sources; and the remainder borrowed from the Ecclesiastical Commission since 1834. Surrounding the glebe house was a glebe of some ten acres, which was valuable solely in consequence of the residence and the improvements effected by the various incumbents of the parish. Now, was the course now proposed to be taken just or fair to the successors of those godly men, who thought they were doing the Church a service when they spent their money on an inheritance which could not descend to their own families? He would next take the case of a smaller living in the west of the county of Cork. Its value was trifling, but happily there lived in the parish a Protestant layman, well known to many Members of that House, through whose exertions there was purchased, for the Church five acres of land. A glebe-house was constructed at the cost of £650, of which £150 was contributed by the gentleman himself, £100 from the private funds of the clergyman, and £400 was borrowed from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Since the land was purchased its value had risen from 7s. to 27s. an acre. In all probability that gentleman would be obliged to buy, at its improved value, that very land which he was instrumental, five or six years ago, in buying 1641 for the Church on the faith of its belonging to the Church for ever. Surely it was sufficient to mention those two cases in order to stamp this clause with the character of injury and injustice. The Prime Minister was quite correct in saying that the glebe houses and glebe lands would be of comparatively little value in the market. Indeed, he believed, in some parts of the country they would be a perfect drug. If they were to be sold at the market value they would fetch a lower price than they would under this Bill, with the building charges upon them. The Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Sullivan) had stated that in the North-west of Ireland the glebe houses were substantial family mansions. Now, what was the demand for such mansions in that part of Ireland; and, if they were brought into the market, how many purchasers could be found? The fact was, that the bargain was a bad one for the Church—almost everything had been taken from her. The incumbents had been induced, on the faith of Acts of Parliament, to lay out money on property which could not become their own, and yet their successors were to be deprived of it by a Bill which, two short years ago, no human being could have imagined would pass through the Parliament of Great Britain. He was, of course, bound to believe the statement on the part of the right hon. Gentleman that he had been misunderstood on this point, although it was a practical exemplification of the truth of Talleyrand's saying, that words were intended not to express thoughts, but to conceal them. If all these projects had been openly avowed—and he did not say they had been intentionally concealed—before the General Election, the Bill which South Lancashire was unable to swallow would, in his conviction, have proved too nauseous and too unbearable even for the seasoned palate of Greenwich.
§ MR. P. WYKEHAM-MARTIN
said, he had voted in every division but two, and always in favour of the Government; but he would appeal to his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government to have a little mercy on some of his faithful supporters. During the contest in November he addressed many meetings in support of the Bill; and he had frequently stated what he then believed to be the truth—namely, that 1642 where there was no building charge the glebe houses would be given to the new Church Body without payment. He was quite aware, however, that he could not commit his right hon. Friend to any particular course of action. At the same time he wanted the House to judge whether he had given those pledges without some reason. The book that he held in his hand was his canvassing book, in which he had taken the precaution to note down, before he gave any pledge, what he thought were the views of certain persons of great influence in the House. Now, an eminent Gentleman said this—If I am asked to give my advice—and if I am not asked I shall give it—I should propose that where there are congregations in Ireland—I am speaking now, of course, of the present Established Church—who will undertake to keep in repair the churches in which they have been accustomed to we ship, and the parsonage houses in which their ministers have lived, Parliament should leave them in possession of the churches and the parsonage houses; and I believe I speak the sentiment of every Catholic Member on this side of the House, and, probably, of every intelligent Catholic in Ireland, not only of the laity, but of the hierarchy and priesthood, when I say that they would regard such a course as that on the part of Parliament as just, under the circumstances in which we are placed.Now, if he had uttered those words himself, in addressing his constituents, they would have been worthy of no notice whatever; but, as they were the words of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, he must say he was justified in relying upon them. They were, he knew, only an expression of opinion, and his light hon. Friend was free to change that opinion to-morrow; but, unfortunately, they had developed into something like pledges on the part of his unfortunate followers. He might not have said what he had done, if he had been the only Member of the House who was in that position; although he should, of course, in any case, do what was right to clear his own honour: but he knew, from private conversation he had had with them, that there were other Gentlemen on that side who were in the same situation as he was in that matter. He, therefore, now asked the Government to strike out these words from the clause—["No, no!"]—Well, they could over-ride him if they liked, but he only asked, as a steady supporter of the Government, who felt his own honour to be commit- 1643 ted, whether they would not strike out the words relating to the site which insisted on the payment of a sum of money. The question was a perfectly trumpery one in point of money, but it was a question of honour as regarded himself and other Members. He would remind his Catholic Friends that he had always supported the Maynooth Grant while he had sat in that House, and that he had always said in his hustings' speeches—believing that in doing so he was only expressing his concurrence with his right hon. Friend and the Government—that Maynooth ought to be dealt with on the same terms of liberality as the Established Church, and neither better nor worse.
SIR HERVEY BRUCE
I should not have risen to take part in this debate had it not been for the observations of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, which were more than usually disingenuous, even for him—["Order!"]
I think the hon. Baronet has made use of an expression not consistent with the ordinary usages of debate.
SIR HERVEY BRUCE
No one would regret more than I should do if I have used any words inconsistent with the usages of Parliament, or with the dignity of the First Minister of the Crown; but, really, I do not exactly know what words to make use of to express my meaning. The First Minister of the Crown had previously made use of words nearly the same as those of the President of the Board of Trade which have just been quoted. Yet he now comes down to this House and tells us, in the language of withering sarcasm, that he considers we have no claims, in justice, to demand the fulfilment of these pledges, and that none of them need be kept, because they were not pledges, but merely expressions of opinion, and that opinions coming from any hon. or right hon. Gentleman in Opposition are not to bind him when he has accepted Office. I also rise because of the more than usually discourteous way in which the right hon. Gentleman alluded twice to me in the course of this debate. I think that came with an ill grace from him, because there is no Member of the House who so often discourteously expresses his dissent when any hon. Gentleman on this side says anything of which he 1644 does not approve. Now, on this occasion, the right hon. Gentleman made an assertion, and when he was asked to corroborate and vindicate it, he merely said that at some future time, if we asked for a particular Return, it would show that he was right. I myself, with many other hon. Gentlemen on this side, merely said "No, no!" I do not think there was anything very discourteous in that course. But the right hon. Gentleman singled me out—why, I do not know, for I was not more loud than anybody else or more demonstrative in my "No, noes!" The second time the right hon. Gentleman alluded to me I was sitting perfectly still—I was not even moving in my place, I made no expression either of assent or dissent, and why the right hon. Gentleman should have made so uncourteous a personal allusion to me I cannot say. I believe, however, that the real cause of his annoyance came, not from us, but from himself. He was unsaying all the promises that he made, and that he had made, not two years ago, when he was looked upon as the champion of the Church, but so late as last year, when he was pledged to destroy it. I do not think that I did anything to call for the strictures of the right hon. Gentleman, which must always be unpleasant to a private Member of the House—["Question!"]. If hon. Gentlemen will not hear me I shall move the adjournment of the debate. I repeat that I can quite understand the cause of the right hon. Gentleman's annoyance. He came down without giving any notice to the House, and—on the plea that some of the right rev. Prelates had expressed disapprobation with regard to the 3rd section of the 25th clause—proposed that we should abandon that section, which embodied one of the few bits of kindness shown by the right hon. Gentleman to the Church. I can fancy that the thoughts and feelings of the right hon. Gentleman under the circumstances are not very agreeable.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
attempted to address the Committee; but, being met with continued interruption, the hon. Baronet moved that the Chairman report Progress.
said, he hoped they would go on with this debate. This was a matter of interest. It had been debated for some time, and he would 1645 make a contribution to the debate by answering an appeal that he was not able to answer before. He could now give pretty exact particulars, he thought, with respect to the Parliamentary Grants for these glebe houses, which appeared to be a matter of novelty and surprise to some Gentlemen on the other side of the House. What appeared was this—the source of information was the Report with the evidence and documents of the Commissioners who inquired into the ecclesiastical revenues and patronage in Ireland between the years 1832 and 1837—the sum of money given for glebe houses through the Board of First Fruits, independently of much larger grants for churches amounting to nearly £500,000, was £152,000. Besides the sum of money so given there was a sum lent, free of interest, of £250,000; and the computed amount of the gift involved in the abandonment of interest was between £80,000 and £90,000; so that very nearly £250,000 had been actually given by Parliament for these glebe houses, independently of this £250,000 that they would have to pay to get into possession of them, and a very small part of which would be recouped under the provisions of the clause.
§ In answer to Mr. GATHORNE HARDY,
said, he had quoted from the Report of the Commissioners with respect to ecclesiastical revenues and patronage from 1832 to 1837. They commenced their inquiries before the Church Temporalities Act of 1833. Nothing had been granted on account of glebes since the passing of that Act.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the right hon. Gentleman had taken that opportunity of confirming, somewhat irregularly, a statement which he made in his speech with regard to the fact that years ago there were some grants towards the building of glebe houses. He would take that opportunity of saying that, according to his recollection, the right hon. Gentleman's statement with reference to the College of Maynooth was not supported by fact. When the Act of 1845 was passed a sum of £30,000 was granted by Parliament for the purpose of repairing the College of Maynooth. It was given on the distinct understanding, stated by Sir Robert Peel, that the annual Vote should cease. These were the precise words of Sir Robert Peel, and the reason he gave was that 1646 the annual grants led to contests in that House. What were the circumstances connected with that £30,000? The money was spent in enlargement, not in repairs. The first two witnesses to that fact were Sir Francis Head, who went to visit the College, and the Rev. Garrett Wilson. Their statement was examined by the Commissioners, and it was then found that this £30,000, which was intended by Parliament for repairs, was expended for enlarging the College beyond the requirements stated by Sir Robert Peel in his speech. The repairs were not made, and a subsequent sum of £20,000, which was raised by permission of Parliament upon the buildings and lands of Maynooth, was intended to replace the default thus created by the authorities of the College. When the right hon. Gentleman put in comparison those advances made to Maynooth with the advances that were made years ago—previously to 1830—towards the glebe houses, it was only right to inform the Committee of the different circumstances under which those public monies were voted.
§ MR. BRUEN
said, he thought that gross injustice would be perpetrated under this clause. He wished to call attention to an occurrence that had taken place in a parish with which he was acquainted. In that parish there had been no glebe land or globe house till five years ago. A friend of his gave in perpetuity several acres of land for the purpose of a glebe, on which a glebe house was built at very considerable expense. Now, under the clause, the Church Body must either pay the amount of the building charge or pay for the site, and that he considered would be a great hardship.
said, he hoped the hon. Baronet (Sir George Jenkinson) would consent to continue his remarks. There was no idea on the part of the Government of pressing the whole clause through Committee that night. The division they were about to take would not involve the point raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Rochester (Mr. P. Wykeham-Martin), but only this question—whether in this case anything should be paid at all. What the Government contended was that in every case they could not, forego payment. The point as to what should be paid could be considered between now and Thursday.
said, his hon. Friend beside him (Sir George Jenkinson) had not received much encouragement to go on, and, on that account, he would be perfectly justified in adhering to his intention.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, though he was anxious the Committee should have fair opportunity for discussing all important points, yet he believed there was a bonâ fide feeling in the House that they should advance Public Business. He must say, however, after the declaration which the right hon. Gentleman had just made, that he had himself made a case for reporting Progress, and they had better take time to consider what was really before the Committee.
said, that what he had stated was that the point raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Rochester (Mr. P. Wykeham-Martin), which was payment for sites, was a very small one, and it might be considered by Thursday, but the point now before the Committee was whether any payments at all should be made.
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he understood the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) before, that the question as to what payments should be made would be considered between this and Thursday. ["No, no!"] They on that side of the House heard quite as well as hon. Gentlemen opposite. He did not see very much difference between the two things. The question which had been argued that night was the question of payment. But in this clause the only payments absolutely necessary were the payments for sites, because the privilege offered to those who took the glebes was payment for sites or for the building charges, and that was the very point the hon. Gentleman opposite had raised. He must say he thought there was every reason for reporting Progress.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday.