§ Lords' Amendments further considered.
§ Amendment to leave out Clause 29, read a second time, and agreed to.
I believe, Sir, there is no Amendment on Clause 28, and therefore we come now to that part of the Bill which relates to private endowments and the Royal Grants of Ulster glebes; and on this point I have to say that we assent to the omission of Clauses 29 and 30 as they stood in our Bill, the former relating to private endowments, and the latter, supplementary to it, relating to mixed endowments. The Lords have inserted a clause which stands now as Clause C, as follows:—It consists of two paragraphs. The first paragraph grants to the representative body of the said Church, in respect of private endowments, within six calendar months after the first day of May—I move, of course, to substitute January— 1871, the sum of £500,000. I think it right to point out to the House the effect of this change. When I originally estimated the value of private endowments at £500,000, I referred to their actual value in themselves, and took no account of the fact that they are for the present charged with life interests. The present value of the private endowments is very little more than half of £500,000, even if they are worth as much. I am aware that our estimate has been grievously impugned, and we have been told that they are not worth more than £200,000. Our estimate is one made in good faith, and we believe it to be the more correct; but I think it right the House should understand that we are now making a considerable concession, and one which we should not have thought it right to make except for important considerations, in converting the prospective value of these private endowments—namely, £500,000—into an actual payment of that amount after the 1st of January, 1871. The advantages which we think are to be gained by this method of proceeding are, in the 22 first place, the getting rid of a considerable expense, as well as of a great deal of labour, possibly of litigation, in ascertaining these private endowments. Still it is a very considerable boon that we offer to the Established Church, and in offering it I cannot pretend that we in the slightest degree recede from the ground we took up in reference to private endowments before 1660. Private endowments before 1550 there were in plenty, but nobody has yet produced a single one made between 1550 and 1660. You may find plenty obtained by Stratford through the Court of High Commission, when the boot and the thumb-screw were in prospect; and people were pretty well aware from what was passing in England that if they did not accede to what was demanded they might leave that presence with ears considerably abridged from their length when they entered. ["Oh!"] The humanity of the hon. Member may be shocked at hearing this; but he would be still more shocked, I think, in reading the history of those days, when Mr. Leighton, the father of the Archbishop, suffered with other persons in the particular manner I have described. I do not wish to say more on this subject, except to say that we must not be understood as making any admission when we ask the House to accede to this Amendment and grant the sum I have named in respect of private endowments. In our minds, however, this ready-money payment has always been associated with this result—that it would be the means of closing the whole controversy with respect to the Royal glebes. As I understood the argument used on the other side upon this topic, it was that these glebes being at the disposal of the Sovereign, and being by him granted to the Church, ought to be considered as private endowments. That is the ground upon which we venture to found what we hope will be considered on the other side as a conciliatory recommendation, and my Motion, therefore, will be to agree to the first paragraph of Clause C, with the single exception of substituting January for May, and to disagree to the second paragraph, by which the Royal Grants are conferred upon the Church in Ireland—grants which, in our view, are as clearly portions of public endowment as any portions of the present property of the Church.
§ To insert Clause C, the next Amendment.
§ First paragraph, read a second time, amended, and agreed, to.
When any real property becoming vested in the commissioners consists of lands which have been appropriated or granted as the glebe or glebe land of any benefice, by or in pursuance of any royal grant or letters patent since the second year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the commissioners shall, on the application of the said representative body, made within six months after the first day of May one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, by order vest such property in such representative body, subject to any life interest subsisting therein,
read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, that in eases where the glebe houses had been built for the benefit of particular parishes, it seemed not quite fair that they should by-and-by go into the hands of the Church Body for the general benefit of the Church.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, when the right hon. Gentleman introduced this question to our notice in March, he estimated the value of the private endowments—even within the limitation of time proposed in the Bill—at £500,000, and the right hon. Gentleman specifically stated, if I remember rightly, that he did not include the Royal Grants of Ulster in that amount. I do not, therefore, understand the grounds on which he founds a claim to conciliation and concession by the present arrangement. We are, in fact, now reverting to the original position taken by the right hon. Gentleman, who certainly then made his estimates, assuming that there would be a limitation of time to 1660, and also that the Ulster glebes would not be considered in the case. Now, it appears to me that in considering this Amendment we ought to come to some closer understanding as to what our intentions are with regard to the future condition of the disestablished and disendowed Protestant Church in Ireland. The principle upon which the right hon. Gentleman founds the policy of the Bill is that of religious equality. But I must remind the House that in religious equality there are moral as well as pecuniary considerations. If a Church has been connected with the State for a considerable time—if she has 24 enjoyed all the worldly advantages that such a connection brings with it—if she has been in possession of a large estate, and that estate is confiscated—if the Church is disestablished and disendowed under these circumstances, and if you destroy all the attributes which the prescription of 300 years has naturally given, I do not believe that you place a Church so humiliated and depressed in a position of equality with a Church that has not been, perhaps, established or endowed, but which, nevertheless, is in a position of triumph compared with the position of its rival. Entirely disestablished, its property wholly stripped from it, there can be no equality between such an institution and one that has never been subjected to so trying an ordeal. But we ought to look a little further into the situation. The Protestant Church of Ireland will be placed in competition with the most ancient hierarchy in Christendom, an hierarchy with a perfect organization, that organization supported by an unrivalled discipline, and that discipline depending upon the sovereign pleasure of a temporal prince. Now, I say that any Church, any ancient hierarchy planted in any land, which can command the authority and influence and support of any foreign prince is an Established Church; for establishment does not depend upon municipal arrangements, or upon the receipt of a stipend from the State. Now, a Roman Catholic Prelate in Ireland, if he feels aggrieved, can appeal to his spiritual head, who is a temporal prince, and who can and does enter, on his behalf, into diplomatic communications with the Queen of this country. That prince has establishments and subjects in every country on the globe. He has at his command the most powerful and most completely organized Foreign Office in the world— the Propaganda of Rome. He can watch and test the course of public opinion in every country. To say that the Protestant Church of Ireland, in its disestablished and disendowed state, will be in a position of religious equality with this powerful Church of Rome is a perfect mockery. It will have to contend against a Church having all the advantages of Establishment, and none of its disadvantages. Now, I think that these are considerations which ought not to be forgotten by us at this moment. What is the object of the Amendment of 25 the Lords now under discussion, and of otters in the same direction? Their object is to secure for the disestablished and disendowed Church some moderate—not adequate—but some moderate and not altogether inadequate endowment, which should, at least, particularly at the commencement of this severe trial, enable it to maintain in work the machinery that may keep its scattered congregations together. I will ask what —out of all the property of the Church, which the right hon. Gentleman has described as the richest Church in Europe—what is the amount she will retain even if all the Amendments are carried? I must say I was astonished last night that the right hon. Gentleman, in estimating the value of that which will be left to the Church, should have had recourse to the old fallacy of putting, as an item to its credit, the amount that has to be paid to the clergy in satisfaction of vested interests. The right hon. Gentleman seizes on property with a legal charge attached to it, which he is bound to pay, and in paying it, he says to us—"See what an immense property I am making you a present of!" I must confess that I never can understand the figures of the right hon. Gentleman on this question. They appear to me marvellous. He describes to us £4,000,000 that are to be obtained by the use of the public credit. One night they are placed to the credit of the Church, and the next night they are taken away from it. Then the churches are placed to its credit. First we are told that they may be reckoned at £3,000,000; a day or two afterwards we hear that they are worth nothing at all. It is a hocus-pocus of finance which I confess has baffled my powers of conception and computation. But this I do know—that, as far as we can come to any conclusion (dismissing from our minds the fallacious assumption in regard to the satisfaction of vested interests), it does not appear that, under the most favourable circumstances, the Irish Church will be in possession of an income of more than £90,000 a year. Now, considering the tremendous experiment we are subjecting that body to, I say—quite apart from all higher considerations, with which I will not now trouble the House—that is a very modest and moderate arrangement. It is, indeed, an arrangement not to be de- 26 fended for a moment if the abstract principle of the right hon. Gentleman was adopted by the House. If you are prepared to say that nothing ought to be given to the Church, that is at least intelligible; but when, in making this vast revolution, the Minister himself offers a proposition, that has for its avowed object the softening of the fall of the Church, and reconciling it to the great change in its fortunes, it is not open to the House to argue the point upon abstract considerations. Now, I ask the House in deciding upon this Amendment, whether it really desires to place this unfortunate and despoiled Church in a position of unfair competition with the Roman Catholic Church, which must be its rival, and which will be, I fear, its successful rival? I hope that the House will accept this Amendment of the Lords. I am not going into the question whether the Ulster glebes were public or private endowments. I do not base my argument upon any such ground. If we enter upon investigations of that character we may split straws for ever. But I ask whether the acceptance of the Lords' Amendment would not be the most convenient and easy method of securing to the disestablished and disendowed Church of Ireland that fair and reasonable position which, even according to the principles of this measure, ought to be conceded to it? Upon that consideration I ask the House to support the Amendment of the Lords.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
As a member of the Protestant Church of Ireland, I must say one word against the argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli). Its meaning, if it has any, is this—that you must give these Ulster glebes to the Protestant Episcopalians of Ireland, as the only possible means of saving them from the domination of the Church of Rome. I am surprised that such a statement should come from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman, and I am sure that to the members of the Church it will appear degrading in the extreme. It is true that, in the protest against the Bill, that has been signed by several eminent Members of the House of Lords, there is one paragraph that expresses exactly the sentiments we have just heard from the right hon. Gentleman; but I was glad to see that two of the right hon. Gentleman's Colleagues in the other 27 House dissented from that paragraph, and that one of them was Lord Cairns. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is really established. I can only meet that statement by saying that he has employed the word in a misleading and unusual manner, and that he attaches to it a meaning wholly different from that which it bears all over the world. To say that a Christian Church, organized in a certain manner, and whose head resides in another country, is an Established Church is to use the term in a way totally unknown to all the world. The upshot of his argument is, as I have said, this—that without some sort of State support—without some degree of endowment, however small—it is impossible for any Church, not only in Ireland—for the argument applies universally—but everywhere, to hold its own against the Roman Catholic Church. I have no fears on this account; and if the right hon. Gentleman is haunted with them, I would refer him to a recent speech of one of his supporters, the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. W. Johnston). Differing greatly, as I do, from that hon. Gentleman in many points, I entirely concur with him when he says that the free Protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland, if it be only tolerably supported by the fidelity, zeal, and faith of its members, will have nothing to fear from any rival Church. Well, in regard to the Ulster glebes, the right hon. Gentleman tells us not to split straws. That is not a true description of the matter. The second paragraph of this clause deals with all the grants subsequent to the second year of Elizabeth, and the transfer of those grants is something more than straw-splitting. The character of the Ulster glebes is patent to all who will inquire into them. They were, in no sense of the words, private endowments, but public grants, given by the Sovereign to the Church that was intended to be— though it failed to be—the Church of the nation. If any one tells me that they were given for the purposes of Protestantism, and not to the State Church, I answer—Why were they, then, not given to the Presbyterians? Were the Presbyterians of Ireland then, or are they now, worse Protestants than the Episcopalians? As a matter of fact, was any Protestant allowed, or intended, to share in those grants unless he con- 28 formed to the dogmas and discipline of the Church of England? There can be no doubt that if we left in a Bill, professing to disestablish and disendow the Irish Church, a clause conferring on it these public grants, it would be a complete violation of the principles of the measure, and a stultification of all that we have proposed to do, or have hitherto done. When we are told that the Protestant Church cannot compete with the Roman Catholic Church, when it is disestablished, when I, as a member of the Protestant Episcopalian Church, am given that as a reason, I can only say that I protest against it and repudiate it. I should, indeed, be ashamed of that Church if she could not hold her own by the side of that other great Christian communion, the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland.
§ COLONEL WILSON-PATTEN
said, he did not know that he had ever heard a speech more disingenuously treated than that of his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had been. His right hon. Friend did not say that the Protestant Church of Ireland could not compete with other Churches. The argument of his right hon. Friend was that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland having existed for centuries in Ireland as a voluntary Church, and having assumed a position highly meritorious to itself during that period, they were now about suddenly to place the Church of England in Ireland in a position comparatively disadvantageous to it. They had made use of the Church of Ireland for 200 years for political purposes, and they were now about to take away the endowments they had granted to it, in order, as it was said, to place it on an equality with the Roman Catholic Church. He would altogether repudiate the doctrine that the Church of which he was an unworthy member could not compete with any other Communion; but it was quite a different thing to launch it under disadvantageous circumstances to compete with the Roman Catholic Church. He called on the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, and the President of the Board of Trade to fulfil the engagement entered into at the last General Election. They engaged to treat this matter liberally, and they ought not to recede from that engagement; but they had receded from it. He did not think they were carrying out what the country 29 expected from them. With regard to the general question, he must leave it in the hands of the House. He only rose to remark on the very disingenuous answer which the right hon. Gentleman (the Chief Secretary for Ireland) had given to the speech of his right hon. Friend.
§ MR. WALTER
said, he wished to add his protest to that which had been so ably delivered by his light hon. Friend (the Chief Secretary for Ireland) against the tone of the observations to which they had listened from the right hon. Gentleman (the Leader of the Opposition). He was bound to say that throughout the whole of this painful controversy nothing had so much grated on his ears as the language which had been systematically used by the right hon. Gentleman and his associates with reference to the position of the Irish Church. If that Church really was to be described as Job sitting in ashes and scraping itself with a potsherd, he must say he wished it better comforters than his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire. He had spoken of that Church as an outcast, as deprived of all the moral and political support it had received from the State, and, being so deprived, only able to maintain its position by some pecuniary contributions as equivalent for the loss of that support, and even with that support as utterly unable to compete with the Roman Catholic Church. To what did the Roman Catholic Church owe its position? Not to State support, not even to its wonderful organization. It was because it had got the support of the people of Ireland that it had increased and maintained its position. What constituted the strength of any Church? Was it the support of the State or the support of the people—of its own members? How, on the ground taken by his right hon. Friend, did he account for the fact that in three of the four provinces of Ireland, in spite of the support of the State for the last 300 years, the Church had not been able to maintain its position in Ireland? Why, did not the right hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) repudiate the very notion of the Irish Church being a missionary Church? What was the business of a Church but to be a missionary Church? What was it if it was not? He looked forward to a much better future for the Irish Church 30 than some of its most boasted friends. If it showed that pluck and courage for which he gave it credit; if it showed the same courage and earnestness which the Free Church of Scotland had displayed, there must be a great future before it. He hoped and trusted it would be a missionary Church, and, if so, it might rely on receiving great support from this country. Hitherto its missionary resources had been only a few thousand pounds a year levied from this country, expended on making a few converts to Protestantism. He again repudiated the tone and language which had been used by his right hon. Friend relative to the Irish Church, as if she must give up the whole fight in despair. For himself he believed she would make use of her freedom for better purposes and with better results than had been attributed to her.
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, it appeared to him that the question before the House was not the future of the Irish Church, but a question of justice and equity. It was whether those Ulster glebes, which he maintained, as he already had done on a former occasion, to be wholly and purely in the nature of private endowments, were to be left with the Church or not. He could not understand the arguments of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, except that he thought it necessary, in order to give a proper vigour to the Irish Church, to strip it of every penny it possessed. If ever there was a grant which was in its nature peculiarly private and local, it was the grant of the Ulster glebes. He hoped the House would observe that this was not a question of disestablishment or disendowment generally. Those grants did not apply to Bishops, deans, or great functionaries of the Church, but they were small grants attached to each individual parish in small and varying proportions —from five, and ten, to thirty acres. A great injustice would be done to individual parishes if they made them forfeit those grants. As to their amount it was very small, and if divided amongst, say, 1,200 clergymen of the disestablished Church—the present number was 1,500—would only give £18 or £20 a year to each. Was it worth while for the sake of this to quarrel with that part of the country where the usual arguments applied to the Irish Church 31 did not apply—where congregations were large and endowments moderate? He knew that hon. Gentlemen got their idea of the Irish Church from the South and West parts of the country—from Killarney, and places like that, where they saw empty churches and comfortable parsonage houses. They came back from these places thinking that the Irish Church was a great injustice which must be abated. He maintained that the proposal of the late Government would have abated it. But if they went into the North of Ireland and insisted upon the strict letter of the law as applied to those Ulster glebes, it would be a bad policy, and one which would recoil upon themselves. The Secretary for Ireland had stated that these grants were not made for Protestant purposes; but he, on the other hand, maintained that they were made exclusively for Protestant purposes. It was the object of the Crown in those days to hold out these grants as an inducement to Englishmen and Scotchmen to settle in Ulster. They had not upon them the taint of confiscation, as having been the property of the Roman Catholic Church, but of those who had broken the laws of this country and forfeited their estates by rebellion. If the right hon. Gentleman insisted upon taking these glebes away, he would leave a sting in the Bill which it would take many years to eradicate.
§ MR. M'CLURE
said, he desired to say one word as an Ulster Presbyterian, on this proposition. He was not going to argue whether the Presbyterians could or could not make out any claim to these glebes, for they were not named in the clause; but he had examined into the matter, and he believed both in right and equity they would stand at least upon equal terms with the Episcopalians. He just wished to put to the hon. Members opposite from Ulster, who proclaimed themselves the representatives and protectors of Presbyterian interests, whether they would not be placing themselves entirely in a false position, if they now supported the clause in its present form. They had called upon their Presbyterian brethren to stand by them to contend in a common cause, asserting that they knew no difference between the two great Protestant churches of the country. Was all this cry of their common Protestantism to prove an empty profession? Why, he thought when 32 that proposition was named every hon. Member from Ulster would have at once protested against its being brought forward in a form which, if they gave it their support, must preclude them from ever again addressing a Presbyterian constituency. They were demanding to have these glebes handed over solely to the Episcopal body, when that section in the district where the glebes were situated did not comprise one-third of the Protestants, and if any portion of the population of Ulster had a special right in those lands, the Presbyterians had an equal claim with the Episcopalians.
§ MR. SERJEANT DOWSE
said, it was material to remember the issue on which hon. Gentlemen on his (the Ministerial) side of the House went to the country. For himself, as one of the representatives of an Ulster constituency, he could not, without forfeiting his private honour and his public pledges, agree to the Lords' Amendment. He would rather see the Irish Church remain as at present than accept the measure as it came down from the other House. He agreed with his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) that the Lords' Amendments must be considered as a whole; and as a whole he emphatically objected to those Amendments, but especially to the clause now under consideration; because, if it were adopted, the Irish Church would still remain a badge of conquest and of wrong. Not only would the Roman Catholics continue to be deeply aggrieved, but the Presbyterians of Ireland would also feel themselves slighted, wronged, and betrayed. So far as Ulster was concerned, the Irish Church would be left in the same position as before, with the exception of the tithes. [A laugh.] He would admit that this was rather a large exception, but in Ulster it would retain all the outward indicia of an Established Church. It would practically possess the power of the State, all the churches, the residences, and the glebe lands, which the people would remember had been wrung from the estates of their own ancestors. ["No!"] It would save hon. Members opposite some trouble if it were assumed that they differed from everything he said. To borrow a phrase from the courts of law, he would "enter their protest as read." In England, under the feudal laws, when a chief rebelled not only his own lands but the lands of those 33 who held under him were confiscated. But in Ireland the law of tanistry prevailed. The Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel revolted against England, and broke their plighted troth. Their lands were confiscated, and all the lands of the ancient Irish septs and clans were confiscated also, as if they were held under a feudal tenure instead of being held by the law of tanistry, under which their tenure could not be affected by the revolt of their chiefs. It was sometimes supposed that King James introduced civilization into the county of Deny. But there were marks of civilization in that county before his time. The natives imported, wine from Spain. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen might laugh, but this was a very good test of civilization, and judged by that test hon. Members of that House would not stand very high in the scale of civilization. The natives also imported steel blades from Antwerp and Toledo, giving in exchange flax, corn, and peltries, being the skins of animals taken in the chase. The people were, in fact, an active, industrious, and intelligent race, but they had the misfortune to be Papists and Celts. A large portion of these confiscated lands was given to the clergy of the Established Church for glebes. They were given as only Kings could make presents, out of other people's property. It was curious to hear it asserted that these were not public grants, and that when the nation came in its representative capacity to re-take possession of them it should be told that by leaving them to a Church, that ought never to have had them, it would be doing a gracious and kindly act. Why, oven in Ulster the Established Church was the Church of the minority. To listen to hon. Members opposite one would be led to suppose that there were no Roman Catholics in Ulster at all. The hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. Conolly) stated that 300,000 Protestants we're present at one meeting. Why, there were not 300,000 full-grown Protestant Episcopalians in Ireland, even if they counted himself, and a few others who were endeavouring in vain to represent Protestant Episcopalian feeling in that House. When he heard this statement he went to Thom's Almanac, in order that he might give the House some information on the subject. Since the time of Falstaff's men in buckram never was 34 there such a swelling out as of these Protestant Irishmen. He found that in the county of Donegal there were 59,190 Protestants, and 178,182 Catholics, and of these 59,000 Protestants, upwards of 30,000, he believed, were Presbyterians. In the county of Derry there were 83,402 Catholics and 100,782 Protestants, of whom 80,000 belonged to the Presbyterian body. In Fermanagh, the very salt of the Protestant earth, the Protestants numbered 46,011, and the Catholics 59,751. He now came to Tyrone, his own county, and unless the Catholics there had a share in him they were not represented at all. Tyrone was represented by the noble Lord (Lord Claud Hamilton) and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Corry), of whom he would say that he was fit to be the representative of any county, and he was sorry he could not carry the compliment further. In Tyrone there were 103,752 Protestants of all denominations, as against 134,716 Roman Catholics, making altogether 456,000 Roman Catholics against 309,000 Protestants in the four counties; and that being the state of things with regard to the relative proportions of the Roman Catholic and Protestant population in those four counties, how were the Roman Catholics and the Liberal Protestants in them represented in that House? By the hon. and, he hoped he might say, learned Member for Derry only. There was some talk about Antrim. No doubt Antrim had a large Protestant, but it also had a large Catholic population, and how was it represented? As far as its Conservative population was concerned, by its present Members; and, as far as its Liberal population was concerned, by the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. M'Clure). Without giving any more details, he might say there were more Catholics than Protestants in Ulster. And why did he refer to these things? He did so because, if the disestablished Church were to be allowed to retain these Ulster glebes, it would be idle to tell the noble and manly population of Ulster—he said this because he believed that the northern Celt was a nobler and more manly being than the southern Celt: he did not know how the hon. Members below the Gangway accepted the proposition, but all he could say was that if the spirit of the northern Celt had influenced all the 35 changes that had occurred in their country, perhaps Ireland need not have come up to an English Parliament to ask for a Bill of this kind—that the Church of Ireland had been disestablished. He would see that the stigma of conquest and the badge of wrong remained, and he would say—"Your Bill is a mockery and a delusion; but, as far as we are concerned, it is not a snare, because we are not so foolish as to be deluded by it." A good deal had been said about the Protestant population of Ulster, and when it suited the times the Anglican Church had endeavoured to identify itself with the Presbyterians; but what was the real state of things between those two religious communities? Why, upon the Sunday each body went to their own churches, and the Presbyterians were, in fact, as much opposed to the Anglicans as they were to the Roman Catholics. ["No!"] All he could say was that those who had sent him there were— and if the Ballot was the law of the land the hon. Member who had just spoken would never have had an opportunity of saying "No!" Just before he rose he had been speaking in the Lobby to a rev. Friend of his who had proposed him on the hustings as a fit and proper person to represent the city of Derry, because he was a humble supporter of the right hon. Gentleman who eat on the front Bench. That rev. Gentleman had since been elected the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and he had just informed him that the Presbyterians of Ireland complained as a wrong of what that House had done last night about the increase of 7 per cent in the amount to be paid on commutation. It might be said that the same thing had been done as regarded the Presbyterian Church, but it was a very different thing to receive 1s. in the pound upon £2 and 1s. in the pound upon £100. He knew in which position he would rather stand. If, in addition to this, and the £500,000 proposed to be given to the Anglicans, they were also to receive the Ulster glebes, he would rather that that Church should be left in exactly the same position as that which it now occupied, because then it would be such a monstrous wrong in the eyes of Christendom that it must sooner or later certainly be swept away, whereas in the former case the wrong would be like the 36 baby mentioned in Midshipman Easy— "only a little one," and therefore likely to remain unredressed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had prophesied a gloomy future for the Disestablished Church. He (Mr. Serjeant Dowse) believed the right hon. Member, whose genius he admired, and whose writings he had read with interest, but he was afraid with not much improvement, would prove a false prophet in this respect, as in many others. As an Irish Episcopalian, he certainly was much amused by the saying of the right hon. Gentleman last night, that after the Irish Church was disestablished it would be impossible to distinguish religious truth in Ireland. A man might just as well say that he could not tell whether he was hot or cold without a thermometer as to say that he could not tell what he believed without an Established Church to tell him. Why, what a painful position he should be placed in next year. He should be certain he held the truth at Holyhead, but as soon as he reached Kingstown he should not know whether he were a Christian or a Mahomedan. He believed that the Church would fulfil her mission with vigour and effect, disseminating her doctrines among those who would accept them, without giving offence either to Roman Catholics or Presbyterians. The result of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, when it became law in the shape in which it had left that House a month ago, would be to create in Ireland an era of religious peace and of general prosperity; and the Irish Members would speak emphatically and with one voice on Irish questions, all differences of creed and race being buried with the hateful memories of the past. He trusted one day to see Ireland, in the words of her poet, "great, glorious, and free," whether she were or no" the first flower of the earth and the first gem of the sea." When perfect accord was established between the sister countries, Ireland would prove a worthy helpmeet for England and Scotland, both countries would be strengthened, and he, for one, should not have the least fear of the future, for he was not one of those who believed in the downfall of England.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
It can hardly be a matter for regret that 37 hon. Members, before we finally part with this Bill, should have had the advantage of hearing the very free commentary which the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Serjeant Dowse) has just given them upon the message of peace it was likely to convey to the great mass of the Irish people. I do not gather from what has fallen from the hon. and learned Member that it is likely the Bill will be accepted in exactly the spirit in which it was hoped by those who brought it forward that it would be received. I rise on this occasion to ask whether we really are to understand that the Protestant Church of Ireland is to be deprived of its glebes and its endowments, which it has enjoyed during the past 200 or 300 years, in a part of the country where her endowments are very moderate, on the ground that those glebes were given by the Sovereign contrary to the laws of Ireland? because if that is to be inferred, and the Question of religious equality is to be put altogether on one side in favour of the view that the glebes have been taken from those who had a right to them, contrary to the law of Ireland, and in violation of the sacred law of tanistry, to which reference has been made, I am afraid that the inquiry will go much further, and that its result will be to raise expectations most inconvenient to the rights of those who now hold property in that country. We must recollect that we are told this up as tree has many branches, and that among them is that of the land question; and in dealing with that question on a future occasion we shall find that the doctrines of the hon. and learned Member will go far beyond the claims and the rights of the London Companies, and will touch the grants made to private persons in the time of James I. If the northern Celts referred to by the hon. and learned Member, with their strong and fierce organization, which he so much admires, are to be told that they are entitled to the glebes of the Established Church, because the Sovereign who conferred them had no right to them, how are you to persuade them that they are to sit calmly and tranquilly down and see the other portions of the country held upon no better title by the Saxon proprietors? In the interests of peace and conciliation I must protest against such doctrines being enunciated. If you are to call upon the 38 Established Church of Ireland to descend from its position, and to make this great sacrifice for the peace of Ireland, let us at all events avoid doing so in the spirit which has been exhibited by the hon. and learned Member. In answer to the observation of the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter), I must repeat what I have previously stated, that it is not the proper mission of the Protestant Church in Ireland to act as a proselytizing Church. My view is this—Look at this matter, if you please, with reference to the position of the Established Church as it will shortly be. Look at this question, not on abstract principles, but with reference to what would be the vital interests of that Church. What is the position of that Church, especially in Ulster? It is this—Englishmen planted a colony of Protestants in that part of the country, and gave them lands, reserving a certain portion of the lands to provide them with the means of supporting their religious worship. This has enabled them to maintain themselves and exercise their religion, without bringing themselves into collision with their Roman Catholic neighbours, and without the necessity of carrying on an aggressive religious warfare. But what do you now propose to do? You propose to turn this Church into a voluntary and, as you say, a missionary Church. And what do you mean by that? You mean to incite the men to maintain themselves by stirring up bad feeling against their Roman Catholic neighbours, and by looking for support, as the hon. Member for Berkshire has said, to contributions from voluntary societies in this country and other sources. This, however, is not the way in which we ought to look at this question. We should remember that here is a body of men who have set a good example to the people of Ireland. Here, in Ulster, we find a Protestant body who have been energetic in the development of the resources of the country, and who have set a conspicuous example of loyalty. It would be an advantage to the community that they should continue to have the benefit of a fair and proper endowment of their Church, and we ask you, on the grounds of justice to them, and of expediency, in reference to the peace and quiet of Ireland, to leave them these glebes. I think this is a concession which may fairly be made, and one which 39 this House ought to be slow to set aside for such reasons as have been adduced by the hon. and learned Member for Derry.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, this Amendment had hardly been discussed at all when brought forward in Committee; therefore, as an Irish Episcopalian, he desired to say a few words respecting it. The hon. Member for Derry (Mr. Serjeant Dowse) was always trotting himself out as an Irish Episcopalian; but the hon. and learned Gentleman only represented thirteen Irish Episcopalians, whereas he had the honour of representing 6,000 English Episcopalians. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to the hon. Member for Donegal (the Marquess of Hamilton), who, he said, represented a constituency largely composed of Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, as well as of Church people. This only showed the confidence reposed by Irish Roman Catholics and Presbyterians in Irish Churchmen. He commended the hon. Member for Derry's views on the land question to the consideration of hon. Gentlemen opposite. No doubt, when the President of the Board of Trade introduced his Bill on that subject, he would receive the support of the hon. and learned Member for Derry, who said that the Ulster glebe lands were the property, not of the King, but of the persons who possessed them before they were forfeited; the inference being that the King had no right to give them to the Church. It followed that the rightful owners were the descendants of the persons who possessed the lands before they were forfeited. Was the hon. and learned Gentleman prepared to give the lands to the descendants of these persons? If not, his argument was worthless. In order that there might be religious equality in Ireland, the other denominations must be treated in the same way in which the Church was treated under the provisions of this Bill. Every acre, and every farthing, now enjoyed by the Presbyterian and the Roman Catholic Churches must be taken from them and vested in Commissioners; the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches must be subjected to the same indignities as the Church of Ireland. He could assure the junior Member for Belfast (Mr. M'Clure) that for his own part, he should be willing to give glebe lands to the Presbyterians, on condition that 40 all the property of the Presbyterian Church should be vested in Commissioners. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) that, after the passing of this Bill, the Roman Catholic Church and the disendowed Church would not be upon a footing of equality. Centuries ago, according to the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite, the Roman Catholic Church was disestablished and disendowed; and it followed, therefore, that, in order to establish religious equality in Ireland, the Protestant Church ought to be put on the same footing, as if she had been disestablished and disendowed centuries ago. Since the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had accumulated vast property; and, no doubt, the Protestant Church would likewise have done so, if she had been disestablished and disendowed centuries ago. But it was objected that this was not a private endowment. To place the two denominations on a footing of perfect equality the Protestant Church must, to a certain extent, be re-endowed. The definition given by the Prime Minister of a private endowment was, first, that it must arise from a private source; and, secondly, that it must be devoted to the Established Church, not quâ Established Church, but quâ religious denomination. The right hon. Gentleman, however, admitted that he himself violated the second part of his definition; because, in point of fact, a large portion of the property which he proposed to give back to the Church in Ireland was originally given to her as an Established Church. Why, then, did the right hon. Gentleman insist so rigidly on the first part of this definition? How did this property come to be conferred on the Established Church in Ireland? When the natives rose in rebellion, their property became forfeited to the King—not as representing the State—but as the original Lord of the fief, in which capacity the King entered into a private contract with the Protestant colonists and induced them to settle in Ireland, in consideration of his conferring these glebe lands on their clergy. As a descendant of one of those colonists, he called upon the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to advise Her Majesty to adhere to the contract entered into by her predecessor, King James I. He wished, 41 however, before sitting down, to call attention to the fact, that they were discussing an Amendment which was not before them; as, he apprehended, the Amendment before the House was that relating to the gift of £500,000 in lieu of all private endowments, which was quite distinct from the Amendment relating to the Ulster glebe lands.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
I am glad, Sir, to have the opportunity of saying a few words on this clause, particularly on the first portion of it, to which the hon. Member who has just resumed his seat has alluded. I confess I cannot be entirely satisfied that we ought to deal with the private endowments, which the Bill originally proposed to reserve, on the mere footing of pounds, shillings, and pence, as far as regards the general Church Body. It may be, and I assume it is the case—because otherwise I presume the Archbishop of Canterbury would not have accepted the offer of the Government to give £500,000 for all the private endowments—that according to the best calculations the value of the private endowments which might have been saved to the Church was less than £500,000. But on this point I confess that the more or less of pecuniary value does not seem to me to be the only thing to be considered. [Mr. GLADSTONE here made a remark to the right hon. Gentleman.] I am afraid from what my right hon. Friend says that I am dealing with this subject in the dark, and without sufficient knowledge. All I was going to say may be met by some proposal intended to be made by my right hon. Friend, and if so I shall be very glad. The principle I suppose upon which the private endowments were dealt with was this. As to them the Government thought it right to put aside the strict identity of legal title with the rest of the property which depended on public endowment, and to look to the real intention of the donors of the property and to the real substantial interests of those for whose benefit it was given. If so, it would be a departure from that principle to allow the new Church Body to sell to the State the whole of these private endowments, including what individuals have given within the last few years. That would violate any idea of what is just in principle, even though it should be demonstrated that a pecu- 42 niary gain to the new Church would arise from it. Strongly as I shall sympathize with the fortunes of that Church, I could not accede to such a proposal. I shall be exceedingly glad if it should appear that the Government are going to make some proposal which would obviate that objection. As to the Ulster glebes, I have already stated my views with respect to them so fully that I think it would be inexcusable to make any prolonged observations on the subject now. But as we have heard, not for the first time, that the Bill, as it has been sent down to us from the Lords, would leave the disestablished Church in possession of a large property, I may be permitted to remark that if the Ulster glebes are refused she will not have the fee simple or any permanent interest in any property except the churches. The hon. and learned Member for Derry (Mr. Serjeant Dowse) has told us that, if these glebes are retained, the Church will keep everything with the exception of the tithes. What she really will have, in that case, is £62,464 a year, an amount which is exceeded by the private income of many gentlemen in this country. The tithes which she will lose amount to £329,087 a year, and the total of the Church property, which, except this £62,464, the nation will resume, to £581,831 a year. I must say that, whether right or wrong—and I will not now repeat my reasons for thinking it right—it seems to me to be a monstrous exaggeration to say that the keeping of so small a proportion as is now asked for would be a departure from the principle of the Bill.
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he could not consent to go to a division without entering his solemn protest against the proposal of the Government, which was not only a violation of the Act of Union and the prosecution of a policy of confiscation of the most odious kind in the case of the North of Ireland, but a violation of the title on which almost every holder of land in the province of Ulster held his property. If such a proposal were to be carried into effect, there was not a single man in Ulster who would consider his title to the land which he possessed as worth the paper on which it was written. Such a proposal was contrary alike to the laws of God and man, for the glebes in question had been devoted in the most solemn way by 43 James I. and his Ministers to the use of the inhabitants of Ulster, and confirmed to them by repeated Acts of Parliament. And who, he would ask, were the men who were returned by Ulster to represent her in that House? They were not men imbued with the wild notions of Fenianism. On the contrary, they, as well as their predecessors, had always been true to the trust which had been reposed in them, and that trust it was proposed by the Government to violate in the face of the House and the country. That was but a poor return for the past, for to Ulster that House might point with pride as being the first-born child of England.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that it was only within the last few minutes that they had got at the facts of the case, and they had to thank the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) for stating the amount of money to be dealt with under the clause. They were about to dispose of a very large portion of property, and he was astonished at the speech of the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter), who said that he rejoiced at disestablishment, but considered it would not be complete without disendowment. The hon. Member said it was not only necessary to disestablish but to strip the Church of its property, in order to place it on an equality with the Church of Rome. The Church of Rome had its own organization, and Dr. Moriarty spoke of it as a great spiritual commonwealth. It was governed by one who claimed to be a prince of the Roman Catholic Church, with full power to dispose of the whole of its property. Were they so ignorant of the organization of the Church of Rome as to have forgotten the Synod of Thurles? Did they forget that it extended to the virtual disposal of things temporal as well as things spiritual? Dr. Moriarty, when asked by the Chief Secretary for Ireland in a Committee of the House—"Has not the Church of Rome a coercive jurisdiction?" replied —"Certainly." And when he was asked why that jurisdiction was not enforced, the answer was—"Because you do not send your policemen to enforce it." This brought him back to the speech of an hon. Friend, who said that the Church of Ireland would become a missionary Church. Now how did the missionaries fare in Ireland? Had not 44 there been instances in that country when Protestant missionaries met in private grounds, of their being outraged by Roman Catholic mobs, and driven to seek shelter? Had not proofs been given that this system was extending to Scotland? And in this country it was only necessary to refer to the proceedings which had recently taken place at Birmingham. He had said before, and he now said it again, that it was not the history of Protestantism to be subdued by force. And he also said that, looking at the power of the Church of Rome, what they were now doing in Ireland in stripping the Church of her rightful property was not a message of peace, but the reverse. Were the Government denuding the Irish Church that they might protect her in her poverty? Their recent action told him they were not. If Protestants were to hold their own, they would have to hold it as they did before, vi et armis. If anything, the Government sided with the aggressor against Protestantism. Was it intended to lend policemen to enforce the jurisdiction claimed by the Roman Catholics? If they did so, they might expect to meet with a response from the people of England which they did not anticipate, and a response which they would be perfectly justified in making. By denuding the Irish Church of the protection she had enjoyed and of the property which was her right, he believed they were embarking in a course which would shake peace and order in this country to its foundations.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, that it had been decided in the other House by a majority of 7 that Roman Catholics should be endowed. Now, who composed that majority of 7? Two Archbishops of England and five Bishops. And now hon. Members were asked whether they were Protestants or not in the teeth of seven Bishops, who gave their casting votes for the endowment of the Roman Catholics out of Protestant money. Now, how did the hon. Member himself vote? Did he vote for the Amendment of the House of Lords? [Mr. NEWDEGATE: No.] No! The hon. Member skulked out of the House. Away he went, with his tail between his legs. [Mr. NEWDEGATE said he had voted against the substantive proposition.] He was speaking of the first part of the Preamble, and 45 he would ask, was the hon. Member for ' Catholic endowment or not? Was he on the same side as the Bishops? Let them have no more of this. Were they, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to be trifled with in that way? Had not the Bishops of this Established Church—one of them a Scotchman, another trained by a Dissenting minister — had not two Arch-bishops, and five Bishops, including the Eight Rev. Bishop of Oxford, voted in favour of endowing Roman Catholics out of the revenues of the Protestant; Church? Did not the Catholic Peers indignantly reject the proposal and vote against it? To his mind, educated, as it was his glory to have been, in the school of freedom, of emancipation from Church State endowment, there was one evil of all others which the Church had to dread and avoid, and that was endowment, and worst of all — State endowment. Of what were the people of the Episcopal denomination afraid? What were they contending for? It was not policy, it was not politics, it was not economics, it was not theology. What was it made them the forlorn hope of the Church of the kingdom? It was the want of spiritual life. They had depended upon endowments which had ruined them. Endowments rained the Church of Rome first, and next the Reformed Church of England. Away with this accursed thing, which had tended to prostitute the Church of England and deprive her of spiritual life. There was not another denomination in the country that leaned upon endowments, except the Church of Scotland. The Nonconformists repudiated the notion of endowments; they considered endowments pernicious, that they destroyed the life of Christianity, and were the cause of bitter strife among the people. It was a sorrowful thing that one religious denomination was quarrelling in the House of Commons about endowments 200 or 300 years old, whilst all the flourishing denominations in the United Kingdom were exulting in the liberty which they enjoyed unaccompanied with endowment. He was glad to have been permitted to see the day when the Prime Minister of this great kingdom had resolved to emancipate religion from State control, and to establish it on the more permanent footing of freedom and truth.
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY
said, he wished to bring the House back from the wide discussion they had entered upon to the question whether these Ulster glebes are to be given to the Protestant Church in Ireland. The very essence of this Bill was its strict impartiality, and this impartiality should be maintained oven in small matters. In his opinion the case of concurrent endowment derived considerable strength from the easy terms on which the glebe houses were to be surrendered. He believed that the Roman Catholics would look on the retention of those glebes by the Church as an outward and visible sign of anything but an inward and spiritual grace. If it had been determined that they should be put up and sold at the death of the incumbent, the cry for concurrent endowment would never have had half its force. He therefore trusted that the Government would not give way in the smallest degree, and that, if this Bill should be lost, when it was introduced again they would treat the question of glebes and glebe houses with no more than strict justice.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND
moved, in line 29, after the word "sterling," to insert the words—But the said sum and the income thereof shall remain in the hands of the said body answerable to the trust of every such private endowment, so far as the circumstances of each particular case will permit.The object was to supply a deficiency in the clause as it stood, and to avoid a construction which he was sure the Lords never intended that their words should be open to. It might, perhaps, be open to the donor of a private endowment to obtain a declaration that the part of the £500,000 which would come to that endowment should be applied to the purpose of the original gift, but it was objectionable that he should be exposed to that necessity, and it would be unjust if the Church Body were able to divert private endowments from their objects. Therefore, for the purpose of protecting private endowments in the locality to which they had been devoted, and of putting the £500,000 to answer the trust deeds of particular endowments, he moved the insertion of these words.
§ Amendment agreed to.47
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 344; Noes 240: Majority 104.51
|Adair, H. E.||Castlerosse, Viscount|
|Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F.||Cave, T.|
|Akroyd, E.||Cavendish, Lord F. C.|
|Allen, W. S.||Cavendish, Lord G.|
|Amcotts, Colonel W. C.||Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E.|
|Amory, J. H.||Cholmeley, Captain|
|Anderson, G.||Cholmeley, Sir M.|
|Anson, hon. A. H. A.||Clay, J.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Clement, W. J.|
|Antrobus, E.||Clive, Colonel E.|
|Armitstead, G.||Cogan, rt. hon. W. H. F.|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Coleridge, Sir J. D.|
|Backhouse, E.||Collier, Sir R. P.|
|Bagwell, J.||Colthurst, Sir G. C.|
|Baines, E.||Cowen, J.|
|Baker, R. B. W.||Cowper, hon. H. F.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Cowper, it. hon. W. F.|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Craufurd, E. H. J.|
|Bass, M. A.||Crawford, R. W.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Crossley, Sir F.|
|Bazley, T.||Dalglish, R.|
|Beaumont, Captain F.||Dalrymple, D.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||D'Arcy, M. P.|
|Beaumont, S. A.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Davies, R.|
|Bentall, E. H.||Davison, J. R|
|Biddulph, M.||Delahunty, J.|
|Blake, J. A.||De La Poer, E.|
|Blennerhassett, Sir R.||Denison, E.|
|Bolckow, H. W. F.||Denman, hon. G.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Dent, J. D.|
|Bouverie, rt. hon. E.P.||Devereux, R. J.|
|Bowring, E. A.||Dickinson, S. S.|
|Brady, J.||Digby, K. T.|
|Brand, rt. hon. H.||Dilke, Sir C. W|
|Brand, H. R.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Brassey, H. A.||Dixon, G.|
|Brassey, T.||Dodds, J.|
|Brewer, Dr.||Dodson, J. G.|
|Bright, rt. hon. J.||Downing, M'C.|
|Bright, J. (Manchester)||Dowse, R.|
|Brinckman, Captain||Duff, M. E. G.|
|Brocklehurst, W. C.||Duff, R. W.|
|Brogden, A.||Dundas, F.|
|Brown, A. H.||Edwards, hon. Col. W.|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Edwards, H.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.||Egerton, Capt. hon. F.|
|Bryan, G. L.||Ellice, E.|
|Buller, Sir E. M.||Enfield, Viscount|
|Bulwer, rt. hn. Sir H. L.||Ennis, J. J.|
|Burke, Viscount||Erskine, Vice-Adm.J.E.|
|Bury, Viscount||Esmonde, Sir J.|
|Buxton, C.||Ewing, H. E. C.|
|Callan, P.||Eykyn, R.|
|Campbell, H.||Fagan, Captain|
|Candlish, J.||Fawcett, H.|
|Card well, rt. hon. E.||Finnie, W.|
|Carington, hn. Capt. W.||FitzGerald, rt. hn. Lord|
|Carnegie, hon. C.||O. A.|
|Carter, R. M.||Fitzmaurice, Lord E.|
|Cartwright, W. C.||FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J.W.|
|Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.||Lea, T.|
|Fletcher, I.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Lee, W.|
|Fordyce, W. D.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Forster, C.||Lewis, J. D.|
|Forster, rt. hon. W. E.||Lloyd, Sir T. D.|
|Fortescue, rt. hn. C. P.||Loch, G.|
|Fortescue, hon. D. F.||Lorne, Marquess of|
|Fothergill, R.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Fowler, W.||Lush, Dr.|
|French, rt. hon. Col.||Lusk, A.|
|Gavin, Major||Lyttelton, hon. C. G.|
|Gilpin, C.||M'Arthur, W.|
|Gladstone, rt hn. W. E.||M'Clean, J. R.|
|Gladstone, W. H.||M'Clure, T.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J||MacEvoy, E.|
|Gourley, E. T.||Macfie, R. A.|
|Gower, hon. E. F. L.||Mackintosh, E. W.|
|Gower, Lord R.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Graham, W.||M'Laren, D.|
|Gray, Sir J.||M'Mahon, P.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Magniac, C.|
|Greville, Captain||Maguire, J. F.|
|Grey, right hon. Sir G.||Maitland, Sir A.C.R. G.|
|Grieve, J. J.||Marling, S. S.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Martin, C. W.|
|Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.||Martin, P. W.|
|Grove, T. F.||Matheson, A.|
|Guest, M. J.||Matthews, H.|
|Hadfield, G.||Melly, G.|
|Hamilton, E. W. T.||Merry, J.|
|Hamilton, J. G. C.||Miall, E.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Milbank, F. A.|
|Harcourt, W. G. G. V. V.||Miller, J.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Milton, Viscount|
|Harris, J. D.||Moncrieff, rt. hon. J.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Monk, C. J.|
|Haviland-Burke, E.||Monsell, rt. hon. W.|
|Hay, Lord J.||Moore, G. H.|
|Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.||Morgan, G. O.|
|Henderson, J.||Morley, S.|
|Henley, Lord||Morrison, W.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Mundella, A. J.|
|Hoare, Sir H. A.||Muntz, P. H.|
|Hodgkinson, G.||Murphy, N. D.|
|Holms, J.||Nicol, J. D.|
|Horsman, rt. hon. E.||North, F.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Howard, J.||O'Conor, D. M.|
|Hughes, T.||O'Conor Don, The|
|Hughes, W. B.||O'Donoghue, The|
|Hurst, R. H.||Ogilvy, Sir J.|
|Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.||O'Loghlen, right hon.|
|Hyde, Lord||Sir C. M.|
|Illingworth, A.||Onslow, G.|
|James, H.||O'Reilly, M. W.|
|Jardine, R.||O'Reilly-Dease, M.|
|Jessel, G.||Otway, A. J.|
|Johnston, A.||Palmer, J. H.|
|Johnstone, Sir H.||Parker, C. S.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Parry, L. Jones-|
|Kinglake, J. A.||Pease, J; W.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Peel, A. W.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Pelham, Lord|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen,||Philips, R. N.|
|E. H.||Pim, J.|
|Layard, rt. hon. A. H.||Playfair, L.|
|Lambert, N. G.||Plimsoll, S.|
|Lancaster, J.||Pollard-Urquhart, W.|
|Lawrence, J. C.||Portman, hn. W. H. B.|
|Lawrence, W.||Potter, E.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Potter, T. B.|
|Power, J. T.||Sullivan, rt. hon. E.|
|Price, W. E.||Sykes, Colonel W. H.|
|Price, W. P.||Synan, E. J.|
|Ramsden, Sir J. W.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Rathbone, W.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Rebow, J. G.||Tite, Sir W.|
|Reed, C.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Richard, H.||Torrens, R. R.|
|Richards, E. M.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Robertson, D.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.|
|Roden, W. S.||Trelawny, Sir J. S.|
|Rothschild, Brn.L. N. de||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Rothschild, Brn.M. A. de||Verney, Sir H.|
|Rothschild, N. M. de||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Russell, A.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Russell, F. W.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Rylands, P.||Vivian, hn. Capt. J. C. W.|
|St. Aubyn, J.||Walter, J.|
|Salomons, Mr. Ald.||Wedderburn, Sir D.|
|Samuda, J. D'A.||Weguelin, T. M.|
|Samuelson, B.||West, H. W.|
|Samuelson, H. B.||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Sartoris, E. J.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Scott, Sir W.||Whatman, J.|
|Seely, C. (Lincoln)||Whitbread, S.|
|Seely, C. (Nottingham)||White, hon. Captain C.|
|Shaw, R.||White, J.|
|Shaw, W.||Whitwell, J.|
|Sheridan, H. B.||Whitworth, T.|
|Sherlock, D.||Williams, W.|
|Sherriff, A. C.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Simeon, Sir J.||Willyams, E. W. B.|
|Simon, Mr. Serjeant||Wingfield, Sir C.|
|Smith, J. B.||Winterbotham, H. S. P.|
|Smith, T. E.||Woods, H.|
|Stacpoole, W.||Young, A. W.|
|Stanley, hon. W. O.||Young, G.|
|Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|Stepney, Colonel||Adam, W. P.|
|Stevenson, J. C.||Glyn, G. G.|
|Stone, W. H.|
|Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. B.||Broadley, W. H. H.|
|Allen, Major||Brodrick, hon. W.|
|Amphlett, R. P.||Bruce, Sir H. H.|
|Annesley, hon. Col. H.||Bruen, H.|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Burrell, Sir P.|
|Assheton, R.||Butler-Johnstone, H. A.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Cameron, D.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Cartwright, F.|
|Ball, J. T.||Cawley, C. E.|
|Baring, T.||Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.|
|Barnett, H.||Chaplin, H,|
|Barrington, Viscount||Charley, W. T.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Child, Sir S.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Clive, hon. Col. G. W.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Clowes, S. W.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Cole, hon. Col. H. A.|
|Beach, Sir M. H.||Collins, T.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Conolly, T.|
|Bective, Earl of||Corbett, Colonel|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Corrance, F. S.|
|Benyon, R.||Crichton, Viscount|
|Bingham, Lord||Croft, Sir H. G. D.|
|Birley, H.||Cross, R. A.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Cubitt, G.|
|Bourne, Colonel||Curzon, Viscount|
|Bright, R.||Dalrymple, C.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Damer, Capt. Dawson-|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Davenport, W. B.|
|Dawson, R. P.||Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.|
|De Grey, hon. T.||Hutton, J.|
|Denison, C. B.||Ingram, H. F.M.|
|Dick, F.||Jackson, R. W.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Jenkinson, Sir G. S.|
|Dimsdale, R.||Johnston, W.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Kavanagh, A M'M.|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.||Kekewich, S. T.|
|Drax, J. S. W. S. E.||Keown, W.|
|Duncombe, hn. Colonel||Knight, F. W.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Knightley, Sir R.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Knox, hon. Colonel S.|
|Eastwick, E. B.||Lacon, Sir E. H. K.|
|Eaton, H. W.||Laird, J.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Langton, W. H. P. G.|
|Egerton, E. C.||Laslett, W.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Lefroy, A.|
|Egerton, hon. W.||Legh, Lt.-Col. G. C.|
|Elliot, G.||Legh, W. J.|
|Elphinstone, Sir J.D.H.||Lennox, Lord G. G.|
|Ewing, A. O.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Feilden, H. M.||Leslie, C. P.|
|Fellowes, E.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Fielden, J.||Lindsay, hon. Col. C.|
|Figgins, J.||Lindsay, Colonel R. L.|
|Finch, G. H.||Lopes, H. C.|
|Floyer, J.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Forde, Colonel||Lowther, Colonel|
|Forester, rt. hn. General||Lowther, J.|
|Fowler, R. N.||Lowther, W.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.|
|Galway, Viscount||Manners, Lord G. J.|
|Garlies, Lord||March, Earl of|
|Gilpin, Colonel||Maxwell, W. H.|
|Goldney, G.||Mellor, T. W.|
|Gore, J. R. O.||Meyrick, T.|
|Grant, hon. Colonel J.||Milles, hon. G. W.|
|Graves, S. R.||Mills, C. H.|
|Gray, Lieut.-Colonel||Mitford, W. T.|
|Gregory, G. B.||Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.|
|Guest, A. E.||Montgomery, Sir G. G.|
|Gurney, rt. hon. R.||Morgan, C. O.|
|Hambro, C.||Morgan, hon. Major|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Hamilton, I. T.||Neville-Grenville, R.|
|Hamilton Lord G.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Newport, Viscount|
|Hardy, rt. hon. G.||Nicholson, W.|
|Hardy, J.||North, Colonel|
|Hardy, J. S.||Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.||O'Neill, hon. E.|
|Henley, rt. hon. J. W.||Paget, R. H.|
|Henniker - Major, hon.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|J. M.||Palmer, Sir R.|
|Henry, J. S.||Parker, Lt.-Colonel W.|
|Herbert, rt. hn. General||Patten, rt. hn. Col. W.|
|Sir P.||Peek, H. W.|
|Hermon, E.||Pell, A.|
|Hervey, Lord A. H. C.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Hesketh, Sir T. G.||Percy, Earl|
|Heygate, Sir F. W.||Phipps, C. P.|
|Hick, J.||Powell, W,|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Hill, A. S.||Read, C. S.|
|Hoare, P. M.||Ridley, M. W.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Round, J.|
|Holford, R. S.||Royston, Viscount|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Salt, T.|
|Holt, J. M.||Sandon, Viscount|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Hornby, E. K.||Scott, Lord H. J. M. D.|
|Howes, E.||Scourfield, J. H.|
|Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir||Verner, E. W.|
|H. J.||Verner, W.|
|Sidebottom, J.||Walker, Major G. G.|
|Simonds, W. B.||Walpole, hon. F.|
|Smith, A.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Smith, F. C.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Smith, R.||Welby, W. E.|
|Smith, S. G.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Smith, W. H.||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Somerset, Colonel||Whitmore, H.|
|Starkie, J. P. C.||Williams, C. H.|
|Stopford, S. G.||Williams, F. M.|
|Stronge, Sir J. M.||Wilmot, H.|
|Stuart, Colonel||Wise, H. C.|
|Sykes, C.||Wright, Colonel|
|Talbot, J. G.||Winn, R.|
|Talbot, hon. R. A. J.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Taylor, rt. hon. Colonel||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Tipping, W.||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-||TELLERS.|
|Turner, C.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Turnor, E.||Dyke, W. H.|
§ Motion agreed, to.
§ Clause 32 (Limitation of right to purchase fee simple in consideration of perpetual rent).
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, that in order to facilitate the course of business, he might mention that, so far as he and those with whom he had communicated were concerned, there was no point on which he need trouble the House to divide again until they came to Clause 68, which dealt with the appropriation of the surplus. It might be convenient to the House to know that.
§ Motion agreed to.
said, that in Clause 33 the Lords had acceded to an Amendment with respect to tithe rent-charge, the effect of which could not have been understood. As the clause now stood, the poor rate would be deducted from the twenty-two and a-half years' purchase if the landlord chose to buy at once, but not if he bought by way of annuity. He proposed to restore the clause to its original condition, and to disagree with the Lords' Amendment.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Motion agreed to.52
moved to agree to the remaining Amendments to the clause, and to the paragraph added to it by the Lords.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Clause 43 (Regulations as to appeal).
moved to omit the words "or where the said representative body feel" and thus to leave the clause as it stood, and to enable anyone who felt aggrieved by the value set by the Commissioners on the life interests to appeal.
§ Agreed to.
§ Amendment to clauses to Clause 68 read a second time; several agreed to; several disagreed to.
§ Clause 68 (Ultimate trust of surplus).
I shall move, Sir, to restore our own phraseology in line 29 of this clause. And then I shall propose to disagree with the Lords' Amendment down to the word "property" in line 37. The operative part of this clause is perfectly clear; it permits only the income of the property to be applied to the purposes described in the previous part of the clause. The previous part refers to the property without separating the income, and, therefore, I shall propose, when the proper time arrives, to insert in line 37, after the word "Act" the words "the income of such property." I shall then propose to disagree with the Lords' Amendment down to the words "lunatic asylums" in line 40, my object in stopping there being to permit my noble Friend the Member for Derbyshire (Lord George Cavendish) to move to leave out, in line 41, the words "in exoneration of the grand jury cess or other assessment in lieu thereof." I do not see that those words are essential to the clause, and therefore, as at present advised, I see no objection to their being struck out. We do not wish to bind the House at present to make a selection as to which among the objects proposed the surplus shall be applied to. I mentioned in Committee that I was not prepared to say on the part of the Government that a preference ought to be given to the case of the objects already provided for by the property of Ireland over those purposes which are entirely new; and therefore I think that it will be advantageous to accept the Amendment of my noble Friend and to strike out the 53 words which he proposes to omit, and so to leave the matter open. Then we should propose to disagree with the Lords' Amendment down to the end of the clause, and to add the proviso or addition—that Her Majesty may by Order in Council appropriate the said property to the purposes aforesaid—Before Parliament has legislated further in respect thereto, every Order in Council so appropriating the income of such property shall he laid before both Houses of Parliament within fourteen days after the making thereof, if Parliament is then sitting, or if Parliament be not sitting, then within fourteen days after the commencement of their next session; and such order shall not be of any validity until the expiration of forty days after the same has been so laid before both Houses of Parliament, nor shall it be of any validity at all if within such period of forty days an address be presented to Her Majesty by both Houses of Parliament praying Her Majesty to revoke such order.In moving that proviso it is not in the slightest degree our intention to throw open the question of principle—what we ask Parliament now to decide is the principle on which these appropriations shall proceed. I stated on the introduction of the Bill that I did not believe that the clause as framed was adequate, or that any clause that could be framed would be adequate, to dispose of the whole matter, and that we should probably have to come back to Parliament for the details of the final appropriation of the surplus. Objection has been taken to the clause on the specific ground that it may lead to a wasteful method of appropriation, and it is on that ground that I have proposed to provide that, if in any case it should be found practicable and expedient to proceed by way of Order in Council, in such case the Order in Council shall be presented to both Houses of Parliament, and that it shall be open to Parliament to interpose and to arrest the operation of such Order if they shall think fit. With regard to the general principle of this clause, it was generally debated yesterday, and it may probably not be the disposition of the House to enlarge upon it on the present occasion. The principle is perfectly clear and may be briefly stated. Her Majesty's Government regard it as being of the greatest importance to the interests of Ireland that we should finally seal an absolute severance between this property and any appropriation of it for the purposes of religion. Those who recom- 54 mended the postponement of the appropriation of the surplus in ''another place'' recommended that course with marked reference to a supposed progress of opinion in favour of an application of this money to the purposes of religion; and, although it is perfectly true that the Amendment in the Preamble was moved by a distinguished person, declaring himself opposed to this appropriation, yet he invited the portion of the House of Lords that wished for concurrent endowment to support the Amendment in the Preamble, because he said, that by doing so they would keep open the door for the purpose of raising that question of concurrent endowment. Under these circumstances, we think it of vital importance to seal and close absolutely that controversy, and we think we cannot do that without a general designation of the purposes to which, in the judgment of this House, the proceeds of the surplus should be appropriated. Indeed, when we voted upon the Preamble yesterday, I supposed we were also voting practically upon this clause —although, of course, I do not question the right of any hon. Members to raise the question—because we declared in the Preamble that this property should be applied for the relief of inevitable calamity and suffering, yet not so as to cancel or to impair certain obligations for the relief of the poor. Now, as far as legislation is concerned, the words as enacting words would be perfectly sufficient for our purpose, and therefore we are not in the least afraid of the interference of Parliament in determining upon what conditions this money shall go to reformatory schools and to the relief of the deaf, the dumb, the blind, and lunatics. What we wish to do is to record solemnly the judgment of Parliament upon the general subject, and, by the specification of a positive and substantive purpose, to prevent the revival of the baneful controversy as to the application of the surplus to purposes of religion. With regard to the specific purpose for which the surplus is to be appropriated, I have only this much to say—that, in the first place, we lay down no rule in the clause with respect to the intermediate employment of the money; that is a matter which is left entirely open to the legislative declaration which Parliament may be invited to make. It is left perfectly open to Par- 55 liament, without altering one word of the clause, to employ any portion of this money in reproductive investments — it is the income only that is to be disposed of. I think that matter is now clearly understood. The general details of the appropriation of the surplus are likely to be very long and large. I do not think it can be open to any serious doubt that in Ireland, and, indeed, in every country, there is a great mass of human suffering, for which it is desirable provision should be made, which it is far above the means of the taxation or property of the country to supply, and yet for which provision is not in any country in the world adequately supplied by the operation of the law, nay, which cannot be adequately supplied by the operation of the law, because if it were the tax would be so severe upon the independent portion of the community that the burden would be intolerable. In dealing with this point I cannot refrain from reminding the House of what has recently occurred here. We, in London, are endeavouring to make better provision for a part, and a small part only, of this suffering—that which occurs among a small portion of the pauper class — while the want to which I have referred goes far above that class; and the consequence is such an increase of the rates that it is declared, and by none more than by hon. Members opposite, that the pressure of local taxation, due to this more expansive administration, is becoming unbearable, and is sufficient to authorize grants from the Imperial Exchequer to certain districts. With regard to the various classes of persons whose cases are involved in this matter, I will refer to a few of the authorities which might be quoted upon the subject. In 1851 and in 1861 the Census Commissioners in Ireland made a careful examination of the facts, and strongly urged upon the then Government the expediency of making a national provision for the deaf, the dumb, and the blind. But does anyone suppose that such a provision could be made out of the rates or out of the county cess, or in any form be made a charge upon the property of the country? The number of the deaf and dumb in Ireland under twenty years of age, and therefore capable of education was 1,300, and the number of blind 649, making altogether 56 2,000 persons whose condition marked them out for assistance of this kind, and yet whose cases cannot be met by a mere increase in public taxation. It has been said that to devote this money for the relief of those persons would be a very Christian application of it, and upon that ground we are ready to defend our proposal; but of course that is not the only view that Parliament may take in dealing with this question. I do not suppose it will be denied that the Irish law upon this subject is totally insufficient. The Irish law does not agree with the law of England. I do not admit that even in England the law makes provision for this class of persons; but in England, it must be remembered, the fountain of voluntary alms has been far more widely opened than in Ireland, where it yields very scanty supplies, and where, too, the law is far more rigid than in England. In Ireland, blind, deaf, and dumb persons cannot, unless they are orphans or children of a father who is in a workhouse, be sent to be educated out of the rates; for any other father is liable to be prosecuted for desertion if any child of Ms becomes destitute and is relieved either in or out of any workhouse in Ireland. It must also be borne in mind that even when you provide for the education of this class it becomes a most severe burden to impose by law, for whereas the cost of maintenance in workhouses is under £8 a year, the charge required to meet the expensive wants of this class is somewhere about £20 a year. I will, however, leave the legal part of the case and the insufficiency of the present provision to be dealt with by others. I have stated the general grounds on which our proposal rests. The words in the Preamble would be sufficient for our purpose if they were enacting words; but it would be strange to allow them to remain in the Preamble, as, by a very large majority it has been decided they shall remain, and to expunge all reference to the purport of the Preamble in the enacting part of the Bill. I propose that the vote should be taken on the first Amendment, as has been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The Amendment is merely verbal, and of a formal character, but I will agree to take that vote as a decision of the whole question. I therefore move that we should disagree from the Lords' Amend- 57 ment in line 29, and re-insert the words "it appeals to."
§ MR. DISRAELI
I made that suggestion, Sir, to the right hon. Gentleman for the convenience of the House. I shall not detain the House with any lengthened observations, but merely sum up the objections entertained on this side of the House to the course taken by the right hon. Gentleman. We do not think that the views of Her Majesty's Government on this important subject are sufficiently matured, and it is our opinion that the appropriation of the surplus should be reserved. On that point, and on that point alone, I shall ask the decision of the House.
§ LORD GEORGE CAVENDISH
said, it appeared to him that there was a variance between the words in the Preamble—which stated that property should not be relieved from any liability attaching to it—and the words in the 8th clause. He felt the more strongly that these two sets of words were at variance with each other, because the members of the family of a Relative of his who possessed considerable property in Ireland were met with no more disagreeable remark at the time of the last election than that the large landowners would derive benefit in some way out of the Church property. For his Relative and other landowners he repudiated any such notion. He should have been very glad if the rules of the House had permitted the insertion of the words which were in the Preamble.
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
was sorry to see the attitude assumed by the Government towards some of the Lords' Amendments, amounting as it did to the submission of an ultimatum to the Estates of the Realm by the First Minister of the Crown. He did not think there ever had been an occasion when it was less necessary for a Minister to assume such a position, for that right hon. Gentleman had been supported in all the divisions upon the Bill by the unanimous and loyal confidence of the Liberal party as no Minister, perhaps, had ever been supported before. He thought that the generous confidence which had been manifested on the part of the majority of the House ought to have elicited a reciprocal spirit of confidence on the part of the Government. In particular, he thought that in the consideration of the Lords' Amendments the re- 58 presentatives of the Irish people ought to have been consulted, especially in regard to matters upon which the people of that country were supposed to take a deep interest. Now, all the propositions involved in the Irish Church Bill, and the greater part of its principles, were of Imperial significance, and on these every Member of the House had a right to express his opinion. Whether the Irish Church should or should not be disestablished; whether, if disestablished, it should also be disendowed; to what extent that disendowment ought to be carried; and what property should be allowed to remain with the Church under such circumstances, were all questions upon which all the Members of that House could claim to be equally interested. But when once these questions had been finally settled by large majorities, it turned out that a large surplus of money remained to be applied for the benefit of the Irish people. That the majority of that House had an undoubted right to dispose of that surplus could not be denied; yet some deference ought to have been paid to the Irish people and their representatives in a matter which so deeply affected them— namely, the application of Irish national funds to Irish purposes. That deference which he, as an Irish Member, was now asking for, he would have been willing to have extended to the representatives of the other parts of the Kingdom. If, for instance, the Established Church of Scotland were to be disendowed and disestablished, he did not believe there was an Irish Member in the House that would be governed by any other consideration than this—to allow the Scotch representatives and the Scotch people to dispose of their own funds in any way that they thought fit. The funds that were to be taken from the Church of Ireland were Irish national funds; and although the Irish representatives could not absolutely claim the right to dispose of them as they thought would best conduce to the honour and advantage of Ireland, they, at all events, had the right to say that they should not be applied in a way tending to Ireland's disadvantage and dishonour, for the purpose of propitiating the political and. theological theories of any section of the population of England or Scotland. If the First Minister had thought it worth his while to learn what 59 were the opinions of the Irish people and their representatives upon this matter he might easily have ascertained that, while they were prepared to support him in rejecting the Amendments of the Lords generally, there was one point, deeply affecting the interests of their country, on which they had a special right to be heard, and to which they wished specially to direct the attention of the First Minister. He could state confidently that out of the 105 Members returned by Ireland, there were not five —he doubted whether there was even one—who approved of the application of the surplus which was proposed by the Government. If there were five let them speak out. When he endeavoured, under rather inauspicious circumstances, to address the House on the second reading, he stated distinctly, and, as the First Minister remarked, "like a man," that while he was prepared to support the principle of the Bill, he stood aghast at the contemplation of the jobbery and waste involved in the proposed application of the surplus. He did not think then, and he did not think now, that £7,000,000 of Irish money ought to be offered up as a holocaust to the old idol of English prejudice. He believed that the time was coming when public opinion would protest against such a thing being done. Nay, more, he believed that that time had arrived, and that the great majority of the English and Irish people believed that the Government scheme for the application of the surplus was utterly absurd. No one but those who were practically acquainted with Ireland could appreciate the amount of jobbery, waste, and demoralization that would arise from the carrying out of the proposal of the Government. Here was £7,000,000 of national money belonging to one of the poorest and most neglected nations in the world to be given away for absurd purposes, when it was wanted for other and better objects. Here was a nation wanting that money as no nation had ever wanted it, and yet it was proposed to set up that £7,000,000 to be scrambled for by that class of the Irish nation whose lives were a struggle between want and jobbery, and ultimately to be absorbed into that omnivorous vortex called landed property. He protested against any such course, and he believed that the Irish people were utterly opposed to such a thing 60 being done. The President of the Board of Trade had affected to treat this £7,000,000 as a twopenny-halfpenny affair, stating that it did not in reality amount to more than the incomes of some seven or eight landowners in this country. But it was a great deal of money to a country like Ireland, which had never been permitted to possess any property for its own national uses, and from which a large class of absentee landlords extracted enormous sums, to be expended on the banks of the Thames. The people of Ireland wished to see this money expended upon those interests which they thought needed it most. He generally found that those who were most profuse with the money of others were not the most ready when applied to contribute from their own means; and so while the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government was alieni appetens in dealing with the funds of the Irish Church, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not found sui profusus when application was made to him to aid any Irish national project. That which he asked the Government to do was, not to take a step towards concurrent endowment, but a step towards the settlement of the question at issue, as public opinion might ultimately determine. Those who maintained that it would be a step towards concurrent endowment simply meant that public opinion was advancing towards such endowment, and that it was necessary to waylay it by disposing of the surplus at once. In point of fact, the spirit which was said to exist in the constituencies was nothing more than the old spirit which had so often been invoked in England. It was the same spirit which had led to the introduction of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, though it assumed a different shape; it was that spirit of intolerance which was half a lunacy and half a hypocritical swindle, which had no reliance in itself, and on which no human being could rely. They were told, indeed, that the spirit of selfish intolerance which had possessed Ireland for ages was now to be cast out; but it was only that it might enter in another form, carrying with it other spirits more wicked than itself.
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY
said, he recollected that when the Bill was passing through Committee he wished to propose what he regarded as a very im- 61 portant Amendment, but that he could only obtain a hearing by promising, watch in hand, to speak for not more than two minutes. Under those circumstances it was not strange that he should have failed to convey to the Committee the full meaning of his proposal, but he must now ask the House, taking into consideration the fact that the money about to be dealt with was essentially Irish money, not only to listen to but to be guided by the opinions of Irish Members with respect to its disposal. If the House turned a deaf ear to them on a subject so intimately connected with Irish interests, the first thing that would be said to them when they went back among their constituents was, that if they could not obtain a hearing in an English Parliament on a question exclusively affecting Ireland, they had far better for the future turn their attention to seeking to establish a Legislature at home. The moment the question of applying the surplus which would be created by the Bill to ecclesiastical purposes was disposed of, he, for one, refused to be bound by the cy près argument, and contended that the money should be laid out in that way which would be most conducive to the interests of the country to which it belonged. Her Majesty's Government were about to endeavour, by a series of generous measures, to bring about a better state of feeling than had formerly existed in Ireland, and this Bill would remove, it was true, what the people of Ireland looked upon as a great grievance. But there were other evils of which they had to complain. Ireland was, as compared with England and Scotland, in a very depressed condition. Let the House, under these circumstances, consider for a moment what an amount of material benefit might be conferred on her by the application of £7,000,000 of money to the promotion of some great national objects. Without mentioning any particular scheme, he might refer, for instance, to the Irish railways, the price of which was about £ 19,000,000. Suppose £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 were expended in connection with them, what a great benefit might be conferred upon the country in the diminution of rates and fares! But that was only one instance. There were a hundred other projects open for discussion, and which had never yet been considered. Public 62 opinion in Ireland had never yet been brought to bear on the various views as to the best application of the surplus, and the Irish Members had been so deeply anxious to pass the Bill that they had been afraid to criticize it. He must confess that the main object which he, for instance, had in view, since the beginning of the Session, was to secure, as far as in him lay, the passing of the Irish Church Bill at any price. But now that it was in sight of port, and while he had not a single word to say against the proposed application of the money in itself, he would beg of the Government to postpone the disposal of the surplus, for a year at all events, to enable a conclusion to be arrived at as to whether there were not other modes in which it might be more beneficially applied. They might get rid of any fears of concurrent endowment by inserting words prohibiting its application in that way. At all events, the subject had not been maturely considered, and upon that ground he was justified in asking for a postponement. As to the objection made to the adoption of that course, on the ground that it would lead to quarrelling and strife, he would merely observe that the only strife which it would occasion would be those differences of opinion which must always exist among men, while it would afford an opportunity of ascertaining the real wishes of the Irish on a point which was to them of the highest importance.
said, he could not refrain from expressing his total dissent from the two speeches which had just been delivered. Now that the House was approaching the end of the Session, he must say that Irish Members had no good ground whatsoever for complaining as to the courtesy which had been extended to them, or as to the manner in which Irish interests had been dealt with. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore) possessed the advantage over him of having come down to the House with a prepared oration, and it was not the first time it had occurred to him that the hon. Gentleman would not be very unwilling that the Bill should be defeated. He was not aware what section of the Irish Members had authorized the hon. Gentleman to speak on their behalf; but, speaking simply for himself and his own constituents, he would unhesitatingly state that he 63 heartily approved the course taken by the Government, and had full confidence in their intentions with regard to the disposal of the surplus, and he believed the people of Ireland generally entertained the same feeling.
§ MR. H. A. HERBERT
said, it struck him, when he heard the cheers with which one or two of the speeches to which the House had just listened had been greeted by hon. Members opposite, that they were led to think there were indications of the instalment of another Cave of Adullam on the Liberal Benches. He believed, however, they would find their expectations in that respect disappointed. There might be some injustice in the Bill, but he thought it impossible to frame a measure which was more just to everyone. Taken as a whole, it was fair to the general body of the population, and would benefit the poorer classes, and that was what they wanted. It was all very well to talk of railways, but whom would railways benefit but the rich travelling classes and the shareholders in the companies? They would not benefit the poor. He, as an Irish Member, would vote in the strongest possible way for the proposal of Her Majesty's Government.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
Sir, I look at the question now before the House from a larger and a lesser point of view—as a matter of principle and as a matter of detail. I have listened to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore) with great, indeed with strained attention, that I might, if possible, catch the real meaning of my hon. Friend; and, as well as I could understand my hon. Friend's meaning and intention, it seemed to me that he desired to postpone the application of the surplus with the view of ultimately accomplishing the object which he had in view, but which has been deliberately rejected by the solemn pronouncement of this House. The Irish Catholic Members have assisted the Government to carry this great measure on certain fixed principles. On behalf of the Catholics of Ireland they solemnly pledged themselves before the people of the United Kingdom to ask for nothing for their Church. This was the solemn covenant between the Catholic people of Ireland, who were making their demand for religious equality, and the people of the United Kingdom, who were to re- 64 spond to that demand, and give it force and operation. Now I, as one Catholic Member, acting in the name of my Catholic constituents, will not depart even one point from that deliberately adopted covenant. The people of Ireland asked for justice not only in this matter of the Irish Church, but in other matters not less important. With regard to the Church they demanded that it should be disestablished and disendowed; but, at the same time, that the disendowment should be effected with the most scrupulous regard not merely to the feelings and even prejudices of the clergy of that Church, but to their material interests. In this spirit of fair consideration I believe this Bill has been framed; otherwise I should not have given to it the steady and uniform support which I have done. And if, in carrying out the main object and principle of this measure, I thought any one of the clauses really injurious to the spiritual life or material or essential interests of the Church, I would either have walked out of the House and not voted for it, or I would have actually opposed its proposal. My object, and I believe that of those I represent, was to do an act of justice to all, not an act of wrong to any; and this Bill, while it is an. act of justice to the many, is not an act of wrong to the few. In calling on Parliament to do this act of justice, we, Irish Catholics, had no selfish interest in view, no personal motives to gratify. The objects and intentions of the Catholic body were expressed on more than one occasion, and in the most emphatic and unmistakeable manner, especially as to an endowment for their Church. Those who are fully qualified to speak as the organ of their Church — namely, the Catholic Archbishops of Ireland—but two years since, in the year 1867, solemnly re-affirmed and re-adopted the declarations which they had made on this subject for nearly three-quarters of a century,—that they were opposed to State endowments for their Church in any shape, form, manner, or degree. ["No, no!"] That, Sir, is my reading of their declarations, which were clear, distinct, and unequivocal; and I may add that, I should be ashamed of the Bishops of my Church, and I would repudiate them as my spiritual leaders—in political matters—if I believed they solemnly attached their names to what they knew to be an outrageous 65 and deliberate sham. But, Sir, these declarations were in strict accordance with their uniform policy, and what I am certain is the feeling and policy of the great body of the Catholic people of Ireland. I, with my hon. Friend, represent a large constituency, the great majority of whom are Catholics; and on more than one occasion, but especially at the last election, I put this matter to my constituents, as other Irish Members had put it to their constituents. I put the question broadly, nakedly, and without disguise of any kind, in the spirit and even in the words in which the Catholic Bishops have spoken. That policy was approved by my constituents, and ratified by the return of my hon. Colleague (Mr. Murphy) and myself—and I stand here as the representative of that act of national abnegation. We Catholics are bound by more than this; we are bound by our own votes in this House during this and the last Session. By the solemn adoption of the Preamble of this Bill we confirmed this policy; and by the unanimous rejection of the clause proposed in the House of Lords by the Duke of Cleveland, we re-adopted this policy of generosity and self-denial; and we should now take care lest, by the postponement of the surplus, with a covert intention of its future application to the purpose which we have repeatedly and solemnly repudiated, we lay ourselves open to the charge of playing falsely with those who assist us to accomplish a great act of justice. As a Roman Catholic, I appreciate the generosity and good feeling of Protestant Members of this House, and the large and liberal spirit displayed by them in this matter of so-called, but falsely called, concurrent endowment. I appreciate the vote of the House of Lords, and the spirit in which it had its origin and much of its support; but, Sir, as a Catholic, I say it is far better to leave a voluntary Church to its own unaided exertions. I admit that in very many instances it is necessary that provision should be made for decent accommodation for the Catholic priest; and until that provision is made, there must be a marked and manifest inequality between the condition of the ministers of the two Churches. But this provision must be made by the Catholic people, not by the State. This is an object of very great importance, and one that I am happy to know has engaged 66 the attention of the Government, who may next year bring in a Bill the nature of which has been to a certain extent shadowed forth by the hon. Baronet the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate)—namely, to advance money on easy terms to the Catholic inhabitants of a parish with the view of providing a decent house with a certain portion of land for their pastor, and thus place him, so far, on a fair equality with the Protestant clergyman. This, if it be called endowment, would be endowment by the people, and not endowment by the State, to which priests and people equally object. This, to which there can be no possible objection, could be done by the Catholic people of Ireland, who have done far greater things for their Church. I, Sir, am not afraid of my Church, which has never received aid, or assistance, or encouragement from the State; and I will not consent to see her degraded now in the midst of her triumphant progress. She has outlived the terrors and persecutions of evil times—she has risen above the crushing influences of the Penal Laws—she has thriven in spite of the frown and discouragement of the State; and to such a condition of strength and self-sustainment has she arrived at this moment that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) contrasts her triumphant position with that of the "fallen" "forlorn" and "humiliated" Church whose disestablishment and practical re-endowment he paints in such melancholy terms. At such a moment the Catholic Church of Ireland must not compromise its dignity or weaken its power by the acceptance of so fatal a gift as that which some would offer and others would have her accept. Now, Sir, I should wrong those who have assisted us to obtain this great victory of principle if I said that their opposition to the Duke of Cleveland's proposal was due to bigotry or fanaticism. I do not believe it to be so. For instance, in Scotland, there may exist a strong opposition to the Catholic Church; but I am persuaded that the opposition of the Presbyterian people to endowment is still stronger. Of this they have given an extraordinary example to the world, by seceding from a Church of their own doctrine and faith, and almost discipline, to establish for themselves, at great personal and national sacrifice, a Church 67 more in accordance with their spiritual aspirations. But, however that may be, the Catholic Members adopted a certain policy in the name and on behalf of their constituents—that in this measure they would not seek for or accept anything for their Church; and they must not break faith with those from whom they ask and expect a still greater boon than the settlement of the Church question—the settlement of the land question, not upon revolutionary, but upon sound and equitable principles as between man and man. This is only a stepping stone to a greater measure. [Ironical cheers.] Yes, I tell my hon. Friends from the North of Ireland that I am enthusiastic in my support of this Church Bill for this among other reasons—because it will remove a cause of difference between men of different religious communions in Ireland, and because they will, by-and-by, come down to this House, instructed by their Protestant and Presbyterian constituents, to demand a settlement of that great question which appeals to the hearts and homes of the Protestants and Presbyterians of the North as well as the Catholics of the South. I do not wish my Church to touch a farthing of the revenues of the Protestant Church. The Roman Catholics demanded nothing, and have received no advantages from this Bill. [An hon. MEMBER: Maynooth.] It is not the fault of the Catholic Members that the compensation to Maynooth did not come out of the Consolidated Fund. It were better for Ireland that it had come out of the fund, for a larger surplus would have remained for general national purposes, to be applied for the benefit of all. But Maynooth is no gainer because of the particular source from which compensation is given, as in any case compensation was a matter of inevitable necessity, as to any institution from which State support was suddenly withdrawn. I repeat, then, that Catholics have not asked for and have not received any advantage for their Church in this Bill; and I would earnestly advise my hon. Friend the Member for Mayo not, by trying to postpone the application of the surplus, to hold out a temptation to the priests or the people of Ireland in the shape of ultimate concurrent endowment. [Mr. G. H. MOORE: I deny that I said anything at all with respect to concurrent endowment.] I may have been 68 wrong in appreciating the object of the speech of my hon. Friend; but, as well as I could catch his meaning, I understood him to desire the postponement of the surplus with this view — that of awaiting the ripening and maturing of English opinion in a certain direction, so that at a future time a certain thing, of which there is no chance now, might be ultimately accomplished; and, as I understand it, it contemplates houses and glebes for the Catholic clergy. If I am wrong in this notion, I must admit my error; but to the policy involved in the proposition I am opposed, as a matter of principle, and as a matter of good faith with the Friends with whom we act. Only a night since I was speaking to a Catholic Bishop from the South of Ireland, and I asked him whether he was in favour of what is wrongly termed concurrent endowment, and he said he was directly against it. He said he was against it on principle; and that neither he, nor his priests, nor his people desired to apply one farthing of the revenues of the Protestant Church to their Church. I know this to be the feeling of the people, not only of that diocese, but of the South of Ireland, who wish to keep their clergy in as close and intimate relations to themselves as possible. Some forty-five years since the celebrated Dr. Doyle gave testimony with respect to this very question before a Committee of the other House of Parliament; and he warned Parliament of the danger of endeavouring to draw the Catholic clergy to the State, and binding them to the State by the golden link of State provision; that the more Parliament succeeded in doing so, the more they would remove the people from the State; for the moment the Catholic clergy became stipendiaries of the State in any shape, that moment they would lose the confidence of the people, and the people would thereby be the more alienated from the State. It is no slander upon my countrymen to admit that they are very liable to suspicion; and those whom I should least like them to suspect would be their clergy. When, during the late movement in Ireland, the Catholic clergy warned Fenians or Fenian sympathizers of the folly and madness of their proceedings, and tried to bring them into more constitutional tracks, some of the Fenians answered their appeals by saying—"Oh! you want to get something from the 69 Government." I therefore say, let the Catholic clergy keep themselves free from the shadow of suspicion; let them derive all from their people, and nothing from Parliament or the Government; but let them cherish that splendid moral influence which they exercise over their flocks for good and holy purposes, and for preserving them from the temptation of violent or revolutionary doctrines. Now, as to the surplus. My hon. Friend draws a most alarming picture of the imaginary evils which are to flow from its application to the purposes contemplated in the Bill. My hon. Friend says there will be nothing but jobbery, waste, and demoralization from the proposal of the Government. Why should this be so? Are there to be no safeguards, no defences, which could be employed to prevent jobbery, waste, and demoralization? Is it beyond the ingenuity of the administrators of this surplus to guard against these evils? As in loans under the Board of Works, or in the expenditure of any public fund, precautions can be taken against dangers of this nature, and it would be the duty of the Government to adopt such precautions. I do not attach much weight to this apprehension, and see in it no reason for postponing the decision as to the application of the surplus. Then it is asked, why not apply it to develop the national resources of Ireland? I am as anxious as any of my countrymen to promote that great object. But this is distinctly provided for; for while the income of the surplus would be applied to the purposes specified in the Bill, there is nothing to prevent the capital, or the surplus itself, from being applied to great national objects of which Parliament might approve. This has been distinctly stated by the Prime Minister; and after that statement I think the objection on the ground of its non-application to national purposes has been done away with. Then, as to the application of the income to the purposes in the Bill. It is necessary, in order to illustrate the advantage of this application, to state that in the city of Cork there are four hospitals, and they are not sufficient for the relief, not of the mere poverty-stricken, who were dealt with under the Poor Law, but of a large class who never go into a workhouse. At present the city of Cork is obliged to maintain a fever hospital at a consider- 70 able expense to the city, and at great cost to private contributors. And why is it? Because, although they have a fever hospital specially attached to the workhouse, no decent mechanic crosses its threshold. Such men will not submit to be degraded to the level of pauperism. In the city of Cork there is also a blind asylum, partly supported from the poor rate, and when a person was sent there, as a quasi pauper, through the Board of Guardians, only as much is paid for him as would keep him under the Poor Law; but the cost of his maintenance in the asylum is about double that amount. It is a heavy tax on the city of Cork, and it would be a humane and generous act to extend that charity as largely as possible. Again, the Upton Reformatory, nine miles from the city of Cork, although successful in its working, has not sufficient funds at command, and the assistance it will derive under that Bill would be most valuable; for the most serious difficulty is to provide means for establishing the reformed boy in some useful occupation, so as to prevent his relapse into crime. So also in the case of the lunatic asylums. In the workhouses of Ireland there are more than 2,000 lunatics or idiots. I say they ought not to be in the workhouses. This was the opinion of Lord Mayo, whose attention had been strongly attracted to this evil. The accommodation of the lunatic asylums is overstrained. The cost of the asylum in the city of Cork is nearly £100,000. It is intended for 450 inmates; it contains 600 at the present moment, and there are 100 more applicants for admission. It is said the relief proposed to be given to the county cess will go into the pockets of the landlord; but the county cess is paid by the occupier, and the great complaint is that the landlord does not pay his fair share—in fact, any portion—of this heavy burden. I do not say that the very best mode of distributing the surplus has been adopted by the Government; but I believe that, under the circumstances, a more harmless mode could not have been proposed. With regard to the question of Irish railways I maintain that the Government are bound, independently of this Bill, to deal with the question in a large and comprehensive spirit, and I, for one, will not release them 71 from the obligation. And now, Sir, in conclusion, and addressing myself to both sides of the House, I would, without irreverence, but in all solemnity, say, in God's name let us unite to assist in passing the Bill at once and for ever, so that, if possible, this question, involving so much of religious conflict, may never again come back in any shape to the House of Commons. Let there be peace in Ireland. Let her have repose. By passing this Bill as speedily as possible the bitter feelings which it evokes will soon die down and be forgotten. I, as an Irishman, desire to see men of all denominations linked together in common sympathy, standing as it were on one common platform, and working in unison for the good of their common country. But if this Bill be postponed for another year, hate and rancour will be inflamed into fury, and Ireland will be the scene of events which every patriot and every humane man may have reason to deplore. By supporting the policy of the Government I assist the passing of this measure of justice. I do not ask for aid for my Church; I know that the principle I advocate is best suited to the independence and dignity of that Church; and in the name of those whom I now represent, I repudiate the proposal of concurrent endowment, and I would refuse its offer if it were made.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, he must deprecate the heat that had been imported into the discussion. The question of concurrent endowment was not involved. He was determined to support the Government upon the only issue that was really before them—the appropriation of the surplus, because not to do so would be to imperil and perhaps to defeat the Bill; but, at the same time, he did not think that the particular objects selected for the appropriation of the surplus were the best that might have been chosen, or such as the Irish people would themselves have selected. At the same time it must be remembered that the clause was not a final one. It only made provision for the application of the income, and even that would still be under the control of Parliament, which Assembly would not dare to refuse the wishes of the people of Ireland on the subject. It was a mistake to suppose that the effect of the present appropriation would be merely to relieve the county cess, and he 72 intended to propose words for the purpose of preventing any portion of the income being employed for the relief of the Exchequer from its contribution to industrial schools in Ireland, or other matters for which it was at present chargeable; and he believed the Government would offer no objection to this alteration of the clause. He agreed in opinion with his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore); but, for the reasons he had stated, he should vote with the Government.
§ SIR HENRY BULWER
said, he agreed with those who said that whatever was to be done on this subject should be done at once. Respecting the discussion which had arisen, it was right in a matter of this kind to listen to the opinions of Irish Members if they had any plan to propose. A plan had come down to the House of interest to Irish Members, and he had prepared himself to listen to what Irish Members might say upon that plan, and be largely guided by them; but not a single Irish Member spoke in favour of that proposition except his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore), whose remarks, however, were not followed by very loud tokens of approbation. Under these circumstances, he should vote with the Government, because he understood what his right hon. Friend proposed and did not understand what the Irish Members wanted.
§ MR. PIM
said, he had voted with the Government on that part of the Preamble which referred to the appropriation of the surplus, and he would now again support them for the reasons which, as stated by his hon. Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan), had induced him not to persist in the Amendment he had proposed in Committee on this clause. His right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland would recollect that, even before the Bill had been laid on the table of the House, he (Mr. Pim) had suggested to him that the appropriation of the surplus should be postponed. He was not prepared to propose any other method of appropriation, but he still objected, as he had done previously, to dealing with the surplus before they had got it. The decision now arrived at would be merely the expression of the present opinion of Parliament, and would have no effect in binding another House of Commons. 73 The surplus would not be realized for some years, and public opinion moved so fast in these clays that even the most advanced Liberal could hardly venture to predict what would be the views of the House on this subject five years hence. Therefore, he should have preferred it if the surplus had been left unappropriated; but, under all the circumstances, he should vote with the Government. His hon. Friend the Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) had stated that Irish Members speaking in this discussion had always been received with courtesy and attention. That, no doubt, was that hon. Member's experience, because any man who spoke with the eloquence which characterized him would always be heard; but with those who had a more homely way of expressing themselves it was somewhat different. He himself had not spoken often on the subject, except in Committee; but when the Bill was in Committee he had attended to it very closely, and he could take some credit to himself for being the author of a greater number of adopted Amendments than any other Member who did not sit on the Treasury Bench. He had the honour of representing the most intelligent, if not the largest, constituency in Ireland. This was a most important Irish question, and if it were considered right to continue discussions until an early hour in the morning the opportunity of speaking on the subject ought to be secured to those who, representing important constituencies, were on that account entitled to a hearing.
SIR JOHN ESMONDE
said, he hoped the Government would not make any concession which would interfere with the disposition of the surplus as it stood in the Bill. The proposed distribution of it had been before the Irish people since the introduction of the Bill, and no objection had been taken to it on their behalf. The best way to get at the feelings of the Irish people was to consult those of their representatives, and, if the Government afforded the House an opportunity of voting on the question whether the scheme of the Bill should be maintained intact, it would be a surprise to him if every Irish Member did not vote with the Government.
§ MR. W. SHAW
said, he thought it rather difficult to state with confidence anything about the feelings of the Irish people, who, so far as he was aware, 74 knew very little about the Bill. He objected to this clause as it originally stood, as a matter of business, believing it to be a crude and ill-digested clause, and he could see no reason why the Government should persist in restoring it to its first shape. When the Bill was in Committee in this House he put Amendments upon the Paper, but a whisper came to him—he believed from the Treasury Bench—that another Bill would be required to mature and carry out this clause. If so, there was not the slightest necessity for pressing it forward now. It would be quite enough to guard against the application of the surplus to any religious purpose, and that was done by the Preamble, and, if necessary, words to the same effect might be introduced into this clause. The House seemed to object to such an application of the surplus, and it was said the country did; but, without arguing the question, he would say he did not believe that the country objected to the application of the money to the provision of glebes for the clergy in Ireland. The clause made several provisions that were quite unnecessary. If there were 2,000 lunatics in workhouses in Ireland, so much the greater shame upon magistrates and guardians, for there was an Act of Parliament which. empowered them to levy rates for providing the necessary accommodation; but many of these lunatics were incurable, and they were provided for as well, and much more cheaply, in the poor-houses as they would be in asylums. He further objected to the application of the funds to the relief of the landlords of Ireland, who already got quite sufficient benefit from the Bill. He did not see why the Bill should be like the laws of the Medes and Persians, and if a better application of the money could be proposed in future he did not see why the Government should not change the plan of distribution.
§ MR. G. GREGORY
said, there was one point upon which he wished for information. The clause as it now stood was confined to the application of the income of the fund arising from the property of the disendowed Church; but nothing was said with reference to the corpus of that sum. He wished to know whether that corpus were to remain in the hands of the Commissioners, and be subjected to no control at the hands of 75 Parliament, the Government, or the country; and whether the Commissioners were to deal with the funds, invest them, and employ them as they liked, without any supervision? If so, he regarded the proposal as one that was in every point of view of a most objectionable character; as one that was likely to give rise to a great amount of jobbery, and lead, perhaps, ultimately, to the loss of the fund itself. In the present Commissioners, whom they knew, they could no doubt place every confidence; but, as the duties were continuous, the future Commissioners, of whom at present they knew nothing, would be beset with applications which they would find difficulty in resisting, while their proceedings would be subjected to no Parliamentary or Governmental check.
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
said, he regretted that the Government were not disposed to regard with favour the proposal of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. G. H. Moore), which not only pledged them to nothing, but which made no mention in any way of concurrent endowment. He believed the House would not do wisely in prejudging the question and deciding now what should be done with money which would not be realized for five or six years. No doubt the Government had been much influenced by the voices of the Dissenters in England and Scotland, but was it at all certain that public opinion would be the same on this question five or six years hence that it was now? They had been repeatedly told that this was a question of compromise, and many hon. Members, himself among the number, had sacrificed their individual opinions for the sake of aiding the Government on divisions. Was it quite certain that some compromise might not be needed to secure the passing of the measure in "another place?" Though he regretted the course that Her Majesty's Government had taken in the matter, he should, however, under all the circumstances, not oppose them in a division.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, like the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), spoke on one side of the question and announced his intention to vote on the other. The hon. Member for Dublin had stated that he could not understand how it was that 76 when an hon. Gentleman like himself, representing one of the largest constituencies in Ireland, rose for the purpose of addressing the House, his observations were listened to with evident reluctance, and attributed it to what he called his "homeliness of speech." He could, however, assure the hon. Gentleman that his remarks would always be received with respect and attention if he would but speak and vote in the same sense. If the hon. Gentleman would but try the experiment, he felt certain that he would not be dissatisfied with the result. The hon. Member for Bandon (Mr. W. Shaw) had in his remarks thrown some fresh light on the question of the appropriation of the surplus. Until the speech of the hon. Member he (Lord John Manners) had remained in Cimmerian darkness as to the real intentions of Her Majesty's Government, but the hon. Gentleman had, according to his own account, received some mysterious intimation from the Treasury Bench that Her Majesty's Government intended, in another Session, to introduce fresh legislation on the subject of the surplus. Whether that information was authentic it remained for Her Majesty's Government to explain. If it were authentic, however, no stronger argument could be found for accepting the Amendment of the Lords. He confessed that darkness on this subject had not been relieved by the speeches made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government either on that or the preceding evening. Unless his ears deceived him they had gathered last night from the right hon. Gentleman's speech that with respect to one proposal, at any rate, in the clause—that relating to industrial and reformatory schools—the objections made had been so great that the Government had been compelled to waive it. The right hon. Gentleman had also stated on the previous evening that he would propose a proviso which would enable hon. Gentlemen to object to the various schemes which might from time to time be proposed under the Orders in Council, and, if they thought fit, to propose schemes of their own. That evening the right hon. Gentleman had read the terms of the proviso, and had, in the particular affecting the deaf, the dumb, and the blind, vindicated the conduct of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman had said it was of the 77 most vital importance that the House should now decide, as they had decided in the Preamble, that not a farthing of the surplus should be devoted to purposes connected with religion in Ireland. It was, however, somewhat remarkable that the only part of the proposed distribution of the surplus which had been vindicated by the right hon. Gentleman was exactly the one which, according to Cardinal Cullen and other eminent Roman Catholic authorities, it was impossible to disassociate from the subject of religion. At the present moment Cardinal Cullen was supposed to have considerable influence with the Government; but if, unfortunately, this measure should receive the sanction of the Legislature, his Eminence would be still more powerful than at present in the management and rule of Ireland. Well, they had it on the authority of Cardinal Cullen that the education for the deaf and dumb and blind in Ireland must be a religious education. That being the case, he asked what was the position of the House at this final stage, and on this final clause of the Bill as far as the House of Commons was concerned? That House had secularized, confiscated, and diverted from its original sacred purpose property left by the piety of former ages for the service of Almighty God. And what had been the result? For the last two or three hours those on the Opposition side of the House had been the silent witnesses of a wrangle, a jangle, and a scramble among all sections of the Irish Liberal Members for the proceeds. The surplus which was to have given universal contentment and satisfaction to religionists of all shades in Ireland had already become a bone of contention before the Bill finally left that House. Not a single Irish Member had been found to rise in his place and state his conviction that the proposed appropriation of the surplus was such as would best meet the real wishes and wants of the Irish people; but the House had heard from one hon. Gentleman after another that, though they disapproved that appropriation, yet rather than vote against the Government they were content to follow the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government into the Lobby on this question. Was that the contentment that was to prevail amongst all classes of Irishmen, except those who were the subjects of 78 the pillage and plunder? If anything could induce the House to adopt the Amentment of the Lords, it would be the scenes they had witnessed and the opinions they had heard expressed in the course of this debate. He believed that the true and wise course for the House to take would be, even at this final stage, to sanction the Amendment of the Lords.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, he hoped he should gratify the noble Lord who had just sat down, and who wished to meet with an Irish Member who in his heart supported the Government distribution of the surplus. He (Mr. O'Reilly) was one who gave his vote where he gave his opinion, and he supported the scheme originally proposed because he believed it the best that could be devised. There were two questions before them—whether they ought to dispose of the surplus at once; and next, to what purposes it should be devoted. Now, he thought it was most desirable that they should decide upon what was to be done at once, not, perhaps, in all its petty details, but laying down broad lines from which they would not deviate; not attempting to bind future Parliaments, but expressing their own opinion as to the mode in which that surplus was to be dealt with. It was true the Preamble said that it was not to be applied in support of any particular religion; but they could not conceal from the speeches they had heard that there were opinions afloat, "elsewhere" more than here—though there were traces of it here too—that at some future time the question of concurrent endowment might be again revived. Now he was opposed to concurrent endowment at all times and in all modes. All the Roman Catholic Prelates with whom he was acquainted, and he was certain that the majority of the Roman Catholic people were opposed to it. They sought for their Church no share in this property. The question, then, came to be, whether the scheme of the Government for disposing of it was a good one. It was devoted originally, as the noble Lord said, to purposes of religion, and he might have added charity. As it could no longer be applied to religion | they must turn to charity. There was no country in which there was greater destitution and fewer charitable endowments than in Ireland; and the people generally were so poor that there was 79 necessity for great discrimination in the distribution of relief lest the recipients should be better off than the contributors to the poor rate. He thought that the proposed disposal for the relief of inevitable distress was a good one. In so far as the appropriation would lean in the direction of exempting land from its just obligations, it was imperfect. This applied to the lunatic asylums, but there were many objects of charity which could not be provided for by a compulsory tax. There were only two blind asylums in Ireland, and thousands of deaf and dumb were either wandering about in a destitute condition or were inmates of workhouses. On these grounds he warmly supported the proposition of the Government.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he considered that this disposition of the surplus was the crowning act in a measure of iniquity and injustice. The Government having utterly despoiled the Church of Ireland, were now ransacking their brains to find out some way of dissipating the spoil. Much of it was frittered away in compensation for life interests without any benefit to the Church, and it was now proposed that the rest should be devoted to objects that were already amply provided for in Ireland. A large number of institutions already existed there to accomplish the objects which this Bill contemplated, and private benevolence would be entirely dammed up in Ireland if the Bill passed without the Lords' Amendments. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) urged them to dispose of this Bill, because they would then be in a position to deal with the important question of the land. Now he (Mr. Vance) was not disposed to get this Bill out of the way in order to facilitate the hon. Member's land reforms, for he knew that those reforms meant the violation of private property. He believed the abolition of the Establishment would not tend to the pacification of Ireland. It would revive the hostility between the two religions. Agrarian outrages had increased ten-fold since the Bill was introduced, and he warned the House that when the Irish Church was destroyed, attempts upon the Churches in Wales and Scotland, and Establishments generally, would not be slow to follow.
§ MR. W. M. TORRENS
I have voted silently for this Bill in all its stages; 80 and in Committee for nearly all of its provisions. I have done so not because I regarded it as free from imperfection in detail, but because I felt that being the first practical attempt ever made to remove a great cause of trouble from the heart of Ireland, it did not behove one who sincerely sympathized in the aim and purpose of the measure to criticize nicely its subordinate features, or to run the risk of impeding its progress for the sake of minor differences of view. Hitherto, therefore, I have taken no part in the discussion that has been prolonged on this subject during the space of four months; nor should I now venture to express dissent from one particular clause of the Bill if I believed that my doing so would endanger its passing this Session. Up to last night it might be contended that there was such a danger, because it might be said that postponing the surplus might lead to future distraction and controversy regarding concurrent endowment. But we are now relieved from all embarrassment on that score. A majority of the party opposite have never concealed their repugnance to concurrent endowment, and within the last few hours the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had advised those who were in its favour not to venture upon a division, because he was bound to tell them their cause was hopeless. On the Liberal side the whole Nonconformist section is opposed to it; the whole power of the Government is enlisted against it; and now we have nearly all the Liberal Members from Ireland declaring that the Catholic Church has not asked for it and does not want it. Concurrent endowment is dead, and will soon be buried out of sight and remembrance, whether this Bill passes or no. Then what are you afraid of? Are we to be scared by a phantom? Is it because many good men in times past, and many good men even now, in the other House and elsewhere, would have been willing to settle the question on this basis, that we are to stand here shivering and trembling now that that basis is clearly gone for ever? I remember a time in this House when such a settlement might have been carried, but it is now too late; the occasion has passed never to return. I think, on the other hand, the occasion has come when we may fearlessly and fore thoughtfully grapple at once, not merely with one difficulty in Irish life, 81 but with two: nay, when we may find it easier to deal with both together than with either separately. The Prime Minister knows that what I am now saying is no random thought, or the utterance of a man who, on a subject of great and deep perplexity, is anxious to hear the sound of his own poor voice. Before this Bill was in being, before the General Election, before the memorable Resolutions of last year were framed, I took the liberty of submitting to the right hon. Gentleman the outlines of a plan for disposing of whatever surplus there might be of Church property, and he will do me the justice to remember that it sought to embody the idea of applying the fund, not to the benefit of a particular class any more than of a particular creed, but to the benefit of the whole Irish people. The piety and patriotism of former generations heaped gifts upon the Church, intending the usufruct for the good of all. Change of times and of beliefs frustrated that design. A wealthy minority in Ireland alone belong to the Anglican Church; and Parliament has resolved that we of that communion shall no longer monopolize what was meant for the religious instruction of the whole community. Well, then, if we cannot employ Church funds for the spiritual good of all, ought we not to try and employ them in the next best way—for the physical and social, the industrial, and therefore, indirectly the political good of all? [Cheers.] I felt convinced before I spoke that these words would go to the heart of every just and generous man on either side of the House; and again I ask you, what are you afraid of? I do implore the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, though it be at the eleventh hour, not to lose this golden opportunity of converting the surplus fund into a great rolling stone of physical improvement and agricultural regeneration in Ireland. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Bright) thinks absenteeism so great an evil, that he would use Imperial resources to buy up estates with a view to get rid of that evil. How then can he vote for this 68th clause as it stands, which relieves every landed estate in Ireland, and therefore the estate of every absentee, from the burthen of contributing to £300,000 a year of county rate. One noble Marquess who lives all the year in Paris, 82 is said to derive 1,000 guineas a week from his possessions in Ulster. What claim has he to share in the surplus property of the Church? yet he is one of the men to whom this surplus clause would give it. Will the President of the Board of Trade seriously argue that if you exempt occupiers without tenure from so much rate, the letting value of their holdings will not be raised? I own I have marvelled to hear hon. Gentlemen play upon words regarding this subject; for it is the veriest play upon words to call this provision of the Bill a benefaction for the suffering poor. It is no such thing; it is an undisguised benefaction to the rich; and as such I say, deliberately, it is a clause for the misappropriation of the surplus fund. Next year you will have the land question to deal with. Would it not be well to approach it with a noble fund in hand, instead of having to ask the tax-payers of England to supply you with the money? What is the land question? Broadly this, that the bulk of the tillers of the soil say they have no security of tenure, and you find infinite difficulty about satisfying them on this point. But what does this mean? Palpably, that if they now pay county rate for infirmaries and lunatic asylums they pay so much less rent, and that if that rate is paid for them out of the Church property they will pay so much more rent. Every bad landlord will be benefited, every absentee will be enriched; but the occupiers of the soil and the sick poor will not be benefited at all. Now what is the greatest of all the wants of Ireland? What is that which has baulked your best endeavours and turned the edge of your most finely-tempered instruments of good? It is the want of an independent middle class. You have here an opportunity such as you never had before, and may never have again, of creating that class. Is it not worth while trying to do so? We have heard too much, I think, of late about hustings, pledges. Personally, I am not concerned in the matter; for the only pledge I was asked to give at the last election was to vote with the Prime Minister on all important occasions, and that I peremptorily refused. But I have always felt that if a man has the courage to assert his independence of such ties, he is all the more bound by moral responsibility for the use he makes of his freedom. I 83 can honestly say that I have endeavoured to do so; and, therefore, were the question of concurrent endowment still before us, I should vote against it, because I know that the great majority of the 32,000 electors whom I represent are opposed to such a measure. But I repeat my firm conviction that we shall hear of that question no more. In private, I have never met a man on either side of the House who was prepared to defend the 68th clause as it stands. Heretofore many were ready to acquiesce in it sooner than risk the passing of the Bill. That peril is now over, and my council therefore is to defer the appropriation of the surplus until the Prime Minister, whose inventive genius is never at fault, shall be able to mature a plan for applying this legitimate Irish fund to legitimate Irish uses.
§ MR. KIRK
said, as a member of the grand jury of Armagh and a governor of a lunatic asylum, he must contend that the application of a portion of the surplus in relief of the county cess could not particularly benefit the landlord, as he paid no cess unless he occupied the land.; for it was on the occupiers, no matter to what religious communion they belonged, that the county cess fell, and they all paid the tax at the same rate. He approved the course proposed by the Government, who intended to leave the capital sum supplied by the surplus intact, and to apply the income to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate. He cordially supported the proposal of the Government, and he trusted it would be carried.
§ MR. MORRISON
said, that the question of concurrent endowment had been universally condemned by the constituencies, and the speeches delivered for and against it were wide of the mark on the present occasion, as there was nothing in the clause under consideration which dealt with that matter. The House had already decided, on the Preamble, to disagree with the Lords' Amendment which went in that direction. Feeling that a golden opportunity now presented itself for applying a magnificent sum for the regeneration of Ireland, he had on a previous occasion expressed a hope that it might be expended for the purpose of popular education. He should also have been happy to go with the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. W. M. Torrens) and the President 84 of the Board of Trade in applying the money to the practical solution of the great question of landlord and tenant, by transferring large estates when they came into the market to the hands of peasant proprietors. Last night, however, it was determined that the surplus should be applied to the relief of suffering from unavoidable calamity, and, though he thought it might have been put to a better purpose, he did not object to the money being disposed of in that way; but he did object to its being applied to the relief of the landlords and tenants in Ireland. He was sure that he was speaking the sentiments of a large number of Liberal Members when he said that in their hearts they were opposed to the manner in which it was proposed to apply the surplus, and he entreated the Government to give way on this point. No practical harm could arise from a little delay in this matter, as the first charges to be satisfied under the Bill were the compensations, and it would not be before they were paid that there could be any application of the surplus. He again entreated his right hon. Friend to give way on this point. There was a very strong feeling among Liberal Members below the Gangway that the proposed appropriation of the surplus was an improper one.
§ MR. MELLY
said, he must protest against any hon. Member of the House, whether sitting above or below the Gangway, rising in his place and saying that the body of independent Liberal Members—to which he had the honour to belong—were, in their hearts, opposed to the plan of appropriation as proposed by Her Majesty's Government, while at the next moment they were ready to stultify themselves by voting for the scheme. They had heard a little too much, both in the country and in the House, of the private opinions of Members on that side of the House, and they had heard too often the assertion that if hon. Gentlemen were to express their opinions frankly they would be found to be in favour of concurrent endowment. If that were the case, which he very strongly doubted, let those hon. Members to whom the observation to which he had just referred applied go into the Lobby and support the opinion they really held, instead of voting for that with which they in their hearts could not agree. He had always been opposed 85 to the principle of concurrent endowment; and believed with the hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) that endowment was the death of spiritual life; he knew it was hostile to congregational energy; and he, always therefore, opposed the reserving of the surplus, which, it was hoped by the opponents of the measure, would, at some time, be used for the purpose of such endowment. They had been told that there was a strong feeling below the Gangway that the Prime Minister ought to give way on the question now immediately under the consideration of the House; if such feelings existed they ought to be demonstrated in the usual way in the division Lobby. He merely rose for the purpose of entering his protest, but there was one other remark he would like to make. It referred to a taunt that had been continually levelled against the hon. Members who sat behind, his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone). They were taunted with having during these discussions remained silent. They had been silent because they have been satisfied. They had nothing to say, because all that it was in their hearts to utter had been more ably and more eloquently said for them, and in their name, by the Prime Minister, than it could have been said by any other hon. Member on this side of the House, and because the speeches he had made had never been refuted by hon. Members on the other side. They had followed their chief because he so nobly made good his own words and promises to them and to the country, and because he enabled them to make good theirs, and they saw no reason to regret the result.
§ MR. DELAHUNTY
said, he had not intended to speak, but, as an Irish Roman Catholic, he had no hesitation in saying that the Roman Catholics were to a man in favour of the Leader of the House, and would not tolerate the formation of "caves" among the Liberal party. They were satisfied with the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman had brought forward, and felt humiliated as Irishmen when they heard political economists talk of working out Irish regeneration on the paltry nest egg which was found in the Bill. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. W. M. Torrens) should recollect that a rolling stone gathered no moss, and the only moss which he had gathered was him- 86 self. He hoped that Irish Members would as a man follow the right hon. Gentleman into the Lobby, and show that the Irish Roman Catholics were able to support their own Church. He had been returned for Waterford by a majority of persons of every religious denomination, because they believed he would not take up with the beggarly dish which the political economists would offer. He protested against the course which some quasi Liberal Members appeared about to take on this subject, and in which he believed they neither represented England nor Ireland. He did more—he resented the assumption that they represented Ireland. He should vote with the Government.
§ MR. C. DALRYMPLE
said, he rose to protest against the insinuations which had been directed against Members on the Opposition side of the House, as if the vote they were about to give on this clause were dictated by some secret regard for concurrent endowment. He only wished to see the hope of extricating this large sum of money from the fantastic application to which the Government had destined it.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he wished to remind the House that when last year the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of the Government was asked what he proposed to do with the surplus he was silent, and the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had then given the only legal and constitutional interpretation of that silence— that the surplus must devolve to the public service of the State. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) would yet do justice to his great reputation, and not deceive the people of England by adhering to the destination he had chosen for the surplus. Had such a destination been placed before the country at the last election the result would have been very different. He considered the scheme ridiculous, dangerous, and suspicious in the highest degree; there was no sense in it; and the proposed application of the surplus would be an apple of discord to the entire community.
Perhaps, Sir, before the House divides, I may be allowed to occupy its attention for some five minutes. I suspect that the House is rather tired of the prolonged discussions upon this subject. We all know that at a 87 certain point of weariness we find great relief in temporary excitement, and possibly that may account a little for the excitement into which the House has been thrown. Now, it is making no admission which I think is against the proposition of the Government, to say that the question of the disposition of this surplus is one of some difficulty. The Government found it to be a question, and considered it to be a question, of some difficulty-—not the only one in the Bill, but one that stands a little by itself. The Government, in preparing the Bill, or before, when the Bill was really in the course of formation, took the pains to make very minute inquiry as to what might be a suitable destination for the annual income arising from this fund. They had no interest in it differing from the interest of any hon. Member of this House. They certainly had no interest differing from the interest of any Irish Member, and still less had they any interest contrary to the interests and wishes of the Irish people. It has been admitted by everybody—every Englishman and every Scotchman will admit that the money is the money of the Irish people—[An hon. MEMBER: No!]—and that it ought to be applied exclusively for Irish interests. I will make no answer to any Member who objects to that; for I am sure the proposition will find a response in the reason and the heart of almost every Member of this House, as I believe it will in the heart and the head of every member of the English and Scotch community. Well, then, having no interest to do anything different from that which was the interest of Ireland—for there is no party interest whatever in this matter— the Government, after the most full and minute inquiry, arrived at the conclusion that, amidst all the variety of plans, this was the plan which was open to the very least objection. Now, I think I have a right to assume that the Government were not mistaken in this; because during these discussions, with one exception, there has been no counter plan of any kind proposed which offered the smallest chance of being received with a more general consent than the plan of the Government. That single exception is the scheme proposed in the House of Lords. That we can understand, and if I am not mistaken, the speech of the hon. Member for Mayo 88 (Mr. G. H. Moore) pointed to the same conclusion—namely, that if the opinion of the people of the United Kingdom is now against any extension of religious endowments in Ireland, possibly five years hence that opinion may change, and if the fund were left to accumulate there would be a grand opportunity for establishing, or at least for endowing, the three Churches in Ireland. That is the proposition of the House of Lords. I heard part of the debate on this question in that House, and that, I believe, was the statement made, in almost the same words, by one of the leading Members of that House. Well, but what has this House done upon this question? It has decided that whatever plan is good or bad, that is a plan which this House would not accept. I am sorry to repeat anything I have already said upon this subject, but I appeal—as I appealed last night—to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire. He knows the opinion of this side of the House; he knows the opinion of those who sit behind him; and he felt last night that it would be impossible even to divide the House on the question of further extension of endowments; and when we discussed the Preamble he took the opportunity of escaping from the difficulty which appeared to lie before him in the discussion of the Amendments of the Lords, and he told the House, and told his own party, that if this matter of the Preamble were settled, as it has been settled, it would relieve us from consideration and division upon certain other clauses which we had yet to arrive at. Everybody felt at the time, and the right hon. Gentleman knows, and we all know, that this question of difficulty that was before us was this very question of the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church. He knows, and we all know, that if from any disaster which might happen to this Bill, there was another appeal to the constituencies of the United Kingdom—I do not say that the Members on either side of the House would be greatly changed; they might be the same—but I will undertake to say that the Members on that side of the House would, if possible, be more irrevocably pledged to oppose that endowment than the Members on this side. If Gentlemen opposite went to their constituencies supporting the scheme of the House of Lords—I do not 89 know what their numbers are now, but I will undertake to say that not one of them would require to find a seat below the Gangway, and that the portion of the House above the Gangway opposite would hold in the next Parliament the whole of the Conservative party returned in favour of that endowment. ["No, no!"] That is my opinion. Hon. Members know, speaking on this question only politically, how liberally I should have been prepared to deal with it. I am not saying it might not be politically just to make some such changes as some Members here would wish; and as the House of Lords wish, but I say, without fear of contradiction, that the opposition to the endowment of any Church is growing rapidly and steadily in this country, and I venture to say that it is quite a mistake to argue that that opinion is only to be found amongst the Nonconformist bodies. Within the limits of the Established Church the opinion against extending endowments, and against the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church, is growing and strengthening every day. And therefore I say that for the House to hold back the surplus, and to refuse the plan proposed by the Government, with the view at some future time of attempting a plan for the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, would only be to leave to the House—to the next Parliament, it may be—to the next Government, it may be — a legacy of embarrassment and difficulty that I think neither the future Government nor the future Parliament would thank us for leaving to them. What is the state of things with respect to the Irish representation. I am not accustomed to compliment parties or sections of parties in this House, but I must say that during more than twenty-five years, in which I have had a seat here, there has never been a representation from Ireland on this side of the House more honourable, more intelligent, or more patriotic, than that which we have now the honour and happiness to meet. Well, do the Irish Members tell you that the Government has been unjust or unequal? On the contrary, they have great confidence in the disposition of my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government to do what justice he can to their country. I have heard only this evening, that after an application 90 made only very recently to the Catholic Bishops by persons who have supported the endowment scheme in the other House, the reply made by those Bishops has been that they would have nothing to do with any such proposition, and they placed full reliance and confidence in the head of the Government with regard to his general policy of justice to Ireland. Well, if that be so, if the Irish Catholic Bishops have not changed their minds, if the Irish representatives in this House support the Government almost unanimously and with great fidelity —if it is true—and there are Members sitting on those Benches who have just come from Ireland, and can tell you so— that the course taken by the Government on this question has had a wonderful effect already throughout all the Catholic portions of Ireland, in drawing the minds of the people towards the Imperial Parliament with hope and faith—I ask whether now, at this last hour, you are willing to put obstacles in the way of the passing of this Bill, and of the success of that great and honest policy which the Government have supported during the Session. And, besides what have you done with regard to the Preamble of the Bill? You have declared certain things by the Preamble, and you carried it last night by a majority of 124. You have confirmed all you had done before. That which you have done, as I believe, has been received with unanimous approbation throughout the country, and now we are asked to do that which is wholly inconsistent with that which you did last night in reference to the Preamble of the Bill. If there be any other plan, apart from that of a provision for future endowment, which the House has unanimously condemned, how comes it that no man has been able to produce a plan? If any hon. Gentleman who can find fault with this plan—and I am not one of those who would say that arguments might not be brought against it— if there be any Member of this House who has a plan as a substitute, let him bring it forward on the floor of the House, and let it be debated, and I will undertake to say that where one Member cavils at this plan, there will be twenty who will be ready to tear the new plan to pieces. The fact is—and I appeal to the House on this ground—there are questions which are very difficult, and which the House wisely leaves in the 91 hands of the Executive Government. I undertake to say that the Administration have given more thought, and have made more inquiry too, upon this question, than any hon. Member of the House has given or made, and it is after that thought and that inquiry that this plan has been submitted to Parliament. It has been received, along with the whole of the Bill, speaking of it in the general, with an amount of acceptance by the people of the three Kingdoms which we have scarcely ever known in connection with any other great question of legislation. I ask Gentlemen on this side of the House, and I may appeal to some on the other, seeing that this new policy has been proposed and has been accepted, that they should give whatever confidence they can to the Government in this matter, believing that there are precautions taken in the Bill which will prevent any maladministration of the funds, and believing also that on the whole, probably, it is the wisest distribution of them which the Government could have chosen.
We approach now the termination of these discussions. This, I presume, is the last division we shall have to take. Let us, by as large a consent as can be obtained, by as decisive a majority as the House can give—let us conclude our deliberations on this great question, and show to all concerned in it, and especially to the people of Ireland, that we are resolved, having adopted this new policy and consented to it, that we will take the Bill as it is now offered to us, and as far as possible ensure its passing into law. I have had conversations lately with Members from Ireland, who can speak with more intimate knowledge of that country than I can, and I have the greatest satisfaction in believing that from day to day, and from hour to hour, through all those parts of Ireland where there has been the least sympathy with the Imperial Government, there is a new feeling springing up—a feeling, I will not say of confidence in the present Administration, for that were a little thing, but of confidence in the wisdom and justice of the Imperial Parliament, in our thorough and unchangeable resolution, that whether we fail or whether we succeed, we will attempt to carry out a new policy, and make Ireland, not only a close connection, but really a part of the United Kingdom.
Sir, I had not intended to take any part in this discussion, but the address which we have just heard from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade induces me to offer a few observations on the subject now before the House. The right hon. Gentleman has just told us with the most perfect fairness—and I think no one can complain, in the least, of the way in which he has argued this question—that the particular question we have before us is not, in fact, a party question, but one upon which the House can properly give its opinion with reference to the application of the supposed surplus, after satisfying all the claims which are to be made upon it by the different religious bodies in Ireland. I venture to discuss this question in as calm a manner as I can command; and, looking upon it in the light in which the right hon. Gentleman has proposed it to the House, I wish to ask whether this appropriation of the surplus is the best that we can bind ourselves to—for that is what we are asked to do—upon the very imperfect information we possess as to the wishes and as to the feelings of the people of the United Kingdom? The right hon. Gentleman has argued this question as though it were what is called the question of concurrent endowment. I do not look upon in that light at all. I say frankly, that if it were a question of concurrent endowment there are two reasons which would induce me to vote against any such proposition which seem to me utterly unanswerable. The first of these reasons would be that I think that the property which belongs to the Church of Ireland ought to be applied to the purposes of the Church in Ireland, until it can be shown that there are no purposes for which that Church requires it. That, of course, is my individual opinion, and I do not suppose for a moment that it is likely to meet with the approval of hon. Members opposite. The second reason, however, which I have to offer against the principle of concurrent endowment is one which ought to obtain the assent of those hon. Members. We have been discussing for along time the great subject of how we ought to deal with the question of the establishment and the endowment of the Church of Ireland, and Parliament has been induced to decide against both the continued endowment and the con- 93 tinued establishment of that Church, upon the ground that the national will has been declared, and that, having been so declared; it ought to be acted upon. Upon the question of concurrent endowment the national will has never been declared, but my conviction is that if it could be ascertained at the present moment, the national will would be against such a proposition. For this reason, therefore, I leave the question of concurrent endowment out of the discussion altogether. Viewing the subject in that light, it appears tome that the only propositions before us are these two—whether we shall bind ourselves now, at once and for ever —for that is the proposition of the Government —to bestow any surplus that may arise from the Church funds for the specific purposes mentioned in the 68th clause, or whether we shall reserve the consideration of this question until the time when the facts and the circumstances of the case are more fully before us than they are at this moment, and until the feelings and the opinions of the people of this country and of Ireland have been more definitely manifested with reference to the application of the surplus. I give credit to the Government for having carefully considered this matter in every point of view, and for having arrived at the conclusions they have announced upon reasons which appear perfectly satisfactory to them. A great deal may be said for them; but let me ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, and let me ask the Government, whether they have had an opportunity of ascertaining the opinions, the wishes, and the feelings of those most concerned in this matter? I very much doubt whether that is the case; and I believe that if we were to bind ourselves now and for ever to this particular application of the funds, when we are dealing with a question of immense complication, with reference to which an enormous number of questions may arise before the final settlement, we should do a thing that would not be wise. I ask, is it wise, is it prudent, for Parliament at once thus to tie up its hands, and to say—"This is the only appropriation we can make of the surplus?" Another point I am quite clear upon is this, that to apply any portion of this surplus either to the relief of the owners or the occupiers of land is certainly not the best 94 use to which it can be put for the benefit of the people of Ireland. I can give no other vote upon this question than that which will confirm the decision come to by the House of Lords—namely, that the wisest thing that Parliament can do is to give no opinion one way or the other respecting the application of the surplus, until we have ascertained more clearly than we have at present all the claims that may be made upon that fund, and the wishes, the feelings, the principles, and the convictions of the people of the United Kingdom.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: —Ayes 290; Noes 218: Majority 72.97
|Acland, T. D.||Bulwer, rt. hn. Sir H. L.|
|Adair, H. E.||Bury, Viscount|
|Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F.||Cadogan, hon. F. W.|
|Allen, W. S.||Campbell, H.|
|Amory, J. H.||Candlish, J.|
|Anderson, G.||Cardwell, rt. hon. E.|
|Anson, hon. A. H A.||Carnegie, hon. C.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Carter, Mr. Alderman|
|Armitstead, G.||Cartwright, W. C.|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Castlerosse, Viscount|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Cave, T.|
|Backhouse, E.||Cavendish, Lord F. C.|
|Bagwell, J.||Cavendish, Lord G.|
|Baines, E.||Chambers, T.|
|Baker, R. B. W.||Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Cholmeley, Capt.|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Cholmeley, Sir M.|
|Bass, M. A.||Clay, J.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Clive, Col. E.|
|Bazley, T.||Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Beaumont, S. A.||Coleridge, Sir J. D.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Collier, Sir R. P.|
|Bentall, E. H.||Colthurst, Sir G. C.|
|Blake, J. A.||Cowen, J.|
|Blennerhassett, Sir R.||Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.|
|Bolckow, H. W. F.||Craufurd, E. H. J.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Crawford, R. W.|
|Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.||Crossley, Sir F.|
|Bowring, E. A.||Dalglish, R.|
|Brady, J.||Dalrymple, D.|
|Brand, right hon. H.||D'Arcy, M. P.|
|Brand, H. R.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Brassey, H. A.||Davies, R.|
|Brassey, T.||Davison, J. R.|
|Brewer, Dr.||Delahunty, J.|
|Bright, rt. hon. J.||Denison, E.|
|Bright, J. (Manchester)||Denman, hon. G.|
|Brinckman, Capt.||Dent, J. D.|
|Brocklehurst, W. C.||Devereux, R. J.|
|Brogden, A.||Dickinson, S. S.|
|Brown, A. H.||Digby, K. T.|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.||Dixon, G.|
|Bryan, G. L.||Dodds, J.|
|Dodson, J. G.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Downing, M'C.||Lea, T.|
|Dowse, R.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Dundas, P.||Lewis, J. D.|
|Edwardes, hon. Col. W.||Lloyd, Sir T. D.|
|Edwards, H.||Loch, G.|
|Enfield, Viscount||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Ennis, J. J.||Lush, Dr.|
|Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E.||Lusk, A.|
|Esmonde, Sir J.||Lyttelton, hon. C. G.|
|Ewing, H. E. C.||M'Arthur, W.|
|Eykyn, R.||M'Clure, T.|
|Fagan, Captain||MacEvoy, E.|
|Finnie, W.||Macfie, R. A.|
|FitzGerald, right hon.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Lord O. A.||M'Laren, D.|
|Fitz-Patrick,rt. hn. J. W.||M'Mahon, P.|
|Fletcher, I.||Maguire, J. F.|
|Foljambe, F.J. S.||Marling, S. S.|
|Forster, C.||Martin, P. W.|
|Forster, rt. hon. W. E.||Matheson, A.|
|Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.||Melly, G.|
|Fothergill, R.||Merry, J.|
|Fowler, W.||Miall, E.|
|Gavin, Major||Milbank, F. A.|
|Gilpin, C.||Miller, J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Milton, Viscount|
|Gladstone, W. H.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Gower, Lord R.||Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.||Monk, C. J.|
|Gourley, E. T.||Monsell, rt. hon. W.|
|Graham, W.||Morgan, G. O.|
|Gray, Sir J.||Morley, S.|
|Greville, Captain||Mundella, A. J.|
|Grieve, J. J.||Muntz, P. H.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Murphy, N. D.|
|Grove, T. F.||Nicholson, W.|
|Hadfield, G.||Nicol, J. D.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||North, F.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Harris, J. D.||O'Conor, D. M.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||O'Donoghue, The|
|Hay, Lord J.||O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir|
|Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.||C. M.|
|Henderson, J.||Onslow, G.|
|Herbert, H. A.||O'Reilly, M. W.|
|Hodgkinson, G.||O'Reilly-Dease, M.|
|Holms, J.||Otway, A. J.|
|Horsman, right hon. E.||Palmer, J. H.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Parker, C. S.|
|Howard, J.||Parry, L. Jones-|
|Hughes, T.||Pease, J. W.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Peel, A. W.|
|Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.||Pelham, Lord|
|Hyde, Lord||Philips, R. N.|
|Illingworth, A.||Pim, J.|
|James, H.||Playfair, L.|
|Jardine, R.||Plimsoll, S.|
|Jessel, G.||Pollard-Urquhart, W.|
|Johnston, A.||Portman, hon. W. H. B.|
|Johnstone, Sir H.||Potter, E.|
|Kinglake, J. A.||Potter, T. B.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Power, J. T.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Price, W. E.|
|Kirk, W.||Price, W. P.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen,||Ramsden, Sir J. W.|
|E. H.||Rathbone, W.|
|Layard, rt. hon. A. H.||Reed, C.|
|Lambert, N. G.||Richard, H.|
|Lancaster, J.||Richards, E. M.|
|Lawrence, J. C.||Robertson, D.|
|Lawrence, W.||Roden, W. S.|
|Rothschild, Brn. L. N. de||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Rothschild, Brn. M. A. de||Tollemache, J.|
|Russell, A.||Torrens, R. R.|
|Rylands, P.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.|
|Salomons, Mr. Ald.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Samuelson, B.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Samuelson, H. B.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Sartoris, E. J.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Scott, Sir W.||Vivian. H. H.|
|Seely, C. (Lincoln)||Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.|
|Seely, C. (Nottingham)||Walter, J.|
|Shaw, R.||Wedderburn, Sir D.|
|Sheridan, H. B.||Weguelin, T. M.|
|Sherlock, D.||West, H. W.|
|Sherriff, A. C.||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Simeon, Sir J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Simon, Mr. Serjeant||White, hon. Capt. C.|
|Smith, J. B.||White, J.|
|Stanley, hon. W. O.||Whitwell, J.|
|Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.||Whitworth, T.|
|Stapleton, J.||Williams, W.|
|Stepney, Colonel||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Stevenson, J. C.||Wingfield, Sir C.|
|Stone, W. H.||Winterbotham, H. S. P.|
|Sullivan, rt. hon. E.||Woods, H.|
|Sykes, Colonel W. H.||Young, A. W.|
|Synan, E. J.||Young, G.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||TELLERS.|
|Taylor, P. A.||Adam, W. P.|
|Tite, Sir W.||Glyn, G. G.|
|Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. B.||Corbett, Colonel|
|Akroyd, E.||Corrance, F. S.|
|Allen, Major||Croft, Sir H. G. D.|
|Amphlett, R. P.||Cross, R. A.|
|Annesley, hon. Col. H.||Cubitt, G.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Curzon, Viscount|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Dalrymple, C.|
|Assheton, R.||Dalway, M. R.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Damer, Capt. Dawson-|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Davenport, W. B.|
|Ball, J. T.||Dawson, R. P.|
|Barnett, H.||De La Poer, E.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Dick, F.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Dickson, Major A. G.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Dilke, Sir C. W.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Dimsdale, R.|
|Beach, Sir M. H.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Dowdeswell, W. E.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Duncombe, hon. Col.|
|Benyon, R.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Birley, H.||Dyott, Colonel R.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Eaton, H. W.|
|Bourke, hon. R.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Bourne, Colonel||Egerton, Sir P. G.|
|Bright, R.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Ewing, A. O.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Fawcett, H.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Feilden, H. M.|
|Brodrick, hon. W.||Fellowes, E.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Finch, G. H.|
|Bruen, H.||Fitzmaurice, Lord E.|
|Burke, Viscount||Floyer, J.|
|Callan, P.||Forde, Colonel|
|Cameron, D.||Forester, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Cartwright, F.||Fowler, R. N.|
|Cawley, C. E.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Charley, W. T.||Galway, Viscount|
|Clowes, S. W.||Gilpin, Colonel|
|Cole, Col. hon. H. A.||Goldney, G.|
|Conolly, T.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Graves, S. R.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Gray, Lieut.-Colonel||Newport, Viscount|
|Gregory, G. B.||North, Colonel|
|Guest, A. E.||Northcote, right hon.|
|Gurney, rt. hon. R.||Sir S. H.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||O'Neill, hon. E.|
|Hamilton, I. T.||Paget, R. H.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Hamilton, Lord G.||Parker, Lieut.-Col. W.|
|Hardy, right hon. G.||Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.|
|Hardy, J.||Peek, H. W.|
|Hardy, J. S.||Pell, A.|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Henley, rt. hon. J. W.||Percy, Earl|
|Henniker - Major, hon.||Phipps, C. P.|
|J. M.||Powell, W.|
|Henry, J. S.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Herbert, right hon. Gen.||Read, C. S.|
|Sir P.||Ridley, M. W.|
|Hermon, E.||Round, J.|
|Hervey, Lord A. H. C.||Royston, Viscount|
|Hesketh, Sir T. G.||Russell, Sir W.|
|Heygate, Sir F. W.||Salt, T.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Sandon, Viscount|
|Hill, A. S.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Hoare, P. M.||Scourfield, J. H.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir|
|Holford, R. S.||H. J.|
|Holt, J. M.||Shaw, W.|
|Hood, Captain hon. A.||Shirley, S. E.|
|W. A. N.||Sidebottom, J.|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Hornby, E. K.||Smith, A.|
|Howes, E.||Smith, F. C.|
|Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.||Smith, R.|
|Hutton, J.||Smith, S. G.|
|Ingram, H. F. M.||Smith, W. H.|
|Jackson, R. W.||Somerset, Colonel|
|Jenkinson, Sir G. S.||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Johnston, W.||Stanley, Lord|
|Kavanagh, A. MacM.||Starkie, J. P. C.|
|Kekewich, S. T.||Stopford, S. G.|
|Keown, W.||Stronge, Sir J. M.|
|Knight, F. W.||Sykes, C.|
|Knox, hon. Colonel S.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Lacon, Sir E. H. K.||Talbot, hon. R. A. J.|
|Laird, J.||Taylor, rt. hon. Col.|
|Langton, W. H. P. G.||Tipping, W.|
|Laslett, W.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Lefroy, A.||Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-|
|Lennox, Lord G. G.||Turner, C.|
|Liddell, hon. H. G.||Turnor, E.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col. C.||Vance, J.|
|Lindsay, Col. R. L.||Vandeleur, Colonel|
|Lowther, W.||Verner, E. W.|
|Lowther, J.||Verner, W.|
|Manners, rt. hon. Ld. J.||Walpole, hon. F.|
|Manners, Lord G. J.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|March, Earl of||Waterhouse, S.|
|Matthews, H.||Welby, W. E.|
|Mellor, T. W.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Meyrick, T.||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Milles, hon. G. W.||Whitmore, H.|
|Mills, C. H.||Williams, C. H.|
|Mitford, W. T.||Williams, F. M.|
|Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.||Wilmot, H.|
|Montgomery, Sir G. G.||Winn, R.|
|Moore, G. H.||Wise, H. C.|
|Morgan, C. O.||Wright, Colonel|
|Morgan, hon. Major||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Mowbray, rt. hn. J. R.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Neville-Grenville, R.||Dyke, W. H.|
said the wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government agreed to the insertion of these words?
said, he did. He understood the case to be this. Reformatory schools were supported, at present, partly out of Parliamentary grants and partly out of local rates; and he understood the object of his hon. Friend's Amendment to be that where any Parliamentary funds formed a part of the means by which the schools were supported, the surplus funds should not be applied in relief of the Parliamentary grant.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, the present law was this-there were in Ireland two species of grants for the support of industrial and reformatory schools; the one out of the public Exchequer, the other out of the rates. The surplus fund was a local Irish fund; and he moved that whatever should come out of this Irish fund should go in relief of Irish and not of Imperial taxation.
SIR JOHN ESMONDE
made an appeal to his hon. Friend not to press his Amendment. They were all anxious that this question should be settled as soon as possible, and as the Amendment was opposed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) and his Friends opposite, they ought not to trouble the House by dividing.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not insist on pressing his Amendment. His hon. Friend might be assured that he would not lose the opportunity of enforcing his views at a future time in this matter.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Subsequent Amendments read a second time; several agreed to; several disagreed to; and several amended, and agreed to.
§ Clause 23 (Redemption of annuities and life interests of ecclesiastical persons).99
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he wished to recall the attention of the House to the explanation given on the preceding night by the First Minister of the Crown, with respect to this clause which was subsequently postponed. He would remind hon. Members that the right hon. Gentleman had, at the same time, proposed an addition, providing that "The Commissioners shall, at any time between the first day of January one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, and the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three, but not afterwards, if it appears to them as respects any diocese or united dioceses in Ireland, as the case may be, or as respects any Protestant Nonconforming body or communion, that not less than four-fifths of the whole number of ecclesiastical persons in such diocese or united dioceses, or of the whole number of the ministers of such body or communion, authorized to commute under this Act, have commuted or agreed to commute their life interests, the Commissioners shall thereupon pay, in addition to the monies otherwise payable by them, a sum equal to seven pounds in the hundred on the commutation money payable in respect of each life interest, such addition to be disposed of in the same manner as the commutation money in respect of which it is added." He moved that the clause, after line 38, be restored to its former shape, and that the House disagree with the Amendments made by the Lords.
§ DR. BALL
said, he wished to guard against being supposed to approve the whole clause. He was, however, ready to admit that the addition was an improvement — inasmuch as it contained an alternative proposition with regard to the commutation of the annuities, so that a single annuitant, or an aggregate number of them, might commute their annuities. The clause, however, did not provide any margin whatever for the expense of the machinery required by the clause as it now stood. And, in his opinion, the number in a diocese who were required to agree to commutation— four-fifths—was rather large.
said, the words used in the addition now proposed had reference to the dioceses as they were formed under the Temporalities Act of 1835.
§ Amendments in Clause 23, the postponed Amendment, read a second time, amended, and agreed to.
§ On Motion, That a Committee be appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to the Amendments to which this House hath disagreed.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Before you put that question, Sir, I cannot refrain from expressing my deep regret that the Amendments made by the Lords in this important Bill have been repudiated by this House, under the advice of the right hon. Gentleman. When we calmly consider at the present juncture the nature of the Bill, its object, and the general character of its provisions, every candid and impartial mind must admit that the attention of the other House of Parliament was solicited to one of the greatest questions that probably could ever engage its attention, and under circumstances of trying difficulty. The principles upon which this Bill is founded had been submitted during the last Parliament, not in so complete a manner, but in a certain degree, to the consideration of the House of Lords, and they found no favour in that Assembly. Subsequently, there was an appeal to the country on the dissolution of Parliament, which, however, certainly did not take place upon that issue. ["Oh!"] Surely hon. Gentlemen do not for a moment mean to insist that if this policy had not been brought forward there would not have been a General Election. Why, Sir, a dissolution was inevitable owing to the passing of the Reform Bill. Do hon. Members mean to say that the late Parliament viewed the passing of the Reform Bill as a matter which did not compel a dissolution? The Gentleman who entertains that opinion must have very different opinions indeed from those which I have hitherto held of the working of the Constitution. He must be a Gentleman of very liberal opinions indeed. It is not accurate to say the appeal was made to the country in consequence of this subject being introduced by the right hon. Gentleman; but I am quite prepared to admit that the question was conveniently raised at a time when, from uncontrollable circumstances, the opinion of the country would be expressed upon it, and, in certain portions of the country, public opinion 101 was expressed in a distinct manner. That expression of opinion was suffiently general to justify the then Government in accepting it as the verdict of the country; and the right hon. Gentleman had, so far as we could conduce to his convenience, every accommodation for considering the details of his policy and introducing a measure embodying that policy to this House. That measure after what occurred here, to which I will not advert, was sent up to the House of Lords. Now, it is a matter of notoriety, not for a moment to be contested, that the opinion of the majority of the House of Lords was unfavourable to the Bill. Their Lordships prolonged their discussion of its principle and policy with power and spirit, and a variety of talent which completely satisfied the country, and maintained the reputation of a great Assembly. Almost all the eminent Members of that House spoke upon the principle of the measure, and Leaders of all sections of opinion—not merely confined to those who acted in concert with the late Government—had an opportunity of discussing it. It was a question of moment what course the Lords would take, because it was well known that the majority of their Lordships were opposed to the principle of the measure, and that if the ordinary course were adopted they would not have permitted the Bill to be read a second time. But I think, whatever difference of opinion there may be—and of course there is great difference of opinion— as to the wisdom of the course which the House of Lords took in reading this Bill a second time, all must agree that the course taken by the House of Lords was distinguished by its magnanimity. Men of transcendent ability and very great influence in the country, who were opposed to this Bill, voted and advised their Friends to vote for its second reading; because, after a frank exposition of their views on the Government policy, the points to which they particularly objected and the remedies and modes of relief by which they thought their objections might be obviated, they waived their opposition in deference to the representation of the Leader of the Government in the other House of Parliament, that the First Minister would be favourable to a generous and conciliatory consideration of all the Amendments 102 that would be brought forward by those who disapproved the general principles of the Bill. On the other hand, it was, of course, understood that the Government could not pledge itself to acquiesce in any Amendment that might be proposed, but would promise only to consider it with a sincere desire to meet the views it expressed if possible. Well, Sir, the character of the Amendments that would be moved was made known to the Government before the vote of the House of Lords was taken upon the second reading, and the House of Lords passed, with few exceptions, all the Amendments brought forward by prominent Members of that House connected with different political parties; indeed, I can remember no Amendments, at the present moment, of any importance which were rejected. Some of those Amendments were even accepted by the Government without opposition, certainly without a division, and the Amendments in due time came down to this House. What has been the result? With some exceptions so trifling I cannot recall them, for they are merely clerical, the House of Commons under the advice of the right hon. Gentleman has repudiated all the Amendments of the House of Lords. Even so slight an Amendment as was made with regard to the unfortunate curates, that humble and injured class in Ireland, which commanded the sympathies of every hon. Gentleman opposite, and which I surely felt would be conceded by the Treasury Bench, was rejected by the imperious spirit which controls our fortunes; a division was demanded, even upon that issue, so painful to the feelings of many hon. Gentlemen opposite that, though they had supported the Government on every other issue, they left the House and would not divide. I want to know how the right hon. Gentleman can reconcile his treatment in the House of Commons of the Amendments of the Lords to this Bill with the representations which were made and the expectations which were held out in the other House of Parliament by his chief Colleague, the Leader of that House (Earl Granville). I deeply regret the course which has been taken here, for although I opposed upon principle the measure of the Ministry, and although I have not changed my mind in regard to the character of the Bill, I, at the same time, declare that I have 103 sincerely worked with a wish to render it less noxious, and with a hope, if possible, of our passing a Bill this Session. But, instead of that, after the majority of the House of Lords made these sacrifices, and after they had agreed to the second reading of a Bill, the principle of which they disapproved, upon the representations made by the chief Colleague of the right hon. Gentleman, and after these Amendments were brought down for our consideration, what occurs? What occurs? Why, the right hon. Gentleman has counselled the House to refuse any approbation of any of these Amendments, and another Colleague of the Minister, the President of the Board of Trade, absolutely got up to-night and threatened the House with dissolution. ["No, no!"]—which was a most unconstitutional proceeding—as the penalty of these Amendments being adhered to. [Murmurs.] I am in the recollection of hon. Gentlemen who heard that threat, and the murmurs of those who were not present will not affect the truth of the allegation. I say that the words which were used were these—that if an adherence to these Amendments should cause the failure of the Bill it might lead to another appeal to the people. What was that, I say, but an intimation to the House of Commons that if those Amendments were not rejected we must be prepared to meet our constituents. ["No!"] Well, Sir, if such an event should occur, I, for one, shall meet my constituents without fear. And when I meet them I shall express my opinions of the policy of the Government, as I have expressed them here, with frankness. And nothing shall prevent me from expressing my deep regret at this moment that, after what has occurred with respect to this important measure in the House of Lords, the right hon. Gentleman should not have received the Amendments of that assembly, at least, in a spirit of wise conciliation.
If, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman should have occasion to meet his constituents, either in consequence of a dissolution or in consequence of any other minor circumstance —and probably the latter is more to be expected than the former—I hope the right hon. Gentleman, when he proceeds to make out his case and his title to their confidence, will first of all explain to them with what incomparable adroitness 104 he yesterday escaped giving a vote upon the subject of concurrent endowment by first of all discovering that it was not involved in the Preamble, and that, therefore it was too soon, and then, when we came to that unhappy clause of Lord Stanhope's, by finding that we had already decided it by implication, and therefore it was too late. On the subject of dissolution the right hon. Gentleman says that he heard the menace of my right hon. Friend (the President of the Board of Trade), yet not a man in this House gave the slightest indication at the time of interpreting the words of my right hon. Friend as a menace. Every allusion to the possibility of a dissolution on the part of a Minister is not a menace. [Murmurs.] Well, then, I will try your rule by the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself. I ask any man who heard my right hon. Friend whether it was not perfectly plain that my right hon. Friend's allusion was in the nature of a general reference simply, and had no regard whatever to the likelihood or unlikelihood of a dissolution under present circumstances. But, Sir, the House has noticed the indignant manner in which was rebutted my plea that every allusion to a dissolution by a Minister was not a menace, and the Gentlemen on that side of the House indicated in the manner which they thought appropriate that, in their opinion, every such reference to a dissolution is a menace if made by a Minister. They, therefore, condemn my right hon. Friend and rebut my plea in his favour. Well, it so happens that the subject of dissolution has come in in another way, for the right hon. Gentleman has had occasion to discuss whether the dissolution of last year did or did not occur on the Irish Church question. Now, Sir, these are the words which were used by the right hon. Gentleman —and I commend them to the serious reflection of those hon. Gentlemen whose vocal organs were put into exercise just now, in order that they may reconcile them with the doctrine which they appear to hold. I shall likewise apply in another way what I am about to read. On the 4th of May, last year, the right hon. Gentleman said—I told Her Majesty that, with her permission, under the circumstances with which, from my previous narrative, the House is perfectly acquainted, the advice which Her Majesty's Minis- 105 ters would, in the full spirit of the Constitution, offer to Her Majesty would be that Her Majesty should dissolve this Parliament."—[3 Hansard, cxci. 1705.]I hope, therefore, it will be acknowledged that an allusion to a dissolution made by a Minister is not necessarily a menace. But, Sir, the question has been raised as to the point on which the opinion of the country was challenged, and the right hon. Gentleman has denied to-night that the dissolution took place upon the Irish Church question. He has denied it to-night, but what I maintain is that he asserted it last year. [Mr. DISRAELI: I said dissolution must have taken place.] But that was not all that the right hon. Gentleman said. Does he deny that in the hearing of this House he stated, last year, that Her Majesty's Ministers would advise Her Majesty to dissolve Parliament and to take the opinion of the country as to the conduct of Her Ministers and the question of the Irish Church? It is not, however, for so paltry a purpose as catching the right hon. Gentlemen in what, I have no doubt, was a slip of memory that I referred to the glaring and positive contradiction uttered by him to-night and the words which I have just read. The right hon. Gentleman has registered his protest against the conduct of this House with respect to the Irish Church Bill. Moreover, he complains of the pledges that have not, as he says, been kept, and of the disrespect with which, as he urges, the Amendments of the House of Lords have been received. The pledge given in "another place" on the part of the Government was this—that Amendments such as we could approve would be thankfully received; that Amendments, whether we could approve them or not, would at least be respectfully considered. I believe I am quoting, with pretty close accuracy, the very expressions that were used. Have we redeemed that pledge or have we not? The right hon. Gentleman says we have done nothing. I say that what we have done, what the Government has recommended, has made me feel that I was pressing for the patience and the indulgence of the majority of this House. Private endowments, forsooth! Private endowments, that were valued by the Opposition at £200,000 sixteen years hence, because that is the average duration of clerical life, have been commuted into a donation 106 down of £500,000, and that in deference to the other House of Parliament. And that is doing nothing! And that is one of the violations of pledge with which the right hon. Gentleman charges us. Commutation! Have we done nothing there? We are not bound to commutation; the Irish clergy have no claim to commutation; they have their claim to their annuity. Could they have complained, if we had offered them in this Bill the market price of their annuities, had we offered them the same price, or a trifle above the same price, they could have got elsewhere? We compute their annuities, through the use of the public credit, at such a rate that they will obtain for them from the Government 15 per cent more than it would have been possible to obtain in the open market. But that is not all. Seeing what anxiety was entertained, and anxious ourselves to search out with minute fidelity the possibility of making concession after concession, when it could be done with faithful regard to the principle and basis of our Bill, we ourselves discovered on behalf of the clergy that which no hon. Gentleman opposite had discovered, that the life of the clergyman was better than the average life of the layman, and we therefore freely and fairly met the Amendment of the House of Lords — which I believe was a death sentence upon all commutation whatever —with the offer to add 7 per cent to the value of the commutation, which monies would come, I believe, to an amount little short, if at all short—supposing it to be acted on by the body—of £400,000. Then, says the right hon. Gentleman, there was a point with respect to the curates on which we divided, and it was so trifling that our own followers, ashamed, could not accompany us into the Lobby. Well, Sir, we have just divided with a majority of 72. [A laugh]. God forbid that I should interfere with the laughter of an hon. Member, but if that hon. Member, who is not always supposed to be one of the most moderate men in the world, will upon every occasion exhibit the moderation which induces him not only to be contented, but to exult when he finds himself in a minority of only 72, he has obtained possession of a rule for the guidance of his future political life from which he will derive some advantage. Although we have now been in the predicament of dividing with a ma- 107 jority of 72, we divided in Committee on this question of curates with a majority of 96; and yet the right hon. Gentleman says our friends were so ashamed, notwithstanding their zeal and faithfulness, that they could not follow us. That is an example of the accuracy, the precision, the care with which the right hon. Gentleman makes his charges in these great passages of public debate and history which are meant to be recorded, not for to-day only, but for future days and ages. The right hon. Gentleman says our concessions were so trifling that he cannot remember them. What did the Lords do with regard to the curates? We had already found ourselves, by the dictates of that liberal equity which the majority of the House on that occasion, I admit, pressed us to indulge, obliged to impose a burden upon the ecclesiastical fund of Ireland in respect to the curates; although they had no vested interests that could be treated in strictness as such, yet, acting largely on the declaration we had given, that cases of fair claim would be considered in an equitable and not in a technical spirit, acting—if I may presume to use the word, of which I confess I am almost afraid—generously, we had already laid upon the central fund in respect of the curates a burden of certainly not less than £300,000. To that the House of Lords added a further burden of between £500,000 and £600,000, and they desired of us, in regard to the whole curates' work done in Ireland, with an exception that was insignificant, that we should doubly compensate—pay twice over—fully compensate the curate, and then fully compensate the rector. I think we should not have taken a very extreme course if we had rejected that Amendment altogether; but anxious to come to the furthest point we could for the purpose of meeting the view of the House of Lords, and to stretch to the uttermost the definitions that could be applied to the equity of the case, we made a considerable concession, and I was obliged to state at the time that that would lay upon the central fund of the ecclesiastical property a further burden of between £100,000 and £200,000. These are the sort of concessions in regard to which the right hon. Gentleman says they are so trifling he cannot carry them in his memory. Sir, I hold, in the face of the House of Commons, that every pledge that was given to either 108 branch of the Legislature has been redeemed in the letter and in the spirit, and if there has been a limit to concession, it has been a limit fixed for us by our pledges given before another tribunal? And what is that other tribunal? It is the tribunal of the nation. Sir, it is remarkable to observe how, in these times, there has arisen what perhaps with some may be a mere lip-service to the nation; with others—and with most, I have no doubt—it is a frank as it is also a pregnant profession. The proposition has been freely laid down that that hereditary branch of the Legislature, which is appointed for the discharge of most important and most valuable functions in the Constitution, would not act wisely, and would make an abusive employment of its power, were it to place itself in conflict with the will of the people. It is true that refined theories have been advanced to show that those who sit in that Chamber are in some sort the representatives of the people like ourselves—nay, more, that they are even more than ourselves the representatives of the people, and that, consequently, we are not entitled, even when we come fresh from our contact with the national mind, to plead that we know, or can report, or can assert anything respecting it with an authority that is entitled to credit in that other and more gorgeous Chamber. Well, Sir, far be it from me to assert for the Members of the House of Commons any authority except that which they derive from their mission. But what was their mission? I have shown, from the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself, that it was to try the conduct of the Ministers, which we had impugned in connection with the Irish Church, and to try the question of the Irish Church, that the late Government advised a dissolution. It is too late to deny that this was the turning point, the cardinal question of the last election. A judgment clearer and more decisive never was pronounced. It is not upon one question in a hundred, even of more important subjects of public policy, that the nation is called upon to pronounce, or has the opportunity of pronouncing any such clear and such authoritative verdict. When that verdict has been pronounced I deprecate and protest against all attempts to evade its force, such as those which are made when it is 109 asserted that although much indeed was said about the Irish Church at the election, yet the appeal to the nation had no relation to it, and was not an appeal for the settlement of that question. Be it remembered that the pecuniary terms granted by the Bill, as it now stands, to the Irish Church, about to be disestablished, are terms more liberal than at any period of the discussion of last year any person would have ventured to propose. I know nothing in which those terms can be said to fall short, except the matter of the glebe houses, the charge upon which, I will venture to say, is not one whit greater, nay, it is less, than the concession we have made to-night with regard to the curates, and for making which we are told by the right hon. Gentleman that it is so trifling that he cannot carry it in his memory T ventured to state, last year, that probably from three-fifths to two-thirds of the estimated value of the Irish Church property would go to the disestablished Church or to its members, and I now believe that, setting aside, as a distinct matter, the additional value we give to Irish Church property by treating it as a public fund, possibly even more than two-thirds of the value of the property is appropriated by the Bill either to the Church or its members— upon condition that the services of the Church are performed. As the right hon. Gentleman has made a protest, I must, finally, make a protest on our behalf. The hard words with which we have been pelted during the whole of this controversy are not, indeed, to be made grave subject of complaint. On all occasions much allowance ought to be made for them; and I fully admit that the greatest allowance ought to be made on an occasion like this, when we have been attacking the legal, constitutional, and proprietary foundation of an institution to which many Members are attached. Therefore, Sir, I am not complaining, though the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Manners) talks of plunder and pillage and such things, but with every respect and deference I venture to intrude this plea on our behalf—that we decline to admit we are the enemies of the Church. In my opinion, in my deep conviction, if mischief has been done to the vital spirit of the Church— nay, if mischief has been done to the cause of Establishment in these discus- 110 sions, it has been done chiefly by those who have described to us, in language which I believe to be unfounded, and which all must admit to be exaggerated, the grievous and enervating effect which a state of Establishment has upon the faith, and zeal, and life of the members of a religious communion, so that when we point to this or that community—be it Roman Catholic, Protestant Episcopalian, Methodist, Independent, or Presbyterian—in this or in any other part of the world, we are always answered by some one stating that these were voluntary societies that had not been under the enfeebling and almost emasculating influence to which, as a religious body, we are told, this unhappy Church of Ireland has been subjected. A distinguished Prelate has even placed on record these few words. Speaking of a provision by the laity for spiritual ministration from their own resources, he said—before the day of dissolution had come, before this proposition had been made, that Irish lay Churchmen were less prepared for this, less informed of their duty, and less willing to do it than the laymen of any other Church or religious denomination in the world. Well, Sir, if matters have reached that pass, it may hereafter prove that we, after all, if it be our duty and our destiny to strip this Establishment of its trappings, are not the worst friends of its inner essence. As to the prophecies and the predictions of its incapacity to cope with the proud pretensions and proved organization of the Roman Church, I repel them with all my heart and soul, and if I could not repel them I would say to myself and others—"If such be the Church to which we belong, so destitute of inherent life and vigour, the sooner we quit it and seek refuge for heart and mind in some other communion possessed of a truer vitality, the better." Sir, I confess for my own part—I wish to state it without offence, and I do not in the least resent these demonstrations of incredulity which I see upon the countenances of some hon. Gentlemen—that I cannot help placing upon record my solemn protest against those disheartening and degrading predictions, together with the expression of my humble, yet not altogether other than confident expectation, that though I admit there will be a crisis to pass through, though I admit there will be 111 difficulties to encounter, though I admit there will be efforts to be made and trials to be undergone, yet before many years have rolled over our heads the time may come when the members of the disestablished Church of Ireland may point to the day of the passing of this Act and declare that that day, and none other, was the day of their religious regeneration.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
Sir, I accept the appeal the right hon. Gentleman has made to posterity, and I venture also to submit that when the time shall come for posterity to decide upon the course of the right hon. Gentleman it will not accord to it the applause which it obtained at the last election. He has told us, with respect to the dissolution, that my right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli) held out threats to the House upon the question on which we voted last year. He has told us that my right hon. Friend said that Ireland was not the question that was submitted to the constituencies of the country. But what my right hon. Friend really said was that the dissolution was inevitable in consequence of the Reform Bill, but that the circumstances which accompanied the dissolution made the Irish Church the chief subject contested at the elections. ["Oh!"] That statement appears to be met with ridicule, but I venture to ask those hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway opposite, and who have used their lungs with so much force during these discussions, not in articulate, but rather in inarticulate utterances, whether their liberality will go so far as to say that when the Reform Bill had passed they would have kept together the then existing Parliament? But I will go further, and, with respect to that which has been quoted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I will say that if the last Parliament had not permitted the Government to complete the work they had in hand, it would have been the duty of that Government to have dissolved it, and to have appealed to the unreformed constituencies, and they gave notice of that to the House. Therefore, so far from being a threat, it was within the exercise of the constitutional duty of a Minister. But I say that it is a totally different matter when, in a new Parliament, at a moment when grave questions are impending between the two Houses, one of Her Majesty's Ministers, sitting on the front Bench, holds 112 out to the House as a means of keeping them together to coerce the Lords, what is in that case not the constitutional statement like that of my right hon. Friend, but a threat of what would happen if the House were not firm. ["No!"] Well, I have no doubt that some of those who are so extreme in their expressions of dissent will be able to explain what was the meaning of the expression about a dissolution. The right hon. Gentleman did unquestionably allude to a dissolution. What did he mean by it? It is either a promise or a threat—call it which you like—when the House is told that, under certain circumstances relating to a question immediately impending, this House may be sent about its business. That, however, is a very small part of the discussion. We have to ask ourselves whether on this question the House of Lords have been treated by this House in a manner worthy of a House which, in its constitutional position, whatever may be its powers under certain circumstances, is only a co-ordinate Assembly with the House of Lords. This House is, indeed, newly elected by the people, and I am not going to diminish at all the force and power and authority that belongs to it in consequence; but I must remind hon. Gentlemen that the question submitted to the people with respect to the Irish Church was submitted to them in principle and not in detail. It was submitted in the first place, as a question of disestablishment, and in the second, to a certain extent, as a question of disendowment. But I confidently appeal to hon. Gentlemen— not, indeed, as to the advocates of voluntaryism, but as to any who come short of that principle—whether they can point to any election address of any Member of the House, upon whatever side he sits, which went to the extent of so complete a disendowment as is actually effected by the Bill. I venture to say, with the greatest submission to hon. Members who express their dissent, that during the elections hon. Gentlemen were careful to limit what they said upon disendowment, though they were absolute upon disestablishment. [" No!"] Well, Sir, in that statement, I have, of course, excepted a certain class in this House—and I am bound to say, a very considerable class—the advocates of the voluntary system who were in favour of doing away not only with the Irish, but also the Scotch and English Establish- 113 merits, and who tell us, as we heard tonight in solemn tones—that reminded me more of the pulpit than of Parliament—that in upholding endowment and establishment we are only doing mischief to the interests of our Church. Now, I cannot help turning aside for a moment here and observing that even that very sect with which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hadfield) is connected, was not ashamed to seek in a Court of Chancery to become possessed of Lady Hewlett's endowment; and the hon. Gentleman, if I am not misinformed, was not only an advocate, but was employed as the legal adviser for obtaining possession of those endowments. The hon. Gentleman told us to-night that endowments are an evil and an abomination; but nevertheless, in the case I have mentioned, the sect to which he belongs was very anxious to get hold of them. Nor have I ever discovered that the friends of the voluntary system had any objection to participate in the endowments to be found in our Universities—endowments given for religious purposes. The hon. Member says that they hate endowments, but it seems that when endowments are to be got without coining to their own pockets for them, they have no objection to profit by them. As the hon. Gentleman appealed to us in such moving language, as if we had some selfish aim in view, I will ask what interest have we who sit here in the question of endowments except as it affects the welfare of religion, of the Church, and, as I believe, still more nearly, of the State? Sir, if I thought that the duty of the State was to relieve itself from any embarrassment in connection with religion, I should be happy to see the Church removed from any connection with it. But I say that the benefit of a Church Establishment is not so much to the Church as to the State, and that it is in the interest of the State to have a connection with religion. I know we have been defeated on that point, and that, after the two decisions given by this House and by the House of Lords, I am precluded from re-arguing the question so far as the Irish Church is concerned. I deeply regret that decision, but I cannot in consequence change my opinions. I deeply deplore that the House of Lords took the step they did in sanctioning that principle upon the second reading; but I feel still more strongly that having conceded so much they are entitled to 114 expect from this House more consideration for their Amendments than they have received, and I regret that in urging this matter forward upon the relentlessly logical principles of the right hon. Gentleman you have given no consideration to the feelings, the dignity, and the honour of an Assembly co-ordinate with our own. Sir, I have listened in vain for an expression from the other side of the House of a different character from that which I have spoken of. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, indeed, said he would treat them with respect, but how did he treat them with respect? He said—We can hardly expect of the House of Lords that they should appreciate the humble considerations which govern the special relations between each Member of Parliament and the portion of the British people that he represents. From the great eminence upon which they sit they can no more discern the minute particulars of our transactions than a man in a balloon can see all that is passing on the earth below."—[3 Hansard, cxcvii. 1903.]The right hon. Gentleman knows that people do not get into balloons by coming down from the skies; they ascend into balloons from the earth, and they know just as much of what is passing on the earth as we do; and the House of Lords may be as familiar with the details of the Bill as the right hon. Gentleman himself. If ever the time should come which we have heard threatened by those who are the advocates of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, when coercion shall be offered of a different kind to the House of Lords, by the selection of a large number of aeronauts to ascend into "another place," those whom the right hon. Gentleman selects may remember with what contempt he has spoken of them, and I think he will not find Gentlemen who are willing to submit themselves to the dishonour which he intends to inflict upon them. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that he has been very conciliatory, and has done much more than he promised to do at the elections. What did he promise? Promises at the elections, no details of any measure being before the electors, must necessarily have been in general, and, to a certain extent in vague language. But it is the impression conveyed to the electors that must be taken into account. And here I must observe that when the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade spoke last evening of sentiments to which he had given ut- 115 terance in his letter of seventeen years ago, he was misleading the House, because he has expressed the same opinions much more recently. [Mr. BRIGHT: I have said so.] Yes; but the right hon. Gentleman did not say so yesterday. This particular point is one upon which I personally agree with the right hon. Gentleman; but I agree with him that it is not a subject which can be presented to the people now, and I have said on more than one occasion in this House. With respect to the glebe houses—with respect to the land of the clergy, and their general treatment, the language of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, when he spoke of gracious and generous treatment, was calculated to lead the people to believe that you were not going to treat this question as one simply of logic, simply of mathematics, and to limit it by nice and strict rules, such as have been constantly pointed out on the opposite Benches. The country could have had no reason to suppose that the gracious and generous proceedings at the hustings were to become sweeping and severe upon that Bench. I say that the right hon. Gentlemen who sit upon that (the Treasury) Bench led their constituents and the country to believe that the clergy and laity of the Church of Ireland would be treated in a different manner from that in which they have been treated. This question, again, has been argued by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government as if it was a question not of taking away but of giving. You are taking away and you forget that those from whom you are taking away are men who have had the property they now possess for 300 years. You forget their associations and their interests, and you forget that they are men of hearts, and passions, and prejudices, and that these things will weigh with them more than the logic of the abstract principles you lay down. But you tell us you give them £500,000. Sir, I accept that sum, and if you will, I accept it as a boon, as far as it secures freedom from litigation; but, at the same time, when the right hon. Gentleman says that some on these Benches—my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) — valued those private endowments at a smaller amount, let it be remembered that the right hon. 116 Gentlemen himself, with his means of acquiring information on the subject, told us, on the 1st of March, that £500,000 was the value of the private endowments since 1660. It is therefore clear that in proposing £500,000 as a substitute to fixing a date, the right hon. Gentleman is only giving us what he himself laid down as the actual value. [Mr. GLADSTONE: After the life interests.] Be that so. But the Commissioners are spared all the expenses of the costly investigations that would have taken place; and therefore when we come to consider the whole question, I think I may say boldly, and with perfect truth and faithfulness, that this £500,000 represents no more than the endowments subsequent to 1660. That, therefore, is no new concession to the Lords; it is only in another form that which the right hon. Gentleman promised to the Commons. But, with respect to the commutation, the right hon. Gentleman tells us that he has been generous, because, having to provide for the life interests of the clergy, he has not been content to be regulated by the Government tables which settle the value of lives; but, knowing that the clerical life is, on an average, so much longer—7 per cent longer—than the general life, he has taken that fact into account. Well, Sir, he has simply given what the clerical life is worth, and nothing more; and he will not give that in every instance, but only when the concurrence of four-fifths of the number has been obtained. The right hon. Gentleman confers no boon on the Church Body, unless he gives them such a sum as will induce all the clergy to come within the commutation, and as will compensate the Church Body for providing the life premium, instead of the Government having to provide it. Again, the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the liberality of the Government towards the curates. But, yesterday, there was an Amendment of the Lords, providing that if a curate, a miserable curate, in that Church which was to be disestablished and disendowed, became ill or disabled from carrying on his duties, he should still receive his annuity; and that Amendment was one which the Government thought it worth their while to strike out. Why, Sir, suppose a curate were to be disabled now, he would, no doubt, for a time, leave his curacy; but he would have the opportunity of the same 117 number of curacies as he had before when he was well again, and he would have the chance of preferment in the Church to an extent which would be greatly reduced after disestablishment. And yet the Government, having given that small boon of. some compensation to the curates, think it worth their while, in dealing with a co-ordinate Assembly, to deprive them of the miserable comfort they were giving to those curates who might become ill or disabled. I have now gone through the concessions which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken of, and I ask this House—if they were merchants, if they were people dealing with their servants, and they were dissolving their establishments, whether they would deal in that way with those who had relied upon their fairness, upon their justice, upon their indulgence, and, I will say, upon their generosity? I confess, I was almost ashamed to hear to-night the speech of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. W. H. Gregory), who, because he has been thwarted in that which was known to be his opinion on the question of concurrent endowment, thought it not unbecoming of him to say that he trusted if ever this Bill came before the House again, they would sell every glebe in the country to the highest bidder. [Cheers.] Yes, I have no doubt the hon. Gentleman will meet with support, even in that. I have heard many —no, I will not say many, but some upon that side of the House, who seemed to be prepared even to take away the life interests of the clergy—[" No, no!"] —Oh! no! The right hon. Gentleman says "No," but I have heard myself— unfortunately we have not been able to hear expressions, but I have heard sounds which would indicate—that even such a proposition would receive a certain amount of support. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has told us that the House of Lords is not to put itself in conflict with the will of the people. When that will has been clearly and decisively expressed, I am not prepared to say that I do not concur in that proposition. I think that the House of Lords occupies a position independent, no doubt, of the constituencies; but not independent of the general feeling of the country. They occupy a position which makes them closely acquainted with the general feeling of the country—through the Press, if you like—or through their 118 residence in the country, and their constant intercourse with the people of the country—which, I am happy to say, amongst Peers, is just as free, and just as unreserved, as the intercourse between Commoners and the commonalty of the country. They have the means of knowing what are the opinions of the country; and they have shown by the division to which they came on the second reading of this Bill, a decision which I am free to say I, from conscientious convictions could not have been a party to, that they are ready to accept the expressed will of the nation. They consented to the second reading of the Bill, and so far as the question of the disestablishment of the Irish Church is concerned, I admit that the question in both Houses of Parliament has fallen to the ground. But I say that those noble Lords, in making the Amendments they did, had a right to say that they had not convinced themselves that the national will is against such Amendments as they have made. Indeed, I believe, that many Members on the Liberal side are beginning to feel strange misgivings of heart as to the votes they have given. They may treat this as a question not of mercy but of justice; but their feelings are in conflict with the abstract principles that may be deduced from the measure of the right hon. Gentleman. If this measure is to be a measure of conciliation, if it is to bring peace to Ireland, you must feel that you cannot bring peace to Ireland by this measure unless you meet in some degree the will of the whole people of Ireland. That will has been expressed in hundreds of public meetings. I am not particular as to the numbers—I care not whether they have been attended by 200,000 or 300,000 persons; but these meetings have been attended by Protestants of all denominations who say they are not satisfied with the measure of the Government, and that those things which we have in vain asked you to concede might have brought a message of peace to men who will be hostile to the right hon. Gentleman and his party for many years to come. Do you suppose you could take away the glebes and the churches without causing something stronger than a protest? Do you think that when dealing with men of like passions with yourselves, if you were to act upon those logical principles which the hon. Member for Galway 119 wishes to carry out, it would not cause some such a conflict as, I am sure, the hon. Gentleman himself does not wish, and which would effectually put an end to all those hopes of peace which some entertain from this measure? Sir, it was not my intention to have said a word upon this question, but the right hon. Gentleman in his speech assumed so much— he spoke so strongly as to what he expected to be the results of what he has done — that I have ventured to appeal to this House, I appeal to the existing generation of my countrymen, I appeal to those who are to live after us and who will judge of what we have done to-night, and I ask them whether in dealing with this complex question there has not been a want of that generosity which was promised by those who sit on the Treasury Bench. Further, I will say that, in my opinion, there is in it a want of that just and equitable treatment which the Church of Ireland was entitled to expect at their hands, and which might have gone far to reconcile her members to their policy.
It is not my intention to follow the right hon. Gentleman through various topics which he has dealt with in the long speech he has just addressed to the House. I rise only for the purpose of referring to one statement which has been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), and supported by the right hon. Gentleman who has just concluded his speech. I have not the smallest objection in any debates in this House to any amount of solid or hard argument, nor, indeed, have I any very strong objection to the use of hard words in debate. Much must be allowed for disappointment, and much must be allowed for the strong feelings which are occasionally excited. But I have a very strong objection to a course of misrepresentation for which there is no foundation whatever, and to having an interpretation put upon my speech which, I am certain, the majority of those who heard it will believe to be altogether unjust. The right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire is very skilful in finding out points which the bulk of his Friends, until he speaks, have been unable to discover; and this is one he has found to-night, for I will venture to say not a single Member of the House—I must believe it from what took place du- 120 ring my speech—not a single Member of the House, besides the two right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken, felt that when I referred to what might happen as an expression of opinion by the constituencies if the question of concurrent endowment were referred to them, the reference was made by way of menace or threat of dissolution. I was arguing against retaining the surplus with a view to concurrent endowment, and on the ground that concurrent endowment had been repudiated altogether by both sides of the House. I said that if the policy of the House of Lords on this question were again submitted to the constituencies, although hon. Gentlemen opposite might be as numerous in a future Parliament as they were now, those who would be returned in favour of the policy of concurrent endowment would be able comfortably to sit in the portion of the House immediately opposite to me. And what says the right hon. Gentlemen who has just spoken, coming, as he did, to support the very desperate case of the right hon. Gentleman who sits near him? He says that he knows he could not appeal to the constituencies on the question of concurrent endowment. But that was all I said—only that I illustrated and elaborated it a little, and brought it home to the minds of hon. Members more satisfactorily by picturing the deplorable situation of the supporters of that policy if the question were to be referred to the constituencies. What, I would ask, could be more absurd, more childish, or more—what shall I say—contemptuous towards the intelligence of the House than to suppose that a Member of an Administration which is supported by a majority of 120 votes, elected only a few months back, should be so stupid as to say anything that could be described by any honest interpretation as a threat or menace of dissolution. I can make great allowance, as I said before, for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have a very bad cause, and with a bad cause they have had very little success. They have fought hard for a larger portion of the ecclesiastical funds of Ireland to be reserved to their friends of the Irish Church. They profess to be more Protestant than we are, and some of them to be more religious, and they favour us with angry speeches at the success of our Bill. The future will tell 121 the results of the measure, as it tells the results of all measures. I have seen the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire just as angry about many other great questions. I have seen him come down—as I might say, if I were not afraid of being thought classical, crinibus disjectis, with disheveled hair, and tell us of the horrible condition to which agriculture would be reduced by Free Trade in corn. I have been here twenty-five years, and will venture to say in the face of the House that there is not a single prophecy of the right hon. Gentleman which has been fulfilled. I do not, I repeat, object to hard arguments or hard words, but I do not like misrepresentation, and I am, I believe, never tempted to deal in it myself, and I am always careful to avoid it. The question which we are discussing is a very great question. We are settling what I regard as a great political and historical transaction, and I am sorry that upon the last night of its discussion right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who ought to set a good example to the House and especially to their party, should have forgotten those honourable rules which ought to subsist between the Members of this Assembly in the endeavour to fix on me a charge which, whatever may be my failings, I certainly am not stupid enough to be guilty of, and which I undertake, without hesitation, to say the great majority of the House believes to be without foundation.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
Sir, I shall certainly not follow the right hon. Gentleman through his self-laudation, nor will I stop to criticize his eccentric Latin. But as the right hon. Gentleman has terminated his speech with language which we seldom hear—fortunately in this House—impugning the good faith and political honour of my right hon. Friends on a point on which, I am sure, no Gentleman in this House believes they have been guilty, I venture, as I attentively listened to every word of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, to give my version of the matter. The right hon. Gentleman tells us what it was he meant to say, but he has omitted a very important portion of what he did say. What he really said was this—if, owing to any disaster that might happen to this Bill, the question were referred back to the constituencies, then those Gentlemen who were in favour of con- 122 current endowment would be less in number than they are now. Such is the interpretation which I, as well as my two right hon. Friends near me, have put on his speech. The right hon. Gentleman does not accept that as a fair interpretation of what he intended to say; but I am astonished that, because, in the heat of argument he used an unfortunate phrase, he should comment, as he has done, on the course taken by my two right hon. Friends for having, in the discharge of their duty, felt it necessary to refer to his speech.
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, he trusted that, in case of a dissolution, the country, and especially the dissenters, would remember that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade was the author of this concurrent endowment. It was not the statesmanlike scheme of Mr. Pitt, but the bastard scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. He (Mr. Charley) denied that the national will was in favour of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues; he maintained that the hon. Gentlemen, by whom he was surrounded, were as true representatives of the national will as hon. Gentlemen opposite. He regretted that the House of Lords should have violated their conscientious convictions by voting for the second reading of this Bill; but he hoped that they would now adhere to their Amendments, and if they did. so, they would have the support of the Conservative democracy of the country. He confessed he had used some strong language in the course of the debates on the Irish Church question, and if he had offended any hon. Members, he offered them now his sincere apology.Committee appointed, "to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to the Amendments to which this House hath disagreed:" —Mr. GLADSTONE, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, Mr. Secretary BRUCE, Mr. Secretary CARDWELL, Mr. JOHN BRIGHT, Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND, Mr. WILLIAM EDWARD FORSTER, Mr. AYRTON, and The JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL:—To withdraw immediately; Three to be the quorum.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
reported to the House the Reasons, as drawn up by the Committee nominated for that duty, for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments to the Irish Church Bill.
§ Reasons for disagreeing to certain of the Lords Amendments reported, and agreed to.
§ To be communicated to the Lords.