§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 39 (Repeal of Maynooth Acts. Compensation on the cessation of certain annual sums).
§ MR. WHALLEY
disclaimed any feeling of hostility or jealousy towards his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in the course which he felt bound by duty to take. His object in moving the Amendment was to carry out more effectually the objects announced by the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown in introducing the Bill—of promoting peace and tranquillity in Ireland, and establishing something like equality between the several religious sects. Whatever might be the result of the measure in satisfying and pacifying their Roman Catholic fellow - subjects, it was not in the slightest degree from sharing in this expectation that he had taken the part he had on this subject. The Protestant population of Great Britain had systematically opposed the endowment of Roman Catholics for years past; and unless the endowment of Maynooth College was put to an end to, in accordance with principles of sound justice, the organized opposition to the Roman Catholics in this country would be prosecuted with still greater vehemance. It was said that it would be ungenerous to refuse a sum of £300,000 to Maynooth, looking at the much larger amount preserved by the Bill to the Protestant Church, which was at present the Established Church of Ireland; but he, for his part, would have willingly consented that not a single shilling in the way of endowment should have been preserved to it. He reminded the Committee that they were not levelling up, but levelling down. Under Head No. 4. the clause proposed to confer upon the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth about three tunes as much in proportion as was conferred upon either the Presbyterians or the members of the Church of England. It had been calculated that £143,000 would fully meet the personal claims and vested interests in the Parliamentary Grant to that College. 108 He, however, would have most freely conceded that triple compensation had the Maynooth Grant been repealed, and the one object of the Amendment he had to submit to the Committee was to secure the repeal of that Act. The clause as it stood proposed to repeal all of that Act with the exception of the first three sections. Now, the whole country had understood, after what passed last Session, after the repeated assurances of the right hon. Gentleman, and after the letters which the right hon. Gentleman had written to the country upon the subject, that the Maynooth. Act was to be repealed. All that he had read in the newspapers upon this subject was that Maynooth was to receive a larger sum than it could fairly have expected, but it had never been suggested for a moment that the Maynooth Act was not to be repealed; it had never been anticipated that, instead of that Act being repealed, it was to be confirmed, strengthened, extended, and that its powers were to be rendered beyond all comparison greater than ever. That Act was divided into three important parts; by the first, which was all comprised in the first three sections which were to be retained, the Trustees of the College were constituted a body corporate, and dispensed in their favour to a certain extent with the Law of Mortmain, by enabling them to hold land to the amount of £3,000 per annum and personal property to an unlimited extent. The second part, which related to the number of students and other matters, it was unnecessary for him to refer to more particularly; but the third part, without which the Maynooth Act would never have been passed, and which it was now proposed to repeal, required that the College should be visited annually by visitors, five of whom were to be appointed by Her Majesty. By the repeal of this part of the Act, therefore, the objectionable part was left without qualification, and the foreign power of the Papacy would be left entirely without control. He spoke in this matter as much in behalf of the Roman Catholic laity as he did in the interest of justice. On the 7th of May the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, in replying to a Question from the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun), said that the Maynooth Endowment Act must be repealed, and he further stated that, in 109 his opinion, the Regium Donum must come to an end. The right hon. Gentleman made a similar statement in reply to a Question from him, and promised that, on a future occasion, he would answer him more fully. But there was still considerable anxiety on the subject, and in the Recess a gentleman wrote to the right hon. Gentleman stating that among certain electors there was an impression that he did not intend to take away the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum. The right hon. Gentleman stated, in reply, that not only his own declarations on many occasions, but a Resolution unanimously passed by the House of Commons bound him in honour as he was bound in purpose and conviction; and he added that the Regium Donum and the Maynooth Grant should be wound up and cease. Could words go farther? [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] The right hon. Gentleman condescended to turn round and raise his voice in exultation. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman meant to say that words could go further, and he had no doubt that, if he thought it worth while to do so, he would succeed in showing that words could go further. He (Mr. Whalley) had come forward with great reluctance with this Amendment: but he felt it his duty. Some years ago a number of persons conferred with him, in conjunction with the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), and asked him to continue the agitation on the Maynooth question which had been surrendered by Mr. Spooner. Some 9,000 persons, including the hon. Gentleman, signed a requisition asking him to take up the matter, and nothing which had since been insinuated, or which the hon. Gentleman might say, would excite in Ms mind an emotion of anger, or mitigate his admiration of that hon. Gentleman's great ability, or his earnest desire to give the hon. Gentleman all the support in his power. The people of this country had never been remarkable for great quickness of intelligence; but he believed that a remarkable impression had been made on their minds by the promises of the right hon. Gentleman. He had the greatest admiration of the right hon. Gentleman's talents, and regretted to be obliged to differ from him; but he believed that in passing this Bill he was leaving the roots of Maynooth in the institutions of this country, and giving the stamp of 110 Imperial sanction to that armoury by which the Roman Catholic Church had at one time dominated over the world, and by which, according to Dr. Manning, she was to dominate over it again, taking Ireland as her starring point. Chrurch of England Protestants were opposed to the College of Maynooth, and ordinary Protestants like himself [A laugh] were opposed to it. By ''ordinary Protestant" he meant national Protestants—those who represented the Protestantism which was to be found in the records of our history long before the Reformation. The Bill as it stood would not satisfy them; it was not in accordance with the pledges given by hon. Members to their constituents on the hustings with the Resolutions of last year, or with the expectations of the electors of the country, and its effect would be disastrous to the character of the Liberal party. He, therefore, under the circumstances, moved the Amendment of which he had given notice.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 85, to leave out the words "except the three first Sections thereof."—(Mr. Whalley.)
When I turned round towards my hon. Friend and cheered him, I assure him it was not so much with exultation as with satisfaction. That satisfaction was founded on two grounds—first, that I thought the pledge he quoted from me was a pledge i which I had completely redeemed; but I will postpone the argument on that subject until we come to the other branch of the question. The other ground for my satisfaction was that I really desired to pay a compliment to the liberality of spirit with which the hon. Gentleman had addressed the Committee. I am convinced, whether I agree with him or not, that his speech indicates that he has endeavoured to approach this question in a spirit of conciliation, and to go as far as he could with us, stopping at that point where his conscience bids him stop. I am sorry that I shall be under the necessity of declining to admit the Motion of my hon. Friend; but, perhaps, I can explain the clause in such a manner as may, if it does not remove, at least diminish the objection of my hon. Friend. The hon. Gentleman—I know not whether from his concealing astuteness under the guise 111 of ingenuousness, or through some accidental cause—did not refer with perfect accuracy to the nature of the pledge given by the last House of Commons to the country with regard to Maynooth. It might be inferred from the hon. Gentleman's speech that the pledge given by the last House of Commons was to repeal the Maynooth Act; but I will read the 4th [Resolution passed on the 7th May, last year—Resolved, that when legislative effect shall have been given to the First Resolution of this Committee, respecting the Established Church of Ireland, it is right and necessary that the Grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum be discontinued, due regard being bad to all personal interests.That Resolution shows that we are under no pledge whatever to make an absolute repeal of the Act. So far I may trust the hon. Gentleman's candour goes along with me. Now, how does this matter stand? We propose to repeal the Maynooth Act, except as to certain clauses which continue to Trustees as an incorporated body, certain powers attaching to them by Act of Parliament. When we came to deal with this question we found we had to make arrangements for the Established Church. Out of those arrangements there grew up an absolute necessity, for practical purposes, that if the existing ecclesiastical corporations were dissolved, some one new centre should be created, and incorporated by Act of Parliament, in order to hold those portions of property which, by universal agreement, the Bill was to hand over to the Church when disestablished, and to manage them with convenience. It was not out of deference to any abstract principle, or to a desire of favouring the Church, that we introduced a clause incorporating the Church Body; but it was because there was a necessity for some machinery for holding and transmitting property. That machinery is provided by the existing law in the shape of a multitude of corporations both sole and aggregate; but those corporations we are about to destroy, and therefore we erect a new machinery in their place. When we came to the case of the Presbyterians, desiring to deal on equal principles with all, we were under the impression that the machinery possessed by that body, although it did not amount in law to an actual incorporation, was probably sufficient to enable them to hold and to ma- 112 nage such monies at they take under the Bill; but, as we were not perfectly certain of being right in this view, we intimated to them that, if there was any necessity or convenience in the privilege of incorporation for them, we should be ready to propose that such incorporation should be granted to them exactly as it had been granted to the Established Church. Then we came to the case of the Roman Catholic Church, and we found there a similar necessity, that monies of some kind should be granted in respect of the College of Maynooth, especially because, so far as Maynooth is concerned, we, the State, have no relations whatever with individuals. Under the Church arrangements we do deal with individuals who are direct recipients of what we hold to be a public fund, and it is the same with regard to the Presbyterians; but it does not hold good with regard to the Roman Catholics under the Maynooth Grant, because Parliament deals wholly and exclusively with the Maynooth trust incorporated by the Act. There is the same necessity in the case of Maynooth, as in the case of the Established Church, to have some body which, whatever title may be bestowed upon it, should have a corporate existence with a view to the management of those monies, and to the arrangements in connection with the winding up of our own pecuniary relations with them. The only difference between the cases is this, that for the Church we had to create such a body, because we were bound to destroy all the existing corporations, as the only mode of divesting the Church of the character of a national Establishment. In the case of the Presbyterian Church, we are, as I have said, willing to give them such an incorporation if it was necessitated, or even desired. But in the ease of Maynooth College we found a corporation already existing. Would it not have been highly irrational if we had repealed the Maynooth Act entirely, and destroyed that corporation which we found existing, with the obvious occasion that would arise at once for creating some new incorporation in its stead to manage and control the disposal of this money? This is the whole case with regard to that incorporation. If you give the money, even if simply for the purpose of disposing of the cases of the persons now in the College, you must 113 still continue that incorporation; and on that ground it is impossible for us to agree with the Motion of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) has been pleased to recall a circumstance in connection with this question of Maynooth that occurred some four or five years ago and the hon. Member has adverted to me in connection with that circumstance. The circumstance was this—After the death of my late Colleague I was asked, what I would do with respect to Maynooth. I said that if any hon. Member of this House was prepared to take up the question I should be happy to support him. I had never at this time had the honour of seeing the Member for Peterborough; but he was introduced to me by a very influential deputation as a Member of this House ready to take up the Maynooth question. Of course, Sir, I expressed my willingness to support the hon. Member on the question of Maynooth. For three or four years I did my best in that direction; but I found that the attempt on my part to support the hon. Member for Peterborough was totally hopeless and useless. Whether through any deficiency or any other peculiar condition, which is incident to his position on Protestant questions, he brought the question into total disrepute. He rendered it the laughing-stock of the House. And, Sir, at last I found the question in such a position, that I had to abandon both ray support of the hon. Member for Peterborough, which I have done emphatically, and the idea of raising this question before the House of Commons. I regret exceedingly that the question had not fallen into other hands. Having thus explained that which relates to my previous conduct upon this subject, I would ask the permission of the Committee to make a few observations upon what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman has said, that, finding it necessary in his opinion to dissolve the existing corporations, which are connected with the property and with the management of the Established Church, and having found it necessary to deal also with the conditions under which the Regium Donum was distributed, that therefore he finds it necessary to continue this corporation of Maynooth. The right 114 hon. Gentleman will recollect—because I believe he was a party to the passing of the Act, he will remember—that in the Session previous to the passing of the Maynooth Act the Bequests Act touching all Roman Catholic property was passed, and that there was a Commission established, competent to deal with all questions arising out of Roman Catholic property. If, therefore, the Maynooth Act is to be repealed, the Commission under the Bequests Act ought to hold the property of Maynooth, as well as all other property connected with Roman Catholic establishments. It has never been explained to this House or to Parliament why, if it decided to abolish the numerous ecclesiastical corporations, and corporations connected with the arrangement and distribution of ecclesiastical property of the Church, the Maynooth Act should not be repealed, and why the management of the property should not be transferred to the Commissioners under the Bequests Act who hold all similar Roman Catholic property in Ireland. That has never been explained to the House of Commons; the continuance of the corporate powers of the Maynooth Trustees is. I conceive, as I stated yesterday, highly objectionable for the same category of reasons, which the right hon. Gentleman himself adduced against the incorporation of a Roman Catholic University. I hold that all those reasons apply as recommending the dissolution of the corporation of Maynooth; and I hold also that, unless the right hon. Gentleman and the Government have some reasons for considering the Commissioners under the Bequests Act of 1844 are not trustworthy, there is no earthly reason why the property of Maynooth, and any property assigned to Maynooth, to its Professors, or its students, should not be placed in the hands of those Commissioners. For that reason, now that the question is in your hands, if there is a division I shall vote against the retention of these clauses of the Acts previously regulating Maynooth, for they are not clauses only of the Act of 1845—the Maynooth Act, as it is commonly called—but clauses imported into that Act front previous Acts, under which the property of Maynooth was held. And I wish at once to state that, during the whole period of my opposition to the establishment of Maynooth, I have never 115 yet consented to any measure that should touch or invalidate the title of those who are interested in the property of Maynooth, either to property under lease or to real property which they hold in fee simple. Had I done so, my conduct would have risen up against me when I oppose, as I do oppose, the principle of this Bill as calculated to spoliate the Church. And therefore what I am now saying is not with a view in any underhand manner to deprive those interested in Maynooth, of the property they hold under lease or real property; but what I say is this—that if the principles enunciated by the First Lord of the Treasury and acted upon by the House are good for anything—if it is wholesome to disconnect the State from all connection with religion, then that principle demands that the Maynooth Act and these clauses embodied in the Maynooth Act should be repealed as well the rest of the Act, and that the property should be made over to the Commissioners under the Bequests Act of 1844; because it is specially provided that those Commissioners shall exercise no control over the religious dispositions or teachings of any establishment whose property they hold, that they shall have no connection with it, but that their functions shall be to see that the Law of Mortmain, or the principle of the Law of Mortmain—that I may avoid a technical distinction that was once used against me—is not violated by these Roman Catholic priests. I produced to this House a Petition signed in 1844 by fourteen Roman Catholic Bishops and 1,000 priests, objecting to the Bequests Act after it had been passed; not one sentence of that Petition, which was well considered, objected to the Act as an interference with the religion. They objected to it because it prevented their acquiring, as a Church, corporate property. It has been contrary to the policy of this country now for centuries to permit the Roman Catholic Church to acquire property in its corporate capacity. And, therefore, the retention of these clauses is contrary to the whole policy of this country with reference to the Roman Catholic Church. Ever since the Reformation it has always been provided that, when that. Church acquires property, it shall be held not by that Church in any corporate capacity, but by a corporation created for the purpose of holding that 116 property. Such is the corporation under the Bequests Act of 1844, and such are the analogous functions assigned under the Roman Catholic Charities Act of 1860 to the Charity Commissioners. The intention of the Legislature in not including the Roman Catholic property in England under the Charities Act of 1853 was this—that they might be included, as, to a great extent, they subsequently were, tinder the Roman Catholic Charities Act of 1860, the provisions of which were analogous to those of the Bequests Act of 1844. I have shown the House that hitherto the tenure of the Maynooth property, and the powers of the Maynooth Trustees in their corporate capacity constitutes an exception to the whole policy of this country with respect to Roman Catholic property. And I say that now, when you have decided as far as the votes of the House of Commons can go, that all the corporations connected with the Church of England and that its corporate rights, shall cease, that you may create a new body to hold that corporate property in in a great measure analogous to the Commissioners appointed under the Act of 1844—I say that consistency demands that you should finally abolish the corporation of Maynooth and entrust this property, like ail other Roman Catholic property in Ireland, to the Commissioners under the Bequests Act of 1844.
§ MR. HADFIELD
reminded the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House that in the last Session an Act was passed that all the purchases of real estate made for a full and valuable consideration should be exempt from the operation of the Mortmain Act. If the Act which thus enabled Protestants to purchase freeholds for the purposes of charity were sound in principle, there was an end to all discussion on the subject because their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects were entitled to the same civil rights as the members of other denominations. They could not stop there; they must incorporate them. What objection would there be to the Wesleyans, with their 6,000 places of worship, being incorporated? What objection was there to give the Free Church in Scotland an Act of Incorporation? He referred to a Bill introduced into the other House by Lord Romilly, this Session, to facilitate the incorporation of religious, educational, literary, scientific, and other charitable 117 societies or bodies, by which it was proposed to give the Charity Commissioners powers to incorporate even the trustees of any particular charity. Let them make no distinctions between one religion and another, for the law had nothing to do with those denominational distinctions. This Bill, in which all friends of religious liberty gloried, would produce a new state of things in this country. It would enable them to do away with all those foolish and ridiculous distinctions which had occupied the attention of the House for years past, to the wasting of most valuable time which might otherwise have been devoted to the promotion of the welfare of the country. It was his ambition to see the day come when the controversy would not be respecting the persons who belonged to the Church or did not be-long to the Church; but when every man—acting on the advice of the late Karl of Carlisle—instead of finding fault with other persons' religion, would, improve and adorn his own—and prove his attachment to it by showing the excellence of the moral and religious principles that actuated the hearts and minds of those who professed it. he exulted in the idea that the time was coming when the question would simply be—Who is the best Christian? Each man should show the excellence of the doctrines he professed by the excellence of his life, and by its world-wide usefulness in seeking to remove every obstruction to the progress of Christ's kingdom upon earth.
§ MR. WHALLEY, in reply to the remarks of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield), observed that this was not a question of religion at all. What they had now to consider was an attempt to establish a dominion under the pretence of a religion, and the hon. Member should have discriminated between what was really a religion and a system which had never been found compatible with civil and religious liberty, or national prosperity. It was said that it was necessary to create a body corporate in whom the property belonging to the Roman Catholic Church at Maynooth should be vested; but the Trustees of the College, who existed before 1845, were quite sufficient for its management up to that period. The Committee would perhaps allow him to proceed to reply to certain remarks which had fallen from the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). On all oc- 118 casions when he had been made the object of the notice of the hon. Member, he had been content to enjoy, with the rest of the Gentlemen around him, the affectation of superiority and supremacy which the hon. Member assumed, desiring only the prosperity of the cause in the name of which they were assumed, and which was worth superiority, supremacy, and every element of respect that a man in the position the hon. Member had thought fit to occupy could desire. When the hon. Member had said something of which he was bound to take notice, he waited until the next morning to read it in the columns of The Times, and when he found that the hon. Member was reported to have said something not in accordance with his character as a Gentleman, or something that was not true, he considered whether the hon. Member's remarks were worth notice, and if they were, addressed a letter to The 'Times in reply to what had been reported. He was charged by the hon. Member with having brought the cause of Protestantism into ridicule. If that were so, he took the present opportunity of suggesting to the hon. Member that he was to a great extent, responsible for it. Although the hon. Member had declined to accept the ridiculous position of the opponent of Maynooth, he had joined in requesting him to take that position. The hon. Member, however, since he had accepted that position, had never given him a single word of advice; neither in any respect had he given him the least assistance, although he had frequently been solicited to do so. Until he had got to the bottom of the thing, and had found that there were Protestants and protestants, he had been greatly puzzled at the conduct of the hon. Member. He did not know to that hour on what point he and the hon. Member differed, except that the hon. Member had invariably avoided affording him any assistance, and this, too, notwithstanding the hon. Member had told him, when he took up his position as the opponent of Maynooth, that he should be covered with ridicule. The hon. Gentleman told him that such was the organization of the Press by the Roman Catholic party, not only out-of-doors, but in the Reporters' Gallery in that House, that it was not possible for anybody to place himself in a prominent position as an advocate of Protestant principles without a certainty of bring- 119 ing down upon himself obloquy, misrepresentation, and misreporting. That was the position in which the hon. Gentleman told him that he should be placed. But he had not felt that ridicule; he had been thrice armed, because he knew his quarrel to be just. He was sorry the hon. Gentleman should have felt ridicule and obloquy on his account; and he also regretted that the hon. Member should have made remarks conceived in a temper different from the gentlemanly spirit which usually characterized the course of their proceedings in that House. He might add that the hon. Gentleman further told him that, although he had retired from that prominent position in the year 1861, he had had his speeches fully reported, by employing gentlemen in the Gallery expressly for that purpose.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that he thought it must have escaped the attention of the Chairman of the Committee that the hon. Member for Peterborough had accused him of conduct unworthy of a, Gentleman. Since such expressions were not usually permitted in that House he thought it due to himself, and to the Committee, to make a brief reply to some of the statements of the hon. Member for Peterborough. The hon. Gentleman, referring to the period when he first, unhappily, took up the question of Maynooth, said that he had never given him any advice; but he had afterwards told them, that, at the commencement of his career as an opponent of the grant to Maynooth, he (Mr. Newdegate) had warned him that he was rendering himself liable to ridicule. He certainly could not exonerate the hon. Member for the damage he had done to that cause. The hon. Member was then pleased to accuse him of assuming an undue supremacy on this question; but how was that reconcilable with his having first and for years supported his late Colleague as the exponent of Protestant opinion on this subject; and then having undertaken to support the hon. Member himself in that position? He had always supported his late Colleague (Mr. Spooner) upon that subject; but when the cause fell into the hands of the hon. Member for Peterborough, the same attempts to cast ridicule upon the question, which, at one time, directed against his late Colleague, but totally failed, were renewed against the hon. Member, and then they succeeded. Whatever failure there had 120 been, had resulted from the deficiency of the hon. Member for Peterborough as compared with the late Mr. Spooner. He protested against the imputation that he had done anything unworthy of a Gentleman. From a sense of duty he had, for years, persevered in supporting the hon. Member; and if he had given him advice, it was not with the intention that it should be re-produced to the House in the manner it had been that day, for he had given that advice in confidence.
§ MR. A. EGERTON
said, he wished before the Committee divided to say a word or two on the question they had to decide—namely, the propriety of continuing the Maynooth Trustees—and which had no connection with the dispute that was going on between the two hon. Members. The Government assumed that it was advisable to disestablish and disendow the Church in Ireland; but the Committee had to consider whether they would not, by that clause, place the Roman Catholics in Ireland in a better position than that in which they would leave either the Presbyterians or the members of the Anglican Church. It appeared to him that such would be the effect of that proposal by which the Maynooth Trustees were to be continued, and a Parliamentary title was to be given to the money which was to be handed over to those Trustees, while no corporate body to which the Church property could be entrusted was to be created for a period of two years or more. He believed that, under those circumstances, an advantage would be given to the Roman Catholics in Ireland over the members of the Established Church, and upon that ground he should vote in support of the Amendment of the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Whalley).
said, the hon. Member, who had just addressed the Committee, laboured under a misapprehension in supposing that two years must elapse before the new Church Body was created. The members of the Church might, if they pleased, create that body the day after the Act passed, and it would immediately be recognized by the Queen in Council. He should also observe with regard to the Roman Catholic Bequests Act, that it was not a religious body at all which had been created; it was a body in sympathy with the members of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Government had de- 121 clared their willingness to allow the Presbyterians to establish a body by whom they would be similarly represented.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood his argument. There was a precedent for the creation of a body in connection with the Protestant Church in England and Ireland, and there was also a precedent, he believed, for the creation of a Presbyterian body in Ireland; but there was no precedent, except the Maynooth Act itself, for departing from the principle of the Bequests Act of 1814 in reference to Roman Catholic corporations.
§ MR. FIELDEN
said, it appeared to him that the chaise embodied the endowment of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had quoted from the 4th section of the Bill which passed that House last year, and he then said that the College of Maynooth would cease to have any endowment, but that vested rights would in in that case be respected. But the College of Maynooth would by that means be really endowed, and endowed out of money to be taken from the Established Church in Ireland. Now, he put it to any Member of the House whether the country understood that this was to be the operation of the Government measure? During the late election he and other Members of the Conservative party had endeavoured to ascertain from their opponents what they were going to do with the property of the Disestablished Church, but they never could get an answer to the question. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had given them no answer, and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had also very carefully avoided answering the question. But what was specifically stated on behalf of the Liberal party was, that no part of the property to be taken from the Established Church of Ireland was to be applied to the endowment of any religious denomination. He would ask whether, if the present proposal had been before the country during the General Election, Scotland and Wales would have returned Members pledged to endow the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland; He maintained that the clause would endow the Roman Catholic Church, 122 because Maynooth College was under the control of the Pope of Rome, and it was a seminary for the education of priests, who were to devote themselves to the teaching of the Roman Catholic religion. He would like the Committee to ask themselves for a moment what they would really be doing by this clause if it were passed. The very principle upon which the Bill was founded was that all State establishments and State endowments were to cease. But what, he would ask, was the Roman Catholic Church; Why, it was a Church Establishment on a gigantic scale, whoso priests, Bishops, and Cardinals all over Ireland, all over Europe, and all over the world, were under the control of the Roman Pontiff. If anything were an Establishment, therefore, the Church of Rome was one to all intents and purposes, quite as great in its way as the Church of England or the Church of Ireland. But there was this difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England—that whilst the latter, with the view of preserving religious toleration and religious freedom, always upheld the doctrine that the ecclesiastical ought not to be supreme over the civil power; the former, on the other hand, maintained that her priests wore superior to all civil officers whatever. He was totally opposed to disestablishment and disendowment, because he believed that Church establishments kept the ecclesiastical power subject to the civil power, and both civil and religious freedom was thereby promoted. But whilst the Bill proposed to abolish both establishments and endowments, the clause under discussion really endowed the Church of Rome. ["No, no!"] The Government proposed to hand over a round sum to Maynooth, and that was surely endowing it. What was so easy or so just as to pay out of the Consolidated Fund to the priests during their Life-time the sums they now received, and to continue the teaching until the students now at the College had completed their education. No one would contend that Maynooth ought to be carried on for all time. He was satisfied that when hon. Gentlemen opposite came to consider this question calmly, when years had passed away, and when party feeling had died out, they would remember with regret that they had affirmed the principle that establishments and endow- 123 ments were to cease as far as the Church of England was concerned, but that the Roman Catholic Church was to be endowed. A good deal had been said with regard to religious equality. The term was scarcely ever out of the mouths of the Prime Minister and the President of the Board of Trade. Now, if they analyzed these words, they would find that there could be no such thing as religious equality. They could not have religious equality any more than they could have political equality or social equality. What they could have, however, was religious toleration. He put it to hon. Gentlemen opposite, whether, even if it were possible, they would have religious equality by the passing of this clause. Let them go to Italy and to Spain, and study the state of affairs there. ["Oh, oh!"] No doubt the subject was very unpalatable to hon. Members opposite; but he would ask them candidly whether it was not a fact that the Pope of Rome, whose religion they were endowing by this clause, had not over and over again declared that religious equality was opposed to all the ideas of Christianity as entertained by the Roman Catholics, and that he would do all in his power to put it down; On the showing of the Roman Catholics themselves, therefore, there could not be religious equality, and this could not rightly be advanced as an argument in favour of the clause. He hoped the Committee would not affirm the principle contained in the clause, for it would be, as he said, endowing the Roman Catholic Church whilst disendowing that of England.
said, he had carefully abstained from expressing a single opinion in the course of the long debate, being willing that the discussion should be carried on, as in the main it had been, by Gentlemen on the front Benches across the table. Hut he thought the time had come when those hon. Gentlemen on whom undeserved calumny had been heaped should say a word in self-defence. He said this on his own behalf and on behalf of Protestant Dissenters in the House. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Fielden) invited them to go to Rome and to Spain; but if he (Mr. Gilpin) went to either of those places it would be to see an example to avoid, and not to follow in a dominant religion the principle of which he abhorred. The lesson he would learn 124 from this was a very different one from that which the hon. Gentleman had learned. Hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side seemed to think that the Nonconformists were doing damage by supporting a Bill containing such a clause as that under discussion. Now the truth was that these hon. Gentlemen supported the Bill because they believed that it would promote the cause of Protestantism. They supported the Bill because they believed there was a difference between Protestantism and pelf. They believed that Protestantism was quite able to hold its own against any hierarchy in the world, Roman or otherwise, that might be opposed to it. All that was requisite for the achievement of this object was to give Protestantism a fair field and no favour. No such insult had recently been offered to Protestantism as was embraced in the words recently uttered by the Leader of the Opposition, when he declared that, if State support were removed from the Church of England and Ireland, that Church would be overshadowed by the Church of Rome, on account of the learning of her priests and the superior discipline and organization which prevailed among her members. For his own part he anticipated no such tiling—quite the reverse. The hon. Gentleman who had last sat down declared that there was no such thing as religious equality; but he begged to tell that hon. Gentleman that there was, there must be, and there should be such a thing. The hon. Gentleman was himself a Dissenter, and must know that religious equality was possible. He would not have troubled the Committee with any words upon the clause had he not been anxious, as far as one honest voice could do it, to remove the stigma that was being constantly cast upon Dissenters by hon. Gentlemen on the other side, as if Dissenters could not, whilst denouncing the dogmas of their Roman Catholic brethren, still recognize these brethren as fellow-subjects entitled to the same privileges as themselves. For himself, while heartily supporting the Bill, he dared in all modesty to put his Protestantism on a par at least with that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire.
§ MR. STEPHEN CAVE
said, as the House seemed disposed to debate the principle of the clause on that Amendment, he should like to say a few words. 125 He had taken no part in these discussions since he had, on a former occasion, expressed his views on the principle of the Bill. That principle having been unfortunately carried he had preferred leaving the details to be debated by those who had more practical knowledge of the subject than himself. He was well aware that all protests would, at this time of day, be fruitless. But he could not reconcile it to himself, as a strong Protestant, nor would it be respectful to his constituents—a great majority of whom felt very deeply on this question—that he should give a silent vote on what was a question of principle rather than a simple matter of detail. He passed by the mere amount of the payment, though this certainly appeared excessive when compared with the proportion of property restored to the Protestant Church. Upon that he would merely remark that, when the tenure of the two bodies was considered, the arrangement seemed much as if a railway company taking land compulsorily compensated on the same terms a freeholder and a yearly tenant. Nor would he enlarge upon the objectionable plan of parting with all control over the money, but pass by these as minor though important points, and come to the propriety of endowing openly, and almost ostentatiously, out of the property of a Protestant Church, an establishment for the formation and maintenance of a body of men, who, if true to their creed and their vows, would be the bitterest enemies of that Church. He was not alluding, of course, to individuals. He was well aware that, in the case of individuals, Christian charity neutralized, or at least modified, differences of religion, but no Roman Catholic priest, if he agreed with the supreme head of his Church—who he was ready to believe was himself more severe in doctrine than in practice—no Roman Catholic priest who carried out literally the orders of the head of his Church could exercise toleration or feel anything but abhorrence for those of other creeds. Therefore, it was a very strong measure, not only to cut short the Protestantism of Ireland, not only to deprive her of the means of grappling with her opponent, but to furnish that opponent out of her spoils with materials for fresh triumphs; spoils not fairly won, but wrested from her by these who profess, no doubt with 126 all sincerity, to be her best friends. It would have been at least some mitigation had the surplus been paid at once into the Exchequer, and the arrangement with Maynooth made a separate and independent transaction. Had hon. Members considered what a grievous blow and heavy discouragement this measure would be to Protestantism and Protestants all over the world; These would not understand or inquire into details; they would simply hear that funds which had hitherto maintained a Protestant clergy had been handed over for the maintenance of Roman Catholic priests. An argument had been founded on the case of Trinity College. That case might be answered when it was brought before the House; but there was a great difference between them, a difference which had made many Roman Catholics desire a Roman Catholic College, freed, in some measure, from the influence of the priesthood, in which priests and laymen might be educated together. Whatever might be said about Trinity College, it was, at any rate, free from that narrow exclusiveness which was the invariable characteristic of establishments confined to pupils who were in training for one profession alone. It seemed to him that those who pressed forward these measures for religious equality with the object, in which all must sympathize. of allaying discontent, forgot that by constitution this was a Protestant nation, and that our Protestant constitution never had and never could take cognizance of religious majorities or minorities in particular districts; and that, to make equality absolute, the Bill should go much further, because it was undoubtedly a grievance, though perhaps a sentimental one—but they had been warned not to disregard sentimental grievances—and a badge of inferiority that a Roman Catholic should be the subject of a Sovereign who could never under any circumstances be a professor of the same religion as himself. If he might say one word to the Presbyterians and Protestant Nonconformists, through whose aid this measure was being carried, and who used to feel so strongly on this question of Maynooth, it would be this—Let them consider whether in pulling down an Establishment they disliked they were not setting up another which regarded them with far more hostility than it did the Church over which 127 they were triumphing—the Church which had hitherto stood between the two extremes. Let them remember the fable of the horse and the stag, and let them beware lest, in consenting to the permanent endowment of Maynooth, they should be taking the most effectual means of recruiting the army of devoted, though mistakenly-devoted, men, who would issue from her walls resolved to sweep, not Episcopalianism, not Prelacy, but every form of Protestantism from off the face of the country.
§ MR. PEASE
said, he would not have spoken in this debate had he not been struck with the remarks which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Stephen Cave). He would remind the Committee of the speech of the present Governor General of India last year. If he recollected rightly, the noble Lord (the Earl of Mayo), as the mouthpiece of the late Government, proposed to endow a Roman Catholic University, with the stipulation that the governing body of the University was to be partly of laymen and partly of priests, but exclusively of Roman Catholics. He added that the State was to be appealed to for the payment of the officers and Professors of that University, and probably hereafter for the endowment of scholarships within it. Now, forsooth, the Opposition raised a great cry at the proposal to keep up the establishment of Maynooth. The only point against the clause which had weighed with him was the alleged impropriety of taking Protestant funds to endow a Roman Catholic Church. But, on consideration, he had come to the conclusion that it would be more proper to divide the Church funds among the Christians of every denomination in Ireland than to keep them exclusively in the hands of that branch of the Christian Church now enjoying them. Besides, he was glad to find means proposed of bringing the annual contest on the Maynooth Grant to an end; no better or more consistent means for the end could be suggested than that of handing over to the College a lump sum as compensation, as was proposed in the Bill.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he did not intend to enter upon the general question, but merely to explain in a very few words the vote which he intended to give upon the Motion now before the House. If he voted for the Motion of 128 the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Whalley), he did so not upon the ground of any effect which he thought the clause would produce upon the Roman Catholics of Ireland, but because, in his opinion, all the provisions with regard to Maynooth contained in the Bill were distinguished by undue favouritism of the Roman Catholic Church and undue injustice to the Protestant Church of Ireland. He thought the right hon. Gentleman opposite had altogether failed to justify the principle upon which the clause had been drawn. He referred to the 4th Resolution passed last year, but he (Sir John Pakington) begged to remind him that the concluding words of that Resolution referred to the personal interests of those who held office in the College of Maynooth. There was nothing in the wording of that Resolution pointing to a general provision of the kind embraced in the clause, and providing an endowment for the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth at the very moment they were withdrawing all endowments from the Protestant Church. If one word more than another characterized this Bill it was its injustice. Only the other night the Prime Minister, in tones of peculiar emphasis, said—"If this Bill is not just, in God's name let it perish!" He called upon the right hon. Gentleman to prove that this proposition was just. He (Sir John Pakington) contended that the measure was unjust above all in its provisions with respect to the College of Maynooth. The question was whether the College of Maynooth was to receive a sum of money fourteen times the amount of the annual sum now voted. To what purpose was this amount devoted? He believed it was devoted to the College in various respects, for assuring salaries to Professors, and for maintaining and educating pupils in the College. It was proposed to compensate the pupils on the scale of fourteen years' comulation, but that was a longer time than the students spent in the College, and, as regarded many of the pupils, their term was drawing to a close. Why should the Roman Catholic body be treated on a totally different footing from that accorded to the Protestants of Ireland; Then there was the question of the allowance of the building expenses. A different mode of treatment was manifested again between the treatment of the Roman Catholics 129 and of the Protestants. To the Roman Catholics there was to be a remission of the building debt, but the Protestant, clergy were to be compelled to purchase their glebes. The Protestant Church was to be called on to pay every shilling spent on their glebes, while the charges in the case of Maynooth were to be remitted. He called, therefore, upon the Government to answer the charge he made against them—that their conduct was characterized by gross partiality and injustice. The building of Maynooth was to be given up to Roman Catholics; but the Protestants were to be deprived of their glebes, unless they purchased them. Therefore, he said, this was not a just provision. The arrangement did not bear out the language which was used by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, and, both in this respect and in other respects, it was so unjust, that, to use the language of the right hon. Gentleman, it ought to perish.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
submitted to the Committee that the most convenient course would be to dispose at once of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough, from which they had allowed themselves to be, drawn away for more than an hour past. The question of giving a lump sum to Maynooth College was dealt with in a subsequent part of the clause. The question before them was simply—"Is it our duty to destroy the corporate character which Maynooth has for many years enjoyed?" He thought not. The Government thought that having severed for ever all connection between themselves and Maynooth, it was not desirable to deprive the College of that corporate character bestowed on it by Parliament many years ago. That was the whole question the Committee had to decide. The Government would be quite prepared to meet the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) on the general question of equality when that arose. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had made that confusion which characterized the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite—that of mixing up the question of compensation to a clergy ceasing to be endowed, with that of compensation to a College and theological institution. The Government contended that if its Bill had left Maynooth absolutely untouched, and in possession of all its ad- 130 vantages, there would have been no inequality in the mode of treating the two Churches. They would simply have reduced the clergy to the condition of a disestablished and disendowed clergy, which was the condition in which the Roman Catholic clergy had been and continued to be; and the Established Church was left in the full possession of the advantages for the education of their clergy which they derived from the rich endowments of Trinity College, Dublin. Maynooth was not a College in possession of ancient endowments; for they knew that the endowments of the Catholic Church had been taken away, and that Maynooth had been cast, so to speak, on the charity of the British Parliament. If it had not been for that connection of Maynooth with the State there would have been no occasion for Parliament to take notice of Maynooth. He maintained that there was no inequality in the mode of dealing with the two Churches. The question now, however, was whether, having put an end to all connection between Maynooth and the State, Parliament should deprive Maynooth of that corporate character which she possessed by Act of Parliament.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that if Members of the Government had used the language at the late elections which they had used since their accession to the House the result of the elections would have been different. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had said, in the most emphatic manner, that he would not do that which the right hon. Gentleman opposite had asserted that it would have been quite reasonable for them to do. The issue was this—that Parliament understood from the right hon. Gentleman last year that the Maynooth Grant Act would be abolished. ["Oh, oh!"] He asserted that the right hon. Gentleman used that language. Did the country understand that the Act for endowing Maynooth would be abolished; He said that the country did, and that it trusted to the faith of Parliament and to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, that, in former years, when the Governments of the day proposed what he conceived to be a just and liberal course towards Roman Catholics in Ireland, he had been ready to support them, and had not 131 shrunk from vindicating that policy on the hustings, because he conceived it to be compatible with the maintenance of the rights of the Church. Therefore he approached the question raised by the hon. Member for Peterborough without the slightest prejudice; indeed, had the Government given a satisfactory reason for opposing the Amendment, he would have been prepared to follow the Prime Minister into the Lobby; but he could not believe that the Established Church and the College of Maynooth had been treated with impartiality. He ventured to suggest that the analogy instituted by the Chief Secretary for Ireland was not correct. There would be no continuing corporation in the case of the Irish Church, simply because he had destroyed every ecclesiastical corporation existing in Ireland in connection with the Established Church, and had by that operation made it necessary to establish the Church Body. The Government had sought to restrict within the narrowest bounds the powers accorded to that new corporation. Of what sort were the terms upon which it was proposed that the Church Body should be enabled to hold property; They were of the most stringent description; and the holding of land in connection with glebes was to be restricted to ten acres, and in connection with episcopal residences to thirty acres. Unless he was much mistaken, Maynooth would stand in this position hereafter—that all bequests of money might be made to it to an unlimited extent, and bequests of landed property might be made to it to the extent of £3,000 a year. He was not saying that Maynooth ought not to stand in this position; but he did say that they ought to mote out the same measure to the Established Church. If equal justice was to be done to all parties, why did not the Government propose to abolish the existing corporation of Maynooth, and bring forward a scheme for the creation of a new corporation, with such powers as Parliament and the Sovereign might be advised to grant it; He thought that equal justice was not done by this Bill, and that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough was one that could not be resisted.
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that whatever the amount of money was that should be paid into Maynooth, the imme- 132 diate question before the Committee was whether Maynooth was to be made a corporate body or not. The noble Lord (Lord John Manners) was a party to the Act of 1845, incorporating the College of Maynooth, and authorizing it to hold property and to receive bequests. Now that Maynooth was to be dissociated from the Government, was it reasonable or was it unreasonable that the College of Maynooth should have the same powers of management, the same powers of holding property, and of administering the funds, whatever they were to be, that were granted to similar institutions throughout the country of far inferior magnitude; No injustice was done to the Church Body, which, under this Bill, would have a power of holding property to a larger extent than Maynooth. The proposal of the Government was not only not an endowment to the Roman Catholic Church, but it had not the slightest resemblance to such an endowment. It was simply a commutation or compensation to an institution for funds hitherto voted by Parliament and paid out of the Consolidated Fund. He hoped the Committee would have no hesitation in negativing the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—The Tellers being come to the Table, reported the numbers Ayes 323; Noes 196.
§ Whereupon Mr. Synan, one of the Members for the County of Limerick, stated that he had been in the House, and having heard the Question put, had declared himself with the Ayes, but had been accidentally shut out from the Division Lobby:—The Chairman accordingly added his name to the Ayes, and declared, the numbers Ayes 324; Noes 196: Majority 128.
§ MR. GLADSTONE moved, to insert in line 38, after "repealed," the following words:—"save in respect of any pecuniary and individual interests at present existing." The introduction of the words would not make any difference in the clause; but would merely explain its true legal construction, because gentlemen connected with the College of Maynooth required a more distinct expression of it.133
said, that, as he understood the Bill, in a year or two's time the Maynooth Acts would he repealed, and it was proposed to give a lump sum of money instead of the annuities secured under the Maynooth Acts. He should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would explain what interests were to be kept alive, and out of what source they were to be paid hereafter.
said, that they looked upon the Maynooth Act as having created vested interests which it was difficult to take notice of individually, as they were not in communication with the parties concerned, their dealings only being with the Trustees. The Act by the 4th section prescribed that a sum of £6,000 should be set apart for the salary of the president, vice-president, and officers, and in the Schedule there was a provision for certain pecuniary payments on behalf of the senior students and of a large number of free students. The life interests were not confined to money payments, because the interests derived in kind were just as real as those derived in money; all these were kept alive by the terms of the Act, and there was no fund out of which they could be satisfied of which Parliament had cognizance, except the fund to be provided by the Bill.
said, that, for anything he could see to the contrary, the money it was proposed to grant might be sent to the Pope or anyone else; and the question might naturally arise, if the Act kept alive certain pecuniary interests, whether they had not given some pledge to those persons for whom they had provided means to satisfy their claims, that Parliament should still acknowledge them as quasi vested interests. To whom were those parties to come whose interests would be thus kept-alive for payment of their demands?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that at present the president, vice-president, and Professors, had, in respect of the money voted by Parliament, a claim for their salaries, as against the Trustees, to whom the money was paid. The annual grant was to be commuted into a bulk sum to be paid by the Trustees, who, no doubt, would take it settled with a trust for the purposes of the institution. The president and vice-president wished the proposed addition to be made in order to 134 show that the individual interests were a charge upon the bulk sum.
Would the right hon. Gentleman pledge himself to Parliament that no claim on the country should afterwards arise on account of this provision? [The ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND: Hear, hear!] He (Mr. Henley) confessed, as far as he could read the proposed Amendment, it appeared to him to raise a great doubt as to the extent to which those claims might be hereafter pushed.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
wished for an explanation of the explanation of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman said that, by inserting the proposed words, they would preserve the interests of certain officers provided for under the Maynooth Act by Sir Robert Peel. He (Mr. Aytoun) saw nothing in that Act to preserve the rights of such gentlemen. It only said that the president and vice-president should receive money; but had not the Trustees the right to change them whenever they liked?
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
remarked, that a serious question arose out of the words quoted by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. It appeared that the operation of those words would not be confined to the mere Professors of Maynooth, but would extend to the senior and life students—to the Dunboyne establishment and the free students. Although he might be told that the rights under vested interests would not extend beyond the lump sum that might be granted, nevertheless the possibility of those rights being claimed by a far larger number of persons than at present apprehended might raise a question of considerable doubt and difficulty.
§ MR. CONOLLY
suggested that it would be the better course to re-enact a clause to remove all doubts upon this matter.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, by the present Bill it was proposed to repeal the 4th and every other subsequent section of the Act of 1845; therefore, if the Bill passed, no further sum would be payable under the Act of 1845 to the Trustees of Maynooth. The 4th section of that Act in substance set apart a sum not exceeding £6,000 for the payment of the president, vice-president, and Professors. If their individual and pecu- 135 niary vested interests were not preserved in the annual sum, the Trustees would not be answerable to the Professors for their salaries—that was, they would not take the bulk sum charged with the trust for the payment of the salaries; and the object of introducing the words "save in respect of any pecuniary and individual interests at present existing" was to enable the Professors, who had a claim against the Trustees, to the extent of £6,000 a year at all events, to obtain their salaries. The only claim they could get under these words was the claim they had without them. It was considered they were entitled to the protection which these words would afford them for the continued payment of their salaries out of the bulk sum.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
asked, whether the Maynooth Act gave any such security; He understood it simply said that £6,000 a year should be devoted to maintaining certain officers, and it did not say they were not to be changed.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
, replied, that the words of the Bill gave the Professors no higher right than they had under the Act of Parliament. If they had a right the Bill would give it to them—if they had not, the Bill would not give it.
§ MR. CAWLEY
participated in the doubts entertained as to the words not going considerably further than was suggested by the hon. and learned Gentleman. This was a repealing Bill, and it would repeal the Act, save in respect of any pecuniary and individual interests at present existing. There might be interests, held to be such, as against the Consolidated Fund, and. if so, it was clear, they were not repealed. He would suggest that the present difficulty would be cleared up by addding to the proposed Amendment the words. "against the Trustees."
§ MR. CONOLLY
said, he did not think that the Amendment would prove satisfactory; the Professors should be named in the Bill if they were to receive this compensation.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, if the words would carry out, what they professed to carry out one of the principal objections he entertained to the 136 present proposal would be taken away. He concurred with the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) in thinking it important that they should clearly understand what those existing interests were which were protected by the Maynooth Act.
Whatever protection they have will be kept alive by these words against the proper parties—namely, the Trustees under the Act. Perhaps it would be well that these words should be further considered by the Government at their leisure. I believe the words will be found to be perfectly safe and unobjectionable; but, before the Report, we will take care to arrive at a perfectly clear conclusion.
said, he was glad the right hon. Gentleman would take that course, because it was clear the words had not been designed to give the parties a claim as against the Trustees. All he (Mr. Henley) wanted was that no claim should arise hereafter, and he believed the right hon. Gentleman was as anxious to stop that game as he was.
THE O'CONOR DON
said, there seemed to be a misconception as to the actual powers under the Maynooth Act. The Trustees had the power of passing statutes to be approved of by the visitors and the Lord Lieutenant. The statutes, once adopted, became binding upon the Trustees, and he believed they had no power to remove the Professors, save for misconduct.
§ Words added.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
consented, at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, to postpone some verbal Amendments, of which he had given notice, for the purpose of allowing the Committee to proceed at once to the discussion of the more important portions of the clause.
explained that the Government had been under the belief that there were only two Widows' Funds in existence in connection with the Protestant Nonconforming bodies. They found, however, that there were four, or even more, Widows' Funds existing, and certain verbal Amendments accordingly became necessary. The right hon. Gentleman moved, in page 19, line 3, after "Association," to insert—(2.) In respect of the several annual sums paid out of the Regium Donum to the said Asso- 137 ciation, and also to the trustees of the Widows' Fund of certain Protestant Nonconforming bodies, commonly called the Secession Widows' Fund, respectively, on account of vacancies in the office of minister in their several congregations respectively, such sums to be ascertained on such average as aforesaid, by payment of the capital sums hereinafter mentioned to the said Association and trustees of the said Secession Widows' Fund respectively. (3.) In respect of the several sums paid annually by ministers in receipt of Regium Donum to the said Widows' Fund respectively out of their first year's income derived from the Regium Donum, on an average of seven years next before the passing of this Act, by payment of the capital sum hereinafter mentioned to the said Association and the said trustees respectively.
§ Amendments agreed to.
said, he proposed to insert words to make up for the 37th clause, which was struck out last night. He moved the following:—In respect of the buildings of the said College, a sum not exceeding fifteen thousand pounds to trustees to be appointed as last aforesaid.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
asked the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister to explain the first part of the Amendment with respect to the £15.000.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
asked for some information as to what was going on at the table. In the part of the House where he was sitting neither he nor his Friends could hear one word of what was passing.
My hon. Friend.. I am quite sure, heard the Chairman perform his part, because he read out the clause with his usual clearness. I did refer to these words, and explained their general object in the opening speech on the Bill, and, therefore, I was unwilling to inflict on the Committee a second explanation. The state of the case is this—this is a grant given to Presbyterians—not the Roman Catholics—in respect of the College of Belfast. But when I say in respect to the College of Belfast, I must not be supposed to do more than indicate that its acknowledgment on the part of the Government who make the proposal—and I think it will be on the part of the Committee if they adopt it—that the conditions of this educational establishment do require some allowance to be made in order to enable those who are interested in it to effect the transition they have got to make in a satisfactory manner, over and above the mere payment of the life interest of the Professors, because the sum 138 of £15,000 which we understand is not very far from the cost of these buildings—and those who are so disposed may make out a parallel if they like to the buildings of Maynooth—a great part of which was erected originally at the cost of the State. But if the Government is asked why they thus apply this money, their answer would be that, with respect to an establishment like the Presbyterian College, it would be very hard, we think, at a time when the Presbyterians are called upon to make provision for themselves more than they have heretofore had to make, we were not to give them something so as to smoothen the process of transition.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
said, he did not acquiesce in this capital sum being given to the Presbyterians; and if his Amendment with respect to the Roman Catholics were carried, he should propose to extend it to the Presbyterians.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he was, in no sense, authorized to speak in behalf of the Presbyterians: but, from the discussion of last night, it appeared there were two classes of Presbyterians—one the Liberal class, who had put themselves in communication with the right hon. Gentleman and others on the Ministerial side of the House, and another class who adopted the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite. ["Divide!"] He might fairly be allowed to say a word in favour of the former. He protested against the Amendment as a reflection on their want of confidence in their own power of maintaining their own form of religion, and he repudiated for them any assistance from the State. The proposal was a very serious defection from the principle upon which the country had accepted this change. It was, in fact, a kind of levelling up.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, he thought it somewhat remarkable that they had heard nothing of this proposal before, and that at the eleventh hour they were called upon to agree to this grant to the Presbyterian College of Belfast. It appeared that this proposal was a makeweight to the policy of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the Roman Catholics, and a justification of the manner in which he proposed to treat them. He believed he spoke the sentiments of those around him, when he stated that it only brought out in 139 more glaring contrast the manner in which he proposed to treat the interests of the Protestant Church in Ireland.
said, that the hon. Gentleman did the Government an injustice if he supposed that their intention had been suppressed. Not only in the Bill, but in his opening speech, he stated that, if the principle of the capitalization of the sums granted to educational establishments were admitted, it would be necessary to give the Presbyterians the same consideration in respect of the money invested in buildings in Belfast, subject to a maximum of £l5,000.
wished to know whether the effect of the Amendment would be to increase the whole amount of the Parliamentary Grant that had to be capitalized;
said, there would be no increase of a sensible character. It was quite possible that the fourteen years' purchase would create an increase of £1,000, and the provision for the Widows' Fund might lead to a small increase of £200 or £300 a year. But there would be no substantial increase.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that all these alterations were confounding and confusing. He complained that the Amendment would be objectionable to the Presbyterians.
§ Amendment agreed to.
MR. GLADSTONE moved the addition of the following words:—
In respect of the annual sums granted by Parliament for the salaries of the Theological Professors of the non-subscribing Associations of Presbyterians, by payment of the capital sum hereinafter mentioned to trustees to be appointed in each case by the Professors and Presidents of such Associations.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that this clause, as amended, would work an-extreme injustice. The Government took this course in order to cover their mode of dealing with the Roman Catholics, He believed that the extension of the principle to the Presbyterians was an afterthought.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON moved, in page 19, to leave out first part of 140 section 4, from line 15 to line 20, which required the Commissioners to pay a capital sum to the Trustees of Maynooth, instead of the annual grant. Although he desired to act up to the Resolution of last Session, requiring the grant to Maynooth and the Regium Donum to cease, due regard being had to personal interests, he objected to the capital sum being paid out of the funds obtained from the Protestant Church. Was it just to give £400,000 to Maynooth, after the protestations of the right hon. Gentleman of last year that none of the Church property should be given to other religious bodies;
§ MR. C. DALRYMPLE
said, that nothing on the part of Her Majesty's Government was more dextrous than the manner in which the arrangements about Maynooth and the Regium Donum were made to stand or fall together. If the proposals about Maynooth were pronounced too favourable, they were liable to be met with charges of bigotry and of being enemies of religious equality; and if, on the other hand, objections were made to the arrangements in the Bill about the Regium Donum, they might be accused of grudging the compensation to Presbyterians. Neither of the charges was justly founded, for the real complaints were, as to the source from which the compensations in each case were to be drawn, and the insufficiency of the provision for the clergy of the Established Church. Upon more than one occasion the silence of Roman Catholic Members on the Government side of the House had been commented upon; but why should they speak when the Government was promoting all those objects which Roman Catholic Members must necessarily favour, at a time, too, when the Protestant Church looked in vain for the slightest consideration; Although the Roman Catholics, in this matter of silence, showed their companions below the Gangway on the other side an example of good taste, he could not understand why anyone should expect them to take part in the debates. The proposals of the Government professed to be in the interests of religious equality; but, in his opinion, there was great danger, amid the clamour for religious equality, of imperilling what was much more precious, and that was religious toleration. This they had already, and he trusted they would always have it; 141 but religions equality in the sense in which it was now demanded, he doubted if they could ever have, so long as this was a Protestant country, with a Protestant Crown and a Protestant people. The Committee had been making free to a very great extent with other folks' money—to use an expression of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—and had been setting an example, in their mode of dealing with the rights of property, which the Government would perhaps see imitated in a manner they did not at present anticipate. On the subject of the building charge on Maynooth, he reminded the Committee of a declaration of the Prime Minister on Monday week, when he said the charge arose from a breach of faith on the part of Parliament, and that doubtless an allowance of a charge for the repairs of Maynooth was a part of the arrangement, made by Sir Robert Peel. It had been granted to some men to be extremely far-seeing; but was it to be supposed that Sir Robert Peel ever anticipated the Irish Establishment would be so despoiled and stripped that Maynooth could be furnished out of its funds with a capital endowment and have its building debt discharged besides? He supposed that the Bill of the Government did not profess to be consistent with its Preamble, and no one, he hoped, would suppose the grants made to the Presbyterians and Maynooth were consistent with repeated pledges of the Government that the money of the Establishment should not be given to other religious bodies. Notwithstanding these repeated declarations and the wording of the Preamble of the Bill, the Chief Secretary for Ireland had said he was almost ashamed of the small pecuniary advantage which the Roman Catholics derived under the Bill. Small pecuniary advantage! when that which was promised again and again was that no portion of the funds was to be given to any religious body. Nothing, he believed, had a greater effect towards producing the majority for the Government than the security felt by the Protestants that the money of the Church would not be devoted to the Roman Catholic Church. Much had been made at the General Election of the subject of Maynooth, and many persons were deceived into believing that the grant to Maynooth was to be withdrawn altogether, an 142 error for which there was much excuse. The Prime Minister had never stated explicitly what would be done with the funds; he had dealt in generalities. As an intelligent man, a baker, had said to him when canvassing in the autumn, he had read the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman from beginning to end, and had been unable to discover what he proposed to do with the funds of the Church; but he expressed satisfaction in the belief that none of the money would go to the "endowment of the Papists." He charged those hon. Members who had allowed such a belief to be entertained, for the sake of a spurious counter-Protestant cry, with having dug up a root of bitterness which he had been led to think had been buried. The audacity of inconsistency in this matter would be ludicrous were it not disgraceful. Much as he deplored the probable results of the measure, and greatly as he wondered at the views of justice and of injustice of which the right hon. Gentleman—no doubt with all sincerity on his part—was night after night the patient and eloquent advocate, he would be almost content to see it successful but for the misrepresentation and shuffling which formed the most unlovely phases of the treatment of this great question, upon which the country had been invited to pass judgment, amidst the unseemly turmoil of a General Election.
THE O'CONOR DON
said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down had so pointedly alluded to the Roman Catholic Members in that House that he must be excused for saying a few words upon the Amendments now before the Committee. The clause was so long that it was difficult to know in which part of it the question of the Maynooth compensation was directly involved; but he thought that the clause had now arrived at such a stage that the general policy of the proposal of Her Majesty's Government with respect to the Maynooth compensation might be conveniently discussed. It appeared to him that considerable misapprehension existed, both in that House and in the country, with respect to the terms upon which this clause proposed to treat the Roman Catholics. It was supposed that those terms were to be of the most favourable character, and it had been stated that the right hon. Gentleman dare not treat the Roman Catholics as 143 he had treated the Anglicans and the Presbyterians. He, however, emphatically denied that the Roman Catholics were to be shown any favour whatever in the matter; and. more than that, he asserted that they would decline to accept and such favour. The sterner, the more strict, and the more rigidly just the measure was, the more satisfactory would it be to the Roman Catholic, who only desired equality of treatment for all parties. This clause the Committee should remember was a disendowing clause; and, so far from the Catholics being treated with any peculiar advantage in this disendowment, he maintained that they were treated with exceptional unfairness in having the grant to Maynooth included at all in this Bill. The question now before the Committee was not one relating to a religious, but to an educational endowment, and the particular partiality shown to the Catholic body by this Bill, was that the educational endowment of the Catholic College of Maynooth was to be withdrawn, whilst the educational endowments enjoyed by Trinity College and the University of Dublin were to be left untouched. Trinity College and the University of Dublin afforded to the Anglican Church the means of educating their clergy. Trinity College possessed enormous endowments, it had attached to it a divinity school, in which nearly all the Protestant clergy of Ireland were educated, it possessed large Church patronage; and this Bill not only leaves it in possession of all its endowments, but proposes to hand over a large sum as compensation for the loss of the Church patronage, which the carrying of this measure necessarily entails. If favour were shown to any religious body in this treatment of endowments for the education of the clergy it was not to the Catholics but the Anglicans; and, considering that Trinity College was left intact whilst Maynooth was sacrificed, he felt surprised at hearing so often the statement that the Catholics, as regards Maynooth, were treated with exceptional kindness. He was not, however, going to open up the question whether the Maynooth Grant should be included in this Bill. That question had been settled last year; and no matter how much he might consider the settlement partial and unfair to his co-religionists, yet neither he nor they would raise the question if it in any way 144 imperilled the success of this Bill, which they considered a great measure of justice. Admitting then that the grant to Maynooth should be withdrawn, the next question was whether the Catholics were treated with undue favour in the mode by which this was accomplished. It was stated that they were. It was stated that more than vested life interests were respected in their regard, whilst, as regards the Anglican Church, the hard line of respecting nothing but personal interests was strictly adhered to. But was this the fact either in the one point or the other? In the first place he denied that, with regard to the Anglican Church, vested rights alone had been respected. If these only had been respected the clergy of the Church would merely have received their incomes during their lives, and as they died off the undiminished Church revenues would have passed away to public purposes. But was that the proposal of the Bill? Under the Bill every facility was to be afforded for the formation of a Church Body, which body would have the power of dealing with the Government for the commutation of life interests, and thereby means would be afforded for preserving a permanent, though it might be small, endowment for the Church. Again, did hon. Gentlemen forget what was to be done with respect to the churches and the glebes? Was nothing respected here but life interests? He denied it; and, therefore, even if something more than mere life interests had been respected as regards Maynooth, the same principle had been carried to a far greater degree in the case of the Anglican Church. What was the proposal of the Government as regards the Maynooth Grant? He at once admitted that the amount of the compensation to be awarded for the withdrawal of that grant was calculated on a different principle from that adopted in the case of the Anglican clergy. This difference arose out of the very necessity of the case. It was a very easy thing to determine the value of the life interest of a country clergyman having a freehold interest in a certain income for his life, and bound in return to discharge certain duties. The cases of the Professors and students in an endowed College were very different. What, for instance, was the interest of one of these students? Recollect the principle of the Bill as regards 145 the clergy of the Established Church was that they should receive the full value of their freehold interest, but should, in return, be bound to discharge all the duties attached to it. How was that to be applied to the students and Professors of a College, which, so far as the State was concerned, was to be abolished? The vested interest of the student was a light to be maintained, lodged, and educated free during a certain number of years, and how could he be compensated except by paying him that amount of money which would provide for him outside the College, all that was provided now for him within it. And what cost would this entail? He believed that, if sent into the world to provide for himself individually, it would cost the Maynooth student at least throe times as much as Ms present maintenance in Maynooth. The ordinary Maynooth course is eight years, but taking the average course for all the present students at five years, the Committee would see that three times five or fifteen years' purchase should, if he were right in his calculation, be paid to the students for the withdrawal of the grant. But, supposing this were agreed to would the principle of the Bill be carried out? If the money was given in this way the student might squander it away on his own pleasure and not devote it to his education. The payment in this way could not be accompanied by any condition of a discharge of any duty, yet this was an essential principle in the treatment of the Established Church clergy. Neither the Professors nor the students in Maynooth had any right to compensation, except upon fulfilling the conditions upon which the grant was made, and it would be impossible to attach these conditions to annuities paid to individuals when the institution was broken up. The only possible way of carrying out the same principle as regards Maynooth which was proposed with respect to the Anglican Church was the proposal in the Bill—namely, to calculate the gross amount that should be paid by way of compensation and to hand it over to the Trustees of the College—the only body with which Parliament had anything to do, and then let them be bound to see that the funds were administered for the purposes for which they were granted. The Trustees a night be able to require the discharge 146 of a duty as a condition of the payment, but the Government certainly could not, and therefore he said that to compare the position of the Maynooth Professors and students with that of the clergy of the Anglican Church was to compare two positions not in any way similar. Then, again, there was no right more clearly recognized than the right of the Church Body to enter into arrangements which might be advantageous for its own interests; and he wished to know whether the Roman Catholics were not to be allowed the same rights. Further, he would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that though Trinity College was not in this Bill, yet the case of that College was postponed, not decided, and if objections were made to the course of the Government, they would be raising ugly questions, which would be brought against that institution at some future time. He thought hon. Gentlemen ought to be cautious what course they took in this matter; they ought to remember that this was not a religious but an educational endowment, and that, while it was interfered with, other similar endowments in Ireland were left untouched. He expressed his belief that the Roman Catholics were not treated with any partiality, and that they would be willing to exchange positions with the Anglicans. Believing that the proposal of the Government was not only a reasonable one, but the only one which could have been adopted in conformity with the other clauses of the Bill, he should give it his support.
said, he did not know whether it was the intention of the Committee to prosecute the debate, and decide the question upon the Amendment of the hon. Baronet (Sir George Jenkinson), or whether it was the desire of the Committee rather to take the debate and the division upon the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun). It was desirable that they should come to an understanding upon that point, because the groundwork of the two debates would be precisely the same for every substantial purpose; and he rather believed his hon. Friend intended to move his Amendment. [Mr. SINCLAIR AYTOUN signified his assent.] He would suggest that this Motion should now be disposed of, that he should then move one or two verbal Amendments which were neces- 147 sary to put the clause into shape, and that then they should report Progress on the Motion of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy.
§ SIR RAINALD KNIGHTLEY
wished to know what was the order of discussion. Suppose the Motion of the hon. Member for Wiltshire were rejected, would the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy be in a position to move his A which was included in it?
explained that though the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Wiltshire was the omission of four lines which went over the words objected to in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, yet that Amendment would be so put from the Chair that when disposed of, it would still leave room for the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy's Amendment and for another that was on the Paper.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, if they were to decide the hon. Baronet's Amendment now, it would virtually cut the debate,, because the speech of the hon. Gentleman opposite (The O'Conor Don) covered the whole ground of the Bill. He presumed that the Committee did not intend that this question of Maynooth should be decided without a fair debate. He did not know whether the hon. Baronet would withdraw his Amendment; but he thought the Committee ought now to report Progress.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister to consent to the adjournment of the debate.
concurred with the hon. Member for North Warwickshire that this question ought to be fairly discussed. Nothing could be more desirable than that there should be a discussion, but nothing could be more flat or more unsatisfactory than two discussions following one another upon what was virtually the same subject. Therefore, what he suggested was that the hon. Baronet the Member for Wiltshire should allow the Committee to at once dispose of his Amendment, or that he should withdraw it. Then, as he had said, he would move some Amendments of a formal character, and report Progress, and his hon. Friend (Mr. Aytoun) might bring forward his Amendment on Thursday next at half-past four o'clock.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
said, he was as anxious as any one that this question should be fully debated. His Amendment was one of principle He objected to any portion of the funds of the Irish Protestant Church being taken to endow the College of Maynooth. These were his principles, and he was not ashamed of' them. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) differed from his. That hon. Gentleman proposed to take some of those funds and to partly endow that College with them. There they were at issue. He wanted some expression of opinion from the front Bench on the Opposition side of the House. It was of importance to have an expression of opinion from those who led that party. To that opinion he would defer.
said, the hon. Baronet evidently thought it desirable to proceed with his Amendment. [Sir GEORGE JENKINSOX: I did not say that.] He could not deny that the Motion of the hon. Baronet raised the whole principle; and, therefore, he thought the only course open to them was to take the debate on the Motion he had made.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, there could be no doubt that this subject ought to be fully and fairly debated, especially after the speech they had just heard from the hon. Member for Roscommon (The O'Conor Don). He thought the course suggested by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would be the better one—namely, that his hon. Friend (Sir George Jenkinson) should withdraw his Amendment, and that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Aytoun) should, more his on Thursday. ["No, no!"]
§ MR. CONOLLY
contended that the question raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Wiltshire and the question raised by the Motion of the hon. Gentleman opposite were not the same. The large question was raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Wiltshire, to which the other question was entirely subordinate. Therefore, if the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy chose to address the House, he would be within the question before the House, and entirely in Order.
rose to move that the Chairman report Progress. He had no choice, and he would only say this—that if they should have to continue the 149 discussion, and conduct it fairly and fully throughout upon this Motion, he trusted to his hon. Friend's kindness that he would not unnecessarily raise a fresh discussion after the Committee had decided the Motion of the hon. Baronet. He wished to give notice that, on the postponed clause, No. 3, he would propose to insert the names of the Commissioners under the Dill. The three names were—Viscount Monck, the Eight Hon. James Anthony Lawson (one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland), and George Alexander Hamilton, Esq.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again upon Thursday.