§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 58 (Regulation as to vacancies).
§ MR. CHARLEY moved the omission of the words "but no" in the second sub-section of this clause, and the substitution of the words "and every;" and also the omission of the words '' be summoned to or be qualified to sit in the House of Lords and he shall." The Notice he had placed upon the Paper was the necessary supplement to the Amendment which he had moved in the 13th clause, his object being to preserve the seats of the Bishops appointed between the passing of the Bill and the 1st day of January, 1871. The nature of his Amendment on the 13th clause was not fully understood. If his Amendment upon that clause had been carried, the Spiritual Peerage of Ireland would have 391 been maintained intact; not merely the seats of the present Irish Spiritual Peers. He had put a question, respecting the 62nd clause, which had not been answered. It declared that the Act of Union between England and Ireland should not be affected by the Bill "except in so far as related to the union of the Churches of England and Ireland." Now the meaning of this clearly was, "except in so far as relates to the 5th Article of the Act of Union." The Spiritual Peerage, however, did not fall under the 5th Article, but under the 4th Article of the Act of Union. The 62nd clause, therefore, did not cover the abolition of the Spiritual Peerage. The House of Lords was the only place where questions relating to the Spiritual Peerage ought to be entertained and decided; and he contended that the House of Commons had no more right to originate a measure for the abolition of the Spiritual Peerage than the House of Lords had to originate one for the abolition of county Members in the House of Commons. There was another question which he should like to ask, and that was, how did the Government propose to supply the place of the four Spiritual Peers from Ireland who were affected by the clause? It was surely unjust to deprive Ireland of the representation which she at present enjoyed in the persons of those Spiritual Peers. Was it intended in the Bill now before the other House to include Bishops from Ireland amongst the various classes to whom life peerages were to be extended? The Spiritual Peerage of Ireland had existed ever since the conquest of Ireland, and it was not merely revolution, but, absolute destruction of the Constitution, to abolish it. With regard to the present clause, the proposition was that between the passing of the Hill and the 1st of January, 1871, the Crown should have power to appoint Irish Bishops and Archbishops, but that no Irish Bishop should sit in the House of Lords. The effect would be to accelerate the period of disestablishment as far as the Spiritual Peers were concerned. He trusted the Government would adopt the Amendment which he now proposed; but if they refused to do so he would propose it on the Report; and its refusal would furnish an additional reason to the House of Lords for adopting the course which 392 a noble Duke had tersely described as "kicking out this most iniquitous Bill."
said, he would not attempt to imitate or rival the felicitous language used by the hon. Gentleman at the close of his speech, and said to be derived from ducal authority; but as the hon. Member had intimated his intention to revive the subject on the Report, he would answer the question which had been put, and which he was not aware had remained unanswered. It was perhaps irregular to discuss at that moment the wording of Clause 62; but he had no objection to state that when it was reached there would be no objection to introduce words rendering its meaning perfectly clear. The question of abolishing the Spiritual Peerage of Ireland had been very fully considered upon former clauses, and there seemed to be in the House a very general concurrence of opinion that the cessation of a Spiritual Peerage was a necessary consequence of the great change effected by the Bill. After refusing the Peerage to existing Bishops who had enjoyed the privilege hitherto, it would be futile to revive the discussion in connection with the Bishops who would take no free-hold interest at all, having neither barony nor tenure. They would be simply Bishops appointed at certain salaries, in order that there might be no bishoprics vacant in the Church at the period of its re-organization; but as far as the State was concerned they would have no recognized position whatever.
§ Amendment negatived.
said, he rose to propose an Amendment, having for its object to protect the interests of those clergymen who might be desirous of accepting appointments between the passing of the Bill and the 1st of January, 1871. There was a clause providing that by taking such appointments, no new rights to compensation should be acquired: but, obviously, persons accepting such appointments, ought not thereby to lose any claims to compensation which. they previously enjoyed. He begged to move, in page 25, line 32, after "Act," to insert—Provided always, That if the holder of any archbishopric, bishopric, benefice, or cathedral preferments be appointed to fill a vacancy in any other archbishopric, bishopric, benefice, or other cathedral preferments, such person notwithstanding such appointment shall still have and retain 393 all such life estate or interest, and all the rights and privileges to which he would have been entitled, if he had not accepted such appointment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, the stage of the Bill had now been reached when they were about to provide for the future government of the Disestablished Church, which he for one held so dear. Hitherto it was impossible for any person holding the views which he entertained to give expression to them without laying himself open to a good deal of misrepresentation and misconstruction, but he might now be allowed to state his opinion. After nearly forty years' knowledge of Ireland it was his full conviction that the great Episcopal Church of Ireland, as an Episcopal Church, would wholly cease to exist. That was an idea which, no doubt, was very unpalatable to Gentlemen sitting upon the Treasury Bench. It was known from the works of the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister that he was most anxious for the continuance of the State Church in England; and naturally he, and his Friends who sat near him were very unwilling that 700,000 men in communion with that Church should slip out of that Church. When this Bill was passed it was certain that the great Episcopal Church in Ireland would disintegrate and break up into a number of different bodies; although, no doubt, there would always be an Episcopal Church in that country, on somewhat the same footing and status as that which existed in Scotland. He objected to giving the Government power to appoint any of the dignitaries of the Disestablished Church. The House had already declined to hand over to the Church Body the funds necessary for the maintenance of the cathedrals, which were very handsome buildings, but which were totally unfit for Protestant worship; therefore, let them carry out the principle in its entirety, and allow the Disestablished Church to arrange its government after its own fashion.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he wished to point out that the power to appoint the dignitaries of the Disestablished Church was only to be exercised by the Crown for a certain period, after which that power would be vested in the Protestant people of Ireland. He was glad that the eyes of the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. Bagwell) had at length been opened to 394 the consequences of this measure, which, he truly said, must result in the destruction of the Episcopal Church in Ireland, as a united Church. For his own part, he also believed that when the supervision of the Bishops, the control of the ecclesiastical courts, and the supremacy of the Crown were got rid of, there would be an end to the Irish Episcopal Church. In large districts of the country there would be no Church except the Roman Catholic Church in existence, because it would be impossible, in places where the Protestant population was much scattered, to keep them together. He trusted, however, that in the North of Ireland it might be practicable, notwithstanding adverse circumstances, to keep up the Episcopalian Church. He could not agree with the views of the hon. Member with respect to the cathedrals, because he believed that the vote of the House which determined that no funds should be provided for the maintenance of those buildings was a most unjust one, considering the enormous amount expended on them by individuals in restoration and repairs. Although it might be possible for the Disestablished Church to keep up the parish churches, its means would be utterly inadequate to keep up the cathedrals. It would be a great pity if the cathedral services and the choral services were only to be performed in Ireland in the Roman Catholic churches; but he had some hopes that this part of the measure would yet be altered, either in that House or "elsewhere".
§ MR. SERJEANT DOWSE
said, he felt bound to protest against the gloomy views with regard to the future of the Irish Church which had been expressed by the two hon. Members who had just addressed the House. It would appear from the tone of their speeches as though religion was entirely a question of money. They seemed to forget that the Christian religion was better able to give a good account of itself when its ministers went out without scrip or purse. He did not see why the Protestant Episcopalians of Ireland should be afraid that their Church was going to be ruined because it was to be placed in the position which the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches in Ireland had so long occupied. He himself, on the contrary, took a hopeful view of the future of the Church of which he was a member, and 395 was perfectly willing to take his part in supporting it. He thought that when the Protestant Church was no longer "leavened with a sense of injustice" it would become far more prosperous in Ireland than it had hitherto been. He hoped that in this, as in other matters, the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. Bagwell) would prove a false prophet.
§ MR. AGAR-ELLIS
said, that when there was no Established Church there would be nothing to dissent from. He had no fear that the Protestant Episcopalians would not adequately maintain the cathedral services. It would be sufficient to toil the Protestants in Ireland that if they did not keep up their cathedrals there were others by their sides who would do so, to obtain ample funds for their maintenance.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 59 (Ultimate trust of surplus).
§ MR. PIM
said, that it was a principle well known to our courts of equity that when, from any cause, it became impracticable to apply funds to the purpose for which they were originally intended, they should be applied to some purpose as near to the original intention as might then be possible. Now, the Church Fund was originally given for the purpose of maintaining public worship for the whole people of Ireland. It was given at a time when no difference of opinion existed on that subject, and even at the time of the Reformation, when the rulers of the country changed the mode of public worship, they entertained no other idea, but that, either by persuasion or by force, the whole people of Ireland would be brought into connection with the established religion of the country. This attempt had been a failure, and therefore Parliament was now about to disestablish the Church, and to place all religious bodies in Ireland on a footing of equality before the law. But the Church funds were the property of the whole people of Ireland, and he maintained that they should be appropriated, in accordance with the cy pres principle before referred to, to that purpose which was most nearly consonant with the original intention. He believed this would be best attained by devoting them in the first place to the providing of glebes and manses for the clergy and ministers of the principal religious com- 396 munities in Ireland, and which might be considered as representing respectively the old Celtic inhabitants, and the English and the Scotch settlers—thus fairly representing the whole people of Ireland. The Amendment which he submitted to the House was in accordance with the principles of equality on which the Bill was founded. Glebe houses had already been given by the Bill to the clergy of the present Established Church, and he (Mr. Pim) considered that to carry out fully the principles of equality it was requisite that glebe houses should be given to the clergy and ministers of the other two churches also. Everyone agreed that clergymen ought to have good residences —modest, but comfortable and suited to their condition. There were few things which had a greater effect on the social status than the character of the dwelling in which a man lived, and he believed if glebes and glebe houses were provided for the clergy and ministers of the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Churches in Ireland, as well as for those of the Protestant Episcopal Church, that it would greatly tend to raise their social position. It would tend to place the clergy of the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Churches on an equality as regards social position with the clergy of the present Established Church, and he considered that this would be a most important and most beneficial result. For these reasons—because the appropriation which he proposed was the nearest to the original intention; because he considered it necessary in order to carry out fully the principle of equal justice on which the Bill was founded; and because such an appropriation of the surplus funds would be eminently useful to Ireland, he begged to propose the Amendment of which he had given notice—namely, to insert in the eleventh line, after the word "shall," the words—In the first place be applied by the Commissioners to the purchase of glebes and the building of glebe houses or manses for the Bishops and clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Ireland, so far as glebe houses have not already been provided for under the provisions hereinbefore contained, and for the purchase of glebes and the building of glebe houses or manses for the Bishops and clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, and for the ministers of those Presbyterian Churches which have heretofore been in receipt of the Regium Donum; and so soon as the aforesaid object has been attained, the surplus then remaining shall.
§ MR. BOURKE
said, that, though not an Irish Member, he had been connected with Ireland all his lifetime by the strongest ties. He trusted, therefore, that the Committee would permit him to state why he should vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim). In the first place, the Amendment was, to the extent it went, an adoption of a policy which had been advocated by Mr. Burke, Mr. Pitt, and other great statesmen, and which he believed no friend of the Irish Church ought to be ashamed to get up and support. He had always regretted that the question connected with the fiscal relations of the clergy in Ireland had not been viewed by this country in a broader light. He believed that if we had regarded the question some what in the way it had been viewed by some of the nations on the Continent it would have been better for the Irish Church. He was quite aware that there were those on his own side of the House who did not concur with him in his opinion on this matter; but he would express his conviction that, if the interests of Ireland only had to be considered, the principle which he supported would have been the basis of the Bill for dealing with the religious question. But the exigencies of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government and his political alliances had prevented that course from being taken. He thought there could be no doubt of that, because his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory), in the able speech he delivered on the second reading of this Bill, said that he himself would have preferred a measure based on the principle of concurrent endowment; but he found that the opinions entertained by the Scotch Members and the English Nonconformists made such a course totally impracticable. He hoped, however, that the Scotch Members and the English Nonconformists would vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim); because he thought that, by their vote yesterday on the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, they had precluded themselves from objecting to the proposition contained in that Amendment. He was not at present going to discuss the question of Maynooth further than to say he regretted the introduction of that subject in this Bill. 398 Had it not been so introduced they would have had a large surplus to dispose of for Irish purposes. He must observe that he believed the money for Maynooth was to be taken out of the funds of the Irish Church in order to gild the pill for the Scotch Members and the English Nonconformists. He knew he was laying himself open to much animadversion, but he should vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend, because he believed that it would conduce more to a message of peace to Ireland than anything that had hitherto been included in this harsh, cruel, and impolitic Bill.
said, that no one could complain of the hon. Member who had just down for giving utterance to opinions which, as he (Mr. Bourke) said, had been supported in former times by great authorities, and which he was perfectly entitled to entertain. But the hon. Member said that the exigencies of the Government and their political alliances had forced them to act on a principle different from that which he advocated. No one could have stated his own proposition better than the hon. Gentleman had done in his short speech; but the hon. Gentleman himself answered the charge he had made against the Government. He said that the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory) had declared that the sentiment at that side of the House would not allow concurrent endowment, and the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bourke) himself commenced his speech by stating that opinion at his own side would also have been at variance with any such proposal. That was a complete vindication of the policy of the Government — if in framing its measures a Government was to have any regard to the probability of their passing. He (Mr. Gladstone) neither blamed nor vehemently dissented from those who thought that a provision of this kind might properly be introduced in the Bill. It was quite enough for him to say that the Government did not think it would be their duty, but thought it would be contrary to their duty to put it in the Bill. Had they done so, he believed they would have placed the Bill in serious jeopardy. But, apart from the substance of the Amendment, he thought that, though the discussion of the Amendment might be a legitimate mode 399 of eliciting opinion, it was one that could not be introduced in the Bill. It was not correct to say that there were only three denominations to whom the Amendment would apply, because there were separate communions in the Presbyterian Church; but without dwelling on that point, he must say it was quite plain that, if they adopted the line of action involved in the Amendment, they ought to re-construct those provisions of the Bill which had reference to the glebes and glebe houses of the clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Having gone through the same complicated set of arrangements in order to adjust matters between them and the Commissioners, they would have to proceed to undo it ail in order to get a surplus which they might apply to the creation of glebes and glebe houses. His hon. Friend (Mr. Pim) was, of course, entitled to the free expression of his opinion, but having done that, he presumed his hon. Friend hardly intended to press his Amendment to a division.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he had carefully considered this question, and he was bound to say that he shared the views of the Mover of the Amendment (Mr. Pim), and of his hon. Friend the Member for Lynn (Mr. Bourke). If the hon. Member for Dublin thought it his duty to press the Motion to a division, he (Sir John Pakington) would support him, on the understanding, however, that the hon. Member this time would himself vote for his own Amendment.
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY
said, he felt convinced that nothing would give greater satisfaction throughout Ireland than that the ministers of the different religious denominations should be comfortably and respectably housed. From his own personal experience, he could bear testimony to the difficulty that the Roman Catholic clergy had in obtaining anything in the shape of houses in the wilder and more mountainous districts of the country. In the observations he had made on the second reading of the Bill he had strongly advocated the making of proper provision in this respect for the clergy. Indeed, the views which he held were those expressed in the eloquent letter written in, he believed, 1852 to the Freeman's Journal by the right hon. Gentleman the Member 400 for Birmingham (the President of the Board of Trade). To those views which were in conformity with the intention of this Amendment, he had hitherto adhered, and he did not now see any reason for changing them. But he had seen that it was impossible that such a provision should be introduced. That impossibility did not arise from the feelings of the Scotch and Nonconformist Members alone: but those who remembered the scene which took place last year, when the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun) proposed to add Maynooth to the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, knew well that hon. Gentlemen opposite would instantly array themselves with those who on the Ministerial side would be dissatisfied, and thus make this Amendment an engine for the overthrow of the Bill. He had, therefore, without relinquishing his views, abstained from pressing them, and though he still believed the principle of the Amendment to be right, he trusted his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) would not divide the Committee upon it, because the Bill had reached its present stage in accordance with the adoption of certain principles from which they could not depart without laying themselves open to the accusation of acting unfairly by those allies who had fought the battle with them.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, that hon. Gentlemen opposite had failed in securing the co-operation of hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Liberal Benches in reference to any particular portion of the Bill owing to the tactics that they had adopted. The hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) told them that if the Maynooth clause had been struck out of the Bill there would have been a larger surplus to devote to Irish purposes. But whose fault was it that the Amendment to that clause was a purely negative Amendment, which no one could support without jeopardizing the chance of Maynooth receiving any compensation at all? It had been evident that hon. Gentlemen opposite only desired to defeat the Government; and if hon. Members on the Liberal Benches joined hon. Gentlemen opposite they would be led into a trap, and assist in defeating the very Bill that they were so anxious to carry. He also could bear testimony to the fact that the way in which the Roman Catholic clergy and Dissenting ministers were 401 housed, not only in the wilder and more mountainous districts of Ireland, but also in those which might claim to be regarded as civilized, was too frequently shameful and scandalous. That this state of things remained unaltered was attributable partly to the religious bigotry which existed on both sides of the House, and partly to the exigencies of party, which had converted Ireland into a political battle-ground, and the result had been that hon. Members had sacrificed the interests of the country to their own personal and party purposes. From what had occurred with regard to Maynooth he did not believe that much support would be given to the principle advocated by the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) by hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite; and, but for the purpose of expressing a. hope that this subject would receive attention at some future dale, he should not have risen. He would, however, suggest to his hon. Friend that it would not be advisable to press his Amendment under the present circumstances.
§ MR. LIDDELL
confessed that he could not understand how the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan), with the views which he had just uttered, could appeal to the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) to withdraw his Amendment. The only point in the able speech delivered by the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) from which he (Mr. Liddell) had occasion to dissent was the remark made by the hon. Member that he did not think he was expressing the feelings of many Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House. For his own part he entirely concurred in the views of his hon. Friend. It was rather late to discuss, in any way. the principle of the measure; but it was never too late to do the right thing, and he should certainly join in exhorting the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) to press his Amendment to a division, and thereby lay the foundation for action upon the basis proposed in "another place." He was anxious that the Committee should have an opportunity of expressing their opinions upon it, because he believed that it was framed in the tone and spirit in which they ought to have approached the settlement of this question, and it was based on a principle which had been advocated by Pitt, by Peel, and other great statesmen, including Lord Grey and 402 some now living—namely, the principle of concurrent endowment. He asked to be allowed, even at this late period of the discussion, to express to his countrymen, through his vote, the thorough conviction he felt that if they wished to legislate for the Church and the people of Ireland, they should legislate in the direction indicated by the Amendment, the principle of which, if carried out fully, would realize the watchword of the advocates of this Bill—equality and justice to all.
§ MR. CANDLISH
said, if one thing was more emphatically determined than another at the last election, it was that the country was against the principle of levelling up, which lay at the root of the Amendment. The hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) would have done well to have told them how much of the surplus would be absorbed by the Amendment he proposed. He was told that between 3,000 and 4,000 clerical residences and glebes were required, and, if they cost £1,000 each on the average, they would absorb more than half the surplus. If the Government entertained the Amendment, he prophesied the litter overthrow of the measure, for the success of the Amendment would alienate vast masses of its most ardent supporters, and would be used as a pretext for the ultimate opposition of some who had been its unwilling advocates. How those who wished to maintain Protestant institutions could vote for appropriating so much of the surplus to Catholic purposes he could not understand.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, he regretted to have heard, once more, from the Opposition side of the House that proposal for levelling up, which proved so disastrous to the Conservative party at the last election, and which was more opposed than any other by the constituency which he represented — that of Belfast. He much preferred the proposition of the Government to the Amendment, and he trusted they would not be drawn into any false issue. He did not share the opinions he had heard expressed as to the utter ruin that was to ensue to the Protestant Church by the operations of the Bill. He believed in the vitality of Protestantism, and much as he regretted to see this measure introduced, he infinitely preferred to see all Churches disestablished and disendowed than to see a system of concurrent endowments. He therefore opposed 403 the Amendment, but, while he preferred the proposition of the Government, he still more preferred that of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett).
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he would put it to his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), and to the Committee generally, whether it was a wise use of precious time to continue this discussion, however interesting, theoretically, it might be. The issue that was now raised, however important, was of no use, for it was raised too late. The policy of concurrent endowment, if raised at all, ought to have been raised at the beginning and not at the close of their labours. It was, however, raised in the minds of all thinking men and of all politicians, and the decision come to upon it was contained in the Preamble of the Bill. The proposal of the hon. Member for Dublin was quite inconsistent with the Preamble of the Bill, which stated that the revenues of the Irish Church were not to be applied to the maintenance of any Church, clergy, or other ministry; and, knowing how well disposed the hon. Member was to the measure, he felt sure the Amendment would not be persisted in.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, if all the Amendments that had been proposed had been carried they would not remove his objection to the Bill. While he opposed the disposition of the property proposed by this clause, he thought the Amendment laid down a principle which, when once adopted, could not be confined to Ireland, and the application of which would cause more strife and division than had ever existed in the country before. The hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. W. Johnston) had, no doubt, spoken the sentiments of a large proportion of those who held Presbyterian and Episcopalian opinions in Ireland, and though he did not agree with the hon. Member, yet he was entirely opposed to the endowment of different creeds for the purposes of religious teaching.
§ MR. STACPOOLE
said, that the Amendment would confer a very acceptable been upon the Catholic clergy of Ireland, many of whom were housed in a miserable way, and if it were not adopted, he hoped the Government would introduce a Bill having the same object.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he wished to draw attention to the sugges- 404 tion just made that the Government should provide glebes and glebe houses out of the Consolidated Fund. ["No, no!"] He did not know out of what other funds the means could be provided if the suggestion was to be acted upon. If this were the object of the present discussion, the House would be plunged in a certain cause of future dissension. As to the Amendment itself no doubt it was opposed to the Preamble of the Bill, but so was the distribution of the property proposed by the Government; and the hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) had an Amendment based on the notorious fact that the objects proposed to be subserved by the Government schemes were really religious objects at this moment in Ireland. The Government itself had placed upon the table a list of these institutions, ranged under denominational heads; and they had the statement of Dr. Cullen that he would not consent to any scheme of education for the deaf and dumb which was not conducted on a system of strict denominationalism. Therefore, the propositions of the Government were equally open to the charge that they did not coincide with the Preamble of the Bill. Under these circumstances, if the hon. Member divided on his Amendment, he should take no part in the division.
§ MR. PIM
said, he was well satisfied with the course he had pursued in moving this Amendment. He considered that the debate which had arisen had proved that his proposal was a right one, and he believed that if the question could be submitted to the Irish Members alone it would be carried by a large majority, and that it would obtain the support and approbation of the people of Ireland. ["No, no!"_] Well, then, of the more thinking and intelligent portion of the people of Ireland. Still he knew that Irish Members on this side of the House thought the passing of the measure of more consequence than the carrying of any Amendments, however, good; and he fully sympathized with this feeling. Many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen maintained the opinion that Irish local questions should be decided according to the views of the people of Ireland; but this question was about to be settled in accordance with the views of the people, not of Ireland, but of Scotland. Still he must admit that the objections which had been raised as to 405 the defect of form had muck force, and it might be that the Amendment he had proposed was in conflict with the Preamble and with some of the clauses of the Bill, to which the House had already agreed; and, therefore, as he would be very unwilling by any act of his to imperil the success of the measure, he would ask leave of the Committee to withdraw the Motion.
§ SIR JAMES ELPHINSTONE
said, he objected to the clause on the ground that it would endow the Popish religion with the whole surplus funds of the Irish Church. Who would have the control of the monies granted to the reformatories and infirmaries but the Romish priests? The hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim) had said this question was to be decided by means of the Scotch Members; but if the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) was to be taken as an example, the Scotch Members were a most pliable body. The hon. Member for Edinburgh had told them that the Scotch Members were willing to endow Popery to any amount so long as the money did not come out of their own pockets; and the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) had rightly declared that the Scotch Members—in consequence of the language held by the hon. Member for Edinburgh and the Lord Advocate, their leaders—would be cut off for ever from the ground Scotland has hitherto held, of opposing the endowment of Popery on religious principle. The whole conduct of the Scotch Representatives had been an organized hypocrisy from beginning to end, and represented neither the intellect nor the property of Scotland.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, he should be sorry to enter into anything like a personal controversy with the hon. Baronet; (Sir James Elphinstone), but he had to state that the hon. Baronet misrepresented the opinions which he (Mr. M'Laren) held, and which he had expressed upon the subject. No Member of that House was more decidedly opposed than he was to the endowment of any denomination, whether of Popery, or of Presbytery, or of Episcopacy, or of anything else. The question of the endowment of Popery had not been before the House last night; the question was simply whether the participators in the Maynooth Grant and the Regium Donum should be compensated in ac- 406 cordance with the Resolution of last year, passed with the unanimous consent of the House. Whether the compensation was too great might have been legitimately discussed, but he held that there was no ground for such an opinion as had been expressed by the hon. Baronet. He would only add that he did not admit the hon. Baronet to be a fair exponent of the knowledge or of the sentiments of the people of Scotland upon the subject, and, in fact, the hon. Baronet might have learnt as much from the result of his visit to the county of Aberdeen previously to the late General Election, when he had found that his opinions were opposed to those of the great mass of the constituency.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he had been opinion, from the language of the First Minister of the Crown, that the Bill would propose the devolution of the whole of the property of the Irish Church to the service of the State, and this would, he thought, be the wisest application of the funds. Ireland already received far more than her ordinary, share of public money, and he did not think that she was entitled to the large sum now proposed to be given to her. Ireland now received £1,938,671 out of the public funds, while only £418,000 was devoted to Scotland. The contributions of Ireland to the revenue were only £6,000,000, while Scotland contributed £8,000,000. The mode proposed by the Government of dealing with the surplus could not be defended on the ground either of liberality or charity. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown that to grant money for charity for any particular purpose was inevitably attended with an increase of pauperism, and that the result of granting endowments, even for education, was an extension of ignorance. The President of the Board of Trade once said that of all the miseries that afflicted mankind, the greatest were caused by priestcraft and superstition. He wished the right hon. Gentleman to raise his eyes to the magnitude of this question, and remember how the other countries of Europe dealt with this difficulty. The sick, and the dying, and the superstitious placed vast sums of money in the hands of the priesthood. And what be- 407 came of thorn? Why, the history of Europe showed that at the proper time, when the necessities of the State required it, these sums were invariably appropriated to the purposes of the State. The hon. Member concluded by moving, in Clause 59, line 11, leave out from "applied" to "restraint," line 26, and insert "paid to the Consolidated Fund, to the credit of the Commissioners for the Redemption of the National Debt."
said, it was scarcely necessary to say that the Government were absolutely debarred by the declarations they had made, and the pledges they had given, from assenting to the proposition of the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley).
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, he was aware that time that afternoon was peculiarly valuable, but nobody else having raised the question which was touched by his Amendment, he felt himself compelled to do so. He did not object to the surplus going to charitable institutions; but he was certainly opposed to its being applied in relief of the grand jury cess; because in that case it seemed to him indisputable that by far the largest part of the money would go into the pockets of the landlords. He had not yet learnt that there was any difference between the county cess, the poor rate, and the county rate. It was said that the county cess was paid by the tenant. But in England the poor rate was always paid by the tenant, and nobody, he thought, would contend that, because primarily the poor rate was paid by the tenant, it was not ultimately paid by the land. If the poor rate were abolished the gain would undoubtedly in the first place be to the tenant who had a lease, but as soon as the leases expired the landlords would get the benefit. He held that the Irish landlords were getting too much under this Bill. They had, in fact, been offered a large pecuniary bribe. The mode in which it was proposed to allow them to commute the tithe rent-charge was, in fact, equivalent to presenting them with the reversion of £8,000,000 at the end of fifty-two years, and now it was asked to give them another £200,000 a year. This surplus, he thought, might much more judiciously and advantage- 408 ously have been given for the promotion of education. There were really no insurmountable difficulties in the way of this being done. Ireland was suffering from a dearth of good secondary schools; and some of those professors whose business it was properly to deliver lectures in the Colleges had been obliged to convert their class-rooms into school-rooms. As he listened the other night to the eloquent speech of the Vice President of the Council of Education, explanatory of the educational arrangements which he proposed for England, at an outlay of £360,000, he could not help reflecting upon the good which might be done to Ireland by £100,000 expended and well administered in schools of a similar character. There were also three Colleges in Ireland which had done enormous good already, and were calculated to do still more in future, especially if the pecuniary rewards in the Colleges were increased so as to attract students, and the Government, had they thought proper to double the grants to those Colleges, would, he believed, have conferred additional advantages on the people of Ireland. But if there were objections to applying the surplus to the purpose of education, it might be devoted to the settlement of the land question. He was informed that in Ireland there were nearly 3,000,000 acres of waste lands, admirably adapted for cultivation; and if some of these surplus revenues had been devoted to their reclamation and improvement, not only would the wealth of the country have been increased to an enormous extent, but a class of peasant proprietors would have been created, deeply interested in the permanent prosperity of Ireland. He had felt it his duty to, bring forward this Amendment, and he trusted the First Minister of the Crown would believe that in doing so he was not actuated by any spirit of hostility to the measure. On the contrary, he congratulated the right hon. Gentleman as sincerely as anyone in that House could do upon being the statesman who in future ages would enjoy the renown of having carried out a measure of long-deferred justice to an afflicted country. The hon. Member, in conclusion, proposed, in Clause 59, line 11, to leave out "from under the management" to end of clause, and insert—In aid of the development of education in Ireland, or in aid of the transformation of the tenure 409 of land in Ireland, as Parliament by an Act or Acts to be passed for that purpose shall determine; the Commissioners may from time to time during their trust report to Parliament whether there is any income available for the purposes mentioned in this section.
said, he was much indebted to the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) for the kind words with which he had concluded his remarks. He must, however, appeal to the hon. Member, who he was aware had a deep desire that this Bill should become law. to withdraw his Amendment, to which the Government found it impossible to assent. He should not attempt to treat the Amendment in a polemical spirit. He admitted the correctness of the hon. Member in dividing the purposes to which the Government proposed to apply the surplus funds into two classes— namely, those new purposes for which provision had not as yet been made, and those old purposes for which provision had been made; and it would be for the Committee to determine, either then or at some future period, whether they would give the preference to the new wants. He thought, however, it would be better if their decision upon this point were deferred until they had determined definitely upon the principle upon which the general arrangements were to be made. He could not deny that the landed interest of Ireland would ultimately derive considerable benefit from the application of the surplus, so far as the new provision for old wants was concerned; but it must be recollected that the proposed changes would be accompanied by important reforms, which would result in enormous advantage to the public at large. He was afraid that the controversies to which the Bill as it stood had given rise were quite as great and as complicated as any measure could safely carry upon its back, and that if they were to add to them an educational discussion it would be hopeless to attempt to proceed further with the Bill. Under these circumstances he trusted that the hon. Member would withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. MORRISON
said, that while entirely concurring in the spirit of the Amendment, he hoped that the hon. Member (Mr. Fawcett) would not press the matter to a division. He wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to bring forward a new clause on the Report, or to amend this one?
said, the clause might be amended by the Committee on the Report, so as to draw the distinction indicated between old and new purposes, if it was not considered necessary to frame a now clause.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, he could not resist the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, and would, therefore, withdraw his Amendment. He should, however, propose certain Amendments in the clause on the bringing up of the Report, which would carry out his views.
said, he was glad to hear that any relief given to the asylums of Ireland would be accompanied by reform in the administration. The lunatic asylums of Ireland were under no efficient control. He wished to know whether it was the intention of the Government to bring in a bill to place them tinder the control of the Poor Law Commissioners? There was at present great waste in their management.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, it must be admitted that the system under which the lunatic asylums of that country were managed required revision. The clause made the Poor Law Commissioners the channel through which any additional funds to be granted to the lunatic asylums would be administered, as a guarantee for their proper appropriation, but it would be a matter for future consideration whether or not the asylums should be placed tinder the control of the Poor Law Commissioners.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
, in moving the Amendment of which he had given notice, objected to the surplus being appropriated to institutions which were purely Roman Catholic. The meaning of the word ''hospital" in Ireland was somewhat different to that attached to in England, and included the houses of religious orders. Of the forty-six hospitals and benevolent institutions in Dublin, twenty-nine were exclusively Roman Catholic, and thus under the terms of the clause a large portion of the surplus funds would be handed over for purposes of an exclusively religious character. He also objected to any portion of the surplus being applied to the support of reformatory and industrial schools, which 411 ought to form a part of the general system of government of the country. The relief of lunatics in Ireland would be sufficient to absorb the entire of the surplus. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government estimated the surplus at between £7,000,000 and £8,000,000. There were 15,620 lunatics in Ireland. Of these, 5,212 were maintained at a cost of £119,000 a year according to one estimate, and £149,000 according to another estimate. Taking the lower estimate, it showed that £360,000 a year would be required for the maintenance of all the lunatics, while, if invested at 4percent, £7,000,000 —the surplus of the Church funds— would give only £280,000. It was evident, therefore, that the entire of the surplus would be absorbed if all the lunatics in Ireland were relieved. Would it not be better to allow it to be so absorbed than to give any portion of it to institutions which, however excellent, were managed by persons of one religious persuasion? If money were given to hospitals and institutions for the deaf and dumb, much of it would fall into the hands of nuns and Sisters of Mercy—excellent persons, but persons of one religious persuasion. He held that such an appropriation of any portion of the surplus funds of the Irish Church was not in accordance with the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government as to the principle on which this Bill was to be founded. Another objection to such an appropriation was that the moment you began to give public money to institutions supported by private subscriptions, the springs of charity were dried up. He should prefer to see those excellent institutions left to private benevolence. It was not true to say that the landlords of Ireland ever had asked for the surplus of the funds of the Irish Church. In conclusion, he had to congratulate the hon. and learned Member for Deny (Mr. Serjeant Dowse) on his having made up his mind the previous night to attach himself to the Protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland, for he believed that on the hustings the hon. and learned Gentleman had described himself to be "an unattached Christian." The hon. Baronet then moved, as an Amendment, in page 26, line 14, to leave out all after ''infirmaries" to end of clause, and insert, "lunatic asylums, asylums for poor persons of weak in- 412 tellect, in exoneration of Grand Jury Cess."
§ MR. SERJEANT DOWSE
said, that, no doubt, quite unintentionally, his hon. Friend (Sir Frederick Heygate) had repeated a calumny which had been circulated against him by his Tory opponents. He never had described himself as "an unattached Christian." Like the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, he had been called an Atheist, a Secularist, and every other name of the kind which Ulster Toryism could make use of. At first he was annoyed at their attacks, but the annoyance passed away when he came to understand that with the Tories of Derry an Atheist meant a man who did not agree with them in their ecclesiastical opinions. He was a Protestant Episcopalian, sincerely attached to the Church of his fathers, but desirous of removing from her the disgrace of being a standing injustice to other Churches, and he was content to let her stand or fall on her own merits. His hon. Friend said that the Irish landlords never had asked for the surplus. Well, that would have been too cool a demand even for Irish landlords; but when they saw anything going they tried to get it and put it in their pockets. The effect of the Amendment of the hon. Baronet would be to put the entire surplus in the pockets of the Irish landlords. His hon. Friend was one of them, and, he was willing to admit, not one of the worst of them. It might be said this would be a relief to the tenants. He contended it would not, for the landlords would raise the rents, as the bulk of the Irish tenantry were tenants from year to year. An Irish tenant holding from year to year was a man who had an estate with the privilege of being served with notice to quit once in twelve months. The hon. Baronet the Member for the county of Londonderry was constantly boasting of being very liberal—[Sir FREDERICK HEYGATE: No!]—and he believed his hon. Friend really was so. Last night he showed great liberality by separating himself from his party in a lucid interval. For himself, he could say that he knew Ireland—not as the correspondent of The Times knew it, with a scissors and paste knowledge—but with a personal knowledge, and he had never known an instance of an attempt at interference with the religious opinions of a patient in the Mater Misericordiæ Hospital or St. Vin- 413 cent's Hospital, or with any other hospital managed by nuns in Ireland. These excellent institutions were managed by Roman Catholic ladies, who gave their services without pecuniary fee or reward; but they were conducted on principles of truly Catholic charity. He had known humble Protestants who had been patients in those hospitals, and from all he had heard he believed that a patient was never asked his religious opinions. But this was, after all, beside the question, for he did not believe that any "hospital" of the character described by the hon. Baronet would come within the provisions of this Bill. He looked upon the relief of the sick, the needy, the blind poor, and the destitute as the noblest objects of the measure, to which he had given his hearty support from the commencement. He had no intention of rising had he not been personally alluded to; but, when he was speaking, he had felt bound to say a few words in defence of the excellent institutions which had been referred to by the hon. Member.
§ MR. CHICHESTER. FORTESCUE
said, he desired to pay a tribute to the consistency of his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) because his hon. Friend in proposing that the surplus funds of the Irish Church should be applied to the reduction of the National Debt had certainly suggested a plan which would effectually deprive the Irish Roman Catholics of any advantage which might accrue to them from the fund. The Amendment proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) would have the effect of striking off from the list of those objects to be benefited by the surplus funds of the Irish Church such as were not supported by local taxation. That, however, did not appear to be the motive which induced the hon. Baronet to propose this Amendment, for, as far as he understood it, the hon. Baronet desired to avoid conferring any assistance upon institutions the benefits of which were mainly partaken of by the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. But it would be extremely difficult to find any object which they could assist in Ireland without its being open to the same objection. If they applied the money to the assistance of education in Ireland, they must remember that the vast majority of the scholars and 414 schoolmasters would be Roman Catholics. If they applied it, as had been suggested, towards railways, it would still be the Roman Catholics who would derive the greatest advantage from the assistance afforded. If they were, therefore, to be deterred from pursuing the policy they had intended to adopt from any consideration of this nature, it would be difficult for them to say where they could stop. With regard to reformatories and industrial schools, it was an undoubted fact that though many of those institutions had been carried on with success under the management of many excellent people, Protestant and Roman Catholic, some of them, in spite of Government assistance, were languishing, and had become seriously embarrassed for want of funds, because owing to the comparative absence of wealth in Ireland, the resources of private subscription and private aid were not very great. He certainly did not think that it was a sufficiently strong objection against the policy of the Government to urge that these surplus funds ought not to be applied to the objects intended, because those who were chiefly interested in them belonged to a certain religious denomination — that denomination, too, embracing the majority of the people of the country. They ought not to be deterred from the application of this money to the relief of the suffering of the country on such grounds as those urged by the hon. Baronet. He submitted that the opponents of this measure had utterly failed to show that the Government had departed from the principle of this Bill in the propositions contained in this clause.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he must confess he differed in opinion from his hon. Friend behind him (Sir Frederick Heygate). He objected to the application of the surplus funds of the Irish Church to any objects which would have the effect of relieving the landlords or the payers of the grand jury cess. If the funds of the Irish Church were to be applied at all to hospitals or institutions —an application to which he strongly objected—they ought to be applied to those new hospitals and infirmaries supported by voluntary contribution, and not to those which the landlords and the ratepayers were bound to support. He did not object to this assistance on the ground that those who derived the greatest bene- 415 fit front it would be Roman Catholics. If the Roman Catholics had by great exertion established and maintained a greater number of these institutions than the Protestants, by all means let them have the benefit of it as far as it went. He certainly should be one of the last to object to their receiving assistance under those circumstances. When, however, j it was urged, as an excuse for applying these surplus funds to the support of these institutions, that it was difficult to raise the money necessary to their support by voluntary contribution, he could not help thinking that it augured badly for the future of the Irish Church, because if Irishmen would not maintain hospitals and other institutions for the suffering and diseased, who were always before their eyes, they would scarcely be very willing voluntarily to subscribe to the support of the Irish Church. He wished to ask one or two questions of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. This clause provided that the funds devoted to the support of these institutions were to be expended under the management and control of the Poor Law Commissioners of Ireland. In his opening speech the right hon. Gentleman stated the proportions in which these sums would be divided. He should, however, be glad to know whether those proportions were fixed, or whether they were to be varied at the discretion of the Poor Law Commissioners. Again, in the Estimates for the year there were two grants — one of £19.000 for hospitals in Dublin, and another of £21,000 for reformatories in Ireland. Were they going to deal with charitable institutions on the principle upon which they had dealt with Maynooth and did they intend to relieve the country of the payment of £40,000 a year for the support of reformatories and hospitals?
§ MR. W. SHAW
said, he had been written to by several medical gentlemen in Ireland to urge the claims of a large proportion of the industrious poor suffering from incurable diseases. A great many of those unfortunate persons were exposed to great suffering and privation, and there was only one institution in Dublin established for their relief. It had also been suggested to him that the Commissioners should make grants in aid of local voluntary effort, the stifling of which would be a very injurious 416 thing. He had no horror of religious ladies, whose services had greatly increased the efficiency of one institution in Code, and had caused him and others to increase their subscriptions to it.
§ MR. PELL
said, that it being conceded that this surplus was to go to the relief of human suffering, he would be the last to strain the quality of mercy by entering into a controversy as to whether it was to pass through Roman Catholic or Protestant channels. But it seemed to him that they were hurrying over the distribution of the surplus. They had seen the property of the Irish Church broken up into fragments by the marvellous machinery of the right hon. Gentleman's Bill, and in the proposed distribution of a considerable portion of it he did not recognize the sort of charity which the President of the Board of Trade had referred to as being most agreeable to the teaching of the great Founder of our faith. It rather reminded him (Mr. Pell) of that peculiar charity described by Sydney Smith which impelled A, when he saw B in distress, to ask C to give something. The Preamble of the Bill said the surplus was to go to the relief of human suffering; but the charity was destroyed by the exoneration of the landlords from the payments they had hitherto made under compulsion. How could it be said that an appropriation which exonerated the landowners from their legal and moral responsibility to do their duty by the sick and insane was made in the name of charity? If the money were to be applied to charitable objects he had rather have had new ones found. He was, however, far from wishing to withhold the application of those funds to the relief of charitable institutions because they happen to be presided over by excellent and angelic religious women, whether they belonged to the Roman Catholic or any other form of faith. It appeared to him that the proposed re-distribution was a far different application of the funds from that intended by the founders of those endowments.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, he could neither approve of the clause nor the Amendment. Everyone must know that in any application of the funds to Irish purposes the great majority benefited by them must necessarily be Ro- 417 man Catholics. He had never raised an objection on that ground. On the contrary, he had supported the payment of the Roman Catholic chaplains in the Army and Navy and in gaols and lunatic asylums. He could not therefore support the Amendment. He objected to the clause, because, in the first place, he disliked the mention of the words "surplus funds," as if the Irish Church possessed property over and above its reasonable wants; and, in the second place, the effect of the proposed arrangement would be that in the annual accounts of the different institutions to be benefited there would appear as one item the sum derived from the Church surplus. This was undesirable, because it would be a reminder of disagreeable circumstances; it would remind the Protestant of a defeat and the Roman Catholic of a triumph; and it would therefore be expedient to avoid such a root of bitterness and such a source of sectarian irritation. He hoped the Prime Minister would see the desirability of obliterating all traces of party conflict in the future arrangements as to the disposition of this property.
said, he was glad his noble Friend (Lord Claud Hamilton) had dissociated this subject from all invidious religious considerations. The simple truth of this matter might be stated in one sentence, and it was, that as regarded the religious element, be it great or small—and he believed it to be small—there was not a single new principle involved in the Bill of the Government, nor would one single shilling of public money be given to any object or purpose whatever, except purposes and objects which had already received the sanction of Parliament. There was no religious novelty attempted to be introduced by this clause—no extension of any principle hitherto admitted into the law, or the administration on the law in this country. He did not join with his noble Friend's fear that the money would be a source of bitterness; it would not be earmarked in any way; it would not carry upon it the record of its having once been ecclesiastical money.
No; because the 418 Commissioners were only a temporary body. And that gave him the opportunity of stating what he wished, as a general remark, to impress upon the Committee—that this measure, as regarded the part the Committee were now considering, was rather a declaration of principles of legislation than legislation itself. The Government felt it was necessary, in justice to Parliament, that in proposing a measure on the question of the Irish Church they should bind themselves to the principles on which the available residue would be administered. They had been specific, therefore, in pointing out the objects and laying down the rule that the application must be under the control of the Poor Law Commissioners, but it was evident there must be further legislation before the principle embodied in the clause could take effect. The hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was in error in saying he had laid down the proportions in which the residue was to be applied. He had simply mentioned estimates for the full satisfaction of the purposes in view, and had never said the Church funds would be likely to yield those totals; on the contrary, the Government believed the residue would fall far short of those totals; and when the actual surplus came to be dealt with by Parliament it would be time to consider whether the proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for Londonderry should be adopted, that the whole of these sums should go "in exoneration of the grand jury cess," or whether the House should accept the more generous proposals of the hon. Baronet below him (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) and the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). He had been asked whether it was pro-posed to withdraw the Parliamentary grant to Irish reformatories? Most certainly not. On the contrary, the sum would be given in addition to the present grant, and he inclined to the proposal that the grant should be apportioned on the system adopted for making grants for educational purposes, through the Privy Council, so as to make them a means of drawing forth voluntary charity, instead of extinguishing it. He heartily concurred in the remark of his hon. Friend the Member for Bandon (Mr. Shaw), that it was expedient to keep alive local action, and this end he 419 hoped would be kept in view. As to the hopes which had been expressed that the clause would be framed so as to include incurables the Government were satisfied that it already did so.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
asked if it was intended by this Bill to withdraw the grant to the Dublin hospitals?
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, he must again disclaim having moved this Amendment in the desire to favour Irish landlords. He had also opposed the iniquitous arrangement for the purchase of the tithe rent-charge. He expressed his regret if he had said anything with regard to the hon. and learned Member for Deny (Mr. Serjeant Dowse) that was contrary to the fact; but the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to be obliged to him for giving him an opportunity for making a speech which could not but be very acceptable to his constituents. It would be a lesson to him (Sir Frederick Heygate) in future not to say one word reflecting upon so distinguished a lawyer.
§ MR. JOHN HARDY
said, that no one could quarrel with the objects to which the surplus funds were to be devoted; but he could not help remarking that hon. Members opposite seemed desirous of getting rid of the poor. The House, by its votes, had shown that the Bill was carried, and they must now hope for the best; but hon. Members ought not to be continually boasting of their charity and saving their pockets at the same time at the expense of the Irish Church.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. W. H. GREGORY moved to insert the words ''poor rate" after the words" grand jury cess," so that it should be open to the Commissioners to enable Boards of Guardians to increase hospital accommodation for poor persons not actually paupers. He had received representations in support of the proposal from the guardians of every union in the county of Galway, which was the second largest county in Ireland.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he was sorry the Government could not agree to the Amendment. It would open the door to a great deal of novelty, and the Government had avoided all allusion to the poor rate in the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.420
§ MR. BLAKE moved an Amendment to include eye hospitals for the poor.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ MR. HIBBERT
said, that as the clause stood it appeared as if the first object was the exoneration of the grand jury cess. It would be better if the first paragraph, relating to lunatic asylums, were made the fifth instead of the first.
§ MR. BLAKE moved a new paragraph to follow Paragraph 5, in favour of assistance towards the enlargement of lunatic asylums for those classes who were not eligible for admission to pauper asylums.
said, it was not desirable to appropriate money for building purposes; nothing had been included in the Bill relative to keeping up or enlarging buildings. There was, however, nothing in the Bill as to the classes of lunatics to whom assistance was to be given.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. BAGWELL moved an Amendment, to insert (6.) "For the purposes of burial grounds in districts where the existing cemeteries have been reported to be unfit for further interments, such grants to be made to Poor Law Boards in aid of local grants." Some of the cemeteries were dreadfully overcrowded, and illness was generated by some of the old burial-grounds, which it was impossible to shut up without an Act of Parliament.
said, that the objection to the Amendment was that it opened the door to a new chapter of purposes connected with the Poor Law. The Bill already charged the fund with a great deal more than it could do, and it was undesirable to multiply the demands upon it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 60 agreed to.
§ Clause 61 (Saving rights as to proprietary chapels and chapels of ease).
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE moved an Amendment, to add to the clause at end, "or to any Church situated in a parish or district of a parish which has been 421 legally constituted into such parish or district, since the passing of the Act enabling the same, and which has been endowed out of private funds."
said, the Amendment was quite unnecessary to meet the case of the church to which the hon. Baronet specialty referred. That case; was already provided by the words of the clause.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN), said, he, entertained little doubt that the words would be found sufficiently wide, but he would undertake to consider the matter further.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed, to.
§ Clause 62 (Saving of Act of 39 & 40 Geo. III., c. 67).
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, the insertion of these words afforded a complete justification of the Amendments which he had proposed upon the 13th and 58th clauses. His full expectation, however, was that the clause would not be effectual for its purpose, but that the measure of the right hon. Gentleman would lead to that which O'Connell tried in vain to effect—a combination of Irish Protestants and Roman Catholics for a repeal of the Union.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 63 (Interpretation) amended and agreed to.
§ Clause 3 (Appointment of Commissioners).
Sir, I rise for the purpose of filling up a blank in this clause, with the three names of which I have given notice, and, in doing so, I will not do more than express my confident hope that they will receive the general approbation of the Committee and of the country. The names with which I propose to fill up the blank in the clause are those of Viscount Monck, 422 the Right Hon. James Anthony Lawson —one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland — and Mr. George Alexander Hamilton. Viscount Monck and Mr. Justice Lawson are well known to have been favourable to the principle of this measure from its inception. The case of Mr. Hamilton is, however, entirely different. Although we have every confidence in that gentleman for the purpose of carrying into execution the provisions of the Act, yet it is not to be supposed that because we propose him to fill this important office he has been, or oven now is, an approver of the principles of the Bill. It is only an act of justice to Mr. Hamilton that I should state that I have received a letter from that gentleman on this subject, in which he states that if his acceptance of this office were to imply any approval by him of the principle of either disestablishment or disendowment, it would be his clear duty to decline it. We have been anxious, in making these appointments, to give a pledge to the world at large that we are actuated by feelings wider and higher than those dictated by the mere views of party. While, however, we are anxious that on the one hand the position of Mr. Hamilton shall be made known, we wish, on the other hand, that it should be thoroughly understood that intimate knowledge and long experience of his character give us the utmost confidence that he will discharge the duties entrusted to him in the most satisfactory manner.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
Sir, I feel bound to state that, in my opinion, no selection of names could possibly have been made more honourable to the Government or more thoroughly entitled to public confidence than those which have been mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. It is true, as has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, that two of these gentlemen are known supporters of the Government measure, but no two supporters of that measure could have been selected who would be better fitted for the duty than they are. Lord Monck is truly attached to the Church, and if he has more confidence in the operation of the voluntary principle than others have, that will naturally render him more anxious than others that it shall be successful. I have long known Mr. Justice Lawson, and I have 423 never known an abler or more honourable man.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he wished to ask the right, hon. Gentleman, how the important duties which Mr. Hamilton at present fulfilled were to be discharged when he was appointed to the office created by the Bill?
The hon. Member has reminded me that, in my anxiety to be brief, I have omitted to mention that, in consideration of the arduous duties which Mr. Hamilton will have to perform, we have taken care that his emoluments shall not be less than those he at present enjoys. He will, of course, resign his present office of Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. "With regard to Mr. Justice Lawson, the same arrangements will be made as were made in the case of Mr. Baron Richards, when he was appointed to preside over the Incumbered Estates Court.
§ Clause, as amended added to the Bill.
§ Clauses 4 to 9 (Relating to the powers, &c., of the Commission) agreed to.
§ New Clause (Accounts of capital and revenues) added in lieu of Clause So, struck out.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON moved a new clause (the Commissioners may grant annuity to incumbents disabled by infirmity from performance of duty).
said, there was no similar provision in the present law, and, therefore, with great regret he was obliged to refuse his assent to the proposal.
§ MR. KIRK moved, after Clause 38. a new clause (Compensation to licentiates).
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he was reluctantly obliged to harden his heart against those excellent young-men, and for two reasons. First, as the licentiates were not ordained ministers, like the curates of the Established Church, they could follow other occupations; next, they had never been in receipt of any advantage from public funds.
§ Clause negatived.
§ THE ATTOENEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, that the point was an important one, and he was of opinion that the Presbyterian Body ought to be made a corporation as well as the Episcopalian Body. But that ought to be done by subsequent legislation, and not by this Bill.
§ Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. M'CLURE moved to insert the clause of which he had given notice, the object of which was to provide that a sum not exceeding £25,000 should be allocated to pay off debts due on churches or meeting houses of Protestant Non-conforming ministers now entitled to Regium Donum. The opinions of the Presbyterians of Scotland — and they form nearly one-half of the Protestants of Scotland—had frequently been referred to in these debates. Now on this point they were unanimous, and the Moderator and Committee of the General Assembly laid great stress upon it. It is true there was no Act of Parliament authorizing expenditure on building these churches; but there was an agreement —a compact entered into between the Government and the Presbyterian Church in 1839—by which the ministers of congregations, fulfilling certain conditions, were to become entitled to receipt of the Regium Donum. This compact, he maintained, established if not a legal at least an equitable claim for assistance towards paying the debt on the buildings. He quite admitted that true and right policy now required that arrangements should, be made by which the connection of the State with the different religious bodies in Ireland should cease and determine; but these arrangements should be carried out so as not to be the cause of individual embarrassment and distress. The process of disendowment affected the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches. The former, by general consent, got all their ecclesiastical edifices free of charge, and he trusted Parliament would give the Presbyterian Church, when disendowed, an equally fair start upon their new course.
Moved—After Clause 40, insert the following clause:—
(Discharge of debts of Non-conforming Congregations for erection of Churches or Meetinghouses.)
The said Commissioners shall ascertain the amount of debt due on the first day of March, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine, in respect of the election of Churches or Meeting houses of any Protestant Non-conforming Congregations, which shall be ascertained by the Commissioners to have been on that day fulfilling the conditions necessary for obtaining out of the Regium Donum the payment of yearly sums for their respective ministers, or whose ministers were then in receipt of Regium Donum, and shall apply a sum, not exceeding twenty-five thousand pounds, in the discharge of all such debts, or, if the entire amount of the debts so ascertained shall exceed that sum, then in the discharge of a rateable proportion of the same.—(Mr. M'Clure.)
COLONEL STUART KNOX
said, he objected as much as ever to the robbery involved in this Bill; but, as provision had been made for Maynooth, what was proposed by the hon. Member (Mr. M'Clure) was only an act of justice to Presbyterians.
said, the Government had not overlooked this subject. His right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland would introduce a. Bill which, by advantageous terms of loan, would lighten very greatly the burden on the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic bodies in respect of debts contracted for the erection of those buildings. But they could not agree to the clause of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. M'Clure) and pay off the debts on the Presbyterian chapels after the course they had taken with regard to the building charges on the glebe houses.
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, he regarded the statement of the right hon. Gentleman as very satisfactory. He would, however, ask whether arrangements would be made in the Bill to lend money for the erection and repair of episcopal churches, and to extend the re-payment over a certain number of years?
§ Clause negatived.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that as there were many important questions to be considered on the bringing up of the Report, and as the Government had promised that several matters should by that time receive consideration; it would be of great importance that Members should receive early notice of the course 426 to be adopted, so that if anything was unintentionally overlooked, opportunity might be afforded to supply the omission.
said, the Government would endeavour to lay the Amendments, if they had any, on the table on Monday, so that the Report should be taken the first thing on Thursday.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he must express his earnest wish that the words "nor for the teaching of religion" should be left out of the Preamble; but, as a Friend suggested to him, this might be with more advantage considered on the Report.
§ In answer to Mr. HERMON,
said, that there would be no limit to the amount which the Treasury might lend to the Commissioners.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Thursday nest, and to be printed, [Bill 112.]
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,
§ House adjourned at Nino o'clock till Monday next.