HC Deb 31 May 1869 vol 196 cc971-1083

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Gladstone.)


, who had put on the Paper a Notice of an Amendment to the effect that, as the Bill, if passed, would cause a fundamental change in the Constitution of Ireland, it ought in justice to be accompanied by a declaration of the principle at least of any other so-called remedial measures for Ireland in contemplation by the Government, said, that though he was perfectly convinced of the importance of the Motion of which he had given notice, he would take the opportunity of expressing his views in the course of the debate which would be raised by his hon. Friend the Member for North-east Lancashire (Mr. Holt), and begged, therefore, to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said, he rose to move that the Bill be read a third time upon that day three months. He did not intend to occupy the House at any great length on that occasion. They had now arrived at the final stage of this unprincipled Bill. The alterations made in it in the Committee had not rendered it in any degree more acceptable, and had not removed its unfairness, injustice, or unconstitutional character. The more he and those who thought with him saw of it the less they liked it; and, though their opposition in that place might be unavailing, they were determined that it should be offered with all the energy of which they were capable, so that, whatever might be the issue of the Amendment, their consciencies might, at any rate, be clear, and their hands clean. It was his duty, therefore, to move the rejection of the Bill, in order to give hon. Gentlemen who agreed with him another opportunity of expressing, by their vote, their disapprobation of the measure, and their hostility to the Liberal code of morality inculcated by the new religion of arithmetical Christianity, whose decalogue was the addition table, and whose standard of truth was the will of the majority. The reasons which influenced him in opposing the Bill had been already laid before the House, and after the kind indulgence which had been extended to him on that occasion, it would be unnecessary to recapitulate those reasons. He would only observe they continued in full force. Nothing had been said in the course of the debate to prove that the view which he took was erroneous, his facts incorrect, or his arguments unsound. He would therefore pass on to call the attention of the House to two or three points which had arisen in the course of the debate, and which he thought worthy of notice. After the experience which they all had of the manner in which this question was treated in that House, he did not expect by anything he could urge to convince hon. Gentlemen opposite that his views were more correct than theirs. But he certainly desired, according to the ability he possessed, to contribute his share, however small, towards a correct understanding of the opinions held on that side of the House, and to call attention to some observations which seemed to show a certain amount of misapprehension on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite. In passing, he would refer to the challenge thrown out by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley) to Protestant Gentlemen on that side—namely, why, as Protestants, they were afraid to sever the connection between Church and State? Without going much at length into that question, he would simply observe that they valued the connection between Church and State because they found that the practical result of it was to secure at once the independence of the clergy and the religious liberty of the laity. The control of the Crown left the clergy independent, and at the same time checked spiritual or ecclesiastical tyranny; and, therefore, they supported the connection as a political means of securing in this country religious liberty. Then as to an argument and illustration which had been pretty freely used on the other side of the House. They had been again and again reminded of the wonderful progress which had been made by the Free Church in Scotland, for the purpose, apparently, of encouraging desponding Irish Protestants, and of illustrating the success which attends voluntary efforts. Now, he admired as much as any man the great liberality which had been shown by the Scotch seceding congregations, but he confessed, as far as he had been; able to inform himself, he did not find things such as they were represented by hon. Gentlemen opposite. He must remind the House that in Scotland there was a voluntary secession of men, who gave up their endowments because they valued their convictions more than their money, but who took with them an attachment to the principle of Establishments — a principle which influenced their subsequent conduct, and which, to a greater extent, perhaps, than the House were aware, had produced the success which had attended their subsequent operations. When £167,000 a year could be raised for the stipends of ministers by voluntary effort, that seemed to be a great thing; but the House must not look merely to the amount, but must also ask how many it was to be divided among, what deductions had to be made before there could be a division, and how many had no share at all in it. He called the attention of the House to some observations made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Miller). He himself was not in the House at the time, but the hon. Gentleman was reported to have said that some of the ministers in the Free Church received as much as £600 or £700 a year; that the lowest stipend was £150, exclusive of manse and garden; and that the average last year was £250. But the facts, as taken from a pamphlet by the Rev. James M'Naught, recently published, were that nearly one-ninth of the ministers of the Free Church, or ninety-two in all, had no share whatever in the distributions arising from the Sustentation Fund; that there were 183 ministerial charges which had neither manses nor gardens; that 105 of these were in such wealthy cities as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Dundee; that in four cases only were the ministers paid above £(500: and that there were several devoted and zealous ministers labouring upon incomes varying in amount, but less than £90 a year. One minister wrote that the sum total of his income from all sources was £78, and that he had no house; another, that his income was £65 16s. 10d.; another, that it was £46, and though he paid no rent he was obliged to keep a pony, because he had to travel over a district many miles in extent. He held in his hand a letter from a gentleman well acquainted with this subject, who declared that partial endowment was the only safe mode of planting ministrations, or of upholding them when planted; and that to raise £40 a year was above the average ability of more than fifty congregations which he knew. From the Report presented to the Assembly of the Free Church on the 28th of May—only two or three days ago—it appeared that in two eases they wore compelled to refuse? applications made to them to provide for permanent ministrations, in consequence of the inadequacy of the contributions to the Sustentation Fund. It was needless to go on multiplying instances of this sort; but he might refer to a case of thirteen ministers who had applied for pensions, to enable them to retire, on the ground of infirm health, but: could not get them because there were no funds at the command of the Assembly. All that seemed to prove that, though in populous and rich districts, it might be possible to maintain the voluntary system—and in those districts, as he had shown, it was not a complete success—in poor and destitute places it was an utter failure. In fact, the system which Her Majesty's Government wanted to introduce into Ireland was one which would deprive poor and destitute districts of the spiritual ministrations of the Protestant Church, and why? Not because Christian liberality had failed to provide the means, but because the inheritance of the poor was sacrificed to the exigencies of the Liberal party. They were told that there was a wealthy Protestant laity in Ireland, who owned eight-ninths of the land, and would be well able to support the disendowed Church. He presumed it was not expected they should support the disendowed Church by re-endowing it. Hon. Gentlemen would scarcely go that length; but if it was meant that the disendowed Church would be supported by voluntary contributions, he would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, how long the landlords were to possess the means of doing this? They had heard some time ago about a scheme for the distribution of the Protestant lands among the Roman Catholic tenantry. He knew that scheme was said to be founded upon the strictest principles of justice; but if the principles of justice to be applied to the land were as unfair as those upon which this Bill was founded, the landlords themselves would soon be compelled to live on voluntary contributions. Disendowed landlords could not support a disendowed Church. There was another point to which he wished to call attention — namely, the legal argument so ably brought before the House by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), and of which the First Minister of the Crown, the Solicitor General, and other hon. Gentlemen opposite had evidently felt the force. They had attempted to reply to it, but he confessed they had seemed to him to fail conspicuously. The First Minister had laid great stress on the circumstance that the Church in New York was not originally an Established Church. He (Mr. Holt) wished to call the attention of the House to the fact that there existed in the American law books a case in which an appeal was made to the Supreme Court respecting property which belonged to the disestablished Church in Virginia, on which the Court pronounced a judgment with reference to that property. The leading points of that judgment were well worthy of attention. He quoted from Collections of Supreme Court Decisions. Mr. Justice Story said— At a very early period the religions Establishment of England scorns to have been adopted in the colony. …. By statutes of 1661 and 1667 provision was made for the election of a vestry whose duty it was to make and proportion levies and assessments, and to purchase glebes and erect dwelling-houses for the ministers in each parish. …. The lands thus purchased became vested in the Episcopal church, the minister for the time being seised of the freehold. Mr. Justice Story then went on to explain the circumstances under which the appeal had arisen— By statute of 1801. …. the Legislature asserted its rights to all the property of the Episcopal churches. …. and directed the overseers of the poor in each parish in which any glebe land was vacant to sell the same, and apply the proceeds to the use of the poor of the parish. They thus did something very similar to what that Bill did in regard to the Irish Church. And the opinion which that eminent American Judge gave in the case was this: he denied that— All the public property acquired by the Episcopal churches under the sanction of the law be- came the property of the State … The title thereto was indefeasibly vested in the churches, or rather in their legal agents. It was not in the power of the Crown to seize or assume it, nor of Parliament itself to destroy the giants, unless by the exercise of a power the most arbitrary, oppressive, and unjust, and only because it could not be resisted. It was not forfeited, for the churches had committed no offence … We have no knowledge of any authority or principle that could support the doctrine that a legislative grant is revocable in its own nature, or held only durante bene placito. Such a doctrine would uproot the very foundations of almost all the land titles ill Virginia, and is utterly inconsistent with a great fundamental principle of a republican Government—the right of all citizens to the free enjoyment of their property legally acquired. Was it surprising that Irish Churchmen who were acquainted with the decision of the Supreme Court in that case, and in the case of Trinity Church, New York, should feel and say with some bitterness—"Had Ireland been a part of the United States, instead of a part of the United Kingdom, the Church might have been disestablished, but her property would not have been confiscated." They were told that these were legal cobwebs, to be swept away; that they did not meet there for the purpose of discussing points of law, but for the purpose of originating principles of law. Were they to originate principles of law at the dictation of the Minister of the day, without having those principles explained to them, or without having their merits discussed? They had never been told what was the legal principle on which that Bill was founded. He did not know, but he presumed, that it was capable of general application. Was it a principle that would not bear discussion? It might be well that the House should know what the principle was that the large majorities of hon. Gentlemen opposite had again and again asserted; and that they should understand how it was to be guarded in its operation, so that the confiscation of Church land might not serve as a precedent for confiscation on a more extended scale, which Mould not be altogether agreeable to Whig Peers and Whig landowners. The chief justification offered by hon. Gentlemen opposite for that measure was that, in their opinion, there was a demand for it in Ireland, and they said they had a majority which could, and which would, carry it. "We can and we will." To what straits must hon. Gentlemen opposite be reduced when they heard that doctrine enunciated, and followed those who enunciated it, without any remonstrance—a doctrine which was most extraordinary as coining from the month of a statesman, subversive of all rights and liberties, most tyrannical in its conception, and most dangerous in its results: But it was time that he should notice shortly the Bill now before them, as amended in Committee, and under consideration as amended. They were required on that occasion to express their judgment on the entire Bill, now that it had reached its perfect state and received its finishing stroke from the hand of the Government and was ready to be removed to "another place." He confessed that when he came to examine it the first thing which struck him was the very arbitrary character of the Bill. What did it provide? In order to carry out that measure they erected a new tribunal. The Commissioners might be good men; he did not say anything about the gentlemen who were selected as Commissioners under the Bill; he had no complaint to make with reference to them. But what he did complain of was that they were absolutely removable at the will of the Crown—that was. at the caprice of the Minister of the day. or of those advisers to whom the exigencies of his party might compel him to listen; that the appointment of fresh Commissioners was equally in the absolute power of the Crown; that no qualification whatever was required; that there was no restraint on their action, while their powers were most extensive, and the protection of the ordinary courts of law was taken away. Let them see for a moment how that would work. What a power they were putting into the hands of any Government! The Commissioners must act subject to the dictation of the right hon. Gentleman. and were exposed to dismissal if they did not satisfy him. If they were too favourable to the Church—if they failed to interpret the terms "gracious and generous" in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government interpreted them,—there was a remedy ready; they would be dismissed, and more pliant tools would take their place. They were now under the rule of a Government, one Member of which —the Chancellor of the Exchequer— loved to test everything by results. That Minister would judge the proceedings of the Commissioners, and their administration of the property committed to their charge, favourably or unfavourably accordingly as the result told for or against the Church—that was to say, if they oppressed the Church, if they exerted the power they possessed so as to secure a large surplus and a good round sum to be divided among the lunatic asylums and hospitals of Ireland, then they would be held to do their work well. If. on the other hand, they were favourable to the Church, and were somewhat—he was afraid to use the word—"generous." but if they acted as that word was ordinarily understood out-of-doors, they would have one Member of the Government, at any rate, dissatisfied with the result, and no doubt anxious to remove them and to find gentlemen who understood political economy rather better. Supposing that proposal had come from a Conservative Minister, instead of from the right hon. Gentleman, what remonstrances they would have heard from Liberal Members! How they would have been told that it was improper to put all those powers in the hands of the Government of the day! But it came to them recommended by a Government and supported by the votes of a party who professed to value the liberty of the subject and to hate tyranny in every shape. That was not all. The Bill placed the churches, the private endowments, and the glebe houses entirely at the mercy of the Minister of the day. The incorporation of the Church Body was subject to the pleasure of Her Majesty—that was, of course, according to the Constitution, subject to the advice which her First Minister might give her. If the right hon. Gentleman, or anyone who occupied his place, should think proper to delay the incorporation of the Church Body till July, 1871, the churches, the glebe houses, and the private endowments, with a low exceptions, would become absolutely at the disposal of the Commissioners. Neither the Presbyterians nor the Roman Catholics were exposed to any risk like that. It was only the Protestant Church of Ireland that was exposed to it; and that was a specimen of what Liberal Gentlemen called "religious equality." And that was not a solitary instance. Let them contrast the treatment dealt out by the Bill to the Protestant Church on the one hand, and to the Roman Catholic Corporation of Maynooth on the other. In the case of the Church, the corporations were all dissolved. In the case of Maynooth, those clauses in the Act which related to incorporation were carefully exempted from repeal. In regard to building and lands, the Church Body could acquire them only if it applied for them during' the first six months of 1871; whereas, in the case of Maynooth, the existing buildings and land continued to be vested in the corporate body. Then the Church was to buy her glebes; that glebe laud which belonged to her by an indefeasible title, by the law of the land, she was to buy back, or so much of it as their principle of "religious equality" allowed her to retain. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic body were to receive a present—an absolute present—of buildings which had been erected from a national fund, and the debt remaining on them was to be for ever cancelled; while the Church Body was to repay the debt that existed on the glebe houses. That was another example of "religious equality." Then there were the vested interests to be considered. With respect to those vested interests the Church was to be weakened by the isolation of the clergy, whose life interests only were to be regarded, and that under the most strict-conditions. In the case of the Roman Catholics, individual vested interests were altogether overlooked, and the corporate body was endowed with a sum of money equal to fourteen years' purchase of the Parliamentary Grant, and free from all conditions whatever. That, again, was a specimen of Liberal notions of "religious equality." lie would remind the House of the terms employed in the House and outside of it by right hon. Gentlemen opposite when they described the nature of the measure which they thought of bringing forward in reference to the Church in Ireland. They foreshadowed, in speeches, delivered at Liverpool and other places, the character of the Bill which the country was to expect; and he should like to quote a few passages from those speeches and then to ask the House whether the measure really was correctly represented in the language used on those occasions. The First Minister of the Crown said at Liverpool on the 14th of October—"We shall adopt the utmost possible measure of mildness in the means." With reference to churches and parsonages, the right hon. Gentleman said—"My opinion is that the feeling of this country, apart from logic, would never endure that they should be taken away from the Church." Then, speaking in that House on the 30th of March, 1868, the right hon. Gentleman said—"Every vested right shall receive absolute compensation and satisfaction." As to the mildness of the measure, he need say nothing; but the promise respecting vested rights had scarcely been carried out in the Bill, because stipendiary curates had been entirely overlooked, although they were promoted, upon the average, at the rate of one in ten every year, and the average duration of their service as curates was only thirteen years. No one could doubt, therefore, that the curates had some vested interest in the prospect of promotion. The President of the Board of Trade had also spoken on the question, and had used language which was not borne out by the character of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the question as a very great one, which ought to be dealt with in a most gracious, generous, and tender manner. The right hon. Gentleman went on to recommend every reasonable concession, and said—"I am against rudeness and harshness in legislation." But, notwithstanding this foreshadowing of the measure, what was its actual character? The ecclesiastical corporations were dissolved, the clergy isolated, and the rectors and curates set at variance. The vested interests of the latter were disregarded altogether; the re-construction of the Church was rendered necessary in a limited time, and only a limited time was allowed for the purpose; an arbitary date was laid down as to private endowments, and thus the Church would be deprived of endowments which belonged to her by just as good a title as any which had been acquired, since 1660. The result would be that the flame of religious rancour would be fanned and its energy re-doubled in Ireland, so that, instead of peace, contention and discord would be the result of the measure Yet this was the generous measure of a Liberal Government and of a Liberal and enlightened statesman. What a perversion of terms' Let hon. Gentlemen opposite read their professions by the light of their practice. What value should we place on these high-sounding terms? He had shown what was their notion of religious equality, and they were not more successful in the other terms which they employed. They called themselves Liberals, but their liberality began and ended with themselves, or extended only to the giving away of that which did not belong to them. They talked of progress, and yet brought forward a measure for the avowed purpose of destroying the ascendancy in Ireland of that very class upon whom the progress, prosperity, and advancement of the country depended. They talked of toleration, and had allied themselves with the must intolerant party in Europe. They proclaimed themselves the friends of freedom of speech, and showed the value of that profession by raking up an old Act of Parliament— which the Home Secretary himself admitted was one of great severity—for the purpose of shutting the mouth of a man who, whatever might be his faults—and he neither denied nor defended them— had at any rate drawn down upon himself the enmity of the intolerant allies of hon. Gentlemen opposite because he spoke the truth. Hon. Gentlemen opposite declared themselves friends of the voluntary principle, and yet grudged the clergy in Ireland the enjoyment of the voluntary contributions of generations which had passed away, because, forsooth! their bounty was greater than that of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Those who sat on that (the Opposition) side of the House had no confidence in such professions when allied with such practices. Their gracious and generous intentions which had resulted in this Bill were not gracious and generous in the proper sense of the terms. Regarding the subject from a political point of view, hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, as Protestants advocating liberty, as supporters of the most sacred national institutions, distrusting the voluntary principle apart from endowments, and as upholders of law and order, and opponents of robbery and injustice, denounced this measure. In spite of the opposition, in spite of argument, in spite of remonstrances addressed to the Government from their own side of the House, the measure had been brought to its present stage. Hon. Gentlemen opposite expected to carry the third reading. They might do so; but the Opposition would not be their accom- plices. The Opposition would not desert their principles and deny their God at the bidding of a majority however large, nor would they help forward a great constitutional change which they believed to be not only a political error and a social calamity, but also a national crime. In such a policy they would have no share. Their hands should not assist in pulling down the British Constitution, but the historian of the future should give to hon. Gentlemen opposite the whole credit of having done their best to remove the chief foundations of the noblest political structure which the world had ever seen. In conclusion, the hon. Gentleman moved that the Bill be read a third time upon that day three months.


, in seconding the Motion, said, the following question had been put to him by some of his "Whig Friends—"How does it happen that you, who profess to be an independent Member of this House, and who owe allegiance to neither the First Minister of the Crown nor the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), can reconcile with such a position the seconding of the Motion for the rejection of the Bill?" He would briefly explain, therefore, why he had taken this course. It was perfectly true that he professed no allegiance to the Leader of either party, but it was equally true that he did profess allegiance to the Constitution of his country in Church and State, and it was because he believed this measure would be the inauguration of a policy the ultimate effect of which would be the permanent separation of Church and State, and because he wished to express in the strongest possible way his dissent from the Bill of his right hon. Friend that he spoke to the "Whip" on that (the Opposition) side of the House, and intimated his willingness to second the Motion if no one else was particularly desirous of doing so. That was, simply, the explanation. [Ironical cheers.] He confessed he did not understand the meaning of those ironical cheers, because he could not think that by so doing he should in any way forfeit the position which he occupied in that House. He should not follow the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Holt) by entering into any details of the Bill in its bearing on the Protestants or Roman Catholics, because hon. Gentlemen had ably dissected the measure. Nor would he touch upon the question of endowments, which had been dealt with by the hon. Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), whose speech still awaited an answer. He would not even discuss the abstract principle of a Church Establishment, the merit of which he was content to rest on the definition given by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Holt). He was also content to rest the merit of an Establishment, as applied to Ireland especially, upon the well-known dictum of a well-known and most liberal State; Churchman, who became a Free Churchman. Dr. Chalmers, who said that the Protestant Church in Ireland was the main element of Irish civilization. Not having spoken in these debates during this Session, he wished on the present occasion, if the House would bear with him, to take a general and wide view of the application of the Bill, not only to Ireland, but also to this country. He wished to discuss it on the grounds on which it had been brought forward—namely, expediency towards Ireland, and religious equality as regards Ireland—a principle which he should maintain was applicable likewise to the whole of the United Kingdom. The question of expediency admitted of two views. The Bill might be expedient as regards party, or it might be expedient as regards Ireland. He knew there were some mocking spirits who said this policy had been inaugurated not so much for the pacification of Ireland as for the pacification —might he say subjugation?—of the Liberal party, and that if the Conservatives had not raised the cry of "Level up" we should never, at least in these days, have heard from the opposite Benches the cry of "Level down." For his own part, however, he did not adopt the language which was uttered in such a mocking, cynical spirit, He was ready to give his right hon. Friend (the First Lord of the Treasury) credit for the motives which had led him to introduce the Bill, He attributed it. indeed, not to party purposes, but to the impulsive conviction of the Prime Minister. Not that the Bill was any safer from that circumstance. He held that the great danger which the country would be exposed to from the Leadership of his right hon. Friend was the impulsiveness of his conscientious convictions. He gave his right hon. Friend credit, therefore, for bring- ing in this Bill bonâ fide for the pacification of Ireland, and for bringing about what would be worthy of the supremest statesmanship — namely, the thorough binding together and reconciliation, if he might use the term, of this country and Ireland. If, incidentally, with this great and broad national policy, the Bill had had the effect of pacifying the Liberal party, no doubt, his right hon. Friend did not regard that as an objection. Certainly it had had that effect in a very marked degree, because over the corpse of the Irish Protestant Church we had seen a reconciliation which two years ago would have been deemed impossible. Had they not seen the Member for Birmingham (the President of the Poor Law Board) walk into Downing Street followed by half, at any rate, of that historical Scotch terrier which was once very celebrated in that House—he meant by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Did anyone doubt that if the other half of that historic animal had been in the House at the time it would with equal complacency have followed the right hon. Gentleman into Downing Street? He must, therefore, say that, so far as the Liberal party was concerned, the irreconcilable had been reconciled, and that so far, at all events, the measure must be admitted to be one of complete pacification. But now let him take the measure with respect to that which was its real object, How had it worked for the pacification of Ireland? His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a speech which he had made at the commencement of the Session, described the Bill as being one which, though it might offend a faction, would conciliate a nation. Now, he would ask the House to test the measure by that standard. Did hon. Members observe in the political horizon of Ireland signs of that peace and conciliation which the Bill was intended to inaugurate? The commentary upon it as a measure of pacification was, he grieved to say, written weekly in letters of blood, which proclaimed in language which admitted of no mistake that it was not the Church but the land question which was at the root of Irish discontent. That was what one section of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland said, and what was the language of another? It was practically to the effect that it was not Protestant but British ascendancy which lay at the bottom of the grievances of Ireland, Every occupant of the Treasury Bench knew that statement was correct. They knew that the causes of Irish discontent were the result of conquest, of the imperfect amalgamation of the two races, of the perennial agitation of Irish patriots, and of the perennial bidding of political parties in that House for the Irish Roman Catholic vote. He, for one, felt assured that if the Government, instead of coquetting with the land question and of liberating traitors, would speak out frankly on that question—he did not ask them, it would not be right to expect that they should positively state what their measure with respect to it was to be—and declare courageously what their policy was not to be in the face of the expectant people of Ireland, they would act much more wisely than by adopting the course which they were now following. They should have told the Irish people that their policy in reference to that country, whatever else it meant, did not mean fixity of tenure; that they were determined to suppress Fenianism, and to maintain as vigorously the Union of Ireland with England as the Americans had maintained the Union of the South with the North. Such language as that would, he contended, do more to pacify Ireland than the disestablishment of fifty Irish Churches. In support of that statement he could produce any number of documents, but he would not weary the House by reading more than one—a resolution passed by the Tenant Bight Society of Meath, in 1865, and he believed that Dr. Nulty, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath was the head of that Society. That resolution was as follows:— The one great sole question for Ireland is the land question. All other questions, such as the disestablishment of the Irish Church, are got up for party purposes, and would but infuse an element of bigotry into the disturbed relations of landlord and tenant. So much, then, for this Bill as a measure of conciliation and pacification in its relation to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, He, in the next place, came to its bearing upon the Protestants; for it must be recollected, though the Government seemed to forget it. that there was a nation of Protestants in Ireland as well as a nation of Roman Catholics. It was only necessary to have read the news- papers within the last few months, since the present Bill had been under discussion, to perceive that the Irish Protestants, hitherto a loyal and contented people, were likely to become disloyal. [Ironical cheers.] He would not use that word, but would say they were likely to become as discontented as the most discontented portion of the population of that country. What was the language which was now used by a part of the Protestants of Ireland? It was to the effect that they must set up another Cromwell to kick out the present Parliament, and that the result of the Bill would be to introduce into Ireland a chronic state of discontent. He saw that an Orange meeting was to be held in Dublin, at which one of the resolutions to be proposed was that the maintenance of the Union was no longer an article of their Protestant faith. [Ironical cheers.] He heard some Roman Catholic Members cheer, and he could quite understand why they did so; but he did not blame the Protestants for the course they were taking in connection with this subject any more than he blamed the Roman Catholics for attacking the Church. They must take human nature as they found it. and what was it that made Irish Protestants so discontented? They looked upon the Bill as a gross breach of faith on the part of the Government and Parliament—as a tearing up of the engagements which were entered into with them and their ancestors, who settled in Ireland on the security of that very Church property which was now about to be devoted to other purposes, and between the British and Irish Parliaments with reference to the maintenance of that Church. Whether, then, he looked to the Protestants or to the Roman Catholics of that country, he must regard the Bill as being, as a measure of pacification or conciliation, a complete failure in the present, and he doubted whether, unless it were accompanied by other measures, any Gentleman sitting on the Treasury Bench could deem it to be a measure of pacification in the future. He came, in the next place, to the principle of the Bill. The ground on which it was supported was, so far as he understood, the ground of justice and of religious equality. It might, perhaps, be said by its advocates— Granted that as a measure of expediency it may be more or less a failure," but " Fiat justitia ruat cœlum;" or, in the words of the French maxim, "Fais ce que dois, advienne que pourra." The House must, however, be pretty well aware in which way the Bill did justice to the Protestants of Ireland, and he would for a moment ask; hon. Members to consider how far it did justice to the Roman Catholics. On what grounds were the Protestants to be deprived under the Bill of their Church lands? "Because," it was contended by its supporters, "those lands once belonged to the Roman Catholics." But if that was the foundation of the measure, would not justice naturally demand that the land should be transferred to the Roman Catholics from the Protestants? Did the Bill propose such a transfer? Far from it. The surplus arising from that source was practically to be given to the Protestant landlords of Ireland. "No," it might be said; "it is not to be given to the landlords, but to the tenants in occupation, by relieving them from rates for lunatic asylums and other charitable purposes." All those rates, however, fell practically on the land; and if the tenant were relieved from them the fact would be taken into consideration in the rent which he would have to pay, so that practically the Church lands would be given to the Protestant landlords. It was possible that in the Land Bill of the Government next year that grievance might be redressed; all he could say was that meantime the present measure of justice would consist in bringing about such a transference of the Church lands as he had mentioned. Then what, he would ask, was to be done with the churches? Were those symbols of establishment and signs of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland to be handed over to the Roman Catholics? Nothing of the kind. They were to be given up to the Protestants. Where, then, according to the principles of the Government themselves, was the justice of the Bill in dealing with these churches? What was the view which the Roman Catholics themselves took of the matter? He found from a document which he held in his hand that Dr. Goss, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, in addressing recently a large congregation at Preston on the Irish Church question, said— The Catholics of Ireland had been defrauded out of their lights, for the endowments their Church possessed previous to the Reformation ought to have been settled upon the Catholics of that country, and also the venerable buildings which Catholic piety had erected. They must bear in mind that these endowments were not left for the support of the ministers of Ireland but on condition that certain masses were said, a thing they all knew was not fulfilled at the present day. The Bishop then proceeded to say that— He was anxious there should be some record of what many would consider an instalment of justice; but, at the same time, he should be surprised if the Irish nation were really satisfied with what had been given by the present Government. The fact was that upon this question all that had been done was to gratify the unchristian feeling of the Roman Catholics towards the Protestants by the spoliation of the Protestant Church, and if justice of any kind had been done it was the wild Irish justice of revenge. He was aware that the Bill proposed to establish a so-called religious equality between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants in Ireland, but was that purpose carried out by it? Ireland was governed by a Lord Lieutenant, and the law, as it stood at present, said that the individual holding that office must be a Protestant. But perhaps next Session, when this Bill was passed, it would be discovered that Protestant ascendancy was being maintained at the Castle in the person of the Lord Lieutenant, and a Bill would be brought in throwing open that office to a Roman Catholic. ["Hear, hear!"] That cheer showed that his assumption was correct, and he hoped that it would be fully understood by the Protestant people of this country. But Ireland was an integral part of this Empire, and he should wish to ascertain how far this desire for religious equality was to lead them. When they had established a so-called religious equality in Ireland, would not they be called upon to establish it throughout the whole Empire—to disestablish the Protestant Churches of England and of Scotland? He believed that hon. Members opposite were not at present in favour of the disestablishment of those Churches; but we travelled fast in these days—the schoolmaster was abroad, and the Conservatives were not the only persons who were undergoing education; the Whig party were being very rapidly educated by the most powerful schoolmaster in the Cabinet, who would, he was confident, obtain a first-class certificate from the junior Member for Brad- ford (Mr. Miall). If the party opposite were now asked by the Irish people to disestablish the Established Church of England and Ireland, they would say—"No, we cannot do that, because the majority of the people of England and of Scotland are Protestants, and therefore we are not at the present prepared to disestablish those Churches." But what would be the rejoinder of the Irish people to that reply? They would at once say—"Then establish the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland or else repeal the Union;" and as long as the; Union was unrepealed that argument might be put forward with effect, and in order to get out of the dilemma they would be obliged to disestablish the Churches of England and Scotland. But not even then would they have established religious equality, so long as the; Protestant Settlement of 1688 remained, If they desired to establish religious equality, they must be prepared to set aside that Settlement, or else what would become of the principle of religious equality? Of two things one must be the case—either the Government, who announced the principle of religious equality, did not mean what they said, or they meant a great deal more than they said—either they were humbugging the Roman Catholics, or else they were deceiving the Protestants. It was the right of the Protestant people of this country to demand from the Government a clear statement as to the lengths to which they were prepared to go in this matter. He was well aware what the answer of the Government would be. They would say—"This is all very well in theory and as a matter of abstract reasoning, but we are a practical people, and therefore we need have no fear of the consequences which you say are likely to result from our acts." He, however, ventured to think that the consequences he had pointed out as likely to result from the reasoning and from the position of the Government were not so impossible as many people appeared to imagine, or endeavoured to make themselves believe. Such people had read history wrongly, and did not look upon what was going on around them. What had been the language of the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown upon this point during the late election? He had said that the great question of the Church of Ireland was but one of a group of questions, embracing the Church of Ireland, the land, and the education of the Irish people; that it was but one of many branches of a trunk—the trunk and the tree of Protestant ascendancy—an ascendancy which he looked to the Protestant people of this country to put down, and on which they were banded together to make war; and that, although this might be an instalment of the debt due to Ireland, the Irish people would not be worthy to be free if they were satisfied with a mere instalment, or if they were contented with anything less than justice. Therefore, according to the right hon. Gentleman's own statement, he and his friends were banded together to make war upon the Protestant ascendancy; and after such a trumpet blast from the right hon. Gentleman the Irish people would be wanting to themselves and their religion if they did not press this question further. Judging from their conduct in the past, it was not difficult to foresee what would be their conduct in the future. Lot the House look at the conditions of the Union, at the terms entered into at the time of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, at the oaths taken at the table of that House that in no way should the Protestant Establishment be injured. Let them recollect how these; conditions, these terms, and these oaths had been kept, and let them judge from the past how it was likely such promises would be kept in future. What they had already gained formed but a small portion of that bit-by-bit policy of encroachment by which, ever since the Reformation, the Roman Catholics had endeavoured, bit by bit and step by stop, to gain back the ground they had then lost, and they looked to the complete acquiring of the lost ground, when, according to the words of Archbishop Manning, this Imperial English and Protestant race should have been entirely subjugated. It was under these circumstances that he asserted the present settlement would be disregarded as had been those of the past. But it might, perhaps, be said that no Roman Catholic would venture to attack the Act of Settlement. he had, however, a recollection of what had occurred during the last Session, when a Roman Catholic Gentleman who was now a Member of the Government (Sir Colman O'Loghlen), had given notice of a Motion with reference to the Coronation Oath which directly tended against the Act of Settlement, and to the effect of which he had called attention at the time. It was true the right hon. Gentleman had been comfortably muzzled. The right hon. Gentleman found himself comfortably seated on the Treasury Bench, where by two thing's were gained—in the first place, Her Majesty's Government had silenced an indiscreet Friend, and, secondly, the Session had been shortened, according to the most careful calculation, by at least ten days. He mentioned this fact to show that the Act of Settlement might be assailed, not merely by a wild Irish Roman Catholic, but by one who was a Gentleman and a lawyer, who was well known to that House, and who had been thought worthy of a high and comfortable office in the Government. It might, however, be said that this was only the eccentric-act of an over-zealous Roman Catholic, but that no practical person would think of endeavouring to attack the Act of Settlement. He would, however, call into court a witness whose evidence he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister would repudiate—he meant his noble Friend Lord William Hay, who opposed him at the last election, and who, had he got into Parliament, would doubtless have occupied a position in the Government. On the day of the declaration of the poll. Lord William Hay expressed his regret that the constituency of the county he (Lord Elcho) represented had declared itself against the Liberal party and in favour of a principle based upon the inviolable maintenance of the Settlement of 1688. Therefore, the idea of unsettling the Protest ant Settlement of 1688 was not confined to a Roman Catholic lawyer, but was entertained by a Protestant, and, he believed, a Presbyterian gentleman, who was well known in that House. It might be reasonably assumed from his statement that the unsettling of that Settlement would form part of the policy of the Liberal party. It was true that the Government had not as yet put forward the setting aside of that Settlement as forming part of their policy, but let the House wait for a short time, and they would find that the education of the Liberal party would soon reach the desired point, and would enable the Government to declare their real views upon the question. Let them for a moment look at the causes which had brought about this Bill, and, as like causes were apt to produce like effects, let them see whether there was not a probability that, some day or another, the results which he had foreshadowed would be brought about. He admitted that the chief cause which had induced hon. Gentlemen opposite to support this Bill was the belief that they were supporting religious liberty. Between religious liberty and religious equality there was, in his opinion, a vast difference; but he gave hon. Members opposite credit for having acted under that belief. But what was the immediate cause of the Bill being earned? Why, it had been carried by the Irish vote, aided by the Scotch vote. The Irish vote, however, was mainly influenced by the present state of Ireland, and the Voluntary vote had been influenced by the position of parties in that House. No man could deny that the various parties in that House had always made a bid for Irish Roman Catholic votes. The Scotch Members, on the other hand, had voted in favour of the Bill, under the impression that they were thereby voting in favour of religious equality—not looking beyond or remembering that religious equality and religious liberty-were not the same. But he believed that it was true that the people of England, if not in a majority against the Bill were equally divided against it, and that, therefore, the policy of a population of 20,000,000 had been dictated by a population of 5,000,000 Irish and 3,000,000 Scotch; so that in the main there were 20,000,000 people neutralized by 8,000,000; and if the Irish vote had been necessary in the past, did they not think that circumstances might again arise in which, the Roman Catholic vote might be necessary in the future? Practically, the policy of the Government was now directed by the Voluntary element on that side of the House. There was a time when those who sat opposite were divided into two distinct parties, above and below the Gangway. The Whigs above the Gangway formed one party, and those below it another. Both had a policy, but the Whigs had a policy especially upon questions connected with land and the Church which was entirely distinct from the other. Now, however, that policy was merged in what was called the general Liberal policy. It was true there were some distinguished Whigs figuring in the Government, but they were only the figure-heads of the ship; and the position of the Whig party on this question was aptly illustrated by an accident which happened to the Channel Squadron in a cruize last autumn. It so happened that in some manner the Warrior ran into the Royal Oak, and the figure-head of the Warrior fell on the deck of the Royal Oak. In spite of that, the Warrior went on, and it was with the greatest difficulty the Royal Oak was saved from being cut in two. Applying this incident to the Whig party, they were the figure-head of the ship, and the First Lord of the Treasury, no doubt, commanded the quarterdeck with a most powerful and eloquent-trumpet. But these were the days of steam, and the progress of a ship depended on the engine-room. And who commanded there? Why. the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham. He said advisedly that the Whigs had a policy, especially on Church questions, and that it was not the policy of the right hon. Member for Birmingham (the President of the Board of Trade), or of the Voluntaries headed by the junior Member for Bradford. He heard an Irish Gentleman, the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Delahunty), say this Session that the absence of a Currency Bill in Ireland, similar to that of England, was the arrow that had pierced the heart of Ireland. He considered that at the time to be a remarkable and rather figurative expression, and, without being quite as figurative as the hon. Member, he would say that this Bill was the sacrificial implement with which, as a party, and with a special policy of their own, the aristocratic Whigs had performed the aristocratic Japanese operation of the hari karu. The last excuse for this Bill was the exigency of party, which, it was said, had brought about this state of things. Now, party had been defined to be "the madness of the many for the gain of the few." He would rather call it the bird-call for the benefit of a few fowlers. His right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury fought better as a bird-caller than any man who had filled Office in that House. He had piped to unwary Whig birds, and they had flown into the net of which Archbishop Cullen and the right hon. Member for Birmingham held the string; and he looked upon the result of this policy as being as certain to lead, sooner or later, to the total disruption of the connection between Church and State, not only in Ireland, but in England, Scotland and Wales, as that they were new discussing the third reading of this Bill. He did not see where the element of resistance was to come from. This Bill would surely pass the third reading, and the probability was that it would soon become law. If the Constitution of this country were as Conservative as that of America, perhaps they might hope to see some resistance. What was the Constitution of America? No constitutional question could pass the House of Representatives unless it was earned by a majority of two-thirds. It could not then pass without coming before the Senate, which had the power of rejection, and had as great an authority, if not greater, than the House of Representatives; and although the power of the President had been greatly lessened, he still exercised considerable power in such matters. But what was the state of things here? A majority of I could carry a measure of great constitutional change through this House. By the writings of the Press, and the language used both in and out-of-doors, it was now an assumed thing that the Upper House, which was supposed, originally, to be a check upon the proceeding of the House of Commons, was simply to register the decrees of that House. And what was the Assent of the Sovereign? It was now little more than the casting vote of the Minister. At the present moment it had little check or control over the proceedings of that House, and therefore they might reasonably expect that this Bill would become law. But they might be told there was comfort in store, and that the Protestants in Ireland would benefit by the change. That view of Protestantism, gaining by loosing the props on which the Irish Church rested, and by its becoming a missionary Church, reminded him of the way in which a noble Marquess, when he sat in that House, proposed to deal with the offence of cruelty to animals. A Bill was brought in by winch it was proposed to put a stop to it; and one clause provided that if two dogs were found fighting, the way to prevent cruelty to animals was to put both to death. It was much after that fashion that the Irish Church was to be benefited by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. It was said that civil and religious liberty would be increased by this Bill, but he did not believe that religious liberty and religious equality were one and the same. His firm belief was that the best security for religious liberty and toleration in every way was the Protestant Settlement under which this country had so long flourished. It might be said, look to America, to France, to Italy, and to Spain, and it might be asserted that the Roman Catholic religion did not change, but that the Roman Catholic people did. He denied the analogy altogether. What was the state of things in America? That was a country with no history, no traditions, and with no association of a Church such as existed in Ireland. A friend of his. who was travelling in America about two years since, met the head of the Jesuits, and asked whether it was true that the Roman Catholics on landing in that country threw off. in a great measure, their allegiance to the priesthood. He replied that it was perfectly true. He was asked how he accounted for it, and he said that when they landed in America they found themselves in company with the Freethinkers of America, and the Atheists from Germany, and thus they, by degrees, threw off their allegiance to the priesthood. If they looked to Spain and Franco they would find a perfectly different state of things from that which they were going to establish in Ireland. In those countries there was a connection between the Roman Catholic Church and the State, and a certain control was exercised over the priesthood similar to that which existed in this country so long as an Establishment was maintained. But in Ireland, by this Bill, they were about to establish a state of livings which -was unparalleled in Europe. They were practically going to set up the Irish Roman Catholic Church on the ruins of the Protestant Establishment, and on what plea? On the plea of religious liberty. he resisted the proposal on this very ground. He hoped he was no bigot. He honoured the motives of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government and his Colleagues, because they believed they were furthering the great cause of religious liberty by sup- porting this Bill. He trusted that since he had had the honour of a seat in that House he had shown no religious intolerance. He had stood upon the hustings almost alone among Scotch Members, in defending a course which he thought to be just to his Roman Catholic countrymen. But, as he did not believe that this was a real measure of religious liberty, he was not prepared to follow the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. And it was on this account that, if he had a hundred tongues he should, in the name of that religious liberty, a hundred times say "No" to the third reading of this Bill.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Holt.)

Question proposed, "That the word ' now ' stand part of the Question."


Sir, no doubt it is quite open to those who question the justice and policy of this measure to challenge another division of the House upon the final stage of the Bill; and it is for us cheerfully to accept that challenge, in the confident assurance that the House, by an undiminished majority, will on this occasion record the sincerity of its views and earnestness of its convictions. It is necessary that some arguments should be offered by the supporters of the Bill in answer to the Amendment now made; but it is very difficult to persuade oneself that the debate is earnest or that the argument is real. I am sure that I speak the opinion of the House when I say in regard to my noble Friend (Lord Elcho) that they listened with far greater pleasure to those portions of his speech in which he spoke to us of the mode in which the aristocracy are disposed of in Japan, of the conflict which occurred between the Royal Oak and the Warrior, of the general state of religion in Germany and the United States of America, of the Act of Parliament in relation to the currency which had pierced the heart of Ireland, of the bird-call which, he said, was of peculiarly interesting trill, of the way in which a noble Marquess used to handle the subject of cruelty to animals; but that which gave them the greatest pleasure was the passage in which his noble Friend described how the Conservative Reform Bill had so far out-Americanized the institutions of this country that we wanted a Conservative element to resist this revolutionary measure, and that the House of Commons, elected as it had been, ought not to carry so much weight as, I hope, it will in the deliberations of "another place." I think the House listened with far greater pleasure to these arguments of my noble Friend than to the very limited part of his speech which had any very serious bearing on the subject we have now under discussion. Is it possible that the question should really be debated as a serious question after all that has passed in the former Parliament and after the reference made on the subject to the constituencies? My noble Friend says that this measure has been so far carried by the Irish vote with—and this is a statement that came rather ill from a Scotch Member—the Scotch vote thrown in by way of make-weight. Can my noble Friend inform us what part of the kingdom did not by a large and decided majority declare in favour of this policy of the present Government? If there was any ', proof more signal than that which the dissolution afforded it was the stop, highly opportune, wise, and patriotic, but the most marked men could take— the recognition by the late Government of the verdict passed and their acceptance of it by their retirement from Office. After all that has occurred during the late Parliament and this Session, I ask is it not almost unworthy occupation of the time of the House to contend against the further progress of a measure which has received so emphatically the approval of the House? I shall certainly not, enter at any length into argument on the subject. But having taken a share in the government of Ireland, I own I am desirous in a few short phrases to express, by more than a silent vote, the sincere, the strong conviction I fool, that this measure, as a measure of justice and equality, tends to cement Ireland to this part of the United Kingdom, and to strengthen and confirm the power of England among the nations of the world. My noble Friend said, when you go to Ireland you find not one people but two peoples. That is at the root of all our difficulties in governing Ireland; and this measure is framed to meet that difficulty. Most of us are old enough to remember the sensation caused by an eloquent speech made by the late Lord Lyndhurst in "another place," in winch he described the Roman Catholic portion of our fellow-subjects in Ireland as "aliens in blood, aliens in language, and aliens in religion." That expression raised great controversy at the time, and gave great offence. That was not a prudent expression. There was no intention to terminate that state of estrangement, and it is not prudent to tell a people they are aliens if we mean to keep them so. If ever they were aliens it was because you treated them as aliens, and they will, in a sense, be aliens so long as you continue to treat them as aliens. You will never overcome their estrangement unless you lay broad and deep in Ireland the foundations of a policy of equality and justice. The great difference between the Government of England and Scotland, on the one hand, and that of Ireland on the other, is this—you have the same framework of institutions, but you find their operation totally different. Why? Because you cannot induce the people of Ireland to work together as the people in England and Scotland do, in maintaining those local institutions which constitute the life and liberty of the Government. And why? Trace it to its bitter root and you will find ascendancy at the bottom of it. Until you get rid of ascendancy you have not taken the first effective step to the good government and prosperity of Ireland. It is possible to reconcile an alienated people. After 1745, Scotland was more alienated than Ireland has ever been in our time. Why did Scotland become one of the most peaceful, one of the most prosperous, one of the most loyal portions of the United Kingdom? Because you ceased to treat the Scotch as aliens. It was the beast of Lord Chatham that he brought about that change, when he enlisted the Scotch Highlanders in the regiments of the Hanoverian King. At the very time when Lord Lyndhurst used the celebrated expression to which I have referred, Canada was far more alienated from us than ever Ireland has been in our time, and it is not long since she was in open war against us. Why has Canada become loyal, well-affected, and attached to English institutions? Because you have dealt with Canada on the principles of equality and justice— because you have enabled her to do for herself that very thing you are now going to do by this Bill for Ireland. You talk of the present state of things as cementing the Union between the two countries, and of this measure as likely to break down that Union. Let me ask you if Ireland were a colony, could you resist such a measure as this? Is it not certain that the first act of an independent colony would be to pass for itself such a measure as this united Parliament is going to pass for Ireland? Well, if in every colony you possess you permit an independent colony to legislate for itself, hove long can you expect Ireland to be attached to union with you if she finds that she alone of all your dominions is prevented from attaining equality and justice? Show her by this Bill that to maintain the Union is to carry into effect the laws of equality and justice that prevail in all other parts of your dominions, and then you will find the Irish as much attached to union as England and Scotland. We have heard to-night very great vaticinations of the evils that are to follow the adoption of this measure. Permit me to appeal from an English Gentleman (Mr. Holt), and a Scotch Nobleman (Lord Elcho), to two Friends of mine, who appear to me to know more of this subject from experience—I will not say than the two to whom I have referred, but than almost anybody I know. They are Friends of the noble Lord as well as my own. He knows them intimately. I speak of the present Governor General of Canada and of the late Governor General of Canada; both are Irishmen, both earnest Protestants, both zealous friends of the Protestant Church in Ireland in what they believe to be its essential character. One has had the opportunity of learning by experience in Canada what is the state of the disestablished Church of Canada, and what the progress, the prosperity, and the contentment of the people it has brought with it. I refer to Lord Monck. You know his sentiments, and you have with universal assent appointed him to be the First Commissioner under this Bill. But there is the still stronger case of the present Governor General of Canada (Sir John Young). My noble Friend and I used to sit beside him long ago in this House. He entered this House as a Conservative Member for the county of Cavan in the Province of Ulster. He was Chief Secretary for Ireland under Lord Aberdeen's Government. As Chief Secretary he saw the operation of the law by which the Established Church of Ireland is now governed. In New South Wales, he saw results similar to those which may be expected in Ireland when you pass this Bill. And what had he said? He has written to me— The statesmen who seek to calm the Irish mind and put an end to the necessity for coercive measures in Ireland by doing all that legislation, can do to enforce complete religious equality, and ensure fair dealing between man and man, seem to me to tend towards the righteous high ideal of Him 'Who held it more humane, more heavenly, first By winning words to conquer willing hearts; And make persuasion do the work of fear.' I am happy to be able to cite the opinions of two such distinguished Members of the Irish Protestant Church in support of the views I entertain; and I assert, without fear, that when you pass this Bill you will take the greatest step ever taken in our time to improve the condition of Ireland. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment (Mr. Holt) referred to the Free Church in Scotland. My figures do not agree with those of the hon. Gentleman. This, I know—it cannot be denied that the Free Church in Scotland has built nearly 1,000 churches, and in twenty-five years has raised £8,000,000. The people who compose that Church are not the wealthy nor the powerful, for the land of Scotland is in the hands of the Episcopalians, and, with regard to the wealthy traders, many of them remained with the Established Church in Scotland; and yet the portion of the people who compose the Free Church have done these things within the last twenty-five years. Is it, then, possible to suppose that the now Established Church in Ireland, carrying with it, when disestablished, the vested interests of a whole generation and all the churches, will not exhibit similar evidence of energy and vitality? The Seconder of the Motion, however, ipsis Hibernis Hibernior, attacks us from the other flank, and complains of our giving the churches to the Church, and the reversion of the tithes to the landlords. So zealous is he in the cause of the Roman Catholics that he complains we have not done justice to them, though in the peroration of his speech he said that we are going to establish the Roman Catholic Church on the ruins of the Established Church of Ireland. [Lord ELCHO: Practically.] We are not going to give any endowment to the Roman Catholic Church. I do not know what my noble Friend means by the word "practically"—ho appears to use it in a very liberal sense—but it appears to me that in giving to the disestablished Church the means of free government we have opened to it the prospect of great power and usefulness. I hope that my anticipations will turn out more true than those of the noble Lord; but, at any rate, I know that if there is any "weighting" in this race it is in favour of the present Established Church, which carries with it vested interests for a whole generation, and the whole of its churches, and which has among its members thirteen-fourteenths—as I think I have heard Mr. Whiteside state in this House—of the landed proprietors, and the greater part of the wealthy traders and educated gentlemen of Ireland. I sincerely believe that when this measure shall have borne its fruits, and when the evils generated by a system of religious inequality have been removed, the position of the Church in Ireland will be improved and not deteriorated; and that, not only the Church, but the people would look upon it as a just and beneficent measure. The declaration of Roman Catholic nobleman and gentlemen laid on the table of the House last year, in which they claimed as their right perfect religious equality in Ireland, and stated that there never would be respect for law, nor prosperity in that country until that religious liberty was established, is the language of men worthy to bear a share in a free Government and take a part in free institutions, and it cannot be disregarded. They are entitled to expect and demand that religious equality, while we were not entitled to refuse it; and unless we concede it we neglect to take the first great step in the solid good government of Ireland. You may be as liberal as you please to Ireland out of the Consolidated Fund; you may do what you like in the way of gifts; but that is not the way to get at the heart of a people. Perpetually giving is a perpetual assertion of superiority on our part, and creates a perpetual notion of inferiority on theirs. What they demand and what we desire to concede, is perfect equality. We want to include them within the frame-work of those free institutions under which it is our happiness to live, and we believe that by so doing we shall increase the prosperity of Ireland, mak- ing that country a source, not of weakness, but of strength to the United Kingdom; and that we shall earn for this country a higher place than we now hold in the opinions of the civilized world.


said, the right hon. Gentleman (the Secretary of State for War) complained that there was no reality in this discussion, and that the question was substantially settled. But he could assure him that there was reality in the discussion, and that it was only now that the people in the part of the country where he lived were beginning to appreciate the reality of the great change that was awaiting them. With respect to the appeal that had been made to the country, he differed from the right hon. Gentleman on this ground, that though an appeal was made to the country it was not upon the measure now before the House, but on the general question that the subject should be taken up and considered. He believed that, with the exception of a few confidants of the right hon. Gentleman (the First Lord of the Treasury), no one had any idea of the sweeping nature of the measure that had been brought in. He would not have ventured to trouble the House again, but he thought this was a good opportunity to take a short review of the consequences and probable working of the Bill. He gave the right hon. Gentleman credit for intending, in bringing forward this Bill, to benefit not only the general interests of the country, but also the Church of which the light hon. Gentleman was a member. But what were the supposed advantages of this Bill? Several were enumerated. One was that the churches were to be given up; another was in reference to glebes. He regarded that provision as a mistake, inasmuch as it had a tendency to produce a want of religious equality, while the professed object of the Bill was to establish religious equality. The fifty-two years' arrangement was represented as a great been to landed proprietors; but the advantage, such as it was, was not likely to arise in the lifetime of the present owners, probably not even in that of their sons, and would, therefore, only he of value to their grandsons. Tithe rent-charge was hardly ever sold in the Incumbered Estates Court for more than sixteen years' purchase, or at a rate paying more than 6 per cent. Bearing in mind that the whole of the tithe rent-charge might be said to be brought into the market at once, and that English tithe rent-charge was sold at a rate which produced 4 or 4½ per cent, 6 per cent was a very fair standard to adopt in Ireland. On referring to the tables to ascertain the present value of a deferred annuity to commence after fifty-two years, he found that the present value of that supposed advantage was only three-quarters of a year's purchase; that was to say, the present value of £100 a year, payable fifty-two years hence, would be represented by a lump sum of £75. No doubt the life interests of the clergy were fully preserved. He was very glad that was done, but he thought it was extremely unfair that the laity should be taunted with the insinuation that a large portion of Church property was retained for their advantage. Again, supposing the Church Body to be called into existence on the passing of the Bill—which he thought very doubtful—what prospect existed of their being able to make good to the Church the revenues of which she had been deprived? Those to whom the Church Body would have to appeal he divided into three classes. First, there were the indifferent, to whom it mattered little whether the Bill passed, or what became of the Church. Next, there were the persons living in Ireland part of the year, and feeling a deep interest in the country; when applied to by the Church Body they would naturally reply that before binding themselves by any undertaking they would feel it necessary, with the expectations which were held out about the land question and all other questions, to understand how they actually stood, how i far the management of property was likely to be taken out of their hands, and whether it would be possible for them to remain in the country. The Church Body, consequently, would get no answer from them. There remained the class of smaller country gentlemen resident in Ireland, whose circumstances and convictions sometimes exposed them to obloquy, and in some cases to danger. These, however desirous to join and to support the Church Body, would say, and with better reason than the former class, that till they understood what their position was to be in the country in consequence of the changes that were going on or threatened, they would make no promises whatever. Hence, from no section of Irish Churchmen could the Church Body, assuming it to be formed, meet with a response enabling them to carry on in a hopeful spirit the ministrations to which they were accustomed. The Bill was accompanied professedly with certain concessions and advantages; but the circumstances attendant upon its passing, and the doubts and fears which had been excited, were calculated, he believed, to inflict the greatest injury upon Irish Protestants. It was impossible, he was well aware, for the Government to carry two great measures relating to Ireland in the same Session; but it was clearly in the power of the First Minister of the Crown to announce the principles upon which he intended to act. The First Minister himself had shown that this was possible; for last year when he introduced his Resolutions upon the Church question, he let the House know the principles upon which he intended to act, and, having carried these Resolutions by a large majority, he followed them up in the succeeding year by legislation consistent with the principles embodied in those Resolutions. It was only just and fair, then, to all sections of the Irish people, that, with a view to the future prosperity of the country, the right hon. Gentleman should speak out his policy and the principles on which he intended to act, and not continue the existing state of uncertainty and alarm. To hon. Members sitting in the House of Commons Ministerial declarations upon these points might appear matters of comparatively small importance, but it was upon the state of feeling existing in Ireland that the future prosperity of the Bill altogether depended. He was perfectly sure that all the complicated provisions which the Bill contained would never work; he doubted whether the Church Body would ever be formed at all, but if formed it would be so occupied and distracted by differences of opinion honestly entertained that it would never be able to make any progress. The power to make purchases given to the Church, Body were only so many inducements to them to burden themselves with property which their future position would never justify. He believed it would have been better if all these so-called advantages had been capitalized and the sum of money so arising handed over to all the religions bodies having a proper claim to it. In that case some arrangement that would work might possibly have been carried out. The Presbyterians in the North of Ireland had as strong a claim to their endowment as the Church. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government upon the statement made by him the other night in answer to the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Charley), that he had no intention of making any change in the system of national education. That single statement would give satisfaction to vast numbers of persons, especially in the North of Ireland; and if upon other subjects the right hon. Gentleman would be equally outspoken as to the intentions of the Government he would confer a great benefit upon Ireland. The intelligent minority of Presbyterians in Ireland upon whose support the right hon. Gentleman had so strongly relied in former debates, had been strangely silent of late. On the other hand, the reports in the public prints—if he would only consult them—would show the right hon. Gentleman that Protestants of all denominations having just wakened up to the position in which they would find themselves on the passing of the Bill, and to the irremediable misfortunes which would be entailed by it upon the country, were beginning at last to appreciate the true nature of the Government proposals. And how were the indignant protests of men to be measured, with whose forefathers a deliberate contract had been made, and who had done nothing to forfeit their title to the endowments? Of the right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Treasury Bench opposite, the great majority were returned by large town constituencies, where the voluntary principle might be attended with success, but where the most wonderful ignorance prevailed as to the circumstances and the wants of rural districts. How many of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite were owners of Irish estates? And of the few who might be in that position how many had resided six or even three months continuously in that country? Their ideas of Ireland were probably derived from a tour though the districts usually visited in the South and West of Ireland, but it had taken him many years to arrive at anything like a true understanding of the real circumstances and feelings of Ireland. From first to last he had pro- tested against the Bill. He was certain that it must lead to a serious reflection and question as to the advantages supposed to be gained by the connection with England, so long as Irish affairs were always discussed less with a view to the true interests of that country than their bearing upon party questions. The future working of the Bill, if passed, would disappoint every person in this country, and embitter the existing relations in Ireland between persons of various creeds and classes. In time to come it would be looked back upon as the greatest mistake ever committed by a Liberal Government.


said, after a debate on the second reading of this Bill, which lasted four nights, and a division, in which the principle of the Bill was affirmed by a majority of 118 in a House of 625 Members, and after a discussion on the various clauses of this Bill in Committee, which lasted over five weeks, during which numerous divisions took place, with majorities in favour of the Bill on each occasion, varying from 86 to 123, we are again asked to reject the Bill, on the third reading. I need hardly say, that as far as this House is concerned, that request will be made in vain. But the most extraordinary statement which has been made in the course of the debates which have taken place, is, that last autumn the country was taken by surprise, and that another opportunity ought to be afforded it of expressing its opinion upon the subject. A more extraordinary statement than this was never made, for it is well known that for six months before the last General Election, the question of the Irish Church was brought prominently before the public. Every candidate made it the grand topic of his election addresses, and it is absurd to say the people of this country did not know what they were doing when they gave their votes at the polling booths. I admit that the actual Bill, as at present drawn, was not before the public, but the main principles of it, as shadowed forth by the present Prime Minister, in his Resolutions and in his speeches, unquestionably were, and I think the debates which have taken place during the present Session in this House have conclusively shown that there are not twenty men in the House of Commons who really and honestly believe that the present ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland can continue any longer; but that in some way or other, the old policy of religious ascendancy must be done away with and an approximation at least to religious equality must be substituted for it, and that can only be done in one of two ways, cither by the plan favoured by hon. Gentlemen opposite, of raising other Churches to the level of the Irish Protestant Church, or by bringing down the Irish Church to their level We must choose between levelling up and levelling down, and the verdict of the country last autumn was decisive on this point, when it sent a majority of 120 to support the scheme of the present Prime Minister. But to my mind one of the most remarkable things in the course of the debates this year has been the persistent manner in which the Conservative party has attempted to ignore the fact, that the Irish Church is a real and substantial grievance to more than 4,000,000 of the Irish people, and indeed the bulk of the Irish people have very clearly shown that they do consider it a grievance, because in every Irish county and borough in which the Roman Catholic electors were in a majority, and were able to vote as they liked, they sent representatives to this House, who were pledged to its disestablishment and disendowment. And I may also appeal to the fact that the Irish Roman Catholic voters in the different English constituencies almost to a man voted for the Liberal candidates, and in my own borough, about 326 Irish Roman Catholic voters out of 340 voted for the candidates who were pledged to support the policy of the present Prime Minister—a conclusive proof of the strong feeling they entertained on the question. In the course of this debate, we have been told frequently of the wealth and respectability of the Irish Churchmen and have been reminded of the fact that they own more than seven-eighths of the land in Ireland. Well, Sir, we admit the fact, and from that fact we draw the conclusion that they are quite able to support their Church when its endowments are taken away, and if they do not, it will be a great disgrace to them. And the thing that has surprised me most in the course of these debates has been the great timidity shown by Churchmen on the opposite side of the House, and the fears they express that, after the passing of this Bill, the Irish Church will cease to exist, and Irish Churchmen become extinct. The hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. Vance), a great authority on this question, has told us, that "there will be an end of the Episcopal Church." and other hon. Gentlemen have spoken to the same effect. For my part, I believe that its connection with the State has been the great bane of the Irish Church, because it is an admitted fact—admitted by the Bishop of Oxford in his speech last year—that many of the Prelates, who, in former years, were sent over from this country to govern the Irish Church, were men of such character as made them a source of weakness instead of strength to that Church, and my firm conviction is that disestablishment and disendowment will be the greatest benefit which could be conferred on the Irish Church, because they will teach it to depend on its own exertions for success, and will give it the benefit and privilege of free and unfettered action. It has been objected to this Bill that it will be the first step to a similar proposal with respect to the English Church. That I deny altogether; the condition of the two Churches is so different, that no argument for the disestablishment and disendowment of the one can be logically drawn from the disestablishment and disendowment of the other, and in reference to this, I would quote the words of the Earl of Carnarvon, uttered last year. He is a "Churchman of Churchmen," and he said— If there is one single act which I should be prepared to condemn more strongly than another it is the course which they h:\vc taken of binding up by every possible tie the fortunes of the English and Irish Churches. There is no sort of analogy between the circumstances and condition of these two Churches. In those sentiments I most thoroughly concur, and I believe the Church of England has no foes so deadly and no friends so foolish as those who attempt to link its fortunes with those of the Irish Church. Then, Sir, great objections were raised against this Bill in Committee, because of the amount of compensation it gives to the College of Maynooth, which the opponents of this Bill assert to be excessive, and because it gives that compensation from the funds of the disendowed Irish Protestant Church. With respect to the amount of the compensation being excessive, my own opinion is that it is just and fair, because we must remem- ber that the Maynooth Grant though nominally an annual grant, was in reality, for all practical purposes, a permanent grant. Hon. Members opposite may doubt this; but fortunately, I hold in my hand a report of a speech, made in this House on the 16th of April, 1845. in the debate which took place on the occasion of the increase of the Maynooth Grant by Sir Robert Peel, the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire (Lord John Manners), and those are his words— With every feeling then of confidence that as a Churchman I am not acting disloyally towards the Church in sanctioning this measure, and, as a statesman, that I am promoting the best interests of my country. I give my vote for this Bill of permanent endowment to the College of Maynooth."—[3 Hansard, Ixxix. 830.] These are the words of a noble Lord who was a Cabinet Minister in the late Government, and I quote them as my authority for stating; to hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Maynooth Grant was. to all intents and purposes, a permanent grant, and regarding it as such. I maintain that the compensation this Bill proposes to give is not excessive. There is one part of this Bill which has not been much alluded to; which I regard with special favour, and that is, that after the passing of this Bill, the Irish Bishops will be relieved from the task of sitting in the House of Lords. We have it, on very high authority, that no man can serve two masters, a truth which no doubt applies to Bishops as well as to the rest of the human race, and, therefore, I am glad that for the future those eminent men will be able to devote their whole time to the spiritual supervision of their dioceses, instead of attempting the arduous task of ruling their clergy at home and devoting their attention to affairs of State in the House of Lords. But, Sir, we have been told that this measure will not pacify the Irish people. I should be very much surprised if it did. We might as well expect a patient, who had been suffering for many years from a course of wrong treatment, to have his health restored by a single dose of physic. But though it may not pacify the Irish people, it will at any rate show them that the Imperial Parliament is determined to do what is just and right to Ireland, and has set itself honestly and earnestly to the task of redressing those grievances of which the Irish people justly complain.


said, that great stress had been laid by hon. Gentlemen opposite on the allegation that a verdict in favour of this Bill had been pronounced at the late election from all parts of England, from Ireland, and from Scotland. The Secretary of State for War had even told them that night, that after such an expression of opinion, it was absolutely wasting the time of the House to continue to obstruct the progress of the Bill. It seemed to be thought that hon. Gentlemen were pledged upon the hustings to this measure, and had come here, as some wished all to come, merely as counters in a division. But he maintained that hon. Gentlemen did not, and could not, give, in November last, any pledge binding them to the character or details of this Bill, which was not then in existence. All that they could be pledged to were the abstract Resolutions submitted to the last Parliament. Yet they had seen this Bill carried through Committee almost without Amendment; for whenever one was suggested, on either side of the House, whether by an opponent of the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister or by one of his most ardent supporters, the objection was immediately made that any such Amendment was a violation of an understanding, and a mere obstruction to the progress of an inevitable measure;. The majority in the House had treated the Bill from first to last as though it were a foregone conclusion, and had shown themselves impervious and even wholly inaccessible to argument. The Bill was now just about to pass out of their hands to "another place," where he hoped that some of its evils, at least, might be mitigated. But it was highly important that at this juncture there should be a final expression of the opinions entertained by so many hon. Gentlemen as to the character and consequences of the measure so thrust upon them. The Secretary of State for War had declared that this was a Bill for the establishment of religious equality, but it seemed to him nothing more nor less than a deadly blow at all Church Establishments. During the course of the debate the Irish Church had been held up as a nuisance, and a sort of pest to the country, with such an infinite degree of vindictive animosity and hatred, as showed that the Bill was the genuine triumph of those who were the avowed enemies of all Church Establishments in, all places and under all circumstances. The Irish Church was to be stripped of her property, and the cy près claimants declared to be the lunatics and idiots of the country. The President of the Board of Trade, with what seemed to be almost a sneer—though it was not intended as such—justified this forfeiture of Church properly to asylums by declaring that merry was akin to religion; but he (Mr. Adderley) denied that mercy was to be fed by the alienated sustenance of religion or alms to be acceptably taken out of plunder. He did not think the Bill could commend itself to the real sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman's heart or to the logical demands of his reason. They knew from the apology published by the right hon. Gentleman that nothing short of absolute necessity had driven him from the opinions on this subject which he formerly held; he could not willingly unchurch the State; and as to the logical merits of the Bill he must say that, in the course of a now not inconsiderable Parliamentary experience, he could not recollect any Bill so illogical as this, except the right hon. Gentleman's other Bill for the Abolition of Church Rates, which enacted that because some places did not desire or have church rates, others which did desire should not have them. The measure was described as an act of justice, and as a means of; pacification to Ireland. But what justice was there in simple destruction? What pacification in the simple ejection of one of the claimants. This was a policy only calculated to revive old controversies and to occasion fresh ones? Justice, as he understood it, involved something like a consideration of the case on both sides, an adjustment of conflicting claims; and a pacification might, perhaps, follow upon a settlement in which both sides would feel they had obtained, if not all they desired, yet as much as they could reasonably expect in mutual arrangement. Were the Protestants—or, indeed, the Roman Catholics—of Ireland likely to be animated by any such feeling under the operation of this Bill? Its theory—if it had one —was this—that the religious endowments of a nation ought to belong to the, majority of that nation: and that the Roman Catholics were the majority in Ireland. The logical conclusion was, that the endowments of the Irish Protestants ought to be handed over to their more numerous Roman Catholic countrymen; that Protestant ascendancy should be destroyed in order to erect Roman Catholic ascendancy in its place. But the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government shrank from that conclusion, and. in its stead, he took the conclusion of the President of the Board of Trade, drawn from a totally different set of premises—which he equally shrunk from avowing—that all Church Establishments were execrable, and ought to be abolished. As the Bill stood the syllogism it involved was this—that whereas the majority of Irishmen are Roman Catholics, and the Protestant minority are in the possession of endowments which ought to belong to the majority, therefore, all material provision for religion in that country ought henceforth to cease. We were asked to take the Premier's premises, and his Colleague's wholly irrelevant conclusion, and accept them together, and that only because the one dare not avow his conclusion nor the other his premises. And if the logic of the Bill was bad, its consequences were likely to be much worse. He believed that some of the hon. Members who supported this Bill on "voluntary" principles were sincerely desirous of promoting the cause of religion. He asked them to reflect whether they were likely to further the object they had in view by voting for this measure. Might they not in their eagerness to take this opportunity of destroying a Church Establishment be injuring altogether the interests of religion by denuding a third of the kingdom of all its provision? It was meant to pacify Ireland, and the Church was represented as one of the obstacles to that most desirable result. He believed that it was nothing of the kind. The legislation of the last thirty years, by such measures as the Tithes Commutation Act, the Church had been put out of view, and hidden behind the question of the land; but those who had helped to place that screen before her were now among the first to pull it down, and to expose her to renewed assaults. They were, however, forced to rake up the old Penal Laws to re-establish irritation, and revive old feuds. Had this Irish Church Bill done anything in the way of pacification? There were more outrages being committed in Ireland this year than had been committed in any other year for a long time past; and, though few hon. Members had desired to connect those outrages with this measure, he avowed his belief that they were not to be disconnected from some of the language used by Members of the Cabinet. Only recently the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, when violently attacked and therefore on his guard, used in that House words to this effect— I never held a landlord up to odium; I never held the landlords as a body up to odium; but I said, and do say, that the people of Ireland never will be satisfied till they have more possession of the land. [Mr. BRIGHT was understood to intimate his dissent from the accuracy of the right hon. Gentleman's quotation.] He knew what the President of the Board of Trade meant by those words. He knew the right hon. Gentleman meant that what he said was necessary for the Irish people should be brought about by legitimate means: but a Minister of the Crown was never justified in using language without considering how it might be understood by others. Would the people of Ireland take that limited view of the means by which they were to get possession of the land which, no doubt, thy right hon. Gentleman meant? From the first the language used by Ministers in connection with the Irish Church Bill had been violent and revolutionary. It had been such as was calculated to convey to the people of Ireland the impression that Government wore ready to concede everything to the most violent claims of agitators. The language of the original Resolutions which preceded the Suspensory Bill of last Session was of the Delenda est Carthago style—"the Irish Established Church must cease to exist." He doubted not that the Fenians in Ireland were now under the impression that a sort of political Saturnalia had set in—that a Government—to use the actual phrase of the ex-Mayor of Cork—"which had yielded up the Irish Church under the influence of fear" would be prepared, under the same purpose, to sacrifice the Irish landlord. Now, he admitted that the Irish Church was not in all points defensible from the insults which were heaped upon her. Her means were ill-distributed, and her very position had warped her action. No doubt some readjustment of her affairs was necessary, but no one had yet ventured to declare that her revenue was too great for the work before her, if that work was to be thoroughly and efficiently accomplished. The President of the Board of Trade had pointed to the Free Kirk of Scotland, and had bidden the Irish Protestants to follow the example of self-reliance thus set them. But could there be any comparison between a voluntary secession and a violent ejectment? Persons who voluntarily left an endowed Church might be expected to make provision for their own religious wants; but could we reasonably expect to find in men summarily and violently ejected from an Establishment the same zeal, energy, and cooperation in finding a substitute that might be exhibited by religionists who voluntarily set up a Church of their own? Were the zeal of rivalry and cheerfulness of submission equally animating sentiments? Would men be as eager to re-place money in the hands of those who plundered them as to furnish it for their own ambition? Equally untenable was the analogy drawn by the Secretary of State for War between the destruction of the Irish Church and the Act for the repeal of the West India clergy charge upon the Consolidated Fund. The right hon. Gentleman said, "Why not treat Ireland as if she were a colony?" Did he mean that Ireland was to have self-government and her own legislature? The measure adopted in respect of the West India Church, so far from being a disendowment, was a step to the endowing of that Church more entirely out of the funds of its own country; but this Bill would throw the Church of Ireland on private resources. He bad yet to learn that throwing a Church on the local taxation of a country instead of the eleemosynary aid of another country was the same thing as disendowing it. He knew there were men on the Ministerial Benches who desired when the West India Clergy Act was passed to make it go so much further, but they have not dared openly to propose it. Then, again, the case of the Clergy Reserves had been cited in support of the policy of disendowing the Irish Church. But that was also not a case in point, because the Clergy Reserves never were an endowment, nor their commutation a disendowment. There was not the slightest doubt that the Clergy Reserves were first set apart in Canada in order to balance in favour of Protestants the endowments of the Roman Catholic Church. From time to time they had been given to Protestants distributively, not only to the Anglican Church but to the Scotch Church and to Dissenting bodies. They were finally given to Human Catholics also. The Act we passed simply left it to the local Legislature to do what they pleased with them. That is all we did. By the Clergy Reserves Act the Parliament of Canada put an end to the former system, and after securing all life interests to the Church—not on the narrow calculations of the present measure, but so as to leave ample endowments to the Church and other religious bodies—handed over the remainder, which had grown much beyond religious requirements, to the disposal of the municipalities. The adoption of the Clergy Reserves Act by the Parliament of Canada formed the first step towards anything in the shape of an endowment of any religious body, except the Roman Catholics, in Canada. He acknowledged the inutility of attempting to obstruct this Bill, but he could not help observing that, it did not stand at all on its merits, but that it had all along been treated as a foregone conclusion, that the arguments in its favour had from the first been based on false precedents, and that those precedents had supported a wholly illogical syllogism. So far from the objects of the Bill being likely to be attained, the measure, while giving no satisfaction to the Roman Catholics, who were maligned by being thought to be propitiated by mere destruction of all religious provision, would justly irritate the Protestants who were to have their national provision so gratuitously sacrificed.


said, that the arguments employed by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had been misunderstood by the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, because the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War had not cited the cases of Scotland and Canada as precedents of disendowment: but merely for the purpose of showing that when the people of a country were treated as equals the discontent which had previously existed had subsided, and that in the case of the two countries referred to we were now reaping the fruits of the wise and generous policy which we had adopted, and to that argument, he be- lieved, no answer had been given. With regard to the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had been supported by a majority of that House, he was glad to say that so far as he (Mr. Stapleton) knew, their constituents had not in any case found fault with them for the support they had given to this Bill. That was his answer to those who said that though the constituencies had approved of disestablishment and disendowment generally they had not approved of the particular plan of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley)— doubtless without intending it — had paid the highest compliment to the Bill that it was possible to pay, when he said that it had come out of Committee almost unaltered; for the natural inference was that the measure had been originally so skilfully framed that it was impossible to make any material alteration in it without injury to the principle which had been accepted by the majority of that House. The right hon. Gentleman had suggested a preference for some other arrangement; but he (Mr. Stapleton) was at a loss to know what arrangement he meant. Did he propose to follow the arrangement of the Church Commissioners, which suggested that the funds of the Church should be taken from the poorer districts and given to the richer ones? He was at a loss to know what policy could be substituted if this Bill should have the misfortune to be rejected in "another place." The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had no policy, neither had the hon. Member who spoke on the same side, except the policy of a notorious agitator. If the Bill miscarried there was only one policy which could be submitted to the country, and that was the policy advocated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball). No doubt it was a great stroke of genius to conceive such a policy. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire endeavoured by it to attach Roman Catholic Members to the Conservative party; but he must remind the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) that that policy was a Conservative, and not a Protestant policy, and if carried out would inevitably lead to an immense ac- cession of power to the Roman Catholic Church, which would then be in a better position than in Belgium and France. Such a scheme would not be politic; it would go far to confirm the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland in its present ultramontane character. Protestants and Roman Catholics would change places. Now, the Episcopal Protestants had the chief endowment, and the lesser endowments, the Regium Donum and Maynooth, were the buttresses by which it was supported. Under the plan of concurrent endowment the principal endowment would go to the Roman Catholics. they being by far the greatest number. The lesser endowments would be the buttresses by which their greater endowment would be supported. These lesser endowments would only serve to mortify Protestant zeal. The effect on the Roman Catholics would not be reciprocal. They had the peasantry. The aristocracy would be attracted to them by this quasi establishment, and as to the middle classes they had only to look to what was happening in Vienna and elsewhere to see that they were more dangerous to Rome—at least ultramontane Rome—within than without her fold. They should not forget the recent attempt to create a Fenian revolution in Ireland, an attempt which differed from previous movements in the fact that it was carried on in spite of the influence of the Roman Catholic clergy. He knew nothing more humiliating in ecclesiastical history than the connection between the Fenians and the Roman Catholic clergy. In the beginning the Roman Catholic Bishops had gone so far as to refuse the sacraments of their Church to the members of the Fenian brotherhood on the authority of a Papal Bull, which, ipso facto, excommunicated all members of secret societies; and yet, a short time after, when the three men were executed at Manchester, who died without renouncing Fenianism, and who were therefore excommunicated, the priests were compelled to offer up prayers for them in a largo number of Roman Catholic churches. He believed this measure would have pretty much the effect which had been anticipated by the President of the Board of Trade. The Reformation would have a better chance in Ireland than it ever had before, whilst those who continued Roman Catholics— and he (Mr. Stapleton) admitted they would probably be the great bulk of the people—would become a little less Roman than they were now. He would not pretend that of itself it would satisfy Ireland, and no doubt other measures of conciliation would be introduced to effect in conjunction with it the pacification of the country. The outrages which had recently disgraced Ireland deserved special consideration. It might be necessary to adopt strong measures for the detection of crime, and he would offer a suggestion for what it was worth. At present the great difficulty was not so much in the punishment of criminals as in the discovery of those who perpetrated crime. Magistrates could inquire only into matters affecting persons charged before them, and the police could not compel persons to answer questions, but a coroner, in inquiring into the cause of death, could call anyone he chose, and put any question which had a bearing on the matter. Coroners, however, had lost much of their former consideration, for, according to Blackstone, a coroner ought to be a knight, and rank next in the county to the sheriff. The Chief Justice of England was coroner for all England, and could exercise the office of coroner in any part of England; and in Ireland it would be a good thing to call upon Lord Chief Justice Whiteside, either by himself or one of his Colleagues, to hold an inquest in the case of an agrarian murder, and try to discover the perpetrators of it. The Lord Lieutenant, in his proclamation, said there were people at Mullingar who knew all about the murder of Mr. Anketell; and, if so, they could hardly keep their secret when subject to cross-examination by a man like Mr. Justice Keogh. The holding of such an inquest would have a deterrent effect upon those who contemplated murder in the future. It would make it difficult for them to get persons to accept that guilty knowledge to which the Lord Lieutenant alluded. Without that support they would probably shrink from carrying out their designs. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer) on the Bill involved a fallacy; for, while he proved that religious endowments existed, not for the clergy, but for the laity, he assumed that the laity in any particular case must needs be the congregation who attended the clergyman's ministra- tions, whereas the laity embraced the whole body of parishioners, as was admitted in the debates on church rates. What the Protestant laity in Ireland had a right to claim was that the transition from one condition to another should be made as easy as possible. He did not say that the Bill was one which could not be improved; and if improvements were introduced into it they would have an opportunity of considering them at a future time. But he was certain the Bill could not be improved in the direction desired by some hon. Gentlemen opposite. We had respected life interests and given up churches; and if any change were made in the Bill it should be a give-and-take one. If the Irish landlords, who were so well represented in the other House. Avers willing to part with the bonus which had been given them, he thought this House would not be unwilling to forego the charge on the glebes. A further suggestion he would offer was that, as the Papal aggression which produced the Ecclesiastical Titles Act had no reference to Ireland, and Sir Robert Peel admitted it was a great mistake that Ireland was included in that Act, a clause should be introduced in this Bill in the other House repealing the Ecclesiastical Titles Act in Ireland, and repealing also the 24th section of the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which prevented Catholic Bishops in Ireland assuming the titles of Protestant sees. In conclusion, he believed that Protestantism in Ireland would gain new strength from this Bill.


said, that having been sent to Parliament by a large semi-metropolitan constituency (West Kent), in a county whose several divisions had at the late General Election pronounced a unanimous verdict against the policy of Her Majesty's Government, he did not wish to allow that discussion to close before he had endeavoured to express, as their representative, the opinions which he entertained upon that important subject. They were then asked to adopt the principle of disestablishment and disendowment as far as the Irish branch of the Church of this country was concerned. Through frequent repetition the meaning of the words disestablishment and disendowment had become indistinct. He valued the principle of establishment because, as he understood it, it was that the State should have a voice in religious matters, and should express its faith in some form of Christianity, while it took care that some provision should be made for the religious instruction of the people. That was the principle on which these kingdoms had hitherto been governed; and as the object of the Bill was to destroy the Establishment in one portion of Her Majesty's dominions, it would be a departure from that ancient national policy which had largely contributed to shape our institutions and our history. There was an exaggerated doctrine of the Royal Supremacy prevalent in some quarters, and he did not wish to exchange a Papacy in Rome for a Papacy in Downing Street, but he wished for liberty to clergy and laity under the Royal supremacy as in times past. The meaning of an endowment was more clear and unmistakable. The policy of disendowment must mean that henceforth that property which had been appropriated to religious purposes should be diverted from these purposes, and devoted to others of a secular character. He had no objection to the employment of public money for the establishment and management of lunatic asylums and similar institutions; but the question they had then to consider was not whether the purposes to which it was proposed they should apply the funds of the Irish Church were good or bad purposes, but whether they had a right to take that money out of the hands of its present recipients and administrators. If the purpose for which it was at present employed was a bad one, he would admit at once that they possessed such a right; and he was aware that there were Gentlemen — among whom, perhaps, might be ranked the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade —who believed the purpose was a bad one inasmuch as it was simply that of maintaining in a state of ascendancy a particular denomination of Christians. But unless they were prepared to give up altogether the principle of an Establishment they could not object to the application of certain public funds to religious objects. He did not believe that the funds of the Irish Chinch were too large for the requirements of that body, and unless they were ready to dispense with every kind of security for the maintenance of a religious Establishment in Ireland, they would not be justified in seizing on the funds of the Protestant Episcopal Church in that country. He found that among the supporters or admirers of the Church Establishment was Matthew Henry, the celebrated Nonconformist divine, and commentator, who gave thanks to God for the national establishment of our religion with that of our peace and civil liberty, "that the Reformation was in our land a national act, and that Christianity thus purified is supported by good and wholesome laws, and is twisted in with the very constitution of our Government." Those Gentlemen opposite who were dissenters from the Church—and who seemed to aim at disestablishment as a principle— would, he believed, do well to weigh carefully the opinion thus expressed by an eminent member of their own connection. He would put it, too, to the supporters of the Bill whether Members who opposed it were not justified in representing that as only a step in a direction in which many others were to follow. The course pursued by Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House irresistibly led to that conclusion. His experience in Parliament had not been long; but he believed those most experienced would regard the manner in which this sweeping measure had been carried through the House as a most remarkable incident in Parliamentary history. With regard to the conduct of Her Majesty's Government towards their opponents, he had no desire to raise any complaint or quarrel. They had received the arguments put forward by the Members of the Conservative party in a spirit of fairness and moderation, although they had not at the same time made any large concessions. But the First Minister of the Crown, who had been kind to his opponents, had been a hard taskmaster to his Friends and followers. Every symptom of disaffection on the part of those Gentlemen had been met by prompt and decisive repression. The House had thus seen on more than one occasion the hon. Member for the City of Dublin (Mr. Pim) go out into the Lobby and vote against his own Amendments; and the hon. Member for Rochester (Mr. P. Wykeham Martin) who had at first taken a lenient and considerate view of the position of the Irish clergy, had in a similar way yielded to the authority of those whom the Prime Minister had described as the "usual sources of information." The motto of those who used these occult influences over the Members of the party opposite appeared to be the well-known one of Winchester School— Aut disco aut discede. He doubted indeed whether even the humiliating option of the sors tertia had been conceded to them. And he was not sure whether the humiliating sors tertia had not in this case been preserved. He congratulated the Government on the extreme discipline they had thus maintained. The Opposition had been taunted with suggesting the destruction of Establishments which supporters of the Government might otherwise not have desired to attack; but he did not suppose their opponents wanted prompting, because no one could run over their names without coming to the conclusion that they were pledged to a course of complete disestablishment and disendowment. Besides the so described "thick-and-thin supporters" of the Government there were others below the Gangway of various shades of opinion who were enemies at least to Episcopal Establishment. Roman Catholic Members would not deny that they were, of course, opposed to the establishment of the English Church, and Wales had sent a large body of Nonconformists as opponents of the principle of Establishment in every shape. Wales had even refused to send the Home Secretary to this House, though his Conservative tendencies could not be said to be of the most alarming character. Bristol and Bradford were examples, also, of the strength of the same party. When the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. Morley) was examined before the Committee of the House of Lords in 1859, he stated in reply to Lord Wensleydale that he objected to a State religion altogether, and being asked as to the ultimate objects of those with whom he was associated, he said he believed the great object was to separate religion from the slightest connection with the State—that they were of opinion that Church property was national property, and should he dealt with according to the judgment of the nation. Such were the sentiments of the hon. Member for Bristol ten years ago, and, looking at the way in which things had proceeded from that time to this, he could not doubt that those views, then shared by few Members of that House, were now held by no inconsiderable number. He knew Her Majesty's Government could not dispense with the support of those hon. Gentlemen. He also knew that there were, sitting on the Treasury Bench, right hon. Gentlemen who, if asked in private, the true sentiments of their hearts, would not disguise that these were the ultimate objects at which they aimed. But believing, as he did, that the establishment of religion in these islands and the holding sacred the endowments set apart for its support had been among the greatest ornaments of our institutions and had assisted to form some of the brightest pages in our history, and believing, too, that this measure was in direct hostility to those principles, he could not forbear, whenever an opportunity presented itself, to say "No" to this disastrous measure.


said, the conclusion of the able speech of the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot) evidently showed that his feeling with regard to that measure was dictated, not by a consideration of the interests of Ireland or of the Irish people, but by a dread that the effect of disestablishment and disendowment in Ireland would react upon England. But if the hon. Gentleman had reflected for a few moments he would have seen the manifest distinction which existed between the Establishments of the two countries. The English Establishment confessed the faith of the nation, it cemented the different orders of society together, it created no jealousies, it was loved by the people. The Irish Establishment separated and divided the people; it did not confess, but it opposed the national faith, and therefore no argument drawn from the one Establishment could be fairly applied to the other. The hon. Member stated that every Roman Catholic Member of that House was opposed to the English Establishment. Now, had the hon. Member sat longer in the House he would never have made such a mistake. When he (Mr. Monsell) had had the honour of addressing the House on these subjects, heat all events —and he believed he expressed the feeling of other Roman Catholic Members— disclaimed the slightest desire to attack or injure in any way the Establishment in England. The Roman Catholic Members considered that it lived by the national will, that it represented the national faith, and that it would be un- worthy of them to attempt, upon any religious ground, to overthrow that which the nation had established, and which it desired should continue to exist. He wished next to advert to some observations of his right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) as to the effect of the abolition of the Clergy Reserves in Canada. His right hon. Friend seemed to think that that was rather an endowment of the Church than a disestablishment. Why. it was notorious that the result of that measure was to take away considerable funds from the Episcopal, and he believed also from the Presbyterian Church; and he would read the opinion expressed by the Protestant Bishop of Toronto on the Act for the Abolition of the Clergy Reserves, an opinion which would be found to have a very close resemblance to some of the denunciations lately levelled in Ireland against the measure now before the House The Bishop said— Popular violence is to determine the question; vested interests and the claims of justice are impediments to be swept away; hence the spoliation sought to be perpetrated by the Legislature of Canada has no parallel in colonial history. Now, it was important to consider what had been the effect of the establishment of perfect justice in regard to religious endowments in Canada. They all knew what before that time was the state of Canada; they knew the bitter religious animosities which had prevailed in that country, and the political disaffection which had so often called for the attention of that House. To show the change that had taken place, he would mention only a single fact. In the Province of Ottawa there was an enormous Protestant majority, chiefly consisting of Presbyterians; and yet since the period of the foundation of that Province the Prime Minister of Ottawa had been a Catholic. In the Province of Quebec the Catholic majority was preponderant; yet from the time when the Province of Quebec was established there have been in the Government four Protestant Members. That showed that those religions animosities, and that introduction of religion into politics which were the curse and bane of both, had disappeared in Canada, under the influence of justice and equality. And if they could only have in Ireland what Canada had in those particulars, the advancement of that county in civilization and everything they desired would not be exceeded by that of any country in the world. The right hon. Member for North Staffordshire, and the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), had both stated that the measures taken by the Government had in no degree mitigated disaffection in Ireland, and the noble Lord endeavoured to prove that assertion by saying that Ireland now ran red with the blood shed in agrarian crime. Now, this agrarian crime, horrible and deplorable as it was, prevailed happily in only two districts in Ireland; and, moreover, it had no more to do with political disaffection, or with animosity against the Government of this country than the vendetta in Corsica had to do with the Government of France, or garroting in the streets of London with Free Trade. The measure before the House did not propose or attempt-to deal with the causes of agrarian crime; it proposed to deal with political disaffection; and he could state on his own knowledge, from information that he had received from various parts of Ireland, that the result of the measure in regard to allaying political disaffection had already been greater than oven the most sanguine could have expected. What was the state of Ireland before his right hon. Friend (the First Lord of the Treasury) brought forward his Bill? They knew from Lord Mayo's statement that among the lower class in three Provinces there existed almost-universal disaffection. There the mass of the people looked to Washington and not to that House for relief; they turned away from the Imperial Parliament; they said there was no hope of redress from the English Government, as they called it, and that Ireland was not governed according to the wishes, feelings, or interests of her people, but that her legitimate inspirations were sacrificed to English prejudices. That feeling had altogether changed. He could state most distinctly that all that was going on in that House was looked to with the greatest possible interest by the people of Ireland; that those who had been strongest in their belief that the English Government never would do anything for Ireland, now turned with hope to that House, and believed that their grievances would be redressed; and, he maintained that so remarkable a change having occurred in so short a time was a sufficient justification of the measure and policy of his right hon. Friend. But the noble Lord said that measure was carried by Roman Catholic votes. Now, he (Mr. Monsell) stated deliberately that with the framing of that Bill or with the discussions upon it the Roman Catholic Members had almost nothing to do. It had been the work of Protestants in every particular; and that was a part of the matter which he thought reflected honour and credit on the people of this country. If they abstracted the small number of Roman Catholic Members of the House from the overwhelming majorities which had pronounced in favour of it, the result would remain very much the same as it now was. What must be the effect upon the progress of religious liberty throughout the world when a nation like ours was seen rising up as they were now doing, and, although Protestants themselves, determining to do to others that which they would that others should do to them, and to relieve the Catholic people of Ireland from this great injustice? He should like to hear from some hon. Gentlemen opposite what hope they entertained of being able to induce the people of this country to reverse the decision which they had pronounced? The people of this country had proved themselves just by the course they had taken in regard to this measure; but he was afraid there were too many recollections of old feuds and differences to make them particularly in love with the Irish people, and he was sure that their feeling respecting the Catholic religion was not one of very cordial admiration. Therefore the conclusion of the English people in reference to this matter was due not to enthusiastic feeling of any kind, but to a deep sense of justice and the investigation of the facts of the case by studying those organs of public opinion which had popularized the information lately published under the direction of the Master of the Rolls, bearing on the question of the foundation and history of the Irish Church. The people of England now knew that that Church was founded in opposition to the will of the Irish people, and that, as Mr. Froude remarked, there was hardly a single honest supporter of it in Ireland at the time it was established. The Act of Parliament under which it was established imposed terms on its ministers which no Catholic could accept, and so transferred the Irish ecclesiastical endowments from the Catholic to the Protestant Church as effectually as we should transfer them back again if we were to make subscription to the creed of Pope Pius a necessary condition for holding ecclesiastical benefices. Against that Protestant Church the Irish people had maintained a continual protest. Every time the strong arm of England was removed from them, as in 1645 and 1690, the first thing the Irish did was to resume possession of the churches. Indeed, every Irish gentleman must admit that there was not a single parish in three of the four Provinces in Ireland, the inhabitants of which, if left to themselves, would tolerate the existence of the Establishment among them. How, then, could it be hoped to change the opinions which from the consideration of facts like these the English people had formed? He was as much interested as hon. Gentlemen opposite in the security of life and property in Ireland; but he thought there could be no greater calamity than would arise if the horrors of religious strife, which must be caused by a Bill like this, were prolonged by the progress of the measure being arrested for a few months. There was one question which he wished to submit to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and if they could reply to it affirmatively, their arguments would carry much greater weight than they did at present. He wished to know from hon. Gentlemen opposite whether, if the circumstances were reversed and their co-religionists were placed in the same position that the Catholics of Ireland were in—if the Catholics wore only a ninth of the population, but were in possession of the whole of the churches and all the religious property of the country—would they tolerate that state of things for a single hour? He believed they would resort to every means in their power—that no agitation would be too fierce—in order to effect an alteration in a state of things which they would feel to be unjust. If so, they had no right to place Irish Catholics in a position which they would not accept themselves. As long as the Established Church existed in Ireland as a badge of conquest it would be impossible to hope to have peace and security in that country. He trusted hon. Gentlemen would not regard this as a religious question; but that they would deal with it on the pure broad principle of justice, and as a matter in. which the credit and. conscience of the nation was involved, not considering whether the result of the measure would be to advance the interests of any particular religion in Ireland. Indeed, he believed that no man could say what would be the religious effect of separating the Protestant Church from the injustice with which it was at present connected; and of dissolving that close and intimate political union which must exist among the Catholics as long as that injustice bound them together. He was quite sure the Catholics of Ireland would look with far more favour upon the State, and be more ready to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the State if the State treated them with justice. In the name of justice, therefore, he made his appeal to the House, believing in his conscience that until this measure was carried there could not be peace and prosperity in Ireland. Ireland could never take her place among the nations till Parliament removed from her brow that badge of inferiority which was placed on the brow of no other nation. And if he might be allowed to apply the words of Lord Bacon to this subject he would say— If God bless our kingdom with peace and justice no usurer is so sure in seven years' space to double his principal with interest as the kingdom is to double its stock of wealth, for peace and justice are sisters that are never separated.


* Sir, the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken (Mr. Monsell) has asked whether anyone on this side of the House can blame the Roman Catholics of Ireland for advocating and supporting this Bill? If the right hon. Gentleman had asked whether anyone censured the Roman Catholics of Ireland for desiring a variation in the ecclesiastical arrangements of the country, I should have answered him by saying. "No one." They, like every other portion of the community, have a clear right to put forward what they believe to be their just claims. But when the question is confined to this particular measure, I tell him I do not believe that they, any more than any other Church, are justified in advocating this particular measure; for its main and cardinal principle is as much opposed to the views of the great authorities of the Roman Catholic Church as it is to those of the Church of England—indeed, I believe it to be op- posed to the opinions of every Church in the world, except such none on forming bodies as adopt the system of maintaining religion by voluntary contributions as a part of their tenets. Sir, this main and cardinal principle of the pro- sent Bill, which, I say, stands in direct antagonism to the ideas and, perhaps still more, to the feelings of every Church, is ostentatiously proclaimed in the Pre- amble to the present Bill in words which, the Prime Minister has been pleased in his speech on its introduction to say—are written in letters of iron—namely, that the property heretofore dedicated to religious purposes shall henceforth be applied, "not for the maintenance of any Church or clergy, or other ministry, nor for the teaching of religion." And all the details of this Bill, whether they consist of the destroying clauses for the overthrow of the Establishment, or of the constructive clauses appropriating this property for the relief of suffering or otherwise for the benefit of objects of general benevolence, are but moans to an end—that end being to carry into operation this essential principle of the measure. Sir, we do not judge — for myself I have no title to do so, and if I had I should be little inclined—those who support the Bill either as thinking the policy on which it is founded right, or, though not what they would prefer, inevitable. I respect many of its eminent advocates, and, I hope, do justice to their motives. But neither respect for them, nor the large majorities in this House in favour of both the principle and the details of this measure, nor the arguments derived from considerations of expediency urged during its progress, have shaken the conviction which we at this side of the House entertain; the conviction that at the root of the whole question — the question whether you are to confiscate for secular purposes endowments dedicated to the maintenance of the teachers of religion—there lies something too deep to be measured by any guage or standard known to mere political philosophy. Sir, it was no consideration of expediency, no prudential foresight of states- men, that originally gave endowments of this character. They sprang wholly and altogether from a religious impulse—an impulse not only superior to the calculations of self-interest, but based upon the absolute negation of such motives. They are not peculiar to any country or any social system. One after another, every Christian kingdom in Europe has set apart, out of the general property of the community, a portion reserved as a fixed and permanent estate dedicated to the maintenance of religious teaching. It was in this spirit such property was originally created, in this it has been preserved; and, by this protected, it has survived innumerable mutations and vicissitudes of government. It is with this religious spirit we now come in contact. It is against its very existence that alike the principle and the provisions of this Bill are aimed. You do not reform the institution which is in possession of the property conferred by its bounty; you do not re-distribute the property among other religious communities; you destroy the institution and confiscate the property. In this you are making a precedent—a precedent in your own history; a precedent in European history; a precedent fruitful of consequences to yourselves, to all countries and to all times; for what is the country and what the time to which the influence of your example may not reach? Heretofore, you may have varied the objects to receive, never the original purposes; you may have varied the mode of application; and the persons through whom to apply it, never before directed the application into a totally different channel, and accompanied it by a declaration that no property derived from public sources, no gift of a public character shall be devoted to the support of religion or religious worship. In such a policy it is impossible for us to participate. Nay, it is indispensable that we should by our votes this night relieve ourselves from the responsibility of giving such a measure even a passive assent. Sir, it is to express these opinions, and explain why, after the triumphant progress of the Bill in this House, we still continue our opposition, and not in order to re-open the debates and discussions which have taken place in reference to its provisions, that I have risen. But without departing from this subject, or entering upon topics on which so much has been already said, I may glance at the inconsistent character of the reasonings of the advocates of this measure—one party supporting it upon the ground that it is right in principle, the other because, although not what they approve, it is unavoidable. Those who take the former view, oppose all endowments from the State; indeed, some go so far as to object to endowments of any kind, and seem to consider all assistance of that nature as more an incumbrance than an aid to the progress of religion. Thus we are reminded that the first missionaries of Christianity were not many wise nor many noble; that they laboured under the disadvantages of personal humility and poverty; that so far from having the support of power and authority, they encountered their most determined hostility. But such an illustration if applied to guide modern legislation, can lead only to fallacious inferences. The first ages of Christianity were an exceptional period in the world's history, a period of miraculous inspiration and interposition. The teachers of the new religion, whatever their original position or opportunities, appeared on the scenes of their exertions, accomplished not merely with all the advantages which mental cultivation could confer, but with gifts and capacities differing in kind, as well as in degree. We cannot reason from an exceptional period; we cannot anticipate the same results without the same causes; we are to provide for men not under the operation of special and peculiar circumstances, but for ordinary men, in ordinary times, under ordinary influences; and when it is with such men, such limes, such influences we have to deal, I say, that to withdraw all endowments, and along with them the elevated thought, refined cultivation, and high intellectual acquirements which flourish—and experience shows flourish only—under the shelter of endowments, must inflict the most damaging blow that could be struck against the cause of Christianity, in the contest which is being waged upon its behalf against the irreverent and sceptical spirit now abroad, hostile to all belief and to every creed. And here let me observe, that, in the tone and manner in which this advocacy of free and unendowed Churches has been conducted, there is nothing calculated to reconcile us to these views, or abate our fears of the consequences of their adoption. We have heard it more than suggested that the clergy of every denomination—the whole clerical order—are by no means conducive to social improvement; their opinions on social questions have been designated "ecclesiastical rubbish;" in fact, we are told that we have got very little more from all their labours. When we hear this and observations of the like kind accompanying the assertion of the religious superiority of unendowed Churches, and observe the quarter from which they proceed, I own it does seem rather a severe draft on our charity—I had almost said credulity—when we are asked to attribute the opinions advanced to a genuine affection for apostolic poverty and mortification, and not in some degree to that envious eye which in every age democratic ambition has cast upon the distinctions and emoluments which have been appropriated by a policy as wise as just, for the reward of learning, and piety, and virtue. Sir, the other party who support this Bill have not the slightest sympathy with these views; they prefer endowments, they recognize the benefit of Establishments, but allege that in the present case their abolition is demanded by the requirements of State necessity. Without pausing to comment on the discrepancy and opposition between these two classes of supporters of the Bill, or of the natural distrust we may feel of discordant and contradictory counsels, I come to consider what, after all, is this State necessity? Not that I deny there may be occasions when a statesman must bend to circumstances —when not the measure that he would, but the measure that he can, may have to be produced; nor that I am prepared to exclude even the question of a Church Establishment from this rule. But that, while conceding you cannot either on this or any other political question lay down one universal policy for every age and every country, I do also assert that if there be endowments, if there be an Establishment, if there be thus maintained religious teaching, carrying in its train civilization of the highest character, the moral and the social improvement of, if not the whole, a large and influential portion of the community— the last resource of the statesman will be its destruction. It is one thing to reform, it is another to destroy. It is one thing to re-edify, or re-build, or re- mould; it is another to level to the ground, unable to renew or to construct— the architect merely of ruin. But what is the alleged State necessity? Public opinion and feeling in Ireland! Against assertions of this kind, place the remarkable declaration read in the course of his able speech this evening by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), emanating from the Meath Tenant Right Association, of which Bishop Nulty is a member. In that declaration it was stated that the sole question for Ireland is the land question, and that the introduction of the Church question was only calculated to create religious animosity, and to lead to controversies between landlord and tenant in that country. Such was, in 1865, the opinion of the Roman Catholic people of Meath, announced through their Bishop and clergy. Such, at this moment, I believe to be the opinion of all dispassionate observers. Where, then, is the State necessity arising from Irish feeling? But if not Irish, it may be averred English Liberal opinion and feeling coercively dictated this measure. Have you even this to justify it? In the month of February last year (Earl Russell), a former Prime Minister, and the unquestionable chief of that Liberal party whom he had so often led to victory, addressed a letter to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in which he says that the introduction of the voluntary system into Ireland would be attended with great disadvantages. Another Leader of the Liberal party (Earl Grey), also addressed a letter to the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Bright) before the Resolutions of last year were brought forward, in which he expressly states that he would regard it as a great calamity that any people should be left without endowments for their clergy, or that a nation should be divested of that acknowledgment of religion which such endowments imply. Here, then, is what is called State necessity. Not only is this measure not demanded by the Roman Catholics of Ireland, but it is pointed out to be subordinate to another. Not only is it unsought by English Liberal opinion, but it is expressly condemned by two great Leaders of the Whig party. I have searched in the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite to see in what this State necessity really consists, and I have. I believe, discovered from those speeches that in which it had its origin. I find it more than once asserted that the Earl of Mayo, by his speech on the Irish question last year, necessitated the development of the present policy. How? The Earl, no doubt, in that speech came forward and shadowed out—I say shadowed out, for he did not in any distinct form propose—a line of policy which had been initiated by Pitt, and. re-affirmed by Canning and Peel, and which he expressed by declaring his "preference for elevation and restoration to confiscation and degradation, as a means of effecting equality in the position of Churches." Place whatever construction you please on these words, you cannot deny that, even if they did not go so far, they, at all events, tended in the same direction, as your own Leaders, Earl Russell and Earl Grey, had publicly, in the writings I have cited, pronounced they were prepared to go. How, then, could Lord Mayo's speech create a necessity for the present directly opposite and contradictory policy? Plainly none, so far as the nation was concerned; plainly much, so far as the interests of party were involved. These interests it was, and those only, which required that you should forthwith produce something different from his polity, something that should go further. Such a necessity and such motives it is a misuse of language to dignify with the name of State necessity and State motives — they are nothing higher or better than mere party necessity and party motives. But even if I were to concede that which I utterly deny — that you could show some State necessity for the measure—I ask what State necessity was there for the extreme severity, the harshness and unrelenting rigour with which it has been framed? I am not speaking of existing life interests, because, while dissenting from some of the conclusions at which they arrived, I at once acknowledge that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, and the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland have given considerate attention to any suggestions made on behalf of individual interests; but what I am complaining of is, that in dealing with an institution which has been for three centuries rooted in the soil, and which has exercised within its own sphere of operation the most beneficial, social and moral influence, you have without the slightest need adopted such a policy. I do not, however, Sir, as I have already stated, mean to advert at length to the reasons brought forward for this measure, nor do I desire to urge again those which have on former occasions been advanced against it. But in connection with this plea of a State necessity—the only justification of the Bill which, if there was anything in the condition of the country to support it, would deserve discussion—I may be permitted to direct attention to the testimony which such a plea gives in favour of the Irish Church. Other religious institutions, in this country and in several of the Continental kingdoms, have felt the hand of power. There are few, very few of them, in respect of which something in their condition, as exorbitant wealth, sloth and apathy in the discharge of duty, internal corruption, or other default, were not assigned as motives to legislative interference. But in the case of the Irish Church this blow has been struck, and if the Church is to fall, it will fall, not through any misconduct of her clergy, or any failure of theirs in the discharge of duty, but in consequence of external pressure and necessity. Whatever may be the result of the Parliamentary struggle in which we are engaged, this consolation will remain. It is to the honour of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister that he has given his testimony—and no one has realized a loftier ideal of the clerical character— to the worth and merits of the Irish clergy. So, also, has a Roman Catholic Prelate, Bishop Moriarty, in a tribute honourable to them and to himself, spoken of them as "blameless, estimable, and edifying, accomplished scholars, and polished gentlemen." And holding the office of an ecclesiastical Judge in the largest province in Ireland—an office necessitating a knowledge of every default—I may perhaps be allowed to add my voice and testimony to then-merits, and speaking with all the experience and opportunity of observation I have had, I fearlessly place the character, the intellectual attainments, the purity of life and doctrine of the clergy of the Irish Church in competition with those of any other body of men engaged in the clerical vocation in any other country or at any other time. The one single accusation that has been, or that can be, made against the institution as a religious institution is, that it has failed in obtaining support from, and in converting to its views, a large majority of the people of Ireland. For myself, however, I am not prepared to adopt as a legitimate charge against any Church that it has failed to convince of the soundness of its doctrine those who are brought up, not under its ministration, but under other and adverse instruction. I do not recognize it as a fault in the teacher that he cannot make the whole nation of the same opinion as himself. The world has never seen, and is never likely to see, except under a system of universal indifferentism, absolute uniformity of religious profession. And I must remind the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), who advanced this argument against the Irish Church, and who characterized it as being stricken with the curse of perpetual barrenness, that Protestantism itself has not throughout the European kingdoms advanced its territories in any sensible degree since a period shortly after the Reformation; and, therefore, if this is a charge against the Irish Church, the whole Protestant religious community, of which both the right hon. Gentleman and myself are members, must share it with them. I do not, then, deny the failure of the Irish clergy to bring within their congregations the native population; but I do deny that this touches, or ought to influence, our estimate of the piety, learning, and oilier merits of the Irish clergy. Even, however, if the observations of the right hon. Gentleman as to the degree of missionary success attained by the Irish clergy were entitled to more weight than I submit they are, yet there would, in making our estimate of their services, remain to be weighed no inconsiderable contributions from this body to the interests of literature and science, and the general benefit and information of mankind. Ireland and the Irish Church are the country and Church of Usher and Berkeley; and from them to the distinguished Prelate (Bishop Magee) whom the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire selected to place in one of your own sees, that Church has never wanted an illustrious succession of ministers eminent in every accomplishment of eloquence and knowledge. Nor is it the least of the advantages of our connection with the sister ecclesiastical Establishment that we have added to these some of its greatest names, and adorned the annals of Ireland by the adoption among its sons of such men as Jeremy Taylor and Whately; that we may claim as our own the apostolic piety of Bedell, and the princely munificence of Boulter and of Robinson. And, Sir, it is because we know and appreciate the value of an institution which has given us so many benefits, because we believe that in the maintenance of an endowed clergy we have the best guarantee for social and religious improvement, because we distrust—and everything that occurs increases that distrust—your prophecy of peace and harmony, because we believe that the soundest policy, and something above and beyond policy, demand that we should retain for their proper uses the endowments dedicated to religion, that we now at this last stage of its progress through the Commons' House, feel it to be our duty to again place on record our solemn dissent and our determined opposition to this Bill.


said, the Bill had been called by a great variety of hard names. The hon. Member who had opened the debate (Mr. Holt) had said, for instance, that it was unparalleled, unconstitutional, and revolutionary. His own opinion was that this last term was one that it most certainly deserved, and that was one of its chief titles to support. ["Oh, oh!"] It was the introduction of an entirely new mode of dealing with the Irish question—a mode which had been summarized in the formula—"We must legislate for Ireland according to Irish ideas." If that formula, however, really expressed what they wished to do, he could only say that they had better let Irishmen legislate for themselves; but what he supposed was meant was that they should legislate for Ireland according to Irish conditions. The difference between the two phrases was considerable. If they legislated for the Irish Church according to Irish ideas, they would make over all the ecclesiastical property of the country to the priests; whereas the Hill proposed to do nothing of the sort. If they legislated on the land question according to Irish ideas, they would legislate the Lord knew how; but if they legislated on it according to Irish conditions, their object would, at least, have practical limits, and it would be confined to an endeavour to put the tenant, in a country where there was no land custom, on a footing of equality with the tenant in England, where land customs prevailed with mutual benefit to the owner and the occupier. If they legislated on education according to Irish ideas, they would hand over the moral government of the country to the votaries of a system on which the great majority of the people of this country looked with distrust; but if they legislated according to Irish conditions they would maintain that mixed system which, if not by any instantaneous or miraculous process, would yet, by the silent working of natural laws, do more to remove religious discord than could be effected by any other mode that they could adopt. Hon. Members talked as if they looked on Ireland, not as she was. as an integral part of the United Kingdom, but as if she was a sort of chemical constituent of it; whereas, if they would successfully grapple with the difficulties which they had to encounter, they would legislate for her in the spirit of a federal Government. If they were to adopt the same principle in Ireland which they had done in Scotland, in his opinion they might look for equally satisfactory results. The peculiarity of Ireland was that its people were not homogeneous, but they never would become so as long as the minority were supported by the whole weight and power of the United Kingdom. He had the greatest possible respect for Irish Protestants, whom he believed to be the finest race under the face of the sun, but he should cease to entertain that respect for them if he believed what was stated by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), that theirs was a qualified allegiance, to be thrown to the winds if they were deprived of their privileges and predominant influence. Throughout these lengthened debates there had been many arguments about the abstract value of the connection between Church and State, and of the Royal Supremacy, but there had been very little reference of any sort to the applicability to Ireland of the Church. Establishment. They had been told that this Bill was in direct contravention of the Treaty of Union and the Coronation Oath. Now, if these arguments were worth anything they went to show that, under no supposable circumstance whatever, had Parliament the right to change the existing state of things. Supposing the Protestants of Ireland were reduced to half-a-dozen families, did hon. Gentleman mean to say that, even then, it would not be right to disestablish and disendow the Irish Church? That was, he thought, a reductio ad absur-dum of these transcendental arguments. The opinion of Dr. Chalmers, quoted by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire, as to the value of the Irish Church as an instrument of civilization, was based, of course, upon its character as a missionary Church. If it could be proved that the Irish Church had been making converts, then there might be some reason for continuing it under State patronage and support; but it was a well-known fact that, as a missionary Church, it had entirely failed. Since 1760 the disproportion of Protestants and Roman Catholics had very considerably increased; and, there-fore, it was in vain to argue that it was at all likely to succeed as a missionary Church while the present state of things continued. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Dr. Ball) said that want of success was no disqualification to a religious community. But this question was entirely political; and he believed that the abolition of the Irish Church Establishment would, by a gradual process, allay political and religious discord, and would, in connection with other measures, inaugurate a new era in Ireland, introduce peace and tranquillity amongst a people now, unhappily, too much discontented, and add to the stability and greatness of the country. For these reasons he had all through given his support to the Bill, though it might be impossible for him to approve of every provision contained in it. He thought the weak point of the Bill was the way it dealt with the surplus, appropriating a part of it to purposes already provided for, and handing over the tithes eventually to a body which had no right to receive it, but that was a small point. Better far let the whole of the surplus be thrown into the sea, than that they should continue a system which, more than anything else, tended to create differences amongst Irishmen, and prevented that common concord in the country which was so absolutely necessary for its welfare.


said, he thought there was no slight inconsistency in sitting upon the Opposition Benches and uttering arguments such as the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Butler-Johnstone) had just addressed to the House, for if there were any one point more than another in which Conservatism consisted, it was in the maintenance of the Protestant institutions of the country, especially of the Established Church. Sitting as he himself did below the Gangway, and differing in many points from the Leader of the Conservative party, he yet felt that he could not continue to sit on the Opposition side of the House if he did not oppose the Irish Church Bill of the Government. He opposed the Bill because he believed in the truth of the Protestant religion. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite might laugh; but he repeated his assertion that he for one believed in the truth of the Protestant religion, and, further, that nothing which might be done by Her Majesty's present Government, or by any other Government, would crush out the spirit of Protestantism. The Bill before the House was not the same issue which was before the country at the time of the General Election. The people of England had never expected that Maynooth was to be dealt with in the manner it had been, and the Scotch Members, though not unwilling to subsidize Maynooth out of the funds of the Irish Church, would think very differently if the money came out of their own pockets. He protested not less strongly against the proposal of concurrent endowment, which he had heard with regret advanced from the front Bench on his side of the House, and which was also recommended in an able article in the Quarterly Review, that referred with approval to the views of the right hon. Gentlemen the Members for Buckinghamshire and for Dublin University, as following in the steps of Mr. Pitt and Mr. Addington. He, for one, was not afraid to face the Protestant democracy of the country; and he had no doubt that if, at some future day, the Archbishop of Westminster or of Dublin sought to rest upon the present levelling-down policy as the basis of Establishment for the Roman Catholic Church, he would be stoutly resisted by that Protestant democracy. He admitted that the Irish Church needed some reform, but he denied that it was neces- sary to destroy it altogether. He differed from many hon. Members as to the Royal Supremacy. If the Church of Ireland were to be disestablished and disendowed it must be free to legislate for itself, and not be trammelled by State interference. Having recently returned from the North of Ireland, he could state that the vast majority of the Protestants in that country were strongly opposed to the Bill. A large meeting had been held to declare against it. He would admit that it was an Orange meeting, but they were a brave, loyal, and determined race; true Irishmen, and as strongly attached to the institutions of the country as any class of the community. They now thought them- selves very hardly treated by this country. The promises held out that their religion was to be maintained had been broken without their being guilty of any act entitling them to such treatment, and in their name and his own he strenuously protested against the present measure. They had maintained at some risk, as a colony almost in a hostile country, the supremacy of the Crown. If there was to be a separation from England, if the disestablishment of the Church was to be followed by the disunion of the Slate, then he believed that the Protestants of Ireland would be perfectly well able to take care of themselves.


said, that he had on a former occasion pointed out the Free Church of Scotland as an example to be followed by the disestablished Church of Ireland. He had since found that the statistics he then quoted from memory were perfectly correct. The smallest stipend given by the Free Church was £150 a year, while the average stipend of 870 clergymen was somewhere about £250 a year. The Free Church, which had only been established twenty-six years, now consisted of 954 clergymen. It was a missionary Church, and in addition to its regular churches had a large number of mission churches, the ministers assisting in which were not supported out of the Sustentation Fund. With regard to the United Presbyterian Church, there was at one time an idea that that Church would not succeed, but it had now 750 congregations in Scotland. The Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church raised between them £740,000 a year, which he took to be considerably more than the endowments of the whole Irish Church. These facts should encourage the members of the Protestant Establishment of Ireland to trust to their own resources and to the Protestant faith.


Whatever may be the condition of the Sustentation Fund to which the hon. Member alludes, the Sustentation Fund of this debate seems to be nearly exhausted. I trust, therefore, that the House will think that I have not intruded at too early a period, if I ask their permission to make a few observations before the vote is taken. I was struck recently, when meeting a Member of this House who has long been absent, and who, during that period, has filled, in a distinguished manner, eminent posts in the service of his Sovereign, by his remark that, on returning to the House of Commons, after more than thirty years' absence, he found we were debating the very same subject as when he left it—Ireland! Ireland! Ireland! In those days, when the disorders and discontents of a portion of the Irish people were brought under the consideration of Parliament, there was only one specific for the grievances then alleged and the disturbances then felt. Statesman and agitator, Whigs and Tories, all agreed that the causes of these discontents and disturbances were political, and therefore that the remedy for them must be of the same character. So, year after year, specifics of that kind were brought forward by Ministers—Parliamentary Reform. Municipal Reform, Jury Reform, great schemes of National Education, and great systems of National Polite—all of them to ameliorate the condition of the people of Ireland. Yet, nevertheless, this was ever discovered, that periodically, notwithstanding all these measures of improvement, Parliament found itself in the same position, and was obliged to introduce an Arms Bill or to pass an Insurrection Act; and this was because all public men and all parties persisted in shutting their eyes to the real cause of Irish disturbance and discontent. None of them would recognize that it was a physical cause, and produced by physical circumstances, which, probably, no statesman and no party could attempt to encounter or to remedy. Yet the simple cause is now better understood, and we know that that disturbance and discontent were occasioned by this fact—that more than a quarter of the people of Ireland consisted of paupers, and paupers in a helpless condition. On a square mile in Ireland, with reference to the cultivated portion of the country, there was a population greater than is to be found in any European or even any Asiatic country. This population depended for their subsistence upon the humblest means that probably any race of men ever existed upon. All these facts are now recognized, and some light can be thrown on the state of Ireland. But, at that period, those who had to consider it were perplexed and appalled by the difficulties they had to encounter. They had recourse to political palliatives, and they trusted they might at least gain time. When you conceive the position of a country where one-fourth, and more than one-fourth, of the population were paupers, and paupers in a hopeless condition—when you know, as may be proved by documents on this table, that there were 600,000 families in Ireland who were only employed for twenty out of the fifty-two weeks in the year, you can form some idea of a national condition which does not now prevail in any part of Europe. Recollect, also, that this population in this state of extreme adversity was not a stolid one, brutalized by their condition, as has sometimes happened in other parts of Europe, but a nation of much susceptibility, of quick feeling and imagination, ready to place themselves under the leading of any impassioned orator who called upon them to assemble and discuss the grievances of their country, or quick to yield to all the subdolous machinery which constitutes a secret society. And so you had in Ireland gigantic public meetings on a scale that never took place in any other country—as at Clontarf and Tara; or, on the other hand, you had Ribbon societies and organizations of that kind. All this time this country was governed by a peculiarly weak administration. With institutions which, from circumstances, were necessarily, even if of a beneficial kind, of a limited influence, you had to encounter elements of disorder and disturbance in Ireland with the weakest administration, probably, that ever was devised by man. Well now, under such circumstances; everyone felt that the position of Ireland was one which would always constitute the difficulty of a British Minister; and one of the most eminent of British Ministers acknowledged that Ireland was his difficulty. He only acknowledged that that was his fate which was the destiny of every Minister of every party who attempted to meet such circumstances; and everybody felt that nothing but some great event, impossible to contemplate, could possibly remedy a state of affairs so anomalous and irregular as that which prevailed in Ireland. A revolution might have produced the necessary consequences and changes in any other country; but a revolution in Ireland seemed impossible, and a human and political revolution was impossible in Ireland from its connection with England. But a revolution did take place. Not one of those great changes produced by political parties, because it was an event which destroyed parties; not produced by political passions, because it appeased and allayed all political passions—one of the most appalling events that have occurred in modern times, perhaps the most awful and appalling event that ever happened with reference to any European country. The limited means of sustenance by which those 2,000,000 of hopeless paupers had existed suddenly vanished, as if stricken from the soil. They perished by thousands, and tens of thousands. Emigration followed famine and disease. In the course of a year after that emigration you had to pass in this House an Act of confiscation of many estates in that country; and, so far as revolution is concerned, there is no revolution of modern times which ever produced changes so extensive as were occasioned by the famine, by the emigration, and by the Incumbered Estates Act passed in 1849 by this House. Well, Sir, when the two countries had somewhat recovered from these appalling circumstances, when the earthquake and the fire had passed, and the still small voice of counsel was heard, it did appear, both to England and Ireland, that if ever there was an opportunity in which the terrible state that had so long prevailed might be terminated—when we could prevent its ever being repeated— that opportunity had arrived. Costly as may have been the price, great as may have been the sacrifice, there was, at least, some compensation in the conviction that so far as the two countries were concerned, there was, at least, the op- portunity of establishing a system different from that fatal condition which had, almost for centuries, baffled the devices of Ministers and the noblest aspirations of a great people. Well, Sir, we can look bank upon these events now, after a sufficient interval, which permits us to calculate with some accuracy the consequences. So far as the moans offered, on the part of the English Ministry, to effect the moral improvement of Ireland. I think it must be admitted that there was little left to be done. For the last twenty years—I might even say forty years, but certainly since the period of these great disasters—the policy of the English Government to Ireland has been the same and consistent, whatever party has sat on the Bench opposite. To secure the due administration of justice, to open to all creeds and to all races the fair career of merit, to soften, without having recourse to those violent changes which would alarm the interests and. perhaps, outrage the feelings of any considerable part of the Irish people—to soften. I say, those anomalies which, as yet prevailed in their social system—to mitigate and countervail them; that was the policy of the English Government, and whoever might form that Government, whatever party might sit on that Bench. I repeal it, that was the system followed and has for years invariably prevailed. That system, indeed, was established and pursued before the great calamities which occurred to Ireland in 1848; but even that system of advancing the moral improvement of Ireland was, in some degree, assisted by these great calamities. They had occasioned a great interchange of sympathy between the two countries, most prominent at the time; and, indeed; so deep that at the present moment its effects are still felt. An English Minister after the famine, if he brought forward any measure in this House the object of which was to assist the social improvement, or by moral means to ameliorate the condition of Ireland, experienced less difficulties upon such a subject than he did before. There was no captiousness. no suspicion; on the contrary, both sides exhibited on every occasion even an eagerness to support a policy of that kind. But, Sir, I admit that such a policy—a policy which had been pursued before these calamities — however constantly prose- cuted, was not calculated to produce much effect on the physical condition of the Irish people. That depended, as I have indicated to the House, upon material causes. Well, now, in that respect, what has happened to the Irish people since that time? I say we have the advantage of twenty years' experience to form an opinion as to the alterations in their condition which have occurred since their great calamity. In the first place, their most considerable industry has been completely re-organized on conditions highly favourable to the labourers on the soil. I will not enter into any controversy now as to the degree to which agricultural wages have increased in Ireland, but Gentlemen will admit that the increase has been considerable. If I were to refer to documents on our table, if I were to adduce the evidence of Bishop Doyle, if I wore to go to a period much nearer—namely, the Reports of the Commissioners previous to the introduction of the Poor Law into Ireland—I could make statements to the House which would show, I think, that the increase of wages to agricultural labour in Ireland has been very considerable indeed. But I am not anxious to enter into a subject on which controversy might arise. I will say, therefore, that we may fairly assume that agricultural wages of labour in Ireland have probably doubled; but what is a much more important consideration in respect to wages in Ireland is that for the first time in that country you have had a system of continuous labour; and, instead of 600,000 families which were not employed for more than twenty weeks in the year, you have the population employed not only at an increase of wages, but also in continuous labour. That is a most important fact as evidence of the amelioration in the condition of the people. I will not enlarge on the circumstance that capital has been introduced into Ireland, and has been applied to the encouragement of manufactures; because, though that is an important consideration, the application of such capital is an advantage which must necessarily be the slowest realized. It is, however, undoubted, for we have evidence of the fact, that capital from England and Scotland has been applied to manufactures in Ireland during the last twenty years; but what is of greater moment in the condition of the people of Ireland is that the trade of Ireland has been immensely increased during the same period; that the increase in the means of employing and enriching the people of that country by trade has probably been greater than, but certainly equal to, the improvement in the condition of the agricultural labouring classes. We know from the Returns relating to shipping that the tonnage of Ireland has not merely doubled, but trebled, and in some ports quadrupled; and the increase of tonnage has not been confined to one or two ports, but has pervaded the whole country. What, then has been the general result of all these causes, so far as the condition of the people is concerned? The result is that there has disappeared from the country these 2,000,000 of hopeless paupers, whose existence there was a source of disturbance and discontent. I know that there are some who say that, though these statistical results cannot be fully denied, a great calamity has happened to Ireland in the reduction of its population. I have never been one of those who looked on the reduction of the population of Ireland as an advantage. I entirely agree with what was said by the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Abercorn, that you must take Ireland as you find it with all its existing circumstances—its tenure of land and its population—and you must endeavour to govern Ireland with reference to those existing circumstances, and not with reference to abstract principles of political economy. I myself deplore the reduction in the population of Ireland, because I feel that the condition of the United Kingdom cannot be maintained in the scale of nations unless it realizes a certain amount of population; and, so far as I can form an opinion, that amount of population cannot be secured with a reduced contribution from Ireland. Therefore, I look forward to the time when we shall sec the population of of Ireland increase from its increased resources, and reach again the point from which it was diminished, not in consequence of legislation, but from causes over which legislation had no control.

Well, such as I have described was the state of Ireland when the Fenian conspiracy broke out. We had had a revolution in Ireland — a revolution not brought about by human means; the condition of the country was en- tirely changed, and the cause of disturbance and discontent had disappeared. The country was recovering was more than recovering—it had recovered; it was in a state of progressive improvement; the people were better fed and clothed, and, as the last step in the improvement of their condition, they were beginning to be better housed. The wealth of the country had immensely increased. Before the famine the stock of Ireland was worth little more than £20,000,000, and by the last Return it was estimated at £50,000,000. Simultaneously with that increase there has been an increase in the arable cultivation of the country. Therefore, the allegation that the increase of wealth has been obtained by changing the system of cultivating the soil and diminishing the amount of human labour has no foundation. Such was the condition of things when the Fenian conspiracy broke out; and I say that upon a right appreciation of the character of the Fenian conspiracy depends the question whether the policy of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government is a wise, just and necessary policy, or whether we may not be pursuing a policy most dangerous and fatal to this country. We approach this subject under some advantages. I can say, for myself, that I can consider it without prejudice or passion. The Fenian conspiracy did not commence when I and my Colleagues were responsible for the government of the country. It had already broken out, or I dare say that there might have been some impartial critics on public affairs who would have alleged that that conspiracy broke out in consequence of our policy. We inherited the conspiracy from our predecessors; but I am the first to acknowledge that the policy of our predecessors was not accountable for that event. However, I and my Colleagues had to bear the brunt of that conspiracy, and even our opponents have generously and fairly admitted that we put it down with firmness, and yet with moderation. Therefore, having no passion or prejudice on the subject, I can express my opinion as to the character and cause of the Fenian conspiracy with little fear of being misunderstood. I had the opportunity of making myself well informed on the subject. Hon. Gentlemen know now a great deal about it; but something never will be known except by those who at that moment incurred the responsibility of conducting affairs; and I will express my conviction that the Fenian conspiracy was an entirely foreign conspiracy. I do not mean by that to say it was a merely American conspiracy, but that it was a foreign conspiracy. It did not arise from Ireland; and it was supported from Ireland very slightly. The whole plan and all the resources came from abroad, and the people of Ireland, as a people, repudiated that conspiracy. From the commencement, the persons who got up the conspiracy—the originators and abettors of it—were persons influenced by obsolete traditions as to the condition of Ireland, and the temper of the Irish people, and when they applied their preparations to Ireland they found out the great mistake they had made, in assuming that they were dealing with Ireland as it was at the commencement of the century. No doubt there are people in Ireland who will at all times sympathize with a political movement of any kind. A very lively people, with not too much to do and little variety of pursuit, will always have among them a class of persons ready to busy themselves with any mischief that is going on. There is a certain class in Ireland who are in the habit of saying what they do not mean, and of doing that which they never intended. But no class of any importance, no individuals of any importance, ever sanctioned the Fenian movement; they repudiated it; they felt that it was an anachronism, that it originated in obsolete traditions, and was devised by people who were perfectly unaware that the Ireland upon which they were operating was the Ireland in which there had been the portentous revolution I have referred to. If this view be correct, I say that the inference I have a right to draw is this—that the Fenian conspiracy having been completely baffled, having been met—I hope I may be allowed to say with courage and wisdom—and having been completely put down, it ought to have been allowed to pass away, and that the improvement in the condition of Ireland ought to have been permitted to proceed; so that in the course of time, in another ten or even twenty years—and what are twenty-years in the history of a very ancient nation like Ireland, and a nation which has passed through such vicissitudes?— we had a right to believe that Ireland would have been in much the same condition as England or Scotland. But the right hon. Gentleman took a different view. The Government said, in effect—"The Fenian conspiracy is a national conspiracy. Because of the Fenian movement we say that the whole or that a great body of the Irish people are dissatisfied and discontented with English government, and what, therefore, must we do? Why, we must rescind the whole policy of conciliation carried on for thirty or forty years." This is the key-stone of the right hon. Gentleman's policy that I am now touching on. The Government, I say, declared— "We must throw aside all the material conclusions that have resulted from the portentous events that occurred in Ireland, and that did not result from human legislation. Never mind the lesson of the famine. Never mind the lesson which emigration has taught you. Never mind all the steps which, in consequence, you were then obliged to take in this country. The Fenian conspiracy proves to us that the whole nation is disaffected. We must rescind the policy of this country, and we must have, instead, a policy of great change and great disturbance" — for you cannot have great change without great disturbance. I say that the whole question whether the policy of the Government—the gigantic issue which the right hon. Gentleman has raised—is a wise or a fatal policy entirely depends upon the right appreciation of the Fenian movement. [Murmurs.] We are discussing matters of such gravity that they cannot be decided by a murmur or even by a vote. These will last; and it is well, therefore, so to examine them that we may be able to arrive at some clear perception respecting them. The right hon. Gentleman says—"This is a proof of general and national discontent. There must, therefore, be a complete revolution;" and we have before us the first proposition of the right hon. Gentleman. Now, what is this first proposition? The Bill we are asked to read a third time is a Bill to abolish the Protestant Church in Ireland, and to confiscate its property. I will not repeat the general objections to that policy. On the third reading of the Bill, and when we wish to secure a division, we ought to avoid any repetition of arguments. I will not, then, do more than remind the House that this is a change in the constitution of England: that this is, as the right ton. Gentleman and his Friends have announced, a revolutionary measure. I will not enlarge upon what I myself deeply feel—that it weakens the character of civil power by divorcing it from the religious principle which has hitherto strengthened and consecrated it. I will not touch upon what is quite unnecessary to mention—that this is not a measure which will increase the confidence in property in this country. I say willingly that I am myself prepared, if necessary, to consider all these contingencies—to consider whether it ought not to be our duty to adopt a policy involving a change in the Constitution, which is avowed by those who bring it forward as a revolutionary policy, which endangers and weakens property, which may damage to the last degree the very character of civil authority by divesting it of any connection with religion—all these contingencies, I repeat, I am prepared to consider, and, if necessary, to accept, if the supreme safety of the State requires it. But I say that we have at least a right to ask from her Majesty's Government that we should have proofs of that necessity. What I want to ask the House on this occasion is—prepared, as I assume the majority of the House is, to embrace all these large and violent propositions — Have we received from the Government adequate evidence to prove that necessity—Have we received any evidence? I want to know that. Ireland is discontented again, Ireland is disturbed again, there is one remedy for that discontent and that disturbance; it is the abolition of the Protestant. Church and the confiscation of its revenues. Have we evidence that if we abolish that Church and confiscate its revenues we shall render Ireland con-tented and tranquil? Sir, so far as I can form an opinion, that evidence does not exist. I receive myself a great many letters every day upon the state of Ireland. We have heard from an hon. Gentleman (Sir George Jenkinson) during these recent debates how much he was applied to in the same manner. I do not know whether his correspondence exceeds mine, but mine is of two kinds. I have a correspondence from laymen, even from ladies. [A laugh.] Though, you may smile, if I read some of those letters to the House you would find that they are of a harrowing character. There are letters from Irishmen and Irishwomen, describing a state of affairs which would make every countenance serious that heard them. The writers are extremely alarmed about the lawless state of their country, and I am not in a position to relieve or remove their alarm. But I also receive a great many letters from clergymen of the Established Church in Ireland, and they are also alarming — but their alarm is of a different character. These clergymen are only alarmed at the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. They are not at all alarmed at the state of the country. Some of those clergymen live in Tipperary and some of them in Westmeath; but not one of them tells me that he is in danger—that his life is menaced, or that he is under the least apprehension of offence or personal attack from his Irish fellow-countrymen. Though almost every week we have accounts of outrages in Ireland, I have not heard that any clergyman of the Established Church has been a victim. No Irish clergyman of my acquaintance has ever alluded to disturbance. Then, I say, what is the evidence that, if we abolish the Irish Church and confiscate its revenues we shall cause any diminution of the discontent and disturbance which prevail among a portion of the Irish people, inasmuch as it does not appear that the discontent and disturbance arise from any of the accidents of the Irish Church? Surely, if it wore true that the abolition of the Church and the confiscation of its property would be sufficient to remove that discontent and disturbance we should have some evidence of the fact in assaults on the persons of the clergy. [A laugh.] Will the hon. Gentleman who laughs be good enough to explain why it is that the landlord should be assassinated while the clergyman is left unharmed? If the persons who commit these outrages are discontented with the landlord or with the class to which he belongs, and prove their discontent in the manner that has lately been exhibited, why should they not assault the clergymen if they are discontented with him or with the class to which he belongs? But, on the contrary, the cler- gyman is in a state of complete security; he makes no complaint of the circumstances of the locality in which he passes his existence, and, so far as his letters are concerned, you would never suppose that his country was disturbed. I again ask, then, what evidence have we that if we have recourse to this violent remedy we shall effect the cure for which it is brought forward? But in itself the objections to it are very considerable, totally irrespective of those general ones to which I have alluded. If the right hon. Gentleman had proposed to confiscate the property of the Irish Protestant Church and transfer it to the Roman Catholic Church, though I should consider that an unwise and unjust measure, it would be an intelligible proposition. It would be a proposition for which arguments could be offered, and which at least would be consistent with the principle of property. But what does the right hon. Gentleman say? "I propose to confiscate the property of the Protestant Church, because the Roman Catholic Church is discontented." What does that amount to? To a recognition of the principles of Socialism. A man comes forward and says, "I am a poor man, and I am discontented because another man has an estate and a park. I do not want his estate and park, because I know that every man cannot expect to have an estate and a park, but take them away from that other man, and my political views are met." Well, that is Socialism, and it is the policy which Her Majesty's Ministers now propose to adopt.

What I wish to impress on the House is this—we have no evidence whatever to justify or even to colour the great changes which are proposed. Let us see what will be the first effect of this revolution. It must produce this effect—it will outrage the feelings of a considerable portion, though not the majority, of the people of Ireland, because I am not at all prepared to admit that there are two nations in Ireland. I look upon the Irish nation as one people. For the last forty years they have been a homogeneous people. If we go into an analysis of the elements of a nation, in the way which has been attempted in this debate I am not sure that we shall be able to prove that the English people are so homogeneous as political philosophy now requires a people to be. I treat the Irish as one nation, and I think all must admit that the course we are pursuing must outrage the feelings and sensibly injure the interest of a considerable portion of that nation. Well, Sir, that is a break-up of the system of general conciliation which has been pursued for so many years. You have disorder and disquiet in Ireland, and you injure those who are tranquil and not disorderly. You add their discontent to existing disaffection. Under what circumstances are you pursuing this course? You are pursuing it under these circumstances. Assuming that the Penian conspiracy is an absolute proof of the general disaffection of the majority of the Irish nation—which I believe to be the greatest fallacy in the world—you announce a great change in your policy, you rescind the ancient policy of conciliation, and announce a policy of change and revolution, of which the first measure is before us, but several other measures have been promised and announced. I will not dwell in any detail upon them now, but it is impossible to forget, when we are considering the wisdom of your present proposition, that you have held out expectations to the great portion of the people of Ireland respecting the tenure of land. I am not going to make quotations from the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite, which is never my way, but I must refer to them when they affect the public conduct of their party. There is no doubt you have selected this time to announce your policy upon subjects scarcely less important, perhaps quite as important as the Irish Church. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Minister peculiarly charged with the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in Ireland, has publicly denounced the "infernal land laws" of that country. [Mr. BRUCE denied having used the words.] The statement has been made in this House, and the right hon. Gentleman did not then take the opportunity of making the explanation which he probably will at a future period. Whether the right hon. Gentleman did or did not make that declaration is at present of Little importance, but that the great portion of the Irish people believe that he made it is of the utmost importance. Why was it passed over in silence? What was the effect of that declaration? Why. Captain Rock came out of his retirement directly; again we found Molly Maguire waving her bonnet and Lady Clare paying evening visits to the landlords and farmers of Ireland? It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to tell me in a half whisper across the table that he intends to deny it, but he cannot forget that this passage in his speech was read in this House a month ago, and that he did not then make the denial. [Mr. BRUCE: There was nothing in the speech about "infernal land laws."] Perhaps it was landlords. I am never anxious to twit my opponents with their speeches and I did not bring the extract with me, but I will send it to the right hon. Gentleman. But I say you have at this moment unfortunately produced every possible element that can be devised to disturb Ireland. It is not merely that you propose this great measure of abolishing the Church, which at once enlists against you the feelings, as is now proved, of 1,500,000 of the population of that country—because it cannot be estimated by those who are in formal communion with that Church—but, whether you are guiltless or not, you have so contrived it that you have conveyed the impression to the great portion of the Irish people—who apparently were very content, who were gaining much higher wages than they did twenty-five years ago, and who were continuously employed—the impression that a great revolution is about to take place in the tenure of land. I do not dwell upon the subject of education, because it has not produced any agitation at present. The Roman Catholic Church on the subject of education waits in grim repose. This is quite clear, that we have now before us—whether it was necessary or not is another question—instead of an Ireland that was at least tranquil, that in my mind was essentially progressive in its improvement, that was not in any way connected with originating the Fenian movement—you have an Ireland now which you must be prepared to witness as the scene of disturbance—perhaps, of disaster. What will be the natural consequence? What is the state of affairs we must prepare ourselves for if Ireland be the scene of great disturbances? For you not only have one body of the population agitating for a revolution in the land tenure, and another—and a most influential body—holding back from a Government which they think has betrayed them with respect to the institution most dear to their feelings and most prized by them. I say, amid all this distraction and disorder there will be one power and one body that will not be disordered and distracted. There is one power in that country where you are preparing such elements of disturbance which is organized and disciplined, with a power-fid tradition, and which is acting under the authority and command of a supreme and sovereign central power.

Now, I am not one of those who wish to create unnecessary alarm about the power of the Papacy. There are philosophers opposite who of course despise the power of the Papacy. But I am not speaking on this subject as a philosopher, or, I hope, as a bigot. I am speaking as a Member of Parliament looking to public affairs, looking to what I think will be the consequence of the conduct of the Ministers of this country, and endeavouring to contemplate the means we may have to counteract those consequences. I do not blame the Papacy if Ireland is in the state of confusion and distraction that it soon must be if this policy is followed. I do not blame the Papacy for fulfilling that which with their convictions must be their highest duty. One's ordinary knowledge of human nature convinces us of this—that if men are abler than others; if they have the advantage of discipline and organization, when all others are undisciplined and disordered, when everything is confusion, when everyone is discontented, when you have Captain Rock among the peasantry, and when you have the Protestants of Ireland feeling, as they will feel, betrayed and deserted, will they take advantage of such a state of things, in order to advance the opinions which they conscientiously believe are the right ones, and avail them in such circumstances of the discipline and order which they command? You are encountering tinder those circumstances a foe with which you will find it very difficult to compete, and to laugh at such possible contingencies, at such highly probable contingencies, may do very well for the course of this debate; but what will be our condition when these almost certain results happen, and when you, if you sit in Parliament at that time, will be called on to devise means to counteract and to prevent a consummation of consequences which hitherto have been conceived and held in this country to be fatal to our liberties? I say, Sir, it cannot be for a moment-it ought not for a moment to be concealed from ourselves that the policy of Home, when we give every inducement and encouragement to the pursuit of that policy, will be to convert Ireland into a Popish kingdom. It will not only be her policy, but it will be her duty. Then you will understand what she means with regard to Established Churches: then you will understand what she means with regard to national education; then you will understand what that great system is which hitherto has been checked and controlled by the Sovereign of this country, but in a manner which has never violated the rights and the legal liberties of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. But you will now, by this policy, have forced and encouraged Rome to adopt a line different from that which hitherto she has pursued. What will happen? Is it probable that the Protestants of Ireland will submit to such a state of affairs without a struggle? Who can believe it? They will not. I say they never will submit to the establishment of Papal ascendancy in Ireland without a struggle. How can you suppose it? ["Hear, hear!"] How is it be prevented? It-may occur, probably when the Union between the two countries which is to be partially dissolved to-night may be completely dissolved; for it is very possible that, after a period of great disquietude, doubt, and passion, events may occur which may complete that severance of the Union which to-night we are commencing? But what of that? I do not suppose that if there were a struggle between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants of Ireland to-morrow, even the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, or the most fanatic champion of non-interference, can suppose England would be indifferent. What I fear in the policy of the right hon. Gentleman is that its tendency is to civil war. ["Oh!"] I am not surprised that hon. Gentlemen should for a moment be startled by such an expression. Let them think a little. Is it natural and probable that the Papal power in Ireland will attempt to attain ascendancy and predominance? I say it is natural, and, what is more, it ought to do it, and it will do it. Is it natural that the Protestants of Ireland should submit, without a struggle, to such a state of things? You know they will not; that is settled. Is England to interfere? Are we again to conquer Ireland? Are we to have a repetition of the direful history which on both sides now we wish to forget? Is there to be another battle of the Boyne, another siege of Derry, another treaty of Limerick? These things are not only possible, but probable. You are commencing a policy which will inevitably lead to such results. It was because we thought the policy of the right hon. Gentleman would lead to such results that we opposed it on principle; but when the House, by a commanding majority, resolved that the policy should be adopted, we did not think it consistent with our duty to retire from the great business before us, and endeavoured to devise Amendments to this Bill, which I do not say would have effected our purpose, but which, at least, might have softened the feelings, spared the interests, and saved the honour of those who were attacked by the Bill. In considering those Amendments, we were most scrupulous to propose nothing that could counteract and defeat the main principles of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman. We felt that to do that would be to trifle with the House; would not be what was due to the right hon. Gentleman, and could not affect the purpose we had before us. There was not an Amendment winch, on the part of my Friends, I placed on the table, that was not scrupulously drawn up with this consideration; there was not one of those Amendments which, in my opinion, the right hon. Gentleman might not have accepted and yet have carried his main policy into effect. What the effect of carrying these Amendments might have been I pretend not now to say; but at least, if they had been carried, or if the right hon. Gentleman himself had modified his Bill in unison with their spirit, there was a chance of our coming to some conclusion which would have given some hope for the future. I ask the House to recollect at this moment the tone and spirit in which these Amendments were received. Rash in its conception, in its execution arrogant, the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, while it has secured the triumph of a party has outraged the feelings of a nation. If the right hon. Gentleman, had met us in the spirit in which we met him, at any rate we should have shown the Protestants of Ireland that, whatever might be the opinion of the majority upon the State necessity of the policy of the Government, there was a desire in Parliament to administer it in a spirit of conciliation towards those who, as all must acknowledge, are placed in a position of almost unexampled difficulty and pain. But not the slightest encouragement was given to us; no advance on our part was ever acepted by the right hon. Gentleman, who has insisted upon the hard principle of his measure; and it has become my duty upon this, the last day, to comment upon, the character of that principle and the possible consequences of its adoption. I know very well the difficult position in which we are placed to-night; I know very well it would be more convenient if we did not ask for the opinion of the House to-night, and allow this third reading to pass unchallenged; but I confess I could not reconcile that course with my sense of public duty. If this Bill be what I believe it to be, it is one that we ought to protest against to the last; and we cannot protest against it in a manner more constitutional, more Parliamentary, more satisfactory to our constituencies and to the nation, than by going to a vote upon it. We know very well you will have a great party triumph, a large majority, and we shall have what is called "loud and continued cheering." But remember this, that when Benjamin Franklin's mission was rejected there was loud and continued cheering, and Lends of the Privy Council waved their hats and tossed thorn in the air; but that was the commencement of one of the greatest struggles this country ever embarked in; it was the commencement of a series of the greatest disasters England ever experienced. And I would recommend the House to feel at this moment—this solemn moment — that this is not a question like the paper duty, not a party division upon some colonial squabble; we are going, if we agree to this Bill to-night, so far as the House of Commons is concerned, to give a vote which will be the most responsible public act that any man on either side of the House ever gave. You may have a great majority now, you may cheer, you may indulge in all the jubilation of party triumph; but this is a question as yet only begun, and the time will come, and come ere long, when those who have taken a part in the proceedings of this House this night, whatever may be their course and whatever their decision, will look upon it as one of the gravest incidents of their lives, as the most serious scene at which they have ever assisted. I hope that when that time shall come, none of us, on either side of the House, will feel that he has, by his vote, contributed to the disaster of his country.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) commenced his speech with an observation on the exhaustion of the topics relevant to this debate, but I owe to him, in candour, this acknowledgment—that by the argument of the greater part of his discourse he has imparted an air of something like novelty and originality to the question. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman is so critical and condemnatory with respect to the policy of the measure of the Government, that it must have conveyed to the mind of his party a certain negative satisfaction. But when they look for positive declarations of policy; when they ask themselves to what future course in any contingency the right hon. Gentleman has committed himself with respect to the Church of Ireland, and under what pledges he has placed himself to give satisfaction to that Protestant feeling of the country—to which he occasionally seems to appeal, I doubt whether the result of their review of his speech will be altogether satisfactory. As regards criticism upon us undoubtedly if it erred, it did not err on the side of a niggardly dispensation. For what has the right hon. Gentleman said, if I may presume for a moment to endeavour to follow him in his lofty flight, and to reproduce—stripped, I am afraid, of much of their impressiveness—some of the main propositions of his speech? The right hon. Gentleman says that the whole of our proceedings are based upon certain views and apprehensions of the Fenian conspiracy, and from that statement he takes occasion to give his own history of Irish affairs. He says, at a former time, political remedies were deemed necessary for Ireland, but that of late years it has justly been perceived that physical causes are at the root of the Irish difficulty. When, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman made the first allusion to physical causes, I did not expect he would have confined himself to the shore, but thought he would have referred to those maritime circumstances to which, on a former occasion, he assigned a large portion of the responsibility for the condition of Ireland. However, upon this occasion, the right hon. Gentleman has modified his view, and what he says is—that in physical circumstances, exclusive, apparently, of those oceanic conditions, lies the root of the matter.

And here, Sir, I will observe that we do not propose new remedies for new difficulties. At the time of the Union Mr. Pitt, its illustrious author, and Lord Castlereagh, his coadjutor, saw that the attainment of substantial religious equality was essential to the tranquillity of Ireland, and they proposed the form of religious equality they thought best adapted to the circumstances of the time. We now, not, indeed, with respect to the form, but with respect to the important end in view, are proposing to carry out the very purpose and design of Mr. Pitt. But the right hon. Gentleman proceeds to say Fenianism was an insignificant affair—it was repudiated by the people of Ireland. There was no doubt, continues the right hon. Gentleman, in Ireland, as in other countries, a handful of idle folk looking for amusement or for novelty, and disposed to give encouragement to anything, whatever it be, that might gratify those appetites. That was his description, in 1869, of Irish Fenianism; but what said Lord Mayo, in 1868, on the part of the right hon. Gentleman? Having stated that the upper and educated and wealthy classes in Ireland were opposed to the movement, Lord Mayo proceeded to use these memorable words— When you descend in the social scale and come to the small occupiers of land, you find a considerable number of that class who may be said to sympathize, to a certain degree, with the movement, though they have taken no active part in it. Descending still lower, to the uneducated agricultural labourers—to what in Ireland are called the 'farmers' boys,' to the mechanics and working men, the shop assistants and small clerks in towns, you find this organization widely spread. I am sorry to say in that some of the cities in the South of Ireland you find the mass of the people of that class deeply tainted with Fenianism, and perfectly ready to sympathize and co-operate with it to any extent."—[3 Hansard, cxc, 1356.] To this official statement of Lord Mayo, fourteen or fifteen months after it was made, the right hon. Gentleman has to-night placed upon record his solemn contradiction. ["No! no!" and "Hear, hear."] Well, then, so much for the extent of Fenianism; now with respect to its results. According to the right hon. Gentleman, and not only according to him, but according to his representation of our professions, the Fenian conspiracy has in our view, and according to our declarations supplied the justification for the measure that we now propose. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman is entirely in error. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many with whom I communicated, the Fenian conspiracy has had an important influence with respect to Irish policy; but it has not been an influence in determining or in affecting in the slightest degree the convictions which we have entertained with respect to the course proper to be pursued in Ireland. The influence of Fenianism was this—that when the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, when all the consequent proceedings occurred, when the overflow of the mischief came into England itself, when the tranquillity of the great city of Manchester was disturbed, when the metropolis itself was shocked and horrified by an inhuman outrage, when a sense of insecurity went abroad far and wide—the right hon. Gentleman then Home Secretary (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) was, better than we, cognizant of the extent to which the inhabitants of the different towns of the country were swearing themselves in as special constables for the maintenance of life and property—then it was that these phenomena came home to the popular mind and produced that attitude of attention and preparedness on the part of the whole population of this country which qualified them to embrace, in a manner foreign to their habits in other times, the vast importance of the Irish controversy. But is this our case alone? No; in condemning us the right hon. Gentleman has condemned himself. What were his propositions? I am almost afraid to repeat the words, which I should be glad if even now he were prepared to disavow and to contradict. Why, according to the right hon. Gentleman that involution, which at a previous period he had represented as a possible cure for Irish evils, was effected through another process at the time of the famine. From the time of the famine onwards commenced the career of Ireland's prosperity and happiness, and in the year 1868, when our guilty ambition was about to disturb this blessed operation, it had reached such a point of ripeness that, says the right hon. Gentleman, in ten or twenty years more Ireland would have been like England or Scotland. That is the description which, on the 31st of -May, 1869, the right hon. Gentleman offers to the British Parliament as his account of the condition of Ireland, at the time when the Irish policy of the present Government was proposed. Well, I may leave a proposition like that to be judged on its own merits. If there be those in this House who think the condition of Ireland in the beginning of 1868 was such that the country promised in ten years, or, at any rate, in twenty, if only let alone, to be like England or Scotland, those Gentlemen are in their perceptions, either too low or else too high for ordinary mortals, and I must, leave them to their own reasonings as well as to their own convictions. But there is evidence of fact at least to which we may refer. The right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten that not long after his coming into Office, in the Queen's Speech, he described, not, indeed, so glowing a prospect as that which he has given to-night, but still he held out an expectation that, under the auspices of the Government that then ruled, something very blessed was about to arise. On the 5th of February, 1867, the right hon. Gentleman, together with his Colleagues, had advised the Queen to say that— The hostility manifested against the Fenian conspiracy by men of all classes and creeds had greatly tended to restore public confidence, and have rendered hopeless any attempt to disturb the general tranquillity. And Her Majesty was made further to say— I trust that you may consequently be enabled to dispense with the continuance of any exceptional legislation for that part of my dominions. Now, that was the feeble essay which in 1867 the right hon. Gentleman made in that style in which he has shown such infinitely greater pro- ficiency to-night. But what was the result? In February the promise was given to Parliament that the Habeas Corpus Act should be restored; in March, I think, certainty not much later, the Minister had to stand at this box and say that he must demand its continued and prolonged suspension. Why, Sir, docs the right hon. Gentleman think that when Ireland was within ten or twenty years of the condition of Scotland, or of England, it was justifiable in him to suspend the securities for personal liberty, to hold in confinement scores or hundreds, perhaps, of political convicts, and to hold in prison without trial and without charge scores, or it may be hundreds, more of persons whom it was a high crime and misdemeanour to place there unless the condition of Ireland was one of exceptional difficulty and danger? But, Sir, even this is not all the mass of evidence. Why did the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) go to Bristol in the month of January, 1868, and say that the question of Ireland was the question of the hour? Why, at the moment when the right hon. Gentleman took the chief place in the Government, did he prepare with considerable formality the announcement of an Irish policy; and why did his Irish Minister, in the place where I now have the honour to stand, occupy the House for hours with a description of physical advancement in Ireland, and along with that physical advancement, of an increase of political difficulty and discontent, which the fact of that physical advancement only rendered more alarming and more dangerous? Well, that being so, I do not think it is necessary to make an elaborate reply to the remaining charges of the right hon. Gentleman, who finds that this blessed course of things, which he has to-night for the first time described, was interrupted by the wanton and ambitious course—not that he has used any violence in describing it—of the Friends around me, and my own course, whereby we have darkened the smiling picture that was then presented, thrown Ireland into a state of political difficulty and danger, and brought her to the stage nearest to civil war. We brought her, says the right hon. Gentleman, to the very verge of civil war, at the very moment when we have been able to do that which he promised, but could not effect —namely, to restore m Ireland the rule of ordinary law. Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman says that the Fenian conspiracy was the cause and the warrant of the policy of the Government. Not, certainty, according to our declarations and professions. If we are asked why we thought this measure necessary, why we felt it to be an absolute and imperative duty to propose our plan in lieu of the plan proposed or sketched on the part of the right hon. Gentleman—and possibly why we might have found it our duty to propose our plan if he had shadowed forth no policy or plan whatever—my answer is this—We knew of no criterion by which institutions in this country or in any country can be judged except the double criterion of policy and of justice. In our conviction the existence of the Irish Church is an injustice to the people of Ireland. In our conviction it is marked with the deepest features of impolicy, and has been perhaps the crown, perhaps the basis, certainly an essential and inseparable part of that system to which the woes and miseries of Ireland have been owing. And we stand supported in this opinion not by our own judgments and convictions alone, but by the voice of Ireland, rendered through her constitutional representatives, and by the voice of every other portion of Her Majesty's United Kingdom.

There was one other remark of the right hon. Gentleman which I think I ought to notice with regard to the course that he has pursued upon the present Bill, and with regard especially to the Amendments which he placed upon the table. Do not let it be supposed that I am about to make any complaint of the course taken either by the right hon. Gentleman or by hon. Gentlemen opposite in general. I see before me at this moment many who have honestly, manfully, and ably fought the battle, and who have conducted the warfare in such a temper as befitted the solemnity of the task—for in that part of his speech I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman—and the high position which they hold. But with respect to those Amendments I cannot help saying a word. I am not sure in what degree the right hon. Gentleman had himself made a financial study of his own Amendments: but when they appeared in such formidable magnitude and volume, I did en- deavour to make the best calculation in my power of the compensations of misfortune—the solatia victis which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to administer to the Irish Established Church; and, putting together his fourteen years' purchase of one thing, his four years' purchase of another, and the various grants and largesses which he scattered with a liberal hand, I found the result to be this—that the disendowment of the Irish Church was to end in leaving that institution in possession of a somewhat larger mass of property than that which she now holds. It appears that the right hon. Gentleman had borne in mind the history of the Patriarch Job. We all remember how the narrative of the life and sufferings of that excellent man commence with a touching account of his disendowment and of the admirable courage with which it was endured; and how the narrative cheerily ends with an announcement that in the close of his life he had more stock and greater possessions than ever. That, Sir, was the precise example, the very model upon which the right hon. Gentleman framed his Amendments; and the disendowed and disestablished Church, which is now the richest Church in the world with reference to its numbers and the work it has to do, would have been richer still if the benevolent designs of the right hon. Gentleman had happily taken effect. Under these circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman's powers of surprise and astonishment are as remarkable as his powers of rhetoric and description; and therefore, if he was surprised at our indisposition to admit these Amendments, I must not express any similar sentiment at his declaration; but I must say that, viewing this matter as a matter of plain prose, and not according to high flights of rhetoric, it appears to me that such a mode of conducting the process of disendowment would be neither intelligible nor satisfactory to the people of this country.

This is evidently the time when if it is unnecessary, as I trust it is, to detain the House with a laboured review of the arguments in this case, yet it is desirable and perhaps essential to have some regard to the actual position in which we stand, to the progress we have made in a great journey, and to the distance which still remains to be accomplished. We have seen presented to-night amid signs of exultation — though I do not know whether they amount to the loud and long-continued cheering for which the right hon. Gentleman appears to entertain a contempt—Petitions from various quarters, and we hear daily of meetings in this and that part of the country. [Cheers.] It is confidently hoped, as appears from the cheers of some Gentlemen as I speak, and from what is stated by the organs of the party, that the people of England have entirely changed their minds since they elected their representatives, and that if there could only now be another Dissolution the result would be favourable to the Established Church in Ireland. Sir, as long as there is freedom of speech and action in this country—and God forbid that the day should ever come when that freedom shall be restricted! —there will always be, especially upon questions of this kind, minorities with numbers and power sufficient to present Petitions in respectable numbers, and to hold meetings which by a sanguine reporter may be even described as well attended. But, without the slightest disrespect to those meetings or those Petitions—acceding at once to the most liberal estimate that any Gentleman opposite may be disposed to frame, I wish to point out that the majority returned to Parliament a few months ago are not under the same necessity either of holding meetings or of subscribing Petitions as those who unfortunately belong to the minority. I apprehend it is a doctrine of the Constitution that in this House the voice of the people is spoken; and if the doctrine can be more indisputable at one period than it is at another, it must be the most clear and commanding in its force, of all times at this time, when we come here fresh from contact with our constituents, and when the main issue upon which we came had been placed before those constituents with a clearness and amplitude almost unexampled. Therefore, hon. Gentlemen opposite will not be surprised if we are sceptical with respect to the re-action of which they take for themselves so encouraging a view. Again, we are, I think, entirely impervious to the reproach that it is by truckling to the Roman Catholic vote, or by chaffering for its attainment, that we have placed this matter in its present position. I can remember well declarations of Leaders on the opposite side with respect to the Roman Catholic vote. I think, indeed, I can recollect a declaration of Lord Derby pointing out which of the two parties in this country was the natural ally of the Roman Catholics, which appears to show that there was some small appreciation of the Roman Catholic vote in those quarters at a time when it was to be had. But, I say, lot every Roman Catholic Gentleman, if he be so disposed—and God forbid I should question his right to perfect and absolute equality with us—walk into the Lobby of the House when we are about to take our division on the question, and the Bill will still be carried by a majority of Protestant voices alone, greater perhaps than has carried any contested measure since the Reform Bill of 1832.

My right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), I would now proceed to say, spoke at a time when the House was very thin, and for his sake, as well as for the sake of the House, I regret that such was the case, because I was much edified and in some degree entertained—the House, I think, would have shared those sentiments — when I heard my right hon. Friend go over the cases of the colonies of this country to show that what took place in Jamaica, in Canada, and elsewhere were not proceedings in the direction of disendowment but rather in the direction of Establishment of Churches. That point, however, is not perhaps so material as that which I wish now to mention. My right hon. Friend was severe on the voting in Committee on this Bill. He said that hon. Members on this side of the House have shown a fastidious and excessive attachment to the pledges which they gave at the late elections—that is to say, that they have in his opinion over-construed and exaggerated the obligations which they then contracted, and he thought it was owing to this mistaken proceeding on their part that they have supported by such large majorities the general propositions contained in the Bill in all its most important clauses. But I would venture to suggest to him that there is another cause which may possibly have some connection with this comparative uniformity of voting. Let my right hon. Friend only for a moment set out on the hypothesis—in order to test the phenomenon of which he speaks—that Gentlemen sitting on these Benches are deeply in earnest in this matter, and in-tend, so far as depends upon them, that the end which we have in view shall be attained. I think my right hon. Friend Trill find in that hypothesis a more natural and probable cause of the manner in which union of sentiment has prevailed among us on this great question than in the explanation which he him-self has suggested—the fastidious exaggeration of obligations incurred on the hustings.

We are, I apprehend, aware of that which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) has told us—that this is a great and solemn work which we have taken in hand, and that it is hardly possible to exaggerate the temerity, the responsibility, or the guilt of those who, having come to the determination that such a work ought to be accomplished, then through levity or folly, or any pursuit of minor objects in themselves good, but tending, to the prejudice of the major object, should allow that work to fail. I think I need not ask my right hon. Friend whether he is not perfectly aware that in connection with the future progress of this measure in "another place" nothing can be so important towards securing the full effectual ion of the wishes and desires of the nation in regard to it as the manner in which the House of Commons has shown its own unity of purpose and determination? I cannot help saying—and I trust I am not giving offence by saying it—that even the majorities by which the various stages of this Bill and many of its clauses in Committee have been carried do not adequately represent the relative strength of the sentiment which propels it towards its final accomplishment. And for this reason—Those who support this Bill, so far as I know, have this advantage, that they are completely agreed in a positive policy on this great national question. We have one and all come to the conclusion that it is requisite that the Established Church in Ireland should cease to exist as an Establishment. That is an intelligible and, above all, a substantial proposition, and the question I now wish to ask is, is there any corresponding substantive proposition on which hon. Gentlemen opposite are similarly agreed? [Mr. NEWDEGATE: How can there be?] I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman, and I tell him why. Because he, for one, representing an important phase of opinion, totally differs in views and sentiments from those who sit on the Bench before me. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) is one of those who proposed to maintain the existing ecclesiastical arrangements of Ireland, subject of course to internal reforms. Of course if I am misrepresenting him I withdraw what I have said; but, at all events, I think he does not propose to endow the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. If I am mistaken in that assumption—if the hon. Member is of opinion that a large and handsome endowment ought to be given to the Roman Catholics in Ireland out of the Consolidated Fund in order to establish perfect religious equality, then I must apologize to him for having entirely misapprehended him. But, at any rate, it is well known that there are many hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House who will not shrink from the avowal that they represent what is called the pure Protestant sentiment of Ireland; and it will be recollected by them as well as by us, that in the great meetings in Ireland the plan of endowing the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has been distinctly and emphatically condemned, and there are many hon. Members who hold that opinion sitting on the opposite side. But how is that opinion represented on the Bench before me? What is the sense of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) upon this subject, and what did he say with reference to his determination to resist any attempt to procure an endowment for Popery. I did not hear that portion of his speech, in consequence, perhaps, of some physical infirmity, neither have I heard any speech to that effect from him for many years past. What did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Dr. Ball) who has so well and so gallantly done his duty in opposition to the Bill, but who, like a man, never concealed for a moment his belief that liberal arrangements with regard to the other religious bodies must be made if the Established Church was to be maintained. What said my right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire? He said,—"I don't find fault with you for saying that the whole distribution of ecclesiastical properly in Ireland must be altered; but what I condemn is that you are taking away the religious en- dowments from the support of religion at largo." Therefore I say that while with perfect consistency and sincerity hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite can combine perfectly well together for the purpose of resisting the substantial policy of Her Majesty's Government, they have no substantive policy of their own, and, indeed, as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire says, they cannot have any possible concurrence upon any measure whatever, for the simple reason that they are not agreed as to the manner in which the ecclesiastical affairs of Ireland ought to be arranged. [Mr. NEWDEGATE: I never made that assertion.] I charge upon the hon. Member no assertion whatever. I shall be cautious in attributing to him anything with reference to the Irish Church beyond what he has conveyed by his interjectional question—"How can there be?"

Now, with reference to the Bill before the House, we have endeavoured honestly and laboriously to fulfil the pledges which we gave, and to attain the ends which we thought such a measure ought to be framed to meet; in the first place to disestablish the Irish Church; in the second place to give effect to the general rule of disendowment; thirdly, to give an equitable consideration to the interest of persons and of classes; and fourthly, to save all strictly vested interests. The right hon. Gentleman, in his speech, which by no means abounded in hard words, used the expression that the measure now before the House was harsh in conception, and arrogant in execution. I am not sure how I am to understand those epithets; but I take them as simply implying condemnation. I will just point out how far from being just such a description is of the temper in "which this measure has been framed, or of the manner in which effect has been given to it by the votes of this House. We have proposed to give to the Established Church of Ireland when disestablished everything in the nature of a private endowment within the last 200 and more years, and to pay the expenses for that religious body for ascertaining the titles which they can discover and make good. No one on the opposite side has thought fit to observe in the way of justice, and no one on this side has even observed in the way of captious criticism that, in that proposal, we have gone far beyond anything that was stated in the last Parliament. I am not aware that in those speeches which have been constantly referred to for the purpose of binding us to some general phrase of the widest limit in the most stringent sense it could receive in favour of the Established Church, that the least notice has ever been taken of this. I own that at that time it had not appeared to me that we could fairly ask the House to go as far as we have asked them to go, and as the House has agreed to go, in recognition of these private endowments. I say that it is a great act of liberality to admit that for more than 200 years past all that has been given to a national religion has been given to it in the same sense and manner as if it had been given to the unrecognized and private sect. Much of what is given to a national Church is given, undoubtedly, because of its national character, and not on ac-count of any particular preference of the giver for its doctrines or discipline. ["Oh, oh!"] If any hon. Gentleman doubts that I am sure it must be because he has never given his mind to the examination of these matters in detail. There cannot possibly be a better example than the case of Scotland. I ask whether any man in this House, who knows Scotland, supposes for one moment that the donations which the Established Presbyterian Church has received within this last fifty years have been given by persons on account of the value which they placed on its religious opinions, or whether, on the contrary, it is not notorious that a large portion of it has been given to it because it was the established religion of the country. I only quote this particular case because I cannot accede and cannot bow to the censures which are bestowed on this measure with respect to the spirit in which it has been framed; and I must respectfully take leave to say that, while I am aware there is much of stringency and much of severity in the very words disestablishment and disendowment, and while we have not felt ourselves at liberty to shrink from giving full and fair effect to those words, yet so far as we did fold ourselves free to mitigate in detail the application of our principle, that is an object which we have kept steadily in view.

There is another matter in which we have most seriously laboured, and that is to consider what are our obligations to the Church new about to be disestablished, with reference to its future condition. We might have adopted provisions in the Bill—I take no credit for not having done it—but we might have adopted provisions which, while simply recognizing the proprietary rights of individuals, would have gone far to drive the body at once into a state of anarchy and dissolution. The clauses relating to the mode of fixing the compensations, those fixing the provisions for commutation, and those relating to the laws by which the religious communion will be governed until it shall have had time to consider its position and to modify them according to its altered circumstances, will, I think, bear some testimony in the face of impartial observers, to our sincere and even ardent desire that this great change should be attended with as little shock as possible. We desired that it should be effected, not like the overthrow of a building, but like the launch of some goodly ship, which, constructed on the shore, makes, indeed, a great transition when it passes into the waters, but yet makes that transition without loss of its equilibrium, and when it has arrived at that receptacle floats on its bosom calmly, and even majestically. [A laugh.] And if 1he hon. Gentleman thinks fit to meet with laughter that declaration, I say that I am not using the language of romance, which sometimes perhaps, may be heard even in this House, but I am using words which the most rigid observer and describer would admit to be applicable to cases like that which has been so frequently mentioned and so much discussed in the course of these debates—the case of the Free Church of Scotland, to whose moral attitude scarcely any word weaker or lower than that of majesty would, according to the spirit of historical criticism, be justly applicable.

At this hour of the night I will avoid entering into the general argument. But this I must say, that of the reproaches which have been used on the other side of the House, I feel but little such as have been directed against us. It is quite natural that strong words and hard words should be uttered against those who submit to Parliament projects of extended and of radical change, however the projectors of those plans may think them founded on and warranted by justice and necessity. And, there- fore, I do not for a moment complain, even when the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment (Mr. Holt) describes the policy that we recommend and pursue as "a denial of God." Undoubtedly those are very strong and very hard words, but I think it is our duty to pass them by, having regard to the circumstances of excitement—I do not mean of personal or of momentary excitement, but of political excitement —under which they were uttered. But there has been another description of reproaches in which hon. Members opposite have been exceedingly unjust; and they are the reproaches which—if I may say so—they have uttered against themselves—not against themselves personally, but against those whom they represent, especially in Ireland. I think that the most severe and unjust reproach they can make is when they describe—as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) described to-night—the indisposition of the Protestants of Ireland to support their Church without the aid of the State. That hon. Member likewise addressed unfortunately a very thin House, and I will, speaking in his presence, mention to the House the manner in which he disposed of the argument, often urged on this side of the House, that the Irish Church might subsist hereafter on the voluntary system. The hon. Baronet, I am bound to say, began by saying that, so far as regarded all these aids which we have thought not without value—namely, the provision for a whole generation of clergymen, for churches, glebe houses, and the rest—he attached to them no value whatever. We had been told that seven-eighths, or as Chief Justice Whiteside said, thirteen-fourteenths, of the land of Ireland is in the hands of those who belong to the Irish Church. Well, considering that the land of Ireland contains the great mass of the property of that country, it does appear to me that some small presumption arose that something at least could be done for the maintenance of the religious communion to which the owners of that land belong. How did the hon. Member for Londonderry repel that argument? He said, ''I divide these landlords into three classes. The first are those who are indifferent, and they, of course, will do nothing. The second are the absentee proprietors, and they, too, will naturally do nothing. The third are the smaller and generally resident proprietors, and they, too, will naturally do nothing." Yes, that is the conclusion to which the hon. Gentleman came, and I am about to state the reasons which these gentlemen are going to urge. The indifferent are not to urge any reason at all. The absentee proprietors, what are they to say? The Church Body are to knock at their door, and ask for a Banknote for the support of the Church and the plea which the absentee proprietors are to urge is that the agitation about their land is so dangerous that they are occupied in considering their own position, and cannot consider that of the Church, and that they could do nothing. When he came to the resident proprietors he said that they would be in the same condition. They would say that the tenure of landed property in Ireland had been so undermined in value that even the actual rents they were receiving had lost their value, and that their fears for the future had cancelled their obligations for the present. And, therefore, this universal blank is to be the result of the application to the owners of seven-eighths of the land to do something towards the support of their own Church, at the moment when the cotters upon their own properly were dividing almost their last, potatoe with the parish priest. I think that the severity of the reproach is hardly to be exaggerated. I know not how it may appear to others; but I own, for my part, I believe that we are deeply responsible for having created, by errors long persisted in, that artificial state of mind and sentiment which can alone account for the extraordinary propositions that we hear in discussions on this subject by men, not only of character and honour, but also of sense, judgment, and ability. Again, when we hear Gentlemen saying, not very often in this House, but at meetings which we are told are influential and commanding—when we are told that for Protestants to give up their special privileges is intolerable, and that equality of right enacted by law is a great grievance which would even justify, we are sometimes told, armed resistance—that it is quite true that the Protestants of Ireland have been loyal, but that the last day of their privileges will be the last day of their loyalty—I say that all these declara- tions are the spawn of an unhealthy state of things; that the morbid condition which is sometimes attributed to the occupier of the soil is not confined to that class of Irish society; and that unnatural exaltation and ascendancy are just as fatal to the balance of the human mind as unjust depression; and depend upon that it will require very little time for all these clouds of error to clear away, and for the manful and intelligent Protestants of Ireland to assume those responsibilities which others less competent have shown themselves willing and able to bear, and that they will be the first to acknowledge the fallacy of the prophecies in which they themselves have, perhaps, not unnaturally indulged.

Sir, we have arrived at a point at which we have little to do but to consider the manner in which we have discharged the duties of our stewardship, and in which others will discharge theirs. Up to this moment, we, the Commons in Parliament, have stood face to face with the nation, and on the third reading of the Bill it is we who ought to ask ourselves whether we have endeavoured to quit ourselves like men of our obligations. We pass this Bill probably tonight, and then it will be the House of Lords, who, instead of the House of Commons, will stand face to face with the nation. I never presumed to complain of the course taken last year by the House of Lords with respect to the Suspensory Bill. It was an absolute duty on our part to avail ourselves of the disposition of the then existing Parliament to send forward that Bill, because that Hill redeemed our policy and proceedings from the charge of a vapouring insincerity, and showed that we meant what we said. But I could not feel surprised that the House of Lords declined, on the first application so made, and especially at a period when an appeal to the people was likely to occur at the earliest date, to commit themselves even to a qualified recognition of so great a change as that which we were; known to contemplate. And having made no complaint of that exercise of power I will not for one moment be so unjust to the House of Lords as to suppose that it will upon this great occasion fail to discern its duty, fail to discern the just claims upon it of an emphatic declaration from the nation, fail to discern what is due on the one hand to the people of this kingdom and on the other to its own permanent dignity and utility as a great institution of the realm.

Now, Sir, there is one form of reproach often brought against us which I must emphatically though respectfully repel, it is often said that we for, if not unworthy, at any rate secondary purposes, have discarded higher principles. I read in a passage, I think in a recent episcopal charge, this expression —that we were pursuers of temporal expediency, and some; contrast was attempted to be established between this temporal expediency and some higher principle we were supposed to surrender and forego. Sir, I know of and admit no such distinction. We are not pursuers of utility in any sense in which utility is distinguished from duty. The opposition is a false one. There is no such thing as utility in politics that is apart from duty. It is as a measure of duty and a measure of justice that we pray and trust this measure may stand or fall, and any other object or purpose we emphatically disclaim. What is it that we are doing? We have in Ireland at this moment the richest Church in the world. We are told, indeed, and I believe truly, that there remains but one-firth of the original of what the Church property of Ireland would have been had none of it been wasted. Well, Sir, four-fifths of this property having disappeared without any charge of robbery, sacrilege, spoliation, or plunder, under the kind and friendly hands of those children of the Church who have had the exclusive management of its affairs, we now look this institution in the face, and we find that, even with its one-fifth, it is still the richest Church in the world; and in respect of its wealth, in respect of its Establishment—I do not for a moment hesitate to admit—under these aspects we seek to destroy it. Another fabric, I trust—another in respect at least to these particulars—will rise in its place—less adorned, undoubtedly, with the goods of this world, but separated also from the unjust privileges, separated from the false associations, separated from all those bitter memories and traditions which form the unhappy heritage of the Established Church in Ireland—memories, and traditions, and privileges, and associations, which, if we were to use the language of figure, it might not be wholly improper to describe as themselves the angels of the Evil One polluting by their presence the temple of the Most High. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) said in a remarkable speech, delivered on a former occasion, he feared we were going to drive forth the Sacred Presence from the portals of the Constitution. No! The spirit we seek to expel is a spirit very different from that. We have endeavoured to impart no shock to the doctrine, the discipline, or ecclesiastical arrangements of the Established Church in Ireland. Her creeds, her orders, her mission stand entirely unimpaired. Dealing with her temporalities, we have striven to deal with them alone. We may even have a lingering sentiment of regret that she should be deprived of them in eases where any hardship may follow. But at the same time we feel that she will be for ever rid of alliances which have been fatal to her moral power as a national Establishment of religion. And setting aside those unhappy and evil auguries, in which many of her friends abound, we hope she will pass through the ordeal she has to endure, and come out of it with a clearer consciousness of her mission and a greater singleness of purpose, for the fulfilment of her work, when she is separated from political associations. If that be so, although she may have much to forego in respect of temporal splendour, yet the day may come when it will be said of her, as was said of the later and smaller Temple of Jerusalem, that the glory of the latter house is greater than the glory of the former; and when the most loyal and faithful of her children will learn not to regret that the Parliament of England took courage to itself, and that the day at length arrived when the Irish Church was disestablished and disendowed.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 361; Noes 247: Majority 114.

Acland, T. D. Anson, hon. A. H. A.
Adair, H. E. Anstruther, Sir R.
Agar-Ellis, hon. L. G. F. Antrobus, E.
Akroyd, E. Armitstead, G.
Allen, W. S. Ayrton, A. S.
Amcotts, Col. W. C. Aytoun, R. S.
Anderson, G. Backhouse, E.
Bagwell, J. Crossley, Sir F.
Baines, E. Dalglish, R.
Baker, R. B. W. Dalrymple, D.
Barclay, A. C. D'Arcey, M. P.
Barry, A. H. S. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Bass, M. A. Davies, R.
Baxter, W. E. Davison, J. R.
Bazley, T. Delahunty, J.
Beaumont, Capt. F. De La Poer, E.
Beaumont, H. F. Denison, E.
Beaumont, S. A. Denman, hon. G.
Beaumont, W. B. Dent, J. D.
Bentall, E. H. Devereux, R. J.
Biddulph, M. Dickinson, S. S.
Blake, J. A. Digby, K. T.
Blennerhassett, Sir R. Dillwyn, L. L.
Bolckow, H. W. F. Dixon, G.
Bonham-Carter, J. Dodds, J.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Dodson, J. G.
Bowring, E. A. Dowse, R.
Brady, J. Duff, M. E. G.
Brand, rt. hon. H. Duff, R. W.
Brand, H. R. Dundas, F.
Brassey, H. A. Edwardes, hon. Col. W.
Brassey, T. Edwards, H.
Brewer, Dr. Egerton, Capt. hon. F.
Bright, rt. hon. J. Ellice, E.
Bright, J. (Manchester) Enfield, Viscount
Brinckman, Captain Ennis, J. J.
Brogden, A. Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E.
Brown, A. H. Esmonde, Sir J.
Bruce, Lord C. Ewing, A. O.
Bruce, Lord E. Ewing, H. E. C.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Eykyn, R.
Bryan, G. L. Fagan, Captain
Buller, Sir E. M. Fawcett, H.
Bulwer, rt. hn. Sir H. L. Finnie, W.
Burke, Viscount FitzGerald, rt. hn. Lord O. A.
Bury, Viscount
Butler-Johnstone, H. A. Fitzmaurice, Lord E.
Buxton, C. FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W.
Cadogan, hon. F. W. Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.
Callan, P. Fitzwilliam, hon. H. W.
Campbell, H. Fletcher, I.
Candlish, J. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Fordyce, W. D.
Carington, hn. Cap. W. Forster, C.
Carnegie, hon. C. Forster, rt. hon. W. E.
Carter, Mr. Ald. Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.
Cartwright, W. C. Fortescue, hon. D. F.
Castlerosse, Viscount Fothergill, R.
Cave, T. Fowler, W.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Gavin, Major
Cavendish, Lord G. Gilpin, C.
Chadwick, D. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Chambers, M. Gladstone, W. H.
Chambers, T. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E. Gourley, E. T
Cholmeley, Captain Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Gower, Lord R.
Clay, J. Graham, W.
Clement, W. J. Gray, Sir J.
Cogan, rt. hon. W. H. F. Gregory, W. H.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Greville, Captain
Coleridge, Sir J. D. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Collier, Sir R. P. Grieve, J. J.
Colthurst, Sir G. C. Grosvenor, Earl
Corbally, M. E. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Cowen, J. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Grove, T. F.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Guest, M. J.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Hadfield, G.
Crawford, R. W. Hamilton, E. W. T.
Hamilton, J. G. C. Matthews, H.
Hanmer, Sir J. Melly, G.
Harcourt, W. G. G. V. V. Merry, J.
Hardcastle, J. A. Miall, E.
Harris, J. D. Milbank, F. A.
Hartington, Marquess of Miller, J.
Haviland-Burke, E. Milton, Viscount
Hay, Lord J. Mitchell, T. A.
Headlam, rt. hon. T. E. Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.
Henderson, J. Monk, C. J.
Henley, Lord Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Herbert, H. A. Moore, C.
Hibbert, J. T. Moore, G. H.
Hoare, Sir H. A. Morgan, G. O.
Hodgkinson, G. Morley, S.
Holms, J. Morrison, W.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. Mundella, A. J.
Hoskyns, C. Wren. Muntz, P. H.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Murphy, N. D.
Howard, J. Nicholson, W.
Hughes, T. Nicol, J. D.
Hurst, R. H. North, F.
Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W. Norwood, C. M.
Hyde, Lord O'Brien, Sir P.
Illingworth, A. O'Conor, D. M.
James, H. O'Conor Don, The
Jardine, R. O'Donoghue, The
Jessel, G. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Johnston, A. O'Loghlen, rt. hon. ir C. M.
Johnstone, Sir H.
King, hon. P. J. L. Onslow, G.
Kinglake, J. A. O'Reilly, M. W.
Kingscote, Colonel Otway, A. J.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Palmer, J. H.
Kirk, W. Parker, C. S.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, E. H. Pease, J. W.
Peel, A. W.
Lambert, N. G. Pelham, Lord
Lancaster, J. Philips, R. N.
Lawrence, J. C. Pim, J.
Lawrence, W. Platt, J.
Lawson, Sir W. Playfair, L.
Layard, rt. hon. A. H. Plimsoll, S.
Lea, T. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Leatham, E. A. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Lee, W. Potter, E.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Potter, T. B.
Lewis, J. D. Power, J. T.
Lloyd, Sir T. D. Price, W. E.
Loch, G. Price, W. P.
Locke, J. Ramsden, Sir J. W.
Lorne, Marquess of Rathbone, W.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Rebow, J. G.
Lush, Dr. Reed, C.
Lusk, A. Richard, H.
Lyttelton, hon. C. G. Richards, E. M.
M'Arthur, W. Robertson, D.
M'Clean, J. R. Roden, W. S.
M'Clure, T. Rothschild, Brn. L. N. de
M'Combie, W. Rothschild, Brn. M. A. de
MacEvoy, E. Rothschild, N. M. de
Macfic, R. A. Russell, A.
Mackintosh, E. W. Russell, F. W.
Maguire, J. F. Russell, H.
M'Lagan, P. Russell, Sir W.
M'Laren, D. Rylands, P.
M'Mahon, P. St. Aubyn, J.
Maitland, Sir A. C. R. G. St. Lawrence, Viscount
Magniac, C. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Marling, S. S. Samuda, J. D'A.
Martin, C. W. Samuelson, B.
Martin, P. W. Samuelson, H. B.
Matheson, A. Sartoris, E. J.
Scott, Sir W. Vandeleur, Colonel
Seely, C. Verney, Sir H.
Shaw, R. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Shaw, W. Vivian, A. P.
Sheridan, H. B. Vivian, H. H.
Sherlock, D. Vivian, Cap. hn. J. C. W.
Sherriff, A. C. Walter, J.
Simeon, Sir J. Wedderburn, Sir D.
Simon, Mr. Serjeant Weguelin, T. M.
Smith, J. B. Wells, W.
Smith, T. E. West, H. W.
Stacpoole, W. Westhead, J. P. B.
Stanley, hon. W. O. Whatman, J.
Stansfeld, rt. hon. J. Whitbread, S.
Stapleton, J. White, hon. Cap. C.
Stepney, Colonel White, J.
Stevenson, J. C. Whitwell, J.
Stone, W. H. Whitworth, T.
Strutt, hon. H. Williams, D.
Sullivan, rt. hon. E. Williams, W.
Sykes, Col. W. H. Williamson, Sir H.
Synan, E. J. Willyams, E. W. B.
Talbot, C. R. M. Wingfield, Sir C.
Taylor, P. A. Winterbotham, H. S. P.
Tite, W. Woods, H.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. Young, A. W.
Torrens, W. T. M'C. Young, G.
Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.
Traill, G. TELLERS.
Trelaway, Sir J. S. Glyn, G. G.
Trevelyan, G. O. Adam, W. P.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.
Allen, Major Chaplin, H.
Amphlett, R. P. Charley, W. T.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Child, Sir S.
Archdall, Capt. M. Clive, Col. hon. G. W.
Arkwright, A. P. Clowes, S. W.
Arkwright, R. Cole, Col. hon. H. A.
Assheton, R. Collins, T.
Bagge, Sir W. Corbett, Colonel
Bailey, Sir J. R. Corrance, F. S.
Ball, J. T. Corry, rt. hon. H. T. L.
Baring, T. Courtenay, Viscount
Barnett, H. Crichton, Viscount
Barrington, Viscount Croft, Sir H. G. D.
Barrow, W. H. Cross, R. A.
Barttelot, Colonel Cubitt, G.
Bateson, Sir T. Curzon, Viscount
Bathurst, A. A. Dalrymple, C.
Beach, Sir M. H. Dalway, M. R.
Beach, W. W. B. Damer, Capt. Dawson.
Bective, Earl of Davenport, W. B.
Bentinck, G. C. Dawson, R. P.
Birley, H. De Grey, hon. T.
Booth, Sir R. G. Denison, C. B.
Bourke, hon. R. Dickson, Major A. G.
Bourne, Colonel Dimsdale, R.
Bright, R. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Briscoe, J. I. Dowdeswell, W. E.
Brise, Col. R. Drax, J. S. W. S. E.
Broadley, W. H. H. Duncombe, hon. Col.
Brodrick, hon. W. Du Pre, C. G.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Dyott, Col. R.
Bruen, H. Eastwick, E. B.
Buckley, Sir E. Eaton, H. W.
Burrell, Sir P. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Cartwright, F. Egerton, E. C.
Cave, rt. hon. S. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Cawley, C. E. Egerton, hon. W.
Elcho, Lord Legh, Lt. Col. G. C.
Elliot, G. Legh, W. J.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H. Lennox, Lord G. G.
Feilden, H. M. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Fellowes. E. Leslie, C. P.
Fielden, J. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Figgins, J. Lindsay, Hon. Col. C.
Finch, G. H. Lindsay, Col. R. L.
Floyer, J. Lopes, H. C.
Forde, Colonel Lopes, Sir M.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Lowther, J.
Fowler, R. N. Lowther, W.
Galway, Viscount Malcolm, J. W.
Garlics, Lord Manners, Lord G. J.
Gilpin, Col. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Goldney, G. March, Earl of
Gooch, Sir D. Mellor, T. W.
Gore, J. R. O. Meyrick, T.
Grant, Colonel hon. J. Milles, hon. G. W.
Graves, S. R. Mills, C. H.
Gray, Lieut.-colonel Mitford, W. T.
Greene, E. Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.
Gregory, G. B. Montgomery, Sir G. G.
Guest, A. E. Morgan, C. O.
Gurney, rt. hon. R. Morgan, hon. Major
Hambro, C. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hamilton, Lord C. Neville-Grenville, R.
Hamilton, Lord G. Newdegate, C. N,
Hamilton, I. T. Newport, Viscount
Hamilton, Marquess of North, Colonel
Hardy, rt. hon. G. Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.
Hardy, J.
Hardy, J. S. O'Neill, hon. E.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Paget, R. H.
Henniker-Major, hon. J. M. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Palk, Sir L.
Henry, J. S. Palmer, Sir R.
Herbert, rt. hon. Gen. P. Parker, Major W.
Hermon, E. Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Peek, H. W.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Pell, A.
Heygate, Sir F. W. Pemberton, E. L.
Hick, J. Percy, Earl
Hildyard, T. B. T. Phipps, C. P.
Hill, A. S. Powell, W.
Hoare, P. M. Raikes, H. C.
Holford, R. S. Read, C. S.
Holmesdale, Viscount Ridley, M. W.
Holt, J. M. Round, J.
Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N. Royston, Viscount
Sandon, Viscount
Hope, A. J. B. B Saunderson, E.
Hornby, E. K. Sclater-Booth, G.
Howes, E. Scourfield. J. H.
Hunt, rt. hon. G. W Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.
Hutton, J.
Ingram, H. F. M. Seymour, G. H.
Jackson, R. W. Shirley, S. E.
Jervis, Colonel Sidebottom, J.
Johnston, W. Simonds, W. B.
Jones, J. Smith, A.
Kavanagh, A. Mac M. Smith, F. C.
Kekewich, S. T. Smith, R.
Keown, W. Smith, S. G.
Knight, F. W. Smith, W. H.
Knightley, Sir R. Somerset, Colonel
Knox, Hon. Col. S. Stanley, Hon. F.
Lacon, Sir E. H. K. Stanley, Lord
Laird, J. Starkie, J. P. C.
Langton, W. H. P. G. Stopford, S. G.
Laslett, W. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Lefroy, A. Sturt, H. G.
Sturt, Lt. Col. N. Welby, W. E.
Sykes, C. Wethered, T. O.
Talbot, J. G. Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
Taylor, rt. hon. Col. Whitmore, H.
Thynue, Lord H. F. Williams, C. H.
Tipping, W. Williams, F. M.
Tollemache, J. Wilmot, H.
Trevor, Lord A. E. H. Winn, R.
Turner, G. Wise, H. C.
Turnor, E. Wright, Colonel
Vance, J. Wyndham, hon. P.
Verner, E. W. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Vickers, S. Wynn, C. W. W.
Walker, Major G. G.
Walpole, hon. F. TELLERS.
Walpole, rt. hon. S. H. Noel, G. J.
Walsh, hon. A. Dyke, W. H.
Waterhouse, S.

Bill read the third time, and passed.

Main Question put, and agreed to.