HC Deb 04 August 1870 vol 203 cc1528-50

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Secretary Bruce.)


Sir, I hope that Her Majesty's Government do not expect that the House will accept this Bill without discussion, simply because it has been sent down to us from the House of Lords. Without wishing to impugn their Lordships' judgment, I think that there are circumstances connected with this Session, and with the present period — circumstances which have transpired in the course of a very few days — which render it necessary that the House should, at all events, consider the provisions of a Bill which purports to alter, if not to reverse, a settlement with inspect to the claim of the Papacy to exercise jurisdiction in this country, that was made with the full concurrence of the great body of the English and Scotch people in the year 1851. Now this Act of 1851 is, it may be said, a merely declaratory Act; because the law of this country from the most ancient period, according to the testimony of William the Conqueror himself, vindicated the independence of the civil power against the pretensions of the Pope of Rome. Hon. Members of this House, who consider this subject either beneath or above their comprehension, and therefore unworthy of their study, may possibly conceive that it is as well that his Holiness should have full scope to assume for his Bishops any titles that he chooses to confer upon them, and to arm them with any powers that he may think fit, provided it is understood that obedience to this usurped authority is limited to the Roman Catholic community. Sir, I regard that as a short-sighted view, for we have evidence enough in this House, from Session to Session, that the representatives of the Roman Catholic community exercise, at least, their full share of influence upon the legislation which is intended to govern the people of the United Kingdom. With this short preface, and feeling the disadvantage under which I rise, I will now proceed to call the attention of the House to the nature of this Bill. The statute of the year 1851 prohibited, under penalties, the assumption of territorial titles by the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Rome; assumed in obedience to the Papal brief of the 29th of September of the previous year, by which the Pope of Rome undertook to parcel out this country into dioceses, to be governed, as the expression is in his brief, by his own nominees. Well, Sir, a Committee of this House was appointed two Sessions ago to consider this statute of 1851, which imposes penalties upon the assumption of these titles, or the acceptance of these titles, in the Roman Catholic sense, as connected with jurisdiction—a jurisdiction which, according to the evidence given before a Committee of this House by Dr. Moriarty in 1851, the Pope claims to exercise, and is only prevented from enforcing by the refusal of the temporal power of this country to furnish him with officers and instruments for its exercise. Such is the substance of the evidence which was given by Dr. Moriarty. In the Committee to which I refer a Report was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, and he suggested that no sufficient grievance had been alleged to justify the repeal of the statute of 1851. An hon. Member for an Irish constituency was in the Chair of that Committee, and that Report was rejected by a majority of 1, in favour of a Report condemning the assertion of the independence of the United Kingdom, and condemning the assertion of Her Majesty's authority as supreme within it; because this Act had provided penalties whereby the infringement of the national independence and of Her Majesty's authority might be repressed. In the following Session—the Session of 1868—the House of Lords appointed a Committee, who went fully into evidence, and with the evidence before them which was taken by the Committee of this House, the proceedings also and the Report of our Committee had also been communicated to the Committee of the House of Lords; they reported that it would be unwise to disturb the settlement of 1851, seeing that no practical grievance had been proved to justify the alteration of the statute But this Session the House of Lords found that a Member of Her Majesty's Government had again proposed to repeal the statute of 1851, so far, at all events, as the coercive provisions of that statute en-forcible by penalties are concerned; and the Bill has been sent down which is now before this House. Hon. Members who have scarcely read the Bill will forgive me if I advert for a moment to its provisions. By this Bill, then, all penalties upon the assumption of titles connected with territorial jurisdiction, in the sense of the Papacy, and in the sense in which every Roman Catholic is bound to accept the decrees of the Papacy, can no longer be exacted; all that is declared is this—that no assumption of coercive jurisdiction shall be recognized by the law of this country—that is to say, no assumption of a coercive jurisdiction by Roman Catholic Prelates: in other words, as yet the State is to refuse the aid of the temporal power to enforce the decrees of the Papacy, and yet the assumption of those territorial titles, inseparably connected, by the decrees of the Papacy, and in the mind of every Roman Catholic who accepts those decrees, with coercive jurisdiction, is to be permitted by law. Let the House remark, that hencefor- ward this is to be permitted and recognized by law. All that is to be done, if this Bill pass, will be that the Secretary of State cannot be called upon to use the civil power for the enforcement of the decrees either of the Archbishop of Westminster in England, or of Cardinal Cullen in Ireland. That may seem to be a very innocent proposition in the eyes of some hon. Gentlemen; but what is the effect of it? I must here refer to the Bill which has lately passed this House, and passed under extraordinary circumstances—in short, without discussion apparent to the public; certainly the discussions which took place upon it, after the second reading, were so very late at night that, so far as the public are informed, there might as well have been no discussion at all. What is the substance of that Bill? The substance of that Bill, which we have sent to the House of Lords, is that, at the suggestion of the Board of Public Works in Ireland, the Treasury may appropriate any of the funds which Parliament has supplied, or may supply, for the construction by loan of roads, harbours, drainage, and for buildings on land, and divert the money voted for those purposes to loans for the purchase of globes, and loans for the erection of globe-houses. In the Bill this expression is used—The loan is to be made for the purchase of a glebe, or for the erection of a house for the officiating minister or priest—let the House mark not "in," but "of" any parish. Now, Sir, as long as this Act of 1851 remains on the statute book, there can be no doubt that the parish does not mean a Roman Catholic parish, a parish divided, limited, and established by Roman Catholic authority, but it must mean a pariah established by the authority of Her Majesty and her Parliament. But if this Bill, which we are now considering, passes, the assumption of the title of Archbishop, Bishop, or priest, as connected respectively with a province, a diocese, or a parish, the limits of which are described by the Papacy in a brief from Rome, and by that authority only; the territorial division, and the connection of those ecclesiastics with that territorial division will, for the first time since the Reformation, be not only recognized and permitted by law, but be recognized in this manner — that the Treasury will be empowered to advance money for the purchase of land to constitute a glebe, and to erect a house within a parish so designated by a foreign authority. I hope I have made this distinct and clear to the House; for I think it is right that the House should consider the provisions of this Bill in connection with the Bill which we have just sent to the House of Lords. I perceive that the House is somewhat unwilling to consider the subject; nevertheless, I feel it to be my duty to call attention to the circumstances of the period at which this combination of measures is passing the British Parliament. It is impossible that the Members of this House should be ignorant of a circumstance which has produced a great sensation throughout Europe and the world—I mean the convening of the Papal Council, and the decree of that Council, declaring the infallibility of the Pope, acting personally in the discharge of his office. Well, I ask the House to consider the effect of these two Bills with reference to that circumstance Other States are taking very different stops with respect to their relations to the Papacy from those which the Parliament of England is adopting. Within the last few days Austria has finally declared that the Government of the Emperor finds it impossible to continue any longer the relations between the Government of the Empire and the Holy See, which are prescribed by the subsisting Concordat, and is therefore about to abrogate that Concordat. Then, what do we see in France? When, in 1864, the Encyclical and Syllabus were issued, by the present Pope, the Government of France, acting under the powers reserved to the State by the Concordat of 1802, which still subsists between the Empire and the Papacy, found it necessary to forbid the publication of those documents within its dominions. In 1865 it pleased his Holiness the Pope to issue a letter to the Archbishop of Paris, wherein he formally condemned the terms of the Concordat between the Government of France and the Holy See; because, by the terms of that Concordat, his authority was restrained, inasmuch as they did not permit him, as supreme Pontiff, to supersede the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Bishops in France. But why does the Pope think fit to condemn the Archbishop of Paris with reference to this Concordat? Because the Arch- bishop of Paris refused to violate the fundamental laws of the French Empire, which are guarded by the Concordat, and insisted upon—what? upon visiting the regular Orders in their establishments within his diocese! And, further, the Pope declared that neither the privileges of the Church of France, established in connection with the fundamental laws of the Empire, nor the terms of the Concordat subsisting between the French Government and the Holy See, should prevent him from interrupting the Archbishop of Paris in the performance of his duty as a French Senator. Such, Sir, are the circumstances connected with France. And we must all remember what occurred in 1864 and 1865 with respect to Russia. Russia had sought a Concordat, but upon the same terms as the Concordat which exists between France and the Holy See—that is to say, a Concordat reserving the independence of the internal administration of the Empire free from the interference of the Papacy. What happened? The negotiations were protracted, and, pending the negotiations, acting chiefly through the regular Orders in Poland, his Holiness encouraged an insurrection in that country, which led to the most bloody and lamentable consequences; and that was the reply of the Papacy—the reply of the present Pope, to the application of Russia for a Concordat! Why do I advert to these facts? Because I wish to call the attention of the House to certain considerations. You are about to permit Cardinal Cullen to assume the title of Archbishop of Dublin. By the Glebes Loan Bill, which you have passed, he being, according to the Papal constitution, supreme administrator of all property belonging, or which hereafter may belong, to any Roman Catholic establishment of a parochial nature within Ireland, you are preparing to place the Treasury in communication with the persons whom you permit to assume a territorial connection with Ireland, and you virtually make him the negotiator between the Treasury and the authorities of the Papacy, as to the terms upon which the Roman Catholic Church shall be established in Ireland. I say "established" for this reason. It is idle to tell me, when you use the power of the State by way of loan to effect the purchase of land or the erection of houses for priests within the parishes of Ireland, that you do not establish the Church for whose ministers you thus provide these estates and houses. If these glebes and houses could be provided without loans, why do you make loans? It is perfectly obvious that, by the joint operation of this Bill, if it be passed, permitting the assumption of the titles of Archbishops, Bishops, and priests, of particular parishes, with the Bill providing means for the establishment, with estates, of these Archbishops, Bishops, and priests, you virtually and beyond all doubt establish the Church which they represent in the country with which you thus deal. Therefore, I want the House distinctly to understand, and whether it pleases to sanction this Bill or not, that the sanctioning of it is the distinct establishment of the Church of Rome, in Ireland at all events, by the aid of the Imperial Treasury; that, without a Concordat, you are about to open negotiations between Cardinal Legate Cullen and the Treasury with respect to those establishments; and, therefore, with respect to everything, in which he may see fit to concern himself, connected with the temporal as well as the spiritual affairs of the Roman Catholic community in Ireland. I hope the House will forgive me for detaining it at some length; but I believe that my exposition is a correct one, and that the effect of this Bill, if it passes, jointly with the effect of the Bill which you have sent to the House of Lords, will be the distinct and direct establishment of the Papal Church in Ireland. That I firmly believe will be its effect; but, I dare say, some of the right hon. Gentlemen of the Treasury Bench will reply—"You might as well declare that we establish the Presbyterian Church." My answer to that is, that the Presbyterian Church is established, and that that which is not established is the Roman Catholic Church. And what you are about to do is this. You are about to establish the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. It is all very well to say that you are going to proceed upon the principle of equality—that is, equality as between the several denominations. I see an hon. Member opposite, who served on the Committee, which the House appointed in the present Session to inquire into the monastic and conventual establishments that are growing up in this coun- try; and the hon. Gentleman mil remember that Lord Clifford — I have a right to refer to this — appeared as a witness before that Committee. On that occasion his Lordship, in reply to several questions, said— All that we, the Roman Catholics, ask is, that the law should take no notice of these monastic and conventual establishments; that they should be considered as so many clubs or private families; and that otherwise the law should not interfere with the Roman Catholic Church or the regular Orders connected with them, because we claim to be placed on terms of equality with all other religious denominations. You do not interfere with the Wesleyans," he said. "You do not interfere with the Independents. You do not interfere with any of the sects of Protestant Dissenters. Therefore we claim that you should not interfere with our Church. Then I put a question to his Lordship. I asked him this— Supposing that the law of England takes no notice of the organization of the Roman Catholic Church or of the organisation and intrusion of the regular Orders; supposing that that is your object and that that object is accomplished; I ask your Lordship, will the position of the Roman Catholic Church and that of other denominations then be one of real equality? I meant by that question—"Do you, as one of the Roman Catholic Peers who signed a declaration against this Act in 1851, mean to assert that, if the law attempts to establish an equality between the Roman Catholic Church and all other denominations by taking notice of none, the Roman Catholic Church will then remain, and be content to remain, upon terms of equality with other denominations?" Sir, Lord Clifford is an honourable man. I pressed him hard on that point, and his Lordship very prudently, very honourably, and very properly refused to answer the question. Because it is notorious that, although the Legislature of this country may choose to close its eyes and shut its ears against the information which reaches it from every quarter of the world, and although it may choose to render itself blind and deaf to the proceedings of the Papacy in Rome and elsewhere, yet this assumed blindness and deafness will not alter the circumstances; and the ambition, the intrigues, and the usurping despotism of Rome will continue in full force, but embittered by the result of the deliberations of this Papal Council, which, by declaring the Pope personally infallible, when acting ex cathedrâ, appointed him to be at all times, in the estimation of such as can accept the doctrine, the exponent of divine truth in all matters, and therefore the supreme authority not only over his own Church but over all mankind; and that not in matters spiritual only, in the sense in which the laws of this country recognize them, but for all purposes, and this without appeal. Hon. Members may say that the success which has at last attended the labours of the Jesuits, who have at length established an uncontrolled despotism at Rome, a despotism in the Pope personally, but controlled by themselves, is a phantasm too absurd to deserve the attention of so intelligent and august an Assembly as the House of Commons. But hon. Members who hold such language as this condemn the universal opinion of mankind. I do not wish to characterize so arrogant an assumption in the terms which it deserves; but if this House chooses to ignore the proceedings at Rome, it condemns the Government of Russia; it condemns the Government of Austria; it condemns the Government of Spain, now republican; it condemns the Government of every country in the world for lending itself to vague apprehensions which are unworthy the consideration of any sensible man! Sir, I have great respect for the intellect of this House; but if the House should take upon itself thus to condemn the whole world, I am afraid it will constitute me a dissenter from its judgment. I wish to show that this is not merely a matter of ecclesiastical designation as it has been presented to us. Some will say—"Why interfere with those poor priests who fancy these territorial designations? True, 'tis a foolish fancy; but why not gratify these poor priests?" But there is in this a kind of contemptuous pity which has in it the very essence of insult. I know that some hon. Members will say that I am actuated by a very persevering bigotry, which can be the result of nothing but miserable ignorance There are people in the world who are supposed to have some knowledge of the circumstances of the Papacy and of its action, and of the position of the Roman Catholic Church in various countries in the world with respect to the civil power and the social condition of those countries. Amongst these perhaps the most distinguished was the late Count de Montalembert; and, in justification of my thus venturing to intrude upon the House, I should like to read to the House an extract from a letter which was written by the Count de Montalembert a very short time previous to his lamented death. The Count de Montalembert is acknowledged by Roman Catholic organs in this country, and is known throughout the world, as having been, during the last 35 years, the most distinguished advocate of the Roman Catholic Church in France. He was, in short, the admiration of his country. It so happens that Count de Montalembert sympathized strongly with the Archbishop of Paris and Father Gratry, and other Roman Catholic ecclesiastics, who deprecated the declaration of the Pope's personal infallibility as a measure which was likely to be productive of consequences eminently detrimental in their opinion not only to the whole Church, but to the peace of the world; and I really think that, as the House is now dealing with this subject, and considering that we are only separated from France by a narrow channel, it cannot be a matter of indifference to the Protestant Members of this House — some of whom may not have studied the subject—to be informed of the opinion of a person so eminent as the late Count de Montalembert. The remarkable letter to which I am about to refer as having been written by this distinguished man, has been accepted by the Roman Catholic journals as authentic. In The Times of March 7th, 1870, this letter appears in a communication from the Paris correspondent of that paper, dated Paris, March 5th; and the correspondent writes in these terms— I am certain you will read with interest the subjoined translation of a letter which Count Montalembert has felt himself called upon to write, in reply to a person who had pointed out to him what he considered a flagrant contradiction between his former speeches in the Chamber of Peers against Gallicanism and his present adhesion to the protest of Father Gratry against the absolute supremacy and separate infallibility of the Pope. The letter is dated Paris, the 28th of February, 1870:—'.… Never, thank Heaven, have I thought, said, or written anything favourable to the personal and separate infallibility of the Pope, such as it is sought to impose upon us; nor to the theocracy, the dictatorship of the Church, which I did my best to reprobate in that history of the Monks of the West of winch you are pleased to appreciate the laborious fabric; nor to that Absolutism of Rome of which the speech that you quote disputed the existence, even in the Middle Ages, but which to-day forms the symbol and the programme of the faction dominant among us.… At the same time, I willingly admit that if I have nothing to cancel I should have a great deal to add. I sinned by omission, or rather by want of foresight. I said—"Gallicanism is dead, because it made itself the servant of the State; you have now only to inter it." I think I then spoke the truth. It was dead, and completely dead. How, then, has it risen again? I do not hesitate to reply. In consequence of the lavish encouragement given, under the Pontificate of Pius IX., to exaggerated doctrines, outraging the good sense as well as the honour of the human race—doctrines of which not even the coming shadow was perceptible under the Parliamentary Monarchy. There is wanting, then, to that speech, as to the one I made in the National Assembly on the Roman Expedition, essential reservations against spiritual despotism, against absolute monarchy, which I have always detested in the State, and which does not inspire me with less repugnance in the Church. But, in 1847, what could give rise to a suspicion that the liberal Pontificate of Pius IX., acclaimed by all the Liberals of the two worlds, would become the Pontificate represented and personified by the Univers and the Civilta? In the midst of the unanimous cries then uttered by the clergy in favour of liberty as in Belgium, of liberty in everything and for all, how could we foresee as possible the incredible wheelabout of almost all that same clergy in 1852—the enthusiasm of most of the Ultramontane doctors for the revival of Cæsarism? The harangues of Monseigneur Parisis, the charges of Monseigneur de Salinis, and especially the permanent triumph of those lay theologians of absolutism, who began by squandering all our liberties, all our principles, all our former ideas, before Napoleon III., and afterwards immolated justice and truth, reason and history, in one great holocaust to the idol they raised up for themselves at the Vatican? If that word idol seems to you too strong, be pleased to lay the blame on what Monseigneur Sibour, Archbishop of Paris, wrote to me on the 10th of September, 1853—"The new Ultramontane school leads us to a double idolatry—the idolatry of the temporal power and of the spiritual power. When you formerly, like ourselves, M. le Comte, made loud professions of Ultramontanism, you did not understand things thus. We defended the independence of the spiritual power against the pretensions and encroachments of the temporal power, but we respected the constitution of the State and the constitution of the Church. We did not do away with all intermediate power, all hierarchy, all reasonable discussion, all legitimate resistance, all individuality, all spontaneity. The Pope and the Emperor were not one the whole Church and the other the whole State. Doubtless there are times when the Pope may set himself above all the rules which are only for ordinary times, and when his power is as extensive as the necessities of the Church. The old Ultramontanes kept this in mind, but they did not make of the exception a rule. The new Ultramontanes have pushed everything to extremes, and have abounded in hostile arguments against all liberties—those of the State as well as those of the Church. If such systems were not calculated to compromise the most serious religious interests at the present time, and especially at a future day, one might be content with despising them, but when one has a presentiment of the evils they are preparing for us it is difficult to be silent and resigned. You have there- fore done well, M. le Comte, to stigmatize them." Thus, Sir, did the pastor of the vastest diocese in Christendom express himself 17 years ago, congratulating me upon one of my first protests against the spirit which, since then, I have never ceased to combat. For it is not to-day, it was in 1852 that I began to struggle against the detestable political and religious aberrations which make up contemporary Ultramontanism. Here, then, traced by the pen of an Archbishop of Paris, is the explanation of the mystery that pre-occupies you, and of the contrast you point out between my Ultramontanism of 1847 and my Gallicanism of 1870. Therefore, without having either the will or the power to discuss the question now debating in the Council, I hail with the most grateful admiration; first, the great and generous Bishop of Orleans; then the eloquent and intrepid priests who have had the courage to place themselves across the path of the torrent of adulation, imposture, and servility by which we risk being swallowed up. Thanks to them, Catholic France wilt not have remained too much below Germany, Hungary, and America.….' Then comes the comment of The Times correspondent on this letter. He says— I need only remind some of your readers that Archbishop Sibour, whose curious and really admirable letter Count Montalembert quotes, was appointed to the See of Paris by General Changarnier, after the death (so truly glorious and worthy of a Christian Bishop) of Monseigneur Afire, in Juno, 1818, and that he himself was murdered by a wretched priest, named Verger, in 1857. Sir, I think I cannot be accused either of bigotry or ignorance if, with this letter in my hand, I look with suspicion upon the effects likely to arise out of the recent decision of the Papal Council, and with distrust upon the probable action of Cardinal Cullen, who, I will show the House, is recognized as one of the chief propagators and supporters of the decree which has been stigmatized in the terms I have read to the House by the late Count de Montalembert in almost the last letter that he ever wrote. I do not choose to make that assertion without proof—I repeat that Cardinal Cullen, the chief authority, to whom you are about to entrust the administration of the money which, under the Glebe Loans Bill, will be dispensed by the Treasury, has avowed himself at Rome one of the chief propagators and promoters of the declaration of the personal infallibility of the Pope; and I will show you what are the consequences which he expects to flow from that declaration. The House will excuse me for quoting this, because I do not like to make what might be considered imputations upon my own authority. There is no organ of the Ultramontane Roman Catholics better known in this country than The Tablet. That paper was established under the auspices of the late Cardinal Wiseman, and it is supposed to be peculiarly in the confidence of Dr. Manning at the present time. Here, Sir, in The Tablet of June 30, 1870, is a copy of an address of the Irish Bishops to his Eminence Cardinal Cullen. The Tablet says— On the evening of Monday, the 18th, after the public session of St. Peter's, an important re-union was held at the Irish College in Rome, through the kind invitation of the Very Rev. Mgr. Kirby, the venerable and respected President. Not only the Irish Bishops at present in Rome, but the most distinguished Prelates from France, Spain, the United States, Canada, and other countries enjoyed his hospitality on this occasion. Several Bishops representing the children of St. Patrick not only in Ireland, but throughout the British Colonies, availed themselves of the opportunity to present the following address to his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin—'To his Eminence Paul Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland, &c. May it please your Eminence, on this most memorable day in the history of the Vatican Council, we, the Archbishops and Bishops, representatives of the Irish race, respectfully approach your Eminence, and offer our heartfelt congratulations on your most able and successful vindication in the Council Hall of the rights of the Holy Sec, and of the tradition of the Irish Church concerning them. Your Eminence truly represented on the occasion the faith and feelings of the Irish people, and we are proud of the manner in which you have testified to both.—Signed by D. M'GETTIGAN, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland'—followed by 29 other signatures. I quote now from Cardinal Cullen's reply— In progress of time the decisions of such a body will be the source of great blessings to the Church, condemning, as they do, so many forms of modern error, upholding the cause of justice and authority, defining the rights of religion, and, above all, banishing Gallicanism from the pale of the Church. This form of teaching, notwithstanding the name it bears, was never adopted by the great Church of France, but was violently forced into a sort of official existence by an ambitious king. Its tendencies always were to undermine the foundation of the Church, to divide the faithful of different countries into hostile camps, and to promote schisms and dissensions among those who should live together like brethren. Having been now solemnly condemned by a General Council, it is to be hoped that itself and its offshoots will soon be forgotten. Now, Sir, Cardinal Cullen here accepts the congratulations of this Ultramontane assembly upon having promoted the condemnation of the Gallican system, by which the independent and national rights of the Roman Catholic community in France are secured to them under the terms of the Concordat between that country and the Holy See. This reminds me, Sir, of a letter which was written by my late Friend Lord Beaumont to the late Duke of Norfolk, the grandfather of the present Duke, whom I was proud also to call my friend, and both were Roman Catholics. In that letter Lord Beaumont lamented the issue of the Brief of 1850 constituting the aggression, which the Legislature of this country resisted by the statute that you are now asked to repeal; and declared that the doctrines of which that Brief was the exposition were so extreme in the sense of sanctioning the usurped authority of the Papacy, and so dangerous in their tendency with respect to society and politics, that, to use his own expression—"Rome spued all moderation out of her mouth;" and added, that the doctrines of which that Brief was the embodiment would render it extremely difficult for any Roman Catholic, who yielded the obedience which that Brief required, to reconcile his allegiance to Her Majesty with his acceptance of the supremacy of the Pope. I have mentioned that it is only a few days since it pleased the Council called "Œcumenical" to sanction in the present Pope all the assumptions which the various Governments of Europe have found it necessary to resist, and I have shown that Cardinal Cullen has congratulated the Pope upon having succeeded, as he hopes, in crushing within France the last remnants of nationality—as reserved in the national Church of France; that he has congratulated the Pope upon the acts by which he has attempted to invade the terms of the Concordat; and I venture to represent to this House that this is not the time at which it is prudent to condone the assumption of territorial titles by such Prelates as Cardinal Cullen, knowing full well that they are imbued with those very, I must say, rebellious principles — rebellious against the just Prerogative of the Crown, and rebellious against the principle of independence which has been expressed in the laws of this country for 800 years. I say that this is not the time at which the Parliament of England should separate itself from the action of the Governments throughout the world, for the purpose of placing under the control of this presumptuous hierarchy the means of oppressing the most loyal and most moderate portion of the Roman Catholic community; the means also of moving the least intelligent of their flocks to condemn, as unrighteous, the laws of this country, which are no more restrictive than the laws of France or than the laws of Germany, and not so restrictive as the laws of Russia. I repeat, Sir, that this is not the time at which it is wise, prudent, or expedient for the Parliament of England to stir in this matter, and that we ought to wait until we have had an opportunity of judging of the effects of this Papal decree, which has been and is celebrated by the Ultramontane party in the Church of Rome as the fulfilment of their hopes. I have now to move that the Bill be read a second time this day three months.

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. Newdegate.)


said, he would not attempt to follow the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), for he was quite unable to do so. He should vote for the second reading of the Bill, on the assumption that its provisions would be greatly modified in Committee, so as to bring the measure back to what it was when it was originally introduced in the House of Lords. As the Bill at present stood he considered it to be more mischievous and more insulting to a large body of their fellow-subjects than the Bill which it proposed to repeal. In the first place, it was not to be forgotten that the present Bill extended to the whole of the realm, whereas the former Bill excepted Scotland from its operation, and excepted it for the same reason which now also applied to Ireland. If therefore, the Bill were to pass in its present shape, it would prevent Bishops of the disestablished Church of Ireland and Bishops of the Scotch Episcopal Church from assuming the titles which they had hitherto borne, and would therefore be insulting and injurious not only to Roman Catholics, but to a large body of Protestants. But this was not his only objection to the Bill. The old Act of 1851 ought to be repealed in his judgment, if for no other reason than it had been nominally in operation for 20 years, and had never been enforced. He did not think a stronger objection could be stated to any Act of Parliament. But he ob- jected further to the present Bill, because it took away one great safeguard which existed in the former enactment, which prevented bigoted and violent men from molesting and annoying with legal process and criminal indictments clergymen and priests of various denominations. That safeguard was, that before the Act could be enforced, the sanction of the Attorney General was requisite. A consideration of the provisions of this Bill would show that in the case of any offence committed against it, no such sanction was required. The framers of this Bill, not adverting to the fact that any offence committed in contempt of an Act of Parliament was a misdemeanour, enabled every person who thought fit to put this Act into operation by indictment at every quarter sessions in England. Instead of repealing what was objectionable in the former Act they were extending it; instead of limiting the penalty to £100, they were inflicting any penalty which the discretion of the Judge might consider to be right. It was said that by repealing the former and obsolete Act they would be helping to establish the Church of Rome. That was a perfectly groundless fear. The real question was whether a respectable and venerable gentleman should call himself Archbishop of Dublin or Archbishop of Mesopotamia in partibus infidelium. He did not think that the fact of his calling himself by one title or the other would in the least establish the Church of Rome. That Church was already established in the sense that it was tolerated by law; but it was not established in the sense that it was endowed by law, nor was any establishment of the Church of Rome in that sense contemplated by this Bill. In giving their sanction to the measure, however, improved as he hoped it would be in Committee, this would remove from the statute book an Act of Parliament which, whether rightly or wrongly, was looked upon by a large portion of their fellow-subjects as an insult to them and their religion.


said, he would support the second reading of this Bill on the understanding laid down by the hon. and learned Member for Dover (Mr. Jessel), with whose arguments he entirely concurred. He looked upon the Bill as a measure of simple justice. The present Act was, no doubt, provoked by proceedings very unwise, and in many respects insolent. The people of England were excited to absolute fury, and did a very illogical thing. They passed an Act of Parliament full of sound and fury; but the penalties were futile and nugatory. While it did not accomplish the object which was aimed at, the Act of 1851 did a great deal of harm by giving a shock to the general respect and esteem in which England had been held as a land of toleration for every form of religious belief. He himself had voted against the Bill, and had lost his seat for several years in consequence. He did not regret that, for he felt that he had taken the only course consistent with his honour. If the present Bill had come down from the House of Lords in its original shape he should have been prepared to accept it. But Clause 1, which had been introduced, did either too much or too little. It either affirmed a mere truism, and as such was beneath the dignity of Parliament, or if it did more it was a penal statute of such stringency that it ought not to be accepted. The original Act of 1851, by a clause specially framed it was said by the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of the Government, had been prevented from affecting the Episcopal Church of Scotland, but the words "assumed or used" in Clause 1 of the present Bill would clearly apply to that Church, and bring it within the provisions of the measure This, he thought, must clearly not have been the intention of those who had brought it in, and they were therefore responsible for setting it right in Committee. He meant to vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) hoping that the House in Committee would take a rational view, and bring back the Bill more nearly to its original shape, so as to make it a measure of toleration and send it forth a message of peace, and not of persecution.


said, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was plainly entitled to claim the support of the Members for Dover (Mr. Jessel) and for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope), their voices having clearly been given against the Bill, though their votes might be recorded in its favour. Both hon. Gentlemen declared that they only supported the Bill in the expectation that it would be entirely changed in Committee. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover, whose practice did not lie as largely in the Criminal as in the Equity Courts, imagined that this Bill would create a new misdemeanour. But such was not the case, for it prohibited nothing, and there were, consequently, no provisions to be infringed. It merely said that if certain steps were taken, they should be null and void, and in that lay the difference from the Act of 1851, which did create a penalty for acts done in contravention of its provisions. Those penalties, however, had never been enforced, and admittedly were not going to be enforced. Who, then, was injured by the continuance of the statute, or who would be benefited by the substitution for it of another statute which provided that the same acts, if attempted, should be null and void? Generally, he was not in favour of retaining penalties on the statute book which were never enforced; but the present time was ill-chosen for altogether repealing the Act, which would be unnecessarily alarming the scruples of large numbers of the English people. He could see no adequate reason or justification for the change proposed. The Ecclesiastical Titles Act remained on the statute book simply as a protest against the aggression of a foreign Power, and what good end was to be attained by the passing of this new Act he was at a loss to understand.


Sir, I object to this Bill, but for very opposite reasons to those put forward by the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope). I object as regards that part of the Bill which includes Scotland. The Act which it is now sought to repeal, it has been argued, in effect sanctioned the assumption of ecclesiastical titles by persons in Scotland connected with the Episcopal Church in that country. But, Sir, I deny the effect of the clause was to give any such sanction; because the conclusion of the clause of the Bill of which the second reading is now proposed, declares that nothing in that Act contained shall confer any right on those persons which they did not possess before the passing of the Act. The Ministers of the Episcopal Church of Scotland never had a shadow of a right by law to assume any episcopal title, and the effect of that clause, I will venture to say, was what I will state. I admit that the Act was most offensive, inasmuch as it distinguished between the assumption of titles by Episcopalian ministers to which they had no legal right, and the assumption of titles by Roman Catholics to which they had no legal right; for while it stigmatized the Roman Catholics, and made them liable to a penalty of £100, it did not stigmatize the Episcopalian clergymen, and did not make them liable. To that extent it was very unjust, and calculated to wound the Roman Catholics; but I deny altogether that it gave to the Episcopal Church of Scotland any right to assume territorial titles. In point of fact, in many districts they do not assume them. We speak not of the Bishop of Edinburgh, but of Bishop Terrot, and we spoke of his predecessor as Bishop Sandford. We know that there are some who assume titles in different districts of Scotland; but those who may call themselves Bishop of Argyle or Bishop of Aberdeen—to which they have not a shadow of a right—are just in the same position as any of the other ministers of religion in Scotland, with this difference, that they have the smallest influence of any ministers in Scotland with regard to the extent of their flocks. A man may call himself Bishop of Argyle and the Isles, and yet have only a handful of people in connection with his denomination; and there may be 50 ministers of other denominations, each of whom has a larger number of people to attend to than the so-called Bishop of Argyle and the Isles. The assumption of territorial titles by Catholics and Episcopalians in Scotland is not respected. On the contrary, it is laughed at and sneered at; and if you go to a mooting for some benevolent and useful object, you will see on the same platform the Roman Catholic Bishop who has never called himself Bishop of Edinburgh, but Bishop Gilles or Bishop Strain, standing on the same platform with Bishop Terrot of the Episcopal Church and other ministers, and no difference made between them. No assumption of superiority ever took place; and, in fact, such an assumption of superiority in a Presbyterian country, where Presbyterianism is enacted by law, would be altogether out of the question. Now, I take exception to this Bill, because it is quite plain that, although it does not profess to have for its object the giving of any sanction to the assumption of titles; but, on the contrary, denies to them any legal sanction, yet the purport of it is to enable all those parties to assume such titles of superiority over other ministers. To that extent I object to the measure. The first part of the Bill shows that the Ecclesisastical Titles Act only applies to England and Ireland. In the 9th line there is a reference to deaneries in England or Ireland, and one would have supposed that when the alleged grievance was confined to England and Ireland, we should have met with a clause in the Bill providing that the remedy should not apply to Scotland; but, in place of that, the Enacting Clauses, four or five times over, provide that it shall be operative within "this realm," thus making it as applicable to Scotland as it is to England or Ireland. I will not say one word about Ireland, or the effect of Catholicism there; I will leave that to other parties; but I object to the apparent sanction which you are going to give to the thrusting upon a Presbyterian community of two classes of ministers of religion, who are to assume titles of superiority over other ministers in Scotland, to which titles they have no claim in law; and because they are not, either by talent, or influence, or learning, or in any other shape or way entitled to those distinctions. On these grounds I entirely object to this Bill, and shall vote against the second reading, although not for the same reasons as have been stated by the hon. Member near me.


said, he could well understand the impatience of hon. Gentlemen, because he know it was not pleasant to have to discuss the old subject of the effect of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill on the 4th of August and with the thermometer at 84 degrees in the shade. But he declined to discuss the Bill or to vote upon it on the narrow grounds put forward by the two learned Gentlemen of the long robe who had addressed the House. He thought hon. Members would be inclined to vote for the Bill on the ground that it would remove a flagrant injustice and insult to their Roman Catholic brethren. He was one of those who in 1851 resisted the original Bill. So far from that being passed at the instigation of the nation, it was brought in as a clap-trap appeal on the part of a Whig Ministry, who were shaking in Office, to the bigotry of the country to support them. He separated himself from that party, and like the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), he paid the penalty for his vote by losing his seat in that House. The Act of 1851 was worse than a crime; it was a blunder. It effectually estranged the Roman Catholic nation of Ireland from this country, and the disaffection caused by the Bill was felt to this day. He was not surprised at the line taken by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), for he had always been consistent; but he thought it a little hard that he should detain the House now by reading the same letter from Count Montalembert that he occupied one whole day in reading before the Committee. He ought not to come down to the House, make the same speech, and read the same letter.


said, the hon. Member misrepresented him. The letter he had quoted was written on the 28th of February last.


said, it was strangely like the one read in Committee, and he suspected that it was a corrected copy prepared for the House. As he had said, he was not surprised at the course taken by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and his Colleague the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley), …. Arcades ambo, Et cantare pares, et respondere parati. But he warned the Members of that House that if they were going to take that line they must be prepared to have a greater force in Ireland than they had at present. The hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. M. Chambers) said this was a bad time to repeal the Act. But he would ask whether it was intended, while there was a war on the Continent and recruiting was proceeding in this country, to ask the recruits for an explanation of their religion? Was it wise at such a moment to place a stigma upon the priests of the national religion in Ireland, saying they should not call themselves Bishops of Down or Derry? He was astonished that the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Jessel), who was an acute lawyer, should suffer his reason to be run away with in this matter; and he was equally surprised to find the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) drawing distinctions on behalf of the Presbyterians of Scotland. What possible harm could be done to the Presby- terians if a gentleman chose to call himself Bishop of Edinburgh? Why could not clergymen he allowed to call themselves what they liked? They did not on that account take any money out of the hon. Member's pocket. He could have understood an objection on such a score from a Scotchman; but he could not comprehend the sentimental reasons which had been advanced. He hoped the House would not be led away by such considerations. This was no time for having useless protests upon our statute book, and when a protest was a wrong and an insult the British House of Commons should wipe it out. If they wished to unite Ireland to England they would not accomplish that object by continuing debates of this sort, and still less would they succeed in that direction by placing a stigma upon their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen.


said, as he intended, on the part of the Government, to support the second reading of the Bill, he would state shortly his reasons for taking that course The hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. M. Chambers) claimed the votes of two hon. Members (Mr. Jessel and Mr. Beresford Hope) on the ground that they had spoken against the Bill, but he overlooked the important clause which repealed 14 & 15 Vict. The Bill did its work quite as effectually and much less offensively as originally framed by the Government and introduced into the House of Lords than in its amended form, and for that reason it was proposed to make Amendments in Committee restoring the Bill to its original shape. The provisions would, however, remain intact, so far as they were directed against the conferring of titles by a foreign potentate; but the Government was not disposed to inflict penalties on religious bodies for the use of distinctions among themselves. He thought it very inexpedient to retain on the statute book laws which were not enforced; and when a number of new Bishops were putting themselves under the ban of the law, it seemed to be very necessary to repeal a law which did not commend itself to the moderation or good sense of the community.


said, he wished to know what would be the legal position of the Bishops of the disestablished Church in Ireland and their successors if the existing law remained unaltered?


said, he believed the present Bishops would be entitled to retain their titles and precedence without any interference or prosecution, but under the existing law any new Bishop appointed after the 1st of January 1871, would be subject to a penalty of £100 if he assumed the title of his see.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 111; Noes 34: Majority 77.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow, at Two of the clock.