HC Deb 23 February 1871 vol 204 cc780-808

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, he would give a short explanation of the purport and objects of the measure. It would be recollected that the Pope, in September, 1850, issued a Bull, conferring, or professing to confer, certain ecclesiastical and territorial titles upon the Roman Catholic Prelates in England, and that this proceeding caused great excitement in this country. Indeed, the public feeling on the matter was so strong that the Government of the day had scarcely a choice but to introduce an Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. It was important that they should thoroughly understand the effect of that Act before they considered the question of repealing it. The state of the law previous to the passing of that Act was this—He held it to be undoubted that by the common law of this country, declared from time to time by statute, and more particularly by the 28th Henry VIII., which was repealed by an Act passed in the reign of Philip and Mary, but re-enacted again by the 1st of Elizabeth, any jurisdiction, any title conferred by the Pope or any foreign authority was absolutely without legal effect, or, in the words of the statutes, "null and void." Such was the state of the law before the Ecclesiastical Titles Act was passed; such is now the state of the law, and such would remain the state of the law after the present Bill was passed. He wished that to be distinctly understood. But the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 10 Geo. IV. went beyond the Acts to which he had referred, and inflicted a penalty of £100 upon any Roman Catholic Bishop or other person who should assume any ecclesiastical title which was possessed by any member of the Established Church in England or Ireland. The Bull of the Pope, to which he had referred, of September, 1850, did not contravene the provisions of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, or, at all events, it was the opinion of the majority of the lawyers that it did not do so, for this reason, that the Bull did not authorize the assumption of any title actually held by Prelates of the Established Church, but the assumption of territorial titles other than those held by members of the Established Church; and it was to meet this aggression, as it was termed, that the Act which he now sought to repeal was introduced. By the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, persons were prohibited, under a penalty of £100, from assuming any ecclesiastical title in Great Britain and Ireland without proper authority. It was, however, at once seen that that Act would affect the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Scotland, and, therefore, an express exception was introduced into the Act to meet their case. Having stated the effect of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, he would proceed to give the reasons which had induced Her Majesty's Government to seek to repeal that statute. It was not to be disputed that the Act was practically a dead letter; but he regretted to say that it had not been altogether inoperative, inasmuch as it had given rise to considerable irritation on the part of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and of alienating the Roman Catholic Prelates from the Government in Ireland. The present Lord Chancellor of Ireland, when giving evidence before a Committee of this House on the subject, had stated that he saw no reason, as the law now stood, to expect cordial personal intercourse between the Irish secular authorities and those who ruled the Roman Catholic Church—a circumstance which was to be regarded as a deep calamity in a country like Ireland. The question of the repeal of this statute had been considered by a Select Committee of that House which sat in 1867, and that Committee had reported in favour of the repeal of the Act, although he was bound at the same time to say that a Committee of the other House had reported in an opposite sense. It was a great evil to retain on the statute book penalties which were not enforced. But the case for the repeal of the Act did not rest here. The disestablishment of the Irish Church by the Act of last year made the passing of the present Bill a matter of absolute necessity, because, as the law now stood, every Bishop of the disestablished Church appointed after the 1st of January, 1871, who should assume an ecclesiastical title, would be subjected to a penalty of £100 under it; and, therefore, if it were allowed to remain on the statute book, it would altogether prevent the working of that Church. An hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Charley) intended to propose the rejection of the Bill. Now, he presumed that the hon. Gentleman did not think that the Bishops of the Established Church ought to be subject to a penalty for assuming ecclesiastical titles. This point could only be dealt with in two ways. Either the statute must be repealed altogether, or Parliament must pass a measure exempting Protestant Bishops from its operation whilst Roman Catholic Bishops would still be liable—a course that would scarcely be consistent with the sacrifice they had submitted to in order to establish religious equality in Ireland. In endeavouring to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, the Government had been careful not to go further than was absolutely necessary, and, therefore, they had not attempted to touch the provisions of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, which would remain in force, and under which Roman Catholic Bishops would be prohibited from assuming titles held by Prelates of the Church of England. It would certainly be most inconvenient if there were two Archbishops of Canterbury; but he presumed that it was not the intention of the Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church to assume such titles. Feeling the importance that would attach to the wording of this Bill, he proposed, in the event of the House permitting it to be read a second time, to refer it to a Select Committee, in order that the precise words in which the measure should be drawn should be deliberately determined upon. He trusted that the majority of the House would feel that the repeal of the statute in question was necessary not merely in the interest of the Protestant Church of Ireland, but of religious liberty. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving that the Bill be now read a second time.

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


, in moving, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time upon that day six months, observed that when the Earl of Kimberley introduced the Bill, he stated that he did so on account of the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. That view had been taken by the Attorney General. The Solicitor General for Ireland, in the debate on the second reading of a similar measure which had been introduced last year, stated his belief that the existing Prelates of the disestablished Church, in Ireland would not be affected by the provisions of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, although those appointed subsequently to January, 1871, would be affected by them. He much admired the modesty of the Solicitor General for Ireland, and he only wished he could say the same of the Attorney General for England. He was prepared to show that it was impossible to escape from the dilemma propounded by Lord Cairns, that the Bill, if intended merely for the relief of the Irish Protestant Bishops, either did too much or too little. It did too much, because it extended to Great Britain, where it was not wanted. It did too little, because it did not repeal the 24th section of the Catholic Emancipation Act. This last-named Act was sanctioned by the great names of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel; but it was necessary to pass the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, because His Holiness the Pope adroitly shielded his nominees from the penalties imposed by appointing them to sees bearing names differing from those of the sees in the Established Church. The Earl of Kimberley last year, in endeavouring to meet the objection that the repeal of the 24th section of the Catholic Emancipation Act was necessary to relieve perfectly the Protestant Bishops in Ireland, said— Next January the clause will not apply to any Irish Bishop; for as there will be no bishoprics established by law in Ireland there will be no titles which the Bishops of any Church will be prohibited from assuming."—[3 Hansard, cci. 1472.] And the Lord Chancellor of England, speaking subsequently in the same debate, said— After the Church in Ireland has ceased to be established, there is no longer any objection in that country to any person assuming the title of his see from any town, the name of which had formerly been appropriated to a see of the Established Church."—[Ibid. 1486.] The language of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act and that of the Catholic Emancipation Act showed that the former was merely an Act for the extension of the latter by the use of the words, "be or be not the province, or co-extensive with the province, of any Archbishop, &c.," of the Established Church, and as that took in any new sees the Parliament was even with the Pope. According to the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, any person might assume the title formerly held by the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland; but those dignitaries never had assumed the title of any see, and they never would assume any other than those formerly held by them under the sanction of the law; and, therefore, if they were to be sued it must be under the 24th section of the Catholic Emancipation Act, and they could cite the Lord Chancellor as an authority that they were liable to no penalties under that Act, and, à fortiori, they were not under the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and, therefore, that apprehended danger was purely imaginary. The Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland had no grievance to complain of, because if they were sued they also could plead the opinion of the Lord Chancellor in their favour. The law with regard to Bulls was, no doubt, as the learned Attorney General had stated it; any person introducing Papal Bulls into this country was liable to the law of prœmunire. In Earl Russell's time Lord Romilly, the then Attorney General, and Sir Alexander Cockburn, the present Lord Chief Justice, who was at that time Solicitor General, went into the question of penalties. They found they were somewhat rusty and antiquated, and suggested that a simple remedy ought to be substituted, and that of £100 was substituted. The Bulls spoken of in the Ecclesiastical Titles Act were not Bulls at all, but such as were mentioned in the Preamble of the Act—namely, Bulls creating pretended sees similar to those the Pope created in England in 1850. The Irish Roman Catholic Bishops had no more a grievance than had the Irish Protestant Bishops of that country, being placed on perfect equality for the future. He agreed with the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren), in the law with regard to Scotland which he laid down last Session. The Act of 1829 did not mention Scotland in its enacting part, but the Act of 1851 did extend to that country, and, therefore, if they repealed that Act they would sweep away all the obstacles to the establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in that country taking territorial titles from places within its boundary; not that he supposed the souls of Scotch Presbyterians would be much troubled by the Pope treating them as heretics. The 3rd clause of the Act, as it related to Scotland, was not, as the Attorney General had said, a violation of religious equality. It did not in the least change the condition of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. It left it where it found it; but it exempted the Church of Scotland from the penalties under the Act. In 1851 Sir George Grey, in reply to a Question from a Roman Catholic Member, said that the Scotch Bishops stood on a totally different footing to the Roman Catholic Bishops, inasmuch as they did not hold their office through the appointment of a foreign Power. There was nothing he said in the law that gave them power to assume those titles, but it left them just where they were before. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) said he agreed with the right hon. Baronet that there was a distinction between Bishops holding office by foreign appointment and authority, and those who did not so hold them, and the clause was read a third time without a Division. The Roman Catholic Bishops of Scotland had never assumed territorial titles taken from places in that country, and therefore they had never been subjected to the penalty of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act. They laboured under no grievance, and the only object for sweeping away the Ecclesiastical Titles Act could be to entitle them to assume in Scotland territorial titles derived from places there. He did not envy any Scotch Member who voted for the second reading of the Bill, and if he did, he hoped the vote of want of confidence adopted in Glasgow would not be thrown away. In England there was an Established Church the form of which was Episcopal, and, as the Attorney General had said, it was thought inexpedient that there should be two Archbishops of Canterbury or two Bishops of London, and, therefore, the Government did not propose to repeal the 24th section of the Catholic Emancipation Act; but that it was very expedient to have an Archbishop of Westminster whose jurisdiction, though derived from a foreign source, did not conflict with theirs. The Ecclesiastical Titles Act was, however, passed with special reference to England. As Lord Russell said, we had no remedy against the Pope, who appointed Bishops in this country, to whom he assigned English territorial titles; but we had a remedy against Dr. Manning, and now the Government proposed to deprive us of that remedy against Dr. Manning. It was not true that Dr. Manning's jurisdiction as Archbishop of Westminster did not conflict with that of the Bishop of London, because Westminster formed a part of the diocese of the Bishop of London. This was not the time to exalt the Church of Rome when all the civilized nations of the Continent of Europe found it indispensable to curb her exorbitant pretensions; and when they considered the magnificent cathedral the Church of Rome intended to build in the neighbourhood of that House, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London might well hide their diminished heads as the representatives of the Protestant Constitution. The Attorney General had said that, in fact, the penalties imposed by the Ecclesiastical Titles Act had never been enforced, and that in consequence it was inexpedient to get rid of them. He would remind the House that the Catholic Emancipation Act provided that the penalties should be enforced by the Attorney General himself; but Lord Chelmsford introduced a clause into the Ecclesiastical Titles Act which provided that they might be enforced by any person with the consent of the Attorney General. If, then, the penalties were not enforced, whose fault was it? Why the Attorney General, who would not give his consent to their being recovered. It was, therefore, idle to talk of their not being enforced. How long, he asked, would the people of this country endure this sort of thing. He could not say; but this he knew, that when the Prime Minister of England began to notice the Pope it was high time for the House of Commons to notice the Prime Minister. In official documents issued that morning it would be found that the right hon. Gentleman sent a powerful man-of-war to await the wishes of the Holy Father, and he thought it was inconsistent in a statesman, after recommending Her Majesty to sanction the confiscation of the property of the Irish Church, that he should be afterwards found taking steps to protect the property of the Irish College at Rome. He saw by that morning's paper that the Roman Catholic ladies of England had presented an address to His Holiness, in which they said they must congratulate him on the triumph in store for him, and he should like to know if the Prime Minister intended to adorn that triumph. An opinion was gaining ground out-of-doors that in his efforts to subdue and subjugate and break down the will of the people Archbishop Manning had a willing ally in the Prime Minister of England. When a question was put to the right hon. Gentleman whether he had lately become reconciled to the Church of Rome, why did he shuffle with the question, instead of giving it a straightforward denial like an honest Englishman, if it were not true? Of this he (Mr. Charley) was quite certain that the Protestant establishments of this country would never be destroyed except by the false friends of Protestantism. Would to God the right hon. Gentleman were a member of the Church of Rome, for then he could not do half the evil he had done to Pro- testantism as a member of the Protestant Church. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.

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


said*: Sir, I am aware that it would be convenient to Roman Catholic Members to allow this debate to drop. I saw an hon. Member rise on this side of the House, a Roman Catholic Member (Mr. H. Matthews), with whom I had the honour of serving on the Committee appointed last Session to inquire into the conventual and monastic institutions which are so rapidly increasing in this country, and I can answer for it that, subject to the directions which that hon. Member, no doubt, receives, he is prompt on every occasion to lend his legal acumen to the defence of the interests which are seeking shelter from the purview of the law. When I saw that hon. Member rise to address the House, I own I was rather surprised to observe how suddenly he sat down again. The hon. Member had evidently received a signal which purported that it is now half-past 7 o'clock, and that a Division "snapped" at this particular moment would not have represented the real opinion of the House: so, seeking to avoid a fair decision of the House, down sat the hon. Member. Sir, this is but one instance of the tactics which have prevailed among the Roman Catholic party, and in the Committee to which I have referred; and it is by such devices that the rapid progress—the rapid political progress—of the Papacy in this country has been promoted. It is, moreover, through the extreme ignorance that prevails with regard to the real nature of the aggression that the Act of 1851, which it is now sought to repeal, was intended to counteract. Sir, it is the pleasure of some hon. Members to assume that England, in 1851, was mad; and that this House, although the debates continued during the whole Session, was pursuing a chimera in enacting a law upon no novel principle, but enacting a law which though something more, still is clearly declaratory of the ancient law of this kingdom which existed from before the Conquest, because the Sovereigns of England, whoever held the sovereign power in this country, had always found it necessary to restrain the pretensions of the Papacy. And why? Because, while pretending to "spiritual" authority only, the Papacy has ever given to that term such an extensive interpretation that "spiritual," according to that interpretation, includes all temporal interests. Now, Sir, in order to show that this doctrine is not abandoned, I will, with the permission of the House, quote a passage from a very remarkable work which has recently been published. This work is the sequel to another work entitled Janus, in which the views of educated Germans—I mean Roman Catholic Germans—as to the probable purpose and effect of the Council then about to be held at Rome, were given. That work was followed by the production of the work to which I am referring, and which is entitled Quirinus. These Roman Catholics, being, I believe, distinguished ecclesiastics, understand the persecuting power of Rome's jurisdiction so well that they dare not publish their own names; at the same time, the authority of those works is well known and is indisputable. Quirinus consists of a number of letters which were written by three persons of different nations, who were resident at Rome during the Session of the Council, and they conveyed to a centre in Germany—a Roman Catholic centre in Germany—from week to week what their respective writers were enabled to gather from the members of the Council, until at last his Holiness the Pope became so alarmed at the publication of the proceedings of the Council, that, on the 14th of January last, he pronounced it to be a deadly sin to publish anything connected with those proceedings, or relating to the Council, except by way of laudation. After that declaration, or rather condemnation, by the Chief of the Roman Catholic Church, who was then also Sovereign of the Roman States and of the city of Rome, it is not likely that we should obtain any more direct evidence of what passed in the Council than what was thus furnished us from Germany in the pages of the work entitled Quirinus. Let me, in passing, recommend every hon. Member in this House to procure copies of this work, and of the companion volume Janus, for the sake of preserving the history of this remarkable Council. They are published by Rivington and Co., and there is little probability of any other history of these transactions appearing more distinctly in our lifetime. In the Appendix to this work, Quirinus, the speech, of M. Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, is given. He is a most remarkable, a most distinguished, and a most exemplary Prelate. I would recall to the recollection of the House that it was this Archbishop of Paris who remonstrated, five or six years since, against the intrusion of the Pope's power into his diocese to the supersession of his own lawful jurisdiction—lawful, that is, under the canon law, as exercised over the regular religious monastic and conventual Orders in Paris; and that the Pope censured this Archbishop because, as Archbishop, he had represented to His Holiness that, by the canon law, by the Concordat, and by the fundamental laws of France, he was only performing his duty as a Bishop in exercising visitatorial power over the regular Orders and their houses; and yet the Pope, acting upon the principle which has now found its full development in the decrees of the Council, threatened to supersede the Archbishop. The Pope set at nought the canon law, and defied the law of France then, as he is now defying the law of England. And it is in deference to this defiance that the House of Commons is asked to repeal this statute of 1851, which is declaratory of the ancient law that our forefathers had, for 800 years at least, found to be necessary for the preservation of their independence as citizens of this free country. Sir, the Archbishop of Paris was bold enough to oppose the dogma of Papal infallibility and the Schema for the re-organization of the Roman Catholic Church not upon the principle of a Church at all, but upon the principle of political conspiracy, whereby all rights under the canon law of Rome—that canon law which constitutes her as a Church—may at any moment, by the sole dictum of the Pope, pronounced ex cathedrâ by some secret conclave held at Rome, be superseded; and the arbitrary will of the Pope may thus be enforced upon the Roman Catholics of any district, of any province, or of any country, to the supersession of their known and ancient rights under the canon law. What says the Archbishop of Paris? In a speech delivered on the 20th of May last, on the Con- stitutio dogmatica de Ecclesiâ, the Archbishop says— The compilers of the Schema, whether they desire it or not, are introducing a new era of mischief, if the subject-matter of Papal infallibility is not accurately defined, or if it can be supposed that under the head of morals the Pope will give decisions on the civil and political acts of Sovereigns and nations, laws and rights, to which a public authority will be attributed. Everyone of any political cultivation knows what seeds of discord are contained in our Schema, and to what perils it exposes even the temporal power of the Holy See. The Archbishop of Paris thus warned the Council, and has thus fortunately warned the world, that the proceedings of that Council have invested the Pope with the power of pronouncing, as necessary to salvation, what shall be or what shall not be the political acts of Roman Catholic Prelates, and of Catholics generally throughout the world. Well, Sir, the Bill before the House is clearly intended for the encouragement of Archbishop Manning; intended for the promotion of Archbishop Manning, and intended for the promotion of Cardinal Cullen. Cardinal Cullen condemned the Archbishop of Paris at a meeting which was held immediately after the Council separated, and said he hoped that all such opinions as his—that all opinions which represented the ancient Constitution, the ancient Gallican liberties of the Roman Catholic Church of France, would be swept into oblivion. To the speech of the Archbishop of Paris, which I have quoted to the House, there is a note appended by the author of Quirinus, which refers to a passage in a well-known sermon, preached in 1869 at Kensington by Archbishop Manning. Archbishop Manning announced that the Pope will give decisions on the civil and political acts of Sovereigns and nations, laws and rights, to which a public authority will be attributed. In this note the writer affirms so; that the acts of the Pope, as infallible, when pronounced ex cathedrâ, will be political. This is emphatically asserted," says the author, "in a sermon preached last year at Kensington by Archbishop Manning, where he says, speaking in the Pope's name—'I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the consciences of men; of the peasant that tills the field and the prince that sits on the throne; of the household that lives in the shade of privacy, and the Legislature that makes laws for kingdoms—I am the sole last supreme judge of what is right and wrong.' Now, the House is asked by this Bill to pass a statute to legalize a title in Dr. Manning which the law has condemned, and to relieve him from penalties, in order that he may in this metropolis carry out this doctrine as to the Pope's supremacy in all matters, whether private, public, or political; yet I find the House scarcely deigning to give any attention to the subject, as if it could afford to treat with contemptuous indifference the purposes and designs of a person like Dr. Manning, who, as thus authorized by the Pope, is known already to have had an enormous influence in moulding the Members of this House to effect the subversion of the Church of Ireland. I myself have witnessed the exertions of Dr. Manning in the Lobbies of this House, and when I know that they were intended to promote that which has been described and condemned as an idolatrous tyranny by an Archbishop of Paris, the murdered predecessor of the present Archbishop, and by the Count de Montalembert, as I showed the House last year when I read to the House the letter of the late Count de Montalembert, in which he quoted Archbishop Sibour, the predecessor of the present Archbishop of Paris, whose eloquent words of remonstrance in the Council I have now quoted; I ask, is it not lamentable that this House of Commons should be either so ignorant or indifferent as to the action of these influences, that most of the Benches are empty, and that the representatives of the Opposition are all absent? Can this be regarded as a true representation of the feeling of the country? You pretend that this House has been elected by household suffrage. Do you represent the ignorance or the intelligence of the country? [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh; and yet this very evening a large section, if not the majority, of this House will do the bidding of this very power for which they affect contempt. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General says that, after all we have done for the safe establishment of religious liberty, would it not be fitting to do this one thing more, and extend to the Roman Catholic Bishops an equal right to assume territorial titles with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and the Archbishop of York? Why, says he, can we not take this other little step in the direction of establishing religious equality? Has the hon. and learned Gentleman ever asked Dr. Manning whether he is willing to accept now, henceforth, and for ever, on the part of the see of Rome, the doctrine of religious equality? It happens—and I referred to this question last year—that in the Committee on Conventual and Monastic Institutions, Lord Clifford was examined as a witness; and I rejoiced to see a nobleman appear as a witness, of whose private character I had heard so much that I knew I might have perfect confidence in his honour. He said, in effect—"All that we ask is that the law should take no notice of those monastic and conventual institutions. Leave us alone. Take no notice of us: leave us free to establish these institutions. We desire that the law of England should not interfere in ecclesiastical or religious matters. We wish the law to regard as equal the Church of England, the establishment of the Protestant Nonconformists and Dissenters, and these establishments of the Church of Rome, and should meddle with none of them." I then put several times this question to Lord Clifford—"Suppose the law either treats as equals the institutions of all denominations and ignores all their institutions, will the Church of Rome be satisfied to remain on terms of equality with the Wesleyans, Independents, Baptists, Church of England, and other denominationalists?" I pressed that question home, and Lord Clifford, as an honourable man, at length appealed to the Chairman not to permit what he described as so extreme a question to be pressed, and I ceased to urge it, because I knew perfectly well that, if Lord Clifford should speak the truth, judging from the speeches he himself had made at certain meetings, he must have declared that the demand for religious equality is merely regarded by the advocates of Rome as a step towards the establishment of her supremacy. Do you desire to encourage this ambition? Does this House condemn the Italians because they have found the temporal jurisdiction of the Pope intolerable? Are you prepared to authorize the Prime Minister to do the only thing he could do consistently with the Diplomatic Relations Act; not to send the forces of England to restore the spiritual authority of the Pope—for that the law forbids—but do you urge that he should send the forces of England to restore the temporal authority of the Pope as temporal sovereign of the quondam Pontifical States and of Rome? And, if you are not prepared to inflict that injury upon the Italian people, how can you be so little considerate for the interests of the people of England as to further the progress of the Papal power in this country, and permit the establishment here of a power and jurisdiction which the Italians, who have known it most fully, utterly repudiate? Remember this, that except in the exaggerated sense which the Pope has now distinctly affixed to the term "religion," and therefore to the word "spiritual," this is not by any means merely a religious question, because prior to the Brief of 1850 the Roman Catholics in this country enjoyed as much religious freedom as any other denomination in it. There are certain things to which no denomination has a right; because such right, if permitted, would trench upon the rights and liberty of others; those things only were forbidden to the Roman Catholics which are encroachments upon the rights of others. We know that for every function of their religion, in the sense in which we understand the term "religion," the Vicars Apostolic were sufficient; we know this also, that it was with the view of establishing the jurisdiction of the canon law in this country that the well-known Brief of Aggression was issued in 1850. It is a question of jurisdiction, therefore, and of temporals, not a question of religion properly understood, that we are considering. Why, I have here beside me the appeal which Cardinal Wiseman issued with the object of soothing the irritation, in 1851, which this intrusion of a foreign Power and jurisdiction had created. And how did he justify the Brief; for it was this Brief which has caused all the irritation; the act of the Pope, and not the Act of Parliament, which condemned it. He then stated in the Brief the intervention of his authority was necessary in order to constitute a hierarchy which, being convened in Synod, would have jurisdiction according to the canon law of Rome. That is the purport of the declaration then made by the highest Roman Catholic authority; and it was in answer to that declaration that the Act of 1851 was passed. That Act of Parliament de- clared, in answer to the Pope's agression—"You shall not exercise this jurisdiction as of right. We claim, as the representatives of the English nation, that supremacy for our chief and head, the Queen, in conjunction with the two Houses of Parliament, which has existed from time immemorial, and we will not allow this intrusion upon our freedom. We will guard the liberties of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, which have grown up under the previous organization of their Church in England, and you shall not thrust them down. You shall not use your power to collect into the hands of the Bishops, your nominees, the property which the Roman Catholic laity of England, intend shall be vested in their priests or in lay trustees. You shall not monopolize this property in the hands of your Bishops under the direction of a Cardinal." That was the answer of Parliament under the state of things existing in 1851. Now there has been a great change in the Roman Church; the rights of the Bishops have, by the acts of this Council, been rendered liable to supersession at any moment by the mere dictum of the Pope, and the case support of the statute of 1851; the case is still stronger, because it is not with the Bishop of a diocese, or the Archbishop of a province, that the priest or layman who would retain his property will have to contend, but he will have to contend directly with the Pope himself, against whom, as Lord Russell wisely said, there is, in fact, no remedy. The House will forgive the earnestness with which I speak; but it really seems to me that hon. Members overlook the gravity of the subject with which they are now dealing. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General asked why should we not soothe the irritation which exists, and which has been created, as he wrongly said, in consequence of this law, which you are asked to repeal. In answer to that, I declare that the irritation among Roman Catholics has not been created by this law, but that it has been created by the Brief—the document from Rome—which rendered the passing of this law necessary; and I will prove it. I will give hon. Members an idea of the terms of brotherly love and desire for equality which actuate those who so ardently urge the repeal of this Act. When the Committee of this House, appointed to consider the statute of 1851, in 1867, was sitting, Mr. Hope Scott was examined as a witness—and let me remind hon. Members that the Protestant Church of Ireland then existed as a national establishment. It happened that in that Committee there was an almost equal division of opinion, and that my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. S. Walpole) proposed a draft Report, whilst the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. MacEvoy), who was in the Chair, and is a Roman Catholic, prepared another. The Report of my right hon. Friend was rejected by a majority of 1. In the draft Report proposed by my right hon. Friend, this passage occurs— Nor is it altogether unimportant to remark that this claim to a territorial hierarchy 'as morally necessary to the Roman Catholic Church in England,' could only be recognized according to the opinion of the Roman Catholics themselves, by a negation or denial (practically speaking) of the existing Establishment, and the authority of its Bishops. Now, this had reference to Ireland, and the House has since gratified this desire of the Papacy for territorial authority, by disestablishing the Church of Ireland. In that Committee, Mr. Hope Scott was asked this question— Then, if any Bishop were to intrude into the see of another Bishop in this country, it would be in the eye at least of that portion of the Church which was in this country, a schismatical act? His answer was— There is no doubt at all about it; the fact is that the Roman Catholic Church would not be justified in placing Bishops anywhere in England or in Ireland, if it did not deny the authority, practically speaking, of the Bishops of the Establishment—it is, of course, an issue between the two religions, which it is of no use blinking. Therefore, according to the authority of one of the most accomplished lawyers in this country, the reason—the chief reason—which has actuated Parliament in disestablishing the Church in Ireland must have been to gratify the demand of the Roman Catholic hierarchy for its extinction. But let me go on. Mr. Hope Scott was further asked— But the Roman Catholic Church assumes that the English Episcopate has no existence? and he replied— Most undoubtedly. The appointment of any ecclesiastical officer whatever of the Roman Catholic religion, and the appointment of any priest exercising cure of souls, is a negation of the Es- tablished Church, and that is, of course, a part of the religion which is supposed to be freed by the Act of 1829. Those who passed the Act of 1851 deemed it necessary to restrain this desire on the part of a foreign Power, and the representatives of a foreign Power, for the disestablishment of the Church of England and of Ireland. Therefore, they passed this enactment, the penalties of which you are now asked to repeal, and thereby give full scope for the exercise of this foreign jurisdiction. I see that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister is preparing to speak. [Mr. GLADSTONE: No, no!] I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, or one of his learned Colleagues, to answer me this question—When you speak of the spiritual authority of the Church of Rome, and say that its jurisdiction is spiritual, can you deny, after what has passed in the late Council at Rome, that the term "spiritual," according to the understanding of Rome, includes also temporal jurisdiction? Is it not a mere pretence to say that it is sufficient to restrain Rome in what she considers temporal, when you know that it has always been held by her that temporals are included in and are subordinate to spirituals? Is there not a want of candour in thus dealing with the subject? But the question really extends beyond this. The hon. and learned Gentleman told me, when he introduced this Bill, that he was merely going to present to the House a Bill for the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act as it was presented to the House of Lords. [The ATTORNEY GENERAL: As it passed through the Committee of the House of Lords.] And he spoke as if there was very little opposition on the second reading. Certainly there was not a Division, because the House came to a distinct understanding that the Bill was to be altered in Committee. Alterations were made in it in the Committee of the House of Lords; but every one of those alterations you last Session rejected. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that the Bill stands as it was introduced into the House of Lords. Well, here is what Lord Russell then said of it. Lord Russell was speaking on the 27th of May on the second reading of the Bill, as then introduced, and he said he did not suppose that the Government would persist in their adherence to the exact form in which it was drawn, and he trusted that, when it went into Committee, they would amend it and make it more consonant with reason. This is the Bill, then, which the Liberal Government ask us to pass the second reading of. The House of Lords passed it through a second reading, and amended it in Committee; and the Amendments were rejected in this House. Those Amendments were drawn by Lord Cairns, and what was the substance of them? In the Bill of last Session you described Her Majesty by a novel title—as "the Sovereign of this country." That was quite a new definition to introduce into an Act of Parliament. We have hitherto been accustomed, when we legislate, to legislate not with reference to the Sovereign only, but with reference to the Constitution, of which Her Majesty is the chief Officer and hereditary Head; and Lord Cairns introduced into the former Bill clauses reserving the rights not of the Sovereign of these realms, but of Her Majesty and her successors, thus recognizing the Act of Settlement, thus recognizing the Constitution, thus preventing it from appearing that it is a contest between Queen Victoria and Pope Pius; but recognizing it as a contest which is continued between the independent Crown of England and the chief of a great political confederacy. The Home Secretary was, however, so determined that there should be no recognition of the Act of Settlement, or of the succession to the Throne, or of the Constitution of this country, that, although my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Marylebone (Mr. T. Chambers) proposed to insert the words which are current in every Act of Parliament touching the Constitution, the right hon. Gentleman divided the House twice against the hon. and learned Gentleman, and succeeded in casting the words out, although my hon. and learned Friend was merely asking the House to accept the decision of the House of Lords with reference to the proper terms and purport of a Bill which dealt with matters of jurisdiction of this grave kind. And then the hon. and learned Gentleman (the Attorney General) comes down and says—"Oh! this is a very small matter. I am merely proposing to the House that they should carry out the doctrine of religious equality. In 1851, when the Act was passed, the nation was mad, and the House of Commons was obliged to give way to its madness." But what, Sir, did that madness come to? Why, the affirmation of the independence of this country against the pretensions of a foreign Prelate and Potentate. I say, then, that whether we consider the unnecessary encouragement the Bill would give to an agitation which it is the policy of the Court of Rome to keep up through its agents the Bishops in Ireland, to the detriment of the public peace; or, whether we consider this subject with reference to the peace and contentment of the subjects of Her Majesty, not being Roman Catholics, with whose confidence and comfort, and even loyalty, it is essential that there should be no wanton hand-tampering with the law, I say, that this Bill, whether we consider it in principle or in substance, is inappropriate and anomalous. What a flimsy plea it is to advance in support of the Bill, that it is necessary because of the possibility—for I believe that it is not at all certain—that the successors to the Bishops of the disestablished Church of Ireland may become liable to the penalties of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act! Your case, as against the Act, is, that its penalties are never enforced and yet suspicious; and because of this possiblity of the penalties being enforced against the Bishops of the disestablished Church of Ireland, a danger in which I do not believe—for, as my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Charley) said, in Ireland there is no Established Church, and therefore no competition, for the terms of the statute of 1829 do not apply—yet you would repeat the statute of 1851. But, supposing it to be possible that the successors of the Bishops of the disestablished Protestant Church in Ireland should become liable to those penalties, which you say have never been exacted, is it for this that you are about to lame and incapacitate the great protest of this country against foreign aggression? Supposing, however, that your doubts are well-founded. I remember that the present Prime Minister, in the year 1851, earnestly and anxiously supported the 3rd clause of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act to exempt from these penalties the Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Scotland. [Mr. GLADSTONE was understood to signify dissent.] Well, if he did not, I can answer for it that he did not oppose it; and I certainly un- derstood that he highly approved of the clause: at all events, I have never known him seek to repeal it. So far from that, I have known him to be an anxious supporter of another statute that gives the clergy of the Scotch Episcopal Church privileges across the Border in England. Surely he will not allude to that as treating the Scotch Episcopal Church with disfavour; and I would take the liberty of suggesting, if there is a doubt, whether the successors to the present Bishops of the disestablished Church of Ireland come under the prohibition and penalties as a consequence of the Irish Church Act of 1869, why not bring in a Bill of one clause to include them under the provision contained in the 3rd section of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General tell us what are his objections to that proposal? But, no! We understand perfectly well the motive. The more formidable an agitation among the Roman Catholics in Ireland becomes, the greater is the necessity imposed upon Her Majesty's Ministers to meet the demands of the Roman Prelates; and the more dubious the influence of the Government in this House, the more necessary to their safety is the influence of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. I do not believe that for any other reasons we should ever have found the Government in the House of Lords acting in direct contravention of the Report of a Committee, to the appointment of which they themselves were parties. This is the final clause of the Report of that Committee— It has been suggested that the object of the Act of 1851 would have been sufficiently attained by a simple declaration of the invalidity of any assumption of ecclesiastical titles of honour, or of any attempt to confer coercive jurisdiction otherwise than under the authority of Her Majesty, and according to the laws of the realm, unaccompanied by the enactment of any penalties. But the Committee are of opinion that, while a mere repeal of the section of the Act of 1829, and of the Act of 1851 would be open to misconstruction and therefore inexpedient, any advantage to be gained by a modification of those enactments in the manner above indicated would be more than counterbalanced by the evil of re-opening, without any sufficient reason, the discussion of a question always calculated to occasion much irritation of feeling. Now, according to the judgment of the Committee of the House of Lords, the Government who have introduced this Bill are the real disturbers of the public feeling on this subject; and yet we are treated as if we, supporters of the existing law, were the disturbers—we, who seek to preserve the existing state of things which has given contentment to the great majority of the nation for more than 20 years. Sir, were there ever such flimsy pretences propounded upon seemingly, but not really, public grounds as those which have been put forth in support of this Bill? No, Sir! I am sorry to say that there is great disingenuousness in all this proceeding. So far as guarding against the effects of a supposed omission in the Irish Church Act of 1869 is concerned, the Bill is utterly unnecessary. The only true reason that can be assigned for the measure is, that Her Majesty's Government think it expedient and necessary to do obeisance to the Roman Catholic hierarchy; while at this moment, while the statute of 1851 is still in existence, the feeling in Ireland has become so strong against the habit of governing Ireland through those ecclesiastics, appointed, as they are, by a foreign authority, as unwholesome, that at a recent election we have seen a Roman Catholic rejected and a Presbyterian candidate elected by Roman Catholics in his stead. God grant that that feeling may continue to grow in Ireland; and in order to foster that wholesome, tolerant, and national feeling, I, for one, heartily vote in favour of the maintenance—and the effective maintenance, of this law, which is not merely declaratory of the ancient status of this country, not only passed for the purpose of maintaining the family of the reigning Sovereign upon the Throne as Protestants, but for the clear purpose of defending the nation from foreign aggression.


said, he would not follow the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) into the various grounds he had taken in opposing that Bill. He thought the measure, which aimed to repeal the Act of 1851, might be sustained upon this plain principle—An enactment was then introduced, imposing large penalties for the assumption of certain titles. It was said that that enactment was introduced at a period of considerable excitement; but, whether the Act was necessary or not at the time, this fact was undeniable, that never had there been a single prosecution instituted under it, notwithstanding the various Governments which had been in power since the Act was passed. The fact of this Act never having been acted upon, and thus remaining a dead letter for the last 20 years, justified the effort that was now being made to erase the Act from the statute book, if it contained elements of discord and animosity or was calculated to irritate a large class of Her Majesty's subjects. What institution of the country had been the better for the existence of that Act? Had the now disestablished Church of Ireland in any way benefited from it? The illegality by the ancient common law of the assumption of ecclesiastical titles derived from the Pope was not altogether so clear as the Attorney General seemed to think. The title of "Defender of the Faith" given to Henry VIII. was derived from the Pope and adopted by the Sovereign of Great Britain. True, that was not a territorial title; still, it was a legal title, and a recognition of the power of the Holy See to confer titles. He questioned whether the words of the declaration, that nobody but the Sovereign could confer any jurisdiction or authority whatsoever in this country, were not too wide; but that, and other points of detail could be better dealt with in Committee.


said, that in the year 1851, when the Act was carried, he had not the honour of a seat in that House, but he was a member of the Common Council of the City of London, and stood alone in his protest against a Petition in favour of the Act from his brother councillors. He voted heartily with the Government on this question, but on different grounds from any stated tonight. He voted for the abolition of the Act because he believed it never was necessary. There was no danger in the assumption of any titles whatever by any individual. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) might take to himself the title of the Cham of Tartary, and he (Mr. Gilpin) would not utter a word of objection any more than he would to the assumption of titles by dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church. The Act which they were now very properly asked to repeal was passed under the influence of Lord Russell, who excited the public mind by his "Durham Letter;" and when they remembered how egregiously that noble Lord had led them astray 20 years ago in that matter, and wasted nearly an entire Session upon it, it was to be hoped they would estimate at their proper worth his recent attempts to encourage the war spirit and increase the armaments of this country. He (Mr. Gilpin) stood there as an advocate of equality both for Roman Catholics—or rather Catholics, for he believed the word "Roman" was by some considered offensive—and Protestants. He would act side by side with his Catholic fellow-countrymen in obtaining equality; he would join with hon. Members opposite in opposing supremacy—equality for all, supremacy for none.


said, he quite agreed with the hon. Member who had just spoken with regard to the advocacy of equality. But if the Constitution of the country was to be evaded, the evasion must not be confined to one party. He thought that if ever there was an Act passed as the result of an enthusiastic and almost universal feeling it was the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851. It was, in fact, passed with the universal assent of the country, excepting only the former member of the Common Council of London. Why, then, were they asked to repeal it? It was admitted that nobody had had his liberty infringed by it, or had any fines imposed on him under its provisions. Where, then, was the grievance, and why was that question now stirred? He denied that in the Act of 1851, rightly understood, there was anything insulting to any member of the community. The very first Roman Catholic Member who had got up to speak in favour of the repeal of this statute at once proceeded to deny that the assumption of the titles which had led to its enactment was an infringement of the common law of the land. The very moment that Her Majesty's Government thought fit to raise this question—and they had raised it most unnecessarily—the Roman Catholics laughed at them and scouted the notion that common law forbade the assumption of these titles by the Bishops of their Church. It was inexpedient that this Bill should be passed for the purpose of repealing an Act under which no Roman Catholic had suffered, but which simply remained on the statute book as a protest against the right of the Pope to grant territorial and ecclesiastical titles in this country. Had hon. Members forgotten the celebrated Bull that had led to the passing of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and the assumptions it contained? That Bull was an incident in the history of the contest between the Church of Rome and the Constitution of this country. The issue presented by the Roman Catholic Members of that House was that there was no common law which prohibited the Pope from parcelling out this country into districts, and giving territorial and ecclesiastical titles to the Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church. What were the reasons assigned by the Government for disturbing the present state of things? He had heard of no irritation on the part of the Roman Catholics occasioned by this statute, and certainly no just grounds for such irritation existed. The Attorney General had asked the House to remove the last rag of religious intolerance; but there was nothing religious in the question. Before the promulgation of the Bull of 1850 the Roman Catholics in this country enjoyed complete religious freedom, and it was owing to a flagrant aggression on the part of the Pope that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act was passed; and it would be a gratuitous insult to the people of this country were that statute to be repealed, in defiance of the enthusiastic feeling on their part which had occasioned its being passed.


contended that the proposal to repeal this statute in no way attempted to alter the common law of the land. It had been argued that the attempt to divide England into Roman Catholic archbishoprics and bishoprics was an aggression on the part of the Pope, and the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had said that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act was intended to repel that aggression. In that case he was bound to say that to repel an international aggression by a municipal enactment was something altogether new in the history of international policy. If the Pope had violated international law, by illegally granting territorial titles in this country, that was a casus belli, but not a ground for passing an Ecclesiastical Titles Act. The sooner that Act was repealed the better for the honour of this country. He perfectly concurred in the view of the law which had been taken by the Attorney General, and thought the present Bill formed a necessary corollary to the statute which disestablished the Irish Church.


took objection to the view of the Common Serjeant (Mr. T. Chambers) that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act ought to remain on the statute book, as a protest against assumption by the Roman Catholic Church, and pointed to the fact, that though the statute was enacted 20 years ago it had been frequently infringed and never enforced, as one of the strongest reasons for its repeal. There was yet another reason which would, he hoped, weigh with the House—that, though utterly useless, the Act remained unrepealed, notwithstanding the fact that many thousands of their fellow-countrymen regarded it as an insult to themselves and to the religion they professed.


confessed to some surprise in hearing eminent legal authorities contradict each other so flatly. One hon. Gentleman said the law was not enforced, because the Government dare not enforce it, while another had contended that the law was a dead letter. The Committee of the House of Lords who inquired into this subject were not of opinion that the Act which it was now proposed to repeal had been ineffectual, because since it was enacted there had not been any ostentatious assumption of territorial titles by Roman Catholic Bishops in this country. Lord Palmerston, in supporting the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, contended that it was not inconsistent with the Act of 1829, and that it should not be regarded as a measure of a penal character. But the Attorney General now said that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, although it had not been enforced, was distasteful to the Roman Catholic Prelates in Ireland. He (Mr. Greene) would ask whether the people of England were to be governed in accordance with English sentiment, or in accordance with the sentiment of Roman Catholics in Ireland? He deeply respected the Members of the Roman Catholic Church in that House for their consistency of conduct, and only wished the Protestants were as earnest. But why should we admit a power not religious only but temporal, which might bring about a state of things that would make another Reformation in England? The electors of this country should seriously consider whether it was not the policy of the present Government to favour the Roman Catholic hierarchy as against the Protestant Church of this country. Dissenters would find out their mistake in relaxing protective legal provisions on the ground of religious quality. The Act sought to be repealed was of great importance; it had had a very wholesome effect, and if it remained it would prevent a very serious collision. If anybody in that House were so sanguine as to believe that such men as Drs. Manning and Cullen could be easily defeated in their schemes, it was a great delusion. He was surprised that the representatives of Scotland, so renowned for its Protestantism, should go, one and all almost, into the Lobby with the Government, and he hoped that the bit of their mind which the constituency of Glasgow gave their Members would have some salutary effect. At all events, he could not allow the subject to pass without a protest against the introduction of a power which our forefathers had made such noble sacrifices in resisting.


said, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had occupied much more time than he should in proving that the spiritual supremacy governed all temporal matters, and, having searched history through down to our own times, the only illustration of his argument the hon. Gentleman was able to adduce was that within the last few weeks a Catholic constituency had returned a Presbyterian in preference to a Catholic. It had been said there was no grievance in this matter; but the same argument was applied to both the Irish Church and the Irish Land Bills. It was not the men who inflicted a grievance who could best judge of that grievance, and sometimes the worst grievance of all was a sentimental grievance. The Irish people, with all their faults, were a high-spirited people. They would feel a material injury less than an insult, and he perfectly concurred in what the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had said, that as long as this Bill remained on the statute book there was an incessant feeling of wrong, insult, and grievance which would never disappear until the Bill was repealed. He had always wished that we should be a United Kingdom; but if it was asked—"Was Ireland to dare to differ from England; or was England to govern Ireland as she chose;" that was not the way to keep us united. It had been alleged by an hon. Member that there was no grievance, because the law had not been enforced. There were two reasons for not enforcing a law, and one of them was that the law was so bad that no one dared to enforce it. One of the greatest writers on this subject had said that laws, in order to be obeyed, must be the exposition of a nation's feeling and a nation's reason. Was the present law an exposition of a people's feeling? It was not, and that was the reason why it was not enforced. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Greene) had argued that the law had not been violated. Was there a day or an hour in which it was not? There was no lesson that could be taught a people worse than this—that there were laws which it was no crime to disobey, If the poor man, however well taught, saw those above him in the highest offices of State, aye, up to the Throne itself, break one of the solemn laws of Queen, Lords, and Commons, how was he to be expected to obey other laws? Now, this law was not only broken by the people and by the Bishops, but by one of the most important Departments in this country. The Legislature had declared that the soldier of every religion should have the spiritual consolations of his faith; but no priest could act as chaplain in any portion of the British Army unless under the sign manual of his Bishop, and there was not a day that a sign manual was not issued, and went to the Horse Guards. If the law was a bad one—so bad that it could not be changed—it was useless to discuss it or enter into religious dogmas. He would only appeal to the spirit which ought to animate all hon. Members, and say—let us have no laws but those which are worthy of being obeyed.


said, the Attorney General had maintained that it was proper to repeal this Act because it was antagonistic to the feelings of a certain portion of the Irish people. Since he had the honour of a seat in that House he had often heard that kind of argument. It had been used in the case of Catholic Emancipation, in that of the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and that of the Irish Land Bill, and he thought they had had enough of this policy of conciliation. Had it been justified by the event? They had had one or two elections lately in Ireland, and he did not know that the Prime Minister could congratulate himself on the result. The At- torney General also based this Bill on the ground of necessity drawn from the passing of the Act for the disestablishment of the Irish Church. He doubted whether there was any such necessity, or if there was, it might be met by a very simple clause, as had been done in the original Act with respect to the Episcopal Church in Scotland. Feeling that there was no ground of complaint against the law as it stood, he should certainly vote against the second reading of the Bill.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 137; Noes 51: Majority 86.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.