§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. FAWCETT,
in moving "That the Bill be now read a second time," said: Mr. Speaker—It has so often fallen to my lot to speak on the subject of University education, that it will only be necessary for me this evening to occupy the time of the House for a few minutes. If for no other reason, I shall be brief on the present occasion, because I am anxious to avoid, as far as possible, all topics which may possibly lead to recriminations about the past. My sole wish and purpose is to secure as early a passing of this Bill as possible, because a practical object is to be gained by its passing before the 8th of May, or, at any rate, before the end of that month. In order, therefore, to pledge myself that I wish to get the Bill as expeditiously through as possible, I wish to avoid saying a single word that might lead to controversy; but it is due to the House that I should state the exact position of the question at the present moment, and how it has come to pass that the Bill is different from that which I originally introduced, a portion of which has been abandoned. Some three or four weeks since it was intimated to the promoters of the Bill that if they would abandon one portion of it—namely, that which proposed to constitute a Council of Organization for the future, for the reform of the Government of Trinity College and the University of Dublin, the Government would facilitate the passing of the remainder of the Bill—namely, that which related to the abolition of religious tests. In deciding to accept that offer of the Government, we were influenced by three considerations 728 Of course, it is scarcely necessary for me to remark that we abandoned a portion of the Bill reluctantly, for we still retained the opinion that it would have been better, if it had been possible, that the Bill should be passed in its entirety. We were, however, met by these considerations. In the first place we knew perfectly well, from the experience of last Session, that if the Government did not facilitate the passing of the Bill by giving us some Government nights, there could not be the smallest chance of the Bill becoming law in the present Session. For what happened last year? The second reading of a Bill more complete than the present one was passed by an overwhelming majority—a majority of four to one—before Easter. The promoters of the Bill did everything that independent Members could do to get the Bill into Committee; but the Government objected to the whole Bill; they therefore rendered the promoters of the Bill no assistance, and the result was that, though the promoters availed themselves of every opportunity, we were unable to get the Bill forward. That being the case, the promoters of the Bill felt that if they preserved it intact it might be eventually lost, even after the second reading had been carried by an overwhelming majority—while they thought that if, on the other hand, they accepted the offer of the Government and confined the Bill simply to an abolition of tests, it was almost certain that with their assistance the measure would pass. The friends of the Bill were also influenced by the consideration that they had always regarded the abolition of tests as the most important portion of the measure, and that that part of the question which would be left unsettled might possibly, as he should presently show, be settled at some future time without the direct intervention of Parliament. Thirdly, there was another consideration which greatly influenced the supporters of the Bill. The abolition of tests was not a theoretical reform, but a reform of a practical and an immediate kind; for they could not conceal from themselves the fact that last year one of the most eminent students in Trinity College, Dublin, had by intellectual merit won a valuable prize which he could have enjoyed if this Bill had passed. Therefore, they felt that if from any private preference of their own 729 they did not accept the offer of the Government, it was quite possible that in the Fellowship examination which was about to be held in Trinity College, they might, by delaying the passing of this measure, be inflicting great injury on distinguished and deserving students. The Motion for the second reading is to be met by two Resolutions, one of them brought forward by my hon. Friend the Member for the county of Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) and the other by my hon. Friend the Member for Tralee (The O' Donoghue). Happily, although I may not agree with the spirit or intention of either of these Resolutions, yet it seems to me they are so entirely irrelevant to the Bill that, although I differ from them, it is scarcely necessary to enter into any controversy with my hon. Friends. The Resolution of my hon. Friend the Member for the County of Galway affirms that, in order to settle the question of Irish University education, it is necessary that a Royal Commission should be appointed to take evidence from Academic Bodies, and from those persons in Ireland who are most interested in the subject. Now, admitting the necessity of appointing such a Commission, there is not the slightest reason why my hon. Friend should withhold his support from the present Bill; for surely my hon. Friend will agree with me that it does not require a Royal Commission to decide whether we shall apply to Ireland the same legislation which has been applied to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The principle of the abolition of religious tests has been already affirmed by overwhelming majorities in this House. I cannot, therefore, agree with my hon. Friend that a Commission is necessary to inquire into the state of University education in Ireland; but even if I did, that would not afford the slightest reason for delaying for a single hour the passing of a Bill for the abolition of religious tests. As to the Resolution of my hon. Friend the Member for Tralee, it is equally irrelevant to the present measure, and hon. Members who cordially endorse every syllable of that Resolution may, nevertheless, give an emphatic vote in favour of the Bill. For what does my hon. Friend ask the House to declare? He asks the House to declare that the abolition of religious tests will not settle the question of Irish University education. Who thinks it will? 730 He cannot suppose that the Government thinks that the passing of this Bill will settle the question of Irish University education. We have entered into no arrangement or understanding that the question should not again be re-opened. Therefore, if the Government should desire again to enter upon the subject of Irish University education, it will be able to do so next Session, with just as much readiness and freedom as if this Bill had never been passed; and as far as I myself and those Friends who are acting with me are concerned, the best pledge we can possibly give to the hon. Member for Tralee that we do not consider the abolition of tests to be a settlement of the question is this—that we have reluctantly abandoned a portion of our Bill; and we would not have abandoned that portion of the Bill unless we had been compelled to do so, as it were, by the circumstances and the necessities of the case. Therefore my hon. Friend cannot hope to have a more practical or satisfactory assurance that we do not consider that the simple abolition of tests is a settlement of the question of Irish University education. If I am asked in what direction, in my judgment, Irish University reform is likely to proceed in the future after religious tests have been abolished, I answer that I feel it would be excessively hazardous and presumptuous in me to venture an opinion on the subject. In the first place, it may possibly happen that the subject will not have to be dealt with in this Parliament, but in a new Parliament; and who can venture to predict what will be the opinion of a new Parliament on the question? Again, it may very possibly happen that if the authorities of Trinity College arid the University of Dublin act during the next year with the same sagacity and the same liberality which have distinguished their action during the past two or three years, they may to a great extent, take the subject out of the hands of this House. They may do so by preparing a set of statutes of their own so liberal, so wise, so enlightened, that this House may consider that the best thing that we can do for University education in Ireland is to leave the question in the hands of so distinguished an academical body, and simply move an humble Address to Her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to assent to the 731 statutes so wisely and liberally proposed by the authorities of the College and University themselves. Before I sit down I wish to say a few words with a view to prevent myself being, in the slightest degree, misunderstood. I hope my Catholic Friends in this House will believe me when I say that I am as ready to admit as they can be, that Catholics in Ireland, and those residents there who are not members, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, have suffered, and are suffering at the present time under a most serious grievance with regard to University education. If I had not felt this, why should I have striven during almost every year that I have been in Parliament to force this subject upon the attention of the House? The difference between my Catholic Friends and me is not as to the existence of the grievance; the difference between us is as to the nature of the grievance and as to the proper remedy of which that grievance admits. We think that if you abolish all religious disabilities, if you do everything that possibly can be done to efface the traces of past inequality, without infringing the principle of academic freedom, and without introducing the principle of political domination; if, in fact, you lay the foundation which in the future will give every Catholic and every Nonconformist in Ireland the same opportunity of obtaining honours and emoluments in University education as is possessed by people who belong to the Episcopalian Church, that then this House will have done all that it can do in order to secure educational equality. But my hon. Friends the Catholic Members of this House put a different interpretation upon the grievance under which they say they are suffering, and they also suggest a different remedy. They say that they shall never enjoy justice as long as by endowments we encourage the mixing together in education of Catholics, Protestants, and people of different religions. Well, if that is their grievance, all I can say is that such grievance admits of but one remedy, and that is to carry out in University education the principle of concurrent endowment. But in striving after concurrent endowment my hon. Friends know—far better than I can tell them—that they are striving after what there is not the smallest chance of their obtaining from this House. They may be misled by some 732 phrases on the evening of a great party division, when the rival parties are struggling for their votes; but after what has recently taken place, can any reasonable man believe that there is the slightest chance of concurrent endowment being conceded to them? For what has taken place? Nothing can be more positive or emphatic than the assurances of the Prime Minister on this subject, in his memorable speech at the close of the debate on the Irish University Bill. I venture to say that much as that speech was admired, there was no portion of it which gave such entire satisfaction to the English and Scotch supporters of his Government as those sentences in which he declared, in language that could not be mistaken, that the day for concurrent endowment had gone by for ever. But what took place on the opposite side of the House? The language of the right hon. Gentleman the leader of the Opposition was not so emphatic or precise. He let fall some doubtful phrases on the question of concurrent endowment. What was the result? It was perfectly well known that alarm and dismay spread through the ranks of his party, and in order that he might not be misunderstood, the right hon. Gentleman took care in a speech which he made a few days afterwards to prove to his party and to the country that between himself and the Prime Minister there was not on the question of concurrent endowment the slightest difference of opinion. It is scarcely necessary for me to say anything further, except to thank the Government for having done everything in their power, in accordance with their promise, to facilitate the passing of this Bill; and to commend with confidence the measure to the favourable consideration of the House in the belief that, if it should become law, it will introduce a great reform, remove a crying injustice, and place Irish University education in a more satisfactory position than it has ever yet occupied.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Fawcett.)
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY,
in moving as an Amendment the following Resolution:—That this House fully recognises the importance of an early settlement of the question 733 of University Education in Ireland, but is of opinion that such legislation can be more satisfactorily entered upon after the House has been put into possession of full information as to the opinions and wishes of the several Academic Bodies existing in Ireland, and of the Irish people generally, especially of the classes practically interested in the question, by means of a Royal Commission, with instructions to take evidence and report before the opening of the next Session of Parliament,said, that in attentively listening during the last three Sessions to the discussions which had taken place in the House on the subject of University education in Ireland, and in reading the reports of the previous debates in Hansard, he often found himself pausing to ask whether they really lived under a constitutional Government, in which theoretically, at least, the consent of the governed was necessary to the making of the laws, or whether, on this subject they had not gone back to earlier times, when either the word of the monarch or that of an oligarchy governing in his name imposed its will upon a reluctant people.
He did not suppose that the most uncandid or the most willing self-deceiver could persuade himself that the University reforms which the House of Commons had so long been endeavouring to force on Ireland met with the approval of that country, or that the Bill now before the House, in its third scone of transformation, in any considerable degree responded to their wants and wishes. Well, but it might be said Ireland was only a portion of the Empire, and she must be content to be bound by the majority in Parliament, whether she liked it or not. As a general rule, he did not for a moment dispute that proposition. In matters that were in themselves indifferent, as well as in the greater questions of peace and war, or of colonial and foreign policy which concerned the Empire at large, no one denied it. But in matters that touched the interests of Ireland alone, that trenched upon the religion and the honour of her people, but did not in any way affect the interests of England or Scotland, it was a different thing; and notwithstanding the threatenings they had heard, both inside and outside that House, as to the necessity of teaching the Irish a lesson of obedience and submission, he believed that in cooler moments Parliament would shrink from enacting laws on a domestic subject, contrary to the advice of the 734 large majority of the Irish Members, and to the remonstrances of the people.
The history of this country was full of warnings against the political pedantry of legislating on abstract theories of right, without taking account of what were scoffingly called sentimental grievances, or studying the characters and the prejudices of nations. No man could pretend to the character of a statesman unless he was careful that his measures harmonized with the traditions of the people, and had their sure foundation in the loyal approval of the public. It was the neglect of this that had wrecked the present Session, and he should have thought that even the most adventurous spirit would have felt inclined to pause, and ask himself the question whether the Government and the House of Commons had not signally failed to measure with accuracy the depth of Irish feeling in these matters. The torrents of contempt and insult which had been poured out on the country by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman), and by the hon. and learned Member for the City of Oxford (Mr. Harcourt), imitated as they were in the petty sarcasms of inferior orators, had caused the Irish pulse to beat more tumultuously than for many a year, and that of itself constituted a cogent argument for moderation and inquiry. By his Amendment, therefore, he asked the House to pause and think what they were legislating about, and not, as a sort of homage to the repealers of the 25th clause of the English Education Act, to unite in passing in hot haste a measure which, whether it was in itself a right or wrong one, could have no perceptible effect on Catholic grievances, and was calculated only to blind and deceive the public. From the way in which the measure had been pushed forward to the detriment of all other public business, it might be supposed that there was some crying evil that it was calculated to remedy. The fact was, however, that the tests which now existed at Oxford and Cambridge were far more disabling and onerous than they were at Trinity College. Yet he was persuaded, not with standing all the discussions on the subject, that there was a firm impression diffused throughout the country that the portals of Trinity College bristled with tests which forbade the entrance of Dissenters and Roman Catholics, and 735 that hon. Members who had charge of the Bill were gallantly fighting against an exclusiveness which had no parallel in the English Universities. Even the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall), who spoke as an organ for the Nonconformists, was so imperfectly acquainted with the facts, that he supposed that tests on the taking of ordinary degrees had only been abolished since the disestablishment of the Protestant Church in Ireland. He had never known so large a club used to knock down so small a fly as the present Bill. A good deal more than half a century before the English Universities even mooted the question of tests, Trinity College had received and educated and conferred degrees on numbers of Roman Catholics and Dissenters, just as freely as upon Episcopal Protestants. Nearly 20 years ago, a considerable number of Scholarships were thrown open, and at the present moment tests were imposed only on the Provost, the Fellows, and the Foundation scholars. He wished, therefore, to state as clearly as he could the exact position in which the matter stood, in order that the country might not be misled as to the value of the Bill in the settlement of the difficulty.
He would show that if, by any chance, a Dissenter or a Roman Catholic should be elected to a Fellowship at the next examination in the course of the present summer, by no possibility could he become a member of the Governing Body of the University, or in the smallest degree influence its policy or proceedings in a less time than between 30 and 40 years. Up to 1840 there were 25 Fellowships in Trinity College. In that year, however, by a Queen's Letter, 10 others were added; but as two had since been suppressed, there were now only 33 Fellowships, and of these the seven Seniors, together with the Provost, constituted the Governing Board, who controlled the finances, regulated the affairs of the College, and appointed all the Professors. Now, in the 20 years from 1853 to 1873, there had been 15 elections to Fellowships, and as the oldest of the Junior Fellows was appointed on the new foundation in 1841, it followed that although he had been for 32 years a Fellow he had not the smallest influence on the governing policy of the College. The effect, also, of the increased num- 736 ber of Fellowships on the age of the Governing Council had yet to be tried, because the seven Seniors were now taken from a body of 33 instead of, as before the Queen's Letter, from a body of 25. There was another point to be considered, and it was this—Vacancies in the Fellowships occasionally occurred from the acceptance of College livings; but as College clerical patronage had been done away with, that stimulant to the retirement of Fellows was now at an end, and his belief was, that the period of the service of a Junior Fellow would in future very likely exceed rather than fall short of 40 years, so that if the gentleman, whose case was cited as a hardship by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), were elected a Fellow next June he could not take any part in the government of the University for two generations, and certainly that state of things did not present a very crying Catholic grievance to Parliament. A glance at the manner in which the Fellowships had gone since 1840—within the lifetime of most of the present Senior Fellows—would illustrate the point. The Provost became a Fellow in 1824, remained 19 years a Junior, and was elected a Senior exactly 30 years ago, thus extending his career to very nearly half-a-century. The service of the others as Junior Fellows before they got on the Governing Body extended as follows:—15, 16, 19, 18, 23, 26, 29, 29, 31, and 30 years, when the youngest of the Seniors was elected—the well-known and highly-distinguished Dr. Jellett. The present Junior Fellows had served as follows:—one of them 32, and the others respectively 31, 30, 29, 29, 28, 28, 27, 26, 25, 25 years, so that if the junior of the number who was elected in 1848—that is, 25 years ago—became a member of the Governing Board within the next 15 years, he might think himself lucky.
But the hon. Member for Brighton, having given up his own inadequate scheme for reforming Trinity College, hoped that Trinity College would reform itself. All experience showed that no profession, or corporation, or College was at all likely to move in that direction. They had, however, a test to put to Trinity College, which was this—In consequence of the abolition of the clerical patronage, extra revenue to the extent of £5,000 a-year, had been placed at the disposal of the Governing Body. 737 To what purpose would they devote that sum? They might use it to procure the retirement of some of the gentlemen who composed the Governing Body. Would they do so? He had no desire to say anything that was not respectful of the Senior Fellows, but he could not help remarking that the work of the College was done by two or three Fellows, for reasons connected with age, health, and other matters to which he need not further allude. There was another purpose to which they might apply the £5,000 a-year. They might endow Chairs for some of their Catholic compatriots for whose welfare they had lately manifested so much solicitude. He hoped that if the subject came up again next year inquiry would be made as to what had been done with this revenue.
The next thing to which the abolition of tests applied was Scholarships. There were 70 Scholarships and 12 or 14 vacancies a-year. In the year 1855, owing to the exertions of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary (Mr. Heron), a certain number of Scholarships were reserved for Roman Catholics without tests. He would not go into the question of how those Scholarships were filled up, but this he would say, that the supply was far more considerable than the demand, and the consequence was, that Churchmen had been appointed to some of the Scholarships in question, simply because there were no Roman Catholic candidates for them. The last appointment of a Roman Catholic to a Scholarship under that system was made in the year 1868. The House would therefore see that the proposed reform was not required by Roman Catholics or Dissenters so far as Scholarships were concerned. Then again there were two University studentships to be won without tests. They were worth £100 a-year each, and were tenable for seven years, but since 1859 they had been gained only three times by Roman Catholics.
Then as regarded the Professorships, which had long been free from tests, it seemed to have been the general rule to elect any Fellow or ex-Fellow to a Professorship in preference to any other person, and to give the appointments to the Senior of the Fellows or ex-Fellows who might apply for it. This did not look very favourable for the early 738 success of Roman Catholics and Dissenters who were to be elected after the present Bill became law, for only last year the Chair of Moral Philosophy was filled up by the appointment of an ex-Fellow of 30 years' standing who had a parish in the country. Except, indeed, in the case of a gentleman who held a small post in the Medical School, he believed there was not a single Roman Catholic Professor, although there formerly was one—Mr. Slattery—whose appointment did duty in these debates pretty often before. The Governing Body had, however, an opportunity of electing a Professor last November to lecture on the important subject of Moral Philosophy—a subject the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government desired should not be taught in Trinity College, and well-advised the right hon. Gentleman was in inserting that provision in his Bill, as the facts he was about to state would show. The Board might have appointed any person—a Catholic in case one had come forward—and they did elect a most distinguished individual, who had been Fellow 30 years ago, and who, since that time, had been rector of a parish in the county Tyrone. Dr. M'Ivor based his claims to the Chair of Moral Philosophy chiefly in his exhaustive work called Religious Progress, which consisted of a series of University Sermons preached in the College chapel, and elaborated with copious notes, in. which he reviewed the metaphysical systems of Comte, Buckle, Parker, Ferrier, Sir William Hamilton, and the late Dean Mansel, complaining that Dean Mansel, in his metaphysics, put restrictions upon religious criticism which did not apply to other subjects. Dr. M'Ivor then added—If we be debarred from criticism, we may as well acknowledge at once the infallibility of the Pope and the last Roman development—there is no God, and Mary is His mother.Again, he said of the doctrine of transubstantiation—By a simple transference of objective value to a subjective process, sustained by logical deduction from indiscriminate words, the minister of the largest Church in Christendom first makes, then worships, and then"—the fact is too shocking to be less figuratively expressed—"'receives' his God.On the same point, Dr. M'Ivor added—Paganism has seldom surpassed this, and the indignation of every other Christian community is abundantly deserved.739 Were Roman Catholics to be attracted by a University which selected as its latest Liberal Professor, a teacher who used such language as that respecting the holiest mysteries of their religion? Was that an example of the religious tenderness of Protestant Trinity for Roman Catholic consciences; and did the House now believe that it was only tests that kept them away? The hon. Member for Brighton, pleading last Session in a transcendent effort of memory for those whom he thought, probably with justice, the downtrodden people of India, denounced the proposal to charge the water rate even on persons making no use of the irrigation works as "paternal government with a vengeance." He would quote his very words, and then ask his hon. Friend if he had one standard of justice for the people of India and another for the people of Ireland?Is it any wonder," said he, "that the people are irritated, perplexed, or alarmed? It has been argued in justification of such a policy that the people who refuse to use the water do not know their own interests, and they ought to be compelled to do that which is good for them. This is paternal government with a vengeance.Substitute the word "College" for the word "water" and the cases are precisely alike; yet now his hon. Friend seemed to argue that because the unfortunate Roman Catholics did not avail themselves of the education provided for them in Trinity College, they did not know their own interests, and ought to be compelled to do what was held by others to be good for them. Instead of allowing the Roman Catholics to have a College of their own, it was proposed to subject them to be lectured to by persons who spoke in the manner he had just described. Now, did the House deliberately believe that the abolition of tests in the case of a Fellowship which was thrown open about twice in every three years, and the addition of a few Scholarships, were reforms worthy of the fuss made about them, or that they would be regarded by the Irish people as anything but a mockery designed like the ink of the cuttle-fish to obscure and delude?
No, it was not tests that kept Roman Catholics away from Trinity College, but it was the Protestant tone and nature of that institution, of which they could not deprive it, and of which Roman Catholics did not ask that it should be deprived. It seemed to him most narrow 740 and illogical to argue that because in Protestant England and Protestant Scotland we had of late years altered the course of our educational policy, we were, therefore, to thrust these new principles upon the Irish people who were not Protestants, and who utterly repudiated them. It was the consent of the governed alone that could make these vital changes even respectable. He thought they ought to be content with trying these experiments upon those who desired them. If they could prove to him that the majority of the Irish people desired that secular education should be perpetuated in that country to the exclusion of any other, and that henceforth religion should have nothing to do with learning, however he might regret it he would yet keep silent; but, on the other hand, if the contrary was notoriously the case, he would take leave to observe that in thus trampling upon natural justice and the equity of the Constitution, they were undermining the stability of the Empire, and were preparing for their children a heritage of disaster and disgrace. He would urge Nonconformists, if they desired University secularization, to deal with Oxford and Cambridge, where most of the Heads of Houses and Fellows were required to be members of the Church of England, and before legislating for Ireland to inquire how the case stood. The Amendment which he had placed upon the Table suggested that the House should pursue the course which was at once in accordance with the Constitution and with common sense. The House, he apprehended, was still very imperfectly acquainted with the question of higher education in Ireland. The tests that remained in Trinity College he had shown to have but an infinitesimal bearing on the large question to which they formed a prelude. He knew from the recent debate in the Senate, that there was a very wise, farseeing, and Liberal element amongst the most experienced and distinguished men in Trinity College; and he thought it was important that their evidence should be put before the country in black and white, so that when Parliament legislated it might do so with full information before it and in a manner likely to be final and satisfactory. He wished the available testimony upon all sides to be brought out. It would be well to hear what the Presbyterians 741 of the North had to say; what Magee College had to say; what representatives of the Catholic clergy had to say; what the Catholic University had to say; what independent Catholic laymen had to say; and what Trinity College itself had to say, not merely in the contradictory resolutions of its Governing Body, but in the testimony of its individual members. Such an inquiry need not occupy a considerable time. He, for one, did not question the desire of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government to do what was just and right, but he did feel that he had been wofully misled. Whatever determination Parliament eventually came to, let it not be the legislation of a Parliamentum indoctum, properly so called. The Government Bill, a marvel of ingenuity, had miscarried, and, as far as could be judged from the remarks of a leading Member of the Ministry, they did not intend to trouble themselves further with the matter, but would leave it to the miserable reform inaugurated by the hon. Member for Brighton. Irish Members had with unanimity rejected a measure based on mistaken estimate of Irish feeling, and inquiry should precede a renewed attempt at legislation. That was no pretext for delay, since the Commission might easily report before next Session, and the Irish would thus at least have the compliment paid them of an inquiry into their own wishes.
As for the alleged definitive divorce between religion and education, the Nonconformists up to a few years ago objected to any Government interference with education, and the constant disputes in school boards on the manner of teaching religion—a lady at Manchester had recently spoken of certain passages from the Scriptures as "raw head and bloody bones mottoes"—showed that no such divorce had been effected.
It had been said that the Irish Members factiously joined with the Opposition to discredit the Government University Bill. No statement was ever more devoid of truth. It was with the deepest pain that the Irish Members, who acknowledged the services of the present Government, and especially of the right hon. Gentleman at its head, were compelled in their consciences to take the course they had pursued. The Leader of the Opposition had told them in pretty plain language that he intended 742 to go to the country on what was called the "No Popery" cry. Now, he trusted that the Conservatives would go to the country on that cry, because he believed it would bring about such a union among the Roman Catholics of this country as would produce a marked effect upon that House. By an abuse of language, those Members who wished to obtain for the Irish people common justice in the matter of education were called Ultramontane Members. There was nothing like giving a name that everybody could remember, and a few appeared to understand. The term "Ultramontane" originally meant those who did not acknowledge the authority of the Pope; but by a strange perversion it was now applied to those who were supposed to be anti-British in their policy. However, it enabled British bigots of all classes, wherever they were to be found, to associate themselves in mind with the policy now being adopted in some foreign countries. "Concurrent endowment," another term used in these discussions, appeared to have a peculiar charm for those who so earnestly desired the repeal of the 25th clause of the English Elementary Education Act. The Irish people, however, could not understand on what religious or Christian plea those unhappy parents whose poverty rendered them unable to pay school fees were not to be allowed to have a conscientious feeling in regard to the education of their children. In conclusion, he urged that they should first inquire into what the Irish people desired, and then he believed it would be admitted that what the Roman Catholics asked for was just, and that by granting it they would promote the prosperity of the Empire and advance the cause of religion and of order. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Amendment.
§ MR. HERON,
in seconding the Amendment, said, that he believed he was the only Member of that House who had suffered from the tests referred to by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), he having been deprived of the Scholarship which his industry had won because he was a Roman Catholic. That, however, did not prevent his using to the utmost all the advantages of the University of Dublin, where he received a splendid education, and where his intercourse with the Fellows, students, and scholars had been most satisfactory. An 743 honourable rivalry existed, not only in the examination and the lecture room, but extended also to the rowing club, the cricket field, and the athletic games, and he believed it to be of the greatest use that young men of different opinions should, along with their studies or their recreations, learn to know and love one another. It was his candid opinion that there were few men who had been at the great Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin, but would say that their best friendships had been formed in them, their dearest recollections were associated with their University days. He must, however, confess that he felt himself in a difficult position, for he was not desirous for one moment to appear to delay the removal of those tests by which he had himself been a sufferer. But there were other considerations. It gave him great pain to hear quoted what was said in a public sermon in the University Chapel by Dr. M'Ivor; for in his own University experience he felt himself perfectly free, and no attempt was made to tamper with his opinions, although he was aware that there had been for years a most disgraceful system, not yet discontinued, of what was called "turning" Roman Catholic students for Scholarships. If the hon. Member for Brighton passed this Bill, this system of turning for scholarships would terminate, but the feeling of Ireland would not be satisfied with the removal of tests. There were two matters which greatly attracted the attention of the Press and of Parliament as regarded Irish University education. One was the general demand for denominational Colleges united to a National University; and the other was the objections which Roman Catholic Bishops and priests naturally had to entrusting, as this Bill would do, the education of Roman Catholics for the next 30 or 40 years to the Protestant ecclesiastics of the University of Dublin. For instance, the late Archbishop Whately held a distinguished position on the Board of National Education in Ireland; he was looked upon as a most liberal ecclesiastic, and for 25 years it was thought that he would honestly endeavour, in cooperation with Dr. Murray, to carry out the national system, and would do nothing against the Church of Rome; but his conversations with Mr. Nassau Senior, which had been published, told 744 a very different tale. In one of those conversations, Archbishop Whately said, that for 20 years extracts from the New Testament had been read in the majority of the National Schools far more diligently than was usual in ordinary Protestant places of education, and those extracts contained so much that was inconsistent with the spirit of Romanism that it was difficult to suppose anyone well acquainted with them could be a thorough Roman Catholic. And in another place he said—"We are undermining the whole structure of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland." When it was found that for 25 years of his life Archbishop Whately had been acting in this manner, it was no wonder that the Roman Catholics distrusted those who had charge of education in Trinity College. He looked upon the abolition of tests as a very small matter, affecting a very small number of persons; for if tests were removed he calculated that there were would not be for the next 80 years five Roman Catholic Fellows of Trinity College, although, no doubt, there would be many Roman Catholic students and scholars. The Bill, however, did nothing but remove tests. The hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) had told the House that £5,000 a-year would fall into the hands of Trinity College. Why, that sum might be appropriated to putting an immediate Roman Catholic representation upon the Board of the College, in order to protect the interests of the Roman Catholic students. The great objection, however, which Roman Catholics had to entering Trinity College was that it was a Protestant institution. In his own case he had heard Mr. Justice Keating declare that the reason why the hon. and learned Member could not obtain the Scholarship he had won was not that there was anything in the tests or in the oath which forbade it, but because Trinity College was a Protestant institution, and those to whom its endowments were committed would be violating their trust if they gave any portion of those endowments to Roman Catholics. In fact, the whole system of Trinity College was anti-Catholic, and would remain so for a considerable time. Having cited the authority of Mr. Chichester Fortescue, in 1872, to show that, as to higher education in Ireland, there was a great want, which was felt by all classes of 745 Roman Catholics, the hon. and learned Member said that, while the endowments of Oxford and Cambridge were originally given by the Catholics of the Middle Ages—the total revenues of Oxford being £174,570, and of Cambridge £145,269, besides 736 livings valued at £132,860 per annum—Trinity College had only about £40,000 per annum, and about £5,000 per annum would come from the recent sale of the advowsons. Why, he asked, should not some portion of the educational endowments of the Middle Ages be given to Roman Catholics, whose ancestors had founded them? He did not put the matter on the ground of any hereditary right, though it was true that most of the endowments at Oxford and Cambridge had been given for masses for the souls of deceased benefactors; but the ground on which he wished to put it was this—if there were Catholic education provided for in Ireland by a great Roman Catholic University, the Roman Catholics not only of the United Kingdom, but of the Empire, would resort to it; and these, it should be remembered, were nearly 10,000,000 subjects of the Queen, and paid something like £20,000,000 annually in taxation. Why, then, should not a large sum be paid for the endowment of a denominational College? The hon. Member for Galway had also said that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition might, at the next General Election, go to the country on the "No Popery" cry. He did not agree in that opinion, because the right hon. Gentleman said, in a speech on the 3rd of April, 1866—In the same spirit we have brought forward a proposal to grant a Charter to a Roman Catholic University. That proposal was perfectly consistent with the principle we have laid down, that in Ireland the true and wise policy is to create and not to destroy, and to strengthen Protestant institutions by being just to the Roman Catholics.Now, he would ask that House, whether they wished to destroy the Protestant character of Trinity College, as would be done by that Bill; for under it the Provost, or the Regius Professor of Divinity, might be a Mahornedan.—he might be of any religion or of none. Yet that institution was founded by Queen Elizabeth for the propagation of Protestantism. The Queen's Colleges it must be admitted had been successful in educating young men for high positions, 746 but they had not been successful in satisfying the people of Ireland; and if in times past Trinity College had understood its mission, it might have been opened to Roman Catholics and Dissenters, and might have been the National University. The hon. Member for Brighton said—"Let the College reform itself." But it had been found by experience that this process of self-reformation was a very slow one. In 1794 the lower grades of University education were opened to Roman Catholics, but no further steps in the same direction had been taken by Trinity College, with the exception that 10 years ago it established some Scholarships which were open to Roman Catholics. In a speech which Lord Derby delivered at Liverpool he referred to the fact that Parliament had maintained the denominational system, and that it had done so in accordance with influential opinion, and because there were facts which Parliament could not ignore. He therefore desired to know why this Bill was to be forced upon the House. Though he had no doubt that under it some Roman Catholic young men would undergo the great labour required to obtain Scholarships, Studentships, and, in the course of years, some four or five Fellowships; yet this he could say from his knowledge of the great body of Irish Roman Catholics, that they would abstain from sending their children to the University of Dublin. He regretted that; and if he could see any possibility of safeguards for Catholic education, he would wish Roman Catholics and Protestants to be educated together. To force through the House and upon the Roman Catholics of Ireland, a measure with which they were discontented, was a very serious step to take. He regretted that Roman Catholics were still in large numbers excluded by the laws from what ought to be the National University of Ireland, for a National University was one of the noblest institutions of civilization, and they might still see it in Ireland; but it could never exist there, whilst the Catholic religion and the Catholic people were excluded from it by the State.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House fully recognises the importance of an early settlement of the question of Univer-
sity Education in Ireland, but is of opinion that such legislation could be more satisfactorily entered upon after the House has been put into possession of full information as to the opinions and wishes of the several Academic Bodies existing in Ireland, and of the Irish people generally, especially of the classes practically interested in the question, by means of a Royal Commission, with instructions to take evidence and report before the opening of the next Session of Parliament,"—(Mr. Mitchell Henry,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he objected to the Bill as being an indirect and unworthy attempt to force upon the people of Ireland a University system against which they had solemnly protested. He was astonished that the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) should persevere with the measure in opposition to the wishes of the majority of the Irish people, for such a course was a direct violation of the principles which ought to govern a member of the Liberal party. The bigotry of former times prescribed a religion for Ireland; it now formulated a University; but the people of Ireland had adhered to their religion, and Parliament had withdrawn from the attempt to supersede it. He believed they would adhere to their resolution on the subject of University education, and that Parliament would in like manner endorse their programme. He could not say whether it was alabit with hon. Members on festive occasions, or at any other periods, to discuss points of belief, but he could say it was not his habit to do so, arid that during the many years he had sat there, and during the many pleasant hours he had passed in the society of his hon. Friends, he never had the curiosity to inquire what interpretation in the exercise of their private judgment they thought proper to put upon the Scriptures. But if the course of the hon. Member for Brighton were generally adopted, Irish Members would be reduced to the position of mere delegates. They would cross the Channel to lay the demands of their constituents before a body of Scotch and English gentlemen, who would determine upon them according to the views of their constituents, without regard to the electors of Ireland. In other words, the representation of Ireland would be a sham. Fortunately, however, that had 748 not been the case hitherto, for it was incontestable that in the oligarchical Parliaments which had sat since the Union, measures dealing with the domestic affairs of Ireland had been virtually settled by the Irish Members alone so far as they had sought to do so. Was that state of things to be reversed in the more democratic Parliaments of the present day? No. The hon. Member for Brighton was therefore urging the House to take a most unprecedented step, and if it was taken the most disastrous consequences would ensue. Who had suggested that course to the hon. Member? Certainly it was not the Roman Catholics; for they altogether repudiated the interference of the hon. Gentleman, and regarded it as an offensive meddling and gross outrage against their rights. Did the Episcopalians call in the services of the hon. Member? He (The O'Donoghue) could not believe they did. Then, if the hon. Gentleman were acting on behalf of anyone, he must be acting on behalf of the English and Scotch advocates of the mixed system, through whose instrumentality he hoped to impose that system upon Ireland. He could imagine that a stranger might mistake points on which Irishmen differed. Let it not be supposed, however, that the Irish were indifferent to education; they were anxious their children should excel in literature, science, and art; nor did they deny the capacity of the mixed system to produce the best specimens in every department of learning. The only point of difference between them was the channel through which religious instruction should flow. If the people of the United Kingdom were all of one religion these disputes would never have occurred; but it should not be lost sight of that in the opinion of the Irish people education may become, under certain circumstances, a source of the greatest danger. He held that the channel through which education was to reach their children must be freed from any taint of unbelief. Admitting that faith was a treasure to be preserved, it might be urged that each one should be allowed to have his own opinion and keep it to himself; but the course taken by the hon. Member for Brighton rendered this impossible, because the hon. Member sought to impose on the Roman Catholics a University system which they regarded as in- 749 compatible with the preservation of revealed truth. If Parliament then became an abettor of the hon. Gentleman, it could not be exonerated from the charge of being his accomplice in an act of the most wanton tyranny. He (The O'Donoghue) represented an Irish constituency, and what he had to consider was whether the demands of his constituents were just and reasonable, and whether the question was one on which Ireland, notwithstanding her position as part of the United Kingdom, had a right to take independent action. It seemed to him that the demands of his constituents in this instance were perfectly just and reasonable, and that the right of Ireland to take independent action in the matter was also equally clear. He therefore would not believe their prayer was spurned, because the hon. Member for Brighton preferred a mixed system. Was it possible to conceive of anything more utterly at variance with the spirit of the constitution than that Irishmen were no longer to have the management of their own purely domestic concerns? They were told that they must educate their children as Englishmen and Scotchmen thought best, or else subject them to disadvantages from which they could not free themselves. Was he to be told that he was not a Liberal for taking this view? Professor Goldwin Smith, of whose liberality there could be no question, had condemned the Liberal party for its policy on the subject of Irish education, pointing out that, like the Roman Catholics of Canada, the Irish Catholics ought to have, and must have, Colleges and Universities of their own. The Irish people now had free votes, and would certainly use them for the purpose of throwing up around the Church they loved the strong outwork of Catholic education. Englishmen and Scotchmen could not say "the question is as much ours as yours; it is not one which you could expect to decide for yourselves." The question was one which practically concerned Irishmen alone. Englishmen or Scotchmen had no interest at all co-equal with theirs, and had no more right to impose their views upon Ireland than upon Canada, where the existence of the denominational system had not impaired the loyalty of Canadian Catholics, though they were some thousands of miles removed from the Mother Country and close by 750 them was the great Republic with its abundant fascinations. Moreover, this was not solely or even mainly an academic question. The issue to be determined was, not which system would give to Ireland the most intellectual culture, but whether the system of higher education to be established there was that preferred by Englishmen and Scotchmen, who had Colleges and Universities of their own, or that preferred by the immense majority of Irishmen, whose position as regarded University education was declared by the Prime Minister to be so scandalously bad as to constitute a distinct religious grievance. It was a question in which, while England and Scotland practically had no interest, Ireland had a vital interest, for at that moment she was more profoundly agitated than at any period of her history, and the agitation was not confined to politicians, but permeated the whole of society, extending even to those who hitherto had kept aloof from agitation. All felt that the decision of the Imperial Parliament would affect not merely the education, but the loyalty of Ireland. For the first time in Irish history, the electoral body were free to use their privileges as they thought proper; they were making demands which they well knew to be just, and they would not be put off with what Englishmen and Scotchmen thought was justice. They would test what was offered to them by the immutable principles of right and wrong, and would decide for themselves whether it was worth their acceptance. The demands of Ireland could not now be postponed or ignored with the impunity of former times, for while formerly large numbers of Irishmen could not take the part they wished to take in politics without ruin to themselves and their families, now the whole Island was instinct with the consciousness of political power and the determination to take part in politics; and every blow struck at a just cause, such as the cause of Catholic education for Catholic Ireland, vibrated with intense force throughout the whole social fabric. Therefore, in every part of Ireland, and by every class, the policy of the Imperial Parliament on this question was being discussed; and impressions the most unfavourable to the justice of the Imperial Parliament had been created. For obvious reasons, many persons rejoiced at this state of things; and among 751 the 4,500,000 of Catholics, out of a total population of under 5,500,000, no one dared to stand up and justify the Imperial policy. That policy, moreover, had given new arms to the advocates of Home Rule. How, for example, could he go down to Tralee and justify a system which withheld from Irishmen the management of their own schools? What chance had he against a man who, before a patriotic people, recalled the memory of the past, and, pointing to recent events, told the people to be convinced that union with Great Britain meant the abnegation of the most ordinary rights of manhood—a state of subjection and degradation to which none but slaves would reconcile themselves. Was redress impossible? He had too much faith in the innate justice and wisdom of Great Britain to believe that it would not settle this question of Irish University education in accordance with the wishes of a majority of the Irish people, and that there was nothing left for Ireland but to resort to a desperate agitation. If Her Majesty's Government or those entitled to speak on behalf of the people of Great Britain would say that this question should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people, such a statement would produce an incalculably beneficial effect upon the state of public feeling in Ireland, and while saying that, he would remind them that there never was such an opportunity of establishing the Imperial Parliament in the confidence and loyalty of the people of Ireland. That that opportunity might be availed of he earnestly hoped as one who, although a Catholic and an Irishman, had at heart the glory and prosperity of England, and who was also sincerely anxious for the consolidation of the Empire of the Queen.
§ MR. AGAR-ELLIS
said, that his objection to the Bill was that it did not go far enough. It was no settlement of the question. He thought that the Government might when eating their leek, have eaten the whole of it; and, if they had adopted the Bill No. 2, of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) they would have done all that could be done in reference to this question. In Committee it could have been amended so as to accomplish all that could be accomplished on this question. Something could be done for the reform of the Uni- 752 versity or College, but the chief thing was to remove the tests. He did not know that a Royal Commission was necessary to effect that, neither could he make out what the object of the hon. Member for Galway's (Mr. Mitchell Henry's) Amendment was, as they surely all knew sufficient about the question to form an opinion upon it. It looked very much as if mere delay was the object. The hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) had complained that the wishes of the Irish people were not understood in this country. He (Mr. Agar-Ellis) thought if his countrymen would drop rhetoric and oratory a determination of this question would be the sooner arrived at. Now, supposing that 80 Home Rule Members were returned to the next Parliament, everyone knew that they would go into the lobby alone if they tried to induce the House to adopt the principle of denominational education, so that those who were most in favour of denominational education would gain nothing by the delay. As the Bill, however, abolished tests, he would vote in support of it, on the ground that half-a-loaf was better than no bread.
§ DR. BALL
said, he should vote for the Bill on the grounds he had stated in 1869, and afterwards in 1870, when the subject then came before the House. Those grounds were, that as far as the Bill went, it appeared to be the necessary corollary of the Disestablishment Act which had been passed as regarded the Irish Church. Now, why did he say that? The University of Dublin and Trinity College were undoubtedly founded by Queen Elizabeth in connection with what was termed in her statute the "Ecclesia," or Church, and her idea of the "Ecclesia" or Church, was that of a State Church. There was, however, no definition in her statute of any particular system of doctrine. There was simply an indication on the face of it that the institution was connected with the Church, but by the 2nd of Elizabeth certain services were pronounced to be the only services to be celebrated in the country, and which all persons in Ireland were obliged to conform to and attend. The legal interpretation, therefore, became this—there being legislation of this particular character, and the institution being founded in connection with the Church, it was plain that the whole 753 policy of the institution in its original foundation was in connection with the State Church. Now, as long as that Church continued to be the State Church there was great reason for saying that Parliament had no right to meddle with the character of the Fellowships which constituted the Governing Body under the original foundation. And, further, there was very high authority for holding that Trinity College, Dublin, could not be opened with any propriety until the Irish Church was disestablished. That authority was Sir James Graham, who in this House as Home Secretary, in 1845, when the Queen's Colleges were founded, distinctly stated, in his speech introducing the measure, that the grant of property to Trinity College, Dublin, had been made for a special object—namely, an object in connection with the Irish Church, and in connection with the education of clergymen for it. The same authority also stated that the Government of which he was a Member would never, as long as that Church existed as a State Church, agree to interfere with the peculiar character of the institution. But all that was altered the very moment a measure was passed declaring that the State had no connection in Ireland with any form of religious belief or worship whatever. The House, moreover, should mark that the endowment of Dublin College did not come from private individuals or private sources, and that there was no resemblance between that endowment and the endowments of the Colleges of Oxford or Cambridge. The property of Trinity College, Dublin, was property granted by the Monarch of the day out of confiscated property; and whenever Parliament passed a Bill disestablishing the Irish Church, not only did it declare that the State had no connection with any form of religious worship, but the Bill also virtually adopted another principle—that the Royal Grants made for purposes such as that for which the endowment of Trinity College had been granted were capable of being dealt with by that House precisely on the same grounds and principles as Parliamentary Grants. Now, in his judgment, the question of University education in Ireland might have arisen if Parliament never had disestablished the Irish Church, and he believed that it had actually arisen, for whether they were to have one Univer- 754 sity for the whole Island, or several Universities, was a question as capable of having and demanding consideration the day before the Irish Church Act was passed as the day after. Whether they were to have the one or the other, and on what footing the one University or each separate University was to be constructed, were equally questions then as now; but they were all involved in the logical consequences flowing from the Irish Church Act. Although he voted for the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton in 1870, he at the time thought it did not form the be-all and the end-all of the question, for an instantaneous claim arose, which required to be considered in every academic aspect—that for the Disestablished Church of Ireland provision should be made of an independent character, to aid and assist in the education of its students of Divinity. He would admit that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had very fairly acknowledged that claim in the measure he had introduced, though the provision he had made to meet it was wholly and utterly inadequate. He wished to state why he considered that the Disestablished Church of Ireland had a claim which would not be satisfied by a Bill of this character, and the reason he would assign was, that the matter arose out of the mode in which they had dealt with the College of Maynooth. Notwithstanding all the debate that had taken place there was still no full and complete knowledge upon that matter. What was Maynooth? It was not a College for the Roman Catholic Body generally, but it was an institution for the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood alone. Originally it was intended that it should be an institution for the Roman Catholic Body generally, and Mr. Burke was the person who first pointed out that that could not be in accordance with the Roman Catholic system. That he did in A Letter to a Noble Lord in Ireland, who there was reason to believe was a Member of the Government of the day. In that letter Mr. Burke said that from the nature of the Roman Catholic priesthood members of that Body could not be educated with laymen. First, he said that the nature of the office was such that persons intended for it must from an early period be trained apart, and under such circumstances that no external influence could impair their 755 view of the office which they would undertake. Secondly, he said, that from the institution of the celibacy of the clergy, it was necessary that the priesthood should be trained up in such a way that doctrines and opinions inconsistent with that view should not be suffered to disturb the belief which they were to be educated to administer and adopt. Further, by the Council of Trent it was provided that, after such persons had been in seminaries they should receive in a special institution instruction in those particular doctrines and parts of the system. The consequence of all this was, that Maynooth was an institution founded for priests only. Now, what was the position when they came to the Irish Church Act? Maynooth had no claim upon the funds of the Disestablished Church; but, it being an establishment for the education of priests only, they gave it from those funds £400,000, which was indeed called compensation for life interests, but which would be used for the purpose of educating the priesthood. Now what he said was this—that for exclusively religious purposes the Disestablished Church of Ireland had a claim for assistance for itself out of the very same source, the Surplus Fund. The present measure, therefore, would be a wholly inadequate one, unless in some other measure it was provided that there should be provisions for dealing with this matter. Again, in dealing with the claims of the Irish Presbyterians at the time of the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church, a sum of money derived from the funds of that Church was also handed to them to be applied to the maintenance of institutions for the education of their clergy. Could there, therefore, be a fairer demand than that which he now put forward on behalf of the Disestablished Church, that they should be left the means of educating their priesthood? He did not, however, now bring forward the matter in order to embarrass the present question, but to show that it could not be said that the present was a whole and perfect measure, it being, in fact, but a part of two Bills, formerly introduced by the hon. Member (Mr. Fawcett), and not at all extending to the whole range of the question. That was plain, because it extended only to one single institution, Dublin College and University, and it did not profess to 756 deal with all Ireland. He would merely add that he thought there was too much said about a National University. He did not think it so imperative a part of any scheme of University reform that there need be an essentially National University. There were Englishmen in Trinity College when he was there; and did any one pretend that Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, or London could be called National Universities? When was it thought necessary to lay down this, that a University should be co-extensive with the nation? For his part he much doubted the wisdom of trying to make out that a University should have that character stamped upon it, so that the people of one part of the realm should be led to imagine that they were wholly separate from those who resided in another part of the realm. Why should not students be received into the University from any place, as there were Scotch and Irish gentlemen at both Oxford and. Cambridge; and the number of such students was increasing? He was not prepared, therefore, to adopt as a necessity a single institution with some local name, giving an idea of exclusive nationality; because he hoped that Ireland would always be considered as part of Great Britain as much as Devonshire and Cornwall were.
§ MR. PIM
said, he would support the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), if it were brought forward as an independent Motion, but he could not support it in opposition to the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). He had himself, in the year 1868, suggested the issuing of a similar Commission to Lord Mayo, who was then the chief Secretary for Ireland, and he had often regretted that this mode of inquiry had not been adopted, for he felt confident that if this question had been fully investigated before the Government measure on the subject was introduced, the Prime Minister would have had a fuller insight into the feeling of Ireland upon it than he had when he brought forward that measure, and it might have saved him from the difficulty in which he had been placed by his own Bill. He could not, however, vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Galway, because in doing so he would oppose a Bill which he thought ought to be passed. This 757 Bill was a step in the right direction. It would relieve the Irish Protestants who were not members of the Episcopal Church from the disabilities under which they at present laboured; but it in no way touched the grievances of the Irish Roman Catholics—on the contrary, it would bring them more prominently into view when the Protestant grievance was redressed. The demand. of the Roman Catholics for University education of their own was as just now as their demand for emancipation had been 40 years ago, and it would not only be an act of gross injustice, but of most mistaken policy to refuse it, or to regard this measure as an adequate answer to it. There were two points in the Bill on which he felt very strongly. The first was with respect to the present Divinity School of the Disestablished Church, to turn out which he thought would be a great injustice. On that subject he had given Notice of Amendments which he intended to move when the Bill was in Committee. The other point was the right which the Crown now possessed of appointing the Provost—a right which he considered to be of a doubtful character under all circumstances, and the evil of which would be greatly increased when the University was thrown open to persons of all religious creeds. If Trinity College was maintained as the great educational establishment for Ireland, and if the Roman Catholics did not obtain a University or College of their own, they would, of course, put forward. their claims to the appointment of Provost; he had no doubt they would be successful, and probably on the next vacancy. Now, he would ask any Irish Member who heard him, to consider what would be the effect of the appointment by the Government of a Roman Catholic to be Provost? He had himself no doubt that it would lessen the Protestant students by one-half. All the objections which had been urged in a former debate against the nomination of members of the Council by Government would apply with equal force to the Government appointment of a Provost. The election ought to be vested in the College itself, and then, while ever the majority of the students remained Protestant, a Protestant would no doubt be chosen for this office. He strongly desired that Trinity College should remain a Protestant institution, and that the 758 Roman Catholics should have an institution of equal position for themselves; and it was only some such measure that could preserve Trinity College as a Protestant institution. But if a Roman Catholic College was established he believed that Trinity College would remain essentially Protestant for very many years, although open to all persons without distinction and without the imposition of any test. He hoped there would be no division against the Bill, but if there was he should feel obliged to walk out of the House. He could not vote against the appointment of a Commission which he so much desired to have appointed, and he would not do anything to impede the passing of the Bill.
§ MR. SYNAN
said, he was surprised at the extraordinary reason which had been given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) for supporting the Bill, that he looked on it as a corollary to the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and would ask him how it followed from the passing of that measure that the Protestant Episcopalians of Ireland should not have a denominational College for the education of their children? How also, he should like to know, could the right hon. and learned Gentleman, if he voted for the Bill, refuse to support the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) when he brought in his Bill No. 4 to complete his scheme, and proposed to take away the endowments of Trinity College and give them to the Irish people at large? If the right hon. and learned Gentleman voted for the present Bill, he must, to be consistent, vote for such a proposal as that, and the endowments of Trinity College must go. For his own part, he approved of the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry); as a substantive Motion, and if he were a Protestant denominationalist, he would raise his voice and second his vote against the measure before the House, but as an Irish Roman Catholic he had no interest in taking that course, and he therefore would confine himself to protest against the attempt to coerce his opinions and those of his co-religionists which Englishmen and Scotchmen dared to make. If Irish Protestants insisted upon turning their denominational Col- 759 lege into a secular one, he had no right to oppose them. He ventured to tell his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, whose good intentions he valued, but whose wrong judgment he did not regard, that there was no difference in Ireland among the Catholics on the subject of education, and that the Irish Catholic Members, though he had succeeded in defeating a Government, would be a power in the House equal to himself, and that upon a question not Imperial, in which the feelings of the people of Ireland were deeply concerned, they claimed to be the best judges of that which was most calculated to promote their interests. He would further observe that when, a short time ago, hon. Gentlemen opposite wished to carry the denominational clauses in the English Education Bill, they would have been shamefully beaten had not the Irish Roman Catholic Members gone into the lobby with them. And what was the return? Those same hon. Gentlemen now threw themselves into the arms of the hon. Member for Brighton. Was that their reward for defeating the University education scheme of the Government?—a scheme, he would say, originally framed in no party view, and brought forward with the very best intentions; but how was it mutilated in its progress? After the attack of the hon. Member for Brighton and his Friends, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had put up the Secretary of State for War to destroy his own Bill, and the Secularists were told they might do what they liked with the Bill in Committee. Up to a certain point he believed the Bill would have been made better, or, at least not made worse; but it afterwards became clear that it was intended to change it to suit the views of the Secularists, and when Irish Members saw that, it was impossible they could support it. They divided against it; and that was their justification for the vote they had given. Finally, he could not regard this Bill as even a step towards the settlement of the Irish Education question; and, while as a Roman Catholic, he was entirely hostile to tests, he should nevertheless withdraw from the division, and he hoped every other hon. Member who felt as he did would vindicate their position by adopting a similar course and thereby protesting 760 against the Bill and against the sanction which the Government had given it by aiding the hon. Member for Brighton to pass such a measure.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, that while concurring in a great degree with what had been said by his hon. Friend who had just sat down (Mr. Synan), he could not, as a Roman Catholic and a Liberal Member, vote against the second reading of this Bill in its present shape as a Bill for the removal of tests. During the whole of his public life his great effort had been to get rid of tests; how, then, could he vote against their removal? While admitting the difficulty—almost amounting to an impossibility—Irish Roman Catholic Members would experience in voting for the Bill, he thought, however, they would find quite as great a difficulty in voting against a measure which abolished those tests which had hitherto excluded men of the highest character and attainments from those honours and emoluments to which they were fairly entitled because they were Roman Catholics. It had been said that a man's opinions were seldom changed by speeches made in that House, but he confessed he had some difficulty in making up his mind as to the course he should take till he heard the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the senior Member for Dublin University (Dr. Ball). With all deference, he must say he did not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman had expressed the opinion of the Protestant people of Ireland, the Disestablished Church of Ireland, or the Synod which had recently been held in Dublin. Having read the statement made by some of the leading members of that Synod, he thought it might be his duty to vote against the Bill, but after the declaration made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he, as representing the Protestant party in the University, was content with this Bill and disposed to accept it, his doubts had been removed. Two of the most eminent men who took part in the proceedings of the Synod declared—and a resolution was unanimously adopted to the effect—that the Bill, if passed into law, would sweep away all religious tests oven from the Divinity Professorship, and that a Turk, a Mahomedan, a Buddhist, or a person professing no religion whatever, might become Professor of Divinity in Trinity 761 College. That appeared to be the opinion of the unsophisticated Episcopalian Protestants of Ireland. He, therefore, felt a difficulty in not voting against the Bill; for although he had assisted in disestablishing the Irish Church, he did not wish to take a step that would prevent any guardianship being provided for the education of those who were to become the future teachers of the people, and hand over the education of the rising generation to licentious and profligate men, and even to blasphemers of religion itself. But, he must repeat, that his difficulty had been removed by the declaration of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. At the same time, however, he solemnly protested against the Bill under whatever guise it was put forward, for in what respects did this Bill differ from all former attempts to settle the Education question in Ireland? In no respect whatever. The Education difficulty had existed in Ireland for 250 years; and various attempts had been made to settle it, at one time by coercion and force, at another by confiscation and the sword. As time progressed, coercion was given up and attempts were made to seduce the Catholics from their ancient faith. Within their own days the Kildare Place Society had attempted by honeyed words, and even by bread and butter, to seduce children from the doctrines their parents taught them. And that Bill proceeded on the very same principle of the Kildare Place Society; it offered to remove all obstacles to the Irish people accepting a mixed system which they had been taught not to accept. Now that was an attempt to seduce them into contumacy against their religious superiors; and that very attempt made it more difficult to propose a change which would be satisfactory to the Irish people. They had given to the people of India Mahomedan Colleges rather than do violence to their feelings, and in Canada there were a College and a University where the Catholics had visitorial powers, and the result was the people were contented. By the same reason, if they desired content in Ireland, they must do for it what they had done for India and Canada. Unfortunately, however, bigotry and intolerance had been fanned by speeches made in that House and elsewhere, and he blamed those who had stimulated prejudices for the present difficulty. 762 The Disestablished Church Commission, would have a balance of £5,000,000 or £8,000,000, and, in order to avoid the frank and manly course of giving that to the Catholics to establish a University, and so compensating them for that of which they had been unjustly deprived, they were driven to saying that religion should be ignored.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, that he had spoken so often upon this subject when the prospects of the measure seemed far less prosperous that he should not have asked the House for any further indulgence, but for some misapprehensions which might have been created by words that had fallen from one of the preceding speakers. He wished at the same time to join in the appeal which had been made to the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) not to press his Amendment to a division. It had been suggested by the hon. Member for Galway that the opinions of the Junior Fellows of Trinity College were not correctly stated by those who were supposed to represent them in this House. He did not deny that among those Junior Fellows there were some who differed in opinion from the remainder on this subject. He admitted that there were four of the Junior Fellows of Trinity College—and they were very able men, whose opinions were entitled to great respect, who, he believed, did not agree with the rest in reference to this Bill; but it was only fair to add that those four Junior Fellows were four out of 25, and that all the others last year signed a resolution in favour of this Bill, while this year representatives of the Junior Fellows were taken into consultation by the Governing Body of the College, and they agreed with the Seniors that it was right to press this measure forward. The grounds on which he would appeal to the hon. Member for Galway not to press his Amendment were these—the hon. Member himself had hardly denied that by a great many Protestants, whether Episcopalian or Presbyterian, the abolition of tests in Trinity College and in the University would be regarded as a great and immediate advantage. He (Mr. Plunket) well knew that to one individual in particular it was almost a matter of life and death. There was a student of Trinity College who last year as the result of a very severe examination, won the right to a Fellowship. He was 763 a man of high intellectual attainments, who had studied hard, and competed for it in the hope that when the time came for his election the tests which stood in his way would have been removed. However, that had not happened, and he was prevented by religious scruples from taking the tests. Would it not be hard if this student, who, there was reason to believe, might again this year win a Fellowship if his health held out through the ordeal, was again cut off from the reward of his labours by these tests? He would therefore appeal to the hon. Member for Galway not to press his Amendment, for the reason that to this Gentleman and to a great number of his fellow Protestants, in whose interest the hon. Member professed to act, this Bill would prove a boon, which they were not only willing, but anxious to accept. Further, he knew that by a great number of Roman Catholics this measure would be received with welcome. But if there were some Roman Catholics who did not choose to take advantage of the opportunities that would be thus afforded to them by the University of Dublin—if they still desired denominational Colleges or a University exclusively for themselves, in the name of reason, he would ask them why should they object to the adoption of the present Bill on that account? What was there in the passing of that measure to prevent the hon. Member for Galway or any other hon. Member from framing such a plan as they thought the House was likely to adopt? He (Mr. Plunket) confessed he could not hold out a prospect of immediate success as an encouragement to them to take this course; but how, he asked, could they justify themselves in their refusal to allow a measure so acceptable to many persons of all creeds to pass, on the ground that it failed to give them that complete University reform which they for themselves desired? That was not a final Bill; it certainly was not so as regarded the Divinity School of Trinity College, Dublin, and on this point he concurred in what had fallen from his right hon. Colleague. The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray), when referring to the resolutions recently adopted by the Synod of the Disestablished Church, did not mention that the Synod knew that this Bill was likely to be passed. What their resolutions affirmed 764 was that, standing alone, unaccompanied, and not followed by other legislation, it would not be a satisfactory solution of the whole question. That was no new idea. Two years ago, when this Bill was first introduced, he (Mr. Plunket) stated distinctly, that as regarded the Divinity School, it was not final, that questions would arise hereafter which must be dealt with, and the reason why no attempt was made to deal with them in the Bill was, that there were hopes that the new Governing Body of the University which it was desired to organize would be better able to dispose of them. It was, moreover, quite true that if the Divinity School were to remain long as it would be left by this Bill, circumstances might arise that would reduce it to a condition which any Protestant would regret to see. They of Trinity College, then, regarded this as but a temporary measure; but they felt also that they could not of themselves alone remedy the defect, because at the time the first Bill was brought in the Disestablished Church had hardly organized itself; and, indeed, it could not be said to have even yet fully recovered from the shock of disestablishment and disendowment. It was obvious that when a further proposal was made as to the Protestant Divinity School, an understanding would have to be arrived at between the persons who were in future to carry on its government, and those who now had control over it. Further than that, the Bill was not final in another way—namely, in respect to the Government of Trinity College and Dublin University. Of the two plans referred to by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), the first had proposed the establishment of a new Constitution, the second had suggested merely a consulting Council which should draw up statutes, so as to bring the University and Trinity College more into conformity with altered circumstances. It was plain therefore that the necessity for further changes had from the first been duly recognized, though they had been obliged to forego their accomplishment for the present. But the House might rest assured, that as Trinity College had lately had a very narrow escape, no time would be lost, by them in setting their house in order, so that they might in future be safe from the attacks of other reformers, far 765 less in accordance with their tastes and interests than the hon. Member for Brighton, who had so gallantly and honourably stood by them through their recent difficulties and dangers. He wished emphatically to repudiate the title that had been given so absurdly to that hon. Member of an "officious meddler." What the hon. Gentleman had done he had done with the full consent of the Governing Body of the University of Dublin; and up to that moment there was no reason whatever for saying that they had altered their views on the subject. The proposal contained in the Bill was certainly intended as an honest, open-handed concession, as an advantage to be offered to certain persons at present labouring under serious penalties; and it was very undesirable that at the last moment it should be opposed in a spirit, he would not say of factiousness, but at all events of delay, and that too by an hon. Member claiming to represent a population for whose benefit the measure was designed. He would, therefore join in the appeal made to the hon. Member for Galway not to press his Amendment.
§ MR. BUTT
did not think that the taking of a vote would delay the Bill, and he therefore hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) would give him and others an opportunity of recording their vote on the subject, considering the state of the House and the little interest apparently taken by hon. Members in it. Almost all the speeches that had been delivered had convinced him of the prudence and wisdom of the Resolution, for it was impossible for that House to ascertain the real state of the people of Ireland on the subject without further inquiry. For instance, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down told the House that the Junior Fellows of Trinity College were in favour of the Bill, other hon. Members said they were not; and how was the House to know the fact, if not by the inquiry proposed by his hon. Friend? The fact was, that the Fellows of Trinity College accepted the Bill to escape a greater evil, and he believed if an opportunity were now given of ascertaining their opinions, the majority would say that they adopted the Bill as a matter of necessity, not thinking it was the best thing to be done. The Amendment rested upon two simple pro- 766 positions—that there ought not to be legislation without accurate information as to the feelings and wishes of all classes of the Irish people, and that such information they did not now possess. The Bill would not give to the Roman Catholics the University institutions they desired, and he was satisfied that nothing less would be regarded as a satisfactory settlement of the question; indeed, he believed a very great change had taken place recently in Protestant opinion upon this subject. He had taken pains to ascertain the opinions of intelligent Protestants in different parts of Ireland, and he believed that nine out of ten would be in favour of settling it, if it were to be settled, by giving endowments to the Roman Catholics, and preserving those of the Protestants. Was it of importance that they should know whether that was true or not? Were they to legislate upon the uninformed prejudices of the House, or upon an enlightened acquaintance with the wishes and feelings of the Irish people? It was said that other measures were to follow that; was not that a reason for delaying this until the complete scheme was before them? Why should they take a leap in the dark? It was true that in the case of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge they abolished tests, they excepted the Professors of Divinity, but there was no such exception in this Bill. The English Bill further excepted the Heads of Colleges, who were required to be in Holy Orders, and excluded the Head of every College in Oxford, except one. It had, however, been pointed out that under the Bill as it stood a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic might be appointed Provost of Trinity College. Insert the words of the English Bill, and that could not be. But if a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic were placed at the head of Trinity College, would the Protestants of Ireland continue to send their sons there? The Bill, therefore, would put it in the power of a Ministry to destroy Trinity College by appointing a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic, or even a Roman Catholic layman to become its Head. What change was it proposed to effect ultimately in Trinity College? The Preamble of the Bill declared it was to be retained as a place of religion, as well as learning; but what religion was it to be—was it to be that of the large majority of the nation? 767 They were Roman Catholic, and how were the benefits of religion to be thrown open to them? The statutes of Trinity College were essentially Protestant in their character; they were left untouched by the Bill, and Roman Catholics were to be admitted to administer them. The English Bill, as he had said, exempted virtually all the Heads of Houses in both Universities, and declared that nothing should interfere with their religious character, discipline, and worship. Was it intended the same should be done in that case? Was the College to continue to be a place of religious education essentially Protestant, or was it not? It was said that if you destroyed the essentially Protestant character of the College you would destroy it. The University, moreover, was a University for the Protestant people of Ireland; it had not too large revenues, nor was it too great for them, therefore he wished to maintain it for those for whom it was desired, and as a means to that end he desired to give the Catholics their own University. Then, if either Protestants or Catholics wished to abolish tests, let them do so; but let those changes be the growth of opinion, and not forced upon them. Repudiated by Catholics, the Bill could not be a settlement, and it would create hostility which did not now exist, because, if the Fellowships were thrown open, the College would become the theatre of a contention between the Roman Catholic Church, the Government, and the people, which would not be calculated to increase its stability or insure its safety. He objected to the Bill for the sake of the effect it would have on the University itself, for no exception was made, not even as to the teaching of Divinity. Why, there was nothing in the Bill to prevent a Mahomedan from being elected Professor of Divinity in the University of Dublin, if he were the one person best acquainted with the history and doctrines of the various Christian sects; indeed, in the latter view of the case, they would have no other course open to them under the terms of the statute. Before assenting to a change in a University, which had worked well for the Protestants of Ireland, and which had proved itself to be the most liberal Protestant institution in Europe, he should like to know exactly the meaning and end of the change proposed, and also 768 what were the feelings of the Irish people on the subject? He was aware of the manner in which Ministers were supposed to learn something of the sentiments of the Irish people. There were informers who could go up the backstairs of the Castle, and make statements to the Lord Lieutenant—and if he could suppose it, others who went up the back-stairs of Downing Street, and represented to the Government that the Irish Members did not in any sense represent the feeling of their country upon the question; but his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) wished to have information to be conveyed to the House and to the Ministers in the light of day, and to be reported by a Royal Commission. In order to test the truth of such information, he asked the House to support the Amendment from a belief that the result would prove the contrary. Further, might he ask the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government whether he had not had enough that Session of the other species of information? Did not the right hon. Gentleman anticipate that the Irish University Bill would be accepted in a very different spirit by many classes in Ireland? If accurate information were required then, let a Royal Commission be issued, before which the Roman Catholic laity would have an opportunity of stating their opinions; and here he might remark that he knew of no educational institution where so much real liberality existed among the students as in the Catholic University, which was sometimes described as being under the influence of the Ultramontane hierarchy. If it should be ascertained by a Royal Commission that the feeling of Irish Protestants was in favour of the endowment of a Roman Catholic University, he felt sure this House would not oppose a settlement which the immense majority of the Irish nation approved. He must therefore press his hon. Friend to divide, because he wished to record his vote against a Bill, no matter by whom it was supported, which he believed would be fatal to the existence, in a few years, of the University of Dublin.
If the Question, that this Bill be read a second time, had been put immediately after the introductory statement of my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), I should have been perfectly contented to 769 support it with a silent vote; for the Government have already indicated their opinion of the measure by the disposition they have shown to allow my hon. Friend such facilities as the other demands of Public Business will permit them to offer him for bringing forward his Bill; and we still feel a disposition to give him those facilities, with respect to which, however, I must say that we hope he will also use his own best exertions, because we who are ill able to provide opportunities for our own Bills, may not be able to do for him all we could wish. But the scope of the discussion has been widened by the Amendment which has been proposed, and likewise by the speeches which have been made in the course of the debate. We are asked to adopt a Resolution in favour of the appointment of a Royal Commission which is to be issued by the Crown—I suppose upon the prayer of this House—for the purpose not of examining and considering the question of Irish University education, not for the purpose of ascertaining matters of fact connected with it, but for the purpose of ascertaining the opinions and wishes of the several academic bodies existing in Ireland, and of the people generally on this subject. I cannot help observing that this Motion, as far as I know, has at least the merit of being an absolute novelty among the many varieties of Parliamentary propositions, for I do not remember that upon any occasion it has ever been the practice of this House, or that it has even been proposed to this House, to employ the machinery of a Royal Commission for the purpose of ascertaining the opinions and wishes of the people. We have to employ Royal Commissioners—often with great utility—when there are difficult and complicated matters of fact to be examined which require and admit of a precise scrutiny—matters of fact which this House may not be able to undertake thoroughly to search out; but with regard to the collection of the opinions and wishes of the people, this is a most extraordinary delegation of the first and most elementary duty of Parliament itself to an instrument that is to be chosen by the Crown at the pleasure or on the advice of the Government of the day; and were it only on that ground I, for one could not possibly vote for the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for the County of Galway (Mr. Mitchell 770 Henry). I must also remark that there is latent in this Motion an assumption which I am not ready to grant with reference to any one of the three countries, and that is, that the opinion which may prevail in a particular country—whether it be England, Scotland, or Ireland, and I can draw no distinction, all being on the same footing of absolute equality—is finally and absolutely to rule the judgment of Parliament with regard to particular subject-matters. Both on that ground and the other to which I have referred, it is impossible for me to vote for the Amendment. Then are we to vote for the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton or are we not? If you listened to several of the speeches which have been made, the scope of this debate might be estimated to be a very wide one indeed; but look at the Bill as it comes before us—and I speak of the Bill generally, and not with reference to the particular point noticed by the hon. Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket), and the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down (Mr. Butt)—namely, that for the removal of tests. In Trinity College and the University of Dublin, at the present moment, we have a state of things in which the education of the University, the examinations of the University, the honours of the University, and, I believe, some very small fraction of the rewards of the University are open to all without regard to religious distinctions. But my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton asks us to go further, and to enact, in general conformity with the principle on which we have already proceeded for England, that not only the studies, the examinations, and the honours of the University, but the emoluments of the University generally and the Governing Body should be thrown open irrespective of religious distinctions. That which we have done in England, where an Established Church prevails, and that which, substantially, we have done in Scotland, where an Established Church also still exists, it would certainly be singular to refuse to do in Ireland, where no Established Church exists, but where the Established Church has been deliberately abolished by the judgment of Parliament. Consequently the present measure appears to be a simple one, and one which is sustained both by general considerations applicable to a question of this class, and 771 by the precedents which we ourselves have set in England and in Scotland not only in parallel circumstances, but in circumstances where an argument of this nature was much weaker indeed than it is in the case of a country situated as Ireland now is. What, then, are the arguments which have been urged against the Bill? I confess that I have some difficulty in collecting them from most of the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. As far, however, as I am able to do so, they come very much to this. If I am to put a general construction upon the speech of my hon. Friend (The O'Donoghue), it comes to this point—that he wishes to have established in Ireland a system of denominational grants to Colleges and Universities for the different religious communions which make up among them the Irish people, and that, as the present measure proceeds upon a different basis—opening a particular College in a University instead of keeping it close—he will vote against the second reading. I cannot deny the perfect sufficiency of such an allegation from a Gentleman who regards the subject from that point of view, nor do I intend to enter upon the general argument of the justice or injustice of that point of view. We have had other opportunities of dealing with it, and I will only now notice one expression of my hon. Friend, in order to say that under no circumstances can I be bound by it. He says the question whether higher education in Ireland shall be supported by a system of denominational grants is a question of purely domestic concern for the people of Ireland. I am not able to subscribe to that proposition. Subjects of this kind—subjects of religion and education—have never been treated in any of the three countries as matters of purely domestic concern to each one of them separately. They have always been regarded as Imperial questions. For instance, when my hon. Friend gave us his support on the disestablishment of the Irish Church, that was not treated as a domestic question of purely Irish concern. It was treated upon Imperial considerations, though those considerations were governed in their application by the peculiar circumstances of Ireland. It was not, however, treated as a matter of Irish concern, but as a matter with regard to which, had the same circum- 772 stances existed in England, Parliament would have been prepared to take the same course. Moreover, I think my hon. Friend himself would find some difficulty in adhering, after a closer examination of the case, to the doctrine that this important question is one of purely Irish concern. Suppose my hon. Friend himself proposed to appropriate a larger sum of public money, whether from the Consolidated Fund or from any special Irish fund, for the purpose of supporting a Roman Catholic College in Ireland. If he were to give the public money in that way, he must give it to a College with a certain constitution; by that constitution the exercise of powers within the College would be determined, and consequently the State in granting the money, must become parties to the constitution under which the grant would be administered. How are these powers to be divided between the laity and the the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church? And are they to be severally represented in the government and control of the College? These are questions of the utmost importance and difficulty, and how would it be possible for us to make such grants and lay down certain principles with regard to the sort of constitution—Episcopal, clerical, or lay—which we should recognize in Ireland; and at the same time have different principles on which to treat analogous questions in England? The question of the Roman Catholic Church, its constitution and government, is not confined to Ireland, and, if it were, the analogy drawn from our proceedings in such a case would be quoted to influence our conduct in England and Scotland. Both from the reason of the case and from a long-continued course of precedents, therefore, it is plainly impossible to treat this question as a matter of purely local concern for any one of the three kingdoms; for if it were possible, it would undoubtedly be rather a strange course that we, after having in the matter of religion, where anything secular is involved, determined that the State would not connect itself with any one religious communion in Ireland, should, two or three years afterwards, hand over the intellectual training of the country in its highest departments to the management of religious bodies and to Episcopal or ecclesiastical control. I do not go farther into these important subjects, but my 773 hon. Friend will see the difficulties which must present themselves to persons responsible for the conduct of affairs before they can accede to the proposition he lays down that a subject of this kind is to be treated as one of merely local concern. As was said by the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Dr. Ball), the main and the best founded objection to this measure is its limited character. But that objection can hardly hold good unless it can be shown that the limited concession which is proposed is itself open to just objection. If this measure in Ireland be legitimate and beneficial, the fact that it touches one department of this question only, and does not deal with the whole, can never be deemed a reason for its rejection. I am one of those who fully admit that it is a limited measure, and that the question of academic reform—which is entirely separate from the imposition of tests—cannot be supposed to be finally settled, or, indeed, to have made any serious progress towards settlement, by the simple passing of a measure such as that now before us. My own opinion is, not that, upon general abstract grounds, it is necessary to have one National University, and only one in the country—my opinion is, that if we are to act upon principles of religious equality in their application to Ireland, those principles do demand, as has been set out in the Preamble of this Bill, that the entire people of Ireland shall have free access to the University of Dublin; and I own for my own part—and I go a step further and say—that so far as I can see, it is impossible for them to have free access if they are to be confined to that mode of passage and teaching into the University of Dublin which Trinity College offers. There is no doubt that Trinity College is a College of Protestant tradition and Protestant aspects, and Trinity College must long so continue. It has to choose its Fellows not merely on abstract grounds of excellent scholarship, but with regard to its teaching functions, which, very much to the honour of that institution, every Junior Fellow is called upon to perform. I feel, therefore, that it is a great boon both to Protestant Dissenters, and Roman Catholics to remove the barriers which now obstruct access to the endowments of Trinity College, but at the same time, in my opinion, it would be little less than mockery were 774 we to treat this measure as in itself acquitting us of our debt in reference to giving to the people of Ireland the full advantages of National University education. I have another word to say upon the reference made by the two hon. and learned Members for the University of Dublin to the Divinity School there. It is not necessary on this occasion to enter into the subject in detail, for in the Bill introduced by the Government we indicated distinctly the principle on which we thought it would be equitable to deal with it. But, after listening to the speeches of the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Dr. Ball) and his hon. and learned Colleague (Mr. Plunket), I feel some difficulty regarding this portion of the measure. When I heard the senior Member for the University the atmosphere seemed misty, but after listening to the junior Member I was in black darkness as to the nature and scope of the Bill. If I rightly gathered the statement of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Plunket), he said in effect this—"We are going by the present Bill to throw open, irrespective of religious belief, the Theological Faculty in the University of Dublin; but we only do this as a temporary measure, and there must be some other measure which I do not now describe, and am not prepared to lay before the House, which will undo the present Bill and close again the Theological Faculty we are now about to throw open." I must say the hon. and learned Gentleman by that statement gave a considerable advantage to my hon. learned and able Friend behind me (Mr. Butt), of which he was not slow to avail himself, protesting with much justice against being asked to vote for a Bill some portion of which we are to pass now, in order that we may review it and limit its operation by some other measure to be introduced hereafter under circumstances which at present are neither explained nor understood. I do not proceed upon any such principle; I simply support the measure as one for the removal of tests in the University of Dublin. So far as the Theological Faculty is concerned our plan has been before the House, and I must not assume that it met with favour; but we are now out of the way, and our business is to give place to others who, we hope, may be more fortunate than ourselves. I should like, however, to know what is 775 thought of the Bill in the interests of religion and in the interests of the Disestablished Church by the Governing Body of Trinity College, by the Senate of the University, which on a recent occasion became so eloquent, though it had not previously loosed the string of its tongue, and what counsel is offered by the two hon. and learned Members for the University? At present, on this subject, I am entirely in the dark. I wait there, contentedly; but I have endeavoured to point out that the scope of this Bill is really a very limited scope, and that it confers, as has been very well said by the hon. and learned Gentleman the junior Member for the University of Dublin, a great practical benefit upon both Protestant Dissenters and many Roman Catholics in Ireland, by the removal of obstructions which now exist. That benefit it confers with perfect willingness—nay, with readiness and eagerness on the part of the Protestant Episcopalians to offer a boon, and under these circumstances it would be a most extraordinary course to be taken by the House of Commons, were we to be the parties to interfere and prevent the realization of those very considerable advantages which the Bill undoubtedly secures—which are on the one hand so readily tendered, and on the other so much desired.
§ MR. MUNSTER
said, he found it difficult to gather from the debate which had occurred whether the Bill was to stand alone, or to be followed by other measures dealing with the subject of University education in Ireland. He inclined, however to the opinion that other measures were in contemplation, and he opposed the first step towards the establishment of a system in Ireland similar to that of the London University, for what were the practical results of that institution? There was nothing granted by the Bill which the Roman Catholics of Ireland would accept. In England opinion was divided on the subject of religious and purely secular education; in Ireland, on the other hand, Protestants and Roman Catholics were agreed on this point—that religion should be the basis of education. That being so, the Roman Catholics would only consent to commit the education of their children and the training of their young men to teachers in whom they and their priests had confidence. They would 776 not submit to the religious teaching of Trinity College, and they believed that a University which professed to teach no religion was either a farce or a mockery.
§ MR. REDMOND,
in supporting the Amendment, said, that though the settlement of the question now before the House was a matter of necessity, no serious effort had been made to deal with it effectually. The Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) did not profess to deal with that burning question of the day, University education, but was designated to uphold that secular system which the people of Ireland would never accept. It might appear strange that after this question had been discussed for years it should now be necessary to invite the House to obtain information as to the feelings, and wishes, and wants of the people of Ireland; but the late debate had demonstrated that the House did not yet realize the extent, and the constancy, and the earnestness of the people of Ireland in regard to the education of the Roman Catholic population of that country. The Government had acknowledged that an educational grievance existed, and that it was their duty to remedy that grievance, and were ready to stake their existence on carrying out these views. Were they going to give up that object? If the House rejected the Amendment of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) what did they propose to do? What did the Government intend to do? Would they ignore the claims of the people of Ireland upon this subject? The Government had stated over and over again that the subject ought to be dealt with, and he believed that if the House had accepted the Amendment it would have had a very happy effect upon the people of Ireland; but if it were rejected what would the effect be? Why, that they persisted in legislating for Ireland upon the basis of opinions in England and Scotland. It would be thought in Ireland that England was so strong that she braved the opinions of the people of Ireland; but he would say that if she were ten times as strong and as wealthy she could not do that with safety to the position. The Bill did not propose to deal with the question of education generally, and the Roman Catholics looked at what it proposed to do with distrust. They could not feel grati- 777 fled in seeing the old University start upon a secular career. They did not wish to see Trinity College drawn down to the level of the "godless" Colleges, for Trinity College had been regarded with more good feeling than had been attached to other Government institutions in that country. The Roman Catholics took a pride in its renown, and they feared that its character would be materially altered by the Bill before the House. It had been stated that the House would not agree to denominational endowments, but he challenged the right of the House to come to such a conclusion as regarded Ireland. If the Bill should become law, and if they persisted in ignoring the feelings and wishes of the people of Ireland the question would be more seriously considered by them, and they would say that it was evidence to them that they must seek for redress of their grievances in the restoration of their own Parliament, in which Irishmen would have the management of their own affairs.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.