HC Deb 10 June 1875 vol 224 cc1622-3

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, with reference to the remarks of Count Munster at the National Club, Whether he has become informed, either by means of the public journals or otherwise, that there is now resident in this Country, in contravention of the Act 10 Geo 4, c. 7, s. 28, a considerable number of members of the Society of Jesus, commonly called Jesuits; and, whether he is prepared to enforce against such persons the provisions of the said Act; and, if not, whether he is prepared to adopt some other and what means of protection against the perils contemplated and provided for by the said Act?


Sir, there is no doubt that there are in this country "members of the Society of Jesus, commonly called Jesuits," and there is also no doubt that their presence in this country is, under the Act of 10 Geo. IV., known as the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, a misdemeanour. During, however, the period which has elapsed since the passing of that Act, now nearly half a century, the Government of this country has, I believe, in no instance—none at least known to myself—proceeded against any Jesuit for committing a misdemeanour under its provisions, and so far as Her Majesty's present Advisers are influenced by the circumstances with which they are acquainted, the same policy will continue to prevail. At the same time, I beg it to be understood that the provisions of the Act are not looked upon by Her Majesty's Government as being obsolete; but, on the contrary, as reserved powers of Law of which they will be prepared to avail themselves if necessary.