HC Deb 04 June 1880 vol 252 cc1200-1

I beg to give Notice that on Monday next I will ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether it is a fact that the magistrates of the borough of Belfast invariably inflict a penalty of 40s. and costs on any person brought before them on a charge of using insulting language towards the Pope or other minister of religion; and, if so, whether his attention has been called to the language reported in the Northern Whig and Ulster Examiner to have been used by the Rev. Isaac Nelson—


Sir, I rise to Order. If I have caught correctly the intention of the Question, it is invading the sacred precincts of the temple of religion, and asking that the language of a minister of religion—a Protestant minister of religion—in the pulpit, which I take, Sir, to be outside the cognizance of this House, should be considered by the Attorney General for Ireland.


not rising.


continued his Question in the following words:—To have been used by the Rev. Isaac Nelson—now a Member of this House—on Saturday last from the pulpit of his church, in the precincts of the said borough of Belfast, to the effect that "the greatest curse Europe has had for centuries was the man that called himself the successor of St. Peter;" and "these men"—i.e., the Roman Catholic clergy—"are trading on the ignorance of the ignorant, and lording it in the name of religion over the consciences of men;" and whether, under the circumstances, the Attorney General will not consider it advisable that the Irish Executive should direct a prosecution against the Rev. Isaac Nelson for the use of such language, as calculated to provoke a breach of the peace within the said borough?


Sir, I beg to give Notice that on Monday next I will ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland whether or not the gentleman who is alleged to have used these expressions has not since completely denied having used them?


I beg to give Notice that on Monday I shall also ask whether a fine is not also inflicted on anybody who may insult King William the Third in the same manner?