HC Deb 07 June 1883 vol 279 cc1982-2006

said, he rose to call attention to the circumstances of Mr. Errington's visit to Rome. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister for having put off the consideration of this question the other night, and for having afforded him a more convenient opportunity for bringing it forward; and also for not having pressed him, the other night, to bring the question before the House at a somewhat late hour. He was bound to say that, since the matter was last under the consideration of the House of Commons, a considerable change had come over the whole matter. It would probably be within the knowledge of the House that, on Thursday night, on the proposed Vote on Account, some hon. Members sitting in that quarter of the House, and also some hon. Members opposite, were anxious lest any money that the House of Commons were going to vote for Secret Service should, by any possibility, find its way into the pocket of Mr. Errington, either as remuneration, or re-imbursement for services he had rendered. He had put Questions as to the exact nature of Mr. Errington's Mission to Rome; and he had pressed upon the Prime Minister that, if there had been anything whatever about Mr. Errington's position at Rome of an official, or semi-official, or officious character, a clear and distinct record of the manner in which that position had been asserted and maintained, should be preserved in the archives of the Foreign Office; and if Mr. Errington had made representations to the See of Rome with respect to the views of Her Majesty's Government as to what might be good for Ireland, a clear and distinct record of those representations should be kept; because, undoubtedly, the result of Mr. Errington's stay at Rome had been to produce a document, from the College of the Propaganda, of a very remarkable character, in which the Pope undoubtedly came forward, in a most distinct and pronounced manner, as an ally and supporter of Her Majesty's Government in Ireland; and in which he pronounced, equally and decidedly, in favour of law and order, and against extreme popular agitation. No doubt, that would be accepted by many hon. Members on both sides of the House as decidedly a good result of any negotiation that might have taken place. However, those were the grounds upon which he pressed upon the Government—and if matters had not altered he would have pressed upon them again—that the clearest and most succinct record of all that had taken place should be preserved in the Foreign Office, in order that future Governments might have something to guide them, in case it might be thought advisable hereafter to enter into similar relations with the Holy See. That course was forced on himself, and those sitting near him, because they had heard it stated, on good authority, that whatever communications might have passed between Lord Granville and Mr. Errington, up to the present moment they had been of an extremely secret and confidential character. It had been impossible to ascertain their nature. All they knew was that there had been communications, and constant communications; and they were in- formed, on the best authority, that those communications had passed, not directly from Lord Granville to Mr. Errington, but through Lord Granville's Private Secretary to Mr. Errington, and that when Lord Granville should leave the Foreign Office every document relating to the transactions would be destroyed or carried away. Now, that was not the way in which the foreign policy of this country ought to be conducted, and he considered it a dangerous method. But another and a most surprising change had come over the whole matter since the House had briefly considered it on Thursday last, a change which had altogether revolutionized every idea they had been able to form in connection with it. Because, on Saturday last, a very surprising, and, in some ways, a very portentous event occurred, the chief actor therein being no less a person than the Prime Minister. On the day named the right hon. Gentleman went to Stafford House. That, if it stood by itself, he (Lord Randolph Churchill) should have considered a remarkable occurrence; for, although, no doubt, all the great and small houses in England were open to the right hon. Gentleman, still he thought a long time had elapsed since he went to Stafford House. But the right hon. Gentleman went to Stafford House for a particular purpose; and a more extraordinary purpose, considering what had taken place, he defied hon. Members to conceive—he went to Stafford House for the purpose of unveiling, or taking part in the unveiling, or witnessing the unveiling, of a monument, or a memorial, or a monumental tablet, or something of that nature, erected in Stafford House in honour of Garibaldi; and the Prime Minister, not content with either unveiling or taking part in the unveiling of this memorial, monument, or monumental tablet, proceeded to make an eloquent and lengthy eulogium upon that hero. He was bound to say that if the House would only consider what had occurred, they would come to the conclusion that it was extremely difficult to make out, on this point, as well as on others, the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government. For, undoubtedly, Mr. Errington had been at Rome as a recommended Agent; Mr. Errington had obtained from the Pope of Rome, by means of his recommendation as Agent of Her Majesty's Government, a Manifesto which had produced a remarkable effect in Ireland, an effect which they were in every way entitled to consider a good effect, and there was no doubt whatever that the Government received that document from the College of the Propaganda with feelings of satisfaction. This had been, in a great measure, brought about by the policy adopted by Lord Granville in sending Mr. Errington to Rome, and by communicating with Rome by means of Lord O'Hagan. Having done all that, having produced this effect by a policy which, if it were an open one, he should not in the least object to, he asked hon. Members, what could be the object of the Prime Minister in going to Stafford House, within a few hours of the production of the Manifesto, and eulogizing a man who had done more harm to the Church of Rome, both temporally and spiritually, than any man in the history of his country since the days of the Constable of Bourbon? Garibaldi, who drove the Pope from Rome; Garibaldi, who, long before M. Gambetta, raised the cry L'Ennemi c'est le Cléricalisme; Garibaldi, who, if not an infidel, was certainly anything but a follower of the Romish Church; and Garibaldi, who, on more than one public occasion, eulogized the Goddess of Reason—this was the man for whom the Prime Minister went to Stafford House, as far as he could make out, to conciliate a Whig Duke, who, for a long time, had been frowning upon him; this was the man whom the right hon. Gentleman eulogized and panegyrized as he only could eulogize and panegyrize, and whom he held up to the admiration of assembled nations. When, on Sunday morning, he (Lord Randolph Churchill) read the account of these proceedings in The Observer, a Liberal newspaper, he was, so to speak, knocked head-over-heels with astonishment. The idea suggested itself that they must have been mistaken throughout; that they had indulged more than usual in disordered imagination; that there could not have been any such person as Mr. Errington, any such thing as a recommended Agent; that the document from the Propaganda was a myth, and that Cardinal Jacobini and the Pope had never, in any way, interfered in Ireland, because the Prime Minister was the last man who would repay blessings with injuries, or would meet kindness with ingratitude. Let the House bear in mind that no ingratitude could be more deep than that, having received assistance from the See of Rome in the shape of the document referred to, the Head of the Government should proceed at once to laud to the skies the deadliest enemy the See of Rome ever had. He had been unable to arrive at the faintest conclusion on this matter; and he should be really obliged to the Prime Minister if he would not take any notice whatever of the remarks he had made, if he would on no account venture on any explanation, because he confessed that his mind was in a perfect whirl, and he was unwilling to accuse the right hon. Gentleman of conduct so bad as it would be if the statement referred to were correct. He should ask the House to consider, if this marvellous inconsistency were true, that Mr. Errington was in Rome, that his presence there had produced a document such as that which had appeared in the public Press, and that within a few days the Prime Minister made a public return for that document by pronouncing this panegyric on Garibaldi. But he would beg hon. Members, if they wished to preserve their reasoning faculties, to dismiss the matter from their minds; because he was perfectly certain that no person except the Prime Minister—and he doubted, in this respect, even the capability of the right hon. Gentleman himself—could offer anything like an intelligible explanation of what had taken place.


Sir, I intended to rise exclusively for the purpose of redeeming my pledge given to the noble Lord opposite (Lord Randolph Churchill) with regard to Mr. Errington's Mission, the circumstances of his visit to Rome, and on the point that some record of the proceeding should be kept at the Foreign Office. The noble Lord, in the course of his speech, adverted, from time to time, to some astonishing changes in the political atmosphere, and in the whole situation of affairs with regard to our foreign relations, which had taken place since Thursday last. I will not say that I was knocked head-over-heels, or that my mind was in a whirl, nor will I resort to any other of those figurative expressions in which the noble Lord has abounded to-night; but I will say that I was obliged to ask my noble Friend near me what it was that the noble Lord was referring to in the latter part of his speech; I am bound to say I was greatly surprised to hear that it was to my visit to Stafford House and the lengthy speech which, according to the noble Lord, I made there. Well, Sir, I do not admit that it was a lengthy speech. Mr. Canning was once asked by an unfortunate Gentleman, who had made a speech in the House of Commons, whether his speech was a long one. Mr. Canning said it had not been long. "Oh," said the Gentleman, "I was afraid it was tedious." Mr. Canning looked as if that were quite another matter. Whether my speech was tedious or not I do not know; but it occupied little more than five minutes, and cannot, therefore, be looked upon as long. The noble Lord has seen a connection between that speech and Mr. Errington's visit to Rome, which, I confess, I do not at this moment perceive. It was rather in the nature of a personal than a political speech; and the noble Lord will find, if he refers to it, that it dwelt entirely, except in a single sentence, upon the personal qualities of Garibaldi. The personal qualities of Garibaldi were exceedingly remarkable and exceedingly attractive, as they were displayed in this country at the time of his visit. There was not a word in that speech, if it may be dignified by the term, with reference to the political services rendered by Garibaldi, except in a single sentence in which I combined Garibaldi, Count Cavour, and Victor Emmanuel, and spoke of them as having done a great and splendid work in the reconstruction of Italy. ["Hear, hear!"] With regard to Garibaldi, I do not deny that, like Cavour, like Victor Emmanuel, and like many other persons who have been sincere and fervent Roman Catholics—and I am very far from saying that Garibaldi was one—he was opposed to the temporal Government of the Pope. But Garibaldi had no connection with the driving of the Pope out of Rome. He drove the King of Naples out of Naples; but it was the people who drove the Pope from Rome. It does seem to me to be a strange and very extravagant interpretation of the language I made use of with reference to Garibaldi, Cavour, and Victor Emmanuel, to connect it with communications going on between Mr. Errington and the Vatican. I now proceed to redeem my pledge given to the noble Lord, and that also made to the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Joseph Cowen). I agree that there ought not to be any mystery about a matter of this kind; but there is nothing mysterious in the declarations concerning it which have been made, from time to time, on the part of the Government, either in this House or the other, and I will briefly refer to what has taken place. Mr. Errington made known to Lord Granville his disposition and intention to go to Rome. He went there for his own personal vocations. A Roman Catholic gentleman going to Rome, and taking a great interest in private affairs, very naturally has communications with the Head of his Church, and with, the persons surrounding that Head. We have not catechized Mr. Errington as to the purpose he had in going to Rome. We had confidence in his abilities and his general views; and, therefore, we felt glad that he was going, and obliged by his offer to represent, as well as he could, the true state of things in Ireland. We entertained that sentiment exclusively in the interest of public order, peace, and legality; and no question connected with politics, as distinct from order, peace, and legality, entered in the slightest degree into our contemplation. But when it is considered what kind of countenance has been given within recent times in Ireland to breaches of the law, and to a state of things menacing to both public and private security, I think it was right that the Government should feel an interest in all means likely to convey just, impartial, authentic and independent information to the Head of the Roman Catholic Church naturally in communication with members of that Church, and, I presume, entitled, as the Heads of all Churches are entitled, to advise the members of his own Church upon the performance of their duties in obeying the law of the land. [Laughter from the Irish Members.] I am not surprised at the manner in which hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite receive these remarks; it is too much, I am sorry to say, their habit to indulge in this mode of proceeding, which can hardly be termed Parliamentary. These are the motives of the Government, and the limits of the interest they felt in Mr. Errington's Mission to Rome. It has been stated, over and over again, that Mr. Errington has had, and will have, no pay; that he received from the Government no instructions; and that we made no demands either of him or from the Pope through him; but Lord Granville gave him such information with regard to the state of affairs in Ireland as he might, with perfect propriety, give to him or to any other person in whom he had confidence, and who had confidence in him. The noble Lord made some slight allusion to Lord Granville's Private Secretary. I am not sure that I understood him. [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: It had been told me.] Lord Granville's Private Secretary had no other share whatever in these matters than such as necessarily devolves on a Private Secretary with regard to communications which are not carried on through the regular machinery of the Foreign Office. Such was the attitude of the Government relative to Mr. Errington, and such was the independent part with regard to this matter which Mr. Errington was to take upon his own judgment and upon the information he had. The use he might make of that information, and the recommendations he might make, were matters for his own consideration, and were conducted by him on the basis of his own judgment with regard to Irish affairs. But the admission I make to the noble Lord is, that, although I think it was quite right and natural that this should be treated without any reference whatever to transmission when Mr. Erriugton first went to Rome, I am of opinion—and my Colleagues are of opinion—that the prolonged and repeated visits of Mr. Errington to Rome—always, I must say, at his own suggestion—have tended to give another character to his visits; and, therefore, I have to say that a record will be made and kept of these proceedings for the purpose of transmission to future Secretaries of State. Then, I have a few words to say with regard to a question by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Joseph Cowen). I have communicated with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and likewise with Earl Spencer himself. The Chief Secretary informs me that his communications with Mr. Errington amount to nil. He does not say he never made any; but that is the result. Earl Spencer describes his own communications sufficiently in these words— With respect to Mr. Errington, I have seen him several times when he has passed through Duhlin. He has called upon me, and we have talked over Irish affairs; but I have never asked him to take any particular line or action at Rome. That is the nature of the instructions. I think I have now said as much as will meet the points which have been raised.


said, he would trouble the House with a few words with regard to what had fallen from the Prime Minister. If this concession had been made before, as it ought to have been—namely, that the subject-matter of Mr. Errington's Mission would be placed on record—it would have saved a great deal of trouble and useless discussion in that House. The only complaint he had made on the subject was that there was to be no continuity of information in the Foreign Office on the subject of Mr. Errington's Mission to Rome. It was perfectly well known that he was in communication with the Foreign Office, and the right hon. Gentleman never denied that. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Through his Private Secretary.] Yes; but in his public capacity at the Foreign Office. The right hon. Gentleman wished to divide Lord Granville into two parts, as was done with M. Roustan. In the course of the winter he (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had had the satisfaction of seeing Mr. Errington and others in relation with him at Rome, and he must say that Mr. Errington was highly respected at the Vatican; and he believed Mr. Errington's word had constantly been taken by all the authorities at the Vatican upon Irish matters, whereon they had previously been misinformed. He always had considered it hard that Mr. Errington should be practically repudiated by the Treasury Bench. All he and his hon. Friends had contended for had been satisfied. Their demands had been met. Mr. Errington's Mission was recognized as that of an Envoy, inasmuch as a record of his Mission was to be kept at the Foreign Office, and, by Order of that House, could be laid upon the Table. The Government could not deny that in any way. The archives of his Mission was no longer to be hidden away in Lord Granville's pigeon-holes or despatch box; but the Government were now about to record, in a public manner, that Mr. Errington had their con- fidence—that he had made representations to the Pope in a public manner. The Government now recognized that the services of this Special Envoy had been crowned with success, and that they owed a great deal to having sent him to Rome.


I abide by all the words I have said with regard to the instructions.


said, he thought the hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) was very easily satisfied if the promised records afforded him satisfaction; but if the records were conceived in the same spirit of reserve as his speech had been, they would not give much satisfaction to future Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs. It was very instructive to Irish Members to hear the cheers from Radical Members when the Prime Minister endeavoured to minimize his speech at Stafford House with reference to Garibaldi. Irish Members were under no mistake as to the most prominent characteristics of Garibaldi. They did not include respect for the sanctity of human life; and he was one of the most prominent of foreign conspirators and revolutionists. It was very instructive to Irish Members to find English Radicals cheering the name of a man whose personal characteristics, if they meant anything in politics, resolved themselves into the condensed characteristics of the political assassin; while they had nothing but horror and detestation for a similar type of character when it made its appearance in Ireland. It was not so long since the Prime Minister presented a very remarkable pamphlet to the world. The Holy See had a proverbial long memory, and it did not forget the pamphlet called The Vatican, which startled the public life of England a little time ago, not only because of its own ability and research, but also because it proceeded from the pen of the eminent right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister. In that pamphlet the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the "rusty and mediæval weapons of Rome;" of its "rusty armour re-furbished for modern use;" and he had nothing but scorn and contempt for the "puny Pontiff of an outworn Creed," daring to interfere in the political affairs of free and independent Protestant nations. The right hon. Gentleman had shown, on many occasions, how his convenience could effect remarkable transitions in his views. To-day they could see how the Pontiff, who, a little while ago, was in the right hon. Gentleman's eyes only a figure for scorn and contumely, could be treated with condescension more insulting to that ancient Sovereign than even the scorn of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman had thoroughly justified the attack of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill), which was courteous, but, at the same time, substantially severe. The noble Lord had pointed out that one day the right hon. Gentleman was glad to receive the assistance of the Pope, and another day passed a eulogy upon the man who was responsible for the overthrow of the temporal power of the Pontiff. It was idle to say that Garibaldi did not take part in the entry into Rome. He was, in fact, the political engineer of the events which led to the abolition of the temporal power of the Pope; and, however Pope Leo XIII. might be deceived by that speech, he could not be deceived as to the force of Garibaldi's action on the temporal character of the Holy See. The right hon. Gentleman had behaved with singular ingratitude with regard to any assistance he might have received; though, in reality, he (Mr. Sexton) did not think the right hon. Gentleman had received any service. He believed that, in Ireland, this matter would be attended with three effects. The first was personal, with respect to this Roman Catholic Gentleman, Mr. Errington, who had sent his letters home in the official bags of the British courier, and had been received at Rome next after the Representatives of Foreign Powers. Whatever might be said here, at the Vatican Mr. Errington was received, if not as a regular Ambassador, at least as an Envoy—that was, between the regular Ambassadors and those who had no official position. The Prime Minister had been driven from his position of obstinate silence, and the public had been irritated by the action of the Government. The first effect of this proceeding in Ireland would be the ruin of Mr. Errington's political position. The Government might give him a Peerage; but that would be poor compensation. Peerages were rather cheap, and he might not be eligible for a Peerage. He had not faced his constituents, and dared not appeal to a public tribunal in Ireland; and yet this Roman Catholic Gentleman, who dared not show his face in Roman Catholic Ireland, was said to be a fit Envoy to the Pope. He was ruined politically; and if the right hon. Gentleman was not as ungrateful to Mr. Errington as he was to the Pope, he had better look after that Gentleman's interests. The second effect would be to intensify the success of the man against whom this action had been directed; and the mean, furtive, intriguing character of the means by which the Pope had been moved to issue his Circular was shown by the fact that the Holy See had departed from tradition and dignified usage, and turned that Circular into a personal attack upon a politician. He challenged the history of the Roman Catholic Church to show any occasion when the authority of that ancient and still powerful Church had been used in a manner unworthy of the dignity and usage of the Church as it had been in this instance. The third effect would be, no matter what the momentary effect of the voice of this ill-used authority might be, to produce a greater cohesion and union among all the forces of public politics in Ireland against any pretence or claim to undue domination over the affairs of that country by the British Government.


said, he very much regretted that the name of Garibaldi had been, as he thought, unnecessarily dragged into this discussion. The House would do him the justice to admit that he had never endeavoured to distinguish between an Italian and an Irish patriot. He had recognized the merits of Garibaldi and of other Italians, and he had never ceased to acknowledge the merits of Wolfe Tone, or Michael Davitt; and the reference made by the right hon. Gentleman had no effect so far as he was concerned. One remark, however, he wished to correct. Garibaldi did not drive the Pope from Rome in 1848. The Pope had left Rome, in consequence of the assassination of Count Rossi, before Garibaldi was made Commander; but, allowing that to pass, he was sure the House would receive with satisfaction the explanation of the Prime Minister. It fully confirmed the suspicions in which hon. Members opposite had indulged, as to the action of Mr. Errington. They said he was an informal Envoy, and was practically representing the English Government at Rome, and the declaration of the Prime Minister confirmed their suspicions. His only regret was that it was not made at first. It was a fairly debateable question whether the English Government should be represented at the Vatican or not; but if the Government had acted in an open manner, the informal discussions with which the House had been troubled this Session and last would not have taken place. He had one personal observation to make, and that was with reference to the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice); and, as they were now leaving the subject, he thought it was only fair that it should be made. Through the noble Lord's Answers to the Questions which he (Mr. Joseph Cowen) and others had asked, an impression was created that the noble Lord was not absolutely stating the whole case, but was intentionally keeping something back. He thought there was no ground for such a suspicion. The noble Lord was comparatively new to the Office he now held, and any communications respecting Mr. Errington took place when he was not in a position to know of them. The noble Lord was simply the spokesman of Lord Granville in that House, and had in no way acted disingenuously in the matter. The Government now acknowledged that Mr. Errington was in Rome, to a large extent, in the character of an Envoy, and had been recognized as their Representative there. He did not say that the English Government wished to be so represented; but, throughout all these transactions, he had been so recognized. When he went to the Vatican he had gone along with the other diplomatic Representatives. Undoubtedly, the impression was created at Rome that Mr. Errington was the spokesman of the English Government. Now, he (Mr. Joseph Cowen) submitted that it was humiliating to the English Government to seek the assistance of a foreign Ecclesiastic in the management of affairs in Ireland. Irish society was in a state of solution, and grave disaffection existed in the country; the land was ruled by a rigorous system of coercion. There was a state of despotism existing there which was almost equal to that which existed in Russia. England governed Ireland with soldiers and policemen, and behind the soldiers and policemen there were the informers and the hangman. These were the instruments and implements of despotism. It might be necessary for us to rule by superior force in Ireland; but we ought to rule it ourselves. We should not seek the aid and assistance of a foreign ecclesiastical Power. Reference had been made to the affairs of 1848; but did not English Liberals remember what a cry of indignation was raised in this country when, during the Hungarian struggle for independence, Austria sought the assistance of the Pope. Let us judge ourselves as we judge other people; and if we condemned Papal interference then, we ought to condemn the interference of Mr. Errington in Rome. As an Englishman, he regarded the negotiations with the Pope as humiliating. Mr. Errington had been the means of extracting from the Papal authorities a condemnation of a political opponent. His hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had fought the battle of his country honourably and well. What did they see? They saw an Irish Gentleman throwing himself into political agitation, giving his services, his time, and his health—suffering both in purse and person—to the interest of his country. His countrymen sought to recompense him as English Free Traders recompensed Mr. Cobden. We used an Envoy of Her Majesty's Government to get from the Pope a Mandate to prevent the testimonial to the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork being successful. The Archbishop of Cashel had been distinctly censured for the part he took in the agitation. He (Mr. Joseph Cowen) submitted that that was a mean way to fight a political opponent. To seek the assistance of a foreign Ecclesiastic in the government of Ireland was humiliating; and it was mean to seek to ruin a political opponent by such means.


said, he did not rise for the purpose of entering into the subjects of the discussion that had occurred during the last hour; but he merely rose for the purpose of taking note of the observations and statement of the Prime Minister, that, for the future, there would be a note made of communications between Earl Granville or between other Members of the Government and Mr. Errington. He thought that, so far as it went, was satisfactory, and relieved the House and the Government from a very embarrassing position, which they had seen illustrated for some time past. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) and the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) were to be congratulated upon the result of the frequent questions they had put in regard to this matter. He (Sir Stafford North-cote) could only say that he thought the decision of the Government in this matter had been rightly advised; though he was bound to say he agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Joseph Cowen), and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth, that it would have been well if the decision could have been arrived at earlier.


said, that, so far as events had gone, the House had reason to be satisfied with the explanation which had been made that evening. They had had something like an open confession from the Government—a confession, indeed, extorted under pressure of what in old times was called "the question." He only rose on the present occasion to state that, while he had no very high opinion of the means which Her Majesty's Government had employed, he still certainly thought that Irish Members ought to have been prepared for the employment of those means. Her Majesty's Government had had so much of the field to itself at Rome, that the Irish National Party ought to adopt means of counteracting the unscrupulous representations which had been made to Rome on behalf of the Treasury Bench. He hoped that not only Englishmen would take a lesson from the proceedings to which the Government had been a party, but that Irishmen also would take a lesson. He would point out that Mr. Errington was by no means the first sort of secret Envoy who had been employed at Rome. He remembered reading a denunciation by Mr. O'Connell of the employment of a Mr. Petre, an English Catholic, some 50 years ago, for similar purposes. It was mere affectation to conceal the fact that the Papal tribunal was continually beset by the Representatives of every Power in the world. He should, therefore, certainly have been very much sur- prised if the English Government had not their Representative at Rome. He was, however, sorry to find that that Representative was an Irish Catholic. But the Irish National Party ought to enter into the lists of diplomacy just as well as Her Majesty's Government. He thought his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) rather overshot the mark in stating that that was the first time that a personal attack had been made by a Roman document. He (Mr. O'Donnell) had already expressed his opinion as to the impropriety of the measure which was recommended to the Papacy, and of the false information supplied to the Papacy; but, at the same time, there was nothing extraordinary or unparalleled in the action of the Papacy. He meant to say that personal interference was a thing for which hundreds of parallels could be found in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, and that, on many other occasions, the Roman Catholic tribunal had in its action been quite as unjust as in the present instance. He hardly agreed with the statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo that the Papal prononcement was obtained by means of that secret description referred to by his hon. Friend. It was a matter of public notoriety that, for months past, Mr. Errington had been at work in Rome. The character of his work everyone knew very well, and he and his hon. Friends had had full warning to take proper steps in the matter. They also knew that Mr. Errington was by no means alone; that he was supported by a considerable number of other persons; and he (Mr. O'Donnell) could assure his hon. Friends of the Irish Party that they would be devoting their abilities to something like a task of crushing a small nut with a Nasmyth hammer if they expended much more of their attention upon Mr. Errington, who was only a small thing in the machinery which England had put in force for the purpose of damaging the Irish cause in the eyes of the Papacy. He hoped that much more comprehensive means would be set on foot to counteract the intrigues of the Treasury Bench against Irish nationality, both in Ireland, Rome, and in other parts of the Continent. He was sorry to say that an enormous amount of slander had been allowed to get in circulation throughout Europe; and he thought the Irish Party would, be re- sponsible for the future of their country if they did not take adequate means to defend Ireland outside of Great Britain as well as within the walls of that House.


said, that, after the eloquent speeches of his hon. Friends the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) and the Member for Newcastle (Mr. Joseph Cowen), he only desired to say a very few words indeed to express his satisfaction that the "iron masked mystery" was at length revealed. They knew now that Mr. Errington is or was a more or less reputable Envoy of England. Up to the present, he was represented as very little better than a busy-body, a kind of tourist, amusing himself by dabbling in amateur diplomacy. They knew, however, now that he was an official, or a semi-official, or a demi-semi-official, Representative of Ireland. As the hon. Member for Newcastle had said, he (Mr. O'Brien) did not see why the people of England, as well as the people of Ireland, need have been left in the dark until Mr. Errington had done his work in Rome, and had obtained a Vatican decree, which, if it be loyally observed, would not only restore the relations between the Holy See and England, but would restore those relations to the footing they were on before the Reformation. He said "loyally observed;" but he did not mean observed in the spirit of last Saturday's speech at Stafford House, but be observed in the spirit of Mr. Errington's private assurances in Rome for a month past. It was for the people of England themselves to make up their minds whether they wanted to restore the temporal power to the Pope. Was the Pope to prescribe and proscribe a political Leader of the Irish people? Let the people of England settle that with the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. The people of Ireland would show they were pretty well able to take care of themselves. He was afraid it was not a very productive work to confront the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister with old declarations he had himself made. Certainly, one-half of his eminent career had been passed in making great speeches, and the other half had been passed in explaining them away. His speech to-night showed that there was no decline in his power in that respect. It was for the House to say whether the right hon. Gentleman had receded from the standpoint from which he denounced the Vatican 10 years ago, and denounced the "rusty tools" with which it went to work. Undoubtedly, upon this occasion, the right hon. Gentleman had revived one of those "rusty tools" which, in his renowned pamphlet, he so vehemently denounced. He (Mr. O'Brien) would not detain the House further than to say that he thought a careful study of that debate in Rome would show the Pope and the Sacred College of the Propaganda what crooked and humiliating intrigues had been going on all round; and would show what a poor compensation the insulting patronage and the contemptuous applause of the eulogist of Garibaldi would be for the estrangement of the tried loyalty of the Irish people.


said, a certain amount of fair play ought to be exhibited in this matter. His Holiness the Pope was not present. No notice had been given him of the discussion. There was no official appearance on his behalf; and yet, in his absence, his action was very freely criticized and condemned. What, he (Mr. Marum) asked, did the Circular which had been so much condemned amount to? It was merely declaratory of the common law of the Catholic Church, so to speak, and not in any sense enactive; it was conversant with disciplinary admonition alone, and did not touch the laity, nor travel out of matter of ecclesiastical cognizance. The Pope was clearly within his rights in its issue, and the law he promulgated bound himself as absolutely and stringently as the humblest curate in Christendom, and was equally immutable whether dormant or active. He showed that the allegation that the Pope was a Foreign Prelate or Potentate betrayed only ignorance of the vital principles of Catholicism—universality and unity; that the Pope was an Irish Bishop as absolutely as any ecclesiastic who had ever borne an Irish crozier, at the same time being Head of the Irish Hierarchy and Premier Bishop of Christendom, and not merely of special nationalities alone, but of all nationalities in the universe, blended together in the ecclesiastical sense. He submitted that there was nothing in the document itself intrinsically giving it political incidence so far as the Pope was concerned. What proof or evidence had been given of the complicity of the Pope in any of the supposed movements which had been condemned? He did not want to defend the Government in the matter. Let them look to themselves; but he certainly thought that before His Holiness, who was the absent party, was condemned, it ought to be shown that he was guilty of complicity in the supposed movement. As to matters external to the Circular, what proofs of the complicity of the Pope with the British Government were adduced? The noble Lord alluded to the Prime Minister's speech at Stafford House. Why, that utterance struck at the very root of the temporal power, and was an argument quite the other way altogether. He had formerly defended the Pope against the Prime Minister, and was the first layman who had forwarded him a pamphlet reply to Vatieanism duly acknowledged. He ridiculed the "unification" doctrine and revivalism of effete Empires, as propounded by the Prime Minister. He asked what page of history recorded a former Kingdom of Italy with Rome as its capital; and was Britain yet to fall under a new Roman Empire? Could the Pope be conceived to be in complicity with the authors, aiders, and abettors of the plunder and confiscation of his own—the Papal territories? It was absurd! Again, what further proofs of complicity were adduced? Was it the Prime Minister's fulsome laudation of the Papal spoliators?—of the bandit Garibaldi, whom the French nation, exercising European police, expelled ignominiously from Rome, re-instating the loyal Sovereign—Pope Pius IX.—of the usurper Victor Emmanuel, who, without declaration of war, and in violation of International Law, had invaded the territories of, rand sacrilegiously seized upon, the most venerable dynasty in the universe—of Cavour, his unscrupulous Prime Minister; and lastly of Panizzi, the convicted felon or Carbonaro, condemned to death at Modena as such, member of an infamous secret society! Could the Pope be imagined to be in complicity with a Government, the foreign policy of which, within the past week, was announced from its Chief, the Prime Minister, at Stafford House, as utterly subversive of Papal rights and in favour of the Papal spoliators? Even if Pope Leo were disposed to con- done the spoliative acts, the law of the Church would not empower him to release the universal glebe [...] lands—non possumus! He submitted that in the Circular itself, intrinsically or in matters external, there was not a particle of proof of complicity in the Pope, but the evidence was entirely the other way; and, as an Irish Catholic, he protested against the groundless imputations cast upon the Head of the Catholic Church not officially represented, and made ex parte, and as a piece of Party tactics in the House by the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock. The Premier Bishop of Christendom, exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction within Her Majesty's Dominions in Ireland, was perfectly justified—nay, it was his bounden duty—to obtain information from every available quarter, including the Civil Governors of the country, as to matters of fact for his guidance. The Judge and jury should hear the perjured witness as well as the just and truthful man; and was it, therefore, to be solely deduced that the verdict found, in any possible direction, was thereby unduly influenced by the false evidence adduced. That would be post hoc propter hoc with a vengeance. Such contention was insensible and repugnant—it was illogical and absurd. In behalf of the absent—in behalf of His Holiness, he might almost say for the absent defendant—he must protest against these imputations being cast upon him, unless some stronger evidence than that which had been adduced was forthcoming.


said, he wished to enter a protest against the suggestion that His Holiness the Pope had acted at the dictation of the British Government. The thing was absurd, and not to be credited for a moment. The Prime Minister was led to believe that by his negotiations with the Pope he had offended a large number of his Protestant supporters, who regarded what had occurred as a Papal intrigue; and he, therefore, went to Stafford House to assist in a Garibaldi celebration, and made a good Protestant speech to appease them. His (Mr. Bellingham's) object in rising, however, was simply to enter a protest against the absurd allegation that the Pope had acted at the dictation of the British Government.


said, he wished to make a few observations on this subject, as an Irish Catholic. He did not speak on behalf of His Holiness the Pope, nor as his hon. Colleague (Mr. Bellingham) had done, but he spoke as one born in the faith. As an Irish Ultramontane, he had to express his regret at the course of the debate generally, and also his pleasure at one portion of it. He was very glad that the veil had been torn aside, and that it was now made known that it had been not merely Mr. Errington who had been engaged in this intrigue. Mr. Errington was only a fly upon the wheel; in fact, he (Mr. Callan) thought Mr. Errington did not go to Rome expressly on behalf of the British Government. He believed the popular rumour was correct, that Mr. Errington had gone to Rome, as many men went on the Cup Day to Ascot, to look out for a wife. ["Question!"] That was the question—what took Mr. Errington to Rome. He believed Mr. Errington went to the Eternal City, not as the accredited Ambassador of the British Government, but, like a celebrated character, in search of a wife. What was his career in Rome? He had been made a scapegoat, the real Envoy, the real intriguer, who had discharged his functions with Machiavellian audacity, having been the Lord Chancellor, Lord O'Hagan. That was the man who had worked the oracle, and whose finger was to be found in the pie. Mr. Errington was a very good mam—a very good man—a frequenter of the classic regions of Pimlico.


I must ask the hon. Member to address himself seriously to the Question before the House.


I wish to do so, Sir. I desire to show that Mr. Errington's life in London has been of so trifling a nature as to render it altogether improbable that he would have been selected for a mission of this kind.


Again I must call on the hon. Member to address himself seriously to the Question before the House.


said, he would confine himself, on this point, merely to saying that he believed Lord O'Hagan to have been the real intriguer in this matter. He would not say anything about Mr. Errington, who was a most respectable Gentleman, who would never sit in the House again, either for an Irish or an English constituency. The work had been done by Lord O'Hagan, under the shadow of Mr. Errington's name. As an Ultramontane, he (Mr. Callan) paid every respect to the authority of Home. He had done so in the past, and he should continue to do so. He should not subscribe to the Testimonial Fund, the Sacred College having condemned it. But, whilst that was the position he took up, he had not been ignorant of what was going on around him. He know the usual method by which the Court of Rome communicated with the heads of the Church in Ireland. When she communicated with these heads, she did so by a secret missive; that missive was considered by the Bishops called together for the purpose, and presided over by the Papal Legate, or whoever was, for the time being, at the head of the Episcopal authorities. After considering the missive, the Bishops, as their wisdom dictated, published the Roman Pastoral with their own instructions to the clergy. But what had been done in the present case? Had the Irish Bishops received a Pastoral, and had it been communicated by them to the Irish people? ["Question!"] He was addressing himself, he believed, to the Question. He was endeavouring to point out the difference between this missive under discussion, alleged to have been sent out with the concurrence of the Pope, and the other missives which His Holiness from time to time addressed to the Bishops of the Church. All communications from the Pope concerning the discipline of the Church came through the Bishops; but how did this communication come—how did it first see the light? Why, by Mr. Errington's communicating it to the Roman Correspondent of The Times newspaper. Had they ever known in Ireland such an important document being sent to the Irish Bishops through journals which had stigmatized the priests of Ireland as "surpliced ruffians?" Certainly not. No; the cloven hoof was visible in this matter, and it was plain enough to see that this missive had been obtained, not in the regular course of ecclesiastical discipline, not from the Pope, but from certain Italian Cardinals, who had sent it to Mr. Errington. One of the best known of Italian characteristics was duplicity. How did the missive come? Through The Times——


rose to Order. He wished to ask Mr. Speaker whether the difference between the method of publishing the recent letter from the Pope, and other missives, was the Question before the House?


I have already informed the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Callan) that he is not addressing himself to the Question before the House, and I am sorry he has not attended to my direction in the matter.


said, it seemed he was in error in believing it to be essential in this debate to show that the missive communicated by Mr. Errington to The Times was different to all other letters sent for the guidance of the Catholic Bishops and people, and must have been obtained through British influence at the Holy See. As Mr. Speaker held that he was not in Order in going into that matter, he would not do so further. He would simply refer to the speech delivered by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Joseph Cowen) in a sentence. The hon. Member had said, and said most justly, correcting some hon. Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House, that the Pope was driven from Rome not by Garibaldi, but by the assassination of Count Rossi. The assassins of Count Rossi were paid out of an English Fund belonging to a society called "The Friends of Liberty," to which one of the most generous subscribers was the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Mr. W. E. Forster).


said, that, as one who was deeply attached to the traditions of a spiritual character which bound the people of Ireland to the Holy See, he knew more than hon. Gentlemen opposite would, perhaps, be prepared to admit, of what the Holy See and the Church had done for the promotion of literature and science, and the many temporal as well as spiritual blessings Ireland possessed. It was only just to state what he knew of the feeling of the Irish people on the subject under discussion; and he was glad of the opportunity, for statements such as this—made in such a place—in fact, the debate altogether would do a great deal towards clearing the atmosphere all round, both in Rome and Ireland. The Holy Father would see—if he did not see already—that he had been, he (Mr. Dawson) would not say duped, but, to some extent, misled. He would be surprised to find that the imformation he had received from Mr. Errington and the British Government had been of a hopelessly incorrect character, and one-sided in the extreme. Hon. Members opposite, who were not Catholics, would remember that the Pope acted in two capacities. He said nothing binding on Catholic consciences when he spoke on political matters. Letters which had been issued by the Sacred College on political subjects had never had any binding effect upon the consciences of Catholics, and they never would have. A man could not, as a Catholic, pronounce a greater heresy, and one more dangerous to the Church, than that the Pope was supreme in political matters. ["Question!"] Nothing, he maintained, could be a greater heresy than to ascribe infallibity to a communication from the Sacred College on political matters. ["Question!"] It was clear that hon. Members who made that demonstration knew very little about Roman history or literature, or anything connected with the subject of the debate. This debate would clear the atmosphere in Rome, because the Holy Father would have an answer from Ireland, telling him that the representations which had been made to him wore altogether unworthy of his great and supreme consideration. He (Mr. Dawson) would point out to the British Government how useless was the attempt to seek to rob Ireland of her religion by political movements of this kind. They had sought to wring Ireland from Rome by contumely and abuse; but they had not done it, and now they sought, by deceit, to rend Rome from Ireland, but they would miserably fail. If they thought that, by appealing to Rome, they were going to silence the voice of Ireland against their misrule, they were mistaken. That voice, in the future, would be louder than it had ever been before; and Rome would hear it as well as them. Rome would look deeper into the matter, and the Government might rest assured that their intrigue for the separation of Rome and Ireland would not succeed. To their confusion, the result would be greater unity. As a Catholic, and knowing the opinions of millions of the people of England, he said that, although the Government had gone in the face of the nation, and of the doctrines of those men—Garibaldi and the rest—whom they had received with jubilation, and had demeaned themselves and stultified themselves by negotiating with the Power these men had sought to overthrow, they would learn that there was no Power on earth—not even that of Rome—capable of dictating to Ireland a political course of action. Did the Government wish to create more trouble in Ireland, they could not have gone more surely to work than to have dared to hold over the Irish people the threat of spiritual Rome in these temporal matters. Ireland would pursue her course on every point, no matter what Circular was issued by the spiritual Propaganda. It was only when they coincided with the messages from the Holy See politically that they would agree to follow her dictates. One great Pontiff, Sixtus the Sixth—


I must point out to the hon. Member (Mr. Dawson) that he is not confining himself to the Question before the House.


said, he understood that the Question before the House was the influence of an English Envoy at Rome. He thought it was left by the Prime Minister to be understood that the issue and outcome of that agency was the Circular to which reference had been made. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had congratulated the House upon the result of that affair; but he (Mr. Dawson) would tell him, as a responsible Minister of the Crown, and as a Member of the House of Commons, that he had made a mistake in using such an Envoy for a purpose which he would not achieve. He thought, with very great respect, that he (Mr. Dawson) was outside the ruling of the Chair; but, however, he would not pursue the matter further.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution read a second time, and agreed to.

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