§ [TWENTY-FIFTH NIGHT.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Legislative Authority.
§ Clause 4 (Restrictions on powers of Irish Legislature).
* THE CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment in the name of the noble Lord the Member for Brixton (the Marquess of Carmarthen) is out of Order.Clause 4, page 2, 33, after sub-section (5), insert the following sub-section:—"(6) Impairing the obligation of existing contracts, or affecting the relations between landlords and tenants.Of the remaining Amendments on page 14 of the Notice Paper the first has been withdrawn in this form and put on the Paper lower down, and the rest, with two exceptions—those in the names of the hon. Member for East Somerset and North Ayrshire, which ought to come in further down the Paper—are out of Order. The first Amendment in Order is that in the name of the Member for Partick (Mr. Parker Smith), on page 15.
The following are the Amendments so referred to as being out of Order:—Mr. Parker Smith—Page 2, after line 33, insert—"Whereby the freedom of speech or of the press shall be abridged, or whereby the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition either the Imperial Parliament or the Irish Parliament for a redress of grievances shall be impaired." Page 2, after line 33, insert —"Whereby the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall be violated, or whereby warrants shall issue except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized; or." Page 2, line 33, after subsection (5) insert the following sub-section:—1566(6) Whereby any person shall be made subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or liberty; or.Mr. Kimber—Page 2, after line 33, insert "(6) Whereby differential taxation shall be imposed upon any of Her Majesty's subjects.Mr. Parker Smith—Page 2, after line 33, insert — "Whereby excessive bail shall be required, or excessive fines imposed, or cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; or.Mr. David Pluuket—Page 2, after line 33, insert—"(6) Respecting the relations of landlord and tenant, whether under existing statute law or by contract; or the remedies for or procedure relating to the recovery of rent; or the procedure relating to the recovery of the possession of land, or respecting the title to land; or respecting the sale, purchase, or letting of land generally; or.Mr. Henry Hobhouse—Page 2, after line 33, insert—" Whereby any undue preference is given to any trade or industry (including agriculture) in Ireland or Irish waters, so as prejudicially to affect any British trade or industry.Mr. Cochrane—Page 2, after line 33, insert— "Whereby any undue preference, benefit, or advantage is given to or conferred, directly or indirectly, upon any person, body of persons, class, body corporate, or institution; or.Mr. Parker Smith—Page 2, after line 33, insert—"Whereby any person shall be held to answer for a crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury; or.Mr. Bartley Page 2, line 33, after "or," insert—"Whereby the incidence of general or local taxation now by law established as between the owner and occupier of land in Ireland, or as between the owner and incumbrancers of chargeants upon land in Ireland may be altered.Mr. Cochrane—Page 2, line 33, at end, insert—"Respecting change of venue in criminal cases.
§ MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
moved the following Amendment:—Page 2, line 33, at end add—"Whereby any censorship of the Press shall be established, or public meetings for legal purposes shall be interfered with.That, he said, was substantially the same Amendment which stood in his name on the Paper before, and which, unfortunately, by the Rules of Order, he was not able to move, although he should have preferred to have moved it. The provision of the American Constitution on the subject was this, and it was one of the Amendments to the Constitution—That no law (shall be passed) whereby the freedom of speech or of the Press shall be abridged, or whereby the right of people peaceably to assemble shall be impaired.That was part of the first Article of the Supplementary Amendments of the Con- 1567 stitution which were discussed at the same time that the original Constitution was being discussed, which supplied a good many of the provisions in regard to a Bill of Rights which wore felt to be wanting by a great number of American States during the discussions on the American Constitution, and without the promise of which the American Constitution as it stood would not probably have been accepted by a sufficient number of States. He thought it was a very unfortunate matter that the Bill had been drafted in such a form that they were not able to put forward and argue in favour of all the different provisions in the nature of a Bill of Rights contained in the American Constitution, and not expressed in the Bill now before them. The Government had taken the most general words of the whole of the American Constitution, had stated them, and had left out all the detailed points which in the American Constitution were thought necessary. The Government, for instance, had taken the words—Nor be deprived of life and liberty and property without due process of law.Those words were just the climax of a long Article of these first Supplementary Articles of the Constitution, which contained a large number of other supplemental provisions. This Article (number 5) stated that no person should be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on presentment or indictment of Grand Jury, except in the case of the Land or Naval Forces or Militia when in actual service.
§ MR. BODKIN (Roscommon, N.)
I rise to Order. Is it in Order to read the whole of the provisions of the American Constitution?
§ MR. PARKER SMITH
had no intention of infringing the Rules of Order. He quoted Article 5 to show that the words, "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law," came in at the very end. Of course, it might be true that these general words included particulars which had gone before. But he submitted that, though a lawyer might be able to construe them and bring out these particulars, this clause, of all others, was one that ought to be clear and easily to be understood, 1568 not merely by lawyers, but by every layman. It must be remembered that that clause had got to be interpreted, not merely by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the Exchequer Judges, but by every Judge and every Magistrate in Ireland. Every Magistrate, whenever he had any Statute of the Irish Parliament brought before him, would have to criticise it in the light of this clause. It would be a perfectly good defence for any Magistrate in any action brought on any Statute of the Irish Parliament to say—"This Statute is a Statute that is ultra vires, because it goes beyond the powers given to the Irish Parliament, and infringes upon the restrictions in this 4th clause." If that were so, they would refer every Irish Magistrate for his general idea of what was just and fair to these extremely general words asNo man shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, in accordance with settled principles and precedents.He would have merely these general wards before him, and if no more detailed particulars were put in he would have no guidance at all. Inconsistent judgments would be arrived at by Magistrates in different parts of the country; and they would have no definite guidance at all until, by a long course of judicial decision, they got some such principles laid down. They would then have the Irish Magistrates and the Irish Judges taking one view, and the Imperial Parliament and the British Judges another. That would be a constant source of friction. He-could understand an honourable man taking an opposed view in such circumstances, and he thought it would be well that they should make the matter clear, so that this friction should not arise. The subject of the Amendment was undoubtedly one upon which there was great likelihood of a divergence of opinion between the two Parliaments. If they looked to the freedom of the Press, this was a subject which was not dealt with under the terms of defence of liberty and property. The words protecting the liberty were applicable to, and were to be construed as applying to, personal liberty. They knew how the words ought to be construed; and they knew how they would be construed by the Catholic Church authorities for the pur- 1569 poses of Press censorship. They knew by the Index Expurgatorius—which included works from Milton to Hallam, and down to John Stuart Mill—what was the feeling of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to the freedom of the Press; and as the clause stood there was nothing to prevent the Irish Parliament from passing a law establishing a censorship which would prevent the publication or circulation of any books dealing with questions which, in the minds of the Roman Catholic authorities, were considered dangerous. That was a principle which could not be said to be affected by the words "life, liberty, or property without due process of law," because "liberty" must be construed to mean personal liberty. Whatever might be their view with regard to the Roman Catholic Church, they were bound to stand forward on behalf of those who did not belong to that Church, and have it made clear that this was not one of the powers which were to be left in the hands of the future Irish Parliament. They had had the claims of the Church in respect of such censorship put forward quite recently by a very powerful authority; and, as he said, the matter should be made clear before they passed from this clause. The next point was that the fundamental right of British citizens peaceably to assemble and to petition Parliament for redress should not be infringed in the new Constitution. The Government were following, to some extent, the precedent of the American Constitution. In the Bill of 1886 it was not thought necessary to insert any clause as to rights; but here they had certain provisions. They must, however, make those rights of a more definite character than at present. The only argument against it would be that this proposal was an insult to the Irish people. But supposing one was making a bargain about the lease of a house, would he think it an insult to have provision made for paying the money? The best way in which the two peoples could be made friends was by having a clear understanding as to what they were agreed upon; and, had there been any intention or hope of this Bill becoming law, they would have required a great deal more in the way of amplification and full statement of all these matters. But they knew there were razors meant to sell, and razors meant to 1570 shave, and this Bill was meant to sell, and not to shave. They wished that the statement of rights should be as precise as possible, and he thought the House would agree with him that the words which he proposed ought to be inserted in the Bill.
In page 2, line 33, after the word "or," to insert the words "(6) Whereby any censorship of the Press shall be established, or public meetings for legal purposes shall be interfered with." —(Mr. Parker Smith.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir J. RIGBY,) (who rose amid cries of "Divide!" from the Irish Benches) Forfar
The Government cannot accept the Amendment. We do not think it necessary, and it would be very undesirable. We have already made provision by general words, and we do not intend to fall into the great error of accepting what the hon. Gentleman has himself said would have been one amplification of the general proposition. Such amplifications are not only dangerous, but are sure to produce friction—a difficulty which the hon. Member seems to anticipate.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
(who was also greeted by the Irish Members with cries of "Divide!") said: It is no affair of mine, Mr. Mellor, that the rising of the Solicitor General was met by his own supporters with cries of "Divide!" and that the only observations regarded with satisfaction by them were his closing words; but, whatever respect hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway think fit to pay to their own Solicitor General, I hope they will permit me to say a few words.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
A few words upon a matter which is not without importance. The Solicitor General has said that the words of the Amendment, being an amplification of the clause, ought not to be admitted into the Bill, because words of such a character added nothing to the strength of the general proposition. There is an answer to that objection from experience. These words are taken from a Constitution which has stood the test of time and the storms of political controversy for more than a century, and 1571 has not been found to exercise any of the injurious or weakening effects which the hon. and learned Gentleman appears to think they would carry if introduced into the Bill. Does the Solicitor General think there is anything in the circumstances of America which make the words more desirable there than in the case of Ireland? My opinion is that if these words are necessary in one Constitution more than another, they are necessary in the Irish Constitution as distinguished from the American Constitution. It is perfectly notorious that the ecclesiastical influences which must have a great effect in the future moulding of Irish policy has, upon the question of the freedom of the Press, taken up an attitude inconsistent altogether with the principles which in this House we believe are bound up with progress and with knowledge; and it is, therefore, specially necessary to safeguard the freedom of the Press wherever these ecclesiastical influences are likely to prevail. I will give an instance. [Interruption.] The Prime Minister (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) is not in his place, or I should like to call his attention to the sort of interruptions to which the Opposition is subjected. The Prime Minister is the only gentleman in the House to whom even the smallest exclamations of dissent are supposed to convey an insult. Well, Sir, the country at this moment most analogous in its general circumstances to Ireland is the Roman Catholic Province of Quebec; and this remarkable case happened there not very long ago. The Archbishop or the Bishop of the diocese required a Catholic who had joined a Radical club to leave that club on the ground that there were in its library certain works named in the Index, and threatened him with excommunication if he refused. The man did refuse, and the Bishop thereupon required the priest to withhold from the man, who was a sincere Catholic, the rites of the Church. These rites were refused to the man during the remainder of his life, and, because he died without having received them, he was denied Christian burial. His relatives made an application requiring the priest to bury the man, and the case came from the Canadian Courts to the English Privy Council. The body of the unfortunate man remained unburied all this time.
§ Several Members expressed dissent.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes; I believe it did. Finally, the Privy Council decided that the priest must bury the body, though they did not require that any sacred words out of the Burial Service should be used. Are we to be told when these things happen in our own generation that our fears are fantastic, and that it is unnecessary to guard against them? This provision is required far more in Ireland than in America, though no American would permit it to be omitted either from the general or from the State Constitution. I hope we shall have them inserted also.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The right hon. Gentleman has given an inaccurate account of the Quebec case; but even if that account were more accurate than it has been, how would a clause restricting an Irish Parliament from setting up a censorship of the Press affect the rights of burial of Catholics? And the right hon. Gentleman might remember that it is not so long since his Party interfered with the rights of burial of Protestant Dissenters in this country. The Mover of the Amendment talked of the Bill being like a razor made to sell and not to shave. We have had that illustration many times before. It is not a very high-class one; but I am always reminded of it when I hear, as I have this afternoon, an Amendment moved which has no substance in it, which is not intended to have substance in it, and which professes to meet dangers that have been more efficiently mot by other clauses.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
Mr. Mellor, an obviously dilatory Amendment has been supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour) in a ridiculously irrelevant speech. The case on which the right hon. Gentleman relied, as has already been shown, had no conceivable connection with the Amendment. Hon. Members who cried "Divide!" when the Solicitor General rose did so out of no discourtesy to the hon. and learned Gentleman, or want of regard for his high position, but because there is a strong and indignant opinion that Members of the Government, by 1573 replying seriously to dilatory Amendments put forward for the avowed purpose of destroying the Bill, are giving an appearance of reality to an opposition which is unreal. Members of the Government, by taking that course, are allowing the country to be misled into the belief that these Amendments are moved for the purpose of improving the Bill. After a week of obstruction by the self-appointed champions of the minority in Ireland of a clause designed to give safeguards and security to that minority, the hon. Member for Partick has the audacity to offer this proposal. The hon. Member belongs to a Party which, within the last six years, has established a censorship of the Press in Ireland.
§ MR. PARKER SMITH
said, he did not think the hon. Member realised his argument. He had pointed out that the principle of the English law was that a man might publish what he liked subject to responsibility for what he published. But the principle of the Catholic Church was that the publication of books considered to be dangerous should be prohibited.
§ MR. SEXTON
Perhaps my non-legal mind is not capable of following the refinements of the hon. Gentleman. I can only say that the hon. Gentleman and his Party in the last six years in Ireland established a censorship of the Press in the most acute, most oppressive, and most indefensible form, because, instead of holding an editor responsible to any Constitutional Tribunal they sent him—notf or commenting upon, remember, but for simply reporting public meetings. For this, they sent him, upon the verdict of two paid officers of the Crown, to prison for six months. Then the hon. Member wishes to withhold from the Irish Parliament the power of interfering with legal public meetings. Remember Mitchels-town! [Cheers.] The hon. Member and his Party are responsible for Mitchels-town. [Ironical laughter on the Opposition Benches.] It well becomes the Constitutional Party to indulge in mocking exclamations when I refer to the dispersing of a meeting admittedly legal and the shooting down in cold blood of innocent, defenceless men by the servants of the Crown. The presentation of such an Amendment by the hon. Member on behalf of the Unionist Party transcends 1574 in audacity anything that has ever been known in the House. During the greater part of the last 93 years both Parties have established a censorship of the Press, and have as a general rule maintained the right of an individual official to disperse a peaceable and legal meeting; and the pretence now is that the powers which the Imperial Parliament declared to be necessary for preserving order in Ireland for the last 93 years are to be withheld from the Legislature of the Irish people when it assumes the function in which the Imperial Parliament has failed. That demand is put forward by one who, at the present moment, is engaged in inciting a section of the people of Ireland to violent resistance of this legislation. Unionist Leaders go to Ireland and make speeches inciting to rebellion, and then they come to Parliament and propose Amendments to secure that that rebellion should be conducted with impunity. Boasts are made at public meetings of the number of men armed; that the Custom Houses will be seized, that taxes will not be paid, and that the Queen's Judges will be treated with contempt; and newspapers publish leading articles and communications emphasising these suggestions. Am I to be told, in the presence of a policy of that kind, that Amendments moved for the purpose of securing immunity and safety to those who would otherwise be the dupes of these evil counsels are to be tolerated in the House of Commons? To propose an Amendment like this one before us is to tax severely the patience of the Committee. This and similar Amendments with which we have been tortured for days and weeks have had no merits; indeed, it is hardly professed that they had merits. The question which we have to consider is whether the majority who have been returned to this House after a General Election with the clearest mandate from the constituencies are to be allowed to discharge the task for which they have been elected, or whether that majority will permit the Constitutional Party to reduce the House of Commons to a state of impotence, and so to inflict upon the Constitution of Great Britain the most deadly stab which will have ever been dealt it.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I hope the Committee will take notice of the peculiar methods by which the hon. Member 1575 for Kerry endeavours to accelerate the progress of the discussion of this Bill. An Amendment taken from the American Constitution was moved in a speech of great force and sobriety by my hon. Friend. No other person spoke on it except myself, and I was studiously brief; and I venture to say that what I said was absolutely correct. I was followed by the hon. Member for Kerry, who gets up and makes a general denunciation of what he is pleased to call the course of the Debate in Committee generally, and, by way of showing his notion of a relevant discussion, drags in all the incidents of the old controversies of the last few years. he asks this House to discuss the Crimes Act; he asks us to go back to the events of Mitchelstown; he asks us to deal with all the legal or illegal assemblies—for I will not discuss the question of their legality here—which have been dispersed under the various Crimes Acts of different Governments, and, not content with that, he surveys the whole history of Ireland since the Union, and tells us it does not lie in our mouths to propose an Amendment relating to the liberty of public meeting. Well, what is the moral of the speech of the hon. Member? He went on to tell us—and I call the attention of the Government to this fact—that this right of interfering with public meetings should be left with the Irish Parliament. Ignoring the speech of the Solicitor General, he said that this power was to be loft with the Irish Parliament in order to enable them to deal with Ulster. Compare that argument with the argument addressed to us by the Government. The Government will not have this Amendment because they tell us that the object aimed at is already covered by more general words. They toll us that it is irrelevant, unnecessary, because the general words of the Bill already cover, and more effectually cover, the particular safeguard proposed. That is the official defence. But hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway put this gloss on the matter. They know this case is not covered by general words, and they do not want it to be covered by general words. They have the audacity to tell the Committee that they mean to use the power of preventing public meetings in order to coerce Ulster. Who is it who is impeding the 1576 progress of this measure? [Cries of "You!"] Who is it who uses irrelevant arguments and makes heated speeches? [Cries of "You!"] Who is it who treats the official defenders of the Bill with such contempt that the arguments they advance are absolutely inconsistent with theirs? Why, the hon. Member for Kerry. I hope that those outside who watch the progress of this Bill will observe who it is that unnecessarily prolongs these discussions, and who it is that, under cover of rejecting Amendments because they are unnecessary, deliberately avow their intention of using every deficiency and defect in the Bill as a means for oppressing Ulster.
§ Mr. Clancy
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ * MR. BUCKNILL
said, it had hitherto been customary for his Irish friends to receive him with courtesy. For some reason or other to-day, however, they seemed unwilling to allow him to make a few observations. He had not yet spoken in the proceedings of this Committee, nor should he have done so but for the observations of the hon. Member for North Kerry. There must be something in the air—thunder, probably—that had affected the temper of the hon. Member for Kerry, for he certainly had used language of a somewhat unmeasured character. He did not understand why the hon. Member should have been so angry with the supporters of the Amendment, remembering, as he did, what the hon. Member said in the Debate on the Second Reading. The hon. Member, who was then temperate and sensible, said—There will be no desire to oppose the insertion of restrictions that may tend to dissipate the apprehensions that may be felt, although they may be unfounded. We shall not be disposed to offer any opposition to them, provided always that there is no restriction that shall interfere with the necessary powers of the Irish Legislature.If that was a temperate observation at that time, and meant anything at all, it meant that the Nationalist Members 1577 would not be disposed to offer opposition to any reasonable Amendments. With reference to the irrelevant allusion to Mitchelstown, speaking with every respect and admiration (which he hoped he should always entertain) for the right hon. Gentleman, he wished to say that he had observed with regret that the Prime Minister cheered that reference with more vehemence than anybody else. He (Mr. Bucknill) had sat there and had listened many times to the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman, and had more than once gathered from his remarks that he disputed the tu quoque argument, but if there ever was a tu quoque, the reference to Mitchels-town was one. With regard to the Amendment, unless it was an unreasonable one, they were not wasting time in devoting a few minutes to its discussion. The Government had declared that this Bill which they offered to the majority of the Irish people—to, say, 75 per cent, of the Irish people—was the maximum they could offer. The Nationalists had declared that the Bill was the minimum they would accept. Surely, then, in such a state of things as that they ought to be allowed to discuss reasonably, with-out heat and without temper, Amendments put on the Paper honestly and intended for reasonable discussion. As to a censorship of the Press, if it was desired by the Nationalist Members, could it be supposed that they wanted it in order to interfere with newspapers representing their own views? Certainly not; then if they desired it, it must be to deal with the organs of the minority. Talking of the American Constitution, the hon. Member for Kerry said, a few evenings since, that it had been dragged by the heels into this Bill by the Government; but now, when they did not like it, they were the first to kick it out. By the American Constitution, the provision now proposed was thought to be a wise one, and so it was considered by those who supported the Amendment. With regard to public meetings, the power of interference which the Nationalist Members asked for would not be exercised against the majority of the Irish people. It would only be exercised to prevent meetings of the minority. Even if the majority of the first Irish Parliament were not to exercise the power in that way, he would 1578 remind the Committee that the first Parliament would not be able to bind its successors. That being the case, the Imperial Parliament must try to do it for them. He submitted that the Amendment was a sensible one, and was by no means offensive or insulting to the Irish Members.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
said, that the hon. Member for North Kerry had said, not for the first nor the sixth time, that the action of the Opposition was against the verdict pronounced by the country upon the Bill. He must again, therefore, meet that declaration with the statement of the fact that the Bill had never been before the country. When Nationalist Members attempted to bludgeon Opposition speakers and Ministerial speakers also, the Government ought to remember that the mandate of the constituencies to the Representatives of Great Britain was to oppose the Bill. They were aware that the Government had entered into a contract with the Nationalist Members. [Cries of "Question!" and "Divide!"] He was answering the speech of the hon. Member for North Kerry. He presumed that, though the Irish Members were the masters of the Government, it would be allowed to independent Members, to the Unionist Representatives of Great Britain, to give the answer which the Government in their capacity were not able to give. He denied that the Bill had ever received the mandate of the constituencies. If that statement was denied, let the Government go again to the country and take its opinion directly on the Bill. The Unionist Members of Great Britain had been no party to the compact made by the Government. [Cries of "Question!"] He was speaking strictly to the Question as it was put by the hon. Member for Kerry. If the Bill represented the terms of that compact exactly let the Government say so, and then the Committee would know the impotent position they were in with regard to any wish to amend it. In discharging their duty to their constituents the Unionist Members were bound to do their best to secure the rights of the minorities, and that was the point involved not only in this but in every other Amendment moved to the 4th clause. If there was one thing more than another that the Gladstonian Mem- 1579 bers promised the constituencies—[Cries of "Order!" and "Question!"]—it was that they would support no Home Rule Bill that did not absolutely safeguard the interests of the minority. He had read their speeches. He appealed especially to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, who in his able speeches at the time put forward that point involved in the Amendment with great force and ability; and the time would come when he and others would be asked to reconcile their statements and their promises with the vote they were about to give on the present Amendment. At any rate, the Unionist Members, as representing the majority of Great Britain and the overwhelming majority of England—["No!"]—hon. Members said "No," but an analysis of the votes, given on the Vote of Censure upon which the late Government retired, would show that he was correct — those representing the vast majority in England should have the right to place their views before the Committee and show in what respect this Bill was injurious not only to the interests of Great Britain, but to the minority, in Ireland. Seeing that that minority, or those whom the hon. Member for Kerry had described as the self-constituted champions of the minority, in Ireland had been absolutely forsaken by the Government and all their rights sacrificed, he thought it was a duty which it would be criminal for the Unionist Members to neglect at this crisis to use all the means in their power to point out not to the Ulster people so much, because they knew it, but to the electorate of Great Britain the manner in which the loyal minority were being handed over by the Bill, bound hand and foot, to the heels of their opponents. He believed the electorate of the country was beginning to see more and more every day that the safeguards for the minority in the Bill, although they had the appearance of being real, were in truth mere shams.
§ MR. PARKER SMITH
said, he accepted the assurance given by the Solicitor General that the object of the Amendment was covered and came within the words of the section, and he would, therefore, ask leave to withdraw his Amendment. [Cries of "No!"]
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.1580
§ * MR. D. PLUNKET (Dublin University)
, in moving an Amendment prohibiting the Irish Legislature from making laws—Affecting the constitution, endowments, property, or privileges of Trinity College, Dublin, or the University of Dublin,said: I do not forget that the Government have more than once declared their willingness to safeguard the interests of Trinity College and Dublin University, and that it will be necessary for me to satisfy the Committee that the words of the 6th sub-section do not carry out the proposed intention. But I desire, in the first place, to submit the grounds upon which I claim that Trinity College and Dublin University should be separately dealt with in the Bill, and that side by side with the words which protect the maintenance of Denominational Institutions the right to-maintain Trinity College and Dublin University as a place of united education should be equally clearly expressed. If the Committee will give me its kind attention for a little time I will explain the exceptional position in which this question stands at the present day; why, from some points of view, the question is of paramount importance in Irish politics; and what are the serious dangers and difficulties with which it will be beset if such an Irish Legislature as is proposed in this Bill should be established; and I feel confident I shall be able to submit convincing reasons why prudence and justice alike suggest that Trinity College should not be withdrawn from the protection of the Imperial Parliament or submitted directly or indirectly to interference on the part of the Irish Legislature. Some time ago it would not have been necessary to make any preliminary explanation on the matter, because there was a time within my re-collection when the Irish University question challenged and absorbed the public attention of this country almost as much as the Bill we are discussing now absorbs it. Since then, however, a generation has almost grown up, and I daresay I am addressing many hon. Members who but dimly remember that 20 years ago one of the strongest Governments that ever existed in England, led by the present Prime Minister at the zenith of his power, and backed by a great majority, was wrecked 1581 in the attempt to reconcile within the University of Dublin the demands then made by the Irish Roman Catholic Prelates with those opinions of enlightenment and justice which then prevailed, and I believe will always prevail, in this Imperial Assembly. Remember, I do not ask for immunity for the University from any measures which this Imperial Parliament may think fit to pass, but I do ask for its exemption from the control or interference of a Legislature which I believe, and I think I shall be able to show, on this question at all events, would be absolutely subject to the power of the Roman Catholic Prelates in a way in which that power would be practically unquestionable. What is the earlier history of the subject, for without going into that the Committee cannot understand the matter. Dublin University was founded 300 years ago by a Charter of Queen Elizabeth; and as it was founded at the request of the heads of the Protestant Church then lately established in Ireland, it was naturally founded as a strictly Protestant Institution. So it remained for 200 years, but in 1793 a large measure of Catholic relief was passed by the Irish Parliament, and in 1794 the authorities of Trinity College obtained a Royal Letter permitting them to admit Roman Catholics to receive their education and degrees at the University, and they threw open the College and University to all Protestant Dissenters as well. So matters remained until 1869, when the Protestant Church of Ireland was disestablished. In the following year the authorities of Dublin University, by their Representatives in the Imperial Parliament, supported a Bill introduced by the late Mr. Fawcett for the purpose of removing tests from Trinity College. That Bill was debated in 1870, 1871, and 1872 unsuccessfully; but in 1873, after the measure to which I have referred, and by which the Government proposed to deal with the subject in a different way, had been thrown out, Mr. Fawcett's Bill became law. And so the case stands now, for the last 100 years Dublin University has been open to all religious creeds for the purpose of education and degrees, and for the last 20 years every honour, emolument, and office, except three or four Professorships connected with the Divinity school, 1582 and specially excluded by a clause in Mr. Fawcett's Act, have also been freely open. It has been free to all denominations to win these offices, emoluments, and honours, by free and open competition; and I believe, whatever else has been said against Trinity College, the perfect fairness of that competition has never been for a moment questioned. Well, if that has been the attitude of Trinity College to the Catholics of Ireland, what has been the reciprocal attitude of the Catholics of Ireland towards the College? In recent times—during the last 40 years—unfortunately, the heads of the Roman Catholic Church have set themselves in direct opposition to the system of united education which has been pursued in Dublin University. They have denounced it— no doubt, from their point of view, conscientiously—as a danger to the faith and morals of their people. They have at the same time denounced Trinity College as a citadel of exclusiveness and ascendency. But that has not been always the case. I might refer to a Petition presented on behalf of the Roman Catholics to the Irish Parliament by Henry Grattan, in which they stated, with reference to the College of Maynooth which was then about to be established, that the system of united education pursued in Trinity College was that which alone could produce harmony among the various creeds in Ireland and conduce to the prosperity of the country. Thirty years later the illustrious Catholic Bishop Doyle urged, before a Committee of the House of Lords, that no danger need arise to the religious feelings of Catholics from a system of united education. The great O'Connell sent his sons to Trinity College, and wished them to study in that Institution as long as possible, and in the time of Archbishop Murray the system of education pursued there met with the full approval of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. And as a matter of fact, Roman Catholics of those classes that avail themselves of education of this description came willingly and freely, and in increasing numbers, to take advantage of the education afforded by Trinity College; but, unfortunately, for some time past different theories have been adopted, and opposite principles have prevailed, and the heads of the Roman Catholic Church have done their 1583 best to prevent their people from going to Trinity College, and have denounced it. But in spite of that there are to this day a considerable number of Roman Catholics who do avail themselves of the teaching of Dublin University; some are most distinguished students, and one is a Fellow of the College. Now, what attempts have been made to meet these modern views of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland? The Committee may remember that such an attempt was made by a Whig Government in 1866, and that in 1868 Lord Mayo made another attempt to confer on the Roman Catholics a separate University. These attempts came to nothing, and in 1873 the present First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) made a further effort. That attempt, I think, throws great light on the difficulties and dangers which would beset this subject if it were left to an Irish Legislature to deal with, and I invite the special attention of the Committee to it. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to deal with the subject by introducing a number of Roman Catholic and other Colleges into a reformed University of Dublin. The construction of that scheme has always seemed to me to have been a marvellous piece of skill and ingenuity. It was an attempt to accomplish an impossibility, to reconcile the irreconcileablo—that is to say, to reconcile within one Institution the demands of the Catholic Hierarchy in Ireland and the principles of enlightened education, which alone I believe this House would consent to introduce. Indeed, so great were felt to be the difficulties of the task that it was actually proposed to forbid in the University of Dublin the teaching of philosophy and modern history, as they could not be taught in accordance with the views of the Roman Catholic ecclesiastics. That proposal was made by the right hon. Gentleman in a speech which, if I may be permitted to say so, of all the triumphs of lucid and persuasive eloquence I have had the pleasure in 23 years of hearing from him in this House, was to my mind, in view of the difficulties that confronted him, perhaps the most masterly and superb. So great was the effect produced by that speech that for days and week-; afterwards his Bill received the warmest support; but gradually, as the 1584 scheme came to be taken to pieces in Debates inside and outside this House, the irreconcileable difficulties became apparent, the necessary inconsistencies were made clear, and so it came to pass that on the last night of the Second Reading Debate in this House—the scene then exhibited I shall never forget —the Government consented to withdraw the reactionary provisions I have mentioned, because it was found that the enlightened opinion of England would never consent to abolish modern history and philosophy from the schools which educated Bishop Berkeley and Edmund Burke, or to have the independence of an ancient and free University trammelled and overpowered by grafting upon its government a number of small Catholic Colleges and clerical seminaries. What followed? Acting under the direct orders of the Catholic Bishops, a largo number of Irish Members wheeled round on the floor of this House, voted against the Government, and defeated them by a majority of three. Thus, the Government which a few days before commanded a large majority were turned out, and although they resumed Office in a few days and lingered on till the General Election of 1874, there can be no doubt it was by the Ultramontane vote that they received their mortal blow. I do not wish upon that circumstance to found any charge of ingratitude, much less any charge of insincerity—quite the contrary—against the Prelates under whose directions that step was taken. What I want to do is to bring home to this Committee the intense sincerity of the men who turned out a Government that for them and their flocks had disestablished the Irish Church, carried the Land Act of 1870, and imperilled their popularity and position by introducing the University Bill. I ask attention to the wide-reaching, and uncompromising character of the policy by which these Prelates are swayed. And now I come to ask hon. Members whether if, after the establishment of an Irish Legislature, the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland, holding the same views as in 1873, were bent upon interfering with the University of Dublin, they would have the power to give effect to their intentions? I have explained what happened in 1873, long before the Act of 1885 had introduced household suf- 1585 frage into the counties in Ireland, sending to the poll thousands of voters knowing nothing of these questions, and many of whom vote as illiterates! and when the Ballot Act had not come into operation. You yourselves have seen what power these Prelates claimed, and how they exercised it in their conflicts with the late Mr. Parnell, and, after his death, with those of his followers who, true to his memory, ventured to assert their independence. You cannot shut your eyes to the fact that this question of education is the question, before all others, on which these Prelates would command—and, from their point of view, rightly command—obedience from their co-religionists. What the Land Question is to the Irish peasant the Education Question is to the Irish priest, and especially the question of University Education is to the Irish Bishops. I ask hon. Members, then, what chance would any minority, Protestant or otherwise, have of resisting the will of the Roman Catholic Bishops on this question? The Legislative Assembly would be returned by the same voters as return the Irish Members to this House. The Legislative Council, in whatever other respects they might differ from the Legislative Assembly, would probably on this question be the more; docile of the two. But the danger is admitted, for provisions have been inserted in this Bill to guard against it. I must ask the attention of the Committee for a few minutes to the construction of Sub-section 6 of Clause 4. That is the sub-section by which we have been promised protection by the Government. I venture to say that the sub-section is the most extraordinary sample of had draftsmanship I have ever seen. The sub-section enacts that the powers of the Irish Legislature shall not extend to the making of any law—Whereby any existing Corporation, incorporated by Royal Charter, or by any local or general Act of Parliament,may, except in certain cases—Be deprived of its rights, privileges, or property without due process of law.From that I would infer, as a matter of grammar, that, should any such Corporation fall within either of the excepted cases, which I am about to refer to, the powers of the Irish Legislature would extend to depriving them of their rights, 1586 privileges, or property without duo process of law! The first of the exceptions is—Not being a Corporation raising for public purposes taxes, rates, cess, dues, or tolls, or administering funds so raised.I am not sure that it might not be contended that Trinity College would fall under that description, as being a Corporation that administers "funds so raised." However, I do not wish to dwell upon that. It may be but a mistake of drafting. I come to the other exception. What are the circumstances under which the Irish Legislature is permitted to deal with the rights, privileges, and property of such a Corporation as Trinity College without due process of law? They are to be allowed to do so with the consent either of the Body itself or of the Crown; and I was informed on the Second Reading by the right hon. Gentleman that the Crown means the Crown advised by the English Ministers, although that does not appear from the language of the Bill. As to the consent of the Corporation, it might not be difficult to imagine a state of affairs in the future in which such a Corporation might be coaxed or cajoled into consenting, but I say at once that if such consent were now sought it would not be obtained. I come to the other alternative, which, no doubt, is that on which the Government rely when they say they have afforded ample protection to Trinity College—namely, that the Irish Legislature may take action in the direction I have indicated ifThe leave of Her Majesty is first obtained on Address from the two Houses of the Irish Legislature.I ask the Committee to try and realise what kind of safeguard this would be in practice. I assume that the Ecclesiastical Authorities—the Prelates to whom I have referred—desire to deal with Dublin University. You cannot, I think, suppose that they would find much difficulty in obtaining the necessary Addresses whenever they please from the two Houses of the Irish Legislature. Being able to obtain them whenever they please, they would choose their own time. They would choose a time when there was in power a complaisant Government depending possibly for its existence on the vote of the majority of the Irish delegation. The Addresses having been passed by the two Houses of 1587 the Irish Legislature, and the English Minister being willing or being capable of being compelled to consent, I ask what chance any friend of Dublin University —for its own Members would have disappeared—would have of staying the assenting hand of a strong Minister? There might be a perfunctory debate —not such a discussion as we had in 1873, when the subject was thoroughly gone into—but no doubt there would have been sketched out a plausible scheme suggesting all kinds of safeguards. Under such circumstances, what would it involve to obtain from the Imperial Parliament a Vote of Censure on the Ministry which gave its assent? It would involve the overthrow of the Government, and with them of all the shipwreck argosy of interests, public and private, in which its supporters were concerned. I say that to offer us such a safeguard as that is simply absurd. It is no safeguard at all. I wish now to say a few words as to the actual state at the present time of the demands of the Irish Prelates on this subject. I will not weary the Committee with many declarations, but I must give one. It was made by the present Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev. Dr. Walsh, on a very remarkable occasion about seven years ago, just at the time when he had been appointed Archbishop. He went to visit his brother Archbishop, Dr. Croke, at Thurles, and was presented with an address by the students. The utterance I am about to quote was made in response to that address. I should say it was just two days after Parliament had assembled, in January, 1886. The Government of Lord Salisbury was then in Office, and the air was thick with rumours, one of them being that the Government were about to give to the Roman Catholic Bishops a Denominational University for themselves, largely endowed, and in every way calculated to attract them, except that it was not to interfere with Dublin University or Trinity College. What did Archbishop Walsh say on that occasion? He said—Without running the risk of being set down as a false prophet, I may safely say that an attempt to deal with the Irish University Question will be amongst the chief proposals to be set before Parliament when it begins its work. It would, moreover, from the signs and whisperings that are in the air around us, be 1588 no difficult task to sketch out the outlines of the projected measure that will be offered to us. Its main purpose will be to buttress up that ancient citadel of ascendency and exclusiveness which has stood for centuries in College Green; to maintain unshaken that standing monument of conquest this new proposal will offer us in all probability the heaviest of heavy bribes. If it be so, I can safely prophecy of this new attempt which may be made to patch up the wretched system with which at present the Catholics of Ireland are forced to content themselves as a system of University Education that it will but serve to add one other item to a long catalogue of sad and disastrous failures. For so long as that central fortress of the education that is not Catholic "—that is, Trinity College, Dublin— "is allowed to stand, as it has now long stood, in the very foremost position, and to occupy the most glorious site in our Catholic City of Dublin, so long will it be impossible for any statesman, be he English or Irish, to deal with this great question on the only ground on which University reform in Ireland can be regarded as satisfactory, or even as entitled to acquiescence—the open and level ground of full and absolute equality for the Catholics of Ireland.The report I have quoted is taken from The Freeman's Journal of January 15, 1886. The Archbishop says, in effect, "You may offer us the most tempting salaries, the most splendid endowments and buildings, and every honour which may make the new University acceptable to us; but, as long as this ancient citadel stands as the representative of the education which is not Catholic, no settlement offered by English or Irish statesmen will be acceptable."
§ MR. SEXTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to interpose for a moment? He has quoted some words used by the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin in 1886. Is he not aware of the more recent declaration, both of the Archbishop and of other Irish Prelates, that the Irish University Question might be settled in a sense satisfactory to Catholics without disturbance of Dublin University.
§ * MR. PLUNKET
I have not heard of any such declarations, but I am quite aware that in the presence of the Home Rule Bill very moderate language indeed has been used; and The Freeman's Journal, which I believe is the organ of the Catholics Prelates of Ireland, has made various complimentary allusions to Trinity College. They have said it has some claims on Irishmen, and has done some service to Irishmen, and they have spoken of levelling up as well as 1589 levelling down. That is all very well in the presence of a Bill which proposes to transfer the control of Trinity College from this Assembly to an Irish Legislature; but I have quoted the words which were solemnly spoken in a most resolute and far-reaching way. Those words mean either the transformation of Trinity College into a place of Catholic teaching or its abolition. They mean confiscation or destruction. That is the doom pronounced by this haughty Prelate. I ask this Imperial Parliament, will they hand Trinity College over to such a master? is this the fate reserved for Dublin University? I thank the Committee for the attention they have given to me. I have been pleading for an Institution which is very dear to me, as it is I know to many in Ireland who do not share my political opinions. I will only ask, in conclusion, have we not got some claims to all the consideration and all the protection that this Imperial Parliament can give us? Have we not some claims as a place of learning; have we not some claims in regard to the services that Trinity College has rendered to Ireland, and, I will say, to the Empire? Anyone who remembers the proceedings of the tercentenary celebration of last year will not question the claims of the University of Dublin as a place of learning and research. On that occasion men came from all parts of the world to render their homage to, and express their admiration for, the work of this furthest outpost of learning in the Western Seas. But what has Trinity College done for Ireland? In a land riven by faction, in a society split to its base by religions controversy, Dublin University has for more than a century done all she could to fulfil the prayer of Grattan and the appeal of O'Connell by educating together the young men of Ireland. She has fulfilled her duty to the country in which she was placed, and I remember the eloquent words of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) in 1873, when he expressed his sense of gratitude to, and veneration for, Trinity College, which he said had done for Ireland much of the good which had ever been done for her at all. She has sent forth Irishmen to win fame and fortune for themselves and renown for the Irish name in every part of the world 1590 where the English language is spoken. I myself have seen four Irishmen, graduates of Dublin University, sitting at the same time on the Bench in the High Courts of this country. I have seen Lord Cairns presiding as Lord High Chancellor of England; I have seen Archbishop Magee enthroned as Archbishop of York; I have seen Lord Mayo, another Dublin graduate, administering the great Dependency of India for the Crown. Nor have her services been confined to anyone class of politicians, or to any one section of the Irish people? It is the College of Swift and Molyneux, of G rattan and Curran, of Tom Moore and Thomas Davis, and of Isaac Butt. Yes; and in this House to-day there are not a few men who have had their education in Trinity College, Dublin, whom, though widely differing from me in politics, I am proud to claim among her alumni — I may name the present Attorney General for England and the hon. Member for Waterford, who I think, among the many eloquent men in this House, best revive the ancient renown of Irish eloquence. These are some of the services Trintty College has rendered to Ireland and to the Empire. We claim no immunity from any Act this Imperial Parliament may pass. Taking these records in my hand, I should not fear to plead the cause of my University before any enlightened tribunal in the world, before any assemblage of educated Irish laymen; but in view of the attitude which, as I think most unfortunately, has in recent times been taken by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, remembering their declarations and their threats, and foreseeing the power which would certainly prevail on such questions as these in such a Legislature as you are proposing to establish, I claim for Trinity College and for Dublin University that here in the clear light, in the free air, of this free and famous Parliament, and here alone, our fate shall be decided.
In page 2, line 33, after the word "or," to insert, as a new sub-section, the words—"(6) Affecting the constitution, endowments, property, or privileges of Trinity College, Dublin, or of the University of Dublin; or."—(Mr. Plunket.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."1591
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
I am not surprised that the eloquent and touching appeal which has been made by the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of his College and his University should have elicited the warm cheers of the Committee at the conclusion of his speech. They were well deserved both in the letter and in the spirit of their appeal. The right hon. Gentleman has done me the justice and the kindness to refer to the language used by me in 1873; and, as far as I can derive any benefit from the appeal he has now made on behalf of his College, I say at once that that College shall receive the most careful, considerate, equitable, and generous treatment at our hands. I do not think there is any disposition to deal with it otherwise. But I separate that appeal from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, because the distinction between them is broad. The appeal was, in point of fact, the only portion of the speech which had anything to do with the Amendment. The speech consisted of two parts: the first was an historical review, and the second a plea against the supposition that it would be safer to permit Trinity College and Dublin University to be dealt with under the 6th sub-section of this clause. With regard to his historical review, I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his candid, and more than candid, reference to the Bill of 1873. I confess that I was deeply interested in the fate of that Bill, and I have never understood the inner history of the public motives which led to that Bill being overthrown through the agency of the Roman Catholic Prelates in combination, I am bound to say, with the entire Tory Party. When the right hon. Gentleman came down to the point where he found himself in possession of some very strong declarations by some Roman Catholic Prelates against the system of education pursued in Trinity College, and apparently against Trinity College itself, he was reminded by a leading Irish Member that on a more recent date moderate language had been held and substantially different views expressed; but his answer was—"Yes, that has been done in face of the Home Rule Bill." That is so. But what is the principle on which the right hon. Gentleman pro- 1592 ceeds? It is that language used by Roman Catholic Prelates or others at a period when they were in a condition of despair, when no hope was held out to them for the fulfilment of the one eager, passionate, undying wish of their country, that such language is to be interpreted with the utmost rigour and to the extremest letter to which it extends as the expression under all circumstances of their deliberate and final resolve; but the language which they hold when the door of hope has been opened, when they see the way to the fulfilment of their reasonable expectations, and when the mellifluent effect of such prospects had had its legitimate result, is to be regarded as idle and null declarations, adopted to servo the purpose of the moment. [Opposition cheers.] Yes; those cheers, in which I am glad to note the right hon. Gentleman did not himself join, are the expression of the extreme ideas which prevail in a certain section of the House with regard to the Irish people, and which, so far as they prevail, render hopeless the government of Ireland by this House. The whole argumentative part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, however, had no reference whatever to the Amendment. It was an argument entirely upon the 6th sub-section. Now, the question of the sufficiency of the 6th sub-section is not before the Committee at all. The right hon. Gentleman himself recognises that that sub-section contains the recognition of what I may call a threefold defence for Trinity College. First of all, the Irish Legislature cannot be moved except with the consent of Trinity College. Beyond that there is another security— namely, the Joint Address from the two Houses of the Irish Legislature. And there is a security which goes beyond that still, because the language of the clause is that there must be the leave of Her Majesty upon an Address of the two Houses of the Irish Legislature. The effect of that must be to give to the British Parliament a distinct locus standi with respect to proposals that might be made affecting the Charter of Trinity College. It seems to me the right hon. Gentleman has entirely failed to make out any case for the extension of that defence. But is the Amendment tenable? The 6th sub-section may be insufficient, according to the view of the right hon. 1593 Gentleman; but that does not show his Amendment is right. The Amendment is founded upon a different principle. That principle is to transplant Trinity College and the University of Dublin, and to reserve them altogether for the consideration of the Imperial Legislature, in which Ireland would be represented by a fraction comparatively insignificant in numbers of the entire Parliament, and consequently could not give anything of a marked Irish character to the Legislature considered as a whole. Is it fair or reasonable to take this matter out of the Bill altogether? It will be remembered that at different times during the discussions on this Bill the idea has come into view that Ulster, as it is called, which means merely the North-East corner of Ulster, might be taken out of the Bill: but Irishmou— Ulstermen, Protestants, and Orangemen —have recoiled in horror from that idea, and have said that whatever is to happen let us take our chance and our share with the rest of Ireland. That is, I think, noble language, that does credit to those gentlemen, and shows that after all they must, in spite of appearances, be more or less Irishmen, and that they are willing to fall into line with their fellow-countrymen in regard to legitimate Irish affairs. This is not, however, the language of the right hon. Gentleman, for he proposes to take Dublin University out of Ireland altogether, to deny that it has a legitimate Irish character, and to declare that it is a University whose interests can only suitably be considered in an Assembly where, if Irishmen sit, they will sit as a mere handful amongst an overwhelming number of those who are not Irishmen. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly within his right in contending that the provisions of Sub-section 6 are insufficient for their purpose; but he goes beyond all limits in the matter in proposing to take Trinity College, Dublin, out of the purview of the Irish Legislature. I want to know how far this process of transplantation is to extend? Having once put the spade into the ground, and having carried out of Ireland a certain portion—and that not the worst or the least in that island—so far as they can over the Channel into this country, does the right hon. Gentleman think it is possible to stop there? Is the case of 1594 Trinity College to be treated as positively exceptional? Are there no other Corporate Institutions in Ireland which Lave every claim, except that they are junior, that is possessed by Trinity College for exceptional consideration? If the Committee could be induced to accede to the proposal—and I am sure they could not—to denationalise Trinity College, and to say that no Irish Legislature, however constituted, should be able to propose any plan, however wisely and generously conceived, which touches Trinity College, they must deal in the same way with Queen's College, Belfast, and the other Colleges in Ireland. The result would be that every such incorporated Institution, although elaborately protected, and although it would be perfectly at liberty to persuade the Committee that it should be more elaborately protected, would inevitably adopt the principle that no such protection is insufficient. Under these circumstances, the only course open co the Committee would be to carry all of those Institutions out of Ireland and deal with them in the Imperial Parliament. It is, therefore, impossible for the Government to entertain the Amendment, which, whatever may be the case under Sub-section 6, is beyond the just scope of any Amendment to this Bill, and on behalf of which the right hon. Gentleman, with all his ability and eloquence, which have never been more largely expended than on the present occasion, has been unable to offer a single word.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he merely interposed to explain what he had previously said by way of interruption. He thought it rather unfortunate that the right hon. Gentleman, in the course of his elaborate and exceedingly able and eloquent speech, should have relied simply upon the words of one Prelate uttered some years ago; and he considered it would have been better if the right hon. Gentleman, before delivering so important a speech, and upon an occasion so grave, had informed himself of the utterances of a later date. He held in his hand resolutions which had been adopted at a general meeting of the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland on the 25th of June, 1889. Those resolutions were signed by the Archbishop of Armagh, now Cardinal Logue. One of those resolutions was to the effect that the Episcopal Body 1595 would be satisfied with the establishment either of an exclusively Catholic University or of one in connection with one or more other Colleges, the Catholic students to have equal privileges with non-Catholic students. Those alternatives having been presented, it followed that neither the Archbishop of Dublin nor any other Catholic Prelate in Ireland considered any disturbance whatever of Trinity College to be essential in the settlement of the question of University Education.
§ MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
said, if the eloquent words of his Colleague in the representation of the University of Dublin were not of themselves sufficient to induce a favourable consideration for the Amendment from the Government, he did not at all presume to think that his words would bring about such a result. At the same time, he thought the Committee would acknowledge that it was but natural that one who was entrusted with the representation of Trinity College in this House should, so far as in him lay, protect her interests, and should desire to say something upon an Amendment which was of such vital importance to his constituency. He had thought when the hon. Member for North Kerry got up after the speech of his right hon. Colleague in the representation of Dublin University that he was going to quote something in some way or other modifying or withdrawing the speech of Archbishop Walsh upon which portion of the argument of his right hon. Colleague was based. Nothing of the kind had, however, occurred. He was surprised, after it had been reiterated over and over again by the Prime Minister and suggested by the hon. Member for North Kerry, that that statement by Archbishop Walsh was an isolated statement, that not one single word in modification of the statement; that not one single expression of regret for that statement; that not one single syllable withdrawing that statement, either by Archbishop Walsh or by any of the other Roman Catholic Prelates, had been brought forward in the Debate. There was nothing in the resolutions of the Bishops which were read by the hon. Member for Kerry inconsistent with the statement made by Archbishop Walsh. What was the substance of these resolutions? That the Roman Catholic 1596 hierarchy would be satisfied if they got a representation proportionate to their numbers on the Board of the University of Dublin. Why, that was the very thing the Protestants of Ireland feared —that the University of Dublin would become a Roman Catholic Institution; for either that or its demolition would alone satisfy the Roman Catholic hierarchy. It was said that Archbishop Walsh's statement was an isolated statement. He did not at all agree with that. He found in The Scotsman of 17th April, 1893, an account of Cardinal Logue's visit to Belfast, where, in reply to an address from the students of St. Malachi's College—His Eminence contended that the Queen's Colleges of Ireland and the University of Dublin were Godless institutions, and dangerous to the faith of Catholic students.The 19th of April, 1893, while actually this Home Rule Bill was being considered by the House, Archbishop Walsh denounced Trinity College as non-Catholic, and Cardinal Logue denounced it as a Godless Institution; and if the Committee were to hand over Trinity College to a Parliament which would be to a large extent composed of the nominees of the Catholic Bishops, what chance would there be for the Institution? and the Prime Minister referred to what he described as the milder declarations of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the subject of Trinity College, and argued that it was unfair to pin them to one isolated expression. But the right hon. Gentleman, like the Member for North Kerry, did not quote a single word of these milder declarations. The fact was, that these milder declarations existed only in the goodwill of the right hon. Gentleman; they existed only so far as that the right hon. Gentleman wished them to exist; but the Committee should not believe in their existence until they were produced. So far as he knew, the arguments that were raised by the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) were not inconsistent, but would enable them to carry out the very things they had put forward. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister asked why Trinity College should be excepted any more than any other Institution in Ireland; and he thought the right hon. Gentleman put forward this extraordinary argument that, by excepting Trinity College 1597 from the Bill, they were practically transplanting it from Ireland. If he could follow the right hon. Gentleman, he rather talked in this way: that it would become an alien or foreign Institution. Was that so? If so, some alarming results had already happened by what the Committee had already done on this Bill. They had already excepted every Institution established or maintained for the purpose of carrying out denominational education; and he wished to know, had they transplanted these to this country and thereby rendered them foreign Institutions in Ireland? It was a most extraordinary argument; but it was the whole basis of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, because hitherto Trinity College had been a National University; but if they excepted it from the Home Rule Bill, they transplanted it from that position. As he had said, they had done the same with every Denominational Institution in Ireland. Let him draw the attention of the Committee to this fact: If Trinity College were a Denominational Institution they themselves would have excepted it from the Bill; but because Trinity College, originally founded by Charter 300 years ago as a Denominational Institution had of its own free will and volition kept pace with the times to such an extent as to open its doors to all religions, had agreed to become an Undenominational Institution, for that generosity they were going to put it in the power of the Irish Legislature, whereas if it had retained its character as a Denominational Institution they would have excepted it. He asked, was that really what the Committee were prepared to do? Had anybody in the Committee ventured to deny that by the opening of Trinity College the young men of Ireland of all religious, had been able to meet there, to be brought up there, and educated together; where they had formed generous friendships and relations which stood out in the history of Ireland beyond all the faction and all the struggles they had been going through? And the return which the Committee were going to make to the Board for doing all that was simply to tell them they were too late now; they themselves, according to the spirit of the age, had rendered themselves 1598 an Undenominational Institution, and the Committee would not give the exception they would have given if they had retained the character of a Denominational Institution. He should like to ask this question, because he thought it was one entirely germane to the Amendment of his right hon. Friend. What suggestion could be made as to what would be any reasonable change in the Charter of Trinity College as it at present stood? He could well understand an argument brought forward as to whether they were going to allow a change in this or in that respect; but he wanted to know what was the change they suggested could be made with any advantage, or that the Committee would say ought to be made in the Chartered Institution of Trinity College, Dublin? Were they going to make it more undenominational? That was not the policy of the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Their policy was to rear up Denominational Institutions. Were they going to allow them to turn it into a purely Denominational Institution? If so, it would be for Roman Catholic education, as it would be going too far to expect they should ask Trinity College so to alter its Charter as to exclude Roman Catholics, and put it back to the position it was in 100 or more years ago. Therefore, what was the manifest change they were to make? One that might be suggested was that the Catholics might be admitted on the Board. If there was one thing more than another that deserved commendation it was that the Board was not selected with reference to politics, to religion, or anything else save and except merit, according to seniority. There was nothing to prevent Catholics of Ireland, who had attained the position of Fellows, from obtaining even more than a due place on the Governing Body of Trinity College according to their number in the College. Were they going to suggest something like what was suggested and repudiated by this House in 1873, that instead of the present system there should be a selection by the Government, or in some other way, of Roman Catholics and Protestants for the purpose of keeping up a balance on the Board? He submitted a more excellent system prevailed at present; and in the course of time, if the 1599 Roman Catholics came into the University, they would obtain by their own merits a full position on the Board and a full position in the management of this great University. Therefore, he asked, why should Trinity College be in any way interfered with, or why should they give a power of interference? Was there any Catholic candidate, or anyone who had been a student at Trinity College in this House, who would get up and say that, either educationally or socially, he was at any disadvantage in Trinity College? Any Catholic who had gone through Trinity College would bear testimony to the truth of what he was saying—that, so far from its being any disadvantage either in obtaining prizes or the awards that were given, far more than a due proportion of them, according to numbers, were obtained by those Catholics who had matriculated there. For himself he had never known any advantage of any kind derived at Trinity College by the adherents of any religion over those who professed another faith. Therefore, he said that, so far as Trinity College was concerned, it was the great Undenominational Institution in Ireland, that had tended to cement the breaches that had existed, and if they were only a little more common in Ireland might tend to a great and ready solution of this question; therefore, they asked the Committee not to hand over this great Institution to the Irish Legislature. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister said the 6th sub-section was not before them, though he noticed that the right hon. Gentleman, having made that remarkable statement, proceeded to discuss it.
§ MR. CARSON
said, it was a strong point to lay down that hon. Gentlemen must not refer to the 6th sub-section, because the very justification for the Amendment was that they were not protected by any other clause or sub-section in the Bill; therefore, before they could justify their putting down this Amendment, they must be prepared to show—as his right hon. Friend showed conclusively —that none of the safeguards of the 6th 1600 sub-section covered the case of Trinity College, Dublin. They were told by the 6th sub-section that any Corporation incorporated by Royal Charter was not to pass a law—Unless it consents, or the leave of Her Majesty is first obtained on Address from the two Houses of the Irish Legislature.What protection was that? There was not so much protection as an Act of Parliament going through the two Houses; to prevent them passing a law was absurd if the Address of the two Houses was sufficient. Then it was said they must get the assent of Her Majesty in Council. That would depend on what was the condition of the Parties in this House in relation to the Irish contingent who might be holding the Government, who, if the Government refused that assent, might turn the Government out of Office. So, as far as that was concerned, there was no protection at all. He would like to draw attention to this: that if they got that assent they could take away from Trinity College, and deprive her of her property, even without due process of law, and it was only where assent was not given or the Address was not given by the two Houses that they could proceed to deprive Trinity College of her property so long as they did it by due process of law. It would be easy to pass an Act, but what was the due process of law to carry it out? If it meant anything, it meant the process laid down by Parliament itself; because as the law at present existed, he defied his hon. and learned Friend on the Bench opposite to point to any due process by which Trinity College or any of these Corporations could be fined in Ireland. Therefore, they came to this: Was the Committee prepared, in face of the fact that Trinity College had over and over again been assailed, and only protected by the multiplied interests in this House; were they now, after the House in 1873 rejected the proposal, to change the constitution of Trinity College, going to hand over the power of doing so to the Irish Legislature, to a subordinate Parliament to their own? As his righ hon. Friend said, they claimed no immunity for Trinity College —no sanctity; but what they did say was 1601 that if they could find any privileges there that did not attach to all classes of the community, let that be dealt with, and not hand over the College to those whose only effort had been to ever assail and threaten her. He must say, in relation to this Amendment, the conduct of the Government in refusing this safeguard would vastly intensify the feeling of hostility to this measure. He would suggest that, instead of aggravating that feeling which unfortunately existed between the different classes in Ireland, the Government would be doing a generous, a proper, and just act in assenting to the Amendment.
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND (Waterford)
said, that, though he had sedulously abstained from taking part in various Amendments upon this Bill, he thought this was an occasion when, perhaps, a few brief words from an Irish Catholic Nationalist might be of value. No one could complain of either of the speeches of the right hon. Gentlemen representing the University of Dublin. If they really believed, first, that there was among the Catholic Prelates of Ireland, and, secondly, amongst the Catholic population of Ireland a desire to despoil and destroy Trinity College; and, in the third place, if they believed that the safeguards provided were not adequate, they were not only justified, but it was their bounden duty, to take the stand they had upon this Amendment. But he, for his part, disputed both portions of their argument. He did not profess to be in a position to interpret the views of the Catholic Prelates on this question; but certainly he, without any hesitation, could say that he did not believe it was correct to state that amongst the general Catholic population of the country there was any such desire to destroy and despoil Trinity College as seemed to be imagined. No one could help but listen with sympathetic interest to the defence made by the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment; but he would point out that the argument, in which the right hon. Gentleman showed conclusively Trinity College had given advantages to Ireland, was an argument that 1602 ought to convince the Committee that every important party in Ireland had its share in the honour and the pride which Irishmen entertained for Trinity College. The right hon. Gentleman pointed to the fact that Trinity College had been associated in the past with some of the greatest names connected with the National movement in their country; and though the Catholic population of Ireland for many long and weary ages were excluded from the benefits of Trinity College, and though in their eyes it was a citadel of the ascendency party in Ireland, an Irishman still remembered the association of Trinity College with these great names of the National movement, and oven the humblest peasant in Ireland shared in the feeling of pride that found such admirable expression in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman quoted from a speech delivered in 1885 or 1886 of the Most Rev. Dr. Walsh. He assumed the right hon. Gentleman had satisfied himself that that speech was accurately reported. He knew not what were the feelings or opinions entertained by Dr. Walsh at that time; he assumed from the quotation read by the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) that if he entertained those opinions in 1886 he condemned them since; but whether or not it appeared that that right rev. Prelate was not able at the last Election in Ireland to return a single Member for any constituency, either in Dublin City or Dublin County, yet that quotation from the Right Rev. Dr. Walsh was paraded as conclusive proof that he would be able, unchallenged, to have his way in an effort to despoil and destroy Trinity College in an Irish Parliament. If he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had made out his case, first, that the Irish Parliament wanted to destroy Trinity College, and, secondly, they would be able to do it under the Bill—if he was convinced of those two points, he would walk into the Lobby in support of this Amendment. Having dealt, in a few words, with the supposition that the Catholics of Ireland wanted to destroy Trinity College; but utterly disbelieving that, he came to the second point, Was there not adequate provision in the Bill? His hon. and learned Friend who had 1603 just sat down (Mr. Carson) had pointed out this Amendment was rendered necessary by the fact that Subsection 6 of the Bill did not provide adequate security; therefore, he was not only in Order, but was bound to refer to Sub-section 6, and what he said about it was this: If it was not an adequate protection, then its inadequacy must be based on these assumptions. It must be assumed, in the first instance, that the Bishops and all the Prelates of the Catholic Church were determined, in spite of their recent declarations, to destroy Trinity College as a necessary step towards obtaining justice in education for Catholics. Secondly, it must be assumed they would be enabled in an Irish Parliament to obtain Addresses from both Houses in favour of such a policy. He did not believe that such a supposition was possible for a moment. What was the demand which the Irish Catholic Lay Body made on the question of University education? So far as he knew, they had never made anything like a demand, as a body, for any privilege that would tend to destroy and despoil Trinity College. What Catholics had been striving for for generations had been to obtain for themselves an Institution of their own, privileges, and perhaps endowments, as favourable to them as the privileges and endowments enjoyed by the Protestant denominations of Trinity College. He, for one, had never heard any strong demand put forward by responsible Catholic laymen in Ireland in favour of despoiling or destroying Trinity College, and he knew very well that if such a demand were put forward that other Catholic laymen as prominent, and probably as powerful with their country, would be found in bitter and irreconcileable opposition to such a demand. Therefore, he was convinced the second supposition was just as ridiculous as the first supposition, or more so. But the third supposition, on which the inadequacy of this safeguard must rest, is that this Imperial Parliament is not to be trusted in the matter, because Subsection 6 provides that no such legislation can pass unless the two Houses of the Irish Legislature present an Address in favour of it, and unless Her Majesty, acting on the advice of Her Imperial 1604 Cabinet, sanctions it. It was assumed, for the purpose of argument, that when the Irish Prelates had made up their mind to destroy Trinity College, that they became so powerful in the Irish Parliament that they had been able,, against the will of the intelligent Catholic Irish laity, to get an Address in favour of despoiling the College; and it was assumed, in the third place, they came here and found such an acute crisis existing that the Government of the day, to buy the support of Catholic Members from Ireland, would consent to the act of despoiling. A more ridiculous supposition was never heard. If that supposition might be regarded seriously what was to prevent the danger arising now, without Home Rule being passed at all, in any great political crisis which might arise to-morrow? ["Hear, hear!"] He appreciated the meaning of that cheer, and he applied it at the present moment for illustrating his argument. Say at this moment there was a Government in power who depended for existence on the vote of the Irish Catholics, and suppose the Irish Bishops had, through these representations, demanded the Government should consent to an Act despoiling and destroying Trinity College, did they believe that a Government, even so dependent and servile as they called the present Government, would dare, in the face of English Protestant opinion, consent to such a proposal? They knew it was an impossibility. But even if it were the case, that danger existed now; the danger would be no greater, after they passed this Bill as it stood at present, than at the present moment. He was convinced the safeguard in Sub-section 6 was sufficient. If he thought it was insufficient—if he believed that the Irish Parliament wished to destroy Trinity College, and had power under the Bill to do it, he would vote for the Amendment. It was because he, as an Irish Catholic, repudiated that idea that they were guilty of the vandalism of trying to destroy that noble monument of their country, that he should vote against the Amendment.
§ * MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
should be sorry if the question of Trinity College was supposed to be left 1605 to the Members of the University of Dublin in this House. His right hon. Friend the Head of the Government objected to this Amendment on the ground that it was supposed to denationalise the University of Dublin. That was the strongest argument put forward against this Amendment. Let them understand what the position of Dublin University was at this moment. For a century all Irishmen, irrespective of creed, had been freely admitted to the University of Dublin; and as the hon. Member for Waterford had reminded them he, his father, and grandfather, Lad shared in the educational advantages of that great Society. For 20 years every pecuniary advantage obtainable by any student in fair and free competition had been open to every Irishman; and Roman Catholics, and Moravians, and men of diverse creeds had succeeded in obtaining the highest position in the Society. They had become Fellows. A Roman Catholic at this moment was a Fellow of Trinity College; and there was, in fact, nothing whatever to detract from its truly national character. It was non-Catholic, just as it was non-Episcopalian or non-Wesleyan, and, if Catholic students entered and distinguished themselves, nothing was required but the slow lapse of time to transform its living organisation into a predominantly Catholic Institution. It was now national, and what they feared was that, if left to the free action of the Irish Legislature, it might cease to be national, and might, by the operation of that Legislature, be transformed in some degree, if not wholly, into an Institution of a totally different character. That was the ground of the attack of Archbishop Walsh in Trinity College—that it was non-Catholic; and he said in 1886—which was not so far back—that he would never be satisfied with any concession that left that citadel untouched in its non-Catholic character. The hon. Member for North Kerry had read some very recent resolutions of the Roman Catholic hierarchy assembled together, which had, the hon. Member understood, put a totally different complexion upon their demand. Let him point out they were not afraid of any suggestion of despoiling, destroying, or scattering Trinity 1606 College. He did not conceive that the most ignorant Irish peasant, or the most virulent Irish ecclesiastic had dreams of that kind. It was a great Institution not to be destroyed, but what they feared was its transformation.
§ MR. SEXTON
The resolutions I read showed that, in the opinion of the hierarchy, in order to settle the University question in Ireland satisfactorily to the Catholics, it was not necessary to lay a finger upon Trinity College.
§ * MR. COURTNEY
I listened carefully to the reading of those resolutions. The dominant resolution was that there was to be introduced something which would give a Catholic character to the control and administration of the Universities. ["No, no!"] What was the third resolution?
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the first resolution stated that the question might be settled by the establishment of an exclusively Catholic University, or that in connection with a common University there should be a Catholic College. The third resolution related to a common University, and said the Catholics should have the security of a number of representatives on the Governing Body, and there was also the alternative of making an exclusively Catholic University. There were clearly two alternatives— either by establishing an exclusively Catholic College, or of a Catholic College in connection with a common University. The earlier of the two alternatives excluded the idea of interference with Trinity College.
§ * MR. COURTNEY
said, the proposal, as he listened to those resolutions, seemed to be that those who were responsible for them would be quite content to have a Catholic College within the University, and that University would be transformed into an Institution largely controlled by the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Those resolutions were directed to alteration and denationalisation of Trinity College, so as to convert that which was now open to all classes into an Institution to be largely—if not 1607 exclusively—controlled by the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
§ MR. SEXTON
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman desires that the resolutions should be fairly understood. No doubt a common University might or might not exclude Trinity College; but certainly the proposal for an exclusively Catholic University is one which excludes the idea of interfering with Trinity College at all.
§ MR. COURTNEY
Does the hon. Member for North Kerry think that in the condition of the finances of Ireland in the future it will be possible to endow a strictly Roman Catholic University on the same scale as Trinity College?
§ MR. SEXTON
I reply at once in the same strain that if the University Question could be settled without touching or hurting Trinity College the Irish people would be happy to find the money.
§ * MR. COURTNEY
said, they were really fighting against the deprivation, or the possible deprivation, of the National character of this great Society. His right hon. Friend the Prime Minister went a little too far. He had forgotten what had already been included in this clause. There had been put in words to prevent the Irish Legislature from diverting the property of any Religions Body, and it was intended that there should be no power on the part of the Irish Legislature to interfere with the organisation of any Religious Body. They were seeking the same protection here for a non-Denominational Institution as was granted to a Denominational Institution. The power to deal with Denominational Institutions in Ireland had been taken from the Irish and given to the Imperial Legislature. Because Trinity College was not denominational, but was national; because it had risen to the height of their greatest ambition they, the Government, were determined to take it away from the protection of the Imperial Parliament, and give it to the protection of an Irish Parliament. And then there were those famous words in a subsequent 1608 sub-section, to which they were referred as comforting words. If the position taken up by the Head of the Government was accurate, he had in those words introduced some extra-national protection. But he would point out that if the action of the Queen in assenting to an Address of the two Houses of the Irish Legislature was to be controlled by the advice of Her Majesty's Ministers here, they did so far expatriate the control of the University, and did take it away from the Irish Legislature and give it, in some shape at all events, to the Imperial Legislature. He confessed that in the words which were inserted in the Proviso to which the hon. Member for Waterford had referred, he could find nothing about the Queen exercising her Prerogative on the advice of the Privy Council in England.
§ * MR. COURTNEY
said, the hon. Member quoted it. [Mr. J. REDMOND: No.] He knew that the words were not in the Proviso; on a strict construction of the language the words ought not to be there, and, what was more, in the nature of things the words could never have had a dual operation. If it were conceded that the future fortunes of the University of Dublin were to be open to the action of an Address from the two Houses of the Irish Legislature to the Crown, it would be practically impossible for the Crown, whatever might be the feelings of the Ministers of the Crown, to refuse to assent to this Address. [An hon. MEMBER: There is the veto.] The veto would be utterly powerless, and would never be put into operation. Irrespective of the possibility of pressure to be exercised by Irish Members in this House, it would never be put into operation from the nature of things. It would be vain and idle to think that they had got any protection in that reserved power of refusing assent to an Address of the two Houses. But, asked the hon. Member for Waterford, was it conceivable that any Ministry would assent to it? They had the spectacle in 1873. When the Head of the Government introduced his ill-omened Bill of that year 1609 he was yielding to a demand, just in the same way as a demand might be yielded to if this Bill became law and the operation of the subsequent clause came into play. The right hon. Gentleman, in introducing his Bill of 1873, was yielding to a demand which was happily defeated by the pressure of forces which he was afraid were not so strong now as then. He was defeated by a strong Radical contingent, at the head of which was his lamented friend, Mr. Fawcett. In this Amendment they were, no doubt, touching one of the vital issues of the whole problem. They were considering whether they should abandon that moderating control which this Parliament had exercised in the past in order to give over—not to the control of a unanimous nation, but to the control of a sectarian majority—the future administration and fortunes of the highest form of education in Ireland. In this connection he could not help recalling the words used, in the later years of his life, by a great Belgian authority, M. de Laveleye, who was himself engaged in a similar University struggle, and also in a struggle respecting primary and secondary education in Belgium. That gentleman, strong Liberal and partisan of nationalists as he was, said that the separation of Belgium from Holland was, in his view, a mistake, because it handed over the national education of Belgium to struggle with an ecclesiastical party. They wore now entering upon a similar path, and they might take warning from that language. It might well make them pause and say that, from a consideration of the facts of the case and the issues involved, they would keep this great National Institution national under the auspices of the Imperial Parliament, and not submit it to the chances of any Legislature in Dublin.
§ * MR. W. KENNY (Dublin, St. Stephen's Green)
said, the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Redmond) had asked to be heard as a Catholic Nationalist, and he (Mr. Kenny) asked the Committee to hear him as a Catholic Unionist who had graduated in the University of Dublin. He supported the Amendment which had been moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University, and supported by the junior 1610 Member for the University of Dublin, because he had been through Trinity College, and he knew how free that College was to every denomination at the present time, and on what a basis of perfect equality all the alumni of that College stood, and had stood for years. The hon. Member for Waterford repudiated the notion that the Irish people or the future Irish Parliament would either attempt to destroy or despoil Trinity College. He was inclined to agree with the hon. and learned Member to a certain extent. He did not think it necessary for those who supported the Amendment to go the length of saying that the Irish people or the future Irish Parliament were likely to despoil or destroy Trinity College; but that the Irish Parliament would meddle with Trinity College no person who had listened to the speech of the hon. Gentleman could doubt for one moment, because, while he repudiated the notion that the Irish people would either destroy or despoil Trinity College, he had not for one moment said that the Irish Parliament would not deal with it in some way or other. How did the matter stand, and how was Trinity College situated under the present Bill? The Prime Minister said that the Amendment proposed to take the University out of the control of the Irish Parliament altogether. But what did the right hon. Gentleman himself do in his Bill of 1886? By his Bill of 1886 the right hon. Gentleman did what he now complains the Amendment proposes to do. Evidently, upon the consideration they had given to the Bill in the interval between 1886 and 1893, the Government hail come now to a different conclusion with regard to the control of Corporations to that at which they had arrived in 1886. By Sub-section 5 of Clause 4 of the Bill of 1886 the Irish Legislature was restrained from making any laws which would impair the rights, property, or privileges of any existing Corporation incorporated by Royal Charter or local or general Act of Parliament, unless with the consent of the particular Corporation or the leave of Her Majesty was first obtained on an Address from the Irish Legislature. The University of Dublin was incorporated by Royal Charter, so that under that Bill the Irish Parliament could not 1611 have trenched upon the privileges of Trinity College in the slightest degree without the consent of that Corporation itself or by leave of Her Majesty. Under the present Bill what had they? The Government intentions had undergone a change, and now they had inserted in the 6th sub-section of this clause the words "without due process of law." The University of Dublin was a Corporation, and under this 6th sub-section of the 4th clause of the Bill no law could be made by which an existing Corporation might, unless it consented or the leave of Her Majesty was first obtained on an Address of the two Houses of the Legislature, be deprived of its rights, privileges, or property, "without due process of law." But by "due process of law," whatever that indefinite expression might mean, Trinity College, as a Corporation under this sub-section, could be deprived of rights, privileges, or property. That led him, to some extent, to anticipate the discussion which would arise further on as to what was the meaning of "due process of law." Was it not the law which would be found to exist when the "due process" came to be put into force? The procedure, by which a Corporation like Trinity College might be deprived of its Charter, or have that Charter altered against its will, might not be changed, but it would be perfectly possible for the Irish Parliament to create new causes of forfeiture, which might be made the basis hereafter for depriving the University of Dublin of its ancient Charter. [An hon. MEMBER: The veto!] They were told that this Bill bristled with safeguards, and was saturated with supremacy. He ventured to say it was pervaded with distrust of the Irish Parliament from beginning to end. If any other argument were required to support that contention, it was supplied by the fact that Corporations like Trinity College had been placed in the 4th sub-section, which comprised certain subjects withdrawn from the cognisance of the Irish Parliament, because it was anticipated that Irish legislation with reference to them might lead to injustice of some sort. As a graduate of Trinity College, who did not want that ancient University touched or meddled with in any degree, he heartily supported the Amendment.
§ MR. ROSS (Londonderry)
, speaking on behalf of the Presbyterian graduates of Trinity College, corroborated everything that had been said by his hon. and learned Friend as to there being no ascendency whatever, but absolute equality among all classes of students in that University. He considered the hon. and learned Member for Waterford was the last person in that House who had any right whatever to give them any assurances as to the safety of Trinity College. The hon. and learned Member told them, in the first place, that the Irish hierarchy had not the will to attack Trinity College, and that, if they had the will, they had not the power. The hon. and learned Member asked, in triumphant tones, how was it the Irish hierarchy had been unable to return one single Member for Dublin City or County? He would like to know how many were returned over the rest of Ireland?
§ MR. J. REDMOND
That is not what I said at all. Archbishop Walsh was quoted, and it was sought to be inferred that he and those who agreed with him would be omnipotent; and I pointed out that Dr. Walsh, in his own arch-diocese, had been unable to return a single Member for the City or County of Dublin.
§ MR. ROSS
said that, although Dr. Walsh had not been able to return any Members in his own diocese, his colleagues with whom he acted, and who moved together as one man, were able to sweep the whole of the rest of Ireland. [Mr. J. REDMOND: They were not quoted.] The fact was as he stated, and his argument, therefore, held. The hon. and learned Gentleman, he had no doubt, if he was in an Irish Legislature, would do his best to defend the interests of Trinity College. The hon. Member was one of the few hon. Members sitting below the Gangway educated at Trinity College; some other Nationalist Protestant Home Rule Members showed their patriotism by going to Oxford and Cambridge. The hon. and learned Member for Water-ford would, on doubt, do his best to protect Trinity College from the attacks of 1613 the hierarchy; but what power would he have? He was at present at the head of a powerful Party of nine; but was there any prospect of the hon. and learned Member adding to that Party in Ireland? ["Yes."] He was glad to see that the Party of nine were a Party of hope. The hon. Member and his Party had fought a desperate and determined battle for a good cause. [Ironical Nationalist cheers.]
§ MR. ROSS
said, he could not imagine a bettor cause, after the exposure of the tyrannous conduct of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland. He thought it was a glorious struggle. But what chance would that Party have of half as much support when they were fighting on behalf of Trinity College? Any person living in Ireland must know that the protection held out to them by the hon. and learned Gentleman and his Party of nine was a protection upon which no sane man could rely. Again, what protection could they expect from the popular Assembly; and as to the Legislative Council, what man with any knowledge of Irish affairs could imagine that the representatives of the £20 valuation, Irish farmers, would ever be inclined to strike a blow on behalf of Trinity College? Why, half of them had never heard of Trinity College. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to fall back upon the veto. He had noticed for the last few days that no Member of the present Cabinet would oven mention the veto without a kind of apologetic cough. As regarded the House of Commons being influenced by the votes of the Irish majority in that House, they had at present in the House of Lords a protection against any sudden change being made. This was a matter of interest to the entire Protestant population of Ireland— Presbyterian and Church of Ireland— and to a large portion of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. If Trinity College had shut its doors against denominations, if it had never admitted Presbyterian or Roman Catholic, it would at present be safe under the Bill; but because Trinity College had had the courage and the 1614 progressive spirit to throw open its doors to all classes of Irishmen, it was to be left absolutely at the mercy of those who had proclaimed themselves hostile to it. He would like to know what position the Government took up in this matter, and whether they thought that Trinity College was in no danger? The Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland had always demanded the supreme control of education, and any person who could imagine that Trinity College would be safe under the circumstances would believe that a lamb would be safe when thrown to a wolf. If the Catholic hierarchy did not seize Trinity College they would, beyond all doubt, attempt to establish a Roman Catholic University in Ireland, and the funds would come from the resources of Trinity College. ["No, no!"] Of all the cruel and wicked things in this Bill, the handing over of Trinity College, which had been so often threatened and had been so so much the object of attack of the Catholic hierarchy, was the worst. He begged to support the Amendment.
§ MR. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
said, so much misconception had arisen with regard to the views of the Irish hierarchy on this question, and especially with regard to the views of Archbishop Walsh, that he thought it necessary to go back to the subject for a short time. In the extract which the right hon. Gentleman had read Archbishop Walsh was dealing with the question of the claim of the Irish Catholics for equality in higher education, and he only referred to the objection of Trinity College standing as a badge of ascendency, inasmuch as the Irish Catholics were not to be placed on terms of equality with it. Archbishop Walsh was commenting upon a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, from whom danger was more to be apprehended in this matter. He said—Before quoting from this important speech, I think it useful to make some general observations as to the various ways in which the work of reform in the department of Irish University Education may be taken in hand with a view to a satisfactory and final result. Keeping in view, then, the one essential element of the Catholic claim—that is to say, equality—we 1615 may regard the Irish University Question as capable of being finally dealt with in any of the three following ways. It may be dealt with on the basis either of one State-recognised University in Ireland, or of two such Universities, or of three.I. First plan: One State-recognised University in Ireland embracing as its Colleges all Colleges fulfilling certain conditions to be laid down as entitling a College to University status; the examination for degrees to be held, and the degrees to be conferred, by the University. This was the basis of Mr. Gladstone's scheme. In any such settlement of the question, the points to be carefully looked after and secured would be—(a.) An endowment for a fully equipped Catholic College in Dublin, which would place that College in a position, and furnish it with advantages, equal in every respect to those of Trinity College.II. Second plan: Two State recognised Universities in Ireland—one of these being the University of Dublin modified in its constitution, as Mr. Butt proposed, so as to comprise within it a great Catholic College in Dublin, in addition to Trinity College—the Royal University continuing substantially in its present form, but with all necessary modifications in detail. In any settlement proceeding on these lines, the same three points would require attention which have been mentioned in the case of the first plan. But, as regards the third of these points, two Governing Bodies would have to be dealt with in this case—one for each University.III. Third plan: Three State-recognised Universities in Ireland—one of these being the University of Dublin, its present constitution, as well as that of Trinity College, being in no way interfered with; the second being a Catholic University, the central seat of which would be a great Catholic College in Dublin; the third being a University for the Presbyterians and Protestant Dissenters generally, which would naturally have for its centre the present Queen's College of Belfast.It was upon these proposals that all this vehement declamation had been uttered as to the intentions of the Irish hierarchy with regard to Trinity College. He was in no way concerned to defend Archbishop Walsh; but that most reverend Prelate was distinguished for the broadness of his views. He wished now to quote an extract from a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on the 24th August, 1889. The right hon. Gentleman said—I repeat in the House what I have said outside the House, that, in my opinion, something ought to be done to give higher University education to the Roman Catholics in Ireland.But where were the funds to come from? It ought to be the duty of any Government responsible for the government of the country to devote its attention to that 1616 matter. The right Gentleman proceeded—I regret—I do not deny that I do regret— that the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland have felt it their duty to discourage men of their religion from taking full advantage of the Queen's Colleges in Galway or Cork, or of Trinity College, Dublin, which are now open to every denomination. But regrets are vain things. The Roman Catholic hierarchy have thought it their duty to adopt this policy, and we have to take the facts as we find them. The experiment of undenominational higher education in Ireland has now been tried sufficiently long to make it, I am afraid, perfectly clear that nothing Parliament has hitherto done to promote that object will really meet the wants and wishes of the Roman Catholic population of the country.Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman did not remember the expression, but Archbishop Walsh had called attention to the fact that that extract from the right hon Gentleman's speech, which appeared in The Times and other newspapers, was suppressed in the Hansard report.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
As the hon. Member has thrown out a challenge to me, I can hardly do otherwise than meet it. I have no doubt that the extract from my speech which the hon. Gentleman read is accurate. I admit that in 1889 I held hopes on the subject of higher education in Ireland which have been a good deal dashed since by experience throughout the country; but from no words I have uttered on the subject do I recede one hair's breadth. I always thought, and still think, that it is a most unfortunate development of modern Roman Catholicism that they insist, wherever they have the power, in discouraging Roman Catholics from going to any place of higher education in Ireland of which they have not the control; but, as I said in the extract quoted, I have to recognise the facts. I cannot look at what has been done in Germany and Belgium, or at the aspirations uttered in Ireland, without seeing that in all countries where the Roman Catholic clergy are in a dominant position they do insist that higher education for members of their own creed shall only take place in institutions under their own control. In these circumstances I thought in 1889, and I think still, that it would be politic, wise, I will not say just, but it 1617 would belong to the higher region of statesmanship, closely bearing upon justice—I mean it is not a right to be claimed, but a gift to be granted—that the Imperial Parliament should do something to meet this demand in Ireland, without which I believe neither the Roman Catholic clergy nor the Roman Catholic population will ever be contented. I think if it were done it would have the effect of absolutely saving Trinity College from any probable attack upon it. If this Bill passes, I do not see how it is to be done, because it will require a large expenditure of money, which the Irish Exchequer will not be able to provide. The deduction to be made from that is that when the Irish Parliament find themselves face to face with the alternative of wringing the last 6d. from their own taxpayers on the one side, or of attacking an institution like Trinity College on the other, the life of Trinity College would not be worth five years' purchase unless some provision such as that proposed is inserted in the Bill, or some machinery which will conform to the wishes of the Irish episcopacy is provided. That is the reason why I earnestly desire to see the Amendment put in the Bill. Hon. Members below the Gangway answer the contention that Trinity College would be attacked as a godless Institution by saying that the Catholic hierarchy have expressed their willingness to be content with the establishment of another Catholic University side by side with Trinity College. But can they establish such a University under the Bill? I put that question to the Government. Will it be possible, in face of Sub-section 1 of this clause, which says that the Irish Legislature may make no law respecting the establishment or endowment of religion? Do the Government mean, or do they not mean, to prohibit the application of Irish taxes, drawn from every class of the Irish community, to the establishment of one, two, three, or half-a-dozen purely Sectarian Institutions as the new Legislature may determine? That is a question of vital importance. It appears to me that the Government themselves do not know what will be the powers of the Irish Legislature on this point, and have not made up their minds whether they will give that power to the Irish Legislature 1618 or not. There does not seem to me to be any protection whatever afforded to an Institution which for 300 years, in times of the deepest political gloom, in times of revolution, in all circumstances and under all kinds of government, has held aloft in Ireland the flame of pure learning, research, and scholarship, irrespective of party or creed, to the lasting honour of the Irish race.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he had ventured on a former occasion to say that the Members from Ireland could not assent to the proposition that in a settlement of this kind any such buffer should be interposed as would prevent the Irish Legislature from endeavouring to complete an admittedly incomplete institution in that country—namely, University education. One word on the subject of the Amendment. If there were no other security—and securities wore piled on each other—than the general desire on the part of Ireland for a system of University education which would be satisfactory to Catholics, that desire in itself would be ample security for Trinity College. Trinity College would not be interfered with, because any attempt to interfere with it would so complicate the question and so excite religious animosity as to make it impossible for the Irish people to proceed with the question of University education. The best line for them to take would be to leave Trinity College alone and make the necessary provision outside it. That was his honest view on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had asked a question. He had quoted the 1st subsection, and had asked about endowment of religion. Well, he (Mr. Sexton) had not the slightest doubt that complete provision for University education in Ireland in a manner acceptable to Catholics might be made without endowing religion directly or indirectly. With regard to the 2nd sub-section as to imposing any disability or conferring any privilege on account of religious belief, he ventured to express the view that as Trinity College was substantially a Protestant Institution governed by a body of Protestant ecclesiastics who conducted Protestant religious services—he did 1619 not think Catholics wanted to go as far as that—while Trinity College was so reserved, and while the Queen's Colleges were not available for the body of the Catholics of Ireland, his view was that it would be competent for the Irish Legislature under this clause to complete the provision for University education, that was to say, to establish a University Institution which Catholics would be willing to attend without directly or indirectly endowing religion or imposing any disability or conferring any privilege for religious belief, because he held that complete provision for University education in Ireland would not be effected by imposing disabilities or conferring privileges on account of religious belief, but by converting the inequality that now prevailed in Ireland with regard to University education into a general equality.
§ MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's,) Hanover Square
I would ask Her Majesty's Government whether, after that statement, they are better able to answer the question put to them than they were before? The Solicitor General was asked most courteously by my right hon. Friend whether, in the judgment of the Government, the Legislative Authority in Ireland will have power to establish a Denominational University side by side with Trinity College. I cannot conceive, on the one hand, that the Government should not have made up their mind absolutely on the subject; and, on the other hand, that if they had made up their mind, they should either wish or be entitled to withhold their view from the Committee. We are now in this position: that the question of danger to Trinity College depends, to a great extent, on the answer that will be given to this question. The Committee will feel that on both sides of the House we are fairly entitled to know whether the Government accept the opinion that has been propounded by the hon. Member for Kerry, that, under this sub-section, the Roman Catholics would have the power to establish a University. We ought to be told whether that power, if not expressed, is contained in the clause—
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I would ask, Sir, as a point of Order, whether on Sub-section 6 the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to ask a question on Sub-section 2?
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, that though he had differed from hon. Gentlemen opposite on the question of primary education ever since he had entered Parliament, he had always thought that Roman Catholics had a grievance so far as higher education was concerned, and in voting for this Amendment to-day he did not at all recede from the position he had hitherto occupied on that question. He held in his hand a statement by Cardinal Logue, an authority quite equal to Archbishop Walsh on this matter. His Eminence said—We do not want any special treatment at the hands of the Government, We want no special advantage. We want simply to be put on the same footing as the rest of our fellow-countrymen of every denomination, and, please Providence, we will continue to agitate and never cease until we have acquired for ourselves these strict rights.That was the right of equality. Now, he (Mr. T. W. Russell) wanted to ask the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Sexton), if the Roman Catholics of Ireland were to be put on the same footing with respect to University education as the rest of the population, whore, under an Irish Legislature, was the money to come from? It came to be a matter of money, and he held that this was one of the reasons, and almost a paramount reason, against Home Rule. If the Catholics of Ireland were to be on the same footing in this matter as the rest of the population, there was no way to effect it accept by despoiling Trinity College of part of its revenues, and it was simply because the Irish Legislature would have the power to do that that he objected to the Bill passing in its present form. He was told that the question could be settled by the Irish Legislature by establishing a Roman Catholic College within the University of Dublin. But that would alter the whole Governing Body of Trinity College, and would do serious mischief on the Boards, I and those mixed Boards had not 1621 worked so well in the past as to make an extension of them viewed with anything like equanimity. It was a strange turn in the whirligig that this University of Dublin which opened its doors to all creeds and classes in 1873, acceding to the desires of the Radical Party of that day led by Professor Fawcett, should now be punished by the modern Radical Party because of its liberality.
§ * SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said, that on the question of public education he quite approved of the interpretation of the Bill, which was that this matter of public education would be left by it to those who were locally and chiefly interested. If he had had any doubt on the question as to whether the Irish Parliament would have power to deal with this subject—if there were doubts on Sub-sections 1 and 2—the whole inference from Sub-section 3 was that the Irish Legislature would have power to establish a Catholic University or College. Legislation was prohibited which would abrogate the right to endow such an Institution. The inference from that was, that in the absence of such legislation, the right would exist; therefore, he took it that the right would exist in the Irish Parliament. Then they had heard the objection that there would be no means for that purpose. He thought those who suggested that were apt to forget the sacrifices that Roman Catholics had made for purposes of education. They had been ill-disposed at times to accept State aid, and judging from these circumstances he should think the money would be forthcoming. But while he thought that power would exist, and, under Home Rule, rightly exist, to establish such a University or College, and while it was well that the country should realise what powers Home Rule would carry with it, he had come to the conclusion, as the result of the Debate, that if this denominational legislation which might be promoted was to exist, there was the more need for retaining security for undenominational education. He hoped that, for the solution of this problem which the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench had approved—namely, the making of education in Ireland national, the means would 1622 be forthcoming. He thought this absolutely necessary for the development of the intellectual resources of the country. But, at the same time, they saw in Trinity College at this moment the centre of undenominational education in Ireland, and he thought that they were bound to take securities for the maintenance of that centre. He spoke with all sympathy for those who desired denominational education, but there were some who did not desire it; and though they might be in a minority in Ireland, they were entitled to have their feelings respected. The Government admitted that principle, as they maintained that Sub-section 6 provided for the case in question, and gave the necessary security. It either did or did not. If it did, no harm would be done by rendering the fact perfectly clear. If it did not, then the Amendment was necessary. The other remedy—the veto —he regarded as, throughout the Bill, illusory. It had never been exercised for long periods in our history. It was mediæval almost in its character, and he remembered that recently, when the question even of the liberty of the subject was raised in the House in connection with the subject of Kanaka labour in Queensland, both sides of the House considered that it would be I impolitic to exercise the veto.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I asked in a courteous manner a question of the Government a short time ago, and I trust the Debate will not be allowed to close without an answer being given to me.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I am quite ready to answer the question at the proper time. We are not on the point to which the right hon. Gentleman referred at the present moment. It is not necessary to go into matters which can be discussed when the clause is put and we are dealing with the meaning of the section.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Of course, it is in the power of Her Majesty's Government to answer or not as they think fit. As the right hon. Gentleman is of opinion that it is on the clause that we should raise this question I will not press the matter now. I, however, will ask for an answer when the proper time comes.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 242; Noes 284.—(Division List, No. 160.)
§ MR. RENTOUL (Down, E.)
said, he wished to move—In page 2, line 33, after Sub-section 5, to insert "affecting the constitution, endowments, property, or privileges of Queen's College, Belfast.This Amendment, though similar in words to the one which had just been decided, except that, instead of "Trinity College, Dublin," there were substituted the words "Queen's College, Belfast," was a modest one, and referred to a modest Institution compared with the great Institution they had been debating for the past two or three hours. There were in Ireland three Queen's Colleges endowed in exactly the same manner and standing on exactly the same footing, and he confined his Amendment to one of these, and that for a special reason. He had been a student of the three Colleges, and he must say that Queen's College, Belfast, stood on a totally different footing from the others, because it was the most fully-equipped College in Ireland for training the ministers of the Presbyterian Church; and though this College had been the most serviceable for the amount of money laid out of any University College in the United Kingdom, it was not on that ground that he based the Amendment. His ground was the peculiar position this College occupied as the only fully-equipped Training College for the clergy of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Since the College was founded in 1849, 43 years ago, it had educated no less than 5,133 students, at a cost of only about £67 a head. Therefore, upon the ground of economy and cheapness as an Educational Institution, it had a very great claim to the particular consideration of the House. It had turned out some of the most distinguished men of the Empire at the present time, though it was true that, not having had a history of 300 years to go back on, it could not point to the great names which could be mentioned in connection with Trinity College. It had educated the Master of the Rolls in Ireland; it had educated one of the most distinguished heads of the 1624 medical profession in this country, Sir William M'Cormack; it had educated the Minister of Finance in China; and Sir David Barbour, the Minister of Finance in India, not to speak of a largo number of the most distinguished servants of the Crown. It was also the only means or outlet through which the youth of the farming and middle class of Ulster could enter the learned professions or the higher branches of the Civil Service of the country. Therefore, its importance from all these points of view could not be over-rated. But he desired for a moment or two to dwell on the point to which he attached the chief importance, and he asked the attention of the hon. Member for North Kerry to his remarks, because he fancied it was possible that he would be able to see an amount of justice in the claim that he made, differing as it did in one very essential particular from the claim which had just been made and negatived on the part of Trinity College; and if the hon. Member advised the Government to accept the Amendment, it might be, to say the least of it, that they would give great consideration to that advice. It was, therefore, with great confidence in his sense of fair play that he (Mr. Rentoul) made this appeal to the hon. Gentleman. Prior to 1849, as probably the hon. Member knew, there was a College in Belfast, a building now occupied by the Belfast Academical Institution, and that College was then well-equipped for the training of ministers in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. But when the Queen's Colleges wore established in 1849 the Presbyterians shut up their own College at once, seeing that a much better-equipped one was provided. They entirely gave up their own College, and turned all the students into the Queen's College, Belfast. The hon. Member to whom he had appealed, and who would probably speak for the Irish Party in this matter, would admit that in an Irish Parliament the majority of Members would undoubtedly be Roman Catholics. Supposing that the Roman Catholics constituting the Irish Parliament were as fair-minded, broad-minded, and honourable men as ever sat in any Parliament, and as he would readily grant to the hon. Member, they would have the sole control of the Training College for the 1625 clergy of the Presbyterian Church. He asked with confidence whether that was a position in which the Presbyterian Church of Ireland ought to be placed— that the only fully-equipped Institution they had for the training of candidates for the ministry of their Church should be under the sole control of a Parliament whose Members differed from them extremely in religious matters? Even if it were granted, for the sake of argument, that an Irish Parliament would like to do nothing but justice to every Irishman, one would not like in a matter of that sort to receive even that which was regarded as justice from those who held entirely different religious views. The Presbyterians made no claim, and had never made any claim, to ascendency, and most decidedly they had never had any ascendency. If Roman Catholics had ever suffered disabilities, the Presbyterians had been subject to them also. Considering that a deputation from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland had been refused a hearing by the Prime Minister, it could not surely be regarded as strange that the present demand should be made upon the Committee. Feeling that the Amendment was a just and fair one, he would ask for the sympathy and concurrence even of the Nationalist Home Rulers in reference to the proposal. The Prime Minister was aware that the endowments of Queen's College, Belfast, might be classed under two heads. There was an endownment of some £7,000 a year, which came out of the Consolidated Fund. There was also an endowment of £1,600 a year, which was voted annually by Parliament, and it was with regard to this grant that fears were entertained by the Governing Body of the College. The President and Professors of Queen's College, who had put their difficulties and their doubts before him, said that whilst they thought that their own salaries and those of the various higher servants of the Institution, amounting to £7,000 a year, wore quite safe, they were afraid that the grant of £1,600 a year, which was used for the keeping up of the library and museums and for heating, lighting, painting, stationery, advertising and other small matters in connection with the College, would not be voted at all by the Irish 1626 Legislature. Without this £1,600 there would be no possibility of keeping the College going even for a single year. In view of the absolute danger in which the grant would be placed, Presbyterians desired that it should be safeguarded, chiefly on the grounds that the establishment of Queen's College led them to give up their own College, and that its dissolution would leave them practically without a College.
In page 2, line 33, after the word "or." to insert, as a new sub-section, the words "(6) Affecting the constitution, endowments, property, or privileges of Queen's College, Belfast." —(Mr. Rentoul.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. J. MORLEY
As this Amendment has been allowed to be moved, I of course accept the fact that it is in Order. Otherwise I should have supposed that the principles the Committee asserted in the last Division would have clearly covered this case, for surely everyone in the Committee will see that it would be an absurdity for us, after refusing to exclude from the purview of the Irish Legislature the Constitutional privileges and endowments of Trinity College except so far as they are already protected by Sub-section 6, to consent to the exclusion of Queen's College, Belfast. No doubt the hon. and learned Member can make a good case for the worth and the merits of Queen's College, Belfast, and I hope he will not think that I in any way fall short in my appreciation of the work that is done there. But on what ground can we, after dealing in a certain way with a great Institution like Trinity College, apply a different principle altogether to Queen's College, Belfast? If we were to accept this Amendment, why should we not also deal out special treatment to Cork and Galway?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, whilst he might be perfectly right according to his own view, must bear in mind that there were Members of the House who specially 1627 represented the Presbyterians of Ireland. [Nationalist cries of "Divide!"] Hon. Gentlemen need not be in such a hurry. He, for his part, would not have the interests of his constituents thrown to the wolves even though hon. Gentlemen might clamour for the Closure. If there had been one Institution in Ireland which had been universally condemned by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Roman Catholic people it had been the Queen's Colleges. Was there a Roman Catholic Bishop in Ireland who had changed his mind about the Queen's Colleges? If the Bishops still held their former views, he asked whether Ulster Members would be justified in allowing a proposal of this kind to pass without a word of comment or protest? These Colleges had been denounced as godless Institutions ever since they were established. Could anyone say that the Roman Catholic hierarchy would not denounce them in the future as they had done in the past; and would anyone deny that the Roman Catholic hierarchy would manage the Irish Legislature? It managed the Irish Members in the present Parliament, and it would manage them in the Irish Legislature. That being so, be held that his hon. Friend had been perfectly right in moving the Amendment.
§ MR. CONNOR (Antrim, N.)
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland to say whether the £7,000 endowment would continue to be charged on the Consolidated Fund, and remarked, that if it were not, the Queen's Colleges would be entirely deprived of their means of living.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 238; Noes 279.—(Division List, No. 161.)
§ It being after half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.