§ "And we humbly represent to Your Majesty that the Catholics of Ireland have long suffered and still suffer under an intolerable grievance in respect of University education; that the existence and the oppressive character of this grievance have been recognised by successive Governments; and that it is the duty of Your Majesty's Government immediately to propose legislation with a view to placing Irish Catholics on a footing of equality with their fellow countrymen of other religious denominations in all matter's concerned with University education."
§ MR. ROBERT WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
resumed his speech, which had been interrupted by the operation of the Rules of the House. He said: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish now to say that I am by no means out of sympathy with the preamble to this Amendment. I think that, as the general educational situation stands at this moment, Catholicism is suffering under an intolerable grievance in not possessing a State University system equally with Protestantism. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and his followers have shown great alacrity in the work of sectarian endowment. They lost no time, or, at all events, very little time, in endowing and strengthening Anglican sacerdotalism; indeed, the speed they showed in this work was second only to the natural, or rather supernatural, swiftness with which they proceeded to endow another important, though secular, sect, I mean British landlordism. As we know, the First Lord of the Treasury thinks that the Irish Catholics have a right to a University made as impossible for Protestants as Trinity College is said to be for Catholics, by a diffusion of what is called Catholic atmosphere, to be generated by a mechanism he did not describe, but which he seemed to warrant as sufficient for the purposes. I think, Sir, that Irish Catholic Members have a right to ask why he did not state at what time, or 906 about what time, he proposes to introduce a Bill for carrying his design into execution. From the pathetic and high-toned appeals he made to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen behind him I think it may be inferred that he has got to educate his Party in this matter, as had to be done by an illustrious predecessor of his in connection with another subject; and I am not sure that he has not got to educate his Government also in the matter, as it seemed to me that he put his views forward rather as a personal and pious opinion of his own; and as his Party may, I think, without offence, be described, especially in this matter, as the Party of privilege, of tradition, and of the status quo, it is not improbable that the right hon. Gentleman may have considerable difficulty in effecting this work. Still, however much the Irish Members may sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman in his difficulties, I think it is natural on their part to make as sure as vigilance will do it, that he is making the most rapid progress he can with his interesting propaganda. As regards this side of the House, at all events as regards by far the larger section of Liberals, I think they have an equally strong case. Those Members of the Liberal Party have either expressly created, or deliberately approved and acquiesced in the State endowment of religion in universities and in schools. The case seems to be, to a considerable extent, locally permissible, but that does not matter as to the principle involved. Nor does it matter that, while in Scotland this system is frankly sectarian, in England it is for the most part only indirectly so, the only direct dogma in it being, I believe, the undoubted and unmistakable affirmation that the Scriptures are a Divine revelation, or, at all events, are the supreme and exclusively authoritative manual of religious and moral truth, a position which, of course, at once makes the whole system clearly sectarian in relation to agnostic persons, and to what is, I believe, a growing Pagan element in the population, to say nothing of Jews and others. It is perfectly well-known to all persons conversant with the subject that such an element in the population is rapidly growing, and is already very extensive over all parts 907 of the country, while it is responsible for teaching as many diverse dogmas, as there are expounders and interpreters. Nor is the irony of the situation lessened, rather it is intensified, by the fact that the persons, most zealous for the disestablishment of religion in churches are also the most zealous for its establishment in schools. How such persons can insist on having a religious establishment, educationally and otherwise satisfactory to themselves, and yet can at the same time refuse to grant a religious establishment to Catholics that shall be satisfactory to them, is one of those mysteries which I have never been able to penetrate. For myself, I am in no such difficulty, and I have no such inconsistencies to defend myself against. I am, and always have been, what is called a secularist in the matter of national education, and its relations to religion. This is not the time, and this is not the occasion, for me to enter into any elaborate explanation or defence of what is called Secularism, although I am prepared, at all suitable times, to defend, and contend, and, as I think, prove that it is best for religious truth itself, and best for educational progress in its higher aspects, that the State should leave religion severely and absolutely alone. I am very well aware that this term Secularist is an epithet of opprobrium—possibly of a little ridicule—not very far short of that epithet of "infidel," which the First Lord of the Treasury was using yesterday with considerable familiarity, making me wonder how it would be relished by the author of the "History of Rationalism," from whom he yesterday received a support that was not, at all events, over-impassioned. I know that secularism has considerably gone out of fashion since the reaction of thirty years ago against Disestablishment, and iconoclasm generally set in; but I am of opinion that it may come a little more into fashion again when once people thoroughly wake up to the facts of the gigantic strides which clericalism is making in connection with our education, and when they see that the attempt to weld and intimately interweave sectarianism with public education is subjecting the training of the youth of the community to the narrowing and anti-rational influences of sacerdotalism, with all its limitations and delusions. This might be the expectation, 908 because, if you give this Catholic University to Irish Catholics you must also, in due course of time, give an English one to English Catholics, and a Scotch one to Scotch Catholics. We ought to do so, if it were upon the principles of the equivalent grant. This principle has come into vogue as a sort of standing financial institution, and however much, speaking, at all events, from my observation of my colleagues from Scotland, we may fight against the initiation of the grant upon principle, the moment it is passed we all endeavour to outstrip one another in securing the equivalent grant in point of money for our own nationality. I think this development of a sectarian system in this country will go on until the people will begin to ask where this sort of development is to stop, and we may be thrown back upon a solution of the question which will bear a very close resemblance to denominationalism. With these views I think the House will see that it is quite impossible for me to do anything else but vote againt the Amendment before the House. No doubt hon. Members for Ireland will tell us that their consciences, instructed by their priests, whom they publicly tell us are the ministers of God, they tell us—and I do not for a moment question their reverent sincerity in this matter—that they are compelled to make the demand which is contained in the Amendment. Well, Sir, I treat this statement of their position with all the respect due to an over-earnest statement. I must also state for myself that I too have a conscience, which I have not deemed necessary to submit to the authority and instruction of a priest, but which I have taken care shall be well informed from other sources satisfactory to myself. And that conscience commands me to look further forward in this matter than merely to the inconveniences and the hard cases of the hour, and the temporary and hasty expedients that may spring up to salve them for a short time, and it forbids me to participate in marring the higher progress of humanity, as it is to be conducted in this country by a system and development of sectarian control other than the national life. And at the same time I must remember that I have been sent here on behalf of 909 a number of very plain, it may be, but thoroughly respectable people, who do feel that they are sharply wounded in their consciences when they are compelled to pay in the shape of taxation, out of their probably hard-earned belongings, for a system of teaching which, however much reverenced by those who accept it, is in their minds dangerous and publicly injurious. Of course, with antithetic and antagonistic consciences of any extent in such relations—it is possible that a political deadlock may be the consequence—I cannot do otherwise, and it is for statesmen to find a solution of the difficulty. All I can say is that the solution must be something very different from that which is at present under our review. Now, Sir, I have been challenged as a Home Ruler—not, of course, on the lines of the second, the revolutionised vitiated impossible Bill, impossible edition of the first 1893 Bill, which I understand the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth still adheres to under the judicious reservation of that power of distinguishing between principles and details, which has so very often changed black into white and yes into no. Something will have to be done before Home Rule can ever again lift a hopeful countenance in this country. Well, Sir, I have been charged and challenged as a Home Ruler, and have been told that because I did my best to secure that Ireland, through a Parliament of her own, should manage, or, if she liked, mismanage, her educational System in schools and Universities, and of her other business, as she chose, that therefore I am compelled in consistency here and now to do, to help to do, in my own person, whatever she cares to come and demand of me in connection with her business at home. Well, Sir, if I did that I did not know that I was doing it, and, at any rate, I hereby cancel the engagement. Hut, Sir, I say as a matter of fact I did nothing of the kind. In creating or helping to create what was hoped to be an Irish Parliament, I did not either intentionally or by logical inference make myself responsible for the uses or abuses of that Parliament of the powers that I was endeavouring to confer upon it. What was proposed to be done was not to be the agent, but the child, of this Parliament, and while we all know that a principal may be respon- 910 sible for the deeds of his agent, he is not responsible for the deeds of his offspring. If I assist or help a man in a righteous cause by making himself master in his own house, it does not follow that I am to become participator in all the acts of folly which he may choose to perpetrate when he has got into that high position. If I help to get a, man into possession of his property—involving always, of course, the power of the proprietor either to use or abuse it—if I do what I can to help him to get into his rightful property and the attempt fails, that does not entitle him because he wanted to do something that was unwise, or even worse, with his property, if he should get it, but has been disappointed by the development of events or want of development—I say that does not entitle him to come round to me and to say that I am directly and inferentially bound to perpetrate the folly for him in my own person. I contend that the endeavour to impeach me with a constructive inconsistency in this matter breaks down, because it is, even if there was a shadow of defence for it, broken down on the ground of what the lawyers call "being too remote." Sir, I don't need to defend myself from a charge which, at the same time, I know is whispered against us, that we Radicals on this side of the House, many of us are voting; against this Amendment because we resent being deserted by the Irish Party last year on the Education Question. Sir, that is a huckstering and log-rolling policy, degrading to Parliament by whomsoever it may be practised, and is essentially immoral in its character. Nor, Sir, do I defend my vote against this Amendment on the ground that I know is held and will be held, and I believe defended, by a good many people in this country, that the endowment of Catholicism is the endowment of falsehood, while the endowment of Protestantism is the endowment of truth. Sir, in my view, that is vulgar arrogance, narrow fanaticism. While I most heartily believe, as a student of history, that the persons who are commonly called reformers, although in their own hearts, and on theoretical principles, persecutors, did a great work in asserting their own freedom fro-n another class of the same species, and created a wealth of political, intellectual, 911 and social liberty, which proved, in the end, to be a Frankenstein too strong for its creator and beneficial to us; while I believe that I do not make a quarrel with that considerable body of intelligent persons who think that, when one theological school was substituted for another, no very great contribution was made to the higher aspects of human brotherhood. Sir, I do not think it necessary to say more in explanation of my position. I do not think that the lines of the right hon. Gentleman's policy are the lines of brotherhood. I think they are the lines of reaction, and give rise to a feeling of surprise that a man of his well-known acquaintance of the position, and whose thought is for the truth and progress of events, should be found—I cannot believe in his heart of hearts he can be found willing, but yielding to political necessity and works out an educational scheme in which he can only see darkness and despair. In Scotland we have an old proverb that every herring must hang by its own head. I must hang by such head as I have. For myself, I believe that the true line of progress in this matter is not that of multiplying the centres of sectarianism, but to do everything in one's power to reduce, I will not say to a minimum, but to absolutely extinguish all such centres where such religious influence is bound to prevail. My position in this matter is not to my liking; I see the difficulties of the situation, and I am oppressed and angered. I feel that we must look round us, and forward to the future, and to the general course of events and social relationship, and I find they are, to a certain extent, against my feelings; and, while I have no resource but to vote as I intended, it is not to my taste that my position is what might be described as non possumus.
§ MR. LEONARD COURTNEY (Bodmin)
The University question is somewhat academic in its character, and I confess the words we have just listened to, although they afforded us much amusement, seemed to me of rather too academic a character. They were too far away, if I may venture to say so, from the human facts of the situation, and had no reference to the real problem before us. If the speaker had followed his arguments to their 912 logical and ultimate conclusion he would, I think, have arrived at this truth, that no University was possible at all which would reach everybody's ideal. It is, at best, a matter of compromise; and, regarding it as such, we must approach this question of the Irish Universities in the spirit that we ought under the circumstances. I shall not be amusing, possibly I may be academic, but I desire to return to the appeal that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House made to his Unionist followers yesterday afternoon. Never did I see him more earnest, nor did I ever see anything more pathetic than the master of a vast majority appealing, almost despairingly, to those who follow him, to adopt the policy which he believed, on their account as well as on account of the Empire, was the only one they could follow. I respect the appeal. I knew that it was honest; but it disagrees with the opinion I hold in this matter. He addressed himself to this question as a friend of the people, and a great supporter of the principle of denominationalism. I know he allowed the infusion of every element in the University; but what he pressed on his friends was the honest secular education with certain denominational ideas, and because they wished for the same thing for themselves he appealed to them with spirit to support him.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I do hot wish to interrupt my hon. Friend, but I think he goes beyond anything I said or am prepared to defend.
§ MR. L. COURTNEY
If I misconstrued the remarks of my right hon. Friend it may be due to my want of apprehension, but it may also be due, in some degree, to the obscurity of some parts of his speech, and I must confess that I still think I am right in saying that the inference of his arguments addressed to the hon. Members behind him was this—What you desire for yourselves, and what you would insist upon as the academy to which you would send your children, is a University strongly tinged with, if not dominated by, a particular form of religious belief, and because you desire that, you are bound to accord the same spirit and method of treatment to hon. Gentlemen opposite; that the golden rule of doing unto others as you would they should do to you compels those who delight in the 913 Anglican character of our Universities, who are unwilling to see altered the present character of the University of Dublin, to accord to the Catholics of Ireland a University in accordance with Catholic feeling.It is a strong argument, and I confess I do not see what answer can be given to that appeal except to say it is the desire of those who, like him, look at the present constitution of the British Universities and the Dublin University as not being the most perfect form of University, but as they are now, in fact, and he appealed to those who are satisfied with Oxford or Cambridge as they are to give the majority of Irishmen a similar University under similar circumstances—Catholic, instead of Anglican or Protestant. Now, that appeal does not touch me; I am one of the small minority on this side of the House which, I am afraid, has always been in favour of undenominational Universities, that is the course I should like to pursue. If Ireland were self-governed I would do for Ireland what I would do for France and Belgium. Let it be a form of University, called by any name, so long as it is kept on moving with the spirit of the times. The actual situation in Ireland with regard to University education corresponds pretty well in its potentiality to what I desire to see myself. Consider what the situation was when Queen Elizabeth, following the example of her father, established the University in Dublin, she made it a close University, for the propagation of a particular faith, associated with a particular religion. But, at the close of the last century, Trinity College was thrown open. And for more than 100 years Roman Catholics have freely resorted to the College, and have never been molested in the course of their training in any respect of their religious doctrines. I have met in many years numbers of students of Trinity College, and they always speak of it with gratitude and affection, and testify to the free and friendly life they led at the College with students with different religious views to their own.
§ MR. L. COURTNEY
I am coming to that. The settlement arrived at 100 years ago is essentially wanting in this, that the emoluments and prizes were still restricted to Protestants, and no Catholic could take any share of them. Well, when you come to a much later period than this, you find in 1845 the Queens Colleges were established with considerable endowments, and which were intended for and used by Roman Catholics who occupied high positions in the course of their career at those colleges. Then, finally, we had the complete throwing open of Trinity College under Mr. Fawcett's Bill, with the result that any Roman Catholic could go and complete at Trinity College, and compete on equal terms and have competed with the Protestants at Trinity College, where they have since obtained fellowships and other positions in the dominating body of the college. Trinity College was left, by the Act of 1873, completely open to students, irrespective of all creed, and it depends on the character of a student who comes there, and what position he gets in the examination, what position he obtains within the governing body of Trinity. I was interrupted by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, who said there were only six per cent. Well, I am not going to proceed from questions of potentiality, and I do say that in theory and in organisation the present system of University education in Ireland corresponds with what all lovers of undenominationalism would desire. There was no reason to believe but that the Roman Catholics would resort to the opportunities that were open to them, and would rush in and compete for the positions that might be attained, and so gradually get Trinity College transformed, so as to correspond with what may be called the educational composition of Ireland itself. When Trinity College was thrown open a century ago it was hailed by the Roman Catholics, not as perfectly satisfactory, but as a privilege they meant to make, full use of, and my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin read us last night a most interesting petition from the Roman Catholic laity apropos of the foundation of Maynooth, in which they protested against the notion that Maynooth should be restricted to students of 915 the Catholic faith, because they desired that Protestant students should come in as well as Catholics, and should take rank in the fullest sense with Catholic students. And when the Queen's College was established they, too, were welcomed by the Roman Catholic laity. Mr. Shiel in this House welcomed heartily the establishment of Queen's College—
§ MR. L. COURTNEY
And at that time, let it be remembered, not only the Roman Catholic laity, but the majority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy were not opposed to the Queen's College. Dr. MacHale, the Archbishop of Tuam, denounced heartily and consistently the Protestant colleges, but Dr. MacHale was in a minority. The Archbishop of Dublin was friendly to them, and it was not until twenty years after they had been established, it was not until they had developed a high degree of usefulness, and had attracted large numbers from Cork and Galway, that, at length, by a narrow majority, and under extraordinary circumstances, the Synod of the Church pronounced against them. When Cardinal Cullen came to be Archbishop of Dublin, when one by one the episcopacy got changed, when the old order passed away, there was—I think it was in 1866—a Synod held at Thurles, at which the question was raised, and a vote was taken as to whether the colleges should or should not be condemned, and the condemnation was passed by a majority of one. I only point to this to show that, even among the hierarchy themselves, up till a comparatively recent date, there was considerable uncertainty of feeling towards the colleges, and that Archbishop MacHale was in a minority in his condemnation of them. I think that, with these historic facts before us, we who were interested in the question at the time were justified in thinking, in 1873, that there was a possibility of solving the Irish University question by the action taken in passing Mr. Fawcett's Bill, that we had some right in thinking that the Roman Catholic laity, and possibly the hierarchy, might in time to come acquiesce in Trinity College as open to all, with prizes open to every- 916 one, and its mode of government also subject to their approval, so that within a generation it could have been captured by the Roman Catholic students, and the Roman Catholic people, if they had the wit and the brains, in competition with their fellow-students, to win honour and authority in the College; and Trinity College might have been modified, might have been developed, so as to correspond to the actual position of the educated opinion in Ireland itself. These things have not come to pass. Whatever the strength and permanence of the influences against them, we must own that for a time they have prevailed. In the struggle between Archbishop Murray and Archbishop MacHale the latter may be said to have succeeded. In spite of everything that has been done, the numbers of students resorting to Trinity has not increased; and though Roman Catholics have got some of its fellowships, and though the Roman Catholics are on the board of authority—the board which controls and directs the College—still they are very few. They are not at all what they should be if what we desired in 1873 had been realised, and Trinity is still, in fact, though liable to be changed by another development of action in Ireland, a strongly Protestant institution. So, also, we have to confess that the colleges at Cork and Galway, though they have come to be presided over by Roman Catholics, cannot be said to be Catholic; and in truth, we may admit, when we number up the amount of Roman Catholic lay students in Ireland, availing themselves of the advantages of University education, they are not commensurate with the number that ought to be so found sitting in Universities in a population divided as Ireland is. That is a thing we are bound to recognise with regret; and here, I think, the statesman to whom the hon. Gentleman referred is bound to take account of the fact, to recognise the failure of hopes, to admit the dismal truth, that there is this reluctance on the part of Roman Catholic youths, who might be expected to resort to the University to avail themselves of Trinity and Queen's Colleges. No doubt the apparent reluctance is much greater than what it really is. We do not make allowance in our comparisons for the fact that among the students of Trinity are 917 contained all the divinity students of the Irish Church, whereas the students of the Church of Rome are found at Maynooth. If you take away that body from the students of Trinity, you will find the number very much reduced. We also do not take account of the fact that the particular class which is capable of bearing the expense of sending their children to go through the University curriculum is very differently divided between the Protestants and the Catholics as compared with the population of Ireland as a whole, and if you take the test of the division which is furnished by the comparative numbers of the two creeds in the professional classes in Ireland, you would not find the proportion of Roman Catholic doctors and lawyers to Protestant doctors and lawyers so very different from the proportion of Roman Catholic and Protestant students as at first sight you might be led to suppose. There is not that deplorable absence of resort to the University as is sometimes alleged, although I admit it falls very considerably short of what we could desire. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has great faith in the progress of humanity in the development of thought and in the advance of culture. Is it not a terrible thing, even from his point of view, that an engine so potent in the advancement of culture, the development of thought, and the building up of character as Universities are, should not be made use of amongst the majority of the population of Ireland, and that we should be almost struck off from the possibility of promoting that advance which he believes in and longs for and anticipates by this miserable abstinence, on the part of the students who might, and ought to, enter them? This is the real question. We here touch the vital point. Are we to go on hoping against practical experience that the Roman Catholic laity will come in? Our past action has certainly not brought them in. Indeed, it would sometimes seem as if we were driving them back rather than advancing. I know that what is seen in Ireland does not stand by itself. We have to confess in England, too, and I believe in Scotland, in spite of the hon. Member who has just spoken, to the growth of the power of ecclesiasticism, and to what 918 I must confess—although, perhaps, wounding the feelings of some of my Friends—I for myself regard as an inroad of obscurantism winch is creeping in amongst us, despite the progress of science, and apparently reinforced by an alliance with democracy. You must acknowledge it, you must face it. Is there nothing that can be done? I have to confess the failure of hopes in the past, but I look in as practical a spirit as I can at the situation as it is. I am ready to look round to discover what hope there is for any change that would transform this apparent retrograde movement into one of advance, at all events, that would bring within the sphere of University education, within the possibility of University culture, within the force of freedom, of growth and movement, those elements of life which are now apart from them. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House held out some hope, which I grasped at, and which I acknowledge as a Unionist we ought, if possible, to make the most of, if there be any possibility of doing anything at all. I entirely respond to the appeal of the Unionists that we, as Unionists, are bound to be more than considerate, to be tender in dealing with this question, because we are charged with enormous powers and responsibilities. We are actually regulating the education of the Irish people, and we must take some account of their habits and their traditions, and even of their prejudices, in that organisation. I hope there is no one amongst us who will be misled by the spectacle of what we have been witnessing with different feelings during the last weeks, that there is no one who will be tempted to say—"See how Home Rule has broken to pieces, and how they are quarrelling amongst themselves, and what disagreement and dissension there is among the parts, not merely of the Irish, but of the English, Scotch, and Irish union of hearts." I hope there is no one among us who will take thought from that to say, "He need not be careful about this matter." I think our responsibility is enormous, that our position is critical. We are bound now in the plenitude of our power to do all we can towards the solution of this question. My right hon. Friend commented yesterday upon the loose use of the word denominational, and said a 919 denominational University meant something different from what we understood was wanted. My right hon. Friend went on to develop what was wanted, and, amid approving cheers and the apparently hearty support and concurrence of hon. Members opposite, he said—We want to have a Catholic counterpart to Trinity College. This is what we want to have in Ireland," he said, "and I implore you to assist me in setting up something that shall take the same relation towards Ireland as the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge do towards England; something that will satisfy in the same way the proper natural and legitimate aspirations of Irish Catholics.Now, what does that mean? Let us understand exactly the situation in England. Oxford and Cambridge Universities may be said to be Anglican institutions. They are saturated with Anglican traditions. They are for the most part presided over by men born within the fold of the Anglican Church. That is so for the most part. It is not necessary that that should be so, but it is the fact that they are so presided over, and the physical fact that the church and chapel bells ring in Oxford and Cambridge all day long is but an illustration of this close connection of the Universities and the Church. I speak of Cambridge particularly; what is the situation there? It is dominated by Anglican traditions, it is imbued with the Anglican spirit. But its schools are open to all Englishmen, as well as to Scotchmen, Irishmen, colonists, and people from all parts of the world. The school prizes of Cambridge are open to all, not merely the degrees, but the Fellowships and the emoluments, and those who get their degrees and take a Fellowship pass on, and in process of time constitute the resident masters, who are the immediate administrators of the University, or the masters of arts scattered throughout the Kingdom, who are the ultimate governing authority. Cambridge is a pure democracy, governed by those who have passed through from the ranks of students, and so obtain automatically the positions they hold. With the exception of one head nominated by the Crown, the students who become Fellows do, as Fellows, choose their head; the Council of the University is elected by the resident graduates, and each generation as it comes up elects its own Council; and 920 the professors of the University—except a few Regius professors, unimportant in point of numbers—are appointed by a body representing the popular power. Indeed, what we may call democratic Cambridge absolutely controls the University. If, therefore, the Nonconformists of England send, as they are sending at present, their sons to the University, and these sons win, as they are winning, prizes there, it is not long to seek to find the character of the governing body of the University changing, and Cambridge, instead of being predominantly Anglican as it has been, will become perceptibly tinged with a larger life, and in a reasonable time will become transformed so as to completely represent the opinion of educated England. The same thing, I believe, is true of Oxford. Dublin University in the same way might be transformed; Dublin in the same way might be invaded, seized captured. You cannot, it is true, abolish the Divinity school, but, apart from that Dublin might, within a reasonable time, become transformed so as to correspond to what I understand my right hon. Friend said is the legitimate desire—and he seemed to have the assent of hon. Members opposite—and the feeling of the country. If all that is wanted is the establishment of a Catholic University in Dublin which shall be a counterpart of Trinity, and shall correspond to what I have described Oxford and Cambridge to be; if all that is wanted is that you shall start, as you must start, no doubt, with a governing body exclusively Catholic; if you start with that, but at the same time provide that all its examinations, all its teachings shall be open to everyone, that all its prizes shall be open to everyone, and that within the sacred precincts of the Senate itself a man may come, having obtained his position through the schools, if, in fact, you mean a democratic Catholic University open to democratic Catholic influences, then I think we may see our way to some solution of the difficulty. But, of course, I do not know how far such a future as I have described has been realised. I do not know how far the conditions necessary for the success of such an experiment are understood, how far they have been consented to. Imagine what I mean. I have shown how the Cambridge governing body is the result of growth, and if 921 Anglicanism is predominant it is not from the possession of special privilege. The University is open to all the world; generation after generation passes through the schools and becomes in turn heads of houses and professors, and the whole character of the place is liable to automatic and unmarked change, slowly moving forward by natural growth of itself, so that in that way Cambridge and Oxford become what England wishes them to be. So with a Catholic University. If it is completely, absolutely, and perfectly Catholic at the start, but still open to all the elements that may come to it from Ireland, so it may at last become what those who reside at I he University make it, by natural growth; and then I think we may accept the appeal put forward by my tight hon. Friend, and have no difficulty in arriving at a solution of the problem. This business may be exemplified by others. The Universities of Scotland have been referred to. They were ecclesiastical in their origin. St. Andrews sprang into existence under the influence of the Primate of Scotland. Glasgow was founded by a Pope, on the application of its bishop, and Glasgow, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh have come to be what Scotland likes them to be by the mere inroad of students making a University assume the form they desire. You may, in fact, see the same transformation in London. The Inns of Court are fragments of an ancient University, or, more strictly speaking, of the Colleges, the University never having been formed. In their inception they were Anglican institutions. We still keep up the Temple Church and chapels of Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn, but students of the law, with all the popular access to these bodies, have so changed the whole character of the institutions that they no longer bear their original aspect. If you want to have a counterpart of Trinity established in Ireland, and assent to the conditions under which Trinity exists, then, indeed, you may put before us something which the strong friends of undenominational education would be disposed to accept. You say this corresponds with your national movement, and with national ideas. We may hope that if the nation changes the University may change with it, having within itself the power of free growth 922 and movement. That is all we desire. I want to have the possibility of a Protestant getting on a Catholic governing body. An hon. Member near me, says: "He would soon be kicked off," but that could not be if you have a really democratic institution. If a student having won his place in the schools is entitled to take it position on the governing body, you may have troubles with the Roman Catholics, but, in spite of any organisation, that student will find his way on to the body. I might amplify this by suggestions, but I refrain; it is enough for me to say that if you do secure the position I suggest, then I think we shall have no difficulty in accepting an embodiment of the proposition. What, it means is that you meet the demand and set up a Catholic University under the absolute control of a Catholic body, and establish a Divinity school, which would be unchangeable. But, for the rest, it should be open absolutely to the free ingress of students of all descriptions who should be entitled to compete, not only for every prize, but also to succeed in due course to positions on the governing body, so that the governing body necessarily nominated at first may eventually be transformed as the result of the free growth and development of University education in Ireland. That is what I want. I confess I see no great difficulty in doing it. My right hon. Friend spoke with despair almost of persuading his friends, but if I rightly interpret his proposals, I confess I see no ground for despair, and I venture to approach this question in a practical spirit. I think the Parliamentary difficulty of dealing with this question might easily be overcome. In the first place, we know the foundation of a University lies within the prerogative of the Crown. The terms of its charter are settled by the Crown. There remains the provision of money. But without in the least degree suggesting anything—which it would be most improper in me to do—which would curtail the action and authority of this House, I think I could devise a plan and submit to the House the question on a Motion in support of a particular charter in the form of a Bill which would not admit of much discussion, but which might be so organised that the question of the House 923 would be "Yes," or "No." I mention this simply to show that although, as I have frankly confessed, I have approached with reluctance the necessity of such a solution as I have arrived at, yet when I do arrive at it I recognise it as practical, and I want to see it carried through if it can be. No doubt it is desirable first to catch your hare. I do not know how far my right hon. Friend has succeeded in his first propaganda. If he has succeeded in that, and proceeds in some such manner as I have suggested, it would not, if it were properly handled, be in the power of obstruction, whether on this side of the House or on that, to interpose any serious obstacle. I have occupied the attention of the House longer than I expected to do. I have verged in more than one sentence on the limits of discretion, but before I sit down there is one thing I should like to refer to. What is going to happen to the Amendment before the House? Of course, the hon. Member for East Mayo has the matter in his own discretion, and he can deal with it as he pleases, but I confess if I myself were to offer advice upon it I should think he would find it expedient not to press it to a division. After all he may think that the progress with reference to this question has been too slow, desperately slow, and he may resort to desperate methods to overcome it. He may resort to a division in despair, but he must realise that there has been some progress, that some minds are unsettled, that some are going forward, that some are taking a position they never before took, and at such a juncture it would be most unwise to do anything to crystallise the situation as it is, to freeze up the issues, and compel people to take sides one way or the other. I am quite certain that a division taken on the Amendment would falsely represent the views of the House. My right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin has said that he cannot vote for it. An Amendment to the Address is a vote of censure, and although I am one who has always exercised an occasional freedom, for I am not a pedant of partisan organisation, I would not myself vote for a censure on the Government because they had not brought in a Bill on this subject. It would, in my opinion, be imprudent to invite any such vote upon 924 such an issue. But the hon. Gentleman is responsible for the action he will take, and he may persist or he may not. It is for him to decide. I myself have striven to do what I said I should hope to do at the outset, to be not too academic, to be, if possible, practical, and to reply as practically, as considerately, and as effectively as I could to the appeal—the strong, the earnest, and the pathetic appeal—made to us last night by my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury.
§ MR. J. MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)
I think that in a great many of the propositions which my right hon. Friend has advanced I am in entire concurrence with him. My right hon. Friend says he is averse to any move in the direction of denominational education. I think I am as averse to it as he is. He fears, more than I confess I do, what he calls the invasion into modern life of obscurantism, the invasion of ecclesiasticalism or clericalism. Now, Sir, if there is any one in this House who dislikes—I will even say abhors, and has all his life abhorred—clericalism in all forms and guises, I am he. But in fighting the battle of what my right hon. Friend calls obscurantism and ecclesiasticism, I look to two weapons. The first is fair play—that is to say, the assurance that my ecclesiastical friends shall have no right to complain of inequitable treatment; and the other weapon is education. Now it seems to me that both those two principles—namely, equity and the spread and improvement of education in one part of the United Kingdom—are involved in the question we are discussing to-night, and, in my own opinion, the solution proposed in the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo, and proposed, too, with such eloquence and power last night by the First Lord of the Treasury—that solution we ought to look to as affording lines upon which we shall most successfully fight these foes to progress which the right hon. Gentleman, like myself, dislikes. But I think my right hon. Friend was justified in complaining—well, perhaps that is not the right word, but in remarking upon the obscurity in which the First Lord of the Treasury stated the 925 proposal which the Government, or at least which he, favours. He spoke of a proposal before the country. If a Minister, and especially a Minister of the right hon. Gentleman's authority and pre-eminence, speaks of a proposal upon a burning, delicate, and difficult subject of this kind, I think he owes it to the House, and I think he would have been better advised and, I am sure, that it would have been better in the long run if he had done so—to define the conditions of his proposal, to meet the difficulty and tell us more clearly what kind of limitations he would impose upon this proposed educational body.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to interrupt him. I was not referring to any Bill lying in the pigeon-holes of any office. I was referring to the general views now put forward by those representatives of Ireland who speak on behalf of the Roman Catholic opinion of that country.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Yes, but I confess I understood that the right hon. Gentleman adopted or accepted the proposal before the country which was presented by Gentlemen below the Gangway. At all events, he assented to that proposal in principle, and indicated his willingness to weave it out in detail. This is one of the questions upon which it is very difficult to judge or pronounce an opinion—and especially for Gentlemen who are less acquainted with the problem than the First Lord of the Treasury or I for example—it is very difficult for them, and I am sure it is felt to be so on both sides of the House, until we know with something like definiteness what are the conditions to be attached to this University or College. I believe if the right hon. Gentleman, instead of opening two or three fingers of his hand, had told as frankly how far he is inclined to go in applying the general principle that there ought to be a University to which the Roman Catholics could go, he would have evaded, the difficulty of all sorts of sinister associations that gather round this proposal so long as it is a mere and vague shadow. In my opinion, if the right hon. Gentleman had stated with 926 more fulness the sort of scheme which I am quite sure he is forming in his own mind he would have advanced the cause which I sincerely desire to see furthered. In order myself to make my own position a little clearer, I must ask my hon. Friends behind me to understand, as I have said before when speaking on the subject, that I am simply speaking for myself, and that what I say imposes no obligation of any kind, personal or otherwise, upon anyone sitting on this Bench or behind. But it is due to the opinion which I formed in the course of my Irish administration and otherwise that I should endeavour to state as clearly as possible what I think of the proposal of the hon. Member. The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh spoke of charges being made against himself and those like him who intend to vote against this Amendment, and the particular charge which he was anxious to avert was the charge that everybody who voted for the second reading of the Home Rule Bill of 1893 was thereby pledged morally to support the provision of higher education for Catholics in Ireland out of public funds. No, Sir, it was not the second reading of the Bill of 1893 which committed them. I should like—as many Members of the House were not present in 1893, and very likely many who were present have forgotten—I should like to go back to August, 1893. Upon that occasion—the narrative is not very long, but it gives the foundation of the present case, whether it be handled by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, or myself—on that occasion the First Lord of the Treasury moved an Amendment upon the Home Rule Bill. We were considering the powers which an Irish Parliament should have or should not have, and the right hon. Gentleman moved an Amendment that the Irish Parliament should not be permitted to make any law whereby any denominational University or College might be established or endowed in whole or part or subsidised in any way out of public funds. The right hon. Gentleman gave a reason. He said—I am in favour of a Catholic University or College, but I am in favour of it being done by the Imperial Parliament, and I will not allow it to be done, if I can help it, by an Irish Parliament.927 I confess I thought at the time, and I still find, that the reason given by the right hon. Gentleman for that distinction was rather too subtle, at any rate, for me, because the right hon. Gentleman said—I would not allow an Irish Parliament to set up out of public funds a denominational University or College, because then it would be taxing the minority of Protestants to do something to which they might object.but he said—I do not object to the Imperial Parliament making the majority of the Protestants in Great Britain do it.As I have said, I thought at the time that that was rather too subtle a defence of the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman I did not understand it then, and I do not understand it now. Then it fell to me to move this Amendment: that the Irish Parliament were to make no law whereby they are to establish or endow out of public funds any university or college in which the provisions of the University of Dublin Abolition of Tests Act are not observed. Then the Debate took a very remarkable turn, for the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the senior Member for Dublin, whom I see is in the House, raised the point of a Divinity School in Trinity College. This was the question whether in this new College there should be a theological faculty, corresponding to that which existed in Trinity College, and to which the Abolition of Tests Act of 1873 did not apply. I held that it would be absurd to apply tests to a theological chair, and then the hon. Member for South Tyrone pressed the same point. His suggestion was, that we were to get rid of all theological chairs, upon the perfectly fair ground that the grant to Maynooth would counter-balance any payment given for the undenominational chairs in Trinity College. Now that was how the case rested. I had already heard direct from certain important Irish Roman Catholics that they were quite willing to make provision for theological chairs out of private funds, and that they would not ask for a shilling of public money for any theological chairs. We arrived at this point, and then there was a further Amendment, to the effect that there should be no law 928 whereby may be endowed out of public funds any theological professorship for any university or college in which the conditions in the Abolition of Tests Act, 1873, were not observed, so that the Irish Parliament was to be permitted to establish and endow a College or University, provided that no public money went to support a theological chair, and provided that all the Provisions as to Tests in the Act of 1873 applied. Now, that was passed without any Division. That is what I want to recall to my right hon. Friend's mind—and to the minds of those who think that I am guilty of a certain departure from the pure milk of the word. Now, I observe that a remark is made in a document which was sent out from the Liberation Society to all the Members of the House. I have the greatest sympathy with the Liberation Society. I rather think I am a, member of it. I certainly have always been glad to find myself co-operating with them, and I hope I shall find myself in that position again. But what do they say, and what does my hon. and learned Friend imply in his argument. They say that this proposal of the hon. Member for East Mayo is a vital departure from the principles of a disestablishment and disendowment of religion in Ireland, and my hon. and learned Friend argued to-night that this proposal amounted to an endowment of religion in Ireland, and was, to all intents and purposes, like the endowment of a Church. All those who supported this Clause, the history and genesis of which I have described, admitted without remonstrance in passing it, that there was a distinction between endowing and establishing an educational institution and the law affecting disestablishment and disendowment. The Irish Parliament was prohibited from establishing or endowing a church. For it to be able to do so was so intolerable to some hon. Members that they would not allow it to be able to do so, but to this proposal they raised no objection, and thereby I respectfully say that they recognised a difference between the establishment and endowment of a Church and the establishment and endowment of a College.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I do not always carry the Bill with me. [The Bill was handed to the right hon. Gentleman by Mr. Gerald Balfour.] Thank you, here it is. That is one. Now the Clause I referred to, reads—The powers of the Irish Legislature shall not extend to the making of any law, first, respecting the establishment or endowment of a religion; or, secondly, in preventing it prohibiting the free exercise thereof.Whereby there may be established or endowed out of the public funds, any theological chair, or any University or College in which the conditions set out in the University of Dublin Abolition of Tests Acts are not observed.Therefore, we all of us, every one who was a party to that Bill, agreed to the Clause. You cannot take the tremendously high ground of saying that to do this is to sanction denominationalism in a form which their principles prohibit you from assenting to. But, Sir, the hon. Member for East Mayo made a remark which I ought not to let pass, because it was of great importance. He said—Nobody who votes for this Amendment is committed to any particular scheme,and that is obviously true, and the position taken up by the right hon. Gentleman last night, in addressing his own friends, is to get them to assent to the principle, and the terms may be discussed afterwards. Now, Sir, the only language I can find in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury which points to anything like definiteness in the nature of a scheme is the language already referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin—The essence of the case is that the new University shall be founded upon such lines as will make it Roman Catholic in the sense that Trinity College is Protestant.I should not, of course, and could not pledge myself to support any scheme until I had it before me, with all its propositions set out clearly. There are certain general conditions which I should make before I assented to any scheme—conditions with which I think the right hon. Gentleman would agree. The first 930 is, that there is to be no test as to any chair, excepting, of course, a theological chair, which would not come out of the public funds. I do not wish to trifle with this matter, and if any one asks me to expect that these chairs are not to be filled mainly by Catholics, I say that they will be, because at the Queen's College, Belfast, the whole of the Professors are Protestants, and the President of that College is a Presbyterian clergyman of great distinction and ability. I repeat, every one of these Professors, some of them appointed by myself, is a Catholic.
§ MR. MORLEY
I was not aware of that; at any rate, they were all Protestants when I was in office. Well, I have given my first condition. My second condition is, that no test shall be imposed upon any student, and nobody who desires to attend lectures or experiments in laboratories or elsewhere shall be shut out because he does not belong to the Roman Catholic religion. (Cheers from the Irish Benches.) That then, I understand, is fully assented to. The third condition is, that no student, on the mere ground of his religious convictions or creed, shall be shut out from competing for prizes; and the fourth condition is, that there is no endowment of any theological chair out of the public funds. The fifth condition is one which has been dwelt upon with great force, and is one of very great importance—I mean the constitution of the governing body, and the principles upon which it shall be constituted. The Bishops, as I understand from the Member for Mayo, agreed that there shall be a preponderance of laymen on the governing body over ecclesiastics, but they are all to be, I take it, Roman Catholics. I must confess that I am not quite satisfied that this preponderance of laymen over ecclesiastics will be a very solid gain, because there are in other churches than the Roman Catholic Church, a species of clerically-minded laymen. I am not sure that we do not hear his voice sometimes in this House. Therefore, I am not quite satisfied that the 931 provision that there shall be a preponderance of laymen over ecclesiastics is any adequate guarantee, and I think the right hon. Gentleman, before he endeavours to carry his Party with him, and, indeed, to-night if possible—perhaps—through the Chief Secretary or otherwise—should say somewhat more to us as to the principles upon which the governing body is to be constituted, for I foresee that upon this point a controversy is sure to arise. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin has said that, in the first instance, Parliament would have full power over the constitution of that body, because, if the Government choose, we should have the name of the first governing body in the Bill, and it would be for this House to determine whether these names were wisely chosen or not. But that would not be a difficulty. The difficulty would arise as to the way in which that governing body is to be replenished as vacancies occur. I suppose one way would be by the nomination of the Crown. That would be a very satisfactory form, and I confess, for my own part, I should greatly prefer it. Indeed, I almost think that it is indispensable, that if you are going to carry the country with you in this matter something like the provisions described by my I right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin, will have to be adopted. The governing body must not have the power of filling up vacancies, unless that is done from amongst persons within the College, and who would, therefore, have its best merits at heart. These are the conditions which present themselves to my mind as conditions that are more or less indispensable to a general assent—certainly to the assent, I think, of this side of the House—to any scheme such as the right hon. Gentleman favours. There is one suggestion—a hostile suggestion, made by some hon. Friends of mine, who sit below the Gangway. They held a meeting, and they passed a Resolution, moved and seconded by two friends of mine, from whom I differ with sincere pain, so much do I agree with them on general policy. The Mover and Seconder of this Resolution are the Member for Carnar- 932 von and the Member for Northampton, and they make this suggestion—Any grievances suffered by Irish Roman Catholics in connection with University education, can be best removed by the creation of an unsectarian University under popular control.I will put this point to my hon. Friends. Suppose you get an Elective Board in Ireland, appointed to deal with the University question, and to make regulations and so forth for this body. Of course, my hon. Friends are too well acquainted with the facts of the case not to be aware that that body would consist mainly of Roman Catholics. I understand that they have in their minds the Welsh precedent of the governing body of the Welsh University, which is composed of representatives of the County Council, of representatives of the Municipal Councils, of a certain number of Members of Parliament representing certain districts, and so on. That may be a better scheme, for all I know, than the scheme which may eventually appear in the right hon. Gentleman's Bill. Of course, an elective body appointed in this way would not be a Wesleyan body—it would be undoubtedly and predominantly a Roman Catholic body, and I, for one, do not expect and do not desire that the governing body of this proposed institution, however appointed, should be composed of other than Roman Catholics. Now, Sir, I won't detain the House much longer. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin seemed to lean to the position which is taken up by a great many Protestants, that there is no real want in Ireland for a higher education. He spoke of the proportion of doctors and other persons. But, then, does it not occur to my right hon. Friend that the absence of facilities for this better and higher education may be at least contributory to the very thing which he dwells upon and turns into an argument. I do not think that there is any sign at all that there is a deficient value set upon the higher education by the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, and I will only trouble the House with one single instance. The House understands that the Royal University is an examining body with decrees to be bestowed. But there is in Ireland, as hon. Gentlemen know, a 933 Roman Catholic College on St. Stephen's Green. In the report for the year 1896–97 it is shown that of first-class distinctions, prizes, and awards bestowed by the Royal University of Dublin, the Roman Catholic College carried off 49, whereas the whole of the three Queen's Colleges together, including even Belfast, Cork, and Galway, only carried off 33. This shows that in the quantity as well as the quality of the work done under grievous disadvantages by the Roman Catholic College it was able to defeat the Queen's Colleges in certain circumstances of open competition.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
My right hon. Friend says that shows they do not want a new University, but how many pupils have they got? It shows that many of the pupils insist upon acquiring the higher education in spite of the grievous circumstances under which they are placed, and the hon. Member's observation is not a serious interpretation of the fact I have brought before the House. I do not doubt for a moment that the competition of life forces the Roman Catholic College or University to insist that the doctor or lawyer, or anyone else trained there, should be well trained, and should have the higher education within his reach. The competition of life in England you may be quite sure will keep the standard of the Dublin College as high as that of Trinity College itself. There would be a competition between Trinity College and this new institution which must have a most salutary effect. Sir, I wish to point out one fact, one circumstance, and to press it very much upon the minds of hon. Friends behind me. Do you think—does my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh think—not at all impartially, that the attitude taken up last night by the First Lord of the Treasury—I am afraid he will say it of myself to-night—is due to political necessity? Well, I declare that I do not know what political necessity there is on the part of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He has got a tremendous majority, and I think, therefore, as 934 applied to him that argument cannot be maintained. I will not say anything as to myself, but I can only say that if there is any significance to be attached to the circumstance that I am speaking, as I am venturing to do now, it certainly does not arise from any partiality for denominationalism, clericalism, or ecclesiasticalism, or any other "isms" which, like my hon. Friend, I sincerely dislike. It must have arisen from something else. Look at this fact. There have been during the last 12 years three Chief Secretaries for Ireland who have held that office, everyone of them approaching the question from entirely different political points of view, with the utmost difference of theological and anti-theological pre possessions, they everyone agree that in the highest interests of Ireland this is a proposal in the interests of social expediency, whether Unionists or Home Rule, which is not only justified, but necessary. I may add—and perhaps that may strengthen my case—that they are the First Lord of the Treasury, myself, and the present Chief Secretary. What did the present Chief Secretary say before he had been a year in office? He made a very remarkable observation, which I am well able to bear out. He said that he had been constantly obliged to pass over Roman Catholics in making appointments in Ireland because they had not had the same educational advantages, and, were not in the same educational position as Protestants. I can only say that my own experience absolutely corroborates that view. If there ever was a minister whose desire it was, as it is the interest and desire of all Chief Secretaries of whatever Party, to give Roman Catholics a larger and wider place in the administration of Ireland, it was my case. Of course, I was constantly obliged to disappoint my hon. Friends below the Gangway, because candidates were not up to the educational standard which the posts required. I say that it is idle for us when we have Home Rule discussions going on to point to the enormous number of Protestants—the great preponderance of Protestants—in offices in Ireland. It is not easy for us to found arguments, as many of my hon. Friends did in the course of the Debates on the Home Rule Bill, upon this preponderance when you hear from those who have the responsi- 935 bility of filling those posts that one reason, and a main reason, why that preponderance remains is that Roman Catholics have not had a fair chance to acquire the higher education. Then, there is the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was twice Chief Secretary, and I understand, from language quoted last night by my hon. Friend, the Member for Mayo, was party to a scheme which has been nothing, in fact, but a purely denominational endowment, and he was in favour of it. Well, there is another name which I am sure will carry weight with my hon. Friends behind me, and that is the name of Lord Spencer. Lord Spencer has had greater experience of Irish administration during his Viceroyalties than all three of us put together, and my noble Friend, Lord Spencer, entirely approves of the proposal we are now considering. The fact that men of all sides who have been concerned with administration in Ireland, and who have had a better chance than anybody else, can have had of acquiring a knowledge of the real working of social forces in Ireland, surely ought to be allowed to tell for a great deal. I think this is about all I have really got to say upon this question, but I should like for a moment to deal with the point of Home Rule raised by my hon. Friend. I take it that the foundation of the policy of Home Rule is the conviction that Ireland will not be governed as she ought to be, will not be content, and ought not to be content, to be governed, until she is governed in conformity with her own wishes, aspirations, and ideas. That, I take it, was the foundation—the fundamental principle—of the policy of Home Rule. Of course, we also thought, and think still, that an Irish legislature, with an Irish Executive, was the only way we could make sure that that great principle could be recognised and effectively carried out. But what has happened? At this moment a majority of the constituencies in the United Kingdom have declared themselves, as at present advised, to be unwilling to concede this demand from Ireland, and, therefore, this House would peremptorily decline to accept any such proposal now, I want to know whether the refusal on the part of the House and the constituencies justifies us in believing, as we do, in the policy of Home Rule, and 936 brought on by our attempt to carry out that policy, justifies us in flinging over all our fundamental proposals, and adopting the antagonistic principle that Ireland is to be governed, in the vital matter of education, according to English ideas, prejudices, and sentiments, without any reference to Irish ideas and Irish wishes. I will not be guilty of the impertinence of addressing any remarks to the hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they will not listen to their own eminent leader, they certainly will not listen to me. But, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin, who is a pretty strong Unionist, if ever there was one, sees that if you do not attempt to deal with the problem of higher education you are shillifying or nullifying all the professions upon which you went with the country at the last election. That was fought mainly, I believe, on the policy of Home Rule, and that this Parliament would satisfy all the legitimate demands, and wishes, and views, of the Irish people, as much as would an Irish Parliament. I confess, I did not much like the language of the Leader of the House last night. I detected in some of it somewhat of a recession, not the least, in his own mind, or in his own conviction, as to the expediency of the proposal; but I did detect a little relaxing of the position that he took up even last year. Last year, I think, he at least promised a Bill.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I think so, or at least it was mentioned; it was quoted yesterday. But, at all events, yesterday he showed, as I ventured to predict last year, the great difficulties, both on his side of the House and upon this. That, evidently, is so, and the fervent and eloquent appeal made by the right hon. Gentleman last night was, to my mind, a demonstration that he has found greater difficulties than he last year anticipated, and that it would take greater command and control to carry this matter through, and, I. must confess that, to my mind, in the main proposal he has gone a little back rather than come a little forward. I do not call all Irishmen unreasonable, impatient, and turbulent, but what wonder if they are unreasonable, when they find that reason does not decide? What wonder they are impatient, 937 when they find that patience brings them no nearer. What wonder that they have a temper of railling insurgency, when they find that, whatever action they take, whatever arguments they deduce, however strong those arguments may be, and however they may be backed up by the Leader of the Unionist Party, they, in fact, lead nowhere. What you want in Ireland, above all things, is to spread, with a vigorous hand, education of every kind, both primary, intermediate, and higher. And because I believe it is urgently needed, and because I can see the demand now has taken a moderate and rational shape, which those of us who are strongest for undenominational education—it is under those circumstances, and having regard to those particular conditions, which we can safely accept, that I, for one, shall undoubtedly vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. R. M. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)
I think it would be impossible to disinter any single election address of candidates, either English, Scotch or Welsh, in the last General Election, in which the candidate undertook to vote for a Roman Catholic University in Ireland. It is an equally striking fact that not a single candidate, either Conservative or Liberal, during the course of the recent bye-elections promised to confer upon Ireland a Roman Catholic University. Now, my right hon. Friend the late Chief Secretary has said that the proper weapons to be used in fighting ecclesiastical intolerance in Ireland are fair play and education. But what sort of education is it? We are without any information. It is somewhat strange that the Irish Secretaries who go to Ireland as missionaries of sectarianism come back converts to sacerdotalism. But I should like to recall to my right hon. Friend, the Member for Montrose Burghs, who is never ambiguous, who is always frank and perfectly sincere, what he said upon this question. He said—Why do we assert that the maintenance of this system of leaving elementary education in the hands of the priests is a fatal blow to our best hopes?Instead of giving to the schools the mark of an independent province of the National Government, we leave them in the dark, close, depressing hollows of sectarianism.938 It is because the Nonconformists of this country honestly, conscientiously, sincerely believe that the Roman Catholic University in Ireland will leave the people of Ireland in those dark and dismal hollows of sectarianism that we oppose this Amendment. Now, the right hon Member for Bodmin sketched out what he called a purely democratic University, and he offered himself as a Parliamentary draughtsman to draw a Bill which might be got quickly through the House of Commons. But unless you convert the country, you make no real progress, and Bills, whether long or short, cannot be passed. In his Partick speech the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury laid down certain fundamental conditions without which, he said, no Government in this country could hope to deal with this subject. First of all, he said, you must have the Irish people agreeing; then, he said, you must present a scheme which must not be a means to Party triumphs; and his last condition—and there, I suppose, the germ of the predominant partner idea creptain—was that there must be a consensus of opinion in Scotland, England, and Ireland. Have those terms or any one of them been complied with? It was impossible not to see, on the previous night, that when the right hon. Gentleman was appealing with missionary fervour to his followers there was a considerable section on the opposide side of the House who are not on the road to conversion, and it is not surprising that they are not. Is it possible to drive from our minds the fact that this difficult subject has already wrecked two great Governments? Mr. Gladstone, when he was, in March, 1873, defending the Universities Education (Ireland) Bill, to which reference has been frequently made, used these words. He said—I do not admit that the claims of the Roman Catholics has been made good to the endowment of a College or University. I do not found that statement exclusively on the state of Protestant opinion. If that were all, I should be ready for one to oppose myself to the tide of that opinion, however strong it might be, but I think there are the best reasons, strong and obvious, which render it impossible to entertain with consistency or justice the question of Roman Catholic endowment. I wish to leave on record the strong conviction I entertain that it would be a grave and serious 939 error on the part of this House were they to give the slightest encouragement to the demand that is made for introducing into Ireland the system of separate endowments for separate religious institutions for academic purposes, and thereby distinctly to denounce that I repudiate the policy of 1869, to which the great majority of this House were parties, and which, I believe, none of us regret.Now, that is not an ordinary declaration. It was made by Mr. Gladstone, to his followers, in the course of a great debate, when the fortunes of his Ministry were staked. But practically the same position was taken a fortnight later by Mr. Disraeli, who said—In my opinion that question—namely, the establishment of a Roman Catholic University—had been generally decided by the nation at the last General Election, but that, totally irrespective of the national decision, events had occurred in Parliament since which rendered it quite impossible for me to listen to any suggestions of the kind, because since the last General Election the endowments of the Protestant Church of Ireland had been taken away from it—a policy which I had resisted, and which they—the Irish Catholic Members—had supported, and which, having been carried into effect, offered in my mind a permanent and insurmountable barrier to the policy which they wished to see pursued.The programmes of Newcastle and Derby are, I think, sufficiently compendious, but nobody has yet ventured to suggest that either the Newcastle or Derby programme should include a Bill for the establishment and endowment of a Roman Catholic University. New, we have been blamed for deserting our Irish allies, and on this particular point may I say, on behalf of a very large section of the Nonconformists of this country, we regret it is so, for as a rule we have been found fighting side by side with the Irish Members in the cause of freedom in the past history of the land. It was the Nonconformists who fought so resolutely with them in 1829, and their great leader, Daniel O'Connell, who was not in favour of sectarian education and who more than once pronounced against sectarian education, said, at a meeting in 1829—I have come here as the representative, not of the intellect, for of that I am incapable, but of the warm-hearted feelings of the people in Ireland. I stand here in the name of my country to express our gratitude in feeble but sincere language for the exertions made on our behalf by our Protestant dissenting brethren.940 We have always endeavoured to assist the Irish in their reasonable efforts for civil and religious freedom. Speaking as a member of the largest Nonconformist Church in this country, I would remind my Irish friends that the Methodists in 1853 absolutely refused to be led astray by the wave of religious panic which went through this country, and we declined altogether to be a party to Lord Russell's Ecclesiastical Tithes Bill. It was the same with the Irish Church Act in 1869, and later on when we had to deal with the disabilities of office in Ireland as to high offices of state, it was the same. Therefore, I am justified in saying that up to the present time there has been no real and serious difference of opinion between the English Nonconformists and their late allies on ecclesiastical questions. We do not wish to deal with this as a religious controversy at all. I was reminded yesterday by the speech of the hon. Member for Louth, that there are questions of faith which I frankly admit the Nonconformists of this country hold in common with their Catholic brothers. It is when we come to ecclesiastical methods and interpretations that we begin to differ. Why is it that Nonconformists and the Irish Roman Catholics have to part company. It is certain that, holding the views we do, we must part company. It is not because of the action taken last year by the Irish Party in regard to the Voluntary Schools Act. It is because we hold as strong convictions as those which last year led the Irish Members to assist the Anglican clergy in 8,000 villages to set their heels on Dissenters, that we feel compelled to offer to this proposal our most strenuous, and, I believe, effective opposition. We should take this ground if we had to deal, not with Roman Catholicism, but any other sectarianism. If the proposal was made to establish a Methodist University here, and the Methodists are far more numerous here than the Roman Catholics are in Ireland, our position would be just the same. We take the broad and distinct ground that no public money should be applied to sectarian uses. The second ground we take is that sectarian Universities are anomalies and anachronisms. That it is going back to an abandoned policy, to set up 941 a sectarian University. But my friends say, if you allow the Roman Catholics in Ireland to provide for their own theological chair and religious teaching, you are paying no public money for a Roman Catholic University. But is not that rather a delusion? Suppose you apply it to an English village, and you say, supposing the clergyman provides the whole expense for the religious education of the school we will provide him with everything else out of the public purse. I observed when the hon. Member for Bodmin spoke as to the character of such a University as he supported, an appalling silence reigned on the Irish Bench. But there is no argument, in favour of this University, which could not be applied to the establishment and endowment of a new state church in Ireland. I was looking at a letter from the hon. Member for South Tyrone, and it seemed to me that the letter meant nothing less than unadulterated Home Rule. The words he used were, "It is not what we think, it is what they (the Roman Catholics) think, that ought to decide the question."
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
I rather object to that. What I said in the letter was that this was a matter of conscience with the Roman Catholics—that the Irish people make this a question of conscience. It is not my ideal of an educational scheme, but the Roman Catholics made it a matter of conscience, and it was a matter for them alone, not for me.
§ *MR. PERKS
Then it was a question of conscience which would be equally applicable to the establishment of an Established Church in Ireland. We object to these proposals because we are strongly opposed to the clerical control of higher education in any form whatever. It is impossible to point to any modern state which endorses those principles. Take the United States of America. Where is there established out of public funds anywhere in America any sectarian Universities? Even Oxford and Cambridge we have recently seen thrown open by the authorities of the Catholic Church to their youth.
§ MR. PERKS
If the hon. Member says that it was not the English Nonconformists he had in his mind, then I accept his explanation. But the hon. Member referred to a "decaying faction who had thrown themselves across the path of religious liberty in opposition to this proposal." I certainly understood him by that to refer to the English Nonconformists.
§ MR. DILLON
Every one who heard me should have understood that I was referring to a decaying faction in Ireland, and that I was speaking of the Orange Society.
§ *MR. PERKS
I am not sufficiently familiar with the amenities of Irish political combat to understand exactly who was referred to; but I was under the impression that the people who were referred to in this somewhat uncomplimentary language were the English Nonconformists, who have been simply endeavouring to put this question fairly before their fellow-religionists in this country.
§ MR. DILLON
The hon. Member is quite mistaken. If he knew the truth, he would know that I suffer a good deal of abuse in Ireland for being good friends with the English Nonconformists.
§ *MR. PERKS
I am found to say that, after listening to the hon. Member's speech yesterday, I do not think he exposes himself to that charge any longer. At all events, he did say that he held some 30 English constituencies in the hollow of his hand.
§ *MR. PERKS
Well, under his control as far as Irish issues are concerned. But I venture to point out that he must not encourage his followers in Ireland who may be increasing or dwindling, I do not know which, by pointing to these phantom battalions over here. I trust that our own political Leaders will bear in mind that this is a subject upon which Nonconformists throughout the country have very strong feelings indeed. The hon. Member for North Armagh—one of the leaders of this decaying faction—warned his own Party last night that 943 they must not touch this subject without reckoning with an important section of their followers. I believe there is almost absolute unanimity between the different Nonconformist bodies on this subject. We see a great struggle impending between the clerical authority and popular power, and we expect a clear and distinct lead from those to whose political fortunes we have attached ourselves. We wish them to speak in no ambiguous phrases, and we hope that they will do as they have done in bye-gone years, resist in every form they possibly can the growing clericalism and assertion of sacerdotalism in connection with either elementary, middle, or higher education.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
The last speaker seemed to assume that he spoke for every section of English Nonconformists of England, and he delivered a sort of final judgment on the Question, not merely of a Catholic University, but also on the subject of Irish Government. He has declared himself in his own constituency as opposed to Home Rule,
§ *MR. PERKS
I have done nothing in the sort. I have declared myself in favour of Home Rule, but not in favour of putting it in the forefront at the next political campaign.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
Well, I think the hon. Member's deliverance to his constituents was read by many people besides myself as an announcement that he was opposed to Home Rule, and I do not believe that that is the position taken up by the mass of Nonconformists of England. At any rate, until I have some better evidence I refuse to take either the method, the manner, the judgment, or the spirit of the hon. Member as representing any large section of English Nonconformists. The hon. Member is opposed to the idea of a sectarian University. I wonder where, in the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, he will find an unsectarian University? Take Oxford, for instance. The right hon. Member for Bodmin has said that Oxford and Cambridge are Anglican institutions. Well, I have been on the books of two of the Oxford Colleges. Before I entered the first I had to show a certificate of baptism according to the rites of the Anglican Church, while the ex-officio 944 Visitor of the second College—All Souls' Foundation—was the Archbishop of Canterbury. In both of these Colleges, as in every College of the University, there is an Anglican service conducted daily in the College chapel, and there it is possible to attend the roll-call instead, so strong is the general spirit of the College that many Nonconformists attend the Anglican service. And so far has this gone that many of the Nonconformist bodies of England, finding that the opinions of the young men they sent to Oxford were in danger of being unsettled, have founded for themselves Collegiate institutions in Oxford in order to preserve the separate denominational opinions of their adherents. The Congregationalists have such an institution, and the Unitarians have followed their example, because they found that, under the so-called undenominational system at Oxford, there was danger of their peculiar views being lost sight of. I am not blaming them, but, under the circumstances, who can say that the English Universities are undenominational, unsectarian institutions. Then I come to Scotland. We heard from the hon. and learned Member for East Edinburgh, an eloquent speech against sectarianism. But, I believe it is a fact, nevertheless, that every single Scotch University has attached to it a Presbyterian Faculty of Theology. The Members of that Faculty submit themselves to theological tests. Of course, it is true that the Presbyterian system of religion is a good deal concentrated on one day of the week, and it is therefore possible to so work the lectures as to avoid interference with the beliefs of the students. But, as far as I can understand metaphysics as they are taught in Scotland, they are of a decidedly Calvanistic tendency. [Several hon. Members: "No!"] Well, I said as far as I can understand them, and that narrows the limit of the assertion, but I believe it is the general impression.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
But attached to them, and an essential part of them, is a wing of the Established Church. How, then, can they be secular? And they receive endowments, out of which students are prepared for the Established Church. It is trifling with me to tell me that there is either in England or in Scotland such a thing as an unsectarian University. I am told that a University has been established in Wales of a non-sectarian character, but I venture to think that that is because no single denomination has an absolute majority in Wales. Now, come to Ireland. Where is there an undenominational University there? Trinity College is, of course, open to everybody; and someone has asked why cannot Catholics who now go to Oxford go to Trinity. But, if Oxford is Anglican, I say its Anglicanism is of a mild Primrose type when compared with the Orange hue of the Anglicanism of Trinity. We feel more bitterly, and more keenly, on religious subjects in Ireland than you do in England, and Irish Protestantism is more pronounced than English Protestantism, and it is not difficult for anybody who considers it to understand why the authorities of the Catholic Church should have made a difference between the two. Furthermore, I think it is more easy to adopt the College system as it exists at Oxford to Catholic students, than it is under the system which obtains in Dublin, where the Colleges are practically one. Trinity always has been, is, and will remain, a Protestant institution. It is true it would have been possible, if the Catholic Church had been willing, to submit a generation of its students to the risk and danger of going to an institution of that kind—it would have been possible, I say, to have captured it and make it a Catholic insituation. [An hon. Member: No.] Well, as a Protestant Nationalist, surely I am free to express an opinion. I do not know what the effect of that might have been on the Catholics, but I think it would have been exceedingly useful in the case of my fellow Protestants in Ireland, who are so fond of boasting of having a monopoly, not merely of the wealth, but also of the intelligence of the country: I say it would have been useful to them if they had been beaten in the examinations at Trinity College in fair 946 competition by their Catholic fellow-countrymen. We know, from examples elsewhere, what would probably happen. I remember myself that when the intermediate system was adopted in Ireland, we thought it strange that at the first examination the Catholic schools took about one-third of the honours. The system has been in force about 20 years, and now the Catholic schools take three-quarters of the honours, and the number of rewards they gain is quite up to their proportion of the population. Munster has long since beaten Ulster in the examinations of this kind, and we may judge from this what might happen at Trinity under other circumstances. But, as a fact, Trinity has been allowed to remain, and is, a Protestant institution. Then there is another University in Ireland—the Royal University—and I would like my hon. Friends who maintain the present system to consider for a moment what that institution is. There were established by this House Queen's Colleges in Ireland which were intended to be purely undenominational, and the result was ridiculous. I remember old Professor Young telling me, when he was going to deliver his lectures on the period of the Reformation at Queen's College, that he did not know what to say, because he was bound to mention nothing which was contentious; but he got over the difficulty by never lecturing on the history of Ireland after the time of Henry II. The Queen's Colleges have done effective work in medicine; but when it comes to history and philosophy and subjects into which contention must naturally enter, it is found that the work of the College has been stunted by ridiculous rules. To the Queen's Colleges was added a new University, called the Royal University. What is it? Its governing body consists of a number of gentlemen, very few of whom are actually engaged in the work of education, it being thought that by taking a body of distinguished gentlemen from outside you could avoid the conflict which must necessarily otherwise arise. As a matter of fact, these gentlemen do nothing for the improvement of education. They merely fix a mechanical curriculum. There are at the University Protestant and Catholic students, but the Catholics are scattered throughout the country, and have not, 947 like the Protestants, a vote from the Consolidated Fund every year. My hon. Friends talk about clericalism, and say they are afraid to see the youth of Ireland under entirely clerical guidance. The result of this system is to make the Catholics of Ireland, those of them who are enjoying University education, much more under clerical guidance than would otherwise be the case—and why? Because it is only men in orders, as a rule, who will take the small salaries which at present are within the reach of the Catholics in these Colleges; because it is they only who will show this self-sacrifice, and I venture to say that if these various Catholic bodies were brought together, as it were, into one great University, and allowed to arrange their own curriculum and carry it out with the full concurrence of the Catholic bishops, there would be much greater satisfaction than exists under the present state of things. That being so, I ask what hon. Members are afraid of? All that Irish Catholics ask is that there should be established in Ireland a University which should be open to anybody who wishes to go there. In Ireland we do not change; the Protestants who become Catholics are very few, the Catholics who become Protestants are very few, and, just as Trinity College has remained consistently Protestant, so the new University would remain consistently Catholic. We have had problems put to us by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin, and others, as to what will be the governing body, as to who will decide vexed questions with regard, for instance, to the removal of a professor. I don't think those questions need really trouble the House. They may be used as excuses for postponing the settlement of this question, but they are not really of the essence of the subject. The Catholic Bishops have shown that, so long as a University is established with a Catholic governing and teaching body to start with, they are comparatively indifferent as to what means should be taken to secure a continuance of that state of things. They are willing to make as free an entrance for other denominations as has been insisted upon for the other Universities, and I venture to appeal, under these circumstances, to 948 the right hon. Gentleman who is responsible for the government of Ireland whether the time has not come when we should grapple with this question, and whether he will not agree that the difficulties would disappear when they are grappled with. The First Lord has done excellent missionary work, but should he confine himself entirely to missionary work, there are some people whom he will never convert. With them his progress will be as slow as the excellent Society for the Conversion of the Jews with the people whom it attempts to convert. I confess myself that I believe the people of England and of Scotland are quite indifferent upon this matter. If the Irish Secretary should come down to the House as the responsible Minister for Ireland and make a proposal, I believe the vast mass of the House would support him. There are militant people who will not allow Catholics to be taught in the way they demand, but their armies would be merely stage armies. The business of this House might be obstructed for a few weeks, but if the right hon. Gentleman has the courage to face these problems, whether upon the lines suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin or upon other lines, he will find that he is supported in principle by nine out of ten men on both sides of the House. The details, from which so much has been feared, will disappear, for the authorities of the Catholic Church in Ireland have now met every reasonable objection which has been advanced against their proposal by even the most militant of the Gentlemen who sit above the gangway. Why, under these circumstances, cannot we have this question settled? Are we to continue to go on as at present, with Members sitting on one side saying they would be glad to see it done by an Irish Parliament, and other Members saying they would be glad to see it done here and not by an Irish Parliament? How long is this see-saw to continue? The right hon. Gentleman is responsible for the government of Ireland. This is one of the most urgent and pressing problems affecting Ireland, and I venture to assert that, knowing what is right, he ought to deal with the problem and solve it.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
I am sorry that I have to trouble the House upon this question, but I should be untrue to the constituency I represent, and to the vast body of public opinion in Lister, if I were to hesitate to say a word or two upon this subject. Since I entered the House, 30 years ago, I have never listened to an Address with greater pain than to the magnificent oration delivered last night by the First Lord of the Treasury. The conscientiousness and courage of the right hon. Gentleman are worthy of all commendation, and if it were possible for him to be a commander, leading a forlorn hope, or for him to be decorated with the Victoria Cross, his speech last night would entitle him to that position. I would like, however, to quote what the right hon. Gentleman said at Partick, on the 2nd December, 1889—My own view," he said—"and I wish to deal perfectly frankly both with you and with them—is that we cannot with public advantage found a Roman Catholic University, and I think so because I am of opinion that it would be fatal to the cause of higher education in Ireland if the Catholics and Protestants were not brought into competition in obtaining the degrees and honours of University training. If you do not bring them into competition you might find that the Protestant or the Catholic standard was lowered to meet the temporary interests of their clients, and the cause of good education would suffer. This is the first thing we cannot give. The second thing, I think, we cannot give, is any State endowment of theological teaching.Then the right hon. Gentleman made a suggestion upon the Conscience Clause—should not be compelled to attend either theological lectures or theological services.I hope the right hon. Gentleman has been able to look through the newspapers this morning and study the great organs of Unionist opinion; I hope he has looked at the Yorkshire and the Liverpool papers, and also the organ of his Party in his constituency of Manchester. I will quote only from the Manchester Courier—Any proposal on the part of the present Government to establish a Roman Catholic University in Ireland, supported out of State funds, as is suggested, would be the most fatal mistake that they could possibly make. It would rend the ranks of their own followers in twain.950 It is unnecessary for me to add words to that pronouncement. But I would like to ask the attention of the House for a moment to an extract from an able article published in Macmillan's Magazine, in December last, on the subject of a Roman Catholic University in Ireland—A Roman Catholic University must, of necessity, be a Propaganda, bitterly hostile, and, from its point of view, rightly hostile to the doctrines of the Reformation, which at any rate form the basis of the religion of this country, and are still established by law. Is the present Conservative Government, the most powerful of the century, and supported by the whole strength of the Church of England, prepared gratuitously to give effect to a movement, the objects of which are repugnant to the vast majority of their supporters, and to the whole English nation, and upon which, if they went to the country to-morrow, they would sustain a tremendous defeat? The demand is made, for the most part, by their avowedly irreconcilable foes. Is this Government, then, so far disinterested as to be prepared, not only to turn the unsmitten cheek to its adversaries, but itself to strike the blow?An emphatic commentary upon that extract has been already afforded, when the hon. Members who proposed and seconded this Amendment and their friends hastened from the Debate last evening, to take part in a rebel demonstration—a demonstration to commemorate the attempt of their fellow-countrymen in 1798 to throw off the English yoke and to establish in Ireland Roman Catholic domination.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
You can always find a renegade Protestant. Father Murphy was not a Protestant, and the priest—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order; I must remind the hon. Member that the House is now dealing with the question of the establishment of a Catholic University.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
I shall not further pursue that argument. It has been preposterously proposed that this University should be managed entirely by Roman Catholics, and yet not teach the Ultramontane doctrines of the Papacy. I suppose hon. Members are aware 951 of a statement once made by Cardinal Newman, who said that—No pledge from Catholics was of any value to which Rome was not a party.What value can be placed upon pledges, even by the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland? Did not the Roman Catholic prelates solemnly declare before the Emancipation Act that they would never interfere with the Protestant Church, then established in Ireland? Did they not, upon oath, protest against the doctrine of papal infallibility being held by their Church? It almost looks like perjury on the part of those right rev. gentlemen. I would like to quote, with reference to this Roman Catholic University, the utterances of a noble Lord who was formerly Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The Marquess of Londonderry, speaking in Ulster Hall, Belfast, on the 8th inst., said—As to the first question, at the present moment every College in Ireland was open to Roman Catholics. There were no tests, no hindrances. On the contrary, every opportunity was given to Roman Catholics to cultivate their own religion. The Presidents of two of the Queen's Colleges were Roman Catholics, and he believed he was right in saying that there was no College in Ireland that had not a Roman Catholic professor. He turned more especially to Trinity College, Dublin, which he always spoke of with warm respect and admiration. It was with sorrow that he noted that so many Roman Catholics refused to enter the portals of that seat of learning, for, as he had said, there was no hindrance to their doing so. Every Roman Catholic in Trinity College was at liberty not only to cultivate his own religion, but to meet his own clergy. Facilities had been given to Roman Catholics of late years, which he knew full well they did not enjoy many years ago, but there was now no honour, no dignity, no prize, which Trinity College possessed that was not open to Roman Catholics, and in cases where the statute of the College had refused scholarships to Roman Catholics, special scholarships of equal value had been invented, and had, he was glad to say, been taken advantage of by Roman Catholics.When I was a student of Trinity College I had as fellow students the grandsons of Daniel O'Connell. I regret that those gentlemen are not now alive to speak for themselves. If they were they would unhesitatingly declare that no one interfered with their religion in Tirnity College, and the students were as free as they could possibly be in a seminary of 952 a denomination of their own teachers. I see the hon. Member for South Mayo present, and I appeal to him to say if it is not his opinion that the education given in Trinity College is satisfactory to Roman Catholics of Ireland. I appeal to him whether he is prepared to place the education of the children of Ireland under clerical domination. He went down to Belfast to resist the domination of a Roman Catholic bishop at a municipal election, and I am sure his manhood is sufficient to cause him to stand up in this House and speak upon the subject. Allusion has been made to the way in which Trinity College would be safeguarded in the event of a Roman Catholic University being established. Does the House remember the words uttered by Archbishop Walsh in 1886? He said—So long as that central fortress of education, that is not Catholic, was allowed to stand in the foremost position, and to occupy the most glorious site in our Catholic city of Dublin, so long would it be impossible for any statesman to deal with this great question on the only ground which can be regarded as satisfactory, or even entitled to acquiescence.That shows the House what would be the fate of Trinity College if Archbishop Walsh had his way in Ireland. The First Lord of the Treasury asked last night, why should Roman Catholics send their sons to a Protestant University when Protestants would not send their sons to a Roman Catholic University. The consciences of Roman Catholics would be respected in a Protestant University, and the consciences of Protestants would not be respected in a Catholic University. I think it would be desirable to have a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the doctrines that would be taught in books at this Catholic University. There is a book written by the Rev. Antonine Maurel, a Jesuit, called "The Church and the Sovereign Pontiff," which bears the imprimatur of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland. He says—On what is the Pope infallible?….Whenever philosophy, history, literature, politics, or sciences enter the province of dogmatic or moral theology or of ecclesiastical right, invent and propagate systems, facts, hypotheses, sayings tending to weaken or destroy the faith, morals, and authority of the 953 Church—then the Pope, divinely commissioned to guard these inestimable treasures, is obliged to.…anathematise; and his decision is immutable.I should like to quote another sentence from this book, and I commend it to the consideration of the Nonconformist conscience—We should always be disposed to believe that that which seems to us white is black, if the hierarchical Church so decide.This attempt to establish an Ultramontane University was undoubtedly part of a great Papal revival, part of an endeavour to enslave the people and destroy Protestantism. Cardinal Manning, in addressing the assembled Prelates of his Church, convened at the 3rd Provincial Council of Westminster, in 1859, stated:It is good for us to be here in England. It is yours, Right Rev. Fathers, to subjugate and to subdue, to bend, and to break the will of an Imperial race. England is the head of Protestantism, the centre of its movements, and the stronghold of its powers. Weakened in England, it is paralysed everywhere; conquered in England, it is conquered throughout the world.One word more and I have done. I should have liked to ask the present Leader of the Opposition if he remembers writing a letter to me on the 12th August, 1874, in reply to a congratulation from me as to a Protestant speech that he had made in this House. He wrote to say—You and I have reason to rejoice that the people of England are now, as they have always been, true to the principles of the Reformation. And these, in spite of what Gladstone may say, are the true principles of the Liberal Party.I have the honour to belong to the Orange Society. Half a million of man throughout the British Empire are bound together in that organisation; they desire no supremacy, no ascendency for themselves, but they do desire to preserve the British Constitution, which Queen Victoria, on the 28th June, 1838, in Westminster Abbey, with her hand upon the Bible, swore to maintain—that is, the Protestant reformed religion as established by law. I would be a traitor to Protestant principles—I would be a traitor to the principles of the Reformation and 954 the Revolution Settlement of 1688—if I hesitated to do my utmost to oppose the Amendment.
§ LORD EDMUND TALBOT (Sussex, Chichester)
I should like to express my sympathy with this Amendment. I do not think it can be denied that there has been a great change of opinion in recent years upon this question in the great organisation of the Press in this country, that this question ought to be settled in accordance with the wishes and feelings of the Catholics of Ireland. We have heard, in this debate, of objections which did undoubtedly formerly have considerable weight with the majority of people in this country. Those objections are now, as I understand, practically removed. There was objection to the payment of public money to actual theological teaching. Personally, I confess that I should prefer that that objection may not have weight. I remember a very important article on this question, which appeared in the Spectator just a year ago. It was an article advocating this proposal, which is now under discussion, and in which the paper expressed an opinion in favour of public endowment of theological teachers. However, if that claim is waived by those responsible for Irish opinion on this question in Ireland, it certainly does remove the objection, a not altogether unnatural one, from the minds of the people of this country. Then we have the question of the preponderance of the lay element on the governing body. Sir, I see that the Irish Bishops are in favour of this preponderating element. I believe it to be the fact that not one single Irish Bishop at the present moment has had the advantage of a University education. I believe they deplore this as much as we do, and they recognise not only the loss to themselves, but the loss to the country. There is an argument which has often been alluded to, and the only one which I think has any weight, and that is that Trinity College is open to Catholics if they choose to take advantage of it. I would ask hon. Members who attach weight to this argument, to ask themselves this question. If for every divine and every non-Catholic layman at present connected with the Government and management of Trinity 955 College, a Catholic priest and Catholic layman were substituted, would they send us to their University? It appears to me that is an unanswerable argument in favour of Catholics of Irish University education coming under the same circumstances as those of other denominations. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman for Montrose called attention to the remarkable statement which the present Chief Secretary for Ireland delivered in this House—I think it was last year—in which he told us that he was unable to give to the Catholics in Ireland those appointments to which they would be entitled, owing to the want of higher education. I cannot help thinking that is a statement coming from a Minister of responsibility in this House, which is an appeal to the generous instincts of hon. Members which cannot long be made in vain. I always thought that the strength of our position, with regard to Ireland, depended upon our determination to grant to Ireland everything she could justly claim from us. We are not without guidance on this question, because we know the opinions of two distinguished members of Trinity College, both practically acquainted with Ireland. I suppose it would be difficult to find a happier combination of greater knowledge and greater ability than is to be found in those two hon. Members. And, Sir, we know the opinion of our own leaders on this question. We know the opinion of the First Lord of the Treasury; we know the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the present Chief Secretary, and my honourable Friend below me, the Under-Secretary of the Local Government Board. It appears to me that we have to make up our minds as a Party whether we are going to follow those leaders or take the other alternative—viz., to follow the lead of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh, and his new lieutenant, the hon. Member for Mansfield. We are reduced to one or the other of those alternatives. For my part, I shall certainly follow the principles which I believe to be the true principles of the Unionist Party on this question. I did not understand until quite lately that the result of voting on this particular Amendment, as it is before the House, 956 means a Vote of Censure on the Government, and I would never vote against the Unionist Government on a Vote of Censure. Still, I shall follow in my sentiments the proposal contained in this Amendment, and I shall support my leaders, whom I consider to be very orthodox political leaders of the Unionist Party, in advocating this proposal.
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,
§ MR. J. A. RENTOUL (Down, E.)
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the subject that is occupying the attention of the House at the present time is one, I think, every Member of this House will admit is beset with very considerable difficulties. Those who are most strongly and earnestly, and conscientiously opposed to a denominational University in Ireland, Scotland, England, or Wales, are a strong Party in this House; those who declare that they cannot, according to their conscience, educate their children in any University that has not the atmosphere that belongs to their own particular creed, are a strong Party in this House, too, and they have strong sympathisers among those who do not belong to the religion which they profess. This Debate was commenced by a speech undoubtedly of very great ability, a speech which showed a thorough investigation of the subject, on the part of the Mover of the Amendment a speech which showed that he had gone into the whole principles of the case for the last 100 years. The central proposition of that speech was really this—We will not accept the system you give us; we prefer our children to be uneducated.That is to say, the hon. Member has a conscientious objection, and it is so strong that he would prefer not to have his children educated at all rather than send them to a mixed University. Sir, no gentleman understands the value of a University education better than the hon. Gentleman, the Member for East Mayo, and when he comes to the conclusion that he would prefer his children to be without a University training, and if we are to believe that these are the real sentiments and convictions of the Irish people—and we have no reason to believe anything else—there is a strong case and 957 a strong difficulty to be met. But, Sir, there are those in this House who believe that it is for the best interests of the people of this country, of all creeds and classes, that there should be mixed and undenominational education, that undenominational education is actually an advantage by bringing students into contact at an early age with those of other religious denominations. Considering this subject for myself, and apart from what view is held by my constituents or my Leader in this House, I should like to say, with reference to any schools or colleges which I ever attended, that I never was at a single class in my life in which there were not Roman Catholic pupils. That being so, I consider, and those who belong to my creed consider, that it was a great advantage to us to be trained so, and we confess that on that account alone bigotry is impossible to us. Under any circumstances it would be impossible for us to entertain the sentiments entertained by some Members of this House, and openly expressed by some Members of this House during this Debate. If bigotry is a wrong and bad feeling, if it is an unworthy feeling, is not the system that tends to remove that bigotry from Catholic and Protestant alike a great benefit to any country to which it is applied? That is the point of view from which we approach this subject. One thing has struck me in this Debate, and that is the amount of wholly unnecessary instruction we have received from both sides of the House. Almost every speaker has taken it for granted that the Members of this House were ignorant of how Cambridge, Oxford, and Trinity are conducted, and that it was necessary to explain every detail of the whole educational system, both secular and theological, in this Kingdom. We had some statements that struck us as remarkable, and to which we could not give assent. The Seconder of the Amendment, the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin, said that no man could be called to the Irish Bar without going to Trinity College.
§ MR. T. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
I beg pardon. I did not say that no man could be called to the Irish Bar without going to Trinity. I said it was essential for a Member of 958 the Irish Bar to take classes at Trinity or Queen's. Both were equally objectionable, but in any case one must be taken, and in my case it was Trinity.
§ MR. RENTOUL
The hon. Member will recollect that his reference was entirely to Trinity. I know too much of the system of legal education in Ireland not to be aware that no man can be called to the Irish Bar who has not taken the Law Lectures in some recognised school—Oxford, Cambridge, Trinity, or Queen's College. The hon. Member made that remark in answer to a remark from this side of the House when he was speaking of Trinity, and I desire to say that there are no disabilities against Roman Catholics in any college in Ireland. There are Roman Catholic scholars at Trinity and Queen's College, and in Cork and Galway almost half the University students are Roman Catholics.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
I replied to the interruption of the hon. Member for South Belfast, who twitted me with being a graduate of Trinity College.
§ MR. RENTOUL
I am away from that point long ago. I was going on to speak of the Queen's Colleges as centres of education. These Queen's Colleges were established in 1849. They were established with the consent and strong approval of a large majority of the Roman Catholic Church. The hon. Member knows that, whatever other churches may do in the way of changing their creeds, one church does not change, but remains firm to the old beliefs. Whatever, therefore was right to be done in 1849 is perfectly right to be done in 1898. Having approved of the establishment of the Queen's Colleges in 1849, surety an unchanging Church will find a difficulty in showing that, what was right then is wrong now. We think it would be deplorable that we should be deprived of the companionship in college of our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen. Speaking for myself, I made the acquaintance of a very large number of the most lasting and steadfast friends I have known during my College days, who are members of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is 959 known to this House generally that when the Presidentship of Queen's College became vacant I pressed upon the Liberal Government the claims of an old fellow-student, Dr. Fyfe, for the Presidentship—and he was both a Roman Catholic and a Home Ruler—because I considered he was the man who ought to be appointed. The hon. Member for the Harbour Division spoke about tests, but, Sir, there are no tests against Roman Catholics in any College in Ireland. There is no College in Ireland at the present time that has not Roman Catholic students, and I would venture to say there is not a class in a single College outside Trinity College that has not Roman Catholic students amongst its members. There was no legal disability at all—there never was any, as regards the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. They started with Roman Catholic professors at the very beginning. Now, what I refer to this for is that if this is so it would be perfectly impossible for me to vote against this Amendment to-night, I do not look upon the Royal Colleges as Universities at all. There is only one University in Ireland, and that is the Dublin University. But I may say, in passing, that the decrees of the Queen's University have their weight in other countries. Now, so far as the educational requirements of Ireland are concerned, I stand in exactly the same position as the hon. Members opposite themselves. Now, what was the reference which was made with regard to the Protestants of Ireland? The hon. Member, I think, for East Mayo, said that there were a large number of Protestants in Ireland in favour of a Roman Catholic University. There is no use in deceiving ourselves, or in trying to deceive others. The Unionist Party in Ireland, as a whole, are almost to a man against this University. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. Of course, that statement cannot, probably, be tested, but I think that one might venture to say that a Unionist Member who resigned his seat and went before his constituents on this question would very easily discover the truth of my statement, and that can be done now or at any other time. We need not deceive ourselves, therefore, with regard to that. But what I want to impress upon hon. Members opposite is this—that that does not change or affect the merits of 960 the question at all. My experience leads me to say that there are probably no Unionists in Ireland who are in favour of this demand. That is my experience and that is my belief. But the contrary has been stated, and in order to back that statement up, a reference was made to the Presbyterian Church, and to the President of the Queen's College, Belfast. I have lately talked this subject over with Dr. Hamilton, the President of that College, and he said he was not in favour of a Roman Catholic University, although he would go a length in that direction to which very few other men would go. Now, what is the fact with reference to the Presbyterians? Why, when this Amendment was put on the paper, the Parliamentary Committee of the Presbyterian General Assembly met. That committee has power to meet at once, and to express to this House the views of the Church on any great questions, the principles of which have been settled beforehand. The moment this Amendment was put down on the paper that Committee was called together, and in the name of the Presbyterian body they sent a long telegram expressing their strong and unchangeable hostility to the proposal of the hon. Member for East Mayo for the establishment of a Roman Catholic University, or to the domination of any class or creed. I want to bring these facts before the House to clear the air, although they do not touch the principle of the case at all—it is altogether apart from anything that is wanted to be said in reference to this matter. But, since I have referred to the Presbyterian Church, I want to say that it is the chief reason why I desire to take part in this Debate, because I believe that already every argument has been used on both sides that can possibly be used on this question. In fact, during the whole of this day, I do not know that I have heard anything new at all. I do not know that there was anything much new to be said after the first four speakers addressed the House on this subject, because I think they covered the whole ground. I do not think I need give the House any opinion of mine, because it has had that over and over again—years ago, but I want to give the impressions which this Debate has made upon my mind as a listener—and I want 961 to do that in connection with the Presbyterian Church to which I belong. The Chief Secretary for Ireland is not in his place, nor is the First Lord of the Treasury. I am inclined to believe that neither of these gentlemen knows of the existence of such a Church as the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. I am led to that opinion by certain facts, and by one fact that came to my notice this very day. Application was made in reference to the position of Medical Superintendent of a lunatic asylum. There are 23 Medical Superintendents of lunatic asylums in Ireland, and the Presbyterians hold one-third of the entire medical degrees. What is the fact of that one case which I take as a test as to the manner in which the Presbyterian Church is known? Of the 23 Medical Superintendents there are 17 Presbyterians, five Roman Catholics, and one Nonconformist, and yet the Presbyterian Church holds 13 of the Liberal Unionist seats. From these facts I judge that the First Lord of the Treasury and the whole Government to which he belongs do not know of the existence of such a Church as that. Now, that being so, I want to state what is our position with regard to this University question. Hon. Members opposite say that they demand this denominational University as a matter of conscience. Well, if that is so they will allow us to have a conscience also. They believe in denominationalism; we believe in mixture. That is not the opinion of to-day or yesterday. That has always been the unchanged opinion of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. They have been steadfast with regard to University education ever since they believed it was better for their young people to mix with their fellows of all shades of opinion, and the Presbyterians are just as much following the dictates of their own consciences in opposing this Amendment as hon. Gentlemen opposite are in demanding it, because I would ask members of the Catholic Church in Ireland not to believe that the opposition of the Presbyterian Church is anything but an honest and conscientious opposition. Now, in reference to the opposition of the Presbyterians, what I want to say is that whilst the Presbyterian 962 Church does oppose this denominational system being introduced into Ireland, yet at the very moment that a Bill is brought forward for establishing a Roman Catholic University in Ireland the Presbyterians will be compelled to ask for a Presbyterian University; it will be impossible for them to do anything different. Remember the Church of Ireland has Trinity College, Dublin, so she is provided for. Although we are not more than one-sixth of the Roman Catholics in number of population, we nevertheless will be, in all probability, sending always as many representatives to the Universities as the Roman Catholics. At the present time we are sending six or eight times as many, and if that is so—if we can show this House that we have a very large number of students requiring a University education, then, in the event of the demand for a Roman Catholic University being acceded to, we should ask for, and it is perfectly certain that the fair play of this House would give us, a University of our own. The First Lord of the Treasury cheered when it was said that the demand would be made that a University should be given to the Presbyterians, as if three Universities in an island with a small population, each teaching a different religious creed, was too much. Well, there are four in Scotland, but they are undenominational. You might as well say that because there are three Queen's Colleges in Ireland we have as many Universities as Scotland, but that is a totally different thing. Altogether, Sir, the impression which the Debate has made upon my mind is this: that if the First Lord of the Treasury chooses to go on he could carry with him a large number of supporters on that side of the House. He would carry with him the 85 Nationalists, which would be 170 on a division, and those 85 would doubly make up his loss on this side of the House. I conclude from this Debate that this Bill will be unquestionably passed by this House, and I have no doubt that the House of Lords—considering what the composition of that Assembly is—will also pass it because it has the utmost confidence in the hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House. The next 963 thing that strikes me is that this whole Debate, and this whole demand, is against the spirit of the age; that it is not in accordance with the conduct or action of any single European nation; that it is a step backwards, a step in the wrong direction. There is not one solitary argument used in favour of this University that does not tell up to the hilt in favour of Home Rule. It is the same argument exactly. They say, "We are a majority of the people; we want to separate ourselves from the English." The Government say, "We won't allow you to separate yourselves from the English." That is exactly the position. The arguments used against Home Rule are used against, this University. One thing that I would press upon the hon. Gentlemen opposite is this: that the degrees of a sectarian University will have no value whatever outside Ireland. When a man goes abroad, it is then that he wants his degree; it is then he wants to lean upon his degree as a test of his ability and power. In his own country his education is known, and a number of people there might be about to employ him knowing his capacity; but it is when you go abroad that you want your degree to be of advantage to you. I ask what earthly advantage would be a degree of this new Irish University? The Queen's College degrees were just beginning to become valuable when that institution was abolished. There is not another instance in the whole world of a working University being blotted out of existence—only this. That is the manner in which Irish degrees were treated when they were beginning to be of some value. There is another thing that one notes in connection with this Debate. There was the ex-Chief Secretary, the Member for Montrose, who spoke of the preponderance of Protestants that were in offices in Ireland. I want again to refer to that, because it is a preponderance in favour of the Irish Church. There are a great number of Presbyterian churches in Ireland, and that is one Church which is in a shocking minority, but they have a large number of degrees because they have made use of existing Universities. I ask the House to recollect that one illustration I gave, with 964 regard to the medical superintendents of lunatic asylums. I mention this because there is one vacant at the present time. That being so, the hon. Members opposite are not deprived of offices, owing to the want of Universities. That is perfectly clear, if we take the case of Presbyterians in this respect. Now, Mr. Speaker, the object for which I took part in this Debate at all was to tell the House, in the freest and most emphatic manner, what the House is being let in for in this particular direction. I am authorised by the leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to tell the House emphatically that if the present demand of the Irish Catholics is granted there will be a similar demand from the Presbyterians of Ireland—a demand which the House cannot resist, and a demand which it ought not to resist. Therefore, we shall have three Universities in turn in Ireland—one, the old one that has long been historical, and two new Universities which will be entirely valueless for a great number of years, and Presbyterians will be driven to England. Therefore, I want to say that, if this is granted, the Presbyterians of Ireland will most reluctantly be driven to demand a similar concession.
§ SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
I stand somewhat in an isolated position. I am an Irish Member; I am an Irish Protestant, and I am a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and in that threefold character I think that I am bound to state at once that I am in entire accordance with the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo. Now, I do not intend, if I can possibly avoid it, to weary the House by going over any of the details, which have been so ably and so eloquently put forward, I will say on both sides, during the course of this most important and interesting Debate. I view this question altogether from a practical point of view. I know from experience that Ireland has set its heart on obtaining a Catholic University, and I know that Ireland is essentially a Catholic country. Three-fourths, at least, of the population of Ireland are Roman Catholics, and the Roman Catholics throughout the world are remarkable for their devotion to their 965 religion. I know also that at present there are only two Universities in Ireland, Trinity College University and the Royal University. I can refer to my own experience when I, who lived within the walls of Trinity College, who spent, perhaps, the happiest years of my life in Trinity College—when I was in that college it was quite true that there were some few men of very great genius and ability inmates of that college, who were Catholics. In those days it was a most pathetic circumstance that those men, who often outran their Protestant fellow-students and their Presbyterian fellow-students were excluded from all the emoluments and all the pecuniary advantages held out by that rich institution, and the only terms on which a Roman Catholic in those days—and they are not very remote—could obtain either a scholarship or a fellowship, which are the great prizes in the University of Dublin; the only terms upon which he could do so, no matter what his genius—whether he was a Newton or one of the greatest statesmen ever produced—were his taking the Sacrament of the Church of England—a Sacrament which he could not take without violating his conscience, otherwise he had no chance or power of obtaining those emoluments. It is quite true that friends of mine who were Catholics stood beside me in examinations, and saw me obtaining prizes and scholarships to which their answers entitled them perhaps better than mine. In 1873 that was changed, and the great difficulty of those tests was removed, but that is only about a quarter of a century ago, and the traditions of three centuries hang round that college. I here assert, and defy contradiction from any hon. Member opposite, that in its features, in its surroundings, in all its conditions, Trinity College is an essentially Protestant institution. Take up the Trinity College Calendar of this very day, and I believe I am correct in saying that there is not a single Roman Catholic Fellow on the books of that college. There was lately one—a most distinguished man, I admit—who was one out of a body of some 40 or 45—Mr. Starkie, who has lately been appointed President of the Queen's College, in Galway. The great prizes of the college and the fellowships consist of a Provost with an in- 966 come of over £3,000 a year, and a magnificent residence. Seven senior fellows have incomes of £2,000 a year in a poor country like Ireland, and in a poor city like Dublin; and the incomes of the junior fellows range from £1,200 to £200 or £300 a year, according to their various grades. All these great prizes are now held by Protestants. In a practical assembly like this, in an assembly loving justice and fair play as the English House of Commons has, I believe, always done, it is absurd for a moment to contend that Trinity College is otherwise than a Protestant institution. I have the greatest veneration for Trinity College, and in anything I say I speak in language of the profoundest respect of the great men it has produced from time to time, men who, under the fostering care of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland, have achieved such success. But I say that, as the facts bear out, the doors of Trinity College are practically closed against my Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. It is quite true that probably six per cent. or eight per cent. represents the entire body of Roman Catholics in Trinity College. The hon. Member for East Mayo has said what no one can controvert, and throughout Ireland there has been an extraordinary consensus of opinion in favour of the Measure which is foreshadowed in the Amendment. He referred to various meetings, and I would venture to supplement them by the mention of one or two. On the 26th of January there was a great meeting in the county and City of Cork, a meeting composed of Roman Catholic clergy and Roman Catholic laity, and, I believe, of several Protestants also. At that meeting they endorsed the declaration which had been unanimously arrived at at the great meeting of the Mansion House of Dublin, to which the hon. Member for East Mayo has called the attention of Parliament. General Sir Thomas Denny stated that the declaration of the Mansion House had been endorsed by nearly all the public boards in Ireland. I will take an extract from the Times newspaper—the highest authority, I believe, in the opinion of hon. Members opposite; I do not take it from any local paper, but from the column headed "Ireland," in the Times. I am dwelling on this point 967 because my belief is, the hon. Members of this House who are Englishmen, and Scotsmen, and Welshmen, have no idea of the feeling that prevails in Ireland on this question. To people living here in London the Irish newspapers are very little known or very little read. There may be had copies in this House of the more leading daily papers in Ireland, but as a general rule they are not seen by English, Scotch, or Welsh Members, whose only means of ascertaining public opinion in Ireland, beyond what is expressed from the Benches in this House, are very often the brief and imperfect summaries given in the leading London papers. I wish, also, to call attention to a most remarkable meeting, held in Limerick on the 14th January last, and to the speech delivered by Bishop O'Dwyer. I speak of him with reverence, though not a member of his flock; I speak as a Protestant who holds the doctrine and dogmas of my own Church as absolutely, as faithfully, and as loyally, as any hon. Member who now listens to me. He is one of the most eminent members of the Catholic prelacy, most remarkable in this respect, that he has always been a Unionist, in contradistinction to most of his brethren, who are in favour of Home Rule. What did he say at the remarkable meeting summoned for the purpose of considering this very question? He frankly and freely avowed the disadvantages from which the priesthood of Ireland suffered through the loss of a University career. In his own case, he had felt it. It was stated in this Debate that none of the Irish prelacy had had the advantage of degrees, and here we have this eminent Bishop stating that he felt the loss of having had no opportunity of a University career. He said—It would be his wish, and the wish of Irish Catholic bishops, that the priests should take their place in the front rank of education, and it was not their fault, but the survival of the penal laws, if they were not allowed to do it.That is an argument which cannot be too much emphasised. Why should not the priesthood of the religion of the majority of the Irish people have the advantage of a University degree? Of course, I am now assuming what has been assumed through the whole of this De- 968 bate, that some advantage is to be derived from a University career. Of course, my argument would vanish into thin air if it is contended on any side of the House that in this 19th century we could get on very well without a University at all—without any education, except what the primary schools can offer. But a University education and a University degree is of value. I ask the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, as fair men, and men of common sense, what can be thought of a country where the priesthood have no opportunity and means of arming themselves with a university degree? I pass on to that meeting in the Mansion House, and I speak with some confidence because I happened to be present myself. The Attorney General for England will understand the advantage of being able to give legal evidence, and not the evidence of hearsay. That meeting was held in the Round Room of the Mansion House—a building nearly as large as the Albert Hall. It was crowded to the very brim, if I may use the expression. And who were on the platform on that occasion?—who were the speakers? There was the Most Reverend the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Walsh. There was Lord Powerscourt—and my right hon. Friend opposite knows who Lord Powerscourt is. He is a typical Irish landlord, and a typical Irish Unionist. He is a resident, occupying one of the principal places in Ireland, about 12 miles from Dublin. He is a Protestant of Protestants; and at that meeting in the Mansion House he made, in my hearing, a most eloquent speech on behalf of granting a University in which the Catholics of Ireland without fear of shaking their conscientious convictions could graduate. Who else was at that meeting? Lord Walter Fitzgerald, a scion of the house of Geraldine, a house that for centuries has been remarkable for devotion to Ireland, was present, and a most sympathetic letter was read from his brother, Lord Maurice Fitzgerald, who at the present moment is the representative of that great house of Geraldine in Ireland. Who else was at that meeting? Lord Emly, who spoke strongly in favour of a Catholic University. It is quite true that Lord Emly is 969 a Catholic, but in politics he is a pronounced Unionist. At that meeting also I find was the O'Connor Don, a man who was an ornament to this House, who, though he differs from me in his political views, I regret is not still a member of this House. He made a most exhaustive speech, and used argument after argument to show the absolute necessity, as an act of justice, for this University. As to the other names, I pass over my old colleague the MacDermott, a man of mark and position in Ireland, and come to Sir Henry Bellingham, Sir Percy Grace, Sir Walter Nugent, Sir Rowland Blennerhasset, Sir Christopher Nixon, Sir Francis Guise, and Sir Gerald Dease. Now, when you hear of a meeting like that, with Catholics and Protestants on the same platform, when you see Home Rulers and Unionists of mark and position, when you see those who are sometimes sneered at—sneers in which I do not participate—as "Castle Catholics," coming forward and advocating this University measure, is it too much to ask you English and Irish and Scotch Members of the House of Commons to pause before you extinguish the hopes of the people by rejecting this moderate and reasonable demand? What does it all come to? It merely asks that a University should be established. My hon. Friend the Member for Down made a complaint, and, though I am not a Presbyterian myself, I quite sympathise with him; I think the distribution of the loaves and fishes among the Presbyterians by the Government has been of the scantiest character. Unquestionably, the cause of progress and of liberality owes much to the Presbyterians of the North of Ireland, and undoubtedly I regret that my hon. Friend, as representing the body of Presbyterians in the North of Ireland, does not see his way to give the weight of his support to this reasonable demand I am not frightened by the threats he makes that if this House adopts the Amendment the Presbyterians might come cap in hand and ask for an endowed Presbyterian University. I can assure him that if I should have the honour of sitting in this House whenever they come forward with this demand, pledge myself, here in my place in the House of Commons, that I should vote 970 for it. I do not see why we should not have a Presbyterian University; there is no reason why we should not have it. They have the Queen's College of Belfast, which is not a University, and they have largely partaken of the benefits of Dublin University, and of Trinity College; but, though I do not understand the doctrine or discipline of any church but my own, I believe they would have the same difficulty as Catholic brethren in taking the sacrament of the Church of England. Now, I had a great deal more to say, but I feel there are a large number of other Gentlemen who wish to take part in this Debate. I do rest my appeal to this House on the principle of fair play. I rest it on the principle of common justice. We know, from history and experience, that men who have walked barefoot from remote parts of Ireland to the city of Dublin have afterwards received the highest honour and distinction in every walk of life. They were Protestants, whom I could name, but it might be invidious. I do not allude to any living men, but to men of historical memory; and if the portals of Trinity College had been shut to them, such men would have been lost to the country. I speak now in all sincerity when I say that the Irish are a singularly gifted race. Without the benefits of education, and without the benefits of any of those material comforts which are so essential to perfect human nature, it is wonderful what specimens of the human race, physically and morally, are turned out from Ireland. Why deprive these people of the advantages of higher education; why prevent them, on grounds of conscience, which we ought to respect, from having the advantages of a University career? No Party considerations ought to interfere with those imperishable principles which should animate every intelligent mind. Of course, I was not surprised to hear my hon. Friend the Member for South Belfast express the feelings that he did. He was constantly going back to 1688, to the memory of William of Orange. But I believe we have passed from the day when Irish Protestants or English Protestants should be frightened by the mere bogey of Catholic domination. Every Catholic country in Europe now enjoys liberty of 971 conscience and liberty of action, and why should you imagine for a moment that any danger would be incurred by giving a Catholic University to the people of Ireland? The principle of it has been adopted by the Home Rule Bill of 1893. My right hon. Friend the Member for Montrose has pointed that out. Certain conditions were imposed by the Bill of 1893 as safeguards enabling the Irish Parliament to endow a University, and these conditions are now accepted by the Roman Catholic prelacy. You have, therefore, no excuse, except this excuse, that you turn a deaf ear to the almost unanimous cry of Catholic and Liberal Ireland, if you withhold that which need not even be a tax upon the Exchequer of Great Britain.
§ *MR. A. LYTTELTON (Warwick and Leamington)
I desire for my own part to say something from the point of view of an English Unionist not in favour of the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman, for that I could not vote for, but in order to express my very sincere sympathy with the general purport of that Motion. I can claim an unbiassed opinion on this matter, because if I had a son who was of sufficient age to go to a University I should not think of sending him to any other University or college than that to which all shades of religious opinion had access. But that is a mere matter of opinion. I speak on this occasion entirely from the point of view of an English Unionist who believes that the position of English Unionism is untenable, unless deference is paid to the united wishes of the Irish people on all questions in which the safety of England is not involved. In listening to this Debate I could not doubt that it has been established that the vast majority of Roman Catholics have withdrawn themselves from University education for conscience sake. This, no doubt, has been brought about by a state of things due to the opinions of hon. Members who sit in that part of the House, opinions for which much has to be said—that there shall be no endowments of re-religious thought in the matter of education. Those opinions are entitled to be treated with the greatest possible respect. But there is a greater Liberal principle than that which they hold in this matter, and it is that there should 972 be no abatement in a man's civil rights on account of the religious views that he holds. If it is established that Roman Catholics will decline University education unless in a Roman Catholic atmosphere and environment, then the opinion which is held by hon. Members in that part of the House, at any rate, ought to be considered. I wish to illustrate that, if I may, for one moment by this test. Last year we heard bitter protests made from that quarter of the House against the atmosphere of Anglican schools. They protested against Nonconformists being sent to Anglican schools, where there was an Anglican atmosphere, by force of law. If that opinion was held so strongly that for 60 or 70 years Nonconformists had shown a persistent resolve actually to prefer ignorance for their children than send them to those schools, would they not have a strong case for our consideration of that question? I am convinced that the evidence is absolutely clear and cogent that the Roman Catholics of Ireland have for many, many years shown tenaciously and persistently a desire to handicap themselves in the race of life rather than go to colleges in which there is a Protestant atmosphere. I won't repeat the figures ad nauseam in regard to University education in Ireland, but the same feature has been found to exist in regard to primary education in Ireland. Ever since 1814 there has been a determined desire, enforced by regulations of State, from 1814 to 1880, that primary education in Ireland, as regards the secular part of it and as regards the religious part of it, shall be kept separate. That was one of the regulations laid down by the State in 1814, and it was maintained until 1880. Notwithstanding that the whole agency of the State was used in order to effect that, the result has been that 62 per cent. of the children of Ireland are educated in schools that are exclusively denominational. We have further proof of the determined conviction of the Irish nation on this point. Not merely the Universities, but the elementary schools of Ireland furnish strong evidence that the determination on the part of the Roman Catholics to have their own religion taught in their own way is strong and persistent. We ought to cease rehearsing the old formulas which were applicable to this 973 matter, and look to the substance and facts of the case. In 1870, the Disestablishment of the Irish Church appeared to me to carry with it this principle, that the State repudiated its right and its claim to judge between truth and error in matters of religion, and that has been logically followed in successive measures by numerous grants in aid of denominational education. It is only asked that one step further should be taken. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh, in his speech yesterday, threatened my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury—I do not wish to use the word threatened, but certainly his words approached a threat—by saying that he thought his demand would break the loyalty of the Protestants in Ireland. I can hardly believe that the loyalty of the Protestants in Ireland, which has stood the test of subsidies to intermediate education, which has stood the test of subsidies to training colleges, will be likely to break up at the establishment of a Catholic University. I am sure it would be presumptuous of me to speak with any authority against the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh, but in face of the fact that the loyalty of Protestants in Ireland has stood firm up to now, against similar tests, it is idle to say that their loyalty would not stand the test of a Roman Catholic University. Sir, I do not intend to occupy the time of the House any longer. I have a good deal more to say, but I think it is almost impossible, after this brilliant Debate, to add anything of real moment now upon one side or the other. I only took this opportunity of speaking, in order that I might express the gladness which I feel in being able to give a genuine and conscientious support to a demand which has come from Ireland. I think it is incumbent on those who sit on this side of the House, and who hold strongly Unionist opinions, to recognise, generously, a demand which comes from Ireland, however much we may be out of sympathy with it, provided that that demand can be acceded without any peril to the Empire. That is a sound principle upon which to stand, and although I have no personal agreement with the desire of a denominational University I think it would be wrong for us—wrong 974 at any rate, from my point of view as a Unionist—to neglect the appeal made to us by Members opposite, and not to say a word in their favour.
§ MR. D. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon)
Mr. Speaker, I will not say that the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down has misrepresented, but he has certainly only partially stated, the case of the Nonconformists. It is perfectly true that they object to their children being forced to attend schools where the atmosphere is Anglican, but in order to make the case perfectly analogous it would be necessary for Nonconformists to set up a claim for the establishment of schools for their own denomination all over the land. But that is not their claim. The claim of the Nonconformists is that their children shall be sent to schools which are open to every sect, and if the Catholics of Ireland had made a similar claim there is no Nonconformist in this House who would have voted against it. I know that the hon. and learned Member sympathises with the grievances of Nonconformists, but that sympathy simply actuated him to support a Bill, by speech and vote, which aggravated the grievances which the Nonconformists feel. These speeches, full of sympathy for Nonconformists, generally come twelve months after the event.
§ MR. LYTTELTON
I expressed my sympathy with the Nonconformists in the only speech I made on University education last year. I have since, in my constituency, recognised that there is a grievance on the part of Nonconformists. I have recognised, and do recognise, that there is extreme difficulty in meeting a case of that character.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I accept the explanation of my hon. and learned Friend, but I am sorry that his sympathy was so empty as to permit him to vote against every Amendment moved from the Opposition side of the House during the discussion on the Education Bill of last year. I find myself, with very deep regret, unable to support this Amendment. I think it is the first time since I entered this House that I have ever given a vote against the majority of Irish Members on an Irish question, 975 and in voting against this Amendment my regret is genuine. One of the best tests of that is the fact that I have a large number of Catholic voters in my constituency, who will probably force their views at the next General Election. But I will state briefly my reasons for voting against this Amendment. The hon. Member for East Mayo, in a very eloquent speech, and the right hon. Member for Montrose, in supporting the Amendment this afternoon, claimed that Members sitting on this side of the House ought to support this demand on Home Rule grounds. That argument has been sufficiently dealt with and disposed of by the hon. Member for Edinburgh. We are all in favour of conferring the fullest powers of self-government on Ireland in regard to her domestic affairs. But when we are conferring Home Rule on Ireland, we are conferring it for better or for worse. I have not the remotest doubt that, when that Home Rule Parliament is set up, it will pass a great deal of legislation which we condemn. But so does the Imperial Parliament. During the course of the present Parliament many Bills have been passed which we think are bad in principle, and there is no doubt that the Irish Parliament will do the same. The mere fact that we are willing to confer full powers on Ireland does not divest us of the responsibility of examining every separate Irish proposition brought before the House. I do not agree that, because we are in favour of an Irish Legislature, we are dispensed from the duties of examining, on its merits, every Irish proposal which is brought before the House. It cannot be said, because we are in favour of conferring on Irishmen the power to manage their own affairs, that, consequently, we should support every proposal which emanates from the majority of the Irish Members I would point out to the House that the hon. Members from Ireland themselves have not acted upon that principle, nor has the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose. Last year, upon this particular question, we had a Bill for the purpose of fortifying the position of denominational schools in this country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose is not an English Member; in a Parliamentary sense, he is a Scotch 976 Member. [An hon. Member: "No!"] An hon. Member interrupts me, and says "No." I mean, of course, that he is a Scotch Member in a Parliamentary sense. Barring the brogue and the accent, he is a Scotch Member, and if the right hon. Gentleman were prepared to act upon his principles of Home Rule, he ought to have voted for that Bill, for the simple reason that the vast majority of the people of England demanded it. If the same principle is applied to England as he is prepared to apply to Ireland, then he ought to have voted for it. What happened with regard to the Irish Members? I am not advancing this in any vindictive spirit at all. In their action I think they were perfectly within their rights, but the right which they assume to themselves they must permit us to exercise. What happened with regard to that particular Bill? They knew that, so far as the Welsh people were concerned, it was forcing upon them a denominational system which the vast majority of them repudiated, and in the teeth of the vast majority of the Welsh Members they forced upon the Welsh people a system which was obnoxious to the great majority of them. If they ask us upon Home Rule grounds to support a denominational principle for Ireland, they surely ought not, on the same grounds, to have forced upon us a denominational system which we repudiated with the same heartiness as they support this. I do not see that there is any force in the Home Rule argument. When once you set up a Home Rule Parliament for Ireland, in our opinion, at any rate, there will be countervailing advantages, even from the point of view of denominational education. This University would practically divide Ireland into two separate camps. If you get your Home Rule institution in Ireland, that would, at any rate, to a certain extent, be counteracted. Men of different creeds, races, and sects would meet together round the same board, conflicting opinions would receive proper consideration, and the bad influence of dividing the people of Ireland into separate and hostile camps would be counteracted and possibly abated. Coming to the merits of the question, I should like to know what is demanded by the Irish Members, because there is a good deal of difficulty 977 in the minds of Members on this side of the House as to what the exact demand is. With the permission of the House I will read from the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo, which he delivered yesterday, two sentences. The first quotation I should like to read is the following—What was the Catholic demand? What they demanded was equality with all the other denominations in Ireland.If that is their demand, I venture to say that there is not a Nonconformist on this side of the House who would object to it. Then he said—Some alteration should be made in the present state of University education, which would place on an Irish Catholic no disability because of his well-ascertained religious opinions. They do not ask for the endowment of any form of religion.Unless there is something in that which does not meet the eye, I am sure no one would object to that. He said that what the Irish wanted was a University, by means of which every poor boy in the country would be in a position to secure the highest learning. If that is all they require, I am sure there is not a man on this side of the House who would object to it. There ought to be no difficulty at all in this matter. With regard to the poverty of the country, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College has stated that there was not a large proportion of the population sent to College, because the peasantry was exceedingly poor. That is no answer. We have a very poor peasantry in Wales. We have a University there. It is of recent growth, and the students are mostly poor. Although the population is not one half of the population of Ireland, I find that the number of students is 1,200 in the three Colleges constituting the University there. There ought to be no difficulty at all in setting up a University in Ireland, where poverty will be no barrier to any clever child. The second point is this: the majority of the population being Catholic, I am sure if the only demand is for the establishment of a University where the Catholic creed will be on a basis of perfect equality with any other creed, I do not see that there is any objection to it. 978 But I feel there is something behind that. That is not what is demanded. I know perfectly well that there is amongst the Catholic peasantry quite a craving, nay, a passion for learning, which is comparable only with the greed for wealth that characterises some other nations. Our position is that that ought to be met; it is a very good symptom. An instance has been given of a peasant quoting Homer, but that is not a solitary case. There is a great difficulty in setting up a University of that character, for I feel there is something that the hon. Member has not quite revealed to the House. This setting up of a University, which is Catholic in tone, which is Catholic in atmosphere, which is really Catholic in every respect, and which is best described by the name "Catholic University," is a thing that the vast majority of the Members of this side of the House who represent Nonconformist constituencies will oppose, whether the proposal comes from the other side of the House, or from this side. I think the hon. and gallant Member for Armagh warned the Government as to what would happen if the proposal emanates from his leaders. But I do not think there is the slightest danger. Nothing could advance the proposal of Home Rule more than a proposal of that kind. I have the greatest doubt about our own leaders. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose wrote a most uncompromising essay on compromise, and he has been trampling on his own philosophy in every sentence and syllable of his speech to-night. We are rather afraid our leaders will commit themselves to a proposal of this character, which, if carried out, will simply wreck the Party, will make it a worse wreck than it is now, and beyond all hope of retrievement. I sincerely trust our leaders will do nothing of the kind. I am glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman simply spoke on his own behalf, and did not commit the other Members of the Party. Why should not such a University as is set up in Wales answer every requirement in Ireland. I wish, in all earnestness and every sympathy, to commend to them the precedent of the Welsh University. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was a University elected by County Councils—I mean the governing body was elected by the County Council. I was not surprised that a sense 979 of merriment passed through the House at the idea. It is not elected by the County Council, though they have their representatives there. There are 13 members nominated by the Crown, there are 36 nominated by the County Council, there are 48 nominated by the academical bodies in Wales, and there are others nominated by the head masters in intermediate schools, and three or four nominated by the head masters in primary schools. If you set up a body like that in Ireland, the board of management would be predominantly Catholic. It is not that we object to Catholic Colleges. You may have a College, the dominant voice in which is Catholic, whose members are Catholic, the majority of whose board of management are Catholic, but that does not necessarily convert it into a Catholic University. What possible objection can there be to an institution of that character? I think we have a right to protest against the petting up of a Catholic University. The object is not to give fair play and equality to Catholic students, but it is based on the assumption that it is dangerous to send students to a University where they are compelled to associate with Protestants, where Protestantism is treated as a kind of contagion, against which must be used the disinfecting influences of the Mass. We protest against that. The reason for their existence is that Protestantism is a kind of leprosy from which Catholics must be protected. They want to separate the Catholics from the Protestants. They have no right to come to a Protestant nation and ask it to vote funds for the purpose of setting up a University which is based on the assumption that Protestantism is contagious, from which Catholics must be saved. The idea is this: that we are asked to set up an institution in Ireland which no one would dream of proposing in this country. We are asked to revert in Ireland to a policy which was deliberately abandoned in England years ago. If I understand the history of Ireland aright, its greatest curse has been this division of the people into two distinct peoples, whose differences have been intensified by religious disagreements. You have two separate camps. The hon. Member for Haddington asked, yesterday, why we did not recognise these facts with regard to soldiers. 980 That is perfectly true. You did not want one drilling ground for Catholics and another for Protestants. If you wanted separate camps, you would have one Catholic army, one Protestant army, one Anglican army, and so forth. I am simply answering the arguments of the hon. Member for Haddington, and, if the argument is a ridiculous one, I am not responsible for it. The curse of Ireland has been these religious differences, and say it is the policy of the great prophets of Irish Nationalism to break down these barriers between Catholics and Protestants, to weld them together into one nation with a common patriotism. It is against their interests to set up an institution which renders permanent these religious differences, which gets hold of the children at a most susceptible part of their career, because the men you turn out of these Universities will be the future governors of Ireland. The proposal will separate them into two distinct and hostile camps.
§ MR. CLANCY
said he really did not know the position taken up by Mr. Lloyd George on the question. The hon. Member had admitted that a grievance existed, but had not suggested any remedy.
§ *MR. CLANCY
said the hon. Member had asked what did the Irish want. The Irish Catholics wanted a University, Catholic in tone, and Catholic in atmosphere. He hoped that was plain. The hon. Member said that the Catholics of Ireland had no right to make that demand of a Protestant nation. Well, the Irish asked Parliament long ago to remit all these questions to Ireland itself, and he (Mr. Clancy) thought it was entirely inconsistent for one who, like the hon. Member, endorsed that proposal to object to a settlement of one of these questions which an Irish Legislature would undoubtedly enact. The hon. Member talked of the Irish coming to the Protestant nation for money, but the hon. Member and the Irish Members were of opinion that Ireland had been robbed by Imperial taxation, and if a million or two were voted as an endowment to an Irish Catholic Uni- 981 versity he (Mr. Clancy) would never admit that Ireland got a penny of British money. Ireland was practically united on this question, for the few Members at the other side of the House who opposed this demand represented only a section of Irish people, whose extreme views had discredited them even with their co-religionists. What has been charged against the election of Irish representatives to that House during the last five or six years? That they had been elected by the priests, and that the priests ruled the whole of rural Ireland. He imagined that if the hon. Gentleman had any belief in the virtue of education, in the saving properties of instructing men in the higher learning, they would readily grasp the opportunity of planting in every parish in Ireland five or six men who could hold their own with the priests. He agreed with the opinion of the First Lord of the Treasury when he said that he was more in favour of higher than of elementary education, for he thought the meaning of the right hon. Gentlemen was that, after all, the world was governed by a few, and that it was better to have as many as possible comprising this minority, who would be able to make their intelligent views felt. There had been two main objections to this proposal. The first was the objection of the Nonconformists. He had not seen, during the greater part of the evening, the Leader of the Liberal Opposition in his place, and he should like to hear whether that right hon. Gentleman agreed with the member for Montrose (Mr. Morley), or whether he did not. It appeared that on this point there was some anxiety amongst the ranks of the other Irish Party also. He thought he was not wrong in assuming that the majority of the Liberal Party—and he thought it had better be known to the Irish people, who had imagined there was some virtue in a Liberal alliance—were opposed to the demands of Catholic Ireland in this matter. If that were not the case, it was curious that the only speaker from the Liberal side of the House to-night who had supported the Catholic proposal in any way was the Member for Montrose. Irish Catholics held that to divorce religion from education was to teach irreligion, Atheism, and infidelity. That system has borne its fruit in crimes that have shocked humanity. 982 Those crimes which startled newspaper readers were committed by persons able to read and write, persons who had received secular education, but no religious education. The result made humanity stand aghast. If Irish Catholics believed all this, what impudent intolerance it was for Liberal Secularists to say that their secularist ideal alone should be carried out by the State, and that no effect should be given to the views of Catholics. If the illogical illiberality of the Liberal Party were persisted in, that Party, in the opinion of all honest men, would lose all claim to its name, its principles would be those of Cromwell, the principles of bigoted intolerance. The second main objection to the Catholic demand was that the new Catholic University would be ruled by the priests and bishops. Two replies were to be made to that. It should be acknowledged that the Irish Bishops have expressly abandoned the claim for an ecclesiastical majority on the governing body, and he, speaking as one of those who did not owe His seat to clerical force or pressure, would give a second reply, which would probably be more satisfactory than the first. Not only had the Bishops abandoned their claim, but there were plenty of Irish Catholics who would insist for themselves on lay control of the new University, and who had no notion whatever of setting up what Lord Russell had described in Dublin as a "glorified ecclesiastical seminary." The hon. Member for Bodmin suggested a democratic governing body. The Party with whom he (Mr. Clancy) acted wanted such a governing body, and, without pinning himself to the exact proposals suggested, he (Mr. Clancy) would state that any democratic system which would ensure the best educationalists in Ireland, whether priests or laymen, and irrespective of which element had the majority, would be satisfactory. Other Irish representatives, not of his (Mr. Clancy's) Party, entertained the same opinions. The spectacle presented in that Debate by the First Lord of the Treasury and by Mr. Morley was unique in the history of Parliament. There was no mistaking the fact that the Leader of the House felt that there was a body of Unionist opinion not in accord with his views, and against whom, apparently, he thinks it will be 983 very difficult for him, if not impossible, to carry out a Bill embodying his convictions. And what else was the speech of the Member for Montrose than a despairing appeal also to the Liberals who sat behind him? What conclusions could be drawn from this remarkable spectacle save that Parliament was not willing or capable of remedying a grievance which both these Gentlemen admitted to exist? He had listened to many Home Rule speeches in that House, but he had never listened to a Home Rule speech which would be productive of more effect than that of the Leader of the House. If a Bill carrying out the ideas embodied in that speech were not carried in this Parliament, that speech would be quoted to the end of the controversy in support of the principle of Home Rule. The right hon. Gentleman admitted the grievance, and proposed a remedy which was practically accepted by the occupants of the Irish Benches, but he could not get either the Tory Party or the Liberal Party to adopt it. The right hon. Gentleman could not persuade Parliament to do what he himself believed to be justice, and the bare recital of the fact would be the most powerful argument in support of the demand that Ireland should rule itself. He (Mr. Clancy) did not know whether to rejoice or be glad at this fact. In the general interests of education he would like the proposal to be carried, but he was also an Irish Nationalist, and he rejoiced that once more this Parliament would have made it plain by that night's Debate, and by what would take place during the Session, that it was unwilling and unable to redress a proved Irish grievance, and he believed that in the long run proof of such a fact would smash Unionism to atoms.
§ MR. E. CARSON (Dublin University)
I shall not stand for any time before the House, but I think, as I represent the University of Dublin, I ought not to let this Debate close without saying a word on this all-important subject. I might very well, so far as I am personally concerned, say that the case made out by those who are in favour of another University for Ireland, as brought forward by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House last night, and, to my mind, 984 he put forward an unanswerable and unanswered case, and I cannot conceive how any person who is anxious to do justice to Ireland should take up a hostile view without finding some reason in his own mind which certainly ought to be expressed in this House to confute the argument put forward by my right hon. Friend. From those who are opposed to this motion we have had some interesting speeches. Every speaker I have heard has admitted that there was a grievance in Ireland upon this Question. That is the extent to which the sympathy has gone. But, Sir, the speeches they have made have contributed but little to the solution of that Question. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Edinburgh to tell us that he sympathises with the prelude of this Movement, to tell us that he wishes to do all that is just for Ireland. Having told us so much, he tells us that he can see no answer to offer to the arguments put forward, saying Non possumus. Sir, as a Unionist, I would say that this House has no right to use the argument Non possumus. How does the case stand? My right hon. Friend said last night that the historical aspect of the Question could throw but little light on the subject, and that it would be better to face the reality of the present time, but I think that the historical aspect throws a great deal of light upon what must be, and what can be, the only remedy for an admitted grievance. I am glad to think that in support of this proposal as Member for Dublin University, I am following out the traditions of liberality which have always been shown by that great institution, Trinity College, Dublin. Trinity College, Dublin, in the last century, when the Catholics of Ireland were groaning under coercion laws in relation to their religion, of which everyone is now ashamed, was the first great Protestant Institution, the first of the Universities, I think, to open its doors to the admission of the Catholics. In the present century, under Mr. Fawcett's Bill, it has opened all its prizes, all its professorships, all the fellowships, and, in point of fact, the governing body, to the admission of the Catholics who can attain them on their merits. Well, Sir, in addition to that, we have, as my right hon. Friend, the Member for Bodmin, who sits opposite me, has stated, founded University 985 after University in Ireland to try and meet the needs of the large bulk of the population in the matter of Catholic University education. You founded the Queen's Colleges, which were supposed to be, and are in reality, secular institutions. You founded the Royal University not so many years ago, which was supposed to be, and is, in reality a secular institution. In addition to that, Trinity College, Dublin, has not only opened up all its prizes to the Catholic population, and, indeed, to all denominations, but it has made efforts of the most generous character. In the case of Presbyterianism at the present moment it has allowed members of that body to come in and to instruct in their own particular religion the students who are of their religion in the University, and I believe they are willing, and they have offered, to allow exactly the same privileges to the clergy of the Catholic religion. I say all this in defence of the position Trinity College has taken up. I say all that in defence of what I have said already, that Trinity College on the question of education has always been on the side of liberality. But, Sir, when I have said that, and when I have stated the historical aspect of the Question, I must admit that all this has not brought about University education for the mass of my fellow countrymen. Sir, when I am told by the speakers opposite or upon this side of the House that this is a question of un-sectarianism, I say it is no such thing, but that it is a question of University education for the great mass of the people of Ireland. Speaking as a Member for the University of Dublin, and speaking as one who has a belief in the advancement of our people by progress and education, I say our first object ought to be to see that education is brought home to them in a form which they can accept. Sir, I often think that Members of this House who meet constantly in England do not thoroughly understand the Irish Catholics. The Irish Catholics are a people passionately devoted to their own religion. They are a people who will not accept any institution in relation to the education of their children which is in conflict with their views. And, Sir, that being the fact, and all other remedies having been tried, what 986 is the use of telling us that the idea of University education is the idea of secularism, when the great bulk of the Catholic people in Ireland will not accept, and could not accept, that solution? I have often thought that English Members are very prone to deal with Irish questions in the abstract. I think we have to deal with Irish questions in the concrete, and what you have to do is to ask yourselves, are you prepared to say that, because Irish Catholics will not accept the University system upon the basis that now exists, you will henceforth and for ever deprive them of University education altogether? I believe that Trinity College has done all that it is in the power of Trinity College to do, and I think that those who are with me in this matter are prepared to say that Trinity College can go no further. Therefore, I say, we are face to face with the necessity of finding some solution of this question. What was the solution of the hon. Member for Carnarvon? He told us, and it struck me as something extraordinary, that he did not object to a Catholic University set up by accident, but that he did object to a Catholic University set up by design. That is a refinement which only a Welsh Home Ruler—who is willing to allow an Irish Parliament to set up any form of University it desires, but who is unwilling to allow the Imperial Parliament to set up a University system that the Irish people desire—could put before this House. The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh used somewhat the same argument. He said that he was willing that an Irish Parliament should settle this question of University education, but he said that he was unwilling that a Catholic University should be looked upon as the offspring of the Imperial Parliament. That, Sir, is the refinement that only a Scotch Home Ruler could possibly think of putting before this House. But the truth is, hon. Members, in their heart of hearts, are afraid of something or other connected with the Catholic religion which they will not suggest, and will not explain. I ask, what is the fear of this Catholic University? What is the dread of hon. Members, with reference to it? What is the great bogey of Catholic education in Ireland? The admitted dread is this: that you will lose the chance of a mixed 987 system of education, in the sense of all denominations coming together. But, Sir, that system has already been tried, and it has failed; and I ask those who think that Catholics ought not to be entrusted with a system of education of this kind, do they think that the Catholics of Ireland will be worse off with the enlightenment of a University education than they are now that they are deprived of it? Are they going to make any progress, so long as you give them no chance of further enlightenment? I can only say that, speaking for myself, I have no fears whatever of a Catholic University. I do not believe that the unfortunate, extreme differences of opinion on religious matters that exist in Ireland are likely to be got over by leaving there a standing grievance, which practically everybody who has spoken has admitted in this House. I believe that if those differences are to be got over, it will be by Catholics and Protestants approaching this question in a spirit of conciliation. Then, Sir, let me say one word upon the immediate matter of this Amendment. I think the hon. Member for Mayo may be satisfied that we have in this Debate had the fullest ventilation of this question in this House that we have yet had. While many of us on this side are prepared to support the Leader of the House on this question, it would be absolutely impossible for us to vote against the Government on this occasion—not at all on the lines that so often prevail in this House—of speaking on one side and voting on the other—but because it is, of course, apparent that an Amendment to the Address is virtually a vote of want of confidence in the Government. At the same time I should like to suggest this to the hon. Members from Ireland. They must see,—and they no doubt do see—that those of us on this side of the House who think with them on this question have no easy task before us. They no doubt do see that this is not a matter in which we can rush or hurry those who think with the Leader of the House, and nothing could be more disastrous for the question we are supporting this evening than that we should in any way complicate it by so trying to hurry it that we should create dissension among the various parties who support the question 988 in this House. Therefore, I do suggest to the hon. Member for Mayo that, as he has had an opportunity of ventilating this question in a way it has never been ventilated before, and as he has had a declaration from my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, the sincerity of which I do not believe anyone would doubt, and as, moreover, he has succeeded in obtaining a sympathetic speech from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, who also spoke under considerable difficulty, he should not press this question into such a position as would seriously embarrass many supporters of his sitting on this side of the House. For my own part, I will only say that, while I have never hesitated to put before this House and the country my views as to the importance of this question in relation to Ireland in the particular circumstance under which this Amendment comes before the House, if it goes to a Division, I shall certainly vote for the Government.
§ MR. DILLON
After the strong appeal that has been made to me from the Benches opposite, and hoping, as I do, that it will not be possible for the Government to much longer abstain from taking action on this question, and feeling that a Division under the present circumstances would not truly, or nearly truly, represent the feeling of the House, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question again proposed.